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Nigeria’s business environment over-regulated, NESG laments

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Nigeria Economic Summit Group has lamented the slow economic growth rate, attributing this to over-regulated business space in the country.

NESG also said in its report of the 26th Nigeria Economic Summit that all tiers of government must work in harmony towards economic recovery.

NESG Chairman, Mr Asue Ighodalo, while submitting the report to the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, said attaining economic recovery could be achieved by expanding economic opportunities for all Nigerians through sound policies, strong institutions, and responsible public investments, especially pro-poor investments.

He urged governments at all levels to unlock more private sector participation by removing sectoral rigidity inhibiting the potential of businesses to drive economic growth.

Other areas listed by NESG for urgent action are its challenge to the civil society groups to mobilise Nigerians to take civic responsibility and holding leaders accountable.

“The summit discussions were dimensioned around five sub-themes: mapping the future; new trends, new opportunities, new horizons; embracing technology and innovation; building resilience; and charting the path to recovery,” NESG chairman said

He urged the government to implement policies that would lead to macroeconomic stability, economic growth that would outpace population growth, create jobs, stabilise inflation and reduce poverty.

He also advised the FG to unify forex rates into a single and market-driven window.

The NESG called for an improvement in coordination of fiscal, monetary and structural policies, aggressively attract foreign direct investment (FDI), deregulation of the oil and gas sector by passing the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB); tightening fiscal coordination and intensify public investments in social sectors amongst others.

Responding, the minister promised to deliver the recommendations to President Muhammadu Buhari.

She said, “We have noted your detailed recommendations. We will transmit your recommendations to Mr President who will, in turn, present them to the Federal Executive Council.

“Appropriate agencies of the government would be tasked with the implementation of your recommendations.”

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EFCC invites two Abia ex-commissioners over N22bn Paris Club refund

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Enugu Zone, has invited two former Abia State commissioners for finance for questioning reportedly relating to the spending of N22bn Paris Club refund.
The EFCC said Mr Philip Nto and Mr Obinna Oriaku, who served as Commissioners of Finance and Economic Development in 2014 and 2016 respectively were asked to meet with the agency’s Head Capital Market and Insurance Fraud Section for questioning.

It stated this in a letter dated May 25th, 2021, addressed to Abia Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Chris Ezem.
It said the two former commissioners were needed to make certain clarifications regarding some financial transactions in the state within the period of their stay in office.
It said this was in pursuant to section 38(1) and 2 of the EFCC (establishment) Act, 2004.

When contacted, Oriaku confirmed he was invited, promising to honour it.
He said, “I want to make it clear that EFCC invitation is not a crime and cannot be misconstrued as a sentence for crime.
“As commissioner for Finance for four years, it is necessary that I will be invited from time to time to shed light on what happened while I served as commissioner.”
Oriaku said the invitation was based on a petition by one Dr Murice Walton of Mauritz Walton Nigeria Limited on how the state government allegedly held back their payment since 2017.

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We’ll complete 2nd Niger Bridge next year – Fashola

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Construction work on the Second Niger Bridge will be completed in 2022, Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, has said.
He stated this on Sunday at a forum organised by the News Agency of Nigeria to mark the sixth anniversary of the Buhari administration in Abuja.
The construction of the bridge commenced on September 1, 2018.
According to Fashola, the bridge, which will serve as a major link between the south-east and the south-west will be delivered between the second and third quarters of 2022.
He said the construction time was lost to the COVID-19 pandemic but added that the work had gone beyond the water level.
He said the project would facilitate the influx of investments to the south-east when completed.
“So, what you see currently is the final work. The sub-structure which entailed building cement structures underwater often costs a lot of money,” he said.
“We should finish the bridge next year between the second quarter and third quarter.”
The bridge is 1.6km long and furnished with other ancillary infrastructure, including a 10.3km highway and an interchange.
The bridge spans from Asaba in Delta state to Ozubulu, Ogbaru and other communities in Anambra state.
The minister added that the federal government’s investments in road building and infrastructure development have been impacting various economic activities nationwide.
Fashola said more wealth and job opportunities had been created with 850 contracts awarded and 13,000 kilometres of roads and bridges under construction and repairs across the federal highways.
He said, “President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment to improving infrastructure sits squarely at the centre of the progressive ideal to improve the human condition.
“This connects many more doors and it is the most legitimate way for distributing money across board.
“One of the reasons our party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), is called progressives is because there is a commitment to the progressive ideals.”

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I sold about N70,000 bread daily to bandits when Kaduna students were abducted – Baker

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Hassan Magaji, a baker in the Galadimawa area of Kaduna State, has confessed to supplying bread to bandits.

Magagi, who was recently arrested by the Intelligence Response Team of the Inspector-General of Police, said he sold bread worth N70,000 to the bandits during the time that some university students were abducted.

It is not clear if he was referring to students of Greenfield University, Kaduna, who spent over a month in captivity.

“I observed that whenever they kidnapped many people, like during the kidnap of those university students, the quantity of bread that they bought increased. During that period I delivered up to N70,000 worth of bread everyday until recently when it dropped to N50,000 again.”

“I have not benefitted much except that I married a new wife and I was able to save money to take care of two wives. To stop banditry, government should recruit more security men. We prefer police because they know the job.”

Bandits have been terrorising residents of Kaduna and its environs.

On Saturday, angry residents blocked the ever-busy Abuja-Kaduna highway to protest incessant attacks.

Despite repeated assurances from government, armed gangs have been making life a hell for people.

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