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Nigeria Runs Expensive Govt, There’s Need For National Debate — Osinbajo

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The Vice-President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, has said Nigeria needs a national debate to examine the issues around the size and cost of governance, which has often been described as expensive and unsustainable.

He explained that it could be difficult for the government to do something about its cost by itself but that it is something that must be done.

Osinbajo said these while fielding questions by a former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria and immediate past Emir of Kano, Muhammad Sanusi, during a webinar organised by the Emmanuel Chapel, themed, ‘Economic stability beyond COVID-19’, on Friday.

Sanusi, who had on Friday last week pointed out that the governance structure in the country had set it up for bankruptcy, asked the vice-president what the current regime would do differently to address the perennial problem.

The former CBN governor said, “The greater Atlanta (in the United States) has a Gross Domestic Product that is higher than that of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and Atlanta is not the richest city in the United States.

“I don’t want to be disrespectful, but the annual sales of Tesla exceeds the budget size of our country, so should we not begin to cut our coat according to our cloth; should we not begin to look at all these costs and the constitution itself; maybe turn the legislators to part-time lawmakers, have a unicameral legislature instead of bicameral, have the local governments run by employees of the Ministry of Local Government Affairs? We just need to think out of the box to reduce structural cost and make government sustainable over the long term.”

In his response, Osinbajo said, “There is no question that we are dealing with large and expensive government, but as you know, given the current constitutional structure, those who would have to vote to reduce (the size of) government, especially to become part-time legislators, are the very legislators themselves. So, you can imagine that we may not get very much traction if they are asked to vote themselves, as it were, out of their current relatively decent circumstances.

“So, I think there is a need for a national debate on this question and there is a need for us to ensure that we are not wasting the kind of resources that we ought to use for development on overheads. At the moment, our overheads are almost 70 per cent of revenues, so there is no question at all that we must reduce the size of government.

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FRESH: AbdulRazaq Lauds CACOVIDS, Delivers Palliatives To Vulnerable Kwara Homes

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Kwara State Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq on Tuesday said the organised private sector has played strategic roles in Nigeria’s campaign against COVID-19 pandemic.
 
AbdulRazaq commended their efforts which he said included the setting up of isolation centres, medical supports to various states, and the recent donation of food palliatives to vulnerable households across the country.
 
The Governor spoke in Ilorin, the state capital, at the flag off of the distribution of the food palliatives donated by the private sector-led Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to the state.
 
“We are very appreciative of the efforts by CACOVID in the fight against COVID-19. This is not the first. They were with us at the isolation centre where they made donations of medical supplies and other things . The food palliative is another move. We are really grateful for their interventions to governments across the country,” AbdulRazaq said.
 
The CACOVID food palliatives to Kwara were 27,360 bags of semolina; 27,360 bags of sugar; 27,360 cartons of pasta; 27,360 bags of salt; 27,360 (10kg) bags of rice; and 54,720 cartons of noodles. 
 
AbdulRazaq said the government would work with CACOVID team to ensure that the palliatives get to the intended beneficiaries — again commending the government’s committee led by Emir of Shonga Dr Haliru Yahya and the civil society organisations for the great job done in the distribution of government’s palliatives.
 
“I must mention Alhaji Aliko Dangote and others for this feat. They have spent billions of naira to distribute food to all the states. But they understand that they cannot give foods to all Nigerians and that is why it is targeted at the vulnerable families. We are working with them to ensure that it goes to the ward level,” he said.
 
“Unlike what we distributed earlier, this is for (specific) households and I want to appeal to our people to understand that. This is not the time to say what I got is too small. Whatever you get, please say AlhamduliLlah. CACOVID has a template and we will allow them to make use of their template for the distribution. We will follow their template. I sincerely thank the Emir of Shonga, Dr Yahya Haliru, other members of the state committee, and the civil society organisations for the way they handled the distribution of the state’s palliatives. I also thank all the traditional rulers for the way they handled COVID-19 issue.”
 
CACOVID Representative and Zonal Head of Access Bank Muhammed Adelabu said the coalition came together to rally support for the Nigerian governments in the fight against the pandemic, adding that the coalition has so far commissioned 38 isolation centres and donated over 100,000 test kits and various personal protective equipments across the 36 states of the country.
 
“Today, we have commenced the third phase of our intervention plan in the fight to combat and eradicate COVID-19 in Nigeria; the CACOVID National Food Relief Programme which will see the distribution of various food items to over 1.6m families i.e over 10 million Nigerians across the country,” Adelabu said.
 
“We are doing this to help the most vulnerable households that have been affected by the coronavirus.”
 
Isa Ibrahim, whose household received from the CACOVID palliatives, commended the private sector-led initiative for their support and the state government for its laudable efforts to combat the virus as well as spread development to every corner of the state.
 
Tunde Mohammed, another beneficiary, also lauded the initiative and the praised the Governor for his “developmental strides especially in the areas of water, road, and health where we can see things for ourselves.”
 
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BREAKING: Buhari Meets Governors, Service Chiefs Over Insecurity

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President Muhammadu Buhari is currently meeting some state governors and service chiefs inside the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

POLITICS NIGERIA reports that the meeting is aimed at tackling the worsening security challenges in parts of the country.

The meeting is being attended by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo; Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha; and National Security Adviser, Major General Babagana Monguno (retd.).

State governors who are attending the meeting virtually include Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello; Douye Diri of Bayelsa; Babagana Zulum of Borno; David Umahi of Ebonyi; and Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos.

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FRESH: United States President, Trump, Sends 200 Ventilators To Nigeria

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The Nigerian Government has received 200 ventilators donated to the country by the President of the United States, Donald Trump.

Trump had in a telephone conversation with President Muhammadu Buhari on April 28, 2020, pledged to support Nigeria’s response to COVID-19 by sending ventilators.

Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, while receiving the ventilators on behalf of the Nigerian Government from the United States Agency for International Development at a ceremony in Abuja on Tuesday, said life had not been the same for Nigerians since the first COVID-19 case was recorded in February.

He said, “This donation consists of 200 ventilators, which, as we all know by now, are a critical component of the response strategy to save the lives of persons who have been severely impacted by this viral infection.

“They will certainly be of great benefit to the people of Nigeria and I wish to convey the appreciation of His Excellency Muhammadu Buhari, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and of the government of Nigeria, to President Donald Trump and the United States Government for the generous consideration and friendly gesture.

“The Federal Ministry of Health, and its public health Agency, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, have focused on providing guidance to tackle the challenges.

“Our health workers have been trained and equipped and are doing the needful to attend to COVID-19 patients and give emergency care, while not losing sight of routine and essential health services.”

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