- N143bn Budget Hike for Federal Roads, Amnesty, N’Assembly, Others
Some key federal road projects are to benefit from the over N143bn added to the 2017 budget size by the National Assembly.
Also to benefit from the increase is the Presidential Amnesty Programme for the Niger Delta.
The National Assembly itself, among other sub-heads in the budget, will benefit from the increase.
The budget, which now has a new size of N7.441tn, will possibly be passed by the National Assembly on Thursday (today).
The original proposal by President Muhammadu Buhari was N7.298tn.
Findings showed that while the original proposal for the Amnesty Programme by Buhari was N65bn, the new figure would be N75bn, as a result of N10bn said to have been added to it by the National Assembly.
One official explained the reason, “The Amnesty Programme got additional funding in the region of N10bn.
“This is to ensure steady funding of the programme and maintain the current relative peace in the Niger Delta.
“Also, there are some federal roads we consider to be very important.
“They cut across the various zones of the country. We added money there to pay contractors who have already generated certificates.”
The official added, “There are other additions like the National Assembly too, which will get additional N10bn.
“For so many years, the budget of the legislature remained the same. It was on N150bn for many years up to 2014.
“It went down first to N120bn and later N115bn, while the operations of the National Assembly and its organs have continued to multiply over the same period.
“It was considered necessary to raise the figure a bit in view of the fluctuations in the value of the naira.”
The difference of N143bn in the budget size came to light on Tuesday when the House Committee on Appropriation submitted its report to the House in Abuja.
The report was laid by the Chairman of the committee, Mr. Mustapha Bala-Dawaki, at the session, which was presided over by the Speaker, Mr. Yakubu Dogara.
The highlights of the report show that N434.412bn will go to statutory transfers, while another N1.841tn is set aside for debt servicing.
The sum of N177.460bn was recommended for “sinking fund for maturing bonds.”
The recurrent expenditure captured in the new report is N2.990tn.
In Buhari’s initial proposal, recurrent expenditure was N2.98tn.
The capital component in the new report is N2.174tn as against the N2.24tn presented by Buhari.
Meanwhile, Dogara and his colleagues went into a closed-door meeting on Wednesday to discuss the budget.
The session, which lasted for about 45 minutes, reportedly focussed on the need for lawmakers to cooperate with the executive arm of government by passing the budget.
“A lot meetings were held between Mr. President; the Senate President, Bukola Saraki; Dogara and other top officials of government preceding the budget.
“It is expected that there will be no more friction between the two sides,” one source said.
When contacted for comments, the Chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Mr. Abdulrazak Namdas, simply said the meeting reviewed the budget and other legislative activities.
“We are passing the budget tomorrow (Thursday); so, it was just a normal meeting to share ideas on the budget,” he stated.
This year’s budget has suffered delays right from last year when the President presented the estimates in December.
Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government later compounded the problem when they started appearing before National Assembly committees for budget defence without the details.
At some point, the heads of several agencies were turned away by lawmakers for failing to supply the details of their proposals.
As of March, some agencies were still defending their budget, while the Nigeria Customs Service only concluded its defence on Wednesday, last week.
But the Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Aliyu Sabi-Abdullahi, declined to explain the reasons why the budget of the National Assembly was jacked up in the 2017 Appropriation Bill.
He said Nigerians would get the details when the bill was passed on Thursday (today).
Speaking on Wednesday, Sabi-Abdullahi stated, “As far as I’m concerned, until tomorrow when the budget is discussed, I’m not in the position to comment on it. I don’t know what it is until tomorrow. I can’t comment on what I don’t know.”
When the Senate spokesman was reminded that he should have the answer as a member of the Committee on Appropriation, he said, “I am somebody who believes so much in protocol and due process. Tomorrow, when the budget is open to discussion, everything will be there.”
Communities in Delta State Shut OML30 Operates by Heritage Energy Operational Services Ltd
The OML30 operated by Heritage Energy Operational Services Limited in Delta State has been shut down by the host communities for failing to meet its obligations to the 112 host communities.
The host communities, led by its Management Committee/President Generals, had accused the company of gross indifference and failure in its obligations to the host communities despite several meetings and calls to ensure a peaceful resolution.
The station with a production capacity of 80,000 barrels per day and eight flow stations operates within the Ughelli area of Delta State.
The host communities specifically accused HEOSL of failure to pay the GMOU fund for the last two years despite mediation by the Delta State Government on May 18, 2020.
Also, the host communities accused HEOSL of ‘total stoppage of scholarship award and payment to host communities since 2016’.
The Chairman, Dr Harrison Oboghor and Secretary, Mr Ibuje Joseph that led the OML30 host communities explained to journalists on Monday that the host communities had resolved not to backpedal until all their demands were met.
Crude Oil Recovers from 4 Percent Decline as Joe Biden Wins
Oil Prices Recover from 4 Percent Decline as Joe Biden Wins
Crude oil prices rose with other financial markets on Monday following a 4 percent decline on Friday.
This was after Joe Biden, the former Vice-President and now the President-elect won the race to the White House.
Global benchmark oil, Brent crude oil, gained $1.06 or 2.7 percent to $40.51 per barrel on Monday while the U.S West Texas Intermediate crude oil gained $1.07 or 2.9 percent to $38.21 per barrel.
On Friday, Brent crude oil declined by 4 percent as global uncertainty surged amid unclear US election and a series of negative comments from President Trump. However, on Saturday when it became clear that Joe Biden has won, global financial markets rebounded in anticipation of additional stimulus given Biden’s position on economic growth and recovery.
“Trading this morning has a risk-on flavor, reflecting increasing confidence that Joe Biden will occupy the White House, but the Republican Party will retain control of the Senate,” Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets in Sydney.
“The outcome is ideal from a market point of view. Neither party controls the Congress, so both trade wars and higher taxes are largely off the agenda.”
The president-elect and his team are now working on mitigating the risk of COVID-19, grow the world’s largest economy by protecting small businesses and the middle class that is the backbone of the American economy.
“There will be some repercussions further down the road,” said OCBC’s economist Howie Lee, raising the possibility of lockdowns in the United States under Biden.
“Either you’re crimping energy demand or consumption behavior.”
Nigeria, Other OPEC Members Oil Revenue to Hit 18 Year Low in 2020
Revenue of OPEC Members to Drop to 18 Year Low in 2020
The United States Energy Information Administration (EIA) has predicted that the oil revenue of members of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) will decline to 18-year low in 2020.
EIA said their combined oil export revenue will plunge to its lowest level since 2002. It proceeded to put a value to the projection by saying members of the oil cartel would earn around $323 billion in net oil export in 2020.
“If realised, this forecast revenue would be the lowest in 18 years. Lower crude oil prices and lower export volumes drive this expected decrease in export revenues,” it said.
The oil expert based its projection on weak global oil demand and low oil prices because of COVID-19.
It said this coupled with production cuts by OPEC members in recent months will impact net revenue of the cartel in 2020.
It said, “OPEC earned an estimated $595bn in net oil export revenues in 2019, less than half of the estimated record high of $1.2tn, which was earned in 2012.
“Continued declines in revenue in 2020 could be detrimental to member countries’ fiscal budgets, which rely heavily on revenues from oil sales to import goods, fund social programmes, and support public services.”
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