● Commends President Tinubu for setting up Nigeria’s tax system reforms committee
Immediate past Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Ikanade Agba, said that Nigeria Agenda 2050- a perspective plan designed to transform the country into an “upper-middle income country” with a significant improvement in per capita income-had already identified and clarified where to be in 30 years’ time and how to get there.
Agba spoke on Thursday in Osogbo while delivering a paper entitled: “Strategic Thinking for Progressive Governance in the 21st Century”, at the 22nd meeting of the National Council on Development Planning (NCDP), in which he commended President Bola Tinubu for setting up a committee to reform the nation’s tax system.
He said that the perspective plan (Nigeria Agenda 2050) aimed to fully engage all resources, reduce poverty, and achieve social and economic stability.
According to him, “It also targets developing a mechanism for achieving sustainable environment consistent with global concerns about climate change,” adding that “the plan therefore presents the road map for accelerated, sustained and broad-based growth as well as provides broad frameworks for reducing unemployment, poverty, inequality, and human deprivation.”
Agba, who supervised the development of the National Development Plan (NDP) 2021-2025 and Nigeria Agenda 2050 as minister of state for budget and national planning, said that the path to that goal would pass through six Medium Term National Development Plans (NDP), namely NDP (2021-2025) (already developed and published) and subsequent national development plans covering (2026-2030), (2031-2035), (2036-2040), (2041-2045), and (2046-2050).
According to him: “The first of the medium-term plans, named NDP 2021-2025, is to make Nigeria a country that has unlocked its potential in all sectors of the economy for a sustainable, holistic, and inclusive development.
“Specifically, the Plan aims to generate 21 million full-time jobs and lift 35 million people out of poverty by 2025; thus, setting the stage for achieving the government’s commitment of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years.”
He said that having set the future agenda through the above plans, the next step was to ensure effective implementation, monitoring and evaluation, and achieving the planned result.”
“To achieve these, we need to address binding domestic growth constraints through creating the needed enabling environment for sustainable economic growth and development to allow the private sector to drive the economy.
“The strategy to create the needed enabling environment for sustainable economic growth and development is contained in Volume III, which is the legal and legislatives imperatives. This volume includes 18 laws that need to be passed or amended and 10 policies for effective implementation of the NDP, 2021-2025,” he stated.
Agba said that there was an urgent need to resubmit and ensure the passage of “The Development Planning and Project Continuity Bill,” which had been in National Assembly undergoing legislative process for enactment, stressing that this would improve plan implementation majorly affected by political and policy changes.
He listed other steps to take to include strengthening the link between the Plan and Annual Budget and improving inter-sectoral collaboration, in addition to ensuring coordinated and harmonised efforts with states and creating the enabling environment for increased private sector investment.
Agba also underscored the need to ensure diligent implementation of the plan especially Volumes I, II & III, explaining that whereas “Volume I contains the policies with targets and the required investment; Volume II has the costed priority programmes and projects, while Volume III is the legal and legislatives imperatives.”
He said there was need for a mid-term review of the performance of NDP 2021-2025, stressing that this would focus on the degree to which planned results were on target, and the areas that might require improvement.
“Mid-term review should be carried out before the development of NDP 2026-2030. The report should guide the development of the next plan. In fact, the mid-term review should start NOW,” he added.
The immediate past minister also posited that for effective implementation of the plan, there was need to implement the National Monitoring & Evaluation Policy already approved by Federal Executive Council (FEC), “increase the monitoring and evaluation process to ensure that we are not only getting value for money but that we are also strategic in resource allocation; ensure that the Plan Implementation Unit already set up by the Ministry is adequately resourced, running and efficient; and, this also needs to be replicated at the Sub-national level.”
Stressing the importance of inspecting what one is expecting in order to achieve the best result, he said the government must ensure that Eye Mark App of the Ministry and the iMonitor Platform of the Budget office were up and running.
According to him: “Feedbacks collated from citizens should be used to monitor and enhance project delivery, as the use of feedback will elicit citizens and Civil Society Organisations’ (CSOs’) participation in tracking progress and performance of government’s interventions.”
Meanwhile, Agba took the opportunity of the occasion to commend the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu in his paper for setting up a committee to reform Nigeria’s tax system, for enhanced collection and with a target of at least 18% tax-to-GDP ratio within the next 3 years without stifling investment or economic growth.
He said that “This is part of a push by government to curb its reliance on borrowing to finance public spending. This target is seemingly aggressive, but all efforts should be made to achieve it.”
He cited a report by the World Bank that “tax revenues above 15 percent of a country’s GDP are a key ingredient for economic growth and, ultimately, poverty reduction,” pointing out that “Nigeria’s Revenue-to-GDP ratio of 10.86% is low when compared to 21 percent in Angola, 28 percent in Botswana, 13 percent in Ghana, 16 percent in Kenya, 19% in Senegal, and 28% in South Africa.”
Full Speech of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for Nigeria’s 63RD Independence Day Anniversary
“It is my unique honour to address you on this day, the 63rd anniversary of our nation’s independence, both as the President of our dear country and, simply, as a fellow Nigerian.
“On this solemn yet hopeful day, let us commend our founding fathers and mothers. Without them, there would be no modern Nigeria. From the fading embers of colonialism, their activism, dedication, and leadership gave life to the belief in Nigeria as a sovereign and independent nation.
“Let us, at this very moment, affirm that, as Nigerians, we are all endowed with the sacred rights and individual gifts that God has bestowed on us as a nation and as human beings. No one is greater or lesser than the other. The triumphs that Nigeria has achieved shall define us.
The travails we have endured shall strengthen us. And no other nation or power on this earth shall keep us from our rightful place and destiny. This nation belongs to you, dear people. Love and cherish it as your very own.
“Nigeria is remarkable in its formation and essential character. We are a broad and dynamic blend of ethnic groups, religions, traditions, and cultures. Yet, our bonds are intangible yet strong, invisible yet universal.
“We are joined by a common thirst for peace and progress, by the common dream of prosperity and harmony, and by the unifying ideals of tolerance and justice.
“Forging a nation based on the fair application of these noble principles to a diverse population has been a task of significant blessing but also a serial challenge.
“Some people have said an independent Nigeria should never have come into existence. Some have said that our country would be torn apart. They are forever mistaken. Here, our nation stands, and here we shall remain.
“This year, we passed a significant milestone in our journey to a better Nigeria. By democratically electing a 7th consecutive civilian government, Nigeria has proven that commitment to democracy and the rule of law remains our guiding light.
“At my inauguration, I made important promises about how I would govern this great nation. Among those promises were pledges to reshape and modernize our economy and to secure the lives, liberty, and property of the people.
“I said that bold reforms were necessary to place our nation on the path of prosperity and growth. On that occasion, I announced the end of the fuel subsidy. I am attuned to the hardships that have come. I have a heart that feels and eyes that see. I wish to explain to you why we must endure this trying moment.
“Those who sought to perpetuate the fuel subsidy and broken foreign exchange policies are people who would build their family mansion in the middle of a swamp.
“I am different. I am not a man to erect our national home on a foundation of mud. To endure, our home must be constructed on safe and pleasant ground.
“Reform may be painful, but it is what greatness and the future require. We now carry the costs of reaching a future in Nigeria where the abundance and fruits of the nation are fairly shared among all, not hoarded by a select and greedy few. A Nigeria where hunger, poverty, and hardship are pushed into the shadows of an ever-fading past.
“There is no joy in seeing the people of this nation shoulder burdens that should have been shed years ago. I wish today’s difficulties did not exist. But we must endure if we are to reach the good side of our future.
“My government is doing all that it can to ease the load. I will now outline the path we are taking to relieve the stress on our families and households.
“We have embarked on several public sector reforms to stabilize the economy, direct fiscal and monetary policy to fight inflation, encourage production, ensure the security of lives and property, and lend more support to the poor and the vulnerable.
“Based on our talks with labour, business, and other stakeholders, we are introducing a provisional wage increment to enhance the federal minimum wage without causing undue inflation. For the next six months, the average low-grade worker shall receive an additional Twenty-Five Thousand naira per month.
“To ensure better grassroots development, we set up an Infrastructure Support Fund for states to invest in critical areas. States have already received funds to provide relief packages against the impact of rising food and other prices.
“Making the economy more robust by lowering transport costs will be key. In this regard, we have opened a new chapter in public transportation through the deployment of cheaper, safer Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) buses across the nation. These buses will operate at a fraction of current fuel prices, positively affecting transport fares.
“New CNG conversion kits will start coming in very soon as all hands are on deck to fast track the usually lengthy procurement process. We are also setting up training facilities and workshops across the nation to train and provide new opportunities for transport operators and entrepreneurs.
“This is a groundbreaking moment where, as a nation, we embrace more efficient means to power our economy. In making this change, we also make history.
“I pledged a thorough housecleaning of the den of malfeasance the CBN had become. That housecleaning is well underway. A new leadership for the Central Bank has been constituted. Also, my special investigator will soon present his findings on past lapses and how to prevent similar reoccurrences. Henceforth, monetary policy shall be for the benefit of all and not the exclusive province of the powerful and wealthy.
“Wise tax policy is essential to economic fairness and development. I have inaugurated a Committee on Tax Reforms to improve the efficiency of tax administration in the country and address fiscal policies that are unfair or hinder the business environment and slow our growth.
“To boost employment and urban incomes, we are providing investment funding for enterprises with great potential. Similarly, we are increasing investment in micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises.
“Commencing this month, the social safety net is being extended through the expansion of cash transfer programs to an additional 15 million vulnerable households.
“My administration shall always accord the highest priority to the safety of the people. Inter-Service collaboration and intelligence sharing have been enhanced. Our Service Chiefs have been tasked with the vital responsibility of rebuilding the capacities of our security services.
“Here, I salute and commend our gallant security forces for keeping us safe and securing our territorial integrity. Many have paid the ultimate sacrifice. We remember them today and their families. We shall equip our forces with the ways and means needed to perform their urgent task on behalf of the people,
“We shall continue to make key appointments in line with the provisions of the Constitution and with fairness toward all. Women, Youth, and the physically challenged shall continue to be given due regard in these appointments.
“May I take this opportunity to congratulate the National Assembly for its role in the quick take-off of this administration through the performance of its constitutional duties of confirmation and oversight?
“I similarly congratulate the judiciary as a pillar of democracy and fairness.
“I also thank members of our dynamic civil society organizations and labour unions for their dedication to Nigerian democracy. We may not always agree but I value your advice and recommendations. You are my brothers and sisters and you have my due respect.
“Fellow compatriots, the journey ahead will not be navigated by fear or hatred. We can only achieve a better Nigeria through courage, compassion and commitment as one indivisible unit.
“I promise that I shall remain committed and serve faithfully. I also invite all to join this enterprise to remake our beloved nation into its better self. We can do it. We must do it. We shall do it.!!!
“I wish you all a happy 63rd Independence Anniversary. Thank you for listening. May God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
Nigeria@63: Ganduje urges Nigerians to sustain faith in Tinubu
The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Abdullahi Ganduje, has urged Nigerians not to despair, reassuring them that President Bola Tinubu will deliver the good governance and dividends of democracy he promised.
This was contained in the goodwill message issued in Abuja by his Chief Press Secretary, Edwin Olofu, to celebrate the nation’s 63rd Independence anniversary.
The development is coming barely 24 hours after Ganduje appointed the immediate past Governor of Katsina State, Aminu Masari, as chairman of a nine-man committee to intervene in the lingering feud between Ondo State governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, and his deputy, Lucky Aiyedatiwa.
In his goodwill message on Saturday, the APC national chairman called on the citizenry to remain hopeful, adding that measures already put in place by the APC-led administration would reposition the country to achieve growth and development.
He said, “Without a doubt, you will agree with me that the journey has not been without obstacles. It has been characterised by opportunities, prospects and challenges including a three-year civil war which has brought out the resilient Nigerian spirit of perseverance, industry and abiding faith in the country.
“As a party, let me restate that the APC will remain true to its promises and pledges to the people. None of these promises I repeat, will escape our attention and none will be treated lightly. The present administration led by President Bola Tinubu is ready to live up to the Renewed Hope manifesto to reposition Nigeria towards sustainable growth, development and economic prosperity.
“Fortunately he has hit the ground running to fix the infrastructural and economic reversals of the previous years. Under this administration, Nigerians can be rest assured that it will be fine again and your worries will soon be a thing of the past.
“There will be sufficient jobs with decent wages, medicare, housing and other basic infrastructure that can guarantee the citizenry a better life. At this juncture, let me recognise and appreciate the immeasurable contributions, efforts, sacrifices and patriotism of our founding fathers, their vision, courage and perseverance laid the foundation for the emergence of this great and inspiring nation called Nigeria.”
JUST IN: Police grill Sam Larry, Lagos CP to address press
The Lagos State Police Command has deepened its probe of Lagos socialite, Balogun Eletu aka Sam Larry, over the ongoing investigation into circumstances leading to the death of late Singer, Ilerioluwa Aloba aka Mohbad.
Sam Larry was detained by the police on Thursday night after he honoured the police invitation, and has since been grilled by police investigators over his disagreements with the late musician.
Our correspondent gathered that the suspect who is currently detained at the Lagos State Police Command Headquarters and was yet to hire the services of a lawyer over the incident as of Saturday, is very much likely to remain in police custody until next week Monday.
A security source who preferred anonymity also revealed that police officers arrested Sam Larry at the Murtala Muhammed Airport on Thursday night following his arrival from Kenya.
“Sam Larry was arrested by policemen at the Murtala Muhammed airport last night (Thursday) after he arrived from Kenya, and he was immediately driven to the Lagos Command Headquarters in Ikeja for questioning,” the source noted.
Speaking with our correspondent in an exclusive interview, Friday night, the Lagos State Police Command Public Relations Officer, SP Benjamin Hundeyin revealed that the outcome of the police investigation would determine the decision to be taken on Sam Larry.
The police spokesman further noted that he could not reveal details of the controversial socialite’s statement to the police, adding that the Commissioner of Police, Idowu Owohunwa will address the press about the development soon.
Hundeyin revealed, “Sam Larry is still with us. But I’m not talking about our plans yet because he’s still under investigation, hence the outcome of our investigation will determine the lifeline of our next move.
“I’m not disclosing the content of his statement yet; the Commissioner of Police will address the press over the development soon, and when the CP addresses the press, I’d be able to talk about our investigation so far.”
Earlier Thursday night, SP Hundeyin had revealed that Sam Larry was held in police custody, and was assisting with an ongoing investigation.
The police had earlier invited Sam Larry and singer, Azeez Fashola aka Naira Marley for questioning over Mohbad’s demise.
The police, last week, also confirmed that pathologists have concluded the autopsy conducted on Mohbad, while the police await the result.
“Autopsy has been concluded. Awaiting results”, Hundeyin confirmed.
This development followed the exhumation of Mohbad by a combined team of the Nigeria Police Force and health officials.
The police had also arrested the nurse who reportedly injected the deceased singer prior to his demise on Tuesday, September 12.
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