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No plan to remove fuel subsidy now — FG

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Nigerians to pay more taxes in 2022- Finance minister hints

…As PPPRA says Nigeria Gets 56m litres Of PMS Supply Daily***

The Federal Government has again clarified its stance on the removal of fuel subsidy, saying it had no plan to do so in the immediate future.

The information came, even as the Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) says Nigeria is currently getting daily supply of 56 million litres of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), also known as petrol or fuel.

The Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, said this on Sunday at the briefing by the Nigerian delegation on the outcome of their meetings with investors and institutions at the IMF/World Bank meetings in Washington DC.

Ahmed spoke in reaction to IMF’s advice to federal government to remove fuel subsidy, which might have led to panic buying in the country.

“There is no imminent plan to remove subsidy. IMF said that fuel subsidy is better removed so that we can use the resources for other important sectors.

Also Read: PANICK BUYING: Motorists react to Minister’s endorsement of IMF Advice on fuel

“In principle, It’s a good suggestion, but in Nigeria we don’t have any plans to remove fuel subsidy at this time because we have not yet designed buffers that will enable us remove the subsidy and provide cushions for our people.

“So there is no plan to remove fuel subsidy.

“We will be working with various groups to find an alternative if we have to remove it. We are not yet at the point of removing fuel subsidy yet,” she said.

Ahmed described the outing in Washington DC as a successful one, which provided Nigeria with the opportunity to review developments in the global economy and proffer potential solutions.

She said that the general advice for Nigeria is to prioritise cost-effective policies that would increase resilience to shocks, boost productivity and raise incomes of the bottom 40 per cent of the population.

“In my capacity as representative of 23 African countries, I addressed the IMFC and issued a statement calling for normalisation of trade relations among the contending parties and called for concerted efforts to supporting multilaterism and avoid protectionist sentiments.

Also Read: NNPC: Fuel scarcity, hike in fuel pump price a hoax

“At the G-24 meeting, I drew the attention of the World Bank to some of the challenges we face in implementing our portfolio like the implementation of the new environmental and social safeguards framework which tends to slow down implementation of our infrastructure projects.

“My engagement at the IMFC also focused on the global policy agenda.

“Governors underscored the importance of strengthening market competition, encouraging innovation, tackling weak governance and corruption and meeting the SDGs.

“Governors underlined the importance of strengthening international coordination and cooperation to tackle shared challenges, given the potentially damaging effects of trade tensions on global economic developments, and impact of natural disasters on developing countries,” she said.

Also, the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Sen. Udoma Udo Udoma, said he had discussions with investors and development partners on potential investment opportunities in the country.

According to him, he had discussions on improving the business climate, sensitised potential investors on incentives and opportunities for investments in Nigeria.

“In the course of my meeting with officials of the International Finance Corporation, I asked for their support for our efforts to leverage the private sector capital to fund critical infrastructure in Nigeria,” he said.

Also, the Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele, spoke about his meeting with Queen Maxima of the Netherlands who is the UN Secretary-General Special Advocate on financial inclusion.

“We reviewed the position of Nigeria in terms of financial inclusion, observing that the rate of inclusion is moving up aggressively and we are very optimistic that in 2020 we will meet the 80 per cent inclusion target.

“We also met with foreign investors who expressed confidence in what we are doing in Nigeria and this has been supported by the inflows that you may have observed recently between December and this time.

“A major take away from this meeting is that although the GDP numbers for Nigeria is low at 1.9 per cent in 2018,  I’m encouraged by the IMF predictions that global growth will pick up by second half of 2019 and emerging market economies like India, Brazil, China and Nigeria will help to drive growth.

“This means that a lot of eyes are on Nigeria and we must work hard to aggressively push up our growth numbers. But I’m hopeful that this can be achieved,” he said. 

Economy

Sanitary Pads: Reps Query Minister Over N65m Spent On New Year Party, Others

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 The Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs Uju Kennedy-Ohaneye has drawn the ire of the House of Representatives following the unguarded manner she allegedly spent monies which included expenditures of N45 million for a New Year party and, N20 million for sanitary pads.

The House of Representatives which has now queried the minister, also frowned on her other unrelated expenditure which includes N1.5 million for vehicle fuel.

Rep. Kafilat Ogbara, Chairman, House Committee on Women Affairs, led the interrogation of the Minister, over the non-payment of N1.5 billion to contractors despite the fund release in Abuja.

She said that the investigative hearing was aimed at uncovering the truth and not witch-hunting the Minister and the officials of the ministry.

The committee also investigated the alleged diversion of funds meant for contractor payments, following a petition from contractors.

The committee also sought clarification on funds appropriated for the African First Lady’s mission and the whereabouts of the N1.5 billion meant for contractor payments.

The minister however denied the allegations of misappropriation, overspending, and non-payment to contractors.

The procurement officer confirmed contractors’ claims, and the Director of Finance and Administration acknowledged only paying approved contracts.

It would be recalled that the committee had at its last sitting summoned the minister to appear before it to explain the rationale behind the non-payment.

The committee also ordered the stoppage of all 2024 contract processes by the Ministry of Women’s Affairs until the whereabouts of the money for the said contracts are determined

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Economy

LASU: Town, Meets Gown Next Tuesday, To Make Rails Transportation More Meaningful

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LASU: Town, Meets Gown Next Tuesday, To Make Rails Transportation More Meaning

…NRC Boss, Engr. Okhiria is Pointman

The Town and the Gown will on Tuesday converge at the Lagos State University (LASU), in a mutual fusion of quality and sustainable ideas, as the Managing Director, Nigeria Railways Corporation speaks on where the eggheads necessarily need to intervene, for the overall benefit of the nation.

NRC Boosts Passenger- Safety With  Strong Armed Forces Collaboration 
Engr. Fidet-Okhiria

Prof. Bamidele Badejo who is now back in LASU, confirmed this to the Maritime First, highlighting that Engr. Freeborn Okhiria would meticulously dissect a critical issue, titled: ‘From Exclusive Clause To Concurrent List: Potency for sustainable rail infrastructure development in Nigeria and the Lagos State example.

Oluwaseun Osiyemi, the Lagos State Commissioner of Transport, will be in attendance; at an event which will flag off by noon prompt, Tuesday 16th, July 2024, at the Femi Gbajabiamila Conference Centre.

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Economy

Reps Probe Cbn’s N1.12trn Anchor Borrowers Scheme, NIRSAL’s N215b Loan

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Reps Probe Cbn’s N1.12trn Anchor Borrowers Scheme, NIRSAL’s N215b Loan

The House of Representatives has ordered probes into the N1.12 trillion anchor borrowers scheme, an initiative of the Federal Government’s interventions and agricultural funding through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Also included in the probe are the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL), the Bank of Industry (BoI) and other agencies.

The resolution followed the adoption of a motion by Rep. Chike Okafor (APC-Imo) on the floor of the House in Abuja on Tuesday.

Presenting his motion, Okafor linked the growing food scarcity and malnutrition in Nigeria to the alleged mismanagement of agricultural funds intended for agricultural development in the country.

He said the Federal Government had expended N8 trillion in 8 years on various schemes and interventions in the last eight years with the view of making food available for millions of Nigerians.

He added that the alleged mismanagement, misapplication of funds and abuse of the programmes had left Nigeria with the twin challenges of food scarcity and malnutrition.

Okafor said that funds advanced to end users of the various Federal Government interventions had also been allegedly misused, misapplied and channelled to non-farming and non-agricultural purposes.

This, he said, was responsible for the current acute scarcity of food in the country.

Adopting the motion, the House mandated the Committee on Nutrition and Food Security as well as the Committee on Agricultural Production and Services; Agricultural Colleges and Institutions and Finance, to probe

The Committees were mandated to thoroughly investigate CBN’s alleged mismanagement of the Anchor Borrowers Program (ABP) for which ₦1.12 trillion was to be disbursed to 4.67 million farmers.

The farmers were said to be involved in either maize, rice or wheat farming through 563 anchors.

The committees are to look into NIRSAL’s disbursement of ₦215,066,980,274.52, to facilitate agriculture and agribusinesses.

The House gave the committees four weeks to report back to the House.

The house also mandated the committees to equally assess how the Bank of Industry (BOI) disbursed N3 billion to 22,120 smallholder farmers through the Agriculture Value Chain Financing (AVCF) Programme.

The committee is also to investigate the handling of the N5 billion loan facility to the Bank of Agriculture (BOA) for livestock farmers across the country.

This will include the management of the National Agricultural Development N1.6 billion Recovery Fund for the Ginger Blight Epidemics Central Taskforce (GBECT).

This is for the control of Blight disease in Ginger, among other interventions. 

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