FG Targets $10bn In Crude Accounts
Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr Ngozi
Okonjo-Iweala, said in Tokyo on Sunday that Nigeria’s Excess Crude Account
would be built up to $10 billion by early 2013.
Okonjo-iweala made this known while briefing newsmen on the
Nigerian economy at the Annual Meeting of the World Bank and the International
Monetary Fund (IMF).
“I strongly feel and I have shared with the governors, with
Mr. President and vice-president who fully support that the Excess Crude
Account must be built up to $10 billion.
“We should strive to do that in the next few months and we
keep that as buffer.’’
According to her, if the account is built up to $10 billion
dollars and it is not touched for a while, it will serve as buffer.
She noted that there was the need to increase the nation’s
external reserve, considering the population of the country.
“Our reserves are not huge, we are just building backup;
it’s not my place, it is the monetary policy that manages it, but I have
discussed with the CBN governor that we need to build up our reserve to $50
billion, if we can.
“That will be the desires of the fiscal authorities, so I
don’t consider us with the size of the economy and population we have.
“Look at Algeria, their reserve is nearly $200 billion, for
a country much smaller than Nigeria,’’ she said.
On infrastructure, she noted that the country needed about $10 billion yearly to tackle its infrastructural challenges adding that Nigeria would draw from the World Bank’s loan offer with a go-ahead from the National Assembly.
She noted that Nigeria would not draw from the international
monetary resources at the moment to tackle the infrastructure challenges.
“We are trying to put our borrowing to really direct it to
infrastructure, as you know we have gone to other sources, the Word Bank is
helping us with power, so is the African Development Bank.
“Those are very concessional resources. The problem we have
right now is that the meetings from the World Bank; they are indicating that if
we do not pass through external borrowing plan, where we have $1.2 billion,
that has been approved.
“They are very sympathetic to us, they will like Nigeria to
use that money but if the money stays there and it’s not approved for use, they
will have to move it and give it to other countries.’’
Okonjo-Iweala noted that the loan to be taken would be given
at zero interest rate, a 40-year repayment period and 10 years of moratorium
and only 0.7 per cent commitment charge.
She said that the money would be used for power, water and
health care among others, adding that Nigeria could only benefit from the loan,
if the National Assembly approved.
Meanwhile, the Central Bank of Nigeria, Governor, Sanusi
Lamido Sanusi said in Tokyo yesterday that the bank would soon stop the selling
of cash to bureaux de change.
“70 per cent of the dollars that people buy from bureaux de
change are not for transactions outside Nigeria, they move dollars from one
part of the country to the other, in fact, from one part of Abuja to another
“In a briefcase, you can carry $100,000, that’s N50 million.
“We are coming up with policies; we are going to have to
stop selling cash to BDC and credit their accounts.
“If you want to pay for medical bills abroad, you give
hospital account; if you want to pay school fees, do transfer like everybody
else; if you want to travel, do travelers cheques or get money on your card.’’
He said that at the moment, the dollar was becoming
Nigeria’s second national currency, becoming a source of worry to the apex bank
and even to President Goodluck Jonathan.
Sanusi noted that part of the reason why the bank moved to
restructure the Naira was to tackle the genuine need of high net-worth cash
Wike, Promise Keeper – Eze Gbakagbaka
His Majesty, Eze Oha Evo III, King Leslie Nyebuchi Eke, has described the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, as an astute leader and a promise keeper.
Eze Eke stated this when he spoke with newsmen at the commissioning of Rumuigbo internal roads in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area, yesterday.
Governor Wike, he said, has so far proven that he has the interest of the state at heart, and expressed satisfaction over the Governor’s continuous project execution even towards the end of his administration.
According to him, the internal roads built by Governor Wike have opened the area to new trench of business and economic activities.
He noted that the community has now become a bee hive of business activities due to the roads.
The Evo King recalled how floods ravaged the area in recent times, but said such now belong to history due to Wike’s intervention.
On the recently commissioned phase one of the Trans-Kalabari Road, he said it has exposed the riverine communities to business activities as well.
He noted that the prices of commodities in the area will now stabilise as more business operators will be trooping into the place.
“The jinx of monopolistic operation is now broken. Everyone in the area will now be moved to do one business or the order. I think the Trans-Kalabari Road is one in million. Kudos to Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike”, he said.
He also called on the people to jettison all forms of rancour and acrimony and give the in-coming administration under the leadership of Sir Siminialayi Fubara the needed support in order to enable him execute more people-oriented projects like the out going governor.
The monarch, who supported the idea of ‘Consolidated Government’, revealed that it would bring about rapid development in the state.
“My thinking is that Consolidation is necessary. For instance, the beauty of governance in Lagos State is that they maintained one party over the years, which has addressed the issue of abandoned projects”, he said.
The Governor Nyesom Wike-led administration has executed more projects in the state than any other government with no record of abandoned project.
By: King Onunwor
Pensioners Demand Separate Ministry Under Tinubu’s Govt
Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP) has called on the President-elect, Sen. Bola Tinubu, to create a ministry that will be saddled solely with the responsibility of addressing the plights of retirees in the country.
The South-West zone of NUP made the call after its quarterly meeting in Abeokuta, yesterday.
The Tide source reports that the meeting was attended by chairmen and secretaries of NUP from Ogun, Oyo, Ondo, Osun, Lagos and Ekiti states.
Speaking with newsmen after the meeting, the Zonal Public Relations Officer of NUP in the zone, Olusegun Abatan, said that the creation of the ministry would turn the fortunes of pensioners around in the country.
Abatan called on Tinubu to do more for pensioners when he assumed office as president.
“President Muhammadu Buhari has done quite a lot for pensioners. He really helped them and so we are appealing to Tinubu to please give the matter of pensioners serious attention.
“We want a separate ministry that will be solely addressing matters that have to do with pensioners under the administration of Tinubu,” he said.
Abatan alleged that governors of South-West states were owing pensioners in the zone huge sums as gratuities and pensions.
He urged all the governors in the zone to implement the consequential adjustment and the 35 per cent increment in pensions without further delay.
Abatan particularly cited Ogun, Ekiti and Osun states where he claimed that the gratuities of pensioners were paid last in 2012.
“They are owing arrears of pensions, gratuities and other entitlements, including gratuities and entitlements to the next of kin of some deceased pensioners.
“We want to appeal to our governors to step up their interests in the affairs of pensioners,” he said.
We’ll Defend PDP’s Mandate Secured During The Election In Rivers -Wike
Rivers State governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, says the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the State will defend the mandate that was been given to all of its candidates in the 2023 general election.
The governor noted that soon the various election tribunals will commence sitting where the mandate will be challenged, but the PDP will stand in defence of its candidates to ensure that the mandate is not stolen.
Governor Wike gave the assurance when he spoke at a luncheon organised to celebrate the PDP candidates who won their election and have been presented with their Certificates of Return by the Independent National Electoral Commission.
Those honoured with the luncheon at the Banquet Hall of Government House in Port Harcourt on Wednesday were the Governor-elect, Sir Siminialayi Fubara, Deputy Governor-elect, Prof. Ngozi Odu and other elected Representatives of Rivers State to the National and Rivers State House of Assembly.
Governor Wike pointed to the fierce political battle that was experienced during the general election and that if not for God, the victory that PDP is celebrating today would have eluded it.
The Rivers State governor told those who have been elected to the National Assembly to support every cause that promotes national unity, while placing the interest of the State paramount at all times.
He explained the importance of working in tandem with the State on any cause, whether it is suiting to them or not, but because it is expedient in advancing the interest of the State.
Governor Wike pointed to some Rivers leaders who went to Abuja and betrayed the interest of the state. He said they have become the greatest losers and fallen out of relevance in the State.
The governor also urged the elected representatives to trend with caution and never use their elevated positions to undermine or antagonise existing leadership structure in their various local government areas.
He told them not to abandon those who have contributed sundry efforts to ensure that their emergence at the polls was successful.
Governor Wike scolded Hon. Nwanaka Okpokiri, the member representing Ahoada West State constituency, for working against the success of the PDP in the last general election, but failed.
In his speech, Rivers State Chairman of PDP, Ambassador Desmond Akawor, said there is massive celebration across the State over the victory of the party in the last general election.
He noted as astute the leadership governor Wike provided in leading the party in a fierce electoral battle that has produced youngest governor-elect in Nigeria, Sir Siminalayi Fubara.
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