The Lagos Chamber of Industry as well as the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines, and Agriculture have expressed dismay at the recent revelation that Nigeria’s debt could hit N77tn if the National Assembly agrees to the Federal Government proposal to restructure its N22.7tn Central Bank of Nigeria loan.
Reports say Nigeria’s public debt burden might hit N77tn if the National Assembly approves the request by President Muhammadu Buhari to restructure the Ways and Means Advances.
This followed comments by the Director-General of the Debt Management Office, Patience Oniha, who spoke during the public presentation of the 2023 budget organised by the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Dr Zainab Ahmed.
Speaking in an interview with The PUNCH, the Deputy-President of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Gabriel Idahosa, said the government ought to find creative solutions to revenue generation beyond its frequent recourse to taking loans.
He also noted that government borrowing, especially when it is as frequent as it has been with the current administration, ends up stifling the private sector’s ability to take loans from the banking system.
He said, “The issue of sustainability is no longer being considered by the government. This government just wants to borrow its way out of the remaining term and then leave the problem for the next government. That’s just to put it mildly. So, the bigger picture of sustainability and structure will have to be addressed by the incoming government because the level of borrowing now is not sustainable by our revenue.
“As a country we are not generating enough revenue to service our debts and still run a government. Since last year, we have been living on borrowed money because the debt servicing has crossed 100 per cent of our revenue. If you look at our budget every year, when you look at the debt servicing, it is higher than the estimated revenue. So we just borrow on top of all that to run the government. That is what we are doing now. It is not sustainable.”
They Want Me Dead – Adegboruwa Alleges
Human rights activist, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa on Saturday raised an alarm over attempts on his life.
The lawyer said he’s been targeted for his convictions, advocacies and actions regarding the campaign for good governance, rule of law and accountability.
In a statement, the Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) stressed that he does not belong to a political party and has no affiliations.
Adegboruwa said he only deploys his professional experience, knowledge and services to campaign for a better society, where justice and peace shall reign.
“This should not warrant any threat to my life, either from politicians or from the government. Power belongs to God. No human life should be worth the political ambition of anyone.
“This notice is to all Nigerians, the international community, my family, friends, colleagues and fellow patriots that my life is under serious threat.”
The activist added that the government and the security agencies should be held accountable should anything happen to him.
He insists Nigerians want good leadership, efficient management of resources, security of lives and property, durable infrastructure and good governance.
On the 2023 elections, Adegboruwa said any candidate that citizens consider worthy of their votes in free, fair and credible elections “will also be my leader”.
Reiterating that he does not support or oppose anyone, the SAN vowed to continue the “revolutionary struggles” he is trained and known.
Makinde Deploys Free Buses Over Fuel, Naira Crises
The Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, on Friday night, announced the deployment of free ‘Omituntun’ transport buses to cushion the effect of the fuel scarcity and naira crises in the country on residents of the state.
Makinde announced this in a state-wide broadcast aired on the state-owned radio service, the Broadcasting Corporation of Oyo State.
The governor, who frowned upon the violent protests that erupted in the state earlier on Friday, said his government was ready to do whatever was needed to ease the pain of the people.
He, however, urged residents of the state to express their grievances peacefully, adding that his government would not condone the breakdown of law and order.
A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Taiwo Adisa, noted that Makinde also put security agencies in the state on high alert to avert any breakdown of law and order, according to a report by The Eagle Online.
According to the governor, the Omituntun Mass Transit Buses will be deployed to more routes within the state to convey resident free-of-charge in order to ameliorate the suffering of the people.
The governor also said he was working with the chairmen of local governments in the state to provide immediate palliatives for the vulnerable people in order to alleviate the hardships that the crises had brought upon them.
In the broadcast, Makinde said, “My Dear Good People of Oyo State.
“I am addressing you today because of the prevailing conditions in our state and country that have led to protests and riots, especially in Ibadan.
“First, let me say that I understand the need for these protests. When citizens get pushed to the wall, there is only so much that they can take.
“The continuous fuel scarcity and the scarcity of the naira have led to slow economic activities. I must repeat, I understand, and I feel your pain.
“I have always maintained that peaceful protests are fine. When things are not going how we want them to go, we have a right and even a responsibility to protest.
“Let me also state that while we are protesting, we must we must remember how easily a peaceful protest can turn violent and lead to the loss of lives and property. The violence that erupted in parts of Ibadan today (Friday) is condemnable and will not be tolerated.
“In response to this, I have suspended all campaign activities forthwith. I have also met with the heads of security agencies in Oyo State to restore calm and maintain the peace in our dear state.
“Violence cannot and will not solve our problems, it only creates new ones. We have another opportunity in a few weeks to move this country in a new direction. Use your PVC, not violence.
“We must not allow elements within us who have other motives to take advantage of peaceful protests to perpetrate evil or push their agendas.
“I urge all law-abiding citizens and residents of the state to go about their lawful activities. All our security agencies are on high alert and so, peaceful residents of the state have no cause to fear.
“As a palliative measure, I have directed that the Omituntun Mass Transit Buses should be deployed to more routes within the state for free.
“We are also working with Local Government Chairmen to see what immediate palliatives we can make available to the most vulnerable amongst us to alleviate the hardships that the twin scarcity of fuel and the naira have brought upon our people.
“Once again, we have another opportunity to put an end to oppressive systems and that is through the ballot. For now, I urge everyone to remain calm as we are doing our best to mitigate the hardships.”
New Naira: Seven Notable Quotes From El-Rufai
The Kaduna State Governor, Nasir el-Rufai, has been firing from all cylinders, claiming some unnamed persons in Aso Villa were working against the All Progressives Congress’ victory during the presidential election.
The PUNCH reports that the governor on Thursday claimed that the said people were inciting voters against the APC.
Below are seven of his salvos:
1. Saboteurs will be unmasked, defeated
“Unmasking them is not as joyful as defeating them. They will be unmasked in time. But we have defeated them when they wanted their own people in the national working committee of the party.
“We have defeated them when they wanted their own anointed person to be the presidential candidate without due regard, due process or respect for those of us that are governors, that have slaved to put this party together, campaigned for it and delivered the election twice. We didn’t matter.’’
2. Saboteurs are political amateurs/lighter weights
“Meanwhile, none of them has contested an election as a councillor, and if they did, they won’t win. I have been elected twice with over a million votes in Kaduna State. I can claim to speak for the people.
‘’None of these people can. We will come to the unmasking stage, this is not the stage. The stage now is to draw the attention of Nigerians that they are elements that are doing this and they don’t mean well for our party, they want to incite voters against our party, so that we lose the elections.’’
3. Saboteurs, cabal misled Buhari
“Once Nigerians know that they will know where some of these funny decisions are coming from and when the election is done and settled by the grace of God in about three weeks, and I’m confident, we are not sleeping.
“We are going to work hard until (February) 27th when all the election results are out and by the grace of God, Asiwaju (Tinubu) is elected and other candidates of the APC; then we will unmask them.
4. Dummies to President
“This has been an ongoing issue and we just feel that some of these things that are being thought of and clothed with good intentions, and dummies being sold to the President so that the electorate will be incited; the people of Nigeria will be inflicted needless pain at the point in addition to all the other challenges that they are facing just so that they will revolt and say, look, we will vote for the other party. It is clear.’’
5. Case for old notes
He stated, “I have a map of Nigeria with blind spots where there is no network; PoS won’t work there. It is not everywhere that you have bank branches. It is not everywhere you have PoS working. So, let’s sit and look at this thing and find out the reasonable time it takes to do this.
“Even the Central Bank Act that gives the President the power to issue to the Central Bank directives with regard to currency redesign says that reasonable time must be given before the currency ceases to be legal tender.’’
6. CBN deadline unreasonable
“The question is: Is a few weeks a reasonable time in a country of one million square kilometres and over 200m people? How many bank branches are in Nigeria? How many ATMs?
“In Borno State, there are only two local governments out of 27 with a bank branch. In Yobe, only two local governments out of 17 have a bank branch.
“Even a cosmopolitan state relatively in the north like Kaduna has two local governments that have no bank branches and 10 with only one bank branch. So, everyone in that local government must come to that one bank branch? And this PoS that you are seeing in every street of Lagos; do you think you have PoS in every street of Kubau, Ikara and Makarfi which are local government headquarters in my state?’’
7. Atiku exploiting Nigerians’ hardship
“But this week, because of a mere extension of 10 days, he’s (Atiku) turning round to say don’t extend; it means there is something. He’s clearly benefiting from this pain Nigerians are going through every day till today.
“I have reports that people in Kaduna cannot buy food and they cannot sell because there are no currency notes around. But the presidential candidate of the PDP is saying don’t extend because he’s gaining from it. The incitement of people against the APC is in his view to his advantage and this incitement is stronger in northern Nigeria where Atiku is to benefit from,’’ he submitted.
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