Connect with us

Economy

FG Blames State Governors on Rural dwellers’ Poverty Status

Published

on

Ajaokuta Steel Coy to Generate $1.6bn Annually – Buhari

The Federal Government has again challenged State Governments on the need to address the level of poverty among rural dwellers to make life more meaningful for rural communities.

Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Clement Agba, made this position known, blaming State Governors, while addressing State House correspondents at the end of the virtual meeting of the Federal Executive Council

According to him, state governments must brace up and do more to alleviate poverty in rural communities across the country.

“In the course of working on the national development plan, we looked at previous plans and said why they didn’t do as much as was expected.

”We also looked at the issues of the National Social Investment Programme.

“At the federal level, the government is putting out so much money but not seeing so much reflection, in terms of money that has been put into alleviating poverty, which is one of the reasons the government also put in place the national poverty reduction with growth strategy.

“But if the federal government puts the entire income that it earns into all of this without some form of complementarity from the State governments in playing their part. It will seem as if we are throwing money in the pond.

”The governors are basically only functioning in their state capitals, and democracy that we preach about is delivering the greatest goods to the greatest number of people.

”And from our demographic, it shows that the greatest numbers of our people live in rural areas, but the governors are not working in the rural areas.

”Right now 70 percent of our people live in rural areas. They produce 90 percent of what we eat. And unfortunately, 60 percent of what they produce is lost due to post-harvest loss and it does not get to the market,” he said.

According to the minister, a recent survey has shown that the country’s poverty is mostly found in rural areas, adding that Sokoto State has the highest poverty rate in Nigeria.

”In the past, we’ve always looked at monetary poverty. But poverty like we know has different pieces, different intensities and different causes.

”And it is for this reason; I went around the 109 senatorial districts in Nigeria, to carry out those surveys and to be able to say specifically, where this hardship is.

”The result clearly shows that 72 percent of poverty is in rural areas. It also showed clearly that Sokoto state is leading in poverty with 91 percent.

”But the surprising thing is Bayelsa is the second in terms of poverty rating in the country. So you see the issue is not about the availability of money. But it has to do with the application of money,” Agba explained.

Also addressing the correspondents on the outcome of the Council meeting, the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami disclosed that the Council approved N630 million for the engagement of a consultancy services firm.

According to him, the firm will assist the nation in the deployment of technology that will help reduce risks and damages associated with the award of contracts.

He said the memo presented by the Ministry of Justice would help address all forms of deficiencies associated with contracts that expose the nation to higher risks and damages.

”This memo is intended to bring about a new development in contract administration in Nigeria, by way of deployment of technology, building capacity and specialisation, and developing a continuous checklist of all existing contracts.

”It also intends to ensure that the interest of the Nigerian government in all contracts to be considered by Ministries, Department, and Agencies, are adequately addressed, to ensure that the government is not subjected to higher risks as it relates to damages and deficiency in contracts that it may sign with third parties.

“At the end of the day, the council approved the contract for consultancy services in the sum of N630, 132, 750 inclusive of the 7.5 percent value-added tax, with a completion period of six months,” he said

Economy

MAN Warns: Cash-strapping may lead to 25% Drop in Sale of locally-made goods

Published

on

MAN Warns: Cash-strapping may lead to 25% Drop in Sale of locally-made goods

 The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) on Friday in Lagos, warned that Cash-strapping may unwittingly lead, to a 25 percent drop, in the sale of locally-made goods.

The Director General, MAN, Mr. Segun Ajayi-Kadir, stated this, emphasizing the need for the CBN to intensify efforts at ensuring a seamless transition from old naira to new naira notes, as anything to the contrary would be inimical to manufacturing.

He said if the current hardships being experienced in accessing money persisted for the next three weeks, there would be a possible drop of 25 percent in monthly sales of made-in-Nigeria goods.

He noted that as purchases from the retail end, mostly transacted in cash dry up; there would be a sharp drop in wholesale purchases leading to a glut of unsold inventories in factories.

He added that the situation which was no good for manufacturing, for the government and for the ordinary citizen would lead to compounded crippling lack of patronage for the domestic manufacturer.

Ajayi-Kadir also stressed that the development would also deny government the revenue that would have accrued from consumption taxes and result in the disruption of the daily life and need of the average Nigerian.

“To be clear, there is no doubt that the currency redesign is desirable; there are socioeconomic and political imperatives for the change.

“It is a critical element of the CBN cashless economy policy that should have far-reaching positive results for the economy.

“However, the continued scarcity of the newly redesigned naira notes is quite worrisome.

“With our growth prospects heading further south, we can ill afford a downturn in our Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

“The negative impact it portends for local producers, the agricultural and distributive segments of our economy is huge.

“It may worsen the bashing our economy has received from both external and internal shocks in recent times,’’ he stressed.

Ajayi-Kadir cautioned that adequate measures should be put in place to ensure a smooth currency transition, particularly in the unbanked areas of Nigeria.

He charged the CBN and Bureaux de Changes to be most engaging at the highest level at this time.

According to him, there is a need for strategic communication and joint operations to ensure widespread and sustained availability and circulation of the redesigned naira notes.

“It is baffling to approach a bank only to be told that there are neither the old nor the new naira notes.

“We hope that the resumption of payment across the counter in the banks and the intensification of the CBN special cash swap arrangement in remote areas will yield positive results.

“I hope that what the country is experiencing is temporary pain and that government will do well to bring the hardship to an end immediately.

“We must make haste to ensure that the price to be paid for this otherwise laudable policy does not outpace the gains,’’ he also cautioned.

Continue Reading

Economy

Disdain Towards Nigerian Passport: My regret as Foreign Affairs Minister – Onyema

Published

on

Disdain Towards Nigerian Passport: My regret as Foreign Affairs Minister – OnyemaDisdain Towards Nigerian Passport: My regret as Foreign Affairs Minister – Onyema

…Shed tears, when he saw Nigerian girls forced into prostitution in Libya***

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyema, says his regret as minister is the disdain with which Nigerians are being treated outside the shores of the country and upon siting their international passports.

The Minister disclosed this in Abuja at the 22nd edition of the President Muhammadu Buhari Administration Scorecard Series (2015-2023) organised to project the achievements of the government.

Onyema was responding to a comment by a journalist who expressed displeasure about how Nigerians travelling abroad were being subjected to harassment upon sitting on their green passports.

The Minister agreed with the position of the newsman and attributed the challenge to the desperation of many Nigerians who took desperate and illegal measures to travel out of the country.

“If there is one thing that I look back to with the greatest regrets in my seven and half years in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it is the situation of Nigerians in foreign countries,” he said.

The minister gave some of the instances he had witnessed and had to wade in to rescue trapped victims in the middle of the desert.

“I went to Libya and I actually shed tears when we went to this camp where they were holding Nigerians.

“There is that whole issue of slavery and of course, all the exploitations that go with it and they told us that there were only a hundred or two hundred Nigerians there,”

“So, we went to the yard and it was one of the most touching things I ever experienced.

“We have all these young boys, 13, 14, 15 years old and they all came out, over a hundred of them and they all stood up to attention,” he narrated.

The minister continued: “As soon as they saw us, they started reciting the Nigerian national anthem and tears came to my eyes.

 “We were told that the girls were used as prostitutes at night.

“When we saw them, the girls told us there were more Nigerians and we insisted they should bring them out.

“Lo and behold, twenty minutes after, they brought out another set which was about 200 Nigerians.

“The President gave directives, that we should charter planes in order to get them out and we did.”

Onyema attributed the despicable situation to the push factor leading a lot of young Nigerians to take desperate and ridiculous risks through the deserts and the high seas.

He said when they even finally got to their so-called dream countries, they got involved in drugs and all sort of crimes which made it difficult for Nigeria’s passport to be respected.

“Those of us in government have to blame ourselves, particularly in the immigration and even in foreign affairs,” he said.

Onyema narrated another scenario where the U.S., Ambassador to Nigeria came to show him the list of Nigerians that were issued visas through Note Verbal to go to the U.S. but they never attended the events they were scheduled for, but absconded.

He said he was also shown the list of those who were not respecting their visa deadlines and requirements, including top Nigerians.

The minister said all the illegal acts and sharp practices contributed to the manner Nigerians were being treated with disdain abroad when they cited their passports.

“In order to reverse the situation and ensure Nigerian passport is given the due respect it deserves, we all have to work hard and behave ourselves.

“We are all suffering from this because we have people with genuine missions seeking to travel abroad looking for visas and they are denied.

“It is a challenge for each and every single one of us and it is impacting negatively on our country.

“We all have the responsibility to salvage the situation,” he said.

Onyema said President Buhari had never rested on his oars on the issue because whichever country he travelled to, he stressed to Nigerians in Diaspora to be good ambassadors of their country.

Continue Reading

Economy

Digital Economy Crucial to Nigeria’s Dev’t — Pantami

Published

on

Digital Economy Crucial to Nigeria’s Dev't — Pantami

The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Pantami on Thursday said the sector was crucial to the realisation of Nigeria’s full potential.

Pantami said this in Abuja at a two-day workshop on Satellite-Based Augmentation System (SBAS), a flight demonstration within the Nigerian Airspace by Nigerian Communications Satellite (NIGCOMSAT) Ltd using the NigComSat-1R payload, the L-Band.

The NigComSat-1R navigation (L-Band) payload provides Navigational overlay Services, which have disruptive applications in the aviation and non-aviation sectors.

The event was organised by the SatNav Africa Joint Programme Office (JPO), in collaboration with the ANGA programme and NIGCOMSAT and the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA).

The overall aim was to provide a knowledge-sharing platform to support stakeholders’ decision-making in the creation of synergies.

This is to enable the collective reaping of benefits provided by SBAS in the continent, including safety, efficiency and environmental protection benefits.

The minister said communication and digital technology was the key enabler of other sectors like security, defence, health, agriculture, education and aviation.

“The satellite covers part of the Atlantic Ocean and Indian Ocean, it covers parts of Asia and Europe.

”Our satellite here in Nigeria has the capacity to provide the navigation overlay services.

The Nigerian Communications Satellite has the capacity to support the implementation of the SBAS not only in Nigeria but in the whole of Africa with 54 countries,” Pantami said.

He, however, urged African nations to consider the Nigerian Communication Satellite when the need arises.

Pantami also said the deployment of SBAS by using the navigation overlay services would significantly improve accuracy of signal, its availability and integrity.

“I have directed NIGCOMSAT to collaborate and reach out to the aviation sector to ensure successful implementation of SBAS in Africa,” he said.

The Managing Director of NIGCOMSAT Ltd, Mr Tukur Lawal said the success of the flight demonstration underscored the need for collaborative efforts by the relevant agencies.

He said that this would facilitate the efforts of the Federal Government in meeting the desired goals of a digital Nigeria, which he said would bring unprecedented results.

”For NIGCOMSAT Ltd to contribute its own quota in digital economy and industrial revolution, we cannot remain in the comfort zone, but rather look for areas of exploring the market both local and international.

”We will give all the support needed and innovations that will meet and convert all weaknesses to successes,” Lawal said.

Continue Reading

Advertisement

Editor’s Pick

Politics