Press zooms in on Buhari’s pledge not to exit government as a failure, others

The declaration of President Muhammadu Buhari that he is not ready to exit government as a failure and that he…

The declaration of President Muhammadu Buhari that he is not ready to exit government as a failure and that he is ready to make further changes if he is not satisfied dominates the headlines of Nigerian newspapers on Friday.The Guardian reports that after the over five hours closed-door meeting yesterday, National Security Adviser (NSA), Maj-Gen Babagana Monguno (rtd.), disclosed that the armed forces have so far recorded a lot of successes in the operations in the North East.

Apparently, basking in the euphoria of the surrender, Monguno said: “Large numbers of people are surrendering in the Northeast as a consequence of the relentless efforts of the armed forces, intelligence and security agencies. We have never had such numbers of people defecting from the other side, back to the Nigerian side, mainly as a result of many issues within the theatre, especially infighting among the various factions of the terrorist groups.

“So, the President was briefed. The President is quite happy that there’s been tremendous success, especially with the advent of the new service chiefs and Inspector General of Police.

“And he’s also made it very, very clear that he’s not ready to exit government as a failure. He is not going to tolerate that; he’s made changes and is ready to make further changes if he is not satisfied. He is completely determined to ensure that there’s a turnaround in the fortunes in the theatre of operations.”

The NSA, however, declined to disclose what the authorities would do with those who have surrendered. He said: “Yes, there are plans. But I don’t want to immediately divulge what has been decided on those plans till the President takes a firm decision on the plans. But definitely, that is one of the things he intends to address in the coming days.

The newspaper says that to create harmonious relationships in the financial technology space, there is a need for clarity of regulations from the regulators to the players in the sector, especially Fintechs.

Clarity of regulations, according to experts in the space, would not only ensure stability, bridge knowledge gaps, but also help avoid unnecessary frictions among stakeholders.

These were the views of experts, who spoke to journalists in Lagos, ahead of their planned efforts to bring financial regulators closer to operators in the Fintech space in Nigeria.

Besides, these experts also highlighted the importance of financial and regulatory stability, among financial regulators, Fintech developers and grassroots beneficiaries to achieve seamless operations that would further deepen inclusion in the country.

According to representatives of United State of America-based EMTECH, which is partnering with Global InfoSwift Consulting (GIC) to bring financial regulators closer to operators in the fintech ecosystem of Nigeria, more collaboration is needed.

The Founder and CEO, EMTECH, Carmelle Cadet, admitted that each space has its own specific challenges, but stressed that education and capacity building to a greater extent, would help avoid unnecessary frictions.

The Punch reports that the House of Representatives’ Committee on Finance has condemned Nigeria’s plan to borrow to finance N5.62tn deficit in the 2022 budget, while some ministries, departments and agencies starve the Federal Government of revenue.

The government plans to borrow about N4.89tn from internal and external sources to finance the deficit in its proposed 2022 budget of N13.98tn due to dwindling revenue.

The committee especially criticised the MDAs for concealing their revenues, thereby denying the government the ability to fund its budget.

The Chairman of the committee, James Faleke, expressed the concern in Abuja on Thursday at the ongoing public hearing on the 2022-2024 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper.

Faleke said, “We are not you happy with the way Nigeria is borrowing N5.62tn and we have some funds somewhere staying fallow without being used. For God’s sake, let us build this country together for the sake of all of us.”

The Sun says that the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, said the Federal Government raised about N669 billion from the Nigerian capital market through issuance of Sukuk bonds.

Ahmed disclosed this during the 2021 Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers (CIS) National Workshop held yesterday in Abuja. Speaking on the theme “Leveraging the Financial Markets to Achieve Double-Digit Economic Growth for Nigeria”.

Ahmed revealed that the Federal Government between 2018 to 2020, had through the DMO raised N669 billion from the capital market in three Sukuk bonds issuance.

She added that the financing was used to construct and rehabilitate over 44 roads across the six geopolitical zones of the country.

“Also worthy of mention was the offer for subscription of the FGN Savings Bonds by the DMO which was executed successfully after bond issuance and this is pleasing to us as the bonds are always over-subscribed as a reflection of the interest of the Nigerian investing public who are putting their monies to support the government in bridging our infrastructural deficit gap,” she said.

The newspaper reports that the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has urged the Federal Government to repatriate $143.8 million foreign airlines’ revenue trapped in Nigeria from the sale of tickets, cargo space, and other activities.

IATA, which is the clearing house for over 290 global airlines representing 82 per cent of global traffic, lamented the failure of governments to repatriate nearly $1billion of airlines’ revenues trapped in their countries.

The Director-General of IATA, Willie Walsh, urged governments to abide by international agreements and treaty obligations to enable airlines repatriate close to nearly $1 billion in blocked funds from the sale of tickets, cargo space, and others.

“Governments are preventing nearly $1 billion of airline revenues from being repatriated. This contravenes international conventions and could slow the recovery of travel and tourism in affected markets as the airline industry struggles to recover from the COVID-19 crisis.

“Airlines will not be able to provide reliable connectivity if they cannot rely on local revenues to support operations. That is why it is critical for all governments to prioritise ensuring that funds can be repatriated efficiently. Now is not the time to score an ‘own goal’ by putting vital air connectivity at risk,” Walsh said.

ThisDay says that Aviation industry experts have said that ground-handling companies at the nation’s airports lose about $28,350,000 (about N14, 175 billion) annually to inappropriate pricing of their services.

Thus, experts have warn that if the current rates charged airlines by the handling companies; foreign and local, are not reviewed, the ground handlers may go under, while safety and security may also be jeopardised in the system.

It was learnt that the handling companies charge between $300 to $1000 to handle a narrow body aircraft, rather than $1,400 to $1600 charged in other African countries, while for the wide body aircraft, they still charge about $ 3,000 instead of $5,000 in sub-Saharan African countries.

There are indications that no fewer than 45 narrow body aircraft on regional and international routes, which include Boeing B737, Airbus A320, ER 135 and ATR aircraft are handled daily at the nation’s international airports by the ground handling companies.

For wide body aircraft like B767, A330, B777 and B747, at least 20 flights are handled daily by the ground handling companies. For instance, the average handling rate in other West African countries for a narrow body aircraft is $1,500, while it is about $300 to $1,000 per aircraft in Nigeria.

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