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2023: You photo copied our blueprint, FG slams Atiku

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The Federal Government has tackled presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Atiku Abubakar over the economic blueprint he unfolded at an event in Lagos last week.

It dismissed the economic blueprint as “a crude attempt at copying all that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has implemented.”

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It said this is especially in the areas of job creation, infrastructure financing, relationship with the private sector, rejuvenation of the power sector, poverty reduction, debt management and the overall management of the economy.

Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed, who spoke at a media briefing in Abuja, said it is more shocking that an opposition that has condemned all Buhari administration has done would turn around to weave its so-called Economic Blueprint around the same things being done by the same administration.

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On infrastructure, Mohammed quoted the former Vice President as saying ”rebuilding infrastructure and reducing infrastructure deficit will enhance the carrying capacity of the economy and unleash growth and wealth creation.”

The Minister noted that no one understands this better than Buhari’s administration.

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He added that “even our worst critics will agree that our record on infrastructure development is next to none in the history of this country.”

To buttress his point, Mohammed said: “Across the country, we have constructed 8,352.94 kilometres of roads, rehabilitated 7,936.05 kilometres of roads, constructed 299 bridges, maintained 312 bridges and created 302,039 jobs in the process.

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“We have also delivered houses in 34 states of the Federation under the first phase of the National Housing Project. We were able to achieve these through a combination of budget increase and innovative infrastructure financing methods. Whereas we met a budget of N18.132 billion for the roads component of the Federal Ministry of Works when we assumed office in 2015, the budget for the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing increased exponentially to N260.082 billion in 2016; N274.252 billion in 2017, N356.773 billion in 2018, N223.255 billion in 2019, N227.963 billion in 2020 and N241.864 billion in 2021. Therefore, for anyone using this as a campaign stunt, without acknowledging what we have done so far, is cheap and disingenuous,” he added.

The minister said that Atiku also promised to ‘break the jinx’ in infrastructure financing.

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He asked rhetorically “Really? We state, unequivocally, that the worst jinx in infrastructure financing was the PDP administration from 1999 to 2015.”

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Bayelsa Monarch, Ijaw Leader Kick against Alleged Plan to Scrap Amnesty Programme

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By Kayode Sanni Arewa

The Federal Government has concluded plans to terminate the Presidential Amnesty Programme in May 2023, NaijaBlitzNews.com has learnt.

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Our correspondents gathered that the office of the National Security Adviser had directed the Interim Administrator of the Amnesty Programme, Major General Barry Ndiomu (retd.), to commence the process of winding down the programme.

Ndiomu, who was appointed about two weeks ago, replaced the former PAP head, Milland Dikio, although no reason was given for his unceremonious removal which was announced in a statement by a presidential media aide, Femi Adesina.

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The Presidential Amnesty Programme was established by President Musa Yar’Adua’s administration in 2009 as part of the government’s measures to reduce militancy in the oil-rich Niger Delta region.

It was reported that 30,000 former militants had been enrolled into the programme with over 65 per cent of participants said to have been successfully reintegrated

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Despite reportedly gulping over N5 billion monthly, international development consulting firm, Nextier Security, Peace and Development said the PAP had failed to address the various challenges that necessitated its establishment.

The firm, in a report released in 2020, explained that the programme was taking a heavy toll on the revenue of the Federal Government, while rewarding militancy and aggressiveness in the oil-rich Niger Delta.

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However, multiple sources said Ndiomu had been directed to shut down the programme within eight months.

He was said to have disclosed this to the PAP members of staff during a meeting last week.

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A source said, “The interim administrator informed the (member of) staff during a meeting that the ONSA has directed him to wind down the amnesty programme within eight months. In essence, Ndiomu was appointed as the undertaker of the amnesty programme. The workers were shocked and sad to hear the news.

“But there is no justification for the decision because a similar programme to rehabilitate displaced persons in the North has not been shut down. So, why should they shut down the amnesty programme which is empowering many Niger Deltans? This is unacceptable and may spark another round of unrest in the region.’’

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Another source observed that the scrapping of the amnesty programme was not acceptable to the Niger Delta region, saying the fact that the government awarded a N4.5 billion pipeline protection contract to a former militant leader, Government Ekpemopolo aka Tompolo, was not a tenable reason to end the programme.

But reacting to the development, the President of the Ijaw National Congress, Prof Benjamin Okaba, argued that the government should ‘’re-strategise the programme’’ rather than end it.

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The Ijaw leader admitted that the rehabilitation phase of the amnesty programme had not been fully achieved while the training aspect had successfully produced many beneficiaries.

Okaba, however, said whatever failure had been identified should be blamed on those who were in charge of its operations, insisting that the programme itself did not fail.

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According to the INC leader, the disarmament of the militants was one part of the programme that had run smoothly, adding that the rehabilitation phase posed the greatest problems.

Okaba stated, “What I’m saying is that the amnesty programme itself did not fail, it is the operators of the programme that failed. The intentions of (former) President Yar’Adua in putting together the programme was to address the fundamental developmental question in the Niger Delta.”

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‘’So, if they want to scrap it, what is the alternative to the amnesty programme? Now that there is no alternative to the amnesty programme, I think the best option is to re-strategise.”

When contacted for a reaction on Saturday, the PAP spokesperson, Ms Donu Kogbara, promised to respond on Tuesday but when asked to provide an immediate response, she said, “If you are keen to wrap this up quickly, let me see whether I can talk to the interim administrator later tonight or tomorrow,” in a text message.

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The Head, Strategic Communications, ONSA, Zakari Usman, did not respond to calls and a text message sent to his phone on Saturday

END

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World Bank commits $8bn to Nigeria in 12 months

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The World Bank has committed a total of $7.93 billion in the 2022 fiscal year, which was from July 2021 to June 2022.
Data obtained from the bank’s website showed that this was an increase of 74.67 per cent from the $4.54bn recorded in the 2021 fiscal year, which began in July 2020 and ended in June 2021.

According to the World Bank, commitments covered the total amount of loans for which contracts were signed in the year specified.

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The data obtained ran from 2018 to 2022, covering both loans from the World Bank’s International Development Association and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

Between 2018 and 2022, a total of $38.2bn was committed to Nigeria by the World Bank.

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Within this period, the highest commitment of $10.45bn was in 2018.

Recall that rising debt pushed Nigeria up the World Bank’s top 10 International Development Association borrowers’ list.

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The World Bank Fiscal Year 2021 audited financial statements, particularly the IDA financial statement, showed that Nigeria was rated fifth on the list with $11.7bn IDA debt stock as of June 30, 2021.

However, the World Bank Fiscal Year 2022 audited financial statements for IDA showed that Nigeria had moved to the fourth position on the list, with $13bn IDA debt stock as of June 30, 2022.

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The top five countries on the list slightly reduced their IDA debt stock except Nigeria.

In a statement issued on Thursday by the World Bank, the global lender said it had approved the Nigeria State Action on Business Enabling Reforms Program-for-Results.

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The $750 million IDA credit is expected to help Nigeria accelerate the implementation of critical actions that will improve the business enabling environment in states.

The World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, Shubham Chaudhuri, was quoted in the statement as saying, “Following the significant progress made by states on fiscal reforms through the State Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability program, the SABER programme endeavours to offer similar support to the states to undertake critical business-enabling policy and institutional actions that will incentivize private sector development.

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“Private sector investments remain the major vehicle to create more jobs, increase revenues to the states and improve social and economic outcomes for citizens.”

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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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