Buhari FG Working Round the Clock to Revive Economy
President Muhammadu Buhari has said the federal government is working round the clock to revive the economy, explaining that the economic recession in the country is the result of the cumulative effects of worldwide economic downturn and failure in the past to plan and save for difficult times.
“I assure you that this administration is working round the clock to remove the hardships the country is going through,” he said in a short message to Muslim faithful celebrating the Eid-el-Kabir festival yesterday, pleading with Nigerians that the current economic hardships could not be properly understood without an appreciation of the mistakes.
The president’s explanation was complemented by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Yakubu Dogara, and the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) who called on Nigerians to take advantage of the festivities to pray for the quick recovery of the economy and peace in the country.
But the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in its message to the nation’s Muslims told the Buhari administration to stop looking for scapegoats for its inability to run the economy and get down to the task of retrieving the economy from the recess it had pushed it.
“The president and his APC were elected to further better the lots of Nigerians, and not to dish out constant complaints on the situation which they mindlessly created not minding the attendant consequences of their actions on our collective destinies,” the PDP said in a direct reference to the president’s message, adding: “It is, therefore, high time they stopped this unnecessary grumbling and concentrate on how to redeem our economy by providing good governance to the people.”
Saluting Nigerians for their steadfastness in the face of the prevailing harrowing times, the president said that his administration was working hard to shorten the period of the recession and restore prosperity quickly.
Reeling out his plans, Buhari said: “Rail and road constructions, projects in the housing sector, support for farmers and for small and medium scale industries, youth and women’s empowerment programmes, support for revival of industries are all designed to reinvigorate the economy and enhance living standards of ordinary people.”
He said just as he was getting security right and fighting corruption with a reasonable measure of success, he would get the economy right.
The president preached religious harmony, enjoining Muslims to live by the dictates of Islam, keep good relationships with their Christian brothers and sisters and as patriots to maintain the spirit of the Nigerian nation.
Dogara, APC Call for Prayers
Speaker Dogara and his deputy, Yussuff Lasun, while felicitating with the Muslim faithful called for prayers in the face of the economic hardships that Nigerians were going through, telling them to ask Allah for peace and prosperity for Nigeria.
Dogara, in his message, urged Muslims to imbibe the spirit of sacrifice, peace and unity.
He also called for the peaceful co-existence among Nigerians, and prayers for the current economic and security challenges in the country, which he said were not insurmountable.
“As we celebrate Eid-el-Kabir with our friends and families, we must never forget our country and its leadership in our prayers. Eid-el-Kabir celebration is a period of sacrifice and reflection. I urge us all to emulate the virtues of total obedience, sacrifice in faith and selfless service as demonstrated and exemplified by Prophet Ibrahim,” Dogara said.
He expressed confidence that the current administration through its diversification drive would restore Nigeria to the path of development and prosperity.
Dogara also assured Nigerians of the House of Representatives’ determination to continue to work selflessly and tirelessly for the common good and the overall interest of the country through effective, efficient and robust law making, oversight and representation.
Lasun appealed for perseverance among Nigerians especially due to the economic recession, urging Muslims to emulate the Prophet by extending good hands of fellowship to friends and neighbours.
The ruling APC in its message pleaded with Muslims across the country to pray for peace and quick recovery of the economy.
In a statement issued by the National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun yesterday, the party urged Muslims and all Nigerians to use the occasion of Eid-el-Kabir to show love and promote harmonious and peaceful co-existence with one another irrespective of ethnic or religious affiliations.
“Nigeria is today passing through challenging times in its socio-economic life, the party calls on Nigerians to pray and support the administration as it works assiduously to pull the country out of the present hardships and restore the country to the path of growth in all facets,” it said, adding: “Happily, the President Muhammadu Buhari-led APC administration is already employing all legitimate and innovative means to restore the country’s battered economy back to good health in the quickest possible time.”
The party urged Nigerians to support the recently launched National Re-orientation Campaign “Change Begins With Me’’.
“In a bold move to repair our value system that has been badly eroded over the years, on September 8, 2016, President Muhammadu Buhari launched the laudable National Re-orientation Campaign ‘Change Begins With Me’. The party appeals to all Nigerians to be part of this campaign which will institutionalise the best practice and time-honoured values of honesty, hard work, patriotism, abhorrence of corruption, accountability and integrity in our everyday life,” it said.
PDP Tells Government to Stop Grumbling
However, the opposition PDP led by Senator Ahmed Mohammed Makarfi told the APC-led administration to focus on how to get the economy working rather than seeking for a scapegoat.
The party, in a message, said it joined other well-meaning Nigerians to felicitate with Muslims worldwide on the occasion of Eid-El-Kabir, the ‘Festival of Sacrifice’.
The message signed by the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Prince Dayo Adeyeye, advised all Nigerians especially, the political and ruling class in the country to emulate Prophet Ibrahim for his willingness and total obedience to the will of God by agreeing to sacrifice his only son.
It called for good governance and peaceful co-existence, urging Nigerians to sacrifice for the greater good of the country.
The PDP said: “We want to use this opportunity once again to celebrate and felicitate with all our Muslim brothers and sisters in Nigeria and across the world on this occasion of Eid-El-Kabir as instituted by Allah through Prophet Ibrahim. We want to also urge Nigerians to use this period and pray for the recovery of our ailing economy, the unity and oneness of this country and continue making sacrifices for Nigeria to become great again.”
“Mr. President in his Salah Message today, again blamed the present Acute Economic Recession on the past administration and global economic downturn. Let Mr. President and his Party, the APC, be reminded that it took a smart and experienced world-class Economic Team in the Year 2010 to lead Nigerians through a cushioned global financial meltdown and beyond. The “Change” is really with them (APC) and their barrage of falsehood.”
Fiscal Federalism: Lagos Demands One Percent in Revenue Allocation Formula
Lagos State Government on Monday demanded a one percent share in the revenue allocation formula, maintaining that the special status of the State and its prosperity directly or indirectly have multiplying effects on the South-West region and the entire country.
Lagos State Government also proposed that the revenue sharing formula should be 34 percent for Federal Government including one percent for FCT – Abuja, 42 percent for State Governments, 23 percent for Local Governments and one percent for Lagos State (Special Status) as against the current revenue allocation formula, which are 52.68 percent, 26.72 percent and 20.60 percent for Federal Government, 36 state governments and 774 local governments respectively.
The demands were made by Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu at the opening of a two-day South-West Zonal Public hearing on the review of revenue allocation formula by the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) held on Monday at Lagos Continental Hotel, Victoria Island.
Governor Sanwo-Olu in a memorandum on review of Revenue Allocation Formula he submitted to the RMAFC declared that allocating one percent for Lagos State (Special Status) and allowing the three tiers of government to share 99 percent in a new revenue sharing formula is very straightforward, self-justifying and in no way controversial.
He said the review of the current revenue allocation formula is long overdue, noting that the best way to guarantee national progress and development is by paying attention to sub-national development because the national is a summation and a reflection of the sub-national.
He also reiterated the call for Lagos State to be accorded special status in recognition of its huge financial commitments to infrastructure and provision of basic amenities for the increasing population of its residents, as well as its preeminent contribution to the national coffers.
He said the call, which has been re-echoed at different fora and at various levels and tiers of government, cannot be overemphasized, especially against the backdrop of the current economic situation of the country, the aftermath of the EndSARS protests a year ago, and the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, for which Lagos has been the national epicenter.
“Our demand is a sharing formula that is just, fair and equitable; reflecting the contribution of stakeholders to the common purse, and also one that enhances the capacity of state and local governments to deliver high-quality services and the full dividends of democracy to the greatest number of our people.
“Lagos State is no doubt the nation’s commercial capital, and population center. The level of funding required to service the State’s social and public infrastructure is so significant that it will be difficult for the State to bear the burden for much longer under the present arrangement.
“I should say that it will actually be unfair to expect the State to bear this heavy burden on its own. It is, therefore, necessary to give due consideration to all the variables that support our advocacy for a Special Status.
“The call for a special status for Lagos is not a selfish proposition; it is in the best interest of the country and all Nigerians, for Lagos which accounts for about 20 percent of the national GDP and about 10 percent of the nation’s population to continue to prosper,” the Governor said.
Justifying the need for Lagos State to be accorded special status, Governor Sanwo-Olu said Lagos is more than just another state in the Nigerian federation, noting that there is no tribe in the country that has no significant stake in Lagos State.
He said: “As the former capital of the country for 77 years (compared to the 30 years that Abuja has been the Federal Capital Territory), Nigeria’s largest metropolis still bears the heavy brunt of being home to all Nigerians; irrespective of age, class, gender, religious affiliation or tribe.
“There are several statistics that show the number of people that comes into Lagos every day, however, there are clear indications that most of these people migrate with the intention to make Lagos their new home and in pursuit of personal dreams due to the opportunities the city-state seemingly possesses, and this portends additional responsibilities on the government.
“Additionally, Lagos still harbors a huge number of federal establishments which could not be moved to Abuja. These include military cantonments and barracks, Police, Customs, Immigration, Civil Defence, Prisons, Road Safety and security/intelligence establishments.
“There are several reasons to justify the call for a special status for Lagos apart from the aforementioned factors and by extension, a review of the Revenue Allocation Sharing Formula.”
Governor Sanwo-Olu also said that it would be unfair for Lagos State to be left alone to bear the burden of the massive destruction experienced by the State during the EndSARS protests hijacked by hoodlums and the COVID-19 pandemic without assistance from the Centre.
“This month marks one year after the massive destruction experienced by the State in the violence that accompanied the hijacking of the EndSARS protests. Public buildings were burnt down, and historical infrastructure was destroyed.
“Although we have put that experience behind us and forged ahead, the reality of this unfortunate incident remains with us; resources that should be committed to other areas of need are now being used for the restoration of these public facilities. It will be totally unfair for Lagos State to be left alone to bear these huge expenses without assistance from the Centre.
“COVID-19 pandemic is another issue that has once again, supported the justification for Lagos to be accorded the privilege of special status. As much as this affects the entire country, it is a fact that the degree of the havoc caused by this virus differs from State to State.
“Lagos was the epicenter for this virus, the same way it was for the Ebola virus some years ago. The management of these unforeseen occurrences comes with huge responsibilities and financial commitments on the part of the State Government,” he said.
Governor Sanwo-Olu commended the Chairman and members of RMAFC for taking a bold step, which he believed will “result in a fundamental alteration of the current revenue sharing formula, in favour of one that is truly fair and equitable, and that takes into full consideration the specific and more pragmatic fiscal contexts of the sub-national governments of the Federation.”
FG Places 3,964 Nigerians on Watch List, Suspends Passports
No fewer than 3,964 Nigerians are currently on the watch list of the Nigeria Immigration Service.
The names of the affected individuals, it was gathered, have been placed with security agencies at the nation’s international airports where they will be arrested on sight.
According to the 2020 NIS annual report suspect index, 308 persons were placed on the watch list in 2019, 166 in 2020, while 51 persons were stop-listed in two years.
No fewer than 3, 438 passports are also being watch, while 23 are on the exemption list.
The report states, “Suspect index reviews and maintains the list of persons whose entry into Nigeria is prohibited or on whom special instructions are in place with respect to entry and departure from Nigeria. The travel documents are the instruments used to achieve this objective through synergy with other law enforcement agencies and court of competent jurisdiction.”
In a related development, the NIS has revoked 149, 875 stolen or lost passports and uploaded them to Interpol’s Stolen and Lost Travel Documents database via the Web Services for Data Management platform.
Meanwhile, there are indications that the FG may not meet its 2021 revenue projection from NIS services.
Findings show that there might be revenue shortfall from visa; e-PASS, ECOWAS Residence Card, the Combined Expatriate Residence Permit and Aliens Card and other documents issued by the NIS due to the reduced number of foreign visitors and expatriates in the country following COVID-19 travel restrictions.
Immigration sources said the number of Italians, Britons, South Africans, Chinese, Indians, and other Asians, who constitute a large percentage of expatriates in the country, had reduced on account of travel restrictions imposed by their respective countries.
The erstwhile Comptroller-General of Immigration, Muhammad Babandede had said the service recorded a 40 per cent revenue shortfall in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Figures from the NIS showed that in 2018, the immigration service generated N20.3bn from CERPAC; N40.7bn in 2019, and N16.7bn in 2020.
Envoy Considers Establishment Of Chinese Banks In Nigeria To Boost Economy
Mr Cui Jianchun, the Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, says he is in talks with Chinese owned Banks to establish operations in Nigeria.
This, the envoy said, is to boost Nigeria’s economy and expand trade relations between the two nations.
Cui made this known on Tuesday in Abuja while addressing Journalists during the commemoration of the 2021 Chinese Moon Festival and China-Nigeria Cultural week.
According to Cui, the establishment of Chinese Banks in Nigeria will also be one of the key areas of discussion during the China-Nigeria Binational Committee meeting, which he is also pushing for the establishment.
He said that an efficient financial institution was a key driver to achieving a strong economy, one Nigeria can learn from China’s experience.
“Before my departure from Beijing to Abuja, I talked to several banks in China. When you list the World’s 10 big banks, six are in China.
“The Banking sector is very important, because, without money, we cannot build our industries.
“What I am thinking here is best to talk to the governor of Central Bank and how we can allow the Chinese Banks to run office here and now, they are doing the feasibility studies on that.
“I am working hard that in the Bi-national meeting, I hope we can make a big decision and give a big push to let the banking industry and insurance industry because financial integration and institutions are key.
“If you go to China, you will find our banking industry is very powerful, not only for business but the change in the way of life.
“Because of the COVID-19, the Banking Industry is a little hesitant, but I told them Nigeria has a lot of human resources and as long as we work together, we can do big things.
“And that is why it is important to invest in the banking industry, to solve this problem,” Cui said.
Extolling the extant China-Nigeria trade relations, Cui noted that the volume of trade between China and Nigeria is nearly 20 billion US Dollars, with an increase from 2020’s 19.2 billion dollars.
Cui said the Chinese economy is restoring to the normal post-COVID-19 pandemic and both governments are working hard on how to expand imports and exports.
Speaking on the event, Cui said the China’s moon festival is a very important and significant one for China as it symbolises family reunion, national peace and social harmony.
The envoy said the 2021 celebration is also a special one as it coincides with the 50th Anniversary of China-Nigeria’s bilateral relations.
He said that both countries also share Oct. 1 as their National Days.
He said it is also on that note that the Chinese Embassy is honouring 50 Nigerian employees of Chinese Companies in Nigeria for their outstanding performance and contribution to strengthening diplomatic ties.
Dr Ifeoma Anyanwutaku, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, also lauded the Nigeria-China relations.
She said the relations had recorded great successes over the past five decades.
“The five decades of co-operation had since witnessed several cultural activities and exchanges in the spheres of arts, music, dance, exhibition, cultural administration, training and capacity building of cultural officers.
“And recently, the development of Cultural Industries centres in Nigeria, among others.
“I must add that China, through the youth-oriented programmes such as the photos competition and similar activities in the past is surely a dependable ally.
“In redirecting the energy and mind of our youth to creative ventures, thereby furthering the Nigerian government’s policy of lifting a hundred million Nigerians out of poverty in the next 10 years”, Anyanwukatu said. (NAN)
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