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Osinbajo to Sign 2017 Budget Next Week, Says Dogara



SPEAKER of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara
  • Osinbajo to Sign 2017 Budget Next Week

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, on Friday said that Acting President Yemi Osinbajo would sign the 2017 budget into law “early next week.”

Dogara made this known during the second anniversary session of the 8th House of Representatives in Abuja.

Although the Speaker did not give much details as to the specific date when the budget signing would take place, his hint indicated that the Presidency might have communicated to him a decision to assent to the N7.441tn budget next week.

Meanwhile, as the session was going on, it was disrupted by some members of the National Association of Nigerian Students due to the leadership tussle rocking the association.

Dogara, while recognising the attendance of the students at the session, had mentioned Mr. Haruna Kadiri as the National President of NANS.

But, another factional NANS President, Mr. Chinedu Obasi, interrupted Dogara rudely by shouting that Kadiri was not the President.

Obasi’s supporters, who thronged the gallery of the House, also shouted that it was Obasi and not Kadiri that was the authentic President.

Amidst the confusion and uproar, Dogara was forced to halt his speech as security officials whisked Obasi out of the chambers.

Outside the chambers, Obasi, who almost had his clothes torn, insisted that he was the President, showing a letter of invitation sent to him by the House to attend the event.

Ironically, the House also sent the same letter to Kadiri, who was eventually recognised by Dogara.

Obasi stated, “We are disappointed by the action of the Speaker to have recognised someone not known to us as the national president of NANS. I am the duly elected national president of NANS.

“With me here is the letter of invitation to this event sent to me by the House leadership. I didn’t just come here. I was invited.”

But, one lawmaker and a former official of NANS, Mr. Tajudeen Yussuf, explained that the House invited both Obasi and Kadiri because of the confusion over who was the authentic NANS President.

“It was based on this reasoning that names were not contained in the invitation letters that were issued to the two leaders,” Yussuf added.

Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Editorial Board of ThisDay Newspapers, Mr. Olusegun Adeniyi, told the House that the National Assembly suffered negative image perception because of the jumbo pay of lawmakers and the unresolved controversies surrounding budget padding.

Adeniyi also said certificate scandals and the ostentatious lifestyle of senators and members of the House contributed to why Nigerians frequently questioned their relevance to the country.

Adeniyi was the guest speaker at the special session.

Speaking on the topic, “Image Perception of the Legislature: Causes and Possible Solutions,” he also observed that a House that could vote N3.6bn to buy exotic cars for its members in a period of recession did not appear to be sensitive to the plight of Nigerians.

He added that much as the House had passed many bills and motions in the last two years, the concern of Nigerians would be how the bills had impacted directly on their lives.

He said, “As far as the honourable members seated here this morning are concerned, you are serving the people.

“But where majority of Nigerians are concerned, you are all here serving only your own interest.

“Whether the populace is right or wrong is not the issue here. What is important is for the members to be aware that the people whose interest they claim to serve do not think highly of them.”

However, in his address, Dogara argued that while the current House would not assess itself for the work it had done, it had broken all the records of performance set since 1999.

The speaker said, “Statistics bear this out. The total number of bills introduced so far is 1,064, out of which Executive bills are 50; Senate bills transmitted to the House are 21; and Private Members’ bills are 993.

“A total of 126 bills have been passed by the House and the others are at various stages in the legislative mill. Twenty seven bills have received Presidential assent and a lot more are in the pipeline.

“Each of the achievements highlighted above is unsurpassed by any previous Assembly. The sheer volume of these bills attests to the vibrancy of the House in its attempt to legislate on key areas of our national life at a very trying time in our history.”

Dogara also stated that the House had kept its promise of not only to reform the budgeting process but had also published the details of the budget of the National Assembly this year.

Although, it was a special anniversary session, punch observed that about 200 out of the 360 members of the House were absent in the chambers.

Only 74 members were in attendance as at 10.27am when Dogara addressed the opening of the session. The number grew to 150 when it ended about 1.47pm.

However, the Leader of the House, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila, told the session that there was a wrong notion of assessing legislators based on the number of times they sat in the chambers. According to him, while the plenary of the House might appear not to be full most of the times, legislators are busy performing other functions of oversight and committee assignments, “which are even more important than the plenary.”

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.


NNPC To Resume Oil Exploration In Sokoto Basin




The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation on Thursday announced plans to resume active oil exploration in Sokoto Basin.

A statement issued in Abuja on Thursday by NNPC spokesperson, Kennie Obateru, said the corporation’s Group Managing Director, Mele Kyari, said exploration for crude would resume in the Sokoto Basin.

The statement read in part, “Kyari also hinted of plans for the corporation to resume active exploration activities in the Sokoto Basin.”

The NNPC boss disclosed this while receiving the Governor of Kebbi State, Atiku Bagudu, who paid Kyari a courtesy visit in his office on Thursday.

In October 2019, the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), had during the spud-in ceremony of Kolmani River II Well on the Upper Benue Trough, Gongola Basin, in the North-East, said the government would explore for oil and gas in the frontier basins across the country.

He outlined the basins to include the Benue Trough, Chad Basin, Sokoto and Bida Basins.

Buhari had also stated that attention would be given to the Dahomey and Anambra Basins which had already witnessed oil and gas discoveries.

Kyari restated NNPC’s commitment to the partnership with Kebbi State for the production of biofuels, describing the project as viable and in tandem with the global transition to renewable energy.

He said the rice production programme in the state was a definite boost to the biofuels project.

Kyari said the linkage of the agricultural sector with the energy sector would facilitate economic growth and bring prosperity to the citizens.

He was quoted as saying, “We will go ahead and renew the Memorandum of Understanding and bring in any necessary amendment that is required to make this business run faster.”

The Kebbi State governor expressed appreciation to the NNPC for its cooperation on the biofuel project.

Bagudu said the cassava programme was well on course but the same could not be said of the sugarcane programme as the targeted milestone was yet to be attained.

Kebbi state is one of the states that the NNPC is in partnership with for the development of renewable energy.

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Nigeria To Benefit As G-20 Approves Extension Of Debt Relief Till December



Finance ministers of G-20 countries have approved an extension of debt relief for the world’s poorest nations till December 2021.

David Malpass, World Bank president, made the announcement at the virtual spring meeting, on Wednesday.

TheCable had earlier reported that the G-20 countries will meet this week to consider an extension of the debt freeze.

The G-20, is a group of finance ministers and central bank governors from 19 of the world’s largest economies, including those of many developing nations, along with the European Union.

G-20 countries had established a debt service suspension initiative (DSSI) which took effect in May 2020.

Nigeria had benefited from the initiative which delivered about $5 billion in relief to more than 40 eligible countries.

The suspension period which was originally set to end on December 31, 2020 was extended to June 2021.

Malpass said the extension to December 2021 will boost economic recovery and promote job creation in low income countries.

He urged countries to be transparent in their approach to the debt service payment extension.

“On debt, we welcome a decision by the G20 to extend the DSSI through 2021. The World Bank is also working closely with the IMF to support the implementation of the G20 Common Framework,” he said.

“In both these debt efforts, greater transparency is an important element: I urge all G20 countries to disclose the terms of their financing contracts, including rescheduling, and to support the World Bank’s efforts to reconcile borrower’s debt data more fully with that of creditors.

“Participation by commercial creditors and fuller participation by official bilateral creditors will be vital. I urge all G20 countries to instruct and create incentives for all their public bilateral creditors to participate in debt relief efforts, including national policy banks. I also urge G20 countries to act decisively to incentivize the private creditors under their jurisdiction to participate fully in sovereign debt relief efforts for low-income countries.

“Debt relief efforts are providing some welcome fiscal space, but IDA countries need major new resources too, including grants and highly concessional resources. From April to December 2020, the first DSSI period, our net transfers to IDA and LDC countries were close to $17 billion, of which $5.8 billion were on grant terms.

“Our new commitments were almost $30 billion, making IDA19 the single largest source of concessional resources for the poorest countries and the key multilateral platform for support. To recover from COVID, much more is needed, and we welcome the G20’s support for advancing IDA20 by one year.”

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IMF / Fiscal Monitor Report April 2021 Forecast




Unprecedented fiscal support by governments during the pandemic has prevented more severe economic contractions and larger job losses, but risks remain of long-term scarring the International Monetary Fund says in its Fiscal Monitor report released on Wednesday (April 7) in Washington, DC.

Meanwhile, such support, along with drops in revenues, has raised government deficits and debt to unprecedented levels across all country income groups, said Vitor Gaspar, Director of the Fiscal Affairs Department at the IMF.

The first lesson one year into COVID-19 is that fiscal policy can act timely and decisively. The fiscal policy response was unprecedented in speed and size looking across countries. We also learned that countries with easier access to finance or stronger buffers were able to give more fiscal support. They’re also projected to recover faster,” said Gaspar.

Average overall deficits as a share of GDP in 2020 reached 11.7 percent for advanced economies, 9.8 percent for emerging market economies, and 5.5 percent for low-income developing countries. Countries’ ability to scale up spending has diverged.

“So, what have we learned? We’ve learned that fiscal policy is powerful and that sound public finances are crucial in order to enable that power to be used to the fullest,” stressed Gaspar.

Gaspar urged policy makers to balance the risks from large and growing public and private debt with the risks from premature withdrawal of fiscal support, which could slow the recovery.

“In the spring 2021, we emphasize differentiation across countries. Moreover, COVID-19 is fast evolving, as are the consequences from COVID-19. The fiscal policy must stay agile and flexible to respond to this fast-evolving situation.” Said Gaspar.

He also warned that the targeting of measures must be improved and tailored to countries’ administrative capacity so that fiscal support can be maintained for the duration of the crisis—considering an uncertain and uneven recovery

“Moreover, countries are very different in their structures, in their institutions, in their financial capacity and much else. Therefore, policies and policy advice have to be tailored to fit.” Said Gaspar

Gaspar concluded his remarks by emphasizing that global vaccination is urgently needed, and that global inoculation would pay for itself with stronger employment and economic activity, leading to increased tax revenues and sizable savings in fiscal support.

“A fair shot, a vaccination for everybody in the world may well be the highest return global investment ever. But the Fiscal Monitor also emphasizes the importance of giving a fair shot at life success for everyone. It documents that preexisting inequalities made COVID-19 worse and that COVID-19 in turn made inequalities worse. There is here a vicious cycle that threatens trust and social cohesion. Therefore, we recommend stronger redistributive policies and universal access to basic public services like health, education, and social security,” said Gaspar.

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