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World Bank urges Nigeria to fix public finances to promote development

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World Bank urges Nigeria to fix public finances to promote development
World Bank-Maritime First Newspaper

The World Bank says Nigeria must fix its public finances, in order to promote inclusive and sustainable development.

This is contained in the World Bank Nigeria Public Finance Review Report released on Monday in Abuja.

A copy of the report was obtained from the World Bank’s website.

According to the report, macroeconomic and fiscal reforms are urgently needed to lift Nigeria’s development outcomes, which are severely constrained by inefficient use of resources.

”For years, a large share of Nigeria’s resources have financed inefficient and regressive subsidies for petrol, electricity, and foreign exchange.

“Not all these subsidies are accounted for in the budget, which makes them difficult to track and scrutinise.

“However, available data suggest that these subsidies, which accounted for more than the amount spent on education, health, and social protection in 2021, benefit primarily wealthy households.”

The statement said that these subsidies also distort incentives, discourage investment, and crowd-out spending on pro-poor programmes, thereby, hindering progress in Nigeria’s social development.

It said Nigeria had one of the lowest public expenditure and revenue levels in the world, undermining the government’s ability to improve service delivery.

“Between 2015 and 2021, total public spending in Nigeria averaged 12 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), less than half the world average of 30 percent.”

The statement said improving service delivery in Nigeria required more resources.

“Therefore, one of the most critical aspects of meeting Nigeria’s vast development needs lies in raising more revenues, as the country ranks consistently among the world’s poorest-performing countries in terms of public revenue mobilisation.

“With total revenues averaging just seven percent of GDP in 2015-2021, far below the global average of 24 percent. ”

It said low tax rates and poor utilisation of tax bases, weaknesses in tax administration, and large deductions from oil revenues were constraining Nigeria’s inability to generate enough revenues.

The statement quoted the World Bank Group President, David Malpass as saying “Nigeria’s government urgently needs to strengthen fiscal management and create a unified, stable market-based exchange rate”.

“The government also needs to phase out its costly, regressive fuel subsidy and rationalise preferential trade restrictions and tax exemptions.

“These would lay the groundwork for the increases in public revenues and spending needed to improve development outcomes.”

Malpass said decisive moves would significantly improve the business-enabling environment in Nigeria, attract foreign direct investment, and reduce inflation.

He said the World Bank was ready to increase support to Nigeria as it designs and implements these critical reforms.

The statement also quoted Nigeria’s Country Director, Shubham Chaudhuri as saying “Nigeria is at a critical historical juncture and has a choice to make.

“A child born in Nigeria today will be only 36 percent as productive when she grows up as she could be if she had access to effective public education and health services, and has a life expectancy of only 55 years.”

Chaudhuri said these stark indicators illustrate the urgency for action by Nigeria’s policymakers to improve the macroeconomic and fiscal framework, to sustainably enhance the quality of spending and public services at federal and state levels.

The statement said the Nigeria Public Finance Review was conducted at the request of the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget, and National Planning.

It said the report was prepared in close collaboration with the Budget Office of the Federation, the National Bureau of Statistics, (NBS), the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation, and the Debt Management Office (DMO).

It aims to inform the public debate on Nigeria’s future by providing a thorough analysis of the fiscal performance and necessary reforms needed to establish a robust and sustainable development model.

The aim is to provide broad-based economic opportunities for all Nigerians.

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Traffic Flow: COMTUA, PSTT reconcile for Enhanced Efficiency

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Traffic Flow: COMTUA, PSTT reconcile for Enhanced Efficiency

The Council of Maritime Transport Unions and Associations (COMTUA) has reconciled its differences with the Presidential Special Task Team (PSTT), in a bid to ensure enhanced traffic flow.

The Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu has also stressed the need for bi-annual inspection of all boats operating in Lagos waters, in addition to, water guards being present in all jetties to ensure ferry Operators do not overload their boats.

 Announcing the reconciliation at its Annual Congress in Lagos, the COMTUA President, Prince Adeyinka Aroyewun said that COMTUA  purposely left  PSTT because the task force was derailing from its core functions while its performance was being exaggerated.

Aroyewun stated that these allegations made COMTUA pull out of PSTT.

The COMTUA President declared that the associations and the PSTT have now reconciled for effective collaboration in ensuring zero traffic at the port corridor.

 “We left the committee initially because the committee seems to be derailing. But over time, with our criticism and lots of efforts of the Nigerian Shippers Council, I think we are now on track. COMTUA sees the reason to collaborate with them especially when it comes to the area of traffic in the ports access roads. I want to believe that if we collaborate we will achieve more results than what we are seeing”,  Aroyewun stated.

He had earlier in his opening speech noted that the union’s engagements with the government and other stakeholders had led to the disbandment and suspension of several task forces and creation of functional and supportive bodies to assist their businesses. He promised to deliver on the union’s promise to bring everyone on board and attend to the needs of members.

 The National Coordinator of PSTT, Mr. Moses Fadipe, who represented the Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC) at the event, pointed out that the Committee has decided to welcome COMTUA back, for better relationship and engagement in achieving the goals and objectives of the team.

He emphasised that the Rules of Engagement of the team remain unchanged.

Fadipe, however, urged the union to strictly abide by the Rules of Engagement to avoid future disagreements.

“The COMTUA President said some time ago they left the Task Team because they felt they are not doing enough but now they said they are back.

“A father cannot have 20 children and wish that one will be out of the Palace. We have welcomed them back fully as the National Coordinator. I would convey the message to the Presidential Task Team. But be that as it may, our Rules of Engagement remain the same. It has never changed”,  Fadipe stressed.

 The Governor of Lagos State Babajide Sanwo-Olu stressed the importance of technology in the development of the haulage, logistics and transportation sector at large.

Represented by the General Manager, Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA), Mr. Damilola Emmanuel, the governor hinted that a bi-annual inspection of all boats is being carried out, and water guards are in all jetties to ensure people are not overloading their boats. He added that there is the introduction of fuel docks in Lagos, Eastern and Western axis to reduce the risk on the water.

The Special Adviser to the Governor, Lagos State Ministry of Transportation, Hon. Sola Giwa represented by Engr. Ojo Owuro commended the efforts and contributions of COMTUA to the development of transportation in Lagos.

 He announced that the Ministry has issued an approval recognising COMTUA as a single body.

He enjoined members of the Union to shun disunity but work together as a team.

COMTUA later presented awards to  Vice President of the Federation, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu,  Managing Director of NPA, Muhammed Bello-Koko and Executive Secretary of NSC, Hon. Emmanuel Jime.

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Health and Safety

Amotekun Recovers Ak-47 Rifles, Ammunition hidden in Oyo Forest

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Amotekun Recovers Ak-47 Rifles, Ammunition hidden in Oyo Forest

 The Oyo State wing of the Southwest Security Network (Amotekun Corps) has recovered AK-47 rifles, military camouflage and other items hidden in a forest in the state by suspected kidnappers.

Commandant of the corps in Oyo State, retired Col. Olayinka Olayanju, told newsmen in Ibadan on Monday that the corps recovered four AK-47 rifles, four magazines and 50 rounds of 7.62mm live ammunition.

Also recovered were wraps of Indian hemp, raincoats, two Nigerian Army caps, and a beret.

He said the items were recovered while operatives of the corps were combing forests following rising cases of kidnap on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.

“Last weekend, efforts of our men were rewarded when the arms and ammunition were found in one of the forests following a tip-off that some gunmen sighted in the area.

“The security network’s agents are still present in the forest to possibly apprehend the criminal elements,’’ he said.

In his remarks, Special Adviser to Gov. Seyi Makinde on Security Matters, retired Commissioner of Police, Mr. Fatai Owoseni, said the governor had directed security personnel in the state to take proactive steps to stop abductions in the state.

Owoseni said collaboration with local hunters and vigilantes assisted greatly in recent successes recorded by the Amotekun corps in the state.

He assured that the state government would provide the equipment needed for the smooth operation of the corps to enhance their performance.

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Health and Safety

Motor Park Attacks: Osun Police Recover 5 guns, Arrest 10 Suspects

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Motor Park Attacks: Osun Police Recover 5 guns, Arrest 10 Suspects

 The Osun Police Command on Monday said it had arrested 10 suspects over the attacks across some motor parks in the state on the premise of the forceful takeover of the parks.

SP Yemisi Opalola, the Command’s Spokesperson, in a statement, said five guns, nine live and four expended cartridges and five cutlasses were recovered from the suspects.

“This is to inform the general public that the Osun State Police Command is aware and frowns at the crises that erupted within the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) in the state in the early hours of today (Monday).

The Commissioner of Police, the Area Commanders, Divisional Police Officers, and other stakeholders had met with the NURTW executive, members and other stake holders to avert the crisis and forceful take-over of the parks in the state.

“All consented to maintain peace, but it was a surprise to learn about the attacks by NURTW members in several parts of the state with attendant destruction of offices and injury to some persons and police personnel.

“The CP, Faleye Olaleye, swiftly charged the Area Commanders, Divisional Police Officers and Tactical Commanders to ensure the situation is brought under control and arrest culprits.

“Consequently, the Police operatives tactical operation led to the arrest of 10 suspects and recovery of one Barretta pistol, two Pump Action guns, two Barrel guns, nine live and four expended cartridges, five cutlasses and charms,” she said

She said the CP was, however, assuring the public that the command was fully on top of the situation as mobile, conventional, tactical and patrol teams had been deployed to curtail the crises.

The CP also advised members of the public to go about their lawful businesses without fear of insecurity or attacks.

He warned that anyone found culpable in the unwarranted violence and attacks would face the full wrath of the law.

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