Under-Remittance: Allocation of Defaulting Agencies to be Debted
Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila, the speaker of the House of Representatives, has warned all government agencies against under remittance of revenues.
The speaker, who spoke at the interactive session of the 2021 to 2023 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper, said agencies are in the habit of diverting revenues that are supposed to be remitted to the treasury to finance projects regarded as ‘unnecessary trivialities.’
Hon. James Faleke, the Chairman, House Committee on Finance, said the House of Representatives and the entire National Assembly will now expect such expenses to be deducted from allocation of defaulting agencies.
Gbajabiamila said: “Our country is currently facing a fiscal crisis, compounded by the intense disruption that has been wrought on our economic performance and financial projections by the Covid-19 pandemic. We are not the only ones.
“Nations all over the world, including those we rightly consider to be leading lights, are facing a moment of reckoning that is redefining the way government operates. Already, we have had to carry out severe cuts to the 2020 Appropriation Act, while at the same time borrowing more to fund urgent development needs and implement interventions to help the most vulnerable of our citizens get through these trying times with some dignity.
“All of us in the House of Representatives recognise that the challenges we now face will not abate in the medium term. Yet, we are committed to using the appropriations process as a tool for accomplishing our nation’s most pressing development objectives.
“We have a responsibility to act with urgent determination to build the infrastructure of opportunity that is required to lift millions of our fellow citizens out of poverty. We recognise that we cannot accomplish these objectives using loans and outside financing alone.
“Therefore, we need to impose deep cuts in the cost of governance and improve internal revenue generation and collection so that we can free up resources that can then be deployed to fund policy initiatives that will enhance the lives of our people.
“The revenue-generating agencies of the Federal Government have a vital role to play in this regard. There has thus far been a consistent failure to adhere to the revenue remittance agreements to which many of these agencies have committed.
“We have credible reports that these desperately needed funds have in many cases, been diverted to finance unnecessary trivialities. At the same time, the government is left scrambling for alternative sources to fund priority projects. We cannot afford this dynamics, and we will not tolerate it any more.
“The legislature remains the keeper of the public purse, with broad constitutional authority to act on behalf of the Nigerian people, to ensure that our collective resources are efficiently administered in service of the public good. Let no one be in doubt, the House of Representatives will not hesitate to act on our constitutional authority notwithstanding whatever objections may arise.
“You have gathered here today to begin an important assignment that will have broad impact on our nation’s future. I ask that you keep this in mind at all times. Ensure that your engagements are grounded in a shared determination to help our beloved nation reach its promise of peace and prosperity for all.”
Prepaid Meter is Free, Buhari Warns DisCos, Agents
President Muhammadu Buhari once again warned Power Distributing Companies (DisCos) and their agents selling prepaid meters to electricity customers against the Federal Government directive that meter is free.
Ahmed Rufai Zakar, the Special Adviser to the President on Infrastructure, who represented Buhari at the FGN/NLC-TUC ad-hoc committee on electricity tariff stakeholders held in Ibadan, Oyo State on Wednesday, said President Buhari understood people’s concerns on issues surrounding electricity and was determined to curb and deal with unscrupulous individuals in the power sector.
He said, “We have made it very clear through the regulators direct order as well as intervention from the Ministry of Power that the meters are to be provided to Nigerians at no cost.
“Even for meters that were paid for, there is the directive from the regulator to the discos that they would need to find a way to reimburse those citizens over time.
“In cases where we find any disco or disco representative selling the meters or exploiting Nigerians to be able to get meters by paying, we would take the full measures of the law.
“The President has mandated that these meters must be free. We have also said that they must come from local manufacturers.
“This would create jobs and revive our industry.”
Nigeria’s Real Estate Sector Shrinks by 8.06% in the Third Quarter -NBS
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.
Nigeria Requires N400 Billion Annually to Maintain Federal Roads -Senator Bassey
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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