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Doyin Okupe,  An Open Letter To NASS On COVID-19, Budget



Dr Doyin Okupe, NASS, Covid-19 budget

Doyin Okupe,  An Open Letter To NASS On COVID-19, Budget

Dr Okupe, is former Senior Special Assistant to Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Dr Goodluck Jonathan. The fact that the currently ravaging COVID-19 pandemic has continued to wreak havoc into the socio-economic life of government and people of Nigeria is not debatable.

The unpredictability of its spread nationally, its penetration and devastating effects on citizens is unprecedented and by far, more alarming than anything we have ever seen in our national existence.  When it finally dies down, as it will eventually, its toll on the national economy and financial wellbeing of the citizenry and its attendant misery will be unimaginable.

Prior to its advent, our economy was hit by a potentially fatal blow, which was that of the calamitous fall in international crude oil prices, which went far below our projected barrel mark of $57 and reached such a low level of below $30 per barrel. This is a point where there is a dangerous equalization of our production cost and selling price.

A future financial crisis is certain and another recession is just waiting to create future paralysis of our finances as a people and as a nation, and this  is not doomsday hypothesis. While the government must keep its eyes on the ball, that is to continue paying serious attention to the effective management of this pandemic, it must also begin to plan for the economic downturn that will befall the nation, when all of this is over.


The epidemic has caused the Federal Government to spend the money it does not have in order to be able to contain the pandemic. At the end of the day,  a sum in the range of #1trillion may be consumed in various activities that must be undertaken to save lives.

The Operators of our MSMESs (medium, small and micro enterprises) which is responsible for about 80 per cent of jobs in the country, would have spent most of their operating capitals, usually less than N50,000, for the micro and small operators which constitute about 99 per cent of the MSMEs, while obeying the various lockdowns and stay at home orders of federal and state governments.

If no plans is made to reflate them, Nigeria will be plunged into a socio-economic catastrophe such as has never been experienced hitherto in the history of this nation.

In view of all of the above grave considerations, I will like to humbly submit the followings for your considerations.  But first, let me state categorically that I based the recommendations below not on any resourceful economic discipline, known principles or knowledge, but based on my personal assessment as a stakeholder, my experience in government and closeness to power over the years. They are therefore not sacrosanct but meant to draw your esteemed attention and possibly provoke positive debates and beneficial actions:

1) The president should declare a state of emergency as soon as it is practicable; and assume emergency powers,limited only to finance and economic matters.

2) Budget 2020 must be suspended immediately a process of drastic  review commences strictly along the following lines:

  1. a) national security; welfare of Nigeria citizens; reflating the MSMEs; adopting a single exchange rate for all transactions; complete removal of all existing subsidies; major attention to rebuilding and modernising healthcare infrastructure; suspension of allocation for all capital projects by up to 60% to 70 per cent;  provisions for new road construction to be suspended and emphasis in the reviewed budget  on road maintenance and rehabilitation; direct grants to old, aged, pensioners and the vulnerable in our society; reduction of all revenue benefits in the ministries and parastatals by 50 per cent; National Assembly, salaries presently at 50 per cent due to voluntary donations of members should be sustained at that level yill the end of the year. While the National assembly budget also be reduced by 50 per cent.

Please permit me to expand briefly on item 2[C] above. In the past decades, our national budgets have remained essentially elitist and principally aimed at satisfying the whims, caprices and greed of the ruling class; which often times have been exploitative end parasitic.

Most of the beneficiaries are people in government, their agents and friends, the civil service, ministers, legislators and foreigners. More than 70 per cent of the annual budget finds its way to be transferred to foreign lands through various bogus contracts, elephant projects and direct stealing.

Maybe we can halt this trend and use the COVID-19 saga as a turning point or watershed to use our national budgets as instruments for national and human capital development in the country.

In many advance countries, citizens benefits directly, that is through cash payment, grants, and loans from the national wealth. In Nigeria, it is an abomination to see budgetary allocations being directed to assisting the poor and needy amongst us.

The MSESs in Nigeria has a membership of about 37million enterprises. They employ 80 per cent of the workforce in the country. If for any reason, they are unable to go back to work after the COVID-19 pandemic, the economy will hit the bottom; misery and hunger will take over the land and civil unrests; riots may disrupt or destroy the fabric of our societies and worsen the security situation in the nations.

I want to strongly recommend that from the various savings that some of the above suggestions may bring if implemented, the SMEs (that is, small and micro enterprises) employing 10 -49 for small and 1-9 people for micro, which constitutes 99 per cent of all the MSMEs, should be given interest free loans of about N50,000, minimum, repayable over 24 months. SMEADAN , has a record  or register of these enterprises, and it can further be strengthened by increasing it’s capabilities at state levels, for the purpose of executing and administering this programs. Nobody should be paid in cash. Enterprises must have  been previously registered and have a bank account not less than 2 years old.

The medium scale enterprises about one per cent of the 37 million can be given loans of N50 million to 100 million and compelled to employ 10 to 20 people each as condition for qualification for such loans.  Similar palliatives on a lesser scale of between N10,000 to N20,000 can be offered to registered artisans and organised market women and petty traders nationwide.

We can also employ tax incentives for bigger enterprises companies through the existing CBN Initiatives and operations of the BOI. These initiatives will be targeted at increasing youth employment nationwide. With close to  40 million enterprises working and massive financial assistance to entrepreneurs at the lower cadre and encouraging youth employment through MSMEs and the big players, the economy is bound to improve and grow in a sustainable manner. This will push our GDP upwards and Recession will not constitute any threats to our presently precarious economic situation.

Let us use the nation’s wealth for the benefit of the majority of our citizens not just a privileged few. We cannot afford to be arrogant or uncaring in our disposition to provision of good life for our own people. The wealth, fortune and common patrimony in our care is not just for us and our relations and friends but for the common good of all. Let us remember that poverty anywhere endangers prosperity everywhere. A former Prime Minister of Britain once said: ”Failure to act when action would have been simple and effective, lack of deep thinking and confusion of counsel, all this lead to endless repetition of history.” I thank you for your patience and kind attention.

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Labour Force

Kogi Governor Approves Implementation of N30,000 Minimum Wage for workers



Kogi Governor Approves Implementation of N30,000 Minimum Wage for workers

Kogi state governor, Yahaya Bello, has approved the implementation of N30,000 as minimum wage for the workers in the state.


The secretary to the state government, Folashade Ayoade disclosed this on Tuesday after an extensive meeting with the organized labour in Lokoja


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She blamed the delay in the implementation on the inability for the committee to meet regularly due to the covid-19 pandemic which has been overcome.


The SSG equally commended the organised labour for their understanding and patience, which she said has resulted into the signing of the implementation of the new minimum wage.

Read Also: FCTA Set to Implement Minimum Wage for FCT Workers

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CBN to End Forex Sales to Commercial Banks in 2022



Author: Eunice Johnson, Abuja 

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has put Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) on notice that it will stop selling forex to them by the end of 2022. CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele made this known in Abuja on Thursday at the end of the Bankers’ Committee Meeting where he also introduced the RT200 Programme.




Emefiele said the time had come for the banks to go out there and source for forex by funding entrepreneurs with ideas. The CBN, Emefiele said, will support the banks by granting rebates and other support until the banks find their feet in sourcing their forex by themselves.

He also disclosed that the apex bank’s policies and measures have led to a significant improvement in diaspora inflow from an average of US$6 million per week in December 2020 to an average of over US$100 million per week by January 2022. He added that the CBN would be reviewing these intervention programmes going forward to ensure that they continue to achieve the desired results.

He said international bodies, including some embassies and donor agencies, have been complicit in illegal forex transactions that have hindered the flow of foreign exchange into the country.


Read Also: CBN Encourages Nigerians to Accept E-Naira

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Customs Corner

Customs CG Deploys 37 Comptrollers as Comptroller Attah Heads Kebbi Command



Customs CG Deploys 37 Comptrollers as Comptroller Attah Heads Kebbi Command

Author: Gift Wada, Abuja

The Comptroller General of Customs Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali (Rtd.) has approved the deployment of 37 Comptrollers to various Units, Departments and Commands across the country.

This was disclosed in a release signed on Tuesday by the Customs Deputy National, DC Timi Bomodi for the Comptroller General of Customs.

Among those deployed are the present National PRO of Customs Comptroller Joseph Attah who will assume the office of Area Controller of Kebbi Command, Comptroller AAS Oloyede who shall be moving from ICT/MOD to Tin Can Island Port Command, while Comptroller SI Bomoi to FCT Command. Other postings are Comptroller BA Jaiyeoba to Oyo/Osun Command, Comptroller A Dappa-Williams to Eastern Marine Command, Compt. MA Umar Kano/Jigawa, Compt. KC Egwuh ICT/MOD, Compt. LM Mark Enugu/Anambra/Ebonyi, Compt. T Tachio CTC Kano, Compt. AA Umar Western Marine, Compt. M Dansakwa North Eastern Marine, Compt. AC Ayalogu T & T and Compt. KD Ilesanmi will assume duty as Comptroller Board among others.


Ali in postings released on 7th of February, charged the newly posted Comptrollers to justify the confidence reposed in them by NCS Management by bringing to bear their years of experience and training in trade facilitation and anti-smuggling activities on their new assignment.


Given the enormous expectations of government regarding revenue generation in the current year, the Comptroller General reiterated the need for all Area Controllers and Unit heads to take full charge of the affairs of their Commands by ensuring absolute compliance with extant fiscal policies while leveraging on the efficient management of data to optimize trade facilitation and revenue collection.

Furthermore, the CGC directed all officers to be extremely vigilant in protecting the lives and wellbeing of Nigerians by ensuring the full fortification of our borders against the incursion of smugglers and other cross border criminals.

Read Also:

Customs Raises Concerns over Finance Act as Senate Sets N3trn Target for Revenue Agencies

Comptroller Ali Ibrahim Assumes Duty as New Customs FOU Zone ‘C’ Boss

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