Infrastructure Decay: FG Shops For $140bn Loan -Osinbajo …Spends N4.33trn On Capital …Projects In Three Years …Establishes Secondary Education Commission
Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo yesterday, revealed that Nigeria was looking up to America and other countries of the world for a loan of up to $140 billion to tackle the infrastructure decay in the country.
Osinbajo said this is after the present government has spent up to N3.5 trillion in the last four years to fix infrastructure decay and still has not scratched the surface.
The Vice President, represented by the Minister of Trade and Investments, Dr Okechukwu Enelamah spoke at the opening ceremony of the trade and investment expo exclusively for Nigeria and America, tagged USA Fair 2019 in Lagos.
He said government was making infrastructure revamping a priority in the next four years, just as it would also try to deploy modern infrastructure within same time frame, for job creation and ease of doing business in the country.
His words: “We are interested in building modern infrastructures. Our president has pointed that if we build infrastructure, Nigerians will do well.
It is the singular most important thing we can do to create jobs. “We spent over N3.5 trillion in the last three years. We are trying to figure out how to raise $140billion that Nigeria needs to catch up with infrastructure deficit over the next four years.
This is what the government is taking a hard look at and thinking of how to partner great countries like America and other nations around the world”.
Osinbajo also stated that partnership with the USA, in this instance is so strategic, considering that the US has remained the largest economy in the world that cannot be ignored by any forward looking economy.
He added that “Nigeria also remained the largest economy in Africa and one that the USA cannot also ignore. So we both have responsibility to work together for the greater good of not just our two countries but the world at large.
“We are committed to nurturing and building this relationship. We want the best for both countries. This is the reason we have worked with our partners in Commercial Department to launch the commercial and investment dialogue.
“This is a high level engagement to our government and businesses for both Nigeria and US to eliminate critical hindrances to bilateral trade and investment.
“Last year, there was over 90 billion worth of investment interest to Nigeria. This year, we need to exceed that because we need a steady growth in investors’ confidence but this investor confidence must be converted. We are seeing some good signs, like Jumia listing on New York exchange, MTN on the Nigeria Stock Exchange and Microsoft announcing plans to launch a development centre in Lagos. While all these are refreshing, we don’t think we are near our potential at all; we really need more, that is why this Fair is important and I have to tell you that we are extremely hungry to achieve more for the people”.
Meanwhile, the US Ambassador, Mr. Stuart Symington, said the American and Nigerian economies have much in common, including an intense entrepreneurial drive, a firm commitment to free market principles and a clear vision for doing well by doing good.
He said: “USA Fair 2019 is a prime opportunity to celebrate these mutual ideals and to drive both our economies forward through increasing trade and investment that have already put more people to work in both nations.”
Meanwhile, Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma yesterday said the Muhammadu Buhari administration disbursed a total of N4.33 trillion to execute its capital projects for 2016, 2017 and 2018.
At a valedictory press conference in Abuja, Udoma said “Ministry of Finance was able to release, for capital spending, the sum of N1.2 trillion under the 2016 budget, the sum of N1.58 trillion under the 2017 budget and, as at 8th May 2019 the sum of N1.55 trillion has been released under the 2018 budget.”
“We increased budgetary allocations to capital expenditure – from 16.1% in 2015 to 30.2% in 2016, 31.7% in 2017, 315% in 2018 and 26% in 2019- with priority given to the key execution priorities of the Economic Recovery Growth Plan, ERGP. We were also able to increase our capital releases,” Udoma said.
The Minister, regrettably during question and answer with the reporters admitted that the projection of growing economy by 7% a forecast of ERGP by 2020 is threatened and seems unrealisable.
He explained that the administration was unable to achieve the January to December budget cycle due to the absence of harmony between the executive and legislative arms of government.
While insisting that there was no legal requirement for the budget year to run from January to December, he, however, admitted January to December fiscal year is more predictable and would help the private sector and other economic players in planning because most economic players run a January to December fiscal year.
“Also, it would be much easier to track budget performance if both the recurrent and the capital budgets run from the same dates.
“However, to return to the January to December fiscal year for a budget when the operation of the current budget only commenced in June or July is a very challenging assignment.
“In order to achieve a return to a 1st of January commencement date the budget must ideally be delivered to the National Assembly by September.
“But when you are operating a budget which commenced only in June, or July, by September you would have had no idea how the existing budget is likely to perform.
“Indeed, given the procurement process, for a budget which starts running in June or July, there might have been little or no capital releases by September.
“In short, the only way to return to a January to December fiscal year, under those circumstances, is for there to be agreement between the Executive and the National Assembly to produce a budget on the basis of significant assumptions.
“This will require a very close working relationship of trust and synergy between the two arms of government.”
On the Social Investment Program ( SIP), the Minister said “as at March 2019, 1,707,932 loans been successfully disbursed under the Government Enterprise & Empowerment Programme (GEEP), with 1,374,192 of the loans given under the TraderMoni scheme; while 330,568 loans were for MarketMoni and 1,172 for FarmerMoni; over 9.5 million school children are currently being fed each day in 52,604 schools across 30 states under the Home-Grown School Feeding Programme.
“This programme has also provided direct jobs to 101,913 catering staff engaged under the scheme; 297,973 poor Nigerians across 20 States, have benefited from the N5,000 Conditional Cash Transfer Scheme and 3,517 community facilitators have been trained; 500,000 graduates are benefiting from the N-Power programme and are paid N30,000 monthly; while 20,000 non-graduates in the N-Build category are either currently in training or serving as intern,” Udoma explained.
In another development,the Federal Government has approved the establishment of a Secondary Education Commission to oversee the operations of secondary schools in the country.
Minister of State for Education, Prof. Anthony Anwukah, who made the disclosure in Abuja, yesterday, at a valedictory news conference, said President Muhammadu Buhari recently gave approval for the establishment of the commission.
He also said that the Federal Government also reviewed downwards the charges in Unity Colleges from N83,000 to N49,500.
The minister said the government had pegged PTA levy at N5,000 across the board, thereby ending arbitrary charges of N75,000, which nearly inhibited access to unity colleges.
According to Anwukah, unity schools in Nigeria will remain as long as the Buhari administration is in power.
‘‘Having taken this position, we embarked upon the rehabilitation of unity colleges in all the ramifications required.
“The Buhari administration had spent a total of N7billion on the provision of security infrastructure in the last four years.
‘‘Against the backdrop of insecurity in the North-East, affected by ‘Boko Haram’ as well as incidents of kidnapping in parts of the country, the Federal Government decided to provide basic security facilities in all unity schools,’’ he said.
On the development of infrastructure, Anwukah said that the government had embarked on the construction and rehabilitation of classrooms, hostels, laboratories, among others.
‘‘In spite of the economic downturn, we have done well in terms of investment in capital expenditure.
‘‘In terms of improving funding for the education sector, I am optimistic that the Federal Government will expeditiously look into the recommendations we have made in that respect.’’
The minister emphasised that if education could be adequately funded, the country would be able to compete with the world in the area of global knowledge.
Wike Mocks Amaechi, Abe, Debunks Allegations Of INEC Chairman Working Under Him …Urges Security Agencies To Invite Amaechi For Questioning
Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has refuted allegation by former Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi that the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu, once worked under him as a minister.
The governor noted that Amaechi’s spurious claim that Yakubu was nominated by someone in the President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu’s camp of the All Progressives Congress (APC) was tantamount to public incitement and a threat to national security.
Wike, in a state broadcast on the outcome of the March 18th, 2023, governorship/National Assembly elections in the State, yesterday, said Amaechi’s outburst that the just conducted general elections by INEC was the worst in Nigeria’s history, is ludicrous.
He said, “The truth was that Mahmood Yakubu never worked under me. Both of us worked in the Federal Ministry of Education. He was the Executive Secretary of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund, supervised by the Minister of Education, while I was the Minister of State for Education.
“At any rate, was Mahmood Yakubu INEC’s chairman in the 2015 general elections in Rivers State when we defeated him and his political party as a sitting Governor and Director-General of Muhammadu Buhari’s Presidential Campaign?
“Was it not the same Mahmood Yakubu that conducted the 2019 general election, which the APC and President Muhammadu Buhari won? Was he working for Atiku Abubakar of the PDP when, as a sitting super Minister of Transportation, he could not win 25% for President Buhari in Rivers State in the 2019 general election?”
Wike wondered why it took this long for Amaechi , who served as a minister for over seven years under President Buhari to speak out about his opposition to Mahmood Yakubu’s reappointment.
He observed that in his frustration, Amaechi had publicly denounced and claimed to know so much bad things about the Federal Government that he served for seven year, but, regrettably, lacked the courage to tell Nigerians what he claimed to know about Buhari’s government, which he alleged had totally failed.
“In saner climes, law enforcement agencies should have invited such a devious and malignant character for hate speech, public incitement and threat to national security, public safety and order. By his mischievous statements, Rotimi Amaechi attempted to attribute, locate and blame his infamous political failures and frustrations in Rivers State on the INEC’s chairman.
“In the 2015 general elections, we defeated him as a sitting Governor and Director-General of the Buhari campaign in Rivers State. In the 2019 general elections, we beat him as President Buhari’s super Minister and Director-General of the APC Presidential Campaign.
“He could not even influence 25% of the votes for his party, even after using the Army to cause mayhem and attempt to rig the election. In 2023, we defeated him as an ordinary person. This shows that Rotimi Amaechi cannot win any electoral contest with us in Rivers State”, the governor said.
Wike stressed that the outcome of the 2023 general elections in Rivers State has again exposed Amaechi, the APC governorship candidate, Tonye Cole and his Social Democratic Party counterpart, Senator Magnus Abe, as political paperweights and rejects.
“The APC gubernatorial candidate, Tonye Cole, lost in his Ward and Local Government Area. He lost in almost all electoral units, wards and Local Government Areas of the State. Tonye Cole never ran any effective political campaigns. His party was fractured beyond redemption. He was literarily waiting for his godfather and business partner, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi to magically make him governor.
“Rotimi Amaechi also lost to the PDP in his community, Ubima, his Ward and the Local Government Area. Both forgot that Rivers people knew them as an evil partnership that diverted the State’s $50,000,000.00 and declined overwhelmingly to vote for them”, Wike alleged.
The governor further said that the electoral fate of the SDP candidate, Senator Abe, who lost woefully in 15 out of 17 wards in his native Gokana Local Government Area, was also not better.
“Magnus’s vaunting ambition was to have a chance to be named on the ballot as a gubernatorial candidate of any party, having twice been denied the APC by his former friend, political leader and associate, Rotimi Amaechi. He achieved this limited and useless ambition when he hurriedly decamped from the APC to the SDP.”
Wike challenged Abe to explain to the world his relationship with the INEC Director of Security, Lebara Nduh, who allegedly availed him and his supporters with fake INEC security tags.
The governor thanked Rivers people for voting Fubara as the next governor, adding that the results already announced by the INEC show that the PDP won 31 of the 32 State House of Assembly constituencies.
He, however, extended olive branch to the opposition to join in moving the State forward.
According to him, he has received assurance from the governor-elect of his willingness to work with the opposition to advance the interests of the State.
The governor also appreciated the security agencies’ professionalism throughout the elections and promised that the State Government would defray the medical expenses of any security personnel injured during the elections.
Wike congratulated all PDP governors-elects nationwide for their electoral victories.
He said now that the elections are over, PDP members desperately need to close ranks and work together to reclaim, rebuild, and reposition the party based on equity, fairness and justice to serve and advance the country’s unity, security and progress.
Petrol Price Increased By 54.76% Per Litre, NBS Confirms
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), has said that the average retail price of a litre of Petrol increased from N170.42 in February 2022 to N263.76 in February 2023.
It made the declaration in its Petrol Price Watch for February 2023 released in Abuja, yesterday.
It stated that the February 2023 price of N263.76 represented a 54.76 per cent increase over the price of N170.42 recorded in February 2022.
“Comparing the average price value with the previous month of January 2023, the average retail price increased by 24.58 per cent from N257.12.
“On states profiles analysis, Jigawa paid the highest average retail price of N329.17 per litre, followed by Rivers and Ebonyi at N323.33 and N317.14, respectively.
“Conversely, Niger paid the lowest average retail prices of N198.50 per litre, followed by Plateau at N198.71 and Abuja at N200,’’ it stated.
Analysis by zone showed that the South-East recorded the highest average retail price in February 2023 at N306.86 per litre, while the North Central recorded the lowest at N215.01 per litre.
The NBS also stated in its Diesel Price Watch Report for February 2023 that the average retail price was N836.91 per litre.
It explained that the February 2023 price of N836.91 per litre amounted to a 168.26 per cent increase over the N311.98 per litre paid in February 2022.
“On a month-on-month basis, the price increased by 0.98 per cent from the N828.82 per litre recorded in January 2023,’’ it added.
On states profiles analysis, the report said the highest average price of diesel in February 2023 was recorded in Bauchi at N904.33 per litre, followed by Abuja at N885 per litre and Adamawa at N873.33 per litre.
On the other hand, the lowest price was recorded in Bayelsa at N767.14 per litre, followed by Katsina State at N778.75 per litre and Edo at N789.43 per litre.
In addition, the analysis by zone showed that the North Central had the highest price at N850.65 per litre, while the South-South recorded the lowest price at N814.63 per litre.
Buhari Rejects NASS Bill On Power To Summon President, Govs
President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to assent to the Constitution Amendment Bill on power to summon the President and state governors.
The Senate President, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, who dropped the hint during yesterday’s plenary, lamented the refusal of the President to assent to the constitution alteration bill and 18 others.
Buhari had, last Friday, assented to 16 out of the 35 constitution alteration bills transmitted to him for assent by the National Assembly.
Informing the Senate in plenary on the presidential action, Lawan said out of the 35 constitution alteration bills forwarded to the President in January, only 16 were assented to.
According to the Senate President, the most striking of the assented 16 bills was the Fifth Alteration Bill Number 6 which makes provisions for financial independence of State Houses of Assembly and Judiciary.
Lawan listed others to include those that dwell on power devolutions in the areas of moving railway services, correctional centres and power generation and distribution, from the exclusive list to concurrent list.
He, however, vowed that the 19 bills that were not assented to by the President would still be pursued vigorously by both chambers of the National Assembly for that purpose.
The first of such 19 bills not assented to by the President was the Fifth Alteration Bill Number 24 , which sought for an Act to Alter the Second Schedule to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 to Empower the National Assembly and State Houses of Assembly to Summon the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Governors of States to Answer Questions on issues on which the National and State Houses of Assembly have the Powers to make.
Also. Fifth Alteration Bill Number 7 which sought for an Act to Alter the Provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 to compel persons to obey or comply with Legislative Summons, was refused assent by the President.
Others important ones are: Fifth Alteration Bill Number 29 which sought for an Act to Alter the Provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 to provide for a State of the Nation and State of the State Address by the President and Governor.
Fifth Alteration Bill Number 22 which sought for an Act to Alter the Provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 to Specify the period within which the President or the Governor of State shall present the Appropriation Bill before the National Assembly or House of Assembly.
Fifth Alteration Bill Number 30 which sought for “an Act to Alter the Provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 to Include Former Heads of the National Assembly in the Council of State.
Fifth Alteration Bill Number 14 which sought for an Act to Alter the Provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 to move Fingerprints, Identification and Criminal Records from the Exclusive Legislative List to the Concurrent Legislative List.
Fifth Alteration Bill Number 18 which sought for “an Act to Alter the Provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 to Empower the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission to Enforce Compliance with Remittance of Accruals into and Disbursement of Revenue from the Federation Account and Streamline the Procedure for Reviewing the Revenue Allocation Formula.
Fifth Alteration Bill Number 66 which sought for an Act to Alter the Provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 to Reflect the Establishment and Core Functions of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps etc.
Nation5 days ago
JAMB Decries Use Of Fake Results For Admission
News5 days ago
Preserve Peace, Stability, Foreign Election Observers Urge Nigerians
Business7 mins ago
FG Spends N45.89bn On 1,375 Rural Power Projects
Editorial5 days ago
That March Stillborn Census
Rivers5 days ago
Monarch Tasks Newly Government Recognized Traditional Rulers On Peace, Integrity
Sports5 days ago
AFCON 2023: Akpoguma, Ndidi, Others Hit Eagles Camp
online games5 days ago
The Pros and Cons of Betting: A Comprehensive Guide
News5 days ago
UNIPORT Hosts ICA Nigeria Chapter Inauguration