A former Governor of Abia, Dr Orji Kalu, on Wednesday said Nigeria was now being respected by the international community due to the integrity of President Muhammadu Buhari and his efforts to re-position the country.
Kalu, who made the assertion while speaking with newsmen in Lagos, described Buhari’s recent visit to the United States of America as a success.
He noted that Buhari was invited to the US by President Donald Trump only few weeks after the Nigerian leader met with the British Prime Minister, Theresa May.
Kalu said:”It is only showing the position and confidence the world powers are reposing on Buhari and that shows that the door is opened.
“Some other presidents needed state visits to the US but they didn’t get it. A matter of less than three years, Buhari is being given red carpet in the White House.
“So, we are very proud that our image is changing and everybody is respecting Nigeria. The world powers have confidence in what he is doing for us.”
The APC chieftain also noted that the Buhari-led government was working assiduously toward stabilising the economy and ensuring that Nigerians were feeling positive impact of its programmes and policies.
The ex-governor advised Nigerian youths to continue to put in the hard work needed to develop the country to the desire level.
On the spate of insecurity in the country, Kalu urged the state governors to live up to their responsibility of being the chief security officers of their respective domains.
According to him, it is wrong for people to blame Buhari or Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo for security challenges across different parts of the country.
He also debunked the claim that the governors were not in control of the security apparatus, adding that they were being economical with the truth.
Kalu said:” The recipe is for the governors to stand up. I have been a governor before. They should use the security votes they have to fight against insecurity.
“As a state governor, I summoned the Commissioner of Police, I summoned the Brigade Commander at any time of the day and they must come for us to discuss security issues.
“I get angry when people keep blaming Buhari for everything. Look at Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode, he is not calling anybody for anything. He is a good governor.
“Those governors who are complaining should do their job. They should put the security funds where they are supposed to be.”
BREAKING: Buhari Nominates Okonjo-Iweala For WTO Director-General Position
President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the nomination of Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, former coordinating minister for the economy, for the position of director-general of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), TheCable reports.
In a document seen by TheCable on Thursday, Buhari withdrew the candidacy of Yonov Frederick Agah, Nigeria’s permanent representative to WTO, for the same position.
The election is scheduled to hold in Geneva, Switzerland in 2021 for a four-year term that would run from 2021 to 2025.
Buhari Presides Over Virtual FEC Meeting
President Muhammadu Buhari is currently presiding over a virtual Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting at the State House, Abuja.
The meeting, which started at 09:02 GMT has the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), Secretary to Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, Chief of Staff to the President, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, as well as some Ministers in attendance.
Ministers present in the hall include those of Justice, Aviation, Finance, Information and Culture, Environment, Water Resources, Defence and Works.
All other Ministers are attending form their various offices in the nation’s capital city, Abuja.
The meeting is expected to consider issues surrounding how the nation can mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 and how to enhance the livelihood of Nigerians in the midst of the pandemic.
Senate Okays Buhari’s $5.513bn Loan Request
The Senate on Tuesday approved President Muhammadu Buhari’s $5.513 billion external loan request to finance the revised 2020 budget.
The approval followed the presentation and consideration of the report of the Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Debts, Senator Clifford Odia (Edo Central) by the upper chamber.
Buhari had, in his letter of request, said the $5.513 billion external loan is to enable the Federal Government fund the 2020 revised budget.
However, the components of the external loan, which is to enable the Federal Government execute its priority projects and for projects to support state governments in stimulating their economy, which has been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, was stood down by the Senate due to lack of requisite details.
A lender for the Federal Government’s priority projects as approved by the Senate is the African Development Bank (AfDB) – $125million to strengthen healthcare system and improve response to COVID-19 and $23 million for financing smallholder farmers to mitigate food security impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Others are $600million from the Islamic Development Bank to support response to challenges posed by COVID-19 and $500 million from the African Export-Import Bank to provide critical medical supplies to combat COVID-19.
Also, the Senate passed the 2020-2022 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper (MTEF/FSP) of the Federal Government.
President Muhammadu Buhari had last Thursday, in a letter, urged the upper chamber to consider and approve the 2020-2022 MTEF/FSP.
The Senate approved the recommendation of the Senator Solomon Adeola-led Senate Committee on Finance that the price of crude oil put at $25 per barrel by the Federal Government, be increased to $28 per barrel.
The upper chamber also approved that the proposed daily oil production benchmark of 1.9 million barrel per day be reduced to 1.8mbd.
The Senate also backed the proposed exchange rate, which was moved by the Federal Government from N306 to one dollar to N360 per dollar.
This development invariably shows that the Senate has thrown its weight behind the devaluation of the naira.
However, other critical parameters like the exchange rate of N360 to a US dollar, 14.43 inflation growth rate and 4.42 GDPgrowth rate were retained.
Other assumptions retained are N5.09 trillion Federal Governmnet’s revenue, N10.51 trillion, N4.95 trillion fiscal deficit and N4.17 trillion new borrowings (including foreign and domestic borrowing).
Others are N398.5 billion as statutory transfers, N2.68 trillion for debt service, N272.9 billion as sinking fund and N536.7 billion for Pension and gratuities.
The Senate also retained other components of the proposal in the MTEF/FSP includingN10.51 trillion as total expenditure, N4.93 trillion as total recurrent, N2.83 trillion for personnel cost and N2.23 trillion for capital expenditure.
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Finance, Senator Solomon Adeola in his report, said the increase in the oil price benchmark from the proposed $25 to $28 was as a result of the recent upward trend of the price of crude oil in the international market.
According to him, the price oil per barrel is now $38 with a very strong indication that the price will rise to $40 or $45 per barrel.
President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, in his remarks after the passage of the MTEF/FSP, urged the Senate Committee on Privatisation to laise with the Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE) in ensuring that the projected N260billion from proceeds of privatised agencies are realised and used to fund critical projects in the revised 2020 budget.
He faulted some special accounts being operated by the executive particularly the Natural Resources Development Accounts.
According to him, such accounts at this time of scarcity of funds, are not all necessary.
“Keeping monies in Natural Resources Development Accounts is more of waste than serving critical purposes,” he said.
He thereafter adjourned sitting to next week Tuesday for consideration and possible passage of the revised N10.509 trillion 2020 budget.
However, the intention of the Federal Government to borrow Euro 995million from the Export-Import Bank of Brazil to support Green Imperative and enhance the mechanisation of agriculture and agro-processing in the country, was put in abeyance by the upper chamber.
Also, the ongoing negotiation by the Federal Government with the World Bank for between $500million – $750 million for COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus Programme to support state-level efforts to protect livelihoods, ensure food security and stimulate economic activities, has not been approved.
Additionally, $500 – $750 million also being negotiated with the World Bank for State Fiscal Transparency and Sustainability Programme to provide fiscal support to the States was not approved.
The Committee said that it would consider the proposals when it gets requisite details on what the loans would be used for from the Minister of Finance, Budget National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed.
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