The Nigerian Economic Summit Group has warned the Federal Government to stop borrowing, describing the nation’s rising debts as unsustainable.
The nation’s total public debt, which stood at N12.12tn as of June 2015, rose to N26.22tn in September 2019, according to the Debt Management Office.
The Senate approved $22.79bn loan request of President, Muhammadu Buhari, on March 5, 2020 while the House of Representatives last Wednesday suspended the consideration of the request indefinitely.
The NESG, in its 25th Nigerian Economic Summit Report, described debt sustainability as vital “because the unsustainable circle of rising debts and declining revenue will have consequences on the country’s macroeconomic stability and crowd out private investments.”
It said this could result in a much higher domestic interest rate as well as limited inflow of foreign investments arising from poor sovereign ratings of the country.
“Therefore, the government should stop borrowing, and must speed up reforms in the oil and gas sector to generate revenue over the next 10 years, considering the global move towards clean energy,” the group said.
It said the reform should include the privatisation of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the liberalisation of the downstream petroleum sector.
The NESG said, “The role of prices in resource allocation is fundamental in influencing growth of key industries because price control, whether in the form of subsidies and rationing, creates several distortions in the economy; so, all general subsidies must be removed, and targeted subsidies introduced for the poor.
“Such general subsidies include fuel, power, foreign exchange and fertiliser. However, the removal of fuel subsidy should be timed and sequenced, to avoid it coinciding with a period of shortage of products.”
According to the report, the Taxes and Levies (Approved List for Collection) Act should be amended to ensure that each level of government cannot impose and collect more than five taxes.
It said, “Nigeria’s growth industries require a measure of macroeconomic stability to remain regionally and globally competitive. A stable macroeconomic environment is necessary for sustainable economic development.
“For Nigeria, emphasis must be placed on achieving consistent high GDP growth rates as well as attaining quality growth, which must encompass major sectors of the economy.”
ICT Skills’ll Deliver Economic Independence To Nigerian Girls – NITDA
The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has said that if Nigerian girls are taught relevant Information and Communication Technology (ICT) skills at a young age, they will be set up for economic independence in future.
The Agency who made this remark through a press release signed by its Head, Corporate Affairs and External Relations, Mrs Hadiza Umar, joined the global community to mark the “Girls in ICT Day.” The day which is marked annually on the fourth Thursday in April falls on the 23rd April this year.
In the statement, Mrs Umar said that the Agency is highlighting the need to promote technology career opportunities for girls and women in ICT, the world’s fastest growing sector.
She said, “During this year’s celebration, NITDA is drawing attention to the critical need for more girls and women to participate actively in the ICT sector of our economy. The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) had estimated skills shortfall of over two million jobs in the ICT sector within the next few years. This opens a huge opportunity for girls and young women who have the ability to learn Coding, Apps Development, Computer Science and other ICT related courses.
“This will not only make them ready for a successful career in the ICT sector, but ICT skills are rapidly becoming a strong advantage for students in just about any other field they might choose to pursue. With technology playing vital role in all manner of careers, from Arts to Social Sciences, and from Law to History, to Graphic Design, learning ICT skills at a young age will set girls up for economic independence. Furthermore, the ICT sector needs more girls and women and celebrating a day like this reminds us that ICT helps to improve the lives of people everywhere.
“It contributes significantly towards better healthcare, better environmental management, better communication, and better educational systems that transform the way children and adults learn. NITDA, in its proactive manner and in line with the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy as well as in furtherance of bridging the gender imbalance in ICT in Nigeria, has embarked on series of Capacity Building programmes for women and girls across the country. Girls with ICT skills can expect to earn good wages and enjoy huge career opportunities.
Keystone Bank Disowns Ex-staff, Fake Investment Company
Keystone Bank Limited has alerted customers of the activities of one Mr. Obinna Onuselogu, who parades a company, Triple C Investment Limited, as an affiliate of the bank with the aim of defrauding unsuspecting members of the public.
The bank, in a statement yesterday, said Onuselogu, who used to be a staff, was no longer in its employ.
It added that anyone who transacts any business with him purportedly in the name of the bank does so at his/her own risk.
“Please note further that Keystone Bank is neither related nor affiliated to any company known as Triple C Investment Limited, which Mr. Onuselogu claims to be its chief executive officer.
“Anyone who transacts any business with him purportedly in the name of Keystone Bank does so at his/her own risk,” the statement said.
It was learnt that the ex-staff has been using the name of the bank and its executives claiming to be in partnership with the bank with the intent of defrauding unsuspecting members of the public.
The bank said it was working on a legal process and security agents to put an end to the unscrupulous activities of the so-called Tripple C Investment and its agents.
Fishermen Union Warn Against Dead Floating Fish Consumption
The Bonny Indigenous Fishermen’s Cooperative Union has set up a 20-man task force to work with the police and arrest any person or group of persons found with the polluted floating fish along Bonny sea and creeks.
President of the union, comrade Promise Bristol, made this known in a chat with newsmen in Bonny.
Bristol observed that a large quantity of different species of fish were found dead, floating on the sea, from the Atlantic Ocean to the communities and fishing ports in Andoni and Bonny Local Government Areas.
According to him, the species of fish included croaker, popularly known as “broke marriage”, “shine nose”, mackerel, among others.
Bristol lamented that the incident had brought untold hardship to the fishermen in the areas, saying that fishing is their only source of livelihood and appealed to government at all levels to come to their aid.
Bristol said the cause of the death of the fishes was unknown and warned members of the public against their consumption, pointing out that consumption of such fishes could be detrimental to human health.
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