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Buhari Okays $1bn Equipment for Military

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  • Buhari Okays $1bn Equipment for Military

President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the purchase of equipment worth $1bn for the military.

The Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali, stated this in an interview with State House correspondents at the end of the meeting that Buhari had with security chiefs at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Wednesday.

“What I can add after all that I have said is to inform you that of recent, our leader, President Muhammadu Buhari, gave approval for the purchase of more equipment for the military, worth $1bn,” the minister said.

Although Dan-Ali did not disclose the source of the money, the National Economic Council, chaired by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, had in December 2017 approved the withdrawal of $1bn from the Excess Crude Account to fight insecurity.

The minister described the meeting with the President as a “normal meeting of security agencies in the country.”

He said issues concerning security situation in some states, including Taraba and Zamfara, were discussed.

On what to expect after the deployment of troops in Zamfara, Dan-Ali said, “We have operationalised a division in Sokoto. There will be a Brigade in Katsina and another Brigade in Zamfara that will take care of security situation in the areas.

“Of course, the strength of security personnel has increased, including the air force additional quick response group; they have added enough manpower in that area.”

He said efforts were being intensified to secure the release of Leah Sharibu, the Dapchi schoolgirl still being held by Boko Haram because she allegedly refused to renounce Christianity.

However, the weekly meeting of the Federal Executive Council did not hold on Wednesday.

As of the time of filing this report, no official reason was given for the cancellation of the meeting which usually holds every Wednesday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Buhari presides over the FEC that has Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo; all ministers and some presidential aides as members.

BBOG, CD, CDHR, others knock Buhari

The #BringBackOurGirls movement on Wednesday deplored the approval of $1bn by the President, noting that the nation had not got any value for the huge amount spent so far on fighting insurgency in the North-East.

The BBOG spokesman, Sesugh Akume, described the fight against insurgency as “a money-making scheme,” wondering why the government needed to spend additional $1bn to fight the insurgents it claimed to have defeated.

He said, “The whole thing is a money-making scheme; our movement did an analysis of the money spent on fighting insurgency since 2011 and it has been within that range and we have not had value for the money we have spent.

“The government claimed to have defeated Boko Haram, so what are we spending $1bn on?”

Also, two civil society organisations, the Campaign for Democracy and the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights, said the approval of $1bn could extend the insurgency, calling on Nigerians to demand the monitoring of the fund.

The CD President, Usman Abdul, said, “This money from the Excess Crude Account is accrued for special purposes. This is one of the reasons why the Boko Haram insurgents cannot be defeated yet; because there are funds to cater to them. This is why the abduction of schoolgirls in Dapchi area of Yobe State took place in February.

“With this huge money, we are creating an avenue for the insurgents to wax stronger. We have to monitor how that money is spent. What we are witnessing is the negligence of the security agencies, more money is not needed.”

Also, the CDHR President, Malachy Ugwummadu, said, “While we agree that it is the responsibility of the Federal Government to use every means available to end the Boko Haram insurgency, allocation of funds must be constitutionally followed.

“The government must also ensure that the funds are judiciously used. One of the pitfalls of the former government of President Goodluck Jonathan was that allocation for weapons ended up in private hands. This must not go the same way.”

A security expert, Lt. Olusola Oremade (retd.) also criticised the approval, describing it as unreasonable.

“The approval of the $1bn to fight terrorism is unreasonable; it is a waste of money. No reasonable government would want to expend such money. We have those who knew the insurgents personally, why can’t they liaise with them to track down the insurgents?”

But a security analyst, Ben Okezie, believed that no amount was too much to spend on security.

“Security costs money and knowing that the value of our currency has plummeted, we don’t know whether the money would be enough.

“We have been fighting insurgency for over 10 years. Did you know many aircraft have gone down and how many armoured cars that have been destroyed and other artillery that need to be replaced? The welfare of the troops is also there, so it is justified to spend the money. Security costs money.”

Fayose says fund meant for re-election

The Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, has queried the approval of $1bn for the procurement of security equipment.

The governor described the action as a “pooling of public funds for the ac of funding President Buhari’s re-election, as well as the coming governorship elections in Ekiti and Osun states.”

Fayose, who demanded to know if the $1bn was from the Excess Crude Account, said, “It will be illegal and against the principle of federalism that operates in Nigeria for the President, who is the head of just one of the federating units, to approve spending of fund belonging to the three tiers of government without the consent of heads of other federating units.”

Fayose spoke on Wednesday in a statement by his Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka.

He said, “When did the National Assembly approve the spending of the $1bn? Or can the President spend $1bn belonging to Nigerians without the approval of the National Assembly?”

Fayose queried the use of the money after the Federal Government said it had defeated Boko Haram.

He said, “The question the Federal Government must answer is; which insurgency are they buying arms worth N370bn to fight? Is it the same Boko Haram that they told Nigerians that they have completely defeated?

“Since they said they have defeated Boko Haram, and later told Nigerians that they have a ceasefire agreement with the insurgents, what else do they need $1bn (over N370bn) for, if not to fund the 2019 elections?

“Also, up till now, the government has yet to give satisfactory explanations as to the abduction and return of Dapchi schoolgirls.

“With the hurried approval of $1bn, is it not being reinforced that the Boko Haram insurgency has become a source of looting public fund by this government?

“It is on record that Transparency International once said in its report that some top military officials in the country were feeding fat from the war against Boko Haram by creating fake contracts and laundering the proceeds in the United States, United Kingdom and elsewhere.”

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

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Federal Government Set to Seal $3.8bn Brass Methanol Project Deal in May 2024

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Gas-Pipeline

The Federal Government of Nigeria is on the brink of achieving a significant milestone as it prepares to finalize the Gas Supply and Purchase Agreement (GSPA) for the $3.8 billion Brass Methanol Project.

The agreement to be signed in May 2024 marks a pivotal step in the country’s journey toward industrialization and self-sufficiency in methanol production.

The Brass Methanol Project, located in Bayelsa State, is a flagship industrial endeavor aimed at harnessing Nigeria’s abundant natural gas resources to produce methanol, a vital chemical used in various industrial processes.

With Nigeria currently reliant on imported methanol, this project holds immense promise for reducing dependency on foreign supplies and stimulating economic growth.

Upon completion, the Brass Methanol Project is expected to have a daily production capacity of 10,000 tonnes of methanol, positioning Nigeria as a major player in the global methanol market.

Furthermore, the project is projected to create up to 15,000 jobs during its construction phase, providing a significant boost to employment opportunities in the country.

The successful execution of the GSPA is essential to ensuring uninterrupted gas supply to the Brass Methanol Project.

Key stakeholders, including the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited and the Nigerian Content Development & Monitoring Board, are working closely to finalize the agreement and pave the way for the project’s advancement.

Speaking on the significance of the project, Minister of State Petroleum Resources (Gas), Ekperikpe Ekpo, emphasized President Bola Tinubu’s keen interest in expediting the Brass Methanol Project.

Ekpo reaffirmed the government’s commitment to facilitating the project’s success and harnessing its potential to attract foreign direct investment and drive economic development.

The Brass Methanol Project represents a major stride toward achieving Nigeria’s industrialization goals and unlocking the full potential of its natural resources.

As the country prepares to seal the deal in May 2024, anticipation grows for the transformative impact that this landmark project will have on Nigeria’s economy and industrial landscape.

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Economy

IMF Report: Nigeria’s Inflation to Dip to 26.3% in 2024, Growth Expected at 3.3%

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IMF global - Investors King

Nigeria’s economic outlook for 2024 appears cautiously optimistic with projections indicating a potential decrease in the country’s inflation rate alongside moderate economic growth.

The IMF’s revised Global Economic Outlook for 2024 highlights key forecasts for Nigeria’s economic landscape and gave insights into both inflationary trends and GDP expansion.

According to the IMF report, Nigeria’s inflation rate is projected to decline to 26.3% by the end of 2024.

This projection aligns with expectations of a gradual easing of inflationary pressures within the country, although challenges such as fuel subsidy removal and exchange rate fluctuations continue to pose significant hurdles to price stability.

In tandem with the inflation forecast, the IMF also predicts a modest economic growth rate of 3.3% for Nigeria in 2024.

This growth projection reflects a cautious optimism regarding the country’s economic recovery and resilience in the face of various internal and external challenges.

Despite the ongoing efforts to stabilize the foreign exchange market and address macroeconomic imbalances, the IMF underscores the need for continued policy reforms and prudent fiscal management to sustain growth momentum.

The IMF report provides valuable insights into Nigeria’s economic trajectory, offering policymakers, investors, and stakeholders a comprehensive understanding of the country’s macroeconomic dynamics.

While the projected decline in inflation and modest growth outlook offer reasons for cautious optimism, it remains essential for Nigerian authorities to remain vigilant and proactive in addressing underlying structural vulnerabilities and promoting inclusive economic development.

As the country navigates through a challenging economic landscape, concerted efforts towards policy coordination, investment promotion, and structural reforms will be crucial in unlocking Nigeria’s full growth potential and fostering long-term prosperity.

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South Africa’s March Inflation Hits Two-Month Low Amid Economic Uncertainty

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South Africa's economy - Investors King

South Africa’s inflation rate declined to a two-month low, according to data released by Statistics South Africa.

Consumer prices rose by 5.3% year-on-year, down from 5.6% in February. While this decline may initially suggest a positive trend, analysts caution against premature optimism due to various economic factors at play.

The weakening of the South African rand against the dollar, coupled with drought conditions affecting staple crops like white corn and geopolitical tensions in the Middle East leading to rising oil prices, poses significant challenges.

These factors are expected to keep inflation relatively high and stubborn in the coming months, making policymakers hesitant to adjust borrowing costs.

Lesetja Kganyago, Governor of the South African Reserve Bank, reiterated the bank’s cautious stance on inflation pressures.

Despite the recent easing, inflation has consistently remained above the midpoint of the central bank’s target range of 3-6% since May 2021. Consequently, the bank has maintained the benchmark interest rate at 8.25% for nearly a year, aiming to anchor inflation expectations.

While some traders speculate on potential interest rate hikes, forward-rate agreements indicate a low likelihood of such a move at the upcoming monetary policy committee meeting.

The yield on 10-year bonds also saw a marginal decline following the release of the inflation data.

March’s inflation decline was mainly attributed to lower prices in miscellaneous goods and services, education, health, and housing and utilities.

However, core inflation, which excludes volatile food and energy costs, remained relatively steady at 4.9%.

Overall, South Africa’s inflation trajectory underscores the delicate balance between economic recovery and inflation containment amid ongoing global uncertainties.

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