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Buhari Seeks Approval for $30bn Foreign Borrowing, N180bn Budget Virement

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Muhammadu Buhari
  • Buhari Seeks Approval for $30bn Foreign Borrowing, N180bn Budget Virement

President Muhammadu Buhari has written to the National Assembly to seek approval to borrow $29.96 billion under the External Borrowing (Rolling) Plan to address the infrastructure deficit in the health, education, water resources and other sectors.

The president is also seeking the approval of the legislature to vire N180.8 billion from the funds appropriated for special intervention (recurrent and capital) in the 2019 budget, to fund critical recurrent and capital items.

Buhari’s letter, which was read at plenary yesterday by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, indicated that the $29.96 billion is for proposed projects and programmes loan of $11.274 billion, $10.686 billion for special national infrastructure projects, Eurobonds of $4.5 billion, and federal government budget support of $3.5 billion.

The president said the projects and programmes under the external borrowing plan were selected based on positive technical economic evaluations, as well as the contributions they would make to the socio-economic development of the country, including employment generation, poverty reduction, and protection of the nation’s vulnerable population.

Some of the funds from the external borrowing plan would be deployed to emergency projects in the North-east, particularly following the recent outbreak of polio after the de-listing of Nigeria from polio endemic countries.

The World Bank has provided a loan of $125 million for the federal government to procure vaccines and other ancillary facilities to stop the polio outbreak, and also provided $450 million to assist in the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the North-east, the president disclosed.

The entire projects for the North-east, according to the president’s letter, are: polio eradication support and routine immunisation ($125 million), community and social development projects ($75 million), Nigeria States and Health Programme Investment Project ($125 million), State Education Programme Investment Project ($100 million), Nigeria Youth Employment and Social Support Project ($100 million), and Fadama III Project ($50 million).

“Given the emergency nature of these facilities and the need to consolidate the peace and return the region to normalcy, and considering the time it would take to get National Assembly’s approval, it has become inevitable to request for the National Assembly leadership’s approval, pending the consideration and approval of the 2016-2018 borrowing plan by the National Assembly to enable us disburse these funds immediately,” Buhari said in the letter.

Similarly, in the letter seeking virement of funds within the 2016 budget, the president provided a breakdown of items to which the N180.8 billion would be allocated.

He sought the virement of N166.6 billion (for recurrent expenditure) from the Special Intervention (recurrent) for which the sum of N300 billion was appropriated, which now has a balance of N275 billion, and N14.2 billion (for capital expenditure) from capital in the federal government special intervention programme for which N200 billion was appropriated, which has a balance of N145 billion.

A breakdown of the proposed expenditure is: Public Service Wage Adjustment – N71,800,215,270, Service Wide Vote: Contingency – N1,200,000,000, Service Wide Vote: Margin for Increase in Cost – N2,000,000,000, Ministry of Interior: Cadet Feeding – Police Academy, Wudil, Kano – N932,400,000, and Amnesty Programme – N35,000,000,000.

Other items are internal operations of the Armed Forces – N5,205,930,270, Service Wide Vote: Operation Lafiya Dole – N13,933,093,000, Ministry of Youth and Sports Development: NYSC – N19,792,018,400, Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Foreign Missions – N14,667,230,014, and Ministry of Education: Augmentation of Meal Subsidy/Direct Teaching and Lab Cost – N900,000.

The letter indicated that N1.2 billion was proposed to fund the salary shortfall in the Public Complaints Commission, while N12,708,367,476 was proposed for the capital budget of the Nigerian Air Force, and N1.5 billion for capital supplementation: Presidential Initiative on North East (PINE).

“You may also wish to be informed that the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing has also requested for virement of the sum of N300 million appropriated under the 2016 Appropriation of the Transmission Company of Nigeria for the construction of a 132 KVA substation at Gwaram, Jigawa State with Project code no. TCN 01B023829 to the construction of two 60MVA 132/33 in Gagarawa, Jigawa State.

“However it was observed that while the line to be vired from exists in the budget book published by the National Assembly, the lines to be vired to, do not exist. It is therefore recommended that the sum of N300 million meant for the construction of the 132 KVA substation at Gwaram, Jigawa State, be vired to budget line TCN 01B021775 for the reconstruction of fallen transmission towers replacement, replacement of glass insulators, etc, which has an appropriation of N4,880,000,000,” Buhari said in the letter.

Dogara, after reading out the letter, said that the requests of the president and the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) would be discussed and debated by the House on Thursday.

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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FG Declares June 12 Public Holiday for Democracy Day Celebration

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The Federal Government has declared Wednesday, June 12, a public holiday in commemoration of this year’s Democracy Day celebration.

The announcement was made in a statement signed by Aishetu Ndayako, the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Interior, on behalf of Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, the Minister of Interior.

The statement urged Nigerians to reflect on the struggles and sacrifices of the nation’s founding fathers and to ensure that Nigeria remains a united, secure, peaceful, and indivisible entity.

“As we mark another Democracy Day in the history of our dear country, let us all reflect on the efforts of our founding fathers and ensure that Nigeria remains a united, secured, peaceful, and indivisible entity,” the statement read.

A Historic Shift

The designation of June 12 as Democracy Day dates back to June 7, 2018, when former President Muhammadu Buhari announced that the day would henceforth be celebrated as Democracy Day.

Prior to this declaration, Democracy Day was observed on May 29, the date marking the inauguration of the Fourth Republic in 1999.

President Buhari’s decision was rooted in the historical significance of June 12, 1993, the day of what is widely regarded as Nigeria’s freest and fairest presidential election.

Despite the election’s annulment by the then-military government, Buhari emphasized that the democratic credentials of the process should be honored.

Honoring a Legacy

To further commemorate the significance of June 12, Buhari posthumously awarded Chief Moshood Abiola, the presumed winner of the annulled 1993 election, with the nation’s highest honor, Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR).

The statement from the Ministry of Interior also highlighted President Bola Tinubu’s commitment to implementing positive reforms aimed at reviving Nigeria’s economy and enhancing national security.

A Call for Unity

The Minister of Interior, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, called on all citizens and friends of Nigeria to appreciate the progress that has been made in the country’s democratic journey and to look forward to a brighter future.

“As we celebrate Democracy Day, we must appreciate the progress that has been made and remain hopeful for a better future for Nigeria’s democracy,” the minister said.

This year’s Democracy Day comes at a crucial time as Nigeria continues to navigate economic challenges and security concerns. The public holiday on June 12 provides an opportunity for Nigerians to reflect on the importance of democracy and the ongoing efforts to strengthen the nation’s democratic institutions.

As the nation prepares to observe the public holiday, there is a sense of anticipation and hope that the values of democracy will continue to guide Nigeria towards a prosperous and harmonious future.

The government’s declaration serves as a reminder of the enduring legacy of June 12 and the importance of upholding democratic principles.

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Guilty on All 34 Counts: Trump Convicted in Hush Money Case

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donald-trump

In a historic and unprecedented legal decision, former President Donald Trump was found guilty on all 34 counts in his “hush money” trial, making him the first former U.S. president to be convicted of a crime.

The verdict was delivered by a jury of 12 New Yorkers on Wednesday, concluding a six-week trial in Manhattan.

The charges against Trump centered around falsifying business records to cover up a $130,000 payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels before the 2016 presidential election.

The jury found Trump guilty on all counts, concluding that he authorized a scheme to falsify checks and related documents to keep the alleged affair from becoming public knowledge.

Prosecutors from the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office presented evidence showing that the conspiracy to cover up the payment began during Trump’s 2016 campaign and continued into his first year in the White House.

They argued that Trump, along with his associates, created false records to mislead voters and conceal the payment.

Trump, who has consistently denied having any sexual encounter with Daniels, responded angrily to the verdict. Speaking to reporters outside the courtroom, he called the trial “a disgrace” and accused the judge of bias.

“This was a rigged trial by a conflicted judge who was corrupt,” Trump stated.

He vowed to continue fighting the verdict, saying, “The real verdict is going to be Nov. 5 by the people, and they know what happened here and everybody knows what happened here. We’ll fight to the end.”

The conviction comes at a critical time for Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for president in the 2024 election. Despite the conviction, there is no constitutional barrier preventing him from running for office again.

Legal experts note that the Constitution’s requirements for presidential candidates—being at least 35 years old, a natural-born citizen, and a U.S. resident for 14 years—do not include any disqualification for being a convicted felon.

Judge Juan Merchan has scheduled Trump’s sentencing for July 11. The defense has until June 13 to submit any motions, with the prosecution required to respond by June 27.

Trump’s legal team indicated they would prefer a sentencing date in mid to late July.

Trump’s conviction adds to the already intense political climate as the nation prepares for the 2024 elections. The trial has drawn significant media attention and public scrutiny, reflecting deep divisions within American society.

The trial highlighted broader issues regarding campaign finance and the use of hush money in politics. It also raises questions about the integrity of presidential candidates and the lengths to which they might go to protect their public image.

As the legal and political ramifications of this verdict unfold, Trump’s conviction on all 34 counts marks a significant chapter in U.S. history.

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President Tinubu to Inaugurate Newly Paved Roads to Apapa, Tin Can Ports

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Bola Tinubu

President Bola Tinubu is set to inaugurate the newly constructed paved roads leading to the Apapa and Tin Can Island ports in Lagos on Saturday.

This development is anticipated to bring significant relief to port users and operators who have endured years of hardship due to the previously dilapidated roads and severe traffic congestion in the area.

The commissioning of these roads marks a major milestone in the government’s efforts to improve infrastructure and boost economic activities around the nation’s busiest ports.

The newly paved roads are expected to enhance the flow of goods and services, reduce operational costs for businesses, and alleviate the chronic traffic bottlenecks that have plagued the Apapa and Tin Can Island areas.

President Tinubu, who is scheduled to arrive in Lagos on Saturday morning, will perform the inauguration as his first assignment of the day.

The ceremony signifies a commitment to addressing the infrastructural challenges that have long hindered the efficiency of Nigeria’s maritime sector.

Mohammed Koko, the Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), highlighted the importance of this project earlier this year.

He emphasized the NPA’s “zero tolerance for all forms of impediments to the free flow of traffic” and reiterated the agency’s dedication to improving port operations.

“Our zero tolerance for all forms of impediments to free flow of traffic is no fluke,” Koko said, noting that the rehabilitation efforts are aimed at consolidating gains achieved first in Apapa and now extending to Tin Can.

In January 2024, President Tinubu directed the Federal Ministry of Works to urgently and comprehensively repair the access roads to the Lagos Port Complex and Tin-Can Island Port Complex.

The Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Adegboyega Oyetola, echoed the urgency of this directive, pointing out that the poor condition of the port access roads had significantly increased internal logistics costs for importers and exporters.

“The dilapidated port access roads increase the cost of internal logistics for importers and exporters,” Oyetola noted.

The improved road infrastructure is expected to curb the exodus of businesses from the Apapa and Tin Can Island areas, which had been driven away by the severe logistical challenges.

The restoration of these critical routes is also anticipated to enhance Nigeria’s competitiveness in international trade by facilitating smoother and more efficient port operations.

Following the inauguration of the port access roads, President Tinubu is also scheduled to flag off the Lagos to Calabar coastal road project at Victoria Island in Lagos.

Also, he will virtually inaugurate the newly rehabilitated 3rd Mainland Bridge, further underscoring his administration’s commitment to revitalizing Nigeria’s infrastructure.

The series of inaugurations and project launches underscore a broader strategy to enhance connectivity, reduce operational bottlenecks, and stimulate economic growth through improved infrastructure.

The completion of the Apapa and Tin Can Island port roads is a pivotal step in this direction, promising a new era of efficiency and productivity for Nigeria’s maritime sector.

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