By Ossom Raphael
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed has said that Nigeria’s economy remains largest in Africa with with over $400 billion in Gross Domestic Products (GDP).
The minister, who said this at the 21st edition of Town Hall Meeting on the achievements of the Federal Government in infrastructure development held on Tuesday in Abuja, also said that the country’s huge and growing population offer both an economic challenge and opportunity.
She noted that despite constrained revenue proceeds brought on by several multi-dimensional factors, including the global pandemic and its impact on the domestic economy, the country still boast of the largest economy in Africa.
Ahmed who pledged Federal Governments commitment to continue to prioritise spending on infrastructure, said the ministry planned to spend about N1.42 trillion in 2022.
She said: “Nigeria’s economy and population remain the largest in Africa with over $400 billion in GDP and over 200 million people. The country’s huge and growing population offer both an economic challenge and opportunity, in the light of constrained revenue proceeds brought on by several multi-dimensional factors, including the global pandemic and its impact on the domestic economy.
“Against this backdrop of challenges, this Administration has successfully implemented a range of infrastructure programmes that have had a positive impact on the lives and livelihoods of the citizenry.
“Subsequently, this Administration continues to prioritize spending on infrastructure and human capital to catalyze rapid economic development. In 2022 alone, we plan to spend about N1.42 trillion on infrastructure and N2.11 trillion on human capital development.”
Speaking further, Ahmed said that bilateral and multilateral loans financing critical infrastructure were contracted within the framework of the 2020-2023 Medium-Term Debt Management Strategy (MTDS).
According to her, the MTDS provides a guide to the borrowing activities of government in the medium-term, usually four years.
“The ministry under the International Economics Relations Department (IERD) contracts external loans on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria from bilateral and multilateral development partners to finance critical infrastructure.
“The Debt Management Office (DMO), in collaboration with relevant stakeholders set targets under medium-term debt management strategy.
“These includes total public debt maximum of 40 per cent from the GDP, portfolio composition of maximum 70 per cent and minimum 30 per cent and domestic debt mix with the minimum of 75 per cent and maximum 25 per cent.
“In the light of constrained revenue, proceeds brought on by several multi-dimensional factors, including the global pandemic had its impact on the domestic economy.
“Ongoing projects under the Chinese EXIM bank include the Zungeru Hydropower Plant Project funded with 984.32 million dollars and Lagos – Ibadan railway project received 1.26 billion dollars.
“The upgrading and rehabilitation of Keffi-Akwanga-Lafia Road project was funded with 460.82 million dollars, supply of rolling stock and depot equipment for Abuja light rail phase 1 project was funded with 164.91 million dollars.
“The NICTIB Phase II (Galaxy Backbone), four airports terminal expansion project phase II and ancillary works on four airports terminal expansion were funded with 328million, 208.91 million and 183.62 million dollars respectively,” Ahmed said.
The Minister acknowledged the contributions of the World Bank, African Development Bank and French Bank in funding relevant infrastructure development in the country.
She said: “World Bank funds the Nigeria electrification project, north core interconnection power transmission line and Nigeria electricity transmission and access project with 350 million dollars, 32.3 million dollars and 486 million dollars respectively.
“The African Development Bank has also funded the Nigeria electrification project, Nigeria transmission and expansion program with a total of 410 million dollars.
“French Development Bank funds the Abuja Power Feeding Transmission Scheme with 170 million dollars and Northern Corridor Transmission Line with 245 million dollars”.
The event organised by the Ministry of Information and Culture was aimed at sensitizing the impacted communities, key stakeholders, the public and the nation on the infrastructure projects and programmes undertaken by the current Administration to create the enabling environment for socio-economic growth and development.
Senate Confirms Appointment Of Cardoso, Others As CBN Governor And Deputies
The Nigerian Senate has confirmed the appointment of Yemi Cardoso as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor and four others as Deputy Governors of the apex bank.
They were confirmed on Tuesday following a screening by the upper legislative body.
The deputy governors who were confirmed are Emem Nnana Usoro, Muhammad Sani Abdullahi Dattijo, Philip Ikeazor, and Bala Bello.
“The nomination of Olayemi Cardoso is hereby confirmed as governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN),” Senate President Godswill Akpabio said.
Before their confirmation, the nominees had answered questions on matters related to economic and other policies.
During the screening, Cardoso promised to embrace compliance, assuring that under his leadership, the apex bank would remain apolitical.
“I believe that the Central Bank under our watch will have no choice but to embrace a culture of compliance,” he said.
“We will not wait for oversight to come and tell us what to do. We will ensure that by the time the system is passing through us, we catch it and we deal with it,” said Cardoso who promised zero tolerance for abuse of compliance.
“That is a cultural shift, a change in mindset, but we will make sure it happens,” the former Citibank Nigeria chairman assured.
Cardoso’s confirmation comes weeks after President Bola Tinubu nominated him as the acting CBN governor and four others as deputies.
He assumed office last week, replacing the then-acting governor of the CBN Folashodun Shonubi.
The recent appointments followed the suspension and resignation of Godwin Emefiele as the apex bank boss. The Delta-born began his reign in 2014 but got backlash owing to the naira redesign policy.
Emefiele, who was later arrested by the Department of State Services (DSS) but released on bail, is being tried on an alleged N6.9b fraud.
Senate Screens CBN Governor, Deputies Today – Bamidele
The Senate will on Tuesday screen former Chairman of the Board of Citi Bank Nigeria, Dr. Olayemi Michael Cardoso for the position of the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The senate will also screen four nominees for the positions of CBN Deputy Governors, who will join forces with Cardoso to steer affairs of the apex bank in the next five years.
In a statement by the Media Office of the Senate Leader, Senator Michael Opeyemi Bamidele, the senate will screen all the nominees following its resumption from its annual recess.
The statement said: “The Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria will resume plenary on Tuesday, September 26. We will consider the screening of Dr. Cardoso at the Committee of the whole.
“Dr. Cardoso will be screened alongside four deputy governors namely Mrs. Emem Nnana Usoro, Mr. Muhammad Sani Abdullahi Dattijo, Mr. Philip Ikeazor, and Dr. Bala M. Bello.
“Besides, the Senate has scheduled to screen the ministerial nominees – Dr. Jamila Bio Ibrahim and Mr. Ayodele Olawande, respectively designated as Minister of Youth and Minister of State for Youth on October 3.”
On September 15, President Tinubu approved the nomination of Cardoso to serve as the new Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
He also approved the nomination of four deputy governors for a term of five years each at the first instance, pending their confirmation by the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
CBN Confirms Emefiele’s Resignation As Cardoso Assumes Office
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has confirmed the resignation of Mr Godwin Emefiele as its governor, three months after being suspended from office by President Bola Tinubu.
Emefiele was thereafter quizzed by officials of the Department of State Service (DSS) who later charged him to court.
Following his suspension, the Federal Government appointed Mr Folashodun Shonubi, the Deputy Governor (Operations Directorate), to oversee the affairs of the apex bank.
In a statement by the Director of Information at the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Willie Bassey, the government said Emefiele’s suspension from office was due to an ongoing investigation of his office and the planned reforms in the economy’s financial sector.
However, on September 15, Tinubu nominated Olayemi Cardoso as the new CBN Governor, pending his confirmation by the Nigerian Senate.
“President Bola Tinubu has approved the nomination of Dr. Olayemi Michael Cardoso to serve as the new Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), for a term of five (5) years at the first instance, pending his confirmation by the Nigerian Senate,” presidential spokesman, Ajuri Ngelale, said in a statement.
Corroborating this, the apex bank issued a statement on Friday, announcing the assumption of office by the acting governor.
The bank’s Director of Corporate Communications, Isa AbdulMumin, said Cardoso will act as governor pending his confirmation by the parliament.
“Dr. Olayemi Michael Cardoso, recently nominated by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has on Friday, September 22, 2023, formally assumed duty, in an acting capacity, as the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), pending his confirmation by the Senate. This follows the resignation of Mr. Godwin Emefiele as Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN),” the statement said.
The bank also said that the “Deputy-Governors-Designate have also assumed duty, in acting capacities, sequel to the formal resignation of Mr. Folashodun Shonubi, Mrs. Aishah Ahmad, Mr. Edward Lametek Adamu, and Dr. Kingsley Obiora as Deputy Governors of the CBN.”
Cardoso was the former chairman of Citibank Nigeria. He is a distinguished leader in the financial and development sectors with over 30 years’ experience in the private, public and not-for-profit organisations.
With diverse corporate governance experience, Mr Cardoso has also sat on the boards of Nigerian subsidiaries of Texaco and Chevron and chaired the board of EFInA, a financial sector development organisation supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation.
He served in government as Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget for Lagos State, where he championed the financial reform process which led to the state’s development of independent tax revenues.
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