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Buhari’s Ministers Left Huge Economic Liabilities For Tinubu’s Appointees – Stakeholders

August 26, 2023

urge marine and blue economy minister to tackle challenges, earn N7trn annually

Stakeholders in the power, telecoms, finance and other sectors of the economy have accused the ministers in the immediate past Muhammadu Buhari regime of bequeathing economic woes to the team of the present Bola Tinubu administration. Speaking with our correspondents, the stakeholders were of the opinion that Nigeria’s economy is currently on a tailspin, having been bedevilled by double digit inflation, high unemployment rate, foreign exchange crisis, weak purchasing power and epileptic electricity supply, among other challenges inherited from the Buhari regime.

Noting that the country is witnessing massive brain drain, excessively high poverty and stunted growth, some of the stakeholders complained that Nigeria is now a basket of economic malaise, which had been a consistent pass over from one government to another.

They also talked about the myriads of problems confronting the aviation sector, saying that there are challenges that the new minister urgently needs to tackle. Aside from that, not a few were of the opinion that there were issues like the astronomical increase and the difficulty in accessing Foreign Exchange. They also advised the government to look at various means of helping local airlines with a view to ameliorating the myriads of issues affecting their operations, in order to stem the frequent extinction of airlines.

Some of the stakeholders however believe that there is a ray of hope for an economic turnaround, saying President Tinubu would be depending on the expertise of his highly technical cabinet to bail out the economy, and put it on a prosperous path.

This is coming as some of the new ministers have also highlighted their plans to put the economy on a recovery path while revealing some of their strategies, aimed at changing that negative perception presently rocking the polity. Energy stakeholders are optimistic that the current ministers in the sector would confront headlong, the myriads of challenges in the Power, Oil and Gas industries.

They charged the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Oil), Heineken Lokpobiri; Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Gas) Ekperikpe Ekpo and the Minister of Power, Adebayo Adelabu, to address the challenges in their respective ministries. They identified crude oil theft and vandalism among the challenges in the Energy sector.

According to them, these have made Nigeria unable to meet its OPEC quota. The stakeholders also called on the government to address grey areas in the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) to ensure clarity in all areas of the act. They also called for more gas penetration in the country, adding the execution of the Nigeria Gas Policy would be neccessary.

The President of the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Tony Izuagbe Emoekpere, said there are still fundamental challenges facing the industry, especially at the physical layer of infrastructure, noting that, if unresolved, will not allow success in the application layers where most of the digital jobs reside. “There is a great need to develop, secure, and enable further expansion of communication infrastructure.

With a solid infrastructure base and innovative digital service, the growing Digital Economy can be further developed and expanded to all areas of the country, especially the unserved and underserved areas. “Issues ranging from funding, security, and permits still bedevil the industry. although several strides have been made especially by the regulating bodies, chiefly NCC as well as NIT- DA and DPC. “The Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) is poised and ready to work with the Honourable Minister of Communications, Innovation, and Digital Economy to make his impactful and we wish him success.”

For the Association of Licensed Telecoms Companies of Nigeria (ALTON), the minister needs to give autonomy to the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and try to separate politics from industry regulation. Speaking, the ALTON President, Gbenga Adebayo, said the minister should look at the way to bring back the technology experts who left the country due to the tough environment in Nigeria, urging him to tackle the challenges of brain drain in the sector.

He encouraged the minister to create an enabling environment for the Nigerian-trained experts to practice and work for the development of the country rather than seeking greener pastures abroad. “The minister has to work hard to stop the brain drain in the telecom industry because this is one of the challenges we have in the industry; lack of experts. Many of them have travelled, there is a need to create an enabling environment for them to work here.”

He also urged the minister to intervene in the issue of the USSD debts owed to the mobile network operators by the banks, noting that the refusal of the banks to pay the debts has political interference. On the part of telecom consumers, they want the minister to see to the poor quality of services rolled out by the operators, which they claim do not give value for their money.

The National President of the Association of Telephone, Cable TV and Internet Subscribers of Nigeria (ATCIS), Hon. Sina Bilesanmi, urged the new minister to recognise all the advocacy associations including ATCIS and always engage them while making any policy concerning the telecom consumers. He said: “The minister needs to recognise us and work with us to be more successful. We are the ones consuming the products and services rolled out by the operators, we know what is good and what is not.

We are the ones who can tell the minister what needs to be adjusted. He cannot avoid engaging us from time to time especially when making any policy that will affect the consumers, Bilesanmi said. The Vice-chancellor of Federal University Oye Ekiti, Ekiti State, Prof. Kayode Soremekun, in a letter to the Minister of Aviation, Festus Keyamo, expressed disgust at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos terminal, stressing that as a fairly frequent traveller, he feels diminished anytime he gets to the terminal. He also noted that as one of his priorities, Nigeria ‘must’ have its own national airline, adding that one of the best ways to do this is for the minister to have a sustained interaction with members of the Aviation Round Table (ART).

Soremekun said many international airlines have taken over Nigeria, saying Nigeria lacks the capacity to reciprocate. He also doubted the capacity of the country’s airlines to compete with their foreign counterparts because of the huge cooperation that exists amongst them. “If the new minister takes this advice, chances are that his learning curve will be very short and, in the process, he will achieve a lot for Nigeria in this vital sector.”

The National Operations Controller of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) Mike Osatuyi, encapsulated some of their demands to the new ministers. Osatuyi said: “The new Minister of Petroleum (Oil) should ensure that the PIA is being adhered to the letter. Also, he should ensure that we reach our target of about 2mbpd of oil production. Oil theft should be reduced substantially. He should concentrate on these key areas. When there is a reduction in oil theft, and also there is an increase in crude, there will be more money for the government. All these are the areas that he should concentrate on.

this would have gone a long way to correct the imbalance in shipping trade as it affects Nigeria. In pursuit of developing our maritime industry, the Nigerian Maritime Authority (NMA) was established to co-ordinate and implement Nigeria’s National Shipping Policy.

“Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) established in 2007 had no defined purview regarding Nigeria’s Shipping Policy, though it was mandated to promote and develop indigenous commercial shipping in international and coastal shipping trade, and regulate and promote maritime safety, security, marine pollution and maritime labour. The Merchant Shipping Act, 2007 was enacted to provide for merchant shipping and related matters.” Also, a maritime lawyer, Bar. Ebenezer Oladimeji said that this was the time to end the impunity in the sector through the new ministry.

He explained that the Nige- rian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Act must be fully implemented, saying that the ministry and the agencies under it should lay down a list of regulations for ships operating in Nigeria regarding licensing, registration, certification and penalties for non-compliance with the Act. Oladimeji added that some maritime laws have paved ways for corruption because of its ridiculous penalties.

According to him, there exist multiple government agencies in the maritime industry with duplication of functions, noting that the ministry must tackle the overlapping functions among them for better output. Ministers set to change the narratives On his assumption of duties, the Minister of Finance did not feign ignorance of huge task ahead. While soliciting for the support of the management and staff of the ministry in realising president Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s renewed hope agenda for the country, he assured Nigerians of better days ahead.

The minister said President Tinubu’s key macro, monetary and fiscal measures might have taken a toll on Nigerians but will hopefully be at the economy’s advantage. “We must deliver and we must perform, the expectations of Nigerians are high and so the president has come to correct most abnormalities”. Promising to do whatever is possible to minimize the sufferings of Nigerians, Edun assured that the pains of reforms would soon be over.

Edun reiterated the need for team work, adding that it is the only way to achieve success. He added that the ministry was not new to him because he had been in and out of the ministry for a purpose, adding that he would utilise digitalisation of the ministry as an advantage to fasten his job. To assist Edun with the government’s effort of rebuilding the fractured economy is Minister of Budget and Economic Planning, Atiku Bagudu , the immediate past governor of Kebbi state.

Bagudu assured Nigerians that the current administration will strive to achieve double-digit economic growth. He said double-digit economic growth is the goal of President Bola Tinubu, adding that the growth would be inclusive of every part of the country.

“The president has always been emphatic that if other countries have done it, why not us; why not a double-digit growth, why not inclusion for all an economy that promotes and rewards competition and effort, why taking care of those who are pleased.

“We have seen bold and courageous actions in order to reposition Nigeria and have an institutional arrangement that he believes will lead us for Nigeria to have sustained double-digit growth like other countries have done and enable us to achieve our economic objectives.”

Explaining that the ministry is central to the government, he said the merger of the functions of the National Planning Commission and the Budget Office of the Federation under the Ministry of Budget and Economic Planning is a major policy change introduced by President Tinubu.

He added that the framework for coordinated planning and budgeting roles within the ministry was to develop an appropriate institutional framework to effectively operationalise them. “The ministry will give emphasis critical to the delivery of the promise of the president to deliver economic growth and improve the livelihood of all Nigerians.”

He noted that this would be done through harmonisation of planning frameworks, alignment and prioritisation of medium-term development plans, presidential priorities and targets, campaign manifesto with sector medium-term and strategic reports that are in sync with sustainable development goals. Minister of State for Gas, Ekperikpe Ekpo, assured of his readiness to work with stakeholders to harness Nigeria’s vast natural gas deposits to reduce transportation costs for Nigerians.

He also said time has come for the country to have a clear and concise agenda and robust implementation roadmap for the exploitation of Nigeria’s enormous, yet untapped gas resources. He said his focus would include how to ensure active exploration and exploitation of gas resources to, in the short term, solve problems of transportation costs cutting, reducing food prices, and eradicating inflation. He said: “The removal of fuel subsidy has placed the responsibility of providing a sustainable alternative to PMS on us in the ministry.

I am committed to ensuring that together, we would deliver on this wondrous task of building an economically viable and environmentally sustainable gas utilisation framework and developing infrastructure for the benefit of Nigeria and Nigerians. “Nigeria’s proven natural gas reserves bless the country as one of the nations with the greatest gas reserves globally.

“It is certain that harnessing this would stimulate the domestic economy in addition to optimising the domestic utilisation of gas, it would support hundreds of thousands of jobs within the local economy. “This comprehensive evaluation will lay the foundation for harnessing Nigeria’s gas industry potential, strengthening the entire gas value chain from exploration to distribution.” The Minister of State, (Oil), Petroleum Resources, Heineken Lokpobiri, said he would work towards boosting Nigeria’s oil production.

According to him, Nigeria will witness an increase in oil production on a sustainable basis in the near future, adding that he would spend more time in the field. Lokpobiri said: “I have got more energy, and I have come to utilise that energy to revamp the petroleum sector. I am here with one agenda, which is to increase oil production and in order to increase it, we need to work together to achieve results. “I am here to provide the leadership so that we can go to the creeks and resolve all the problems.” The Minister of Power, Chief Adebayo Adelabu, said he would work towards the implementation of the 2023 Electricity Act, and achieving the universal metering of consumers.

He said he would leverage on Information and Communications Technology (ICT), existing policies and programmes of his predecessors as well as stakeholder collaboration to solve Nigeria’s power challenge. He stated that it was imperative for optimal solutions for Nigeria’s power challenges. He acknowledged that the task before them was not merely a requirement but an expectation from the president and the Nige- rian populace, who had endured years of power challenges.

Adelabu said: “With conviction, divine guidance, and the support of President Tinubu, the National Assembly, government agencies, and every Nigerian citizen, I pledge my commitment to achieving success in Nigeria’s power sector. “My vision for the Ministry of Power is rooted in leveraging the Nigerian Electricity Act of 2023, which has opened new avenues for power provision and encourages collaboration between the public and private sectors.”

During his resumption of duty, the Minister of Marine and Blue Economy Ministry, Adegboye Oyetola, urged the staff in the ministry to work with him to find innovative solutions to the challenges in the sector and ensure that the oceans and marine are safe, reliable, and sustainable. He also revealed that the blue economy is estimated globally to be worth more than $1.5 trillion annually. Considering the size of the country’s blue economy, Oyetola noted Nigeria should be a significant player in the sector to contribute to the country’s revenue and also provide jobs for the unemployed.

He promised to come up with practicable ways of ensuring that the inland rivers, lakes, and waterways are utilised for cargo shipment and passenger transportation. According to him, “our oceans cover more than two-thirds of our planet’s surface, holding the key to sustainable economic growth, environmental preservation, and technological innovation. As we look ahead, my vision is rooted in the responsible management and utilisation of our marine resources to benefit not only our economy but also the health of our planet.

“Experts say the Blue Economy is estimated to be worth more than $1.5 trillion per year globally. Therefore, given our size as a country and considering the size of our blue economy, we should be a significant player in this sector, to contribute immensely to the revenue generation of our country and also provide jobs for the unemployed. “We must come up with practicable ways of ensuring that our in-land rivers, lakes, and waterways are well utilised, both in terms of cargo shipment and passenger transportation.

This can be done by embarking on a holistic dredging campaign for most of our strategically important inland waterways to make them navigable for the passage of goods and people.” He promised to promote better inter-agency cooperation and co-ordination between the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, Nigerian Ports Authority, Nigerian Inland Waterways Authority and Nigerian Shippers Council. Also, he assured that he would promote greater private sector inclusion while fostering greater efficiency through specialisation and the effective delineation of core duties between the units. He added: “We must seize this opportunity to create positive change, leaving a lasting legacy for generations to come.

These are my thoughts as I join you today. I believe that when we are able to do all these and more, we would have contributed our quota to-wards realising Mr President’s renewed Hope Agenda in the Marine and Blue Economy sector.”

On his part, the Minister of Transportation, Senator Said Alkali, assured that the Federal Ministry of Transportation under his administration, would assume a leading role towards improvement of public sector transportation. Alkali also promised that there would be sustainable collaboration with related ministries, agencies and corporate entities to reactivate the road transport and mass transit operations in the country.

He stressed his resolve to ensure effective supervision, monitoring and evaluation of performance of all the departments of the Ministry and its agencies, to meet operational standard, judicious expenditure management and optimal productivity.

The minister said that he would undertake the provision, modernization, rehabilitation, planning and development of the rail transport sector with efficient security services to support the realization of the primary purpose of the government.

He said: “As you are aware, the Ministry of Transportation was primarily established to facilitate the provision of public transport services and effective coordination of all the agencies and institutions under the Ministry. The Ministry of Transportation shall strive to ensure the realisation of its mandate and the mandates of agencies under its jurisdiction.

This endeavour will assist to harness the resources of the nation, promote national prosperity and a dynamic self-reliant economy that will actualise the “Renewed Hope” of the present administration. “This endeavour will assist to harness the resources of the nation, promote national prosperity and a dynamic self-reliant economy that will actualize the “Renewed Hope” of the present administration’s developmental agenda of ensuring an efficient transport system consistent with the socio-economic objectives of the Constitution.

“In order to sustain this reality, the Ministry of Transport must assume a leading role of improving the public transportation sector to support the numerous policies that are geared towards providing democratic dividends that are accessible to ordinary Nigerians through effective provision of public transport that is secured, affordable and convenient across the country.

“In furtherance of sincere commitment to ensure the realization of the “Renewed Hope” of this administration, I have resolved to ensure effective supervision, monitoring and evaluation of performance of all the departments of the Ministry and its agencies to meet operational standard, judicious expenditure management and optimal productivity. I will also ensure a sustainable collaboration with related ministries, agencies and corporate entities to reactivate the road transport and mass transit operations in the Country.


“Similarly, I will understudy prevailing economic trends, undertake the provision, modernization, rehabilitation, planning and development of the rail transport sector with efficient security services to support the realization of the primary purpose of the government. This initiative will no doubt maximize the potential embodied in the recent Constitutional alterations that moved rail transport services from the – exclusive list to the concurrent list. It will also reduce the frequent menace on our roads characterized with accidents, kidnappings and armed robbery.”

Courtesy:The Telegraph

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