The Director-General of budget Office, Ben Akabueze, has assured Nigerians that the implementation of the 2020 budget will be better and results driven despite the growing spate of coronavirus plaguing the world today.
Akabueze made this known at the 2020 National Budget Roundtable and Panel Discussion organised by Covenant University in partnership with the Centre for Economic Policy and Development Research and the World University Ranking 2020 top 500 held recently at CUCRID, Covenant University, Ogun State.
Akabueze, who was represented by the Technical Adviser to the Director General, Budget Office of the Federation, Olumide Ayodele, said that the Federal Government’s resolve to fully implement the 2020 budget is not negotiable.
“We will continue to ensure that the economy stays on a growth trajectory whilst making strategic investments in critical infrastructure and human capital to spur further economic growth. We hope to implement the 2020 Budget 100%. We have released N220 billion of the 2020 MDA capital to sectors requiring funds in the dry season. Sectors like Agriculture will be prioritized during the raining season.”
Akabueze posited that Nigeria has had eleven consecutive quarters of positive growth since the exit from recession, though levels remain below desirable targets, adding that highest quarterly growth of 2.55% in Q4 2019.
“We will continue to deepen our non-oil sector performance with non-oil GDP at over 93% of GDP as at Q4 2019. We have made unprecedented progress with social investment programmes and are innovating ways of funding infrastructure,” he said.
Although, he noted that Nigeria currently has huge infrastructural gap as infrastructure investments in in the country have been insufficiently financed with public funds.
“The investments required to bridge the gap are clearly beyond the means available to government. Hence, it has become imperative to look beyond government finances for the country to have any hope of achieving its full development potential”, he said.
The DG of Budget Office who noted that the fiscal budget is a key tool for implementing government development agenda, said it designed to achieve social, economic and political objectives.
“Nigeria’s public investment requirements by far exceed available financial resources. Nigeria is not an oil rich economy. We will ensure that funds are allocated to projects and programmes likely to deliver maximum benefits relative to their costs,” he said.
Earlier, the Chairman of the Centre for Economic Policy and Development Research, Prof. Evans Osabuohien, had said the rising debt profile of the country was destroying the economy.
The Professor of Economics, who expressed shock at the Federal Government’s recent plans to borrow $22.7bn, said government must count the cost of its continuous borrowing habit
“One of the highlights of the joint sessions of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in October 2019 was that the debt profile of many developing countries, including Nigeria, is rising. Despite all these, it is shocking to know that the Federal Government of Nigeria is planning to borrow $22.7bn. This will further increase the volume of Nigeria’s debt.”
Investment Expert Urges FG To Partner Zuga To Grow E-Naira
An investment expert in Port Harcourt, Revelation Ohio, has called on the Federal Government to partner with Sam Zuga to grow e—naira to become the Nigeria’s digital currency in the cripto market space.
He said this became necessary in line with what is going on in the global digital currency market, where many countries, including the developed Western nations, are keying into the cripto market.
Ohio, the Chief Executive Officer of the Leverage Hub Consulting Limited, who made this known while speaking in an investment forum in Port Harcourt on Sunday, said that Sam Zuga, a Benue State-born Reverend Father, was the first African to develop a digital coin, the Zuga coin.
He described the Reverend Father as a philanthropist who has made remarkable mark in investment all over the world, especially in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates.
“Sam Zuga is the only African who has stretched himself to compete with those in developed countries in the cripto market, where all the digital coins are all non Africans.
“This man has stepped into the space and developed this coin named after him, and has strictly specified that the coin is African, and as we speak, this coin is strongly growing faster in the digital currency market.
“So it will be an advantage to the Federal Government, through the Central Bank that is considering to develop digital naira, to partner Zuga who is already in the space, as it used to be for those entering the market newly.
“This will have a multiplier effect on our people, as many unemployed persons will be engaged in the business, while the fortunes of many of the youths will be turned around”, he said.
The investment expert also urged the Nigerian public to take advantage of the space available in the cripto world to equip themselves financially, and get knowledge of the cripto market, since that is the way the world is currently going.
By: Corlins Walter
Brass Fertilizer Company To Create 15,000 Jobs
Jobs – As Bayelsa Set For More Housing Estates
The Bayelsa State Government has allocated 595 hectares of land for the proposed Brass fertilizer company in Odioma Kingdom in Brass Local Government Area of the state.
This was as the government has also hinted that the bush clearing of the site of the said project has commenced in earnest.
The Bayelsa State Commissioner for Lands,Housing and Urban Development, Barr.Esau Andrew, disclosed this in Yenagoa, the state capital at the weekend.
He said that the Federal Government proposed project, when completed, was expected to create employment for not only qualified Bayelsans, but has the capacity to engage no fewer than 15,000 workforce, with professional and un-professional qualifications.
Andrew who called for unity amongst the people of the host community, reiterated that the Governor Douye Diri’s led administration was willing to create the enabling environment for businesses to thrive in the state.
He averred that the government was also desirous of fast tracking the development of all communities and sectors of the state’s economy through impactful projects and programmes.
“The Brass fertilizer company is situated on a 595 hectares of land in Odioma kingdom of Brass council area.
“There are no problems with respect to the take-off and completion of this gigantic project, but what we currently have there are basically issues on intra-communal arguments as to who becomes the chairman, Odioma Council of Chiefs”, he said.
He added: “As a community member and commissioner in the state executive council, I can assure you that that can’t stall the project.
“Governor Diri has directed the community to toe the path of unity and peace so that they can benefit maximally from this enormous project, and the youths, chiefs and elders of the community are ready to do as directed by the governor”.
In the same vein, the government has reiterated its commitment to building additional housing estates in the state.
To this end, Andrew said that the Governor Diri administration in partnership with the Federal Government’s Ruhi 774 Housing Scheme and Shelter Afrique were set to build new 800 and 100 units housing estates, respectively in the state.
According to him, while the Ruhi 774 Housing Scheme being handled by Real Estate Development Association of Nigeria (REDAN) is to build 100 housing units in each of the eight council areas of the state, Shelter Afrique on the other hand is expected to carry out the construction of another 100 housing units in Yenagoa.
He said further that the state government has also concluded plans to build additional 260 housing units in the yet to be developed hectares of land acquired by the previous administration for the Ayama-Ijaw Housing Estate in the Southern Ijaw council area of the state.
By: Ariwera Ibibo-Howells, Yenagoa
Global Geopolitics, Neo-Colonialism Fuelling Apathy Against Crude Oil, DPR Hints
The Department of Petroleum Resources(DPR), yesterday, allayed concerns over the future of crude oil globally, stating that the resource would continue to remain relevant for decades to come due to a number of emerging factors.
In his goodwill address at the ongoing 45th edition of the Society of Petroleum Engineers Nigeria Council(SPENC), Nigeria Annual International Conference and Exhibition(NAICE), Director and Chief Executive of the DPR, Engr Sarki Auwalu, argued that the current apathy towards crude oil is not driven by technical and economic considerations alone.
According to him, the ongoing narratives of the relative significance of each energy type and the clamour of ‘end of oil era’ is not informed by technical and economic considerations alone but by global geopolitics and the vagaries of neo-colonialism as well.
Auwalu maintained that crude oil’s continued relevance in decades to come is because of some of its features as an energy resource, which includes availability, accessibility, affordability, reliability, and efficiency.
This character of petroleum, he explained, gives it a degree of comparative advantage over emerging energy alternatives for secured and stable energy supply.
He said, “I would like to sum up the future of energy in these words: ‘for the foreseeable future, we would continue to see a mix of all energy sources – coal, oil, gas, nuclear, renewables – in the supply equation. Whereas renewable sources will make steady in-roads in the global mix, oil and gas will be relevant in decades to come’.
“This conclusion is informed by the outcomes of market analysis and forecasts based on demand-supply equilibrium, socio-economic fundamentals, climate change and environmental considerations as well as technology and innovation that is shaping the dynamics of global outlook.
“However, we would not delude ourselves that change is not happening; we must continually re-invent the industry and find ways to improve the environmental credentials of oil and gas by deploying technologies for carbon reduction and management to maintain its acceptability as fuel.”
He insisted that Africa, other oil-producing countries and members of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries(OPEC), must be key stakeholders in global energy discourse and ensure their voices and views are well articulated in discussions about the future of oil and gas.
“Indeed, as Africans, it must take its destiny in its hand and rewrite history, by leveraging abundant human and natural resources which nature has bequeathed on this great continent to create wealth for its people, eliminate poverty, and improve social-economic conditions while driving value for the globe. Only Africa can grow Africa,” he noted.
On its part, Auwalu disclosed that Nigeria had risen to the occasion, and had started using its oil and gas resources to drive value for national development in the face of challenges posed by energy transition and global dynamics.
Specifically, he explained that the DPR was fostering innovative ideas and creating opportunities for investments and sustainability in the petroleum industry, especially most recently, through the establishment of the National Oil and Gas Excellence Centre(NOGEC).
NOGEC, the DPR chief executive noted, was designed as a one-stop shop to drive safety, cost efficiency and value for the Nigerian oil and gas industry.
In addition, he said the DPR identified the need to formulate the Maximum Economic Recovery(MER) Strategy for Nigeria to guarantee the actualisation of sustainable resource optimization and the economic benefits arising therefrom.
The framework of the MER, he explained, was hinged on six pillars, namely: reserves maturation and production optimization; exploration and resources maturation; improved oil recovery and enhanced oil recovery (IOR/EOR) implementation; asset stewardship; performance evaluation and rewards; and risk management.
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