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Experts Score PMB High On Economy



Economic experts yesterday gave the President Muhammadu Buhari administration high performance rating on the management of the country’s economy.

The experts who gave an in-depth assessment of the achievements of the Buhari-led federal government within the last two and half years in office noted that about N108 billion has been saved from removal of maintenance fees payable to banks before TSA.

Speaking in Abuja at the week-long leadership training programme organised by the National Committee of Buhari Support Groups (NCBSG) for its coordinators nationwide, the experts said the All Progressives Congress (APC) federal government has continued to save up to N24.7 billion monthly through the Treasury Single Account (TSA) policy.

Those who spoke at the seminar include a Professor of Economics from the Nassarawa State University, Uche Uwaleke; Dr. Ben Obi of the department of Economics, University of Abuja; Chief Executive Officer of Comnavig, Femi Adeagbo and other participants.

Specifically, Prof. Uwaleke said the sudden and unexpected drop in crude oil price from a peak of $114.6-0/pbl in June 2014 to under $30 pbl by February 2016 created financial crises for the government.

He noted that the effective implementation of the Treasury Single Account has entrenched transparency and accountability in the Nigerian system.

He said, “N108 billion has been saved from removal of maintenance fees payable to banks before TSA. The nation is being saved N24.7 billion monthly with the full implementation of the TSA and implementation of the Bank Verification Number (BVN), thus tackling corruption by plugging loopholes for siphoning of public fund and tracking of illicit funds through multiple accounts”.

Uwalake also said it is a milestone in the nation’s history that the Buhari administration expended over N1.2 trillion on capital/infrastructure projects nationwide last year was.

On Social investment, Uwaleke said the N-Power Volunteer Scheme has created jobs for over 200,000 unemployed graduates in all the 36 states and the FCT.

He noted: “Ongoing Government Enterprise and Empowerment (GEEP) Scheme commenced in November 2016 in collaboration with the Bank of industry where soft loans ranging from N10, 000 to N100, 000 have been given to over 189,000.

“There is the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) scheme, under which about 25,000 less privileged Nigerians so far are now being funded with the monthly N5,000 stipend in 9 pilot states (Bauchi, Borno, Cross Rivers, Ekiti, Kwara, Kogi, Niger, Osun and Oyo). More beneficiaries are expected to be added in more states.

“Nigeria successfully issued two Eurobonds (US$4.5bn), a Sukuk Bond (100 billion Naira), a Diaspora Bond (US $300m), and the first Sovereign Climate Bond in Africa, raising billions of dollars for infrastructure spending. This is testimony to investors confidence‘

“The federal government launched a Tax Amnesty scheme (VAIDS) designed to increase tax awareness and compliance, and reduce incidence of tax evasion. The Voluntary Income and Asset Declaration Scheme is expected to ramp up non-oil before it closes in March 2018”.

One of discussants, Dr. Ben Obi of the department of Economics University of Abuja, also gave his assessment of Buhari led government said the APC government has been able to deliver successfully some of the promises made in 2015.

Earlier, the chairman, Board of Trustees of the NCBSG, Senator Abu Ibrahim said the aim of the training was to help build effective leadership capacity among members of the support group ahead of the next general election.

Ibrahim who was represented by Zakari Aliyu added that receiving such training will help in spreading the message of the successes recorded by the Buhari administration.

All Recovered Assets Will Be Sold-off – PMB

Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday in Daura, his hometown, said all mismanaged and misappropriated national assets recovered will be sold off and proceeds paid to the treasury for the benefit of the country.

Buhari who gave the assurance when he received representatives of social groups in Daura Emirate said his administration will continue to pursue a robust, effective and legitimate anti-corruption campaign that safeguards the treasury and commonwealth of all Nigerians.

The President said he would not allow a repeat of what happened in the 1980s when buildings and other ill-gotten property seized by his military administration were returned to corrupt officials following his ouster as Head of State.

The President told the groups that the APC-led government will consolidate on the gains and monumental achievements in the development of infrastructure across the country.

“For most ordinary Nigerians, if you give them good roads, railway and stable electric power they will be happy to carry on with their lives. We are doing so much for our country and we will continue to do more out of the fear of God,” Buhari said.

On agriculture development, the president promised that the federal government will sustain the provision of funds, improved seedlings and fertilizer to farmers to ensure that the sector remains the largest employer of labour to Nigerians.

On the key priorities of the administration, the President maintained that the records of achievements on security, war against corruption and the revival of the economy have remained very impressive.

He expressed delight that more young people are venturing into agribusiness while security, especially in the northeast, had remarkably changed from what he met in 2015.

Alhaji Mohammed Saleh, the spokesman of the delegations, commended President Buhari for implementing policies and programmes that have created gainful employment to thousands of young Nigerians under the Social Investment Programme.

Saleh said improved electricity supply in their communities and growing foreign reserves are clear indications of good management of the economy under the present administration.

The delegations also congratulated the President on his appointment as the continental Champion against corruption by the African Union, noting that it underscored the global appreciation of the good work he is doing in fighting corruption.

They also commiserated with the President on the recent loss of his close family members.

The groups represented at the meeting were the Daura Emirate Coalition of Associations, the Amalgamation of Daura Emirate Political Associations, the Buhari Group, the Daura Emirate Development Forum, Women in Politics in Daura Emirate and the Daura Emirate Consultative Forum.