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Nigeria needs loans for roads, rail, power – Buhari

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The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on Tuesday, justified the nation’s debt profile, saying his regime needed to borrow to fund critical infrastructure like roads, rail, and power.

According to a statement titled “President Buhari justifies borrowing to fund infrastructure,” by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, the President spoke at a virtual meeting he had with members of the Presidential Economic Advisory Council from the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Buhari spoke at a time stakeholders are expressing concerns over the nation’s rising debt profile and accusing the government of mortgaging the country’s future.

But the President said his regime needed to take loans to address the deficit in the nation’s infrastructure.

He said it was only by doing so that the county could be attractive to investors.

“We have so many challenges with infrastructure.

“We just have to take loans to do roads, rail, and power, so that investors will find us attractive and come here to put their money,’’ Shehu quoted the President as saying after listening to a presentation by PEAC chaired by Prof Ayo Salami.

Buhari was also said to have regretted that failure to provide infrastructure for effective transportation deprived the country of its well-deserved status as the West African hub for air cargo transportation and trans-shipment of goods.

On the economy, the President noted the challenges posed by the “collapse of the oil market” and the decision of the government to abide by the reduced oil production quota allocated by the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.

He said, “We have to accept that decision; otherwise they (Middle-East producers) can flood the market and make the product unviable.

“So we have cooperated with what we get. With oil, we are in a difficult situation. The politics of oil is that the less you produce, the less you earn.”

Shehu said Salami had, earlier in his presentation, highlighted the council’s recommendations on poverty reduction and stimulation of non-debt investment inflows, as promised at their last meeting.

The statement added, “The council recommended steps for the effective implementation of government’s plan to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty, as well as measures to curb poverty disparity in Nigeria.

“The council promised to set out a full policy paper that would, in the first instance, stop more Nigerians from falling into poverty and thereafter, further plans on reducing the poverty headcount in the country.

“The PEAC also outlined a number of measures aimed at aggressively increasing the country’s non-debt investment inflow, including measures to improve investor perception of the country and the proposed establishment of a $5bn – $10 bn investment and growth fund to invest in.

“The PEAC used the opportunity of the meeting to express support and solidarity with the administration on its recent policies.

“It listed the implementation of reforms encapsulated in the Companies and Allied Matters Act 2020 recently signed into law, the reforms in the energy sector, bringing electricity and fuel prices in line with the market, and the decision of the Central Bank of Nigeria to merge the exchange rate of the naira versus other foreign currencies.”

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NIGERIA

Soldier shoots man for not wearing a face mask

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A soldier allegedly shot a 27-year-old man in South Africa during an argument over why he was not wearing a face mask in line with Covid-19 regulations.

Police spokesperson Brig Motlafela Mojapelo, who confirmed the report on Friday, said the incident happened at a shopping complex in Mogwadi, Limpopo, on Thursday, September 17.

“Members of the national defense force were reportedly on duty monitoring Covid-19 compliance in the area when they approached a group of people who were not wearing face masks,” Mojapelo said on Friday.

“When asked why they were not wearing masks, an argument allegedly ensued and one of the soldiers shot the victim. The injured 27-year-old man was rushed to the hospital.

“The soldier, aged 29, was arrested and charged with attempted murder,” said Mojapelo. The soldier is due to appear in the Morebeng magistrate’s court on Friday.

 

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NIGERIA

FG apologises for asking all bank, other account holders to re-register

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The Federal Government has apologized for asking all account holders in the country’s financial institutions to register their details again.

It was reported already that the FG earlier asked all account holders in banks, including insurance companies, to fill and submit a Self-Confirmation form.

The order was given despite the possession of the Bank Verification Number and the National Identification Number by account holders on Thursday.

Failure to do so, the Nigerian government threatened to block access to defaulters’ accounts or impose a monetary penalty.

The order to fill another Self-Confirmation form, despite the existing BVN and NIN, had attracted condemnations on social media.

However, in a tweet on Friday, the government apologized for misinformation.

It tweeted, “We apologize for the misleading tweets (now deleted) that went up yesterday, regarding the completion of self-certification forms by Reportable Persons. The message contained in the @firsNigeria Notice does not apply to everybody. FIRS will issue appropriate clarification shortly.”

In a press statement, the Federal Inland Revenue Service explained that only “reportable persons” are expected to submit the form.

The statement read, “This is to clarify the publication for financial institutions account holders in Nigeria to complete the self-certification form, pursuant to the Income Tax (Common Reporting Standard) Regulations 2019 which is for the fulfillment of Automatic Exchange of Information Requirements.

“The Self Certification form is basically to be administered on Reportable persons holding accounts in Financial institutions that are regarded as “Reportable Financial Institutions” under the CRS.

“Reportable persons are often non-residents. And other persons who have a residence for tax purposes in more than one jurisdiction or Country.

“Financial Institutions are expected to administer the Self Certification form on such account holders when the information at its disposal indicates that the Account holder is a person resident for tax purpose in more than one jurisdiction.

“The information that indicates an account holder is a resident for tax purposes in more than one jurisdiction, is expected to be available to Financial Institutions during the account opening processes for the KYC and AML purpose.”

Earlier, the Nigerian government said all persons holding accounts in different financial institutions are required to complete and submit the form to each one of their institutions.

It had tweeted, “This is to notify the general public that all account holders in Financial Institutions (Banks, Insurance Companies, etc) are required to obtain, complete, and submit Self – Certification Forms to their respective Financial Institutions.

“Failure to comply with the requirement to administer or execute this form attracts sanctions which may include monetary penalty or inability to operate the account.”

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NIGERIA

Gunmen kidnap two undergraduates, five others in Kaduna community

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Gunmen in the early hours of Friday invaded Barkallahu, Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State, kidnapping seven persons.

Among the seven persons kidnapped, five persons were members of the same family.

The bandits, it was gathered invaded the community about 1:30 am on Friday and shot indiscriminately as they went from house-to-house to pick their victims.

A resident, Abdulsalam Haruna, said the gunmen went away with his wife and four children.

Haruna, who spoke to newsmen, said two of the children were students of the Federal University, Malunfashi in Katsina State.

He also said the hoodlums left with two of his neighbour’s children, adding that the bandits attacked two other houses in the area, including that of a retired director in the Kaduna State Ministry of Education.

Haruna said, “The incident happened about 1:30 am (on Friday). They broke my gate and came into my compound. They broke the door to my house and ordered everybody to follow them.

“They went away with my wife and four of my children, two of which are students of the Federal University, Malumfashi, Katsina State.

“They also attacked my neighbour and went away with two of his children.

“Two other houses, including that of a retired director in the Kaduna Ministry of Education, were also attacked, but they did not kidnap anybody or carry anything there.

“We alerted the personnel but by the time they arrived, the bandits had escaped with the victims.”

The Kaduna State Police Command has yet to confirm the incident as the Public Relations Officer, ASP Mohammed Jalige, could not be reached.

Jalige had also yet to reply to a text message sent to his mobile phone as of the time of filing this report.

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