The Federal Government, 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) incurred additional N560 billion debt in the first three months of this year, the Debt Management Office (DMO) has declared.
This brought the country’s total domestic and foreign debt to N24.9 trillion as at end of March 2019. Compared with the debt figure as of December 31, 2018, which stood at N24.387 trillion, the first quarter 2019 figure represented 2.3 per cent increase. According to latest debt figures released yesterday by the DMO, the country’s total foreign debt stood at N7.8 trillion ($25.6 billion) while domestic was N17 trillion. Out of the total domestic debt, the Federal Government alone owed N13.1 trillion, while the 36 states and FCT owe N3.9 trillion. DMO stated that the debt, which rose by N560 billion, was accounted for largely by domestic debt which grew by N458.36 billion, while external debt also increased by N101.64 billion during the same period. Further analysis of the domestic debt showed that Lagos had the highest debt of N542.2 billion, followed by Rivers with N225.5 billion, Delta N223.4 billion and Akwa Ibom with N199.7 billion.
Figures for other states showed that Abia’s domestic debt stood at N62.8 billion, Adamawa N97.1 billion, Anambra N33.4 billion, Bauchi N93.3 billion, Bayelsa N133.3 billion, and Benue N96.9 billion. Others are Borno N78.2 billion, Cross River N167.2 billion, Ebonyi N55.5 billion, Edo N86.3 billion, Ekiti N118 billion, Enugu N55 billion, Gombe N76.8 billion, Imo N97.8 billion, Jigawa N38.2 billion, Kaduna N93.2 billion, Kano N121.3 billion, Katsina N67 billion, Kebbi N67 billion, Kogi N96.6 billion, Kwara N59.5 billion, Nasarawa N89.9 billion, Niger N43.4 billion, Ogun N97 billion, Ondo N56.9 billion, Osun N147.7 billion, Oyo N94.1 billion, Plateau N98.5 billion, Sokoto N36.5 billion, Taraba N68.5 billion, Yobe N26.9 billion, Zamfara 61.9 billion and FCT N163.5 billion.
The DMO, however, indicated that the debt figures for Anambra, Borno, Ebonyi, Ekiti and Lagos were as at December 31, 2018, while that of other states are as at March 31, 2019. Analysis of the country’s foreign debt showed that $11.01 billion of the debt was multilateral; $344.63 million was bilateral (AFD) and another $2.75 billion bilateral from the Exim Bank of China, JICA, India and KFW while $11.17 billion was commercial which are basically Euro bonds and Diaspora Bonds. According to DMO’s figures, the country spent a total of N128.6 billion ($357.2 million) to service its foreign debts in Q1 2019. In servicing domestic debts, the country spent a total of N650 billion between January and March. “In relation to the Debt Management Strategy, the ratio of domestic to external debt stood at 68.49% to 31.51% at the end of March 2019. The total public debt to GDP ratio was 19.03% which is within the 25% debt limit imposed by the government,” DMO management explained in a statement. The DMO boss, Mrs. Patience Oniha, had, on several fora, noted that borrowed funds were channelled to finance projects, fund budget deficit and meet maturing obligations. Oniha had also explained that some foreign debts were borrowed so as to refinance treasury bills because of the short tenor. A National Bureau of Statistics’ data on Nigerian states and federal debt stock data as at 31st December 2018 reflected that the country’s foreign and domestic debts stood at $25.27 billion and N16.63 trillion respectively. The debt agency has been active on domestic and Euro bonds. On June 14, 2019, it listed the dual and triple tranche Eurobond issues on Nigerian domestic exchanges.
The Eurobonds, which were issued respectively in February 2018 and November 2018, were oversubscribed, demonstrating the on-going confidence of international capital market investors in Nigeria’s investment story. The Eurobonds represent the use by government of long term lower cost funds to finance infrastructure while also creating opportunities for domestic borrowers.
The listing of the latest Eurobond issues will provide benchmarks for corporations which intend to issue Euro bonds in the international capital markets and further deepen the domestic capital markets by ensuring that the securities can be traded easily by domestic investors. Meanwhile, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the February 23, 2019 election, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has expressed concern at the increasing nation’s debt profile. Atiku, who noted that Nigeria’s national debt at N12 trillion on May 29, 2015 when President Muhammadu Buhari took over, was “very healthy,” regretted that the figure doubled to N24.3 trillion by December 2018. In a statement by his Media Adviser, Paul Ibe, the former vice president blamed this on the profligacy of the All Progressives Congress (APC) administration. ”
As alarming as this is, what is more troubling is that between December 2018 and March 2019, the administration of General Buhari added an additional and unprecedented N560 billion debt to our national debt profile,” Atiku stated. According to him, “The period the latest borrowing occurred was during the 2019 electioneering, when monies were freely distributed by officials of this government in the name of Tradermoni and other election gimmicks that were discontinued after the election.
“We find it inconceivable that Nigeria could have had such unprecedented borrowings in the midst of almost unimaginable sorrowing, which resulted in our nation becoming the world headquarters for extreme poverty and the global capital of out-of-school children, even as we slipped in the Corruption Perception Index of Transparency International.” Atiku said he has the moral authority to call those who are turning Nigeria into a beggar nation to halt the drift into unsustainable borrowing, “as someone who headed the National Economic Council (NEC) that paid off Nigeria’s entire debt under the visionary leadership of President Olusegun Obasanjo.”We cannot continue to borrow to pay salaries and support luxuries. Already, over 50% of our revenue is going towards debt servicing, not even debt repayments. “We raise this alarm as responsible citizens and call on other lovers of Nigeria to speak up as we have no other nation to call our home, but Nigeria.” National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, told New Telegraph that the party has no comment on the allegation of rising debt profile of Nigeria from Atiku.
My CoS is trustworthy, says Ganduje
Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje of Kano State has described his Chief of Staff, Hon. Ali Haruna Abubakar Makoda, as a trustworthy fellow, whose good family background and proven track records earned him the respect and consideration he has from his administration.
He said that he came to know Makoda through his (Makoda’s) father, Alhaji Bukar Makoda, with whom he has been together for over 30 years.
“Since when I was a Commissioner of Works, Housing and Transport, during the military regime, when Colonel Muhammad Abdullahi Wase was the military administrator in Kano.” Said Ganduje.
The statement was made by the governor when the families of the Chief of Staff, led by his father, Alhaji Makoda, paid a thank you visit to the governor, at Government House, Kano, yesterday.
Amid cheers and happily looking faces, Ganduje said he should be the one to thank them for allowing their son to accept the position given to him by the governor.
He explained further that: “To also thank him for his acceptance of the position, not the other way round. I need to thank you all.”
According to Ganduje, the father of the Chief of Staff was first introduced into government activities, as a renowned and respected contractor during military regime.
“That was when I was a commissioner, which means he was not introduced by politicians to government activities. For your information, he was the contractor who built this our quality Mosque inside government house. And because of the quality of his work, the Mosque is still very strong,” he revealed.
In his remarks, Alhaji Alin Bukar Makoda, who spoke on behalf of the family, after thanking the governor, assured him that, the choice of the Chief of Staff was apt and appropriate.
“We are glad to inform His Excellency that, this choice is commendable, which also shows appreciation of good behaviour in governance and proven track records,” says Makoda.
Shehu Sani cautions FG against repression
Foremost activist and former senator, Shehu Sani, has urged the Federal Government and security agencies to refrain from attacking and preventing those who want to protest against it.
He said government would be compelling Nigerians who are desirous of engaging in peaceful and legal protest to resort to violent activities.
Speaking at an interactive with the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), FCT Correspondents chapel in Abuja at the weekend, Sani said in order to protect the nation’s democracy, the government must respect the rule of law and fundamental human rights.
“If people are desirous of protecting and defending their freedom through peaceful protest, the government has the constitu tional responsibility to protect their rights to express their feelings through protests.
“If you crush dissent and jail dissenters, you are forcing people to take the road of violence.”
Speaking further, Sani noted that, “in order to protect our democracy, there is need for the government to respect the rule of law. State apparatus must not engage in indiscriminate arrest of people for expressing their opinion.”
According to him: “By using force to crush dissent from ordinary Nigerians, we are inviting people to take up the vigilante option in terms of defending themselves.”
Bayelsa guber: Dickson’s Restoration Group overruns Alaibe, others
…in Ward Delegate Congress
he Governor Seriake Dickson-led Restoration Group overran the Campaign Organisation of Chief Timi Alaibe and other aspirants in the just concluded Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Ward Delegate Congress on Saturday.
The Restoration Team reinforced its dominance of the politics of PDP and the state by registering an intimidating haul of number of delegates in the congress.
A chieftain of PDP said on the condition of anonymity that the outcome of the delegate conference and the massive presence displayed by the Restoration Team only demonstrated that the Restoration Group has total control of the politics of PDP and even Bayelsa.
PDP has been in control of the politics of Bayelsa since the return of democratic governance in 1999.
The source said that members of the Governor David Umahi-led Panel, which visited Bayelsa to conduct the congress and other party officials, were shocked that aspirants outside Restoration Group like Alaibe could not muster any presence to engage the Restoration Team in a contest at the wards and local governments of the state.
The source said: “The routing of Alaibe and other aspirants was such that they did not even have people to engage their major opponents. In fact, there is no other tendency in Bayelsa that has the capacity to engage the Restoration Team in a contest at the ward or state or local government level.
“They didn’t have people in every ward to stand up for them. It was resounding victory for the Restoration Team all the way and that shocked everybody contrary to the brazen propaganda and attempt to create the wrong impression. Panel members and observers were shocked that when the time for the confrontation came, they were nowhere to be found.”
It was learnt that Alaibe could only parade a few stakeholders who defected from the All Progressives Congress (APC) to PDP in November 2018.
The source listed the few Alaibe’s supporters who registered a feeble presence at the congress to include Chief Rufus Abadi, a former APC chieftain; Chief Tiwei Orunimighe, senatorial candidate of the Action Democratic Congress (ADC) for Bayelsa East in the last general election, Senator Barigha Amange, and Chief Barnabas Edure.
The source stated that the outcome of the congress has further reinforced the reality in the Bayelsa politics that the Restoration Team is the most politically combat ready, formidable, resilient body with an intimidating presence across the state.
The Restoration Team prosecuted and won all the 2019 political contests for PDP, which controls 18 out of the 19 Assembly members, two out of three senators and three out of the five members of House of Representatives in the state.
The group is also in control of all local chairmen, the 105 councillors, numerous appointees, party stakeholders and supporters.
“What has happened with this congress should give you an insight into the current state of the politics of Bayelsa. No group can defeat the Restoration Team, not even the federal-backed APC, let alone a small tendency within PDP.
“We were all shocked that at the point of confrontation, the Alaibe and King Turner Group fizzled out, because they lacked the physical presence and the capacity to engage the Restoration Team,” a party leader said.
Another source said that the Alaibe and King AJ Turner Group, which aligned against the Restoration Group, lost out completely.
The source stressed that the strongest factor in the forthcoming election in the state was the governor who controls a cohesive structure and presence across the state.
AbdulRazaq: Death of 17 Kwara admission seekers painful, preventable
wara State Governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, yesterday lamented the death of 17 students in an auto crash on their way back to the state from Kano, describing the incident as a painful one that could have been prevented.
In a statement yesterday by his Chief Press Secretary, Rafiu Ajakaye, AbdulRazaq commiserated with the parents and families of the students and prayed to God to avert such calamity in the future.
“We, however, believe that we can avoid this calamity in the future. We reiterate our calls on the drivers to always check their speed, respect other road users, and put their vehicles in the best condition. Most accidents occur because our drivers often fail these three basic tests of safe driving,” the statement said.
“Besides, we call on our tertiary institutions that still require students to travel long distances for their post-UTME examination to please consider holding such test online to avert the necessity of travel.”
This will not only reduce travel and attendant risks, but also encourage students to embrace and excel in computer literacy, a sine qua non for success in the 21st century.”
APC mulls mini-convention to replace NWC members
ational leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) is considering a mini-convention to fill vacant positions in the National Working Committee (NWC), according to a party source.
The convention, which would hold before the end of October, the source said, would ratify the nomination of NWC members brought in from their zones.
Since after the 2019 elections in March, the party has not held National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting to address some issues in the party.
This lack of statutory meetings in the party is causing ill feelings among members, as APC governors and Presidency are demanding for such meetings.
President Muhammadu Buhari recently asked the NWC members to go and resolve crises in the party or it would be dissolved.
The APC governors, in trying to find solutions to the problem bedevilling the party, held a meeting with the NWC members on Friday.
The delegation of the Progressive Governors’ Forum was led by its chairman, Governor Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State.
The NWC positions to be filled are: Deputy National Chairman (South), Otunba Niyi Adebayo and National Secretary, Mai Mala Buni.
While Adebayo is now Minister of Trade and Industry, Buni has been elected governor of Yobe State.
According to the source, the mini convention became necessary since the zones could not agree on the replacement of members at the NWC and to address some issues in the party through resolutions.
He explained that all the states from the North-East would be allowed to present candidates for the office of the national secretary for party members to cast their votes for a choice candidate.
The three states that have shown interest in the National Secretary are Borno, Yobe and Taraba.
Also, the South-West would be allowed to produce a consensus candidate for the replacement of Adebayo as Deputy National Chairman (South) or the states would be allowed to produce candidates to contest the position, the source said.
Adebayo is from Ekiti State and it is likely that the zone would move the position to another state since Ekiti had occupied the position since 2014.
The source further revealed that the convention would ratify the position of the National Publicity Secretary, Lanre Issa-Onilu, who came in after Bolaji Abdullahi resigned.
Onilu, presented by the North-Central, is in acting capacity until his position is ratified by the convention.
Abdullahi was one of the NWC members elected last year, before his resignation to contest the governorship ticket of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Kwara State.
There have been cracks in APC’s NWC since after the general election, as the Deputy National Chairman (North), Senator Lawal Shuaibu, had stayed away from the party as a result of his letter to the APC National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, demanding his resignation.
Also, the National Vice Chairman (North-West), Inuwa Abdulkadir, has been expelled by the party leadership.
The party source explained that the mini convention will address some of the allegations against the leadership of APC.
According to him, the NWC might be restructured with some members asked to resign.
Bala flags off N8.8bn road project in Bauchi
auchi State Governor, Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed, has flagged off the N8.8 billion road project between Alkaleri and Tafawa Balewa Local Government Areas of the state.
Mohammed said the benefiting communities include Yalwan Duguri, Badaran Dutse, Birim, Bajama, Kumbala, Kundak Wurno and Burga community respectively.
Speaking at the project site in Burga, Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area, Governor Mohammed said already over N4 billion had been released to contractors to commence work within the period of completion in two years.
He said the award for the construction of the road was in line with campaign promises to provide infrastructure that had direct bearing on the lives of the teeming populace.
According to him, adequate attention would be given to facilitate the timely completion of the project and acknowledged the courage and endurance demonstrated by the communities for waiting patiently to see the day of the execution of the project.
Governor Mohammed reaffirmed that in an effort to remain focused and committed to its campaign promises; his administration would embark on meaningful projects that had socioeconomic impact on the citizens of the state.
On his part, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Works and Transport, Engineer Stephen Abubakar, said the road when completed, would increase access to social amenities and other opportunities associated with road transport to the communities.
He explained that the road was designed to have a length of 58.4k metres with total width of 10.3 metres, which comprised of a carriageway of 7.3 metres and 1.5 metres shoulders on each side.
The permanent secretary noted that the road would be constructed with four bridges, 45 box culverts and 70 pipe culverts of different sizes as it would be completed within 24 dry months.
In his remarks earlier, Caretaker Committee Chairman, Tafawa Balewa Local Government, Kefas Magaji, who spoke on behalf of the benefiting communities, described the gesture as a welcome development, saying the road would further boost movement and interaction among the people of Tafawa Balewa and Alkaleri Local Government Areas.
9mobile secures N82.8bn AFC loan
n what appears to be a landmark achievement since the exit of United Arab Emirates (UAE) investors, Etisalat Telecommunications Company, 9mobile has secured N82.8 billion (US$230 million) from the Africa Finance Corporation (AFC).
The facility came as a lifeline for the telco, which currently ranks distant fourth among mobile network operators in the country with 16 million active subscriptions.
The facility, which is divided into two tranches, is to be spent on repayment of historic vendor obligations, according to the company. Part of the loan, the telco said, would also be used, among others, to “finance costs, interest reserve account and payment towards quick win CAPEX initiatives.”
AFC is a pan-African multilateral development financial institution established to bridge Africa’s infrastructure investment gap through the provision of debt and equity finance, project development, technical and financial advisory services.
Announcing the development through a statement yesterday, the Board of Emerging Markets Telecommunication Services Limited (EMTS), trading as 9mobile, said the loan was a boost to its efforts to reposition the company. “Convinced by the initiatives so far taken by the Alhaji Nasiru Ado Bayero-led Board and management headed by Acting Managing Director, Stephane Beuvelet, to return the multi-award-winning company to the path of growth and profitability through cost efficiency, innovative product development and network efficiency, AFC announced the approval of the loan on Friday, August 23,” the statement read.
AFC, in a letter addressed to both Bayero and Beuvelet, was quoted as saying: “Africa Finance Corporation is pleased to inform Emerging Markets Telecommunication Services that it has received full Board approval to support the turnaround strategy of EMTS through a US$230 million super senior debt investment.”
Commenting on the approval, the Board Chair, Ado Bayero, expressed happiness that EMTS’ effort to recover previously ceded ground through an innovative growth plan is being supported by a pan-African financial institution, the AFC.
Bayero further assured of the company’s resolve to continue its aggressive enhancement of network capacity and innovative features to guarantee optimum value to customers.
1,000 benefit from Sanwo-Olu, Hamzat medical outreach
agos State Government yesterday said that no fewer than 1,000 people have so far benefited from the ongoing free surgical intervention in orthopedic surgery, eye, and others being offered by the state government in collaboration with a non-governmental organisation, BOSKOH Lagos Healthcare Mission.
New Telegraph gathered that at Massey Street Children’s Hospital, 81 pediatric patients were referred for various cases, including dental problems and chronic medical conditions, while over 300 patients were being attended to at General Hospital, Lagos, with a total of 94 surgeries so far carried out. A total of 67 dental extractions were also carried out.
Speaking during a visit to centres where the surgery was being carried out simultaneously in general hospital, wife of the Lagos State Governor, Dr. Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, said that the free surgical intervention which included dental surgery procedure, ENT surgery amongst others was a continuation of the free screening recently conducted at the designated primary health centres across the State.
She expressed delight at the impact the interventions had on the lives of beneficiaries.
She said: “I have been around five general hospital today to observe what has been done for the past few days.
Yoruba leader: Afenifere leaders, others meet over Akintoye’s emergence
embers of the Pan-Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere at the weekend converged on Akure, the Ondo State capital to deliberate over recent emergence of Prof. Banji Akintoye as their new leader.
It was gathered that the meeting which was held behind closed doors at the Akure residence of the leader of the group, Pa Reuben Fasoranti was aimed at dousing tension arising from the endorsement of Prof. Akintoye by a group.
Thursday, last week, a group, the Assembly of All Yoruba Groups Worldwide had picked 84-year-old Akintoye as the new leader of the Yoruba race.
The delegates of the groups at Ibadan, the Oyo State capital endorsed Akintoye as the fourth Yoruba leader after Pa Abraham Adesanya.
But sources at the Akure meeting which was attended by Prof. Akintoye, traditional rulers, as well as some prominent Yoruba sons including former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Wole Soyinka among others expressed concern over the development in the Yorubaland and called for caution.
The sources added that during the meeting Akintoye assured the Afenifere leaders that he would not do anything that would cause disunity in Afenifere and in Yorubaland.
The meeting which was presided over by Pa Fasoranti had in attendance the Afenifere Deputy National leader, Pa Ayo Adebanjo, its National scribe, Seinde Arogbofa and the Publicity Secretary of the group, Yinka Odumakin.
Others present were the Ondo State governorship aspirant of the PDP, Chief Sola Ebiseni, Supo Sonibare, Olaitan Osun and Demola Folarin amongst other leaders.
APC screens seven aspirants ahead August 28 Bayelsa primary
o fewer than seven aspirants including Prince Ebitimi Amgbare, David Lyon, Preye Aganaba, Heineken Lokpobiri, former minister of state for agriculture and rural development, were among those screened by the National Screening Committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for their primary election slated for August 28 ahead of the governorship election coming up on November 16.
Others screened were former Cross River State Resident Electoral Commissioner of the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) Frankland Briyai, a female aspirant and former Commissioner of Police, Diseye Poweigha and Prof. Ongebi Maureen Etebu.
Addressing the aspirants and stakeholders at the state secretariat in Yenagoa, the Ita Isong-led National Screening Committee had assured all aspirants of a level playing ground that would ensure a smooth playing ground towards the party’s primary.
Addressing journalists after the exercise, Heineken Lokpobiri said he was satisfied with the outcome of the exercise.
He said: “Well, the screening committee did a good job. Out of the seven aspirants, I happen to be the last person to be screened and I think the process went well.”
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