Japan’s Minister Returns Salary After Scandal

 Japan’s Finance Minister, Taro Aso said on June 4 he was returning a year’s salary after his ministry scrubbed public documents related to a cronyism scandal that has dogged Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. JIJI PRESS / AFP

 

Japan’s Finance Minister, Taro Aso, said Monday he was returning a year’s salary after his ministry scrubbed public documents related to a cronyism scandal that has dogged Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

But he ruled out resigning after it emerged ministry officials had removed hundreds of references to Abe, his wife, and Aso from documents related to the sale of state land at below-market prices.

“I am voluntarily returning 12 months of my salary as a cabinet minister, as this problem has hurt public confidence in the finance ministry and the administration as a whole,” Taro Aso told reporters.

But he added, “I am not thinking about stepping down”, as he announced the findings of the ministry’s in-house probe.

Aso is the richest minister in Abe’s cabinet because of his family’s massive fortune made in the mining business. He also earns some 30 million yen ($274,000) a year as a cabinet minister.

Aso said the ministry had penalised around 20 officials, imposing pay cuts in some cases and issuing verbal reprimands to others.

“Officially approved administrative documents should never have been altered and submitted to parliament. I find this extremely regrettable,” he said.

Abe told reporters he wanted Aso to stay on to ensure lessons were learned from the scandal.

“We should conduct a thorough review of how to keep public documents and take measures to prevent a recurrence,” he said, adding that he wanted Aso “to take leadership in this and fulfil his responsibility.”

The scandal revolves around the 2016 cut-price sale of state-owned land to a nationalist school operator who claims ties to Abe and his wife Akie.

The penalised officials include Nobuhisa Sagawa, whose office helped alter key documents related to the controversial land sale. He has since resigned.

Giving sworn testimony in parliament soon after he quit the ministry in March, Sagawa denied any involvement by Abe or the prime minister’s office in falsifying the documents.

But the senior bureaucrat declined to answer detailed questioning about how and when documents were altered, saying he was under criminal investigation.

Prosecutors last week decided not to press charges against him.

Abe also faces a second cronyism scandal in which the opposition alleges he used his influence to help an old friend open a school in a special economic zone, bypassing cumbersome government regulations.

Abe, in power since late 2012, is in no imminent danger of losing his job, but the scandals have affected his popularity.

A new opinion poll released Monday showed voter support for his cabinet down 1.6 percentage points over the past month to 39 percent, the lowest level since he took office.

The finance ministry, considered the most powerful in Japan’s bureaucracy, has also been rocked by a sexual abuse scandal that forced the resignation of a senior official.

AFP

To Solve Problem Of Borrowing, Nigerians Must Pay Tax – Adeosun

The Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun has said the nation needs to generate more revenue through the payment of tax by Nigerians in order to solve the problem of borrowing.

Speaking during a press conference at the 2017 World Bank/International Monetary Fund Annual Meetings in Washington DC, United States, on Sunday, she said although the government has a role to play in being more efficient, Nigerians also have a role to play by paying taxes properly.

“The solution to borrowing in Nigeria is that we must pay taxes. If we pay the taxes properly, there’s no need to borrow. I am not suggesting that there isn’t a responsibility on the part of the government to be more responsible and more efficient, we are really focusing on this, we are trying to find a way to cut costs.

“Fundamentally, we must invest. We don’t have the power that we need, we don’t have the roads yet. We are a work in progress. There’s a lot of money to be spent to reposition this economy, and we need to generate much more by way of tax.”

READ ALSO: Akwa Ibom To Benefit From World Bank Assisted Project

Kemi Adeosun said the nation needs to tolerate more debts by borrowing because Nigeria currently has one of the lowest debt-to-Gross Domestic Product figures in the world adding that the current administration has no plan to go into massive borrowing which it would not be able to sustain.

“Nigeria’s debt-to-Gross Domestic Product ratio is one of the lowest actually. It is about 19 per cent. Most advanced countries have over 100 per cent. I am not saying we want to move to 100 per cent. But I’m saying we need to tolerate a little bit more debt in the short term to deliver roads, rail, and power.

“That, in itself, will generate economic activities and jobs, which will then generate revenue which will be used to pay back (the loans). It is a strategic decision that as a country we have to make.”

 

Explaining more on why the country had to borrow, Adeosun said, the nation is confronted with the challenge of either reducing public services or to begin to generate revenue.

“If we think back at the problem that we faced, it will be very important to put this in context. Our principal source of revenue plummeted by up to 85 per cent. So, we had two choices: You either reduce public services massively, which would have meant massive job losses or you borrow in the short term until you can begin to generate revenue.

“As the All Progressives Congress (the ruling party), we felt laying off thousands of people was not the way to stimulate the economy. Also, when we came into office, about 27 state governments could not pay salaries. If we had allowed that situation to persist, we would have been in depression now.

“So, we took the view that as a government the best for us to do was to stimulate the demand and spend our way out of trouble. Let the state government pay salaries, make sure the Federal Government can pay salary and invest in capital projects to get people back to work. Once growth is restored, you can now begin to systematically reduce short dependence on borrowing and increase revenue.”

I Think We Are Getting Out Of Recession – Finance Minister

The Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, has said she thinks Nigeria is getting out of recession and getting onto a path of growth that will be sustainable.

“I Think we are getting out of recession; all the statistics seem to suggest that but more importantly, we are getting on the path of growth that will be sustainable so we can see a future for Nigeria,” she said.

“So I think it is getting better.”

The Finance Minister, who was a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast show Sunrise Daily said that the Buhari administration inherited lots of issues from the previous administration and the economy needed to go through a radical surgery and fixes.

“We inherited a lot of problems, the Nigerian economy didn’t just need a little bit of fix here and there but needed radical surgery and to heal it will take a little bit longer”.

Infrastructure Development

On the development of infrastructure, the minister stated that the Federal Government is looking at the long-term, which is why it seems like the growth of the economy is slow.

Unemployment

She regretted that one of the issues affecting the economy is unemployment. “We have people that have been unemployed for about 10 years and the economy and job market cannot absorb them.

“We have people that have been unemployed for about 10 years and the economy and job market cannot absorb them,” she said.

According to her, the solution to the high rate of unemployment is getting the economy productive; for businesses to open up, employ people, among other things.

For instance, she said the clothing industry can provide employment for tailors, manufactures, lawyer, accountants and others.

She insisted that jobs must be created for the unemployed.

 Food Prices

The Minister blamed food price escalation on the high cost of transportation for taking farm produce from the rural areas to the urban locations.

She added that the government is proferring solutions to help reduce the cost of transportation by supporting the farmers through infrastructure.

Reps Summon Finance Minister Over Alleged Procurement Act Breach

Minister-of-Finance-Mrs-Kemi-Adeosun-PayrollThe House of Representatives Committee On Public Procurement has ordered the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, to appear before it on Tuesday, May 16, over allegations of abuse and breach of the Procurement Act, 2007.

The summon followed a resolution taken at the commencement of an investigative hearing into allegations of abuse, breach and violation of the Public Procurement Act in the engagement of contractors for the pre-shipment inspection and monitoring of crude oil and gas export.

Committee members were displeased with the Finance Minister for failing to appear for the public hearing and failing to submit a memorandum to the committee.

The hearing is as a result of a motion raised by a member of the House, Babatunde Kolawole, who reminded the lower chamber that in June 2015, the President had mandated the finance ministry to process engagement of pre-shipment inspectors through selective tendering approved by the Bureau for Public Procurement.

The lawmaker said in December 2015, after the selection of 65 companies to participate in the bidding stage, the Minister of Finance, however, ordered the immediate cancellation of the tendering process on the grounds of lack of transparency, accountability and on the basis of a formal complaint from the BPP.

The lawmaker asked the house to investigate allegations of abuses in the fresh tendering process.

But the investigative hearing got off to a shaky start as the finance minister failed to appear.

The Chairman of the Committee, Wole Oke, gave the assurance that the comittee would would be thorough in its investigation with the intention of cleaning up the system.

We Will Continue To Make Every Naira Count – Adeosun

The Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, has outlined some steps on how Nigeria’s economy should be taken out of recession.

She was one of the guests on the 2017 special May Day edition of the programme, The Platform; a lecture series organised by the Covenant Christian Center Lagos.

While addressing Nigeria’s financial crisis, Mrs Adeosun blamed the past administration for concentrating only on current expenditure, leaving the agriculture sector and other areas unattended to.

According to her, what the government spent money on, were the wrong things and that’s the result the nation now suffers.

“There is always a lag between action and effect. We are now suffering the effect of what was done two, three years ago.

“Ninety per cent of government expenditure was on what we call recurrent, which involves salaries, travel, training, welfare (food), that’s what we were spending money on and only 10% went on capital.

“Capital includes roads, rail, power, housing, building educational institutions and only 10% of government expenditure was capital.

As a way forward, she however, stated that “For the rest of the economy, agriculture, services, banking, trade, people must pay taxes; there must be more revenue. We can’t all rely on oil.

“We are going to be pushing out quite a few initiatives to improve our revenue. Then on our course, we will continue to be efficient, prudent, continue to make sure that every Naira counts.”

Also speaking at the programme was the former governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi, who believes that the nation has imbibed a system of eating for today only and letting tomorrow take care of itself.

“The reason why we are talking about massive borrowing today is because we didn’t save yesterday.

“No nation can survive without saving for tomorrow – Never, and that is the crisis we face today,” he asserted.

Mrs Adeosun however, stressed that the past is gone and in moving forward, the plan is to improve oil and non-oil taxes in order to get the balance right.

World Bank, Others To Support Nigeria’s Power Sector

The Nigerian Government has come into an agreement with the World Bank group to scale up disbursements for critical projects in the country.

Finance Minister, Mrs Kemi Adeosun told journalists in Washington at the end of the World Bank/IMF Spring Meetings that the power sector in particular, has received the backing of the World Bank and other development partners.

“If there is one thing that would really drive growth in Nigeria, its power. If we had to choose just one thing, it would be power because of the number of jobs it would create, the number of opportunities and amount of wealth it would create. So we have said getting power right is non-negotiable.”

She further stated that all the projects are contained in the economic recovery and growth plan adding that while the foundation has been laid, implementation is what is left.

“This phase we are now, is about implementation. We’ve put the foundations in place, now it’s about really accelerating the implementation in certain key areas and we are quite confident that we are going to get back to growth and hopefully, would be sustainable growth that would be less volatile so that even if the oil price falls in future, Nigeria would not be as vulnerable as we have found ourselves in the last few years.”

Delay In Salary Payment Scuttles Civil Servants’ Christmas Plans

nairaFederal civil servants have appealed to authorities to fast track the payment of their salaries to enable them celebrate the Christmas.

Those who spoke to Channels Television in Abuja said the delay in the payment of their salaries had brought them untold hardship.

It is few hours to Christmas and while preparations for some Nigerians are in top gear, some civil servants are deprived because they have not been paid their December salary.

They said it would be marked like any other day.

Finance Minister, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, had blamed the delay on the breach of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System by some ministries and parastatals.

But for the civil servants, the non-payment of their salaries has not afforded them the opportunity to travel or prepare for Christmas.

They spoke on what they expected from the government before the year runs out, among which was demand for prompt payment of their salaries and other outstanding benefits.

During the weekly Federal Executive Council meeting, the Minister of Finance told reporters that Ministries, Departments and Agencies which were yet to receive salaries were those that had exhausted their budget.

She, however, said that the virement submitted to the National Assembly by the presidency was expected to address the challenges faced by workers.

National Economic Council Approves FG’s Strategies To End Recession

Adeosun, GovernorsThe National Economic Council has approved President Muhammadu Buhari’s strategies to pull the economy out of recession.

This was done during its meeting in Abuja, chaired by the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo.

The council of ministers and governors debriefed the Finance Minister, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun and the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Mr Udoma Udo Udoma as well as the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele on the strategies to take the country out of the woods.

Briefing State House correspondents after the closed-door meeting, the Deputy Governor of Ogun State, Yetunde Onanuga, said that the Central Bank would henceforth adopt best options to manage the situation.

Other areas of urgent intervention were also agreed upon by the council to immediately inject larger funds into the economy, including meaningful diversification and more stringent importation cuts.

Intervention of affordable housing was also among urgent issues discussed, which the council said a target of one billion naira fund has been set up to create a blended pool of long term funds for housing development finance and mortgage provision aimed at delivering 500,000 housing units annually.

The council commended members of the National Economic Team for their diligence and hard work.

The council’s declaration comes barely 24 hours after the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, asked President Muhammadu Buhari to reshuffle his cabinet and redeploy the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Budget and National Planning from their present ministries.

Senate-Ike-Ekweremadu
Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu

As the Senate began debate on the state of the economy on Wednesday, Ekweremadu said that he was not impressed with the performance of the two ministers and believes they would perform better in other ministries.

Nigeria’s economy had slipped into recession after a report of the National Bureau of Statistics showed that the nation’s GDP contracted by 2.06% in the second quarter of 2016.

The report came just as militant activities have resurged in the Niger Delta, causing the revenue of the nation which comes largely from crude oil sales to drop.

The price of crude, which had dropped in the international market, already taking its toll on the nation’s economy was compounded by the attacks on oil installations in the Niger Delta.

Negative Growth Since 2012
The Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, had recently said that the country had been in negative growth since 2012 with the hope that it would avoid recession but since the reality of the recession has dawned on the nation, the government was prepared to address it.

Kemi-Adeosun-Minister-of-Finance-Nigeria-on-Economy
Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun

She said that the tactical plan of the Nigerian government to address its economic challenges would not change in spite of the official confirmation that the country had gone into a recession.

Mrs Adeosun was the guest of Channels TV’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily on Tuesday, September 20, where she explained that the solution to Nigeria’s problem remained the same from years past.

“Our plans haven’t changed. We need to stimulate the economy and we are going to do so largely by redirecting expenditure from recurrent into capital because we believe that capital expenditure will create jobs and create more productivity in the economy in the long run and help us to diversify,” she said.

She maintained that getting out of recession remains dependent on how productive the economy becomes as well as how well it can create jobs. “we’ve got to invest in our capital infrastructure,” she said.

Set To Inject Funds
The Minister had few days earlier said that the government was set to inject an additional 350 billion Naira ($1.1 billion) into the economy and raise $1 billion from Euro-bonds by mid-December to ease the recession.

She had told reporters in Abuja that the additional funding, on top of the initial 420 billion Naira released in May, was primarily for capital expenditure projects that would also involve support from local banks and transaction partners.

“We are raising money. As you know the Euro-bond capital raise is on.

Udoma-Udoma
Minister of Budget and National Planning, Mr Udoma Udo Udoma

“We are about to appoint advisers so we we will be raising additional $1 billion.

“Two weeks ago we approved the external borrowing plan and that was very important,” the Minister said.

While local investors feel neglected despite being in greater majority than the foreign investors for which the government is looking to attract back to Nigeria, the Minister for Budget, Senator Udoma Udoma, had reassuring words.

“We are determined to make it easier to do business in Nigeria and we believe that, working together with the private sector, we must surely transform this economy,” he told businessmen during a quarterly business briefing at the Presidential Villa with private sector stakeholders.

Ending Recession: Our Strategy Has Not Changed – Adeosun

Kemi adeosun, recession, Finance Minister, CBNThe Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, says the tactical plan of the Nigerian government to address its economic challenges has not changed in spite of the official confirmation that the country had gone into a recession.

Mrs Adeosun was the guest of Channels TV’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily on Tuesday, September 20, where the conversation centered on the state of the Nigerian economy.

She recalled that the country had been in negative growth since 2012 with the hope that it would avoid recession but since the reality of the recession has dawned on the nation, the government is prepared to address it.

“Our plans haven’t changed. We need to stimulate the economy and we are going to do so largely by redirecting expenditure from recurrent into capital because we believe that capital expenditure will create jobs and create more productivity in the economy in the long run and help us to diversify,” she said.

The Finance Minister noted that the solution to Nigeria’s problem has been the same and getting out of recession remains dependent on how productive the economy becomes as well as how well it can create jobs.

“To do so, we’ve got to invest in our capital infrastructure,” she maintained.

Emergency Powers

There have been talks about the executive arm of government sending a bill to the legislature seeking executive powers for the President to help drag the economy out of recession and Mrs Adeosun explained the rationale behind the bill.

She said: “There are a number of bottlenecks that we have already identified and which we think that given where we are, it might be worthy looking at how to unlock them.

“For example, we have pumped a fairly large amount of capital into the economy through various ministries, departments and agencies, some of whom have deployed it very quickly and are ready for more and we are about to release another tranche of 350 billion.

“But there are some ministries that have been slowed down by the procurement processes. It is about transparency versus speed. We want open tenders because that gives us the best price and that is what also gives opportunities to Nigerians to bid for and to get government contracts.

“If it is taking four to 16 weeks to get through the bureaucracy, at this point in time we think we can’t afford those delays. So we need to say ‘look, procurement laws are made for usual times and these are unusual times, can we look at relaxing some of the condition?’

“Similarly there is a transaction we are working on at the moment which is a very pivotal transaction with General Electric – they want to run freight on our own rail system which will create huge number of jobs across the country.

“But it’s bogged down in rules that say you’ve got to do this and that you’ve got to advertise and keep it up for a while. We don’t have that time.

“So there are some areas where I think it would be useful to have some legislative amendments.”

The Worst Is Over

The Minister also agreed with an earlier statement by the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr Godwin Emefiele that the worst of the recession was over.

She explained that the level of problems that the economy has had to deal with  – ranging from the drop in oil price to the Niger Delta crisis that led to drop in oil production quantity are indeed the worst that could only have been imagined.

“So our worst case scenario in terms of our planning has already happened and I think that is probably what he was trying to say.

“From now on, the only way really is up. The only way is recovery, the only way is forward,” she assured Nigerians.

Low Interest Rates

As Nigerians await the outcome of the Central Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting, the Minister of Finance hoped that the committee would lower key interest rates.

Mrs Adeosun believes that this will help stimulate the economy, especially as the government plans to boost the economy without increasing debt servicing costs.

At the last committee meeting in July, the benchmark Monetary Policy Rate was raised from 12 percent, to 14 percent, while the Cash Reserve Ratio and Liquidity Ratio were both retained, at 22.50 per cent and 30 per cent each.

The CBN is also expected to give an update on new flexible forex market.

Osinbajo Explains How Militants’ Activities Triggered Nigeria’s Economic Recession

Yemi Osinbajo on economic recession Nigeria’s Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, says activities of the Niger Delta militants are the reasons the country is in its current state of recession.

Professor Osinbajo believes that no country can lose one million barrels of oil per day without suffering tremendously.

Nigeria’s economy had slipped into recession after a report of the National Bureau of Statistics showed that the nation’s GDP contracted by 2.06% in the second quarter of 2016.

The report came just as militant activities have resurged in the Niger Delta, causing the revenue of the nation which comes largely from crude oil sales to drop.

The price of crude, which had dropped in the international market, already taking its toll on the nation’s economy was compounded by the attacks on oil installations in the Niger Delta.

Peculiar Circumstances

The Vice President pointed out that Nigeria could only get out of recession by looking at only those solutions that would take full consideration of Nigeria’s peculiar circumstances and composition.

At a quarterly business briefing at the Presidential Villa with private sector stakeholders on Monday, the Vice President said Nigeria could not afford the usual error of generalisation and speculations that would not take the country out of recession.

Kemi-Adeosun-Minister-of-Finance-Nigeria-on-Economy
Finance Minister Mrs Kemi Adeosun
Udoma-Udoma
Minister for Budget Senator Udoma Udoma

The presidential quarterly business forum, which has in attendance the ministers of budget, finance, trade and industry and captains of industries, is part of efforts to tackle headlong, the economic recession.

The Vice President told the gathering that power, security in the Niger Delta region and improved business environment among important things must be addressed in the short term.

Set To Inject Funds

The recession notwithstanding, the Finance Minister, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, said Nigeria would borrow to pump into the economy for capital projects even as she insisted that interest rates must be reduced.

The Minister had few days ago said the government was set to inject an additional 350 billion Naira ($1.1 billion) into the economy and raise $1 billion from Euro-bonds by mid-December to ease the recession.

She had told reporters in Abuja that the additional funding, on top of the initial 420 billion Naira released in May, was primarily for capital expenditure projects that would also involve support from local banks and transaction partners.

“We are raising money. As you know the Euro-bond capital raise is on.

“We are about to appoint advisers so we we will be raising additional $1 billion.

“Two weeks ago we approved the external borrowing plan and that was very important,” the Minister said.

While local investors feel neglected despite being in greater majority than the foreign investors for which the government is looking to attract back to Nigeria, the Minister for Budget, Senator Udoma Udoma, has reassuring words.

“We are determined to make it easier to do business in Nigeria and we believe that, working together with the private sector, we must surely transform this economy,” he told the gathering.

APC’s Senator Melaye Seeks Sack Of Buhari’s Economic Team

Dino-MelayeA Senator of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Dino Melaye, is insisting on the sacking or voluntary resignation of the economic team of the Nigerian President, saying the current economic hardship does not represent the party’s campaign promises.

The Senator, who is from Kogi State, said that his political affiliation should not be considered, as he was only concerned about what will make the lives of Nigerians better.

“It is about the survival of democracy, the Nigerian populace and having a just and egalitarian society.

“There is no policy direction of the economic team. We have not seen anything that will show as hope for the revival of the economy.

“I am a proud member of the APC and I am very confident of my loyalty to my party, but what we have at hand… with most of the Ministers it is a matter of double jeopardy. No capacity no capability,” he stressed.

Economic Hardship

Asked why the Senate could not identify the capacity of the individuals before their names were approved, Senator Melaye explained that the names came without portfolios and that it was difficult to base screening on particular expertise.

“We were screening them without knowing the ministries they were going to man.”

He pointed out that with the economic hardship Nigerians were facing, “it is no longer about your political party. It is about the survival of this country and about the masses of the country”.

‘Competence For The Office’

On the positions of the members of the economic team the Senator pointed out that he had no personal condemnation of any individual, but stressed that he was only being truthful.

“I have no problem with anyone of them, but the truth need to be told. It has no colour.

“The Budget and Planning Ministry is the soul of any government or economy and you need somebody who has expertise in public finance and somebody who specialises in development economics to man the place

“Udo Udoma is a gentleman, a wonderful lawyer and a great Nigerian, but that does not translate into competence for the office he finds himself.

“Now, you bring a lawyer to become the Minister of National Planning, that is giving carpentry job to a tailor, he will never succeed”.

On the position of the Finance Minister, Senator Melaye said that Mrs Kemi Adeosun had appeared before the Senate on two different occasions and that from his assessment, she lacked needed competence to handle the position.

“From my personal assessment, she does not have the competence.

“How many million dollars’ portfolio has she handled or managed before becoming the Minister of Finance. The Finance Minister should be someone that can take us out of the woods.

“We cannot continue to operate in an experimental level that is not working,” he insisted.

The Senator lamented about the nature of things, stressing that Nigerians are facing untold hardship with an unknown end.

“You need to understand the hunger that is out there.

“I have a role to play in the success of the party. It is in response to the promise we made to Nigerians.

“There is hunger. There is poverty,” he emphasised, hinging his demand for the team’s sacking on these factors.

Refuse To Be Distracted

Senator Melaye’s comments have continued to draw diverse views, with another lawmaker with the House of Representatives, Honourable Abdulmumin Jibrin, who is also a member of the APC, defending the President and his team.

Budget Padding, Abdulmumin Jibrin
Senator Melaye say Honourable Jibrin is patronising President Buhari

Honourable Jibrin, who was the former Chairman of the Appropriation Committee in the House of Representatives, said that the President was not to blame on the state of Nigeria’s economy.

In a statement he said: “It is unfair and very wicked to push such blame on a man who just came on board barely a year ago.

“Not even a magician can turn around the economy within a period of one year.

“The biggest spending in our economy, that is the budget, hasn’t even run a full course of one year. Yet, some people want to crucify President Muhammadu Buhari. Haba! Let’s face reality!

“We all know how badly oil price has gone, a situation that adversely affected our foreign reserves and mounted pressure on the naira.

“No matter what approach we adopt to manage and deal with the situation, recovery will be slow. It is not President Buhari’s fault.

“Everyone seems to forget when the whole country was supporting more spending as against saving. But here we are today, soaked in the rainy day. President Buhari should not be used as anybody’s scape goat,” he insisted.

On the competence of the ministers the lawmaker countered Senator Melaye’s claims, saying that “a minister doesn’t have to know everything.

“A minister has an ample latitude to draw knowledge from the MDAs staff or within the larger society to achieve result in his ministry.

“I believe that most of the present cabinet ministers can source information or knowledge from these reservoirs when the need arises.

“I have worked very closely with most of them and I am convinced that they have proved their mettle despite managing a very difficult situation that they did not create.

“I am sure nobody can question the competence of Udoma Udoma. Finance Minister Kemi Adeosun is also doing her best, and having worked with her, I am convinced she has all it takes to turn around the economy.

“The Central Bank Governor is managing the most challenging period the apex bank has ever witnessed.

“I think the president has worked with this team for about a year. His cabinet team understands him better and vice-versa”.

He expressed the belief that if the economic team stayed focused and refused to be distracted, Nigerians would begin to see the dividends.

Honourable Jibrin then urged President Buhari not to fall for the trap of people trying to distort the progress made so far.

“Whoever he appoints again, the call for sack will never stop,” he added.

FG Saves Six Billion Naira Monthly, Finance Minister Tells Senate

Finance MinisterFinance Minister, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, has revealed that federal government saves six billion Naira monthly through a cut down in recurrent expenditure.

Mrs Adeosun, said this at the Senate while briefing lawmakers on the state of the Nigerian economy.

She told the lawmakers at plenary that the move is part of federal government’s effort towards ensuring fiscal discipline in the face of dwindling oil revenues.

According to the Minister, the government now spends 159 billion naira instead of 165 billion previously spent monthly as recurrent expenditure.

The lawmakers had on May 26 summoned the Minister to brief them on the 2016 budget and other economic issues affecting Nigerians.

Mrs Adeosun, however, failed to appear before the upper legislative chamber on Wednesday, prompting the motion to have her do so unfailingly on Thursday.

The Senate said that the Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, had to appear before it before members proceed on recess.

The Senate before inviting the Finance Minister and the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, in the month of May, noted that unemployment rate rose to 12.1 per cent in the first quarter of 2016 from 10.4 per cent in the last quarter of 2015.

The Senate agreed that the declining Gross Domestic Product and high inflation rate clearly showed that the country’s economic policies required an urgent review to avoid a further plunge in the economy.