From Basil Obasi, Abuja
The Federal Government has assured that it would release a long-term national development plan that articulates programmes and plans for every sector of the Nigerian economy before the end of this year.
The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, who delivered closing remarks on behalf of President Buhari at the just concluded National Economic Summit in Abuja, said that this comprehensive document would set out in one publication all the various sector plans, which have already been adopted by the present administration.
Udoma explained that this document would consolidate and harmonise all the sectoral plans in a single document and set out in broad detail an integrated roadmap for the growth and sustainability of the country’s economy and make it easier for the general public to easily access government’s overall economic agenda.
According to him, “When we assumed office, we knew that the nation was passing through a difficult time. To drive our quick response, we came up with the Strategic Implementation Plan (SIP), which was issued early this year. Unlike the SIP, the new document that we will release shall be more comprehensive and present clear roadmap for all the sectors,” he said.
EDUCATION: We’re stickler for standards, NTI boss
From Fred Ezeh, Abuja
The Director General of the National Teachers Institute (NTI), Professor Garba Dahuwa Azare, has said that the reputation and credibility of the institute is not negotiable.
He also insists that products of the institute have remained exceptional in any teaching environment, attributing it to the quality of academic and training programmes being offered by the institute.
He, however, encouraged aspiring teachers who are doubting the quality or credibility of the institution to have a rethink. Or better still, take advantage of the Distance Learning System being run by NTI to either upgrade or acquire new skills and competence.
The NTI DG, spoke in Kaduna on Tuesday at the flag off of National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE) monitoring and evalution of academic standard in NCE Distance Learning System (DLS) centres in North West states. He maintained that the institute had lived up to expectations, 40 years after its establishment.
The NCCE monitoring and evaluation exercise team was expected to review the operational and curriculum standard in all NTI study centres across states in the North West geopolitical zone.
Meanwhile, the monitoring and evaluation team of NCCE led by the Executive Secretary, Professor Bappah Aliyu said that the essence of the exercise was to ensure that institutes, offering teachers’ training programmes stick to minimum academic standard.
Labour: FG targets 490,000 jobs through new IT app
From Magnus Eze, Abuja
The Federal Government yesterday unveiled a new Information Technology application called “The Smart Farmer”. It targets to create about 490,000 jobs in the three years.
Plans have been also been concluded for the commissioning of two new small businesses that will produce pencils and toothpicks locally. Nigeria is said to spend over $18m annually in importing toothpicks.
Minister of Labour and Employment, Chief Chris Ngige, who made the disclosure at the official switching-on of the application owned by the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) in Abuja encouraged young entrepreneurs to commence the local production of items currently on the Nigeria Customs Service import prohibition list, noting that such budding enterprises would be sure of a ready-made market.
Represented by the Permanent Secretary, Dr. Clement Iloh, the minister said the uniqueness of the “NDE Pencil” is that it would be made from waste paper and not wood, adding that each of the two businesses would generate over 100 jobs at inception.
Ngige further disclosed that he had directed the NDE to commence operations next month at its Agric-Park located at Sabuwa, Katsina State, where over 3000 jobs would be generated in the first instance within the agricultural value chain.
Earlier, Acting Director General of NDE, Mr. Kunle Obayan had identified the inability to mobilise the youth as the bane of agricultural development in the country.
FINANCE: Adeosun tasks accountants on professionalism
From Uche Usim, Abuja
For better economic management, Finance Minister, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, has challenged members of the accounting profession to throw its full weight behind the Buhari administration’s efforts to promote probity, accountability and transparency in governance.
The Minister gave the charge on day two of the 46th Annual Accountants Conference organised by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) Abuja on Tuesday.
Adeosun explained that the accounting body now had greater roles to play in the current dispensation, saying that the era when accountants just offered suggestions was over.
The minister stated, “When things go wrong in the private sector, it affects just one company but when things go wrong in the public sector, it affects the whole nation and that is why we must raise the bar for public financial management.
“The days when ICAN stayed in the background are gone. That is why I’m challenging ICAN to move from the background to the forefront. We need more accountants at all tiers of government and I think they have a very big role to play.”
She disclosed that the finance ministry under her watch had begun capacity building for the nation’s accountants by ensuring that larger firms partner with smaller and medium scale ones for any assignment.
“We need to build capacity within the smaller and medium-sized practices. In the Ministry of Finance, we have resolved that a large firm must partner with smaller firms for any assignment and the practice has started.”
She stated that one of the measures put in place by the current administration was to ensure that the nation’s public finance management was better enhanced. According to her, a lot of lessons had been learnt from past mistakes; hence the implementation of a set of robust public finance management policies.
“One of the things we have done since we came to office was to ensure that our public finance management is better enhanced. We didn’t really have early warning signals from where we were headed. I think if we had better data, we wouldn’t be here today.”
“The Federal Government of Nigeria was one of the few countries without risk based independent internal audit. We started with the Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit. On assuming office, we found there were little controls, no audit and no reconciliation. These are the basic tools for reconciling expenditure with payroll. As a result, we found thousands of payroll entries of people who were not supposed to be there. We, therefore, had to move the Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit into formal independent-risk based internal audit.
“We also set up the Efficiency Unit and I have to thank ICAN for its support. We have been able to drive down our costs considerably. The savings are creating head room clearly needed to be invested to fund capital projects, which will grow the economy,” the minister stated.
Many dignitaries attended the conference, including Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, the Gombe State Governor, Alhaji Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo, the Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun and former Governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi, among others.