Kano State Land Use Charge Bill: A Direction Worth Taking By Musa Idris Talle

The present economic challenges, which were necessitated by the downfall in oil revenue, undoubtedly compelled all tiers of governments to look elsewhere for their survival and continuous existence. Absent of the present challenges would have rendered the ongoing economic diversification unrealistic and this explains why some persons warmly embraced and considered the challenges as a blessing in disguised.

While other States (particularly Northern States) are struggling to adapt to the current economic reality, Lagos State, due to its efficient tax administration and collection system, have little or nothing to worry about. The monthly Internally Generated Revenue of Lagos State has drastically grown from N3.6B in 2006 to N24.5B in January 2016. In 2015, Lagos State recorded the total revenue generation of N268.22B, the closest State, River State, generated N82.10B while Kano State generated N13.611B.

The boost in the Internally Generated Revenue of Lagos State was as a result of the consolidation of real property with land based charges and rates, to wit, Tenement Rates Law, Land Rates Law, Neighborhood Improvement and Assessment Law into the Land Use Charge Law of Lagos State, 2011.

The recent One Day retreat on the review of Kano State Land Use Charge Bill 2016, organized by the State Government is indeed a milestone of the expected achievement. Though long overdue for a State that should be competing with Lagos State in terms of Internally Generated Revenue, the Bill and the retreat are moves in the right direction. The passage of the Bill into law would drastically boost Internally Generated Revenue of Kano State, ensure financial independent Kano State and further serve as an eye opener and yardstick to other Northern States.

The Kano State Government and the tax authorities need to prepare for the likely impediments that may curtailed the attainment of the targeted revenue boost. To ensure the revenue boost, all hands must be on deck to address the likely impediments which may include: fraud and corruption, non-availability of property statistics and information, poor tax enforcement, administration and policy, multiple taxation, lack of awareness and infrastructural development, problems of assessment and evaluation, lack of modern technology, poor compliance and non-engagement of experts.

The Bill, if duly passed and effectively implemented, would place Kano State on its rightful position in the ranking of financial independent States in the Country and further better the life of the taxpayers.

MUSA IDRIS TALLE

Legal Practitioner

mtallethefirst@gmail.com

@MITalle

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Sexual Harassment ?Bill A Step In The Right Direction, By Cynthia Ferdinand

The history of sexual harassment dates back to the pre-colonial era when women were accorded little or no rights whatsoever – they were often married out against their wish, sacrificed as virgins or married to deities where they became ready sexual preys to the chief priests or custodians of such deities. While these repressive and degrading habits have abated following the introduction of Western education, it is unfortunate that the inhuman practice has not only crept into our citadels of learning but has continued to assume worrisome proportions to the consternation of parents and education authorities in the country alike.

The effects of incessant sexual harassment of female students in higher institutions cannot be over-emphasized as it has continued to militate against the attainment of the educational vision and objectives of many a female folk in the country.

There have been overwhelming narratives on sexual harassment by victims such that researchers of international repute have described Nigerian tertiary institutions as sex colonies were rape and other forms of coerced copulation and sexual intimacy are practiced without sanctions.

To many young Nigerians, especially female students in tertiary institutions, sexual harassment is something of a norm. United Nations (UN) reports state that “one out of three women experience sexual harassment in their lifetime”. According to the European Union Commission recommendation: “There are also adverse consequences arising from sexual harassment for employers. In general terms, sexual harassment is an obstacle to the proper integration of women into the labour market.”

It is further regrettable that over the years, aside provisions against rape and other untoward sexual behaviours in both the Criminal and Penal Codes, there have been no clear cut and effective legislation aimed at checkmating or eliminating this abhorrent practice from our institutions of higher learning.

As a consequence, it is today difficult to explicitly articulate what constitutes sexual harassment and what sanctions there are to deter male predators. Another factor that has helped sustained this barbaric tendency, is the seeming societal indifference to the plight of victims due to discrepancies in views as to what actually constitute sexual harassment against the opposite sex.

Be that as it may, no matter the view we want to give to the menace of sexual harassment, its cumulative, demoralizing and harmful effect cannot be glossed over. It is unarguable that many academic careers of female students have been disrupted and frustrated and led inexorably to depression, ostracism, mental anguish and loss of self esteem on the part of victims of sexual harassment.

Against this backdrop, it is little wonder then that the move by the 8th Senate to put in place appropriate legislation to both deter and punish perpetrators has continued to excite female undergraduates across the country in no unmistakable terms. For instance, the euphoria that greeted the Second Reading of the Bill was recently given expression by members of the Nigerian Female Students Association (NFSA) who stormed the National Assembly in solidarity when the Sexual Harassment Bill scaled second reading on the floor of the Senate.

The Bill which proposes a five-year jail term for lecturers found guilty of having sexually harassed a  female student, was sponsored by Senator representing Delta Central, Sen. Ovie Omo-Agege (Labour Party) and co-sponsored by 57 other Senators. Omo-Agege had while leading the debate on the landmark Bill, stated that “with this Bill we are refusing to abdicate our roles as leaders in the face of repugnant threats to our shared values. It is a warning to perpetrators that an end is near.” The Bill when passed into law would serve a consolation to victims of sexual harassment and hope to the younger generation as it criminalizes the reprehensible act in a wider scope by not limiting it to only school environments because sexual harassment has no borders – it can take place in homes, public spaces, religious centres, etc.

It must be noted that adopting a holistic approach towards tackling the menace of sexual harassment – with stiff penalties – will bring about a positive paradigm shift from a society that hitherto paid no attention to victims nor impose severe and deserved sanctions against perpetrators. According to Section 15 of the Bill, “An administrative head who is guilty under section 13 of this Act shall, upon conviction, be sentenced to not less than two  (2) years imprisonment or a fine of not less than N2million, or both.”

While underscoring the timeliness and importance of the Bill, the Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, had remarked that the Bill once passed by the National Assembly and assented to by Mr. President, will help stamp out all forms of harassment to make our schools more conducive for our students. “I can attest to the fact that I have received anonymous emails and messages urging the Senate to make sexual harassment in our universities a criminal offence. In this regard, as we have taken this pivotal step to get this bill off the ground, I enjoin members of the civil society and students across the country to join in the process to make sure that this Bill is passed and signed,” Saraki said.

This clear effort by the 8th Senate to stamp out the incidence of sexual harassment in our institutions of higher learning is not only a new dawn in efforts to protect the dignity of female students but a sign that in due course, each act of sexual harassment will be judged on its merit, fact, timing and credibility before a competent court and stiff penalties meted out against the perpetrated when found guilty to serve a deterrent to predatory lecturers who erroneously see hapless female students as ready prey to satisfy their sexual fancy.

Cynthia Ferdinand
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100 Days of GYB: The New Direction In Full Stream In Kogi By Gbenga Olorunpomi and Mary Amodu

The political history of Kogi State is at best checkered. At worst, one can say the state has suffered the worst form of leadership possible for a disproportionate majority of its existence. No state better depicts the buffoonery of leadership that the former ruling party forced on the people than Kogi.

Of the many words that could be used to describe the emergence of Governor Yahaya Bello, the one that comes readily to mind is ‘divine.’ Seeing what the man and his team have been able to accomplish in his first 100 days in office, given the challenges he is facing both within and outside his party, it is obvious that Governor Bello recognises the place of God in his ascension and is determined not to disappoint his Maker. A closer look at the governor and his recent moves gives a glace into on how he intends to take the State down the New Direction path.

Before the emergence of the governor, apointment of some personal and principal offices have been ethnicised, but the announcement of Chief Edward Onoja, an indigene of Olamaboro LGA from the Eastern Senatorial axis of the state as the Chief of Staff to Bello, an Okene indigene from the Central senatorial axis of the state, underscores the governor’s non-tribalistic nature. Never has that position been assigned to anyone from a different tribe to any sitting Governor.

Bello’s appointments ever since he was inaugurated has cut across the three senatorial zones. Worthy to note is the appointment of a lady PhD holder, Ayoade Folashade, as the Secretary to the State Government. Her impeccable credentials got her the job, despite never meeting the Governor until her name was muted to him.

Then, 21 Special Advisers were announced, one from every local government council of the state.

The significance of the last sentence becomes more instructive when you realise that the Governor’s own senatorial zone has only five local councils, while the two others have 16. This means that the man denied himself the opportunity to appoint his own people into key government positions. If the man had picked seven SAs from each senatorial zone, the entire state would have applauded him for fairness, but he chose to drill down to each council and to the most disadvantaged tribes at that.

One thing no one has been able to challenge is the quality of his appointees: young men and women of high pedigree and accomplishment; seasoned bankers, accountants, lawyers, engineers, administrators, politicians and all-round go getters to advise him. Never in the history of the state has the governor preferred the serious company of technocrats to the garrulous enclave of politicians. So much is the Governor’s quest for excellence that he had no qualms in reaching outside the Niger and appointed an Igbo man from Anambra State, Moses Okafor, as his Special Adviser on Research and Speechwriting.

Since the return of democracy in 1999, one of the most highly debated issues has been that of fiscal autonomy for local government councils. The cry has been long and loud by activists, who claim that state governors use the funds constitutionally granted to the third tier of government to feather their political nests, while denying the councils their birth right. Having carefully considered the pros and cons, exactly 15 days after his inauguration as the State Governor, Bello granted local councils their financial freedom. With this singular move, Governor Bello returned power to the people. Now, the grassroots know whom to hold responsible when their primary health centres run out of drugs or when their refuse is never taken away. No more would the State Civil Service determine how many staff to be transferred from or to an LGA. It is noteworthy that Governor Bello is only the second Nigerian governor to be so bold to make this move.

Within this same time, Lokoja, the state capital, has begun to wear a new look. The roads that were littered with portholes are being repaired and drainage work are ongoing simultaneously. The agencies responsible for environmental sanitation have woken up to their responsibilities and the mountains of waste in the town have disappeared from sight.  Over 40km of rural roads have been made passable by the Ministry of Rural Development and five new communities now have electricity.

With an indefensible and inexplicably high wage bill bogging down the state’s finances, the Governor ordered a state wide staff verification exercise designed to identify the true staff strength and enhance accountability. He drafted in the fearless and much revered elder statesman, General Paul Okuntimo, and charged him with this great task. The evidence so far shows the high level of corrupt conspiracy between high level civil servants and dirty old politicians. In some cases, government schools had more non-academic staff than students. In other cases, invisible schools and hospitals had thousands of ‘workers.’ So, while other states had ghost workers, Kogi had ghost schools and hospitals. Surely, the average Kogite would be the ultimate beneficiary of the Screening Exercise.

While the previous administration took full custody of all its federal allocation, it failed to pay its staff by the same measure. After only 57 days at the job, Governor Bello had paid salaries twice.
To ensure the state gets the full value of its natural resources, all logging activities have been suspended in the state while vigilante groups are being encouraged to enforce this ban. The state is determined to ensure that only processed or semi-processed wood leave the state.

To make this a reality, the Kogi government recently signed an MOU with the China Railway & Airport Construction Company on Infrastructure & Wood Processing. The Special Adviser on Finance, Economy and Investment, Asiru Idris Asiwaju, signed the agreement on behalf of the state at the China-Nigeria Production Capacity and Investment Guangzhou Governmental at the commercial high end roundtable, which held on Monday, April 18, 2016, in Guangzhou, China. This is different from the $363 million in Chinese investment, which President Muhammadu Buhari has been able to secure for the establishment of a comprehensive farm and downstream industrial park in Kogi.

There are plans to revive the State Tourism Master plan. There are plans to take full advantage of its central location and rich history for tourism purposes. Also, working closely with the Federal Minister for Mineral Resources, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, this government said it will manage the full exploitation of the abundant natural resources that dominate its terrain.

For a government that only kicked off 100 days ago, the Governor deserves a lot of praise. His quest to take Kogi in a New Direction looks to be on course. He deserves all the support of everyone that wants the best for Kogi. He already has that of God. That is not in any doubt.

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Tracking Buhari’s Economic Policy Direction By Tobi Soniyi

It is clear to everybody of cognitive age that Nigeria is going through a storm economically. Inflation hit 11.4% in February and growth has fallen to 2.1%. At the start of the year, financial pundits projected that businesses will need to brace up and devise means of hedging the inevitability of a weaker naira in 2016. As at the time of writing this article, the naira has continued its unprecedented free fall in value against the US Dollar, trading at N352 to USD1 on the parallel market but remains pegged at N197 to the doSo, when MultiChoice announced that it would not be increasing subscription fees on its DStv bouquets this April, many heaved a sigh of relief. That would be one less cost to worry about in light of the present economic strain. However, some wondered why MultiChoice would make such a decision knowing full well that most of the company’s costs are incurred in dollars and high inflation rates have put enormous finan

In the face of government’s seemingly unclear economic policies, many have said that the All Progressives Congress’ led government does not have a clear vision of how to transform Nigerian economy into one that would benefit most people. I disagree.

While conceding the fact that government has not done enough to articulate its economic policy clearly enough, it is not difficult for a discerning mind closely monitoring government’s actions and inactions to identify the key strategies driving government’s policies on the economy.

Out of many other key indicators, three stand out:blocking wastes through fiscal discipline and control, widening the tax nets and diversifying the economy.

Among these three, the first appeared to have received the greatest attention from the government and would also form the basis of this review.

Beginning with the implementation of the Treasury Single Account which President Muhammadu Buhari said had led to the recovery of over two trillion naira to the ongoing war against corruption, this government is making spirited efforts at blocking wastes and sending a clear signal to those who are still bent on engaging in wasting government’s resources to desist from doing so.

But as recognised by the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, the steps already taken and those still being taking must be complemented by routine audit of all ministries, agencies and parastatals.

According to her, there is actually need to strengthen internal audit across government.

She said: “So, in the interim we have agreed to do the presidential initiative on continuous audits which will give backing to the work that we are currently doing and will allow us to extend this work beyond payroll to other areas of expenditure.

“The control framework over finance and spending of government’s money needed to be strengthened especially in anticipation of the approval of the budget, which is an extended budget.

“If we don’t strengthen our controls then there is a risk that money would leak or would be applied to the wrong things and therefore, the ability to go into various agencies without notice and check and do audits and updates to make sure that public money is being spent in accordance with our expectations and objectives.”

Through this scheme, 23,000 ghost workers had been removed from the Federal Payroll and saved the country a whopping N2.29 billion. The finance minister said another 11,000 of such non-existing workers had been detected. This discovery, she explained would also save the country a yet to be determined huge amount.

By auditing payroll alone, government is able to save a couple of billions, one can only imagine what will happen when the audit is extended to all departments.

No one is in doubt as to the importance of eliminating waste. Prior to now, Nigeria was known as one of the wasteful countries on earth. That disgraceful status may be changing.

While Adeosun should be commended for pulling this initiative through, she needs to do more in this regard. She should generate a memo to the President to impress on him the need for public officials to be frugal with public resources. For instance, she should advise the president to issue a directive banning all ministers and other senior government officials from flying first class. The country will save a lot of money from this. Figures released by the ministry reveals that travel was the single biggest government line item from 2012 to 2014, at N248bn for the three years. This, according to Financial Times, is equivalent to an extraordinary 18 per cent of total government spending.

It rings hollow in the public ears when the citizens are called upon to tighten their belt while public officials live in opulence and luxury.

It is delightful to know that the minister is already thinking in this direction. The finance ministry already said it could save N4bn a year from travel costs by negotiating discounted airfares with carriers, or just under 5 per cent of the approximately N85bn yearly average.

“The Efficiency Unit has engaged in negotiation discussions with local and international airlines for discounts commensurate with the large number of ticket purchases made by government annually.

“The savings generated will increase funding available to the government for capital investment,” the ministry said in a statement.

According to Financial Times, the high cost of travel for government officials is unsurprising.

“The Nigerian elite has a taste for luxury travel, shown by the proliferation of private jets in the country,” it added.

Nevertheless, Financial Times believes that If Nigeria’s finance ministry is serious about cutting costs, targeting the government elite’s private air fleets might be a good place to start.

Still, the minister should be bold enough to advise against flying first class or better still she should lead by example by also refusing to fly first class.

Another area the finance minister should look at to block waste is to closely scrutinise what Nigeria doles out to helping countries in Africa. Charity is good, but not at the expense of the people. At a time when Nigeria is finding it difficult to look after her own people, it makes little sense to keep pumping resources into a country like the Gambia.

If we do the right thing, the potential for growth is enormous. Among other measures, we have to declare a state of emergency in employment. For too long, we have paid lip service to job creation. The time has come to start rolling out the job or to stimulate the sectors that will create the jobs.

For those who are losing hope, I commend a report

by PriceWaterhouseCoopers, PwC which said the Nigerian economy could rise to $6.4 trillion by 2050 to the ninth position among the world’s leading economies with policies and programmes aimed at diversifying the economy from over-dependence on crude oil.

At that level of growth, PwC said the country’s economy could potentially surpass that of Germany, United Kingdom, France, and Saudi Arabia before that year.

The report said potentially, Nigeria’s global agriculture exports could take-off at a rate similar to Brazil’s, with about $59 billion in export revenues by 2030.

“Nigeria’s intrinsic potential lies beyond oil and harnessing this potential has become an imperative given the expectations of lower oil prices and heightened competition in the oil market,” the report said.

Based on recent trends, the report reviewed the impact of low crude oil prices on key economic indicators and the real sector, particularly on priority sectors that should be targeted for diversification efforts.

It identified the priority sectors to include agriculture, petroleum, retail and ICT, with the most dominant transmission links to the overall economy.

“Forward linkages to agro-processing and other services such as logistics as well as backward integration to input supply sectors could improve farm incomes, increase employment and improve domestic food security,” the report noted.

Besides, it said value added to oil and gas output need urgent improvement through the diversification within the sector, pointing out that this demanded investments across the downstream sector to develop petrochemicals, fertilizers, methanol and refining, industries relevant in both industrial and consumer products currently being imported in the country.

Country and Regional Senior Partner for PwC Nigeria and the West Market Area, Uyi Akpata, said consumer spending was the largest driver of the economy, accounting for about 70 per cent of gross domestic product, GDP.

He said this was expected to be the boost for the retail sector growth, even as the country’s population continues to expand, with household consumption expenditure projected to reach $1.1 trillion by 2030, from $317billion in 2014, about compound annual growth rate, CAGR of nine per cent through 2030.

Akpata said with the country’s tele-density at 107.87, a large population of urban, young people and massive improvement in internet broadband penetration, Nigeria was likely to see accelerated growth of its digital economy.

PwC Partner and Chief Economist, Andrew Nevin, said the review of the business environment of some foreign companies in Nigeria, revealed four challenges, namely corruption, inadequate infrastructure, low skill levels and macroeconomic uncertainty.

These challenges, the report said, emphasized the need for the economic and regulatory environments to be transparent and conducive for business, by simplifying complex regulation and processes, and eliminating the hurdles to a bigger and more productive private sector.

“Significant reforms across the labour market, business environment and fiscal management will be required. A skilled workforce is critical to improving Nigeria’s productivity and efficiency,” the report said.

PwC Partner and Head of Tax & Regulatory Services, Taiwo Oyedele, said a well-structured tax system was important in the diversification of the economy.

According to him, Nigeria needs to ensure sustainable fiscal management that is resilient to the global oil price cycles. Improving tax collection and administration have become imperatives for achieving national growth objectives.

It called for a review of the framework for tax exemptions and advised that approvals should target growth inducing sectors even as the government improves collection.

He proposed that efficiency in government spending has to improve as there is room for substantial savings in capital outlays and operating expenditure across the three tiers of government.

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Kachikwu Unveils New Policy Direction For Nigeria’s Petroleum Sector

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources and Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Dr. Ibe Kachikwu has unveiled the policy thrust of the Oil and Gas Industry under his watch saying the sector would be headed towards finding more oil, finding more gas and shoring up the revenue profile of the Federal Government from the Petroleum Sector.

Dr. Kachikwu in his maiden engagement with top echelons of all the agencies in the Ministry after the swearing in ceremony of the Ministers at the State House in Abuja said the Petroleum Industry Bill would also receive accelerated attention that would get the buy-in of all relevant stakeholders.

The Minister confirmed that President Muhammadu Buhari has given approval for the payment of the outstanding subsidy claims of N413 billion for the marketers revealing that a letter is being forwarded to the National Assembly for their approval for onward payment of the claims.

He noted that gas development and gas infrastructure would also take center stage in order to mop up some of the stranded gas adding that a lot of energy would be deployed to Gas-to-Power, Gas-to-Industry and gas for domestic use. Dr. Kachikwu stated that the daily fuel consumption in the country is close to 35 million litres per day. He said the crude direct sales and direct purchase initiative has saved over USD 200 million for the Country.

He noted that the Ministry and all its departments and agencies would also focus on putting controls in place and introduce cost-cutting measures in order to increase the revenue stream of the Federal Government.In her earlier remarks, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Dr. Jamila Shu’ara described Dr. Kachikwu as an intelligent technocrat who would pilot the Oil and Gas Industry to the next level.

She expressed the readiness of all the staff of the Ministry, Departments and Agencies to give the Minister all the required support to enable him to succeed in the onerous task of generating revenue for the Federal Government.

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The Buhari Economic Policy Direction That Excites Me By Abubakar Usman

I have heard and I have read, many people say that the government of President Muhammadu Buhari does not have an economic direction. That this is the reason why things are getting bad in the country. My submission is that people who share this opinion have either refused to tell themselves the truth or they live elsewhere outside this world. However, I have decided to pen this piece to let them know that not only does the Buhari government have an economic direction, it is also one that looks very promising.

In the last few months, particularly since President Buhari took over the mantle of leadership, things have really taken a nose dive. The hunger in the land is increasing, the unemployment rate is worsening and the poor are getting poorer. Was this unexpected? The answer is a clear no. What we are witnessing today is not a factor of a Buhari government. I posit that Nigeria would still have been witnessing the same thing or even worse if Jonathan were to be the president today and I will tell you why.

Except for the first quarter of 2015 when the price of crude under the Jonathan regime sold for $58.7 per barrel on the average, Nigeria’s crude sold for as high as $150. In 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014, Nigeria’s crude was sold for a yearly average of $113.8, $113.5 $111.0 and $100.4 per barrels respectively. Within the same period, our foreign reserves rose and fell from $32,639.8bn $43,830.4bn $42,847.3bn and $34,250bn respectively, before it finally crashed to $29,595.28bn in the first quarter of2 015, while the country’s GDP rose from $409.34bn in 2011 to $561.61bn in 2014. (Source: RTC Advisory Services Ltd, Nigeria Retrospect – Economy and Policy, 1999-2015).

Looking at the above figures, the believe was that Nigeria’s economy was on a good footing, but this is not exactly so. Why the growth figures are good, the successes recorded are largely uncoordinated, especially because the structure and quality of growth were not considered. This is why the UNDP Human Development Report, 1996 stated that “unless governments take timely corrective action, economic growth can become lopsided and flawed. Determined efforts are needed to avoid growth that is jobless, ruthless, voiceless, rootless and futureless.” Take unemployment for example, despite the huge revenue from oil between 2011 and 2014, the unemployment rate never really dropped. In 2013, its was 24.7% and in 2014, it stood at 24.3%. Even in 2012 when the yearly average of oil earning was $113, unemployment rate stood at 27.4%.
The question then is why are most Nigerians poor despite rising revenues and GDP growth?  The answers are not far-fetched. Firstly, oil which is Nigeria’s main revenue does not by itself, create many jobs. Jobs created from oil are only a few compared to the revenue it generates. Secondly, is the issue of corruption and lack of transparency that was pervasive in the last government. Over the last four years, there have been several alarming and scandalous cases of corruption in Nigeria. From the $6bn Fuel Subsidy Scam to the missing $20billion NNPC scam and the 300,000-400,000 barrels of oil per day that was stolen from the country amongst many others. And juxtaposing this with the fact the infrastructural problem of the country especially in areas of roads and transportation; power; Information technology continue to suffer neglect despite huge revenue, it will be a mirage to think that Nigeria can be repositioned for success.

One other thing responsible for the poor state of affairs in the country is the fact that the poor population of 110 million Nigerians lack access to healthcare, education and other social welfare programmes due to low spending on these sectors by the last government.

So what is the way forward? What is the Buhari government doing differently? Since coming into power, President Buhari has put in place measures specifically to shore up the revenue of government because no matter how lofty your plans are, you can only implement those plans where there is money. This is why the president has ensured transparency in the oil and gas sector with the appointment of Dr Ibe Kachiku as the GMD of NNPC who in turn has taken measures to reform the sector and block leakages in oil revenue. The president also appointed Babatunde Fowler, the man who turned around the revenue of Lagos state to head the Federal Inland Revenue (FIRS) and Hameed Ali into the Nigeria Custom Service (NCS). With the reforms and re-organisation going on in these two agencies of government, the plan is to ensure that revenue earned from both surpasses the revenue generated from oil. 

The directive that all Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the Federal Government register for the Treasury Single Account domiciled with the Central Bank of Nigeria is also another measure to shore up government revenue. At least N1.4tn had so far been paid into the TSA to date, an amount that would have been available to looters to feast on in previous administration.

In addition, the government is also pursuing an anti-corruption agenda to prosecute and bring to justice, those who turned the country’s resources into their private pockets. Though, nobody has been convicted so far, but some perpetrators have been taken to court and some amount of money recovered. I believe details on this will be made available soon.

Away from shoring up revenue, government has also put in place measures to invest in the people (social sector investment).To achieve this therefore, the government has outlined an objective of stimulating and supporting the establishment of world class skill acquisition centres in all 109 Senatorial Districts of the Federation. The government has also made a commitment to provide one meal a day for all primary school students which will create 1.14million jobs in agriculture, with a multiplier effect in increased food production and attract investment.
Boosting rural economy, lifting millions out of poverty through a conditional fund transfer to 25 million poorest households to incentivize vaccination, education and production is also at the heart of the government. The government is also set to diversify the economy by investing in the areas of Agriculture, Manufacturing, Entertainment  and Technology as well as boosting education and  building capacity to improve teacher quality with the expectation of having an educated population to increase economic potential for productivity. 

All these are important because according to the IMF: “Specifically, if the income share of the top 20 percent (the rich) increases, then GDP growth actually declines over the medium term, suggesting that the benefits do not trickle down. In contrast, an increase in the income share of the bottom 20 percent (the poor) is associated with higher GDP growth. The poor and the middle class matter the most for growth via a number of interrelated economic, social, and political channels.”

With the efforts at shoring up revenue as I earlier outlined, the government will have the resources to implement these programmes, the resultant effect of which would be more jobs for Nigerians, an educated and healthy population, a repositioned economy built on structures and quality of growth and a population lifted out of poverty. If this is not an economic direction, I wonder what is. 

Abubakar Usman is a member of the Buhari Media Support Group. He can be engaged on twitter @MrAbuSidiq 

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