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Osinbajo Wades Into Governors, CBN Dispute Over Budget Facility Repayment

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Osinbajo Wades Into Governors, CBN Dispute Over Budget Facility Repayment
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Vice President Yemi Osinbajo is to meet soon with representatives of state governors, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, and the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, in an attempt to resolve the disagreement over the repayment of the budget support facility obtained by the states.

This followed a disagreement between the governors and the CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, at Thursday’s virtual meeting of the National Economic Council, NEC, presided over by the Vice President at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

At the meeting, the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum, NGF, and Governor of Ekiti state, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, had insisted that the governors wanted the loan repayment due in May to be deferred.

But the CBN boss, Emefiele insisted that the states should begin the repayment without future delay especially the monies owed to the banks.

Emefiele said there were challenges arising from delays particularly as it concerned auditing.

A statement issued by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Office of the Vice President, Laolu Akande, said “on the Budget Support Facility, state governors restated their request to defer the repayment of the loans, which was to have started this month. Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, who is also Chairman, Nigeria Governors’ Forum, reported interactions with the Finance Minister and the CBN Governor regarding the matter.

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“The CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, also emphasized the importance of the timely repayment of loans, especially those owed to commercial banks, indicating the challenges inherent in a further delay in payment, including audit concerns. He said the repayment of the commercial loans should resume this month.

“In addition, the Vice President stated that he will be holding a meeting soon with representatives of the State Governors, the Finance Minister and the CBN Governor to resolve the issue raised.”

According to the statement, the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) recorded a 343% growth in total comprehensive Income totalling N160.06 billion in 2020 compared to N36.15 billion in the previous year and 33% growth in Net Assets, rising up to N772.75 billion from the previous N579.54 billion.

The statement reported that the Council held the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the NSIA where reports and financial statements, including the audit were presented.

It said in particular, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the NSIA, Mr. Uche Orji, submitted that the NSIA achieved core income of N109 billion compared to N33.07 billion in 2019, excluding forex gains of N51 billion in 2020 and N1.29 billion in 2019.

The NSIA presentation noted that despite the challenges of COVID-19, it had a favourable year owing to strong performance from its investments in international capital markets, improved contribution from associates, as well as exchange rate gains from foreign currency positions.

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In response to COVID-19, the NSIA partnered with Global Citizen, a not-for profit group, to form the Nigeria Solidarity Support Fund (NSSF), acquired and distributed oxygen concentrators to 21 teaching hospitals as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility; in addition to staffing support to the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 towards combatting the pandemic.

Other major milestones reached by the NSIA were recorded across domestic infrastructure projects, specifically in roads, agriculture, healthcare, technology and gas industrialization.

NEC also received a presentation on the Digital Switch Over (DSO) by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed. He stated that it was the International Telecommunications Union, ITU, that decided on member states switching off analogue television transmission to ‘go digital’.

The DSO will be taking off first in Lagos, Kano and Rivers States, he stated.

According to him, the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) and the DSO Ministerial Task Force are tasked with ensuring that Nigeria ‘digitizes’ and develop a public information and awareness campaign to inform citizens about DSO/FreeTV.

The Minister disclosed that the switch-over has a revenue generation potential of N20 billion annually; and that the funds will enable the NBC support and upgrade DSO initiative, as well as fund local producers.

The Council also received an update on Nigeria’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic by the Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu.

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According to the DG, NCDC, in the last two months, there has been reduction in the number of cases globally, stating that even India has also experienced reduction in its infection rates in the last five days.

He added that in Nigeria, the total number of cases as of yesterday, May 19, 2021, was 165,809, while the number of cases tested was 2,002,653, with 7,323 active cases. It was also disclosed that discharged cases were now 156,419, while there had been 2,067 deaths.

According to the NCDC boss, the “transmission rate in the country is low,” adding that attention is now on tracking the new B1.617.2 variant from India. He said there are only three such cases identified in Nigeria so far.

He added that focus should remain on the protocols to stop the spread of the virus, while the health authorities and agencies will keep an eye on tracking the Indian variant. Governments and leaders in the society are also urged to discourage pandemic fatigue and stick to the COVID-19 safety protocols.

The Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Mr. Clem Agba, gave the Council the monthly update on Excess Crude Account, Stabilization Account and Development of Natural Resources Account, with balances as at 18th May 2021 standing at $72,413,574.70, N24,741,213,941.88 and N23,650,579,140.23, respectively.

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“Ore Industrial Park to employ not less than 120,000 workforces within twelve years” Femi Akinkuebi

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“Ore Industrial Park to employ not less than 120,000 workforces within twelve years” Femi Akinkuebi
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“Ore Industrial Park to employ not less than 120,000 workforces within twelve years” Femi Akinkuebi

By Amudipe Marcus

The Managing director of the Ore Industrial Park, Femi Akinkuebi has reiterated the commitment of the Akeredolu led administration in Ondo State to avail youths, small and medium scale business owners within and outside the state the platform to thrive by growing and developing their respective business enterprise; Mr. Femi Akinkuebi stated this while updating Newsmen in Akure, with level of progress made at the facility in Ondo State.

The Ore Industrial Park is a Public-Private Partnership[PPP] between Ondo State government and Hessmac Industry Limited, which is established on a massive 1000 hectares of eco-friendly, economic and industrially zoned land.

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According to him, the Ore Industrial Park provides the general public the opportunity to become a master of their destiny by tapping into the numerous benefits that the facility has to offer, the Ore Industrial Park was created by the Akeredolu led administration in order to eradicate poverty, improve the standard of living, boost wealth creation, unleash the nation’s industrial potential, build reputation for Nigeria in technology and industrialization.

Mr. Akinkuebi also revealed that there are about six companies which are currently on ground running(
Allecharis gas, Sulmont Solar, ASB, ATC Globalwide, Euro O&G Continental Ltd etc…) while another more companies will soon start working at the park, he also revealed that the Ore Industrial Park is made accessible to all because the government is more interested in giving opportunities to its people and also business minded thereby gaining more for the state. In the words of the managing director of the Ore Industrial Park.

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“Ore Industrial Park to employ not less than 120,000 workforces within twelve years” Femi Akinkuebi

In the words of Mr. Femi Akinkuebi, “As much as we are interested in foreign investors, we can’t forget our people, this necessitate our approach to encourage both local and international companies”

He further explained that the Akeredolu led administration in Ondo State through the Ore Industrial Park is willing to welcome interested youths and entrepreneurs who have the business skills and expertise to run any business venture, “even those with little or no startup capital are welcome to use our facility, we have a business conducive facility that will give your business the much needed leverage to thrive”

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“The Ore Industrial Park has the capacity to employ not less than 120,000 workforces within twelve years at the park”. he added.

The Ore Industrial Hub is designed to provide a world class infrastructure and ultra-fast operational efficiency, proximity to raw materials and target markets, uninterrupted power supply, easy access to gas with EPL gas pipeline and adequate security. The park has its own installed 30MW trio-fuel independent powecr Plant dedicated to providing power within the park.

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FIRS, not states should collect VAT – Umahi

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FIRS, not states should collect VAT —Umahi
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FIRS, not states should collect VAT – Umahi

Ebonyi State Governor David Umahi says the state is not in support of Rivers, Lagos and other states in their moves to collect Value Added Tax.

Umahi stated this at a dinner organised in honour of a former Chief of Army Staff and Nigerian Ambassador to the Republic of Benin, Amb. Tukur Buratai, on Monday night.

Umahi said Ebonyi was solidly and would continually throw its weight behind the Federal Inland Revenue Service’s collection of VAT.

Speaking at the dinner held at the Governor’s Lodge, Centenary City, Abakaliki, Umahi reiterated that state would not support any of the states collecting VAT, adding “Evil will continue to thrive if good people keep quiet.”

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He said, “We must make Ebonyi State very exceptional by rising to the challenges. When we shout true federalism, I say, I agree; but it should be administrative restructuring.

“Ebonyi State is not in support of any state collecting VAT. We are in support that FIRS should continue to collect tax and share.”

While urging the country’s leaders to speak up against dissenting voices that were capable of polarising the nation, Umahi stressed he was open to debate with any governor from the stable of the Peoples Democratic Party, who felt he had delivered more democracy dividends to his people than the APC-led administration in Ebonyi State.

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FIRS, not states should collect VAT – Umahi

“People are taking special interest in Ebonyi State and her Governor, positively and negatively; but it is very important to be in the news than for you to say there are 36 states, you will name 35 and say what is the other state?

“We have aborted it; we are now a state to reckon with and we have no apologies.

“When I say I have no apologies, you can talk everything about me but you can not say we have not delivered and so when people open their mouths in PDP to talk about APC, they should know that I belong to APC and if they like, let PDP offer any of their best Governors to come for debate with me and I will defeat any of them; it’s not just to be talking and talking. You don’t sit on people’s sweat and resources and be talking nonsense.

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“We have no regrets taking our people to the centre. We have always played at the centre. We are not playing party politics, we are playing politics that will be an advantage to our people, criticise me; no problems. But we need resources, we need friendship with the centre,” Umahi stated.

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Akeredolu Bans Unions’Associations’ Activities Over Public Exploitation

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Akeredolu Bans Unions’Associations’ Activities Over Public Exploitation

Press Release

The Ondo State Government has taken measures to protect residents in the state amid soaring costs and incessant increases in prices of goods and services by artisans including farm produce and food items.

In this regard, the state government has barred all Trading Unions and Associations under the umbrella of Ondo State United Artisan Group, from fixing and enforcing uniform prices of goods and services being sold/rendered by their members and non-members.

A statement by the Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Donald Ojogo said the decision was taken in the overall socio-economic interest of the people of the State.

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Akeredolu Bans Unions’Associations’ Activities Over Public Exploitation

The statement:

“Government had before now, watched with discomfort and dismay, the economic suffocation of the people with unimaginable increases in prices of goods and services in markets, shops and other sales outlets across the state.

“Even without due regard for market forces, it is obvious that associations and unions are largely behind this unwholesome act.

“The state government has decided to act decisively even as the public deserves protection from this undesirable exploitation under some guises.

“Therefore, fixing market prices and imposing fixed exorbitant prices on the people under the guise of association or union must be stopped forthwith.

“Accordingly, as part of the measures, Individuals, Artisans, Traders and providers of services as well as farmers are henceforth allowed to operate, sell their produce and render any service in any part of the state as they may deem profitable, based on the principle of demand and supply and prevailing market forces. This is just as membership of associations and unions remains voluntary as provided for in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended.

“Consequently, Government’s right to regulate the activities of Trading Associations and Artisan groups has to be invoked in the interest of residents. Therefore, on no account should any Union/Association fix or enforce prices of goods and services.

“Similarly, there shall be no sale of tickets to Artisans/Traders by any Association/Union without due approval of the state Government through the Internal Revenue Service”.

“All concerned are, therefore, advised to adhere strictly to this directive as any person or group found to be flouting it will be made to face the full weight of the extant laws.

“It is to be noted too that this directive takes effect from TODAY in all markets and sales outlets across the 18 LGAs of the state”.

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