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Sanusi Was Misquoted?



At a time when, unemployment in Nigeria hit its all-time-high, with young skilled graduates roaming the streets for unavailable jobs, criminality and insecurity at disturbing peaks and with no clear signs of early bail-out for both the manufacturing and industrial sectors, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi’s call for a 50 per cent reduction of the Civil Service deserves careful analysis.

At a retreat on capital market held in Warri, Delta State last Monday, Sanusi among other controversial vituperations suggested the reduction of public service workforce by half, alluding that workers’ wages were a key hindrance to the growth of the nation’s economy, as weighs heavily on capital needs.

As Central Bank Governor, Sanusi may be concerned about the growing decline in capital projections, which he fears would negatively impact on the infrastructural development efforts of the country. Without basic infrastructure no meaningful job creation effort would succeed hence his worry over how to cut wastages in recurrent spending to fill the lull, in desired capital projections.

To support that argument, Sanusi virtually suggested that Public Servants constitute about 30 per cent of the population but enjoy more than 70 per cent of national earnings, a development which he said amounted to denying over 105 million Nigerians funds needed for basic infrastructure. Sanusi did not imagine that the said figure includes wives and dependants of civil servants.

By his calculation, of a population of about 150 million, since public servants constitute barely 30%, about 45 million and they should not alone earn 70 per cent of the country’s annual budget proposals in form of recurrent expenditure. Therefore, a reduction by at least 50 per cent would be required so as to beef-up capital expenditure to 65 per cent of the annual budget, while, recurrent expenditure is reduced to 35 per cent.

To achieve that Sanusi questioned the need for the bi-cameral legislature Nigeria operates and also queried the economic rationale behind the engagement of 109 Senators and 360 members of the House of Representatives.

Similarly, Sanusi called for the scraping of the Local Government system in preference for states as federating units. By that action, what the CBN Governor considers to be a wasteful tier of government would have been eliminated.

From the point of view of an economist in a country where, there is a vibrant private sector participation in industrial pursuits, where, public infrastructure is at its healthiest and manufacturing concerns are in dire need of productive labour, these views would have made sense. But in a country where, more than 50 per cent of its productive youths are without gainful employment and criminality gradually becoming a paying pass-time, Sanusi’s suggestion is a call to hell, insensitive at best, Satanic at worse.

For the basis of argument, it will be proper to take a second look at Sanusi’s mathematics on the public service and see if the civil servant is not contributing enough to society or even more than the Central Bank governor.

Nigeria, has for upwards of 50 years, operated a virtual monolithic economy depended mostly on foreign exchange earnings from oil and gas. These earnings are monthly allocated to states, local government areas and the federal government which are the highest employers of labour.

With a population of over 150 million people and, by Sanusi’s estimates, 45 million forming the workforce, it follows that 30 per cent of the population might well be fending for at least 40 per cent of the population or more. For instance, among the 150 million Nigerians Sanusi uses in his argument are children of civil servants, wives and other extended family members.

If an average civil servant has four children and a wife and provides for their medical, education, housing, clothing and even communication needs, hasn’t such a civil servant done what a responsible government should do for its citizenry? With the meager salary paid the worker, he fends for an average of a wife and two children, if multiplied by 45 million such workers, it means that 135 million of the population has been covered. If the few oil company workers are deducted, the rest may be insignificant.

This makes the Civil Servants family as one of the most productive, prudent and patriotic sectors of the Nigerian economy, as it caters for more than the neglected population than any single economic unit of the economy, a reason why the civil servant remains relatively poor.

Unlike the peanuts given civil servants, the Central Bank alone, with barely 6,015 staff nationwide appropriated and spent as much as N300 billion in 2011, 100 per cent more than the N150 billion the entire National Assembly received in the same year, for which Sanusi wants the bi-cameral legislature abrogated.

Curiously, the same advocate of 50 per cent reduction in public service workforce, not too long ago, increased his own staff strength to 6,015, up from 5,023, a case of ‘doing what I say not what I do.’

For the avoidance of doubt, any attempt at sacking workers would spell greater doom than the problem Sanusi hopes to solve. Not only would it incite increase in crime rate, since many, ordinarily dependent on the meager civil servants’ earnings would be forced to look elsewhere for survival and of course non-existent jobs cannot be option.

Presently, cases of kidnapping, bank robberies, sea piracy and terrorism are a major challenge to the nation’s security pursuits. So, if as much as 50 per cent are thrown into the labour market, what Nigeria daily experiences would be a child’s play. In such a case, the wealthy, top government officials and the affluent few like Sanusi, whose annual salary is enough to pay 100 young graduates in the civil service, will be targets.

Rather than suggest workers’ sack, Sanusi should work out plans to concession infrastructural development, encourage investments in manufacturing concerns and other job creation pursuits. With such alternative sources of job generation and comparatively better pay, the public workforce will naturally thin down in preference for many other competing job offers.

To do nothing of that sort but sentence workers into the unemployment market is to court crisis, increased criminality and indeed unbridled insecurity, neither of which can enhance the meaningful infrastructural development  and economic growth that Sanusi desperately yearns for.

Happily, the Federal Government knows and appreciates these imperatives and have since disowned the CBN governor. We understand also that even Sanusi has said he didn’t mean what the people heard and that he was quoted out of contest. We pray so.

Curiously, when he made the remarks, Delta State Governor, Emmanuel Uduaghan, the chief host, quickly challenged Sanusi and warned against the negative consequences of such workers’ sack. But if indeed he was misquoted, the governor’s swift reaction would have offered Sanusi the chance to correct the impression, he said nothing afterwards, until now. Lets welcome Sanusi to the real world, not that of economic theories without contextual support.

My Agony is that many of Sanusi’s kind are of the impression that the average public/civil servant does nothing to deserve his wages, without wondering why lawmakers deserve their jumbo pay any more. Its an unfair generalisation.

Now, perhaps is the time to call for pay parity since all in the economy patronise same market and cater for the nearly 105 million others dependent on workers.

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APC, PDP Bandy Words Over Buhari’s Fresh Loan Request



The ruling All Progressives Party (APC) and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have argued over President Muhammadu Buhari’s request for approval to borrow $4 billion and €710 million to fund the deficit in the 2021 budget.
Recall that the president made the request in a letter he addressed to the National Assembly on Tuesday.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in reaction to the development, cautioned the NASS against approving the request, saying it could set the country’s debt profile skyrocketing without a feasible repayment plan.
With the approval to borrow $8.3 billion and €490 million loans by its legislative body barely two months ago, Nigeria’s debt profile risks reaching over N40 trillion.
“More alarming is that the debts that APC is hanging on Nigerians are for nebulous projects whose scopes, utilities, locations and contractors are largely vague; a development that validates apprehensions of a huge swindle on our nation at the expense of innocent Nigerians, including generation yet unborn. 
“Our party holds it as an act of wickedness that individuals who know that they will be leaving office in less than two years will be accumulating debts instead of seeking ways to reduce the liability they have brought upon our nation.
“The APC knows it will not be around after May 29, 2023. That is why it is pushing our nation into a deeper economic quagmire with foreign loans, which are largely diverted to the personal pockets of their corrupt leaders,” the opposition PDP said in a statement signed by its spokesperson, Kola Ologbondiyan, on Tuesday.
But responding to the PDP’s criticism, the All Progressives Congress (APC) on Wednesday, said the loans are for “the good of the country” and well-being of the citizenry.
The ruling party also accused the opposition party of looting foreign loans obtained during its 16 years rule rather than spending on infrastructure and economic growth as, according to it, Mr Buhari-led government is doing.
“It was in PDP’s era that loans to fund power generation, purchase arms and ammunition to fight a raging insurgency were misappropriated and diverted to fund PDP activities; and the borrowed money ultimately found its way to the pockets of cronies, friends and family members of administration officials. Nigeria is still servicing a $460 million loan taken from China to fund a phoney Abuja Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) contract awarded in August 2010.
“Nigerians should also reflect and recall that the PDP had in its 16 years of misrule pushed the country into a dark ditch of insolvency, and a period in which most state governments could not pay workers salaries, not even the minimum wage, or settle contractors’ bills and cater for patients in hospitals, to name a few,” the APC interim National Secretary, John Akpanudoedehe, said.

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A’Ibom Gov Signs Anti-Open Grazing Law



Akwa lbom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel, has signed into law a bill to prohibit open rearing and grazing of livestock and provide for the establishment of ranches in the state.
The Speaker, Aniekan Bassey, with the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Uko Udom (SAN), presented the bill for signing on Wednesday at the State Executive Chambers, in the Governor’s Office, Uyo.
The governor, after signing the bill into law, stated that the new law was no respecter of persons irrespective of status or calibre.
He instructed relevant authorities of government to ensure that the law was implemented and enforced to the letter with strict compliance, stressing that, culprits must be brought to book accordingly.
The new law will promote modern techniques in animal husbandry, prevent the destruction of farms by wandering cattle while reducing clashes and killings between herders and farmers in the state.
It will also promote international best practices in livestock administration, regulation and control in the state, among other things.
The state Assembly passed the bill on Tuesday, and the Speaker, Aniekan Bassey, directed the Clerk of the House, Mrs Mandu Umoren, to communicate the decision of the House to the Governor for his assent.
Also at the Executive Chambers, the Speaker who was accompanied by the Leader of the House, Udo Kierian Akpan, and the Clerk of the Assembly, Mrs Mandu Umoren, to the signing ceremony witnessed the inauguration of two C\committees by the Governor.
The committees are the Akwa Ibom State Gender Based Violence Management Committee, chaired by the First Lady, Mrs.  Martha Udom Emmanuel, and Akwa Ibom State Road Safety Management Committee, chaired by the Deputy Governor, Mr. Moses Ekpo.

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NASS S’East Caucus Moves To Reconstruct Federal System



Members of the South East Caucus of the National Assembly have resolved to join hands with other patriotic Nigerians across regional, religious, political, and ethnic divides to reconstruct a federal system where the rights, happiness, and prosperity and those of unborn generations are guaranteed. 
Making their feelings known in a communique issued at the end of an extraordinary meeting held at the Apo Legislative Quarters, Abuja last Wednesday, the law makers said the topic of the meeting centered on review of developments in the South East, particularly the security situation in the region vis-à-vis the sit-at-home orders by members of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra(IPOB) and  the detention of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.
  “We expressed solidarity with our people of the South East over the marginalisation of the region in the scheme of things within the Nigerian commonwealth. The Caucus feels the pains of our people and their quest for equity, justice, and protection of their lives and property in every part of the country. The Caucus, therefore, resolved to continue to fight for a level-playing ground and an enabling federal system where Ndigbo are able to develop their homeland at their own pace and equally pursue their happiness and actaulise their enormous potentials in every part of the country, unmolested.
 Reviewing the sit-at-home orders by the IPOB and the mayhem some nefarious elements have seized the opportunity to visit on the lives, properties, and psyche of the people, the Caucus equally reviewed and rued the incalculable economic losses and hardships these have brought upon the region.
They, however, condemned in strongest terms the disruption of the ongoing Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination in some parts of the South East, particularly the incident at Comprehensive Secondary School, Nkume, Njaba Local Government Area of Imo State, where the English examination organised by the West Africa Examination Council, WAEC, on Monday, September 13, 2021, was ruthlessly scuttled by armed men, who chased away the students, teachers, and examiners before setting ablaze motorcycles belonging to the teachers. 
“This is certainly not who we are as a people. On the contrary, we are a people, who have always cherished and encouraged learning from the ages. We are a people that fully appreciate the place of education in the liberation and enlightenment of the human mind and the socio-economic and political emancipation of a people”.
The South East legislators equally condemned in strongest terms the incessant killings in the South East, adding “This must stop immediately. We call on the security agencies to unravel the culprits behind these wicked acts and ensure that they are brought to book to serve as a deterrent to others.
“ Noted with delight that IPOB has called off the Monday sit-at-home order and resolved to ensure that nobody uses them as façades to bring ruination on Igbo land.
“ Call on our people to go about their lawful businesses and enjoin our governors and the security agencies to rebuild confidence in our people by not only ensuring the security of their lives and properties, but also ensuring that our people feel safe as they undertake their legitimate businesses.
 ”Elaborately discussed the issue of Mazi Nnamdi and resolved to intervene. To this end we resolved to set up a committee to constructively interface with relevant stakeholders, the Federal Government and its relevant agencies towards finding a political solution. We will keep Ndigbo abreast of developments in regard.
 “Appeal to our people not to allow anyone to destroy the South East region. The post-war South East was not built through government patronage, but largely by the sheer determination and sacrifices of our people, who refused to resign to fate or bow their heads in defeat. 
“It is in Igbo land that you easily find hospitals, schools, roads, and other social amenities built by individual or communal efforts of the people, home and abroad, through the instruments of the town unions and other community organisations such as the age grades, Umuada, etc. 

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