President Muhammadu Buhari said on Thursday in Abuja that his administration will continue to implement policies that will make Nigeria’s economy, which is already looking good, better.
Speaking at an audience with Mr Jesper Kamp, the new Ambassador of the Kingdom of Denmark to Nigeria, President Buhari said Nigeria welcomes further strengthening of relations with countries, especially in the areas of agriculture and trade.
President Buhari told the Danish Ambassador he was pleased that relations between Nigeria and Denmark have remained strong; noting that in the economic sphere there is still some more work to do.
‘‘The Nigerian economy is looking good and we look forward to making it better,’’ the President told the Danish Ambassador after receiving his Letter of Credence.
President Buhari who also received Letters of Credence from Major General (Retd) Waqar Kingravi, the new High Commissioner of Pakistan to Nigeria, Mr Babacar Ndiaye, the new Ambassador of Senegal to Nigeria and Mr Vyacheslav Beskosky, the new Ambassador of Belarus to Nigeria, told them that Nigeria valued the existing cordial and friendly relations with their countries.
The President described the long-standing military cooperation between Nigeria and Pakistan as very commendable and beneficial to both countries.
‘‘Given the vast experience of the Pakistani military, your commitment in assisting us to develop our military is commendable,’’ he told the Pakistani High Commissioner:
The Nigerian leader recounted that as a former military officer, several of his colleagues who trained in Pakistan still have very fond memories of the country.
Receiving the Senegalese Ambassador, President Buhari commended President Macky Sall of Senegal for his roles in the progress achieved in the political process in Guinea Bissau.
Noting that he was aware of the economic progress taking place in Senegal, President Buhari stressed the need for stability in the West African region to ensure rapid socio-economic development, particularly in the key areas of education, health and infrastructure.
‘‘The bigger we are the bigger the problems, so we must continue to do our best to surmount our challenges in the region,’’ President Buhari, who is also the current Chair of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of States and Government, told the Senegalese envoy.
In his audience with the Belarus Ambassador, President Buhari harped on the need for improved economic ties, while commending the Eastern European country for accommodating international students from Nigeria in their tertiary institutions.
The President wished the four Ambassadors very successful tenures, reiterating Nigeria’s commitment to continue to partner with their countries in areas of mutual concerns.
The Nigerian Senate In Wednesday, passed a resolution calling on the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to suspend the excessive ATM card maintenance charges being deducted from customers.
The resolution came as part of a motion on the illicit and excessive bank charges on customers accounts, sponsored by Senator Olugbenga Ashafa (Lagos East, APC).
The Senate also called on commercial banks operating in the country to configure their machines to dispense up to N40,000 per withdrawal pending the outcome of the investigation by the Senate committees tasked with investigating the excessive and illicit bank charges.
Speaking on the Motion, the President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki said: “This is a motion that affects the lives of every Nigerian — irrespective of what part of the country you come from or whatever political affiliation you might have. This is why we are here: to always defend and protect the interests of the Nigerian people.”
The Senate President stated that the Senate must work to ensure that the resolutions on the excessive bank charges goes beyond the debate stage, so that whatever action the Upper Legislative Chamber takes, would come into effect.
“This Senate has done this many times before; when there was a hike in the mobile telecommunication data charges, we intervened and put an end to that. When there were discrepancies and increases in electricity prices, we also took action. We have done this on a number of similar cases. Therefore, on this, I want us to take effective resolutions,” Saraki said.
Other Senators who contributed to the debate, called on banks to review their charges.
“The common man is also a victim,” said Senator Emmanuel Bwacha, “Banks declare profits and you wonder where these profits are coming from — it’s from the sweat of the common man. Let us come up with a law that puts banks on their toes.”
“It won’t be out of place to institute a committee that will call on the CBN to tell us what these charges are about. The Senate by fiat should abolish charges if they can’t be verified,” said Senator Bala Ibn Na’Allah.
“The Senate must take a serious stand on this issue. Nigerians are really suffering. The banking system is not encouraging. I had an issue, took it to the bank and was refunded but how many Nigerians can do this? The issue needs to be addressed,” stated Senator Kabiru Gaya.
“For me, this is a major step that we are taking. This is because I introduced the first ATM machine that came into Nigeria over 25-years ago,” the Senate President, Dr. Saraki told his colleagues, “Now, after 25-years, we should have grown out of these excessive charges and moved on. So, I believe that this is something that we must address to create an environment that protects all Nigerians, because these kind of charges in this economy affects everyone.”
The Senate further directed its Committees on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions and Finance to conduct an investigation into the propriety of ATM card maintenance charges in comparison with international best practices and report back to the Senate.
The Senate also directed the aforementioned committees to invite the Governor of the CBN to appear before it to explain why the official charges as approved by the CBN are skewed in favour of the banking institutions as against the ordinary customers of the banks.
Finally, the Senate called on the Consumer Protection Council to look into the various complaints of excess and unnecessary charges by Nigerian Banks.
Source: The Ripples