The Managing Director, International Monetary Fund, Ms Christine Lagarde, on Thursday concluded her four-day visit to Nigeria with a statement that poverty, inequality and unemployment remained too high in the country.
Lagarde said this in a statement posted on the IMF website on Thursday night.
The IMF boss was quoted as commending the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari for the steps so far taken in repositioning the economy, noting that while these were being taken, more attention should be paid to dealing with the difficulties presented by falling crude oil prices.
She said while the Nigerian economy had been well diversified away from agriculture and oil, the reduced emerging market demand and tightening of global financial conditions had led to sharply lower export earnings and government revenues.
This, according to her, has made it difficult to get financing for investment in the non-oil sector.
She said, “In my meetings with the authorities, we discussed how to maintain economic progress while making the transition towards more inclusive and sustainable growth. Poverty, inequality, and unemployment levels remain too high, in addition to the challenge of the Boko Haram insurgency.
“Nigeria also has to deal with the difficulties presented by falling oil prices, reduced emerging market demand, and tightening global financial conditions. This has led to sharply lower export earnings and government revenues. The non-oil sector has also been affected and financing for investment is hard to come by.”
Against this background, the IMF boss said a range of policy recommendations related to improving the competitiveness of the Nigerian economy were made to the government.
Some of these are the need to focus on the critical area of infrastructure, where power, transport and housing are especially key; identifying ways to broaden the revenue base, particularly to create additional fiscal space to offset the impact of lower oil prices; and the need for careful decisions on borrowing, public spending and managing the cost of fuel subsidies.
Lagarde added that there was a need to safeguard priority social sectors and the most vulnerable groups.
This, she noted, would require a package of measures involving business-friendly monetary policy, flexible exchange rate policy and disciplined fiscal policy, as well as the implementation of structural reforms.
Lagarde said, “Nigeria is the largest economy in sub-Saharan Africa, with the largest population, and its important role at the regional level has become increasingly recognised.
“The economy is well diversified, no longer dominated by agriculture and oil, with services accounting for almost half of the GDP, including a significant home-grown film industry and innovative start-ups from fashion to software development.
“Nigeria has also experienced a decade of strong growth, averaging 6.8 per cent a year. In 2015, however, growth is expected to slow to about 3 ¼ percent, with a slight recovery in 2016.
“I complimented the authorities on their efforts to address corruption, particularly the decision to publish monthly data on the finances and operations of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.
“Transparency and the rule of law will be crucial in reducing constraints to the country’s growth.”
While thanking the government and people of Nigeria for their welcome and warm hospitality, Lagarde said the IMF remained the country’s committed partner as it moves forward to face the challenges of the future.
Npower: FG Yet to Engage Exited Npower Beneficiaries
Exited batches A and B beneficiaries of the N-Power scheme are yet to be formally enrolled into the ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) of the federal government.
This is contrary to the promise made by the scheme before it exited the beneficiaries.
Investors King recalls that the beneficiaries who were engaged in 2016 and 2017 respectively, were successfully exited from the scheme in May 2020.
The Federal government had, through its Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development which is handling the scheme, launched a portal for the 500,000 exited beneficiaries to apply for their exit packages.
Also, plans were made for the transition of the N-power batch A and B through the creation of the NEXIT portal, which would allow those who choose to sign up to access other government empowerment opportunities.
Despite these promises, the exited beneficiaries are yet to access these promised opportunities.
Investors King also recalls that the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq had encouraged the beneficiaries to exercise more patience and await the result of her efforts.
She had disclosed that the ministry directed Focal Persons of National Social Investment Programmes in the states to submit an updated list of the exited N-Power beneficiaries that are interested in participating in the transition plans of the ministry.
She had further stressed that N-Power beneficiaries who have concluded the 2-year job programme will now be able to access permanent job opportunities or business prospects in line with the N-power exit strategy now activated by the Buhari administration.
“Under the plan, 200,000 beneficiaries will be engaged as financial services operators under a Shared Agent Network Expansion Facility (SANEF) scheme operated by the Central Bank of Nigeria; over 30,000 have already been engaged as geospatial experts and enumerators in the Economic Sustainability Plan’s Mass Agric programme, while several others will have the option of benefiting from the GEEP micro-enterprise loans,”the minister had said.
Meanwhile, at least 200,000 former N-Power beneficiaries will be onboarded on a scheme known as the Shared Agent Network Expansion Facility (SANEF) while at least 30, 000 others would be deployed for the Mass Agric programme, a component of the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP).
SANEF scheme is a project powered by the Central Bank of Nigeria, Deposit Money Banks, Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement Systems, Chattered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria, Licensed Mobile Money Operators, and Shared Agents with the primary objective of accelerating financial inclusion in Nigeria.
2023 Presidential Candidates: Hidden Hands Now Publicly Raised
As the 2023 presidential election draws near, more anxieties have enveloped Nigerians. Who will the cap fit? Who will wear the crown and who can handle the baton the incumbent president, Muhammadu Buhari is about to pass on? These and more questions linger in the hearts of the citizens.
While some have voiced that it’s time for a southerner to rule, some others have opposed it, saying no law in the land states that. This has intensified the heat and raised more eyebrows.
After the announcement of the election dates by the nation’s electoral body, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), some undecided and hidden aspirants have publicly raised their hands.
Slated to hold February 18, 2023, the general election updates have seized the space and dominated the media, even small circles.
In this, aspirants– both old and new have been largely analysed as the line drawn becomes wider.
Cheers and frowns were accorded to the aspirants as they declare their intention to run and make promises to the people. Below are your 2023 Presidential Candidates compiled by Investors King.
On Thursday, January 13, a veteran Journalist and Publisher who jostled for the cap in 2011, Dele Momodu declared his interest to run in 2023 as he said he is not giving up on his presidential ambition.
He had earlier explained that he joined the presidential race in 2011 because of frustration. He said he was tired of lamenting about Nigeria’s bad leaders, so he decided to bring himself into it to make a difference.
Dele Momodu, who was a member of Labour Party (LP) and 2011 presidential candidate of the National Conscience Party (NCP) joined the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in October, 2021.
Momodu, who polled 26,376 votes which ranked him 11th in the 2011 election, stated in an interview that he won’t join the list of serial contesters who contest and lose at every election. He said, ‘The day my country needs me, they will find me,’ this made him return to his business until October when he joined PDP.
Declaring his 2023 ambition at the national headquarters of the Peoples Democratic Party in Abuja, Momodu apologised for his role in bringing Buhari to power in 2015 as he canvassed both online and offline against the re-election of former President Goodluck Jonathan and further governance of PDP.
The veteran journalist, while featuring on a radio programme in December, 2021 stated that the All Progressives Congress (APC) should be held responsible for the nation’s woes and shouldn’t be given another privilege to come into power.
When asked if he would support Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Yemi Osinbajo in the next general election considering their closeness, he hinted that his allegiance is to the candidate of his party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and that he will support anyone his party picks.
He added that Tinubu and Osinbajo are not technocrats and they might continue to carry the liabilities of politicians. “For me, I don’t think after Buhari, APC deserves to govern Nigeria,” he concluded.
Bola Ahmed Tinubu
Similarly, the recent declaration of the former governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu has solved the puzzle on Nigerians’ table and took over the media as the election knock gets louder. It’s now very clear that he is in the race.
First, was the inauguration of South West Agenda for Asiwaju, SWAGA’23 a year ago with the aim of mobilising youths, women, market leaders among others in the South-west to support Tinubu in the next general election.
The movement was launched in all South-West states– Ogun, Oyo, Ekiti, Ondo, Osun and Lagos. Tinubu, during the period was in London where he was recuperating after undergoing surgery.
In the mobilisation, loyalists of Asiwaju have said he is the most qualified to run for presidency in the South West. This gospel, they are ready to take to not less than four hundred traditional rulers and several communities in the South West of Nigeria.
Meanwhile, Tinubu officially stated his interest on Monday, January 10 in a closed-door meeting with president Muhammadu Buhari before addressing the press. He described it as a lifelong ambition which he is ready to pursue.
Speaking with newsmen, he said, “I have informed the President of my ambition but I have not informed Nigerians yet, I am still consulting. I have no problem consulting. And I’ve not set a parameter of limitation to the extent of how many people I will consult.”
Subsequently, just a day after Tinubu’s declaration, the governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi, on Tuesday, January 11, visited the president and informed him of his intention to contest in the next presidential election.
He noted that he is not disturbed by Tinubu’s recent declaration as he said, “I’m not in contest with anybody, I’m in contest with myself.”
He said that if the party makes the race open, he would contest for the presidency with a mission to replicate the infrastructural development in his state to the country.
Umahi, who left the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) because of its refusal to zone the presidential ticket to southeast insisted that Tinubu isn’t seen as a threat to his ambition.
Orji Uzor Kalu
Another aspirant, Orji Uzor Kalu, chief whip of the Senate also wants the presidential ticket zoned to southeast.
After Tinubu’s declaration, Kalu became uncertain about his presidential ambition but stated that he will contest if the ticket is zoned to southeast.
“I am not against his ambition of becoming the president. It is the choice of the party to determine who becomes the presidential candidate.”
Another political bigwig on the growing aspirants’ list is Pius Anyim, former Senate President and former Secretary to the Government of Federation.
He declared his interest in the presidential race, whether his party, PDP zones the ticket to the southeast or not.
Anyim, who banked on the experience he has said “I am willing and available, ready and equipped, by experience and exposure, temperament and humility, capacity and competence to serve Nigeria at this point in time as the country’s president.”
He also enjoined all the political parties in the country to zone their presidential tickets to the Southeast for equity and fairness.
Sometime in June 2021, a former deputy governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Kingsley Moghalu declared his intention to run for the presidency. He is referred to as the first to openly raise his hand.
He joined the African Democratic Congress (ADC) to pursue his presidential ambition as he said the party’s policies align with his ideologies.
Moghalu, who was formerly in Young Progressives Party (YPP) and 2019 presidential candidate of the party renounced his membership in October, 2019.
He said, “I’m making myself available to lead our country as a competent 21st century president. My desire is to make Nigeria the envy of other nations if I become the president.”
He also mentioned that since the formation of ADC in 2005, the party has remained consistent to its beliefs, passion and idea in nation-building.
The unending list is not void of the female gender as 38-year-old Khadijah Okunnu-Lamidi, daughter of former Federal Works commissioner, Femi Okunnu, SAN joined the race.
Khadijah, a renowned entrepreneur and youth development advocate publicly made known her interest in Lagos.
She is also a media expert, the founder and chief executive officer of Slice Media Solutions.
Unfolding her vision, she said she is set to harness the potentials of the country to become the Nigeria its people have always dreamt of, moving the country from a third world country into a developed nation with innovation and technology.
“I believe in the possibilities Nigeria holds; that is why I have taken this first step, not because there are no fears, but the will to bring about the Nigeria we all wish, hope and believe we can make a reality together,” she affirmed.
Nigerians await other interested persons to openly declare their ambition and goals as the social media platforms are filled with advertorials. Posters and fliers of some persons that are yet to clearly declare that they are in the race have also gone round.
Eyes are still on the incumbent vice-president, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo who has disassociated himself from a group mobilising support for him online ahead of the 2023 general election.
Former Vice-president, Atiku Abubakar and former president, Goodluck Jonathan are also yet to openly declare their stance on the presidential race.
Federal Government Raises Price of Electric Meters
The Federal Government through the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission has raised the price of both single-phase and three-phase electricity meters starting from November 15, 2021.
The regulator increased the price of a single-phased meter to N58.661.69, up from the present cost of N44,896.17. While the price of a three-phase meter was raised from the current cost of N82,855.19 to a revised rate of N109,684.36.
The commission announced this in a circular dated November 11, 2021 and addressed to managing directors of all electricity Distribution Companies and all meter asset providers.
The circular, with reference number NERC/REG/MAP/GEN/751/2, was entitled ‘Review of the unit price of end-use meters under the Meter Asset Provider and National Mass Metering Regulations’.
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