Ogun State Government To Focus On Solid Mineral Development

Solid MineralThe Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun, has expressed the readiness of his administration to provide the much needed political will in developing the solid mineral sector of the state for socioeconomic development, especially in the face of the dwindling revenue from oil.

He made the promise in Abeokuta, the state capital, at the opening ceremony of a two-day Geological Week of the State Ministry of Commerce and Industry, held at the Oba’s Complex in the State Capital.

The Governor said that resolutions reached at the occasion would form the road map for the development of the sector which seems to have been neglected by succeeding administrations in the State.

He then challenged experts and participants to come out with workable recommendations that would form the road map for the development of the sector.

One of the participants and also a lecturer in the University of Ibadan, Olugbenga Okunola, stated that papers were being presented by resource persons in the areas of petroleum and hydrocarbon potential of Ogun State, and effective solid mineral development with emphasis on favourable government policies, favourable mining laws and security among others.

The Ogun State commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Bimbo Ashiru, also added that Ogun State’s abundance of mineral resources, which remained untapped, hold the key to its economic development, especially in the face of the dwindling prices of crude in the international market.

It is, however, believed that while Government is looking into the solid mineral sector, activities of players would be adequately checked to safeguard the environment from further degradation.

Finance Minister Debunks Resignation Rumour

The Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has denied the rumour circulating about her purported resignation.

This was done in a statement signed by the Special Adviser to the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Paul Nwabuikwu.

The statement read: “It has come to our attention that a story is circulating online about the purported resignation of the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

“For the avoidance of doubt, this story is not true.

“The Finance Minister is still in place and assures Nigerians that all will be done to ensure that macro-economic stability is maintained through tight fiscal and monetary policies.”

The rumours started following the suspension of Mr Sanusi Lamido Sanusi from the position of the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Thursday, February 20.

Meanwhile, Dr Okonjo-Iweala had spoken to journalists on Thursday, following the suspension of the CBN Governor, and she assured Nigerians of stability in the macro-economic framework of the country.

The Minister also announced plans to tighten Nigeria’s monetary policy, which according to her, would guarantee a robust economy.

She asserted that “our objective remains to maintain macro-economic stability”, adding that this “has been the hallmark of this government and administration.”

Sanusi’s Suspension: Selective Witch-Hunt Done In Bad Faith – CNPP

The Conference of Nigerian Political Parties, CNPP, has regarded the suspension of Mr. Lamido Sanusi as Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, as selective, witch-hunt and one done strictly in bad faith.

They made this assertion in a statement signed by the National Publicity Secretary of the CNPP, Mr Osita Okechukwu, while also stating that the organisation could not fault the powers of President Goodluck Jonathan, to suspend any official of the Federal Government.

“For the avoidance of doubt, for a long time tongues have been wagging on the way and manner Malam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi had converted the CBN into a charity organization; but Mr President did not take special notice nor was deeply concerned until Malam Sanusi opened the Pandora-Box in what we may term the cash-cow – Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

“CNPP like most patriots will celebrate the day President Jonathan suspends those whom Malam Sanusi had clearly exposed for allegedly squandering billions of United States Dollars (USD) of Crude Oil revenue without due process, lack of transparency and most importantly utter disregard to appropriation by the National Assembly.

“Until then, we regard the suspension of the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Malam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, as selective, witch-hunt and suspension done in bad faith”, the statement read.

50 Questions: House Committee To Commence Public Hearing On Economy

The House of Representatives Committee on Finance is to begin a public hearing to dissect the response of the Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to its 50 questions.

Dr. Okonjo-Iweala had sent a reply to 50 questions posed to her in an earlier meeting with the committee, but the House members did not seem satisfied with her answers.

To this end, the Clerk of the Committee on Finance, Farouk Mustapha, said that the members are in receipt of the 102-page response, but a public hearing would commence where all concerned Nigerians would get information on the NNPC missing funds and other lapses found in the economy.

The Minister had been scheduled to meet with the committee in December 2013, but the proposed meeting degenerated into a disagreement between her and the Chairman of the House Committee on Finance, Abdul-Mumini Jibrin.

The Chairman had ruled that the Minister, who had said that she was feeling a bit sick, would be excused and should return at another date to meet with the committee.

The confrontation, however, ensued when the Minister insisted that she was ready to speak to the committee and the committee insisted that they stand by their ruling that the Minister should return on another date, presenting her with the said document containing the 50 questions.

The newly announced public hearing is expected to bring out the needed information to finally clear the air on the state of the nation’s economy.

No date has been announced for the hearing.

War of Words: Minister Of Finance, Reps In Shouting Match

A war of words broke out on Thursday evening between the Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and the Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Finance, Abdul-Mumini Jibrin, during a meeting scheduled to discuss the state of the economy from January to date.

The chairman of the committee had ruled that the minister, who had said she was feeling a little sick, would be excused and should return at another date to meet with the committee.

The confrontation, however, ensued when the minister insisted that she was ready to speak to the committee and the committee insisted that they stand by their ruling that the minister should return on another date.

The Chairman of the Committee, Abdul-Mumini Jibrin, had earlier said that the purpose of the invitation was to “critically look at issues pertaining the economy.”

According to him, with lots of issues, allegations and counter-allegations, going on, “we want to open up all issues. We have sent her a letter that the committee doesn’t want any vague presentation”.

He stressed that: “I am actually interested in engaging with the minister who in private accepts something but shies away in public”.

“We will also engage the minister of finance on the allegations made by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor on ‘missing’ crude oil revenue, ‘missing’ Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF), external borrowings, ‘missing’ SURE-P funds and others,” Jibrin intimated.

Exchange Of Words

Exchange of words began when the committee insisted that it would give the Minister a list of questions it intended asking and asked her to give her response to the questions and return it to the committee on the day of the rescheduled briefing.

“We will give you time to give us a written explanation and answers to those questions and also arrange for you to appear before this committee when you are strong and energetic,” the committee chairman said.

The minister expressed her readiness to answer the questions but Jibrin refused to let her speak.

“Listen, you can decide what will happen only in the Ministry of Finance but not in the Committee of Finance. You will go, give us a written explanation after two weeks. We will take your written explanation and study it then we will invite you for a proper engagement. That is the ruling of the committee. Thank you for coming,” he said, hitting the gavel.

After the lawmaker’s ruling, the minister said the committee handled her in a rough manner without respect.

“When you invite ministers, you have to treat them with respect. We have human rights. We cannot come here to this house and be abused,” Okonjo-Iweala said, showing her disapproval of the committee chairman’s action.