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Coronavirus Threatening Our Debt Servicing Plans – DMO

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The Debt Management Office (DMO) has raised the alarm that the outbreak of coronavirus was threatening the arrangement put in place to service the nation’s debts.
The DMO explained that Nigeria’s total public debt grew from $17.35billion in 2006 to $85.4billion, which is about N26.2trillion, in September 30, 2019.
The Director-General of the DMO, Patience Oniha, stated this at a public lecture, titled, ‘Public debt in Nigeria: Trend, Sustainable and Management,” organised by the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies.
She put the total domestic debts at about N18 trillionn (or $58.4 billion), which is 68.45 per cent of the total public debts.
Oniha explained that the recent approval of the 2016-2018 External Borrowing Plan of $22.7 billion would shoot the total debt stock of Nigeria to about N33 trillion with debt to GDP ratio being 21 per cent.
The DMO boss said the Federal Government had put in place necessary arrangements to service the nation’s debt with about N2.4 trilllion from the N10.59tn passed by the National Assembly as the 2020 budget.
She, however, lamented that the revenue projection of the Federal Government might fail with the dwindling revenue target on the back of the coronavirus outbreak, which has affected oil prices.
She said the only way to effectively manage the debt profile of the country was with an improved revenue drive which the Finance Act, among other sources, was meant to achieve.
She said, “The total public debt has indeed been growing. The debt includes external and domestic debts of the Federal Government, state governments and the FCT; and the debt has accumulated over many years.
”Whilst Nigeria’s debt is sustainable, recent developments in the global environment induced by COVID 19 already suggest a less-than-favourable economic outlook with implications for Nigeria.
“Irrespective of COVID-19, the drive towards revenue generation should remain a priority for Nigeria, to finance development and strengthen development sustainability.”
Oniha also said, “Concerns have been expressed about the growth in Nigeria’s debt stock since the exit from the Paris and London Club of Creditors. It is true that the public debt stock has grown from $17,349.69 million in 2006 to $85,390.82 million as of September 30, 2019.
“However, it must be recognised that the current debt stock is the result of cumulative borrowing by successive governments to finance budget deficits and various infrastructure projects.”
The Vice Chairman,  Senate Committee on Local and Foreign loans, Senator Bima Enagi, said the  focus of the National Assembly was not on whether public expenditure was financed wholly or partially from borrowing or actual revenues earned by the country.
Rather, he said the focus would be on the transparency and the judicious deployment of all public funds, irrespective of their sources to ensure the maximum good for the citizens.

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ICT Skills’ll Deliver Economic Independence To Nigerian Girls – NITDA

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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.

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Keystone Bank Disowns Ex-staff, Fake Investment Company

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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.

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Fishermen Union Warn Against Dead Floating Fish Consumption

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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.

 

Tonye Nria-Dappa

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