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New FX Policy Hurriedly Put Together without Proper Plans – Atiku

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By Johnson Eyiangho, Abuja

Former Vice-president Atiku Abubakar has said that the President Bola Tinubu’s new foreign exchange management policy was hurriedly put together without proper plans and consultations with stakeholders.

In a post on his X handle on Sunday, Atiku said that it is either the government failed to anticipate or downplayed the potential and real negative consequences of its actions.

“The Government did not allow the CBN the independence to design and implement a sound FX Management Policy that would have dealt with such issues as increasing liquidity, curtailing/regulating demand, dealing with FX backlogs and rate convergence.

“I firmly believe that if and when the Government is ready to open itself to sound counsels, as well as control internal bleedings occasioned by corruption and poorly negotiated foreign loans, the Nigerian economy would begin to find a footing again,” the former Vice-president said.

He vowed that he would not keep quiet in the face of the Tinubu-led administration “sufficient poverty of ideas” and wrong policies which are causing untold hardship to Nigerians and distress to the nation’s economy.

He said that if the government will not hold on to their usual hubris, there are ways that the country can walk out of the current crisis.

Atiku said that if he were the President, he would have encouraged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to adopt a gradualist approach to FX management. 

According to him, a managed-floating system would have been a preferred option.  In simple terms, in such a system, the Naira may fluctuate daily, but the CBN will step in to control and stabilize its value.

“Such control will be exercised judiciously and responsibly, especially to curb speculative activities.

“Why control, you may ask: Nigeria has insufficient, unstable, and precarious foreign reserves to support a free-floating rate regime. Nigeria’s reserves did not have enough foreign exchange that can be sold freely at fair market prices during crises.

“Nigeria is not earning enough US$ from its sales of crude oil because its production of oil has been declining. And,

“Nigeria is not attracting foreign investment in appreciable quantities.

“These are enough reasons for Nigeria to seek to have a greater control of the market, at least in the short to medium term when convergence is expected to be achieved,” he said.  

Atiku noted that the meeting with the 36 state governors on Thursday, February 15, 2024 to address the Foreign Exchange crisis and the problem of economic downturn, among others, President Tinubu failed to showcase any concrete policy steps that his administration is taking to contain the crises of currency fluctuation and poverty that face the country.

He said rather, the President told the country and experts who have been offering ideas on how to resolve the crisis that “he and his team should not be distracted and allowed time to continue cooking their cocktail that has brought untold hardship to the people of Nigeria”.

The PDP candidate in the February 25, 2023 Presidential Election said he knew that at the twilights of the Buhari administration the economy of the country was heading for the ditch hence he  came up with a number of policy prescriptions, including control FX management, that would rescue the country from getting into the mess that we are currently in.

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Adamawa Govt. Earmarks N55.5 bn as 2024 Supplementary Budget

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The Adamawa  Government has approved the sum of N55.5 billion as supplementary budget for the 2024 financial year.

Mrs Neido  Kofulto, State Commissioner for Information and Strategy said this while briefing  newsmen on the development in the late hours of Tuesday in Yola.

She said the supplementary budget was part of the emergency Executive Council Meeting presided over by the state Deputy Governor Prof.

Kaletapwa Farauta.

According to her, the supplementary budget is necessitated by the need to capture and finance projects which were  not initially captured in the main budget.

“The council resolution on the supplementary estimate will soon be presented to the State House of Assembly for ratification and approval,” she said.

Mr Emmanuel Piridimso, State Commissioner for Budget and Planning said the budget was initiated to finance other additional projects as the State finances had reasonably increased.

According to him, the ministries captured in the supplementary budget are, Ministry of Education, Women Affairs, Commerce and Industries and Works and Energy Development and among others.

The Adamawa  government had on Dec. 9, 2023 presented an appropriation estimate of N225.8billion.

(NAN)

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Prominent People are Behind Mounting of Illegal Checkpoints in Benue- Chairman BIRS

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From Attah Ede Makurdi 

The acting Chairman of Benue State Internal Revenue Services (BIRS), Mr. Emmanuel Agema, on Monday, lamented over the activities of illegal tax collectors in the State, saying prominent people with the State are behind the mounting of those illegal checkpoints across the state.

Mr. Agema who disclosed this while speaking with newsmen in Makurdi, said that not more than 35 persons have been charged to court.

He maintained that upon assumption of office, the board decided to terminated revenue contract with a few to close revenue leakages about and now using the board staff to collect taxes, a development, he said has assisted the board to generate more revenue for the state.

The acting chairman said the State government has giving the board a target to generate over 16 billion as internally generated revenue for 2024, adding that in 2023, the board met its 14 billion target and surpassed it.

Mr. Agena who decried the activities of illegal tax collectors in the State, said most of them are backed by very prominent individuals, averring that under his watch, the era of patronizing politicians is over.

“We have already arrested 35 people who are engaging in illegal tax collection and have been arraigned in court.

He disclosed that a truck conveying palliatives from Adamawa to Anambra State was hijacked by some youths in Aliade, Gwer East local government area of the State 

According to him, the youths who mounted illegal checkpoint, stopped the vehicles, broke their windscreen and stole the sum of #200,000 from one of the drivers.

He said two persons have been arrested and transferred to the DSS on the governor’s directives that a thorough investigation be carried out to fish out those behind illegal tax collection in the state

 “The truck was intercepted and the driver beaten while the windscreen of the vehicle broken and over 200,000 naira stolen. 3 persons have been arrested and are in police custody. They will be moved to DSS for thorough investigation

“Our aim is to flush out or reduce illegal tax collectors to the barest minimum. This has been a big challenge. We have constituted a team headed by director of Tax collection. Prominent people in the State are involved in encouraging these boys. 

“We also plan to recover over 5.6 billion from ground rent. We are liaising with the Ministry of Land towards this direction. 

“We also, engaged the service of Softnet, an ICT company to aid us collect revenue. They are paid commission. The company have engaged over 250 staff who have been trained and given POS to collect revenue.

“Taxation is about confidence. Our work now is easy because tax payers are willing to pay because the people are seeing what government is doing”.

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I’m not Desperate for Super Eagles Coaching Job – Emmanuel Amuneke

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1996 Olympic gold medalist, Emmanuel Amuneke, has said that although he would love to coach the Super Eagles if given the opportunity, he was not desperate for the job.

Amuneke, a former Super Eagles player, said this while addressing newsmen in Owerri on Tuesday.

The former Nigeria U-17 national team coach and former coach of the Tanzania national team, said the job of coaching Nigeria’s national team should be given on merit and to whom with the interest of football and Nigeria at heart”.

The Spain based former striker, who played for Sporting Lisbon football club in Portugal and Barcelona football club, expressed confidence that the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) would eventually appoint the ideal coach for the Super Eagles top job.

He said that with a plethora of Nigerian talents scattered across the globe, a lot of professional capacity, technical expertise and consultation would be required to harness the talents, combine them and achieve the needed balance.

“The Super Eagles’ upcoming World Cup qualification matches against the Bafana Bafana of South Africa and their counterparts from Benin Republic would necessitate the appointment of a substantive coach who would also need some time to put the house in order for best results.

 “I am not desperate to be Super Eagles coach, though I nurse the ambition to coach.

 “If I have the opportunity to serve my fatherland , I will accept it and deliver my all,” he said.

He however, called for the development of football at the grassroots for further development of the Nigerian league for harnessing of more talents. (NAN)

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