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I Pray Nigeria oil Dries up, Says El-Rufai

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2017 budget
  • I Pray Nigeria oil Dries up, Says El-Rufai

Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State believes the oil wealth accruing to the country constitutes a major obstacle to Nigeria’s ability to think and innovate its way out of underdevelopment.

He wishes the oil wells and the ‘free money’ there from dry up so that the government and the people can get serious about making the country realize its full potentials.

el-Rufai spoke yesterday in Ibadan at the 2017 Town Hall Meeting/ Founder’s Day Celebration in memory of renowned economist, Professor Ojetunji Aboyade.

He also made a fresh case for state policing, and warned against allowing the federal character policy become an enemy of merit in appointments.

The governor who was the special guest of honour at the event said: “Because Nigeria gets easy money from oil, the nation has lost its thinking initiative on how to develop other sources of revenue and diversify the economy.

“We get easy money, we do not collect taxes and our taxes are six per cent of Gross Domestic Product; that is an average of 21per cent. We stop respecting the intellectuals that we have in our universities because we get easy money.

“This is very sad, I wish the oil will dry up so that we can begin to use our brains because we have stopped using our brains and we have stopped respecting intellects because of easy money.

On policing, he said: “It is obvious that Nigeria is severely under-policed, and will require more personnel, intelligence assets, better training, technology and equipment for its security agencies for the country to be a credible guarantor of security.

“Even if these were to be available, it is also debatable whether a single centralised policing system, structure and staffing for 200 million citizens is viable in a diverse, multi-lingual, multi-cultural and multi-ethnic nation like Nigeria.”

He also addressed the issue of federal character, saying: “To complement the pursuit of the Sustainable Development Goals, we must have discourse around the imperative of a project dedicated to enabling equal opportunity so that the circumstances of a citizen’s birth don’t prescribe his or her ceiling in life.

“How can we promote a national subscription to meritocracy? How can we ensure that the imperative of reflecting federal character does not become the enemy of merit and quality of appointments? Today, we don’t plan. We don’t have national plan and if we don’t plan, we are planning to fail.

“Having suffered brain drain, how do we attract back our Diaspora and the brain-gain associated with it like the Chinese and Indians have witnessed? These are the questions a distributive mentality around easy oil revenues is dodging.

“The earlier the oil dries up the better for our national ability to think, be innovative and respect intellect and academic achievement.

el-Rufai spoke on “Public Policy research should promote national consensus.”

In his presentation, the lead speaker, Professor Sam Olofin, explained that indeed the country is technically out of recession but that it requires sustained efforts for an economy to be progressive.

He noted that many Nigerians are confusing the country’s underdevelopment with recession adding that with the reversal of the growing negative rate of the economy, the country is technically out of recession but that the positive growth must also be sustained and continuous so that it would rub on the overall economy.

He stressed that if Nigeria doesn’t diversify its dependence on oil early enough, the country will remain an underdeveloped economy for a long time.

Chairman of the occasion, Professor Oladipupo Akinkugbe, said Nigeria keeps chasing potential but that the country will have to get there fast and as early as possible.

He lamented that many of the excellent ideas churned out by many research institutes are often allowed to gather dust. He said that if some of the ideas and recommendations made by many researchers over the years had been implemented, the country would not be where it is today.

The event which had the theme “Achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in Nigeria,” was organised by the Development Policy Centre, Ibadan.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

Government

COVID-19 Vaccine: African Export-Import Bank (Afrexim) to Purchase 270 Million Doses for Nigeria, Other African Nations

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African Export-Import Bank (Afrexim) Approves $2 Billion for the Purchase of 270 million Doses for African Nations

African Export-Import Bank (Afrexim) said it has approved $2 billion for the purchase of 270 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines for African nations, including Nigeria.

Prof. Benedict Oramah, the President of the Bank, disclosed this at a virtual Africa Soft Power Series held on Tuesday.

He, however, stated that the lender is looking to raise more funds for the COVID-19 vaccines’ acquisition.

He said: “The African Union knows that unless you put the virus away, your economy can’t come back. If Africa didn’t do anything, it would become a COVID-19 continent when other parts of the world have already moved on.
“Recall that it took seven years during the heat of HIV for them to come to Africa after 12 million people had died.

“With the assistance of the AU, we were able to get 270 million vaccines and financing need of about $2 billion. Afreximbank then went ahead to secure the $2 billion. But that money for the 270 million doses could only add 15 per cent to the 20 per cent that Covax was bringing.

He added that this is not the time to wait for handouts or free vaccines as other countries will naturally sort themselves out before African nations.

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China Calls for Better China-U.S. Relations

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China Calls for China-U.S. Relations

Senior Chinese diplomat Wang Yi said on Monday the United States and China could work together on issues like climate change and the coronavirus pandemic if they repaired their damaged bilateral relationship.

Wang, a Chinese state councillor and foreign minister, said Beijing stood ready to reopen constructive dialogue with Washington after relations between the two countries sank to their lowest in decades under former president Donald Trump.

Wang called on Washington to remove tariffs on Chinese goods and abandon what he said was an irrational suppression of the Chinese tech sector, steps he said would create the “necessary conditions” for cooperation.

Before Wang spoke at a forum sponsored by the foreign ministry, officials played footage of the “ping-pong diplomacy” of 1972 when an exchange of table tennis players cleared the way for then U.S. President Richard Nixon to visit China.

Wang, a Chinese state councillor and foreign minister, said Beijing stood ready to reopen constructive dialogue with Washington after relations between the two countries sank to their lowest in decades under former president Donald Trump.

Wang called on Washington to remove tariffs on Chinese goods and abandon what he said was an irrational suppression of the Chinese tech sector, steps he said would create the “necessary conditions” for cooperation.

Before Wang spoke at a forum sponsored by the foreign ministry, officials played footage of the “ping-pong diplomacy” of 1972 when an exchange of table tennis players cleared the way for then U.S. President Richard Nixon to visit China.

Wang urged Washington to respect China’s core interests, stop “smearing” the ruling Communist Party, stop interfering in Beijing’s internal affairs and stop “conniving” with separatist forces for Taiwan’s independence.

“Over the past few years, the United States basically cut off bilateral dialogue at all levels,” Wang said in prepared remarks translated into English.

“We stand ready to have candid communication with the U.S. side, and engage in dialogues aimed at solving problems.”

Wang pointed to a recent call between Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Joe Biden as a positive step.

Washington and Beijing have clashed on multiple fronts including trade, accusations of human rights crimes against the Uighur Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang region and Beijing’s territorial claims in the resources-rich South China Sea.

The Biden administration has, however, signalled it will maintain pressure on Beijing. Biden has voiced concern about Beijing’s “coercive and unfair” trade practices and endorsed of a Trump administration determination that China has committed genocide in Xinjiang.

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U.S. Supreme Court Allows Release of Trump Tax Returns

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President Trump Signs Executive Order In Oval Office Of The White House

U.S. Supreme Court Allows Release of Trump Tax Returns

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday paved the way for a New York City prosecutor to obtain former President Donald Trump’s tax returns and other financial records as part of a criminal investigation, a blow to his quest to conceal details of his finances.

The justices without comment rebuffed Trump’s request to put on hold an Oct. 7 lower court ruling directing the former Republican president’s longtime accounting firm, Mazars USA, to comply with a subpoena to turn over the materials to a grand jury convened by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, a Democrat.

“The work continues,” Vance said in a statement issued after the court’s action.

Vance had previously said in a letter to Trump’s lawyers that his office would be free to immediately enforce the subpoena if the justices rejected Trump’s request.

A lawyer for Trump did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Supreme Court, which has a 6-3 conservative majority included three Trump appointees, had already ruled once in the dispute, last July rejecting Trump’s broad argument that he was immune from criminal probes as a sitting president.

Unlike all other recent U.S. presidents, Trump refused during his four years in office to make his tax returns public. The data could provide details on his wealth and the activities of his family real-estate company, the Trump Organization.

Trump, who left office on Jan. 20 after being defeated in his Nov. 3 re-election bid by Democrat Joe Biden, continues to face an array of legal issues concerning his personal and business conduct.

Vance issued a subpoena to Mazars in August 2019 seeking Trump’s corporate and personal tax returns from 2011 to 2018. Trump’s lawyers sued to block the subpoena, arguing that as a sitting president, Trump had absolute immunity from state criminal investigations.

The Supreme Court in its July ruling rejected those arguments but said Trump could raise other objections to the subpoena. Trump’s lawyers then argued before lower courts that the subpoena was overly broad and amounted to political harassment, but U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero in August and the New York-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in October rejected those claims.

Vance’s investigation, which began more than two years ago, had focused on hush money payments that the president’s former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen made before the 2016 election to two women – adult-film actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal – who said they had sexual encounters with Trump.

In recent court filings, Vance has suggested that the probe is now broader and could focus on potential bank, tax and insurance fraud, as well as falsification of business records.

In separate litigation, the Democratic-led U.S. House of Representatives was seeking to subpoena similar records. The Supreme Court in July sent that matter back to lower courts for further review.

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