Lawmakers, Experts suggest Real Sector Development To Manage Debt

Abraham nwankwo.Nigerian Lawmakers and experts with the Debt Management Office (DMO) have prescribed the development of the real sector as a major solution to the challenge of keeping the nation’s debt within sustainable level.

At a retreat organised to enable the members of parliament and the DMO to rub minds on how to manage Nigeria’s debt situation to fit into the government’s economic transformation agenda, Nigeria’s debt profile was considered, with view to finding a reliable way of cutting it down.

Making a presentation at the 3-day retreat held at the Miccom Golf Hotel, Abuja on Saturday, the DMO Director General, Dr. Abraham Nwankwo, said that lesser government borrowings and creation of opportunities for the private sector to raise long term capital for the development of the real sector and infrastructure would reduce poverty in the nation.

Dr. Nwankwo told members of the House of Representatives Committee on Aids, Loans and Debt Management that Nigeria’s public debt profile as at September 2013 was $8.264 million which he said was 22% of the total GDP just as the Domestic debt profile as at September 2013 was also 7.032 trillion Naira.

However, he maintained that the level of the debt was still sustainable.

All the speakers emphasised the involvement and cooperation of Nigeria’s corporate businesses, as the sector could guarantee sustainability of the nation’s debt by leveraging on the existing sovereign benchmark to raise long term capital in the domestic market for the development of the real sector.

It is expected that the ideas that have been exchanged by the parliamentarians lead by Honourable Adeyinka Ajayi and the DMO, on the importance of debt management to the economic wellbeing of the nation, would help in solving Nigeria’s debt challenges.


NEMA Issues Fresh Nationwide Flood Alert

The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has issued fresh flooding alert following the announcement by Nigeria Metrological Agency (NIMET) in its seasonal rainfall prediction that there will be another flooding this year.

Addressing a news conference in Abuja, the Director General of NEMA, Muhammed Sani Sidi said the agency spent N1.3 billion to provide relief and manage flood disaster in the country in 2012.

Mr Sidi urged state governments to quickly evacuate people living along the floodplains to reduce the risk of flooding this year.

This was in response to the complaints of many of the rural dwellers who are most vulnerable, that unless they are relocated, they have nowhere to go.

He also listed the communities that would be vulnerable to flooding this year according to the findings of NIMET.

The states include Sokoto, Kebbi and Zamfara in the North West while the entire South-South and Southwest zones will be affected.

NIMET had last month predicted normal rainfall in Nigeria during the year except in Sokoto, Kebbi, Niger and Kwara states, which might experience excessive rainfall.

The agency had also predicted that rainfall pattern in most parts of Nigeria was likely to be similar to that of 2012.

FEC Set Up Committee On South East Erosion

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has set up a committee to assess erosion projects in the south east to ascertain their completion periods.

The committee which is headed by the Director-General, Bureau for Public Procurement, Engineer Emeka Eze is to check the extent of damage caused by the age-long erosion, report contractors that are not fulfilling the details of their contracts and check the environmental effects of erosion and its control for purposes of sanctions.

The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity,  Dr Reuben Abati, who briefed journalists on the outcome of  the  meeting, said there is also a window that is being thrown open to enable private businessmen provide infrastructures in erosion ravaged areas in the region under the private public partnership.

The Minister of Environment, Hadiza Melafa, stated that the Ministry has set up machinery to face all areas of the environment amidst daunting challenges.

In related development, the Federal Government also announced the kick-starting of activities slated for the nation’s centenary celebration in 2014.

The President will unveil the activities that touch on the ‘Unity, Diversity and The Uniqueness of the Nigerian Nation 100 Years After Amalgamation.’

FEC called on the private sector and all Nigerians to key in to the activities.

Just back from the AU Summit, the President presided over the council meeting on a day the Ministry of the Environment and that of Trade and Investment tendered the score card on the performance of their ministries in 2012.

The Minister of Trade and Investments beat his chest that trade in Nigeria has gone up to 25 per cent, promising to introduce a new auto policy soon.




Flood disaster is a wake-up call for Nigeria – D.G. NOTAP

Discussing the recent flood disaster that rocked major part of the country, a newspaper report said the Federal Government is losing 6.75 billion naira oil revenue to flood on a daily basis.

Looking at technology and flood, the Director General of the National Office for the Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP); Umar Bindir said flood disaster is not a new thing in the world as a lot of countries before Nigeria has had the experience and were able to cope, that is bounce back economically.

The D.G. who was on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily said that it is time for Nigeria to now wake-up in infusing technology into disasters for the economy not to suffer losses like this again.

Watch interview for more details.

Juventus D.G. says club is not interested in Drogba

Giuseppe Marotta the Director General of Italian giants Juventus has declared that the club does not have any interest whatsoever in signing former Chelsea forward now plying his trade for Shanghai Shenhua Didier Drogba.

Juventus we hear is said to be monitoring Roma’s Pablo Osvaldo and Athletic Bilbao’s Fernando Llorente.

Didier Drogba we hear is not happy in his new club and because of this the Ivory Coast international has been linked to Turin to probably join Juventus so as to strengthen the squad with some firepower which the Ivorian is known for during his day at the London club.

This information prompted the reaction of the Juventus Director General saying the former Chelsea striker is not one of the candidates to strengthen the Serie A leaders’ attack in the January transfer window.

He said further that Juventus has never considered making a move for Drogba, that it is just a rumour and speculation.

Flood: Oshiomhole demands expedient use of Ecological Fund

The Edo State Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole has called on the Federal Government to act fast and make judicious use of the National Ecological Fund in the management of raging flood disasters in the country.

The governor who made the call when the Director General; National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) Alhaji Sani Sidi visited Edo State to assess the devastation caused by the flood disaster across the state.

Some of the local government affected by the flood in the state include, Etsako Central, Etsako East and Esan South East. The emergency boss noted that the state government will collaborate with state government to provide a solution.

Governor Oshiomhole noted that the situation in the flooded communities caused by the overflow of the River Niger is getting worse because more communities are being affected and the water level is still rising.

He also stated that there are long term implications as farmlands have been destroyed, domestic animals have been killed and he affirmed that the Federal Government ought to do more than it has done.

The NEMA DG commiserated with the government and people of the state on the losses, both in human and material resources, adding that the flood which has occurred in 23 states of the federation are a pointer to the growing intensity of climate related disasters.

There are lots of dead woods in the SEC–Market Analyst

Capital Market analyst, Zik Obi, has claimed that there are  lots of incompetent hands in the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC).

The Legal Practitioner who was on our breakfast show Sunrise daily said the Director general of SEC, Ms Arunma Oteh is very much qualified for the position even though the House of Representatives are claiming she is not.

According to the market analyst, a lot of workers in the commission would have loved to rise to the exalted position following Ms Oteh’s suspension, “so there is probably a foul play somewhere because a lot of issues will probably be uncovered with her continued stay in the office hence the protection of individual interest” he argued.

Mr Obi further adds that SEC has been in a bad shape and Ms Oteh is doing or has done a job, warning that her removal will/may further damage the commission’

he concluded.

Launching N5000 note can’t work with the cashless policy- Analyst

Mr. Zik Obi a capital market analyst and legal practitioner has described the cashless policy and the proposed N5000 note as ‘coming at a very wrong time’.

According to the him, it is very wrong to launch the two polices without any sensitization of any kind.

He urge the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to suspend the proposed introduction of N5000 note.

Mr. Zik decried the failure of the apex bank to work with the National Assembly on the N5000 note proposal and warned there’s a lot of problems economically which remain unsolved for CBN than to bother Nigerians with the introduction of new N500o note.

Foreign airlines are exploitating Nigerian – Foreign Affairs Minister

Foreign affairs Minister, Mr Olugbenga Ashiru has accused foreign airlines operating in the nation’s airspace of being exploitative with the huge airfares charged Nigerians when compared with other routes in Africa.

The minister made the remark when he appeared before the Senate Committee on Aviation investigating the violation of aviation laws and practices by foreign airlines in Nigeria and lapses in the operation of the regulatory agencies.

According to the Minister, “a 6hour first class/business class flight from Lagos/Abuja to London ranges from $11,000 to $12,000 while a 12hour, first class or business class flight from Johannesburg to London cost $6,000.” “Why is this “he further asked, quipping that “this is nothing but exploitation by the foreign airlines.”

Mr Ashiru demanded an explanation form the airlines on why Nigerians are made to pay such high fares.

The Nigerian envoy also blamed regulatory agencies in the aviation industry for the disparity in fares charged by airline operators in the country. He noted that the regulatory agencies refused to moderate and ensure uniform fares among all operating airlines.

BA and Virgin’s airfare collusion

However, Director-General, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Dr. Harold Demuren, accused British Airways of colluding with Virgin Atlantic Airways to exploit Nigerians by engaging in price-fixing.

Dr Demuren, told the public hearing that “BA and VAA coordinated and cooperated in fixing, periodically raising and maintaining the Passenger Fuel Surcharge (PFS) with respect to travel including to and from Nigeria.”

“The PFS, having been discovered not to be what BA and VAA portrayed it to be, was a special device that deprived the federal government of legitimate revenue that should have been derived from the statutory five per cent of the Ticket Sales Charge.”

According to him, BA and VAA had earlier admitted to the same misconduct in the US and the UK and they are already compensating travellers in those countries.

The DG also noted that the regional imbalance in airfares was no longer acceptable and both airlines should begin to make refunds to Nigerians.

Responding to the allegations, British Airways’ country manager, Mr. Kolawole Olayinka, said it was unfortunate that the profitability of the airline was being discussed in the Senate.

According to him, there is no law that the airlines should pay five per cent of the PFS to the NCAA as it did for the TSC, adding that should such legal explanation come to the notice of the airline, it would immediately comply.

The chairman, Senate committee on Aviation, Senator Hope Uzodinma said the committee will find out if any airline truly manipulated the PFS to the detriment of the Nigerian people and government.

The Senate committee also asked the aviation authority to restore the agreement which allows Nigeria and Britain equal slots and frequency for twenty-one landing slots which only the British airline enjoys full privilege while Nigeria’s flag carrying airline, Arik airline is left with only seven.

Present at the hearing was the deputy Senate president, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, who lamented the lack of a national carrier and advocated the return of national airline for the country.

The House of Representatives had held similar meetings with the major players in the aviation sector, to understand why the disparity in airfare charged by foreign airlines in Nigeria compared with other countries.

The Senate Committee on Aviation had summoned the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Olugbenga Ashiru, and all foreign airlines in the country to appear before it on Monday over alleged violation of aviation laws by the airlines.