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Submit CBN, Others’ Budgets in Two Weeks, Senate Tells Osinbajo

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  • Submit CBN, Others’ Budgets in Two Weeks, Senate Tells Osinbajo

The Senate on Wednesday gave a two-week ultimatum to Acting President Yemi Osinbajo to submit the 2017 budgets of Federal Government agencies, corporations and parastatals.

The lawmakers issued the ultimatum at a plenary following a motion by the Deputy Majority Leader, Senator Bala Ibn Na’Allah, on the alleged non-compliance with Section 21 of the Fiscal Responsibility Act by some government agencies.

The Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Aliyu Sabi-Abdullahi, had on Tuesday said of the 38 affected organisations, only the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation, Bureau of Public Enterprises and the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure had submitted their budgets.

In the motion titled: ‘Non-Submission of 2017 Budget by Public Corporations in Violation of the Fiscal Responsibility Act,’ N’Allah said the failure to submit the proposals by the affected corporations to the National Assembly was becoming worrisome.

He stated, “The Senate observes that non-compliance with the provisions of the Fiscal Responsibility Act constitutes an abuse of power and economic sabotage aimed at frustrating the current economic measures being taken by the present administration to address the economic recession.”

The lawmakers unanimously granted the prayer of the motion to “urge the President to, as a matter of urgency, submit the budgets of parastatals and agencies to the National Assembly in accordance with the provision of Section 21 of the Fiscal Responsibility Act not later than two weeks.”

Seconding the motion, the Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, pointed out that the Constitution was supreme and its provisions were a binding force on all authorities and persons in the country.

Citing Section 80(3) of the Constitution, Ekweremadu urged the Senate to bar errant agencies and corporations from capital expenditure until their budgets had been passed by the legislature.

“I recall that in 2016, President Muhammadu Buhari sent to this National Assembly the Appropriation Act for that year together with those estimates. While in 2017, the ministers find it impossible to accompany the same Appropriation Bill 2017 with those estimates of the agencies under them. We cannot be going back and forth. I believe that this is the time for us to insist, under Section 88 that gives us power of oversight, that this has to be done.”

Also, Senator George Sekibo cited Section 5(1) (b) of the Constitution that the executive was meant to maintain and enforce laws.

He stated, “And if the law says at certain months before January, the budget of a corporation should be presented to the National Assembly and year in and year out, we keep on crying for the same thing, what do we do?

In his submission, Senator Olamilekan Adeola said the total sum of the budgets of Federal Government parastatals was bigger than the N7.441tn general budget of the government.

“What we are talking about here today is in excess of N10tn in the hands of the parastatals of the Federal Government. It is saddening to note that in the same way and the same tradition, these parastatals are trying to ensure that every year they continue to do the same thing over their budgets,” he said.

The President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, who presided over the plenary, described the issue as a corruption matter, stating that the trend must stop.

He said, “Truly, this motion is at the heart of this fight against corruption and I cannot see how we can continue in a society where we are fighting corruption, where people will be spending money without approval and without appropriation. It must stop, it will stop and it is going to stop from now.

“Clearly, we have made our position that based on this amendment, that these agencies must get their budgets to us in two weeks. Committee chairmen, I want to appeal that once we get the budgets, on our own part as well, let us ensure that we treat them publicly, very diligently and try and turn them around as quickly as possible.”

The corporations, agencies and corporations with independent budgets are the BPE, NASENI, Nigerian Airspace Management Agency, Nigerian Shippers’ Council, National Maritime Authority, Raw Materials Research and Development Council, National Sugar Development Council, Nigerian Postal Service, Nigerian Ports Authority and the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria.

Other are the Securities and Exchange Commission, Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation, National Communications Commission, National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control, Nigeria Customs Service and the National Broadcasting Commission.

Also on the list are the National Insurance Commission, News Agency of Nigeria, Nigerian Copyrights Commission, Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, Federal Inland Revenue Service, Nigerian Immigration Service, Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, Radio Nigeria, Federal Housing Authority, Nigerian Television Authority, National Automotive Design and Development Council, and the Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Authority.

The National Business and Technical Examination Board, Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria, National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency, Industrial Training Fund, Corporate Affairs Commission, Standards Organisation of Nigeria, as well as the Oil and Gas Free Zone Authority are also to submit their budgets to the National Assembly.

Meanwhile, the Chairman, Senate Ad Hoc Committee on Misuse, Non-remittance Internally Generated Revenue and Fraudulent Acts by Government Agencies, Adeola, has accused most university administrators in the country of “cooking up figures in their yearly accounts as a way of evading payment of operating surpluses.”

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

FG Plans to Build 10 New Airports in Anambra, Benue, Others – Aviation Minister

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Buhari in Port Harcourt

Aviation Minister Says FG Working on Building 10 New Airports

The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, on Tuesday, said the Federal Government plans to build 10 airports across the country to improve civil aviation.

The minister made the statement while defending his ministry’s 2021 budget proposals.

Sirika said President Muhammadu Buhari has done justice to the aviation ministry through the ongoing framework and implementation.

He said the administration would construct new airports in Anambra, Benue, Ekiti, Nasarawa, Ebonyi and Gombe States.

He further stated that airports in Kebbi, Osubi and Dutse have been taken over for redevelopment by the Federal Government.

Sirika said, “Consequent upon that roadmap, we have seen aviation grow in 2018 to become the second-fastest-growing sector of the economy.

“Also and by 2019, it became the fastest-growing sector of the economy and increased its GDP contribution.

“From 2015 till now, we’ve seen a lot of growth in civil aviation, the number of airports is increasing.

“So far, about seven airports have been added to the map, some of them completed, some of them under construction.

“There are airports coming up in Benue, Ebonyi, Ekiti, Lafia, Damaturu, Anambra and so on.

“All these show that civil aviation is growing during this administration.

“So, we have about 10 new airports coming up, that is almost half the number of airports we used to have in Nigeria.

“We are adding 50 per cent of the number of airports,” the minister added.

Sirika noted that Nigeria Air, the proposed national carrier, was part of the new roadmap and could be delivered before 2023.

He said, “We are on it. The transaction adviser has brought in the outline business case.

“It is being reviewed by Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission, Soon after it finishes, it will go to the Federal Executive Council and it will be approved.

“We will not leave this government without having it in place.”

He defended why Lokoja, Kogi State needs another airport, saying it is an alternative to the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja.

He said, “Lokoja is an important northern town. It is a cosmopolitan town, it’s a mini Nigeria and it is extremely very important in growth and development of our country.

“We have a lot of agricultural activities there. There is fishery, there is perishable item production and so on.

“So, establishing an airport there is quite apt. For me, it is something we should have done long ago for its importance.”

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Economy

FG Says Over N6 Billion Disbursed to Poor Households in Zamfara

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Over N6 Billion Disbursed to Poor Households in Zamfara

The Federal Government said it has disbursed over N6 billion under the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) scheme to poor households in six out of the 14 local governments in Zamfara in 2020.

The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Umar-Farouk disclosed this on Tuesday during the flag off of Grant for Rural Women Project in Gusau.

The minister said the CCT program was created in 2016 to address the deficiencies in capacity and lack of investment in human capital of poor and vulnerable households.

The programme is designed to deliver timely and accessible cash transfers to beneficiary households.

“And sets to support development objectives and priorities, to achieve improvement in health and nutrition, school enrolment and retention, environmental sanitation and empowerment among others,” she explained.

Umar-Faruk said a total of 130,000 beneficiaries from Anka, Bungudu, Birnin Magaji, Kaura Namoda, Tsafe, and Talata Mafara local government areas received between N30,000 to N80,000, depending on the dates the beneficiary enrolled in the programme.

Speaking on the grant for Rural Women, the minister said the programme was introduced to deepen the social inclusion agenda of President Buhari administration that includes lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years.

It is designed to provide a one-off grant to some of the poorest and most vulnerable women in rural Nigeria.

“A grant of N20,000 will be disbursed to over 150,000 poor rural women across the 36 states of the federation,” she said.

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Economy

Delta State Gov Okowa Presents N378.48 Billion Budget for 2021

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Ifeanyi Okowa Presents N378.48 Billion Proposed Budget for 2021

The Executive Governor of Delta State, Senator (Dr) Ifeanyi Okowa, on Tuesday presented a N378.48 billion budget to the state’s House of Assembly for consideration for the 2021 fiscal year.

The budget christened “Budget of Recovery” appropriated N207.52 billion for Capital Expenditure while Recurrent Expenditure was allocated N171.32 billion.

According to the Governor, capital expenditure accounted for 54.76 percent of the budget while 45.24 percent represented recurrent expenditure.

He explained that the allocations were in line with his administration’s agenda of spending more on projects and programmes that would impact positively on the socio-economic well-being of the people of Delta.

The proposed budget for 2021 is N96.2 billion or 34.05 per cent more than the N282 billion approved for 2020.

The governor said that the 2021 budget proposals reinforced the state government’s commitment to road infrastructure, education, health, job and wealth creation programmes as the principal-drivers of the Stronger Delta agenda.

According to him, N113 billion, representing 89.94 per cent of the capital budget is allocated to the economic sector while N35 billion is allocated to the social sector; the administration sector got 10.93 billion and the regional sector, N42 billion.

“In 2021, we propose to spend N66.66 billion on Road Infrastructure; N6.79 billion on Health; Education will gulp N23.55 billion; Agriculture, N2.04 billion and Water Sector, N1.83 billion.

“Job and Wealth Creation Bureau will gulp N1 Billion and Youth Development, N1.25 billion. These key sectors are very essential in our 2021 budget,” Okowa said.

Okowa also explained that due to the negative impact of COVID-19 on the economy and the world at large, government spending was significantly affected by the global pandemic and that Delta was no exception.

The governor, therefore, stated that “the proposed 2021 Budget for Delta is primarily focused on protecting and supporting our people in a COVID-19 environment, accelerating infrastructural renewal, incentivizing growth, enhancing job creation, engendering social inclusion and developing sustainably.

“Overall, the proposed 2021 Budget is predicated on inclusive economic growth that is sustainable and people-centred, with strengthening fiscal sustainability through increased efficiency in spending, improved revenue mobilization and debt sustainability.

“It also entails improving processes and systems in Public Financial Management, and Monitoring and Evaluation, to bolster better public sector service delivery.”

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