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We Must Look Inwards To Reduce Rising Debts, DMO Insists

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Faced with rising debts, Africa must look inwards, the Director-General (D-G) of the Debt Management Office (DMO), Ms. Patience Oniha, has advised.
She spoke at the launch of the report of a Debt Sustainability study commissioned by the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) and the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) under the Debt Management Roundtable (DMR), in Abuja, yesterday.
According to her, the stark realities confronting Sub-Saharan Africa were such that only a new focus on revenue generation from within; could save the region from a debt crisis.
She said, “The timing of the launch of the report could not have been more appropriate with the global debt levels already rising pre-COVID-19 and still growing since the COVID-19 pandemic started in the year 2020.
“Concerns around debt sustainability have expectedly heightened. According to the Word Bank’s World Economic Outlook, ‘Globally, sovereign debt grew from 49.1per cent of GDP in 2014 to 57.9percent in 2019. And in Sub-Saharan Africa, from 35.1per cent of GDP in 2014 to 55.4percent in 2019.’”
The respective figures for 2021 were 66.7percent and 60.3percent.
“The indications are that the trend will continue as the economic consequences of COVID-19 may linger for a longer period, coupled with the increased economic pressures in the form of rising inflation from higher food and energy prices caused by the Russia-Ukraine War.”
With the current situation, Oniha said that most of the adversely affected nations would continue to borrow but that members of ECOWAS should seek the most credible alternative to borrowing, which she identified as expansion of the revenue base.
According to her, “Concerns about debt sustainability and the need for restructuring have been stronger for Sub-Saharan Africa, due to high debt service costs when compared to revenues.
“It is, therefore, an absolute necessity for West African countries to place sharper focus on domestic resource mobilization. Nigeria is already on that path through the Strategic Revenue growth Initiative (SRGI) and the Finance Acts that have been enacted since 2019.”
The report said that member nations of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) faced risks of debt crisis, unless urgent steps were taken by their various governments to address rising debts.
According to the report, “In ECOWAS, five major research issues emanated from the debt situation. To begin with, numerous ECOWAS countries benefitted from debt elimination during the debt relief tsunami of 2005-2008.
“However, public debt has increased to the point where it is approaching crisis proportions just over a decade later. Debt sustainability needs corrective actions such as debt restructuring and the discovery of viable debt alternatives.”
The report, which was presented by the Chairman of the OSIWA-NESG DMR, Dr. Taiwo Oyedele, indicated that the rising debt portfolio of the sub-region was directly linked to the sustained deficit fiscal positions of member nations.
“The overall fiscal environment in ECOWAS has remained in an uninterrupted deficit since 2009. The COVID-19 pandemic, which engendered a global disruption in the economy’s demand and supply side, has consequently led to an unprecedented increase in fiscal deficit to a tune of 6.8percent of the nominal GDP (Gross Domestic Product).
“The fiscal deficit of ECOWAS in 2020 expanded by 53percent to $46.22billion. Meanwhile, the fiscal deficit expanded by 17.6per cent , 122.4percent and 170percent in Nigeria, Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire in order of the size of their economy, respectively.
“This makes Nigeria, the country with the largest fiscal deficit in the region in 2020, while Ghana recorded the largest increase in the budget deficit in the year.”
While fielding questions on Nigeria’s debt management, Oyedele commended the Federal Government for the public debt data transparency policy adopted by the Debt Management Office.
“He said, one policy of the Federal Government that is worth commending is the public debt data transparency. This is commendable. The Federal Government has also been very intentional with the debt mix- both external borrowing and domestic borrowing.”
The chairman urged that the Federal Government could do better with its project-tied borrowings as exemplified with the Second Niger Bridge and the Sukuk, which would ensure that borrowed funds are transparently utilised to engender economic growth.

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Fubara Summons Support To Sustain Wike’s Legacy

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Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) guber candidate, Hon Siminialayi Fubara, has sued for support towards sustaining Governor Nyesom Wike’s legacy in Rivers State.
Fubara made the assertion during his acceptance speech after the party’s primaries in which he emerged landslide winner at Obi Wali Conference Centre in Port Harcourt, last Wednesday.
The PDP guber flagbearer said his emergence was divine, hence the need for the party to give total support for victory in next year’s elections.
“We will work together to sustain the good things Governor Nyesom Wike has done”, Fubara declared.
Commending the sportsmanship displayed by his fellow aspirants, Fubara praised their zeal but reminded them that, “this is not victory for Fubara; but victory for the party and moving the state forward.”
The PDP flagbearer urged the aspirants to work with him to ensure the party’s victory next year.
On his part, the Governor Nyesom Wike said the victory of Fubara was the decision of the party members who voted, “this is how Almighty God has willed it.”
In his speech, the state Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike thanked the aspirants in the primaries for abiding by the peoples’ decision, reminding them that, “loyalty is not easy but with what we have achieved, it’s difficult for the PDP to lose election in this state.”
The governor pleaded with all members to join forces to win the elections now that a candidate has emerged.
In the coming weeks, the governor hinted that a committee would be constituted towards uniting and mobilising for victory in the 2023 elections.

By: Kevin Nengia

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NYCN Hails Fubara’s Choice As Rivers PDP Guber Candidate

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The leadership of the National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN) has hailed the emergence of Hon Siminialaye Joseph Fubara as the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the governorship election in Rivers State.
In a statement in Port Harcourt, Chairman, NYCN, Chijioke Ihunwo congratulated Sim Fubara on his emergence as the candidate of PDP in Rivers State.
The statement read, “His Youthfulness, AmbIhunwo Chijioke, the chairman of National Youth Council of Nigeria, Rivers State Chapter and South-South zone, has congratulated, Mr. Sim Fubara, on his victory as the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Governorship candidate in Rivers State, for the forthcoming Governorship election.
“The youth leader of Rivers State stated that the victory of Mr. Sim Fubara is a significant indication that the delegates of People’s Democratic Party appreciate his efforts in the party and trust that he has the capacity to unite and continue in the awesome works of the Governor of Rivers State, Chief Nyesom Wike.”
According to the youth chairman, “Mr. Sim Fubara’s victory is a resounding vote of confidence in his ability and leadership skills, which he has demonstrated while serving as the Accountant General of Rivers State, and also signifies that the People’s Democratic Party are committed to a democratic process.”
The number one youth leader, however, noted that “other aspirants and leaders of the party should unite and rally round Mr. Sim Fubara in the task of winning the Governorship election come 2023.
“Additionally, the chairman commended the leader of the party, the Governor of Rivers State, Chief Nyesom Wike, for giving all aspirants a level playing ground and other leaders of the party for their efforts in making the primary election a peaceful one.
“The apex youth leader assured Mr. Sim Fubara that Rivers State youths, under his leadership will give him the needed support for him to emerge as the Executive Governor of the state”, the statement signed on his behalf by his Senior Special Assistant to the Chairman on (Media & Publicity), Amadi Eze, last Wednesday, indicated.

By: Nelson Chukwudi

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2023: Obuah Assures Fubara, PDP Of Total Support

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The former Chairman, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers State, Bro Felix Obuah, has congratulated the winner of the party’s governorship primary in the state, Hon Siminialaye Joseph Fubara for his emergence, describing his victory as the only clear choice of PDP in the state.
Obuah, who gave the assurance in a statement he personally signed, yesterday, in Port Harcourt, also expressed his readiness to do all within his powers to ensure the emergence of Governor NyesomWike as the PDP Presidential flagbearer for the 2023 elections.
He said, “May I also use this singular opportunity to congratulate our party governorship flagbearer, my brother and friend, Hon. Siminialaye Fubara on your historic election. I wish you all the best and pledge my full support to ensure that our party again makes history by winning the governorship election in the state for three consecutive terms.
“As we celebrate the peaceful and successful governorship primary in Rivers State, we pray the good Lord also grant our mentor, leader, courageous and pragmatic Governor, Chief NyesomWike victory at the presidential primary.
“Once again, I pray that the good Lord will grant us the grace to forge on together as one united indivisible team and help us actualise our individual and collective aspirations under the leadership of our great party, PDP, irrespective of who occupies the driver’s seat”.
The statement read in full, “For some months now, we have witnessed a tense political atmosphere as our country, Nigeria plans to go through another transition in our democratic experiment which is hoped to come to a head with the 2023 general election.
“Consequently, there have been clamours among individuals and groups for certain persons including my humble self to come out as a prospective governorship aspirant in the state under the canopy of our great Peoples Democratic Party (PDP); somebody who has the capacity to sustain the great works and quality leadership of our brave and visionary Governor, Chief NyesomWike.
“The newspapers, the electronic and social media were all awash with such calls from all the nooks and crannies of the state, beckoning on me to just declare my interest.
“After some deep thought and wide consultations, I wholeheartedly accepted to run for the office of governor of Rivers State on the platform of PDP and also went ahead to obtain the nomination and interest forms in line with our party’s guidelines.
“This singular expression of interest gladdened the hearts of many of you, my ardent supporters within and outside the state.
“Even without my consent, many of you went on to campaign for me through the various sections of the mass media and other fora just for my sake.
“Sadly, that hope, that faith and joy may appear to have been dashed. This is the reason for this special message of hope and appreciation to all of you, my dearest friends, my supporters and my people.
“Let me first assure you that no hope is lost. The choice of who succeeds our dear governor is an exclusive party affair. This is what party loyalty is all about. It is not a personal affair.
“On Wednesday, May 25, 2022, the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Rivers State Chapter has spoken and a governorship candidate has emerged.
“As a faithful, loyal and committed party man, and the immediate state chairman of the party under whose watch by the grace of God, the party won the governorship election in the state back to back in 2015 and 2019, respectively, I must abide by the decisions of the party at all times even when the decisions are at variance with my personal convictions.
“Accordingly, I decided to withdraw and not contest the governorship primary election in the interest of the party.
“I hereby submit and surrender to the decision of the party. Election is not, and should not be a do-or-die-affair. Moreso, power comes from God. I cannot be a party to anything that may obstruct the course of victory for our party both at the state and national levels, or cause disaffection among our party leadership and members.
“I, therefore, enjoin my faithful supporters across the state not to be dismayed or lose hope for where there is a will, there must be a way.
“I sincerely appeal to you to take every development about the governorship primary in the state in good faith. A renowned writer once said, ‘When hope is lost, when faith dies, the man is dead’.
“As long as we remain alive and trust in God, surely, there are better days ahead.
“I am a peacemaker and according to Matthew 5:9, ‘Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the sons of God’.
“I, once again, call for peace in the PDP and amongst my teeming supporters. United we stand, divided we fall. I thank you all for all your support my social media friends, journalists, Northern groups, Indigenes without Borders, youth groups, churches, Christian organizations, my own people of Omoku, Orashi region, all members of the PDP family across the state, my supporters outside the state, Team Felix Obuah in the 23 LGAs, Go-Round TV, Bro Felix Obuah (BFO) groups, Goround 23, Youth Earnestly Ask For Obuah, ONELGA Political Forum, OtuOzimini Age Grade of Ogba Kingdom, Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area, Rivers State, and many others.
“I am extremely grateful to the Oba of Ogbaland and Council of Chiefs, my stewards/cooks, drivers, my lovely wife and children for their understanding.
“I am also extending my appreciation to all those who signed my nomination form, management and staff of National Network newspaper, Goround Revolution Group, Rivers Women, Rivers Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), women and youths, my personal aides, my Special Adviser on Media and Publicity and others too numerous to mention.
“I also thank you for complying with my appeal to all my supporters via a press statement on Tuesday, May 24, 2022 ahead of the Governorship primary scheduled for Wednesday, May 25, 2022.
“Following an insight, I was compelled to sue for calm amongst my numerous supporters across the state.
“That press statement, which was widely circulated, published on the electronic and print media as well as the social media was timely as it doused tension and pacified those who were already agitated.
“I also did mention in the statement that the party is supreme in all matters and I would stand by the decision of the party”, Obuah said.

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