The Federal Executive Council has approved the procurement of 44 Innoson Motors (IVM) G5 jeeps for the 37 chairmen of the State and FCT Coordination and Implementation Committee of the Community Services, Women and Youth Employment Projects of SURE-P.
Minister of Labour, Emeka Wogu made this known to journalists at the end of the council meeting presided over by President Goodluck Jonathan.
The Labour minister said the vehicle will enhance the monitoring and supervision of the community services, women and youths employment activities at the state and local government levels nationwide.
The approval which has a budgetary provision in the 2013 Appropriation is in line with the federal government’s policy to patronize locally manufactured vehicles through direct procurement method and will cost N240.2million.
Also, the FEC has approved a draft Nigerian Metallurgical Industry Bill, 2014 for passage to the National Assembly.
The Minister for Mines and Steel Development, Mr Musa Sada, said the objective of the bill amongst others, include regulating the operations of all metallurgical plants in Nigeria through ensuring that metallurgical products and raw materials being manufactured or imported into the country meet set standards.
The Coordinating Minister of the economy and Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has insisted that the nation’s economy is stable despite some reports which quoted her saying that the economy will crash if the 2013 Appropriation Act is not amended by the National Assembly.
Dr Okonjo-Iweala who spoke at a news conference in Abuja on Wednesdaystated that “I never said the economy was going to shut down” but warned that with the lingering cntroversy over the appropriation act might make paying salaries impossible for the federal government by December.
“What I said was that we will not be able pay salaries” due to the controversy trailing the 2013 Appropriation Act she explained and appealed to media organisations to avoid casting sensational headlines capable of heating up the polity.
An online news platform had alleged that the Mminister told her colleagues at the 50th meeting of the 15-member Federal Government Economic Implementation Team, that the Nigerian economy is shaky despite the official fundamentals and that drastic steps are needed to save it from collapse.
Quoting a source in the Presiodency, the webiste alleged that the Minister painted a gloomy picture of the economy and hinted that there was an urgent need for “stringent budgetary measures” to arrest the downward slide.
While addressing journalists on the federal government’s one billion Eurobond, the Minister of Finance and the Director-General of the Budget Office said that the oversubscription to the bond by foreign investors signifies that the Nigerian economy remains stable despite recent challenges.
The Centre for Social Justice, a civil society organization has advocated the need for the National Assembly to delete Clause 10 of the proposed 2013 Appropriation Act on the ground that passing the clause into law will amount to scrapping of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) without repealing the law establishing the commission.
Speaking in Abuja at a forum to review the proposed amendments to the act, lead director of the centre, Mr Eze Onyekpere, noted that SEC’s budget does not form part of the core 2013 budget as presented to the National Assembly.
According to him, “the clause ought not to have been inserted in the 2013 Appropriation Act.”
He added that the clause amounts to a total shut down of the business of the commission with a potential negative impact on the capital market.
The centre therefore appealed to the National Assembly to delete the clause which mandates the Securities and Exchange Commission not to expend any revenue for recurrent or capital purposes without prior appropriation and approval by the National Assembly.
In what is a significant departure from the past, the National Assembly has passed the 2013 Budget before the end of the year with an increase from N4.92 trillion to N4.98 trillion.
This figure represents a difference of N62 billion as against the proposal presented to the National Assembly by President Goodluck Jonathan in October.
A report of the Joint Committee on Appropriation and Finance on the 2013 Appropriation Act was on Thursday considered by both chambers of the parliament and passed.
The budget is made up of N2.3 trillion as recurrent non-debt expenditure and N1.6 trillion for contribution to the development fund for capital expenditure for the year 2013.
Not giving up on the controversies over the non-implementation of the 2012 Budget, the lawmakers warned that all unutilised capital expenditure in the 2012 budget should be rolled over to form part of the 2013 Appropriation Act.
The lawmakers also retained the $79 per barrel oil benchmark price for the budget, higher than the $75 a barrel proposed by the President.
The budget is based on an assumption of 2.53 million barrels of oil production per day with an economic growth of 6.5 per cent, inflation at 9.5 per cent and an exchange rate of N160 to the dollar.
This is the first time that a budget will be presented and passed in the same year, despite the myriad of threat by members of the House of Representatives who had picked issues with the executive over the non-implementation of the 2012 budget.
With the early passage of the 2013 budget, the lawmakers urge the executive arm of government to ensure better implementation of the budget.
Dismiss Oteh or no budget for SEC
Members of the House of Representative however failed to approve the budget of the Security Exchange Commission (SEC), insisting that the Director-General of the commission, Ms Arunma Oteh must be sacked.
The national assembly took a tough stance on SEC and approved zero allocation for the commission.
Ms Oteh has been embroiled in a long-running feud with the House of Representatives after she accused members of a committee set up to probe the capital market, of soliciting bribes from the commission.
The allegation has led to the prosecution of the two members, Herman Hembe and Emeka Azubogu while the House in a unanimous motion asked the President to dismiss the SEC boss, claiming that her appointment was illegal.
The Senate Committee on Capital Market had also during the year, declared that it will have nothing to do with Ms Oteh, as long as she remains at the helm of affairs at the commission.