‘Amaechi Wrong On Money Left Behind By Jonathan’
A former Minister of Aviation, Osita Chidoka, has faulted the claim made by the Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi that the money left behind by the administration of ex-president, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, could not last for three weeks.
Amaechi had made the statement when he appeared on Channels Television’s programme titled, ‘Hard Copy’.
He said, “As former chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF), I was told by the security in a meeting chaired by the former President, including the former minister of finance, that at every point in time, the government must leave money behind in case Nigeria goes to war that would last for six months. By the time we came, they didn’t leave money behind that could last us for three weeks. And I was speaking at that time as the chairman of the governors’ forum.”
Reacting, Chidoka, who served as a minister under Jonathan said, Amaechi’s comment was “rather unfortunate and not supported by facts readily available in the public domain.”
He said this in a statement titled ‘Gov. Amaechi’s Statement on 2015 Foreign Reserve: Setting the Records Straight.’
Chidoka said, “As a member of the Federal Executive Council that handed over to the current administration, I am disturbed that this urban myth of “empty treasury” is still the subject of conversation by a senior government member.
“Also, I am confused about what the honourable minister means when he says, ‘By the time we came in’, as he was not appointed minister until six months after the May 29 handover. Since he was not a minister on the handover date, it may be pertinent to present him with the facts again.
“On May 29, 2015, President Buhari inherited a foreign reserve of $28.6billion, according to official data still present on the website of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), as well as $5.6billion Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Limited dividends. Also, a 2015 budget of over N4trillion was handed over to the incoming administration by the outgoing Jonathan government.
“Furthermore, the Jonathan administration left a total of $2.2billion in the Excess Crude Account on May 29, 2015. (as verified by the Ministry of Finance both by the immediate past minister and the incumbent).
“To further create context, I would like the Minister of Transport to note the country’s economic indices after 1,849 days of President Jonathan’s Presidency from May 6, 2010, the date he took over from President Umaru Yar’Adua to the handover date of May 29, 2015.
“On May 29, 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari inherited an economy that, by the testimony of the World Investment Report, prepared by the Geneva-based United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), was the number one destination for foreign direct investment in Africa. In the five years of President Jonathan, Foreign Direct Investment stood at about $35.25billion. You can compare this to the $11.55billion Foreign Direct Investment received from 2016 to 2020.
“The Jonathan administration handed over a $550billion economy (largest in Africa and 26th globally) and a diversified economy. On May 29, 2015, President Jonathan left behind an economy with a stable currency, where the Naira exchanged for N199 to $1, and Nigeria had a single-digit inflation rate. Today, after 2,406 days of the current administration, headline inflation rate hovers above 15per cent.
“Under President Jonathan, the unemployment rate stood at 7.5per cent (better than European Union) today. According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), six and half years after Governor Amaechi’s government came in, unemployment is 33per cent.
“Before the government came in, Nigeria’s poverty rate was 32per cent as of May, 2015. We need not compare it against 71per cent today after 78 months of President Buhari’s administration.
“Our external debt as of May, 2015 stood at $7.3billion, the coefficient (degree of inequality) was not different from China’s as of 2015. In 343 weeks and four days of the current administration, our external debt has ballooned to $37.9billion as of September, 2021. It is important to point out that over 48per cent are bilateral and commercial loans.
“With the facts above, I am sure that the Minister of Transport will rethink his fixation on the past and focus on the clear and present danger of an economy on the path to Argentina – sovereign debt default.
“In the face of declining revenues, available public data revealed that external debt servicing gulped $1.82billion between January and September, 2021; this is 43.9per cent higher than the $1.27billion spent in the corresponding period of 2020.
“In the same period of January to September, 2021, domestic debt servicing rose to N1.74trillion from N1.53trillion recorded in the same period of 2020.
“These issues should worry the minister, coupled with unlocking the asphyxiating gridlock that Apapa Port has created in the economy.
“2,406 days after, a clear 557 days (one year, five months) more than President Jonathan governed Nigeria; this administration’s economic policies and heightened insecurity have left the country comatose.
“Minister Amaechi and the APC government should stop this perennial blame game and focus on redeeming its tattered image by signing the electoral bill passed by a Legislature it controls.”
Tinubu Signs Bill Unifying Retirement Age For Judicial Officers
Asiwaju Bola Tinubu yesterday signed his first piece of legislation as President, when he assented to a constitutional amendment bill bringing uniformity to the retirement age and pension rights of judicial officers in the country.
This was disclosed in a statement signed by the State House Director of Information, Abiodun Oladunjoye, yesterday.
The statement is titled ‘President Tinubu assents to constitutional amendment Bill on uniformity in retirement age of judicial officers’.
The statement read in part: “In exercising the powers vested in him under the 1999 Constitution as amended, President Bola Tinubu yesterday at the State House assented to a fresh amendment of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“President Tinubu signed into law the ‘Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (Fifth Alteration) (No.37), 2023’ presented by the outgoing 9th National Assembly”.
It added that “With the signing of the Constitutional amendment Bill, retirement age and pension rights of judicial officers have been effectively brought into uniformity and other related matters”.
While signing the amendment Bill into law, Tinubu pledged his administration’s dedication to strengthening the judiciary, ensuring the rule of law, and empowering judicial officers to execute their responsibilities effectively.
Democracy Day: FG Declares Monday Public Holiday
The Federal Government has declared Monday, June 12, as a public holiday in commemoration of 2023 Democracy Day celebration.
This was contained in a statement issued by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Interior, Dr Oluwatoyin Akinlade, on behalf of the Federal Government.
While congratulating Nigerians on the occasion, Akinlade stated that the country’s democratic journey has encountered stormy and smooth sails, just like in many other climes.
She said, “But the ship of State, its institutions and most importantly, the Nigerian people have remained steadfast on the tenets of democratic governance.”
“On this memorable occasion therefore, Nigerians and friends of Nigeria are invited to appreciate the progress that has been made, celebrate the milestones covered and look forward to a better future for the country’s democracy.
“The Permanent Secretary wishes all Nigerians a Happy Democracy Day celebration, “ the statement added.
RSHA Screens Five For Commissioners, Today
Five commissioner nominees are to appear before the Rivers State House of Assembly, today for screening.
The nominees include Engr. Chukwuemeka Woke, Barr.(Mrs) Inime Aguma, Hon Nwafor Uchechukwu, Dr. Kenneth Chisom Gbah and Hon. Henry Ogiri.
In a statement signed by the Acting Clerk of the House, Dr. Emeka Amadi, the five commissioner nominees are expected to appear before the lawmakers by 10am.
The nominees are also requested to submit 40 copies of their original credentials to the office of the Acting Clerk on or before 9am, today.
Four commissioners had earlier been screened by the Assembly and sworn in by the State governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, last week.
These nominees, if screened and confirmed, will therefore, bring the number of commissioners in the State to nine in the last one week.
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