- US ambassador to Nigeria, Stuart Symington, has reportedly berated the federal government
- He allegedly said the inability of the government to end subsidy encourages poor social amenities
- He also reportedly berated the government's low commitment to critical public sectors
The United States ambassador to Nigeria, Stuart Symington, has raised criticism berating the sincerity and commitment of the federal government to eliminate fuel subsidy removal and ensure sustainable electricity for the people of the county.
Vanguard reports that Symington knocked the government while speaking at the 10th anniversary colloquium of the Nigerian Development Finance Forum, organised by Financial Nigeria Magazine.
The newspaper added that the US ambassador said the government's incompetence to eliminate subsidy on fuel is a major setback for the provision of social infrastructures and power for effective social service delivery.
NAIJ.com gathers that Symington who was represented by the mission director of the US Agency for International Development (USAID), Stephen Haykin, berated government's low investments on social service sector which, according to him, is responsible for low revenue generation from tax.
He said: "One proximate cause of poor health, education and nutrition standards is low public expenditures. This in turn is related to very low public revenues due in fact to low tax rates and weak systems for tax collections."
"Low social spending is also as a result of transfers from government to petroleum and power sectors because fuel and electricity tariffs are below cost recovery levels."
“Fiscal, trade and other micro-economic policies tend to act as breaks on private sector initiatives on economic growth. Weak governance due to inadequate capacities or lacks of checks and balances also slows social and economic development."
Also speaking at the event was the former minister of state for health, Muhammed Pate. Pate, in his speech, berated the political class of the country and their low interest in encouraging high investment in the critical sectors like the economy.
He further added that the political class's interest is one built around personal gain thus encouraging frivolous spending and misplaced priorities.
He said: “After extracting almost a trillion dollars’ worth of oil since our national independence, we have a situation where poverty is going on. We have effectively squandered an opportunity to utilise the natural resources that we obtain purely by chance, not by hard work."
“Instead of investing to uplift our people’s lives, our political elites by commission or omission chose the path of short-term comfort and purchase of loyalty through economically unwise or corruption riddled national expenditure at the expense of economically sound investments in both human and physical aspects to transform our nations.”
"Nigeria’s demographic transition is slow, variable and achieving the dividend from the population is not guaranteed. Childhood development is going in the wrong direction particularly in northern Nigeria. “Some areas in the security challenged north east, stunting is more than 60 per cent among children under-five while over more than 40 per cent of Nigeria’s children under-five are stunted."
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Meanwhile, NAIJ.com previously reported that former US ambassador to Nigeria, John Campbell, had described the former First Lady Patience Jonathan, as an arrogant and flamboyant person who was greatly disliked.
This was contained in a piece he wrote titled ‘Nigerian President Buhari’s Sisyphean Efforts’ and published on Council on Foreign Relations’ website on Friday, October 6.
Campbell also wondered how Mrs Jonathan who spent her career in the public service accumulated $35 million
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