- Senate Will Pass Laws to End Recession
The Senate is committed to passing laws that will help end the country’s worst economic recession in decades by attracting private investment in roads, rail and the ports.
The Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, said this in an interview with Bloomberg at his residence in Abuja on Friday.
“We have 11 bills that we have identified as bills that we need to pass to get the economy up and running. We are looking at how the private sector can take major trunk roads away from the government, and how the railway too can be taken away from the government,” he explained.
He said the monetary and fiscal authorities needed to work together to achieve macro-economic stability and enable a free-floating foreign exchange regime, so that the local currency, which is he noted was “undervalued,” would finds its real value and win investors’ confidence.
The country is facing its biggest economic crisis in 25 years with the collapse in the prices of crude oil, which provides 70 per cent of government revenue and more than 90 per cent of all foreign income. Dollar shortages have hurt the nation, affecting importers of raw materials and finished goods alike.
With militant attacks in the southern oil-producing region further crippling export revenue, President Muhammadu Buhari’s government is struggling to implement a record budget of N6.1tn planned to stimulate output by investing in infrastructure projects. The International Monetary Fund estimates that the economy will probably shrink by 1.7 per cent this year.
Nigeria will need $3.1tn over the next three decades to cover existing infrastructure deficits, with half of the funding expected from private investors, according to the Ministry of Budget and Planning.
“It’s clear that government can’t fund them even if the crude price hadn’t dropped this much,” Saraki said, adding, “If we can address the infrastructure shortfall, that way, we’ll bring real productivity to the country.”
Apart from laws to enable private investors to run rail, roads and ports, the legislature is also working on bills to improve the ease of doing business in the country as well as reform the Customs service and the petroleum industry, he said.
“The most important thing is for us to continue to bring confidence back into the economy in the short-term,” Saraki said.
Resolving the insurgency in the Niger Delta through dialogue and creating a “truly flexible” exchange policy will help boost confidence in the economy, he added.
“The sense of purpose is there, but if we continue to make these kinds of errors, then people will lose confidence and that’s what we can’t allow,” the Senate president added.
UK Government Has Approved Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine
The United Kingdom on Wednesday Approved Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine
British government on Wednesday became the first country to approve Pfizer and BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for use, according to the UK government.
The vaccine will be rolled out from next week and the first dose could be administered as early as December 7th, stated people familiar with the matter.
Last week, the UK government announced it had ordered 40 million doses of Pfizer and BioNTech COVID-19 and appointed Nadhim Zahawi, the current junior business minister, as the minister responsible for the deployment of the vaccines.
British government on Wednesday morning said, “The Government has today accepted the recommendation from the independent Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to approve Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine for use”
“The vaccine will be made available across the UK from next week.”
Matt Hancock, Health Secretary, revealed that the programme would commence early next week.
“It is very good news,” Hancock said.
Zabarmari Massacre: Buhari to Provide More Resources for the Nigerian Military
President Muhammadu Buhari has promised to provide more resources to the military in the aftermath of the Zabarmari massacre.
On Saturday, Boko Haram killed 43 people with around 70 people still missing in Zabarmari, a village in Borno State.
Reacting to the massacre, Buhari, through his official Twitter handle @MBuhari said “Nothing is more important than ensuring the security of lives and property of Nigerians. Everything is secondary when security is at stake. I will ensure that more resources are made available to the military and other security agencies to prosecute the war against terrorism.
“As we mourn all the lives lost in Zabarmari, the Armed Forces have been given the marching order to take the fight to the insurgents, not on a one-off, but on a continuous basis, until we root out the terrorists.
“We will intensify our cooperation with neighbouring countries on bilateral and multilateral levels, to ensure that there is no hiding place for the terrorists.
“As I noted earlier, the massacre by Boko Haram in Zabarmari is nothing short of senseless, barbaric, gruesome and cowardly. It reinforces our resolve to root out all forms of insurgency and insecurity not just in Borno but everywhere across Nigeria.”
Boko Haram Kills Rice Farmers in Borno State, Northeast Nigeria
Rice farmers were killed on Saturday morning in the Northeast Nigeria by suspected Islamist militants, Boko Haram, according to a Reuters Report.
The report also noted that 30 of the people killed were beheaded while over a dozen others were still missing.
However, resident of the Zambarmari Village where the attacks took place said a total of 70 people were feared dead.
Another resident and Amnesty International were quoted as saying at least 10 women were among those missing.
In another statement by Edward Kallon, the United Nations’ humanitarian coordinator in Nigeria, it was armed men on motorcycles that led the brutal attack on civilians harvesting their fields.
“Armed men on motorcycles led a brutal attack on civilian men and women who were harvesting their fields,” Edward Kallon stated.
“At least 110 civilians were ruthlessly killed and many others were wounded in this attack,” he added, noting that several women are believed to have been kidnapped.
“The incident is the most violent direct attack against innocent civilians this year. I call for the perpetrators of this heinous and senseless act to be brought to justice,” Kallon said.
On Sunday, Governor Babaganan Umara Zulum of Borno State, who was at the burial told journalists that at least 70 farmers were killed on Saturday.
The Governor, therefore, called on the Federal Government to recruit more Civilian Joint Task Force members, Soldiers and civil defence fighters to protect farmers in the region.
He added that people are facing desperate choices.
“In one side, they stay at home they may be killed by hunger and starvation, on the other, they go out to their farmlands and risk getting killed by the insurgents,” he said.
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