The Association of Pro
fessional Bodies of Nigeria (APBN), has protested the growing preference of the three tiers of government for foreign professionals to execute developmental projects in the country.
The trend, it said, had resulted in the strangulation of the professionals and the country’s economy, pointing out that no economy could develop on a sustainable basis without the involvement of its professionals.
The President, APBN, Alhaji Bala Kaoje, said the nation was in serious need of stand-out professionals who would help in realising the objectives of Public-Private Partnership initiatives.
He urged members of the association not to shy away from their responsibility of supporting the government in its quest to meet the aspirations of the citizens in terms of welfare and security, while imploring the government to take affirmative action to reduce rising unemployment as this would go a long way in eradicating poverty in the country.
Speaking during the Annual General Meeting/Awards of Professional Excellence organised by the association in Lagos on Saturday, Kaoje also advised the Federal Government to do everything possible to reduce the nation’s escalating domestic debt, which he said currently stood at $43.99 billion.
The reduction of the domestic debt profile, according to him, will provide succour to local contractors and consultants.
Kaoje said the nation’s domestic debt ratio currently stood at 88 per cent, while the foreign debt component was 12 per cent.
He pointed out that the appropriate debt ratio was 60 per cent for domestic borrowing and 40 per cent for foreign, and urged the government to, as a matter of urgency, strike a balance in the interest of the nation.
Besides, the APBN boss also asked the Federal Government to correct the imbalance in the nation’s budgeting system where about 70 per cent of the budget was for personnel and recurrent costs, while only 30 per cent or less was left for capital projects.
Kaoje noted that the nation was currently facing challenges and uncertainties characterised by the activities of various forces, with the resultant socio-economic and political tension.
He enjoined government to find solutions to the challenges of insecurity, unemployment, Boko Haram insurgency, kidnapping and epileptic power supply, among others.
He also urged the Federal Government to settle the impasse between it and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) so that the nation’s tertiary educational institutions could reopen quickly in order to avoid the production of half-baked university graduates.
Kaoje also canvassed the review of the nation’s National Energy Policy in order to drive development in the sector.
The APBN boss lamented the devastating effects of climate change and natural disasters across the globe, including the African continent, and particularly Nigeria, where flooding was becoming rampant, adding that proactive steps must be taken to checkmate the menace in the future.
Lawmakers Want CBN To Halt Naira Devaluation
The House of Representatives has asked the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), to urgently put in place a policy to check further devaluation of the naira to the United States dollar and other international legal tenders.
The House decried that while the Nigerian currency was losing value, others in Africa were appreciating.
At the plenary on Wednesday, the House unanimously adopted a motion moved by the Deputy Chairman of the Committee on Pensions, Mr Bamidele Salam, which warned the CBN of the implications of further devaluing the naira.
The motion was titled, ‘Matter of urgent public importance on the need for the Central Bank of Nigeria to urgently put in place monetary policies to stop the free fall of the naira against the dollar and other international legal tenders’.
Salam recalled that the CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, while addressing the Bankers’ Committee at a summit on the economy in Lagos earlier in February, informed the committee about the naira devaluation against the dollar.
The lawmaker also quoted Emefiele as saying at the summit that the official exchange rate stood at N410 to the dollar.
“That is 7.6 per cent weaker than the rate of N379 published on the central bank’s website,” Salam noted.
According to the lawmaker, while the value of the naira relative to the dollar had declined by nine per cent in the last six months, the South African rand and Ghanaian cedi had appreciated by 11.4 per cent and one per cent, respectively.
Salam also recalled that the CBN adopted multiple exchange rates in 2020, in a bid to avoid an outright devaluation.
He noted that the official rate used as a basis for budget preparation and other official transactions differed from a closely controlled exchange rate for investors and exporters known as the Nigerian Autonomous Foreign Exchange Rate Fixing Methodology.
He stressed that the naira had traded in a tight range between N400 and N410, while the NAFEX rate was different from the parallel market, considered illegal by the CBN, where the naira closed at 502.
Salam said, “The House is concerned that devaluation is likely to cause inflation because imports will be more expensive any imported goods or raw material will increase in price; aggregate demand increases, causing demand-pull inflation. Firms/exporters have less incentive to cut costs because they can rely on the devaluation to improve competitiveness.
”The concern is that the long-term devaluation may lead to lower productivity because of the decline in incentives.
”The House is further concerned that devaluation of the naira makes it more difficult for Nigerian youths especially in the IT sector, whose businesses are online and must necessarily transact businesses in the US dollars.
“It also reduces real wages. In a period of low wage growth, a devaluation that causes rising import prices will make consumers feel worse off “.
Four West African Countries To Buy Nigeria’s Unutilised Electricity
Four West African countries, Niger, Togo, Benin and Burkina Faso, are collaborating to buy the unutilised power produced in Nigeria.
The Chairman of the Executive Board of the West African Power Pool (WAPP), Sule Abdulaziz, disclosed this at the WAPP meeting on the North core project in Abuja, on Wednesday.
Abdulaziz, who is also the acting Managing Director of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), said the four countries were collaborating to make the power purchase from Nigeria through the North core Power Transmission Line currently being built.
He explained, “The power we will be selling is the power that is not needed in Nigeria.
“The electricity generators that are going to supply power to this transmission line are going to generate that power specifically for this project. So, it is unutilised power”.
He said Nigeria was expecting new generators to participate in the energy export for the 875km 330KV Northcore transmission line from Nigeria through Niger, Togo, Benin to Burkina Faso.
Abdulaziz said, “In addition, there are some communities that are under the line route, about 611 of them, which will be getting power so that there won’t be just a transmission line passing without impact”.
The WAPP chairman noted that the project, funded by World Bank, French Development Council and the African Development Bank, had recorded progress, adding that the energy ministers would be addressing security issues for the project at another meeting in Abuja.
He said, “Nigeria has the greatest advantage among these countries because the electricity is going to be exported from Nigerian Gencos (generation companies).
“So, from that, the revenue is going to be enhanced and a lot of people will be employed in Nigeria”.
The Secretary-General, WAPP, Siengui Appolinaire-Ki, said the cost of the project was about $570 million, adding that part of the investment in each country would be funded by that particular nation.
According to him, the countries in the partnership, including Nigeria, are also being supported by donors.
He said the funding agreement was ready as partner countries were awaiting the disbursements.
Appolinaire-Ki, however, said the donor agencies had said they needed a Power Purchase Agreement between the buying and the selling countries to be executed before releasing the fund.
Reps Probe N275bn Agric Loans Under Yar’Adua, Jonathan, Buhari
The House of Representatives has resolved to investigate the disbursement of loans and credit facilities by the Federal Government in the agriculture sector since 2009.
The period under review covers the administrations of the late Umaru Yar’Adua, Goodluck Jonathan as well as the present President, Muhammadu Buhari.
The resolution was sequel to the unanimous adoption of a motion moved by Hon. Chike Okafor at the plenary last Wednesday, titled ‘Need to investigate disbursements of all agricultural loans/credit facilities to farmers from 2009 to date to enhance national food security’.
Okafor said, from 2009 to date, the Federal Government had approved the disbursement of funds to farmers in various schemes to the tune of over N275billion, ranging from Commercial Agricultural Credit Scheme to the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending, to help farmers improve agricultural production and guarantee food security in Nigeria.
The lawmaker also noted that apart from increasing food supply, the schemes were to grant agricultural loans to large and small-scale commercial farmers to lower the prices of agricultural produce, generate employment and increase foreign exchange earnings.
He said, “The House is aware that since the approval, most farmers have not been able to access the loans due to stringent requirements being demanded by banks from prospective borrowers and the alleged siphoning of over N105billion meant for farmers by management of NIRSAL.
“The House is concerned that food production has not attained the expected level, despite the approval of over N275billion facilities to farmers.
“The House is worried that the projected diversification of the economy from oil production to agricultural production and increase in agricultural output, food supply and promoting low food inflation will not be achieved if farmers are unable to access loans meant to increase agricultural production”.
Adopting the motion, the House resolved to mandate the Committee on Banking and Currency to “investigate disbursements and compliance of all agricultural loans/credit facilities to farmers from 2009 to date to enhance national food security in the country”.
- Business4 days ago
‘OPEC Member Countries Lost $trn To Oil Price Plunge In Two Years’
- Politics4 days ago
Bill To Unbundle NIPOST Passes 3rd Reading In Senate
- Business4 days ago
Insecurity May Cause Food Shortages In Nigeria – AFAN
- Politics4 days ago
LG Polls: Lagos PDP Concludes Primaries
- Politics4 days ago
Electoral Act: Rumbles In Senate Over Card Reader, Results’ Electronic Transmission
- Niger Delta4 days ago
Yenagoa Law School: Ijaw Group Commends Wike’s Magnanimity
- Politics4 days ago
Zamfara Gov Reinstates Three Commissioners
- Opinion4 days ago
Governance And Peer Review Mechanism