Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State, on Thursday, said if Nigeria must get out of the woods, it must begin now to take concrete steps towards empowering every group in the society and give ears to their views and aspirations, saying it is only in such situation that the country can truly end extreme poverty.
Governor Ambode, who said this while delivering a paper to commemorate the 75th Anniversary Business Lecture of the Island Club, said Nigeria must aggressively pursue strong social inclusion policies in order to build a virile nation where every member of the society, regardless of their status or creed is catered for.
Speaking on the topic ‘Nation Building: Communities, Inclusion and Prosperity’, the governor said presently there were various indices that present a worrying picture, stressing that the country must address it by taking actions that would change the narrative and engender prosperity.
“A sustainable path towards ending extreme poverty and promoting shared prosperity also involves creating an inclusive society, not only in terms of economic welfare but also in terms of the voice and empowerment of all groups.
“We must begin to realise that every strata of the society counts, we must listen and accommodate all views, whether they are poor, whether they are Igbos, Hausas, whether they are Muslims or Christians. An inclusive society must have the institutions, structures and processes that empower local communities, professional associations, artisans, CDAs so they can hold government accountable.
“It also requires the participation of all groups in society, including traditionally marginalised groups such as ethnic minorities and indigenous populations in decision making processes,” he said.
Highlighting the Lagos example of inclusion and prosperity, Governor Ambode said his administration in the last three years, despite the population and migration challenges vis-a-vis pressure on physical and social infrastructure, has continued to carry out massive upgrade of its infrastructure, which according to him would have improve the lives of all residents and ultimately the economy.
“We believe that every Lagosian must have the opportunity to grow, develop their own skills and contribute to their families and communities in a meaningful way.
“If they are healthy, well educated and trained to enter the workforce and are able to make a decent wage, they are better equipped to meet their basic needs and be successful. Their families will also do well and the whole society will benefit. The aggregate sum of family well-being is the meat for nation building,” he said.
The Governor said that his administration has concentrated on creating an environment for investments to thrive, saying that deliberate steps were also taken to encourage the private sector to take the front seat and grow the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the State.
He listed development of Tourism, Hospitality, Arts, Sports and Entertainment sectors, development of an integrated and modern inter-modal transportation system, Employment Trust Fund, CodeLagos and Ready-Set-Work as some of the strategies evolved over the last three years that has recorded huge impact in the State’s economy.
“Our Employment Trust Fund has disbursed N5.84 billion to 7, 880 Lagosians out of which 1,123 have fully repaid their loans. This is a revolving fund that targets inclusion and prosperity.
“Over 25,000 jobs were created through the loans and employability programmes and to ensure inclusion, 3,613 women recieved N2.29 billion while N1.44 billion was disbursed to individuals less than 35 years and at least N100 million in each local government of the State,” Governor Ambode said.
“In terms of inclusion and prosperity, our vision to make Lagos safer and more prosperous is driven by the need to foster and build an inclusive society, a Lagos that works for all of us. This has been our primary focus in the last three and half years.
“This vision of making Lagos Africa’s model mega city and global economic and financial hub is reflected in everything that we have been doing, bringing our communities together to ensure the future prosperity of Lagos State is non negotiable. I am convinced that we are on the right trajectory and that’s the way to go if Lagos is going to show a very good example to the rest of the country,” he said.
Recommending the way forward, Governor Ambode said to ensure inclusion and evolve prosperous communities; social policy needs to move beyond conventional social service approaches towards development’s goals of equitable opportunity and social justice.
Expressing optimism that the Nigeria economy was showing positive indices of recovery and encouraging outlook for the future, the Governor, however, said economists had posited that for Nigeria to attain its potential, the economy needs to move at a growth rate of six to seven per cent per year as the population growth was above three per cent.
“To meet our growth ambition, we need jobs and we need to increase productivity too. Nigeria has the advantage of a large population, but the majority are under-skilled. It is imperative to equip workers with the skills needed to keep pace with an economy in transition like Nigeria,” he said.
“We need to close that in economic and political gap between women and men in this country. Providing both girls and boys with education is going to be our first step. Quality education is the basis for job and income, a modern competitive economy needs the best heads and hands regardless of gender. This is just sound economics and simple common sense.
“Government needs to implement structural reforms to enhance efficiency, making valued long term investment in technology and science to support research and development. In addition, government also needs to support the economy to provide jobs for their fast growing job population,” Governor Ambode said.
Earlier, Chairman of Island Club in his welcome address thanked Governor Ambode for his support to the Club since he assumed office, saying that he had not only followed the footsteps of his predecessors as Patron of the Club, but had on some occasions, moved a notch further than they did.
Also speaking, a former chairman of the Club, Chief Olumuyiwa Falomo lauded the Governor for his developmental strides in the last three and half years, assuring him that history would be kind to him.
“Only God knows the future, just carry on regardless, the reward of being very conscientious with what you do will come sooner than later and my prayer for you is that God will guide you and the sky will be your limit,” Falomo said.
Highlight of the lecture was the launch of the anniversary brochure and the commissioning of the car park project initiated by the club.
The post Empowerment of all groups, key to ending extreme poverty – Ambode appeared first on The Sun Nigeria.
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.”
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.
Nigerians spit fire over fuel, electricity prices hike
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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