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We’ve Paid N700bn For Road Projects – FG

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The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola

The Federal Government has paid about N700bn out of the N2.1tn liabilities for the construction of 206 road projects across the country, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, has said.

Although the minister was not specific if it was the present government that paid the  sum, he, however, explained that out of the N300bn already released by the Federal Government since the 2016 budget was signed into law, his ministry received N102bn.

In a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Communications, Mr. Hakeem Bello, on Wednesday, Fashola stated that the N102bn that his ministry got “has been described as a lion’s share of the N300bn.”

“But it is a lion’s share against our realities and the realities are that we inherited 206 roads under construction and the liabilities for those roads were in the region of N2.1tn,” he added, pointing out that the government had paid about N700bn of the amount.

Fashola also stated that as of July this year, N70bn had been paid out to contractors, project managers and consultants for roads and bridges, adding that with the payment, the various contractors had since returned to site.

He listed the road projects where the contractors had returned to site to include the Kano-Katsina Road, Kano-Maiduguri Road, Ilorin-Jebba Road, Loko-Oweto Road, Lagos-Ibadan Expressway and the Port Harcourt-Enugu Road, among others.

In the power sector, Fashola said with the money available, the ministry was working to complete the 215 megawatts Kaduna Power Plant, the transmission line for the Gurara 40MW plant, and the Kashimbilla plant, adding that it was also remobilising contractors back to the various transmission sites.

Recommending fiscal spending as a way out of the current recession, the minister described the 2016 budget size as ambitious, adding that an increased budgetary size would enable the administration to fund the various capital projects that would impact on the livelihood of the populace.

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 market.

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COVID-19: World Bank to Support Nigerian Frontline Healthcare Workers With $114.28m

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world bank

World Bank Strengthens Nigerian Response to COVID-19

The World Bank has once again approved another $114.28 million financing for Nigeria to improve its COVID-19 response time and further curb the spread of the virus in Africa’s most populous nation.

The multilateral financial institution said the money will help Africa’s largest economy prevent, detect and respond to the threat of ravaging COVID-19 better.

In a statement titled “Nigeria to boost states capacity for COVID-19 response” and released on Friday, the lender said the fund includes $100 million credit facility from the International Development Association and $14.28 million grant from the Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility.

The statement reads, “Through the COVID-19 preparedness and response project (CoPREP), the government of Nigeria will provide grants to 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory as immediate support to break the chain of COVID-19 local transmission and limit the spread of coronavirus through containment and mitigation strategies.

The lender, however, stated that grants for states would be based on the adoption of COVID-19 measures and strategies. In particular, the strategies must be in line with the ones put in place by the Federal Government.

CoPREP will enhance the institutional and operational capacity for disease detection through provision of technical expertise, coordination support, detection, diagnosis and case management efforts in all states and the FCT as per the WHO guidelines in the strategic response plan,” it stated.

The bank added that it would help the Federal Government in such response capacity through the training of frontline healthcare workers and provision of the necessary equipment to aid their work, strengthen public healthcare network for emergencies and generally improve their response efficiency.

Shubham Chaudhuri, the World Bank Country Director, Nigeria said, “Nigeria has ramped up its efforts to contain the COVID -19 outbreak, but more needs to be done at the state level, which are at the frontline of the response.”

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Mismanagement of Public Funds and Resources Will Destroy Nigeria, Says Stakeholders

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Buhari in Port Harcourt

Some concerned stakeholders have said the broad-based financial misappropriation, abuse of public office by Public Officeholders and unchecked borrowing will destroy the nation’s present and future if not checked.

According to Auwal Musa, the Executive Director, CISLAC, who spoke at a stakeholders’ dialogue on ‘Policies, Gaps and Alternatives in Fiscal Transparency in Private Sector Governance,’ organised by Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), and Transparency International (TI), with support from OXFAM’s country office in Nigeria, abuse of power and financial recklessness as been going on for far too long.

Musa said, “This has been going on for too long, and every singular effort from the citizens is termed as hate or unpatriotic. Meanwhile, the consequences of this anomaly are staring us in the face on a daily basis and are on the increase. Increased poverty; banditry allegedly occasioned by rising unemployment; and unpatriotic citizens trooping into leadership positions to perpetuate the looting and misappropriation due to no oversight and punitive sanctions, not to mention health, infrastructure and societal decay. The list is inexhaustible.

He also implored the Government that in order to reduce the excessive misuse of public resources, mismanagement of finances and strengthen the financial management system, the holes that encourage people to evade and undermine the collection of taxes must be bridged and in-depth economic improvement devised to close policy gaps.

There are many areas in which the government can increase its revenue drive. For instance, in the Oil and Gas sector, there are a lot of gaps as a result of lack of a clear legal framework through the PIB, which will enable the sector to be more efficient, transparent and competitive. Again, the oil theft needs to be blocked; other areas like maritime revenue can be harnessed in these sectors.

“Also, the government should block the areas where revenues are supposed to be collected and are not collected. For instance, the audit report clearly shows how the government is losing revenue.” he said.

The stakeholders urge policymakers to look for other sources of revenue that can guarantee development in Nigeria.

Also, speaking at the event was the Programme Manager, Tax, Justice, Environment and Conservation of Nature, CISLAC, Chinedu Bassey, who said one of the reasons to strengthen the Nigerian financial management system is to stop people from stealing and mismanaging resources meant for development.

Iheme Madukairo, the Manager, Large Tax Audit, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), advised Nigerians who evade taxes to stop such act that the law will take its course.

He said “Enforcement is out there, sleeves are rolled up to do the job that we are mandated to do by the act and sooner or later, we will catch up with them. The sanctions have also increased by virtue of the finance act. The penalty has been increased, once it is found out that it is a deliberate act to breach the law, the law will take its course.

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Lai Mohammed Says Buhari Has Recovered Over N800bn in Looted Funds

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President Muhammadu Buhari

Buhari Has Recovered Over N800bn in Looted Funds

President Muhammadu Buhari government has recovered over N800 billion looted by corrupt Nigerians since the beginning of this administration in 2015.

Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the Minister of Information and Culture, disclosed this on Tuesday at a press conference held in Abuja.

He said, “This administration’s fight against corruption is as strong as ever, and we have the records to back up this claim.

“This administration has recorded over 1,400 convictions, including high profile ones, and recovered funds in excess of N800bn, not to talk of forfeiture of ill-gotten properties.”

President Muhammadu Buhari has made recovery of Nigeria’s stolen assets one of his priorities since he became president in 2015.

Several of Nigeria’s untouchables have been convicted despite political experts and social commentators saying the war against corruption should not be only against opposition but also against those in the ruling party that seems to have been overlooked.

Still, the ruling party has insisted that members of the party have been convicted and one of such is Kalu.

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