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Ambode Proposes N812.99b Estimates for 2017 Budget

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  • Ambode Proposes N812.99b Estimates for 2017 Budget

Lagos State Governor Akinwunmi Ambode yesterday presented a budget estimate of N812.998 billion to the House of Assembly for approval.

In the estimates, capital expenditure is N512.99 billion and recurrent expenditure is N300 billion, a ratio of 63-37 per cent.

Ambode said the budget would continue the massive infrastructure renewal and enhancement of Lagos as one of the foremost tourism and investment destination in Africa.

“While we focus on physical infrastructure, we shall continue to pay attention to social infrastructure, especially health, education, youth and social development next year”, the governor said.

He said the state was expecting an increase in federal allocation through the 13 per cent derivation from oil & gas, which will further boost its revenue profile.

“In view of our financing gap, we shall continue to sustain deficit financing in the short-to-medium term and enhance revenue growth.

“We would explore more collaboration with local and international investors through Public-Private Partnerships (PPP), especially in the areas of road expansion, transport; housing, and the environment,” he said.

The governor promised that next year his administration will “remain steadfast in its responsibility to make the state safe and secure for all citizens. We will continue to invest in security”.

“The Neighbourhood Safety Agency will become fully operational by 2017 with presence in all local governments and LCDAs.

“The key focus of the budget is road construction, rehabilitation and maintenance. Our government will focus on roads that will open up the hinterlands, improve connectivity in the state and reduce travel time.”

He also promised that the administration will begin the Phase II of the 114 local government road projects and the Fourth Mainland Bridge and carry out fundamental reforms on all modes of transportation – roads, water and the walkways.

In this wise, a Public Transport Infrastructure Bond will be issued in the course of the year, Ambode said.

“The government will embark on the urbanisation of the Marina axis, waterways channellisation, establishment of more parks and gardens as well as the community sports centres and stadia in various locations.

“We will fully implement the medical health insurance scheme and deploy e-health/ e-insurance health service solutions; and complete the on-going upgrading and extension work in the state general hospitals and Ayinke House in Ikeja. Work will begin on our medical park in the 2017 fiscal year.

“With the aim of making Lagos State the next technology frontier in Africa, we will invest in digital libraries (e-libraries) as well as Code Lagos projects to prepare our younger ones to meet the new workforce demands, harness the benefits of technology and communicate in the language of the future.

“Our administration is committed to various projects in the area of tourism. Our vision is to create a tourism hub around the Onikan-Lagos Marina Axis. We will also develop the Epe and Badagry marinas to harness the tourism potential of these areas.

“We will establish Museum for Art and Culture in Ikeja, construct five Arts/Culture theatres in Alimosho, Badagry, Epe, Ikorodu and Ikeja, with a 400-seater hall in each of them.

“We will accelerate the food expansion programme, with a special focus in rice production, animal husbandry and root crops. We will intensify our collaboration with other states in the development of a commodity value chain specifically for food commodities.

“We will boost fish production by improving the production capacity of Ayobo Fish Farm Estate in Alimosho in addition to providing jobs for the youth.

“The Employment Trust Fund has begun financial support to our youths and entrepreneurs and this will be intensified throughout next year.

“In the area of environment, we will improve water supply through Public Private Partnership (PPP) and increase the capacity utilisation of water treatment plants, ensure efficient waste management system by increasing the number of transfer loading stations from three to 15, mitigate the effect of climate change through the conservation of the natural environment and promotion of biodiversity, as well as minimising flood through effective erosion control.”

The governor sought the cooperation and understanding of Lagosians in prompt payment of taxes.

He called for the support of Lagosians in the successful implementation of the budget.

“We have a huge responsibility to ensure that it succeeds as we cannot just afford to fail even at this critical period of recession,” Ambode said.

The Speaker, Mudashiru Obasa, praised the governor for the successful implementation of the 2016 budget.

He urged ministries, departments and agencies to provide the House with necessary documents to aid the quick passage of the budget.

The presentation was witnessed by prominent Lagosians, party leaders, traditional and religious leaders as well as politicians and former lawmakers.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

Government

COVID-19 Vaccine: African Export-Import Bank (Afrexim) to Purchase 270 Million Doses for Nigeria, Other African Nations

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African Export-Import Bank (Afrexim) Approves $2 Billion for the Purchase of 270 million Doses for African Nations

African Export-Import Bank (Afrexim) said it has approved $2 billion for the purchase of 270 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines for African nations, including Nigeria.

Prof. Benedict Oramah, the President of the Bank, disclosed this at a virtual Africa Soft Power Series held on Tuesday.

He, however, stated that the lender is looking to raise more funds for the COVID-19 vaccines’ acquisition.

He said: “The African Union knows that unless you put the virus away, your economy can’t come back. If Africa didn’t do anything, it would become a COVID-19 continent when other parts of the world have already moved on.
“Recall that it took seven years during the heat of HIV for them to come to Africa after 12 million people had died.

“With the assistance of the AU, we were able to get 270 million vaccines and financing need of about $2 billion. Afreximbank then went ahead to secure the $2 billion. But that money for the 270 million doses could only add 15 per cent to the 20 per cent that Covax was bringing.

He added that this is not the time to wait for handouts or free vaccines as other countries will naturally sort themselves out before African nations.

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China Calls for Better China-U.S. Relations

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China Calls for China-U.S. Relations

Senior Chinese diplomat Wang Yi said on Monday the United States and China could work together on issues like climate change and the coronavirus pandemic if they repaired their damaged bilateral relationship.

Wang, a Chinese state councillor and foreign minister, said Beijing stood ready to reopen constructive dialogue with Washington after relations between the two countries sank to their lowest in decades under former president Donald Trump.

Wang called on Washington to remove tariffs on Chinese goods and abandon what he said was an irrational suppression of the Chinese tech sector, steps he said would create the “necessary conditions” for cooperation.

Before Wang spoke at a forum sponsored by the foreign ministry, officials played footage of the “ping-pong diplomacy” of 1972 when an exchange of table tennis players cleared the way for then U.S. President Richard Nixon to visit China.

Wang, a Chinese state councillor and foreign minister, said Beijing stood ready to reopen constructive dialogue with Washington after relations between the two countries sank to their lowest in decades under former president Donald Trump.

Wang called on Washington to remove tariffs on Chinese goods and abandon what he said was an irrational suppression of the Chinese tech sector, steps he said would create the “necessary conditions” for cooperation.

Before Wang spoke at a forum sponsored by the foreign ministry, officials played footage of the “ping-pong diplomacy” of 1972 when an exchange of table tennis players cleared the way for then U.S. President Richard Nixon to visit China.

Wang urged Washington to respect China’s core interests, stop “smearing” the ruling Communist Party, stop interfering in Beijing’s internal affairs and stop “conniving” with separatist forces for Taiwan’s independence.

“Over the past few years, the United States basically cut off bilateral dialogue at all levels,” Wang said in prepared remarks translated into English.

“We stand ready to have candid communication with the U.S. side, and engage in dialogues aimed at solving problems.”

Wang pointed to a recent call between Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Joe Biden as a positive step.

Washington and Beijing have clashed on multiple fronts including trade, accusations of human rights crimes against the Uighur Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang region and Beijing’s territorial claims in the resources-rich South China Sea.

The Biden administration has, however, signalled it will maintain pressure on Beijing. Biden has voiced concern about Beijing’s “coercive and unfair” trade practices and endorsed of a Trump administration determination that China has committed genocide in Xinjiang.

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U.S. Supreme Court Allows Release of Trump Tax Returns

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President Trump Signs Executive Order In Oval Office Of The White House

U.S. Supreme Court Allows Release of Trump Tax Returns

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday paved the way for a New York City prosecutor to obtain former President Donald Trump’s tax returns and other financial records as part of a criminal investigation, a blow to his quest to conceal details of his finances.

The justices without comment rebuffed Trump’s request to put on hold an Oct. 7 lower court ruling directing the former Republican president’s longtime accounting firm, Mazars USA, to comply with a subpoena to turn over the materials to a grand jury convened by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, a Democrat.

“The work continues,” Vance said in a statement issued after the court’s action.

Vance had previously said in a letter to Trump’s lawyers that his office would be free to immediately enforce the subpoena if the justices rejected Trump’s request.

A lawyer for Trump did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Supreme Court, which has a 6-3 conservative majority included three Trump appointees, had already ruled once in the dispute, last July rejecting Trump’s broad argument that he was immune from criminal probes as a sitting president.

Unlike all other recent U.S. presidents, Trump refused during his four years in office to make his tax returns public. The data could provide details on his wealth and the activities of his family real-estate company, the Trump Organization.

Trump, who left office on Jan. 20 after being defeated in his Nov. 3 re-election bid by Democrat Joe Biden, continues to face an array of legal issues concerning his personal and business conduct.

Vance issued a subpoena to Mazars in August 2019 seeking Trump’s corporate and personal tax returns from 2011 to 2018. Trump’s lawyers sued to block the subpoena, arguing that as a sitting president, Trump had absolute immunity from state criminal investigations.

The Supreme Court in its July ruling rejected those arguments but said Trump could raise other objections to the subpoena. Trump’s lawyers then argued before lower courts that the subpoena was overly broad and amounted to political harassment, but U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero in August and the New York-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in October rejected those claims.

Vance’s investigation, which began more than two years ago, had focused on hush money payments that the president’s former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen made before the 2016 election to two women – adult-film actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal – who said they had sexual encounters with Trump.

In recent court filings, Vance has suggested that the probe is now broader and could focus on potential bank, tax and insurance fraud, as well as falsification of business records.

In separate litigation, the Democratic-led U.S. House of Representatives was seeking to subpoena similar records. The Supreme Court in July sent that matter back to lower courts for further review.

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