State Governors And The Dwindling Economy Narrative By Mukhtar Jarmajo

In the 2015 electoral year, Nigerians sought escape from the hands of the Peoples` Democratic Party (PDP), a political party that since 1999 tirelessly milked Nigeria dry while refusing to place it on the path of development. By more than sheer happenstance, Nigerians collectively placed efforts that saw the All Progressives` Congress (APC) seize power from the PDP, a scenario that rekindled the hope of many Nigerians in the project Nigeria. A year later however, this hope is being gradually dashed by the attitudes and tendencies of many a public office holder who have since May 29th last year been showing very little interest in making any difference from the way the PDP run its government in the past.

Most of Nigeria`s state governors for instance, have demonstrate sheer willingness to continue what we in last elections treated with utter disdain, bad governance that is. In the last one year, most of our state chief executives handled the baton of leadership such that their mediocrity and none readiness to move our states forward has become so conspicuous. Since inception, only few of them can boast of placing any efforts at repositioning our respective states in terms of education, health, pipe borne water, rural electrification, road construction etc.

And the justification for their quite conspicuous failure has been a dwindling economy narrative. The states chief executives hardly miss any opportunity to lament to journalists how they came to power only to inherit empty treasuries. And such are the reasons given for the governors’ ability to watch their states gradually abysmally fail. Indeed this only tells how restive most Nigeria`s state governors are.

Like the restive youth they mostly recruit into political thuggery, most of the governors wait idly for monthly grants from Abuja to run government. It disturbs as well as frightens that despite all their lamentations about the economic challenges we face, only few of the states chief executives care to look inwards to work assiduously to dramatically improve their Internally Generated Revenues (IGR). This could be achieved through further strengthening and repositioning of states Boards of Internal Revenue Service (BIRS) for optimum results. The Treasury Single Account (TSA) system as adopted by the federal government is yet another fruitful way to block leakage points of funds.

And because most of the governors are yet to understand they have a micro economy to manage, only few appear to be serious about creating other avenues for more financial resources. In spite of the vast arable land God blessed this country, only few states have thrown the required weight on the agricultural subsector of Nigeria`s economy. At elementary level, agriculture refers to the cultivation and rearing of animals for the use of man.

Cultivation of crops and rearing of animals create thousands of employment opportunities for both skilled and unskilled labor. From the farm to agro-allied industries, a lot of human resources are involved. Therefore once the potentials in the agricultural sector are well harnessed, we will have enough food, get jobs and even go into industrialization. It is critical to note here that no nation develops into industrialization to stabilize its economy without first having food sufficiency. It is worth noting here that what is needed to boost agricultural activities as to attain food sufficiency isn’t rocket science.

All that government needs to do is to make fertilizer available to farmers and provide a ready market such as the defunct Marketing Board to sell farm produce. In plain terms therefore, contrary to the thinking of most of state governors that governments should provide agricultural implements and get investors elsewhere in the world to harness our agricultural potentials, Nigeria has to first place considerable efforts towards agricultural development to attain certain level before expecting foreign investors to come in.

The willingness, however, by many a state governor in this country to continue in the old way has refused to allow them think with conscience and act with humility. Like their predecessors, most of our state governors expend the grants from Abuja recklessly in many cases for personal objectives only to later plead with the masses to exercise more patience as they inherited empty treasuries at a time of dwindling economy.

Today, the governors’ inability to wake up to the reality of the time has seen them reposition our societies from a state of retrogression to a greater state of retrogression. The people live hopelessly in hopelessness surviving in untold hardship. In most of the thirty six states of the federation, governments hardly provide medicines at hospitals, feed boarding school children, maintain water supply, clear refuge and pay salaries of civil servants.

Salaries haven’t been paid for months in many states of this country. And this singular act has brought most of the states down. As I write so many states in Nigeria are down with an ineffective civil service that delivers inefficient services thereby causing latent gradual decay of infrastructures. The civil service is the engine room of government. It operates at the instance of the executive arm of government. It is headed by a Head of civil service who advises the chief executive, in accordance with civil service rules and ethics, on how best to ensure discipline in the service as to optimize results.

The primary function of the civil service is to facilitate the effective and efficient implementation of government policies and programs. It is thus very clear that with an ineffective and inefficient civil service, a government is virtually existent only on the scripts. And one of the major steps towards rendering the civil service and any other organization for that matter lame is to starve workers of their salaries and incentives. Without salaries there cannot be discipline in the service which without government becomes a mere shadow of itself.

Twitter: @mukhtarjarmajo

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

Ex-Head of State, Others Named In N1.09b Oil Deal

Some prominent Nigerians have been named as beneficiaries of the $1.092b Malabu oil deal.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission ( EFCC) is investigating the scandal.

A businessman, who is being grilled by the EFCC over the deal, is believed to have named  a former Head of State, a former Senate President, a former National Security Adviser (NSA), some senators, and some serving and former members of the House of Representatives.

All the suspects may soon be invited for interrogation by the EFCC to determine their level of complicity, The Nation learnt at the weekend.

Besides the businessman, the EFCC has grilled a former Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Finance, and some chief executives of some International Oil Companies (IOCs). The suspects remain unnamed because of what a source described as the “sensitivity” of the matter.

The businessman may serve as a key witness because of his “deep insights”, the source said.

“The list is outside six former ministers who the EFCC was closing in on as at press time.

“We are looking into the accounts of some of those named in line with the timelines of the bribery,” an other source said, adding:

“Preliminary investigation has shown that the nation was shortchanged in the controversial $1.092bbillion Malabu Oil Block deal (OPL 245).

“At the appropriate time, we will begin interaction with all those connected with the Malabu Oil block deal.”

The EFCC is seeking the whereabouts of $1,092,040billion paid by Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company Nigeria Limited (SNEPCO) and Nigeria Agip Exploration Limited (NAE) into an escrow account.

By the terms of Block 245 Resolution Agreement, Shell agreed to the release of the outstanding Signature Bonus and to appoint an escrow agent for paying the Federal Government $1,092,040billion.

It was learnt that NAE contributed $982,040,000 to the settlement. SNEPCO contributed $110,000,000 to make up the required $1,092,040billion for the Federal Government to settle all claims over OPL 245 in accordance with the agreement.

There were fears that the $1,092,040billion in an escrow Account was “used for the settlement of the FGN-Malabu Oil Limited agreement on OPL 245.”

The EFCC is trying to find out whether or not the cash was paid to the government or if the appointed escrow agent managed the $1,092,040billion and shared the cash to some beneficiaries for the settlement of dispute between the government and Malabu Oil Limited.

A former Permanent Secretary, who was quizzed by the EFCC, has been quoted as saying: “I did not benefit from Malabu Oil in cash or kind. The memo I wrote was only in line of duty as a civil servant based on the directive of the supervising Minister. Some of us can beat our chest any day that we served this nation selflessly.

“Beyond the official memo, I had no contact with any person or group in whatsoever manner. Any action taken was in the best interest of this nation.

“The Minister also acted on a judgment by an international court in directing that a request for approval for payment to Malabu Oil Nigeria Limited be made to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan.”

The controversy over OPL 245(Malabu Oil Block deal) started in April 1998 during the administration of the late Head of State, Gen. Sani Abacha.

But it spread to the governments of ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo and ex-President Goodluck Jonathan.

Besides the judgment of a  Federal High Court, the Federal Government  of Nigeria(FGN)  faced the challenge of  an ICSD Arbitration instituted by Shell Nigeria Ultra Deep Limited(SNUD) in which the company was claiming in excess of $2billion damages from the FGN for wrongful revocation of OPL 245 previously granted to it.

There were agreements between FGN and other parties on the oil block  on  November 30, 2006 and April 29, 2011.

Following fresh issues, ex-President Goodluck Jonathan on June 17, 2013 directed that  the complaints of Malabu Oil and Gas be looked into.

The administration of President Muhammadu Buhari developed interest in Malabu Oil deal following the ruling of a London Court judge, Justice Edis of the Southwark Crown Court, London, on December 14, 2015.

The judge stopped payment of N17billion to Malabu Oil and Company.

The judge said he was “not sure that the Goodluck Jonathan administration acted in the interest of Nigeria by approving the transfer of the money to Malabu.

He said: “I cannot simply assume that the FGN which was in power in 2011 and subsequently until 2015 rigorously defended the public interest of the people of Nigeria in all respects,” the judge ruled.”

Credit: The Nation

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

Oh Kogi, My Beloved State, By Habib Omachile Rabbiu

Oh Kogi, My Dear Kogi. What Passion and Pride I Feel for Thee. The Confluence state we call Thee. The Convergence of the Great Rivers Niger and Benue, What a Magnificent Union it is; You are a Proud historical Relic State, in Thee the name Nigeria was Coined, in Thee Slaves were given Freedom, Your Wealthy Cultures and Traditions I Hold Dear.

I Adore You the Confluence of Opportunities. The Haven of the Igala, Ebira and the Okun Natives, so united in Strength and Compassionate, Who Served our Country earnestly, Long before and after the Amalgamation.

I thrill at the Reflection of Your Venerable; The Mount Patti with a Flat Top where one can Gaze at the Beautiful Display of the Confluence of Rivers Niger and Benue Rolling in Brownish and Light Green in Colour into each other Forming a Y- Shape Structure as they made Southwards Headway into the Ocean. You Sprouted all around with Rocky Hills and Fertile Farm Land; Earth Fruitful with Stone, Minerals and Ore.

Potent Nature’s Allure that Bring us Comfort and Peace of Mind; Precious Cenotaph and Monuments of our Colonial Masters; lovable City, Towns, Villages and Hamlets with Productive Industries; Admirable Schools and Tertiary Institutions; Strong people with courage, Honesty and Reverent.

Tourism and Hospitality are the attributes of kogi Sate.

Oh Kogi, Hope I know you Abide to. Many Storm have battered Thee, Waves of Destruction you have managed to outrun, and Countless Frustration have not cowed Thee. You are still Alive, Vibrant with Life; indeed you were created to Overcome and You Shall Overcome, I Believe Oh Yes I Do Believe.

I kid Thee not; I truly Love and Cherish Thee my Beloved Kogi.

Happy Anniversary, my dear Kogi State.

 

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

State Of The Economy: Buhari Has Failed In All Aspect, By Kabir Usman

Since assuming the reins of power, President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressive Congress have not only failed to meet their various campaign promises, but are also presiding over a Nigeria that many have come to see as least economically viable since 1999. Looking at poverty, unemployment, inequality, insecurity, inflation, decay in infrastructures, suffocating symptoms of under development, judicial rascality, electoral inadequacies, market failure, etc it appears Nigerians are in for a long haul with president Buhari and his APC led administration.

The inflation rate rose from 8% in May 2015 to 16.50% in June 2016, as reflected in the high cost of goods and services. Unemployment rate that has risen to a whopping 12.8%.

Nigeria only few days ago lost her place as the biggest economy in Africa to South Africa due to poor leadership on the part of Mr President and his team. Even the early euphoria that greeted Buhari’s coming has turned sour in the mouth of all Nigerians.

Insecurity situation has gone from bad to worse, with Boko Haram transmuting to herdsmen terrorizing peaceful Nigerians in Benue, Kogi, Kaduna, and some other states in the south.

Indeed, this is the most trying period for our country and it’s citizens. The President has hugely disappointed everyone, the only thing left for him is to desist from continuing blame of the past administration, identify technocrats that can help him salvage a sagging economy, and save the country from further shame.

My heartfelt sympathy is with Nigerians that are further put into misery by this administration. Everybody is aware of the reality that since the inception of the APC Government every elections has ended inconclusive. From Kogi state Assembly and Senate elections to Bayelsa state gubernatorial election which was like war, so many innocent lives were lost , Abuja Area Council elections also exposed the unpreparedness and unreadiness of the APC and Buhari administration. Now we are hearing of the APC supporters been recruited as Ad-hoc staff ahead of the Edo Gubernatorial election.

War against corruption is selective. We have a situation where petitions against some people within Buhari administration have not been investigated by the EFCC. War against corruption is very good one and a welcome development in Nigeria but it must be holistic and all inclusive and it must be within the ambit of our laws and fundamental human rights.The situation where people are condemned even before trials by the court of law is questionable and amount to arbitrariness and impunity.

PDP has learned from its shortcomings and Nigerians from all walks of life can attest to the fact that the decision to elect APC was a costly mistake.

There is a limit to what propaganda, mischief and deceit can accomplish, therefore the President and his team must brace up for leadership challenges instead of their usual name calling and blame game.

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

Kano State Govt Donates 3,500 Computers To Schools

Kano state government has purchased and distributed over 3,500 computers to tertiary institutions in the state, as part of efforts to build IT capacity among youth, the state governor, Dr Abdullahi Ganduje, has announced.

The governor according to a statement by Salihu Tanko Yakasai, Director General, Media and Communication at the Kano Government House made this known during the opening of this year’s Nigeria Digital Innovation Conference taking place at Bayero University, Kano, organized by Center for Cyber Awareness and Development, CECAD in conjunction with the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC.

Governor Ganduje said that the move was aimed at not only encouraging students to be computer literate but part of broad initiatives to leverage on the ICT sector to fast track economic development.

The governor pledged that “the state government would continue to partner with all relevant agencies within and outside the state to support digital innovation by students”.

To enhance efficient and transparent governance, he mentioned that his administration institutionalized biometric registration of all civil servants and revolutionized its revenue generation machinery, asserting that so doing will enable the state government attain its developmental goals.

The Minister of Communications, Barr. Abdurraheem Abebayo Shittu stated that his ministry was committed to providing an enabling environment for Nigerians, especially youths to excel in digital innovation.

He also promised that his Ministry will support Kano state government in promoting e-governance as well as in maximizing digital opportunities for the people.

The Executive Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, Professor Umar G. Dambatta, who dwelt on the 8 – point agenda of the commission noted that it will facilitate broadband penetration, centered on competition and inclusive ICT growth.

He, therefore, urged the Kano state government to support efforts by his agency by expanding broad band spectrum infrastructure mainly in rural parts of the state, to promote economic and related development activities in the country.

Highlights of the occasion, whose theme is “Building a new Nigeria in a digital economy”, include presentation of an award to Governor Ganduje for “Adoption of ICT for Efficiency in Governance”.

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

Kano State Govt. To Recruit More Medical Workers – Gov. Ganduje

Kano state government will recruit more medical doctors and allied personnel, to man its hospitals in a bid to facilitate delivery of more efficient health care services, the state governor, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje has promised.

A statement by Salihu Tanko Yakassai, Director General Media and Communication said Dr. Ganduje disclosed this during the commissioning of the renovated and upgraded Dambatta General Hospital, under the 2012 MDGs – Conditional Grant Scheme state track projects.

He said the government acknowledges the fact that the health sector in the state is under staffed and that efforts are on to fill in the gap so that the congestion often witnessed at major hospitals in the state capital would be significantly reduced.

The governor further also stated that funds would soon be released for procurement of specialized medical equipment and facilities to make services in the public hospitals affordable and of good quality.

Dr. Ganduje highlighted that the abandoned hospital projects and Giginyu and Zoo road are being pursued with vigour to ensure speedy completion, asserting that his administration is committed to the attainment of all the Sustainable Development Goals, as endorsed by the United Nations.

In his remarks, the state Commissioners of Health, Dr. Kabiru Ibrahim Getso explained that the state government has designated its eight hospitals including that of Dambatta, as referral centers to accommodate the teeming patients, urging the people to patronize them for their well being.

The state Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning, Hajiya Aisha Muhammad Bello, stressed the need for members of the public to take ownership of such projects after completion. According to her, this approach will go a long way in facilitating the sustainability of the projects.

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

State Of The Economy: Where Do We Go From Here? By Haruna Sa’eed

This is a key role as enshrined in the Act establishing it. We know that every player in a soccer game is expected to work toward scoring goals for his team for its pleasure and that of the team’s fans/country. A disaster sets in where we have an “own goal”, where displeasure sets in.

Similarly, if a doctor gives a wrong prescription or fails to diagnose correctly, cure will fail to be achieved or even fatality, death, may arise.

We doubt not of the fact that; the proper functioning of money is extremely valuable in terms of promoting economic efficiency. Thus, the CBN tries to always regulate the supply of money so that it is sufficiently scarce that it can serve as a store of value.

Sometimes however, it does so forgetting that money must, yet be, sufficiently abundant that there is enough for it to service all the desired transactions. Therefore, the banking sector, the CBN system tries to regulate, must be sufficiently robust and stable. It must provide, (and be seen to be doing so) proper incentives for lending to go to viable and plausible projects, rather than wildly risky ones.

The level of price rise over the last one year had been enormous. Those that carry out the responsibility for its measure, place it at 16.8%, quite high by any measure. Individuals even see it differently placed it more than double what it was at last year when prices of rice, maize, sugar and more were at N8,500, N4,000 and N6,500 respectively and now at N17,000, N15,000 and N15,000. People even take it to electoral front by saying that it is not the change they voted for. Households ration their consumptions and change their way of life. Effects have reached children education and even stable food on the table. Family, social and even family relationships are threatened.

The CBN might have, or obviously, looked at the situation as resultant of cash supply, whether from the banking system or which ever source a control of the banking sector can also stem.

As a cure, therefore, the CBN raised its rate from 12% to 14%. However, this prescription, we believe, is wrong. If such a prescription has any effect on our financial system, even though Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, the then President, once said that our economy has defied all economic principles, will only worsen our travails.

The source of the inflation killing us today is not money supply. It is not also prosperity. It is recession, as we see with the IMF’s forecast reversal from a positive to a negative (-1.8%) growth. It is not from increased salary pay-out.

Indeed, it is lack of these that face us today. We are in recession, at least that is what our Ministers of Finance and that of Budget and Planning tell us. Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun admitted the country “is technically in economic recession”; though believe we can come out of it shortly by dwelling on where we are going – as reported by Daily Trust on July 22nd, 2016.

The Minister of Budget and Planning, Mr. Udoma accepts same but disagrees with the IMF – thus “we expect to be marginally positive by the end of this year.” Salaries are owed by many states; and companies have, mostly, performed poorly last year which also translates into their dividend pay-out.

Government are only advertising for jobs, and thus, not paying for them, yet. So far, only about N300bn has been released and only nominally, too, from a capital budget of over N6.06 trillion, just about 5%. The Federation Account had been sharing about 50% of last year’s allocation in the last 11 months, except this month (July 2016) when about N550 billion was shared up from the usual sum of about N250billion to N300billion monthly.

Again, lending by banks had been tight. Banks hardly lend out. Further, the level of “hand out” being given by mostly corrupt persons has almost dried out due to the government corruption war, now being waged. People now stay within the basic need, in fact at their bare. Capital and fixed assets markets have crashed; especially housing and tokunmbo cars. So where is the money?

There seems to be consensus on the real causes of the current inflation; at least outside the CBN. The foreign exchange has seen changes within this period more than ever, in both official under the CBN and in the private markets; Banks and Bureau de change. The dollar had moved from N196 and N230 to about N282 and N374 respectively.

With our near total dependence on imported goods, the translation in the rise in their prices is obvious. The pump price of petrol had moved from N86 to a cap of N145.

Transportation of persons and goods has to absorb this through their prices. Prices for services of, even, business centres and barber shops saw rises. What we pay for electricity also moved by about 85%, affecting everything on its way. Added to this, capacity utilization in our remaining factories shrunk affecting quality supplied to the market.

Again, the positive control of our boarders against smuggling meant fewer good across the border translating into higher prices to cover drop in quantity and increased risk. So, a cocktail of these factors have come together to raise our inflation level and not money supply.

The government, right from the campaign, has made it very clear that a priority would be placed in getting cost of borrowing down, to a single digit. This, it is believed, will bring the cost of doing business and owning assets down. On the side of the banks, this will also stem the incidence of default and bad debts, thus strengthening their balance sheets and confidence in the financial institution.

The economy is in recession and cash strapped. The Minister of budget and planning pledged that, with what the government has planned to do, the economy will come out of the recession by the year end. This is saying that what is contained in the budget, will, if adequately implemented; give adequate injection into the economy as to stimulate it to come to life. Therefore, stimulation is another key objective of government now.

To date, what we see are only advertisements for the expansion spending. When the jobs are eventually rolled out, spending toward execution will see money changing hands, enhancing both demand and supply – leading to increased production and growth. We can then expect a resultant inflation as a result of this, as growth comes with some level of affluence.

Even then, the least the CBN should do is to take action that limits availability of loanable fund. Further contraction of the financial system will further worsen the already bad liquidity contraction situation. The focus of government, and indeed, the CBN is, in the overall, and should be, to loosen the belt for people to take in air freely, or at least more comfortably.

When Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) at its 251st sitting and the CBN announced the increase of the benchmark interest from 12 to 14 percent, the governor said it was part of the measure to attract foreign capital and check headline inflation.

However, it is doubtful if any of the two objectives can be met. Foreign capital is attracted to, all things being equal, profitable environment, while inflation controls are only effective if they attack the root cause of the inflation. Interest rate measures are aimed at controlling money supply – which we have seen earlier as not the cause of this inflation. Rather, we see possibility of it negatively pushing the economy in a number of ways.

One such is shifting the objective of the Government in bringing the lending rate further away from the desired single digit to a likely region of 27% – 28%. This will surely bring more hardship to people and organizations already liable to banks – the practice of banks being to adjust rate without recourse to borrowers. Business will hardly cope with additional cost thus, worsening their profitability. Poor income and balance sheet affect stock price.

Thus, this action will have a weakening effect on foreigners’ interest in Nigerian businesses. New loans will be less attractive (in line with the objective of the policy), thereby killing, weakening expansion and growth. Inversely, the drop in production with rising demand may push the inflation further up.

Second, as a consequence to the falling activity above, the already bad unemployment situation may further worsen as firms disengage staff while at the same time enjoying high prices for small quantity produced.

Third, jobs or contracts already executed with borrowed funds and not paid for may turn out to be unprofitable leading to possible defaults and bad debts. The spread allowable for jobs is usually around 30% and often not paid for over a period of one year. With interest compounding monthly, the final cost is better only imagined.

Fourth, the Government advertised jobs may not be executed because of funding problems. This will mean the multiplier effect expected from the expansionary spending may not be achieved. This can leave the state of our infrastructure in a perpetual deplorable state, thus slowing or even reversing the country’s match towards greatness.

Fifth, the combined effect of one to four consequences listed above, is to send the economy further into recession. This will cause a lot of damage to the political goodwill of the Government which can create unpalatable consequence.

Daily Trust of July 27th has summarized, in a pictorial form, the effect of raising interest rates to include: increase in the cost of borrowing; increase in mortgage interest payments; increased incentive to save rather than spend; increase the value of Naira; falls in consumption and investment; increase in government debt interest payment and discourages investment.

Expectedly, as a way out of the current situation, both monetary and fiscal overseers should come together and complement each other as a way of finding solutions to the economic woes we face. Suggestions would include for the CBN to key into the Government’s desire in achieving a single digit interest rate, thereby designing a frame work and a time table for achieving same.

Without doubt, the benefits of low interest rates far outweigh those of high rates. The sooner we achieve that the better, else our economy would hardly attain prosperity. It can be observed that, in countries with low interest rates, venture capitalist still have to do a lot to augment bank lending as a way of saying even the low rates can be a burden on start ups.

Second, such collaboration should see division of responsibility, in such a way that government efforts in providing incentives through grants and other forms of support should not conflict with those offered by the CBN – either directly or through the banks.

Third, interventions and support from international donors, creditors and governments can be better understood and put in proper perspective in line with the second above. This will reduce duplication and ensure proper planning and even monetary controls.

Fourth, an overall goal should be determined and agreed upon. For this moment, it is obvious that or this moment that we are in recession, the objective is none other than growth. A reasonable and a more economic reality is therefore, to stimulate the economy with expansionary fiscal disbursement which the CBN should favour.

Fifth, in line with the Chinese Loans for reviving and modernizing the railways, critical areas should be identified – infrastructure, housing, education and health, with potential for boosting local economy with high local contents, then international and local financiers can be given good incentives to come in.

Clearly, the provision made in the budget for capital is inadequate for the level of stimulation required to energize the economy, nor is one year adequate. Very huge and ambitious projects, that can last years with potential for not only cash injections but for propelling the economy, are needed.

I suggested, elsewhere, that in transport, construction of super high motor ways and railways, criss-crossing the entire length and breadth of this Nation should be pursued. Further, time is not on our side. The world cannot wait for us to drag on. Fortunately, we now have a leadership the world respects. The environment clime has greatly improved – insecurity and corruption have been sufficiently tackled.

In conclusion, yes, we are truly faced with an inflationary economy, one occasioned not by money supply but by a variety of other factors. Thus, seeking to cure it by control of money supply will amount to wrong prescription. This will not only fail to solve the problem but create a worst situation.

The real causes had been increase in prices of foreign currency; petrol and electricity. Others are enhancement of boarder controls and fall in output. Boarder controls act as incentive to the Agricultural sector. The high price the farmers now enjoy, though will flatten out after harvest, is an encouragement in the sector. Prices of other items including petroleum will tilt towards equilibrium with greater competition. In any case, working collectively by both monetary and fiscal regulators can help in getting not only the inflation under control but in getting out of the current recession.

Although, some may argue that these recommendations may tamperwith the autonomy and independence of the CBN. I totally disagree. Collaboration strengthens independence, and above all, understanding and collective goal attainment. These are all critical for national match to greatness.

 

HARUNA Y. SA’EED,

Former Accountant General of Kaduna State and the Pioneer ES, NEITI, wrote from Kaduna.

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

Edo State Has An Opportunity To Be The Next Lagos, Let’s Take It, By Nosa Emwinghare

Lagos is that state the average Nigerian wants their state to be like – a thriving economy in the midst of national recession, infrastructural development at a far more advanced stage than the rest of the country, a responsive and well paid civil service. Lagos is a country in itself, insulated from the woes and perils that have become the trademark of the nation as a whole.

But Lagos didn’t get to where it to today overnight. It took years of planning, planting and foundation laying for Lagos to become the progressive, economically-independent state it is today. A big part of that which is often overlooked is the political continuity that Lagos has enjoyed since 1999. No other state in Nigeria can boast of 16 successive years of uninterrupted political leadership. Bola Tinubu laid the foundation of modern Lagos from 1999 to 2007, Babatunde Fashola built on that from 2007 to 2015 when Akinwunmi Ambode took over.

Edo State in contrast has had to ensure years of turbulent political leadership and instability in governance. But next month’s gubernatorial election presents a chance to right the wrongs and change the story forever. The incumbent governor, Adams Oshiomole through his achievements over the last 8 years can be likened to the Bola Tinubu of 2007. A foundation has been laid for the development of Edo State. A foundation that should be built on by someone who shares a similar ideology and has the same priorities as the outgoing comrade governor.

That person is Godwin Obaseki, the All Progressives Congress candidate for the governorship election in September. Godwin Obaseki is the Babatunde Fashola that Edo State needs to build on the foundation for economic prosperity and all round development. The stakes are high for Edo in this next election, and it would be counter-productive for the people of the state to risk a return to the era of political instability and lack of direction by attempting to change the change.

Godwin Obaseki is the right choice for Edo State for many reasons one of which is that his party has shown that it has more to offer the people of Edo than the opposition. Also, just like Fashola, Obaseki has worked with the outgoing governor and knows exactly where to pick up the project of developing the state. Obaseki is also an accomplished business man and a sound economic mind who began his career over 30 years ago and has established track records in Investment Banking, Asset Management, Securities Trading and the Public Sector both internationally and in Nigeria.

Godwin started out in 1983 with Capital Trust Brokers Limited as a stockbroker where he excelled and subsequently worked with International Merchant Bank (an affiliate of First Chicago Bank). In 1988 he joined AVC Funds Limited where he served as a Project Manager and led the core team that set up two of the new generation banks which eventually reshaped the face of the banking industry in Nigeria. Between 1993 and 1995 he worked in New York as a principal of Equatorial Finance Co.

Obaseki founded Afrinvest West Africa Limited (formerly Securities Transactions & Trust Company Limited (SecTrust)) in 1995 as the pioneer Managing Director. The firm has since grown to become a leading Investment Banking and Investment Management firm in Nigeria. In 1995 the company was appointed the correspondent stockbroker for Nigeria by the International Finance Corporation (IFC).

Godwin Obaseki currently serves as the Chairman of the Edo State Government’s Economic and Strategy Team (EST), a position he has held since March 2009. Some of his key achievements include the documentation of Edo State Economic Development framework through Sectors’ Strategic. Obaseki also managed the N25 Billion Infrastructure Development Bond for Edo State from the Nigerian Capital Market in 2010 and the $225 Million Concessionary Rates Development Loan from the World.

Obaseki was the Chairman Fund Raising Committee for the Oshiomhole-Odubu re-election bid in 2012 but his leadership credentials transcend Edo State. He has served on the Presidential Committee on the Reform of the Nigerian Pension System as well as the Nigerian Securities and Exchange Commission Committee on the Re-activation of the Nigerian Bond Market and the review of the Investment and Securities Act. He served as a member of the Nigerian Stock Exchange Council between 2006 and 2009.

Surely this is the man to trust with the future of Edo State. His experience, track record, and integrity all point to the fact that he should succeed Adams Oshiomole to take Edo to the next level.

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

Continuity As A Necessary Tool For The Development Of Edo State, By Eghosa Igbinóvia

In the face of the new economic challenge we face, we need leadership with fresh and original ideas to take on these new challenges, so that we can build on and deepen the success of the current administration. There is only one course of action- we must be courageous and determined, we must build on and extend the success of the current administration to achieve the aspiration of Edo people (Godwin Obaseki, 2016).

There is no iota of that in the fact that Godwin wants to transform Edo State from its current state to a better one, this is evident in his manifesto delivered on the 16th July, 2016 at the official flag off APC campaign for Edo Governorship election. This foresighted man has held different positions, which he judiciously utilized in implementing his part to the development of the state. He is the wax burning the fire of development in Edo state, leading a team of professionals and technocrats in the progressive government of the Comrade Governor as Chairman, Edo State Economic Team for about eight years.

Some ten years back, Edo state was in comatose in the hands of hind-sighted men, it was indeed a decade of mismanagement and failed promises. Then came in a man of purpose, he was ready to transform things, and that he has been doing with the help of other foresighted men, notable of which is Godwin Obaseki. Godwin doesn’t want the progress of the inland state dragged back, he wants to continue with the good work the present administration has embarked on.

Godwin understands the plight of the people; he has gathered enough experience to control the affairs of Edo State. He has plans of focusing on job creation, which is one of the challenges facing our country today. Within his four-year term he hopes to create 200,000 new jobs across the state, through Agriculture, Entrepreneurship schemes attracting investments for the development of industries, technical and vocational skills development. He believes many Edo people will generate wealth by keying into value chain development of Oil Palm, Cassava, Cocoa, Grains, Rubber, among others.

Currently the electricity demand in Edo State is over 450 megawatts but the Benin Electricity Distribution company is rationing about 150 megawatts of electricity between four States. Attracting more investments in large and small scale electricity generation and partnering with BEDC will ensure that more power is available for domestic and industrial activities, this and many others have been lined out to be worked on.

Also, Godwin plans to see to the empowerment of Women. He plans on providing an enabling environment for them, to help them achieve their highest potential by taking their empowerment beyond the phase of women empowerment. Launching development projects under the leadership of women, improving the access to low interest rate for financing their business among others is what this vision man has envisioned for the progressive women of Edo State.

Exempting the youths from the government is one risk Godwin’s administration wont undertake. He understands the impact of youths in the development of the nation. And as a result he has planned to provide medium and small scale enterprises financing for the young entrepreneurs, he will also focus on the development of the youths through investments in sports, arts and crafts.

Godwin wont also forget to protect the lives and properties of his people. This is paramount to a man who understands what it means to be safe, just as learnt from the administration of the Comrade Governor. He plans to formulate a comprehensive strategy with inputs from all stakeholders with a view to making Edo State safe for the citizens and for investors. He would also implement a pocket friendly tax regime to grow the tax as which will help the state run so many things in times like this.

The plans have been rightly set, execution is what is left, immediately after the collective support for the emergence of the man of purpose. Continuity is what is needed, change is out rightly out of discuss!

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

Bayelsa State Govt To Seal Off Companies Who Defaulted In Tax Payment

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

Kwara State Govt To Launch Infrastructure Development Fund

Kwara State Government is set to launch its Infrastructure Development Fund ‘InfraFund Kwara’, (IF-K) with an initial investment of N4.2 Billion in the Energy Sector in the fourth quarter of 2016.
The State Governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed, revealed this during an interaction with community leaders in his office on Friday.  Alhaji Ahmed said  IF-K has been codified into the Kwara State Public Private Partnership Law which he assented to in 2015.
According to him the IF-Kproject is a result of the Kwara Infrastructure  Investment and Finance strategy which he approved following an infrastructure assessment exercise concluded in 2014.
He said the outcomes of the exercise showed an estimated N225 billion deficit value of infrastructure across all the 16 local government areas and spanning all sectors, which required both government and private investment, in order to boost the state’s productivity and wealth creation.
Alhaji Ahmed said the main objectives of IF-K are to provide a guided, systemic and outward facing framework for continuous and consistent infrastructure development, optimally leverage private sector or resources for infrastructures development and maximize the state’s resource allocation policies.
Providing further details of IF-K, the Chief Economic Assistant to Governor Ahmed, Mr. Abayomi Ogunsola said the fund will inculcate confidence in investors and encourage broader and deeper interactions with the Kwara State government from different types of private or non-private partners.
He said it will also promote banking and non-banking financial intermediary participation in infrastructure funding, provide incentives and serve as catalyst to mobilizing appropriate private sector capital, efficiency and expertise for the state’s infrastructure projects.
IFK, according to Ogunsola, also has an expected outcome of attaining stable development of Kwara Residents and businesses.
The Chief Economic Assistant said the IF-K project is one of the avenues for meeting the state’s current infrastructure needs and also a critical vehicle for proactively meeting future infrastructure needs.
[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

Kano State Govt Cuts Spending On Hajj, Reduces Operational Staff

Kano state government has approved the sum of N789, 544, 497.67 for the state Pilgrims Welfare Board for successful conduct of 2016 Hajj operations.
A statement by Salihu Tanko Yakasai, Director General, Media and Communication said the state Commissioner of Information, Youth and Culture, Muhammad Garba at a press briefing on the outcome of State Executive Council meeting held at Kano Government House on Wednesday, said the amount is meant for operational expenditure and other related logistics.
The Commissioner according to the statement remarked that as a result of national austerity measures and devaluation of the Naira, the state government has reduced its Hajj operation staff from 80 to 40 while supporting staff were scaled down from 175 to 99 personnel.
He added that hitherto, 10 members of the board members of the agency used to be sponsored for Hajj explaining that the number has now being reduced to four, noting out that many states of the federation have withdrawn support to prospective pilgrims due to economic challenges facing the nation.
Also affected by the rationalization in the state Hajj contingent, according to Comrade Garba, are the medical team from 21 to 13, Hajj training facilitators minimized to 10 from 21, Hajj Tribunal from 10 to three, adding that the number of pressmen and Hisbah Guards was also reduced from seven and 10 to five respectively.
The commissioner further said that the council approved N56, 567,233 for the Ministry of Education to construct additional classrooms and hostels in five Tsangaya Model Schools, noting that the schools to benefit are at Doguwa, Tsanyawa, Dandishe, Garo and Harbau towns.
He explained the programme was initiated by immediate past federal government and continued by present one, reiterating that because the state government has the highest number of Tsangaya schools, it would not allow the project to suffer.
The Commissioner also said that approval was granted in the tune of N136, 558,100 for the payment of outstanding balance in respect of students studying at American University, Yola Adamawa state, assuring parents and students that present administration would not let the studies to be truncated either within or outside the country.
[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]