As Nigerians anticipate the “sacred list” of President Muhammadu Buhari’s new ministers who will pilot his cabinet for another four years, the immediate past Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed has indicated interest to be re-appointed to continue leading the finance ministry for another four years.
The former minister reportedly made her interest known on Tuesday while speaking on the sidelines of the ongoing Bloomberg Emerging and Frontier Forum in London. Mrs. Ahmed revealed she would like to be reappointed as minister of finance to complete several projects she flagged off.
“The president is in the process of putting together a new cabinet. I have not had a discussion with him on whether I am coming back on the cabinet or not.
“I would like to go back to the cabinet in the same role to continue the work that we started. “I was only there for nine months, I started a lot of initiatives that I would love to push.”
Recall that Zainab Ahmed was appointed by the president to oversee the Ministry of Finance in September 2018 after the former Finance Minister, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun resigned following an allegation that she presented a fake NYSC exemption certificate as part of the requirements for clearance as a minister by the Senate.
Tenure Expiration: Zainab Ahmed, along with other ministers, were relieved from their various ministerial positions at the expiration of their tenures. While Nigerians await the much-anticipated list from the President, the permanent secretaries have been duly delegated to run the ministeries.
Information released by Mrs. Ahmed Zainab on her LinkedIn page reveals that the Permanent Secretary of the Finance Ministry is supposedly in charge of affairs of the ministry.
“Earlier yesterday, I presented handover notes to Dr. Mahmoud Isa Dutse, Permanent Secretary of my Ministry, appreciated H.E. Muhammadu Buhari for the opportunity to serve Nigeria.
“All thanks to Almighty Allah for making it easy for me to sail through the turbulent milestone and deliver well, I give credit also to my family and Nigerians entirely who against all odds supported me. God bless you all”
In the meantime, while President Buhari has not given hints on the new ministers, other prominent Nigerians have been mooted for the seat of the finance minister.
Plan to increase VAT to 7.5%: In the meantime, the Former Minister has disclosed the Government’s plan to raise value-added tax (VAT) to 7.5% by 2020 from the current 5%. Mrs. Ahmed stated that an upward review of VAT is a follow up on the agreement reached between the FG and labour union following the minimum wage increase. She stressed that such a marginal increase on VAT would enable the government to handle the incremental cost of increasing wages.
“We have developed a strategic revenue growth initiative, which we have started implementing. Our target is to increase revenue to 65% minimum in 2019 so that in the next three years, we are able to attain 80-85% of our revenue target.
“We are looking at adding value-added tax from 5% to 7.5%. 5% is one of the lowest VAT globally. The increase will not be done overnight but hopefully, by the next budget (2020), the new increase will take effect.
“We recently increased the minimum wage and one of the agreements we had with labour was that there would be some marginal increase on VAT to enable us to handle the incremental cost of increasing wages.”
Passengers can now arrive 90 minutes before departure for domestic flights – FG
The Federal Government has announced the reduction of arrival time for passengers from three hours to one hour and a half before departure for domestic flights.
This was disclosed in a tweet post by the Minister for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, through his Twitter handle on Monday, July 13, 2020.
The minister said that the decision was arrived at after they have reviewed passenger facilitation at the airport while noting that passengers should check-in online.
In the tweet post, Sirika said, ‘’My colleagues and I have reviewed passenger facilitation at our airports, consequently I am happy to announce that, henceforth travellers are to arrive one hour and half before their departure time for domestic flights. Travellers are advised to check-in online, please.’’
My colleagues & I have reviewed passenger facilitation at our airports, consequently I am happy to announce that, henceforth travelers are to arrive one hour and a half before their departure time for domestic flights. Travelers are advised to check in online, please 🙏🏽🇳🇬🇳🇬🇳🇬🙏🏽
— Hadi Sirika (@hadisirika) July 13, 2020
It can be recalled that the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) had earlier in June issued flight resumption protocol for both international and local passengers across the country, advising passengers to arrive at the airport three hours before their time due to the new COVID-19 safety checks for domestic flight operations and five hours for international flight operations.
Seyi Makinde Proposes N3 billion investment plan for water supply
The local governments in Oyo are advised to submit a list of 10 faulty boreholes in the LG.
The Governor of Oyo State, Seyi Makinde announced the proposal of a N3 billion investment plan dedicated to water supply in rural and urban areas of the state.
Speaking through the Chairman of Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency (RUWASSA), Mr. Najeem Omirinde in Ibadan on Monday, he added that N500 million of the N3 billion would be used for repairing broken and faulty state-owned boreholes.
All Chairmen of each of the Local Governments in Oyo are advised to submit a list of 10 faulty boreholes in the Local governments.
The Oyo State governor also ordered that all new boreholes must be compliant with solar-powered pumps, to enable their longevity and save costs.
Urging residents to patronize the agency if they need to dig up boreholes for water, citing that it would be cheaper if done through the state agency than with private drilling companies.
Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed stated last year that Nigeria needs an estimated N36 trillion annually for the next 30 years to solve Nigeria’s infrastructure problem. The investment, although a tiny fraction of what Nigeria needs is a bold step by the Oyo State government.
FG asks UK court for more time to appeal $9.6 billion arbitration judgement
Malami stated that the Evidence of P&ID’s highly orchestrated scam had only recently come to light.
The Federal Government has approached a UK court to appeal for more time to appeal the $9.6 billion arbitration award against it over the breach of contract with Process & Industrial Development (P&ID) Ltd.
Nigeria has said that it needs more time to pursue its argument that the 2010 gas supply contract with Process & Industrial Development Ltd was a sham.
The legal dispute with P&ID is coming against the backdrop of the huge drop in the country’s revenue due to the collapse in oil prices globally. Nigeria had applied to US courts in March seeking for documents from 10 banks which includes Citigroup Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co, in a bid to prove its corruption allegations.
P&ID, however, has denied any wrongdoing in the whole transaction, arguing that Nigeria missed its opportunity to appeal.
The Nigerian Lawyer, Mark Howard, on Monday, the first morning of a 2-day hearing, said ‘’It is very unusual in a fraud case to discover a single smoking gun. By its very nature, fraud is conducted in secret, which makes it hard to detect and justifies an extension.’’
The legal representatives for Nigeria are seeking another hearing for the judge to decide whether any misconduct has taken place and whether it justifies overturning the contract
The Attorney General and Minister for Justice, Abubakar Malami in a statement said, ‘’Evidence of P&ID’s highly orchestrated scam had only recently come to light.’’
It can be recalled that last year, a UK judge upheld an earlier arbitration award to P&ID, which had accumulated to about $9.6 billion. The arbitration decision was over a failed contract to build a gas processing plant in the Southern city of Calabar.
The Nigerian lawyers disclosed that they have uncovered alleged bribes to government officials and their family members dating back to 2009.
Malami in his court filing on March 24, submitted that ‘’There is good reason to believe that ministers at the highest level were involved in a corrupt scheme to steal money from Nigeria.’’