Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Atiku Abubakar has described as worrisome Thursday’s revelation by Nigeria’s Finance Minister that the cost of servicing Nigeria’s debt has surpassed the Federal Government’s retained revenue by N310 billion in the first quarter of the year.
Atiku who was Vice President of Nigeria, 1999-2007 said, in the first place, the action must be in breach of all known reasonable debt-sustainability thresholds.
In the Second place he said, it puts a big question mark on the capacity of the government to manage its rising debt profile without endangering macroeconomic stability.
“Indeed, I am concerned that this action is already exposing Nigeria to financial stability issues as we slip from a medium risk of debt distress to high risk of debt distress.
“I had on several occasions warned that not only is the fiscal cost of government’s indiscriminate borrowing so enormous but has even greater opportunity costs as we sacrifice investments in critical areas, including education, health, and other basic services. This is certainly detrimental to Nigeria’s long-term growth.”
He urge the government to as a matter of urgency take immediate steps to slow down the rate of debt accumulation by promoting more Public Private Partnerships in critical infrastructure funding and identifying more innovative funding options by review of the current utilization of all borrowed funds to ensure that they are deployed more judiciously. “Specifically, government must ensure that all borrowed funds are for priority infrastructure projects that would generate income, boost output, and put the economy on the path of sustainable growth.”
He also asked the government to review the country’s debt strategy by focusing on concessional and semi-concessional sources with lower interest rates and relatively long-term maturity.
“The government must reduce the issuance of short-dated debt instruments by taking steps to improve its spending efficiency and drastically cut unnecessary and wasteful expenditures.”
Amb Oluwafemi hails Tinubu on diplomatic shuttle that halted UAE-Nigeria Visa Impasse
***Says billions in investments anticipated as arilines resumes
***Hails Aviation minister, Keyamo for being proactive over the issue
President Ahmed Bola Tinubu’s diplomatic moves that resolved the consular and economic relations with President of the United Arab Emirates, Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, in Abu Dhabi, is a masterstroke that will usher billions of investments in to the country, the CEO of the Africa Development Study Centre (ADSC), Ambassador Victor Walsh Oluwafemi has indicated.
To start with he said, the move he said resulted in the immediate cessation of the visa ban placed on Nigerians.
Recall that the impasse was very much in force before President Tinubu emerged as the Nigerian number one citizen last May.
Ambassador Victor Oluwafemi who is a seasoned management consultant of continental level applauded the president on the landmark in a statement he personally signed on Tuesday.
He explained that the development which banned Nigerian travelers nine months ago took a new twist after President Tinubu met with the UAE leader and this has led to the immediate resumption of flight schedules for both Etihad Airlines and Emirates Airlines into and out of Nigeria which is welcoming and salutary.
Mainly Instructive in his view is adding momentum to his drive to give greater investment opportunities to Nigerians at home and the diaspora.
He reiterated that President Tinubu is the first Nigerian Politician that has deliberately prepared himself for authentic leadership because of his uncommon supports for the Nigerian people since assumption of office particularly in foreign policy interventions and domestic governance ecosystem in the last 100 days.
According to him, the significant gesture in boosting Nigeria-UAE cooperation economically and geopolitically is second to none in the political history of Nigeria.
He stated that an economically stronger Nigeria would certainly help augment both the scope and level of cooperation between Nigeria and the UAE. The trade volume between the two sides will increase beyond our imagination.
He, therefore, appealed to other political parties and strategic stakeholders in the Nigerian project to engage with the Tinubu led administration to chart a pathway to national building efforts for shared prosperity particularly from the several billions of U.S. dollars’ worth of foreign direct Investments and new trade portfolios into the Nigerian economy across different sectors which is a sweet smelling savour for a new national rebirth.
Ambassador Oluwafemi also hailed Aviation minister, Festus keyamo, SAN for being proactive over the UAE debacle.
He said: “Within such a short period the aviation minister has proven to Nigerians that his administrative capabilities are not in doubt.
“Definitely the UAE issue was acidic but Keyamo pulled it through barely three weeks in office as minister.
“His moves at the airports particularly in the major gateways of our country are laudable,”.
Victor, who’s also the President of the African Air Passengers Rigth Association (APRASS) and a UAE resident, thanks the UAE President for resolving the issues swiftly and the Minister of Aviation for being proactive on this issue and the airport relocation.
He commended him and advised the association should be involved in the ministry’s activities especially the current committee that was set up because the airline users are the major stakeholders in all activities concerning the airport and the airlines.
Kogi, China finalise bilateral relationship in transport infrastructure
*** The partnership promises to make the State an industrial hub
The Kogi State Government and the Chinese Construction giant, CCECC have entered in to an accord that will bolster business relationships in the areas of planning, financing and execution of transport infrastructure in the state.
The meeting took at the headquarters of the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation along Airport Road, Abuja on Thursday
The Executive Officer of the Kogi State Investment Promotion and Public Private Partnership Agency, Abdulkareem Siyaka who led the government’s delegation disclosed that the first line of business upscaling and partnership is the construction of Inland Transit Port in Lokoja to link Warri – Burutu/Port Harcourt via Onitsha.
This he said will rapidly develop the movement of agricultural produce and solid mineral cargo to and from northern and southern Nigeria.
He said the partnership was in line with the Kogi State’s medium-term economic development goals which within a 5-year time frame will want to rapidly develop her infrastructure outlay, citing transport infrastructure as the bedrock of economic development.
While interacting with newsmen at the end of their meeting, Abdulkareem said the upgrade of Adogo Airstrip to a commercial Cargo Airport to facilitate growth in cross-border trade and investment and boost real sector productivity was discussed.
Another infrastructure to be executed under the partnership is the construction of Electrified Rail Project between Jeba and Lokoj.
This will reduce haulage costs within Nigeria by freeing excess pressure on road transport infrastructure.
Speaking on the business models, Abdulkareem stated that Kogi State is in the process of building its economy from a conservative civil service state to an Industrial giant in northern Nigeria.
He said the ‘Build -Operate-Transfer’ model or similar model that will be economical for both parties would be ideal while involving the Federal Government to provide sovereign guarantees including counterpart funding in any or all the projects.
On his part, the Deputy Managing Director of CCECC, Guo Wenjun commended the state government for its vision while expressing readiness for the relationship.
He noted that the Kogi State Government has been a friendly business partner of CCECC over the years with mutual understanding and benefits.
Cashless Policy: HYPPDEC succours Kogi riverine communities with Food Stuff, Clothing
By Friday Idachaba, Lokoja.
HYDROELECTRIC Power Producing Areas Development Commission (HYPPDEC) has presented foodstuffs and clothing to communities in the 10 member Local Government Areas in Kogi State.
Alhaji Isah Ozi-Salami, Member representing Kogi on the Board of HYPPDEC, who presented the items to Governor Yahaya on Tuesday in Lokoja said it was to cushion the harrowing hardships imposed by the Federal Government cashless policy.
He said that the gesture was part of the Commission’s response to natural disaster or any form of hardship assailing the citizens, with a view to intervening to alleviate their suffering.
The items include 400 bags of rice, 250 gallons of vegetable oil and some packaged women wrappers.
The Board member reiterated the resolve of HYPPDEC towards tackling the prevailing economic hardship on Nigerians culminating from the Cashless Policy.
“We owe it as a duty to take adquate care of the people in the 10 Local Government Areas belonging to HYPPDEC communities in Kogi
“Our concern under the present economic hardship is to alleviate the sufferings of the people within HYPPDEC communities in Kogi State”, Ozi-Salami told Governor Bello.
He commended Governor Yahaya Bello for providing logistic supports that had facilitated the smooth operation of the Commission in Kogi.
He also told the Governor that HYPPDEC would soon begin the construction of a 50-Unit housing in Kogi for resettlement of last year’s flood victims in riverine communities.
“I appreciate Governor Bello’s magnanimity in providing land for the housing project. We expect Governor to perform the foundation laying ceremony of the project soon,” Ozi-Salami disclosed.
In his response, Governor Bello who was represented by his Chief of Staff, Pharm. Jamiu Asuku received the items for onward distribution to the communities.
Bello hinted that the state government would key into HYPPDEC’s intervention initiative in the areas of provision of food and security of lives and property to assuage the suffering of the citizens.
The governor however appealed to HYPPDEC to focus more on Ibaji Local Government Area in its intervention programmes in view of the terrible terrain peculiar to the area.
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