Nigeria Still Running 18th Century Economy – Ben Bruce
A former Senator representing Bayelsa East Senatorial District, Ben Murray-Bruce, has lamented that Nigeria is still running an 18th century economy dependent on crude oil and its turbulent prices.
He, therefore, urged President Muhammadu Buhari to start the process which will enable Nigeria to join the rest of the world in the 21st century.
Bruce made the remarks in a video on Twitter, Ben Murray-Bruce, at the weekend.
The former senator called for the Ministry of Science and Technology to be properly funded, noting that the biggest economies in the world are technology-driven.
He said, “We are already 21 years into the 21st Century, but here in Nigeria, we still run an 18th Century economy dependent on crude oil and its turbulent market prices.
“Mr President, I urge you, we need to move to the 21st Century and join the rest of the world. We cannot afford to be left behind waiting for the price of crude oil to rise.
“The biggest economies in the world are technology-driven. For example, a 10 per cent increase in broadband penetration is associated with a 1.4 per cent increase in GDP growth in emerging markets.
“Technology encompasses a huge body of knowledge and tools that ease the use of economic resources as a way to produce goods and services efficiently.
“Technological progress is essential to economic growth and development, and the more advanced the technology is available, the more quickly our economy can grow.
“The Ministry of Science and Technology must be properly funded and run professionally to attract the best brains we have”.
The former lawmaker expressed the belief that Nigerian inventors and scientists can also perform like their foreign counterparts if provided with the right environment.
“Nigerians are natural inventors. Nigerians are among the world’s best scientists and so many Nigerians are contributing to the technological advancement of other countries instead of ours and it’s no fault of theirs. We have simply done nothing to attract them.
“Aptera Motors, an American Start-up company based in San Diego, California recently announced a new three-wheeled electric car with a range of up to 1,609 kilometres per charge. But what’s more fascinating is that you can charge the car’s 100 KWH battery from an electrical outlet powered by the sun and while driving and parking, thanks to its solar harvesting roof. Nigerian inventors and scientists can do the same in the right environment.
“Mr President, I am begging you, please start the process of creating the right environment so Nigerians can leap and join the world’s strongest economies”, he said.
Infrastructure Deficit, Insecurity, Limit Maritime Contribution To GDP – Expert
A Maritime stake holder, and Chairman of Sifax Group, Taiwo Afolabi, has attributed maritime industry’s minimal contribution to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to infrastructure deficit, insecurity on the nation’s waterways, low level of technology adoption, and deployment in the sector.
Afolabi made this known at the 5th Taiwo Afolabi Annual Maritime (TAAM) conference organised by the Maritime Forum of the faculty of law, University of Lagos.
Afolabi noted that other hindrances are foreign exchange bottleneck and inconsistent policies.
“These have limited the ability of the sector to contribute significantly to the country’s Gross Domestic Product GDP.
“If well harnessed, the maritime industry has the potential to become a major revenue earner for the country, particularly with the declining oil revenue.
“The lessons of the last few years as a nation should not be lost on us. The non-oil sector is increasingly becoming the mainstay of the country’s economy. We have funded our national budget in the last few years majorly without proceeds from oil but from other sectors.
“The days of our over reliance on oil is behind us now and it’s about time we focused on transitioning from an oil-dependent economy to non-oil reliance.
“The maritime sector, I can say without any fear of contradiction, will play a crucial role in this economic transitioning if more attention is committed to the industry.
“Judging by the potentials of the industry, we are of the opinion and belief that Nigeria’s maritime industry can rank among the best in the world.
“It will only take careful planning, progressive policies, generous funding, enabling environment, friendly economic policies, manpower development and massive infrastructural development”, he noted.
Loans Repayment Default: DMO Exonerates Nigeria
The Debt Management Office (DMO) has refuted the claim by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) that Nigeria has defaulted in repaying its Chinese loans.
SERAP had in an earlier statement hailed the judgement that ordered the present regime led by President Muhammadu Buhari to account for how it spent $460 million obtained from China to fund the Abuja Closed-Circuit Television project which later was not implemented.
The NGO also quoted a report in its statement saying “Nigeria has failed to repay loans for which penalties stand at N41.31bn”.
But DMO in its refuttal said the statement is ‘false’ as Nigeria has not defaulted in its loan repayment.
It said, “Nigeria is fully committed to housing its debt obligations and has not defaulted on any of its debt service obligations”, DMO said on Monday.
SERAP had sued the Federal Government following a 2019 disclosure by the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed that “Nigeria was servicing the loan”, adding that she had “no explanations on the status of the project”.
She reportedly said, “We are servicing the loan. I have no information on the status of the CCTV project”.
Giving his judgement, Justice Nwite agreed with SERAP that “there is a reasonable cause of action against the government. Accounting for the spending of the $460 million Chinese loan is in the interest of the public. It will be inimical for the court to refuse SERAP’s application for judicial review of the government’s action”.
The presiding justice also said the Minister of Finance is in charge of the finance of the country and “cannot by any stretch of imagination be oblivious of the amount of money paid to the contractors for the Abuja CCTV contract and the money meant for the construction of the headquarters of the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB)”, SERAP said.
CBN Names Four Firms To Print Cheques
Nigeria’s apex banking institution, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has named four local firms for the printing of cheques, excluding the Nigeria Security Printing and Minting Company (NPSMC) PLC.
The list of the approved firms for the printing of cheques was contained in a circular issued by CBN.
The circular, which was signed by the Director of Banking Services, Sam Okojere, said the approved firms include Superflux International Limited, Tripple Gee and Company, Yaliam Press Limited, and Marvelous Mike Press.
“The re-accreditation of Cheques Printers and Cheque Personalisers is in line with the relevant qualification criteria”, CBN stated.
The circular also revealed that seven banks were approved as personalisers of cheques: they are Zenith Bank Plc, Ecobank Plc, First Bank Ltd, Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc, Keystone Bank Ltd, Providus Bank Ltd and Wema Bank Plc.
It further disclosed that all accredited printers and personalisers had been duly notified and certificates issued.
The Nigeria Security Printing and Minting Company Plc is the sole printer of N200, N500, and N1000 new notes.
Nigeria Security Printing and Minting Company Plc and Euphoria Group Limited were accredited and approved on Thursday, 04 December 2014, in a letter REF: BPS/DIR/GEN/CIR/02/033.
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