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Tinubu To Buhari: Print More Naira Notes, Suspend VAT For Now

Gbemileke Ajayi

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All Progressives Congress National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, says Nigeria’s health care system cannot withstand a coronavirus pandemic on the scale of America and Europe.

He, therefore, called on the government and the citizens to do everything to curb the spread of the virus in the country.

Tinubu said this in a statement he wrote in commemoration of his 68th birthday on Friday.

The former Lagos State governor said, “The public health care systems of developed nations have been overwhelmed by this virus. They are running out of equipment and healthy doctors.

“Our public health care system is much smaller and less equipped than those in Europe and North America. We cannot afford to put undue pressure on our system because it cannot bear the great weight of a pandemic.

“Thus, it is incumbent on us to thoroughly implement and obey social safety and distancing techniques so that we halt the spread of the disease and keep hospitalisation to the barest possible minimum.”

Tinubu asked the Federal Government to print more naira notes to save the economy from collapse even as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to bite harder.

The APC chieftain said the United States Federal Reserve had printed more dollars bills to boost the economy.

He said Nigeria could also do the same.

Tinubu added, “Already, the price of oil has fallen to less than $30 a barrel. This will bring a dollar shortfall. This does not, however, necessitate a corresponding shortfall in public sector naira expenditures.

“The US controls dollar issuance. We control naira issuance as is our sovereign right. Just as America has used its sovereign right to issue its currency to stave off economic disaster, so too may Nigeria issue naira for the same purpose.”

Tinubu also asked the Federal Government to stop collection of the Value Added Tax immediately.

Recall that the government of the President, Maj.Gen Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), had last month increased VAT from five per cent to 7.5 per cent.

However, Tinubu said the government must reduce the sufferings of Nigerians by introducing tax cuts while the Central Bank of Nigeria must reduce interest rates

He wrote, “Government should announce a tax credit or partial tax reduction for companies or firms. VAT should be suspended for the next two to four months. This will help lower import costs and protect against shortages.

“We need to protect the people from food shortages and high prices. As such, we must quickly improve farm-to-market delivery of agricultural produce. Also, government should initiate a crash programme to decrease spoilage of agricultural produce by construction of storage facilities in local marketplaces in and around major cities and towns throughout the country.”

The APC leader asked all Nigerians to unite against the pandemic, adding that experience had shown that the virus neither respected social class, ethnicity nor religion.

He, therefore, said this was not the time to play politics.

Tinubu added, “The rich cannot bargain with the disease or pay it off. It neither reads bank account statements nor is it intimidated by them. The poor, likewise, are subject to it for it has no mercy nor cares about one’s prior or present hardships. Neither does it seem to study geography.

“Northerners and southerners are equally its prey. It will attack those who pray at the altar in the church as well as those who face the Qiblah when praying in the mosque. To corona, we are all the same. Thus, to fight corona, we must treat each other the same, as brothers and sisters in one national family under one Heaven. For we are of one blood; this crisis is a stark warning that we must begin to act in consonance with that common humanity.”

BIG STORY

Nigeria Yet To Receive Ventilators From US, A Month After Trump’s Promise — FG

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The federal government says it is yet to receive ventilators from the US.

On April 28, US President Donald Trump, during a telephone conversation with President Muhammadu Buhari, promised to send ventilators to support Nigeria in the fight against COVID-19.

Speaking at the presidential task force briefing on Thursday, Lai Mohammed, minister of information and culture, said the ventilators are yet to arrive in Nigeria.

He said there is no specific date for the arrival of the medical items, and that the information will be made public once the ventilators are received.

“On when the ventilators promised by President Trump will arrive, to the best of my knowledge, they have not arrived. When they do arrive it will be made known to the public,” he said.

On the efforts made by the information ministry in curbing the spread of COVID-19, Mohammed said there has been increased community sensitization against the disease.

He said there has been a series of jingles played on radio stations to enhance rural engagements.

“In addition, we also have support from 40 community and campus radio stations across the country awaiting our jingles,” he said.

“Our aggressive and sustained campaign on the Social Media has gained traction, in the last five days alone some of the videos we posted have been viewed over one million times.”

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BIG STORY

Buhari Came To ‘Steal, Kill, Destroy’ —- Fani-Kayode

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A former Minister of Aviation, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, has described the five years of President Muhammadu Buhari as “disastrous.”

He disagreed with Special Adviser to Buhari on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, whose weekly column argued the President’s emergence, saved the nation from collapse in 2015.

Fani-Kayode, on his verified twitter handle, said Buhari’s emergence has plunged the nation into a deeper abyss.

Responding directly to Adesina’s tweet, the former Minister said: “Not so my friend. The emergence of Buhari in 2015 annihilated Nigeria and plunged her into darkness, death, and destruction.

“He came to steal, kill and destroy and for the last disastrous 5 years that is all he has done.”

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BIG STORY

Lagos BRT Increases Fares By 50%

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Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Primero Transport Services Limited, operators of the Bus Rapid Transport, have said fares will increase by about 50 percent.

The company on Thursday said it got approval from the regulator of the sector, the Lagos State Metropolitan Area Transport Authority, to increase the fares.

Earlier, the News Agency of Nigeria reported that the company withdrew its services on Monday due to losses caused by the new guidelines of government which restricted the number of commuters on BRT to 20 per trip instead of 70.

The BRT Managing Director, Mr Fola Tinubu, told NAN that the management of the company would resolve the issues after a meeting with the government.

After the meeting, Tinubu said an agreement had been reached for the fares to be increased.

He said, “We are going to increase our pricing effective from Friday, May 29 (today). We agreed on this after our talk with the Lagos State Government.

“Everywhere commuters are paying N200 for a trip, it is going to be N300 and everywhere commuters are paying N300 per trip, it is going to be N500.

“We are increasing our fares. We have secured the permission of the regulator, Lagos State Metropolitan Area Transport Authority.”

He said the number of passengers on the buses would also be increased to 42, with no passenger standing on buses as against 20 earlier approved by the government.

The LAMATA External Relations Specialist, Kola Ojelabi, confirmed the development.

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