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FG Extends 2016 Budget Implementation to March 2017

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Budget 2017 year on cube with pencil and clock
  • FG Extends 2016 Budget Implementation to March 2017

The Federal Government has extended the execution of the N1.58tn capital component of the 2016 budget to the end of March 2017.

The development was confirmed by the Accountant-General of the Federation, Alhaji Ahmed Idris, via a circular with reference number OAGF/CAD/026/V.111/108.

The circular, which was obtained by our correspondent on Friday in Abuja, was addressed to top government officials such as the Chief of Staff to the President, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, ministers, National Security Adviser, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria and all service chiefs.

Others are the Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, all permanent secretaries (federal), Clerk of the National Assembly, Auditor General of the Federation, all vice chancellors of federal universities, all directors of finance and internal audit and all directors-general.

The circular, titled “Guidelines for financial activities for end of year 2016”, stated that while the implementation of the recurrent budget was expected to end on December 31, 2016, the capital component would be allowed to go on until March ending.

Idris said the need to issue the circular became imperative in order to promote probity, transparency and good governance.

The circular read in part, “It has become imperative to provide guidelines to all Ministries, Departments and Agencies and other arms of government on financial activities for the fiscal year ending December 31, 2016.

“The objective of the guidelines is to promote probity, transparency, accountability and good governance in line with the policy of trust of the present administration.

“All ‘unspent’ balances in the recurrent expenditure cash books at the end of 2016 financial year will be closed.

“The Government Integrated Financial Management Information System platform will be closed by midnight of December 31, 2016 and the MDA balances will be mopped into the Consolidated Revenue/Treasury Single Account accordingly.

“The unexpended recurrent votes of the MDAs on the TSA-sub accounts under the CBN/Remita gateway for the 2016 financial year shall similarly lapse at midnight of December 31, 2016.”

It added, “Capital allocation and statutory transfer for the financial year ended December 31, 2016 will not be closed but extended to March 31, 2017.

“Accordingly, all MDAs will have access to their capital funds and statutory transfers up until March 31, 2017 as may be applied by the National Assembly.”

The circular, however, stipulated that the MDAs would be responsible for transfering the relevant legal or financial commitments into the New Year.

The transfer commitment, it added, would have impact on the 2017 budget including the capital budget transferred from the 2016 fiscal period.

It however, noted that such transactions would be separately disclosed in the consolidated financial statements of the Federal Government.

The N6.06tn 2016 budget, which was signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari on May 5 had a recurrent expenditure of N2.65tn; capital expenditure of N1.58tn, with debt service of N1.47tn and fiscal deficit of N2.2tn.

So far, about N753.6bn has been released by the Ministry of Finance for capital projects with the Ministry of Power receiving the highest amount of capital releases of N209.24bn.

The Special Adviser on Media to the Finance Minister, Mr. Festus Akanbi, said in a statement that the Ministry of Defence had N69.5bn and the Ministry of Transportation followed with N30.5bn.

Others are agriculture, N29.5bn; water resources, N25.2bn; interior, N21.2bn; health, N18.4bn; education, N16.7bn; Niger Delta, N8.1bn; science and technology, N6.6bn; mines and steel, N3.3bn; and petroleum resources, N2.4bn.

The statement from the ministry also stated that the sum of N312.5bn was released to what it described as “others”.

The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udo Udoma, said a total of N753.6bn already released for capital expenditure in 2016 was the highest in the nation’s recent history, even in the era of high oil prices.

At an interactive session with members of the Senate Committee on Appropriation in Abuja, Udoma had said that in spite of the shortfall in revenue expectation, the government was committed to its debt obligations and had made efforts to fund the critical sectors to enable the government to function smoothly while seeking lasting solutions to the revenue shortfalls.

He explained that although the 2016 budget was well conceived, with reasonably conservative benchmarks, it recorded unanticipated revenue shortfalls along the line due to militants’ activities in the oil-producing Niger Delta region.

This development, he added, adversely affected the budgeted production levels for the 2016 fiscal year.

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

2023 Voter’s Registration Will Be Online, Biometric To Be Captured Physically- INEC

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INEC-PVC

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday unfolded plans to allow online filing during the continuous voter registration for the 2023 general election.

The National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee of INEC, Mr. Festus Okoye, however, said only the biometric would be captured physically by INEC officials.

But the commission suffered another setback yesterday as arsonists torched its office in Ohafia Local Government Area of Abia State.

Okoye, during a stakeholders’ meeting on expanding voter access to polling units in Kano yesterday, said: “On June 28, the voter registration exercise for those above 18 years and those who have not registered before will commence with two new innovations. Those versatile with computer can register online and only visit a registration centre to capture their biometrics.”

Okoye stated that the online registration would be introduced to reduce crowd at registration centres in line with COVID-19 protocols.

The commission called on citizens, especially those willing to contest elections, whose voter cards have been defaced, whose names were wrongly spelt or addresses and locations wrongly captured to present themselves for authentication or correction.

INEC also called for valid data of all those with disabilities or physical challenges to be captured during the continuous registration for proper projections ahead of the 2023 general election.

INEC also warned political parties and politicians who have started campaigning to desist from doing so.

Okoye said: “There is a ban on political campaigns which has not been lifted yet. And I find it necessary to draw your attention for you to understand the legal implication of violating this ban.

“I have listened to comments on radio stations, which are capable of heating the polity. Media organisations should avoid providing platforms for such comments. The media should try to curtail such tensions.

“Political parties, politicians and their supporters should understand there is a legal framework for campaigns and it has not commenced yet.”

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No Plans To Relocate AFRICOM HQ To Nigeria Or Any Part Of Africa- U.S. Replies Buhari

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AFRICOM HQ

The United States has said there is no plan to relocate its Africa Command from its current base in Germany to Nigeria or any other part of Africa despite the worsening state of insecurity in the region.

The US gave the response barely two weeks after President Muhammadu Buhari appealed to the US government to consider relocating AFRICOM to Africa to assist Nigeria and other adjoining countries to combat worsening terrorism, banditry and other security crises.

The President made the plea in a virtual meeting with the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, on April 27.

Germany-based Africa Command (AFRICOM) is the US military headquarters that oversees its operations in Africa.

Buhari’s request followed a series of recent military casualties in Nigeria’s decade-long fight against Boko Haram terrorists, fresh expansion of the insurgents’ bases to Niger and Nasarawa States, and heavy waves of abductions and killings by bandits in the North.

Buhari said, “The security challenges in Nigeria remain of great concern to us and impacted more negatively, by existing complex negative pressures in the Sahel, Central and West Africa, as well as the Lake Chad Region.

“Compounded as the situation remains, Nigeria and her security forces remain resolutely committed to containing them and addressing their root causes.

“The support of important and strategic partners like the United States cannot be overstated as the consequences of insecurity will affect all nations, hence the imperative for concerted cooperation and collaboration of all nations to overcome these challenges.

“In this connection, and considering the growing security challenges in West and Central Africa, Gulf of Guinea, Lake Chad region and the Sahel, weighing heavily on Africa, it underscores the need for the United States to consider relocating AFRICOM headquarters from Stuttgart, Germany to Africa and near the Theatre of Operation.”

However, the US government on Thursday ruled out any plan to relocate AFRICOM from its current base in Germany to Nigeria or any part of Africa.

According to the United States Department of Defence’ Pentagon, previous studies have shown that the cost of relocating AFRICOM from Germany to Africa is very huge.

In an emailed response to The PUNCH, the Pentagon said although it would continue to value Nigeria and other countries in Africa as important partners, the American government would not consider relocating AFRICOM to any part of the African continent at the moment.

This newspaper had asked if the US would consider Nigeria’s request to relocate AFRICOM to the continent.

“It would be inappropriate to speculate on any future actions. However, at this time, moving this headquarters (AFRICOM HQ) to Africa is not part of any plans, but USAFRICOM’s commitment to their mission, our African and other partners, remains as strong today as when we launched this command more than a decade ago,” US Pentagon spokesperson, Ms. Cindi King, said.

King also ruled out any plan to consider Buhari’s request in an ongoing global US defence review.

She said, “Although there is an ongoing Global Posture Review, the relocation of Combatant Command headquarters is outside the scope of its assessment. In the case of AFRICOM, previous studies have concluded that the cost associated with the relocation of this headquarters is significant and likely to incur the expense of other engagement opportunities and activities that more directly benefit our valued African partners.

“We greatly value the partnership with Nigeria and appreciate President Buhari’s recognition of the United States’ positive contribution to African peace and security, as well as other regional partners that have made similar past pronouncements. The United States remains committed to continuing our close partnership with African countries and organisations to promote security and stability.”

It’s ‘near impossible’ for America to accept Buhari’s invitation –Campbell, ex-US ambassador

Meanwhile, a former United States Ambassador to Nigeria, John Campbell, has listed reasons why it is “unlikely or near impossible” for the US government to relocate AFRICOM from Stuttgart in Germany to Nigeria or any part of the continent.

He said aside from the fact that the cost of doing so is very huge, the Nigerian military had proved to be a difficult partner for the US over the years.

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China Urges U.N. States Not to Attend Xinjiang Event Next Week

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China - Investors King

China has urged United Nations member states not to attend an event planned next week by Germany, the United States and Britain on the repression of Uyghur Muslims and other minorities in Xinjiang, according to a note seen by Reuters on Friday.

“It is a politically-motivated event,” China’s U.N. mission wrote in the note, dated Thursday. “We request your mission NOT to participate in this anti-China event.”

China charged that the organizers of the event, which also include several other European states along with Australia and Canada, use “human rights issues as a political tool to interfere in China’s internal affairs like Xinjiang, to create division and turbulence and disrupt China’s development.”

“They are obsessed with provoking confrontation with China,” the note said, adding that “the provocative event can only lead to more confrontation.”

The Chinese mission to the United Nations did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The ambassadors of the United States, Germany and Britain are due to address the virtual U.N. event on Wednesday, along with Human Rights Watch Executive Director Ken Roth and Amnesty International Secretary General Agnes Callamard.

The aim of the event is to “discuss how the U.N. system, member states and civil society can support and advocate for the human rights of members of ethnic Turkic communities in Xinjiang,” according to an invitation.

Western states and rights groups have accused authorities in Xinjiang of detaining and torturing Uyghurs in camps, which the United States has described as genocide. In January, Washington banned the import of cotton and tomato products from Xinjiang over allegations of forced labor.

Beijing denies the accusations and describes the camps as vocational training centers to combat religious extremism.

“Beijing has been trying for years to bully governments into silence but that strategy has failed miserably, as more and states step forward to voice horror and revulsion at China’s crimes against Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims,” Human Rights Watch U.N. director Louis Charbonneau said on Friday.

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