The much anticipated event, Runway Jazz, which brought together lovers of the classy worlds of music and fashion at the Eko Hotel & Suites, Lagos was truly an unforgettable night.
The event highlighted incredibly thrilling performances from both local and foreign artistes, accompanied by a riveting fashion show featuring top designers like Yomi Casual, Queen Ahneva, Wearable Art and Frank Osodi.
Jazz and fashion lovers, all beautifully dressed for the occasion, enjoyed every moment of it as the musical arts rocked the stage leaving the audience craving for more.
Comedian Bovi kept the audience entertained with his quick and witty presentations through the night.
Runway Jazz resonated a high level of class, style and grace as notable dignitaries graced the event.
They include the Consul General of the American Embassy, John Bray; Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Chief Femi Otedola, Senator Eyinnaya Abaribe, Folusho Phillips, Frank Nweke Jnr, and several celebrities from the entertainment industry.
The historic and entertaining concert marks the global celebration of UNESCO’s International Jazz Day, and shares the mandate to promote global peace, unity, diversity and dialogue among nations through music.
It was an evening to remember and it left guests in high spirits.
With the successful outing, one would be right to say the Runway Jazz should be a credible addition to the entertainment calendar for years to come.
The Director General of the National Economic Summit Group, Frank Nweke Jnr, has accused state governors of not being accountable for the monies they receive from the Federal Government via the Federation Account.
“I wish something will indeed happen to Nigeria’s oil. Let there be no more oil in this country today”.
He continued: “a situation where people are sitting down as governors, as states and all you can say for yourself is that every month you go somewhere and bring money and then you come and distribute it anyway you want; in a most unaccountable manner.
That’s your view of governance? I have a problem with it,” he said.
Stating that there is an “over attribution of responsibilities to the Federal Government” by the state governors, the NESG boss challenged the governors to be a lot more innovative. “You cannot begin or continually tell the people of your state that the reason you are not doing well is because there is some shortfall in the revenue that comes to you from the Federal Government.”
“Nigerians live in the states. The states have tremendous resources,” he said.
While reacting to comments made by Edo governor, Adams Oshiomhole, about the nation’s economy, on Sunrise Daily, Mr Nweke said that the challenges the economy is facing has brought it nowhere near a state of collapse as alleged by the Governor.
“I can say very clearly, without fear of contradiction that the economy is not collapsing. I don’t think that’s a good way to frame whatever your concerns might be about the Nigerian economy.”
“Our economy can do a lot better if the leakages within the system continue to be managed and are plugged as well as if the economy is diversified on a continuous basis.”
He added that there has been improvement in growth of the non-oil sector but agreed that issues of unemployment, foreign debt still prevail. However, the challenges the economy is facing should not warrant a verdict that the economy is collapsing.
He described the annual budget as a statement of intent which depends on the nation’s revenue profile. “You may not always get the revenues that you project and if you have not gotten the revenues that you projected, naturally you have to make adjustments.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwunmi Adeshina on Tuesday vehemently and unequivocally stated that “nothing is more important than food”.
The minister said this while addressing participants at the 19th Nigeria Economic Summit, holding in Abuja, with a live broadcast on Nigeria’s Multiple award-winning Television Station, Channels Television.
He noted that “a nation that does not feed itself, but becomes a threat to its own sovereign existence” warning that “growing our own food, processing what we produce, becoming competitive in export markets and creating jobs across all our economy are crucial for national security”
This warning comes after the Director General of the National Economic Summit Group (NESG), Mr Frank Nweke Jnr warned earlier of the impending threat to national security posed by the importation of food into the country.
Adeshina berated the over-dependence on oil warning that “diamonds may last forever but oil does not last forever”.
“The future trajectory of earnings from crude oil does not look good” warning that other countries have found “shale oil and shale gas”.
He noted that Nigeria must free itself from over dependence on crude oil and shift its attention to agriculture “the sector where we have the greatest potential to achieve this and this is the time”.
With only 40 per cent of 84 million hectares of arable land being cultivated, 263 billion cubic metre of water, two of the largest rivers in Africa, cheap labour to support agriculture, the minister insisted that “Nigeria has immense agricultural potential”.
He further maintained that the jaw-dropping 167 million population “makes us a huge market, we must not be the market for others” adding that “we must grow our own food, we must feed ourselves, we must create markets locally for our own farmers”.
He said his ministry, through the Rapid Transformation of the Agricultural Value Chains has embarked on a major transformation of the agricultural sector to unlock the potential of agriculture and drive the economy.
The Director General of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG), Mr. Frank Nweke Jnr. on Tuesday restated the group’s choice of agriculture as the theme for the 19th Economic Summit holding in Abuja.
Going by estimates, Nweke, who noted that the country spends about $5-$10 billion on importation of food annually as well as estimates that says 60 cents of every dollar earned as a country is spent on food importation, warned that “it undermines not just food security but in fact national security”.
Adding that “if you cannot feed yourself, I don’t know what else you can say as a human being, not to talk about as a nation. It is dangerous”
The former information minister said “ the choice of agriculture was very deliberate, very strategic because we think it holds the greatest promise for the diversification of Nigeria’s economy” as a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast show held at the Transcorp Hilton, Abuja ahead of the 19th Nigeria Economic Summit.
He added that the group has realised that people are having considerable problems in accessing credit, equipment, market, storage and evacuation of goods “so all of these issues are going to be discussed in various sessions in the next three days”.
He said that an agricultural process “is not the business of the government, from a policy perspective of trying to create a conducive environment”.
He warned that the summit is not trying to usurp the function of the government but rather trying to ensure that entrepreneurs, citizens and commercial farmers put hands together to ensure that agricultural endeavours move forward in terms of investment and development.
He berated the over dependence on oil to generate revenue for the country noting that “it really makes our country vulnerable”.
With the theme “Growing Agriculture as a Business to Diversify Nigeria’s Economy”, he revealed that the 19th Summit further aims to change the general notion that agriculture is a “social service” but a “business”.
He further said that there are people, who on account of the new set of policies, the new initiatives, the programmes and the kind of push that has been given to agriculture under the current Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Akinwunmi Adeshina and President Goodluck Jonathan, have embraced agriculture and found it “feasible, viable, doable and profitable”.
The Coordinating Minister of the economy and Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala on Monday said that the cost-cutting of the Goodluck Jonathan’s administration has helped restore Nigeria’s Excess Crude Account (ECA) to some $9 billion in oil savings, or more than double what it was a year ago. Mrs Okonjo-Iweala was addressing delegates in Abuja at the annual Nigerian Economic Summit, whose themes include reducing the high cost of governance in the country.
“Before you can even look at the centres of the economy and trying to change them and create jobs, you must have macro-economic stability,” the Minister said. “We have introduced a measure of fiscal discipline.”
“The fact that (forex) reserves are climbing now is not a miracle. It happened because of proper fiscal management. We have about $9 billion in the excess crude account. Last year it was $4 billion, so it’s more than doubled,” she added.
The figure is still lower than the $20 billion it had in it in 2007, but this was reduced to $3 billion when Mr Jonathan took office in early 2011, despite a year of record high oil prices.
And some of it would have to be used to pay for the latest round of Nigeria’s costly fuel import subsidies, she said.
Economists have cautiously welcomed Nigeria’s improved savings level, but caution that there is nothing in place to stop it being reversed, as in the past.
“There’s been some modest accumulation of fiscal savings, but put it in context: even $9.6 billion, as we estimate it, is only 3.7 percent of GDP,” said Standard Bank’s Samir Gadio.
“Compared it with UAE (Emirates) or Saudi Arabia, where it’s 65 percent. It may be improving but its well behind the curve.”
The Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF) launched this year would in theory help Nigeria better manage its oft squandered oil funds, by putting them out of the reach of its political elites, but powerful state governors who want more money to spend are blocking attempts to transfer the ECA into the fund.
“Without the SWF there’s no sustainable basis for savings. The risk is that as we approach elections in 2015, the ECA could be depleted quite rapidly,” said Mr Gadio.
The finance minister also faces a showdown in parliament over the government’s latest budget, with some lawmakers saying too much money is being set aside as oil savings when the country needs more spending on things like infrastructure.
President Jonathan’s N4.93 trillion budget plan for 2013 assumes oil prices at $75 a barrel oil prices, but many legislators want this inflated – especially with prices now hovering around $112 a barrel.
Oil earnings over the benchmark price get deposited into the ECA, which is used to save for future generations.
Critics say running Nigeria’s government still saps too much of the budget – Mrs Okonjo-Iweala said the share of such recurrent expenditure had been reduced to 68.8 percent in next year’s budget, from its current 71.47 percent in this year’s.
Investors and rating agencies have welcomed Mrs Okonjo-Iweala’s austerity drive, with Standard & Poor’s the latest to upgrade Nigeria’s debt to BB-, with a stable outlook.
One major fiscal headache remains the motor fuel subsidy.
President Jonathan attempted to scrap it in January, but a week of strikes and protests forced him to partially reinstate it.
Since then, a parliamentary inquiry has uncovered multi-billion dollar fraud in the subsidy’s administration, and the government has exposed subsidy claims to stronger checks.
Mrs Okonjo-Iweala said that N232.2 billion of claims had been rejected so far. There is speculation President Jonathan will try to remove the subsidy – which many Nigerians see as the only benefit they get from living in an oil-rich state – next year.
Speaking at a panel in the economic summit, Vice President Namidi Sambo said it would depend on what Nigerians thought.
“We’re a democracy. Our economic policies, however well designed, have to be accepted by the public,” he said. “I believe Nigerians will come to see that deregulation is right.”
Frank Nweke Jnr, the Director General of the Nigeria Economic Summit Group (NESG) on Thursday said that his group does not support the House of Representatives’ demand to increase the benchmark price of crude oil in the 2013 budget from $75 to $82.
Mr Nweke, who was a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, said that the NESG also does not support the “perennial altercation between the legislature and the executive” arms of governments.
“This latest jack-up in the benchmark price for the 2013 budget is ill-advised. When I first got information about this yesterday, I described it as tragic,” he said.