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Nigeria’s VP Shettima admits hardship, poverty, pleads for patience

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Vice President Kashim Shettima of Nigeria has become the first official in the President Bola Tinubu’s administration to admit that majority of Nigerians are angry with government officials as a result of the rising cost of living and its attendant hardship and poverty.

Shettima, who made the admission in Abuja on Saturday at the graduation ceremony of the Executive Intelligence Management Course 16, however, pleaded with Nigerians to be patient and support Tinubu so that he could work to solve the problems.

In his keynote address at the occasion, Shettima said the Tinubu-led administration was aware that Nigerians were going through harrowing times, and was doing everything possible to ameliorate the pains as a result of the removal of fuel subsidy and the attendant inflation.

“All of us here belong to a tiny segment of the Nigerian population. And you don’t need a soothsayer to tell you that the poor are angry with us,” the VP said.

“The poor are the most neglected segment of our society. You can hardly differentiate between them and their animals. Even the animals they rear belong to those in the city. So, there have to be kinetic and non-kinetic solutions to all the problems.

“We have to improve the quality of governance. And what we have is a tiny window of not more than 10 to 20 years. Let’s improve the quality of governance.

“I want to ask you to give the President the benefit of the doubt. Let us be patient. Let us support him.

“Let us rally round him and be reassured that he is determined to redefine the meaning and concept of modern leadership, and is ever ready to reposition the Nigerian nation. But without the support of you and I, he can’t do much”, he just added.

Shettima also suggested that creating jobs and giving hope to the populace would go a long way in curbing insecurity in the country.

“Let’s create jobs; let’s give hope to the populace. And once we create jobs, all this madness of insecurity will disappear.

“There won’t be Boko Haram and banditry if this is done, especially for us from the North. We can blame the bandits, but we in leadership positions owe it to posterity to address this”, he said.

Metro

Zambian opposition party LM demands sack of Agric Minister

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One of Zambia’s opposition parties, Leadership Movement (LM), has called for the immediate dismissal of the country’s Minister of Agriculture, Mtolo Phiri, over alleged incompetence and for misleading President Hakainde Hichilema.

LM Secretary-General, Jairos Ngoma, who addressed a press conference in Lusaka,
said Phiri had been lying to Hichilema over the status of the agriculture sector in the face of climate change.

Ngoma alleged that the minister lied to the president, claiming that farming inputs had been distributed on time countrywide when no such items had been distributed.

Ngoma stated that farmers had been sharing fertilizer distributed to them in various parts of the country and that the commodity was not distributed on time as promised.

“Mr. President, you are a farmer and people in Eastern Province who have been sharing fertilizer voted for you in numbers knowing that you understand them as you a farmer yourself,” Ngoma stated.

He went on to accuse the United Capital Fertiliser claiming that the company was exporting the commodity to Botswana instead of distributing it to farmers in line with an agreement it had with government.

He said as a result, farmers have resorted to sharing the fertilizer in “medas” across the country because what was meant for them was being sold.

“This company is a subsidiary of China; it’s taking fertiliser to Botswana, 15,000 metric tonnes and later it is taking it to Dar es Salaam,” he alleged.

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Fuel subsidy removal, a blessing to Nigeria, govt insists

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Despite the excruciating hardship and hunger resulting from the unplanned removal of fuel subsidy by President Bola Tinubu as well as other policies, the Nigerian government says the decision is a blessing to the country as it has started yielding dividends.

Government mouthpiece, the Minister of information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, who made the assertion while interacting with journalists in Lagos, said that fuel subsidy removal had started delivering dividends as over $30 billion Foreign Direct Investments (FDI), had been attracted into the country so far.

Idris says though the people are feeling the pangs, the ultimate goal is that the country is reaping the benefits of the “bold reforms” carried out by President Tinubu.

“Because of subsidy removal, Nigeria has attracted over $30billion foreign direct investment in various sectors especially in manufacturing, telecommunications, healthcare, oil and gas among others,” the Minister said.

“These investments are already being realized. From the data provided by the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, the Nigerian economy had grown by 3.46 per cent in the third quarter of 2023 against 2.4 in the preceding quarter. It was a better performance that was actually anticipated.

“There is something happening in the economy, it is gradual and it takes time before tangible results are seen by all.

“Only those who know how the financial system works will be able to see some of these things already happening. In January this year, the Nigeria stock exchange all share index recorded 100.000 point mark,” he said.

The Minister however, berated the Nigerian media over what he calls unbalanced reports, and challenging journalists to always balance their reportage with the positive things that the government had done in order not to scare potential investors, noting the various interventions by the federal government to cushion the effects of subsidy removal.

“To begin with, the monies that were given to the sub-nationals increased significantly. Governors that were earning less, finding it difficult to pay salaries now have more money at their disposal as a result of fuel subsidy removal.

“We are aware of the N35,000 that Labour has been clamouring for, the emphasis would be that by October 1, the President said he is going to give N25,000 wage award to every worker pending the new wage being negotiated with labour,” he added.

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