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Budget 2010: “mugu” smiles back into debt trap!

“In spite of the effusive enthusiasm of this Administration, some Nigerians refuse to celebrate the recent debt relief conditions granted by our major creditors of the Paris club. “Under the terms of the Paris club deal, Nigeria will see $18bn of its total debt of $30bn canceled on condition that it pays the remaining $12.4bn between now and March 2006.

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Task Force on 2010 Tariff and Fiscal Incentives beware!

President Yar’Adua, on Tuesday 24/11/2009, by proxy, laid before the Legislature the 2010 National appropriation Bill. In view of the results and products of our national budgetS over the years, it has become patently obvious to even a blind man that in spite of abundant resources at government’s disposal, the annual budget rituals of the three tiers of government have had little or no positive impact on the welfare of majority of our people.

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Abike Dabiri’s heretical Bill

Before this Bill became public knowledge, Dabiri-Erewa had been one of the federal legislators who always stood on the right side of every issue or controversy, be it the Ettehgate, the Freedom of Information Bill or the Diaspora issues. In fact, only last Monday, a young man from my hometown who is languishing in a Benin Republic prison on drug offences, called me requesting that the plight of people like him should be brought to the notice of Hon Dabiri.

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Currently, the CBN is annually responsible for about 70% of all dollar revenue that enters into the domestic forex market. The balance 30% or less is supplied by oil companies and a few exporters outside the oil sector! While these private dollar suppliers are legally permitted to approach the banks directly for the exchange of their dollars to naira, the owners of public sector dollar revenue in our reserves are not so lucky!

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In last week’s article, “Dollar Reserves: Who Owns What?” we endeavoured to lift the shroud over the amorphous concept of Nigeria’s foreign reserves. Incidentally, the Senate has lately in consonance with our position, also frowned at the illegality of the component of the reserves defined as excess crude account! (See Daily Independent headline of 23/10/2009, “Sharing of $2bn Excess Crude Fund Illegal – Senate”).

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Dollar Reserves: Who Owns What?

At the peak of the crude oil price boom in 2007, this commodity sold for as high as $150/barrel on the international market and Nigeria fortuitously garnered her highest ever external reserves of over $60bn. This figure would have exceeded $72bn, but for the ‘illegal’ withdrawal of about $13bn to exit the controversial Paris and London Club debts just over three years ago!

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The putrid mess also in cbn! (4)

This week, we will conclude the series of articles on “The Putrid Mess Also in CBN!” with an examination of the misguided application of the Central Bank’s instruments of control, and wonder why these wrongheaded policy measures were not subjected to the simple test of whether or not they were in conformity with commonsense!

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