Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo says Nigeria is now focusing on non-oil exports.
He said the zero-oil plan promoted by the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), affirms the country as being on economic diversification path.
Osinbajo spoke on Thursday when he received NEPC delegation led by the outgoing Executive Director/CEO, Segun Awolowo.
The VP said the country is on the right path and hailed the attention to non-oil exports.
The Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) told policymakers to ensure that in the next few years, the zero-oil plan is achieved.
Osinbajo hailed Awolowo for his foresight and putting in place a plan that is well-structured and detailed.
“We are certainly getting away from the oil and gas era. We used to think that it will take a while, but today, the circumstances have changed.”
Osinbajo added that public investments from the European Union (EU) and multilateral oil and gas companies are fizzling out.
The VP noted that the Export Expansion Facility Programme (EEFP) is a natural progression for the zero-oil plan.
He advised stakeholders to brace up for the challenges ahead and ensure that the right things are done.
There won’t be fuel subsidy removal anytime soon – Nigerian govt
The Federal government on Monday said there won’t be any removal of fuel subsidy anytime soon as a result of perceived difficulties associated with it.
Minister of Finance, Hajia Zainab Ahmed stated this at an interactive meeting with the Senate President, Dr Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan and other principal officers of the Senate.
The Minister said, the Federal government was initially looking at the removal of fuel subsidy from July this year, after which they made provisions in the 2022 budget to cushion the effect but noted that the timing has become a huge challenge.
The Finance Minister’s disclosure was at the backdrop of concerns raised by the Senate President who pointed out that there should be caution in the event of subsidy removal so as not to deepen the economic hardships of Nigerians.
Lawan said he visited President Muhammadu Buhari over plans to remove fuel subsidy and so many factors were taken into consideration but with a view to ensuring that the citizens are not at the receiving end.
In her further reaction, the Minister of Finance said her ministry consulted widely and discovered that the federal government cannot go ahead with the removal plans until some steps are taken to protect the interest of Nigerians.
She said: “Let me start by stating that we did make a provision in 2022 budget and which means that there will be fuel subsidy from July.
“After consultations with various stakeholders, it became apparent that the timing became a big problem and Mr President didn’t want that. We are looking at various means either putting our four refineries in order and allowing Dangote Refinery to come on stream.
“It means that we shall submit supplementary budget from July going forward.”
The Senate President had earlier said the country was confronted with the fuel subsidy liabilities but cautioned that the timing of its removal was inappropriate.
He called for the cooperation of stakeholders in the Petroleum industry to cooperate with the government on any step that would be taken, should there be a need to remove fuel subsidy or not, insisting that there was no confusion in government circles.
He also appealed to the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC), to shelve their planned protest noting that any step taken by the FG with regards to fuel subsidy would be in the interest of the country.
Lawan said: “Admittedly the burden of subsidy is huge and massive and there is a need to do away with it. It needs the cooperation of all of us. Even though the economy is slowing.
“The issue of removal of subsidy should be done with utmost care and the timing should be such the impact would not deepen our woes and Mr. President needs the cooperation of all of us.
“The Minister of Finance is here because she is the one that will provide the money and we must find suitable time and means of getting the issue of removing fuel subsidy finally.
“If we are saying this is not the appropriate time, it should be agreed by all of us so that there won’t be confusion anywhere.
“I appeal to NLC, TUC to shelve the idea of mass protest. It is unnecessary because the removal of fuel subsidy is a necessity.”
In attendance at the meeting were President of the Senate, Dr Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan, Group Managing Director of the Nigeria National Petroleum Limited, Mr. Mele Kyari, Minister of Finance, Hajia Zainab Ahmed, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipreye Sylva and Chief Executive officers of Petroleum Downstream and Upstream sectors.
2023: APC scuttled Electoral Act Amendment Bill for fear of losing election – PDP
As reactions continue to trail President Muhammadu Buhari’s veto of the Electoral Act Amendment Bill, 2021, the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Tuesday said it is part of a plot to rig the 2023 general election.
The PDP said there were other provisions in the document that would naturally sanitize the electoral system and if the document was assented and became functional, the All Progressives Congress (APC) will find it difficult to rig, hence, the Buhari-led government has resorted to cock and bull story.
In a statement on Tuesday which was signed by the National Publicity Secretary, Hon. Nebo Ologunagba, PDP recalled how APC planted some lawmakers at the upper and lower legislative Chambers to scuttle the provision that deals with electronic means of transferring election results, but failed to stop it, adding that what they failed to achieve during the parliamentary debates, they have now achieved it at the executive by ensuring the bill wasn’t assented.
“It is instructive to recall that the APC has been in trepidation of the amendment to the Electoral Act, due mainly to the provision of electronic transmission of election results, which will completely eliminate APC’s manipulations and alteration of results at elections.
“It is apparent that the APC and the Buhari Presidency were never committed to the amendment of the Electoral Act to ensure credible elections and as such triggered the controversy of the mode of primaries by political parties as a camouflage to scuttle the entire Amendment Bill including provisions for electronic transmission of results among others,” the party stated.
The PDP insisted that the ruling party was hell bent on rigging the 2023 elections, hence, after the bill was passed into law at both Chambers of the parliament, APC continued to work behind the scene to demonize the document.
“It is imperative to remind Nigerians of how the APC, in collusion with their leaders in the National Assembly fought hard to stop the electronic transmission of results provision in the Bill, but were resisted by Nigerians supported by the courageous action of the PDP Caucus in the House of Representatives which staged a walk out only for the APC to orchestrate controversies and set the stage for the withholding of assent by Mr. President.
“The main reason for this manipulation of the legislative process by the APC, is to prevent the electronic transmission of results so that it can continue in its culture of rigging and electoral impunities including alteration of results at collation, ballot box snatching, destruction of data among others; just to cling to power against the will of Nigerians.
“Such is consistent with the APC’s well-known machination against every genuine effort to instill credible, transparent, free and fair elections in Nigeria in the last six years.
“The APC thrives in electoral scam, duplicity, underhand dealings, violence and political brigandage, all in their heinous script to put Nigerians under perpetual bondage.
“Having been rejected for its failures and having also self-decimated its structure across the country, the APC has completely lost the capacity and goodwill for electoral contest and as such seeks every means to subvert any process that can guarantee credible elections in 2023.
“The subversion of the passage of the Electoral Act Amendment Bill by the APC further validates the fact that the APC is averse to the aspiration of Nigerians and does not believe in democratic principles of credible elections.
“Our party, therefore, calls on all Nigerians, Civil Society Organizations, the International Community and all lovers of democracy across the world to rise up and put appropriate pressure on the APC-led National Assembly to immediately do the needful so as to safeguard our democracy by ensuring that the basic principles of transparent, credible, free and fair mode of conducting elections are guaranteed and sustained by law.
“The PDP cautions the APC to note that no matter their machination, Nigerians are determined to pursue the electronic transmission of election results to its logical conclusion and that there is no going back in their resolve to vote out the APC in 2023,” it stated.
Electoral Act amendment: Presidency explains Buhari’s decision to withhold assent
The Presidency has explained President Muhammadu Buhari’s decision to withhold assent from the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill 2021.
This is coming as the government continues to receive backlash from the media and the political circles.
In an official statement Tuesday night by Presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, he said Nigeria’s strength and status as one of the wealthiest economies in Africa must uphold democratic processes enshrined in the Electoral Act of 2010.
Shehu said the amendments have been presented as a means to enhance and build upon our democratic processes.
He noted that after careful review, the President’s Office has found that the opposite is true.
“The proposed amendments entail significant legal, financial, economic and security consequences for all Nigerians, principal among which would be a severe spike in the cost of holding primary elections by parties – integral to democracies the world over.
“And who would shoulder these costs? The Nigerian taxpayer of course. And who would benefit? Only the richest of political parties.
“At a time when the nation is seeking to extricate itself from the economic mire of the worst global health crisis in living memory, whatever other merits the new bill may have, now is not the time for such frivolous spending of public money.
“Inevitably, the usual voices are making themselves heard, with cynical claims of election rigging and so on. This is nothing new.
“We heard their self-serving cries of fraud in 2015, when we saw the first peaceful transfer of power in independent Nigeria’s history.
“Then again in 2019, when President Buhari was re-elected with a lead of over three million. We will hear them again in 2023.”
Shehu said until then, the President will do whatever he can to protect this country’s democracy, including “withholding assent from this Bill.”
He reminded critics that the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) is one of those that stand to benefit from a bill that favours wealthier parties.
The presidency stressed that it is not the job of the government to cater for the APC, but to protect Nigeria, her people and democracy.
Shehu told those who want public funds to be spent on politicking during a global crisis to “cease cynical games”.
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