Presidency has described as either “ignorance or mischief’’, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo’s attack on `TraderMoni’, the microcredit scheme of the federal government.
“It is either that the former leader is ignorant of the true workings of Trader Moni and the role of the Vice President in its implementation or perhaps he is on a mischievous mission, ” Mr. Laolu Akande, a senior special aide to the Vice President on media and publicity, said in a rejoinder.
Obasanjo had insinuated the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo was distributing N10,000 to buy votes an allegation vividly captured in his letter as follows:
“The other day, the Vice-President of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo – a learned man, an enlightened person in all parameters – was seen at various markets in Lagos State and Abuja distributing N10,000 each to market women. What an absurdity! It was indeed an obscene display of executive recklessness and abuse of office. Pray, where did the money come from? Was it budgeted for in the appropriation law? In more civilised nations, Osinbajo would have been impeached and prosecuted for gutting our collective treasury.”
“What an act by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria lawyer, number 2 man in the Executive hierarchy; and what is more, a pastor of one of the Christian movements led by a revered, respected and upright church leader, Pastor E. A. Adeboye. Osinbajo must have gone for, “if you can’t beat them, join them”. A great pity indeed and which makes people ask the questions, “Any hope?” Yes, for me, there is hope. Osinbajo has shown the human weakness and proved the saying that the corruption of the best is the worst form of corruption. His explanation that it was their government programme can only be construed to be very shallow and lopsided, if not an outrightly idiotic programme.
“Traders in rural and sub-urban areas of Nigeria are many more than those in urban areas and they are much poorer than traders in Lagos, Abuja and other cities. They need more attention and greater help. Are they to be confined to the heap of perpetual poverty? What of those who are not traders? They are not entitled to hand-out and they can languish in penury? And what about millions who have lost their jobs in the last three and a half years? The timing is also suspect. Those who criticise the action are called evil but they are not evil as they know what they are doing and saying, and they love Nigeria and Nigerians not less than the likes of Osinbajo. They are not devils incarnate; they are patriots.
“What is the connection between taking the number of PVC (Permanent Voters Card) of the recipient of the N10,000 doled out to ‘traders’ and the forthcoming election? There is something sinister about it, and Professor Osinbajo, of all people, should know that. With collusion of the INEC officials and card readers not made to work, anybody quoting the PVC number may be allowed to vote as the revised Electoral Bill was not signed. And if that happens all over the country, it will be massive rigging indeed. The Chairman of INEC must stand firm and carry out his duties with competence and unbending neutrality. Card readers must be used without fail and accreditation must be completed and number ascertained and made public before voting commences as was done in 2015.”
In his response to the allegation, Laolu said: “It is surprising but complete misunderstanding of the workings of TraderMoni, that is if we assume there is no mischief intended.”
“Attacks such as this on a scheme that benefits the masses of our people is a direct attack on the people and this kind of conduct does not reflect very well on a former president but is only self-denigrating and of no public value”.
Hereunder is the full statement of Laolu, titled, “Obasanjo’s attack on TraderMoni reflects either his ignorance or mischief – Presidency’’
The statement purportedly attributed to former president Olusegun Obasanjo regarding Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, and the Federal Government’s TraderMoni microcredit scheme if, indeed true and accurate, is most unfortunate, according to the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity, Mr. Laolu Akande.
While responding to media inquiries regarding the former president’s comments over the weekend, Akande noted that “it is either that the former leader is ignorant of the true workings of Trader Moni and the role of the Vice President in its implementation or perhaps he is on a mischievous mission.”
According to Akande, the former President has demonstrated “a surprising but complete misunderstanding of the workings of TraderMoni, that is if we assume there is no mischief intended. “
Firstly, the Vice President does not personally distribute money during his visits to the markets. He goes there to assess the progress of the implementation and to create awareness for a programme designed to meet the financing need of 2 million petty traders across the country in the first instance.
Secondly, while one will not bother to further address the issue of timing of the implementation since such issues are now known to be political posturing, it is important to note that TraderMoni is being actively implemented across all states of the federation and the FCT. It is not only Lagos and Abuja as was insinuated.
These petty traders at the bottom of the economic ladder, with an inventory often less than N5,000, are beneficiaries of the TraderMoni scheme which provides N10,000 collateral/interest-free loans to them, empowerment that improves their small businesses, their families, while also contributing significantly to the economy.
Thirdly, in what is certainly a curious comment, the former President has also been quoted as describing the TraderMoni scheme as idiotic. To label such people-friendly scheme as idiotic is not only an absurdity, it is also an affront to the sensibilities of these hard working Nigerians, the beneficiaries of the micro-credit scheme.
For emphasis, the Bank of Industry implements the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme, GEEP, one part of our Social Investment Programme. Enumeration Agents have been engaged to visit the markets and other points where petty traders are found to confirm that they are traders and also take their biometric information for recording purposes. After the enumeration, the N10,000 collateral free loans are then disbursed electronically through the petty traders’ phones.
TraderMoni is designed to meet the needs of the larger population of petty traders at the bottom of the pyramid who do not meet the more stringent criteria of BVN, bank accounts, market associations, cooperatives, required for bigger Market Moni loans.
Under GEEP – which has MarketMoni, FarmerMoni and TraderMoni, at least 1.5 million Nigerians are already beneficiaries of the three-pronged approach of GEEP, while N-Power has created jobs for 500,000 young Nigerians graduates, besides non-graduates. Also, almost 300,000 Nigerians have benefitted from the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT), which is given to the poorest and most vulnerable among us, and over 9.2 million school pupils are being fed a free meal daily in 26 states under the Home Grown School Feeding Programme.
It bears repetition that higher economic growth potentials are associated with lower income inequality. This makes a most overwhelming case for welfare payments like the social investment schemes like the TraderMoni/MarketMoni schemes. Such a micro-credit scheme provides a higher rate of inclusion into the financial bracket and is crucial in lifting hardworking people out of poverty as has been the case in other countries like India and Brazil.
Fourthly, the former president also rehashed discredited claims suggesting that TraderMoni beneficiaries were required to tender their PVCs, and questioned the timing of the implementation.
Let me, therefore, state again that beneficiaries of TraderMoni are not required to show their Personal Voters Cards (PVCs) or any document indicating their political affiliations to qualify for the loans. This is why the enumeration is done in the open markets and wherever the traders ply their trade. This issue has been addressed several times by the Presidency in the public space. Therefore the former president’s alleged comments smirk of outright mischief as it regurgitates blatant falsehood.
Equally, if the former president had conducted a simple act of diligence, he would have found that the National Assembly had approved this programmes and budgeted for them duly.
When President Muhammadu Buhari came into office, one of the major hinges of this administration was to uplift the common man out of poverty and ensure the welfare of ordinary Nigerians. TraderMoni is one of such schemes conceived in 2016 under the Social Investment Programme of this administration.
Being a former president, Chief Obasanjo ordinarily should appreciate the impact of such far-reaching social investment schemes, which has provided what is now the largest social safety net for millions of Nigerians and is unprecedented in the nation’s history.
Again, the former president’s attack on TraderMoni and the person of the Vice President is an indicator that he may be wittingly or unwittingly playing to the sinister script of the opposition party to spread falsehood and attack the social investment programmes of the Buhari administration, which champions such impactful schemes, and which is now attracting the praise and commendation of Nigerians everywhere.
It is pertinent to state that the false allegations against TraderMoni raised again by the former president is sadly a rehash of baseless claims previously made by leading chieftains of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, whose record of profligacy, corruption and mismanagement clearly show it has no agenda to uplift the common man or improve the lives of Nigerians.
Finally, attacks such as this on a scheme that benefits the masses of our people is a direct attack on the people and this kind of conduct does not reflect very well on a former president but is only self-denigrating and of no public value. As is already now obvious, the generality of the Nigerian people will not only reject that attack but will also condemn its source. We, therefore, urge the former president to be far more circumspect and more public-spirited in his utterances going forward.
Olam Agri Reiterates Commitment to Food Security, Secures IFC loan
…As subsidiary, Crown Flour Mill works with FG and the High Commission of India in Nigeria to facilitate importation of Indian Wheat
AJAGBE ADEYEMI TESLIM
Sponsored by: H&H
Olamm Agri, a leading agribusiness conglomerate with footprints across the world, underlined its commitment to global food security with a US$200 million loan from the International Finance Corporation (IFC).
Rana Karadsheh, Regional Industry Director, Manufacturing, Agribusiness and Services, Asia Pacific at IFC, explained, Our partnerships with key agricultural commodity-trading companies such as Olam Agri are crucial to maintaining the flow of critical food staples between countries with surpluses and deficits, ensuring better food security for the worlds poorest and most vulnerable populations, he added.
Speaking about the facility, Neelamani Muthukumar, Chief Executive Officer, Operations at Olam Agri, said, This facility further supports us to continue to supply staple crops and ensure food security to some of the most populous countries in Asia and Africa most at risk of global food inflation,
He added, Were delighted to continue our long-standing partnership with IFC, aligning with Olam Agris focus on better access to food and nutrition for the most vulnerable and on strengthening global food security, he added.
Meanwhile, the leading agribusiness Nigerian flour-milling unit, Crown Flour Mill (CFM) limited as part of a concerted effort aimed at addressing the pressing global food supply chain crisis and ensuring food security in Nigeria, has officially notified the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment of its interest to import 500,000 mt of wheat from India and secured the support of the Federal Government on its request.
CFM has consistently shown its commitment to contributing to and aligning with and the FGs food security, food production self-sufficiency drive as well as its other socio-economic growth aspirations including employment generation.
Following its approval, the ministry has also on behalf of CFM written to the High Commissioner of India in Abuja for it to consider the business importation request.
In the light of the cordial relationship between both countries and the Federal Governments endorsement, the Indian High Commission has further officially communicated the ministrys request to the Directorate General of Foreign Trade in India.
On the local front, CFM continues to play its role in the development of the wheat value chain in Nigeria through various intervention initiatives and massive investments under the auspices of the Seeds for the Future Programme as an organization and through the joint efforts of the Flour Milling Association of Nigeria (FMAN), Wheat Development Programme.
Speaking about the move to booster its wheat supply chain, Ashish Pande, the Managing Director, CFM, said, As a highly productive company and contributor to Nigerias food security agenda, we strive consistently to provide affordable and healthy food for the populace.
The disruption to the global wheat supply chain and challenges on the local front call for urgent alternative actions.
The endorsement by the Federal Government will help us proceed to the next level of the arrangement to bridge the local wheat supply shortage.
NCDMB partnering Shell, Exxon, NAOC in Oil & Gas Parks -Wabote
AJAGBE ADEYEMI TESLIM
Sponsored by: H&H
Major international operating oil and gas companies, notably Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) and Exxon Mobil Nigeria, and the Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC) have made significant investments in support of the ongoing development of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Parks Scheme (NOGaPS), the Executive Secretary, Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Engr Simbi Kesiye Wabote has revealed.
He stated this recently at the Nigerian Content Sensitization Programme for Law Enforcement Agencies, organised by the NCDMB in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State with a view to strengthening the existing collaboration with various law enforcement organizations and sister agencies and leverage their expertise and partnership to accelerate Nigerian content compliance in the oil and gas industry.
He gave a breakdown of the Board’s achievements and initiatives and hinted that NCDMB was developing the oil and gas parks in conjunction with key operators in the oil and gas industry.
According to him, Shell funded the provision of power and utility cables deployed at the oil and gas park located at Emeyal -1, Bayelsa State, while Exxon Mobil provided the electrical infrastructure for the park at Odukpani in Cross River State.
Also, NAOC had earlier partnered with the Board to develop the 10-megawatts gas power plant that would supply electricity to the Bayelsa park when completed, in addition to providing uninterrupted electricity currently to the Nigerian Content Tower and some strategic infrastructure owned by the Bayelsa State Government.
The Executive Secretary also confirmed that the Board had signed an agreement with the Gas Aggregation Company of Nigeria (GACN) to establish a gas-fired power plant at the Odukpani, park – to provide the park with constant electricity.
He assured that the power facility will be ready before the end of 2022, about the same time the Emeyal-1 and Odukpani parks would be completed, ahead of commencing operations in early 2023.
He announced that the Board had started inviting interested manufacturing companies and other firms to apply for spaces in the parks.
The parks would have dedicated power supply and shared services and were conceived to domicile equipment components manufacturing in-country, to meet the needs of the oil and gas industry and sectoral linkages as well as create jobs for the nation’s teeming youths.
Wabote also indicated that the Board was also working to develop oil and gas parks at Oguta in Imo State, at Onna in Akwa Ibom, Ilaje in Ondo State and in Delta State, and work was progressing in different stages at the identified locations.
He confirmed that the completed oil and gas parks would be managed by professional facility managers, to ensure their sustainability.
He also stated that the Board is partnering with the Nigeria LNG Limited to develop the Brass Island Shipyard as a Capacity Development Initiative.
He hinted that the feasibility study, geotechnical survey, and site selection study had all been completed. In addition, the land valuation and perimeter survey had also been completed and the plan is to construct the shipyard in two phases, he added.
Speaking further on the rationale for organising the workshop and engaging with law enforcement agencies, the NCDMB boss noted that “when you are speaking the same language with Customs, they will guard against the importation of goods that can be produced incountry, while immigration will help in terms of expatriate quota management.”
In his welcome address, Head Legal Services NCDMB, Barr Naboth Onyesoh said the Board recognizes the power of collaboration and the impetus it generates for the attainment of its mandate and that is why Compliance and Enforcement is one of the five pillars of the Board’s 10-year Strategic Roadmap, formulated to drive Nigerian content growth to 70 percent by 2027.
He remarked that “collaboration and stakeholder engagement was also identified in the same 10-year Roadmap as one of the four enablers to attain the 70 percent Nigerian Content growth target.”
He maintained that since the oil and gas industry serves as the mainstay of Nigeria’s economy, all stakeholders of the industry should support the implementation of the Nigerian Content Act to ensure that Nigeria derives maximum value from the oil and gas industry while it is still relevant in the global energy mix.
The workshop featured several presentations and panel discussions from representatives of the invited agencies and legal luminaries who proposed various strategies for improving enforcement and compliance with the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development (NOGICD) Act.
Senator Tokunbo Abiru Empowers 1,250 Market Women With Grants Worth N62.5M , Supports Rural Farmers ;Unveils Stadium, Market
… We are not surprised about your outstanding achievements, we know the stuff you are made of. – Gov Sanwo-Olu
AJAGBE ADEYEMI TESLIM
Sponsored by: H&H
Governor Sanwo-Olu inaugurated a 960-capacity mini-Stadium , which include; Football pitch, Basketball and Volleyball courts, administrative offices, changing rooms and other amenities;
The governor also commissioned the remodelled popular Oluwo Fish market which now comprises 240 open stalls, 82 lock up stalls, 5 open floors, 12 toilets and 4 new offices for Iya Oloja and Baba Oloja, Tourism Board and Local Government Staff Security post.
The projects were done by the Presidency through the office of the Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs).
Abiru also doled out grants worth 62.5m to 1,250 selected market women and traders across the senatorial district and also supported about 200 rural farmers with hand planters and financial grants.
Senator Abiru in his speech said he was passionate about improving the socio-economic conditions of his constituents adding that he will not relent in his quest to ensure there is greater good to the larger.
In his remarks, Governor Sanwo-Olu said, “Over the last 18 months, Senator Abiru has dutifully delivered the dividends of democracy in several areas and on multiple fronts, not just in the primary mandate of law-making, but also in terms of life-changing empowerment and endowment.
“Today, we are here to commission a number of infrastructure projects by him, some of which are facilitated through the Office of the Special Assistant to President Buhari on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), occupied an esteemed daughter of Lagos, Princess Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire”.
Princess Orelope-Adefulire applauded Senator Abiru for making women empowerment as a cardinal focus of his activities, she noted that such action is crucial for social integration and inclusiveness.
She said the Office of the SDGs in the presidency had facilitated rehabilitation of more than 10 schools and four healthcare projects in the Lagos East Senatorial district.
A novelty football match was played on the pitch between Tokunbo Abiru Football Club and Epe Alaro United. The match ended in a penalty.
Dignitaries who graced the well attended commissioning/ empowerment include; Lagos State Deputy Governor, Obafemi Hamzat, Former Deputy Governor, Prince Abiodun Ogunleye, GAC member, Asiwaju Olorunfunmi Basorun,Alhaji Bode Oyedele, Alhaji Akanni Seriki Bamu Lagos APC Chairman, Pastor Cornelius Ojelabi, serving commissioners federal and state legislators among others.
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