ngozi okonjo iweala punch

Nigeria’s Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo Iweala Blasts PUNCH Over Defamatory Article

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We are astonished to find that The Punch, a national newspaper, can publish an editorial that is so ignorant, malicious and defamatory (“Jonathan, Okonjo-Iweala, and waivers”, The Punch Editorial, Monday 18 November, 2013). We know the antecedents of this newspaper, but this recent editorial truly beggars belief. When a newspaper can trivialize corruption by branding the country’s industrial policy and underlying fiscal regime as corrupt, it detracts attention from the serious issue of corruption. This is a disservice to the Nigerian nation, and to all Nigerians.
It is shocking that The Punch newspaper is not up-to-date on Nigeria’s industrial policies. In the past, waivers were granted to individual businesses in an approach that resulted in rent-seeking behaviours and an uneven playing field for other businesses. It was precisely the need to stop such a discretionary approach that led to reforms by the Economic Management Team under the leadership of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan. A sector-wide waiver policy was introduced to
provide specific incentives for some strategic, job-creating sectors. Under this regime, all businesses in a sector have access to the same incentives.
These sectoral policies have included reduced import duty rates or waivers for equipment and materials for the hospitality, power and aviation sectors; for agricultural machinery; for solid mineral equipment; for gas-using equipment; for the steel sector; for specific manufacturing sub-sectors (e.g. for imports of completely-knocked down parts) and for automobiles and tires. There are additional programs such as the Export Expansion Grants (EEG) Scheme designed to promote Nigeria’s non-oil exports. These sectors are seen as strategic areas which can stimulate growth, support diversification of the Nigerian economy, and create jobs for Nigerians. This new approach to waivers is therefore an important tool for our national industrial policy, and is also used by other fast-growing economies, such as South Korea, Malaysia and China.

Had this recent article been the work of a sole reporter, we may have excused these errors as the mistake of an individual. However, when an entire editorial board of a national newspaper makes such elementary mistakes, it speaks to the abysmal quality of discourse which some of our media institutions are now undertaking. We must remain thankful that there are other media houses that focus on reporting facts and issues in a spirit of true journalism and nation-building.

Now, it is also not surprising that the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) would complain about waivers. Naturally, NCS would not like any waivers because they directly lower the total revenues collected at our borders. The remuneration for NCS is calculated as a percentage of total revenues collected, and this is directly impacted when waivers are introduced. However, the NCS is fully on board that the new sectoral waiver policy is far superior to the previous ad hoc and often unfair approach to waivers.

As any undergraduate economist learns, a trade-off has to be made between short-term revenue collection, and the country’s long-term industrial development. We have to weigh the balance between collecting customs revenues today, versus providing incentives to our private sector to stimulate growth and job creation. We reiterate that, to label the government’s entire sectoral industrial policy as corruption, trivializes the fight against corruption, and diverts attention from such an important issue. This is irresponsible.

The Punch newspaper should note that no amount of spurious editorials will deter government from doing what is right for our national development. The newspaper only damages its own credibility, and will not stop to do so, unless its uninformed reporting and editorial practices are changed.

Finally, it is clear that The Punch newspaper is deliberately hounding the Co-ordinating Minister for the Economy who is widely recognized for her strict professional standards at home, and abroad, during her 25-year career at the World Bank and her five years of dedicated service to her country as Finance Minister. As your article noted, in her book, Reforming the Unreformable, the Co-ordinating Minister strongly condemned the abuse of discretionary waivers and pushed for a level playing field for all Nigerian businesses. These attempts to attack her and the Government will fail, because they only confirm the questionable editorial and journalistic standards of The Punch.

Paul Nwabuikwu
Senior Special Assistant on Media
to the Co-ordinating Minister for the Economy
 

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mikel obi duped by friend

Mikel Obi Duped By Close Friend Of N100 Million In Nigeria

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Rumours have it that, Super Eagles footballer John Mikel Obi might have been duped.

As stated by sources, Mikel recently gave out a whopping N100 million cash to a close friend to purchase a property.
His bosom friend recommended the property to him and they both agreed on the purchase.

When Mikel saw the property somewhere in Lagos, he fell in love with it and gave the friend a go-ahead to purchase the land for him.

All of a sudden, his close friend became his worst enemy after he varnished into thin air with the huge stack of cash.

Presently, Mikel Obi hasn’t been able to talk to the guy after cashing out the money.

An insider who confirmed the story said:
“He still finds it difficult to believe, they were very close… his friend is no longer seen in town and his phone numbers have been switched off”

The footballer is yet to officially talk about the case.

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Federal Government Of Nigeria Creates New Outfit, NIGERIAN FBI || Boko Haram On The Run

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In Nigeria, security guards outfits are more respected than the Nigerian Police. When will the police learn to dress and look attractive before her citizenry?President Goodluck Jonathan saluted these NIGERIAN FBI agents and invited them to join his entourage. They are tall, fit, clean, and good to go!! Take a look at them in the pictures after the cut…

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Bill Gates In Nigeria For Polio Eradication Meeting: World’s Richest Man Rocks Nigerian Native Attire

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Bill Gates with Sultan Of Sokoto

Microsoft founder and the current richest man in the world, Bill Gates is in Nigeria.
The humble philanthropist arrives Nigeria few hours ago for a scheduled meeting with stakeholders on polio eradication.

The number one money bag in the world was given a befitting welcome. He was even honoured by the Sultan of Sokoto who decorated him with a traditional Nigerian outfit.

Check out that Agbada and Hausa hat on him… Alhaji Bill Gate (lol) is definitely rocking the attire.

See more photos of Bill Gates in Nigeria after the cut…

Aliko Dangote, President Jonathan, Bill Gates

Bill Gates, President Jonathan, Ngozi Okonjo Iweala

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Nigeria Becomes First Country To Win FIFA U-17 World Cup For The 4th Time, Beats Mexico 3-0

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Nigeria has become the first country to win the FIFA Under-17 World Cup for the fourth time after handing a comprehensive 3-0 defeat to their Mexican counterparts, El Tri, today at the El Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.Despite the stiff opposition and the early attacking play of the Mexicans, who had suffered a 6-1 defeat in the hands of the Nigerians in their opening group match, the Golden Eaglets got the first goal when Mexico’s Eric Aguirre, who was under pressure from Nigeria’s Musa Yahaya in the ninth minute, tapped the ball into his own net.Dele Alampasu, who was in goal for the Nigerians, ensured that the Mexicans were kept at bay with brilliant saves while Captain Musa Mohammed directed the Eaglets’ attacks from his right full back position.With full determination, the Mexicans approached the second half, seeking an equalizer, but the Eaglets ensured that the plan was a mirage as the El Tri’s goal tender, R. Gugilo, parried a ferocious shot from Mohammed to the feet of an onrushing Kelechi Iheanacho to score with a brilliant left tap-in from the rebound.The Golden Eaglets hardly score from set pieces, but Mohammed ensured that spectators had a moment to remember as he scored Nigeria’s third goal from a free-kick to the top right corner of the Mexican net; a goal that will long be remembered in the history of the cadet World Cup.Apart from winning the cup, Nigeria also won the FIFA Fair Play Award while Iheanacho won the Golden Ball (for the Best Player) and the Silver Boot for emerging the second highest goal scorer with six goals behind Bolden Berisha of Sweden, who won the Golden Boot with seven goals.Alampasu won the Golden Glove as the Best Goal Keeper in the tournament.In addition, Nigeria holds the record of the most goals in a single U17 World Cup tournament with 26 goals eclipsing the record set by Germany in Mexico 2011.

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“Say No To Nigerian” – Anti-Nigeria Poster Spotted In Goa, India

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Days after the brutal murder of a Nigerian citizen in Goa, a popular tourist state in India, a controversial banner has been spotted in the state.The poster that reads “Say No To Nigerian, Say No To Drugs”, is the current subject of ridicule facing Nigerians living in the tourist state.What if Nigerians at home do the same to millions of Indian expatriates living in Nigeria, how would they feel?

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Nigeria Not Among World’s Top 20 Music Markets; D’banj Disagrees

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As stated by the latest ranking by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, IFPI, Nigeria has failed to make it into the world’s top 20 biggest music markets for 2012, despite the musical triumphs of her several top artistes.The federation placed the United State of America number one, with $4.17 billion (N661 billion) trade value – 49% each for physical and digital market and a $13.4 (N2,100) per person consumption.Japan was ranked 2nd, with $3.96 billion (N630 billion) market value with 73% for physical market, and 25% for digital market while Germany was 3rd, with $1.41 billion (N224 billion) market value, and a physical and digital market value of 81% and 13% respectively.Fourth was the United Kingdom, with a market value of $1.38 billion (N219 billion); physical market, 67%; and digital market, 25%.South Africa, at 18, was the only African country on the list, with a trade value of $125.6 million (N20 billion) and a physical and digital market of 93% and 5% respectively.With the international success of many Nigeria music stars this year – Iyanya, Wizkid, Ice Prince, P-Square, D’banj – some industry insiders disagreed with the ranking.D’banj, a major player in the music industry, was one of the major skeptics.”Must you believe everything they (IFPI) say about us? Were they in Nigeria to check how much each artiste or label grosses every year?” D’banj asked.”In an unstructured structure where there is no light, where 1+1 does not mean 2, where there is piracy, Nigerian artistes are grossing millions yearly, and you tell me we are not the biggest music market in Africa. Even the South Africans who you say are on the list wish they were Nigerian artistes now.””Why won’t US be number 1? When they (US) have a solid distribution network, when there is revenue from adverts and endorsements.”

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PHOTOS: Fire Guts 25-Storey Great Nigeria House In Lagos

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Great Nigeria Insurance House located at 47-57 Martins Street, Lagos Island, Lagos State is presently on fire.The people woke up this morning to see the fire coming out from one of the offices in the building.AdlekChills Blog was an eyewitness.It was gathered that the fire started at about 6 am and till the time of writing this report, the fire was still on. That is, the fire has been on for more than 10 hours now.It was also gathered by AdlekChills that the fire started from one of the offices of the first floor but as at 10 am we could see that the fire has spread to the third floor. Although, firemen were there, they couldn’t put out the fire as water kept finishing and they had to relax for close to 20 minutes at intervals.The firemen seemed too afraid to move closer to the building as they kept passing water from their vehicles through the window but the water didn’t go beyond the window panes. Some courageous Nigerians, however, got into the ground floor of the building and started pouring water. One even fainted and was rushed to the hospital by one of the rescue teams on ground.Many shops around the area were closed as armed policemen drove people away from the scene. The cause of the fire is still unknown.

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