We’ll approach economic challenges like anti-terror fight – Buhari – President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday assured Nigerians that his administration would approach the nation’s economic challenges with the same commitment it had put into fighting corruption and terrorism. Buhari made the promise while launching the country’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan 2017-2020 at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. While saying his administration inherited numerous challenges, the President recalled that his political campaign was based on a recognition of the difficult situation Nigeria was in and the need to bring positive and enduring change. He said he remained committed to his electoral promise to change the way of doing things and change Nigeria for good. The President stated, “We are committed to delivering on the three key areas that we promised; these are improving security, tackling corruption and revitalising the economy. Security in the North-East and other parts of Nigeria is significantly better today than when we came in.

FEC approves $1.3bn foreign loans for development bank – The Federal Executive Council on Wednesday approved credit facilities totalling $1.3bn for the newly-established Development Bank of Nigeria. The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, disclosed this to State House correspondents at the end of a meeting of the council presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari. Adeosun was joined at the briefing by the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udo Udoma; Minister of State for Health, Osagie Ehanire; and the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu. Adeosun explained that with the FEC approval, the Federal Government would now seek the National Assembly’s nod before the loans could be accessed. The breakdown of the credit facilities, according to the minister, shows that the World Bank will give $500m repayable over 21 years; the African Development Bank will provide $450m; the German government-owned KfW Development Bank based in Frankfurt will give $200m; and the French Development Agency will give $130m.

FG clears N54bn pension arrears – The Federal Government on Wednesday said it had cleared the inherited arrears of accrued pension benefits for the years 2014, 2015 and 2016 by releasing N41.5bn and N12.5bn for January, February and March this year to the National Pension Commission for onward payment to retirees. The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, confirmed the release of the money in a statement signed by the Director of Information in the ministry, Salisu Dambatta. She said the government was concerned about the plight of pensioners who retired under the Contributory Pension Scheme without being paid. The statement quoted her to have said, “Despite conflicting demands for available cash, President Muhammadu Buhari has always expressed concern about the plight of workers and pensioners. Consistent with this, we have released N41.5bn, which clears the arrears inherited from the previous administration relating to the period 2013 to 2015, and underpayments in 2016.

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