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Nigeria’s External Debt Hits $5bn

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Nigeria’s external debt was  five billion dollars (about N750 billion) at the end of 2009, World Bank Managing Director, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said.

  Okonjo-Iweala said the Federal Government also carried a domestic debt burden of N3.23 trillion(21.8 billion dollars) during the period.

  The former Nigerian finance minister made the information known at a lecture on the 24th and 25th convocation ceremony of the University of Calabar, on Thursday. 

  She said Nigeria’s external debt profile was 3.5 billion dollars in 2006 and attributed the rise in external debt to “the pace of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth.

  “In April 2006, Nigeria paid off the last instalment due on its debt settlement agreement with the Paris Club, thereby erasing 30 billion dollars in external debt and reducing government external debt to 3.5 billion dollars.”

  Similarly, the former finance minister said the current Federal Government’s domestic debt virtually doubled from about N1.7 trillion (13.6 billion dollars)  at the end of 2006.

  She said the country’s debt portfolio was apprehensive, adding that the situation was worsened by the realisation that about 20 per cent of the domestic indebtedness was held by foreigners.

  For the internal debt, she said one of the bad sides  was that banks and other financial intermediaries would prefer to invest in “safe” government bonds than make “risky” loans available to the corporate sector.

  She deplored the government’s practice of sharing the Excess Crude proceeds, saying the action negated the essence of the establishment of the account.

  She expressed regret that a total of 20.1billion dollars which was available in the Excess Crude Account at the end of 2008 had, by the end of 2009, dropped to 7.8 billion dollars. 

  Okonjo-Iweala described the sharing habit as reckless and advocated the investment of the excess crude proceeds in the agriculture and power sectors to grow  the economy.

  She noted that some states and even the Federal Government could not account for expenditure of the funds and urged the public to strive always to be abreast with government expenditure.

   ”You must know how much the states get every month and how they spend it,” Okonjo-Iweala said.

  She urged students to take up the challenge and begin to enquire into government income and expenditure as it was the right of every citizen to know everything about government.

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SEAMATA Condemns Inport Duty Increment On Cargo

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Members of the the South East Amalgamated Markets Traders Association (SEAMATA) have strongly criticised and rejected the recent astronomical and indiscriminate increment in the import duty on cargoes charged by Nigerian Customs.
SEAMATA is the umbrella union of traders in all the markets in the South-East Geo-political Zone and traders of South-East extraction doing business across the states in the Federation and in Diaspora.
This is contained in a statement jointly signed by SEAMATA’s President General, Chief Gozie Akudolu and its Secretary General, Mr Alex Okwudiri, in Enugu yesterday.
According to them, the Nigerian Customs introduced a method of working out import duty payment on goods and set out a particular minimum amount payable for each 40ft container.
The statement noted that items with the least percentage tariff of five per cent are not even spared.
The  current import duties, the statement further regretted, are no longer calculated based on invoice value of consignments.
”Between 2020 and now, the amount charged on cargoes as import duties have risen in geometric proportion from N750,000 to N2 million, again to N3 million and presently, to N3.3 million for 40ft containers; while 20ft containers jumped to N1.8 million.
”The Nigerian Customs on their own, work out payable import duty now based on “estimated” invoice value of consignment as against the actual invoice value of goods from the country of origin.
”This development is not only bringing untold hardships to importers but is also compounding the pains of the citizens as it dovetailed to astronomical increase in prices of imported goods as the Nigerian Customs estimated invoice value is always far above the actual cost of the imports.
”The indiscriminate estimate of value of goods by Nigerian Customs is adversely affecting the prices of goods in the markets today both imported and locally produced as it triggered a chain reaction.
”Even agricultural products are not spared in the chain effect of the price increase.
”In the general meeting held in Onitsha on Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021, the traders resolved to very strongly condemn and reject the increment.
”We are appealing to the Honourable Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning to prevail on the Nigerian Customs to, as a matter of urgency, suspend the exercise.
”This is to save the Nigerian citizens from further economic hardships as further economic pains that follow such situations could lead to social unrest which our nation doesn’t need now”.
The statement also prayed and expected that the appeal of the traders would be favourably considered in the overall interest of the masses across the country. 7Ends.

By: Canice Amadi, Enugu

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Kaduna SUBEB To Sack 233 Teachers Over Fake Certificates

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Chairman of the Kaduna State Universal Basic Education Board (KADSUBEB), Alhaji Tijjani Abdullahi, on Thursday, hinted that 233 primary school teachers have been pencilled down for dismissal for gaining employment with fake certificates.
Abdullahi, who spoke at a press conference in Kaduna yesterday, further noted that for the Board to be sure that the newly-employed teachers have the requisite qualifications, it went into secret verification of their credentials from various institutions attended.
According to him, the board has already verified 451 institutions they claimed to have attended, but only nine of them have responded so far.
He further added that the responses from the institutions showed that 233 teachers presented fake certificates.
He added that one of the institutions disowned 212 of the 233 fake certificates, adding that, the board would forward their files to the Ministry of Justice to initiate prosecution for forgery.
A visibly shaken Abdullahi noted that the Board will continue to check the integrity of the certificates presented by teachers to ensure that the teaching profession is not devalued by impostors.

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How I Delivered 125 Children After Govt Hospitals Rejected Us -Woman Leader

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Women leader of the Internally Displaced Persons, Durumi camp, Garki Abuja, Mrs Liyatu Ayuba, has narrated how she became a midwife in the camp following rejection of their pregnant members in government hospitals.
The women leader, who was displaced from Borno State after the Boko Haram insurgents killed her husband in 2015, revealed that she has successfully assisted in delivering about 125 children in the camp.
Speaking with The Tide source in the camp, Mrs Liyatu alleged that the National Hospital, Abuja, and other government medical facilities had denied their pregnant members access to medical care following their inability to pay bills.
According to her, a lady in the camp who needed a cesarean section died in the National Hospital after they were unable to pay for the operation.
“Few years ago, a lady came to this camp and she was 7 months pregnant. She came barefoot with only a wrapper and she didn’t have a bacha (hut) so she was squatting on another person’s own.
“The next three days, she was in labour and we took her to the National Hospital in Abuja here and we were told to bring 100,000 but we told them that we do not have such money that they should please try and save her life.
“They said they can’t do anything, that we IDPs are disturbing them. That was how the woman and her baby died in the hospital. They even refused to release the corps for us because we could not pay,” they disclosed.
According to her, she was angered by the incident which prompted her into midwifery to save the lives of other women in the camp.
“I learnt how to be a midwife from my grandmother. I started delivering babies on January 2, 2015, so from that year till date, I have delivered a total of 125 babies in this camp,” she stated.
Liyatu told our source that she has been sensitizing households in the camp to embrace family planning due to lack of funds to train the children.
“I have been telling them that people who have four to five children should do family planning because we are facing a lot in this camp, we are not collecting salary.
“And these children are not going to school and women keep getting pregnant. God will hold us responsible for the children that we are bringing to this world without training them,” she noted.

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