- Buhari to Presents 2017 Budget to N’Assembly Today
President Muhammadu Buhari will today (Wednesday) present the 2017 Appropriation Bill to a joint session of the National Assembly.
The document will be the second one to be presented by the President after his inauguration in May 2015.
Buhari, who will be accompanied by top government officials, is expected to present the document at 10am.
The Federal Executive Council had on November 30 approved the document for presentation to the National Assembly.
Speaking to State House correspondents at the end of the council’s meeting, the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udo Udoma, refused to give details of the budget proposal as approved by the council.
He said it was only the President who would unveil the document on the floor of the National Assembly.
“The 2017 budget has been approved by the Federal Executive Council and the details will be revealed when the President presents the budget to the National Assembly,” Udoma said.
The budget of N6.07tn for 2016 was predicated on a benchmark price of $38 per barrel of crude oil and N197 to a dollar exchange rate.
Meanwhile, members of the House of Representatives have said that the key parameters of the 2017-2019 Medium Term Expenditure Framework upon which the budget will be based are not sustainable, asking the Federal Government to seek more realistic solutions to the economy.
They voiced their opinions as they debated the MTEF in Abuja on Tuesday, less than 24 hours to the presentation of the 2017 budget estimates to the legislature by the President.
The development came as the Speaker, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, declared a public hearing on the controversial Oil Prospecting License 245 open, saying that the House was prepared to assist the government to resolve the issues surrounding the lucrative oil well.
Nigeria is believed to have lost over $1.1bn on the OPL 245, better known as Malabu oil deal.
The MTEF’s crude oil production, benchmark and exchange rate projections for 2017 did not receive the full backing of members.
The government plans to spend over N7tn next year, but revenue projection is around N4.9tn, a figure that also accommodates a huge deficit.
The Majority Leader of the House, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila, while leading the debate, urged his colleagues to accept the projections.
Gbajabiamila argued that a sudden rise in oil price by about $20 in the past few days suggested that the government could sustain a benchmark of $42.5 proposed in the MTEF.
He also stated that ongoing negotiations between the government and militants in the Niger Delta were indications that peace could return to the region to make the 2.2 million barrels’ daily production projection realisable.
But, other lawmakers called for a review of the projections.
For instance, the Chairman, Committee on Financial Crimes, Mr. Kayode Oladele, said the fact of oil price gaining extra $20 did not justify retaining $42.5 as the benchmark price for the 2017 budget.
He said the price could suddenly drop below $60 or $50, making whatever gains achieved useless.
Oladele said, “Let us look at the daily oil production of 2.2 million barrels; it has not been achieved this year and there are no signs that things will change.
“We can’t even rely on the $42.2 benchmark price because prices are likely to drop.”
Oladele also said the exchange rate of N290 to $1 was not sustainable, adding, “The market rate today is N490/$1, which makes the projection in the MTEF unrealistic.”
Another member, Mr. Shehu Garba, described the MTEF as a document that contained “so many illogical issues.”
“We cannot continue to use figures that are unrealistic. Which of the three exchange rates will be used for investment in Nigeria?” Garba queried.
The Minority Leader of the House, Mr. Leo Ogor, also faulted the MTEF and asked how the government planned to finance the budget deficit.
Ogor noted, “We have not achieved 2.2 million barrels per day of crude in the last five years. Then, there is the budget deficit. We are looking at a revenue of N4.9tn or so, but we want to spend more than N7tn.
“Where is the money going to come from to finance the budget?”
However, the Deputy Speaker, Mr. Yussuff Lasun, advised members to downplay emphasis on the benchmark and the exchange rate, and focus more on the government’s plan to diversify the economy.
“What is more important to us is that this government is serious about diversifying the economy. Let us allow the government to use whatever proceeds from oil to diversify our economy,” Lasun said.
The document was later passed for second reading.
Speaking at the hearing on the OPL 245, Dogara recalled that efforts by successive governments to resolve the controversies had failed, making Nigeria to appear before the international community as a country that was not serious with its anti-corruption crusade.
However, he expressed confidence in the current administration to end the controversies.
University Of Ibadan (UI) Goes Digital, Releases Timetable for Virtual Academic Session
University of Ibadan (UI) on Friday announced it is going ahead with resumption on February 20 despite the second wave of COVID-19.
In a statement released by the school, the First Semester of the 2020/2021 academic session will commence virtually on February 20, 2021.
The virtual academic session will last for 13 straight weeks and end on Friday May 12, 2021, while the matriculation ceremony will hold on Tuesday March 16, 2021.
The University of Ibadan also scheduled one week for the Finalization of Continuous Assessment, to begin from Mon. 17 May and ends Friday 21 May.
The rising number of COVID-19 cases has compelled the Senate to approve the virtual academic session in an effort to ensure the tertiary institution abides by the protocols established by the Federal Government to curb the spread of the pandemic.
“It, therefore, agreed that the 2020/2021 First Semester lectures will be delivered online. In this regard, students will not be accommodated on campus,” a statement from the school said.
“Senate also approved the cancellation of the 2019/2020 session. The next session is, therefore, renamed 2020/2021 Academic Session. Consequently, students who have been admitted for the 2019/2020 session will now be regarded as the 2020/2021 intakes.
“Kindly note that online opening of Registration Portal and Orientation Programme for the 2020/2021 intakes may commence ahead of the Sat 20/02/21 date indicated above,” the statement said.
House of Representatives Impeached Trump Over Capitol Invasion
The United States House of Representatives on Wednesday impeached President Trump for the second time after instigating the US Capitol invasion.
Led by Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, 232 representatives, including 10 Republicans, voted to impeach the outgoing president against 197 that voted for him to remain in the office for the next six days when he would handover to the president-elect, Joe Biden.
The ten Republicans were Representatives Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the party’s No. 3 leader in the House; Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington; John Katko of New York; Adam Kinzinger of Illinois; Fred Upton of Michigan; Dan Newhouse of Washington; Peter Meijer of Michigan; Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio; David Valadao of California; and Tom Rice of South Carolina.
Speaking before the vote, Pelosi said “a constitutional remedy that will ensure that the Republic will be safe from this man who is so resolutely determined to tear down the things that we hold dear and that hold us together.”
“He must go. He is a clear and present danger to the nation that we all love,” she said, adding later, “It gives me no pleasure to say this — it breaks my heart.”
Republicans, who unanimously stood behind president Trump in 2019 during his first impeachment, were divided this time over the attack on Capitol.
A Republican representative from California, Kevin McCarthy, said “The president bears responsibility for Wednesday’s attack on Congress by mob rioters,” Mr. McCarthy said. “He should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding.”
US Congress Declares Joe Biden as The 46th President of The United States After Trump Mob Left
The joint congress of the United States on Thursday, January 7, 2021 certified Joe Biden as the 46th President of the United States following President Trump’s mob action that disrupted the congress joint proceeding on Wednesday.
After ordering his followers to disrupt proceedings on Wednesday, President Trump later announced that there will be an orderly transition on January 20.
“Even though I totally disagree with the outcome of the election, and the facts bear me out, nevertheless there will be an orderly transition on January 20th,” Trump said in a statement issued by White House Deputy Chief of Staff Dan Scavino.
“I have always said we would continue our fight to ensure that only legal votes were counted. While this represents the end of the greatest first term in presidential history, it’s only the beginning of our fight to Make America Great Again!” Trump added.
While the certification was just a mere formality as Biden had secured enough electoral college votes (270) required to clinch the world’s most powerful seat, the refusal of Donald Trump to accept the results of the November 2020 election made the session a keenly watched, especially after Trump mob disrupted a joint session of the Senate.
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