VP Osinbajo: Presidential Acting Capacity Or Ornamental Exercise? By Samuel Ogundipe

When the State House released a statement announcing a temporary transfer of power from the President Buhari to his vice, Yemi Osinbajo, because the President was embarking on a short vacation, my initial expectation was that activities within the Villa would become unusually heavy while the vacation lasted, especially at the VP Wing.

Characteristically, the President operates a moderate schedule vis-à-vis his appointments: He receives foreign leaders, top diplomats and governors. And these people don’t come every day.
Buhari’s multi-destination trip that took him from Abeokuta to France and eventually U.K. had left most Villa staff with little to do. He began the trip on Monday, February 1, shortly after receiving the Italian Prime Minister and he was expected back to Abuja by the weekend of February 6, only for us to receive the news that he’d be proceeding on a short vacation.

Since the VP had already departed for Lagos at the time the news broke, my assumption was that by Monday many politicians would besiege the acting president’s office, especially those who had hitherto been denied access to the President himself. We’ve been hearing that some politicians were grumbling over the fact that they hadn’t been given unfettered access to Buhari, so I thought they’d use the 6-day window to get presidential assent via Osinbajo, who’s widely considered to be more lenient.

But I was quickly put on notice about the fact that the acting president’s timetable may not turn out as I thought. A source within the VP’s office told me that Friday evening that Osinbajo’s schedule for his 6 days as acting Nigerian leader would remain largely unchanged buttressing the prevalent speculation that the acting president would probably not really ‘act’ as president.

Since the start of the year, the Vice President’s schedule is largely concentrated on economic and social welfare issues. Since economic and social policies of the administration are coordinated from his office, the VP spends the better part of his typical workday receiving top public and private sector players and local and international NGOs. The vice president’s activities throughout his acting tenure mirrored this.

Resuming to work for the first time since his announcement on Monday morning, the VP started his day by receiving officials from Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, NEITI. The delegation was led by the immediate-past Executive Secretary of the organisation and now Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Ms. Zainab Ahmed.

Shortly afterwards, Osinbajo welcomed representatives from Nigeria Leadership Initiative, NLI, and Nigerian Institute of Legislative Studies, NILS. The NLI was led by Minister of Industry, Trade and Investments, Dr. Okey Enelamah; while Senator Muhammed Ubali Shitu coordinated the delegates from NILS.

On Tuesday, Senator Ali Ndume and the Executive Director of UNAIDS were the guests of the VP.

On Wednesday, Osinbajo commiserated with the victims of Dikwa IDP camp where the dreaded Boko Haram sect struck the day before. This is perhaps the only silver lining in the scepticism that clouded Osinbajo’s role, statements of consolation and condemnation of a tragedy usually emanate from the President’s office.

Buhari returned to the country on Wednesday night, and when he resumed work on Thursday, he received his counterpart from Germany, Joachim Gauck, who’d been in the country since Wednesday on a 5-day tour. Buhari also organised a state dinner for Mr. Gauck and his entourage in the State House on Thursday night. On Friday the governor of Zamfara State walked in and went straight to see Buhari, as if it wasn’t clear enough to us before that the landlord has returned.

As an acting president, could Osinbajo have been able to receive a foreign leader, dispatched the military on an a mission or sign a bill into an act? Constitutionally, yes. That’s why, unlike many, I don’t believe what happened last week was ornamental. The 6-day tenure is just too short to exercise raw presidential powers. However, my perennial assumption that the President’s presence could help predict the caliber of visitors to expect at the State House seems to have been confirmed by the development of the past week.

Did I see a pouched rat in the afternoon?

A Yoruba parlance says no one sees a pouched rat in the afternoon. Because of its internal activities, this particular species of African rats doesn’t roam during the day unless there’s a genuine reason. Dr. Chidi Odinkalu’s visit to the Villa on Monday arouse my curiosity.

The Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission was part of the NLI delegation to the State House. The official statement released by the Vice President’s office shortly after their meeting said they came to discuss the plight of Boko Haram victims in the Northeast. Highly consequential. Notwithstanding, given his personality, I expected him to bring up the matter he’d been preoccupied with lately: the deadly confrontation between Shia Muslims, who were in a procession and the convoy of the Chief of Army Staff in Zaria last December.

Monday’s visit was Odinkalu’s first to the Villa since the Zaria tragedy. I asked him why he hadn’t turned up much earlier, considering how vocal he’d been about the matter in the media, and the fearless rights advocate told me he became indisposed in London shortly after his father passed away on Christmas Eve. Soon as I was done commiserating with him, Odinkalu quipped: “Sam, I know you have a question.” Indeed, even though President Buhari has said he awaits the outcome of a panel of inquiry set up by Governor Nasir El-Rufai before taking further steps about the matter, I, nonetheless, asked Odinkalu if he’s being approached as a mediator between the Shia community on one side and the FG and Kaduna State Government on the other, “this country is our own and we look forward to seeing an acceptable outcome of all investigations into the massacre in Zaria,” he said.

This Opinion article was first published in Sahara Reporters

Osun’s Strategy Against Unemployment

By Ayo Akinola and Bola Akande

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) revealed that no fewer than 5.3 million youths are jobless, while 1.8 million graduates enter the labour market every year. This figure could be a conservative estimate of the actual number of unemployed youths in the country, going by previous statistics released by NBS, which put the number of jobless Nigerians at 20.3 million.

The above is a reflection of previous governments’ inability to design policies that will create more jobs, or provide enabling environment that could encourage both individuals and the private sector to expand employment opportunities without let or hindrance.

It is in line with the above that the Osun State Government established an office known as Osun Job Centre. This is in pursuance of a key component of Governor Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola-led administration’s Six Point Integral Action Plan which is banishment of unemployment from the state. The Job Centre is established as a State Government-funded one-stop employment agency with desk offices located at each of the 30 local government areas.

The Centre will act as a facilitator between job seekers and employers by providing employment information and services to a wide range of people, from the unemployed looking for employment, the underemployed looking for better jobs, to employers advertising job openings. It is aimed at eradicating barriers to employment by promoting education, training and business enterprise. It will contribute to the personal development of the labour force through the creation of opportunities for their productive engagement and utilisation.

The centre provides employment service tools such as an infrastructure for the business community to post its skills needs as well as in-house computers with free access to the internet.

To provide a venue where job seekers can meet and network with representatives of prospective employers from diverse sectors of the economic with the possibility of securing employment.

However, the private sector also has a role to play in creating employment, as experience has shown that government alone cannot provide all the needed jobs.  Unemployed persons will also have to start working towards self-employment, through which they may even provide jobs for others.

Unemployment and poverty have become serious problems that all levels of government must tackle with sincerity of purpose to keep the nation’s youths productively engaged and out of avoidable trouble.

These efforts by Osun government are worthy of emulation by other states of the federation. Governor Aregbesola once declared that Osun, out of the 36 states, has the lowest rate of unemployed people, particularly among her teeming youths, due to the determination of his administration to banish poverty and unemployment among its people.

This new move at establishing a job centre is just one of them. These efforts were recently corroborated by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, when he declared that Osun is one of the states with lowest in poverty.

“The indication (in Osun) is that because there is a lot of investment on the people, poverty has been reduced and that is what we (the Federal Government) are trying to achieve in Nigeria,” Osinbajo said.

Aregbesola was quoted as saying: “The development of micro and small businesses forms a core component of our poverty alleviation and economic empowerment strategy.

“This is part of our six-point integral action plan that, among others, seeks to banish poverty, unemployment and hunger.

“We have designed programmes aimed at unlocking our people’s creativity and genuinely set them on the path of self-employment and self-reliance.

“I am certain that our people are hard-working and would at all time take pride in working to earn a decent living.

“With the numerous programmes we are implementing, we are on the road to change the fortune of our state and lives of our people for better.

“Many of these programmes such as OYES, O’REAP, O’YESTECH, O’MEALs, O’Schools, O’Beef and O’BOPS, among others, have offered many of our youths self-reliant job opportunities.”

  • Ayo Akinola, is a publisher and media consultant based in Lagos and Bola Akande is a former commissioner for Human Resources and Capacity Building, Osun State

Who Is A Feminist?…….A Misandrist?

By Christian Okwori

In original definition, feminists are group of women who insist on and fight for fair treatment for women and the girl child especially with respect to natural peculiarities (uniqueness) without doing so at the detriment of their male counterparts. Real feminist will fight for equal right to education, inheritance, social recognition, and reward for hard work for the girl child as is for the male. They don’t support the male child or men being unfairly treated neither do they seek to turn women to men but respect the natural comparative uniqueness and advantages of each sex. That is feminism and some men who are empathetic to this cause actually belong to the feminist movement to balance out the naturally patriarchal nature of the human society.

It beats my imagination and moral sense of justice to see this noble pursuit turned in the head by Nigerians both male and female…Yes, the Nigerian brand of feminism like in everything else under the sun.

The Nigerian feminist is usually any woman who is bitter or nurses extreme hatred for the menfolk. Expectedly, they are mostly those who have lost out in the ‘game of love’ or who were unfortunate to date the dogs among men. Their joining the ranks of feminists is clearly for one purpose-to get back at all men because all men are devils. Feminism is in this country primarily a mask worn by misandrists. In fact feminism is something cast out of bitterness. Feminism in Nigeria is an euphemism for misandry. Their anthem is simple:

All men are the same,

All men are devils

Do you still wonder why Nigerian culture still treats the girl child badly despite how long feminism has been existing in Nigeria? The self-professed champions of feminism are busy hating men who aren’t even aware of them or have forgotten their transactions outrightly. The feminists mostly recruit women and young girls who are heartbroken or jilted by their lovers, husbands, or boyfriends this they begin by forming pity party to ‘console’ the prospective member on social media or in person.  The women who have brought positive outlook on the girl child and are making the biggest positive impacts in influencing even our most barbaric anti-women cultures for good are not feminists namely; Prof.  Dora Akunyili†, Prof Grace Alele Williams, Mrs. Funmilayo Ransom-Kuti, Mrs. Tutu Adeleke, Gen. Ronke Kale, and the many successful but humble female corporate champions and giants from all walks of life etc. This is time for people to know the difference between feminists and non-feminists in this country.

The men folks too have their faults, some men detest equality with women even in areas where they are clearly not better or even less in productivity than such women. Many regimental minded and lazy men see any determined, vocal, daring, rich, or resolute woman as feminist who is out to ridicule them. They just can’t imagine being placed together in equal ranking with women or worse still being made to work under one. They hate to see women heading men or being confident before them. They wouldn’t hesistate to quote the Holy Bible or Qoran out of context to cow a woman to slavish submission. Some of these men can be found among professors, clergies, and (sadly) law enforcement agents. Such folks need urgent mental reset. Cultural and religious bigotry of any sort now belong in the past.  Finally, it’s good to add that our beautiful culture must not be thrown into extinction with the changing world but should rather be modified and preserved especially in the richest areas of festivals, food, costume, language, greetings, courtesy etc. The aspect of treating any clan or dialect or sex as second class must be jettisoned. We now live in a flat world of equal opportunity for all.

As a word of counsel, heartbroken people are advised to confide in only trusted people usually elderly friends with high moral standing who will guide them back to a life of fullness and joy. The fact that there are a few bad people out there doesn’t mean the majority aren’t good. Keep good companies and follow your instinct when choosing a partner without ever betraying your intuition. When everything points to you that a person is perfect but your instinct says otherwise, please don’t move an inch.

Political Establishment, Hillary Clinton And US 2016 Elections

By Olalekan Adigun

The 2016 US presidential campaign is turning out to be dramatic. Many analysts have predicted a something close to an easy victory for Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton to have an easy ride in the primaries. I also recall severally downplaying the chances of Republican top-notch, Donald Trump, in some of my write-ups. I was proven all wrong as the results of recent primaries turned in.

I kept a vigil with CNN as the results turned in on Tuesday night hoping fighter Hillary will turn Bernie Sanders’ lead in New Hampshire around only to wake up that morning to know I was living in the world of my dreams-people are “feeling the Bern”. Not until I watched my beautiful-looking Hillary concedes defeat to Bernie, I didn’t believe it even though the major headline was “New Hampshire primary results: Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders win”!

The US state of New Hampshire held its traditional primary just eight days after the Iowa caucuses. Polling in the Granite State has historically been volatile in the final weeks before the primary. Once Iowa holds its caucuses, many New Hampshire voters are known to traditionally cement their opinions especially in the age of the new media.

The state has a reputation for predicting correctly the winner of the eventual nomination. Historically a look at votes cast in New Hampshire shows a candidate received and won the eventual nomination.

On the Democratic side, since 1992, Barrack Obama (2012), John Kerry (2004), Al Gore (2000) and Bill Clinton (1996) all won at New Hampshire and eventually won the party nomination.

On the Republican side, Governor Mitt Romney (2012), Senator John McCain (2008), Governor George W. Bush (2000 and 2004) and Senator Bob Dole (1996) all won the GOP primaries in the state and became eventual winners in the final analyses.

Let us have a look at how the presidential candidates fared in New Hampshire. In the Republican race, Donald Trump has a clear lead with 34% over Marco Rubio’s 11%. On the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders had a clear lead with 60% over Hillary Clinton’s 38%.

Let us forget a little about the Republicans and restrict our analyses to the Democrats. I say this because the GOP nomination is still open to more possibilities than their progressive counterparts. If it is not Jeb Bush, it will be Marco Rubio. If it is not Ted Cruz, it should be Donald Trump. But surely the ticket cannot go to Christine Fiorina!

For the Democrats, the ticket belongs to whoever is “feeling the Bern” or “fighting for US”. Hillary for America strategists need not be told now that they have grossly underestimated Bernie. They also need not be reminded of the importance of NH primary. They do not need the advice that the time come for a reality check. They cannot continue to rely on Hillary or Clinton to just bring in the votes. Bernie may not be so popular with those outside America, but the results are going on just fine for him. In fact, Bernie’s strategists, the truth be told, are doing a fantastic job.

Ina parenthesis, the loss in this year’s state’s primary is strange because New England state has long been kind to the Clintons. It is the same state that made, Hillary’s husband, Bill the “comeback kid” in 1992. And Hillary beat Barack Obama there in 2008, salvaging her campaign after a third-place showing in Iowa.

Also, the fact that Hillary has about 9% support among younger women, aged 18-34, should concern her handlers because records available show that Bernie cruises home with over 90% support among this strategic population. Whoever invited Madeleine Albright, first woman US secretary of state, to speak at Hillary’s NH campaign rally obviously did not do a good job. Let us hear what she had to say on younger women who are not supporting Hillary: “There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other!” Haba Madam! Na by force?

Well, I have just been reliably informed that “special place in hell” is Albright’s favourite line which she has used for many years therefore it is not unique to Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Again, even at that, she being a longstanding diplomat, Albright should have been more tactful speaking for a political campaign!

As a Hillary fan myself, I think it will be good if her handlers can look at the New Hampshire debacle from fresh perspectives. President Obama lost in the state after a good start in Iowa in 2008, yet he still won the election. In this case, I suggest her handlers do as they were doing when they started. They need to avoid attacking Sanders directly. The attacks on his campaign from Hillary for America are becoming too direct in recent times.

It appears there is mental fatigue on the part of Hillary’s handlers since the Benghazi Inquiry. In my opinion, the handling of that incidence is the most professional thing her campaign has done. Ever since, it has been forthcoming in providing the gap for Sanders to exploit. This only shows mental fatigue on the part of Hillary for America.

While we agree that is not just rocket science, we keep our fingers crossed as the results on these keenly contested primaries come in without engaging in unnecessary prognosis. One thing is sure- US politics will not remain the same after the 2016 election. The results so far show how fast the political establishments are crumbling in both parties if things continue this way. This is where Hillary’s campaign staff must analyse the issues from!

 

Olalekan Waheed Adigun is a political risk analyst and an independent political strategist for wide range of individuals, organisations and campaigns.

Bringing Back ‘Made In Nigeria’ By Olu W. Onemola

There has been a lot of talk in recent times about promoting ‘Made in Nigeria.’ From the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki’s recent visit to the ‘Made in Aba’ trade fair, to the hashtag to #BuyNaijaToGrowTheNaira, it is clear that Nigerians are beginning to understand that it is only our concerted and collective internal efforts as a nation that can solve our economic worries.

In the early 2000s, walking around the street rocking ‘Made in Aba’ goods was synonymous with saying that you shopped at ‘bend-down-select’ markets and roadside stations. Wearing leather sandals produced from the eastern part of Nigeria in those early years of the new millennium, was seen as an unfavourable status symbol for many – despite the hard work and expertise that had been put in to produce those goods from our local manufacturers. Retrospectively, quality-wise, the shoes, clothing, bags and other ‘Made in Nigeria’ goods back then, were nearly on par with their imported counterparts. However, the marker of acceptability in social circles in those days came from the fact that your ‘Nike’ products were truly made by ‘Nike, Inc.’, and your ‘Adidas’ was not labelled ‘Adadis.’

Somewhere along the line, things changed, and Nigerians began to look inwards. We began to understand that our extreme foreign consumption capacity would not fuel the domestic growth of our economy. We began to realise that Timi, Deji and Haruna, could design and produce goods that were just as good as Thomas, Dickens, and Harrisons’. We began to see that indigenous goods and home-grown services could be on par, or even better than those from abroad. Consequently, new small and medium scale enterprises sprung up allover the country to cater for our increased demand. 

From fashion to finance, from entertainment to edibles, ‘Made in Nigeria’ experienced a positive boom somewhere in the mid to late 2000s. However, with this positive upsurge in our collective social mindsets towards our local products, halfway into the second decade of this millennium, effective policy thrusts to encourage the local manufacturing sector have not been formulated and/or implemented. Even Nigeria’s Public Procurement Act of 2007, which is aimed at advising and assisting “procurement staff to help them carry out their procurement responsibilities,” fails in some critical aspects to address pushing ‘Made in Nigeria’ products.

Queue in Dr. Bukola Saraki, and the 8th Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Over the past few weeks, against the backdrop of the President Buhari-led administration’s efforts to boost internally generated revenue (IGR), Dr. Saraki, and his colleagues have embarked on a systematic social and legislative charge to encourage local producers and manufacturers. While speaking at the ‘Made in Aba’ Trade Fair, Saraki mentioned that the Senate would be working on the review and amendment of the procurement act that would ensure that Made in Nigeria goods are patronized by the government. Some parameters of this amendment, Saraki explained, would include provisions that would ensure that government agencies would only resort to imported goods when there are no domestic alternatives.

Since the last quarter of 2015, the Nigerian Naira has fallen by nearly 20 per cent against the US Dollar. Additionally, global oil prices have fallen by over 70%. What this means is that Nigeria, an oil-rich nation that is “dependent on oil and gas for 95 per cent of its export earnings, 35 per cent of its GDP and three-quarters of government revenue,” must see this ‘Made in Nigeria’ drive being championed by Saraki and a few of his colleagues like senators Abaribe and Murray-Bruce at the National Assembly as one of its options to wiggle out from the impending economic downturn caused by the decline in oil prices. 

To make these policies sustainable, a combined effort of both legislative and executive policies must work to ensure that domestic goods should be promoted through a flexible system of discounts, sales and other government-backed incentives. Furthermore, the Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON) must push for quality control of Nigerian-made goods to increase customer satisfaction. As the economic history of developing nations has taught us that exports-driven economies are not fiscally sustainable, on the technical side, the federal government through collaborative efforts spearheaded by the Ministry of Transport must intensify its efforts to create transport networks that connect consumers all across the country to locally manufactured products.

The Nigerian Bureau of Statistics also has a role a major role to play in this campaign. Consumer trends need to be captured so that businesses know where to market their products and services. Surveys can also help the government to measure the consumption  habits of Nigerians, so that the progress of this ‘Made in Nigeria’ initiative can be well-documented overtime.

Development cannot be imported. Neither can financial stability for Nigeria’s economy. Accordingly, as we tighten our collective pursestrings to achieve fiscal responsibility in these times, we must also alter our social perspectives and implement the government policies that will not only protect, but also amplify the calls for bringing back ‘Made in Nigeria’ goods and services.

-Olu W. Onemola is a Senior Legislative Aide at the National Assembly, and the National Public Relations Officer of the APC Youth Forum (APYF). You can follow him @OnemolaOlu. –

Nigeria Beyond Crude Oil, By Olawale Rotimi

Since crude oil was discovered in Nigeria, the nation economy has taken a mono-cultural dimension with total reliance on oil revenue. Prior to this period, being a country with vast agro-ecology and agricultural resources which enable efficient growth of various crops and animals, Nigeria’s economy flourished through Agriculture; Nigeria was a major exporter of cash crops such as cocoa, rubber, palm kernel among others and agricultural revenue was invested in salient infrastructural projects which are still in good shape for public use today. Agriculture was the backbone of Nigeria’s economic development, and it created wealth and jobs for the growing population. The import of agriculture in a state economy cannot be overemphasized; research has proven that it is difficult for any nation to attain a meaningful level of economic progress without developing her agricultural sector.

The scenario that followed the dependence on oil revenue in Nigeria has culminated into low infrastructural growth, corruption e.t.c. Despite bogus revenue generated from crude oil, the development in Nigeria doesn’t correlate with the high revenue generated from oil over the years. A large percentage of the population are still living in poverty in this oil era compared to the successes recorded in infrastructural growth, social welfare, job creation, healthcare and education in the pre-crude oil era in Nigeria. The current downtime hitting the global oil market has severe effect on economies of many countries in the world, Nigeria not excluded, the main focus of every government is to improve life for the people, both individually and as a whole, thus, we need to tackle wide-ranging measures to facilitate and speed up economic growth in Nigeria.

In recent years, oil producing nations under the platform of Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) have experienced significant fall in oil prices at the global oil market. The statistics below was drawn from OPEC’s global oil benchmark price history.

Year Currency Global Price
2005 US Dollar 50.59
2006 US Dollar 61
2007 US Dollar 69.04
2008 US Dollar 94.1
2009 US Dollar 60.86
2010 US Dollar 77.38
2011 US Dollar 107.46
2012 US Dollar 109.45
2013 US Dollar 105.87
2014 US Dollar 96.29
2015 US Dollar 52

Nigeria been the case study, below are the Oil Benchmark prices in the last 5 years:

Year Currency Global Price
2015 US Dollar 52

(approved by the Nigerian National Assembly for the 2015 budget)

2014 US Dollar 77.50

(Approved by the Nigerian National Assembly for the 2014 budget)

2013 US Dollar 75

(Approved by the Nigerian National Assembly for the 2013 budget)

2012 US Dollar 70

(Disclosed by the Nigerian Budget office in Abuja on 23rd of February, 2012)

2011 US Dollar 70

(Approved by the Nigerian National Assembly for the 2011 budget)

In view of the 2016 fiscal year, the Federal Government has proposed a benchmark price of $38 per barrel for the Nigerian oil. However, international financial organizations such as International Monetary Fund, and other financial experts have warned that the $38 dollar per barrel is not feasible for Nigeria, thus, they projected a $20 per barrel or less oil benchmark price. The fall in the oil price has positioned itself as a major challenge to the Nigerian economy, since oil accounts for larger percentage of the nation’s revenue; economic experts have suggested economic diversification as an antidote to the revenue crash in the oil market; therefore, Nigeria must look beyond oil. Economists, researchers and political analyst have suggested strongly that Nigeria should diversify to agriculture.

Agriculture isn’t new to the Nigerian economy, during total dependence on Agriculture; the sector has offered vast opportunities and employed over seventy percent (70%) of the Nigerian labour force. More also, the sector has provided food requirements for the country and raw materials for local industries, as well revenue from exportation of cash crops. Agriculture can not only be a major source of revenue for Nigeria’s economy, it is also the bedrock of Africa’s economy as a continent. The sector accounts for about 20% of Africa’s GDP, 60% of its labor force and 20% of the total merchandise exports. Agriculture is the main source of income for 90% of rural population in Africa. Agriculture represents a great part of the Africa’s share in world trade. On the list of 20 top agricultural and food commodity importers in 2004, 60% are from Sub-Saharan Africa. African countries represent also 50% of top 20 countries, in terms of the share of total agriculture/ total exported merchandise in the world.

Before oil, Nigeria’s economy was sustained with agriculture, today; it can still be sustained by the agricultural sector. Investment in agriculture generates high multiple effect with high economic and returns. The Nigerian government today has the rare opportunity to reignite agro-based economy in Nigeria, if the nation’s agricultural sector is vibrant, the current crisis in the oil market will not affect the nation’s economic sustainability.

For engagements and contributions, Olawale Rotimi can be reached through 08105508224

Reconstructing the North East: International Action Needed, By Mark Amaza

One of the effects of war is the destruction it wreaks on an area – infrastructure is destroyed, homes and schools are often leveled and economies are hit, uprooting livelihoods and taking the area several decades backward.

The North-East of Nigeria which has been the epicenter of the Boko Haram terrorism activity, particularly the states of Borno, Yobe and northern part of Adamawa is no exception to this. The war – it has gone beyond an insurgency – which is now in its seventh year has wrought a lot of destruction on the area in addition to the estimated 17,000 people that have lost their lives as a result. Schools have been burnt down and destroyed, roads and bridges blown up, power installations damaged, and entire swathes of farmland have been forced to be left fallow for years, causing food prices to rise in not just the area, but across Nigeria as the area is a huge grower of grains and vegetables.

Beyond that, the war has exposed the reality of the extent of poverty in the region. It is one thing to know through statistics that the poverty rate in Adamawa State is 74.2% or that only 15.21% of 31,983 candidates who sat for the West African Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (WASSCE) in Borno State in 2014 passed. It is another thing to go to those areas and see how bad things are. In all honesty, this situation predates the Boko Haram conflict. As someone who comes from and lived in that area, this poverty and economic backwardness was very apparent. When I seemed to be getting used to it, a trip out of the region and back will once again remind me of how far behind we were. In many ways, it is this situation and many other factors that has brought the emergence of the conflict – after all, terrorism does not happen in a vacuum. The conflict has made an already dire situation much worse.

Even as the war is far from over despite the massive gains by the Nigerian military in the past year, it is important to begin the job of reconstructing the North-East and not just restoring it to the way it was before, but putting it on a path to prosperity.

It was based on this that the previous administration started the Presidential Initiative on the North East (PINE), the Presidential Committee on Distribution of Relief Materials and the Victims Support Fund (VSF), all aimed at intervening and providing relief for victims of insurgency. The current administration is aiming to streamline all these various efforts, and has even gone ahead to appoint former Minister of Defence, Lt. Gen Theophilus Danjuma as the coordinator of all Federal Government initiatives on the North-East.

Although the National Security Adviser, Major-General Babagana Monguno (rtd) had in October announced that the Federal Government was putting in place a N116.4bn North-East Marshall Plan (NEMAP) for short, medium and long term interventions, there are neither details for how this will be funded nor any inclusion for the plan or parts of it in the 2016 budget proposal.

Without doubt, these reconstruction efforts will need a lot of money – to reconstruct schools destroyed and hire teachers, to rebuild and restore damaged infrastructure, and to recreate sustainable economies in the area so that the people can be able to have decent livelihoods. Unfortunately, this has also come at a time when Nigeria’s revenue has fallen due to the low price of crude oil, along with the fact that there are a lot of competing demands on the scarce revenue available.

This is why the recent suggestion by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara that an international donor conference for the North-East be organized is an excellent idea. Such an international conference will not be without precedent – just last week, one was held in London for Syria and was even attended by President Muhammadu Buhari. One was also held in July 2008 for Kosovo’s socio-economic development as convened by the European Commission. Also, the most famous and biggest post-war recovery effort, the Marshall Plan which was led by the United States of America to help revive Europe after the Second World War was preceded by a similar conference of participating European states.

Although the Boko Haram conflict has primarily affected Nigeria, its impact extends to the larger Lake Chad area and can further complicate unstable places to the east such as the Central African Republic, South Sudan, parts of Congo and up to Rwanda. It also has significance leading up into the Maghreb and all the way into North Africa, and has contributed in its own small way to the stream of migrants into Europe.

While many foreign countries and developed nations especially are aware of this, their involvement and assistance has largely been militarily only. There is also the need to tackle the underlying economic and development factors, else it will be easy for another insurgency to emerge once this present one is needed.

Already, the World Bank has announced its intention to spend $2.1billion in low-interest loans to the FG for the North East, but there is still room for a lot more. An international donors’ conference will not only bring more donor countries and agencies on board but will also bring intervention to their efforts by highlighting what areas specifically need assistance and how to go about achieving that.

It will be excellent for the Presidency to act on Hon. Dogara’s suggestion and work towards convening such a conference in order to expedite action on reconstructing the North-East.

The Road To 2017 Budget By Pius Adesanmi

What the creatives prepared by Budgit – the social conscience outfit that has become the nemesis of even the most ingenious yam eater in Nigeria – on President Buhari’s 2016 Federal budget is to ensure that even members of NURTW can discuss the said budget at Agodi motor park in Ibadan, while eating amala and abula amidst squeals of “Ado kan!”, “Ado kan!”, “Ado kan!” The budget is now accessible in a format that Iya Kubura and Baba Kasali can understand and President Buhari and his team are finding out, too late and disastrously so for them, that yesterday’s monkeys in Idanre have disappeared, replaced by socially-conscious agents capable of grasping the monumental fraud in the budget.

If you thought that you’d seen the worst in that budget with the creatives by Budgit, it means you have not gone through the forensic analysis prepared by the media outfit, Premium Times. Entitled “Inside the Massive Fraud in Buhari’s 2016 Budget”, one passage in this report is worth quoting in some detail:

“A particularly disturbing instance of misplaced priority is the allocation for books for Vice President Osinbajo’s office. Mr. Osinbajo’s office has more money allocated to it for books than what each of the federal polytechnics in the country are getting for the same purpose. While N4,906,822 was proposed to be spent on books by Mr Osinbajo, the total allocation for books for 11 out of 22 federal polytechnics, which actually have book allocations, was a mere N3,832,038.”

Because Nigerians can squeeze humour and laughter out of stone – it is not for nothing that they earned the distinction of being the happiest people on earth – they have been able to turn President Buhari’s budget tragedy into a source of national carnivalesque. But all the comedy, all the humour, all the laughter which has greeted the unbelievable perverseness of the 2016 budget is the laughter which the Yoruba say is the only recourse of those who have run out of tears.

The situation is made much worse by President Buhari’s chronic inability to recognize moments of national solemnity and do what is needed. When a Federal budget is this badly bungled, it is a moment of national disgrace and humiliation which tragically undermines the humanity and dignity of the Nigerian. The first order of national healing happens when the President accepts responsibility, comforts people, addresses them, and promises appropriate sanctions.

We need to start teaching Nigeria’s leadership that the sky does not fall when you talk to your people, accept responsibility, and comfort them in times of national solemnity. We need to start teaching Nigeria’s leadership that if you accept responsibility for things gone awry, ojuju Calabar will not come and carry you in the dead of night. To address Nigerians vaguely and casually through a Facebook update by Garba Shehu welcoming criticism on this grave budget matter is an insult. There are moments which require the face and the voice of the big man himself. Diehard supporters will resort to the default mode of saying that the President cannot personally speak to everything. They are wrong. They are ignorant of the power of symbolic national moments when the Nigerian needs to hear directly from his President.

Nigeria being Nigeria, we must accept the crumb that we have received from Garba Shehu. He says that they are prepared to listen to criticism of the budget in good faith. We tell them that, hopefully, the 2016 budget will be the last that President Buhari and his team will ever present without having read a single page of it. We understand perfectly that this is a long-standing Nigerian tradition. No administration, no previous government, has ever read a budget they presented. You just have civil servants photocopy the text of last year’s budget and make the necessary yam adjustments for inflation.

Let President Buhari finally settle down to read his 2016 budget, he’d be amazed by its similarity to the budget he read in 1985. He’d be amazed by its similarity to every budget that has ever been read after 1985, all the way to President Jonathan. Only the figures and the size and scale of the theft and the padding are adjusted by civil servants. The text is essentially the same insipid and unimaginative text – it never varies. The sentences are the same.  The only other thing which varies is the christening: budget of hope, budget of growth, budget of creativity, budget of transformation, budget of restoration. Then you start again from hope and run through the same titles year after year.

In essence, nobody is saying that the national shame of copying and pasting last year’s budget without reading it, merely inserting new yams and adjusting old yams for inflation, started with president Buhari. What he is to be blamed for, his monumental failure, is in not changing this paradigm. He is supposed to be the first President to have ever read the budget he presented in Nigeria’s recent history. He is supposed to have spent weeks poring over every detail, he and his team huddled in his office, reviewing and revising the text, with plenty of Nescafe sachets, goro, and tomtom wraps littering the work space.

The damage has already been done. This is the time for President Buhari and his team to start preparing to earn their salaries by actually reading the 2017 budget. Too many people are holding civil servants responsible for the budget mess. I’m afraid President Buhari bears singular responsibility for this gargantuan failure and betrayal of public trust. If you keep sugar coating things for the President and absolving him of every misstep, if you keep saying that the buck stops at the desk of civil servants and political aides, you are on the path to destroying this President. You are not helping him.

Let me remind you, career absolver of President Buhari, that when criticism emerged of ethnic lopsidedness in the President’s appointments, you pleaded with Nigerians to understand the fact that the President needed to appoint only trusted hands that he knows and can trust and can supervise and can work with. You said that he needed to appoint only people he was sure would not mess him up. You said he needed those who would do a great job. Similarly, when he took twenty years to form a cabinet – I’m a writer; I use hyperbole for effect here – you frog-marched the same rationalizations into his defense. You said that he needed all the time in the world to appoint competent people he knows.

If you are now saying that all these people are the ones to blame for messing up the budget… do you see the problem of logic that has just fallen on your laps? It is time for you to stop insisting on ogbono that has lost its slimy and draw capacity. Okro is also draw soup. Boil water and prepare okro.  In other words, stop blaming aides every time something goes wrong. Try holding the President responsible for something for a change.

You must read your budget before presenting it. Hopefully, President Buhari and Vice President Osinbajo, who wants to read more books than all Federal polytechnics combined, have learned a lesson. However, reading your budget is one thing, knowing that a budget is an identity document, a philosophy of your essence, is another thing. I have written about this before in my essay on the Dubai of the belly. You don’t just consider a budget an annual ritual in which your ministries and agencies and other mechanisms of your bureaucracy cobble together a spending diet for the year. The story of postcolonial budgeting in Nigeria is the story of ostentation, opulence, lazy and parasitic consumption without producing. Every budget document shows a pathological national hatred for genius, innovation, creation, and sacrifice.

A fundamental shift in budget philosophy requires a very deep understanding of symbolism. President Buhari will never reach this understanding if he is constantly reassured that his aides, ministers, and civil servants are responsible for his errors of the rendering.

President Buhari must take the bold step of looking in the mirror every morning and telling the man starring back at him: the pot is yours. You break it, you own it.

I wish him Godspeed.

Governor Ayodele Fayose Has No Immunity He’s A Goner!

By Bayo Oluwasanmi

“There is no immunity for impunity as far as electoral malfeasance is concerned. In the cases of Obi v Mbakwe, Alliance for Democracy v Ayo Fayose and Amaechi v INEC it has been established that governors cannot hide under the immunity clause to commit electoral fraud.” – Femi Falana

Parliamentary immunity in the Nigerian context is not a protector of democracy. Nigeria’s concept of parliamentary immunity has attracted criticisms for facilitating abuses and protecting corruption.

In the light of Ekitigate, parliamentary immunity has received a lot of attention from Nigerians. It is widely viewed as a rising problem for promoting corruption and abuse of power.

Immunity in Nigeria has become an easy way to obstruct the law. It is responsible for the increase in corruption crimes committed by governors and members of the National Assembly. With the spate of corruption cases involving governors and other politicians, Nigerians have lost confidence in their chosen representatives for their political malpractices under the guise of  immunity.

The Nigerian brand of parliamentary immunity only serves to protect the interests of the representatives, rather than the interests of those they were elected to represent. Under the British system, legislators are granted partial  immunity from prosecution. British lawmakers and legislators in other countries that practice the British model are protected from civil action for slander and libel by parliamentary immunity while they are in the House. However, parliamentary immunity from criminal prosecution is not enjoyed by members of parliament.

Members of the parliament may not be sought, prosecuted, judged, or imprisoned for actions taken in the course of their duties as parliamentarians. They are immune from prosecution for defamation committed in the exercise of their functions.

This includes speeches and votes, law proposals, amendments, as well as reports and other actions on the floor of the House. Under the US presidential system that we operate, members of the US Congress enjoy a similar parliamentary privilege like members of the British parliament. The US Congress members cannot be prosecuted for anything they say on the floor of the House or Senate. They are not immune from criminal prosecution.

The immunity clause under section 308 of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution provides for the immunity of  President, Vice-President, Governors and their deputies.

Nigeria’s foremost human rights lawyer Femi Falana (SAN), in an interview with the Punch, explicitly clarified the issue of immunity as it relates to the prosecution or otherwise of the star of Ekitigate,  Governor Ayodele Fayose. Many Nigerians have argued that Fayose is covered under the immunity clause of the Constitution. It is their contention that Fayose cannot be prosecuted because of his immunity as a governor.

Here is Falana making a solid legal cause for the prosecution of Fayose:

“The army authorities had investigated the fraudulent governorship election purportedly won by Mr. Ayo Fayose in June 2014. It has been confirmed that it was not an election but a coup executed by armed soldiers led by one General (Aliyu) Momoh.

“The panel which investigated the shameful event has recommended the dismissal of a number of military officers and the further investigation of others by the EFCC over the money illegally collected by them for the purpose of subjecting voters to horrendous harassment and brutalisation. Captain Sagir Koli watched the whole messy show and decided to record Momoh and his accomplices.”

Falana added that once the panel report is released and the investigation of the EFCC on the alleged “N4.8billionn which was criminally diverted for the election is concluded all the indicted suspects will be arrested and prosecuted”.

“There is no immunity for impunity as far as electoral malfeasance is concerned. In the cases of Obi v Mbakwe, Alliance for Democracy v Ayo Fayose and Amaechi v INEC it has been established that governors cannot hide under the immunity clause to commit electoral fraud.

“By the strict interpretation of section 308 of the Constitution, no court process can be issued or served on a governor. But because immunity cannot be pleaded or invoked to cover electoral fraud, elected governors are served with court processes and dragged to court to respond to allegations of electoral malpractice.”

Representatives enjoy immunity because it gives them the ability to act for the represented. Immunities are designed to protect the functions borne by the individual. The same thing goes for the diplomat, the trial witness, the judge, the sovereign. The principle behind parliamentary immunity is to protect the ability of elected assemblies to debate and vote without interference by non-elected authorities. It should be understood that parliamentary immunity is not to protect the governors or the legislators, but rather the ability to act on behalf of those whom they were elected to represent. In other words, the immunity is there to protect the parliament not the governors or the legislators.

Yasser Salah a former Egyptian MP was caught in smuggling 550 mobile phones worth more than EGP 1.5 million. Salah explained to the officer arresting him that he could not do so because he was a member of parliament. But the Egyptian Economic Court disagreed with Salah. He was sentenced to two years in prison. In 1994, the Japanese lower house unanimously stripped a Japanese lawmaker of his parliamentary immunity. Kishiro Nakamura was accused of accepting a $95,258 bribe from Kajima Construction Company to quash a bid-rigging probe by the Fair Trade Commission. He surrendered himself at the Tokyo district prosecutor’s office and was arrested and prosecuted.

For the umpteenth time, let me emphasize that Ekitigate took place when Fayose was a gubernatorial candidate and not a sitting governor. Where does the so called immunity fit in? For the sake of argument, let’s assume Fayose committed election fraud as a sitting governor. Even with immunity, the Constitution provides avenue to litigate criminal acts of officials by judicial review.

Under the Nigerian law, immunity for official act enjoyed by lawmakers is similar to the one extended to Nigerian judges. But criminal acts and acts that are committed outside their official duties are liable to court processes. Ekitigate doesn’t fall within the official mandate of Fayose as a governor. Election fraud is not part of governor’s official duty. Ekitigate qualifies Fayose to be tried to the fullest extent of the law. Fayose has no immunity. Therefore, it’s certain that Fayose will be be prosecuted. And he’s a goner!

As the Presidential candidate of Congress for Progressive Change (CPC)  in 2011 elections, President Buhari promised: “We will amend the Constitution to remove immunity from prosecution for elected officers in criminal cases.” There is no better time than now for the president to initiate a bill that will strip all elected officials of the political license that allows them to loot the treasury with unrestrained greed and impunity.

[email protected]

What If Buhari Really Said Nigerians Are Criminals?

By Usama Dandare

President Muhammadu Buhari gave an exclusive interview to Daily Telegraph last week where he discussed several pressing national issues affecting the image of Nigerians in the global arena but some mischievous elements who are hell-bent on creating confusion within society are twisting Mr President’s statement saying that he referred to Nigerians as criminals. To set the record straight, Daily Telegraph published the ful details of the interview which has since generated controversy especially in the online media, but yet, the collective children of anger are still going around doing what they knows best: creating nothing out of something.

Since they insists, let’s all assume President Buhari truly said Nigerians are criminals. Even if he said so, was he lying? Are we not criminals?  When has calling a spade by it name “SPADE” became an offense? Why do we always choose to live in self-delusion instead of coming to terms with the reality? Why are we always unpalatable so as not to demarket country after being officially self-demarketed in the eyes of the world long ago?

I often say that the biggest phenomena tarnishing the image Nigerians overseas is not what the west perceived about us but the misguided Nigerians living in deluded elucidations and the unpalatable ones who outrightly get furious whenever the truth about Nigeria is told. What’s wrong in saying things as they are? Why are we always allergic to the truth?

Is it wrong to call criminal a country where it president looked into the eyes of world leaders and said “stealing is not corruption”? After telling another summit that what we have in Nigeria are just petty thieves not corrupt people. The president was trying to defend a country where a serving state governor disguised in women clothes and jumped bail from the United Kingdom after being arrested for stealing public funds and most annoying, he was welcomed back home amidst a mammoth crowd that came out to greet him.

I wonder if there’s any appropriate name to describe a country where$20billion of taxpayers’ money developed wings and flew away overnight rather than a country of criminals; a country where schools, airports, hospitals, streets, stadiums, museums and other monuments are being named after treasury looters and pen robbers. A country where chieftaincy titles are bought and given to criminals and murderers against established traditional institutions, corrupt looters of public funds in the government and fraudsters aka “yahoo yahoo boys” or ‘419iers’ are celebrated and crowned kings against the customs of our forefathers because they doled out their ill gotten money to the traditional king makers.

This is Nigeria: a nation where a governor-elect (yet to be sworn-in governor) led thugs into a courtroom and physically manhandled a sitting judge right on his lordship seat and went away with it unchecked; a nation where politicians are hiring assassins to assassinate opposition politicians; a nation where the rich elites are above the law while the poor masses continues to rot in jail awaiting trial. If Nigerians are not criminals, then there’s nothing called crime.

Do you know that over 25,000 Nigerians are being held in various prisons abroad (more than any African country) while 810 are waiting to die in death rows? They were mostly convicted of fraud, robbery, prostitution and drug-related crimes. Is this clear testimony not enough to tell the world that Nigerians are indeed criminals? Why is it that only one Briton has ever been sentenced to death in Nigeria in 2007 but later freed in a prisoners swap deal? Why are other African nations not having large number of their citizens in foreign prisons or are we the only ones residing in those countries?

Do you know that Nigeria has the highest number of social media 419ier (scammers) in the whole world? You may not be aware of this sad development but my fellow active social media users knows what i am talking about, there are varieties of methodology used by Nigerians to dupe innocent people which has been creating so much disaffection among social media users over the years. A monumental national disparaging crime which has however proven to represent a good portion of the Nigerian GDP as they are a great way to make money from dumb Americans. And I suppose Europeans, Asians and other Africans fall victim to these schemes, too. Interestingly, it has reached a stage in Nigeria today where a father will write his son via social media but the son has to verify the authenticity of his father’s account first before replying his dad not to disclose sensitive information to a scammer. In short, just search your name on Facebook and you will be shock to see how many active Facebook accounts you may have and unknown to you, these scammers have been soliciting for financial assistance on your behalf. All these criminalities are innovated and being committed by Nigerians but yet, we claim we are not criminals.

Most annoyingly, these same wailers twisting Buhari’s statement today are the same praise-singers that praised former President Jonathan for given a state pardon to convicted and condemned criminals yesterday, they are the same people defending Diezani Alison-Madueke for stealing Nigeria dry and the same people who came all out to defend Stella Oduah for purchasing two BMW cars at a miraculous price of a tokumbo jet and presenting fake school certificates for ministerial screening before the Senate. What a hypocrisy!

Nevertheless, when evil tends to become a culture in a society like it seems in Nigeria nowadays, where crime and criminals are seen to be glorified and worshiped by those whom the youths looks up to as idols and role models, frankly speaking, the soul of that society is dangerously destroyed. The hearts of the generation of such a society are shattered because their future has been mortgaged into the hands of the devil incubating a full blown city of Sodom and Gomorrah. A city where anything goes, where immorality will be exhibited, pains, deaths, corruption, celebration of criminality and wailing will be justified.

Park well my brother. Let’s drop aside our stupidity and embrace the truth. We should stop deceiving ourselves by being so anxious about the image of our country only in words while we keep forgotten that image when committing various crimes, but after the worst has been done, we begin to wail that so and so are demarketing our nation after all our sheer immorality and gross irresponsibility tells who we are as a nation. President Mohammedu Buhari didn’t say “Nigerians are criminals” and even if he said so, he’s definitely right because that is exactly what we are. Criminals and nothing but Criminals!

TSA Concept, Design And Benefits, By Kemi Adeosun

It is my singular honour and great pleasure to give this keynote address at the opening ceremony of this workshop on TSA concept, design, benefits and to share experiences of the Federal and States Government in the implementation of the project.
This workshop is expected to dwell further on current issues and challenges surrounding Cash Flow Management with a view to ensure scarce resources at the disposal of Federal, State and Local Governments are prudently and efficiently managed.

The organisation of this workshop is therefore, apt and timely especially at a time when the global economic downturn is creating challenges that demand efficient and effective management of cash resources.

The global economic challenges which are affecting our nation demand optimum efficiency in the management of public funds. These objectives require an overhaul of the financial management approaches adopted to meet financial obligations on time and ensure that cost effective financial support is provided to public institutions
Much has been reported and debated about the merits of TSA and the impact on the financial autonomy of the various arms of government and on the profitability of commercial banks. In practice, TSA is an essential reform for any government wishing to pursue fiscal sustainability and prudent management of its resources.

It increases accountability and transparency, improves the processing of payments and collections and reduces borrowing costs,

It is worth reiterating some of the key benefits of TSA that we have recorded to date:

• TSA at Federal Level has allowed, for the first time, visibility of the total quantity of government funds at any point in time.

• The balance, which changes daily as MDA’s remit revenues and make payments, according to the latest reports from CBN exceeds N2.2 Trillion. I can report that work is now ongoing within The Treasury, to determine how much of these funds can potentially be utilised to part fund the 2016 budget and how much relates to pending commitments. This, of course, will reduce the amount to be borrowed

• The TSA has provided us with financial information on the revenues of agencies funded by government and has reduced revenue suppression. This information is being used to drive our programme to enforce compliance with the Fiscal Responsibility Act and ensure that Revenue Generating Agencies generate expected surpluses and remit to the Federal Purse.

• TSA has eliminated opportunities for brokerage and other corrupt practices that previously encouraged agencies to accumulate funds with commercial banks rather than apply them to their intended uses. We believe that this will reduce payment delays to contractors, minimise late payment penalties and will consequently improve project completion times and service delivery.

• TSA has corrected the practice of government borrowing short term funds at high rates of interest, whilst simultaneously having idle funds in various bank accounts.

• By reducing the number of accounts in operation, monitoring and control has significantly improved.

I, therefore, urge the participants for this workshop to also discuss and brainstorm on ways and means of improving the revenue base of the country through full implementation of TSA and blocking of all leakages and improving the efficiency of revenue administration. The revenue base of the Country is still low and its administration still leaves room for improvement. This is bedevilled with a range of problems such as poor computerization, lack of skilled and dedicated employees, corruption, lack of awareness and of course unpatriotic conduct by some of the operators. This clearly indicates that the underlying assumptions underpinning the 2016 budget may only be realised with serious efforts put in place towards revenue efficiencies and expenditure discipline such as implementation of the TSA and Cash Management concepts by all tiers of government.

Therefore, I commend the efforts of the OAGF and organisers for hosting this very important workshop aimed at sensitizing the States Accountants-General on the need to key into the Treasury Single Account scheme of the Federal Government. I also wish to thank IMF (FAD Mission) for partnering with Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) in this noble initiative. I may also emphasis that timing of this workshop cannot be more auspicious than now when the present Administration of His Excellency, Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is vigorously pursuing the war against corruption.

As professionals in charge of Public Financial Management of your respective states, the ball is in your court and l hope you will take advantage of this workshop to clarify issues that have agitated your minds regarding the implementation of TSA. TSA will no doubt enables you to block all financial leakages and conserve more funds needed for development in your various States.
I am also aware that some states are already implementing TSA. I urge those states to kindly share their experiences with the rest of you so as to encourage those who are yet to decide to take their first step in this direction.

At the Federal Level, I can assure you that our experience has been worthwhile. TSA has Provided complete and timely information on government cash resources, Improved operational control on budget execution, Enabled efficient cash management, Reduced bank fees and transaction costs, Facilitated efficient payment mechanisms and it has also reduced the FGN Ways and Means requirement to bridge the budget funding gap.
Distinguished invited guests, participants, ladies and gentlemen. I have gone through the topics for discussion and the names of the distinguished speakers. It is remarkable that this initiative will come-up with ways of improving the efficiency of our scarce resources. I urge all participants to interact freely and share ideas that would improve transparency and accountability in the management of our nation’s scares resources. On this note, distinguished participants, ladies and gentlemen, I hereby declare this Workshop opened. I wish you fruitful deliberations.
Thank you and God bless.

Being text of an address by Finance Minister, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, on the occasion of a Treasury Single Account (TSA) workshop for states’ Accountants-General held in Abuja.