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N50billion bond is targeting for capital projects, not for 2020 governorship election – Ondo Govt



By Jacob Akintunde, Akure

The Ondo state government has dismissed insinuation in some quarters that the just approved #50billion bond by the state House of Assembly was being taken from the capital market to fund the 2020 second term election of Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu.

Ondo state government however said that the #50billion bond that will be in two tranches, is targeting at funding ongoing and new capital projects initiated by the administration of Governor Akeredolu.

It would be recalled that the #50billion bond approved by the state House of Assembly last Thursday.

The State Commissioner for Information and Orientations, Mr Donald Ojogo said this at the weekend at the NUJ Press Centre in Akure while interacting with journalists in the state.

The interactive session with journalists is to further carry the public along on policies and programmes of the government through the media.

Answering questions from newsmen during the interactive session, the Information Commissioner noted that the #50billion bond had become imperative to enable government to pay contractors handling its various capital projects especially roads contractors.

He pointed out that the money from the capital market would not come to the purse of the state government but it would be spent directly on government’s projects.

His words, “We all know that the finances and economic pursuit of states have dwindled, yet they are contending issues. We have come to take over the mantle of leadership not to come and complain. We have decided to take over leadership in the state to ensure that what is what doing is what doing well. Akeredolu has been elected as governor not complain that there is no money to pay salaries. He has been elected not to come and complain that there is no money to provide good infrastructure in the state. Yet, where is the money?

“So, the man (Akeredolu) decided to think outside the box. One of the noble things he did was to pay simultaneously. As he was paying the salary from the Mont he took over every month, he was also paying the backlog of salaries and emoluments that the government met, because government is a continuum. Now we have only a month left out of the seven months that the governor inherited. And I can tell you categorically that civil servants in the state have received their August salary. I don’t think this government has received up to six billion in a single month from FAAC since it came on board. It is as low as four billion in some cases. And what is the wage bill of the state?

Do we now complain that because we are paying salaries we will not construct roads, upgrade our hospitals and desirable structures will not be put in place?

“So, what the government decided to do is that rather than going to the bank to obtain a loan was to go through the bond process. The bond as we all know is a N50 billion bond that was approved by the House of Assembly on Thursday. That bond is meant to enhance not just to sustain the development that has been achieved but to further engender and sustain development in the state. From that bond N50 billion, 50 kobo or 50 cents of that money is not coming into government purse. It is between the capital market and the banks where the fund will be domicile.

“In any case, the best way to fund a project is only through the bonds because the maximum interest rate is between 14 and 16 percent. But if you go to the bank, it will attract 19 and in some cases 20, 21 percent. So, it is of no burden to the state. This bond is targeted at specific projects”.

Ojogo explained that Akeredolu would rather spend such huge bond on legacy projects that would impact positively on the lives of the citizenry instead of using same for any re-election bid.

“The governor didn’t take loan or bond to win his election in 2016, the people freely gave him their mandate, so he can’t take loan to do any reelection. Disregard opposition, opposition will always talk, is part of their job to talk. We all know that the money would not be paid into government’s purse but it will be used to fund all these ongoing and new capital projects directly.”

He assured the people of the state that contractors would soon return to sites of road projects that were currently experiencing delay, adding that with the approval of the bond, ongoing projects would be completed in record time.

While speaking on the delay in conducting local government election since assumption in office of Governor Akeredolu, Ojogo said that within the shorted period, the process in conducting local government election will be put in place, reactivated.

“I want to assure that within the shorted period, the process of conducting local government elections will be put in place, the process will be reactivated, it is even to the government advantages.

“Its for the advantage of local people, its for the advantages of the political parties even to our own party, APC. It is in the interest of people in the state to conduct this election and in view of this, we are not going to delay. But due process must be put in place before conducting it”, he said.

In a remark, the Ondo state Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Comrade Adetona Aderoboye commended the information Commissioner for reviving the media interaction after about three years, urging him to sustain it on monthly and quarterly basis to help the state government in its information management.

Aderoboye who commended Governor Akeredolu for recently appointing two members of the Union as his key aides, said journalists in the state were happy with the redeployment of Ojogo to the information ministry as a core professional.

He however assured Ojogo to always count on the support of his colleagues in the media industry.


Tinubu calls for good governance at 64th ECOWAS Session



President Bola Tinubu has called on ECOWAS leaders to prioritise good governance for the citizens in the quest for socio-economic transformation and development of the region.

At the 64th Ordinary Session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Tinubu emphasised that good governance would guarantee improved quality of life and stable environment.

‘’Let me also underscore the need for us, as leaders, to prioritise good governance for our people, as it serves as a catalyst for socio-economic transformation and development.

‘’The delivery of good governance is not just a fundamental commitment; it is also an avenue to address the concerns of our citizen, such as improved quality of life and a stable environment conducive to the achievement of sustainable development.

‘’By providing good governance that tackles the challenges of poverty, inequality and other concerns of the people, we would have succeeded in addressing some of the root causes of military intervention in civilian processes in our region.

‘’Our gathering here today is, therefore, a clear demonstration of our resolute commitment to the development and effective integration of our sub-region.

‘’As a people, we aspire to create a borderless, peaceful, prosperous and cohesive region, built on good governance and the rule of law, where people would have the opportunity to realise their full potentials for sustainable development,’’ he said.

On the issue of democratic abortion in some member countries, the President underscored the need for sustained efforts to ensure the return of peaceful transition of power based on the people’s choice.

‘’Allow me to emphasise that, to further strengthen our regional democratic achievements and uphold the right of our people to elect the leaders of their choice, the region agreed upon specific punitive measures to be taken against any Member State opting for unconstitutional change of government.

‘’While the imposition of punitive sanctions may pose challenges, it is important to underscore that the struggle to protect the fundamental liberties of our Community Citizens must be upheld and respected.

‘’To this end, I would like to reiterate the imperative of re-engaging with the countries under military rule on the basis of realistic and short transition plans that can deliver democracy and good governance.

“On our part, we should be prepared to provide them with technical and material support, to ensure the achievement of these strategic goals.’’

Tinubu said that the countries involved in alliance against democratic tenets would not be allowed to distract the community of its resolve to follow laid down rules and regulations for dealing with such actions.

‘’It is important that we also review some development in our sub-region including the move by some of our members under Military rule to float an Alliance of Sahel States.

‘’This phantom, push back-alliance appears intended to divert attention from our mutual quest for democracy and good governance that will impact the life of our people.

‘’We refused to be detracted from pursuing the collective dreams, aspirations and the noble path of ECOWAS integration as laid out in our institutional and legal frameworks,’’ he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the ECOWAS Heads of State and Government are in closed door meeting to further deliberate on issues affecting the region in the last one year and those arising recently.

The body is expected to receive special reports on the practical arrangement for the Launch of the ECO , report on Member States in Transition, report on States of Implementation of the ECOWAS  Trade Liberalisation Scheme (ETLS) as well as decide on the venue of the 65th ECOWAS Session.

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Naira notes: There’s sufficient stock for economic activities, CBN assures Nigerians



Amidst complaints by some Nigerians about scarcity of Naira notes, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says there is adequate supply of the currency.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that CBN gave  the assurance against the beck drop of complaints by some bank customers  on scarcity of Naira notes at the counters, Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) Points of Sale (PoS), and Bureaux de Change (BDCs).

Some officials of Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) also claimed that the DMBs were not getting adequate supply of cash from the CBN.

But, according to a statement issued by the Corporate Communications Department of the CBN, there is no shortage of Naira notes, as there is adequate supply of the currency in the economy.

The apex bank said that the seeming currency scarcity was occasioned by large volume withdrawals of cash from various CBN branches by DMBs.

It said that panic withdrawals by bank customers was also partly responsible for the seeming scarcity.

“The attention of the CBN has been drawn to reports of alleged scarcity of
cash at banks, ATMs, PoS and BDCs in some major cities across the country.

“Our findings reveal that the seeming cash scarcity in some locations is due largely to high volume withdrawals from the CBN branches by DMBs and panic withdrawals by customers from the ATMs.

“While we note the concerns of Nigerians on the availability of cash for financial transactions, we wish to assure the public that there is sufficient stock of currency notes for economic activities in the country.

“The branches of the CBN across the country are also working to ensure the seamless circulation of cash in their respective states of operation,” it said.

The CBN advised members of the public to guard against panic withdrawals as there was sufficient stock to facilitate economic activities.

It also advised Nigerians to embrace alternative modes of payment, which would reduce pressure on using physical cash.

Meanwhile, the CBN also warned Nigerians to beware of fake Naira banknotes in circulation.

Its Acting Director, Corporate Communications, Mrs Hakama Sidi-Ali, gave the warning in a  statement.

Sidi-Ali said that the counterfeit Naira notes were mainly used for transactions in food markets and other commercial centres across major cities in the country.

She said that any person found complicit in the circulation of the counterfeit currency notes would face severe sanctions.

The director said that the law provided punishment by a term of imprisonment of not less than five years, for any person found culpable of counterfeiting Naira notes or any other legal tender in Nigeria.

“The attention of the CBN) has been drawn to the circulation of counterfeit banknotes, especially higher denominations by some individuals.

“The CBN is in constant collaboration with relevant security and financial agencies to confiscate fake Naira banknotes, arrest and prosecute counterfeiters.

“Members of the public are also encouraged to report anyone suspected of having counterfeit naira notes to the nearest police station, branch of the CBN, or via,” she said.

She enjoined all DMBs, Financial Houses and Bureaux de Change and the general public to be more vigilant.

Sidi-Ali urged them to take all necessary precautionary measures to curtail the acceptance and distribution of counterfeit notes.

“Furthermore, the general public is encouraged to embrace alternative modes of payment for day-to-day transactions to mitigate the risk of spreading counterfeit banknotes,” she said.

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NOA lauds Dangote’s oil production in Lagos



The National Agency (NOA) has commended Dangote Refining Company and the Federal Government for restarting local production of petroleum products in the country.

Its Director General, Malam Lanre Issa-Onilu, in a letter of congratulations to the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, celebrated the delivery of the first cargo of 950,000 barrels of crude oil to the Dangote Refining Company.

“The supply from Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited (NNPCL) is a major breakthrough for the country after many years of importation with attendant supply hicups, corruption and detrimental impact of high foreign exchange demand on the economy.

“The NNPCL and Dangote Refining Company said the breakthrough is a cheering news that underscores the resolve of government and Nigeria’s progress towards economic stability and prosperity.

“For him, the Dangote Refining company, the biggest in Africa, will become a major player in the petroleum production and supply chain in Africa and help to tackle the many problems affecting the sector, including unstable product pricing in the country.”

According to the director-general, this is the beginning of the onward march to self-reliance and development because more refineries will soon come up. We hope that our other refineries will return to business”.

Outlining the benefits of local production of petroleum products in Nigeria, the NOA DG said “This means jobs for our people in that sector, reduction of foreign dependency for supply in NIgeria and huge savings in forex.

“The economic growth outlook will be better with stability of local energy supply.”d

According to the director-general, NOA’s new vision seeks to promote national positives to encourage citizens to renew their hope in the country and reflect the true narrative of our nation’s progress and challenges.

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