Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau, seen here in a previous video released by the Islamist group, had been wounded in a an air strike last month, according to the Nigerian army. Credit © Boko Haram/AFP/File
KANO (NIGERIA) (AFP) – The embattled leader of jihadist group Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau, resurfaced in a video posted online Sunday, rejecting assertions by the Nigerian army that he had been seriously wounded.
“You have been spreading in the social media that you injured or killed me,” Shekau said in the 40-minute video released on Youtube and dated September 25. “Oh tyrants, I’m in a happy state, in good health and in safety.”
Nigeria Minister of Budget and National Planning Sen. Udoma Udo-Udoma
The primary objective of the Nigerian government’s fiscal stimulus plan is not about selling off all major national assets, the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udoma Udoma, has said.
He said the government was considering selling off some asset in a way that would be profitable to the country.
Mr. Udoma, who was briefing journalists in Lagos on Friday on the forthcoming Nigerian Economic Summit (NES), said the government’s intention was to raise immediate funding to reflate the economy and finance critical capital projects in the 2016 budget.
Estimates from recent ministerial retreat showed the government would need between $10 and $15 billion (about N4.72 trillion) to stimulate economic recovery.
The stimulus plan, Mr. Udoma said, was to help mobilise funding to make up for the shortfall in revenue to fund the over N6.06 trillion 2016 budget and stimulate economic growth.
“The intention of government is just to get enough money to fund the 2016 budget and get the economy back on the path of recovery,” he explained.
“Government needs to inject a large dose of funds into the system to get the economy back on track and to faithfully implement those provisions in the capital budget tailored at reflating the economy and aiding the diversification process,” he said.
He said stimulus plan would be realised through asset sales, advance payment for license rounds, infrastructure concessioning, use of recovered stolen funds, among others, to reduce the huge gap.
He did not provide any clue on what asset the government was considering selling. The proposal has drawn widespread criticism.
The minister said the economic team did not consider wise the option of additional borrowing and loans to fund the budget, in view of the unsustainable level of debt service.
The government, he said, was exploring several options in the asset sales proposal, including repurchasing of assets options, which includes provision for buy-back of those assets when the situation improves.
Acknowledging the hardship the economic downturn has brought on the people, Mr. Udoma assured that th government was committed to redressing the situation.
“Our goal is to unlock the economic potentials of the non-oil and high-employment generating sectors, to achieve sustainable and inclusive growth, ensure majority of Nigerians become more productive, and reduce poverty,” he said.
He said the government was working deliberately to diversify the country’s economy by ensuring the non-oil sector became the main driver, contributing the most to the gross domestic product (GDP) and controlling the most employment.
He said getting the economy back on the path of sustainable growth would require the contribution of every sector and collaboration with key government groups like the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG).
Such collaboration, he said, would provide avenue to forge a consensus on national development issues, while evolving a common strategy and policy framework for addressing constraints to national development.
This year’s edition of the Economic Summit, scheduled for October 10 and 12, would focus on need to encourage more production and consumption of made in Nigeria goods and services.
Why Nigerian economy is in trouble – Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari has explained to Nigerian professionals in America how and why the Nigeria economy got into trouble.
The professionals, including top flight aeronautics engineers, physicians, I.T experts, a Judge, a top policewoman, entrepreneurs, an Import Specialist at Customs and Border Protection, professors, two straight A students, and many others, had converged from different parts of the United States of America.
President Buhari had the assurance that with all hands on deck, including the best brains in the Diaspora, the country would bounce back in the shortest possible time.
In a statement by the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, Buhari said: “I am very pleased with this meeting. Wherever you go in the world, you find highly competent and outstanding Nigerians.
“They not only make great impact on their host countries and communities, their financial remittances back home also help our economy, particularly at a time like this, when things are down.
“We got into trouble as a country, because we did not save for the rainy day. For example, between 1999 and 2015, when we produced an average of 2.1 million barrels of oil per day, and oil prices stood at an average of $100 per barrel, we did not save, neither did we develop infrastructure.
“Suddenly, when we came in 2015, oil prices fell to about 30 dollars per barrel. I asked; where are the savings? There were none. Where are the railways? The roads? Power? None. I further asked; what did we do with billions of dollars that we made over the years? They said we bought food. Food with billions of dollars?
“I did not believe, and still do not believe. In most parts of Nigeria, we eat what we grow. People in the South eat tubers, those in the North eat grains, which they plant, and those constitute over 60 per cent of what we eat. So, where did the billions of dollars go?
“We did a lot of damage to ourselves by not developing infrastructure when we had the money.
“Talking of our military, they earned respect serving in places like Burma, Zaire, Sudan, Liberia, Sierra-Leone, and then, suddenly, that same military could no longer secure 14 out of 774 local governments in the country. Insurgents had seized them, calling them some sort of caliphate, and planting their flags there; till we came, and scattered them.
“We raised the morale of our military, changed the leadership, re-equipped and retrained them; USA, Britain, and some other countries helped us, and today, the pride of our military is restored.
“Boko Haram ran riot, killing innocent people in churches, mosques, markets, schools, motor parks, and so on. And they would then shout Allahu Akbar. But if they truly knew Allah, they would not do such evil. Neither Islam, nor any other religion I know of, advocates hurting the innocent. But they shed innocent blood, killed people in their thousands.
“Now, we have dealt with that insurgency, and subverted their recruitment base.” He said
Buhari continued: “Those who stole Nigeria dry are not happy. They recruited the militants against us in the Niger Delta, and began to sabotage oil infrastructure. We lose millions of barrels per day, at a time when every dollar we can earn, counts. It is a disgrace that a minimum of 27 states, out of 36 that we have in Nigeria, can’t pay salaries.
“But I prayed so hard for God to make me President. I ran in 2003, 2007, 2011, and in 2015, He did. And see what I met on ground. But I can’t complain, since I prayed for the job. In the military, I rose from 2nd Lieutenant to Major-General. I was military governor in 1975 over a state that is now six states. I was head of state, got detained for three years, and headed the Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF), which had N53 billion of that time in Nigerian banks.
“God has been very good to me, so I can’t complain. If I feel hurt by anybody, I ask God to help me forgive. He has done so much for me.
“After 16 years of a different party in government, no party will come and have things easy. It’s human. We need quality hands to run Nigeria, and we will utilize them. I will like to welcome you home when it’s time. But I’ll like you to be ready.” He added
All the Nigerian professionals pledged to contribute their quota towards re-launching their fatherland to a new dawn.
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