Yobe Governor Presents 80.6 bn Naira For 2015 Budget

2015 budgetYobe State Governor, Ibrahim Gaidam, has presented an appropriation bill of 80.6 billion naira to the State Assembly for scrutiny and subsequent passage into law for the 2015 Budget.

The Governor, while presenting the budget to the House, said that the current figure represents decrease of 22.2 billion naira, equivalent to 22 per cent less than that of 2014.

Ibrahim Gaidam said that the reduction in budget size was because of the downward projection from the federation’s account.

Governor Gaidam revealed that 37 billion naira is allocated to capital expenditure, while 43 billion naira is for the recurrent expenditure, a representation of 46% and 54% respectively.

The budget, which would be financed through Internally Generated Revenue, statutory allocation, Value Added Tax, ecological fund and access crude oil, according to him, is aimed at upgrading the performance of infrastructural facilities and identify areas of job creation, among others.

Giving highlights of the 2014 budget, the Governor said that so much was recorded despite the insurgency which claimed several lives in the state. He also condoled with those who lost loved ones, as well as properties during the chain of attacks.

The Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Adamu Dogo, said that the presentation of the appropriation bill by the Governor marked the first reading. He gave an assurance that the House would give the bill speedy deliberations, with a view to achieve immediate passage into law.

The Speaker also praised the leadership style of the Governor, which has made the return of almost all House members ahead of the 2015 election easy.

Fashola Announces 83 Per Cent 2014 Budget Performance

The Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Raji Fashola, fasholahas announced a 83-per cent cumulative performance for the 2014 Budget.

The performance represents the accomplished Budget in the first, second, third and fourth quarters of the year which stood at 67 per cent, 106 per cent, 84 per cent and 77 per cent respectively.

Addressing a press conference at the Lagos State House, Ikeja, Governor Fashola also announced that the fourth quarter budget performance stood at 77 per cent, saying the impact of the fourth quarter performance of the budget was already visible across the State in projects such as, the completed court buildings in Epe and Ikeja.

Governor Fashola also said that other projects that benefitted from the fourth quarter budget were the solar projects in primary health institution, primary schools, progress in road works across the state such as Agiti, Isheri-Oshun bridge behind Jakande Estate which are completed.

On the priorities of his administration in its last days, Governor Fashola promised to continue to do more of what the administration have done in order to close strongly.

“As I said before, in the rain and in the sun we will continue to provide service; that is the role of government.”

Governor Fashola listed other areas of priority to include settling as many obligations as it could, “in spite of the difficult financial situation,” to contractors to accelerate and complete more on-going projects.

Fashola also declared:  “We are issuing more contracts to support small businesses. We are in procurement now for maintenance contracts for about 606 schools which are contracts that range between N2 million and N5 million for small businesses”.

He said that beneficiaries would be graduates from the State’s technical and vocational centres who have formed small companies, and members of the society who bid for the contracts as well as those who show “demonstrable capacity”.

 

Analyst Commends Jonathan’s Handling Of Security And Economic Matters

Politics Today OnonujuAn Economist and Public Affairs Analyst, Dr Katch Ononuju, believes that Nigerian President, Goodluck Jonathan is handling the security and economic concerns of the country well.

This is in view of the delay in the passage of the 2014 budget.

Many Nigerians have asked why five months into the year, the 2014 budget had not been passed and the Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, earlier in the week, explained that the delay had been caused by distortion in the original bill sent to the National Assembly.

The lawmakers raised the original figure of 4.642 Trillion Naira presented by the President to 4.695 Trillion, a difference that amounts to about 53billion Naira.

Speaking on Channels Television’s Politics Today, Dr Ononuju believes that the decision of the National Assembly members was motivated by the need to insert clauses that would make the electioneering year easy for them both financially and policy wise.

Dr Ononuju believes that the situation whereby the President has delayed giving assent to the budget due to the distortions is a good thing for the country as it showed that there was more confidence to challenge ideas that do not seem right in the management of country’s economy.

He explained that this was not just a problem of the lawmakers but a situation that shows that the country was experiencing a transition from the dictatorship in its leadership to a real democracy.

He said that it was important to commend the Federal Government for “standing up for the Nigerian people” as he expects the Minister of Finance to look at the figures all over again to see what has been altered for the purpose of knowing its justification.

Responding to questions about the source of the monies being spent by the Government since the beginning of the year, and the suspicion that it might be engaging in illegality, he explained that the Government, in the absence of the budget of a year in view, is constitutionally allowed to spend half of the value of its budget in the previous year.

The implications of the delay in the passage of the budget, however, according to Dr Ononuju are that “it is not good for businesses in the country” as it cripples the smooth planning in commerce and industry, but he believes it would pay off in the end as it was the right thing to do.

Dr Ononuju also threw his weight behind President Jonathan’s consultation with the French Government on the security challenges in the country.

He explained that France being the former colonial master of the neighbouring African countries most involved in the challenges of insecurity in Nigeria makes it a key player in getting the cooperation of those countries.

He said that it was important for the President to identify the impromptu meeting in France as being of higher priority than the widely expected visit to Chibok in Borno State, where schoolgirls were abducted.

Although he declined comment on the President’s response to a journalist who asked him about the matter, he commended the President for his handling of the issue of terrorism in the country.

Kaduna: Governor Yero Warns Against Revenue Diversion

yero_kadunaKaduna State Governor, Mukhtar Yero, has warned officials of the State Revenue Board against tampering with revenues accruable to Government.

Yero gave the warning in Kaduna while inaugurating the Taxpayer Biometrics Card Registration System in the state.

The Governor warned that the state would no longer tolerate diversion of its revenues, advising the officials to ensure that every person pays based on what the law stipulates.

He said that the state currently generates only 1billion Naira monthly and directed the board to raise its collection to not less than N3billion every month.

He also advised them to widen their scope and get more people captured in the new taxpayer biometrics, to enable the government generate enough revenue with which to execute developmental projects.

The Governor, his deputy, as well as other top government officials were registered during the exercise.

2014 Budget: Late Passage Doesn’t Show Government’s Seriousness – Analyst

Business Morning - SandaThe late passage of the 2014 budget has been condemned by some economic analysts.

The Head, Transaction Advisory Services West Africa, Ernst & Young, Mr Bisi Sanda, who was our guest on our business programme, Business Morning, says creating uncertainty in the first quarter of the year doesn’t show seriousness on the side of the Government.

This according to him would affect implementation.

With the projected growth rate of GDP at 6.75%, Mr Sanda believes government needs to double its efforts particularly now that the GDP has been rebased.

The National Assembly last week passed the 2014 budget totaling 4.7trillion Naira, increasing it by 52.2 billion.

 

House Of Reps Set To Conclude Deliberations On Budget

House of RepsThe House of Representatives in Nigeria says it will conclude deliberations on the 2014 budget in the first week of April.

The Deputy Chairman of the House Committee on Media, Victor Ogene, told reports in Abuja on Thursday that the delay in the budget passage was occasioned by Ministries Departments and Agencies who have delayed in their budget defence, a matter, he said, the National Assembly could not control.

The budget was presented to the National Assembly on 19 December 2013.

An opposition party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), gaining more number of lawmakers after several of them defected from the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, gave a directive to the lawmakers to block the budget, a move aimed at coercing the President, Goodluck Jonathan to intervene in the crisis in Rivers State.

The party raised an alarm after a rally by the Save Rivers Movement was disrupted by the Nigeria Police Force, calling for the redeployment of the Commissioner of Police in the state.

Many Nigerians had expected that the delay in budget passage that had become become the fate of the country’s budget yearly would be corrected with expectation of early presentation.

But the presentation of the budget was, however, delayed when both the Senate and the House of Representatives were unable to reach an early agreement on the crude oil price benchmark.

Presenting the budget, after initial postponement by President Goodluck Jonathan,  the Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, said that the 2014 budget envisaged net collectible revenue of 7.50 trillion Naira.

She said that 3.73 trillion Naira of the expected collectible revenue would be used to fund the 2014 budget, which focuses on boosting job creation and inclusive growth.

“The budget has been underpinned by the parameter of oil benchmark of 2.39 million barrels per day compared to 2.53 million barrels per day in 2013,” she said.

The budget is also underpinned by a benchmark oil price of $77.5 per barrel, projected real GDP growth of 6.75 per cent and average exchange rate of 160 Naira per dollar.

Life Beyond Oil: Fashola Advocates Reforms That Eliminate Corruption

The Governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Fashola is concerned about the country’s response to the abundance of oil.

At the 30th anniversary lecture of the law firm of George Etomi and Partners, Governor Fashola spoke on the topic “Life Without Oil”. The Governor believes that such a future was not reasonably foreseeable.

He wants more focus on how the country can develop herself and her people away from oil.

“The question that seems more appropriate is whether a better life with oil is possible. The answer I will offer is an emphatic yes. The road to that better life is not too difficult. It requires us to eliminate corruption at all levels of the oil industry. It requires us to reform NNPC especially in terms of personnel and replace them with more committed professionals.

“The road to that better life requires us to understand that although oil is currently selling at over $100 per barrel, it has not always been so and will not remain so,” he said.

Governor Fashola also referred to statement credited to Senator Chris Anyanwu a few days earlier on the floor of the Senate, during the consideration of the 2014 Budget, that the Navy does not have enough money to fuel her ships, as well as the complaints of the Inspector-General of Police that he did not have enough money for his men. He called on Nigerians not to keep quiet about the need for the country to move in the right direction.

PDP Lawmaker Accuses APC Of Deliberately Delaying Passage of 2014 Budget

Deputy Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, Rep. Leo Ogor today hinted that there are moves by the opposition to stifle the passage of the 2014 Budget.

“I think there is that attempt recently and you realise that it affected the position of the budget for about three or four days” adding that “a position was also taken” because “we run the house in line with precedents and nobody has actually asked for these documents” he said while speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s programme, Face Off in Abuja.

However in a swift reaction, the Minority Leader in the House, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila refuted the claim, alleging that “left to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) the budget should be passed in one or two days”.

He argued “a month should not be too much” to debate on “a budget for 170 million people” insisting that “that is what we are doing now”.

Rep. Gbajabiamila challenged Rep. Ogor to explain how the budget intends to affect the life of the ordinary Nigerian. Responding, Rep. Ogor began by quoting Section 81 of the constitution, admitting that the document sent by the president has some flaws, he however noted that it is their duty as lawmakers to give Nigerians the budget that will benefit the general populace of the country.

Saraki Defends APC’s Block Budget Directive

The Chairman, Senate Committee on Environment and Ecology, Bukola Saraki, defended the directive from the All Progressives Congress (APC) on the 2014 budget.

He stated that it is a way of saying the passage of the budget should be slowed down so it can be done properly.

He said, “there is no point rushing to pass the budget and the impact on the people will not be felt”, adding that the party is using its policy to engage the House to emphasise on other issues affecting Nigerians, such as health care and security which is also as important as the budget, he stated.

Mr. Saraki said, “If we challenge the stability of democracy due to certain actions that we believe are endangering it, as a political party we must be able to engage and say, if you want us to discuss the budget we will discuss the budget but there are issues as well that are important to Nigerian people as the budget.

“In other countries, just health bill has brought government to a stand still because those are the issues that are important, so political parties will use what they have to address that”.

Speaking on Channels Television breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr. Saraki stated that the APC members at the Senate are in same range of compliance with their party in simply saying that the budget passage can be done differently.

He further criticised the issue of the budget as a “foundation issue”, stating that the “process is faulty because primarily, the source of data that make it a budget as a mono-product economy of oil is not transparent”.

2014 Budget Lacks Proper Consultation Between Executive And Legislator — Analyst

The hope of having Nigeria’s 2014 budget passed by the National Assembly any time soon may not be feasible until the first quarter of the year.

That was the opinion of two analysts, Eze Onyekpere and  Johnson Chukwu who were guests on Channels Television’s programme, Business Morning.

They expressed worries that the budget, which ordinarily should have been passed for implementation before now, was still a subject of discourse at the National Assembly.

In Mr. Chukwu’s opinion, the delay in implementation will lead to a set back in the execution of key projects especially in the area of infrastructure.

He also urged the Federal Government to curtail the level of oil theft in the country, as it was  a major factor capable of reducing output and export, thus constituting a bane on foreign exchange generation in 2014.

giving a breakdown of the budget, Mr Onyekpere pointed out that the sum allocated to some sectors such as the judiciary, agriculture, health and education was quite low.

He called for more funds to be made available to these sectors to push them forward.

2014 Budget Passes 2nd Reading In Senate, Suffers Setback In House

After four days of intense debate in the Senate, the 2014 Appropriation Bill has scaled through the crucial second reading in the upper chamber.

The second reading of the budget is perhaps an indication that the APC caucus in the Senate did not heed the directive of the party to block all executive bills.

The Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, who presided over plenary on Tuesday, commended the lawmakers for allowing the budget to go through second reading.

The bill has been forwarded to the Senate Committees on Appropriation and Finance, for further legislative work and the joint committee has three weeks to conclude its work and report back to the Senate.

Setback In The House

While the 2014 Appropriation Bill appears to be having a smooth sail in the Senate, that seems not to be the case in the lower chamber.

The bill suffered a setback on Tuesday in the House of Representatives, as debate on the draft law was brought to a halt after two members presented opposing views on its consideration.

Consequently, the Speaker of the House, Aminu Tambuwal, has set up a 6-man committee to look into the views and present a position to guide the House.

Na’Abba Challenges Politicians Over Jonathan’s ‘Single Term Agreement’

The former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mister Ghali Na’Abba has challenged those claiming that President Goodluck Jonathan signed an agreement to restrict himself to a single term to come out with proofs to back up their claims.

Speaking on Channels Television programme, ‘’View From The Top’’, Mr Na’Abba said that although it is important for people to honour agreements they entered into, he was not privy to any document suggesting that there is any agreement.

He said: “Anybody has the right to contest to be the President of Nigeria, wherever he comes from, but when there is an agreement, that agreement must be upheld, no matter the pain. If we don’t learn to honour our agreements, then we are not men of honour.

“In this case, none of us have been briefed after the primary elections of 2011 by anybody about the process these governors followed in giving their votes or asking their delegates to elect Goodluck Jonathan to be the party’s presidential flag bearer.”

Na’Abba was among many top politicians that left the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, in a highly publicized defection to the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, in 2005. He said that unlike the current wave of defections, his was not an easy decision, leaving the PDP back then.

He explained that the then President, Olusegun Obasanjo, in his bid to elongate his tenure in office, “embarked on what they called re-registration exercise in the party”, with the aim of “having total control of the party.”

He further alleged that those of them who were seen not to be in support of the president’s plan “were marked out for total elimination from the party.” So, means had to be devised for them to either leave the party or be dismissed. He said that they were denied the opportunity to be re-registered as members of the party.

Hence, they opted out of the party and fought the scheme. He noted that they did not leave the party just because they wanted to.

He, however, regretted that his expectation that whatever party he joined after PDP would be a truly democratic party with internal democracy was not what he found, so he decided to return to his party, the PDP, in 2007, just after the presidential election.

Speaking from experience as a one-time defector, Na’Abba noted that the possibility of recent PDP defectors returning to the party would depend on their objectives, as there were people in politics for the purpose of acquiring power, while there are also developmental politicians.

“Once power seeking politicians find what they need, they may not come back, because for them all the platforms are the same. There are no differences in ideology; which is why many politicians contesting for positions cannot provide their party manifestos,” he explained.

Mr Na’Abba also commended the current Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, saying despite the circumstances that he has found himself, he is doing his best.

“The current House of Representatives cannot be compared to that of 1999 to 2003.  Because that time, members came almost on their own, so they didn’t need anybody to direct them, and this was why the House was quite independent.

“After 2003, when the potential for the House to do a lot of things was realised by the executive arm, it was silently decided that that degree of independence should never be allowed within the legislature. So the next occupants of the House and the Senate were mostly handpicked by the party or the President.”

He also shared his views on the National Conference and other matters of national importance.