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2016 Budget: FG Lists Priority Action Plans

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The Federal Ministry of Budget and National Planning says 34 measurable and veritable priority actions have been identified to achieve the implementation of the 2016 budget under six thematic areas.
The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Sen. Udoma Udo-Udoma, said this at the breakdown on the 2016 Budget and the Budget Strategic Implementation Plan (SIP) yesterday in Abuja.
Udo-Udoma said the budget would be implemented under six major strategic invention areas in the SIP to revive the economy.
According to him, SIP for the 2016 budget of change is an implementation plan for a road map of key macroeconomic and sectoral policies.
“It is a strategic target for the 2016 fiscal year.
“The plan will place the economy on the upward trajectory as it is repositioned for change, inclusive growth and sustainable development.’’
The minister, however, listed the six areas as policy environment, national security and governance; economic diversification; priority critical infrastructure; oil and gas reforms; ease of doing business and social investment.
He said that the government would achieve appropriate Foreign Exchange Regime and increase low interest lending to the real sector.
Udo-Udoma said the Federal Government had set deadlines to achieve self-sufficiency and net export of a certain number of agricultural produce and items to diversify the economy.
“Rice -2018, tomato paste-2016, wheat-2019 and increase local production of Maize, Soya, poultry and livestock, so as to achieve self-sufficiency but the deadlines will be announced in due course.”
The minister said that the government would optimise 7,000 megawatts installed power generation capacity and provide facilities required to transmit and distribute it in one year.
He said government would distribute the capacity through privatisation and concessioning under its priority strategies in power, rail and roads sectors.
“ It will ensure that tariff includes all costs of transmission, generation and gas at new price and that DISCO cost required operating, maintaining and upgrading distribution network.
“The government will complete the Kaduna-Abuja and the Ajaokuta-Warri rail lines scheduled for 2016; revise the National Rail Master Plan and finalise negotiations for Lagos-Kano and Lagos-Calabar rail projects.’’
“It will ensure delivery of 2,193 kilometres of federal roads across 31 projects scheduled for 2016 (through public works and other interventions) and explore Private Public Partnership options for completing other projects.
“It will also ensure the completion of the rehabilitation of four airports (Abuja, Kano, Lagos and Port Harcourt) and explore option for concessioning of the airports.
“The government will undertake the construction of 3,552 Mixed Housing Units as pilot scheme in the 36 states and FCT under the National Housing Programme in a secured and planned environment.’’
Udo-Udoma said the government would adopt and execute a comprehensive National Oil and Gas Master Plan as the roadmap for petroleum industry’s development, privitisation and governance.
According to him, government has revolved to work with the National Assembly to pass a revised Petroleum Industry Bill to privatise NNPC and ensure the regulation of the downstream sector.
He said that it had set three-year deadline to be self-sufficient in refined petroleum products and become a net exporter of the products.
On ease of doing business, he said it would work toward moving Nigeria 20 places up in the Ease of Doing Business Ranking and fast-track visa application and issuance processes.
The minister, however, assured Nigerians that the government would ensure effective implementation of the budget.
“The capital spending envisaged in this budget, large though it is, represents only a part of the spending required to meet our ambitious plans for Nigeria.
“To develop this economy, we will need the active involvement of the private sector and we will invite them to take the advantage of the opportunities that government is creating to increase their investment,’’ he said.

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Ogoni Youths Give FG 14 Days To Fix East-West Road

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No fewer than 400 youths under the aegis of Ogoni Youth Federation (OYF), yesterday, staged a peaceful protest at the Eleme axis of the East-West Road, giving the Federal Government 14 days ultimatum to mobilize to site and fix the road or have economic activities in the area grounded.
The protesters, who carried various placards with inscriptions to press home their demands, trekked from Akpajo Junction to Refinery Junction in Eleme LGA, chanting solidarity songs to register their discontent over the neglect of the road.
Addressing newsmen during the protest, President General of the Ogoni Youth Federation, Comrade Legborsi Yaamabana, said it was regrettable that the road, which was a major route to the economic hub of the nation, has remained in a deplorable state, only becoming a death trap that has terminated the lives of innocent Ogonis.
Yaamabana, who described the mass action of the youths as a ‘warning protest’, said if the contractors handling the road were not immediately mobilized to site, then, the youths will have no option than to shut down all economic activities in the area.
He said, “we cannot continue to watch our people being killed on daily basis by tankers because of the poor state of Eleme axis of the east west road, we are calling on the Federal Government to as a matter of urgency fix the road and save our people from untimely deaths as a result of the sorry state of the road, the only bridge on the road at Aleto has collapse but nothing is being done to avert the disasters faced by our people daily”.
Yaamabana also called on the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio to constitute a substantive board for the Niger Delta Development Commission to address the development needs of the Niger Delta region, noting that the use of interim management for NDDC was “diversionary, self serving and not in the interest of the development of the Niger Delta region”.
The OYF president general also called on the Federal Government to exonerate Ken Saro-Wiwa and his compatriots who were extra-judicially murdered by the late Gen Sani Abacha military junta, and given post-humours honour as martyrs of democracy in Nigeria, while the ideals of justice they stood for should be upheld.
Also speaking, the immediate past secretary of the Ijaw Youth Council, Eastern Zone, Comrade James Tobin, who joined the protest in solidarity, decried the neglect of the East—West Road by the Federal Government, and called the immediate fixing of the road to save the teeming road users from untold pains and death.

By: Taneh Beemene

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Rising Prices Push 7m Nigerians Below Poverty Line -World Bank

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The World Bank has said that rising prices pushed about seven million Nigerians below the poverty line in 2020.
This was contained in a press statement titled, ‘Critical reforms needed to reduce inflation and accelerate the recovery, says new World Bank report,’ released by the World Bank’s Senior External Affairs Officer of Nigeria, Mansir Nasir.
The press statement was released, yesterday, in line with the latest World Bank Nigeria Development Update.
It was acknowledged that the Federal Government “took measures to protect the economy against a much deeper recession” but it was recommended that certain policies should be set for a strong recovery.”
The statement read, “The NDU, titled ‘Resilience through Reforms,’ notes that in 2020, the Nigerian economy experienced a shallower contraction of -1.8 per cent than had been projected at the beginning of the pandemic (-3.2 per cent). Although the economy started to grow again, prices are increasing rapidly, severely impacting Nigerian households.
“As of April, 2021, the inflation rate was the highest in four years. Food prices accounted for over 60% of the total increase in inflation. Rising prices have pushed an estimated seven million Nigerians below the poverty line in 2020 alone.”
Quoted in the statement, the World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, Shubham Chaudhuri, identified some of the challenges faced by the country and recommended a way forward.
“Nigeria faces interlinked challenges in relation to inflation, limited job opportunities, and insecurity.
“While the government has made efforts to reduce the effect of these by advancing long-delayed policy reforms, it is clear that these reforms will have to be sustained and deepened for Nigeria to realise its development potential,” Chaudhuri said.
Also quoted is the World Bank Lead Economist for Nigeria and co-author of the NDU, Marco Hernandez, who also gave a recommendation.
“Given the urgency to reduce inflation amidst the pandemic, a policy consensus and expedite reform implementation on exchange-rate management, monetary policy, trade policy, fiscal policy, and social protection would help save lives, protect livelihoods, and ensure a faster and sustained recovery,” Hernandez said.

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Inflation Dips To 17.93% In May, NBS Confirms

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Nigeria’s inflation rate dropped to 17.93 per cent in May, 2021, from 18.12 per cent recorded in April, 2021.
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) revealed this in its monthly Consumer Price Index report released, yesterday.
The drop in the headline inflation in May was the second consecutive month this year.
The report indicates that the consumer price index (CPI), which measures the inflation rate increased by 17.93 per cent (year-on-year) in May, 2021, which is 0.19 per cent points lower than the rate recorded in the preceding month.
According to NBS, food inflation dropped in the same month from 22.78 per cent recorded in April, 2021 to 22.28 per cent in May, 2021.
The report reads, ‘‘All items less farm produce which excludes the prices of volatile agricultural produce stood at 13.15 per cent in May, 2021, up by 0.41 per cent when compared with 12.74 per cent recorded in April, 2021.
‘‘The highest increases were recorded in prices of pharmaceutical products, garments, shoes and other footwear, hairdressing salons and personal grooming establishments, furniture and furnishing, carpet and other floor covering.
‘‘Others include, motor cars, Hospital services, fuels and lubricants for personal transport equipment, cleaning, repair and hire of clothing.
“Other services include personal transport equipment, gas, household textile, and non-durable household goods,” the NBS added.

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