Jonathan to sign 2012 budget today

Nigeria President, Goodluck Jonathan will on Friday sign the 2012 budget into law.

The 2012 national budget had since been passed by the National Assembly.

The federal lawmakers had expressed their readiness to ensure that the 2012 budget is strictly implemented by the executive when it is signed into law.

The Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, had last Tuesday in an interview with state house correspondents explained why Mr Jonathan has not signed the 2012 Appropriation Bill, saying that the president was still studying details of the changes made in the budget by the National Assembly.

“What we are doing now is that the National Assembly just gave us the budget a few days ago and of course when they pass the budget, we have to look at the details because it is not always the same as the budget Mr President passed to the House,” the Minister had said.

“So, we are doing that work, we are looking at the details. After looking at the details, we will have a meeting with the leadership of the National Assembly on Thursday to make sure that we reconcile and understand all the changes that may have been made and after that, we will be ready to move on to the next step. That is where we are, doing the normal work,” she added.

The President’s cabinet had to meet with the leadership of the National Assembly to resolve areas of conflict.

Asari Dokubo says N74billion is not enough for amnesty programme


The former President of the Ijaw Youth Council and Leader of the Niger Delta Peoples Volunteer Force (NDPVF), Alhaji Mujahid Dokubo-Asari, has insisted that the N74 billion budgeted for the rehabilitation and retraining of the Niger Delta ex-militants in the 2012 budget was not enough.

Dokubo-Asari  in a statement on Monday, demanded that a 10-day oil production proceeds should be allocated  to the programme, since  the country’s  oil production had risen to 2.6 million barrels per day, as against 680, 000 before the amnesty programme was instituted.

According to him, the increase in the crude oil production is part of the gains of the amnesty programme. “With all these gains, one expects that the operators of the amnesty project should have been encouraged and applauded. Instead, what we see is rebuke, recrimination and an attempt to scuttle the project by those who contribute next to nothing in the upkeep and maintenance of the Nigerian state but are now calling for a probe into the amnesty project” he stated.

The former militant leader noted that the current $74billion budgeted for the amnesty amounts to just two days of oil production “It is important to state that going by the 2012 budget passed by the National Assembly, the amnesty project budget is about N74billion annually. Which means that amnesty project budget for a year is far less than two days oil production.”

He argued that the resources allocated for the amnesty is inadequate and suggested that “10 days oil production proceeds, after removing cost of product and percentage proceeds due to joint ventures partners, should be allocated to the training and education of the people of the oil-bearing communities through the amnesty project.”

The ex-militant also alleged that a company owned by an ally of the late Head of state, General Sani Abacha produces 400, 000 barrels of oil per day, claiming that the company makes N2.3bn annually, despite the death of the owner.

“If a dead individual is raking N2.3billion in 365 days, why should N74billion be allocated to the amnesty project from resources gotten from underneath their soil?” he asked.

former ex-militant wants more money
Demands more money for amnesty

“This is how the Nigerian state is been run and managed at the expense of the vast majority of her people. While some people pretend to be blind to these painful realities, some of us will not join the bandwagon of the blind men, these inequity, injustice and blatant insensitivity must be checked now if we are to have a stable polity” he added.

The NDPVF leader  added, “Most people will be wondering why I have chosen to speak in favour of the amnesty project, even though I hate the tag amnesty, I know that the managers  of the project have managed it so well to the benefit of the recipients.

Asari also called for further development of the amnesty programme stating that “at present, most people who hitherto, would have been committing crimes in the creeks are now meaningfully engaged, learning and acquiring skills in various universities, polytechnics and technical institutions all over the world. As it is said, an idle mind is a devil’s workshop; the people managing the amnesty project have used the project to rehabilitate and read admit the ex-militants who lived the life of criminality into civil society.”

He also called for the amnesty tag be dropped from the programme “if this project is expanded and the amnesty tag is dropped, the belief by most of us that we are been criminalized for standing up for our right will be removed and more people will benefit from the project.”


Senate passes N4.8 trillion for 2012 budget

The Senate has passed the sum of N4, 877, 209, 156, 933 for the 2012 budget at the plenary on Thursday.

The 2012 Appropriation Act was increased from the original N4.6 trillion sent to the National Assembly by President Goodluck Jonathan in December 2011, to accommodate the SURE program while the sum of N888 billion was appropriated for fuel subsidy.

The initial budget had no provision for fuel subsidy following the removal of the subsidy on January 1. But days of widespread protests and industrial action called by the labour union, made the federal government return a partial sum for the fuel subsidy.

The chairman Senate committee on Appropriation, Senator Ahmad Maccido, told journalists that the budget for the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) was included in the budget while that of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) budget was left out in the 2012 budget.

According to the Senate spokesman, Senator Enyinaya Abaribe, “the CBN governor is hiding under the CBN act but the Fiscal Responsibility Act stipulates that budgets from all government agencies should be scrutinized by the national assembly.”

He noted that the problem with the CBN budget is a legal matter which the National Assembly would take up.

The CBN governor, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi in a letter to the House of Representative earler in the year stated that the budget of the CBN is not subject to the yearly appropriation, claiming the National has delegated the power of such appropriation to the board of the CBN as stipulated by the CBN Act.

The letter stated that “by section 6 (3) of the CBN Act 2007, the National Assembly is deemed to have donated its authorisation powers under section 80 (3) of the constitution as it relates to the budget of the CBN to the board of the CBN.”

Mr Sanusi’s letter was in response to an earlier letter by the House of Representative Committee on Appropiation, which requested the CBN to forward its 2012 budget estimates to the assembly for appropriation.

The lawmakers had threatened not to pass the budget unless 31 revenue generating agencies including the CBN and the NNPC forward their budgets to the National Assembly for appropriation.

Mr. Abaribe confirmed that the budget has been harmonized by both houses of the national assembly and would consequently return to the executive.