Finance Minister Says N5.1trn Released From 2016 Budget

Finance Minister Says N5.1trn Released From 2016 BudgetThe Federal Government has so far released ‎the sum of 5.1 trillion Naira out of 6.06 trillion Naira passed by the National Assembly in the 2016 budget.

The Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, said this on Wednesday at a meeting organised by the Joint National Assembly Committee on Appropriation in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

Mrs Adeosun told the committee members that despite the shortfall in revenue in 2016, the Federal Government has so far released 870 billion Naira for capital expenditure, excluding the proceeds from the Eurobond.

However, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriation, Senator Danjuma Goje, sought to know if the Ministry of Finance diverted funds from loans to finance personnel expenditure rather than capital expenditure.

He also expressed dissatisfaction with the absence of the ‎Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) at the stakeholders meeting on implementation of the 2016 budget.

Senator Goje noted that the Acting Director from CBN, Mohammed Yakubu, was not competent to speak before the Joint committee, insisting that the CBN governor must appear before the committee latest Friday morning.

“We have left serious business of processing 2017 budget to ensure the level of implementation of the 2016 budget. It is Nigerians’ right to know the level of implementation.

“The CBN governor could not call us, he only sent an Acting Director in the CBN to appear before the committee,” he said.

Giving details of releases for 2016 budget before the committee, the Accountant-General of the Federation, Hammed Idris, informed the lawmakers that 870 billion Naira was released for capital projects which constituted 55%, while 2.3 trillion Naira was released for personnel cost and 351 billion Naira for statutory transfer.

Mr Idris added that 1.3 trillion Naira was meant for debit servicing, service wide votes for 285 billion Naira while overhead was 138 billion Naira.

He explained that personnel cost and debit service were achieved 100%, overhead cost achieved 85% while capital was achieved 55%.

On his part the Director-General of Budget Office, Ben Akabueze, said there was a shortfall of 1.1 trillion Naira in targeted Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) for 2016, explaining that only 398 billion Naira was realised in 2016 IGR out of targeted 1.5 trillion Naira.

He‎ attributed poor capital funding in 2016 to revenue shortfall, stressing that projection oil revenue only accounted for 20% of the total 2016 budget.

Mr Akabueze said “the reason we are unable to implement capital budget fully is as a result of shortfall in the IGR”.

He, however, failed to give a clear picture of how the loan borrowed was utilised, but promised the lawmakers for details before the end of implementation of 2016 budget.

Lawmakers Disagree Over 2017 Budget Figures

Lawmakers Disagree Over 2017 Budget FiguresSome lawmakers have disagreed over the 7.298 trillion Naira 2017 budget of recovery and growth presented to the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari.

While, a number of them applauded the strategy outlined by the president, others are concerned about funding of the proposed budget and its focus.

Addressing a joint session of the National Assembly on Wednesday, President Buhari said that the implementation of the 2016 budget was hampered by low crude oil prices.

The 2017 figure however has an increase of 20.4% over the 2016 figure.

Budget Breakdown

The 2017 budget is based on a crude oil benchmark price of $42.50 per barrel, with an output of 2.2 million barrels per day.

The highlights of the budget include improved business environment, governance as well as security of lives and property.

Government’s expenditure is to be funded with the sum of 4.94 trillion Naira while oil is to contribute 1.98 trillion Naira of the amount.

The deficit of 3.63 trillion Naira, which is 2.18% of GDP, is to be financed through borrowing the sum of 2.23 trillion Naira.

Of this sum, 1.7 trillion would be from external borrowing while 1.254 trillion would be sourced domestically.

Key capital spending provisions would be on power, works and housing, which have been allocated the highest amount of 529 billion Naira, followed by transport – 262 billion, social intervention – 150 billion, defence – 140 billion while the judiciary got an increased allocation of 100 billion Naira.

The area of education got 50 billion Naira while universal basic education got a direct allocation of 92 billion Naira.

The sum of 51 billion Naira was then also allocated to health.

“The plan which builds on our 2016 budget, provides a clear road-map for the policy actions and set design to bring the economy out of recession, to acquire a steady growth and prosperity,” Buhari stated.

Minister Advocates Passage Of National Disability Bill

Minister Advocates Passage Of National Disability BillMinister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Aisha Alhassan, has implored the National Assembly to prepare for the passage of an approvable National Disability Bill.

This according to her, is aimed at catering for the needs of people living with disabilities in Nigeria.

She was speaking at an event marking the 2016 International Day for Persons With Disabilities in Abuja.

The minister further stated that the implementation of such legislation would enable Nigeria to fully domesticate the United Nations convention on the rights of persons with disabilities

Nigeria is currently a nation in which social stigma, cultural beliefs and infrastructural decline seem to militate against the inclusion and contribution of disabled persons in the country, which is why the Alhassan came up with the initiative.

Addressing a gathering of people with disabilities, she said that while the passage of the National Disability Bill was critical to address their plight, the Federal Government refused to be handicapped by bureaucratic processes.

Though enduring blindness throughout his life, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Disability Matters, Dr Samuel Ankeli, expressed a clear vision for persons living with disabilities in the nation.

He said that President Buhari’s creation of the Presidential Disability-focused Office, was an indication to all aspiring disabled Nigerians that they could become anything in life.

Convener of the joint association of persons with disabilities, Ekaette Umoh, also called on the public, saying that true progress depends on citizen participation.

While several experts advocated the inclusion of disabled people at the political party level to cement their socio-political incorporation, others emphasised that 5% of budgetary allocations to all sectors should be administered to establish disabled-friendly infrastructure.

Gender Equality Bill Passes Second Reading At Senate

Senate, Gender Equality BillA modified version of the Gender Equality Bill has passed through the crucial second reading on the floor of the Senate.

The bill is a proposal which seeks to eliminate all forms of discrimination against women in Nigeria.

It suffered a humiliating fate at its first introduction a few months earlier as some male lawmakers strongly opposed the bill.

They noted that enacting a law to accord women equal rights with men was in conflict with the country’s religious and cultural beliefs.

However, the bill was sponsored on Thursday by a member of the chamber from Ekiti State, Senator Biodun Olujimi, at the National Assembly.

Senator Olujimi expressed hope that the bill, when passed, would ensure the elimination of discrimination against women in education, employment, profession and occupation.

She added that it would also prohibit all forms of violence against women irrespective of their religion or ethnicity.

The lawmaker stated that Section 4 of the bill prohibits all forms of discrimination against any person on account of gender, age and disability through spoken words, acts, rules, customs and practices by any person or institution.

She expressed hope that it would receive favorable responses from her colleagues as her Lagos counterpart, Oluremi Tinubu, supported the move.

Contributing to the debate, the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, advised the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters to examine the bill closely to make sure its provisions do not conflict with existing laws.

However, the Chief Whip, Senator Olusola Adeyeye, disagreed with the Deputy Senate President.

The bill has been referred to the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters for further legislative work.

The committee has been directed to present a report on the bill in four weeks.

APC Reverses Decision To Ban AIT

APC-on-AIT-banThe All Progressives Congress (APC) has reversed the decision made by the media aide to General Muhammadu  Buhari to ban one of Nigeria’s private television stations, the AIT,  from covering the activities of the president-elect over what he referred to as issues relating to ethics and standards.

In a statement on Tuesday, the APC spokesperson, Mr Lai Mohammed, said all accredited media organisations in Nigeria, including the AIT, were free to cover the activities of the president-elect.

Mr Mohammed went further said that the incoming Buhari administration would not discriminate against any media organisation, irrespective of its role during the electioneering campaign before the elections of March 28 and April 11.

‘Out For Personal Vendetta’

He further advised that all media organisations should observe the highest level of professionalism in carrying out their duties.

Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has described Monday’s directive to bar the television house, from covering his activities as unacceptable.

The party further said that the suppression of the media, under any guise portends danger for the nation’s democracy.

The ruling party, however, warned that if the right of the president-elect was in anyway violated by the media organisation or any media house,  he is expected to act within the law and seek redress in court. The party further stated that if the decision was not reversed, it would have no option than to conclude that General Buahri was out for personal vendetta.

Fayose Dismisses APC Lawmakers’ Impeachment Plot

fayose- on- APC lawmakers The governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose, has advised members of the All Progressives Congress in the State’s House of Assembly to jettison their plan to impeach him, saying it is a ‘joke of the century’.

Responding to a purported impeachment notice, Governor Fayose asked the APC lawmakers to stop acting like jesters, saying, “the script being acted by the APC is a failed one because no one, no matter how highly placed he is, would be allowed to test the will of Ekiti people”.

The notice posted online and signed by Dr. Adewale Omirin, as the Speaker of the House, read: “Please, find attached herewith, allegations of gross misconduct made against your persons by a total of 19 members  of the Ekiti State House of Assembly in pursuance of the Provision of Section 188(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended).

“You are hereby informed that you are at liberty to respond to the said allegations in writing within seven days hereof”.

The governor described the purported notice as a “joke of the century” and reminded the lawmakers that “the Speaker of the Ekiti State House of Assembly is Hon Dele Olugbemi and not Dr Adewale Omirin.”

In a statement issued on Saturday , the spokesman to the governor, Lere Olayinka, said “Dr. Omirin is already in court, challenging his impeachment and common sense dictates that when you are challenging an action already taken in court, you have accepted the consequences of such action pending the determination of the suit you filed.”

The governor further urged the APC  lawmakers to stop advertising their ignorance and crudity in the market place by posting impeachment notice online.

“Since last year November, these so-called lawmakers abdicated their duties and ran to Lagos only for them to resurface on Wednesday, but they hurriedly ran away again.

“Now they are posting notice of impeachment signed on March 9, 2015 and Ekiti people are asking, was the motion for impeachment moved and adopted in Lagos or Osun State House of Assembly?

“Is impeachment of a governor done along Lagos-Ibadan Expressway inside a moving bus?

“Rather than going about advertising their ignorance and crudity, the APC  lawmakers should wait for the court to adjudicate on the case they filed because even the President-elect, Major General Mohammadu Buhari (Rtd) would respect the rule of law when he assumes office,” the governor said.

Easter Celebration: Nigerians Asked To Thank God For Successful Elections

Okorocha on Easter CelebrationThe Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha has urged all Nigerians home and in the diaspora to use the period of the Easter celebration to thank God for a peaceful presidential and National Assembly elections.

Governor Okorocha further urged Nigerians to also pray for smooth and peaceful transition of government on May 29.

Speaking to Channels Television at the Government House in Owerri, the Imo State capital in south-east Nigeria, Governor Okorocha said the Easter period which herald the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, should also be an avenue for Nigerians to “reflect on the tenets of sacrifice, patriotism and love for our dear country, as Christ loved the world and sacrificed his life that all may live”.

He also urged all Nigerians to cultivate the spirit of forgiveness and embrace one another, as “no other country can be called ours except Nigeria”.

The Imo State Governor also commended the spirit of maturity and love shown by President Goodluck Jonathan by congratulating the president elect, General Muhammadu Buhari.

Governor Okorocha said, all political leaders in and outside the country should take a cue from the maturity displayed by President Jonathan in order to make the society a better place for all to live and prosper.

He further prayed that God would continue to bless Nigerians, especially Imo people and all patriotic leaders in the country, as they celebrate the Easter.

The Governor also appealed to Nigerians, irrespective of their political, religious or ethnical differences, to come together and support the incoming government, with the President-elect, General Mohammadu Buhari, as the driver.

“The APC led administration will run an all inclusive government, irrespective of where their interest lies during the Presidential campaign,” Governor Okorocha said, expressing optimism that General Buhari’s administration would bring the desired change Nigerians yearn for.

Speaking on his chances at the April 11 governorship polls, Governor Okorocha said he was optimistic that his party would emerge victorious, following his achievements in the lasts three and a half years in the state.

He, however, called on all security operatives, especially the Army and State Security Service (SSS) in the state to carry out their duties and desist from intimidating voters.

APGA NASS Candidates Reject Results In Anambra

APGA-2The National Assembly candidates of the All Progressives Grand Alliance ( APGA) have rejected the election results and accused candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) of rigging the election in Anambra State.

A former executive vice chairman of the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC), Dr Ernest Ndukwe, who contested on the platform of the APGA, said he won the election for Anambra South Senatorial Zone.

Dr Ndukwe called on INEC not to issue a Certificate of Return to the incumbent Senator, Andy Uba, who had been declared winner of the election, insisting that the mandate be surrendered to him.

Dr Ndukwe, in a briefing at his Oraifite residence in Ekwusigo Local Government Area of the State, said that no proper collation was done anywhere in Anambra South Senatorial Zone on Saturday’s National Assembly election.

Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Election Operation Committee of the PDP, Mr. Ken Emeakayi, has dismissed Dr Ndukwe’s claim, saying that the former NCC boss has no basis to talk as he was caught red-handed violating the electoral process.

Similarly, the APGA Senatorial candidate for Anambra North Senatorial Zone, Dubem Obaze, has also rejected the result that threw up former Aviation Minister, Mrs. Stella Oduah, as the winner.

Mr. Obaze further said he would head for the court, to reclaim his mandate.

Reacting to the accusation, the Campaign Director of Stella Odua Campaign Organisation, Mr. Okwudidli Uzoka said that if the election was repeated ten times, Mrs. Odua would be victorious.

Al-Makura Attributes APC Victory In Election To High Level Of Performance

al-makura-on-election-victoryThe Nasarawa State Governor has attributed the victory of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2015 presidential election to the high level of performance of the party.

Governor Tanko Al-Makura disclosed this in Lafia, the state capital, when he visited to oversight the completion process of the Lafia School for the Disabled project.

The Governor said that the APC  has a social contract with the people of Nigeria, as they are of the belief that electioneering campaign and the provision of basic infrastructure is synonymous, since every administration must be judged by its performance in office.

While admitting that he must campaign to ensure his re-election, Governor Al-makura said that his administration was expanding the scope of the Lafia School for the Disabled project as he emphasized his resolve to add value to the lives of ordinary citizens in the state.

Members of the APC in the state have also gathered to celebrate victory at the polls, following the outcome of the result of the presidential election.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared the candidate of the APC, General Muhammadu Buhari, winner of Nigeria’s presidential election, defeating the incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan.

The announcement was made by the Chairman of INEC, Professor Attahiru Jega, in the early hours of Wednesday, April 1, after the completion of the collation and announcement of results at the collation centre in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

General Muhammadu Buhari of the APC,  polled a total of 15,424,921 votes to defeat all other candidates, with Dr Goodluck Jonathan of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), polling a total of 12,853,162 votes to place second.

In Nasarawa State, the APC scored 236,838 votes while the PDP scored 273,460.

NASS Election: Returning Officer Reveals Irregularities In Abia

electionsMore revelations have emerged on what transpired on the field during the just concluded National Assembly election in Abia State.

The latest is coming from the Returning Officer for Abia North Senatorial District, Dr. Ihekwaba Chukwugoziem, who revealed that the process was characterized by massive fraud and irregularities in the five Local Government Areas that make up the Abia North Senatorial District.

Dr. Chukwugoziem revealed that electoral and collation officers were forced by hoodlums to manipulate figures in favour of the Peoples Democratic Party.

The Returning Officer said that he had advised the Resident Electoral Commissioner to organise a rerun in all five Local Government Areas.

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Abia North senatorial candidate, Mao Ohuabunwa, and his All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) counterpart, David Ogba, have traded words over the National Assembly (NASS) election results released by INEC.

While the PDP candidate insists that the election results were genuine, the APGA candidate rejected the claim, saying the authentic results were yet to be declared.

Also, the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate in the state, Anyim Nyerere, condemned the conduct and urged the electoral body to investigate the allegations of malpractice.

The Abia State Government has warned political parties and their candidates to refrain from using inciting statements capable of causing rampage among the party supporters thereby truncating the existing peace in the state.

Amaechi Calls For Vigilance Ahead Of April 11 Election

Governor Amaechi speaks on election The Governor of Rivers State, Chibuike Amaechi has called on residents in the State to be resilient and vigilant, as they head to the April 11 polls.

The Governor made the remark in a speech about the lessons to learn from the March 28 presidential elections.

In the wake of the announcement of the presidential election results, Governor Amaechi urged the people to learn from the leadership qualities displayed by President Goodluck Jonathan and the President elect, General Mohamadu Buhari.

According to Governor Amaechi, the people should not allow the gains of democracy in the State to be eroded by desperate politicians.

Governor Amaechi had on March 28 asked supporters of the All Progressives Congress in Rivers State not to vote in the election, claiming there was a plan to manipulate the process.

He had asked an official of the electoral body to show him the result sheet before he would go for his accreditation. When the electoral body’s official could not provide the document, he ordered the party’s supporters to boycott the election.

After the elections were held, the supporters of the APC in the state, staged a protest, calling for the cancellation of the election. They said “no election was held in Rivers State”.

However, the Independent National Electoral Commission, after looking at the issues raised by the party’s supporters, said it found no reason to cancel the election in the state.

Abia State Government Decries Politicians’ Use Of Inciting Statements

abia stateThe Abia State government has warned political parties and their candidates to refrain from using inciting statements capable of causing rampage among the party supporters thereby truncating the existing peace in the state.

The state Commissioner for Information, Dr Anthony Agbazuere, told Channels Television in Umuahia, the state capital, that the results as announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) are correct and anybody in doubt should channel their grievances to the appropriate quarters.

He was reacting to the claim by the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) candidate who contested for the Abia Central Senatorial district with Governor Theodore Orji, that the election results announced for the zone were false and manipulated by the government in power.

Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Abia north senatorial candidate, Mao Ohuabunwa and his All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) counterpart, David Ogba have traded words over the National Assembly (NASS) results released by INEC. While the PDP candidate insists that the results were genuine, the APGA candidate rejected the claim, saying the authentic results were yet to be declared.

Also, the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate in the election, Anyim Nyerere condemned the conduct and urged the electoral body to investigate the allegations of malpractice.