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Despite revenue shortage, Buhari embarked on most ambitious infrastructure projects — Tinubu commends Fmr President

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…As Buhari assures Tinubu support

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has commended Former President Muhammadu Buhari for undertaking what he described as the most ambitious infrastructural renewal projects despite revenue shortage.

The President gave the commendation in Abuja yesterday during a Book launch in honour of the Former President.

Speaking, President Tinubu said, “When President Buhari was leaving office he said he would retire to Daura, far  away from Abuja to enjoy his well-deserved retirement from public service. I remember he added that if his supporters and friends deny him enough rest in Daura, he would run to the Republic of Niger.

“Well, as you all know, he can no longer escape to Niger Republic because of the border closure.

“I am therefore extremely happy to receive him here in Abuja. We are all here today to honour a great man, a patriot, a dedicated public servant who offered his best in the service of our country since he joined the army in 1962 at age 18.

“President Buhari served our country with dedication and uncommon zeal. First as a military officer who offered unblemished service, manning important commands and political positions, and crowning it as military Head of State on 1st January 1984. Second, as a politician who ran four times for the  highest office until he was elected President in 2015.

“The authors of the books we are here to present to the public have done justice to the essential Muhammadu Buhari, especially on his tenure and legacy as the 15th President of Nigeria.

“Femi Adesina, who served him as the Special Adviser on Media & Publicity, authored one of the books titled:’Working with Buhari: Reflections of a Special Adviser, Media and Publicity ( 2015-2023).

“I particularly thank Femi for  using his memoirs to let us into the challenging eight years of the administration and how his principal steered the ship of State.

“President Buhari assumed office at a very difficult period of our national life when the economy was spiralling into recession and Boko Haram had taken over swaths of our territory in the North East.  At a point it appeared even Abuja, the seat of government, would fall into the hands of Boko Haram with the bombing of the UN Building, Banex Plaza, Nyanya and other locations within the Federal Capital Territory. We cannot easily forget how our armed forces battled the Boko Haram terrorists under the leadership of President Buhari to reclaim our territory and push them to the fringes of Lake Chad where they no longer pose existential threat to our sovereignty.

“I must say the job of securing every inch of our country is yet to be finished. My government will stamp out the remaining vestiges of Boko Haram, Ansaru, banditry and kidnapping gangs. We won’t rest until every agent of darkness is completely rooted out.

“The second book that will be presented today is a collection of five volumes on the Buhari years. The book, ‘Muhammadu Buhari: The Nigerian Legacy (2015-2023)’ gives an authoritative account of the stewardship of President Buhari.

“Beyond what the editor of these volumes has recorded as the achievements of President Buhari in his eight years as a democratically-elected President, history will also be kind to him as the leader who promoted local production of goods to grow our economy.

“It will be said glowingly of President Buhari that in his eight turbulent years,  marked by acute shortage of revenue, COVID-19 pandemic that shut down the global economy for almost two years, his administration embarked on the most ambitious infrastructural renewal for the country.

“President Buhari gave us the second Niger Bridge. He revamped Lagos-Ibadan Expressway. He gave us the Lagos-Ibadan and Warri-Itakpe Rail lines. He completed the Abuja-Kaduna rail line and Lekki Seaport. He  built  brand new airports,  among many other landmark economic projects.  The Abuja-Kaduna-Kano Expressway, which he started, will be completed by my administration, by the Grace of God.

“Whatever unresolved challenges faced by President Buhari in his eight  years, our administration will endeavour to resolve them. As I said during the campaigns, I inherited all his assets and liabilities.

“Our administration will continue to work , from where President Buhari stopped, to make our country better, create a vibrant economy and secure the environment to bring more prosperity to our people.

“I thank you all for coming to this event and for finding time to honour President Buhari and the organisers. And I welcome President Buhari back to Abuja.

“May God continue to bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

Also speaking, the Former President, Muhammadu Buhari noted that “with the cumulative achievements of government after government, I believe we will get there in no distant time.”

“In our journey to the desired destination, there will be hard decisions taken, and the people will bear some costs. We can only seek their understanding, and state that there was no intention to deliberately inflict pain and anguish on anyone.

“This is why I apologised to such people at the end of our time in office. Sacrifices are still being made now, and will continue to be part of our national life and development. Governments will continually seek the understanding and support of the people they lead, for our ultimate good and goal.”

The Former President also assured the present administration of his support for good governance.

He said: “Government is a continuum. It is like a relay race. You run your course, and hand over the baton to the next person. This we have done, and the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu administration has my support and confidence, in the quest for us to have a country of our dreams, where there is emancipation for our teeming population.”

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Blue Economy Ministry to spend N1.35bn on foreign, local trips, vehicle

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The Federal Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy will spend a whopping N1 billion on the purchase of vehicles in 2024.

The ministry will also spend a total of N35 million on local and foreign travel in the same year under review.

According to the 2024 Appropriation Act signed into law by President Bola Tinubu, the ministry will spend N10 million on local travel and transport: training; N15 million on local travel and transport: others and N10 million on international travel and transport among others.

However, speaking on the appropriation, the President, National Association of Managing Director of Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA), Lucky Amiwero, said the money for the purchase of vehicles for the ministry should be channelled towards port rehabilitation.

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Global growth will hold steady at 3.2% in 2024, 2025 — IMF

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The International Monetary Fund (IMF) says global growth in 2024 and 2025 is projected to hold steady at 3.2 per cent, at the same pace as in 2023.

This is according to the IMF’s latest World Economic Outlook (WEO) Update Report for April 2024: “Steady But Slow: Resilience Amid Divergence” released on Tuesday in Washington DC.

The report said the forecast for 2024 was revised up by 0.1 percentage points from the January 2024 WEO update and by 0.3 percentage points from the October 2023 WEO.

It said the pace of expansion was low by historical standards, owing to both near-term factors, such as still-high borrowing costs and withdrawal of fiscal support.

“Also by longer-term effects from the COVID-19 pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine; weak growth in productivity; and increasing geoeconomic fragmentation.”

The report said there would be a slight acceleration for advanced economies, where growth was expected to rise from 1.6 percent in 2023 to 1.7 percent in 2024 and 1.8 percent in 2025.

It said emerging markets and developing economies would witness a modest slowdown from 4.3 percent in 2023 to 4.2 percent in both 2024 and 2025.

“The forecast for global growth five years from now at 3.1 per cent is at its lowest in decades.”

The report showed growth in Sub-Saharan Africa was projected at 3.8 in 2024 and 4.0 in 2025.

It revealed that economic growth in Nigeria was projected at 3.3 in 2024 and 3.0 in 2025.

The report said global headline inflation was expected to fall from an annual average of 6.8 per cent in 2023 to 5.9 percent in 2024 and 4.5 percent in 2025, with advanced economies returning to their inflation targets sooner than emerging market and developing economies.

“The pace of convergence toward higher living standards for middle-and lower-income countries has slowed, implying persistence in global economic disparities.”

It said on the downside, new price spikes stemming from geopolitical tensions, the war in Ukraine, and the conflict in Gaza and Israel, could raise interest rate expectations and reduce asset prices.

“This is along with persistent core inflation where labor markets are still right.

“A divergence in disinflation speeds among major economies could also cause currency movements that put financial sectors under pressure.

“Amid high government debt in many economies, a disruptive turn to tax hikes and spending cuts could weaken activity, erode confidence, and sap support for reform and spending to reduce risks from climate change.

“Geoeconomic fragmentation could intensify, with higher barriers to the flow of goods, capital, and people implying a supply-side slowdown.”

It said on the upside, that looser fiscal policy than necessary and assumed in projections could raise economic activity in the short term, although risking more costly policy adjustments later on.

“Inflation could fall faster than expected amid further gains in labor force participation, allowing central banks to bring easing plans forward.

“Artificial intelligence and stronger structural reforms than anticipated could spur productivity.”

The report said as the global economy approaches a soft landing, the near-term priority for central banks was to ensure that inflation touched down smoothly.

“They should do this by neither easing policies prematurely nor delaying too long and causing target undershoots.

“At the same time, as central banks take a less restrictive stance, a renewed focus on implementing medium-term fiscal consolidation to rebuild room for budgetary maneuver and priority investments, and to ensure debt sustainability, is in order.”

The report said cross-country differences called for tailored policy responses.

It said intensifying supply-enhancing reforms would facilitate inflation and debt reduction, allow economies to increase growth toward the higher pre-pandemic era average, and accelerate convergence toward higher income levels.

“Multilateral cooperation is needed to limit the costs and risks of geoeconomic fragmentation and climate change, speed the transition to green energy, and facilitate debt restructuring.”

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NCAA suspends licence of three private jet owners

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Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has suspended the licence of three Permit for Non-Commercial Flight (PNCF), otherwise known as private jet owners, over alleged failure to comply with regulatory requirements.

Acting Director-General of NCAA, Capt. Chris Najomo, disclosed this to journalists on Tuesday in Lagos.

Najomo said that after issuing a stern warning to the PNCFs in March, the authority deployed its men to monitor activities of private jet owners at airport terminals across the country.

He said that consequent upon the heightened surveillance, three private operators were found to have violated the annexure provisions of their PNCF and Part 9114 of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations, 2023.

Najomo further stated that the NCAA would be carrying out a re-evaluation of regulatory compliance requirements of all PNCFs owners within the next 72 hours.

This, he said, was in line with the authority’s zero tolerance for violations of regulations.

“In line with our zero tolerance for violation of regulations, the authority has suspended the PNCF of these operators.

“To further sanitise the general aviation sector, I have directed that a re-evaluation of all holders of PNCF be carried out on or before April 19, to ascertain compliance with regulatory requirements.

“All PNCF holders will be required to submit relevant documents to the authority within the next 72 hours,” he said.

Najomo recalled that in 2023, the use of private jets for commercial purposes had gotten the attention of the Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Mr Festus Keyamo (SAN), who issued marching orders for cessation of such acts.

He said that in March, NCAA issued a stern warning to holders of the permit for non-commercial flights, PNCF, against engaging in the carriage of passenger cargo or mail for hire and reward.

Najomo said that the riot act was also directed at existing Air Operator Certificate (AOC) holders who utilised aircraft listed on their PNCF for commercial charter operations.

“It must be emphasised that only the aircraft listed in the Operation Specifications of the AOC are authorised to be used in the provision of such charter services.

“Any of those AOC holders who wish to use the aircraft for charter operations must apply to the NCAA to delist the affected aircraft from the PNCF and include it into the AOC operations specification.

“NCAA wishes to reiterate to the travelling public not to patronise any airline charter operator who does not hold a valid AOC issued by the NCAA, when they wish to procure charter operation services,” he said.

The NCAA boss, thereafter, encouraged legitimate players in the aviation industry to promptly report such illegal activities to the authority for necessary action.

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