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Use of soldiers for police work

It is very worrisome that nineteen years into our renascent democracy, the presence of the Army in the lives of the civilian populace has become even more rampant than ever. Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Yakubu Dogara, recently told a workshop jointly held by the House of Representatives and Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC), that the army is currently deployed in, at least, 28 states of the Federation.

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Before we start exporting yams

The revelation by the Agriculture and Rural Development Minister, Mr Audu Ogbe, that the Federal Government is targeting eight billion US Dollars worth of foreign exchange annually from the export of yams is an indication of government’s seriousness in diversifying the foreign exchange base of the economy.

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$774m loan to complete East-West Road?

The Fedral Government recently announced its intention to seek fresh loans amounting to $774 million from China, the rising economic power horse that is fast becoming Nigeria’s “ATM machine”. Apart from the wisdom involved in raising our debt ceiling by almost another billion dollars, there are several reasons why the Senate and the Nigerian people need to take a critical look at this loan request.

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Allow peace to reign in Kogi

As Kogi, like other states which are in dire financial straits, grapples with the payment of salary and pension arrears, Governor Yahaya Bello and Senator Dino Melaye are embroiled in a political supremacy battle. Senator Melaye, who represents Kogi West Senatorial District, accuses Governor Bello of masterminding his recall bid from the National Assembly.

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FG must act on our low taxation

THE Director General, Budget Office of the Federation, Mr Ben Akabueze, while defending Nigeria’s rapidly-increasing debt burden (which he called “sustainable”) also pointed out that our real problem is our low revenues. He also admitted that we have the lowest tax-to-GDP ratio in the African continent and one of the lowest in the whole world.

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Give Osinbajo free rein to work

THE President’s Media Office recently circulated a press statement that President Muhammadu Buhari, through the Minister for Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, directed Acting President Yemi Osinbajo to sign the 2017 Appropriation Bill as passed by the National Assembly.

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EVANS

Kudos to Police on arrest of “Evans”

The much-vilified Nigeria Police Force, NPF, has something to crow about after consistently being in the news for its inability to rein in rampaging criminals across the country. The Force has the right to celebrate the recent exploits of its men in tracking and nabbing Chukwudubem George Onwuamadike, popularly known as “Evans”, the leader of a highly- organised syndicate responsible for the kidnap of prominent Nigerians across the country.

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Fiscal federalism viability of states

A recent report published by Vanguard has pointed out that only six states out of 36 were able to outpace the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee, FAAC, allocations to sustain governance with internally generated revenue, IGR, in 2016. Though this is even a base-level statistical representation of the problem, it shows heavy dependency of the states on federal allocations for survival.

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Before the Senate roundtable on banks

THE Senate, last week, said Nigeria’s banking sector is being run by a cartel which frustrates the monetary and fiscal policies of the Federal Government, adding that bank owners have become so strong that they now manipulate the economy. This came with Senators’ condemnation of the high interest rates which they said were “imposed by banks.”

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