Recession Exit: Government Should Not Start Celebrating Yet – Development Expert

Okey Ikechukwu

The Executive Director, Development Specs Academy, Mr Okey Ikechukwu has called for cautious optimism saying the Federal Government should not assume and start celebrating the exit from economic recession yet.

Ikechukwu speaking on Channels Television Breakfast programme Sunrise Daily, on Wednesday, said the new figures released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) which showed that the Nigerian economy grew at 0.55 per cent in the second quarter of 2017 should not be celebrated yet until the impact is felt by Nigerians.

“What are the indices to warrant the submission made, you look at unemployment, GDP, manufacturing, retail trade, what is it we recorded in all of these? When you speak of growth, you move economic indices and relate them directly to impact on citizen welfare.

“So, this growth is excellent. On Television, in the newspaper, all the analysis, micro economic indices, wonderful! When growth is not related to impact on life, it is an issue.”

He stressed that the economic indices released may be incomprehensible to many Nigerians until the effect is seen in their daily lives.

“For (economic) experts, there is a lot to cheer, but Nigerians are not experts. This is good news, but let’s not delude ourselves. Let the government not start celebrating and assume that we are out of the woods.

“The very problems on the ground are even getting worse. Your income and my income is buying less in the market. The trader has less money to import with because of the value of the naira. Retail businesses have shrunk by more than 50%. The shops are opened but they employ less people.”

President Muhammadu has however, said in a tweet on Tuesday that he was pleased with the news of the nation’s emergence from recession but there is still a lot of work to be done.

Ikechukwu who is also a Development Consultant, responding to the tweet by President Buhari while speaking on the Channels Television programme said President Muhammadu’s response to the exit from recession is reassuring but people celebrating should note that the indices announced does not immediately translate to improving lives of Nigerians.

He said, “It’s reassuring. The President is addressing the people and he is acknowledging that there is more work to be done. My point is that, let those who are celebrating not assume that the announcement they have made is translating to the indices that are improving people’s lives.”

Group Advocates Investment In Tourism For Economic Diversification

The Federal and State Governments have been urged to explore opportunities in tourism, as an investment option that would help boost Nigeria’s revenue generation in the face of the current economic recession.

The appeal was made at the 47th annual conference of the Nigerian Institute of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV), which held at the Imo International Convention Center in Owerri, the state capital.

Speaking on the theme: ‘Growing and Diversifying the National Economy: The Real Estate Imperative’, the National President of NIESV, Bolarinde Ajayi, stressed the need for government to look into tourism and real estate development.

The Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government, George Eche, commended the association for deeming it worthy to choose the state as the rallying point.

The Governor said his administration since its inception, has done well in contributing its quota to the growth of real estate and tourism, considering the numerous infrastructural development it has achieved.

“As I declare this event open by the privilege given to me by our Governor, Rochas Okorocha, we appreciate and commend the leadership of this great association for choosing Imo state for the first time after 47 years of this conference – this practically tells us your association loves Imo state and we welcome you on behalf of Imo people”.

He further stated that: “if there is any profession that should be thankful to any government for uplifting their values then the NIESV should be thankful to the Okorocha-led administration. This is such that since the advent of this administration, the spate of development in all nooks and crannies of the state has made estate surveyors and valuers busier than their counterparts in other states of the federation; our Ministry of Lands is also the busiest in the east of the Niger” he added.

Also speaking, the Chief of staff to the Imo state Governor, Uche Nwosu, stated that tourism is a catalyst to economic growth.

He maintained that the importance of the estate surveyors and real estate practitioners cannot be overemphasized in management of the tourism sector.

Nwosu further stated that many countries depend on tourism as a major means of economic prosperity and if Nigeria can invest in the tourism sector and seek partnership with the Nigeria institute of estate surveyors and valuers, it could help the economy.

“As we as a nation continue to lament about the fall in oil prices in the world market, do we ask ourselves what next? What if there is no oil? Do we have to fold our hands and see things go bad, as a state, do we have to keep waiting for federal allocation until we pay salaries and pensions? I think we need to go back to the drawing board and think about how we can recover and boost the economy through tourism.

“As professionals, NIESV is very key to this project and if every country or state can be well coordinated to harness the tourism potentials embedded in the land, and also partner with estate surveyors and valuers, we might have a way out” he said.

The four-Day conference came to an end with a dinner and presentation of awards.

True Federalism Identified As Panacea To Nigeria’s Challenges

Emeka Anyaoku, Former Commonwealth Secretary-General.True federalism and political system restructuring have been identified as the panacea to the current socio-economic challenges in Nigeria.

This admonition came from former Commonwealth Secretary-General, Emeka Anyaoku, at the SUN Newspaper Man of the Year Award 2017.

While it was a time to honour those who had been nominated by the organisers as having distinguished themselves in the area of responsibility in the year 2016, it was also an opportunity to reiterate the call for higher standards in governance in the country.

The 14th edition of the event which took place in Lagos, brought together serving ministers, governors, political leaders and some other dignitaries.

Rivers state Governor, Nyesom Wike, bagged the Governor of the Year award, while Ogun state Governor, Ibikunle Amosun, was awarded as the Man Of The Year.

Youth Empowerment Crucial To National Development – Abdulfatah Ahmed

Abdulfatah-Ahmed, National Discovery, Governor Ahmed, RescessionThe Kwara state government has called on youths to take advantage of all available windows for self-sustainability to empower themselves instead of engaging in endless search for white collar jobs.

Speaking through his Senior Special Assistant on Youth Empowerment, Alhaji Saka Babatunde, at a one-day sensitization workshop on empowerment held in Ilorin, the State Governor, Dr Abdulfatah Ahmed said: “his government believes that when youths are idle, they become susceptible to perpetuate crime and commit all sorts of atrocities”.

This, according to the governor, compelled the state government to intensify and widen the scope of its training programmes for its youths.

“Our intention is to empower youths to be self-reliant and enterprising”, the governor added.

He further explained that apart from several other programmes initiated for the youths, the Malete Youths Integrated Farm since its inception, had trained over 500 students who had in turn, contributed to manpower development in the state.

“We have acquired hectares of land for youths farming and also set aside substantial revolving loan scheme for the youths to access for various kind of farming ranging from poultry, fishing, animal husbandry among others”.

He also disclosed that the present administration had established the International Training and Entrepreneurship College (ITEC), Ajase-Ipo, to provide vocational training for the teeming youths, adding that “the state government just appointed a rector and other management staff of the institution to pave way for the commencement of academic activities in the college in the next few weeks”.

Rate Of Unemployment

Babatunde, who noted that there had been increase in the rate of unemployment across the federation, said youths should develop themselves in entrepreneurial skills that would make them employers of labour.

He opined that if youths can properly utilize all the avenues and opportunities open to them, achieving the united nation’s 2030 agenda for sustainable development would become achievable.

The governor also called on other youths who were still perpetuating crimes to desist from such and take advantage of the several training programmes and empowerment initiatives of his administration to be self-reliant.

Babatunde therefore, urged the general public not to shield criminally-minded youths who were fond of disrupting peaceful co-existence of Kwarans, saying that the government would not tolerate such and would decisively deal with such individuals.

He said the programme which was organized by the Kwara state government in collaboration with the Tony Elemelu Foundation, was aimed at empowering youths in terms of resources which he identified as the major problem in starting business.

Furthermore, he stressed the need for Nigerian higher institutions to tailor their curriculums in line with present reality.

The State Coordinator of Kwara Agro Mall and representative of Tony Elumelu Foundation, Mr Temitope Amoju, said one of the objectives of the programme was to sensitise youths on how to create their own businesses.

He advised the youth to stop blaming the present situation of the country on mismanagement of some past leaders, but rather make the best use of the present situation to empower themselves and boost the economy.

Reps Task Executive On Proactive Measures To Tackle Recession

Reps, Executive, Recession, House of RepresentativesThe House of Representatives has called on the Executive to take more proactive steps to abate the hardship being experienced by citizens due to Nigeria’s economic recession.

The appeal was made on Thursday following a motion sponsored by a member of the House from Benue State, Representative Emmanuel Orker-Jev.

The motion was supported by the Chief Whip of the House, Representative Alhassan Dogowa, and the Chairman of the House Committee on Banking, Representative Jones Onyereri.

Although the lawmakers acknowledged that the Executive was taking steps to address the situation, they stressed the need to do more.

The House consequently set up an ad-hoc committee to monitor the various steps and policies being taken by the Federal Government to check the situation.

The committee has been given three months to complete its work, while the House revealed its plan to have a sectoral debate on the matter.

The Minority Leader, Representative Leo Ogor, hinted that the focus of the deliberation was on the economy when the House resumed the debate on the 2017 budget for the third day.

While the debate also continued in the Senate, the bill passed through second reading in both chambers.

Nigerians are expecting National Assembly to conclude its debate on the proposal and bring out a “budget of recovery and growth”.

Unemployment: Aregbesola Wants Graduates To Embrace Agriculture

AgricultureThe Governor of Osun State, Mr Rauf Aregbesola, wants university graduates in Nigeria to shift attention from white collar jobs and embrace agriculture.

He believes agriculture is a good means of stemming the tide of unemployment.

The Governor stated that the present economic situation had shown Nigerians the need to encourage farming as the only alternative to crude oil.

Aregbesola made the demand while addressing a gathering at the 6th convocation ceremony of Fountain University in Osogbo, the capital of Osun State.

He noted that there was no aspect of life that could do without agriculture, saying Nigerian graduates must henceforth stop searching for formal jobs that seem to be no longer in existence.

Food Production Capacity

The Governor stressed the need for productivity, resilience and hard-work among Nigerians, pointing out that the present nation’s economy demands one to be self-employed.

Argebesola Stresses Need To Educate Nigerians On Recession
Governor of Osun State, Mr Rauf Aregbesola, believes increase in agricultural produce will reflate Nigeria’s economy

According to him, there is no other alternative to sustain Nigeria’s economy than to build the required interest in agriculture and brace up with anything that could promote food production capacity.

Mr Aregbesola held that Nigerians must, as a matter of urgency, invest in things that would prevent famine in the next five years if truly the nation was ready to overcome her present economic challenges.

Lamenting the dwindling revenues from the crude oil sales, Governor Aregbesola said “unless Nigeria sees the need to promote agriculture, efforts to bring back the dwindling economy may be gloomy”.

“There is need for us, especially our young graduates, to lead the nation in promoting agriculture as the only realistic surviving alternative to economy.

“We must embrace farming because it is only agriculture that has direct links to all aspects of life.

“Nigeria has grown to the stage her food production capacity must be urgently expanded to meet the general needs of the citizenry and as well enhance exportation.

“The time to enhance productivity has come. We must all embrace productivity. We must produce whatever we desire to consume,” he stressed.

Congratulating the graduating students, Aregbesola charged them to adapt to the virtues they acquired in the institution.

He advised them to get prepared for the challenges ahead and life after university which he described as “challenging”.

“You must all be prepared. The challenges ahead, especially at this period of over saturated tendencies of labour market, you need grim determination to succeed. You must be rational and critical in the application of the knowledge you have acquired”.

He further appealed to those who are using the precious and reputable name of Islam to perpetrate violence, saying “violence is directly antithetical to Islam”.

“All hands must be on deck to end terrorism in the country as the act is tantamount to the tenets of Islam.”

Earlier in his lecture, Professor Abubakar Adamu Rasheed, charged both private and public organisations in Nigeria on the need to invest more in education.

He said the country had gone to a stage where education should be seen by all as a bedrock for national development and called for the need to encourage participation in both basic and higher education.

Professor Rasheed, who is the Executive Secretary, National University Commission, said all hands must be on deck to promote tertiary education.

He implored stakeholders in the private and public institutions in the country to, as a matter of necessity, rescue the nation from her present educational backwardness by establishing more universities in the nooks and crannies‎.

Prior to the discovery of crude oil, agriculture use to be Nigeria’s economy mainstay, a position the Nigerian government is pushing to return the nation to by pushing for more youth involvement in agriculture.

 

UPP Chairman Says Early Passage Of 2017 Budget Will End Recession

UPP Chairman Says Early Passage Of 2017 Budget Will End RecessionThe National Chairman of United Progressives Party (UPP), Chekwas Okorie, says early passage of 2017 budget of N7.2 trillion by the National Assembly might end economic recession in Nigeria.

Okorie made the statement at an event in Owerri the Imo state capital south-east Nigeria.

He said if the budget is passed early and funds appropriated to various ministries, departments, and agency are promptly released, the economic challenges being faced by Nigerians in recent months could end.

Okorie, who was responding to questions from journalists said that he was optimistic the economy has a chance of survival in 2017. “The progress being recorded in food production like rice should be sustained” he said.

“In recent times, we have seen the synergy between the Kebbi State government and Lagos state in rice production, government should sustain its policy of diversification and equally support industrialization’’.

The UPP Chieftain also urged state governments to create enabling environments for SMEs to pave the way for youth employments.

He maintained that with such steps a lot could change in the socio-economic situation of the country in 2017.

Buhari Urges Nigerians To Pray For Divine Guidance

Buhari Urges Nigerians To Pray For Divine GuidanceFew hours ahead of Christmas day, Nigeria’s President, Mohammadu Buhari, has sent a yuletide message urging Nigerians to pray for divine guidance in the face of the country’s challenges.

In a statement released on Saturday, the President said:

“Dear Compatriots, I heartily rejoice with all Nigerians, particularly our Christian brothers and sisters, on this year’s celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ.

“As we celebrate this year’s Christmas, I believe that it is very appropriate for us to reflect on the love of God aptly espoused in the teachings and lifestyle of Jesus Christ.

“During his earthly sojourn, Jesus Christ repeatedly reminded his disciples and followers of peace that comes in the midst of trials and tribulations on earth.

“There is no better time than now in our nation’s history to pray for divine guidance to get over our current challenges.

“We can have peace in Nigeria if we all learn to tolerate and appreciate one another, respect constituted authority; and be our brothers’ keepers in word and deed.”

Furthermore, he stated that: “During this period, we should remember to offer special prayers to God for all our heroic citizens who paid the supreme price to restore peace and security in the northeast and other flash points in the country.

“Let us also remember in our prayers the security forces in the front-line in the continuing battle to rid our nation of terrorism and violence.

“We must not forget the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in our midst and those who have suffered untold hardship as a result of activities of insurgents and terrorists.

“Our immediate priority is to alleviate the poverty of Nigerians by quickly stimulating the economy. I assure Nigerians that our government is doing its best to make life easier for all,” he said.

“Let us therefore, renew our hope in the God-ordained unity, progress and prosperity of our great nation.

“I wish all travellers safe movements and a memorable holiday as we celebrate with our family and friends, Merry Christmas!” the President prayed.

Recession: Nigeria Needs To Seek Non-Oil Revenue Solutions – Babajide

Recession: Nigeria Needs To Seek Non-Oil Revenue Solutions - BabajideData analyst, Babajide Ogunsanwo, believes that Nigeria would have to “put all her eggs into the non-oil revenue basket”, to lift the economy out of its current recession and into prosperity.

He said this while analysing the 2017 budget proposed by the Federal Government on Channels Television’s breakfast show, Sunrise Daily.

According to him, the proposed budget, summarises the fact that “perhaps oil can lead us out of recession”.

Explaining further, he said: “Last year when the president, presented the 2016 budget, he had used the word ‘oil’ nine times, this time, he used it 20 times.

“Also, in last year’s budget presentation there was no mention of recession; this time, he mentioned recession three times and the mention of ‘non-oil’ has even reduced.

“Today’s budget says we expect to earn 1.9 trillion Naira from oil; that is higher than what we are expected to earn from either independent revenue from the government or even from non-oil revenue”.

Meanwhile, analysing how much the nation earns from oil production, Ogunsanwo compared the economies of Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, alongside Nigeria.

“Kuwait exports 158 litres of oil daily, per person, Saudi Arabia 56 litres, Nigeria two litres,” he said.

Recession: Nigeria Needs To Seek Non-Oil Revenue Solutions - Babajide

Looking at this, “can oil really save us?” he questioned.

The analyst believes that “because of our population, the revenue we get from crude oil cannot lead us into prosperity” but would rather lead us into obscurity.

“The revenues we earn will not be sufficient to take care of not just this generation but will never be able to take care of the generation unborn”.

Citing examples such as Google, he then went on to suggest that “we can use ideas to push the country into prosperity”.

Kaduna Residents Plead With Govt. To Intervene In Food Price Hike

Kaduna Residents Plead With Govt. To Intervene In Food Price HikeAhead of the Christmas celebration, residents of Kaduna state, northwest Nigeria lament over the hike in cost of food items and other commodities needed to make the occasion a memorable one.

While some residents complained that prices of essential commodities have gone up, traders on the other hand groan over low patronage.

The Sheikh Gumi market in the state capital, according to them, was unusually dry unlike other festive seasons; a situation traders attribute to the current economic recession in the country.

Residents lamented over the high cost of rice, which has moved from about 9,000 Naira to nothing less than 17,500. They equally complained that a live chicken now goes for about 4,000 Naira as against prices from last year’s Christmas.

They believe that the ban on importation of rice is the reason for the hike in prices and therefore, called on the government to relax the ban on rice and other essential commodities in order to alleviate the suffering of Nigerians.

This request is not coming as something new, as residents in some other states such as Ondo, as well as Ekiti states protested the hike which led to a forceful reduction in price of some commodities.

In November, Ekiti state monarchs under the Council of Traditional Rulers, in conjunction with Market Women Association of Nigeria ensured the reduction in prices.

Speaking to Channels Television, some residents expressed that they are left with no choice than to celebrate the yuletide in ‘low key’, due to lack of money and high cost of goods in the market.

Although some have complained bitterly about the situation, many others still believe that celebrating Christmas to herald the birth of Jesus Christ is a must, regardless of the economic situation.

Ambode, Bagudu Launch ‘Lake Rice’ In Lagos

Ambode, Bagudu Launch Lake Rice In LagosThe Lagos state Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode and his Kebbi state counterpart, Atiku Bagudu, have launched the locally made rice known as ‘Lake Rice’.

This move according to the governors is to encourage the local production of rice, as well as other staple foods.

Lake rice is a product of the partnership entered earlier this year, Lagos and Kebbi states involving the cultivation of rice and other staple foods.

It was  presented to the public at the state house in Lagos.

Plastic Rice

This is coming in the face of the economic recession, and at a time when the federal government has insisted that Nigeria can no longer sustain the importation of rice, which the nation’s farmers can produce, though not in sufficient quantity.

Several talks have been ongoing as to how to create alternatives also as there has been an upsurge in the cost of the staple food from about 12,000 Naira per bag, to over double that amount.

Barely 24 hours ago, the Nigerian Customs Service in Lagos, uncovered 102 bags of plastic rice imported into the country.

The increase in prices has pushed many to resort to smuggling of rice to be able to sell cheaper to Nigerians, thereby increasing the risk of consuming poor quality foods, which may pose serious health risks to innocent citizens.

The Anchor Borrowers’ Programme however, is one of the initiatives by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), that has immensely supported farmers in the local production of rice.

Based on the yields so far, Acting Director, Corporate Communication, CBN, Mr Isaac Okoroafor, had however said that before the end of 2017, Nigeria will begin to export rice to other countries.

Now with the new initiative by the Lagos and Kebbi state governors, local rice production has received yet another boost.

Ajimobi Urges Citizens To Shun Corruption, Embrace Intergrity

Ajimobi Urges Citizens To Shun Corruption, Embrace IntergrityThe Oyo state Governor, Abiola Ajimobi, has drummed up support for the APC-led administration in the country, calling on all to eschew corruption and encourage templates of integrity, sacrifice, and selfless service as exemplified by the spirit of Christmas.

Governor Ajimobi stated this during the 2016 Christmas carol and thanksgiving service held at Agodi Gardens, Parliament road, secretariat Ibadan.

He said the present administration is aware of the poor state of the economy, which has exposed the citizens to suffering and hardship, stressing that necessary steps are being taken to address the challenges.

While noting the efforts of President Muhammadu Buhari to arrest the recession presently facing the nation’s economy, Ajimobi also stressed the need for all be more understanding.

The governor therefore called on the people to follow the rules and injunction of the Holy Bible, by learning to forgive, accommodate, and embrace selfless service.

He however noted that corruption must be stamped out at all levels for these efforts to yield desired fruits.

Dignitaries from all walks of life, graced the 2016 edition of the carol service which is the sixth to be observed by any Governor in the State.

Furthermore, in a sermon, Bishop of the Methodist Church Nigeria, Mr Sunday Ola Makinde, condemned the high level of corruption in the society right from the church leaders to the politicians to the judiciary and security agents.

He said the greater the number of churches and mosques in the country, the greater the level of corruption and sinful acts in the society.

According to him, “church business has become a money spinning business in the society today”.

He said politicians, religious leaders and other people in high places have corrupted the image of God, through unfulfilled promises, bribery and false prophesies.

He then re-iterated the message of the governor, asking citizens to maintain integrity in all they do.