Dilma Rousseff’s future as president of Brazil was cast into further doubt as millions of protesters, wearied by scandal and recession, staged some of the largest rallies in the country’s modern history.
Brazilians demonstrated peacefully for Rousseff’s ouster in cities throughout the country on Sunday, with some estimates counting more than 3 million people on the streets. Sao Paulo recorded its largest political rally on record, according to polling firm Datafolha. In the capital Brasilia, some 100,000 people marched toward Congress, expressing their support for the anti-corruption blitz that has put several high-profile executives and politicians behind bars.
Many Brazilians say they have had enough of corruption revealed by the two-year investigation known as Lava Jato, or Carwash in English, that has paralyzed Congress and deepened the worst recession in over a century. Sunday’s protests could prompt more legislators to abandon the ruling coalition and vote for Rousseff’s ouster, according to Paulo Calmon, a political science professor at the University of Brasilia.
After being stalled in Congress for months, the impeachment proceedings are expected to resume in coming days when the Supreme Court decides on guidelines for the lower house to follow.
Some allies have already begun to distance themselves from Rousseff, as her party gets drawn deeper into the corruption scandal. The March 12 national convention of her largest allied party, known as the PMDB, ended with the threat to fully break from the ruling coalition next month. Earlier in March, the smaller Brazilian Socialist Party joined the opposition.
Rousseff, who on Friday said she hadn’t given up and wouldn’t resign, made no public appearances on Sunday. Instead, she issued a statement in which she said that the peaceful nature of protests shows “the maturity of a country that knows how to live with diverging opinions.”
Brazil’s political drama is playing out less than five months before the 2016 Olympic Games are due to start in Rio de Janeiro.
Pressure on Rousseff started building in February with the arrest of her campaign strategist and a news report of allegations that she tried to interfere with corruption investigations. The political crisis hit a new high with former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s brief detention for questioning on March 4.
Adding to Rousseff’s woes, the country’s top electoral court is investigating whether she illegally funded her re-election campaign in 2014.
Both Rousseff and Lula have repeatedly denied wrongdoing.
With distrust of much of Brazil’s ruling class running deep and many leading politicians linked to the corruption scandal, a possible Rousseff exit could be messy. Some opposition leaders, including Senator Aecio Neves, who narrowly lost to Rousseff in the 2014 presidential election, were criticized during the demonstration as “opportunist.”
“We’re seeking a way out of this impasse in accordance with the constitution,” Neves wrote on Twitter.
It’s not just government critics taking to the streets. Supporters of Rousseff’s Workers’ Party held some small rallies on Sunday and plan demonstrations this month against the impeachment process. They also will show support for Lula, the party’s co-founder and Rousseff’s predecessor, who was charged last week with money laundering and providing false testimony.
One of the big winners coming out of Sunday’s protest was Sergio Moro, the federal judge from the southern state of Parana who’s overseeing the Carwash investigation, said Carlos Pio, a political scientist at the University of Brasilia.
Throughout the country, protesters hailed Moro as a national hero. Some wore t-shirts saying “In Moro We Trust” and others laid out a sign before Congress that read “We Are Moro.”
“The protests were a loud call from Brazilians: ‘Clean up our country,´” Pio said.
FG Has Paid Fuel marketers N74B in Seven Months — NMDPRA
The Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) on Wednesday disclosed that the federal government has paid oil marketers N74 billion as bridging claims in last seven months..
The agency said it was reacting to claims by the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association Nigeria (IPMAN), Suleja branch, that continuing fuel scarcity was caused by non-payment of bridging claims.
The agency said it paid N71.2 billion bridging claims and another N2.7 billion freight differentials to the marketers as of June 6.
In May, IPMAN said the government owed its members half a trillion naira being the cost of transporting petrol across the country.
However, at the time NMDPRA had claimed to have paid oil marketers bridging claims of about N59 billion in five months.
In recent months, fuel scarcity has worsened in Abuja and several other cities across the country.
Marketers had listed the high cost of buying petrol at the depots and the high cost of diesel to truck them as the major factors responsible for the recent queue.
On Monday, the government announced that the nation’s capital petroleum deliveries were up nearly 100 per cent after the government offered additional N10 freight reimbursements to marketers.
The statement by the NMDPRA reads: “The attention of the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) has been drawn to allegations made by the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association Nigeria (IPMAN Suleja Branch) on product scarcity as a result of non-payment of bridging claims.
“The authority chief executive of the NMDPRA, at a meeting held on 17th May 2022 with IPMAN bridging payment was discussed extensively and the processes were explained and agreed upon by IPMAN.
“He assured IPMAN of NMDPRA’s willingness to continue making payments of outstanding claims to promote seamless operations.
“Pursuant to the meeting, the NMDPRA went ahead to make an additional payment of N10 billion in June and sought for an upward review of the freight rate which was approved by President Muhammadu Buhari and is currently being implemented.
“The Authority wishes to reiterate that bridging payment is an ongoing process which is carried out after due verification exercise by the Authority and Marketers.
“So far, the Authority paid N71,233,712,991 bridging claims and another N2,736,179,950.84 freight differentials to the Marketers as at 6th June 2022.
“A breakdown of payment made to Marketers is as follows: Major Marketers (MOMAN) received N9,958,777,487.24, IPMAN members were paid N42,301,923,616.96, NNPC Retails N6,661,459,118.61 while DAPPMAN members were paid N12,303,195,651.57, these translate to a total of N73,969,892,941.84.
“It is disheartening that despite these payments and increase of N10 bridging cost, which was approved by President Muhammadu Buhari two weeks ago, IPMAN could turn around to accuse the NMDPRA of insensitivity,” the statement said.
It said NMDPRA remains committed to ensuring a safe, efficient, and effective conduct of midstream and downstream petroleum operations.
Nigeria-Cameroon Link Bridge up for Inauguration this June – Fashola
The Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola (SAN), has stated that the Nigeria-Cameroon link bridge will be inaugurated this June.
Speaking at the 16th inter-ministerial meeting of the group in Abuja, Fashola who doubles as the Chairman of the five regional ministerial steering committees, explained that the largely funded bridge by the African Development Bank (AfDB) is completed and in hopes that ECOWAS would deliver support for the inauguration.
“We have completed a new link bridge that links Nigeria to Cameroon, and it was funded largely by the AfDB and we are hoping that the ECOWAS commission will give us the necessary support to ensure the formal opening of that bridge sometime in the month of June,” he said.
The commitment to the piece of infrastructure, according to the minister, is to transform the road network into a first-class six-lane motorway, emphasizing that while speed is important, quality must not be lost.
“We’re trying to deliver a better life for five countries and over 40 million people who use that corridor, almost on a daily basis.
“The future is bright, this is an important investment for the people of Africa to achieve the objective of the Africa Union (AU) to create a trans-African highway,” he stated.
Lydie Ehouman, AfDB’s Chief Transport Economist and Project Task Manager, also spoke at the event, stating that the bank had been able to acquire an additional €3.5 million for the road project.
Investors King gathered that the total sum available for the initial financing of the project’s strategic research has increased to $41 million.
“The agreement for the on-lending of this additional grant by the bank to ECOWAS is currently being finalised. Thus, in addition to its substantial contribution of $25 million, the bank will have mobilised €12.63 million in the form of a grant from the European Union.
“This brings the total amount available for the financing of this highly strategic study to the equivalent of about US$ 41 million,” she stated.
She did, however, point out that specialists in member countries’ claims of delays were untrue, because the arrangement was that labor should persist while any differences were aired and rectified.
UNDP, DPGA to Promote Global Digital Goods
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Digital Public Goods Alliance (DPGA), the government of Norway, and Sierra Leone have agreed to promote inclusive digital public infrastructure in countries across the world.
On Wednesday, Investors King gathered that world leaders, development organisations and philanthropic funders are set to invest in a “large-scale technology sharing, funding, and commitment to supporting the international cooperation agenda.”
In its published statement, UNDP stated that the agreement is to improve governance frameworks, which are critical to building a resilient future for countries.
At the event, global leaders committed their efforts to funding and the implementation of digital public infrastructure through a newly established Digital Public Goods Charter (DPG), which serves as a framework to increase international cooperation on this plan.
With its DPG Charter, co-led by the DPGA and the Digital Impact Alliance (DIAL), the UNDP outlines a clear vision for a coordinated global approach to building a safe, trusted, and inclusive digital public infrastructure using DPGs.
“Doing so can enable countries – regardless of income levels – to transform services and service delivery for people and communities everywhere,” the statement read.
The DPG Charter, and the commitments made by global leaders, are especially relevant given the devastating socio-economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and mounting climate disruption.
These challenges, compounded with the unprecedented food, energy, and financial crisis added by the war in Ukraine, are creating an urgent need for global action.
Digital Public Goods are open-source solutions used to build digital public infrastructure (DPI), enabling countries to provide better services and foster inclusive economic growth.
While the Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI) involves digital systems like cash transfers, digital identification, and data exchange that enable the adequate provision of essential society-wide functions. It also allows the building of resilient crisis recovery.
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