- President Okays Salary Increase for Policemen
President Muhammadu Buhari has approved Rank Salary Structure Adjustment for the Nigeria Police Force, the Presidency said on Monday.
The structure implies that the salaries, allowances and pensions of policemen will be increased.
A statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu, said the decision was part of the commitment of Buhari’s administration “ to give attention to the welfare and operational needs of the Nigeria Police Force with a view to restoring its lost primacy in the internal security framework of the country.”
The statement said Buhari met with members of the Nigeria Police Service Commission at the Presidential Villa, where he spoke on the inability of the police to perform their primary duties of law enforcement.
He noted that this had necessitated government’s action in drafting the military to the streets often to help maintain law and order in situations that the police could have handled ordinarily.
“From Taraba to Sokoto to the South-South, people don’t feel secure until they see the military.
“I am pleased to make the increase in salaries and allowances in the hope that will increase the performance index of the police and strengthen Nigeria’s internal security system,” the President announced.
The President called for more efficient policing of the country to raise the confidence of both the government and Nigerians.
He explained that this would allow the military to be restricted to its core mandate of protecting the territorial integrity of the country.
The statement quoted Buhari further, “The military should be reserved for higher tasks.
“The police should be able to cope well with the challenges of armed robbery, kidnapping for ransom and such crimes. In every town and village, there is the presence of the police.
“From all these places, they should be able to forward first class intelligence to you on which to act.
He added, “There is a need to amplify the question of more men of the police, especially given the condition we are in – emergency in the North-East, pervasive insecurity and abduction for ransom and banditry in many parts of the country.
“I congratulate you on the success you recorded against criminals taxing people and stopping them from their farms. We are expecting more from you.”
The PSC members were led on the visit by a Commissioner on the commission, Justice Clara Ogunbiyi (retd), who represented the Chairman, Musiliu Smith.
New salary for police won’t restore Nigerians’ confidence in Buhari – PDP
Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party has said the new salary structure announced by President Muhammadu Buhari for the police will not restore Nigerians’ confidence in the Federal Government and the President.
It however described the action as a welcome development.
Nevetheness, the main opposition party asked Nigerians to pray that the Buhari Presidency would be able to fulfil the promise.
National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, who spoke with one of our correspondents on the pronouncement by the President on the increase in the salary of the police, said “asked the police not to jubilate until the President fulfils his promise.”
He said, “The increase in the salary is a welcome development. We are not against it, even though it is coming a few months before the conduct of the general election.
“However, that increment will never confer or restore peoples’ confidence in President Buhari andd his Presidency.
“It is a battered government of deceit that has lost the morality to lead. Let’s us pray that the Buhari Presidency will fulfil the promise. If that is the only promise it will fulfil before it leaves office next year, let us pray it is able to do that. Nigerians should also pray that the President will not renege on the promise, or even said a committee be set up later to discuss it in order for it to buy time.”
Ologbondiyan asked Nigerians to mount pressure on the President to fulfil the “self-imposed promise so that it doesn’t go the way of other campaign promises.”
Buhari may be playing political card – Civil society
Two civil society organisations – the Campaign for Democracy and the Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership – have said that President Buhari’s decision to review the police’s salary scale structure is a welcome development but may be a political card ahead of the 2019 general election.
The CD President, Usman Abdul, said the President had in the last three years not acted in that direction, noting that the Nigeria Labour Congress issues still had not been fully resolved.
Abdul said, “If the Federal Government is attending to the police, it should remember that the Nigeria Labour Congress had been on its neck for some time but nothing concrete has been done yet. If the President has just received the police commission and promised to review their salaries, I believe it is a good development but we at the civil society are mindful of the timing of such gestures.
“Let no one be overjoyed until we see the conduct of the police in 2019. These are political seasons and the President may be playing a political card. We hope the police will not be used to act against our democratic ideals.”
Also the CACOL Director, Debo Adeniran, said, “It is a right step in the right direction but one would not know the mindset of the President. It is better late than never. It may not be a political card and it may be. But we know that police deserve a better living. If you like, I would have said that the government knows how to take care of citizens only at election times, maybe elections should come every now and then.”
COVID-19: CBN Has Disbursed N83B Loans to Healthcare Sector
The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, yesterday, said the central bank had disbursed over N83.9 billion to pharmaceutical and healthcare practitioners in the country since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
Also, Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has stressed the need for a slash in the cost of governance in the country, saying a lot more resources could be dedicated towards healthcare and critical infrastructure.
They both said this yesterday, at the premiere of ‘Unmasked’, a documentary on Nigeria’s response to the pandemic held in Lagos.
Emefiele, who was represented by the CBN’s Director of Corporate Communications, Osita Nwasinobi, explained: “Building a robust healthcare infrastructure was also vital from a security perspective, as some nations had imposed restrictions on the exports of vital medical drugs as well as the use of drug patents that could aid in containing the spread of the pandemic.
“As a result, we focused our interventions in the healthcare sector on three areas. Building the capacity of our healthcare institutions supporting the domestic manufacturing of drugs by businesses, and providing grants to researchers in the medical field, in order to encourage them to develop breakthrough innovations that would address health challenges faced by Nigerians.
“In this regard, we disbursed over N83.9 billion in loans to pharmaceutical companies and healthcare practitioners, which is supporting 26 pharmaceutical and 56 medical projects across the country. We were also able to mobilise key stakeholders in the Nigerian economy through the CACOVID alliance, which led to the provision of over N25 billion in relief materials to affected households, and the set-up of 39 isolation centres across the country. These measures helped to expand and strengthen the capacity of our healthcare institutions to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
According to the CBN Governor, the banking sector regulator also initiated the Healthcare Sector Research and Development Intervention Grant Scheme, which was to aid research on solutions that could address diseases such as COVID-19, and other communicable/non-communicable diseases.
He said so far, five major healthcare-related research projects were being financed under the initiative.
Speaking further on the call to increase access to health insurance, Emefiele said: “One key aspect which we would have to address is improving access to healthcare for all Nigerians. A key factor that has impeded access to healthcare for Nigerians is the prevailing cost of healthcare services.
“According to a study by World Health Organisation (WHO), only four percent of Nigerians have access to health insurance. Besides food, healthcare expenses are a significant component of average Nigeria’s personal expenditure.
“Out of pocket expenses on healthcare amount to close to 76 percent of total healthcare expenditure. At such levels of health spending, individuals particularly those in rural communities may be denied access to healthcare services.
“Expanding the insurance net to capture the pool of Nigerians not covered by existing health insurance schemes, could help to reduce the high out of pocket expenses on healthcare services by Nigerians. It will also help to increase the pool of funds that could be invested in building our healthcare infrastructure and in improving the existing welfare package of our healthcare workers.”
“The private sector has a significant role to play in this regard given the decline in government revenues as occasioned by the drop in commodity prices. Leveraging innovative solutions that can provide insurance services at relatively cheap prices could significantly help to improve access to healthcare for a large proportion of Nigerians particularly those in our rural communities.”
According to Emefiele, the CBN remains committed to working with all stakeholders in improving access to finance and credit that would support the development of viable healthcare infrastructure in our country.
On his part, Sanwo-Olu said: “What are the lessons that we have learned with the Covid-19? Looking at all the things that Covid-19 has cost us, how are we preparing ourselves?
“The truth be told the structure of our governance system needs to change particularly the cost of governance. We need to speak up and ask ourselves are we ready to change.”
“When it gets to the election it is the same set of people that will come up and people don’t come out to vote and we end up having 20 percent out of 100 percent that will elect those that will govern. So, the change has to be about all of us. That is how the real change that will help us will come,” he added.
Emefiele Says CBN Will Resist All Attempts to Continue Maize Importation
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has vowed to resist all attempts to continue the importation of maize into the country.
Godwin Emefiele, the governor, CBN, in a statement titled ‘Emefiele woos youths to embrace agriculture’, said: “the CBN would resist attempts by those who seek to continually import maize into the country.”
Emefiele, who spoke in Katsina during the unveiling of the first maize pyramid and inauguration of the 2021 maize wet season farming under the CBN-Maize Association of Nigeria Anchor Borrowers’ Programme, said maize farmers in the country had what it takes to meet the maize demand gap of over 4.5 million metric tonnes in the country.
“With over 50,000 bags of maize available on this ground, and others aggregated across the country, maize farmers are sending a resounding message that we can grow enough maize to meet the country’s demand,” Emefiele said.
He explained that the maize unveiled at the ceremony would be sold to reputable feed processors.
He added that this would in turn impact positively on current poultry feed prices, as over 60 per cent of maize produced in the country were used for producing poultry feed.
Nigeria’s Spending Structure Unsustainable, Budget Head Says
Nigeria’s current trend of spending more money on running the government than on building new infrastructure is unsustainable, the country’s top budget oversight official said.
Low revenue collection and high recurrent costs have resulted in actual capital expenditure below two trillion naira ($4.88 billion) a year for a decade, Ben Akabueze, director-general of the Budget Office, said Tuesday in a virtual presentation.
“Hence, the investments required to bridge the infrastructure gap are way beyond the means available to the government,” Akabueze said. Recurrent spending, allocated towards salaries and running costs, has accounted for more than 75% of the public budget every year since 2011, he said.
Africa’s largest economy requires at least $3 trillion of spending over the next 30 years to close its infrastructure gap, Moody’s Investors Service said in November. The country’s tax revenue as a proportion of gross domestic product is one of the lowest globally, according to the International Monetary Fund.
“Huge recurrent expenditure has constrained the provision of good roads, steady power supply, health care services, quality education and quality shelter,” Akabueze said.
Nigeria should amend its constitution to create six regions to replace the existing 36 states, which each have their own governments, Akabueze said. The country also needs to reduce the number of cabinet ministers to a maximum of 24 from more than 40 and cut federal ministries to fewer than 20 from the current 27, he said.
“No country can develop where a large part of its earnings is spent on administrative structures rather than on capital investment,” Akabueze said.
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