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Lagos, Abia, Zamfara, 12 Other States Debts Jump To N1.68tn

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The cumulative domestic debts of Lagos and 14 other states rose by 153.82 per cent between December 31, 2015 and March 31, 2021, analysis of data obtained from the Debt Management Office has shown.

Each of the states in question recorded at least 100 per cent jump in less than the six years under review.

The 15 states under review had a cumulative domestic debt of N1.68tn as of March 31.

Although Lagos had the highest domestic debt stock of N507.38bn, Yobe state recorded the highest leap as its domestic debt profile rose by 1,994.08 per cent.

Apart from Lagos and Yobe states, the other 13 states are Abia, Adamawa, Anambra, Benue, Borno, Imo, Katsina, Niger, Ogun, Ondo, Sokoto, Taraba, Zamfara.

As of December 31, 2015, the debt stock of Lagos State stood at N218.54bn, but by March 31, 2021, it had climbed to N507.38bn. This represents 132 per cent increase within the time-frame.

As of December 31, 2015, Abia State’s debt stock stood at N33.53bn, but by March 31, 2021, it had increased to N70.57bn; thus, rising by 110.47 per cent.

The debt stock of Adamawa State rose from N47.20bn to N95.22bn between December 31, 2015 and March 31, 2021, resulting in a debt increase of 102 per cent.

READ ALSO: Courts Clears Ex-minister, Kemi Adeosun, Of NYSC Certificate Controversy

As of December 31, 2015, the debt stock of Anambra State stood at N3.58bn, but it increased to N59.71bn by March 31. This means that the state recorded a leap of 1,567.88 per cent increase.

As of December 31, 2015, Benue State’s debt stock was N39.94bn, but it increased to N128.25bn by March 31, 2021. Thus, the state recorded an increase of 221.1 per cent.

Within the same period, the debt stock of Borno State increased from N22.34bn to N91.86bn, resulting in a 311 per cent debt increase.

As of December 31, 2015, the debt of Imo State stood at N71.74bn. However, by March 31, 2021, it had gone up to N149.89bn. This represents 108.94 per cent increase.

As of December 31, 2015, Katsina State had a debt stock of N11.50bn, but it increased to N58.34bn by March 31, 2021. Thus, its debt stock rose by 407.3 per cent.

Within the same period, the debt stock of Niger State rose from N21.50bn to N62.33bn; thus recording an increase of 189.91 per cent.

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ECONOMY

Hardship: Lagos Govt Plans Distribution of Palliatives

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Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Thursday, announced his government’s plan to begin distribution of palliatives among other initiatives to ease the effect of high cost of living in the country.

Sanwo-Olu disclosed this in a live media chat with journalists on Thursday.

He said, “On the food palliatives, as we speak, I’m expecting over 200 trailers of rice coming from up north.

“Food purchase and distribution that will cover about 300,000 households that will have 10kg rice, 5kg garri, 5kg beans and have other small things like tomatoes in a combo bag.”

READ ALSO: Ondo State Govt Declares 2 Days Public Holidays As Late Gov. Akeredolu’s Funeral Commences

The governor added that there will be “Sunday Markets” where Lagosians can buy food items at discounted rates.

He said, “We are going to be opening ‘Sunday Markets’ in about 42 markets in Lagos. This time you’ll be buying at a reduced cost. We’re going to cap what you can buy at not more than N25,000 and we’re going to be giving you a 25% rebate immediately there.

 

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NEWS

Binance Collaborates with Nigerian Government to Enforce Regulatory Compliance on Its Platform

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Binance, a prominent cryptocurrency company, has announced its collaboration with the Nigerian government to address non-compliant activities on its platform in accordance with the country’s regulations, Aso Naija Reports.

In a statement emphasizing its commitment to peer-to-peer (P2P) users in Nigeria, Binance cautioned that individuals engaging in manipulative behavior would be expelled from the platform.

Binance expressed its proactive approach by working closely with local authorities, lawmakers, and regulators to ensure compliance.

To reinforce its commitment, the cryptocurrency exchange platform has implemented several measures, including setting an upper limit for advertisements, filtering and removing inappropriate ads, requiring merchants posting ads to provide higher deposits, and establishing procedures to take action against any market manipulation attempts.

On a recent Tuesday, Binance temporarily disabled the sell option for Nigerian users, preventing them from selling their fiat currency, USDT, on the platform.

Additionally, the buy option for Nigerian users was capped at $1802.

READ ALSO: Federal Government Blocks Binance, OctaFX, Others

Furthermore, Binance disabled the purchase of cryptocurrencies via P2P for Nigerian users, thereby affecting those who intended to sell their cryptocurrency assets such as Bitcoin, BNB, and Ethereum through P2P transactions.

These actions are part of the Nigerian government’s ongoing efforts, led by the Tinubu administration, to address the depreciation of the naira against the dollar.

Additionally, sources close to the Nigerian government have been discussing how cryptocurrencies have provided an avenue for individuals to bypass the country’s initiatives to increase dollar liquidity.

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NEWS

Forex Crisis: Federal Government Blocks Binance, OctaFX, Others

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The federal government has reportedly blocked the online platforms of Binance and other crypto firms to avert what it considers continuous manipulation of the forex market and illicit movement of funds, Aso Naija Reports.

Sources within the major telecommunication companies in the country on Wednesday evening, February 21, that the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) communicated the directive to telcos and they had started acting on it.

Apart from Binance, other platforms such as Forextime, OctaFX, Crypto, FXTM, Coinbase, Kraken, among others, were equally blocked.

READ ALSO: Professor Dies Due to Lack of Access to Quality Medical Care

According to the publication, Presidency and regulatory sources said the government decided to move against Binance and other crypto firms following reports that currency speculators and money launderers were using them to execute criminal activities.

Authorities believe the ‘criminal activities’ going on on platforms are contributing significantly to the weakening of the naira.

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Ondo State Govt Declares 2 Days Public Holidays As Late Gov. Akeredolu’s Funeral Commences

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The commencement of the funeral ceremony for the late former governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu, has resulted in the declaration of a two-day public holiday by the Ondo State Government, Aso Naija Reports.

The ceremony began on Wednesday, February 21, with traditional rites taking place in his hometown of Owo.

Distinguished guests in attendance at the ceremony included Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State, Governor Duoye Diri of Bayelsa State, Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRasaq of Kwara State (who is also the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum), and Governor Lucky Aiyedatiwa of Ondo State.

Late Governor Akeredolu, who passed away on December 27 following an extended illness while receiving treatment in a German hospital, is scheduled to be laid to rest on Friday in Owo.

Also, the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Ebenezer Adeniyan, issued a statement outlining the burial activities that have been ongoing since last Thursday.

The Shedule Of Events In Ondo State Is As follows:

– Wednesday, February 21: The day began with Ajabue, traditional rites, in Owo from 9 am to 4 pm.

A Special Court Session was held at Court 1, Ondo State High Court Headquarters on Hospital Road, Akure, at 10 am.

This was followed by a Lying in State and Commendation Service at Akure Township Stadium at 1 pm.

In the evening, an Evening of Tributes took place at St. Andrews Church on Imola Street in Owo from 4 pm to 7 pm.

– Thursday, February 22 (Public holiday): A Service of Songs was held at St. Andrews Cathedral on Imola Street in Owo at 4 pm. The Wake-Keep was held at Maranatha Villa in Owo at 8 pm. Additionally, there was a Candlelight Procession & World Gyration by the Kegites Club, which took place from 8 pm until dawn.

– Friday, February 23 (Public holiday): The Funeral Service was held at St. Andrews Church on Imola Street in Owo at 10 am. Immediately following the burial service, the interment took place at the burial site in Owo.

This portion of the event was strictly for the immediate family.

Additionally, a reception was held at Mydas Hotel and Resort on Ikare Road in Owo at 1 pm.

– Saturday, February 24, 2024: An Akeredolu Memorial Friendly football match was played at Akure Township Stadium in Akure at 3 pm.

– Sunday, February 25, 2024: The funeral events concluded with a Thanksgiving Service at St. Andrews Church on Imola Street in Owo at 10 am.

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ECONOMY

Government Threatens to Open Borders for Cement Imports Amid Price Dispute with Nigerian Manufacturers

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The Nigerian government has issued a potential threat to open the borders for cement importation if local cement manufacturers do not reduce the price of the commodity within the country, Aso Naija Reports.

Arc Ahmed Dangiwa, the Minister of Housing and Urban Development, expressed this stance during an emergency meeting with cement and building materials manufacturers held in Abuja on February 20th.

Dangiwa emphasized that key materials required for  production, such as limestone, clay, silica sand, and gypsum, which are readily available within Nigeria, should not be priced in dollars.

The minister argued against the manufacturers’ justifications for high prices. He dismissed the excuse of rising gas prices, as gas is a raw material abundantly found within the country.

Additionally, he refuted the claim that increased mining equipment costs should impact cement prices, stating that these manufacturers have been using the same equipment for decades, and the cost should not be a significant factor.

Dangiwa pointed out that the government had previously closed the borders to cement imports in order to support local manufacturers.

READ ALSO: Veterinarian Gets Eaten by Lion at Obafemi Awolowo University’s Zoological Garden

However, he warned that if the government were to reverse this decision and allow mass importation, the prices of cement would plummet, adversely affecting local manufacturers.

The minister urged the manufacturers to demonstrate greater patriotism and cited BUA cement as an example of a company that had shown willingness to lower the price of its cement to below the agreed range of N7000 to N8000.

He questioned why other manufacturers could not do the same.

In response to the manufacturers’ challenges, the minister emphasized that many countries face similar or worse difficulties.

Nevertheless, he stressed the importance of citizens coming together in times of crisis to effect positive change.

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