Kemi Adeosun, Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, resigned last Friday after discovering that an exemption certificate she received from the National Youth Service Corps(NYSC) had been improperly obtained. Here is a review of her tenure, which lasted nearly three years. Adeosun was sworn in as a minister in November 2015.
Intervention for states
One of Adeosun’s first duties was to arrange bailout funds for states in the country running into trillions of Naira. Without this, most of them would have run into crisis. In exchange, the states were required to adopt policies that would engender fiscal prudence.
Treasury Single Account (TSA)
While Ngozi Okonjo Iweala under the Goodluck Jonathan administration made a feeble attempt to implement the Treasury Single Account (TSA) policy, Adeosun embraced it and took it to a conclusion.
Though commercial banks in the country felt the pinch from the withdrawal of funds, and some departments and agencies complained of being starved of needed funds, the policy created prudence in the management of government revenue.
Adeosun also created an efficiency unit in the Ministry of Finance. The unit worked across Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) to prevent duplication of expenses. This resulted in savings of over N10 billion annually.
Adeosun actively pursued the whistleblower policy which led to the country recovering billions of Naira, most notably the Ikoyi gate. At the peak of controversy surrounding the nonpayment of the whistleblower, Adeosun stated that he would be paid and over 20 whistleblowers were paid so far.
The erstwhile finance minister was also instrumental in promoting the Voluntary Income and Asset Declaration Scheme (VAIDS). VAIDS resulted in the number of taxpayers increasing from 14 million to 19 million.
Increased excise taxes
During her tenure, excise taxes were increased on alcohol and tobacco. The increase in taxes which will be phased from now till 2020, are as a result of an ECOWAS policy and recommendations by the IMF.
Debt service remained high
Under her watch, debt service remained high. Debt service as a percentage of the 2016 budget was 24.4%. For the 2018 budget, it only dipped marginally to 21.9% of the budget. In nominal terms, it rose from N1.48 trillion in 2106 to N2.0 trillion in 2018.
FAAC receipts dwindled
Despite the rebound in crude oil prices, FAAC receipts had dwindled in the months prior to her resignation. The dire situation led to FAAC meetings being deadlocked severally, as state commissioners of finance walked out in protest.
$426 million helicopter
The government’s decision to pay $426 million for helicopters without the approval of the National Assembly. Was a big query.
Failure to resign on time
In what is arguably her biggest miss, Adeosun failed to address the controversy surrounding how she obtained a certificate exempting her from the National Youth Service Core (NYSC). The scandal rid her of credibility, towards the end of her tenure and prevented her pushing with needed reforms.
FG inuagurates 2nd National Voluntary Review Report on SDGs
The report enables member countries to exchange experiences and knowledge on Sustainable Development.
Federal Government has inaugurated the second National Voluntary Review Report on Sustainable Development Goals. This was disclosed by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Sustainable Development Goals, Mrs Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire on Tuesday.
The report was launched after a virtual presentation session of the High-Level Political Forum of the United Nations (UN).
Meanwhile, the UN had offered to assist the Nigerian Government to realize its developmental aspirations most especially those related to the SDGs.
The UN Resident Coordinator in Nigeria Edward Kallon, had explained that he visited Nigeria to explore better ways of collaboration between the two agencies in line with the recent reforms going on in the UN, which are being driven by Amina Mohammed, the Deputy UN Secretary-General.
According to him, UN is looking for innovative ways to come up with a robust collaboration framework that will foster a more solid and workable partnership by way of creating a platform for Nigeria to leverage on and support its developmental aspirations most especially, the implementation of the SDGs.
Why it matters: The report enables member countries to exchange experiences and knowledge on Sustainable Development. It would feature Nigeria’s most important priorities as it is nearly impossible to achieve all SDG’s because of the limited economic challenges.
According to Orelope-Adefulire, the goals prioritized by the governments were no poverty, health and wellbeing, education, economic growth, security & peace and partnerships.
She said, “Poverty is more than the lack of income and resources to ensure a sustainable livelihood. Its manifestations include hunger and malnutrition, limited access to education and other basic services, social discrimination and exclusion as well as the lack of participation in decision-making. Economic growth must be inclusive to provide sustainable jobs and promote equality.
“Sustainable economic growth will require societies to create the conditions that allow people to have quality jobs that stimulate the economy while not harming the environment. Job opportunities and decent working conditions are also required for the whole working-age population.”
She added that the agency would prioritise seven goals and reached out to the private sector, women organisations, CSOs, youth groups, academia and people living with disabilities; finding out from them what needs to be done.
Just-in: FG kickstarts its 774,000 jobs SPW initiative as Buhari backs Keyamo
The initiative plans to employ 1,000 persons from each of the 774 LGA in the country.
Despite the opposition from members of the National Assembly, the Federal Government have formally kick-started the Special Public Works (SPW) programme, which was designed to create 774,000 jobs across the nation, with the inauguration of the State Selection Committees.
This was disclosed in a tweet post by the Federal Government on its official Twitter handle on Tuesday, July 14, 2020.
In the tweet post, the Federal Government said, ‘’The Special Public Works Programme of the Federal Government has kicked off nationwide. The State Selection Committees have been inaugurated and have commenced work. Find the names and contact details of members of your State’s Committee here.’’
The National Assembly had earlier called for the suspension of the programme, following disagreement and altercations with the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, over the operations and processes of the programme.
The Special Public Works Programme of the Federal Government has kicked off nationwide. The State Selection Committees have been inaugurated and have commenced work. Find the names and contact details of members of your State’s Committee here: https://t.co/d7YjB49JeE #NigeriaSPW
— Government of Nigeria (@NigeriaGov) July 14, 2020
This programme, which is coordinated by the ministry of labour and employment, was part of the federal government’s intervention programmes and fiscal stimulus measures to help cushion the negative impact of the coronavirus pandemic on Nigerians.
The initiative which is expected to start on October 1, 2020, plans to employ 1,000 persons from each of the 774 local government areas in the country. Each of the beneficiaries of the programme will be paid N20,000 monthly to carry out public works.
The implementation agency for the programme is the National Directorate of Employment (NDE).
The Minister of State for Labour and Productivity, Festus Keyamo, while performing the virtual inauguration in a joint address with the Director-General of NDE, Nasir Ladan Argungu, disclosed that an inter-ministerial committee drawn from 8 ministries and headed by the NDE recommended the setting up of states’ selection committees to identify and recruit those to be engaged under the programme
It can be recalled that Keyamo, has been at loggerheads with the federal lawmakers over the implementation of the SPW programme. The lawmakers had insisted that the Minister must seek their inputs before going ahead with the constitution of the 20 man states selection committees. They also accused Keyamo of trying to hijack the programme from the NDE, who should be the implementation agency.
But the Minister, while appearing before a joint committee in the National Assembly accused the lawmakers of trying to hijack the process. He insisted that President Buhari gave him the mandate to directly supervise the programme and as such he is the only one that can ask him to stop.
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, Seyi Makinde 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.