Nigeria’s Infrastructure: Obasanjo Advocates Strong Public-Private Partnership

Olusegun Obasanjo, Nigeria, Public-Private Partnership, infrastructureFormer President Olusegun Obasanjo has identified the public and private sector as the two legs for Nigeria’s socio-economic development, hence one cannot work effectively without the other.

He lamented that both the present and past governments in the country have not paid sufficient attention to work together with the private sector to develop the sector.

The former president made the remark at a seminar organised by the Kaduna Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture at the International Trade Fair Complex in Kaduna State.

The audience at the one-day seminar cuts across the business community, students, academia and political class.

Obasanjo, who was the chairman of the occasion, decried that Nigeria has not been able to harness her natural potentials in order to be at the same pace with other nations.

He faulted the reversal of the sale of refineries by the Umaru Yar’adua administration, which he said was largely responsible for the instability in the oil and gas sector.

The former president further stressed the need for government at all levels to collaborate with the private sector, in order to get Nigeria out of its present economic recession.

Need To Concession Critical Assets

A former Minister of Finance and National Planning, Dr. Shamsudeen Usman, also presented a paper with the theme: ‘Promoting Public-Private Partnership (PPP) as Panacea for Accelerated Growth and Development’.

Dr. Usman emphasised the need for government to concession some of its critical assets like the sea port terminals, airports and roads to enable them work effectively and also reduce financial burden on government.

He explained that a smooth public-private collaboration must have the highest political support, credible reward sharing formula and transparency.

The former minister added that most of the successful PPP projects were done during the Obasanjo-led administration, due to strong political will.

The host governor, Mr Nasir El-Rufai, on his part, highlighted some of the collaborative efforts of his administration with the private sector to be able to finance its multi-year plan in the major sectors of the economy.

Participants at the event noted that infrastructure in Nigeria is poor, due to old age, overburden or poor management, to meet the needs of over 170 million population.

They added that the competing needs of the economy have placed a huge burden on the government which they said cannot solely provide all the services required.

Economy: Nigerian Manufacturers Demand Review Of Govt. Policies

Economy: Nigerian Manufacturers Demand Review Of Govt. PolicesThe President of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, Mr Frank Udemba, has expressed concerns about some government policies which he says may hinder the development of the economy.

He said this at the Presidential Villa where government officials, manufacturers and members of the private sector met to discuss issues on how best to make the economy work in the interest of ordinary Nigerians.

Speaking the mind of most businessmen and women in the hall, Mr Udemba listed the Central Bank’s policy on foreign exchange, lack of access to long term funding, multiple levies by government agencies and lack of infrastructure as some of the areas the federal government needs to revisit in its efforts to get the nation out of economic recession.

He, however, commended the government for its giant strides in ensuring adequate security across the country.

The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udo Udoma, and the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun also provided the perspectives from their ministries, providing explanations on the concerns raised.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo was also present at the meeting and he explained why the meeting was necessary.

He highlighted the need to get the private sector fully involved in the effort to revive Nigeria’s economy as manufacturing remains a major area the country must develop.

It was the second time the Vice President would be holding the quarterly business forum.

FG Says No Plans To Increase Value Added Tax

FG Says No Plans To Increase Value Added TaxThe federal government has been explaining how it will fund the 2017 budget at a session in Abuja.

According to the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udo Udoma, 11% of government’s projected revenue will come from recoveries of looted funds, which stands at 258 billion.

He said that there are no plans of increasing the value-added tax which is currently at 5%.

Buhari’s Government Not Responsible For Nigerians’ Woes – Udoma

Buhari's Government Not Responsible For Nigerians' Woes - UdomaNigeria’s Minister of Budget and National Planning, Mr Udoma Udo Udoma, says President Muhammadu Buhari’s government is not responsible for Nigerians’ woes.

He was answering questions from State House correspondents after the National Economic Council (NEC) meeting where the Vice President, governors of the 36 states of the federation and key ministers in the cabinet gathered for what looked like a presentation of their scorecard for the last one year.

Mr. Udoma said that the present government was on a rescue mission to correct the damage done by previous governments.

He blamed the current economic crisis on the financial mismanagement of the last regime for failing to save despite the free flow of resources from the sales of crude oil.

The Minister also explained the plan period of 2017 and 2020 and the efforts to grow the economy.

Corroborating the Minister’s position, Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, said that those heaping the blames on the Buhari government are uncharitable and therefore should be ignored.

According to him, the NEC also identified some of the areas where the administration has performed despite the difficult times, and what they need to do, going forward.

NEC took examples from the revolution going on in Lagos and Anambra states, but most of all applauded the Vice President for the way and manner he has integrated the state governments into the economic policies of the administration.

This integration, they noted was lacking before.

Council then said that there will be greater collaboration between the state and federal government in the new year.

F.G’s Three Year Economic Plan Ready By December – Minister

Ahmed ZainabThe Federal Government’s three year economic recovery plan will be ready by December 2016.

That’s according to the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed.

The Minister made this known at a forum in Abuja on Thursday.

She explained that the plan would serve as a guide for the preparation of annual budgets and would be a continuation of the initiatives contained in the strategic implementation plan for the 2016 budget.

Mrs. Ahmed stated that the plan will clearly state the economic policies of the government that will guide the investment decisions by domestic and foreign investors.

She further assured that government will continue to put in place policies to expand the revenue base as well as ensure greater transparency and accountability in the use of public funds.

Buhari Elevates Response To Northeast Humanitarian Situation

Northeast Humanitarian Situation Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, has approved a change in the management of the humanitarian crisis in the northeast, putting cabinet ministers in direct charge of sectoral coordination.

He said the decision was to ensure that the situation was confronted more effectively.

Before the President’s decision, sectoral coordination of the humanitarian situation was managed by director-cadre ministry officials.

The cabinet ministers will now be in charge of governmental response to the humanitarian emergency caused by Boko Haram insurgency in the north eastern part of Nigeria.

A statement by Laolu Akande, a spokesman for Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, said an inter-ministerial task force had been established by President Buhari to coordinate the response and work with humanitarian agencies to support the governments and other structures in the affected states.

In the multi-sectoral task force, each sector will now be led by a minister while the entire task force is led by the Ministry of Budget and National Planning.

The ministry will now coordinate and mobilise the domestic, governmental and private sector resources necessary to effectively meet this challenge with the urgency it demands.

The ministers, who will now personally supervise their ministry’s role in the newly modified governance structure include ministers of health, interior, women affairs, agriculture and water resources.

Save Lives And Restore Normalcy

The National Security Adviser to the President and the Chief of Army Staff, National Emergency Management Agency and the Presidential Committee on Northeast Intervention would also be actively involved in the new elevated response model approved by the president.

After taking over power in May 2015, President Buhari’s administration has reiterated its commitment to defeating Boko Haram and countering violent extremism.

While military operations in the region have heightened, decimating the terrorist group, UNICEF has raised concerns over humanitarian crisis in the region, saying children are at risk of death due to malnutrition.

It has been difficult to send relief to people in the region due to activities of the terrorist group and military in the northeast, the UN agency said.

As the military forces move deeper into the core Boko Haram strongholds, they have discovered and freed several persons who are severely malnourished and in poor health.

This dire situation shows acute need for stronger coordination, oversight and direction of all northeast humanitarian interventions and resettlement efforts.

Non-governmental organisations, United Nations agencies and other donor agencies have sent relief materials to the region but UNICEF said more nutritious foods are needed to save about 49,000 severely malnourished children, pregnant women and nursing mothers at the risk of death before the end of the year.

The Federal Government of Nigeria has also expressed appreciation for the human and material resources already deployed by the United Nations agencies, international development partners, non-governmental organisations and other private companies and individuals who have been assisting to meet the urgent needs of the victims.

With the new management structure, the Federal Government has given assurances to the UN and all other partners, local and international, of its readiness to effectively lead the humanitarian response, deploy adequate resources and do everything possible to mobilise a rapid response in order to save lives and restore normalcy to the affected areas.

FG To Lead Campaign On Patronising Nigerian Goods

Nigerian GoodsThe Federal Government has announced plans to lead a campaign on the patronage of Nigerian goods.

The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udo Udoma, made the announcement on Monday in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

He explained that the plan is expected to boost the nation’s economy, provide jobs and reduce the importation of goods into the country.

The Vice Chairman, Board of Nigeria Economic Summit, Asue Ighodalo, also asked the public to go for locally produced goods.

He hinted that the 2016 Nigeria Economic Summit would also focus on getting the support of Nigerians from all walks of life to patronise local manufacturers.

FG Reassures On Proper Implementation Of 2016 Budget

Ahmed Zainab, Budget ImplementationFederal Government of Nigeria has reassured the nation that it will give priority attention to infrastructure, agriculture and power in the implementation of the 2016 budget.

This was said by the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Ahmed Zainab, at a meeting with members of Civil Society Organizations in Abuja on the implementation of the 2016 budget.

Over one month after the 2016 appropriation bill was passed by the National Assembly, some members of the civil society organizations have expressed their concerns about its implementation.

Some of them in the meeting were especially concerned with how the Federal Government would implement the 30% earmarked for capital projects.

A total of 6.06 trillion was appropriated for the 2016 fiscal year by the Federal Government with over two trillion deficit to be financed by borrowing recovered loots.

The Acting Director-General of the Bureau for Public Procurement, Ahmed Abdul, said that government would save over 40 billion Naira to finance capital projects with the adoption of electronic purchasing system in its offices.

The 2016 budget is referred to by the incumbent government as a ‘budget of change’ but analysts say the change the budget proposes depends so much on its implementation.

2016 Budget Presentation: Nigerian Ministers React

2016 budgetMinisters of the Federal Republic of Nigeria have been reacting to the 2016 budget as presented to the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday, December, 22.

Channels Television correspondent caught up with some of the ministers after the budget presentation at the National Assembly and they shared their views on the implementation of the budget and their expectations.

The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Mr Udoma Udo Udoma explained that the need to increase the investment on infrastructure as a way to revive the economy was highly considered in developing the 2016 budget.

“It’s an infrastructure and a job budget. We have also set aside money for social intervention as the President explained.

“We are going to recruit teachers, we are going to get loans for market women, various projects to stimulate the economy and create jobs.

“In terms of the money, we know it’s tough but we have to find the money and we believe that we have both domestic and foreign borrowing which we will be relying on,” he said.

He assured Nigerians that the implementation of the 2016 budget would be different as there is a new budget planning and implementation strategy designed to ensure constant monitoring on a monthly basis.

Economic Diversification

2016 budgetPresident Buhari had said that Nigeria remains committed to diversification of the economy with focus on the non-oil sector and the Minister of Solid Minerals, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, said that this had been expected.

“We are already diversified in terms of GDP. Oil only accounts for about 12% of the GDP but it accounts for the bulk of the revenue and that is where the challenge is.

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“So we need to start driving the revenue in the direction of Agriculture, solid minerals, communications and other non-oil sectors so that we would have a much more realistic job creating, revenue generating economy,” he said.

Agriculture

The Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbe also had some cheering words for Nigerian farmers.

On the back of the President’s emphasis on diversification and the role expected of the Agricultural sector, Mr Ogbe promised “increased support in seed, training, extension services, post-harvest management and bigger overseas market for their produce.

“They will expect innovations in livestock, tree crops and the beautiful news is that the demand for Nigerian produce abroad has never been this high. That is what makes it marvellous.

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“The private sector and Nigerians are also responding amazingly to the call for Agriculture but what excites me more about this budget are two things – the job issue for young people and the return of teacher training colleges in the local governments.

“That is probably the biggest change that this government has announced and Nigerians will see the difference.,” he promised.

Job Creation

With a promise that the 2016 budget would focus on addressing youth unemployment and cater for the vulnerable, Channels Television 2016 budgetsought to know the plans of the Ministry of Labour and Productivity on the implementation of this key feature of the 2016 budget.

The Minister, Dr Chris Ngige, said, “What you should expect are jobs and more jobs. If you look at the budget it might not be clear to you what we have done. It’s an intervention budget for job creation.

“There are so many programmes that will run under them but all of them will end up being for job creation – giving employment.

“We will give employment that will be decent. For example, one of the programmes we are going to execute is the conversion of graduates into the teaching cadre. We’ll give them training after Youth Corps, 1-year post Youth Corps, 2-year post Youth Corps, that is the bar and we will start form there; get them into teaching.”

He also called on Nigerian youths to embrace technical skills in order to wriggle out joblessness.

We Will Shut Down Unregistered Management DeveIopement Institutions – CMD

cmdThe Centre for Management Development CMD had said it would soon clamp down on management development institutions and consultants who have not registered with the government.

Director General of the Centre, Mr Kabir Kabo Usman told journalist in Abuja that only 48 registered institutions and 200 management development consultants across the country are qualified to build man power capacity for Nigeria’s public and private sector.

Mr Usman also said that the centre would soon embark on a nationwide tour of Management Development Institutions MDI and consultants with a view to giving further accreditation to qualified institutions and individual, while flushing out quacks from the market.

The CMD is a government parastatal under the Ministry of National  Planning, created to provide managerial and technical capacity and training for Civil Servants since 1973.

He added that in line with the government’s decision to restrict oversea training for civil servants, the centre would strengthen indigenous management training institutions and consultants as well as flushing out impostors from the market.

Following this, there is however mixed feelings among technical and management development experts on the decision of the government to restrict oversea training for staff.

The Federal Government spends about 16 million dollars each year for oversea training of staff.