Nigerians Groan Under Clueless APC •Workers Protest Poor Pay •Country Down In Social Progress Index

By cattnews on June 26, 2017

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Nigerians
Nigerians

The Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, once, said that for allowing the All Progressives Congress (APC) to win the 2015 Presidential Election, “Nigerians have entered ‘a one chance bus’.”

Ridiculously enough, the statement is proving to be true each passing day.

Emerging facts are pointing to the fact that Nigerians are going to get far more than they had ever bargained for under this APC government.

Last week, in Owerri, the Imo State capital, vehicular and human movements were temporarily brought to a halt as a group of protesters demanded the immediate review and increase of the salaries and welfare packages of the officers and men of the Nigeria Police Force.

The protesters displayed various placards with inscriptions such as ‘We demand immediate review and increase of our police officers’ salaries’, ‘Nigerian police deserve the best’, ‘Federal Government, stop paying police officers pittance as salaries’, and ‘Without police there will be anarchy in Nigeria’.

They marched through various streets in the state capital before arriving the police headquarters where they sang songs and demanded to see the State Commissioner of Police.

In Abuja, for two consecutive days, normal activities were paralysed at the Ministry of Finance headquarters, as workers embarked on a protest over what they described as ‘unresolved welfare’ package.

The protest, which came about the same time a similar one was held by the workers last June, started Monday and continued Tuesday.

To cap it all, with an aggregate score of 109th out of 128 countries evaluated, Nigeria recorded one of the world’s worst performances globally in the 2017 Social Progress Index Report.

The above mention score recorded by the country was an aggregate measure of sectors which included healthcare, education, housing, rights, tolerance and environmental indicators.

It showed that Nigeria registered one of the world’s worst performances globally in terms of how effectively the country’s economic wealth was translated into social progress as it achieved quality of life outcomes below what its per capita GDP ($5,639) suggests is possible.

This was despite making overall improvements in social progress outcomes over the last four years (2014-2017).

The report further showed that over the last four years Nigeria had seen improvements in Personal Freedom and Choice (due to changes in freedom over life choices and increased freedom of religion).

“Tolerance and Inclusion has improved over the last four years due to improvements in tolerance for immigrants and a better community safety net. Access to Information and Communications is another area of improvement because Nigeria increased its number of mobile phone subscriptions whilst proportion of the population who use the internet increased from 33 per cent in 2014 to 47 per cent in 2017.

“As a result Nigeria has one of the most connected populations in Africa.

“However, despite gains in Personal Freedom and Choice (116th ranking) and Tolerance and Inclusion (114th ranking), these components are still areas where Nigeria lags significantly behind countries at a similar level of GDP per capita.

“Nigeria remains one of the worst countries in the world on discrimination against minorities and has one of the highest rates in world of early marriage, though this fell slightly from 33 per cent to 29 per cent of girls aged 15 to 19,” the index provider states.

It also showed that Nigeria was one of the most dangerous places in the world to live: on Personal Safety measures (125th ranking), saying that “Nigeria has a long way to go.”

“Levels of violent crime are high, perceived criminality is high, political terror is high and the homicide rate is high (on all these indicators, Nigeria ranks poorly, finishing in the bottom 25 countries globally).  On Shelter (103rd), Water and Sanitation (115th) and Nutrition and Basic Medical Care (109th) Nigeria registers poor social progress outcomes across the board.”

The 2017 Index includes data from 128 countries on 50 indicators and covers 98 per cent of the world’s population.

In the course of the same week, a total of N462.359 billion was shared by the three tiers of government for the month of May, an increase over the N415.7 billion distributed for April.

A breakdown showed that Value Added Tax (VAT) accounted for N76.786 billion; statutory revenue, N317.562 billion, and exchange rates differential of N64.812 billion.

The figures were disclosed by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Dr. Mahmoud Isa-Dutse, at a briefing after the monthly meeting of the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) presided over by him.

He revealed that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), which had been defraying its N450 billion indebtedness to FAAC monthly at N6.7 billion had liquidated the debt.

From the statutory allocation, the federal government got N147.682 billion; states, N74.906 billion; local governments, N57.750 billion while N20.505 billion went to the oil-producing areas as 13 per cent derivation.

According to Mahmoud, the gross statutory revenue of N317.562 billion received for the month was more than the N274.110 billion received in the preceding month by N43.452 billion, adding that everything would be done to ensure salaries were paid to civil servants before the Sallah celebration.

“The slight drop in the average price of crude oil from $55.38 to $55.18 per barrel and a decrease in export volume by 1.023 million barrels, reduced oil revenue by about $57.12 million. Crude oil production suffered due to leakages, sabotage, shut-ins- and shut -downs at terminals for maintenance and the force majeure declared at Forcados terminal since February, 2016 subsisted,” he said.

It is worthy of note that since APC assumed governance, it has been paying states peanuts as allocation from the federation account under the guise that the country is not generating enough revenue.

For instance, the Kwara State Government disclosed that it has received a total of N2.48 billion as federal allocation for June.

The State Commissioner for Finance, Alhaji Demola Banu made this known in a statement made available on Saturday in Ilorin.

The commissioner, while giving the details, said that the sum was made up of statutory allocation of N1.38 billion, Value Added Tax (VAT) of N740 million and Exchange Difference of N366 million.

Banu further disclosed that the 16 local governments in the state got a total of N1.82 billion as allocation for June.

Giving a breakdown of the allocation figures, Banu said that the local councils received statutory allocation of N1.16 billion, Value Added Tax (VAT) of N420million and Exchange Difference of N241million, totaling N1.82billion.

Although what state governors do with the FAAC allocation is always far from being impressive, it is worthy of note that the APC governors both past and present under the deposed Peoples Democratic party (PDP) enjoyed the huge amount shared by PDP administrations and on the flip side, this ‘tight fiscal policy’ is stifling development in various states and local governments, thus worsening the already aggravated living condition of Nigerians.

And it is sad to note that Nigerians do not know what the APC government is doing with the balance of the money. At least, it is not showing in the country’s external reserves.

As aforesaid, the pretense has always been that the country is not generating enough revenue.

The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun hinted at this again, recently, at the NSE-Bloomberg CEO Round Table held in Lagos. 

Adeosun said: “For the size of our government, the size of our economy and the size of our needs, government revenue is simply just too low.”

Continuing, she said: “We see increasing revenue as the long-term strategic solution for sustainable and inclusive growth but revenue is required in the short-term for investments and in the medium to long-term for our debt service.

“Our acceptance that our ambitions cannot be financed by oil revenue is an equal acceptance that there is a finite limit to how much can, and should be financed by debt. If we don’t want to borrow, we need more revenue.

“The problem is not that our debt service is too high but our revenue is too low and the manner in which the imbalance between our debt service and revenue will be corrected, apart from rebalancing our borrowings in favour of longer tenure loans and external sources, is by finally and frontally facing the issue of revenue.” 

The APC leadership should understand that playing upon the intelligence of Nigerians would not work.

Contrary to her claim, the country’s revenue base is well diversified enough for a thinking government, which is not what this APC government is.

It prefers dodging responsibilities and lying about it.

Perceiving its deficiency, it has resulted in spreading falsehood, while at the same time bullying perceived political enemies through the state security agencies and the courts of law.

The party’s major agenda, right now, is to perpetuate itself in power, and how that it will work in a volatile political environment like Nigeria’s is yet to be seen.

 

Source cattnews

Posted 26/06/2017 7:37:47 PM

 

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