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Pat Utomi wants Nigeria to focus more on production

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A professor of political economy, Pat Utomi, says Nigeria can only attain its much desired growth and development if it joins the comity of producing nations in the world.

Utomi made the submission on Wednesday in Ibadan, during the seventh edition of a Capacity Development Summit, held at Ibadan Business School.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the summit entitled `Excelling in Emerging Economies’ was convened by Pastor Idowu Ogedengbe, a Resident Pastor of House on the Rock, Harvest House, Ibadan.

Utomi warned that pragmatic efforts must be taken to ensure Nigeria becomes a producing nation, saying a nation that does not produce is dead.

“It’s all about production, output. We are still relying too much on crude oil prices to determine the direction of our economy and that is not good.

“There is very little we can do to control the direction of pricing of crude oil,’’ he said.

He said that the nation was ahead of China in manufacturing 40 years ago, but the reverse was the case now, saying the country had today, remained a consuming nation, producing only crude oil.

According to him, “We live in trying times, very difficult times, and we must be change agents. If we don’t have impacts, if we don’t change the society, a couple of things will be lost.’’

Utomi expressed deep-seated fear that there might be no Nigeria on any map very soon, decrying the level of inequalities in the country.

He recalled that in the 1960s, there were more local governments in Southern Nigeria than Northern Nigeria, when regional system of government was in operation.

The don said it was the military regime that increased the local governments to 774, out of which over 500 of them are in Northern Nigeria.

“Inequality does not give you progress. It invariably brings you to a certain blowing point, which is where Nigeria is. This country is a time bomb waiting to explode. How do you deal with inequalities?

“One of the dangers of what has happened to us in Nigeria is that over the years we have focused on revenues and how to share revenues.

“Revenues, no matter how you share them, will not make anybody rich. The only thing that makes people rich is production. If you don’t produce, you are dead,’’ he said.

Utomi said that Economic Growth Recovery Plan (ERGP) was lovely, but not a national strategy for development, saying it was a strategy premium model, that enables effectiveness in implementing some things.

According to him, “the major problem of Nigeria’s economy is that I am not sure of where the Nigerian economy desires to go. There isn’t a national strategy that I can say.

“So, if you develop a tactical thing which is the EGRP that says, what we should do with this and that sector, where everybody is making their own policy.

“Where are we going? Do we want to be the leading producer of product X in the world in 25 years? I don’t see a policy that is saying that to me.

“But, this might just be somebody from the outside looking in. May be those who know have not communicated it in a way someone like me, with limited capacity, can understand, ” he said.

He said that there are many advantages to paying a minimum wage, saying it all comes down to government’s output and every worker’s productivity.

“For example, when Obasanjo was running in 1998, a small group of us was working on policy with him. One of the things we told him is that as soon as you get there, you must increase workers’ wages.

“If you increase wages, you can stimulate consumption and such will lead to more investment in productive sectors, while growth takes place.

“You must do standard gauge railway in Lagos and Port Harcourt. Borrow the money, get whatever support, put hundreds of thousands of people to work, to earn income and spend it.

“But when you increase workers’ wages with no output improvement, no productivity improvement, it really does stoke inflation. People need to be paid living wage.

“How do you get those you have paid a better salary to produce? I’m not sure the system has done a lot of work around this. These are more germane, than whether workers are paid N30,000 or N5,000,’’ he said.

Utomi said that it was difficult to anticipate recession, wondering if output quarter on quarter, would keep suffering at this stage.

He described recession as an indicator, adding that what was important was how much the nation placed emphasis on production.

NAN reports that some other panelists at the event were Dr Dotun Saseyi, Dr Kemi George and Chief Wale Okunniyi.

The trio in their various submissions challenged the youths to develop themselves mentally, seek knowledge and associate with people of like minds, towards influencing the society positively

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Debt: AMCON Takes Over Donald Duke’s Ikoyi Home

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The Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos, has ordered the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria and United Bank for Africa to take over a property belonging to a former governor of Cross River State, Donald Duke.

Justice Chuka Obiozor made the order following an ex parte application filed by AMCON and UBA.

The property was to be forfeited over an alleged debt of N537,334,360.77.

Listed as first to third defendants were Stonehedge Investment Limited, Donald Duke and Owunari Bob-Manuel Duke, respectively.

The applicants had prayed the court for “an order of interim attachment, possession and custody of the property being No. 3, Temple Road, Ikoyi, Lagos”.

They told the court that the property was mortgaged by Duke “as collateral in securing the 1st respondent’s indebtedness to the applicants”.

They urged the court to grant them possession of the property “pending the institution and disposal of proceedings for recovery of debt against the respondent, pursuant to Section 49 of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria Act 2010 (as amended)”.

They also prayed the court for an interim Mareva injunction to take possession of funds in the accounts of Duke and others in any bank “pending the institutional and disposal of proceedings for the recovery of a debt of N537,334,360.77 made up of the principal debt and interest against the respondents pursuant to Section 50 of AMCON Act 2010”.

The judge granted the prayers in addition to an order restraining the respondents from “transacting, transferring, changing or howsoever dealing in any manner or interfering with the applicants’ possession” of the Ikoyi property.

The judge ordered AMCON and UBA to ensure service of substantive originating processes on the respondents within 20 days of the making of the order.

He adjourned the case until September 2, 2019

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LCCI Tackles Buhari, Says He Can’t Lift 100million Nigerians Out Of Poverty

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Director-General of Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Muda Yusuf, has said it is impossible for President Muhammadu Buhari to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty.

Yusuf made the comments while speaking on a programme on Channels Television.

President Buhari had while addressing new ministers at a retreat on Monday vowed to lift at least 100 million Nigerians out of extreme poverty.

But disagreeing with that statement, the LCCI boss said the President had not been collaborating with those, who could help him achieve the goal.

He said, “The President is talking about taking 100 million people out of poverty over 10 years, it is impossible to do that without investors. Because when we talk about job creation, it is not the government that will create the job.

“As we speak, the government is already overstretched in terms of the number of employees that they have and many of them are struggling to pay salaries and with the minimum wage that we are expecting any time soon, it will become even more difficult to create a new job.

“There is no sufficient consultation between those who are managing the economy and the government.”

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Nigerians react as FBI arrests Invictus Group CEO, Obi Okeke

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Reactions are trailing the arrest of the Chief Executive Officer of Invictus Group, Obi Okeke.

He was nabbed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for conspiracy to commit computer fraud.

Obinwanne Okeke made it into Forbes Africa’s 30 Under 30 List in 2016.

He was arrested for over $11 million wire fraud after an Office365 account belonging to a steel company’s CEO was hacked.

The suspect was said to have conspired with several individuals to access the CEO’s computers without authorization.

Nigerians have taken to Twitter to express their opinion on the matter.

Some tweets below:

@Adaolis_a: All these motivational speaker that will tell you to believe in yourself and the world is yours. But they are cooperate fraudsters. Invictus Obi is just one of many. I’m sure they is more to this. Another huge stain to Nigeria.

@9aufal: Invictus Obi’s bad record must not be attached to Nigeria’s identity as a nation, the western media has a way of using incidences like this (which can happen anywhere) to generalize and stereotype Nigerians as criminals. Honest hardworking Nigerians are a majority!

@tosinadeda: On this Invictus Obi case, have you noticed that your regular celebs are not coming online to say “Nobody Holy” … Oh well, that shit only applies when the Nigerian Govt tries to nail fraudsters. Nobody wants FBI wahala, Looool Hypocrites.

@MrLekanAdigun: This Invictus Obi’s story clearly shows that Yahoo Yahoo boys can operate anywhere- even wearing suits. That’s why I hardly believe all these influencers giving Tedx Talks if I can’t trace their sources of income. Most of them do Yahoo as a major side hustle. Run your own race!

@asemota: This Invictus Obi affidavit shows what I have always been saying that Nigerian 419 fraudsters are basic. Their victims are also basic too. How can a company where CFO can authorize millions of dollars in transfer have no endpoint security and transaction authorization security?

@Pmoney_Talks: The sad and most painful thing about this Invictus Obi story, is the fact that it is another major stain, and will make it even harder for legit Nigerian remote workers, freelancers, online business persons to get deals and jobs now. The average Nigerian may not understand.

@Boboye_Ak: Court: How did you catch Invictus Obi as a scammer. FBI: *Publishes 4 page affidavit with facts and some details of the investigation* Court: How did you catch the scammer? EFCC: He had tattoos and iPhone.

@4eyedmonk: The apprehension of Invictus Obi is hopefully a notification to the gutter mouthed “rich” businessman/men with obviously dubious “wealth” on here. Your time is near.

@therealdaddymo1: Invictus Obi – He aspired to inspire, then decided to conspire and now he will perspire because plans don backfire and now FBI don acquire the documents whey dem go use enquire. Forbes list membership don expire and shame don catch una whey dey admire. The entire case na wahala.

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