Yesterday, the Nigerian Electoral Debate Group held its Vice Presidential debate. The Vice Presidential candidates of five political parties were present, namely:
Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN): Ganiyu Galadima
Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN): Khadija Abdullahi Iya
All Progressives Congress (APC): Professor Yemi Osinbajo
People’s Democratic Party (PDP): Peter Obi
Young Progressive Party (YPP): Umar Getso
Here are highlights of the two and a half hour debate, which was anchored by Imoni Amarere.
On fuel subsidy
While candidates of the four opposition parties, were in favour of removing the subsidy, current Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, in his opinion, preferred that the subsidy be left for now.
Subsidy in Nigeria is fraught with corruption. What we are big on, is attack institutions to ensure there is transparency to ensure corruption is tackled.
In her opinion, savings from subsidy should be spent on areas such as health and infrastructure.
The government will do away with subsidy. There are a lot of inefficiencies in the system.
Doing so, in his view would encourage investors to take position in the oil and gas industry.
If removed, petrol prices could go up to as high as N220. The moment you remove the subsidy, costs go up. While consumer spending is weak, I think a minimal subsidy is useful now. We can’t remove it immediately.
The question to ask Nigerians, how much are they prepared for petrol. Are you ready to take a N40 petrol increase today?
Vice Presidential candidate of the PDP advocated for removal of the subsidy.
What we are subsiding today is inefficiency. It is a waste. You need to reverse it. If you do the right things, the price will come down.
To the Vice Presidential candidate of the YPP, the subsidy is a scam, as the Buhari administration had posited on assumption of office.
To be candid, subsidy to a typical Nigerian is just a scam.
On growing Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product
Nigeria needs to put emphasis on production. We intend to create a N1 trillion venture capital fund, in partnership with the private sector.
Peter Obi advocated for fixing the power sector in order to enable industries to grow.
You need to support SMEs properly. Total loans by banks is N19 trillion, 0.5% of that goes to SMEs. In other countries, it’s 20%. You must do something about your power.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo stated that the current administration had provided the highest lending to the SME sector, through programmes such as GEEP.
On the AFCFTA agreement
On the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AFCFTA), while the PDP, APC and ANN, were in support of signing the agreement, the YPP and ACPN staunchly opposed it.
There is a process of consultation which is going on with the private sector. One of the chief fears of the private sector is the possibility of transshipment; i.e., China imports to Benin then Nigeria.
MAN rejected the agreement, similarly, NACCIMA(National Chambers of Commerce Industry Mines and Agriculture).We are a private sector driven economy. It is our duty as a responsible government, to take into account all the issues before we sign.
Peter Obi, was however in support of the agreement being signed.
You can have twice the foreign exchange earnings from oil from manufacturing. Sign the agreement. You consult at the stage of planning not signing. You don’t have to fear transshipment. That shows inefficiency.
If Chinese goods are cheaper , something is wrong. To bring out goods in Apapa, costs more than it costs to bring it in from Europe.
We will encourage free trade. We have to look at it carefully before signing.
The ACPN candidate was opposed to signing the agreement till the economy improves.
It’s a good thing. As brothers, we trade with each other, but are we going to get equal advantage. The proper thing is for the government to put the signing of the agreement on hold till the economy improves.
Not at this stage, we don’t produce much.
On ease of doing business
In Peter Obi’s view, the Government needs to move out of business. He also had a few knocks for the Nigerian Ports Authority, which he felt spent more on non-essential projects.
The first thing is to look at where your competitors are. If I belong to the BRICS where are they ? If I belong to the MINTS, where are they ? If you look at all the rankings, they are just below 100. You are 146. Government needs to move out of business.
To him, government agencies sourcing funds from the capital market, would make them more efficient, as they would have loans they need to pay back, and be attractive to banks.
Osinbajo in his response, defended the Buhari administration saying that Nigeria had moved up 20 places in the ease of doing business. He also took shots at the PDP, stating that their regime had failed to implement reforms after 16 years in power.
While Under the pdp, we fell 64 places down on the world bank index. Under us we have moved 24 places in 18 months in the ease of doing busioness. If you say investment hasn’t taken place in years, who has been in office these last 16 years ?
Isnt it just incredible, how it is possible to keep a straight face and talk about all that has gone wrong. We we are where we are today is because of 16 years of mismanagement of resources. All this investment ought to have been done.
Senate endorses ex-Service Chiefs as Non-career Ambassadors
The Senate has confirmed President Buhari’s nomination of the immediate past service chiefs as non-career ambassadors.
The Nigerian Senate has endorsed the nomination of the past serving Military Service Chiefs as Non-career Ambassadors.
This was confirmed during Tuesday’s plenary session and announced in a social media statement by the Nigerian Senate.
Their confirmation follows the consideration of the report of the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, Chaired by Senator Adamu Bulkachuwa.
According to reports, the Senate Minority Leader Enyinaya Abaribe, however, questioned the nomination and confirmation of the ex-service chiefs when the Senate had on 3 different occasions called for their sack.
Senator Abaribe also raised issues on the petitions against the former service chiefs and questioned why they were dismissed without explanations.
But Senate President Ahmad Lawan dismissed Senator Abaribe’s concerns, ruling that the nomination of the former service chiefs cannot be nullified simply because the upper chamber had called for their sack, noting that this is totally a different assignment.
In his concluding statement, the Senate President, Senator Lawan added that these nominees that have just been confirmed have served this country to the best of their abilities. He appealed to the executive to make sure they use their experience as military men to the best.
“These nominees that we have just confirmed are nominees that have served this country to the best of their ability. Our appeal to the Executive is to make sure they use their experiences as military men to the best,” Lawan said.
Lawan, on behalf of the senate, wished them a very successful career in their capacity as Non-Career Ambassadors.
What you should know
- Recall Nairametrics reported earlier this month that President Muhammadu Buhari nominated ex-Service Chiefs for Senate approval as non-career Ambassadors-Designate.
- Their appointment came barely a week after their retirement as service chiefs and their replacement with new ones.
- This led to a spate of criticisms from some Nigerians who felt that the nation’s security situation got worse under their watch.
- They were reported to have tendered their resignation from their positions amid heightened calls that they should be sacked due to the increasing rate of insecurity across the country.
2020 budget performance: FG achieves 89% capital release in December 2020
The Minister of Finance has revealed that the FG achieved 89% release of the capital component of the 2020 budget to MDAs as of December 2020.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, has revealed that the Federal Government achieved 89% release of the capital component of the 2020 budget to Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) as of December 2020.
She said that the 89% capital funding for MDAs was achieved with the release of N1.74 trillion.
According to a report by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), this disclosure was made by Ahmed at an interactive session with the leadership of the National Assembly on Monday, February 22, 2021.
She also revealed that the government had disbursed N118.37 billion for Covid-19 capital expenditure from the fund.
What the Minister for Finance is saying
Ahmed said the Nigerian economy faced serious challenges in 2020, with the macroeconomic environment significantly disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
She said this led to a 65% drop in projected net 2020 government revenues from the oil and gas sector, which adversely affected foreign exchange inflows into the economy.
On the delayed release of funds to implement the 2020 capital budget until March 31, the Minister said the complaint had decreased.
She said, “I think the complaint was earlier in the year when we were trying to transfer the balances. As far as I know, in the past three weeks, I haven’t heard any such complaints and we have been able to address them.
“But when we started the transfers, we couldn’t transfer to some agencies because of some limitations in the system, but we have since been able to transfer the capital component that is being utilised by the agencies budget to the system.”
While pointing out that the implementation of the MDAs projects was tied to procurement processes and capacity of the MDA, Ahmed also said the extension of the 2020 capital budget implementation to March 31 had recorded 30% performance as at January.
However, Ahmed said that she expected that the extension would record 100% performance in March.
Speaking during the interaction, the Senate’s Chief Whip, Senator Orji-Uzor Kalu, commended the Minister on the capital performance of the 2020 budget.
He said, “I want to commend the minister and her team because this is the first time in the history of Nigeria that by December 31, we are having 89% performance expenditure of the budget. It has never happened before; Last year was the very first.
“The budget had been going 49%, 27%; this means from what the Senate President was asking, it means by March, we should be looking at implementing the budget 100%.’’
Earlier, President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan said the meeting was to get an update on the capital implementation of the 2020 budget given its extension for implementation by the national assembly to March 31.
What this means
- The 89% capital release for the 2020 budget as of December 2020 is quite encouraging as it occurred despite the economic challenges and disruption caused by the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
- There seems to be an improved effort by the Federal Government at the budgeting process with the early passage of the 2021 budget and the implementation of the capital component of the 2020 budget.
Nairametrics | Company Earnings
- FY 2020: Africa Prudential posts N1.45 billion Profit After Tax.
Africa Prudential Plc released its […]
- Custodian Investment Plc posts N12.69 billion profit in FY 2020.
- 2020 FY Results: Nestle posts N39.2 billion, as earnings per share prints N49.47
Nestle Nigeria Plc released its audited […]
- 2020 FY: WEMA Bank posts N5.06 billion profit after tax as earnings per share prints at N13.1.
Wema Bank Plc released […]
- 2020 FY: Zenith Bank post N230.6 billion profit after tax
Zenith Bank Plc released its […]