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Buhari Brags: Nigeria’s Foreign Reserve Hits $47.5bn In 3 Years Under Me |RN

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President Muhammadu Buhari

…Says TSA saved N200bn, economy growing

Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja

President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday boasted his economic policies have moved Nigeria forward, with foreign reserves rising from $30 billion in 2015 to $47.5 billion in the first three years of his administration. He stated that the nation’s economy has remained in a growth trajectory despite experiencing the worst recession in a quarter of a century.

The President also noted that the Treasury Single Account (TSA) policy has brought about greater accountability having saved the country over N200 billion, an amount that would have been frittered away paying ghost workers.
This was even as he has warned that he would not tolerate mediocrity from any public or private citizen, promising he would go out of his way to reward excellence.

Buhari said this at the 17th National Productivity Order of Merit (NPOM) Awards held in Abuja, where he presented awards to the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Winifred Oyo-Ita, and other distinguished Nigerians drawn from the corporate and public sectors.
Speaking on the theme, “Productivity for Economic Recovery and Sustainable Growth”, Buhari said no nation can attain prosperity without vibrant and productive citizens.

For the umpteenth time, the president condemned the effect of corruption on the nation’s economy, warning that his government would not compromise on policies that would ultimately help to sustain the productive capacity of the country.

According to the President, Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by 1.95 percent at the end of the first quarter of 2018, a feat he said his predecessors could hardly boast of even with a buoyant economy and huge capital inflow from oil resources.

He said: “The goal of this administration is to move Nigeria forward to become a strong, strategic and proactive state through a deliberate, pragmatic and productivity conscious programme of action. We want to build Nigeria into a competitive, virile, strong and productive economy; a state whose citizens are creative, innovative, responsive, accountable, incorruptible, patriotic and diligent.”
While underscoring the importance of the public service, he noted that “it is the vehicle through which government policies are transmitted,” adding, “it is my intention to hold the public servants collectively and individually responsible for the planning and implementation of the programmes of this administration.

“From now on, it will no longer be business as usual. Excellence will be rewarded and mediocrity will not be tolerated. In this regard, I am directing all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to drive the Change Agenda in the public sector,” he added.

He said the National Productivity Centre should be encouraged to carry out its mandate so as to ensure a productive nation. According to him, corruption is an anathema to productivity growth of any economy.

He said, “we must leave no stone unturned in tackling the monster. Corruption is dangerous and cancerous to the nation; we are therefore resolute in our commitment to fight it in all facets of our national life.”

Buhari stated that his administration was committed to rewarding hard work and excellence, saying it was in line with this that his administration had placed a great premium on the National Productivity Order of Merit Award as an award of honour and dignity.
“We have therefore been consistent in the yearly conferment of the award on deserving Nigerians and organisations,” he said.
Buhari maintained that the government had approved the conferment of the National Productivity Order of Merit Award for 2018 on few individuals and organisations who had been adjudged to have performed exceedingly well in their various endeavours.
He congratulated the awardees for their remarkable feats and expressed the hope that the awards would propel and motivate them for greater achievements.

In his remarks, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, revealed that 327 Nigerians and 800 organisations had so far benefited from the award.

According to him, the National Productivity Order of Merit Award is not a “cash and carry” award as only deserving citizens and productive organisations with track records benefit from it.

Ngige also seized the occasion to take a swipe at former President Olusegun Obasanjo. He said the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) government can never be perturbed with letters of criticism coming from the former president.
The Chairperson, Board of Directors, First Bank of Nigeria, Mrs Ibukun Awosika, delivered the award lecture at the event, where 15 persons and five organisations received the NPOM award.
She identified gaps in Nigeria’s bilateral policies, which are militating against the nation’s growth, saying more often than not, Nigeria signs bilateral deals with foreign multinational firms but feign ignorance of the need to leverage on such deals to provide jobs for its teeming population.

Awosika also noted that the nation’s leadership ought to device means of harnessing the potential in the youth population, adding that ideas that boost productivity should be made to trickle down from the central government to the federating states.
Meanwhile, President Buhari in a surprise twist bestowed the prestigious National Productivity Order of Merit award on Head of the Civil Service of the Federation (HoCSF), Ms Winifred Oyo-Ita, whom he called “one of the most patriotic Nigerians.”
She was recognised for her productivity and commitment towards nation building, and for the growth and development of the country.

“I am totally taken unawares. To God alone be all the glory,” Oyo-Ita said on receiving the award.
Since her appointment as the HoCSF in January 2016, she has pushed to refocus the civil service, enthroning an Efficient, Productive, Incorruptible and Citizen-centred (EPIC) culture. (The Sun)

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Our Economic Diversification Programme Is Working – Buhari |RN

By Anule Emmanuel

 

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President Muhammadu Buhari

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has declared that his administration’s economic programme tailored towards boosting the agricultural sector was fast yielding positive results.

The President stated this yesterday while speaking at an event in Auyo, Jigawa State. The President, who is in Jigawa State for a two-day working visit, expressed delight that the Federal Government’s economic diversification and inclusive growth programmes were yielding positive results, particularly in key food-producing states. He explained that Nigeria’s agricultural revolution was real and on the course.

The President had participated at an event to mark the commencement of the rehabilitation and expansion of the 6,000-hectare Hadejia Valley irrigation project. Buhari assured Nigerians that his administration would sustain the positive momentum in the sector by implementing the right policies and providing the needed financial resources for people-oriented projects.

He also applauded the World Bank’s assistance to the project, which when completed, would increase water availability for all-season farming in the state and beyond. Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the President, Garba Shehu, in a statement, said that the Minister of Water Resources, Alhaji Suleiman Adamu, explained that works on the Phase One of the projects, which started in the early eighties during the administration of President Shehu Shagari and received some funding under the Petroleum Special Trust Fund had suffered frequent abandonment due to lack of funds. Adamu said with N9.6 billion allocated under the 495 million World Bank-assisted Transforming Irrigation Management in Nigeria (TRIMING) project in five different irrigation locations in Nigeria, the project would be completed by 2021.

‘‘By the time the project is finished in three years, there would be about 6,000 hectares of farmland and the Jigawa State Government also plans to key into the project that will benefit over 25,000 farmers,’’ the Minister said.

In Jigawa, the President commissioned the 42-kilometre Tasheguwa-Guri Road and the 32-kilometre Abunabo-Kadira-Guri road constructed by the state government to facilitate easier movement and evacuation of farm produce. Buhari also commissioned the 250,000 solar-powered water supply scheme. The project is one out of nine of such projects, which will add nine million litres to daily water supply in Dutse and environs. (New Telegraph)

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Bill Gates Faults Buhari’s Economic Plan |The Republican News

By Anule Emmanuel

Bill Gates addresses National Governors Association in Washington

…insists Nigeria worst place to give birth

 

Co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Mr Bill Gates, has faulted the focus of the Federal Government’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP). Speaking at the special session of the National Economic Council (NEC) meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the presidential villa, Abuja, Gates said there was an urgent need for the Federal Government to take a second look at the National Economic Plan in terms of its priorities for human capacity development.

The philanthropist said the ERGP, which must reflect the people’s needs, should also prioritize human capital development over the physical capital as it is designed currently. He told the Nigerian government that “to anchor the economy over the long term, investment in infrastructure and competitiveness must go hand in hand with investments in people. “People without roads, ports and factories can’t flourish. And roads, ports and factories without skilled workers to build and manage them can’t sustain an economy,” Gates added.

He said that if the current education and health trends continue and the government spends the same amount with same results, there will be per capita Gross Domestic Product (GDP) flat lines with economic growth just barely keeping up with population growth. Gates disclosed that his organisation’s total financial interventions in Nigeria have risen to $1.6 billion.

The funds are committed to addressing issues of improved primary healthcare systems, agriculture, financial inclusion and routine immunization, among others. Gates noted that the foundation was eager to support Nigeria further in assisting the country to become a global economic powerhouse that will provide the opportunity for all citizens. According to him, although Nigeria was approaching an upper middle-income status like Brazil, China and Mexico, there was the need for all its citizens to thrive in maximizing the huge potentials of the country.

He lamented that it was unfortunate that Nigeria is one of the most dangerous places in the world to give birth and has the fourth-worst maternal mortality rate ahead of Sierra Leone, Central Africa and Chad. Osinbajo, in his response, reiterated that high oil prices and economic growth of previous years did not translate into a better life for most Nigerians because grand corruption prevented investments in healthcare, education and infrastructure. “We have to put Nigeria’s money to work for Nigerians, doing the most with the least.

And we have stayed true to that vision, even as oil prices went into free fall, we ramped up investments in infrastructure, as well as our social spending,” he said. The vice-president said that the administration was prepared to take the challenges which Dangote Foundation, as well as Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, had outlined head-on. He noted that Nigeria has strong economic growth and development ambitions, encapsulated in her ERGP, launched in 2017 but all of those lofty ambitions can only be achieved through the determined application of human skill and effort.

“And for that effort to be meaningful and productive, it has to come from people who are healthy, educated, and who are, and feel empowered. “It is this realisation that has helped ensure that one of the primary planks of the ERGP is ‘Investing in our people’. And it is for this reason that we are expanding the reach and quality of our healthcare, through the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS); and working to guarantee basic education for all persons, whilst also upgrading and modernising the quality of secondary and post-secondary education.

“And because this is the 21st century, we know that is also important to ensure that our young people are being prepared for the economies of the future, not the past. This means that STEM education is critical and that technology must lie at the heart of our educational offerings,” Osinbajo said. In an interview with State House Correspondents, Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State insisted that it was not the question of adjusting the ERGP, but the budgeting system with priorities set our clearly to address human capital development issues.

He explained what Bill Gates and Dangote told NEC members was that government at all levels also need to do more. El-Rufai said that yesterday’s NEC meeting was the most import since the government of President Muhammadu Buhari came into power.

NEC, he said, has been focusing on the provision of electricity, roads and others without priority for human capital development. “There is something more important than physical infrastructure like roads, water, electricity which is investing in the people,” he added. According to El-Rufai, Nigeria’s investment in education is far below which is not appropriate.

Chairman of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, told the NEC that there was the need for the private sector companies in Nigeria to set aside one percent of their annual profit to support primary healthcare development and other critical projects that will grow the economy.

He said: “Since the rebasing of the economy, Nigeria is no longer seen as a highly poor country. “Nigeria is going to be 411 million people by 2050. Today, more than half of our population is very young and we try to educate them by ensuring that they are healthy,” he added.  (New Telegraph)

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Nigeria’s Economy To Grow By 2.5% In 2018 – World Bank |The Republican News

 

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The World Bank forecasts that economic growth in Nigeria would edge up to at least 2.5 per cent in 2018, as the country benefits from improved commodity prices, investments and trade.

According to the World Bank’s January 2018 Global Economic Prospect report launched on Tuesday in Washington DC, Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is expected to grow by 2.8 per cent in 2019 and 2020.

The World Bank forecast that global economic growth will go up to 3.1 per cent in the year 2018.

According to the Bank, growth in Sub-Saharan Africa is projected to continue to rise to 3.2 per cent in 2018 and to 3.5 per cent in 2019, on the back of firming commodity prices and gradually strengthening domestic demand.

However, the report showed that growth would remain below pre-crisis averages, partly reflecting a struggle in larger economies to boost private investment.

“South Africa is forecast to tick up to 1.1 per cent growth in 2018 from 0.8 per cent in 2017. The recovery is expected to solidify, as improving business sentiment supports a modest rise in investment.

“However, policy uncertainty was likely to remain and could slow needed structural reforms.

“Nigeria is anticipated to accelerate to a 2.5 per cent rate this year from one per cent growth in the year just ended. An upward revision to Nigeria’s forecast is based on expectation that oil production will continue to recover and that reforms will lift non-oil sector growth.

“Growth in Angola is expected to increase to 1.6 per cent in 2018, as a successful political transition improves the possibility of reforms that ameliorate the business environment,” it stated.

According to the report, Côte d’Ivoire is forecast to expand by 7.2 per cent in 2018, Senegal by 6.9 per cent; Ethiopia by 8.2 per cent, Tanzania by 6.8 per cent, and Kenya by 5.5 per cent as inflation eases.

The World Bank said that the regional outlook for Sub-Saharan Africa was subject to external and domestic risks. It showed that any unexpected activity in the United States and Euro Zone could have a negative impact on the region.

Also, an abrupt slowdown in China could generate adverse spillovers to the region through lower-than-expected commodity prices.

“On the domestic front, excessive external borrowing without forward-looking budget management could worsen debt dynamics and hurt growth in many countries.

“A steeper-than-anticipated tightening of global financing conditions could also lead to a reversal in capital flows to the region. Protracted political and policy uncertainty could further hurt confidence and deter investment in some countries.

“Rising government debt levels highlight the importance of fiscal adjustment to contain fiscal deficits and maintain financial stability.

“Structural policies including education, health, labour market, governance, and business climate reforms could help bolster potential growth,’’ it stated.

The World Bank called on policy makers around the world to focus on human investments to increase their countries’ productivity, and move closer to the goals of ending extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity.  (NAN)

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Nigeria’s Economy Recovering Fast, Says Presidency |The Republican News

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Olalekan Adetayo, Abuja

The Presidency has said the nation’s economy which is currently in recession is currently on course for recovery and growth.

This was contained in the 23rd newsletter published by the Presidency Office of Digital Engagement, a copy of which was posted on the official website of the Presidency, @AsoRock.

The Presidency said there were 11 reasons to prove that the nation’s economy was gradually coming out of recession.

It said, “After two consecutive quarters of negative growth, the non-oil economy showed, in Q3 2016, a modest return to positive territory, at 0.03 per cent.

“This was partly due to the continued good performance of agriculture and the solid minerals, two sectors prioritised by the Federal Government.

“Agriculture grew by 4.54 per cent in the quarter under consideration of which growth in crop production at nearly 5 per cent was at its highest since the first quarter of 2014. Growth in the solid mineral sector averaged about 7 per cent.”

According to the document, the Anchor Borrowers Programme of the Central Bank of Nigeria substantially raised local rice production in 2016.

It explained that yields improved from two tonnes per hectare to as much as seven tonnes per hectare in some states.

It added that the Fertilizer Intervention Project which involves a partnership with Morocco, for the supply of phosphate is on course to significantly raise local production, and bring the retail price of fertilizer down by about 30 per cent.

The government said the newly established Development Bank of Nigeria was taking off, with initial funding of $1.3bn provided by the World Bank, German Development Bank, the African Development Bank and Agence Française de Development to provide medium and long-term loans to MSMEs.

It also disclosed that a new social housing programme tagged ‘Family Homes Fund’ is starting this year with a N100bn provision in the 2017 budget while the rest of the funding will come from the private sector.

“…Strategic Engagements with OPEC and in the Niger Delta have played an important part in raising our expected oil revenues. Already, Nigeria’s external reserves have grown by more than $4bn in the last three months.”    (Punchng.com)

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