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THURSDAY, APRIL 7,201 1

ECOWAS to harmonise investment laws HE E con 0 m i c Communi ty of Wes t African States is to harmonise

T

regional investment laws to

boost economi c growth among member states.

A statement from the

body, made ava il able to the News Agency of Nigeria on Wednesday in Abuja, said that an ECOWAS investment code was being compared to investment

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FG may reduce recurrent expendit~e~~go!~thetop 6 01/0 of GD P T HE Federal Government may peg the recurrent expenditure of all ministries, departments and age ncies of

The percentage of

government at six per cent of

recurrent expenditure to the

the country's Gross Domestic Product. A report of the Expenditure

total budget was 68 per cent, 60 per cent and 70 per cent in 2007, 2008 and 2009 ,

Review Commi ttee , which

respectively.

was su bm i tted to th e Minister of Finance , Mr. Olusegun Aganga, in Abuja on Wednesday, gave this

It. however, declined to 65.8· per cen t in the 2010 amended a nd supplementary budgets.

indication . Th e comm ittee , headed

But the report said, "A situation where more than

by Prof. Anya O. Anya ,

80 per cent of the financia l

was set up by the

mi~ister

defi cit of three per cent of GOP as contained in the Fiscal Responsibility Act. Th e -com'mitt ee a lso

20 economies by 2020 if the current mix of recurrent and capital expenditure as well as the level of fiscal discipline

have had a mere 15 per cen t

recommended

was maintained.

of its expenditure covered . "Th e stark rea li ty is that withou t oil, therefore ,

passage of the Sovereign Wea lth Fund Bill by the Na tional Assembly, as well as

It added that the size and structure of the political and governmental arrangements

Nigeria's bankruptcy will be

the provision of incentives for

in the country did not renect

self-evident. Our situation will be worse than the present day Greece or Portugal. There is a need to peg the ratio

growing n on-oil revenue . I n reaching these conclUSions, the committee said that it id entified

the size of its economy in productive activities. For instance, it said that the critical fiscal relationships

of recurrent expenditure to GOP at six per cent and to

opportunities for a reduction in recurrent expe nditure

were not managed as the ratio o f recurrent expenditure

not more than 100 per cent

and for sw itchin g from its

to total revenue "have been

resources of the nation

of non-oil revenue."

dominance to making capital

embarrassingly high ."

thatwi thoutoil, Nigeriawould

th'~'

quick

laws of member states as

last December to proVide a framework that would help

were devoted to recurrent expenditure as in 2003 cannot

Other recomme ndations include matching the country's

expenditure more important. The committee said that its

The report added that the major dr ivers of high level

part of the harmonisation

the Federal G.o.vernment

be co nsidered responsible

recurre n t expenditu re in

findings revealed that It was

recurre nt expenditure were

process.

to reduce the nSlng cost of

by a ny stretch. This fact is

absolute terms in order to

practically impossible for the

"unbridled multiplication

governance.

underlined by the realisation

maintain maximum fi scal

country to achieve Its VISio n

of structures and processes,

It no ted that participants at a recent meeting held in Port Novo, Benin Republic,

overloading of recurrent

were told to come up

items , especially through

with a report that wou ld constitute the basis for the hanno'nisat ion process to

overheads, and the pervasive defiance of extant rules and regulations on governmen t' s

fiscal operations. Shedding more light on the report , the chairman of the committee said tha t

position th e regio n as a compe titive destin ation for

investment in the global market.

some provisions of the

'Involve local firms in power reforms'

nation's Constitution should be amended to tackle the problem . For instance , he said that

the section that st ipulated that each state must produce

HE Managing Director, Seaco f Engineering Limited, Mr. Charles Fashola, has advised the Federa l

T

a minister in addition to one

from each geo-political zone was not necessary since a

Gov e rnment to in vo lv e indigenous companies in the ongoing power sector

reforms.

Fashola to ld th e News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos that government should build strong confidence in the indigenous companies .

He said that most of the ongoing power projects in the

'L-R' Edo State Commissioner for Finance, Mr. John In egbedion; .representative of the United Bank for Africa Pic, Mr. Feyi Ogoii,· a~d Edo State Governor, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole, at the presentation of Nl bn agricultural loan to cooperative farmers , in the state ...on Wednesday.

G Leave agriculture to states, Oshiomhole urges F

country were being executed

by local companies. The expert said that the objective of the Nigerian Content Development a nd Moni toring Board was to

OVERNOR Adams Os hi o mh o le o f Edo State has urged the Federal

empowe r indigenous companies and investors.

agriculture in the hands of

97 ships !()r Lagos po·r ls

N INET Y-seven

s hi ps

laden w ith various items

are expected to sail in to the

Lagos ports between April 6 and Ap ril 27, the News Agency of Nigeria repor ts. This 'was conta in ed in the shipping position made available to newsmen on

Wednesday by the Nigeria Ports Au thori ty. According to the NPA, the report is, however, subject to

daily changes. It said th at the sh ips were expected to berth at 5 Stars, APM Terminal, Ports and Teuninal Muitiservices

Limited and Tin-Can Island Container Terminal Limited in Lagos.

According to the shipping position·. 42 out of th e 97 ships are laden with con tainers; 15 ships contain

second-hand veh icles while seven ships are carryin g

petrol.

James Azania , Benin

G

Government

to

leave

state governments.

Oshiomhole, who spoke on Wednesday during the delegates, conference of the state chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress, said that th e Federa l Government should not have a minist,y of agriculture because it was

not in contror of land. He said the curre nt structure co uld aid the diversion of public funds rathe r th an suppor t the provision of food and other agricultural products. Oshiomhole a lso called for a review of the revenue

allocation formul a to allow states access more funding to finance projects. H e sa id , "The revenue allocation formula gives so

cS~;~inAgb~~r~~~~e~b~i;::= ::~i~~::~ ~~~~i;::~ ~~~:i~; ~ii~~,~e;~i~~ts;h~~o;a~~;~'ht ~~c~~~~n~~tFoI:sment we will spend N5m to NI0m sinking a borehole, Abujaw Ui sink it for N35m and it will not even be workin g. "Why s h ou ld Abuja preside over the ministry of

a nd the Nigerian Na ti onal Petroleum Corporatio n were spending some of their revenues without proper approval. Th e

go v ern 0 r

a I so

or

e~on~~~~~~~: .

the state wou ld pay the new minimum wage approved for

and ~y co mmitment IS that even If the. other 35 states

sllstainable. "Thi s administration is not

have any competence. " Oshiomhole furth er acc u sed the Federal Govern me nt of failing to re mit what it should into the Federation Account, saying

civil servants. He said, "I couldn't justify why we would pay doctors, academ ics and judicial workers, among others, a nd then we will just tell the core

refuse to Impl e ment the minimum wage, the EdoState Government, by reasonof the fact the Oshlomhole. IS the governor, has ~,n obligation to Impl:ment It. •

only committed to this project, but we are also comm itted to its implementation and already, a number of actio ns have been taken to en h,~nce the quality of spending.

0

er gra es

patter o'f expenditure is not

promised the workers that

Ship owners express interest in national carner management HE Indi genous Ship Owners Association of Nigeria has urged the Federal Government to a llow it to manage the defunct national

T

carrier, Nigeria Unity Line , w hose licence was revalidated

recently. The Cha irm a n , ISAN , Ch ief Isaac J olapamo, made

the operating licence of the

carrier to it, but it was not sure if the Nigerian Maritime

na tional carrier had been

on it the status of a national

revalidated by NIMASA. Onagonuwa said that the shares of the carrier had been slated for sale in line with the re fo rm programme of the

carrier w ith several rights ,

Administration a nd Safety Agency would allow it. Jolapamo said tha t the government should assist the association to float its own

Abuja has far more m oney

status of a national carrier.

than it needs and that is why there are leakages there. " For eve ry Nl that

associa ti o n is ready to

the appeal in an interview on Wednesday in

Lagos. Acco rding to him, the manage the ship if the Bureau of Public Enterprises will not

According to him , the shipping line will operate side-by-side wi th the recently revived national carrier.

association was sure that

NAN reports that the BPE spokesman, Mr. Chukwuma Nwokoh, had qu oted the Director-General, Ms Bolanle

the BPE would not hesistate

Onagoruwa, as saying that

over-price it.

Jolapamo said that the

Nigeria Unity Lin e confers

to hand over the natio nal

with the News Agency of

Abuja collects 52 per cen t of it, the n th e states, plus the FCT and the 774 local governments ·co ll ect and share the remaining 46.4 per

fcco~ht

the He said, "Over the years, we have been looking on how to deal with the issue of the country's high recurrent expenditure patter n . We have made it clear that the

h ave land ? They go into areas in w hich they do not

N ige ria

accrues to the federa tion ,

and I sa id to th e doctors tha t I had made u p my mind that in making any I I t t k . to approva;h mus a e In

agriculture when they don't

carrier if the request failed. He said ISAN pla nned to establish a "mega" shipping lin e that wou ld have th e

much money to Abuja and

country like the United States had only 20 ministers. Simi larly, he said that the huge number of MDAs was unca\1ed for as it had contri buted to the bloating of the recurrent expenditure pattern . Responding , Aganga assured the committee that a plan wou ld be unveiled

government.

She said that the attempt to re-advertise the na tional carrier for 100 per cent equity sale would be premised on some conditions. Onagoruwa said th e

Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development Act, 2010 had made it mandatory for Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and other key players in the oil indu stry to patronise the ship. "The licence of renewed

privileges and opportunities created by the Cabotage Act 2003," she said. Onagonuwa said that the absence of a national shipping line and the renewed interest of investors in acquiring the Nigeria Unity Line made the new move imperative.

She said that the BPE and NIMASA would soon place adverti semen ts inviting for Expression of Interests from prospective investors.

The Nigeria Unity Line, whi c h ope rated with one vessel, MV Abuja, was floated after th e liquidation of the Nigerian National Shipping Line in 1996.


THE PUNCH, 07 APRIL, 2011