Lucy Eze, Vincent Clement, Vivian Udeh & Onyekachi Ucheonye
Only few people will believe that the oil rich Niger Delta region that was thrown into immeasurable state of terrorism, kidnapping, killing and insecurity will once again experience peace it was not a period anybody would wish to identify with it was an era people will sleep with one eye open. Development activities were stalled.
Construction works in parts of the region stopped as militants kidnapped construction workers for ransome.
The Niger Delta crisis also affected oil production in the country and this affected national economy.
The unrest cut Nigeria’s oil production by a million barrels a day, allowing Angola to overtake it as Africa’s top oil producer.
In a bid to stem the Niger Delta crisis, and its attendant economic consequence on the nation. The federal government on August 11, 2009 declared amnesty for all the militants. The 60 day amnesty expired on October 6, 2009 and since then, peace has returned to the oil rich region.
What is the economic implication the return of peace in the region? Here are the views of Nigerians on the subject matter.
Isaac Godwin, transport officer at UNAG servicising Nigeria company said: Nigeria has been in a 2008 state and its economic strength over the years could not be stable, especially with the return of democracy since 1999 till date.
The unrest in the Niger Delta has only cut Nigeria’s oil production by a million barrels a day, allowing Angola to overtake it as Africa’s top oil producers.
“Now that militants have accepted the offer of amnesty and have surrendered their arms, oil production will increase and this will impact on Nigeria’s income. But there maybe no economic strength both in the region and the nation at large.
Sounding optimistic, he said there would be a change because the process of the amnesty is an eye opener to the nation’s leaders. The intensity of the unrest in Niger Delta has over the years drawn the attention of international communities and I believe there will be no child’s play.
He, however ,advised the federal government not only to initiate post amnesty policies but try as much as possible to implement them to the letter to make Nigeria a proud place to live like Ghana, South Africa etc.
But he regretted that Nigerian Government anchors its economic strength on oil production which, according to him, will sometime cease to flow and other countries that have their mainstay, on agriculture will leave Nigeria behind because these might be no enough money to invest more on agriculture.
Mr Martins Okonkwo, CEO of Equipment Leasing Firm believes that the amnesty is a good omen for the nation especially the Niger Delta region as government will now concentrate on the economic development of the state and Nigeria.
Again, he said the companies and industries that close their shops in the wake of insecurity in the state will bounce back to life, and the move will give the citizens an opportunity to be employed.
The divisional police in-charge Abali Park Station, Sheman Gana says the return of peace in the oil-rich Niger Delta region will improve Nigeria’s external reserves as the nation will witness improved production of crude oil which will fetch huge revenue for the nation.
According to him, the peace will pave way for development in all sectors of the economy.
Miss Ogechukwu Obika, a student of University of Port Harcourt commended Yar’Adua administration in its efforts to bring back peace, but advised not to relent in meeting the government up with the youths demand so that “we will not return to the status quo”.
She predicted a situation in which the state of Nigerian economy will experience great feature with the return of peace in the oil and gas region of Niger Delta even as it will enable government to invest more on employment generation rather on security.
Mr Tunde Oyewole, Sports Consultants says “though it is not the end yet, the government must come out to fulfil its promises. Government must be prepared more than ever before to address the problem of the region. Then and only then can we begin to see the countries economy grow. We just hope and believe this amnesty programme works effectively once the boys are convinced and they come out, it will be a good start.
Mr Ben Okoronkwo, an Estate Surveyor noted that the amnesty would return confidence to investors and businesses that left the city as a result of insecurity.
According to him, most of the vacated properties would be re-occupied and this is a boom for rental and commercial properties while unveiling CARNIRIV 2009, Hon Marcus Nle-Ejii, the Rivers State Commissioner for Culture and Tourism said amnesty will open tourism window with import on security as tourist and investors would exploit the state.
Mr Oseni Olasumbo, businessman agrees that if the federal government is sincere with its promises and the Niger Delta region and indeed the nation are in for good times.
Though he noted that “our leaders have not shown enough commitment in moving the nation forward, expressed happiness on how the amnesty programme is unfolding so far.
A lecturer in the University of Science and Technology, Nkpolu, Port Harcourt, who pleaded anonymity says the amnesty has a negative effect on economy. There will be high inflation rate as the prices of goods and services will fluctuate, there will be corruption in the society as most of these boys will join the ‘419’ business, the lecturer declared, adding that government would embark on redundancy in most of the federal parastatals or agency so as to meet up with the settlement.
A businessman who would not give out his details disagreed with the lecturers. He said the amnesty would have positive effect on the economy as the output of crude oil has increased considerably from 1.1 million barrel per day to 2 million barrel. He said also that in the general sense of security in the Niger Delta, “oil companies” in the Niger Delta will boom back to work unlike before.
And NYSC member who gave his name as Michael said “with the militant accepting the amnesty, there will be crude oil will increase”. This, he added bring more development in the country as 80% derivation comes from oil. He also says that this will curb unemployment as most of the boys in the creek will be gainfully engaged in various skills that will keep them busy.
He also said that as peace returns to the Niger Delta region, foreign investor will return and invest and poverty will be alleviated.
A civil servant who simply identified himself as Patrick saw the amnesty as era of new peace that will usher in much money in circulation as most companies will come back to life.
Anayo Attah, a trader says” amnesty can’t have any effect if the federal government can not fulfil the promises made to the militants. They can still go back to the creek at anytime.
LASG Begins Vehicle Parking Lanes Demacation
The Lagos State Parking Authority (LASPA) has revealed it will today commence creating additional Vehicle Parking Lanes in some selected locations across the State.
The Authority stated that all efforts have been geared towards improving the parking system of the State.
Speaking on the planned initiative on Friday in Ikeja, the General Manager of LASPA, Mrs. Adebisi Adelabu, stated that the vehicle parking lane mark exercise, which will begin with designated streets within Surulere, Ikoyi, Lekki, Obalende, Ikeja and Victoria Island axis of the State, is a step towards improving street parking from 2023.
Adelabu noted that the Parking Lane Markings will further guide motorists and pedestrians on appropriate parking regulations and spaces, minimise indiscriminate parking, confusion and uncertainty, while conveying a range of information to residents on parking procedures within each specified environment.
According to her, the lane markings will also include special consideration for people living with disabilities and signposts for parking directives, among other features.
The General Manager, however, solicited the understanding of residents within the locations who might be affected by any inconvenience the process might cause, assuring that the government is working rigorously in regulating and improving the parking culture as part of its Traffic Management and Transportation Agenda to ensure parking is convenient, safe and secure across the state.
Recall that the Authority had recently unveiled plans to begin full implementation of parking policy in the second quarter of 2023 and has continued to sensitise the public on the need to embrace the parking culture.
By; Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos
NIMASA Builds Maritime Institutes, Skill Acquisition Centres In Zones
Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Bashir Yusuf Jamoh, has revealed that the agency is embarking on building six skill acquisition centres, and maritime institutes in each geopolitical zone of the country.
He disclosed this while receiving the Minister of Transportation, Dr. Mu’azu Jaji Sambo, and the Secretary General of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), Mr. Kitack Lim, during the commissioning of the new NIMASA head office in Victoria Island recently.
The NIMASA boss said the agency has already started building of ten of its offices in various states of the country, saying that 2022 is dedicated for projects.
“We dedicated 2022 as projects year and we have more than ten projects ongoing now, but we expect that before the end of this administration, we will commission them.
“Parts of the projects have something to do with human elements.
“We have six skill acquisition centres all over Nigeria, one per political zone, and we have six maritime institute projects. Each geopolitical zone has a university with maritime institute, just to build maritime assets,’’ he said.
He thanked the Minister for always being there, and also expressed appreciatiin to the IMO Secretary General for his visit to Nigeria, noting that he is the second IMO Secretary General to visit Nigeria, with the last visit having taken place 15 years ago.
“I am particularly delighted that he is commissioning this building today. He promised to come and has kept his promise”, he added.
By: Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos
FG Borrows N24trn From CBN Amid Fiscal Risks
Federal Government of Nigeria has borrowed N6.31trillion from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) through Ways and Means Advances in 10 months.
This amount has increased the total amount the Federal Government got from the CBN from N17.46trillion in December 2021 to N23.77trillion in October 2022.
It does not include the N23.77trillion the Federal Government is already owing CBN that is part of the country’s total public debt stock, which stood at N42.84trillion as at June 2022, according to the Debt Management Office.
The public debt stock only includes the debts of the Federal Government of Nigeria, the 36 state governments, and the Federal Capital Territory.
Ways and Means Advances is a loan facility through which the CBN finances the shortfalls in the government’s budget.
Section 38 of the CBN Act, 2007, states that the CBN may grant temporary advances to the Federal Government with regard to temporary deficiency of budget revenue at such rate of interest as the bank may determine.
The Act read in part, “The total amount of such advances outstanding shall not at any time exceed five per cent of the previous year’s actual revenue of the Federal Government.
“All advances shall be repaid as soon as possible and shall, in any event, be repayable by the end of the Federal Government financial year in which they are granted and if such advances remain unpaid at the end of the year, the power of the bank to grant such further advances in any subsequent year shall not be exercisable, unless the outstanding advances have been repaid.”
The CBN, however, said on its website that the Federal Government’s borrowing from it through the Ways and Means Advances could have adverse effects on the bank’s monetary policy to the detriment of domestic prices and exchange rates.
“The direct consequence of central bank’s financing of deficits are distortions or surges in the monetary base leading to adverse effects on domestic prices and exchange rates i.e macroeconomic instability because of excess liquidity that has been injected into the economy,” it said.
The apex bank had last November warned the Federal Government against financing deficits by borrowing from the CBN through the Ways and Means Advances, saying this putd fiscal pressures on the country’s expenditures.
Despite warnings from experts and organisations, the Federal Government has kept borrowing from the CBN to fund budget deficits.
The Tide source noted that the Federal Government paid an interest of N2.03trillion from January 2020 to November 2021 on the loans it got from the CBN through the Ways and Means Advances.
It was also reported that the Federal Government paid an interest of N405.93billion from January 2022 to April 2022 on the loans it got from the CBN.
Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Cowry Asset Management Limited, Mr Johnson Chukwu, recently said the Central Bank’s lending to the government was putting pressure on the exchange rate and the inflation rate, with “liquidity that has no productivity attached to it coming into the system.”
An economist, Dr Aliyu Ilias, criticised the government for its constant reliance on borrowing, which was unhealthy for the economy.
He further urged the government to seek better ways of generating revenue rather than persistently borrowing from the apex bank.
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