President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday justified government borrowing to finance infrastructure, asserting that his government took loans in the interest of the country to solve the dire shortfall in infrastructure.
Speaking at a virtual meeting with members of the Presidential Economic Advisory Council (PEAC) at the State House, in Abuja, the president said the country must fix its roads to save lives from soaring road accidents.
A statement by Malam Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, in Abuja on Tuesday, quoted the president to have said: “We have so many challenges with infrastructure.
”We just have to take loans to do roads, rail and power, so that investors will find us attractive and come here to put their money.’’
Buhari, who had listened to a presentation by PEAC chaired by Prof. Ayo Salami,regretted that the failure to provide the infrastructure for effective transportation deprived the country of its well-deserved status as the West African hub for Air cargo transportation and trans-shipment of goods.
On the issue of the economy, the president noted the challenges posed by the “collapse of the oil market” and the decision of government to abide by the reduced oil production quota allocated by the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
“We have to accept that decision; otherwise they (Middle-East producers) can flood the market and make the product unviable.
”So, we have cooperated with what we get. With oil, we are in a difficult situation.
”The politics of oil is that the less you produce, the less you earn,” he said.
He also stressed the position of agriculture in the government’s scheme to reduce joblessness and poverty.
“For us to bounce back to productivity, especially in agriculture, the unemployed with many of them uneducated had to be persuaded to go into agriculture.
‘‘If we hadn’t gone back to the lands we would have been in trouble by now. That is why we virtually stopped the importation of food thereby saving jobs and foreign exchange.”
The President also broached the issue of COVID-19 pandemic and how it necessitated the recent government policies as they relate to energy (electricity) and fuel.
According to him, the federal government took such decisions because it places the country above politics.
“COVID has reduced us to the same level as developed countries.
‘‘We are lucky we went back to the land. We eat what we produce. We are doing our best to secure the country and provide infrastructure for investment to be viable in the country,” he said.
While commending the chairman and members of the council for their patriotism and service to the nation, Buhari pledged to continue to draw from their wisdom, knowledge and experiences as the nation deals with challenging economic times.
Earlier, Salami had in his presentation highlighted the Council’s recommendations on poverty reduction and stimulation of non-debt investment inflows, as promised at their last meeting.
The council recommended steps for the effective implementation of government’s plan to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty, as well as measures to curb poverty disparity in Nigeria.
The council promised to set out a full policy paper that would, in the first instance, stop more Nigerians from falling into poverty and thereafter, further plans on reducing the poverty headcount in the country.
The PEAC also outlined a number of measures aimed at aggressively increasing the country’s non-debt investment inflow, including measures to improve investor perception of the country and the proposed establishment of a five billion dollars to 10 billion dollars investment and growth fund to invest in.
The PEAC used the opportunity of the meeting to express support and solidarity with the administration on its recent policies.
It welcomed the implementation of reforms encapsulated in the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) 2020 recently signed into law, the reforms in the energy sector, bringing electricity and fuel prices in line with the market.
It also noted the decision of the Central Bank of Nigeria to merge the exchange rate of the naira versus other foreign currencies.
Edited By: Wale Ojetimi
NCDC records 189 new COVID-19 cases, total now 57,145
The NCDC made this known on its official twitter handle on Saturday.
“As at Sept. 19, 2020, 189 new confirmed cases and one death was recorded in Nigeria.
“Till date, 57,145 cases have been confirmed, 48,431 cases have been discharged and 1,095 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory,” it said.
The agency stated that the 189 new infections were reported from 15 states of the federation.
“Lagos (70), Plateau (37), FCT (24), Kaduna (19), Rivers (12), Oyo (5), Ogun (4), Ebonyi (3), Katsina (3), Ondo (3), Osun (3), Imo (2), Yobe (2), Ekiti (1), Nasarawa (1),” it said.
The agency said that cloth masks provide protection when properly worn and cared for.
“Wear mask covering your nose and mouth, handle mask with clean hands and wash cloth face masks after each use.
“MaskOnNaija with other preventive measures. Learn how to make your own face mask: covid19.ncdc.gov.ng/media/files/DI… ,” it advised.
“TakeResponsibility and adhere to all non pharmaceutical preventive measures of COVID-19 if you must travel,“ it said.
Edited By: Tayo Ikujini/Sadiya Hamza
NIDO-Ghana plans webinar to mark Nigeria’s 60th independence anniversary
The Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation (NIDO), Ghana chapter, said on Saturday that it would organise a webinar as part of events to celebrate Nigeria’s sixtieth independence anniversary.
Mr Elija Iposu, Public Relations Officer of NIDO-Ghana, disclosed this in a telephone interview with the News Agency of Nigeria .
Iposu said the event would be organised by NIDO-Ghana in collaboration with a Ghana-based private firm, Diplomats Extra and Milestone Communications.
According to him, the webinar, which will hold on Oct. 2, is a virtual ceremony with Zoom ID: 742450910 and the title: ’60 years of Ghana-Nigeria diplomacy’.
Prof. Bola Akinterinwa, former Director-General Institute of International Affairs, and Amb. Bulus Lolo, former Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Nigeria are among high-ranking personalities expected to participate in the event.
Some other expected guests are Mr Oluwaseyi Adeyemi, Publisher, Inside Watch Africa Magazine, Mr Emmanuel Bombande, UN Senior Mediation Advisor, Prof. Baflour Agyeman-Duah, former UN Special Governance Advisor and Affail Monney, President Ghana Journalists Association.
NAN reports that President Muhammadu Buhari on Sept. 16, unveiled the logo and theme for the 60th independence anniversary celebration.
He said that the celebration would be observed for a whole year, to end on Sept. 30, 2021 and would be muted due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim
Ekiti Deputy Gov eulogises late theatre icon, Jimoh Aliu
The Ekiti State Deputy Governor, Chief Bisi Egbeyemi, has paid tributes to the late theatre icon, Chief Jimoh Aliu.
He eulogised the late prominent artiste for using his talent in promoting arts and culture locally, nationally and internationally.
Egbeyemi, in a statement signed by his Special Assistant on media, Mr Odunayo Ogunmola, on Saturday, described the late Aliu as a worthy Ekiti Ambassador, who placed the name of the state on the global map of theatre, arts, culture and entertainment.
He described the death of the former National President of the Association of Nigeria Theatre Arts Practitioners (ANTP), as a great and monumental loss not only to Ekiti, his state of origin but also to entire Nigeria.
According to him, the late dramatist and producer exhibited the famed Ekiti virtues of honesty, integrity, hard work and good name, which the youths of nowadays must emulate.
Egbeyemi noted that the Aliu mentored many young artistes and promoted local content in the nation’s entertainment industry.
The Deputy Governor said the plays and films produced by the deceased taught moral lessons, bravery, valour, strong will, determination and self-belief in pursuit of dreams and vision.
He said that Aliu rose to stardom by hard work and perseverance, and never forgot his roots as he lived among his people throughout his lifetime.
Egbeyemi regretted that the late Aliu died at a time his wise counsel was still needed, noting that the deceased contributed his quota to the development of Ekiti State.
The Deputy Governor, while commiserating with the family and associates of the deceased, urged them to be consoled by the good life he lived and the legacies he left behind.
“Surely, the vacuum left behind by this great legend of the stage and movies will be difficult to fill owing to his sterling contributions over the years.
“This is a monumental loss not only to Ekiti, but to our entire country. Our prayers and thoughts are with the family of the deceased.”
He prayed God to grant the family the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.
Edited By: Remi Koleoso/Felix Ajide
El-Rufai to participate in maiden Kaduna Marathon on Nov. 21
Gov. Nasiru El-Rufai of Kaduna State on Saturday, says the state is making arrangements to host a half-marathon on Nov. 21, 2020, tagged ‘Kaduna Runs’.
According to him, the maiden marathon will hold annually, and is meant to discover talents and attract investors to the state.
“Our hope is that it will also help reinforce Kaduna’s hard-earned reputation as an investment hub. As a fixture on the sporting and social calendars, Kaduna Runs will also attract interested persons to visit our state.”
It is a compelling idea to bring our people together in a common endeavour, he added while unveiling the event to newsmen in Kaduna.
“Let us run together. From those seeking the glory of winning a sporting contest, to young persons out to hone their talent in the half-marathon, to citizens who merely want to exercise or meet people or cheer up the runners, there is something for everyone,” he said.
The governor added that the event can also be used to raise funds for charities or to support good causes.
He therefore called on all residents – old or young, male or female, rich and poor – to support Kaduna Runs, a 13 miles half-marathon.
El-Rufai assured that all COVID-19 protocols will be observed during the event.
NAN reports that the governor obtained form to participate in the Marathon.
Edited By: Maharazu Ahmed