I Nearly Absconded From Office – Buhari

buhari, Anti-Corruption, povertyPresident Muhammadu Buhari has revealed that he nearly absconded from office, when he saw there was no money to work for the Nigerian people after winning the 2015 elections.

The President made this confession on Thursday while addressing the Course 38 participants of the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies who presented their course work to him in the Presidential Villa.

The President again blamed the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for perpetuating poverty in Nigeria for 16 years.

The President who blames the recession in the country on the past administration wondered what the Peoples Democratic Party did with the revenue they made when a barrel of oil sold at 100 dollar per barrel.

“We’ve had 16 years and eight consecutive governments between the other party and you know the unprecedented revenue realized.

“The average production which can be verified was 2.1 million barrels per day from 1999 to 2014. The average cost of each Nigerian barrel of oil was 100 dollars per barrel.

“When we came, it dived to less than 30 dollars per barrel and is now oscillation between 40 and 50.

“Actually, I felt like absconding because 27 out of the 36 states of Nigeria could not pay salaries and we know the lower income groups depend on salaries to pay rent and manage their families.

“I asked, any savings? I was told there was nothing remaining. ‘What have you done on agriculture, power, rail, roads?’ Nothing.” he lamented.

The President, however, promised to bring Nigeria out of recession and make it stronger than he met it.

Bayelsa Government To Pay Workers’ June Salaries

gov seriake dicksonThe Bayelsa State Governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson has re-assured workers of the state that payment of salaries for the month of June 2015 will commence this week.

The Governor said he had already authorized the payment of the salaries to commence from Tuesday, July 7.

Governor Dickson, who lamented the current economic downturn in the country, however maintained that Bayelsa State was not owing its workers, as it was the case with most states in the federation due to the sharp drop in oil revenue.

As part of efforts to meet salary obligations to workers, the Governor said that there has been a drastic reduction in government’s expenditure, adding that his office has not received security votes and some other statutory allowances for the past three months.

According to him, Bayelsa was one of the heavily indebted states upon his assumption of office but that the state is now ranked among the least indebted as a result of his administration’s prudent management of resources.

Dickson said: “We are not owing our normal monthly obligations to our workers. Just yesterday, after reviewing the financial reports for the month, I have authorized that salaries for June be paid and the process will commence from July 7.

“We have been slowed down in terms of execution of most of the massive infrastructural programmes that we got involved in over the past 3 years. To that extent, there are major challenges facing Bayelsa and indeed all states in the country but not to the extent of not paying our workers because of the structures and mechanisms we have put in place. We need the bailout because of the obligations we have to our contractors towards the completion of on-going projects.”

Although, the state does not owe salaries, the Governor lent his voice to the on-going call on the Federal Government to provide financial bailout to state governments, including Bayelsa to enable the state meet its outstanding contractual obligations.

Governor Dickson said, “We inherited a very high debt profile. The bond that was taken by my predecessor, Timipre Sylva is close to N100 billion when you add the interest elements, which we are servicing in order to maintain the corporate integrity of the state.

Ogun State Government To Focus On Solid Mineral Development

Solid MineralThe Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun, has expressed the readiness of his administration to provide the much needed political will in developing the solid mineral sector of the state for socioeconomic development, especially in the face of the dwindling revenue from oil.

He made the promise in Abeokuta, the state capital, at the opening ceremony of a two-day Geological Week of the State Ministry of Commerce and Industry, held at the Oba’s Complex in the State Capital.

The Governor said that resolutions reached at the occasion would form the road map for the development of the sector which seems to have been neglected by succeeding administrations in the State.

He then challenged experts and participants to come out with workable recommendations that would form the road map for the development of the sector.

One of the participants and also a lecturer in the University of Ibadan, Olugbenga Okunola, stated that papers were being presented by resource persons in the areas of petroleum and hydrocarbon potential of Ogun State, and effective solid mineral development with emphasis on favourable government policies, favourable mining laws and security among others.

The Ogun State commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Bimbo Ashiru, also added that Ogun State’s abundance of mineral resources, which remained untapped, hold the key to its economic development, especially in the face of the dwindling prices of crude in the international market.

It is, however, believed that while Government is looking into the solid mineral sector, activities of players would be adequately checked to safeguard the environment from further degradation.

No Poor States In Nigeria, Only Poor Leaders – Adegbulu

Femi AdegbuluAn Associate Professor at the Redeemer’s University, Dr Femi Adegbulu on Saturday debunked the assertion that there are poor States in the federation, noting that there was only a prevalence of poor leaders and ideas.

Adegbulu who appeared as a guest on Channels Television’s Saturday breakfast programme, Sunrise, commented on the debate over Nigeria’s resource control, at the National Conference.

According to him, no State in the nation was poor because each State reportedly had resources that can be developed for sustenance. He maintained that the problem of most States was poor leadership and “poverty of ideas” which led them to abandon what they have for oil.

He argued that the government would buckle up if nations of the world reject Nigeria’s oil or the oil should dry up.

“When oil gets dried, it is then all the regions will now come together and face what they have abandoned all this while,” he said, arguing that many of the States are considered poor because they are not tapping anything that nature has bequeathed to them.

He noted that the Constitution does not encourage the States.

Social Commentator, Bala Zaka, who was also a guest argued that Nigerians are only united geographically and are not so in all other ramifications.

He complained about the composition of the National Conference, noting that President Goodluck Jonathan must have been in school, during the reign of most delegates.

According to him, “what the conduct of the delegates has demonstrated is that Nigerians are only united geographically and are disunited in all other ramifications”.

On the issues of resource control being debated at the Conference, Zaka advocated that the economic life of each State should be examined and if there is a need, come up with suggestions and see if you can collapse some States, merge some States.

He argued that the creation of more States would only lead to political balancing but “what we need is economic balancing; Adding more to the aggregate economy. So the issue of resource control has practically shown that Nigeria is only united geographically”.

On his part, immediate Past President of NBA, Ikeja Branch, Onyekachi Ubani, berated the self centred attitude of leaders and citizens, which was tearing the nation apart. He noted that the National Conference should have provided a platform for Nigerians to discuss their unity, so that they can agree to chase a singular ideal.

He noted that the assumption that all stakeholders want to be together is wrong.

Adegbulu further argued that the nation’s leaders were not patriotic and that if the National Conference did not come forth with “true federalism”, the whole exercise would have been a waste.

Senate Debates Report On Alleged Non Remitted 49.8 Billion Dollars

Senate_ChamberThe Senate has rejected the removal of fuel subsidy as recommended in a report by its Committee on Finance in its probe of the alleged non remittance of 49.8 billion dollars oil revenue.

The Senate Committee on Finance in its report recommended that the subsidy regime be totally abolished.

Although the controversy have cooled with media attention shifting to other issues, the Senate chose to revisit the allegations made by the immediate past CBN Governor, Sanusi Lamido, that the NNPC failed to remit 49.8 billion dollars to the federation account.

The Senate had asked its Committee on Finance to investigate the former CBN Governor’s allegations and the Chairman of the Finance Committee, Senator Ahmed Markarfi, gave details of the investigation at plenary.

He said that there was never any unremitted 49.8 billion dollars and the committee did not see how the CBN Governor arrived at the figure of 49.8 billion dollars in the first place.

The Committee observed that there had been lack of proper and adequate coordination between the key Government agencies such as CBN, NNPC, Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Petroleum, FIRS and the DPR.

Lawmakers then debated the report, but the debate got off on a rocky start as the recommendation by the committee in its report that the subsidy regime be totally abolished was shot down by lawmakers.

Before lawmakers voted against the removal of fuel subsidy, Senate President, David Mark, had called for caution in making the decision to remove fuel subsidy, warning lawmakers not to pitch themselves against the public.

Meanwhile, the committee has also recommended that the NNPC refund and remit 262 million dollars being expenses it could not satisfactorily defend in respect of holding strategic stock reserve, pipeline maintenance and management cost as well as capital expenditure.

 

Governor Ahmed Urges Northerners To Stop Relying On Oil Revenue

The Kwara State governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed, has called on people of the north to stop relying heavily on revenues derived from oil and look inwards to harness its huge agricultural and other mineral potentials in the region. 

Delivering a lecture at the inauguration of a new leadership of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) in Kaduna on Tuesday, Governor Ahmed noted that the north would continue to face marginalisation in the sharing of federal allocation if it continued to rely heavily on proceeds from oil.

“The extent at which the region controls its economic resources will go a long way in determining the degree of its political power in the country,” governor Ahmed said.

speaking on the topic, “Northern Nigerian Economy Free of Oil Revenue”, the Kwara State governor lamented that the discovery of oil in Nigeria, rather than being a blessing to the region, had caused severe dislocations in the region’s socio-economic and political development, stating that the deprivation faced by northerners in the last 53 years made mockery of the region and made natural endowments to stand on its own.

The governor is urging people of the north to look inwards and go back to agriculture and other economic activities which the north was known for. For him, the north and indeed Nigeria could have conquered poverty, security and economic challenges being faced currently if its policy makers had diversified the nation’s economy outside oil.

Nigeria’s Vice President, Namadi Sambo, said the present administration was working closely with the various state governments and leadership of the northern states in transforming their economies, but also supported the position of the Kwara State governor on the need for the north to free itself from depending heavily on oil revenue.

 

NNPC Missing Money: Focus On Key Issues, Not Drama – Awoyemi

Following the backlash which trailed CBN Governor, Sanusi Lamido’s letter to President Goodluck Jonathan, disclosing that the NNPC is owing $49.8 billion dollars, an amount which analysts have said is enough to cover the nation’s budget for three years, Economist Femi Awoyemi has cautioned Nigerians to focus on the key issues and not the controversial exchange between the two agencies.

Speaking on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr Awoyemi stressed that the implication of the disagreements between the two agencies puts the Nigerian economy at stake as well as the integrity of those who occupy offices.

“Sometime in June/July 2013, CBN had the pre-shipment inspection documents and found out that about 600 million barrels of oil had been shipped out, and from his records he would have expected about 65.3 billion dollars but what he got in was about 15 billion dollars.

“Normally, when you have such discrepancies there would be an exchange between the CBN, NNPC and thereafter with the Ministry of Finance.

“If this had been done and they did not get any answer, it is consistent therefore for Central Bank to then escalate the matter. My own interpretation would be that, it was therefore escalated by writing to the president.”

The economist who adjudged the CBN governor’s move as right because all the agencies report to the president, said that all agencies involved should have been summoned by the President considering the amount of money alleged to be missing, which is up to the nation’s budget for 2 years.

“If the figures were true, we are talking about Nigeria’s budget for two years aggregated together,” he said.

“The letter finding its way into the public domain should trigger a sense of responsibility knowing well that it has a huge impact on Nigeria’s economy, financial standing and rating especially to the global society,” Awoyemi said.

Awoyemi said the proper action would have been for authorities to clear the air and allay fears but “since we are in a system where we trust each other less, it took a political undertone.”

Despite the severity of the crisis at hand, many have said there is a disconnection between the two agencies which can create suspicion in the minds of the people.

Reacting to NNPC’s claim that the CBN is ignorant of the structures by which it remits revenue to the Federation Account, Mr Awoyemi said:

“If the Central Bank of Nigeria does not therefore understand the way and manner in which the NNPC is structuring its businesses or enough to understand what it is expecting in the Federation Account or how those monies get back to it, then that’s a key issue Nigerians should be interested in knowing.”

“It is a discrepancy more in processes and understanding of how affairs are conducted,” he added.