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Economy

Conditional Cash Transfer: Beneficiaries Crie Non Payment For Over 7 Months In Taraba

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Beneficiaries of the five thousand nairas conditional cash transfer program of the Federal Government have decried over nonpayment of the stipends for over seven months in Taraba State, North-East Nigeria.

Some of the beneficiaries who spoke to our correspondent on the condition of anonymity in some LGAs of the state he visited, said the money they have received since the commencement of the program before it stopped coming has been helping them in paying their children’s school fee, buying foodstuff, boosting their businesses among other things.

They appealed to the Federal Government, and the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, Hajiya Sa’adiya Farouq to look into their plights and pay them the outstanding amounts to enable them to solve some of their problems.

An investigation by our correspondent revealed that the whole 16 Local Government Areas of the state have the same complaints.

Officer in charge of the program in Taraba State, Mr. Husseini Skepra who confirmed this to Newsmen in Jalingo, the state capital said the backlog of the money was supposed to have been paid since December last year.

He said, there are a total of 39,137 beneficiaries of the program in Taraba State collecting N399,000,000:00 monthly.

Husseini Skepra assured beneficiaries that their money is intact and will be paid to them any moment, attributed the delay of payment to the festive periods in December and January, and urged them to remain calm.

Skepta noted that the State offices of the program do not have direct access to the funds as the Central Bank of Nigeria has contracted the payment to service providers noting that it is only when the Service providers release funds that they are mandated to pay to beneficiaries.

The Programme Officer maintained that at the State level they have been advising beneficiaries to have something doing not to depend solely on the N5000:00 of the Federal Government cash transfer Programme.

He said they could engage in savings, contributions, or buying and selling to multiply their money.

On the demise of a beneficiary, the Programme Manager said a situation where a household has a caregiver the deceased will be automatically replaced by the caregiver but in a situation of a single household there will be no one to replace the deceased.

He said it is only the National Headquarters of the program that makes a replacement.

Husseini Skepra commended the Taraba State Government for playing its role effectively of providing office and qualified staff but lamented that funds provided for monitoring and other activities of the State offices of the program is very meager and appealed to Taraba State Government to assist in that direction to facilitate the success of the program in the State.

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Economy

Governor Bala To Establish 10 Million Tons Cement Factory In Bauchi

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· Encourages Investors
· Guarantees Continuous Collaboration

Bauchi State Governor, Senator Bala Mohammed Abdulkadir has reiterated his administration’s commitment to boosting the state’s economy through industrial development in line with his dedication to providing job opportunities to citizens with a focus on youth and women.

Mohammed stated this while receiving the management of the Resident Cement Company Ltd accompanied by the Honourable Commissioner of Natural Resources, Hon. Mohammed Maiwada Bello, at the Bauchi Government House, today.

Mohammed, expressing appreciation for the initiative, reassured them of his administration’s commitment to maximazing the available resources, pledging to exploit the natural resources Bauchi state possess for economic development of the state.

Earlier, Dr. Junaid Abbas, Group Chairman of Resident Cement Factory, applauded Mohammed’s foresight, dedication and unwavering commitment to the development of Bauchi State, expressing gratitude for the warm reception accorded to them.

Dr. Junaid added that the Resident Cement Factory is eager to commence the venture worth $500milion in Gwana district of Alkaleri, in collaboration with Sinoma Nigeria Company, a renowned Korean entity.

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Economy

FG Achieves Major Milestone In Debt Reduction, Pays Off 4.5 Trillion- Finance Minister, Edun

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By Sani Yarima 

As activities marking the celebration of the first anniversary of the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu-led Administration continues, the Federal Government has disclosed that it has taken bold steps towards reducing the N7.3 trillion Ways and Means it inherited with the payment of the sum of N4.8 trillion.  

In a statement signed by Mohammed Manga, Director of Information and Public Relations, said the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Mr. Wale Edun stated this in Abuja during the Ministerial Press Briefing on the achievements of his Ministry in the one-year administration of the President. 

He informed that in addition to having paid the N4.8 trillion, another N2.5 trillion will be paid in the second quarter of 2024.

On Debt Servicing Without Recourse to Ways and Means, the Minister informed further that due to improved fiscal discipline, “The Government has largely financed debt service obligations, including foreign debt service, without resort to Ways and Means Account.”

Such payments he added included outstanding commitments/shareholding to multilateral development banks
(MDBs) and international organizations, including over US$200 million to the Islamic Development Bank. 

Wale Edun stated that on the National Single Window, the Federal government launched the NSW, a technology platform for trade facilitation and import administration with the potential of an annual economic benefit of US$2.7 billion. 

He added that the Presidential Fiscal Policy and Tax Reforms Committee (PFPTRC) is in the process of tax Harmonization and streamlining of tax collection processes which he said has come up with strategies for broadening the tax net as well advanced in the single-digit tax system to reduce the number of taxes in the country.

Briefing on the Oil Revenue Increases, the Minister noted that Oil revenue of  N1.1 trillion was achieved in the first quarter of 2024, as against N460 billion in the same period of the preceding year (2023).

Edun maintained that the oil revenue flowed from an impressive increase in oil production, which recorded 1.7mbpd in the first quarter of this year, up from 1.3mbpd in June 2023. 

The Minister said that the Federal 
Government revenues from GOEs also substantially increased (Q1’2024 ₦835.7B vs ₦154.3B Q1’2023).  

The impressive revenue record of the period under consideration was made possible by the introduction of technology-driven strategy systems to automatically deduct revenue due to
FGN.  

Similarly, the FGN has earned more FX income under the new revenue model.
Specifically, the Nigeria Customs Service recorded unprecedented increases in the first quarter 87% Increase in 2023 revenue mobilization, as well as a 122% revenue increase in Q1 2024 compared to Q1 2023.

In addition, he said that the Federal Inland Revenue recorded a 107% achievement of the 2023 target and a 56% revenue improvement in Q1 2024 compared to Q1 2023. 

Under the Fiscal Policies & Financial Management Edun said the administration launched the Incentives Monitoring & Evaluation Platform (IMEP) to prevent the misuse of tax incentives by blocking and limiting access to those who do not qualify for the incentives.

*We also strengthened the implementation of fiscal policies around the Import Duty Tax Incentive to boost key economic sectors and deliver more sustainable socio-economic impacts.* 

He disclosed that the FGN, via the Debt Management Office (“DMO”), raised ₦4.8 trillion from domestic capital markets to repay outstanding obligations to the Central Bank of Nigeria as it works towards bringing the Ways and Means balance within legal limits and progressed to the final approval stages
of a $2.25 billion single-digit interest loan from the World Bank for a 40-year term with a 10-year moratorium at 1% interest rate.

On Domestic USD Bond Issuance, the Minister revealed that the President has issued an executive order for local issuance of foreign-denominated securities. 

In a move that will showcase the resilience of Nigerian capital markets, *the issuance of the first domestic foreign currency debt instrument is being processed by the capital market*
*firms. 

These bonds will be mainly marketed to both Nigerian and non-Nigerian investors with foreign exchange balances abroad* he said. 

FDIs, MoF, under the leadership of Mr. President, he said, has actively engaged with a broad range of international investors from the Middle East, Europe, and India to showcase the reformed economic policies of the FGN.

*It is anticipated that well-advanced discussions with investors from the Middle East will yield positive results in the near term* Edun affirmed.

He said that the Infrastructure/Housing Finance Fund (MOFI) is partnering with Government Agencies and the private sector to boost investment in infrastructure, and housing, and to provide 25-year low interest rate mortgages.

*It is anticipated that long-term funding from institutional investors will be mobilized via capital market funding*, he noted.

While briefing on Improved Credit Rating, the Minister stated that over the last 12 months, two international credit rating agencies have reviewed Nigeria’s credit rating from a ‘stable’ to a ‘positive’ outlook. 

Wale Edun, who was accompanied to the media briefing by the Permanent Secretary Federal Ministry of Finance Mrs Lydia Shehu Jafiya, and the Permanent Secretary of Special Duties, Federal Ministry of Finance, Mr. Okokon Ekanem Udo.

Heads of Agencies under his supervision as well as Directors of the Ministry explained to the media on the issue of Coordination of Fiscal and Monetary Policies, that through the issuance of government debt securities by the DMO at higher interest rates, MoF has supported monetary policy authorities in attracting the inflow of foreign exchange from FPIs; and in stabilizing the exchange rate of the Naira.

A new Monetary and Fiscal Coordination Committee was established.

He stated that on Financing of Major Infrastructure Projects, MoF has provided internal finances with critical initial funding to kick-start major infrastructure projects such as the Lagos-Calabar Coastal Road.

In his closing remarks, the Honourable Minister of Information and National Orientation Mohammed Idris stated that the detailed presentation by the Minister of Finance and Co-ordinating Minister of the Economy, Mr. Wale Edun on the state of the Economy in the year review has shown the commitment of the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu-led Administration in its avowed determination to ensure the general improvement in the lives of Nigerians and as such deserves commendation.

He assured that the Government will continue to formulate and implement policies, initiatives, programs, and projects that will impact positively the lives of the citizenry in line with its Renewed Hope Agenda.

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Economy

FCCPC Meets Bauchi Traders On Hike In Price Of Food Items

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The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) meets with market leaders, traders in Bauchi on a hike on the prices of food items.

Dr Adamu Abdullahi Ag. Executive Vice Chairman of the FCCPC, while briefing newsmen on Thursday in Bauchi, said we had engagement with market leaders of Mudalwal and railway market.

He noted that prices of food items in the market despite the frantic efforts made by the government to stabilise the prices of goods and services doesn’t yield any result.

The Vice Chairman, represented by Mr Dauda Waja, North East,Zonal Coordinator of the Commission said the team was on a fact-finding mission to understand why the prices of food items continue to rise in spite of Federal Government efforts to curb the menace.

He explained that the team of the FCCPC was in the market to interact with executive members of the Traders’ Association, traders and consumers.

“The Commission’s priority remains to unlock the markets and address key consumer protection and competition issues affecting the prices of commodities in the food sector.

“FCCPC’s surveillance efforts suggest participants in the food chain and distribution sector including wholesalers and retailers are allegedly engaged in conspiracy, price gouging, hoarding

“Other unfair tactics to restrict or distort competition in the market, restrict the supply of food, manipulate and inflate the price of food in an indiscriminate manner.
“These obnoxious, unscrupulous, exploitative practices are illegal under the FCCPA,” Abdullahi said

The Vice Chairman added following this exercise, the Commission would develop a concise report of its inquiry and make recommendations to the government in accordance with Section 17(b) of the FCCPA.

“As well initiate broad based policies and review economic activities in Nigeria to identify and address anti-competitive, anti-consumer protection and restrictive practices to make markets more competitive while also ensuring fair pricing for consumers,” he Said.

Also speaking during the engagement Malam Bala Maikaji Chairman, Mudalwal Market Association attributes hike in price of food items to millers of rice and feeds who always buy all the farm products produced in large quantities to boost their business leaving the poor in the mercy of God.

He also blamed the removal of the fuel subsidy as being responsible for the high cost of goods in the market.

The Chairman appealed to the government to encourage general farming by providing farm inputs to farmers and to provide a conducive atmosphere for farmers in the country.

Maikaji also called on the government to reduce the price of fuel to ensure that the cost of transportation is greatly reduced, which would in turn impact positively on the prices of food items.

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