Obi hails Adesina’s exoneration, supports second term as AfDB president

.Says human capital investment, surest way of increasing national revenue

By Valentine Amanze
The exoneration of African Development Bank (AfDB) President, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, by an Independent Review Panel set up to investigate allegations of ethical wrongdoings against him, is a welcome development which paves the way for his second term as the bank’s president.

The Vice Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) during the 2019 elections, Mr. Peter Obi, stated this while reacting to the news of Adesina’s vindication by the committee led by Mary Robinson, the former President of the Republic of Ireland and a former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

“I am, like every well-meaning Nigerian, very delighted at the high level of integrity on display in the clearance of AfDB President, Dr. Adesina, by the Mary Robinson-led committee,” Obi said, while congratulating Adesina on Tuesday.

Hailing Mary Robinson, Chairperson of the Elders, a global body of wise persons concerned with the world’s wellbeing, as “integrity personified”, Obi said: “This clearance has finally given the ‘OK’ for Adesina’s second tenure to continue his good work for the African continent.”

The Independent Review Panel was set up by the AfDB Bureau of Governors following a complaint by the United States to review the process by which two previous organs of the bank – the Ethics Committee of the Board, and the Bureau of the Board of Governors – had previously exonerated Adesina.

The distinguished three-member Independent Review Panel also included the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Gambia, Mr. Hassan B. Jallow; and Mr. Leonard F. McCarthy, a former Director of Public Prosecutions, a former Director for the Office of Serious Economic Offences, and a former Head of the Directorate of Special Operations of South Africa.

The report of the Independent Review Panel states that it “concurs with the (Ethics) Committee in its findings in respect of all the allegations against the President and finds that they were properly considered and dismissed by the Committee.”

This clears the way for Governors of the bank to re-elect Adesina to a second five-year term as President during annual meetings of the bank scheduled for August 25-27, 2020.

Meanwhile, the Vice Presidential candidate of the PDP in the last general elections, Mr. Peter Obi, has said that generous investment in human capital development was the surest and easiest way of sporadically increasing national revenue especially in the face of crashing oil prices and dwindling oil revenues.

Speaking on Arise TV, Obi said that Nigeria, just like other countries in Asia and Africa, could easily increase their national revenue by hugely investing in the critical sectors of the economy that directly affect the people and national productivity.

Obi stated that a conscious investment in Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises would result in higher productivity, reduce unemployment by providing more jobs, generate more tax returns and provide other channels of revenue collection by the government.

Obi said that a good investment in the MSME sector would lift millions of people out of poverty as it did in countries like Thailand, Indonesia, Bangladesh, India, Philippines, Ghana, etc.

He said that by so doing, more income tax would be generated for the government.

On the N2.3 trillion stimulus recently announced by the Federal Government through the Economic Sustainability Committee, Obi said that the proposed amount, if judiciously used, would not be enough to hit the mark on desired economic growth.

He said that the proposed N2.3 trillion, which comprised N1.2 trillion fiscal stimulus and N1.1 trillion CBN monetary stimulus, would not generate the desired positive economic impact on a nation with over 200 million people and over 30 million MSMEs, considering the harsh realities left by the global pandemic on people and businesses.

“The proposed N2.3 trillion meant for Nigeria Economic Stimulus is approximately $5,000,000,000 (Five billion dollars) which will not be enough to generate the desired economic impact needed on an economy as big as ours, at this point in time. Take a look at what other economies, our size, are doing. Thailand with a population of about 70 million people is injecting about $84 billion into their economy. Indonesia with a population of about 250 million people is budgeting about $62 billion, Vietnam with a population of about 100 million people is proposing $26 billion while Philippine with about 105 million people is proposing $20 billion into their economy.

“Even in Africa, South Africa with a population of about 55 million people is pushing about $26 billion into their economy while Egypt is injecting about $12 billion. South Africa is budgeting $5.5 billion to support the MSME sector, the same amount Nigeria budgeted to carry every sector of the economy. Ghana is providing about $500 to each of their MSME while our Federal Government here only budgeted N50,000,000,000 (fifty billion naira) to support the over 30 million MSMEs in Nigeria.

“You can see we are far behind in our plans and provisions”, Obi said.

Obi however advised the government to make sincere investments in the critical sectors of education, health and MSMEs if they want to see a significant positive impact on the economy and in turn, increase in national revenue.

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