Finance Minister Says Nigeria Will Be Out Of Recession By 2017

Kemi Adeosun, Finance Minister, Recession, NigeriaThe Nigerian government has assured citizens that Nigeria would be out of recession and bounce back stronger in 2017.

The government, however, cautioned the people to ensure money is spent prudently and on the right things.

The Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, made the remarks while addressing a gathering of youths at a town hall meeting in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.

She noted that several economic palliatives have been provided in the 2017 budget designed to pull Nigeria up through improved partnerships.

Mrs Adeosun asked Nigerians not to lose hope amidst the hardships, stressing that the budget would bring recovery and growth to the nation.

The inter-sectoral meeting, which took place at the Presidential Villa, was the first of its kind where youths were invited to ask questions on the economy and development at the federal level.

Seven ministers including the ministers of information, Mr Lai Mohammed; agriculture, Audu Ogbeh and that of works and housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, among others briefed the younger generation on steps taken by the government to ease the economic hardships.

Mr Ogbeh, who heads the foremost sector in Nigeria’s economic diversification plan, said $22 billion has been earmarked to support Nigerian youths interested in agriculture to make a good living in the coming year.

In his remarks, Mr Fashola noted that sabotage of the economy must stop and stressed that recovery was eminent with better labour relations, better infrastructural development plans, improved electricity supply and improved well-being of Nigerians.

This assurance is coming a day after President Muhammadu Buhari expressed optimism that the economic recession would subside by next year.

President Buhari said: “We are optimistic that the external factors that partly contributed to push our economy into recession will ebb in 2017. Until then, I regret that the resources available to fund our missions abroad will not be as robust as we would like.

“We are working hard to turn around our national economy by effectively reforming our macroeconomic environment through measures, some of which were outlined in my budget speech to the National Assembly last week”.

Nigeria To Announce Policy On Imported Food Items

Audu Ogbeh Agric Minister economy on Imported foodThe Nigerian government is set to decide on ban of food items which put the health of citizens at risk and discourage local production and sufficiency.

The Minister of Agriculture Mr Audu Ogbe, told reporters in Abuja on Tuesday that a decision would be made on Wednesday on the importation of tomato paste and other products which he said had been certified unfit for consumption by the United Nations and National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control.

He stressed that increasing cases of cancer, kidney failure and other chronic ailments among Nigerians were reasons enough to check the selfish interest of international partners and their local collaborators causing health risks in Nigeria.

Tomato paste packed in sachets and tins and containing preservatives that are hazardous to human health, frozen chicken coated with formaldehyde, a chemical used to preserve human bodies in the mortuary, rice stored for more than 10 years and preserved with harmful chemicals are the kinds of imports the Minister promised that the government would take a decision on.

While Nigeria is aiming for food sufficiency amidst importation challenges, a major concern is what the Agriculture Minister called large scale self-poisoning by Nigerians.

Moi-Moi (a Nigerian delicacy made with beans) steamed in cellophane bags and fresh fish sprayed with disinfectant to keep flies away in some parts of northern Nigeria, are some of the items he said were poisonous.

The Minister addressed reporters after a meeting with members of the Food and Agriculture Organisation who were Nigeria to help implement a food safety policy that would strengthen food control system through an institutional reform.

But enlightenment for Nigerians to know what not to eat is key.

There is no need to talk agriculture and food sufficiency if it weakens instead of keeping the population healthy and safe from risks.

The first step towards an efficient National Food Control System, therefore, is a massive enlightenment campaign that would reach all level of Nigerians. Only then will a ban on all harmful imports will be effective and Nigeria will no longer be a dumping ground.

FG Asked To Involve More Young Nigerians In Farming

rice farming in NigeriaThe International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) is asking the Federal Government of Nigeria to formulate policies that will encourage young people to go into farming and also reduce farmers’ risks.

According to the President of IFAD, Kanayo Nwanze, agriculture provides a better revenue and job creation alternatives to Nigeria.

He also attributed the growing number of rural-urban migration experienced in most cities to lack of development policies that consider rural dwellers who are mainly farmers.

A large number of Nigeria’s youth are unemployed and according to IFAD agriculture is a good means to get them engaged.

At a meeting of representatives from Central and West African countries in Abuja held to brainstorm on best ways to encourage young people into agriculture, IFAD decried the rate of rural-urban migration among young people.

For the Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbe, who represented President Muhammadu Buhari at the forum, good initiatives of the government alone are not enough to change the narratives.

He stressed that implementation framework must be developed for impactful programmes.

Nigeria has participated in several fora of this kind in the past, with successive governments formulating policies aimed at developing the agricultural sector.

Yet, the practice of agriculture has continued to remain in the hands of peasant farmers with low capacity to produce food for Nigeria’s growing population.

This has led to a growing import index for food items including some perishables that could be grown locally.

2016 Budget Presentation: Nigerian Ministers React

2016 budgetMinisters of the Federal Republic of Nigeria have been reacting to the 2016 budget as presented to the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday, December, 22.

Channels Television correspondent caught up with some of the ministers after the budget presentation at the National Assembly and they shared their views on the implementation of the budget and their expectations.

The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Mr Udoma Udo Udoma explained that the need to increase the investment on infrastructure as a way to revive the economy was highly considered in developing the 2016 budget.

“It’s an infrastructure and a job budget. We have also set aside money for social intervention as the President explained.

“We are going to recruit teachers, we are going to get loans for market women, various projects to stimulate the economy and create jobs.

“In terms of the money, we know it’s tough but we have to find the money and we believe that we have both domestic and foreign borrowing which we will be relying on,” he said.

He assured Nigerians that the implementation of the 2016 budget would be different as there is a new budget planning and implementation strategy designed to ensure constant monitoring on a monthly basis.

Economic Diversification

2016 budgetPresident Buhari had said that Nigeria remains committed to diversification of the economy with focus on the non-oil sector and the Minister of Solid Minerals, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, said that this had been expected.

“We are already diversified in terms of GDP. Oil only accounts for about 12% of the GDP but it accounts for the bulk of the revenue and that is where the challenge is.

WATCH VIDEO HERE

“So we need to start driving the revenue in the direction of Agriculture, solid minerals, communications and other non-oil sectors so that we would have a much more realistic job creating, revenue generating economy,” he said.

Agriculture

The Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbe also had some cheering words for Nigerian farmers.

On the back of the President’s emphasis on diversification and the role expected of the Agricultural sector, Mr Ogbe promised “increased support in seed, training, extension services, post-harvest management and bigger overseas market for their produce.

“They will expect innovations in livestock, tree crops and the beautiful news is that the demand for Nigerian produce abroad has never been this high. That is what makes it marvellous.

WATCH INTERVIEW WITH AUDU OGBE

“The private sector and Nigerians are also responding amazingly to the call for Agriculture but what excites me more about this budget are two things – the job issue for young people and the return of teacher training colleges in the local governments.

“That is probably the biggest change that this government has announced and Nigerians will see the difference.,” he promised.

Job Creation

With a promise that the 2016 budget would focus on addressing youth unemployment and cater for the vulnerable, Channels Television 2016 budgetsought to know the plans of the Ministry of Labour and Productivity on the implementation of this key feature of the 2016 budget.

The Minister, Dr Chris Ngige, said, “What you should expect are jobs and more jobs. If you look at the budget it might not be clear to you what we have done. It’s an intervention budget for job creation.

“There are so many programmes that will run under them but all of them will end up being for job creation – giving employment.

“We will give employment that will be decent. For example, one of the programmes we are going to execute is the conversion of graduates into the teaching cadre. We’ll give them training after Youth Corps, 1-year post Youth Corps, 2-year post Youth Corps, that is the bar and we will start form there; get them into teaching.”

He also called on Nigerian youths to embrace technical skills in order to wriggle out joblessness.

Senate Confirms 18 Ministerial Nominees

Ministerial NomineesEighteen of the 37 ministerial nominees from the list submitted by President Muhammadu Buhari have been confirmed by the Senate.

They include Udoma Udo Udoma, Dr. John Kayode Fayemi, Audu Ogbe, Christopher Ogbonnaya Onu, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, Lt.Gen. Abdulrahman Danbazzau, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Amina Mohammed, Ibrahim Jubril, Babatunde Fashola, Aisha Alhassan.

Others are Senator Hadi Sirika, Solomon Dalong, Ibe Kachukwu, Kemi Adeosun, Abubakar Malami, Engineer Suleiman Adamu and Dr. Chris Ngige.

At the end of plenary on Wednesday, Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki read out the names of the nominees who had fielded questions from the lawmakers. The senators in a vote confirmed all 18 nominees.

The lawmakers carried out the confirmation.

Former Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State was the first to take the stand at the Senate chambers today.

Mr Fashola held his audience spell bound for almost an hour and half answering questions from senators.

He told them that as governor for eight years in office he did not sign a cheque.

Mr Fashola also responded to questions on loyalty and on the 78 million naira allegedly sank to build a website.

Watch all videos of the Senates’s screening of the ministerial nominees on Channels Television YouTube channel.

 

Na’Abba Challenges Politicians Over Jonathan’s ‘Single Term Agreement’

The former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mister Ghali Na’Abba has challenged those claiming that President Goodluck Jonathan signed an agreement to restrict himself to a single term to come out with proofs to back up their claims.

Speaking on Channels Television programme, ‘’View From The Top’’, Mr Na’Abba said that although it is important for people to honour agreements they entered into, he was not privy to any document suggesting that there is any agreement.

He said: “Anybody has the right to contest to be the President of Nigeria, wherever he comes from, but when there is an agreement, that agreement must be upheld, no matter the pain. If we don’t learn to honour our agreements, then we are not men of honour.

“In this case, none of us have been briefed after the primary elections of 2011 by anybody about the process these governors followed in giving their votes or asking their delegates to elect Goodluck Jonathan to be the party’s presidential flag bearer.”

Na’Abba was among many top politicians that left the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, in a highly publicized defection to the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, in 2005. He said that unlike the current wave of defections, his was not an easy decision, leaving the PDP back then.

He explained that the then President, Olusegun Obasanjo, in his bid to elongate his tenure in office, “embarked on what they called re-registration exercise in the party”, with the aim of “having total control of the party.”

He further alleged that those of them who were seen not to be in support of the president’s plan “were marked out for total elimination from the party.” So, means had to be devised for them to either leave the party or be dismissed. He said that they were denied the opportunity to be re-registered as members of the party.

Hence, they opted out of the party and fought the scheme. He noted that they did not leave the party just because they wanted to.

He, however, regretted that his expectation that whatever party he joined after PDP would be a truly democratic party with internal democracy was not what he found, so he decided to return to his party, the PDP, in 2007, just after the presidential election.

Speaking from experience as a one-time defector, Na’Abba noted that the possibility of recent PDP defectors returning to the party would depend on their objectives, as there were people in politics for the purpose of acquiring power, while there are also developmental politicians.

“Once power seeking politicians find what they need, they may not come back, because for them all the platforms are the same. There are no differences in ideology; which is why many politicians contesting for positions cannot provide their party manifestos,” he explained.

Mr Na’Abba also commended the current Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, saying despite the circumstances that he has found himself, he is doing his best.

“The current House of Representatives cannot be compared to that of 1999 to 2003.  Because that time, members came almost on their own, so they didn’t need anybody to direct them, and this was why the House was quite independent.

“After 2003, when the potential for the House to do a lot of things was realised by the executive arm, it was silently decided that that degree of independence should never be allowed within the legislature. So the next occupants of the House and the Senate were mostly handpicked by the party or the President.”

He also shared his views on the National Conference and other matters of national importance.

ACN Appoints Committee to Plan Its Merger With CPC, ANPP

The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has appointed a 19-member committee with the mandate to negotiate its planned merger with the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) and the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP).

In a statement issued in Lagos on Sunday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said the committee, to be chaired by Chief Tom Ikimi, has as members Aremo Olusegun Osoba, Otunba Niyi Adebayo, Governors Babatunde Fashola and Rauf Aregbesola, Sen. John Akpanudoedehe, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyawu, Sen. George Akume and Hon.Abike Dabiri-Erewa.

Other members are Sen. Lawal Shuaibu, Chief Audu Ogbe, Chief Achike Udenwa, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, Sen. Chris Ngige, Dr. Usman Bugaje, Hadjia Rabiat Eshak, Dr. Ibrahim Y. Lame, Alhaji Yusuf Ali and Alhaji Lai Mohammed.

ACN said the appointment of the committee is an indication of its total commitment to making the merger a reality, adding that there is no going back in the party’s determination to work with the CPC and the ANPP to rescue and salvage Nigeria.

It also congratulated the leadership of the CPC and the ANPP, which have already named their own merger committees, for their patriotism, and appealed to all Nigerians to support the planned merger.

”We will like to inform Nigerians that contrary to what the doubters and spoilers are saying, the three parties are going into the merger plans unconditionally and without a set mind over posts or anything else. The only issue that has been settled is the urgent need to rescue and salvage our country. In this regard, the opposition knows it has a date with history!” ACN said

Sanusi Wants Ohanaeze, Afenifere, CAN, others Banned

The governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Sanusi Lamido Sanusi on Tuesday asked the Federal Government to ban some ethno-religious organisations in the country including the Arewa Consultative Forum, Ohanaeze, Afenifere, Jamatul Nasril Islam (JNI) and Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).

The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Sanusi Lamido Sanusi

Mr Sanusi, who was a guest speaker at the dinner organised by the Northern Reawakening Forum (NRF), said such bodies are no longer religious or cultural in nature but political associations.

“These religious organisations, the Arewa, Afenifere, including Jamatul Nasril Islam (JNI) and CAN, should be banned because they are not religious organisations, they are not culture organisations, they are political associations under the guise of religious organisations,” the CBN governor said.

He said the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria provides that the Federal Government must promote associations that cut across ethnic groups and the religious divide, adding, “But what we have are religious organisations that invite government officials to speak and the organisations honour them. They are just glorified institutions.”

The CBN governor said that the difference between a Muslim and a Christian in the North is nothing compared to the wide gulf between the rich Muslim and the poor Muslim, which also applied to the Christian in the North.

He said that the North is sitting on a time bomb waiting to explode, noting: “Agriculture farming there is subsistence. There is no development, no education, no prospect for employment and therefore we are sitting on a time bomb.”

Other notable speakers at the event included the former National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Audu Ogbeh, who said security challenges in the North had set the region on fire, and the former chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Ahmed Joda, who accused political leaders of overheating polity and tearing the country apart.

The National Chairman of the NRF, Mohammed Umara Kumalia, said the region had evolved from a people with a great and enviable culture and tradition to the present state where acute poverty, ethno-religious conflict, insecurity, disease and erosion of core values had taken over the life of many and made economic progress almost impossible in several parts of the North.

He said the forum was established to offer support to other stakeholders to elevate the North to its glorious days when peaceful coexistence, tolerance, hard work, service, respect, equity, honesty, humility, trust, brotherhood, commerce, agriculture, trade and above all pride were the values and culture of the people that today populate about 76 per cent of the geographical entity called Nigeria.