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2017 Budget Ready for President’s Assent Next Week – Lawan

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Budget 2017 year on cube with pencil and clock
  • 2017 Budget Ready for President’s Assent Next Week

The Senate Leader, Ahmed Lawan, on Thursday expressed the hope that the 2017 Appropriation Bill would be ready for the signature of President Muhammadu Buhari next week despite the hitches being experienced on the passage of the document at the National Assembly.

Lawan said this in an interview with State House correspondents after he met behind closed doors with Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

While saying there was nothing to worry about the document, the Senate Leader recalled that the National Assembly had intended to pass the budget in March.

He stated that target could not be met because of some parameters that lawmakers did not have control over.

He said while it was also planned to be passed in April, the residence of the Chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriation, Danjuma Goje, was raided by the police and some of the budget documents were taken away.

Lawan said, “This and other things that happened and essentially the trauma that the Chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriation had to go through, affected the process of budgeting.

“When we were going on Easter recess, members of the Senate Committee on Appropriation, including those of the House, did not go on recess. They stayed back because that was the arrangement, so that by the time we returned on April 25, that was Tuesday, they should lay the report of the budget.

“Unfortunately, that was not possible because of what happened. But the good news is that we are doing everything possible to ensure that we catch up with the lost time.

“So, by the grace of God, I am thinking that by next week, we should be able to finish our own work and pass the budget for Mr. President to sign.”

Lawan also gave an indication that the Senate might consider the list of ministerial nominees sent to it by the President and other matters by next week.

When asked for the purpose of his visit to the President, Lawan said it was his responsibility as the Senate Leader to market all bills and requests in the Senate.

He said he was in the Presidential Villa to meet Buhari as part of his continuous engagements.

“It was meant to be sure that l get my briefings right so that l can always market presidential requests so well and as scheduled, and this is supposed to be a continuous process and that is essentially why l have come to meet the President,” he explained.

Lawan added that it was wrong to narrow lobbying in a presidential system to giving somebody money to buy his or her conscience.

He said it was meant to involve talking and engaging continuously with people who had mandates and jurisdictions on some issues, adding that that was what he meant by continuous and sustained interactions between the President and the legislature.

He said, “l know clearly that there is independence of each arm, but l also know equally well that there is so much inter-dependence between the two arms and even among the three arms of government in Nigeria.

“Therefore, we need to always close and narrow the gap and that is what l mean. My presence here is part of that engagement because even as legislators, we lobby. When we have our bills, we lobby our colleagues. We go to their houses. We send some write-ups to explain the necessity of those bills. We move from one seat to the next, talking to our colleagues.

“So, there is nothing wrong and l believe it is something we need to cultivate as a culture in this democracy.”

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.

Economy

Nigeria’s Real Estate Sector Shrinks by 8.06% in the Third Quarter -NBS

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Economic uncertainty plunged Nigeria’s real estate sector by 8.06 percent in the third quarter of the year, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

Nigeria’s statistics office said “In nominal terms, real estate services recorded a growth rate of –8.06 per cent in the third quarter of 2020, indicating a decline of –11.78 per cent points compared to the growth rate at the same period in 2019, and by 9.12 per cent points when compared to the preceding quarter.

“Quarter-on-quarter, the sector growth rate was 18.92 per cent.

“Real GDP growth recorded in the sector in Q3 2020 stood at -13.40 per cent, lower than the growth recorded in third quarter of 2019 by –11.09 per cent points, but higher relative to Q2 2020 by 8.59 per cent points.

“Quarter-on-quarter, the sector grew by 17.15 per cent in the third quarter of 2020.

“It contributed 5.58 per cent to real GDP in Q3, 2020, lower than the 6.21 per cent it recorded in the corresponding quarter of 2019.”

Nigeria’s economy contracted by 2.48 percent in the first nine months following a 6.10 percent and 3.62 percent contraction in the second and third quarters respectively.

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Economy

Nigeria Requires N400 Billion Annually to Maintain Federal Roads -Senator Bassey

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The Chairman of the Senate Committee on road maintenance, Senator Gersome Bassey, on Friday said Nigeria requires about N400 billion annually to maintain federal roads across the country.

The Senator, therefore, described the N38 billion budgeted for road repairs in the 2021 proposed Budget as grossly inadequate. According to him, nothing meaningful could be achieved by the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) with such an amount.

He said, “For the 35 kilometres federal roads in the country to be motorable at all times, the sum of N400bn is required on yearly basis for maintenance.”

Bassey “What the committee submitted to the Appropriation Committee in the 2021 fiscal year is the N38bn proposed for it by the executive which cannot cover up to one quarter of the entire length of deplorable roads in the country.

“Unfortunately, despite having the power of appropriation, we cannot as a committee jerk up the sum since we are not in a position to carry out the estimation of work to be done on each of the specific portion of the road.

“Doing that without proposals to that effect from the executive, may lead to project insertion or padding as often alleged in the media.”

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Economy

Scarcity of Day-Old-Chicks Cripple Poultry Farmers in Akwa Ibom

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Despite billions of Naira spent on Akwa Prime Hatchery and Poultry Limited by the Executive Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Udom Emmanuel, poultry farmers in the state said they had to order day-old-chicks from outside the state as the 200,000 capacity poultry farm developed specifically to make day-old-chicks and other poultry products available at affordable prices is almost empty at the moment.

The farmers expressed frustration over many challenges they face in the course of bringing day-old-chicks from outside the state. Usually, Ibadan, Enugu and sometimes as far as Kaduna, while the hatchery built and inaugurated in 2016 remains idle.

Mr Ekot Akpan, one of the poultry farmers who spoke with the pressmen said the state had not had it this bad.

Akpan said: “For the 12 years that I have been in poultry farming, this is the first time that poultry farmers have been so harshly affected by both economic and non-economic factors. And, quite unfortunately, nobody is available to offer any explanation.

“Farmers have been left at the whims and caprice of owners of the means of production.

“There seems to be no government regulation of the poultry industry. How, do you explain a situation where you wake up suddenly and the price of a day old chick is selling for N600, a bag of feed goes as high as N6,000.

“And, in a state that government claims to be pursuing agriculture as one of his cardinal programmes.

“For instance, in 2016, the state government said it has constructed an hatchery, and the intention according the government was to ensure availability of day old chicks at affordable price to farmers, but, quite, unfortunately, that effort has not yielded any tangible result.

“Farmers are still getting their day old chicks from Ibadan, Kaduna, and Enugu. So, the question now is where is the hatchery?

“One would have expected that farmers would be buying old chicks at humane prices, but, from all indications they acclaimed hatchery is a ruse. So, which one is the Akwa Prime Hatchery producing,” he said.

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