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Nigeria at 59: Youths Speak on the State of the Nation



  • Nigeria at 59: Youths Speak on the State of the Nation

Africa’s largest economy and the world’s most populous black nation, Nigeria, marks 59th independence anniversary amid growing insecurity and 55.4 percent youths unemployment/underemployment rate.

Despite the nation’s resources, over 23 percent or 20.9 million active job seekers are unemployed, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

Recent research by the World Bank revealed that the few individuals that are gainfully employed are merely working because they cannot afford to be idle.

Judith Agbunno, a 24 years old medical doctor, who spoke with our correspondents, said despite the high unemployment rate in Nigeria, the health sector is grossly understaffed.

Prof. Muheez Durosinmi, the Vice Chancelor of Eko University of Medicine and Health Sciences, revealed that the nation’s health sector operates on one medical doctor to 6,000 patients presently, an increase of 900 percent above the one doctor per 600 patients recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

“The excessive pressure and stress reduces doctors’ productivity and impacts other areas of their lives, given the sensitivity of their job,” Dr. Agbunno stated.

Oluyomi Esan, a Psychiatrist, explained that mental disorder and suicide rate are high among medical practitioners because of their high-stress level and long working hours.

In 2018, Dr. Durosinmi noted that only 35,000 out of 73,000 registered medical doctors were practicing in the country as the rest had abandoned Nigeria for advanced nations with better infrastructure and working conditions.

At 59, Nigeria still spends $1 billion on medical tourism per annum, the highest among African nations. This is despite the Central Bank of Nigeria’s efforts at stimulating local production in order to ease pressure on foreign reserves and support job creation, yet 30,000 Nigerians are allowed to spend an estimated $1 billion yearly on medical tourism at the expense of both local health sector and the nation’s foreign reserves without tangible efforts at curbing it.

“Nigeria is one nation with lots of untapped potentials that could place the nation at the global forefront. However, the years so far have shaped the nation into a shadow of its true self”, stated Ms. Bethel Ikoro.

“Despite been blessed with brilliant human resources, Nigeria is being governed by unsatisfactory leadership – leaders who can neither lead effectively nor represent admirably.”

Obinna Okpala, a Civil Servant and an engineer, said corruption and lack of morals have eaten down to our marrows as people. He said it is a shame that at 59 Nigeria still does not have constant power supply despite spending over $16 billion since 1999.

“If we can achieve constant electricity supply, prices of goods and services would drop as the cost of diesel and generator maintenance would be eliminated from operational costs,” Mr. Okpala stated.

Femi Adeyeye, a social commentator, said Nigeria is a failed state at 59. He highlighted the surged in the number of Nigerians abandoning their homes due to insecurity, economic policy that has failed to work for everyday people and a helpless judicial system that only works when it favours the ruling class as signs of a failed state.

Ishioma, who was one of the people we interviewed last year, said there is no respect for the rule of law as the whole nation witnessed last week when a federal agency, Department of State Security, blatantly disregarded court order and presently dragging Justice Taiwo Taiwo before the National Judicial Council for granting Omoyele Sowore, the convener of RevolutionNow protest, bail.

She explained that nothing has changed a year after she made her comments on bribery on this platform. The business environment remains hostile with Special Anti-Robbery Squad harassing and killing youths on a daily basis.

“At 59 we still have so much to work on, Nigeria’s growth and development isn’t just a government issue,” said Temitayo Sikiru, a data analyst.

“Our family is messed up, the community is messed up, the society is messed up and we crowned it with a messed up government.

“Until we take up our individual responsibilities to this great nation, we will continue to function below our collective capacity”, she added.

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

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Nigeria’s Main Refineries Record N406.62bn Loss in Two Years



modular refinery

Port Harcourt, Kaduna, Warri Refinery posts N406.62bn Deficit in Two Years

Nigeria’s three main refineries recorded N406.62 billion loss in two years, according to the audited financial statements from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

The three refineries located in Port Harcourt, Kaduna and Warri have a combined installed capacity of 445,000 barrels per day, however, the refineries have continued to function below the installed capacity.

The audited report showed the Kaduna refinery posted N64.34 billion loss in 2018, better than the N111.89 billion loss reported in 2017.

While Warri refinery filed N44.44 billion loss for 2018, also better than the N81.60 billion loss posted in 2017.

Port Harcourt refinery reported N45.59 billion loss in 2018, down from N55.76 billion loss posted in 2017.

The Nigerian government has spent billions of US dollars in maintaining and trying to improve the dilapidated refineries over the years. However, because of the inability of the three refineries to meet daily petrol demands of the Nigerian people, the Federal Government resulted to importation that has eroded the nation’s foreign reserves.

A recent report from the NNPC showed that Nigeria spent N2.37 trillion on petrol importation between May 2019 and May 2020 despite the nation struggling with falling foreign reserves due to low oil prices.

The weak foreign reserves has disrupted the nation’s economic outlook and weighed on the Nigerian Naira. The Naira has been devalued by 15 percent this year and was recently adjusted from N360 per US dollar exchange rate to N380/US$ for importers and investors to ease pressure on the nation’s foreign reserves.

Last week, at a summit organised by Seplat, Mallam Mele Kyari, the Group Managing Director, NNPC, said the three refineries were all idle despite the money being spent on them.

In Nigeria today, we are importing practically every petroleum product that we consume in this country.

“We are working to make sure that we are able to fix our refineries,” Kyari stated.

All hopes are now on Dangote’s refinery.

Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest man and the world’s richest black man, is presently constructing a 650,000 barrels per day refinery.

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Osinbajo Says FG Plans to Create 5 Million Jobs



Buhari and Osinbajo

FG to Create 5m Jobs from Strategic Investments in Manufacturing, Agriculture

Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, has said the Federal Government plans to create at least 5 million jobs in the next few years.

Osinbajo, who spoke at the Virtual Presidential Policy Dialogue Session organised by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), said the Buhari-led administration is focused on job creation.

He, therefore, stated that this would be achieved with strategic investments in key sectors like the manufacturing and agriculture sectors.

The Vice President said, “We are to create jobs and boost our national housing programme. We would be intentional in the support of manufacturers in using our local raw materials. We are seriously engaging the use of cement in building our roads, as it will be cheaper for us and more durable.

“We are targeting electrification of five million households with solar power, and we are supporting SMEs, especially in the pharmaceuticals to enhance the production of personal protective equipment.”

Mrs. Toki Mabogunje, the President of LCCI, who also spoke at the event, expressed concerns over the failure of the Nigerian Customs Service to adhere to the Executive Order which forbids Customs checkpoints around the ports and within given geographical delimitations in the country.

She also noted the slow pace of reforms in the oil and gas sector, one of the nation’s main sectors. According to her, the oil and gas sector was another cause for worry, saying up till now the PIB passed has not been signed by President Muhammadu Buhari.

According to her, “Closure of the land borders has enormous implications for cross border economic activities around the country. The indications are now that the closure is indefinite. While we share the concern of government on issues of security and smuggling, we believe that the indefinite closure of land borders is not the solution to the problem.

“We are excited about the signing of the AFCTA. But we need to get ourselves ready for the pressure of competition inherent in the continental economic integration agenda. A number of commitments were made about the creation of an environment that would enable the private sector to be competition ready. But not much has happened in this regard so far.

“We are aware of the efforts of government to fix our infrastructure, including roads and railways, but funding has remained a major challenge. We would like to see a new funding model with much bigger focus on private sector capital within a Public Private Partnership [PPP] framework for infrastructure development in the country.

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Fuel Scarcity: NUPENG to Commence Strike on Monday



Petrol Importation

Lagosians Should Brace for Fuel Scarcity as NUPENG Embarks on Strike

Nigerians should brace for fuel scarcity as the national leadership of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas (NUPENG) directed all petroleum tanker drivers to withdraw their services from Lagos State starting from Monday, 10 August 2020.

In a statement released by NUPENG on Friday, the union said the directive followed the failure of various authorities in Lagos State to address three major issues that had impacted the operations of petroleum tanker drivers in the state for several months.

The statement signed by the National President, Williams Akporeha and the General Secretary, Olawale Afolabi, NUPENG and titled title ‘NUPENG leadership directs withdrawal of services by petroleum tanker drivers in Lagos State with effect from Monday, August 10, 2020,’ noted that members of the union are frustrated and pained by the barrage of challenges faced while carrying out their activities in Lagos State.

NUPENG said, “The entire rank and file members of the union are deeply pained, frustrated and agonised by the barrage of these challenges being consistently faced by petroleum tanker drivers in Lagos State and are left with no other option but to direct the withdrawal of their services in Lagos State until the Lagos State Government and other relevant stakeholders address these critical challenges.

“It is sad and disheartening to note here that we had made several appeals and reports to the Lagos State Government and the Presidential Task Force for the decongestion of Apapa on these challenges but all to no avail.

NUPENG listed the major challenges faced by petroleum tanker drivers in Lagos State as extortion and harassment by various security agents and, area boys’ (miscreants).

This menace must stop and the leadership of these security operatives in Lagos State must go all out to call their men to order with immediate effect.

The Union added that it is sad that the security agents who were expected to ensure the free flow of traffic and protection of road users were the same people using their uniforms and arms to intimidate, harass and extort money from petroleum drivers in Lagos State.

Therefore, it said it had embarked on an indefinite strike to force the Lagos State Government to address the situation.

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