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.”
COVID-19 Update in Nigeria
On the 22nd of October 2020, 138 new confirmed cases and 2 deaths were recorded in Nigeria
The spread of novel Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) in Nigeria continues to record significant increases as the latest statistics provided by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control reveal Nigeria now has 61,805 confirmed cases.
On the 22nd of October 2020, 138 new confirmed cases and 2 deaths were recorded in Nigeria, having carried out a total daily test of 4,648 samples across the country.
To date, 61,805 cases have been confirmed, 56,985 cases have been discharged and 1,127 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. A total of 595,283 tests have been carried out as of October 22nd, 2020 compared to 590,635 tests a day earlier.
COVID-19 Case Updates- 22nd October 2020,
- Total Number of Cases – 61,805
- Total Number Discharged – 56,985
- Total Deaths – 1,1127
- Total Tests Carried out – 595,283
According to the NCDC, the 138 new cases were reported from 13 states – Katsina (44), Lagos (35), Kwara (15), Kaduna (13), Plateau (7), Imo (6), Adamawa (5) Rivers (4), Yobe (3), Ogun (2), Oyo (2), Osun (1), FCT (1).
Meanwhile, the latest numbers bring Lagos state total confirmed cases to 20,768, followed by Abuja (5,944), Plateau (3,594), Oyo (3,423), Rivers (2,746), Edo (2,648), Kaduna (2,585), Ogun (1,989), Delta (1,812), Kano (1,741), Ondo (1,659), Enugu (1,314), Kwara (1,065), Ebonyi (1,049), Katsina (948), Osun (919), Abia (898), Gombe (883). Borno (745), and Bauchi (710).
Imo State has recorded 613 cases, Benue (484), Nasarawa (478), Bayelsa (403), Ekiti (329), Jigawa (325), Akwa Ibom (295), Anambra (277), Niger (274), Adamawa (257), Sokoto (162), Taraba (122), Kebbi (93), Cross River (87), Yobe (82), Zamfara (79), while Kogi state has recorded 5 cases only.
Lock Down and Curfew
In a move to combat the spread of the pandemic disease, President Muhammadu Buhari directed the cessation of all movements in Lagos and the FCT for an initial period of 14 days, which took effect from 11 pm on Monday, 30th March 2020.
The movement restriction, which was extended by another two-weeks period, has been partially put on hold with some businesses commencing operations from May 4. On April 27th, 2020, Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari declared an overnight curfew from 8 pm to 6 am across the country, as part of new measures to contain the spread of the COVID-19. This comes along with the phased and gradual easing of lockdown measures in FCT, Lagos, and Ogun States, which took effect from Saturday, 2nd May 2020, at 9 am.
On Monday, 29th June 2020 the federal government extended the second phase of the eased lockdown by 4 weeks and approved interstate movement outside curfew hours with effect from July 1, 2020. Also, on Monday 27th July 2020, the federal government extended the second phase of eased lockdown by an additional one week.
On Thursday, 6th August 2020 the federal government through the secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 announced the extension of the second phase of eased lockdown by another four (4) weeks.
Breaking: Senatorial, State House of Assembly bye-elections postponed – INEC
Senatorial and State House of Assembly bye-elections slated to hold on October 31 in 11 states have been postponed by INEC.
The 6 Senatorial and 9 State House of Assembly bye-elections slated to hold on October 31 in 11 states of the Federation has been postponed by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). The vacancies were as a result of death and resignation of previous members.
According to the statement issued by its National Commissioner & Chairman, Information and Voter Education, Festus Okoye Esq., INEC said the decision was taken after meeting with the 37 Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) on Thursday.
— INEC Nigeria (@inecnigeria) October 22, 2020
Though the commission did not categorically state the reason for the postponement, feelers are that it may not be unconnected with the raging #EndSARS protests across the nation.
#EndSARS: President Buhari issues stern warning to hoodlums
The President has issued a warning to hoodlums who have hijacked the #EndSARS protest to promote unrest.
President Buhari, in his state of the Nation address to Nigerians this evening has warned hoodlums and the conflict entrepreneurs who have hijacked the #EndSARS protest to promote unrest.
The President explained that the choice to demonstrate peacefully is a fundamental right of citizens as enshrined in Section 40 of the Constitution and other enactments.
“I must warn those who have hijacked and misdirected the initial, genuine and well-intended protest of some of our youths in parts of the country, against the excesses of some members of the now-disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS),” he said.
President Muhammad Buhari frowned against the desperate and inhumane actions of mobsters, arsonists and hoodlums which has led to the loss of human lives, sexual violence, attacks on correctional facilities, as well as public and private properties which were completely destroyed or vandalized.
He explained that these bad actions will not be tolerated, as it is not in line with the legitimate expression of grievance of the youth of the country. He reiterated that the Government shall continue to ensure that liberty and freedom, as well as the fundamental rights of all citizens, are protected.
What you should know from the President’s State of the Nation address
The President reiterated that the government has the obligation to protect lives and properties, and ensure that the citizens go about their daily businesses freely and protected from acts of violence.
However, he appealed to protesters to note and take advantage of the various well-thought-out initiatives of this administration designed to make their lives better and more meaningful, and resist the temptation of being used by some subversive elements to cause chaos with the aim of truncating our nascent democracy.
The President, however, warned the youth that doing otherwise will amount to undermining national security as well as law and order, which under no circumstances will be tolerated.
President Buhari thus called on the youths to discontinue the street protests and constructively engage the government in finding solutions, as their voices have been heard loud and clear.