- 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.”
Electricity Consumers, Hoteliers, Others Kick Against Petrol Price, Power Tariff Hikes
Groups Kick Against Increase in Petrol Price, Power Tariff
The Network for Electricity Consumers Advocacy of Nigeria, the Nigerian Hotels Association, the Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria, Hotel Owners Forum, Abuja, and Power Up Nigeria have all kicked against the recent increases in power tariff and petrol price.
In a joint press conference held in Abuja on Friday, the groups rejected the increase and demanded an urgent reversal, saying the economic hardship imposed on Nigerians and businesses in the country by the COVID-19 pandemic would worsen if the increases in electricity tariff and petrol remains.
The speech jointly signed by presidents of NHA, FTAN, HOFA, Power Up Nigeria and read by the NECAN Secretary, Uket Obonga, the groups said it was sad that the Federal Government had chosen to compound the suffering of the Nigerian people at a time when the rest of the world are making efforts to ease the impacts of COVID-19 on their citizens.
They said, “It is sad to note that while other nations are enacting policies and taking measures to cushion the hardship imposed on their citizens by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Federal Government has chosen to place an unpardonable burden on Nigerians.
“This burden is not only the electricity tariff increase but also the hike in the pump price of petrol at a time that the people are suffocating under a distressed economy.”
They added, “It is very unfortunate that the Federal Government could allow itself to be misled into believing that tariff increase is the silver bullet that will shoot the sector revenues to Eldorado.”
The groups further stated that the cause of weak revenue in the power sector had not been addressed, neither is the nation’s low internally generated revenue addressed.
According to the groups, this was not the first time power distributors companies were pushing for a tariff increase, but the past Multi Year Tariff Order reviews that ended up increasing the price of electricity did not yield the desired result.
They said, “Recall that as soon as the MYTO 2015 order came into effect on February 1, 2016, the power distribution companies began another quest for further increase.
“They flagrantly disregarded the provisions of the MYTO path and energy charges contained therein, as the Discos went ahead to choose which tariff rate to use in determining bills given to the customers.
The groups argued that the incessant request for tariff increase had become a hypothetical exercise rather than the solution to the sector’s revenue problem.
“We, therefore, wish to state categorically that we reject the September 1, 2020 tariff increase as ordered by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission,” they said.
They added, “We call on the Federal Government to rescind the increase because we note that there is nothing put on the ground to cushion the effect of the dual increase of the end user tariff and the pump price of petrol.”
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has approved power distribution companies (DisCos) to start collecting 87.9 percent of the recently raised electricity tariff from consumers in the first half of 2021.
This was disclosed in the latest tariff review documents forwarded to the 11 power distribution companies in the country. Also, DisCos were approved to start collecting 100 percent of the new tariff from the second half of 2021.
Nigeria’s Electricity Consumers to Start Paying Full Rates from H2 2020
Electricity Consumers to Pay Full Rates from July 2021
The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission has approved power distribution companies to collect an average of 87.9 percent of the recently raised electricity tariff from consumers in the first half of 2021.
In the latest tariff review documents issued to the 11 power distribution companies, power distribution companies had been approved to collect 100 percent of the new tariff from July to December 2021.
The approved new collection rates for the Discos means that Nigeria’s electricity consumers would be required to pay higher tariffs starting from the second half of 2021.
This is coming despite Nigerians kicking against the increase implemented on September 1, 2020. Nigerians have declared the numerous increases by President Muhammadu Buhari as anti-people policy, saying the administration continues to compound the people’s burden despite COVID-19 negative impacts on them.
A few numbers of Nigerians have staged protests to compel the administration to revise increases on Value Added Tax, pump price and electricity tariff because of the ongoing economic uncertainties and weak macroeconomic data after the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) reported that the inflation rate rose above 13 percent, unemployment rate hits 27.1 percent and general plunged in economic activities and earnings of the Nigerian people.
However, the approval means DisCos will collect an average of 88 percent tariff in the first half of 2021 and up it to 100 percent in the second half of 2021 as contained in the NERC’s directive.
Shipping Companies Lost 1,382 Containers to Bad Weather Yearly – Report
World Shipping Council Says 1,382 Containers Lost Year
A recent report by the World Shipping Council has estimated that about 1,382 containers are lost at the sea yearly due to bad weather and other unforeseen circumstances.
In the report titled ‘Containers lost at sea – 2020 update’, the council attributed the disappearance of over 1,382 containers to severe weather, rough seas, ship groundings and structural failures as some of the problems which can result in containers being lost at sea.
The report said it used a survey-based system to calculate the losses made by shipping companies over a 12-year period.
It said, “Upon review of the results of the 12-year period (2008-2019) surveyed, the WSC estimates that there were on average a total of 1,382 containers lost at sea each year.
“With 12 years of data, it is particularly interesting to look at the trend of three-year averages, reported in each of the survey updates.
“In the first period (2008-2010), total losses averaged 675 per year and then quadrupled to an average of 2,683 per year in the next period (2011-2013).
“This was due in large part to the sinking of the MOL Comfort (2013) that resulted in a loss of 4,293 containers and further impacted by the grounding and loss of M/V Rena (2011) resulting in approximately 900 containers lost.
“Nevertheless, the next period (2014-2016) was marked by another vessel sinking with the tragic total loss of the SS El Faro (2015) with the loss of 33 crew members and 517 containers.
“Even with that, the three-year average annual loss for the period was 1,390, about half of the previous period. The downward trend continued into the most recent period (2017-2019) when the three-year average annual loss was almost halved again to 779.”
The WSC, therefore, encouraged governments and other stakeholders to improve container safety and reduce containers lost at sea.
This, it said could be achieved by making adjustments to the Safety of Life at Sea and revising the International Organisation for Standardisation standards for container lashing equipment and corner castings.
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