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Full text of President Muhammadu Buhari’s Letter to Nigerians

President Muhammadu Buhari wrote a letter, which was made available to newsmen on Wednesday, to Nigerians to commemorate the New Year.

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NDDC, Cash transfer, President Buhari, non-oil Exports, oil revenue, export revenue, FG Waives import duties for medical supplies, Orders Customs to expedite clearing, Presidency faults report on Kyari as Buhari didn’t cancel memos, appointments approved by him

President Muhammadu Buhari wrote a letter, which was made available to newsmen on Wednesday, to Nigerians to commemorate the New Year.

Below is the full content of the letter:

A LETTER FROM THE PRESIDENT AT NEW YEAR

“My Dear Compatriots,

“NIGERIA’S DECADE

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“Today marks a new decade. It is a time of hope, optimism and fresh possibilities. We look forward as a nation to the 2020s as the opportunity to build on the foundations we have laid together on security, diversification of our economy and taking on the curse of corruption. These are the pledges on which I have been twice elected President and remain the framework for a stable, sustainable and more prosperous future.

“Elections are the cornerstone of our democracy. I salute the commitment of the millions who voted in peace last February and of those leaders who contested for office vigorously but fairly, submitting to the authority of the electorate, the Independent National Electoral Commission and judicial process. I understand very well the frustrations our system has in the past triggered. I will be standing down in 2023 and will not be available in any future elections. But I am determined to help strengthen the electoral process both in Nigeria and across the region, where several ECOWAS members go to the polls this year.

[READ ALSO: FG battles 6 oil firms for failure to remit N20 trillion  (Opens in a new browser tab)]

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“As Commander-in-Chief, my primary concern is the security of the nation and the safety of our citizens. When I assumed office in May 2015 my first task was to rally our neighbours so that we could confront Boko Haram on a coordinated regional basis. Chaos is not a neighbour any of us hope for.

“We have been fighting on several fronts: violent extremists, cultists and organised criminal networks. It has not been easy. But as we are winning the war, we also look to the challenge of winning the peace, the reconstruction of lives, communities and markets. The North East Development Commission will work with local and international stakeholders to help create a new beginning for the North East.

“The Federal Government will continue to work with State Governors, neighbouring states and our international partners to tackle the root causes of violent extremism and the networks that help finance and organise terror. Our security forces will receive the best training and modern weaponry, and in turn will be held to the highest standards of professionalism, and respect for human rights. We will use all the human and emerging technological resources available to tackle kidnapping, banditry and armed robbery.

[READ MORE: Buhari’s Budget of Sustaining Growth & Job Creation (Full text)

“The new Ministry of Police Affairs increased recruitment of officers and the security reforms being introduced will build on what we are already delivering. We will work tirelessly at home and with our allies in support of our policies to protect the security of life and property. Our actions at all times will be governed by the rule of law. At the same time, we shall look always to engage with all well-meaning leaders and citizens of goodwill to promote dialogue, partnership and understanding.

“We need a democratic government that can guarantee peace and security to realise the full potential of our ingenious, entrepreneurial and hard-working people. Our policies are designed to promote genuine, balanced growth that delivers jobs and rewards industry. Our new Economic Advisory Council brings together respected and independent thinkers to advise me on a strategy that champions inclusive and balanced growth, and above all fight poverty and safeguard national economic interests.

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“As we have sat down to celebrate with friends and family over this holiday season, for the first time in a generation our food plates have not all been filled with imports of products we know can easily be produced here at home. The revolution in agriculture is already a reality in all corners of the country. New agreements with Morocco, Russia and others will help us access on attractive terms the inputs we need to accelerate the transformation in farming that is taking place.

“A good example of commitment to this inclusive growth is the signing of the African Continental Free Trade Area and the creation of the National Action Committee to oversee its implementation and ensure the necessary safeguards are in place to allow us to fully capitalise on regional and continental markets.

“The joint land border security exercise currently taking place is meant to safeguard Nigeria’s economy and security. No one can doubt that we have been good neighbours and good citizens. We have been the helpers and shock-absorbers of the sub-region but we cannot allow our well-planned economic regeneration plans to be sabotaged. As soon as we are satisfied that the safeguards are adequate, normal cross-border movements will be resumed.

“Already, we are making key infrastructure investments to enhance our ease of doing business. On transportation, we are making significant progress on key roads such as the Second Niger Bridge, Lagos – Ibadan Expressway and the Abuja – Kano highway. 2020 will also see tangible progress on the Lagos to Kano Rail line. Through Executive Order 007, we are also using alternative funding programmes in collaboration with private sector partners to fix strategic roads such as the Apapa-Oworonshoki Expressway. Abuja and Port Harcourt have new international airport terminals, as will Kano and Lagos in 2020. When completed, all these projects will positively impact business operations in the country. These projects are not small and do not come without some temporary disruption; we are doing now what should have been done a long time ago. I thank you for your patience and look forward to the dividends that we and future generations will long enjoy.

“Power has been a problem for a generation. We know we need to pick up the pace of progress. We have solutions to help separate parts of the value chain to work better together. In the past few months, we have engaged extensively with stakeholders to develop a series of comprehensive solutions to improve the reliability and availability of electricity across the country. These solutions include ensuring fiscal sustainability for the sector, increasing both government and private sector investments in the power transmission and distribution segments, improving payment transparency through the deployment of smart meters and ensuring regulatory actions maximise service delivery.

“We have in place a new deal with Siemens, supported by the German government after German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited us in Abuja, to invest in new capacity for generation, transmission and distribution. These projects will be under close scrutiny and transparency – there will be no more extravagant claims that end only in waste, theft and mismanagement.

“The next 12 months will witness the gradual implementation of these actions, after which Nigerians can expect to see significant improvement in electricity service supply reliability and delivery. Separately, we have plans to increase domestic gas consumption. In the first quarter of 2020, we will commence work on the AKK gas pipeline, OB3 Gas pipeline and the expansion of the Escravos – Lagos Pipeline.

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“While we look to create new opportunities in agriculture, manufacturing and other long-neglected sectors, in 2020 we will also realise increased value from oil and gas, delivering a more competitive, attractive and profitable industry, operating on commercial principles and free from political interference. Just last week, we were able to approve a fair framework for the USD10 billion expansion of Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas, which will increase exports by 35%, restore our position as a world leader in the sector and create thousands of jobs. The Amendment of the Deep Offshore Act in October signalled our intention to create a modern, forward-looking industry in Nigeria. I am confident that in 2020 we will be able to present a radical programme of reform for oil and gas that will excite investors, improve governance and strengthen protections for host communities and the environment.

“We can expect the pace of change in technology only to accelerate in the decade ahead. Coupled with our young and vibrant population, this offers huge opportunities if we are able to harness the most productive trends and tame some of the wilder elements. This is a delicate balance with which many countries are struggling. We are seeking an informed and mature debate that reflects our rights and responsibilities as citizens in shaping the boundaries of how best to allow technology to benefit Nigeria.

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“During my Democracy Day speech on June 12, 2019, I promised to lay the enduring foundations for taking a hundred million Nigerians out of mass poverty over the next 10 years. Today I restate that commitment. We shall continue reforms in education, health care and water sanitation. I have met international partners such as GAVI, the vaccine alliance, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation who support our social welfare programmes. I will continue to work with State and Local Governments to make sure that these partnerships deliver as they should. Workers will have a living wage and pensioners will be looked after. We are steadily clearing pensions and benefits arrears neglected for so long.

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“The new Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development will consolidate and build on the social intervention schemes and will enhance the checks and balances necessary for this set of programmes to succeed for the long term.

“I am able to report that the journey has already begun with the passage and signing into law of the 2020 Appropriation Act. As the new decade dawns, we are ready to hit the ground running. Let me pay tribute to the Ninth National Assembly who worked uncommonly long hours to make sure that the 2020 budget scrutiny is both thorough and timely. The close harmony between the Executive and Legislature is a sharp contrast to what we have experienced in the recent past, when the Senate kept the previous budget for 7 months without good reason just to score cheap political points thereby disrupting the budgetary processes and overall economic development plans.

“Our policies are working and the results will continue to show themselves more clearly by the day. Nigeria is the most tremendous, can-do market, offering extraordinary opportunities and returns. Investors can look forward with confidence not only to an increasing momentum of change but also to specific incentives, including our new visa-on-arrival policy.

“They can also be certain of our unshakeable commitment to tackle corruption. As we create an environment that allows initiative, enterprise and hard work to thrive, it is more important than ever to call out those who find the rule of law an inconvenience, or independent regulation an irritation. We are doing our part here in Nigeria. We will continue to press our partners abroad to help with the supply side of corruption and have received some encouragement. We expect more funds stolen in the past to be returned to us and they will be ploughed back into development with all due transparency.

[READ ALSO: Full text of President Muhammadu Buhari’s 58th Independence day broadcast)

“This is a joint initiative. Where our policies have worked best, it has been because of the support of ordinary Nigerians in their millions, numbers that even the most powerful of special interests cannot defy. I thank you for your support. Transition by its very nature carries with it change and some uncertainty along the way. I encourage you to be tolerant, law-abiding and peace-loving. This is a new year and the beginning of a new decade – the Nigerian Decade of prosperity and promise for Nigeria and for Africa.

“To recapitulate, some of the projects Nigerians should expect to come upstream from 2020 include: 47 road projects scheduled for completion in 2020/21, including roads leading to ports;

“Major bridges including substantial work on the Second Niger Bridge; Completion of 13 housing estates under the National Housing Project Plan; Lagos, Kano, Maiduguri and Enugu international airports to be commissioned in 2020; Launching of an agricultural rural mechanisation scheme that will cover 700 local governments over a period of three years;

“Launching of the Livestock Development Project Grazing Model in Gombe State where 200,000 hectares of land has been identified;

“Training of 50,000 workers to complement the country’s 7,000 extension workers; Commissioning of the Lagos – Ibadan and Itakpe – Warri rail lines in the first quarter; Commencement of the Ibadan – Abuja and Kano – Kaduna rail lines also in the first quarter; Further liberalisation of the power sector to allow businesses to generate and sell power;

“Commencement of the construction of the Mambilla Power project by the first half of 2020; and Commencement of the construction of the AKK gas pipeline, OB3 gas pipeline and the expansion of the Escravos – Lagos pipeline in the first quarter of 2020.

“Thank you very much!

“President Muhammadu Buhari”

Abiola has spent about 14 years in journalism. His career has covered some top local print media like TELL Magazine, Broad Street Journal, The Point Newspaper. The Bloomberg MEI alumni has interviewed some of the most influential figures of the IMF, G-20 Summit, Pre-G20 Central Bank Governors and Finance Ministers, Critical Communication World Conference. The multiple award winner is variously trained in business and markets journalism at Lagos Business School, and Pan-Atlantic University. You may contact him via email - [email protected]

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Economy & Politics

FAAC disburses N696.2 billion in July 2020, as Lagos State parts with N1.46 billion  

The sum of N696.18 billion to the Federal, State, and Local governments in July 2020 from the FAAC account.

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States lose N35.51 billion to bail-out , FAAC disburses N650.8 billion as South-South states receive highest share

The Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC), disbursed the sum of N696.18 billion to the Federal, State, and Local governments in July 2020, from the revenue generated in the month of June 2020. This was stated in the latest FAAC report, released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). 

According to the report, the monthly disbursement increased by 27.2% compared to N547.3 billion shared in June, and 14.8% increase compared to N606.2 billion disbursed in May 2020. 

READ: Nigeria total public debt hits N31 trillion as debt service gulp over N1.2 trillion in H1 2020 

Checks by Nairametrics research, shows that a total of N4.58 trillion has been shared to the three tiers of government, between January and July 2020. Highest disbursement was recorded in April (N780.9 billion), followed by N716.3 billion in January 2020. 

Meanwhile, Lagos State – the economic hub of Nigeria, parted with N1.46 billion as external debt deductions in the month, indicating a total of N9.74 billion deductions between January and July 2020. 

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Explore the Nairametrics Research Website for Economic and Financial Data

Breakdown 

  • The amount disbursed in July comprised of N474.53 billion from the Statutory Account, N128.83 billion from Valued Added Tax (VAT), N42.83 billion from Exchange Gain Differences, and Distribution of N50 billion from Non-Oil Revenue for the Month. 
  • Federal Government received a total of N266.13 billion from the total disbursement. States received a total of N185.77 billion, and Local Governments received N138.97 billion. 
  • The sum of N28.50 billion was shared among the oil producing states as 13% derivation fund. 
  • Revenue generating agencies such as Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS)and Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) received N6.32 billion, N15.05 billion, and N2.68 billion respectively as cost of revenue collections. 

READ: Nigeria considers request for debt relief as debt stock climbs

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South-South scoops highest share 

The South-South region, also known as the Niger Delta region, received the highest share of the disbursement in the month of July. The region received a sum of N49.44 billion, representing 25.4% of the total net allocation for states. 

This is largely because the region contributes mostly to crude oil production in Nigeria, which is a significant source of revenue for the federation. Out of the six states in the region, only Cross River State is not an oil producing state. Hence, Rivers, Edo, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, and Delta States received a total of N24.28 billion as part of 13% oil derivation fund.  

North-West region received N36.83 billion (18.9%); followed by North-Central region, which received a net total of N30.69 billion (15.8%). Others include South-West (N29.55 billion), North-East (N26.32 billion), and South-East (N21.97 billion). 

READ: Fidelity Bank to raise N50 billion in bonds in Q4 to refinance existing debts

External debt deductions 

A total of N4.47 billion was deducted from the state’s allocation, as external debt deductions for the month of July. Lagos State parted with the highest amount of N1.46 billion, representing 32.6% of the total debt deductions in the month. A sum of N9.74 billion has been deducted as a result of external debt obligations between January and July 2020. 

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READ: Investors flee Nigerian Stocks as FDI and FPI dips

It is worth noting that, the State’s external debt has declined by 9.67%, from $1.39 billion recorded as at the end of December 2019 to $1.26 billion in June 2020. 

Others on the list of top 5 deductions are, Kaduna (N414.6 million), Oyo (N305.4 million), Rivers (N280.3 million), and Cross River (N222 million). On the flip side, Ogun State parted with the lowest, as N9.1 million was deducted, followed by Borno (N21.6 million), and Taraba (N24.5 million). 

READ: Nigeria’s manufacturing sector contracts for 5th consecutive month – CBN 

Upshot 

  • With dwindling federally collected revenue, caused by volatility in global crude oil price and economic downtrend caused by COVID-19 pandemic, it is evident that federal allocations will likely face drastic decline, which is a cue for the State governments to strategize on more creative ways of generating revenue internally.  
  • A quick check at the states’ IGR numbers, shows that 91.9% of the states in Nigeria with the exception of Abuja, Ogun, and Lagos States rely more on federal allocation, as against internally generated revenue. 
  • This implies that several states in Nigeria are technically bankrupt without debt financing, and Federal Government monthly allocation. 

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Economy & Politics

Buhari to finally send Petroleum Industry Bill to National Assembly next week

Sources in the Presidency have disclosed that the President may be presenting the bill to the National Assembly.

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Four dangerous circumstances forces FG to close Enugu Airport until further notice, aviation sector. FG’s conditional cash transfer progarmme gets more beneficiaries despite criticism

President Muhammadu Buhari is expected to present the long-awaited Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) to the Senate as early as next week.

According to Reuters, who were quoting 4 sources familiar with the development, the presentation of the bill to the National Assembly, follows its official approval by the president late last week. This is as the National Assembly has already formed teams of members that will work most closely on the individual portions of the bill.

Both chambers of the National Assembly must have to pass the bill after deliberating on it before it can then be passed on to the president for his final signature.

The PIB which is an oil reform bill has been in the works for about 20 years, is key to the repositioning of Nigeria’s Oil and Gas Industry under its post-COVID-19 agenda as the main laws governing oil and gas exploration have not been fully updated since the 1960s due to some contentious issues like taxes, payments to local communities, terms and revenue sharing within Nigeria.

The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), had disclosed that the delay and non-passage of the bill has made international investors to start losing confidence in the country’s oil and gas industry.

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While revealing last month that the PIB will be presented to the National Assembly in the next few weeks, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, also said that the executive arm will be requesting the lawmakers to specially reconvene to receive and start deliberations on the bill.

These oil reforms and regulatory certainty became more pressing this year as low oil prices and a shift towards renewable energy made competition for investment from oil majors tougher.

The draft copy of the bill which was prepared by the Petroleum Ministry is a product of series of consultation between the federal government, oil and gas companies and other industry stakeholders.

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Excerpts from the bill reported by Reuters include provisions that would streamline and reduce some oil and gas royalties, increase the amount of money companies pay to local communities and for environmental clean-ups alter the dispute resolution process between companies and the government.

It also included measures to push companies to develop gas discoveries and a framework for gas tariffs and delivery. Commercializing gas, particularly for use in local power generation, is a core government priority.

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Economy & Politics

FG needs to focus on business environment reforms – Sanusi

While speaking at the Kadinvest 5.0 Summit in Kaduna, the former CBN Governor gave salient suggestions to revamping the economy.

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FG needs to focus on Business environment reforms- Sanusi

Former CBN Governor, HH Muhammadu Sanusi II has said the Nigerian government needs to focus on reforms that enable a better business environment and also called for economic diversification through maximizing technology as means to generate revenue away from crude oil.

Muhammadu Sanusi II disclosed this at the Kadinvest 5.0 Summit in Kaduna on Tuesday morning. Sanusi said the Nigerian government’s role in the economy should be small, both in absolute and relative terms. Sanusi cited Nigeria’s GDP per capita and tax revenue per capita, at $2,400 and $75 respectively, while development spending is just $36 compared to Kenya at $280 tax revenue per capita, and development spending of $280, despite having 90% of Nigeria’s GDP per capita at $2,151.

“Government needs to multiply its tax revenue, the government needs to spend on business environment reforms,” he said.

(READ MORE: Can Agriculture replace Oil in Nigeria?)

Solutions for Nigeria:

He said that the diversification made colonial Nigeria an economic success, based on the trading sector and the diversity of Nigeria’s export base, including palm oil, groundnuts, cocoa, tin, hides and cotton, and others. He added that the diversity of export meant Nigeria was less vulnerable to terms of trade shocks driven by one export in particular.

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“Nigeria has suffered boom and burst periods due to oil valuations. It affects us in direct and personal ways. The government needs to understand the importance of wrong and adverse economic decisions on the human being,” he said.

READ: Emirates Airlines banned from operating in Nigeria

Sanusi cited inflation numbers, saying Nigeria ignored inflation numbers of 2%, instead of breaking down the CPI and seeing how it affects millions of people who spend on food from minimum wages and how a 2% inflation growth wipes out earnings.

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(READ MORE: Has the President erred in stopping CBN from funding food imports?)

He compared Nigeria’s growth in the past 40 years with countries similar to countries like Malaysia. He added that Malaysia’s export base has been diversified from commodities to manufactured goods in the past 30 years.

By 1979, Malaysia’s top 2 exports were Crude Rubber and Cork and Wood. By the year 2000, Malaysia’s top 2 exports were Electrical Machinery and Office machines/Automated Data Processing equipment. Malaysia’s GDP per capita grew in the same period from $41 to $4,045. Compared to Nigeria’s GDP per capita, which increased from $345- $2,655 from 1985-2015, but failed to diversify export base as Crude Oil was Nigeria’s top export for the period.

“We were growing, but we did not diversify and that explains the huge level of poverty. It also explains the vulnerability of the economy to shocks,” he said.

Sanusi added that the failure to diversify explains the relativity of Nigeria’s slow pace, compared to Nigeria’s growth for the same period.“We have not moved in all these years. This is the difference between us and Asia, they moved!”

(READ MORE: Sanusi gets another major appointment)

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On growth and structural change:

Sanusi made a case for a change of mindset with technology adaptation. He added that the wide usage of smartphones does not mean Nigeria has leapfrogged development, as we are not a producer of technology but primarily, a consumer.

He added that Nigeria is yet to leverage on the investments in the telecoms sector. “Infrastructure in Africa has become increasingly decoupled from tech training. Someone who uses a smartphone to produce a Nollywood movie is producing! We need to invest in human capital to boost technology innovation, the smartphone is a ticket to wealth… Every excuse Nigeria has to not grow, Indonesia and Malaysia had. We need to move away from a consuming attitude( with technology) to production,”

(READ MORE: Why Africans are fast using Bitcoin for payment transfers)

On Power generation for productivity:

“In a low-income environment, income elasticity is far more important than price elasticity. People would pay for electricity if they could use it to earn,” he said. “Look at electricity as an economic resource, look at how much you could make. There is a difference between not earning a thing and earning something.”

He cited how China focuses on two major metrics, which are; the number of employed and the number of those with access to electricity, citing the per capita contribution of electricity to production needed to move people away from poverty.

READ: Nami eyes N4 trillion from extractive sector to meet President Buhari’s unusual target

He encouraged skilled jobs that leverage technology, which would enable growth and also remove the pressure of Oil money on the states.

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“Youths need an environment that has been created to give them skills. We need to invest in broadband as an economic resource,” he said citing the importance of skill transfers in developing broadband infrastructure.

(READ MORE: Shell to focus on Nigeria, Gulf of Mexico and others as it seeks to cut 40% of costs)

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On patterns for structural changes:

Sanusi said East Asia has moved from agriculture to manufacturing and later services, majorly from the informal to the formal sector. However, in Nigeria, the bulk of a similar change has been in the informal sector.

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“Manufacturing GDP in Africa has fallen from 14% in 1990 to 10.1% today. Formal job creation has been modest. This is partly because of a mistaken view that Africa can simply leapfrog manufacturing to become a service-based economy. We have declining activity, while the rest of the world has increased activity”.

READ: Nigeria to lure foreign investors with attractive tax incentives 

He added that an enlightened industrial policy will translate to meaningful job creation. He concluded that Nigeria needs to link infrastructure development to economic growth. “You have to make sure your projects are linked, you don’t just build a road here, a rail line there, an airport there without knowing how there are going to translate into an economy.”

He also mentioned that Nigeria’s Public Debt has risen, and due to high inflation he cannot see how the CBN can keep expanding its balance sheet.  He urged the FG to spend more time creating the environment through reforms that will attract the investments while also fixing the balance sheet.

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