The Federal Government has disclosed plans to release N100bn for capital projects in a few days’ time, having earlier released N322bn for the same purpose.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo disclosed this on Thursday in Lagos during the Presidential Policy Dialogue session organised by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
He said, “We have also pledged to keep capital budget spending to a minimum of 30 per cent. We have already made capital releases of N332bn which is more than the entire amount released last year, with another N100bn set to be released in the next few days.
“The funds are for power, works, housing, transportation, defence and agriculture. “
Osinbajo said the government had been able to save close to N1.4tn in fuel subsidy payment since May when it deregulated the downstream petroleum sector and pegged the pump price of petrol at N145 per litre.
The government officially ended fuel subsidy payment on May 11 when it increased the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit from N86.50 to N145 a litre, and asked whosoever had the means to import the product to do so, with foreign exchange sourced independently.
The decision, according to the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, was taken at the end of a stakeholders’ meeting presided over by Osinbajo, and was aimed at increasing and stabilising the supply of the product, adding that the government expected that the policy would lead to improved supply and competition, and eventually drive down the pump price.
Although the policy has not led to a reduction in pump price of fuel three months after its implementation, the vice president said it had led to a reduction in the daily demand for petrol and a saving of N1.4tn during the period.
He said, “The deregulation of the downstream petroleum sector was an important decision of this government. This has reduced the daily demand for fuel from 1,600 trucks to 850 trucks, and resulted in savings of about N1.4tn on subsidy payment.
“Of course, the long term decision is to fix the refineries because one of the largest foreign exchange spending for us is on importation of petroleum products; and at the moment, our refineries are not producing enough.
“In addition to the Dangote refinery with its 650,000 barrels, we also intend to fix the existing refineries and expect that by the end of 2017, most of the refineries will function.”
He said in the area of financial management, the government was also able to save N8bn monthly from the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System embarked on by the Federal Government.
On his part, the President, Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, noted that the most vibrant private sector in Africa was still in Nigeria, adding that he did not believe the report making the rounds that South Africa had replaced Nigeria as the number one economy on the continent.
He said, “Last night, I was watching the news that Nigeria had been displaced by South Africa as the number one economy in Africa. I don’t believe that report; it was something that was just said to embarrass us.
“They said South Africa is $4bn above Nigeria and I said it depends on the exchange rate that they used. I am sure they must have used the wrong exchange rate. Be rest assured, we are still the number one economy in Africa.
“Nigerians are known for their drive, doggedness, tenacity, industry and creativity. These qualities are an embodiment of the Nigerian spirit and are on display in the private sector. All that the government needs to do is remove obstacles that stand in the way of a bigger and more productive private sector.”
President Buhari Accuses Governors of Stealing LG Funds
Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari has once again accused state governors of stealing monthly allocation due to local government under them.
The president spoke at a parley with members of the Senior Executive Course of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru, held at the State House Banquet Hall, Abuja.
Speaking at the event, the president stated that it beats anyone’s imagination how some governors collected money on behalf of council areas in their states, only to remit just half of such allocation to the council chairmen, who would further deplete the remittance by filching it. Investors King learnt.
‘‘I found it necessary to digress after reading my speech and this digression is a result of my personal experience. What they did, this is my personal experience, if the money from the Federation Account to the state is about N100m, N50m will be sent to the chairman, but he will sign that he received N100m. The governor will pocket the balance and share it with whoever he wants to share it with,” the president narrated.
‘‘This is what’s happening. This is Nigeria. It’s a terrible thing; you cannot say the person who was doing this is not educated. He was a qualified lawyer, he was experienced, yet he participated in this type of corruption.” he queried.
Furthermore, the president clarified that state governors and local government chairmen should be held responsible for the underdevelopment in the rural areas noting that most of the local governments lack basic amenities.
Similarly, the National Union of Local Government Employees on Thursday backed the position of the president on the embezzlement and mismanagement of local government funds.
Responding to Buhari’s position, the President of the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), Hakeem Ambali, said Buhari was merely stating the obvious.
The NULGE President nevertheless admonished the president to go beyond the statement and ensure governors, especially those in APC to sign the local government autonomy bill into law.
“He should go beyond that statement. He is the leader of the party, he should ask them to sign the autonomy into law; he is the leader of the governors,’’ he said.
Ramaphosa Braces for Calls to Resign Over $580,000 Theft at Farm
The panel found the president may have violated sections of the constitution following a theft of $580,000 that was stashed in a sofa at a game farm he owns.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa’s allies are steeling themselves before a meeting of the governing party’s top leaders at which he’s likely to face calls for his resignation.
The African National Congress’s National Executive Committee will on Thursday discuss the findings by an advisory panel that there may be a case for Ramaphosa’s impeachment. The panel found the president may have violated sections of the constitution following a theft of $580,000 that was stashed in a sofa at a game farm he owns.
The release of the panel’s report on Wednesday night triggered a slump in the rand. The NEC meeting is scheduled to start at 7 p.m.
Party officials met with the ANC’s chief whip and the speaker of parliament to discuss the report on Wednesday, according to people familiar with the matter. A group of NEC members sympathetic to Ramaphosa held a meeting of their own, said the people who asked not to be identified discussing private party matters.
Pule Mabe, the ANC’s spokesman, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment sent by text message.
The meeting of Ramaphosa’s supporters was called by Minister in the Presidency Mondli Gungubele. Two NEC members who are close to Ramaphosa expressed concern that the president may opt to resign — a replay of what happened in June when the scandal over the game-farm theft first erupted and he took advice on whether or not he should quit.
Ibom MRO to Bring in Forex to Nigeria
Akwa Ibom State to open a cutting-edge smart terminal building at the Victor Attah International Airport
The governor of Akwa Ibom State, Governor Udom Emmanuel, has announced that the state is close to opening a cutting-edge smart terminal building at the Victor Attah International Airport and that this will generate foreign exchange for Nigeria.
This comes on the heels of praise from his Edo State counterpart, Gov. Godwin Obaseki, who attended the Tuesday reception in Uyo for two additional A320-200 Airbus aircraft that the state’s Ibom Air fleet had leased from a European company.
Speaking at the event, the governor of Akwa Ibom said that while there were already efforts underway to persuade the government to lease the MRO, the MRO is an investment because it was built with naira, despite its current depreciation, and will therefore generate income.
The Akwa Ibom governor said “Our terminal building is world-class in Africa, our MRO is world-class. If you find one today in the entire Gulf of Guinea, tell me I’ll disassemble this one and build another.
“Look at our MRO; what you see here can accommodate two 747 aircraft as well as eight CRJ aircraft, which we are flying for servicing at the same time.”
“This is the only MRO in this part of the world today, and these facilities are not built with local currency, but we are building this MRO with naira that has no value.”
“I invest in areas where we can see a return on our money. Right now without blinking an eye, I can make over $ 30 million with this MRO if we decide to sell but we are not selling, we will make a foreign exchange from this investment.
“Airbus is on us to come and lease our MRO for all their regional flights, but we are not selling.
“We are going to open up this place ( MRO facility) from January next year for commercial activities and we are going to earn in dollars.”
He thanked Ibom Air’s Board of Directors, Management, and Staff for making him proud, emphasising that “they have done very well.”
Gov. Obaseki, who spoke at the event, stated that Akwa Ibom has become the country’s flagship state for its efforts to invest in and make significant strides in the aviation sector.
Obaseki described Akwa Ibom as the country’s flagship state for its efforts to invest in and expand the aviation sector. “Ibom Air is always completely booked.” Let me thank you on behalf of Nigerians,’’ Obaseki said.
In his remarks, the Managing Director of Ibom Airlines., Mr Mfon Udom announced plans to begin regional flights in 2023.
Udom said the new addition to the fleet of Ibom Air would expand its carrying capacity and boost employment opportunities in the state by 40 per cent.
“With this new capacity coming on board, we are delighted to inform our passengers that we have increased our offerings, providing more frequencies for their convenience.
“The Uyo-Lagos and Uyo-Abuja routes now have three frequencies each every weekday, while our Lagos-Abuja passengers will have seven frequencies to choose from both ways, every weekday,’’ he said.
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