V.O.N DG Argues FG’s $30bn External Loan Is Necessary

V.O.N, $30BN, recessionThe Federal Government’s proposed $30 billion external loan is necessary to lift Nigeria out of its current economic recession.

This is the position of the Director General of the Voice Of Nigeria, (VON), Mr Osita Okechukwu, as the argument over President Muhammadu Buhari’s recent loan request continues. 

He was the guest of Channels Television’s Breakfast show, Sunrise Daily, on Monday, October 31, 2016.

Against popular opinion that the nation ought not to take such a step as it has just come out of debt, Mr Okechukwu defended the move with the view that the President means well in his actions.

“He came in at a time when the oil prices had crashed below 50 dollars per barrel and also, there wasn’t much savings left by the previous regime.

“Not much money was coming into the coffers, as militancy took over in the Niger Delta, which has over the years, resulted in a recession,” he explained.

Furthermore, he said at the time President Buhari came into power, rather than investing in the power or infrastructure sectors, as suggested by many, there were other more pressing issues such as workers’ unpaid salaries.

As a result, “the President started what was referred to as the ‘bailout funds’, when he realized a lot of citizens had been owed salaries for over a year and poverty rate was on the increase”.

In the recent case of recession, he pointed out that in order not to get into a deep depression, while also considering the huge infrastructure deficit and the enormous financial resources required to fill the gap, the President and his Vice, “went out to look for funds”.

According to the VON boss, “just like a family that is struck with famine, they had to begin seeking external help”.

Recalling a similar situation that occurred in America, under the jurisdiction of Franklin D. Roosevelt, he said authorities advised that they must spend their way out of the recession.

In the case of Nigeria, Mr Okechukwu explained that while running a mono-economy, the nation is left with no choice than to borrow and spend its way out of the recession.

Speaking further on the benefits of the loan, Mr Okechukwu highlighted areas such as the power and agriculture sector.

According to him, the Manbilla power project, in which the President is about to devote about 4.8 billion dollars, has the capacity to generate about 4,000 megawatts which is “far above what we currently have on ground”.

Asides power generation, he said the agriculture sector would massively benefit from the plan.

In an attempt to allay the fears of citizens who believe the funds would end up in private pockets, Mr Okechukwu said “the good thing about the loan is that it is not necessarily coming in form of cash but some would be in form of equipment, targeted at specific areas of the nation’s economy”.

He also debunked insinuations that that the nation might end up in external as well as internal debts.

The opposition Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) is also against the approval of the loan request, and have said that the National Assembly should not grant the request based on similar occurrences during former President Obasanjo’s regime.

They stated that it was difficult getting some debt relief.


Change Mantra: Buhari Is Not Slow, Says VON Boss

Osita-Okechukwu-Buhari-VONThe Director General of Voice of Nigeria (VON), Mr Osita Okechukwu, has called for patience among the citizens as President Muhammadu Buhari leads the change campaign to transform Nigeria.

The VON boss told Channels Television on Thursday that the President was trying to follow the rule of the law to drive his administration.

He made the appeal during an interview where he explained the motive behind the recently launched national orientation programme, ‘Change Begins With Me’.

“If you have to follow the rule, it will be as if you are slow.

“President Muhammadu Buhari is not slow, (but) it is about following the rule of the law.

“We are saying in the fullness of time, the Nigerian people will come to realise what we are doing because transparency is on the door step,” he said.

A Better Result

Mr Okechukwu stated further that President Buhari was not biased in his war against corruption.

He expressed optimism that the present administration’s corruption fight would earn Nigeria a better result and called on Nigerians to support the campaign.

“The corruption fight is not one sided. Nobody could have probed Osita Okechukwu in Voice Of Nigeria, but you can now probe me.

“We are saying in the next few years, the money we’ll save will make better result than the big money we got in the past and wasted.

“We are saying please, we need citizens’ participation because if the citizens are not involved, we are wasting our time,” he said.

President Buhari had on Thursday, September 8, launched a new national orientation programme, Change Begins With Me.

He said that it was to show his administration’s determination to carry all Nigerians along on the journey to a better and greater society that everybody can be proud of.

The President said that the programme was the best way to sustain the effort his administration had made in the fight against corruption.

FG Appoints Chief Executive Of NTA, Other Parastatals

Lai-Mohammed-Nigeria-Minister-of-informationThe Nigerian government has appointed the Chief Executives of six information-related parastatals under the Ministry of Information and Culture.

The appointments were announced in Abuja on Wednesday by the Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed.

A statement by a spokesman for the Minster, Mr Segun Adeyemi, said that Mr Ishaq Modibo Kawu would take over as the Director-General, National Broadcasting Commission while Mr Mansur Liman was made the Director-General of the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria.

Mr Yakubu Mohammed was made the Director-General of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), Dr. Garba Abari, Director-General of the National Orientation Agency, Mr Bayo Onanuga, Managing Director of the News Agency of Nigeria and Mr Osita Okechukwu, the Director-General of the Voice of Nigeria.

The new appointees replaced the Chief Executives of the parastatals who were disengaged on February 15.

The statement further said that the appointments take immediate effect.