Promise Fulfilled For The APC As FG Commences Payment of N5,000 To Poorest Nigerians

The Federal Government has commenced the payment of N5,000 monthly to one million vulnerable Nigerians.
In a statement released, Monday, by Laolu Akande, Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to Vice president Yemi Osinbajo, the government stated that the payment was effected through the Conditional Cash Transfer, CCT, of the government’s Social Investment Programmes, SIP.
According to the statement, one million Nigerians would receive N5,000 monthly payments under the CCT as a form of social safety net for the poorest and most vulnerable as budgeted for in the 2016 Budget.
Mr. Akande added that many of the beneficiaries have already reported receiving their first payments in the first batch that commenced last week.
“In the first batch that commenced last week, nine states would be covered, and many of the beneficiaries have already reported receiving their first payments by Friday last week, December 30, 2016.
“Funds for the commencement of the payments in four states were released last week to the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) – the platform that hosts and validates payments for all government’s social intervention programmes. Funds for another set of five states to complete the first batch of nine states would follow soon.”
The statement listed Borno, Kwara, Bauchi, Cross Rivers, Niger, Kogi, Oyo, Ogun and Ekiti states as states in the first batch to commence the CCT statement. It however said that the states were selected because they had a social register that identified the vulnerable and poorest Nigerians.
“Though the sequence for the payment of the money would be operationally managed by NIBSS, beneficiaries in Borno, Kwara and Bauchi States have started receiving the money. The other states in the first batch to commence the CCT payments are Cross Rivers, Niger, Kogi, Oyo, Ogun & Ekiti States,” Mr. Akande said.

“The nine pilot states were chosen because they have an existing Social Register that successfully identified the most vulnerable and poorest Nigerians through a tried and tested community based targeting (CBT) method working with the World Bank. However other states have already begun developing their Social Registers and would be included in subsequent phases of the CCT implementation.”
According to the statement, the federal government, with the support of the World Bank, has adopted the CBT for developing the social register in the other states around the country for transparency, objectivity and credibility in the selection of the poorest and vulnerable Nigerians. Hence, the federal government will soon commence community mobilisation for the creation of the register in more states, to expand the scope and reach of the CCT across the country.
Other states listed to have complied with the stipulated framework provided and are set for the community based targeting method for development of social register include Plateau, Jigawa, Adamawa, Anambra, Benue, Enugu, Katsina and Taraba States.
These states, Mr. Akande said, are to be followed by Delta, Gombe, Kaduna, Kano, Imo and Ogun States. The government also assured that once the information garnered are entered into the social register, cash transfers would be disbursed to beneficiaries.
“Once the community mobilisation, identification and selection processes are completed, the information garnered from the poorest households would be entered onto the Social Register in the
states and the National Register at NIBSS, after which the cash transfers would be disbursed to the beneficiaries.”
The statement also disclosed that funds approved for the SIP are domiciled with the Ministry of Budget and National Planning.
Meanwhile, the federal government said that with the commencement of the CCT, the Buhari administration is now implementing four of the federal government’s SIP.
Mr. Akande said the N-Power Volunteer Corps designed to hire half a million unemployed graduates has now engaged 200,000, and the National Homegrown School Feeding Programme now runs in three states.
He said the Buhari administration has also kicked-off the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme, GEEP.
“Under GEEP, soft loans ranging from N10,000 to 100,000 have been designed for artisans, traders, market women among others. Already, thousands of cooperatives, market women associations, farmers and enterprising youths, have been identified and registered for the purpose, on an ongoing basis, and the disbursement of the soft loans through the Bank of Industry have started since Nov 25, 2016.
“At the last count, for the first phase, beneficiaries have been drawn from the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abia, Adamawa, Bauchi, Delta, Imo, Kwara, Kano, Katsina, Lagos, Osun, Oyo, Ogun and Kogi States.”
The statement however said that regarding the GEEP, disbursements were halted and deferred until after the festive season but vetting and approval of beneficiaries are now being continued
Commenting on the 200,000 beneficiaries of the N-power programme, Mr. Akande said about 100,000 graduates have been physically verified, adding that they have started receiving their N30,000 stipends.
“Regarding the 200,000 beneficiaries of the N-Power programme, close to 50 per cent of the graduates, have now been physically verified, and started receiving their monthly stipends of N30,000 last week. A second batch of 300,000 unemployed graduates are expected to be
selected early this year to make up the half a million target set by the Buhari administration.
“The verified graduates are now being deployed to work as assistant teachers in schools, as community health aides and as agricultural extension workers, in more than 20 States of the Federation. These sates include; Abia, Adamawa, Bauchi, Anambra, Benue, Cross Rivers, Borno, Gombe, Edo, Jigawa, Katsina, Plateau, Kogi, Osun, Rivers, Zamfara, Niger, Sokoto, Ogun and Taraba.”
In the same vein, the government said it has also started the implementation of the National Home-grown School Feeding programme designed to feed 5.5 million school children for 200 school days in the first phase of the programme. According to the statement, the initial design was to
feed pupils in 18 States but funding challenges had affected an earlier take-off. It however said that the programme has now commenced in Osun, Kaduna and Anambra States, adding that more states are expected to join this new year.

The federal government reiterated its commitment to touching the lives of millions of vulnerable Nigerians, especially in the new year, in fulfilment of its Change agenda.
“In the new year, it is the plan of the Federal Government to scale up the implementation of the SIP to touch the lives of millions of Nigerians in fulfilment of its promises and in furtherance of its Change agenda,” Mr. Akande said.

FG Expects Economic Improvement In Second Half Of 2016

The National Bureau of Statistics while confirming a temporary decline in the newly released GDP figures for the 2016 second quarter, has also indicated an hopeful expectation in the country’s economic trajectory.

This is contained in a statement signed by Laolu Akande, Senior Special Assistant-Media & Publicity to the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, on Wednesday.

According to him, besides the growth recorded in the agriculture and solid mineral sectors, the Nigerian economy in response to the policies of the Presidency Muhammadu Buhari presidency is also doing better than what the IMF had estimated with clear indications that the second half of the year would be even much better.

“The Buhari presidency will continue to work diligently on the economy and engage with all stakeholders to ensure that beneficial policy initiatives are actively pursued and the dividends delivered to the Nigerian people,” the statement read in part.

Similarly, the Special Adviser to the President on Economic Matters, Dr. Adeyemi Dipeolu on the latest NBS report said: “The just recently released data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed that Gross Domestic Product declined by -2.06% in the second quarter of 2016 on a year-on-year basis.

“A close look at the data shows that this outcome was mostly due to a sharp contraction in the oil sector due to huge losses of crude oil production as a result of vandalisation and sabotage.

“However, the rest of the Q2 data is beginning to tell a different story. There was growth in the agricultural and solid minerals sectors which are the areas in which the Federal Government has placed particular priority.

“Agriculture grew by 4.53% in the second quarter of 2016 as compared with 3.09% in the first quarter. The metal ores sector showed similar performance with coal mining, quarrying and other minerals also showing positive growth of over 2.5%. Notably also, the share of investments in GDP increased to its highest levels since 2010, growing to about 17% of Gross Domestic Product.

“The manufacturing sector though not yet truly out of the woods is beginning to show signs of recovery while the service sector similarly bears watching.

“Nevertheless, the data already shows a reduction in imports and an increase in local produced goods and services and this process will be maintained although it will start off slowly in these initial stages before picking up later.

“The inflation rate remains high but the good news is that the month-on-month rate of increase has fallen continuously over the past three months.

“Unemployment remains stubbornly high which is usually the case during growth slowdowns and for reasons of a structural nature.

“The picture that emerges, barring unforeseen shocks, is that the areas given priority by the Federal Government are beginning to respond with understandable time lags to policy initiatives. Indeed, as the emphasis on capital expenditure begins to yield results and the investment/GDP numbers increase, the growth rate of the Nigerian economy is likely to improve further.

“As these trends continue, the outlook for the rest of the year is that the Nigerian economy will beat the IMF prediction of -1.8% for the full year 2016.

“The IMF had forecasted a growth of -1.8% for 2016, however the economy is performing better than the IMF estimates so far. For the half year it stands at -1.23% compared to an average of -1.80% expected on average by the IMF.”

What is more, it is likely the second half will be better than the first half of 2016. This is because many of the challenges faced in the first half either no longer exist or have eased.”

Osinbajo Advocates Introduction Of State Police

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo yesterday gave his support for the introduction of state police just as he affirmed that the Muhammadu Buhari administration has implemented some of the recommendations of the 2014 Constitutional Conference.

osinbajoThe vice president spoke through his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr. Laolou Akande in a radio programme.

He spoke against differing interpretations of the vice president’s intervention in the ongoing debate about the restructuring of the country.

The vice-president’s assertion that restructuring of the country would not make any difference had recently come under attack by some bodies in the country including Afenifere, the Yoruba socio-cultural organisation.

Clarifying the position of the vice president on the issue of restructuring, Akande in the radio programme on Orange FM in Akure, Ondo State explained that while the Vice President questions whether the allocation of more funds to states from the federal would be helpful at this time considering the dwindling revenues from oil and taxes, he wholly supports the idea of having state police across the country as articulated in the APC’s Roadmap to a New Nigeria.

Details of Akande’s clarification on the radio programme made available by the vice-president’s office said Osinbajo desires a deeper debate on the issue of restructuring which he said should not be restricted at the level of resource allocation.

He said the administration has implemented some of the decisions listed in the 2014 Confab report, not because it was in the report but because they were sound decisions. He listed two of such decisions to include the merging of Budget Office with National Planning as one ministry and also the adoption in the 2016 budget of a 60-40% recurrent and capital expenditures.

Releasing Names Of Looters May Hamper Investigations – Osinbajo

Releasing the names of persons from whom the federal government recovered looted funds and assets may jeopardise ongoing investigations, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (SAN) has said.

Osinbajo stated this in a statement issued by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity Mr. Laolu Akande, in Abuja monday

Laolu said the vice president spoke yesterday at the Presidential Villa during a meeting with a delegation of the European Union led by the EU Ambassador in Nigeria, Mr. Michel Arrion.

While the government released a list of monies and assets already recovered in the last one year, names of individuals involved were not included.

Osinbajo also explained that the federal government was engaging leaders and people of the Niger Delta regarding the spate of attacks on oil installations in the area, an act he stated amounted to economic sabotage.

But besides reaching out to the people in the area, he said government was also beefing up security.
According to him, the focus of the President Muhammadu Buhari presidency “is to ensure that the man on the street in the Niger Delta receives the benefit from all that is available there.”
He also called on the leaders in the region to be accountable to the people.

Osinbajo added that government was working round the clock to minimize the losses arising from the attacks.
He said: “We are talking, we are ensuring that we minimize losses and we are stepping up security. We are also engaging the international oil companies (IOCs) to see what options exist.”

Osinbajo alo restated government’s commitment to drive its diversification policy and encourage investors from European countries to take advantage of the situation especially in the agro-allied/processing industry.

He restated the determination of the administration to ensure that the ease of doing business ranking in Nigeria improve by at least 20 steps in the World Bank rating.

To this end, the vice-president said the president had approved the composition of a presidential commission on the matter to be chaired by himself.

Earlier, Arrion said he came to hold consultations with the vice president as a follow-up on Buhari’s meeting with EU leaders during his visit to the continent
He said: “Nigeria has a huge market we can invest in. It is also a place we can export from.”

Both the vice-president and the EU envoy also discussed the EU trade deal with ECOWAS, the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), which was also one of the main issues tabled at the meeting of West African leaders over the weekend in Dakar.

Presidency Unveils Six Thematic Areas, 33 Policy Actions To Revamp Econony

The Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has called on the Nigerian people to remain patient and indeed expectant, assuring that the Buhari administration is firmly committed to revamping the Nigerian economy and fulfilling its promises.

Acknowledging the pains currently facing the nation, Mr. Osinbajo expressed the determination of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to take decisive decisions that would positively resolve the current economic challenges.

He said, “We acknowledge the pains and are concerned by them. Which is why we are working diligently to address the tough challenges inherited from the nation’s past.”

According to him, “We are working diligently to address the tough challenges inherited from the nation’s past,” adding that the plethora of challenges facing Nigeria could be overwhelming, and with it the multitude of things requiring decisive action that have to be strategically handled.

Speaking today at “The Nation’s Forum On The Economy” in Lagos, the Vice President averred that the Buhari administration is already “taking action and in due course they would produce satisfying outcomes, for they are borne out of a leadership that has no other agenda but the progress and greatness of Nigeria”.

Unveiling the economic strategic plan, Mr. Osinbajo disclosed that the Federal Government’s blueprint would be based on a strategic implementation plan for the 2016 budget under six thematic key areas, adding that the plan, would focus on about 33 Priority Actions.

He listed the following strategic areas and some of the policy actions including the following:

A. Lasting Changes in the Policy Environment, National Security and Governance

– Achieve an Appropriate Foreign Exchange Regime
Increase low interest lending to the Real Sector we need to move toward a single digit interest rate.

– Maintain Capital Spending in the Budget at a minimum of 30%. Complement this with funds from the Infrastructure Fund for commercial projects

– Intensify the fight against corruption by increasing transparency, accountability and compliance with law and order

B. Diversifying the Economy by Fast-tracking Industrialization, Agriculture and Agro-Allied Processing, as well as attracting investment into the Solid Minerals, Tourism and Entertainment Sectors

– Implement Measures to Achieve Self-Sufficiency & Become Net Exporters of certain agricultural Items: rice-2018, tomato paste-2016, wheat-2019. Increase local production of maize, soya, poultry & livestock, so as to achieve self-sufficiency: deadlines to be announced in due course

– Adopt and Implement a Roadmap to Stimulate Investment into the Solid Minerals sector, and plug Revenue Leakages in the Sector

– Increase Manufacturing Capacity through the operationalization of Industrial Parks, Free and Export Processing Zones, etc.

C. Priority Critical Infrastructure, focused on increasing investment in Power, Rail and Roads, etc.

– Optimize the 7,000MW installed capacity and ensure associated infrastructure to Fuel, Transmit and Distribute this capacity.

– Undertake the rehabilitation and construction of 31 major Road Projects scheduled for 2016 to restore degraded sections of the Federal Highways network and to Establish Connectivity over a distance of 2,193km (through public works projects, maintenance works, PPP and other interventions)

D. Oil and Gas Reforms

– Adopt & Execute a Comprehensive National Oil & Gas Master-Plan (‘NOGM’) as the roadmap for the Petroleum Industry’s Development, Diversification, Privatization & Governance. Adopt & Execute a Roadmap of Gas Development & Flare Elimination

– Set a deadline to be Self-Sufficient in Refined Petroleum Products & become a Net Exporter
Work with the National Assembly on the passage of a Revised Petroleum Industry Bill (‘PIB’) or Bills to give effect to the NOGM & to resolve Fiscal & Governance Issues of the Sector, & Eliminate Gas Flaring

E. Ease of Doing Business

– Move 20 places up global Ease of Doing Business Rankings, by implementing fast track measures for business approvals, acquisition of land titles, etc. (Nigeria is currently ranked 169 out of 189 countries by the World Bank – 2015 Survey)
Fast-track visa application and issuance processes

F. Social Investment

– Implement Social Intervention Programme and specific Health / Education projects included in 2016 Budget

Health Sector Interventions including Flagging off the Revitalization of 1 Primary Health Centre per Ward (a total of 10,000 nationwide)

The social investment plans include the following:
*Train and deploy 500,000 unemployed graduates as volunteer teachers who would be paid on the job while they seek jobs in their chosen careers.
*Homegrown School Feeding for primary school pupils across the country paid for by the government
*Micro-credit scheme that provides very soft loans to a million market women, artisans, traders
*Creating innovation and technology hubs/ parks on a large scale and skills acquisition & vocational training for over 300,000 non-graduate youths
* Conditional Cash Transfer where one million poor and vulnerable Nigerians would receive N5000 monthly
*Bursary awards for tertiary education students of Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths, STEM.

Vice President Osinbajo also re-assured the nation on the Change Agenda in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s statement in his 2016 Budget Presentation speech, that “we remain committed to economic diversification through import substitution, and export promotion, in order to build a robust and resilient economy, as a lasting legacy for generations to come”.

He then underscored the necessity for continuous engagement with the Nigerian people, including stakeholders in the economy, stating that “we intend to start a quarterly meeting with members of the private sector and other economic stakeholders soon and thereby create a forum for engagement on an ongoing basis.”

“Town-hall meetings at the presidential level would also be resumed across the country to explain progress and address the challenges with our people,” he further stated.

Laolu Akande
Senior Special Assistant-Media & Publicity
In the Office of the Vice President
April 7, 2016

Buhari’s Only Intention Is To Make Nigeria Great – Osinbajo

Vice president Yemi Osinbajo, on Thursday said that his boss’s only agenda was to make Nigeria a great nation, urging for support for him.

The Vice President made the disclosure while receiving a delegation of his Law Faculty class mates with whom he attended the University of Lagos between 1975-1978 at the presidential villa, Abuja.

He said that President Muhammadu Buhari was an honest man.

He is a man who is honest and whose only desire is to make Nigeria go forward and become a great nation. We should support such a leader”.

Osinbajo added that despite the present economic challenges Nigeria, the country stil had a unique opportunity to make good progress now, saying that both of them were determined to pursue the course.

“The president and I are determined to give a good account of ourselves and more importantly ensure that the country makes a good progress”, he said.

Expressing a deep-felt appreciation for the visit by his class mates, Osinbajo told them “it is very rare that after so many years, we can still reunite. I am really honored and humbled.”

Earlier, retired Justice Chinyelu Emeka K. Anigbodu who spoke on behalf of the delegation that included former federal minister, Odein Ajumogobia, congratulated the Vice President, noting that his election “is a precious gift to us.”

A statement by the media aide to the Vice President, Mr. Laolu Akande added that the members of the Vice President’s class at the meeting included legal practitioners from across the country and beyond, including Cameroon.

They are made up of Justices serving and retired, notable law teachers and lawyers.

National Economic Council Announces Two-day Retreat To Discuss Volatile Economy

The National Economic Council (NEC) says it would hold a two-day retreat next week in order to stimulate the Nigerian economy.

The retreat is set for Monday, March 21 to Tuesday the 22nd to steer out policy actions for states and the federal government.

In a statement by the Laolu Akande, senior special assistant on media and publicity to the Vice President, the team said President Muhammadu Buhari would deliver the keynote address during the formal opening session on Monday.

Akande added that this is by no means the emergency economic conference as suggested by some parties.

“The objective of the NEC Retreat is to provide a forum for in-depth discussions by NEC members of the policy actions that the state and federal governments can consider in order to stimulate local production, cut costs and enhance public revenues among other measures to stimulate the economy,” he said.

“Contrary to suggestions, the retreat is not an emergency national economic conference. The idea was mooted at the last regular NEC meeting in January, where members requested an intensive session to review economic trends and evolve strategies to cope.”

Akande said the Vice President and chairman of NEC, would preside over the retreat with governors from the 36 states of the federation attending.

Godwin Emefiele, governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), and the budget and national planning minister, Udo Udoma, are among other top government functionaries expected to speak at the retreat.

Presidency Dismisses Reports Of VP Osinbajo Trip Cancellation

Following reports that Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo cancelled his trip to India, the Presidency has reacted with some clarification.

It was reported that Osinbajo’s trip to India had been cancelled as a result of the clash with President Muhammadu Buhari’s trip to Equatorial Guinea.

Hence, the reports inferred that the Vice President was compelled to cancel his trip to avoid a situation whereby the Senate President, Bukola Saraki takes over as Acting President.

The Presidency however, said Nigeria would not cancel its attendance of the Indian/African summit while revealing that the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah would lead Nigeria’s delegation to India.

A statement was on Sunday, released by media aide to the Vice President, Laolu Akande, who debunked the media reports- yet without a clear denial that Professor Osinbajo was not initially scheduled to embark on the trip.

“Nigeria has been invited to the Indian/African summit and the minister of industry, trade and investment will be leading a delegation to the event.”

“There is nothing like cancellation. Remember that the visit of the Vice President to any country is not treated in secrecy. Whenever the Vice President is to travel out of the country, we inform Nigerians.”

“So, this story in question is a bunch of speculation. There is no cancellation.”

Presidency: Why Buhari Plans To Spend Half A Trillion Naira On Social Investments In 2016 Budget

…Payments for Conditional Cash Transfer& Homegrown School Feeding would be directly to the beneficiaries

The need to pay attention on the common man and spend the resources of this country on the poor people explains why the Buhari presidency has proposed a N500B estimate in the 2016 budget, even as more details on the 6 social protection plans were released.

In a press release issued Sunday the Senior Special Assistant-Media & Publicity in the Office of the Vice President, Mr. Laolu Akande disclosed that at no time in the nation’s budgetary history has the federal government made a specific vote of such volume for social welfare.

“Even economic historians now say that not only is the half a trillion Naira vote unprecedented, but it is also the greatest service ever done to the Nigerian state and people by any federal government administration,” Akande said.

Continuing he noted that the six social safety plans would reduce high levels of poverty and vulnerabilities, while also increasing Nigeria’s Human Development Index on the global UN rankings.

“The President’s vision is to increase investments in human capital to guarantee security for all, employment and improved well-being of the people,” the Vice President’s media aide added.

He disclosed that the presidency is aware that past attempts to address poverty has suffered because of insufficient political will, presence of various UN-coordinated initiatives and poorly targeted beneficiaries among other factors, and is working to avoid the pitfalls.

The Senior Special Assistant said for the Conditional Cash Transfer, CCT, where one million extremely poor Nigeria will receive N5000 monthly in 2016, the money would be paid directly to the beneficiaries through a payment system that is being worked out.

He said World Bank and the Bill Gates Foundation are collaborating with the presidency to develop an efficient payment system. All together about N60B has been estimated to be paid out to extremely poor Nigerians. And the implementation of the programme starts once the budget is passed.

In fact, Akande disclosed, that there would also be direct payment in the Homegrown School Feeding Programme.

“In the case of the CCT, those one million poor Nigerians would be paid directly, while in the case of the Homegrown School Feeding, the suppliers of the meals to the primary school pupils would also be paid directly by the federal government. There would be no middle agents involved official or private,” according to Akande.

The media aide observed that the recipients of the CCT would meet the conditions of their children participating in immunization and school enrollment but also boost the economy as the money would boost consumer spending in the economy.

He stated that regarding the Homegrown School Feeding programme, the federal government will start a pilot scheme in selected states once the budget is passed. An estimate of over N96woos being proposed to be spent on the Homegrown School Feeding this year.

The one-meal-a-day programme is also being supported by the Imperial College in the UK through one of its agencies Partnership for Child Development, PCD.

According to Akande, the Homegrown School Feeding will not only feed the children and help their learning significantly, but it would also boost the local economy of the states and the local communities.

The Buhari presidency has four other social investment plans, including the 500,000 direct jobs, where unemployed graduates would be trained and hired to become volunteer teachers in their communities while looking for jobs in their chosen profession.

There is also a Youth Employment plan that would take 370,000 non-graduates youths through skills acquisition and vocational training programmes. Like the teaching jobs, the selection of beneficiaries for this scheme would be done on states and FCT basis, opened to all Nigerians of different shades.

For small scale traders, artisans and market women, there is the Micro Credit scheme where one million Nigerians would get a one-time soft loan of N60,000 each through the Bank of Industry.

And finally there is the Free Education plan for students of Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics, STEM where government will pay tuition for 100,000 students.