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FG spent N6.16tn in 16 months on debt servicing -Report

Convention, appointment, buhari
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By Francesca Iwambe

According to the 2023-2025 Medium Term Expenditure Framework & Fiscal Strategy Paper, debt service consumed N6.16 trillion in 16 months.

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The Federal Government spent N4.22 trillion on debt service in 2021, and another N1.94 trillion between January and April 2022.
Domestic debt service cost N2.05 trillion in 2021, while foreign debt service cost N946.29 billion.

There was also an N600 million sinking fund and N1.22 trillion in interest on ways and means, which refers to the government borrowing from the Central Bank of Nigeria.

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Domestic debt servicing cost N1.2tn in the first four months of 2022, while foreign debt servicing cost N334.24bn. There was also N405.93 billion in interest in methods and means.

The Federal Government further projected that debt servicing to cost N10.43tn by 2025, according to the 2023-2025 MTEF/FSP document.

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This is a 182.66 per cent increase from the N3.69tn budgeted for debt service in 2022.
Multilateral agencies and economists have constantly warned the Federal Government about the rising cost of debt servicing, which could trigger a crisis for the country.

However, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Dr Zainab Ahmed, and the Director General of the Debt Management Office, Patience Oniha, have insisted that the country does not have a debt problem but a revenue challenge.

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In a document by the DMO DG stated that high debt levels would often lead to high debt services and affect investments in infrastructure.

According to the DMO DG, “High debt levels lead to heavy debt service which reduces resources available for investment in infrastructure and key sectors of the economy.”

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In the document, she stressed the need for debt sustainability, which she defined as the ability to service all current and future obligations, while maintaining the capacity to finance policy objectives without resort to unduly large adjustments or exceptional financing such as arrears accumulation and debt restructuring, which could otherwise compromise the economy’s stability.

Speaking at the launch of the World Bank’s Nigeria Development Update titled, ‘The urgency for business unusual,’ held recently in Abuja, the finance minister had admitted that Nigeria was struggling to service its debt.

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She said, “Already, we are struggling with being able to service debt because even though revenue is increasing, the expenditure has been increasing at a much higher rate, so it is a very difficult situation.”

The International Monetary Fund had earlier warned that debt servicing might gulp 100 per cent of the Federal Government’s revenue by 2026 if the government failed to implement adequate measures to improve revenue generation.

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Independence Day: Mimiko Expresses Hope in Nigeria’s Greatness

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The immediate past governor of Ondo State, Dr Olusegun Mimiko said he is optimistic that Nigeria will reclaim its lost glory in the comity of nations and be great again, if all begin to do the right things.
In a press statement by John Paul Akinduro, his Special Assistant on Media and Digital Communications, the former governor urged Nigerians to be steadfast in their prayers and unshaken in their conviction as the country approaches National elections in 2023.
According to him, “As the 2023 elections draw nigh, it is time for all to walk the talk and work assiduously for equity, justice and fairness in all our dealings with one another as citizens.
“Let me restate that Nigeria’s challenges are temporary and will be surmounted if Nigerians are determined to rework its charter of association and pursue justice and fairness in choosing those who will steer the ship of the country.
“We must never forget as we race towards another election year that the country is structurally defective and that we must factor the need to, as a matter of urgency, restructure to make it easier for us to develop by creating healthy competition among the federating units.”
He tasked government at all levels to prioritize the security of every Nigerian, among many other things, where they live, work and play even as he prayed for better days for the country.

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Fire service recovers two corpses, car as heavy downpour wrecks havoc in Ilorin

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By Gloria Ikibah

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The Kwara Fire Service has said that it recovered two dead bodies after a vehicle plunged into a river at Akerebiata area in Ilorin.

Head of Media and Publicity of the service, Hassan Adekunle, in a statement on Saturday in Ilorin, said that the corpses and a Toyota Yaris car with registration number: APP544E, was recovered from a river opposite Olusola Saraki Abattoir in Ilorin.

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“Rumour had it that the incident occurred during the Friday night downpour when the casualties were struggling to drive through the bridge and suddenly got stuck by the flood which pushed them into the river.

“In truth, the rescued work was like a joint operation. Because all the people in the neighbourhood gave their full support to the firemen throughout the operation”, Adekunle said.

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He, therefore, advised the general public to always avoid driving whenever there is a heavy downpour.

He added that the identities of the victims were yet to be known at the time of filling this report.

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Naijablitznews.com reports that the heavy rain, which lasted for several hours on Friday, wrecked havoc in several parts of llorin metropolis.

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Governor Bello Urges President Buhari To Declare Kogi “State Of National Disaster”

Yahaya, bello, traditional, APC
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By Gloria Ikibah

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Following the ravaging effect of flood in Kogi state and its environs, Governor of Kogi state, Yahaya Bello, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to declare Kogi a ”State of National Disaster,”.

Governor Bello who made the appeal in his Independence Day address in Lokoja, said that a lasting solution must be proffered to the yearly menace.

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Bello said that such an emergency declaration would help to unlock the nation’s latent capabilities to respond more aggressively with more men, money and materials to the harrowing situation.

“The President may wish to recall that he made such a declaration in response to the 2018 flooding – and the floods this year are projected to be much worse than anything we saw in 2018.

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“Thus, while thanking His Excellency for what the Federal agencies are already doing, I implore him to give us the help our people so desperately need at this time,” Bello said.

He asserted that the natural disaster had affected the nine local government areas of the state which were along the Rivers Niger and Benue, namely, Lokoja, Kogi-Koto, Ajaokuta, Ofu, Igalamela-Odolu, Bassa, Idah, Ibaji and Omala.

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He also noted that Ibaji LGA was almost 100 per cent under water, while the rest ranged from 30 per cent up and other inland LGAs also had some degree of flooding from smaller rivers and tributaries.

While he acknowledged that the state had a serious and humanitarian tragedy to attend to, the governor assured every person, family and community who had been affected that they were not alone and that help was around the corner.

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He stated that even before the flood, his government had activated its early response systems to make sure that succour reached those affected in a timely manner.

He narrated that flooding in Kogi happened annually which unfortunately the people had gotten used to the ritual of devastation followed by inadequate palliatives, if any.

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“As a leader, it is clear to me that I must make an attempt to break this vicious cycle, if not for all, then for as many victims as I can and I am making proposals for permanent solutions,” Bello added.

He reeled out the numerous efforts which have yielded varying degrees of success, he revealed that the most common sense and humane option left now is to clear human habitations and businesses from the banks of the Rivers Niger and Benue where possible.

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He added that his government would embark on clearing the lowlands along the entire flood-plains in the flood endemic LGAs which would allow the rivers unimpeded flow during their annual flooding.

“In Lokoja, road shoulders along the banks of the River Niger from the entrance of the city in Natako will be widened to establish a sufficient buffer zone between the city and the river.

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“Ganaja junction to Ganaja Village road has also been recently re-awarded to a more efficient contractor and we will see to it that when work commences, efforts will be made to raise the road above the water levels mentioned,” he said.

The governor also noted that lowland communities affected by the planned clearance would be relocated to higher grounds and structures which fall into the designated work areas would have to make way.

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Bello, however, assured that the government would ensure proper resettlement and rehabilitation of those who would be affected.

He added that despite the huge burdens it would place of the already strained government’s resources would be money well-spent if it brought peace of mind to the people.

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He, however, noted that although such decision would have its own effects, but anything was preferable to the annual loss of lives and livelihood while assuring that his administration would continue to work for the wellbeing of the people and posterity in the state.

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