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Why Nigeria Must Completely Phase Out Fuel, Electricity Subsidies – IMF

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The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has advised the Nigerian government to completely phase out costly fuel and electricity subsidies that are inefficient in reaching the most vulnerable.

“Fuel and electricity subsidies are costly, do not reach those that most need government support and should be phased out completely,” IMF said in a report.

This recommendation comes in a new report titled “IMF Executive Board Concludes Post-Financing Assessment with Nigeria,” published on Friday, February 9.

The IMF commended President Bola Tinubu’s administration for tackling structural issues by removing fuel subsidies and unifying exchange rates.

“The new administration has made a strong start, tackling deep-rooted structural issues in challenging circumstances. Immediately, it adopted two policy reforms that its predecessors had shied away from: fuel subsidy removal and the unification of the official exchange rates,” the report said.

“Since then, the new CBN team has made price stability its core mandate and demonstrated this resolve by dropping its previous role in development finance. On the fiscal side, the authorities are developing an ambitious domestic revenue mobilisation agenda.”

IMF, however, warns of a challenging road ahead, saying that like many other countries, Nigeria faces a difficult external environment and wide-ranging domestic challenges.

“External financing (market and official) is scarce, and global food prices have surged, reflecting the repercussions of conflict and geo-economic fragmentation. Per-capita growth in Nigeria has stalled, poverty and food insecurity are high, exacerbating the cost-of-living crisis. Low reserves and very limited fiscal space constrain the authorities’ option space.”

The IMF stated that the government’s focus on revenue mobilisation and digitalisation would improve public service delivery and fiscal sustainability, but the anticipated reduction in the overall deficit in 2024 would help contain debt vulnerabilities and eliminate the need for CBN financing.

According to the IMF, Nigeria’s capacity to repay the fund is adequate under the baseline, and the authorities’ policy intentions are well positioned to address the risks of a downside scenario in which difficult trade-offs between urgent humanitarian needs and debt service may arise.

“In such circumstances, aggressive monetary tightening and fiscal adjustment, combined with support from development partners, would be needed to restore macroeconomic stability,” it added.

It also advised the Nigerian government to prioritise settling the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) overdue dollar obligations.

This move, according to the IMF, is crucial for rebuilding confidence in the central bank and the naira, eventually contributing to a more stable financial environment.

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Tinubu Appoints Walson-Jack Head Of Civil Service

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President Bola Tinubu has approved the appointment of Didi Esther Walson-Jack as the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, with effect from August 14, 2024.

Prior to her new role, Walson-Jack was the permanent secretary of the Federal Ministry of Education.

She was also appointed as Federal Permanent Secretary in 2017 and has served in several ministries.

The announcement was contained in a statement on Wednesday by the President’s Special Adviser, Ajuri Ngelale.

The statement was titled ‘President Tinubu Appoints New Head of Civil Service of the Federation.’

“The new appointee will take over from the incumbent Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Dr. Folasade Yemi-Esan, CFR, who is due to retire on August 13, 2024.

“President Tinubu, while thanking the outgoing Head of Service for her stewardship, tasks the incoming Head of Service to discharge her duties with innovative flair, integrity, and stringent adherence to the extant rules and regulations of the Civil Service of the Federation,” the statement read.

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PDP Governors Declare Support For Organized Labour Demand On Minimum Wage

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By Augustine Akhilomen

….Demand Political Solution To Rivers Crisis

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Governors’ Forum has declared their total support to the demand for a new minimum wage by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC).

This was made known following a marathon meeting in Enugu that lasted over four hours, Bauchi State Governor and Chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum, Bala Mohammed, addressed the press on behalf of his colleagues.

He called for a political solution to the ongoing crisis in Rivers State between Governor Sim Fubara and his predecessor, Nyesom Wike.

The governors also supported the federal government’s stance on granting autonomy to local governments.

The PDP Governors’ Forum vowed to work together to achieve their goals, providing a united front to reclaim leadership positions and provide a credible alternative to Nigerians.

The governors present at the meeting included Gov. Bala Mohammed, Bauchi State, Chairman, Gov. Siminalayi Fubara, Rivers State, Vice Chairman, Gov. Peter N. Mba (Host), Gov. Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri, Adamawa State, Gov. Umo Eno, Akwa Ibom State, Gov. Douye Diri, Bayelsa State, Member, Gov. Sheriff Oborevwori, Delta State, Gov. Godwin Obaseki, Edo State, Gov. Seyi Makinde, Oyo State, Gov. Caleb Mutfwang, Plateau State, Gov. Agbu Kefas, Taraba State and Gov. Dauda Lawal, Zamfara State

According to the communiqué, “The meeting deliberated on a wide range of issues that border on our critical national interest, the state of our party particularly the forthcoming congress, the unprecedented hardship faced by majority of Nigerians as a result of the dismal performance of the APC-led Federal Government, the minimum wage negotiations, and the recurring issue of inter-governmental relations with special reference to local government autonomy and funding.

“Following exhaustive discussions and consultations, the meeting resolved as follows: In the spirit of the founding fathers of our great party who adopted internal democracy as the fundamental principle on which our party was built, the congresses leading to the election of party leaders, at the various tiers, must be all-inclusive, transparent, fair and in strict compliance with the constitution of the party.

“To ensure the successful conduct of the congresses across the 36 states of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT.”

On the off season elections in Edo and Ondo, the forum admonished all the parties to the elections “to ensure that campaigns are issues-based, violence-free and in strict compliance with the provisions of the electoral act.

“Urges the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to provide a level playing field that guarantees transparent, fair and unimpeachable elections as any act of bias will be totally resisted.

“Urges Mr. President to show leadership as a true democrat by refraining from making any statement suggestive of political interference in the entire process.

“The Forum notes with dismay and grave concern the mismanagement of the economy by the APC-led Federal Government.

“The minimum wage negotiations are becoming unduly protracted. In the face of the attendant unprecedented hardship and impoverishment of majority of our people, the Forum resolves as follows:

“That Labour’s demand for a substantial salary raise is eminently justified and therefore commands the total support of the Forum

“While the Forum fully supports Labour’s demand, agreement must take into consideration the ability to pay by the local government, sub-national and federal government.

“While negotiations are ongoing, we appeal for restraint in both utterances and actions that could lead to the complete breakdown of law and order and ultimately, the collapse of the economy.”

The governors also took a stand on the Supreme Court judgement on local government autonomy, declaring that they believed in the efficacy of the local government system which ensures that governance is brought closer to the people as provided for in the constitution.

“Will continue to support the autonomy of the Local Governments as enshrined in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“Forum holds the Supreme Court in the highest esteem, and is committed to obedience to court orders. However, the Forum urges that implementation of the court decision must be done in a manner that does not create a trust deficit between the federal governments and sub-national governments while also ensuring that the system does not suffer,” they further stated.

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‘You Must Pay For Everything I Did For You’ – Kizz Daniel Makes Demand Amid Rumours Of Marriage Crash

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Nigerian singer, Oluwatobiloba Daniel Anidugbe, better known as Kizz Daniel, has requested a refund for all his expenses, amidst reports of his crashed marriage.

Recall that rumours made rounds online last week that Kizz Daniel’s marriage had crashed after his wife caught him with another woman in his studio.

In a post on his X handle on Wednesday, the singer listed the condition for anyone wanting to break up with him.

He wrote, “If you won breakup with me, Follow no My problem just pay me my PENSION $ For all the things I don do airtime, Gifts, The F**k etc then you can leave – BALACLAVA.”

Meanwhile, Kizz Daniel has opened up about why his latest single, ‘Double,’ was dedicated to his wife, who also featured as a vixen in the accompanying music video.

Recall that the new song showcases Daniel’s signature blend of afrobeat rhythms, infectious choruses and soulful melodies.

In a statement on Saturday, the ‘Woju’ crooner said the song is a celebration of love and double joy that comes with sharing it live with someone special.

Emphasising the reason for dedicating the song to his wife, the singer said the song also speaks to the beauty of partnership and family and hopes that the romantic anthem will resonate with his fans worldwide.

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