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Labour Kicks as Saraki Joins Call For Sale of Oil Assets

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The President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, on Tuesday itemised measures he said the Executive must take to take Nigeria out of recession.

The measures include the partial sale of the Nigeria LNG Limited and the reduction of government shares in upstream oil joint venture operations.

He also recommended the sale of government’s stakes in financial institutions like the Africa Finance Corporation and the privatisation and concession of major/regional airports and refineries to private operators.

Saraki made the suggestions in his address of welcome, which he read to his colleagues at the resumption of plenary.

According to him, the current economic recession transcends political parties, as well as religious and socio-cultural divides.

The Senate president noted that the economic problem facing the nation was a collective problem and should be treated as such.

He stressed that the Executive must begin to take steps to show not only Nigerians but the international community as well as local and foreign investors that the nation was ready to reform and do business.

Saraki said, “The Executive must immediately put in place a leadership-level engagement platform with the private sector. This must be one that is pro-business and shows unequivocally that the government is ready to partner the private sector towards economic revival. This is a critical signpost towards market confidence, which is a key ingredient to help us revamp the economy out of recession.

“The Executive must raise capital from asset sales and other sources to shore up the foreign reserves. This will calm investors, discourage currency speculation and stabilise the economy.

“The measures should include part sale of the NLNG Limited; reduction of government’s shares in upstream oil joint venture operations; sale of government’s stake in financial institutions e.g. Africa Finance Corporation; and the privatisation and concession of major/regional airports and refineries.”

The Senate President also insisted that the Executive should consider tweaking the pension funds policy within international best practice safeguards to accommodate investment in infrastructure and mortgages.

He stated, “The Executive and CBN must agree on a policy of monetary easing to stimulate the economy and harmonise monetary and fiscal policies until economic recovery is attained. We must ensure that local government borrowing does not crowd out credit for the private sector.

“The Executive must re-tool its export promotion policy scheme with export incentives such as the resumption of the Export Expansion Grant; and introduce export-financing initiatives. The Executive is urged to engage in meaningful dialogue with those aggrieved in the Niger Delta and avoid an escalation of the conflict in the region.

“The National Assembly is very ready to play any role in the process and offer ideas on approaches that will deliver quick win-win in order to move the region and the economy forward.

“The Executive must as a deliberate response consider immediate release of funds to ensure the implementation of the budget for the near short term to inject money into the economy.”

However, the Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress faulted the call by Saraki and other prominent Nigerians for the sale of some national assets.

The General-Secretary, NLC, Dr. Peter Ozo-Eson, and President, TUC, Mr. Bala Kaigama, stated this in separate telephone interviews with our correspondents on Tuesday, while reacting to the call.

Ozo-Eson and Kaigama said that those in the forefront of the move to sell the national assets were being motivated by a desire to acquire them.

Ozo-Eson advised the key players in the President Muhammadu Buhari administration to avoid taking advantage of the economic situation to loot the remaining national assets in the country.

He insisted that acquisition of national assets by those in power was partly responsible for the current economic situation in the country.

He added that selling the NLNG, airports and other assets would only compound the nation’s economic woes as had been demonstrated by the woeful performance of the power sector.

The NLC general-secretary said, “Selling national assets is not going cure the economy. Part of the crisis we are in is as a result of the national assets they distributed to themselves.

“They should not use the economic situation as a pretext for looting what is left of the public assets. Selling the NLNG, airports and all those other assets will not be the way to bail out the economy from this crisis. It will rather compound it as has been demonstrated by what they did with power, and other assets.

“We are opposed to the sale of those assets because they just want to take them over the way they have taken over the power sector and it is not functioning. So, that cannot be the excuse. We are opposed to it. What we will do if they go ahead is a matter that we will discuss at that point in time.”

Kaigama said that those behind the clamour for the sale of the national assets would only distribute them to their cronies.

He said that the administration should concern itself with the provision of a road map to get the economy out of recession rather than the ploy to sell the assets.

Kaigama stated “Well, I don’t know what they mean by that because these are very vital national assets. Are they saying that as soon as we sell these assets, we will be out of recession?

“Otherwise, why don’t we work out a plan that will get the economy out of recession and not this kind of fire brigade approach? Obviously, that is what it is going to head to because they will sell them to their cronies. The TUC is not in support of this.”

Rather than sell the assets, the Federal Government should borrow from the International Monetary Fund, according to the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission.

The Acting Chairman of RMAFC, Mr. Umar Gana, said this in a statement made available in Abuja on Tuesday.

Gana said the opinion of the agency was different from that of business mogul, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, who had in an interview with a cable television, CNBC Africa, advocated the sale of NLNG and other federation assets as a way of augmenting government revenue shortfall as a result of the current economic recession.

He said, “It is the considered view of the commission that Nigeria’s assets such as the NLNG and other strategic national resources should not be sold to meet short-term financial obligations.

“It will be recalled that the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria indicated in a media report that the sum of $10bn would be realised from the sale of these assets. The commission is of the strong opinion that the same amount could be borrowed from the IMF and the revenue from these assets could be used to amortise the loans over an agreed period.

“It should be noted that after the amortisation of the loans, those assets would still be owned by the federation in addition to their regular dividends and revenues.”

Gana argued that it would be unwise for the Federal Government to dispose of its crown jewels that were generating revenues that keep the Federation Account healthy over the long-term.

He said since the assets were generating revenues, the government could borrow from the IMF and amortise the loan with revenues emanating from the assets.

Gana also counselled that instead of selling off vital assets generating funds for the federation, wealthy Nigerians should be encouraged to set up their own liquefied natural gas projects since was blessed with abundant natural gas reserves.

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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92.6 Million Nigerians Enrolled For the National Identification Number – NIMC

The Federal Government through the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) has stated that NIN will be a compulsory requirement for business registration. 

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The National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) has announced that 92.63 million Nigerians have enrolled for the National Identification Number as of November 2022.

This represents an increase of 1.9 million when compared to the 90.68 million recorded in October.

According to the recent data released by NIMC, more men have been captured than women. The data also revealed that men accounted for about 52.1 million people or 56 percent of the total people captured so far in the NIN database.

On the other hand, women represent 40.5 million or 44 percent of the total enrollment, Investors King learnt.

On a state-to-state basis,  Lagos State recorded the highest enrollment with about 10.3 million. This was followed by Kano State with more than 8 million people.

Other states with substantial enrollments include Kaduna with 5.4 million, Ogun with 3.8 million, Oyo with 3.6 million, FCT with 3.2 million, Katsina with 3.1 million, Rivers with 2.7 million, Delta with 2.4 million, and Bauchi with 2.4 million.

Meanwhile, Bayelsa is presently the state with the lowest enrollments.  A total of 583,323 have so far enrolled in the state. Ebonyi trailed Bayelsa with 744,869 and Ekiti’s record shows 971,712 enrollments. While Cross River, Taraba, Yobe, Enugu, Imo, Akwa Ibom and Zamfara followed with 1 million, 1.3 million, 1.3 million, 1.5 million, Imo 1.5 million, 1.5 million and 1.6 million, respectively.

In another development, the Federal Government through the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) has stated that NIN is now a compulsory requirement for business registration like it is with banks.

According to the Registrar of the Corporate Affairs Commission, Garba Abubakar, NIN was adopted because its security can’t be compromised, unlike the National Identity card, passport, and driver’s license, which could easily be cloned.

“If you don’t have a NIN, it means you can’t register your company. The essence is to verify the integrity of the data we are collecting,” Garba noted.

National Identification Number is the unique number created by the Nigerian government to identify Nigerians, curb crimes, deepen infrastructure in cities and generally access all citizens.

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Governors Forum Replies FG, Blames Poverty on Rising Insecurity

The NGF accused the federal government of being unable to tame rising insecurity which has led to the high costs of food.

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Child Poverty - Investors King

The Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF)  has stated that governors could not be blamed for poverty in their respective states. The NGF accused the federal government of being unable to tame rising insecurity which has led to the high costs of food.

Investors King could recall that President Muhammadu Buhari earlier alleged that governors are pocketing funds meant for the development of the local governments. 

Similarly, the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Clement Agba, also stated that the 36 governors were responsible for the rising poverty index in the country,

According to the Governors Forum, the rising level of poverty among Nigerians was a consequence of the biting effect of insecurity on commercial and agricultural activities.

A statement released by NGF’s  Director of Media and Public Affairs, AbdulRazaque Bello-Barkindo said “It is important to put on record the progress made by state governors in the administration of their states, which have witnessed tremendous progress in recent times. Governors have undertaken projects where they, in conjunction with their people, deem them fit for purpose.

“This dereliction of duty from the centre is the main reason why people have been unable to engage in regular agrarian activity and commerce. Today, rural areas are insecure, markets are unsafe, travel surety is improbable and life for the common people generally is harsh and brutish.”

Barkindo further accused the minister of deviating from the major issues and passing blames when he and his colleague, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, should be implementing policies that can ameliorate the hardship Nigerians were facing. 

Barkindo in the statement added that the primary duty of any government is to ensure the security of lives and property, an area he claimed the Federal Government has failed. 

“But the Federal Government, which is responsible for the security of lives and property, has been unable to fulfil this covenant with the people, thus allowing bandits, insurgents, and kidnappers to turn the country into a killing field, maiming and abducting people, in schools market squares and even on their farmlands,” he said. 

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President Buhari Accuses Governors of Stealing LG Funds

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Muhammadu Buhari

Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari has once again accused state governors of stealing monthly allocation due to local government under them.

The president spoke at a parley with members of the Senior Executive Course of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru, held at the State House Banquet Hall, Abuja.

Speaking at the event, the president stated that it beats anyone’s imagination how some governors collected money on behalf of council areas in their states, only to remit just half of such allocation to the council chairmen, who would further deplete the remittance by filching it. Investors King learnt. 

 ‘‘I found it necessary to digress after reading my speech and this digression is a result of my personal experience. What they did, this is my personal experience, if the money from the Federation Account to the state is about N100m, N50m will be sent to the chairman, but he will sign that he received N100m. The governor will pocket the balance and share it with whoever he wants to share it with,” the president narrated. 

‘‘This is what’s happening. This is Nigeria. It’s a terrible thing; you cannot say the person who was doing this is not educated. He was a qualified lawyer, he was experienced, yet he participated in this type of corruption.” he queried. 

Furthermore, the president clarified that state governors and local government chairmen should be held responsible for the underdevelopment in the rural areas noting that most of the local governments lack basic amenities. 

Similarly, the National Union of Local Government Employees on Thursday backed the position of the president on the embezzlement and mismanagement of local government funds.

Responding to Buhari’s position, the  President of the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), Hakeem Ambali, said Buhari was merely stating the obvious.

The NULGE President nevertheless admonished the president to go beyond the statement and ensure governors, especially those in APC to sign the local government autonomy bill into law.  

“He should go beyond that statement. He is the leader of the party, he should ask them to sign the autonomy into law; he is the leader of the governors,’’ he said.

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