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Economy

Again, Adamawa Govt Empowers 1,000 Youths With Digital Skills

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By Muhammad B Muhammad

Adamawa State Government has again graduated and disbursed start-up kits to 1,000 youths and women trained on digital skills by the office of Poverty Alleviation and Wealth Creation Agency (PAWECA).

The youths selected from across the 21 local government areas were trained on Information and Communication Technology Skills such as software, website and graphic designs as well as e-maketing among others.

Speaking at the event held on Thursday at Mahmud Ribadu Square, Yola State Governor Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri said the event marks realisation of the cardinal point of his administration’s 11 points agenda to exit youths out of poverty.

The Governor said Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is the fastest growing sector in the sustainable growth and development of the economy hence the government’s commitment to train its youths in that regard.

He congratulated the beneficiaries and urged them to go out and make a landmark in the society, reminding them that the skills they acquired are manifestation of building productive minds for the better.

The Speaker, State House of Assembly, Alhaji Aminu Iya Abbas represented by his deputy, Mr Pwamakaino Makwondo urged the beneficiaries to use the start-up kits given to them by government for the purpose intended.

The Executive Chairman, Michika Local Government Council, Mr Amos Dirambi saluted Governor Fintiri for prioritizing the welfare of youths and women and urged his colleagues to queue in for the overall development of the state.

In his remarks, the State Commissioner of Entrepreneurship Development, Honourable Iliya James said the graduation is the first phase, noting that in all, 3,000 youths are billed to benefit from the programme.

The Head of PAWECA, Hajiya Aishatu Bawa Bello commended Governor Fintiri for ensuring that the beneficiaries were trained at their respective local government areas and given stipend throughout the exercise.

Malam Abdulwahab Shehu who was one the training facilitators said the digital skills will assist the youths to among others venture into online entrepreneurship to boost the state economy.

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Economy

Sokoto-Badagary Road: Northern Group Urges Tinubu To Allow Umahi Complete Project

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By Abdullahi Alhassan

Ahead of the highly anticipated cabinet reshuffle, Concerned Northern Forum, a Coalition of over 73 civil society organisations from the northern Nigeria has urged President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to retain Engineer. Dave Umahi as Minister of Works to enable him complete the legacy projects he has begun.

Engr. Dave Umahi, a seasoned Engineer and two time Governor of Ebonyi State has won wide acclaim from Nigerians for his innovative approaches to road construction and sterling performance in the Ministry of Works with a myriad legacy projects springing up all over the country.

In a press statement signed by its spokesman, Comrade Abdulsalam Mohammed Kazeem, the Coalition appealed to northern elders, politicians, traditional rulers and other stakeholders to rally round the Minister of Works to enable him complete some strategic projects he has started in the region.

According to the release, “as the bonafide mouth piece of the northern youths with over 5 million registered members, we urge all well meaning citizens from the north to cooperate and rally round the Minister of Works, Engr. Dave Umahi to enable him complete the Badagry to Sokoto highway and the completion of the Kano-Kaduna- Abuja highway amongst others, bearing in mind their enormous economic potentials.

“Already, the Lagos-Calabar coastal highway is ongoing and will be completed in no distant time because of the synergy between the federal government and the southern elites.

This is our opportunity to attract positive development to the northern region which is already ravaged by insecurity. All hands must therefore be on deck to ensure the kickstart, continuation and possibly completion of all projects within our region before the end of the 1st term of the current administration in 2027″

The Coalition equally appealed to Mr. President to consider retaining Engr. Dave Umahi as the Minister of Works considering the massive projets he has initiated across the country, adding that, moving him to another Ministry will derail the renewed hope agenda of the current administration.

“Mr. President, your administration has recorded great milestones chiefly because of your keen ability to hunt for the best talents and credible men and women to drive your agenda for Nigerians. The performance scorecard of your appointees especially that of the Minister Works, Federal Capital Territory and Interior have solidified your reputation as a great leader.

“Having said that, we appeal to you for the sake of millions of your supporters and loyalists in northern Nigeria to kindly retain Engr. Dave Umahi as the Minister of Works to enable him deliver on the promises he made to the north and other regions where legacy projects are currently running. As a star performer in your administration, we have absolute trust his his ability and we are confident that he’ll deliver excellently”, the statement concluded.

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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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