Lekan Paul

President Buhari Condoles Von DG, Osita Okechukwu, On Loss Of Wife

President Muhammadu Buhari sympathizes with Mr Osita Okechukwu, Director-General, Voice of Nigeria, on the loss of his wife of 30 years, Tina, aged 57.

The President shares in the grief of the Okechukwu family at this time of distress, asking God to console and comfort them.

Losing a dear wife and mother, President Buhari opines, is time of deep travail for any family, particularly one who was so devoted, and a rallying force for the household.

The President laments the loss of a true Nigerian, who had schooled in Kano, Enugu-Agidi in Anambra, her state of origin, Maiduguri, and Sango-Otta, Ogun State, thus fluent in Igbo, Yoruba and Hausa, among other languages.

The Okechukwu family, the President says, should draw succour from God Almighty at a time like this, and take comfort in the quality of life the departed lived.

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BMO Lauds Global Award For Buhari’s Social Investment Programme

The Buhari Media Organisation (BMO) has applauded the recent endorsement of the Social Investment Programme (SIP) of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration by the World Economic Forum (WEF). The award was conferred on Nigeria at the WEF’s Impact Summit in New York, United States on Monday, September 23, 2019.

The group also opined that the profound leadership of President Buhari, driven by sincerity, honesty, diligence and top-notch diplomacy is responsible for Nigeria’s improved international status at the World body and the comity of Nations.

In a statement signed by its chairman Niyi Akinsiju and Secretary Cassidy Maduke, BMO said it is obvious that the people-oriented programmes put in place by the Buhari administration is attracting international encomiums as some countries are now understudying the policy and adopting them for their countries.

“In fact, it has become a reference point for poverty reduction globally.

“The Social Investment Programme has impacted positively on over 40 million Nigerians, with a long term target to remove about 100 million people out of poverty in ten years.

“With this recognition, it is crystal clear that the Buhari administration has enunciated the right policies and programmes towards alleviating the plight of the poor in the country, and the international recognition will no doubt spur the Buhari administration to sustain the tempo”.

BMO noted further that the determination and commitment of the Buhari administration to eradicate poverty in Nigeria “is resolute and unwavering” and enjoined Nigerians to continue to support the administration in this direction.

Commenting on President Buhari’s plea at the World body for the recharging of Lake Chad, the group said that the call was motivated by the President’s concern for the 45 million people who sourced for their livelihood from the emaciated Lake Chad.  

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Timi Frank’s Comments On FIRS, Nonsensical, Untrue And Misleading – ISD

The Initiative to Save Democracy has responded to the claims by PDP stalwart, Timi Frank that 90 Billion Naira was used from the FIRS to prosecute the 2019 elections stating that this claim was uncalled for, untrue and misleading.

The Pro-Democracy Group in a statement by its Publicity Secretary Peter Oladele stated that the statements issued Timi Frank were blatant fake news and an abuse of the constitutional right to freedom of speech, further stating that all the “so-called activist wanted was to muddy clean waters with an absolute untruth from nowhere, and attempt to smear the names of good men.”

“It is disheartening to see the very medium to inform and enlighten citizens being used as a tool for spreading rumours and propaganda. The recent statements by Comrade Timi Frank, making its runs on several media platforms, hauling unfathomable accusations at the Vice President and the FIRS boss is one of such misuse of media.”

The group highlighted that reports by the FIRS already made clear that the agency had not received up to N100 billion per annum  as Cost of Collection from the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee, FAAC, a public institution, whose records are a matter of public records and thus to insinuate the agency supported the APC, through the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo with N90 billion in the concluded election is outrageous and outlandish. 

“The FIRS is neither a money dispensing or electoral funding organisation, and like several other organizations, they have processes and structures before a single dime can be spent. The FIRS Budget and expenditure approval processes pass through the Budget Office and the Ministry of Finance, after which they are presented to the National Assembly for Appropriation into Law. The National Assembly committees, consisting of all parties – whether PDP or APC – exercise oversight function on all agencies of the Federal Government to ensure agencies keep to the letters of the Appropriation Act.”

“Thus FIRS’ operations are subjected to scrutiny and close monitoring by the National Assembly, the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee and the Ministry of Finance. There is therefore no way such an amount as claimed by Timi Frank could have been expended without it being sighted by either of these institutions.”

ISD further stated that: “To believe the preposterous existence of the alleged sum is to accuse esteemed individuals of collusion and oversight but more detrimental, is to undermine the great work of the outstanding members in such offices. To insinuate that these governmental organizations are involved in electoral misconduct is an affront to public trust and an insult to our democracy as well as the electoral process.”

“What makes a source credible is the presence of verifiable proofs, however Mr Frank has provided none of such because the events portrayed in his statement are factless and borderline vindictive. They are baseless accusations which only seek to destroy the confidence placed in the government and its organizations and processes by her people.”

The democracy group urged the media houses to conduct due diligence by fact checking articles as well as conduct their own investigative journalism to avoid being pawns and tools by scrupulous, ill meaning and self serving individuals like Timi Frank.

It further urged Nigerians not to be too hasty in believing the worst and to weigh information they come across especially those from questionable media outlets before forming and spreading opinions.

“We must not loose the trust instilled in the administration and her members, as a house divided amongst itself cannot stand.” It added.

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Reducing Extreme Poverty & Hunger, One Of Our Cardinal Objectives, Says President Buhari As Nigeria Launches SDGS’ Planning Tool

President Muhammadu Buhari Tuesday in New York said that “reducing extreme poverty and hunger is one of the cardinal objectives” of his administration.

Delivering the keynote address at the Nigeria High-Level Side-Event on “SDG Integration – Bridging the Policy Planning – Budgeting Gap for the Achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals,” which held on the margins of the 74thSession of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA74), the President noted:

“It is for this reason that in May this year, we committed ourselves to lifting approximately 100 million Nigerians out of poverty within a 10-year period. This is a national development priority and in line with the aspirations of the SDGs. We have since established an ambitious National Social Investment Programme (NSIP) targeting the poor and vulnerable members of the Nigerian population.”

According to him, “Through the National Social Investment Programme (NSIP), we are tackling and addressing the root causes of poverty in all its manifestations. For example, the Home Grown School Feeding Programme (HGSF) component is feeding almost 10 Million school pupils daily and empowering over 90, 000 local catering staff across the country.”

On the need to overcome ad hoc planning for the SDGs, President Buhari said among others:

“It was our genuine desire for scientific planning and implementation of the SDGs that made Nigeria to commence the process of domestication and customization of the Integrated Sustainable Development Goals Model in 2017.

“The Nigeria iSDG Model, the Report ofwhich we will officially launch today, will serve as a framework for robust, fact-based policy analysis, planning and implementation at all levels of government. It is expected to be used as a planning tool to complement existing ones currently in use at the national, sectoral and sub-national levels.”

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FG To Fix Roads To Ease Fuel Distribution, Commuting –Fashola

The Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola SAN, has assured Nigerians that critical roads across the country, particularly those leading to fuel depots would soon be fixed in order to enhance fuel distribution and ease the usual high traffic during the ember months.

Fashola spoke in his office in Abuja while responding to a request by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) for urgent intervention by the Ministry on some roads leading to fuel depots without the distribution of petroleum products during the festive months could be seriously hampered.

The Minister, who assured that arrangements were already being put in place to fix such roads and a number of those which conditions had deteriorated as a result of heavy rainfalls, listed such selected roads to include Suleja-Bida-Lapai-Lambata;Oyo–Ogbomosho-Ilorin;Jebba-Mokwa-Tegina;Benin-Sapele-Warri;Benin-Auchi-Okenne;Enugu-Onitsha;Awka-Amansea and Odukpani-Itu roads.

On the state of the listed roads, Fashola explained that the Suleja-Lambata-Minna Road was in a fairly good condition adding that the failed portions were slated for emergency repairs during the ember month’s programme while work is ongoing on the Bida-Lapai-Lambata Roads where the contractor handling it has already stabilized a substantial part of the road.

The Bida–Minna Road, the Minister explained, is a Niger State Government Road and is in a fairly good condition while the Suleja –Lambata –Minna Road; is a Federal Government road under SUKUK funding.

Disclosing that his Ministry had commenced discussions with the contractors handling the various road projects for the commencement of repair and rehabilitation works as soon as the rains subside, Fashola said approval has been given for the Engineering Corps of the Nigerian Army to repair the bad portions of the Bokani-Makaera-Tegina-Birnin Gwari Road in Niger and Kaduna States, which is currently under procurement, due to the security situation in that axis.

He further explained that funding has also been a challenge, adding that the Federal Government would endeavour to meet its financial obligations to the contractors handling the various road projects to ensure that they returned to the sites.

He said work on the Oyo-Ogbomosho-Ilorin Road is on-going by the contractor handling the project, which, he explained, is one of the projects that received dedicated funding under SUKUK. According to him, although the project is being challenged by the current weather situation and funding, the old alignment of the Oyo-Ogbomosho route is receiving palliative attention.

On the Ilorin –Jebba –Mokwa Road, which is under a dualization contract, Fashola explained that the project has been divided into two sections with Ilorin –Jebba in Kwara State as Section1: while Section II comprises Jebba–Mokwa–Bokani Junction in Niger State adding that it is a new project and mobilization was still being processed.

For Okene–Lokoja Road, which is in four sections and under SUKUK funding, he explained that all the contractors handling the various sections had been directed to do palliative work on the failed portions of the road.  

He said while a Federal Government appointed contractor is currently working on the Enugu –Onitsha Road, the bad portions of the Awka –Amansea Road are being repaired by the Anambra State Government.

For the Odukpani –Itu Road, the Minister said the contracting firm which is handling the project, has left the site as a result of the challenges of the weather situation and funding adding that the Ministry is currently intensifying efforts to address the challenges for the company to return to site as soon as possible.

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Nigeria Tackling Corruption Head-On – President Buhari Declares At The UN

“The present Nigerian government is facing the challenges of corruption head-on,” President Muhammadu Buhari declared Tuesday in New York.

Presenting the country’s National Statement as the fifth speaker on the first day of the General Debate during the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA74), the Nigerian leader also warned:

“We are giving notice to international criminal groups by the vigorous prosecution of the P&ID scam attempting to cheat Nigeria of billions of dollars.”

Holding social media outlets responsible for fuelling major crimes such as mass killings, President Buhari called on major tech companies to be alive to their responsibilities, adding that, “They cannot be allowed to continue to facilitate the spread of religious, racist, xenophobic and false messages capable of inciting whole communities against each other, leading to loss of many lives. This could tear some countries apart.”

He also declared that, “No threat is more potent than poverty and exclusion,” noting that, “They are the foul source from which common criminality, insurgency, cross-border crimes, human trafficking and its terrible consequences draw their inspiration.”

Describing poverty “as one of the greatest challenges facing our world,” President Buhari noted that, “Its eradication is an indispensable requirement for achieving sustainable development,” while highlighting his administration’s efforts to overcome the challenge.

On the 2019 presidential elections, he said “our people backed the politics of tolerance, inclusion and community over the politics of protest and division.”

In his speech reproduced below, the President reaffirmed Nigeria’s position on certain issues which impinge on global peace, security, progress, democracy and development.

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How President Buhari Plans To Lift Millions Out Of Poverty – Osinbajo

The Federal Government’s policies and programmes aimed at promoting financial inclusion remain key to the actualization of President Muhammadu Buhari’s promise of lifting millions of Nigerians out of poverty, according to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN.

Prof. Osinbajo stated this in Abuja on Tuesday at the opening session of the 2019 Annual Conference of Chartered Institute of Bankers.
 

He was referring to the President’s June 12 speech where he stated that “we are working to lift Nigerians out of poverty and set them on the path to prosperity. We intend to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty over the next 10 years”.

According to the Vice President, “Financial inclusion of course is the key to realizing so much of what we expect as an economy and the President promised in his June 12 speech to lift 100 million people out of poverty in ten years, that is the commitment of the government of Nigeria.

“We started that journey with our collaboration with the Bank of Industry to deliver the GEEP programme, better known as TraderMoni and MarketMoni by providing microcredit to almost 2 million petty traders. The Bank of Industry has now brought this huge bottom of the pyramid into the formal financial system and that has been recognized worldwide. Recently the programme won the AfDB prize for financial inclusion because of the work that was done with TraderMoni. This is a huge task.

“Going forward, we now need to embark on financial training for all of those who have been brought into the net. As you know, when they’re given N10, 000 and they pay back, they are given N15, 000, N20, 000 and it goes all the way. But at that point they’re given their BVNs, they’re formally included in the financial system, they’re formally included as formal traders, and so we are able to give them financial training and all that.”

Continuing, the Vice President said “…for very long, that bottom of the pyramid has been completely excluded and yet informal trade is a significant part of trading that is going on in our country.

“So, there’s a real need out there and we must devise the methods by which those at the bottom of the pyramid can be uplifted and we must look at how we can even resource the entire value chains. What we find is that the petty trader, who just has a trade, is usually selling little bits and pieces from many of the manufacturers or fast-moving products and we found that just by giving them credit, we can resource the whole value chain all the way up.”

Speaking further on what the Federal Government intends to do in improving opportunities for those at the bottom of the pyramid, Prof. Osinbajo said “we’re working with the Bank of Industry, with several players in the market, especially the marketing services people to identify how to work through those value chains so that more of these people can move from petty trading, higher up in the value chain as they’re resourced”.

He urged stakeholders in the banking sector to support government’s efforts in resuscitating the MSMEs and real sectors.

He said “All of that will depend on what the banking industry is prepared to do, how adaptable the banking industry will be to giving loans, especially microcredit. Everything is changing very quickly.

“We must create good jobs and opportunities. We must rapidly industrialize, we must provide the environment for local businesses, small and large to create wealth and value. We must also address the concerns of young entrepreneurs and startups, and the small traders, the millions at the bottom of the economic value chain, the millions at the bottom of the pyramid, those who sell from their trays and table tops all over the markets in our country.

“We must develop the housing sector both to provide much needed shelter but also to boost local opportunities in the local building and building materials sectors. We know that we must ramp up our agricultural production, and provide a more efficient farm-to-market value chain, again creating millions of jobs in farming and Agribusiness generally.”



Laolu Akande

Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity 

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Forex Earnings: Accelerate Diversification Of The Economy, Senate Tells FG

The Senate on Tuesday urged the Federal Government to accelerate its policies on the diversification of the economy to improve the country’s foreign exchange earnings.

The call was made in resolutions reached by the Senate following consideration of a motion titled “Urgent need to revive the Palm Oil industry in Nigeria”.

The motion was sponsored by Senator Francis Onyewuchi (PDP, Imo East) and co-sponsored by 15 other senators.

The Senate, which resumed its plenary session on Tuesday, urged the Federal Government to support an improved palm oil production in order to meet the domestic needs of the market, as well as revive the moribund Nigerian Institute for Oil Palm Research (NIFOR) in Benin, Edo State.

The motion to revive NIFOR seeks to improve investment in research and production of quality oil palm seeds.

The upper chamber said that the discovery of crude oil in commercial quantity has resulted in the gradual neglect of agriculture by successive governments.

According to Senator Onyewuchi, “Nigeria spends $500 million on oil palm importation annually despite being the largest producer and exporter of the product in the 50’s and 60’s.”

He added, “The country is now the net importer of palm oil, importing 400,000 – 600,000 metric tonnes of palm oil in order to meet local demand.”

In his contribution to the debate, the Senate Leader, Senator Yahaya Abdullahi, bemoaned the lack of discipline and implementation in the agricultural sector.

Abdullahi said, “Until this is done, there can be no meaningful development to be achieved economically from the sector.”

In his remarks, President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, underscored the need and importance to finance the growth of the agricultural sector in Nigeria.

“In 2005, I was Chairman, House Committee on Agriculture. We funded the Institutes; 22 of them and they did very well. I agree completely that we have not been funding these institutes.

“So, if we need an economy that will work for everyone, then we must invest in the agricultural sector.

“Our committee should engage with the MDAs. So that at the end of the day, we can contribute meaningfully to take agriculture to the next level, the Senate President said.

Meanwhile, two bills passed their first reading in the Senate on Tuesday following the resumption of plenary session.

The two bills are: the Nigerian Transportation Accident Investigation Bureau (Est, etc) Bill, 2019 and Criminal Code (Amendment) Bill, 2019.

The Nigerian Transportation Accident Investigation Bureau (East, etc) Bill, 2019 (SB.1) was sponsored by Senator Na’allah Bala Ibn (Kebbi South) while the Criminal Code Act (Amendment) Bill, 2019 (SB,2) was sponsored by Senator Tinubu Oluremi Shade (Lagos Central).

The Senate also received the report of the Ad-Hoc Committee on the investigation of the use of Avastin Injection for eye treatment by the National Eye Centre, Kaduna.

The report was presented by Senator Mathew Urhoghide (Edo south).

Signed:

Ezrel Tabiowo

Special Assistant (Press) to the President of the Senate.

Tuesday, 24th September, 2019

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World Economic Forum Endorses President Buhari’s Social Investment Programme

Efforts by the President Buhari Administration to reduce poverty in Nigeria through its various Social Investment Programmes have continued to receive thumbs up from well-meaning individuals and organizations within and outside the shores of the country.

The latest is coming from Schwab Foundation, a sister organization of the World Economic Forum WEF, following its conferment of the prestigious Public Social Intrapreneur award on Mrs Maryam Uwais MFR, the Special Adviser to the President on Social Investments.

Mrs Uwais joins 40 other individuals selected from different countries across the World to receive the award in recognition of their innovative approach and potential for global impact.

The list includes start-up founders and chief executive officers, multinational and regional business leaders, government leaders and recognized experts who are working to address social and environmental issues with innovation, in areas ranging from water purification to financial inclusion to combatting
hate.

For more than 20 years, the Schwab Foundation has recognized social entrepreneurs as a new breed of leaders –
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values-driven, inclusive, compassionate and entrepreneurial, developing new sustainable models for business, human
development and environmental initiatives – and embedded them in the platforms of the World Economic Forum.

The 2019 awardees were formally inaugurated during the World Economic Forum’s Sustainable Development Impact Summit held on Sunday, September 23, 2019 in New York, United States of America.

Mrs Uwais, in a goodwill message to the global gathering, (following her inability to be present in New York), described the award as an International endorsement of efforts by the Government of President Muhammadu Buhari to address the challenges relating to poverty and unemployment through the faithful implementation of the National Social Investment Programme N-SIP.

The Presidential Aide said the recognition is a call to action for the FGN to commit even more resources, assuring of continued transparency, efficiency and dedication in achieving the task of reducing poverty by 100m people in 10 years, in line with the target set by President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR.

“I am truly encouraged by this International endorsement of our efforts, through the structures & processes we have put in place towards ensuring that we drive implementation and set standards at Sub-National level in Nigeria (where the work is primarily done).

This award acknowledges that the Nigeria is serious about reducing poverty and unemployment, while improving our human capital indices. It is also a testament to the willingness of our legislators (at the National Assembly) and the Governors in the States to cooperate and partner with the Federal Government in its bid to uplift the conditions of its hitherto less privileged citizens. The close collaboration from the Federal Government Ministries and Agencies, as well as the Governors and officials of the States and Local Government, has enabled us work towards our objectives, as one united and indivisible country.

I am humbled by this recognition and thankful to the Almighty for this opportunity to serve my country and it’s citizens. I am also grateful to the team that has worked assiduously towards achieving our modest successes. It has been a collective effort, personally led by the Vice President of Nigeria, Prof Yemi Osinbajo SAN GCON.”

The Schwab Foundation provides a veritable platform of expertise, knowledge and resources, and a network we can engage with, for the work ahead. It is a privilege for me, to be able to learn, share and engage with the very best in social entrepreneurship, for the benefit of Nigeria and its citizens”

Mrs Uwais, whose appointment as Special Adviser to the President on Social Investment was recently renewed, has since 2016 been in charge of the National Social Investment Office, a portfolio of the Federal Government which coordinates all components of the Social Investment Programme in an inclusive manner, that is not only reducing poverty but also fostering financial inclusion in Nigeria.

Nearly 10 million pupils in 32 states across the country are currently benefiting from the School Feeding Programme, while close to 650,000 poor and vulnerable households in 27 States are enrolled onto the National Cash Transfer Programme.

This is in addition to over 2 million people who have benefitted from interest and collateral-free loans through Marketmoni, Tradermoni, and Farmermoni facilitated under the Government Economic and Enterprise Programme GEEP, just as N-Power, a job enhancement Scheme, has profitably engaged over 540,000 young people in all local government areas of the country.

Justice Bibiye

Communications Manager, National Social Investment Office NSIO

23-09-19

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In Business, We Must Play According To The Rules, President Buhari Tells NACCIMA Delegation

President Muhammadu Buhari Friday in Abuja said everyone must play by the rules when it comes to trade and business activities that are central to Nigeria’s economic development.

President Buhari spoke at State House when he received a delegation from the Nigerian Association for Chamber of Commerce, Industry Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Federation of West African Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FEWACCI) and representatives of the Organised Private Sector (OPS).  

The President, who reiterated the commitment of his administration in ensuring that the trade and business sector continues to flourish in job creation, noted that a critical success factor was the adherence to law and ethics by all stakeholders.

”Unfortunately, in recent times, many traders simply do not play by the rules.

”Our markets are flooded with smuggled and counterfeit goods. By these selfish practices, we help keep foreign factories working while closing ours.

”From medicines to electronics to food items, our potential to manufacture and create jobs locally is severely hindered by a handful of Nigerians who choose profits over patriotism.

”We have all heard stories about the dangerous and sometimes, fatal impact of fake drugs and foods on our citizens.

”We have also seen how fake electrical items have led to fires in homes and markets thereby destroying lives and properties.

”Most of these substandard and illegal items are smuggled through our land borders,” he said.

President Buhari also used the occasion to inform the delegation that the decision to close Nigeria’s land borders for a limited time due to massive smuggling activities had started to yield positive results.

”After many years of diplomacy and aggressive regulatory oversight which yielded few results, we decided to close our land borders for a limited time to assess the impact of this measure.

”Within a few short weeks, we are already seeing a decline in the volumes of counterfeit smuggled goods in some of our major markets across the country.

”This validates our action as a Government when we insist that the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) must not only promote free trade, but legal trade of quality made in Africa goods and services,” he said.

The Nigerian leader said his administration will continue to solicit the support of the organised private sector, both in Nigeria and across West Africa, to bring an end to the dumping of substandard items.

He urged the Association, which is a member of the National Action Committee on the implementation of the AfCFTA, to continue its ‘‘positive and patriotic contribution’’ towards achieving a free trade area that employs Africans to produce quality made in Africa products.

”We will soon finalise the National Action Committee on the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area. Your Association is a member of this committee.

”I expect you to continue your positive and patriotic contribution to support us in achieving a free trade area that employs Africans to produce quality made in Africa products,’’ the President said.

In her remarks, Hajiya Saratu Aliyu, President FEWACCI, NACCIMA and OPS, commended the recent decision by the President to constitute a new economic team to steer the Nigerian economy on the path of sustainable growth.

On the Economic Advisory Council (EAC), she said: ”NACCIMA, FEWACCI and indeed the OPS are full of hope that a new era is on the horizon with the calibre of persons on the team which reassures us at the OPS that Government is ready to turn around the story of Nigeria.”

Aliyu also hailed significant accomplishments recorded in all sectors of the economy including but not limited to reduced corruption, foreign exchange stability, bottom of the pyramid programmes, increased ease of doing business, increased capital expenditures, among others.

The president of NACCIMA appealed for the kind intervention of President Buhari in the provision of property within Abuja for the location of FEWACCI headquarters.

She also briefed the President about the 21-point NACCIMA programme, tagged ‘‘Unleash the Giant’’, adding that theassociation intends to engage the Federal Government on 16 of those stated points with the goal of ensuring business growth and socioeconomic advancement through public and private sector collaboration.  

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Bauchi Governor Lauds FG’s Social Investment Programme

The Executive Governor of Bauchi State, Sen. Bala Mohammed, Wednesday, defied partisan politics to laud the social Investment Programmes of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.

Governor Mohammed, who was elected under the platform of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), acknowledged that the SIPs are meeting the needs of the ordinary Nigerians.

The Governor stated this while appearing as a guest on Channels Television ‘Sunrise Daily.’

In his words, he said, “The social investment programme is working and I am very happy with it because the N-Power is working. That is the only solace to the graduates where they find some form of employment.”

The Governor who hinted on implementing same programme in his state stressed that with the support of World Bank and multilateral agencies in carefully implementing the schemes in Bauchi State, thousands of young people will be taken out of poverty.

Recall that the President Buhari’s administration established the National Social Investments Programmes (NSIP) in 2016, to tackle poverty and hunger across the country. Since its implementation, the scheme has benefited over 42 million Nigerians – that is, over 12 million direct beneficiaries and about 30 million indirect beneficiaries, comprising family members, employees of beneficiaries, cooks and farmers.

On many occasions, President Muhammadu Buhari, commended the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, for his work in driving the impactful National Social Investment Programmes (N-SIP) of this administration. The N-SIP has been described as the largest social investment programme in sub-Saharan Africa and the largest social welfare scheme in the history of this country.

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How NEC, Newly Formed EAC Would Work Together By Vice President Osinbajo

In response to a request for clarification by members of the National Economic Council regarding NEC’s relationship with the newly announced Economic Advisory Council, EAC, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, has said both councils are for the benefit of the President.

Prof. Osinbajo spoke at the 97th NEC meeting today at the Council Chambers.
“If NEC want to be briefed regularly by the Economic Advisory Council, EAC, we will request the President to do that,” the VP explained to the Council observing that such interaction will promote synergy.

Below are highlights of NEC deliberations:

NEC (5TH IN 2019) 97TH NEC MEETING – THURSDAY, 19TH October, 2019

UPDATE ON THE NATIONAL LIVESTOCK TRANSFORMATION PLAN BY THE GOVERNOR OF EBONYI STATE, DAVE UMAHI, CHAIRMAN OF NEC TECHNICAL COMMITTEE ON THE NLTP

The chairman reminded NEC that the Committee was to address the
Farmer/herder crisis
The Committee presented a National Livestock Transformation Plan 2019 – 2028.
The Plan is not targeted on only cows but a holistic strategy to address animal husbandry.
The Plan has six pillars:
Conflict Resolution
Justice and Peace
Humanitarian Relief and Early Recovery
Human Capital Development
Cross cutting issues
Economic Development
The Committee proposed an implementation guideline to guide FG and States
N100 billion has been budgeted to support the project.
FG is to contribute 80% in grant to support States, while States will contribute land, project implementation structure, personnel and 20% cost of the project.
Council Resolution
Need to look at the Trans-Human West Africa Regional Protocol – because the country cannot allow such movement of cattles without registering and monitoring them
Council emphasised the need to established the fact that NLTP is a creation of NEC and State Governors and is completely distinct from RUGA.
NEC adopted the National Livestock Transformation Plan on January 18, 2019. It is a creation of the National Economic Council.
States will determine, whether or not they are willing to participate, as FG did not impose this plan. Participation remains voluntary.
The role of the FG is to coordinate, monitor and help implement the plan.

UPDATE ON ACCOUNT

    Honourable Minister of State for Budget and National Planning reported to Council that balances in the underlisted accounts as at 17th September, 2019 are as follows:

EXCESS CRUDE ACCOUNT (ECA) = USD 274, 583, 856 .78
STABILIZATION ACCOUNT = N23, 796, 349,487.76
DEV. NATURAL RES. ACCT FUND = N105, 135, 613, 817.27
UPDATE ON BUDGET SUPPORT LOAN FACILITY
The Honourable Minister of State also briefed in the Budget Support Facility that State Governments are expected to start servicing the loan from September 2019 and repayment is over 240 months
Council resolved that Governors should meet with the Ministry of Finance and Central Bank of Nigeria to sort out the details of repayment modalities and the Vice President will ensure same and ensure the meeting between the Governors, CBN and Finance Ministry in order to facilitate the speedy resolution of the matter.
UPDATE ON THE PRESIDENTIAL ENABLING BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT COUNCIL (PEBEC)
The Secretary of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) Dr. Jumoke Oduwole gave an update on building an Enabling Business Environment. She informed Council that
There is currently a reform wave in African countries, as contained in the African Development Bank (AFDB) Economic Outlook Report released in January, 2019.
That in the 2019 World Bank ease of doing business ranking, Nigeria is ranked 146 with Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) making up to 90% of Business in Nigeria.
That the Economic Recovery Growth Plan (ERGP) 2017-2020, which has three broad objectives; which includes restoring growth; Investing in people and Building a competitive economy has positioned Nigeria in the path of building a competitive economy.
That PEBEC is mandated to make Nigeria’s ranking to top 100 in the 2020 World Bank Doing Business index.
Achieve the required political buy-in across all arms and levels of government.
Furthermore, she told NEC that PEBEC has in the past 3 years achieved the following:
Moved up 24 places in the World Bank Ease of Doing Business ranking
32 Nigerian states, led by Kaduna, Enugu, Abia, Lagos and Anambra states have improved in their ease of doing business environment.
An independent EODB survey adjudged Nigeria’s reforms as impactful in terms of reduction in time, cost and procedures of doing business.
REPORT OF THE AD-HOC COMMITTEE ON CRUDE OIL THEFT,
PREVENTION AND CONTROL PRESENTED BY GOVERNOR EDO STATE

-The 13 member Ad-Hoc Committee which is chaired by the Governor of Edo State, Mr. Godwin Obaseki in their report, told the Council that the Committee is constituted to address:
i. Impact of vandalism, oil theft and illegal bunkering on oil production;
ii. Effectiveness of the activities of the JTF and other Security Agencies
iii. Consider the set-up of Special Courts to prosecute offenders, among others.
The Terms of Reference of the Ad-Hoc Committee is to include:
· restoring and sustaining the three major pipelines;
· assessing the challenges and draw up a roadmap to guide further actions towards finding a lasting solution to the problem;
· co-opt individual or corporate body to facilitate the work of the Committee and update the Council regularly.

  • The Ad-Hoc Committee in its findings discovered that there were losses. NNPC reported a loss of 22.64 million barrel of crude oil valued at USD 1.35 billion for 2019 half a year and possibly UDS 2.7 billion for a full year at a global oil price of USD 60 per barrel, if not checked.
  • The losses were recorded on the following pipeline:
    a. Nember Creek Trunk Line (NCTL) 9.2 million barrels
    b. Trans Niger Pipeline (TNP) 8.6 million barrels
    c. Trans Forcados Pipeline (TFP) 3.96 million barrels
    d. Trans Escravos Pipeline (TSEP) 877 Thousand barrels.
  • Absence of governance structure for the pipeline such that no one is held accountable whenever there is a breach on the lines.
  • Slow and inadequate prosecution of oil thieves, despite numerous arrests and seizures.
  • Absence of petroleum products filling stations in most of its oil producing Communities that make them resort to illegal bunkering and refineries
  • Huge internal and external markets of stolen crude oil which include Ghana as well as some neighboring countries.
    -The Committee made the following recommendations to the Council:
    i. The need to restructure the maintenance of all pipelines as a way of tackling the perpetrators of oil theft. ii. Have a legal framework that will ensure every criminal is duly prosecuted, imprisoned and all assets confiscated.
    iii. Setting up Special Courts to try offenders, set-up of Legal Task Force to coordinate the prosecution of arrested offenders as well as train special judges to handle cases of oil theft.
    iv. NNPC to engage the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) to identify markets for the stolen products.
    v. Governors of the oil producing states to step up actions to develop their communities with their 13% derivation allocation as well as implement programmes that will be impactful to make life easy for the people. They should also create employment opportunities for the youths in these regions.
    vi. Propose a funding arrangement to be jointly funded by the Federal, State Governments and oil companies.

Council Resolution
Council resolve as follows:
Recommendations given will be presented to the President who is also the Minister of Petroleum for the final decision and implementation.
The Chairman of Council also asked NNPC to make a presentation to the Council on the state of PMS and smuggling across the borders.
ANY OTHER BUSINESS

Governors requested clarification from the Council Chairman on the relationship between NEC and the newly formed Economic Advisory Council. The Vice President explained that both Councils are advisory for the benefits of the President, while NEC is established by the Constitution. The Vice President added that NEC could be briefed regularly on the activities of the newly found EAC with the permission of the President.

Released by

‘Laolu Akande

Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity
Office of the Vice President
19th October, 2019

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