The Imo State Governor, Distinguished Senator Hope Uzodimma has today signed into law the 2024 Imo State Budget.
Speaking after signing the budget into law at the Sam Mbakwe New Exco Chambers, Government House, Owerri, the Governor commended the leadership and members of the Imo State House of Assembly for the expeditious manner in which the Executive Bill was attended to. “That is what you get when you have a harmonious relationship between the executive and the legislature,” he said while describing the uncommon synergy between the two arms of government.
On the anticipated benefits from the budget, Governor Uzodimma said that the 2024 appropriations act will act as a stimulus package and a catalyst that will lead to the growth of the Imo State economy and ensure prosperity for all; “no wonder that the title of the Law is the Budget of Renewed Economic Growth” he declared.
The Governor explained “Looking at the budget you will see that never in the history of this state have we brought a budget with a capital expenditure of 82.5%. It is an economic revolution. It is meant to encourage economic activities, rebuild the infrastructure, introduce new ones, and make Imo State become the envy of other states in the country”.
Speaking further, he stated “For this proposal to be accepted and passed by the House of Assembly means that the House of Assembly understands very clearly the need to bring prosperity to Imo State.
On the issue of the implementation of the budget, Governor Uzodimma said, ” The success or otherwise of this budget will largely depend on the prudent implementation of all the articles and items in the budget… “I will therefore plead that the bureaucracy be prudent in managing whatever resources we can achieve… when you hear that we have a budget of N592.2 billion naira, it’s just a proposal. There are two components in that document; one is the revenue and the second one is the expenditure. It means that we first make the money because money will be earned before it will be spent. – So for us to make the money, we need all hands on deck; – we need to close all revenue leakages – we need to be prudent – we need to consider the interest of the state – we need to shun all forms of fraud and criminality – we need to commit to our jobs and understand the meaning of public trust. When you occupy a position that deals with the destiny and future of a people, you don’t take them for granted.
The Governor warned saying, ” I will be ruthless with any public officer or political appointee going forward who doesn’t understand the importance of and significance of growing the economy of the state and will leave no stone on turned to advance the cause of history in our state” the governor emphasised.
Nigeria, Qatar Gas Cooperation To Pave Way For Global Clean Energy, Says Tuggar
Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Yusuf Tuggar, has called for collaboration between Nigeria and Qatar to promote gas diplomacy, energy transition away from nonrenewable energy, and highlighted the key benefits of Nigeria-Qatari relations for Africa and the global gas sectors.
He made the call while delivering a lecture at the Doha Diplomatic Institute on Thursday on the sidelines of President Bola Tinubu’s official visit to the State of Qatar.
The Minister said both Qatar and Nigeria are blessed with hydrocarbon deposits that place them at the centre of the new energy equation. He also stated that while Qatar has the world’s third largest gas reserves and Nigeria is best known as Africa’s largest oil producer, it is primarily a gas province with a small amount of oil. “We are sitting on reserves of 208TCF. We use our reserves to develop our economies – and are confident that we can also develop partnerships that will support the process of transition.”
Amb. Tuggar further stated that it is incumbent on gas-rich countries like Qatar and Nigeria to make a case for gas as a cleaner alternative and transition fuel fit for human use while also adding that “Nigeria requires a partner such as Qatar that shares a similar epistemology of gas as a resource for human utility to develop its gas assets further and expand market share for the benefit of both countries.” He also enthused that “Nigeria can help Europe and other industrial economies to diversify their sources of energy supply. In turn, a more stable market creates more stable prices, and a more stable platform for economic growth, improved living standards and new opportunities.”
The Minister also stated that Nigeria currently has a 6-train LNG with a nameplate capacity of 22MTPA, with an 8MTPA 7th train under construction and another 8th train planned for the near future. Nigeria also has two additional LNG projects that have reached advanced planning stages; Olokola (OK LNG) and Brass LNG. Opportunities for quick Floating LNG projects also abound. But even before that, 150km from Nigeria lies Equatorial Guinea’s Bioko Island LNG, fresh out of gas supplies and ready to take in feedstock from Nigeria.
The Minister said that beyond the LNG, “Nigeria has two major gas pipeline projects with the potential of delivering gas to Europe currently underway- The Trans-Saharan Gas Pipeline through Algeria can potentially deliver a conservative 2 billion scf/d while the 7,000km Nigeria-Morocco Gas Pipeline seeks to join the Maghreb-European Pipeline (MEP) with a capacity of 30 billion cubic metres/day.”
He added that all of these projects provide huge opportunities for Qatar to partner with Nigeria to enter into new markets for gas in Africa and beyond, noting that: “Qatar possesses the requisite big-ticket experience in negotiating complex international business deals as well as the interlocutory mediation skills for the diplomacy required to pull off a Nigeria-Morocco pipeline, where over 15 countries would be involved.
He said the kind of political and economic partnership that is needed to develop such a complex project can be the foundation for a new diplomatic order in the region. He said: “A partnership that further brings us together and can provide new incentives to mitigate or minimize some of the challenges that we have faced, for example in recent months over the faltering of democracy in parts of the region. ,
New CBN Interest Rate Hike Will Worsen Economic Hardship, Job Losses
Peter Obi, former governor of Anambra State, believes that the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) increase in the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) will exacerbate the country’s economic hardship.
According to the Conclave, the CBN increased the MPR by 400 basis points, from 18.75% to 22.75%.
CBN Governor Yemi Cardoso, who chairs the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), announced the committee’s decisions in Abuja on Tuesday, February 27, 2024.
However, Obi, in a statement posted on his X (formerly Twitter) account on Thursday, February 29, described the increase as counterproductive, claiming it would result in more job losses in the country.
The Labour Party’s (LP) presidential candidate for the 2023 election stated, “Let me confess that being a vintage Onitsha-based trader does not confer on me the status of an economic expert.
“With my vast trading knowledge and my involvement in the real sector, I am of the strong opinion that the recent decision of the Monetary Policy Committee to increase the Monetary Policy Rate, MPR, to 22.5% and the Cash Reserve Ratio, CRR, to 45% will further worsen the economic situation of most Nigerian households, as it is bound to cause more job losses in the productive sector, especially manufacturing and other sectors that rely on bank loans and credit facilities.
“Limiting liquidity in the financial system does not improve productivity, i.e. food production, which is the primary cause of inflation in Nigeria.
Furthermore, only about 12% of the total money in circulation is in the banking system, leaving the remaining 88%, or about N3.2 trillion, outside the banking system.
“So, this measure would be counterproductive because it does not address the intended goal of managing the money supply.
“These new measures will worsen the fragile economy because the supply of funds for the real sector will dry up, and the new MPR rate hike will push loan interest rates above 30%, making it very difficult for real sector operators, particularly manufacturers and SMEs, to repay; resulting, obviously, in increased bad loans and worsening the nation’s economic situation.”
The former governor stated that the most important way for Nigeria’s government to manage the country’s high inflation rate and decline in production is to address insecurity.
Obi stated that the government’s response to insecurity would allow for increased food, crude oil production, and overall production, resulting in cheaper products, particularly food.
Obi added, “This way, we would increase our productivity while also restoring FDI and FPI confidence in the country.
“I must warn that what the Nigerian economy requires right now is hard-headed practical innovation and outcomes. Tinkering with classical economic theories will only exacerbate our crisis.”
NNPC Ltd, OPEC Pledge Collaboration To Attract Investments, Increased Production
The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC Ltd) and the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) have agreed to work closely together to achieve the country’s objectives of attracting investment and increasing production.
In a statement, Olufemi Soneye, Chief Corporate Communications Officer of NNPC Ltd, stated that the two organizations came to this accord when the Secretary General of OPEC, Haitham al-Ghais, paid a courtesy visit to the Group Chief Executive Officer of NNPC Ltd, Mr. Mele Kyari, at the NNPC Towers on Wednesday.
Speaking at the event, al-Ghais stated that OPEC was completely aligned with NNPC Ltd.’s vision, as encapsulated in its payoff line: “Energy for Today, Energy for Tomorrow,” because of its inclusive view of energy, as opposed to the view promoted by some quarters that some sources of energy were bad.
He revealed that, despite the pushback on oil and gas, the world would require approximately $14 trillion in investments from now until 2035 to meet global demand, and urged NNPC Ltd to do everything in its power to capitalise on that opportunity to increase production in order to remain a reliable source of energy for the world.
“We will continue to ensure that the market is stable. The global market has to be stable in order for Nigeria to be able to attract investors. If there’s volatility, if there’s no stability in the market, it will only create havoc for everybody, whether it’s a producer or consumer country. So, we will continue to do that in OPEC. We count on Nigeria’s support”, the OPEC helmsman said.
In his remarks, Kyari stated that NNPC Ltd was working extremely hard to recover lost production and create the ideal fiscal environment to attract investment.
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