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Details of FEC meeting headed by Osinbajo emerges

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Details of FEC meeting headed by Osinbajo emerges

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The Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Monday approved the rate of 0.2 per cent as the new import levy of Cost, Insurance and Freight (CIF) on goods coming into Nigeria.

The Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, disclosed this while addressing State House correspondents after the FEC meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa.

She said, however, there were exemptions to the new levy.

“Council approval a rate of 0.2 per cent as the new import levy of CIF that will be charged on imports coming to Nigeria but with some exceptions.

“The exceptions include goods originating from outside the territory of member countries that are coming into the country for consumption.

“It also includes goods that are coming for aid and also it includes goods that are originating from non-member countries but are imported through specific financing agreement that ask for such kind of exemptions.

“It also exempts goods that have been ordered and are under importation process before the scheme is announced into effect,’’ she said.

According to her, the purpose of the new levy was to enable African Union (AU) members pay on a sustainable basis, their subscription to the AU.

Ahmed said that Nigeria knowing that what would accrue from the new levy would be more than what was required as subscription to the AU, that the balance would be put in a special account, NAN reports.

She said that the special account would be used to finance subscriptions in multilateral organisations such as the World Bank, African Development Bank (AfDB), the Islamic Development Bank, and institutions like that.

The minister said that if there was any excess left from that revenue pool, it would be used to finance the budget.

She said the second approval was for the setting up of the Steering Committee to be chaired by the vice president for the design and implementation of a National Single Window.

“The National Single Window is a web portal that will be able to integrate all the government agencies that are implementers in the port system or trading in the port system.

“The trading platform will enable better efficiency of port operations; also, we are projecting that it will significantly increase government revenue.

“The third approval is for the extension of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) intervention that will be used to continue to support the power sector particularly, the generation arm of the power sector.

“This is based on a commitment that we signed into as a country where we gave seven guarantees to the Generating Companies (GenCos) to bridge any gap that they may have after the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading (NBET) Plc has settled them,’’ she said.

On his part, the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Sen. Udo Udoma, said he briefed the FEC on the first quarter of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) performance numbers released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), a parastatal under his ministry.

He said that the GDP indicated continuing economic growth.

According to him, the economy recorded a real GDP growth of 2.01 per cent in the first quarter of 2019.

Udoma said that the growth reflected the strongest first quarter performance in GDP since 2015—a development which he said pleased the council.

“FEC is most encouraged that the economy continues to be driven by the non oil sector which affects most of our population.

“Also, Agriculture grew by 3.17 per cent and this represents the strongest growth in agriculture since the first quarter of 2017.

“FEC is also pleased to note that are improvements in other economic indicators such as the inflation rate which tend to be high during the election period but it has been stable.

“Our trade balance has also remained healthy during the period while our exchange rate to the dollar has also been stable notwithstanding the elections, there has been stability,’’ he said

The minister said that the council believed that the dividend arising from the peaceful elections and the re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari would lead to a further boost in economic growth.

He said that the country would expect faster growth rate as the incoming cabinet would continue to intensify work on the implementation of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.

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CATHOLIC WORLD

Killing of Christians: Buhari lied to Trump – CAN fumes

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Killing of Christians: Buhari lied to Trump - CAN fumes

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has reacted to President Muhammadu Buhari’s revelation of his conversation with United States President, Donald Trump, on the massacre of Christians in Nigeria, saying President Buhari was economical with the truth.

President Buhari had on Tuesday, revealed that at the heat of the bloody clashes between herdsmen and farmers in Nigeria, the United States President, Donald Trump, unequivocally accused him of killing Christians.

Buhari said these in his closing remarks at the two-day ministerial performance review retreat held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Tuesday.

At a point, the President digressed from his prepared speech and narrated his encounter with Trump on the bloody clashes.

He said he managed to explain to the American leader that the clashes were not about ethnicity or religion.

He said, “I believe I was about the only African among the less developed countries the President of United States invited.

“When I was in his office, only myself and himself, only God is my witness, he looked at me in the face, and asked, ‘Why are you killing Christians?’

“I wonder, if you were the person, how you will react. I hope what I was feeling inside did not betray my emotion, so I told him that the problem between the cattle rearers and farmers, I know is older than me not to talk of him. I think I am a couple of years older than him.

“With climate change and population growth and the culture of the cattle rearers, if you have 50 cows and they eat grass, any root, to your water point, then they will follow it. It doesn’t matter whose farm it is.

“The First Republic set of leadership was the most responsible leadership we ever had. I asked the Minister of Agriculture to get a gazette of the early 60s which delineated the cattle route where they used meager resources then to put earth dams, wind mills even sanitary department.

“So, any cattle rearers that allowed his cattle to go to somebody’s farm would be arrested, taken before the court. The farmer would be called to submit his bill and if he couldn’t pay, the cattle would be sold, but subsequent leaders, the VVIPs (very important persons) encroached on the cattle routes. They took over the cattle rearing areas.

“So, I tried and explained to him (Trump) that this has got nothing to do with ethnicity or religion. It is a cultural thing.”

However, CAN’s Vice President and Chairman of the association in Kaduna State, John Hayab, was not impressed with Buhari’s submission, saying “Buhari and his government will never stop from amusing us with their tales by moonlight because what is happening in Zamfara, Sokoto, Katsina, Birnin Gwari, Southern Kaduna, Taraba, Plateau and others cannot be described as a cultural thing.

He told Punch correspondent in an interview: “President Buhari’s weak story about his conversation with President Donald Trump further confirms why his government does not care about the killings in our country by calling them cultural things.

“Just this (Tuesday) evening, I received a report from the Kaduna Baptist Conference President about the number of their members that have been killed by bandits in Kaduna State from January 2020 to date to be 105 and our President will call it a cultural thing? All we can say is may God save our Nigeria.”

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NATIONAL NEWS

CAMA: Bishop blasts Christian lawmakers

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CAMA: Bishop blasts Christian lawmakers

The Catholic Bishop of Nsukka, Most Rev. Godfrey Onah, has blamed Christians in the National Assembly (NASS), for the passage of the 2020 Companies and Allied Matters Bill (CAMA), signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari recently.

Bishop Onah, said in a remark during the Sunday Mass that if Christians in NASS had opposed the bill, it would not have been passed into law.

President Muhammadu Buhari had on Aug. 7, signed the CAMA bill into law, giving provision for religious bodies and charity organizations to be regulated by the registrar of the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), and a supervising minister.

“The question many Christians have been asking is, where were Christian legislators during the debate of this bill and its passage in the National Assembly?

“Because, if they had opposed this bill on the floor of the house, it would not have been passed and sent to the president for assent.

“I blame Christian legislators for doing nothing and allowing the passage of the 2020 CAMA Act,” he said.

“When I say that Christians are too divided and too selfish, don’t forget that the second in command in this country is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, a professor of Law and a pastor.”

Onah, however, wondered what the Federal Government wanted to achieve in monitoring how the finances of churches in the country are managed when it contributed no dime to the church, NAN reports.

“Government should focus and monitor its ministries, agencies and other government institutions where it budgets billions of Naira annually and not church offerings.

“Had it been that the government gave allocations to churches and decided to monitor its usage, nobody will question the government,” he said.

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NATIONAL NEWS

Nigerians spit fire over fuel, electricity prices hike

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Increasing Fuel and Electricity Prices

Anger and condemnations, across the country, have continued to trail last week’s take off, of new increases in pump price of petroleum products and electricity tariffs, as directed by Federal Government.

Recall that the Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC) official, D.O. Abalaka announced on Wednesday September 3, on behalf of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) that the new price of petroleum is now N151.56k per litre instead of N149 – N150 per litre which it was previously.

The new electricity tariff which the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) tagged “Service Reflective Tariff” has also come into effect. It requires consumers to pay N53.87 – N66.422 per kwh of electricity.

Outraged consumers of fuel and electricity have therefore warned government to get ready for collision with the masses if it fails to rescind these new prices.

Those who have expressed outrage over the new prices regimes include, the Organized Labour, Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Nigerian main opposition political party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA) and the Major Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN).

Others are: Petroleum Products Retail Outlets Owners Association of Nigeria, the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) and the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce (NACCIMA).

The NLC said, “The frequent fuel price increase will no longer be accepted. We will not allow Nigerians fall victim of government ineptitude and negligence to make the country self-sufficient in terms of refining petroleum products at home.”

On its part, the PDP has described the price hike as “callous, cruel and punishing” and demanded an immediate reversal to avert a national crisis.

The All Industrial Global sees the incessant increase as a confirmation that deregulation means just price increase.

“This is unacceptable! Under a pandemic, we should put money in the pockets of citizens to revive collapsed livelihoods and preserve lives.” In its reaction, NECA said it has always urged Federal Government to adopt deregulation policy in the oil and gas downstream sector.

The MOMAN in its statement insists that monthly price variation of fuel was no longer sustainable. It urged PPRA to adopt quarterly price mechanism which would save the market the hassles of price volatility. The statements by IPMAN and NACCIMA also followed along the same line that the hike “…serves only to increase the severity and duration of the looming economic recession.”

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