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Nat Assets Sale: Senators Oppose Saraki

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Senators, yesterday, opposed their President, Dr Bukola Saraki, kicking against the call for the sale of some national assets.
Many of the senators, who contributed as the debate on the recession in the country continued in the upper chamber, blamed the elite, including some lawmakers, for the economic problems of the nation.
Some called for the restructuring of Nigeria’s federalism while others called for a review of some fiscal policies, including the Single Treasury Account (TSA).
Leading the debate, Deputy Leader of the Senate, Bala Na’Allah, called on the government to reconsider its policy on TSA and its policy on domiciliary accounts.
He admitted that the intention for making the policies may have been germane, they were unfortunately affecting the economy adversely.
He said that the TSA policy had stifled the banks and as such, money was no longer circulating in the economy through loans, mortgages and other means.
“The President has good intentions but we have a few people who are not thinking correctly.
“I recall that I complained when the CBN stopped operation of domiciliary accounts within and outside Nigeria.
“These two decisions must be revisited and redirected to ensure that there is a platform for redistribution of income.
“The two critical decisions of fighting corruption should be revisited,” he said.
Sen. Andy Ubah decried the call for sale of national assets, describing it as wrong.
“If we sell our assets now to recover from this recession, what would we sell in the future if we ever slipped into another recession?
“We must seek an alternative way of recovering from this recession but sale of our assets is not the way out,” Ubah said.
The Majority Whip, Sen. Olusola Adeyeye, insisted that the nation must be restructured along the line of true federalism.
According to him, the states cannot keep coming to the federal to collect money while ignoring available resources and potentials in their states.
“Many have asked that we must restructure and I agree that we must restructure.
“If we restructure properly at least there will be a few places where stealing will not be going on at the same time. There will be some modest of exception that we can say what have they done right.
“I want us to look at this current constitutional review, the various exclusive lists and the various concurrent lists; let us look at where we have over-burdened the Federal Government.
“If we must revitalise the economy, we must have jobs and projects going in every local government, every federal constituency and every senatorial district of this country.
“Let us begin to implement the zonal intervention projects,’’ he said, adding that the bitter truth was that people in government also contributed to the problems.
“If we will save Nigeria we must reduce the cost of governance. Nigeria’s estacode is the highest in the world; we must slash it to 50 per cent.
“Obafemi Awolowo campaigned in 1978 that he was going to slash it and it has now grown into five times what it was in those days; we must slash it.
“When you go to our airports and you park your car, you pay N300; that is 75 cents, but in all modern economies you pay per hour.
“If we are going to find money, we must become creative.
“All of you with houses in Asokoro, Maitama and Apo and you don’t pay tenement rate; all of us must pay,” he said.
On his part, Sen. Sunny Ugboji, supported the need to restructure Nigeria “to enable it to operate true federalism’’, saying that states could not continue to come to Abuja to share the national treasure without producing something.
He condemned all persons who kicked against the past administrations when they wanted to save money for the country.
“When the last administration wanted to save money, many of the people who kicked against it are now part of this present administration.
“We must restructure Nigeria: restructuring doesn’t mean disintegrating but just to help every state to tap their potentials and this will help Nigeria too.
“Naira should be allowed to float, floating the Naira would make it impossible for people to get waivers to buy dollar at 197 when it is higher in the open market,” Ugboji said.
Kicking against call for sale of the nation’s assets, he said that there was need to cure the systemic corruption in Nigeria.
He, however, warned that Nigerians must not be portrayed as thieves as corruption was not peculiar to the country.
“Those who are canvassing that we should sell our assets are getting it wrong; we have sold some of them yet we are still here,’’ the lawmaker said.
Other senators however supported the sale of moribund government assets.

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Make Laws To Advance Nigeria, Not Selves, Fubara Tells NASS …Seeks Concerns Of Women, Issues In Difficult Terrains Addressed

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Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, has challenged the National Assembly Joint Committee on Electoral Matters to focus on amendments that contribute to improving the electoral process in the country for good of society and not to advance individual gains.
The Governor maintained that any legislation targeting to empower or undo particular individual(s) is misplaced, and urged the lawmakers never to pay attention to identified problems it promoted.
Governor Fubara gave the charge when he hosted a delegation of the National Assembly Joint Committee on Electoral Matters, led by its Chairman, Senator Sharafadeen Abiodun Alli and co-Chair, Hon Adebayo Balogun, on courtesy visit to Government House in Port Harcourt, yesterday.
The Governor said: “You are still working on your electoral amendment. I wouldn’t say much on that until when we see your proposal and conduct public hearing where we will make our inputs.
“But, legislate in such a way and manner, knowing full well that tomorrow, you will also sit here (executive). So, don’t do it because you are on the other side. And you say, maybe, let it be at the disadvantage of the people sitting here.
“Do your legislation in such a way and manner that when you sit here, those laws that are made can also apply to you, and you will sit and say, yes, I did the right thing.”
Governor Fubara noted that Nigeria is in a very trying time, and needed to be careful not to make costly mistakes that would erase any good work that has been done in the minds of the people to necessitate a fresh start.
The Governor explained that the level of political awareness and the drive among the people to be involved in the political process is higher now than it was about 20 years ago, and urged the lawmakers to be more sensitive to the realities of the times.
Governor Fubara said: “Everybody now understands that political involvement is the key to a better and developed state. Everybody wants to be part of the system, from the local government to the state and to the Federal Government.
“So, I am happy that we are doing this at this time; and not just doing this but taking the most critical aspect of the election: women. If we are talking about election, it is not the men, the true votes that are counted in elections are women and youths.
“So, taking up this very delicate and sensitive subject to addressing the situation at this time, I think the National Assembly is trying to understand and to feel the pulse of our people.”
Governor Fubara particularly noted how difficult it is to conduct elections in Rivers, Bayelsa, Delta, and Ondo states because most of the communities are riverine and could take more than two days journey to access them on sea amidst the scare of being kidnapped or suffer boat mishap.
Governor Fubara applauded the committee for the courage to take on such sensitive task of embarking on sensitisation of the people and engaging with them on best way to ensure that they enjoyed greater safety during elections.
He said, “I believe that after this committee’s sensitization programme that you are doing, it is going to help us have a framework that will help us get an amendment that will protect the interest of the women, protect elections in difficult terrains.
“Because most times, when elections are conducted, we will wait two days or more before results from different areas will come in. And when they come, at times, these results decide the total picture of the election.
“Considering this now, I believe that you will come out, work out something that will help us solve this difficult problem.
“But, most importantly, to encourage women, give them opportunity more than the 35 percent Affirmative Action, and something that will give them assurance that they should be part of this process.”
Governor Fubara said his administration understands the importance of opportunities when given and what it means to give people opportunities to actualise their aspirations.
The Governor, therefore, assured that whatever the recommendations they make, if they make it public, the Rivers State will be one of the states that will first implement them.
He added, “But, most importantly, we want you to be our ambassadors. You are a visitor to Rivers State today. You have seen us. When you go back, you should also tell them that it is not really those things that you are hearing. Tell them that Rivers State is organised. Tell them that Rivers State is focused, and the leadership is purposeful for the people.”
In his address, the Chairman, National Assembly Joint Committee on Electoral Matters, Senator Sharafadeen Abiodun Alli, said they are in the State for what he described as the second in the series of zonal engagements of the people on the proposed amendment to the Electoral Act, 2022.
Senator Alli stated that there is no doubting the fact that Nigeria has never had an Electoral Act that is as good as the one of 2022, but noted that as soon as the 2023 elections were over, flaws were noticed that needed to be addressed.
He said, “And, I must say without being inmodest, that this is the first time this is happening in the history of the National Assembly. Because we felt that for us, for our people to have confidence in the electoral process, they should be involved in the lawmaking process, and we have decided to go round.”
Senator Alli further said: “About two months ago, we were at Ibadan to talk to the youths and the traditional institutions. Today, we came in here, and it is continuing tomorrow to talk about the issues of legislation: the women and elections in difficult terrains.
“We put this because, apart from the issues of the women and the youths; the South-South, because of the topography of the place (region), it is one of the most difficult terrains we are having difficulties in conducting elections in Nigeria.
“And we need to let the people tell us how the challenges they are facing during elections could be ameliorated in the lawmaking process, hence our coming here,” he added.
He solicited the support of the Government and people of the State and the zone in efforts to fashion a workable electoral amendment that would address the concerns of majority, if not all Nigerians.

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Spain Puts Forward 11 Stadia To Host World Cup 2030

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The Spanish FA are reportedly set to confirm the 11 venues that will make up their end of the 2030 World Cup.
The game’s global showcase will take place in Spain, Portugal and Morocco in six years’ time with the final set to take place at Santiago Bernabéu.
But 10 more stadia are set to be put forward by RFEF by the deadline set by FIFA, according to our sources.
Games will take place in: Madrid, Barcelona, Bilbao, San Sebastian, La Coruña, Zaragoza, Seville, Malaga and Gran Canaria, the Madrid-based sources claimed.
Neither Vigo nor Valencia, as initially planned, will be present amongst the host cities.
Madrid and Barcelona will both have two stadia present with the Santiago Bernabéu and Civitas Metropolitano in the capital and Camp Nou and Stage Front Stadium in Barcelona.
Meanwhile, FIFA has announced their summer update to the men’s world ranking list with some significant movers.
Argentina’s Copa América victory sees them keep hold of top spot, while France’s disappointing European Championship isn’t enough to dislodge them from second.
Spain are the biggest movers near the summit, rising five places to third, while Belgium drop down to sixth and Colombia enter the top 10 as a result of their run to the Copa final.
Elsewhere, Türkiye have shot up 16 places to 26th due to their Euros showing and Venezuela move from 54th to 37th as a result of their recent showings, making them the biggest overall movers.

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Tinubu Tasks Ambassadors On Enhancement Of Economic Value

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President Bola Tinubu received some ambassadors at the Presidential Villa yesterday.
President Tinubu in Abuja called for the enhancement of the economic value of bilateral relations between Nigeria and partner nations.
The president spoke when he received Letters of Credence from the Ambassadors of Portugal, Jorge Adao Martins Dos Santos; the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, Biu Quoc Hung; and the State of Kuwait, Salim Khalifa Mohammed Almuzayen, at the Presidential Villa.
Tinubu expressed his appreciation for Nigeria’s long-standing relations with Portugal and the shared interest in the areas of trade and culture, as well as partnership in oil and gas, which had translated into gains for both countries.
“It is good to have you in Nigeria. I am happy you are familiar with Nigeria and the environment.
“I believe that with your presence, our bilateral relations will be further improved. I am happy you are also present in other West African countries.
“I have been informed of your economic interest in Nigeria. We need to work together for more localised productions as regards mineral deposits.
“I have an open-door policy, and you can always reach me through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and my Chief of Staff, Right Honourable Femi Gbajabiamila,” the president said.
To the Ambassador of Vietnam, President Tinubu said the manufacturing sector in Nigeria was ready to benefit from the automating skills and technology of the Asian country.
“Thank you for coming to work in Nigeria. We share a lot with Vietnam in terms of diversity and values.
“We really value our bilateral agreements with your country, Vietnam, especially in the area of technology. We look forward to adding more value to the partnership with you in terms of collaboration for development,” he said.
President Tinubu also thanked the ambassador of Kuwait for his country’s long-standing good relations with Nigeria and extended his appreciation to the Emir and the Crown Prince.
“I am glad we are pulling strings to enhance the value of our relationship. We are both committed to the development of our people and will explore opportunities for economic ties. I have an open-door policy so you can always reach me,” the president said.
In his response, the Ambassador of Portugal said investors from his country had a keen interest in Nigeria, and that the trade with Nigeria on gas predated the war between Russia and Ukraine, and would be sustained.
“I will work on our agreements on improving economic relations. There is no shortage of interest in the areas of development where we can be partners.
“We are one of the highest buyers of gas from Nigeria, and we remain grateful for the supplies.
“Portuguese companies are also handling the rail line construction from Kano to Niger Republic. It will be ready in two years,” the Portuguese Ambassador said.
His Vietnamese counterpart said: “Under your leadership, I see Nigeria overcoming most of her challenges and taking its place among the happiest people in the world.”
Hung added that he was in the country to strengthen relations and improve economic ties.
The Ambassador of Kuwait assured President Tinubu that he would do his best to strengthen bilateral ties for the mutual benefit of both countries.

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