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Frivolity, Duplications May Mar Budget Plans

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  • Frivolity, Duplications May Mar Budget Plans

With considerations for the 2017 budget proposals about to begin by the National Assembly, the civil society groups and experts have said that the expected change in the economy may not be realised with the level of duplications and frivolity in the fiscal plan.

They also overviewed the national budgeting processes and its implementations, maintaining that the major traditions that have impinged on performance remain at large.

The consequence will be that while the economy continues to battle the recession, hopes that the 2017 budget will make the difference in ensuring growth and improved well-being of the citizenry have dimmed further.

At the just concluded 2017 Civil Society Summit on Federal Budget in Abuja, the Lead Director of the Centre for Social Justice, Eze Onyekpere, said from sustained late budget preparation, presentation, litany of questionable items in the document to return of oil as major revenue earner mean that nothing has been learned and changed.

“Government must resolve the contradiction between its mantra of cutting down waste, improving efficiencies and removing ghost workers from the payroll and the present rising recurrent non-debt expenditure in 2017 budget.

“Recurrent non-debt expenditure got N2.59 trillion in 2015 and moved up to N2.65 trillion in 2016. Now it has gone up to N2.98 trillion. These increments cannot be the sign of a system that is taking steps to remove waste and inefficiencies,” he said.

Dr. Olalekan Obademi of the Faculty of Business Administration, University of Lagos, noted that there are assessed repetitions, frivolities and ambiguous terms in the 2017 budget, which could aid corruption and non-performance, pointing the Women Affairs Ministry’s proposal.

This observation has been a recurring issue over the years, while Nigerians had expected that these would have been part of the “change” administration.

For example, “Salaries and Wages” appeared twice, with N737.67 million each, followed by “Salary” with the same amount. Others include “Purchase of Residential Building at N30 million, Purchase of Surveying Equipment at N34.5 million, among others.

But in a swift reaction’ the Director-General of Budget Office of the Federation, Ben Akabueze, refuted the assertion, saying that such repetitions have been done away with and any such trace could only be in the former document presented, not the one currently being considered by the National Assembly.

He expressed the hope that 2017 budget will surely return the economy to growth path, assuring that the projections are based on research, consultations and outlook that has been affirmed by global financial institutions.
According to him, government has stepped up it strategies to engage militancy in the oil rich Niger Delta, as a way to realize production targets, adding that it was the same issue that affected Nigeria revenue target and budget implementation in 2016.

Again, Dr. Uzochukwu Amakom of the Institute for Development Studies, University of Nigeria, queried the rationale for the allocation of more than N1.33 trillion to the budget ministry.

He said it is startling to have N901.2 billion recurrent expenditure and N426.3 billion capital expenditure in a ministry that is more of service offering, than project execution and demanded a clear explanation to Nigerians.

Represented by Dr. David Agu, the economist also raised concern that fiscal information flow is slow, as he noted that there is no clear direction on what happens to funds on excess crude earnings in the budget.

“The proposed budget contained an inflation estimate of 12.92 per cent. Even though this looks realistic, there are pertinent issues. First, the gap between recurrent and capital expenditure in the 2017 budget is enough to trigger inflation.

“The budget has about 30 per cent as its total capital expenditure while the rest are distributed among non-debt recurrent, recurrent and statutory transfers. The proposed recurrent expenditure of 2017 budget is enough to trigger,” he said.

Also, the Fiscal Responsibility Commission has reiterated its concern for late budget, which it said should be approved before January 1 of every year to enable it run a full term and not in the present broken form.

The commission also decried the way some aspects of the Medium Term Expenditure Framework had to be reviewed to capture present realities in the system, even after the proposal was submitted to the lawmakers by the President.

The Head of Monitoring and Evaluation, FRC, Ola Tijani, who spoke for the commission, said government has laid a foundation for recovery and growth with the budget, adding that implementations of the proposals which have been the bane of successive regimes are the concerns.

He admitted that inflation and unemployment have been rising and that government needs to do more than riding the traditional rope of engaging every sector into action.

“I am also afraid that a lot of funds will be going into Service-Wide votes this year. One would have expected a tight budget where there should not be such avenues of funding frivolities. The moment there is any window for free funds, we have already devised means of free spending,” he said.

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

University Of Ibadan (UI) Goes Digital, Releases Timetable for Virtual Academic Session

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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.

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House of Representatives Impeached Trump Over Capitol Invasion

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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.”

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US Congress Declares Joe Biden as The 46th President of The United States After Trump Mob Left

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Joe Biden Economic Impliccations on Nigeria

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.

Also read Facebook, Twitter, Instagram Lock President Trump Out of Their Platforms Following Insurrection

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