FG Extends 2016 Capital Budget Implementation

min-of-financeThe Federal Government has extended the implementation of the capital component of the 2016 budget from March 31 to May 5, or till the passage of the 2017 budget.

The Ministry of Finance confirmed in a statement that the Accountant-General of the Federation, Idris Ahmed, had issued a circular to all ministries, departments and agencies of government to inform them of the extension.

According to the ministry, the extension is to enable the MDAS utilise the 1 trillion Naira so far released for capital expenditure.

FG Approves Procurement Of 15 Fire Fighting Trucks

fecIn an effort to revamp the Federal Fire Service across the country, the Federal Executive Council has approved the procurement of 15 firefighting trucks at the cost of 403 million Naira, out of the 2016 budget.

Briefing journalists after the council meeting, the Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Danbazza, decried a situation where there are only two functional fire vehicles in the Federal Capital Territory.

The council also approved the ratification of the agreement on the establishment of the west African tax administration forum, which according to the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, is a platform to promote cooperation among west African tax authorities.

“There is an existing provision in the law that any company is supposed to have on its headed paper, the names of directors and their registered office but what we have seen is that many of the companies transacting with the government, only have the name of the company and no details of who the directors are.

“So for tax purposes, it is quite difficult to trace them – The SGF would be issuing a circular reminding agencies and ministries of government that that is the requirement of the law and therefore, they are at liberty not to treat any document that does not comply with the law,” the Finance Minister stated.

State House Says 5.196b Naira Released From Its 2016 Budget

Jalal Arabi, State House, 2016 Budget
State House Permanent Secretary, Mr Jalal Arabi

The State House says it has received a total of 5.196 billion naira as capital release from the 2016 budget amounting to 47.5% of its budget.

This was disclosed by the Permanent Secretary, Mr Jalal Arabi, who said the released amount of 4.8 billion naira (93.1%) has so far been expended on the projects for which the funds were tied and released.

A balance of 5.745 billion naira representing 52.5% is yet to be released.

Mr Arabi also disclosed that for the 2017 budget, the State House had reprioritised projects in the medical centre and suspended most of its capital expenditure proposals at the moment.

However, he said that the State House would take advantage of the supplementary budget window when necessary.

The Permanent Secretary made the disclosure on Thursday at a meeting with the House of Representatives Committee on Special Duties who were on an oversight visit to the State House in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

The committee was inaugurated by the Speaker of the House, Honourable Yakubu Dogara, and has Representative Nasiru Daura as its chairman.

Mr Arabi said that the 2017 budget has been reviewed downwards to 13,567,979,278.72 naira for 2017 from 16,563,395,992.00 naira.

He noted that all allocations for the 2016 recurrent expenditure had been received up to and including the month of December 2016, adding that the capital releases were made for three out of five subheads in the State House budget.

Earlier, Representative Daura said that the lawmakers were at the State House to determine the level of implementation of the 2016 budget, and also on a fact finding mission to inspect completed and ongoing projects at the Presidential Villa.

He observed that the visit would help to correct the ongoing misinformation about State House, as well as curb corruption and ensure that Nigeria comes out of recession.

Budget Padding Is A ‘Misrepresentation Of Facts’ – Deputy Speaker

Yusuf Lasun, Reps, Budget Padding, 2016 Budget, House of RepresentativesThe Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Honourable Lasun Yusuf, has described as misrepresentation of facts, the widespread allegations of padding of the 2016 budget.

He said that contrary to rumours being peddled around the country, there was no section of the appropriation bill that was padded.

The lawmaker explained that the legislature had in exercise of the power conferred on it by the constitution, reallocated figure in the budget estimates as presented by President Muhammadu Buhari.

He made the disclosure while delivering a lecture at the 17th edition of the media parliament of Kwara State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ).

Mr Yusuf spoke on the ‘Challenges of Law-making and the Delivery of Dividend of Democracy in Nigeria’ during the gathering at the Abubakar Olusola Saraki Pen House in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital.

He explained that it was the exclusive preserve of the legislative arm to rework annual fiscal document tabled before it by the executive, stating that such document remains “an estimate and not real budget”.

The former Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Appropriation, Mr Abdulmumin Jibrin, who had blown the lid that some principal officers of the lower chamber of the National Assembly partook in the budget padding scam, was suspended from office.

His allegation had ignited public outrage against the National Assembly while the House maintained that the budget was not padded as alleged.

Abdulmumin Jibrin, House, Budget padding
Mr Abdulmumin Jibrin

Budget Padding Debacle

The Deputy Speaker, however, told the gathering in Ilorin that the allegations against the leadership of the House by the suspended lawmaker were of no effect and could not be substantiated, insisting that the House acted within its powers.

He stated that the House was empowered to reallocate and reconcile figures in the budget estimates that were believed not to be properly done.

Honourable Yusuf decried that many Nigerians were ignorant of the works of the legislative arm and were fond of passing verdict without verifiable facts on some allegations levelled against the lawmakers.

He explained further that it was the primary responsibility of the law-making body to scrutinise budget estimates submitted by the executive arm, adding that members could use the avenue to address pressing needs of their people.

“While the executive makes proposals on projects, programmes and expenditure for every year, the legislature finally approves figures that are spent.

“In the process, the legislature often interfaces with the executive to have certain projects and programmes form part of (the) budget.

“This is necessary as I have said earlier because the closeness of the legislator to the constituents must have emerged from that environment.

“It is critical that certain pressing areas requiring government attention are suggested and included in the estimates.

“Unfortunately, the poor understanding of the fine details of legislative practice anchored on the express provision of the constitution erroneously informed the so-called budget padding debacle which was a distraction to the polity.

“For instance, the case of 50-year-old Ojutu Bridge in my constituency that has great potentials in turning around the lives of my constituents,” Yusuf said.

House Calls For Release Of Judiciary Allocation

House of Representatives, JudiciaryThe House of Representatives has condemned the failure of the Executive to release the funds approved for the judiciary in the 2016 budget.

The lawmakers made the criticism on Thursday, following a motion of urgent public importance raised by a member of the lower chamber from Sokoto State, Representative Aminu Shagari.

The House was informed that the National Judiciary Council has not received allocations for the months of November and December 2016.

The lawmakers have appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to direct the relevant government agency to urgently release all the outstanding funds approved for the council.

They also asked the state governors to pay workers who were yet to receive their entitlements in the various states of the country.

Don’t Lose Hope On Economy, Ajimobi Urges Nigerians

Don’t Lose Hope On Economy, Ajimobi Urges NigeriansThe Oyo State Governor, Abiola Ajimobi, has called for a renewed hope from the country’s citizens on the ability of the All Progressives Congress-led Federal Government to salvage the country from the pervading economic challenges.

The Governor made the call in his New Year message issued by his Special Adviser on Communication and Strategy, Mr Yomi Layinka, in Ibadan.

Although the Governor said he was not unmindful of the telling effect of the recession on the populace, he, however, said they should continue to trust in the Federal Government’s ability to put the economy back on track judging by the ongoing rejigging efforts.

While expressing happiness with the success so far recorded by the military in the fight against the Boko Haram insurgents in the North-East, the Governor appealed to the Niger-Delta militants to sheath their swords and allow peace to reign in the zone.

Ajimobi saluted the gallantry of the country’s army and other security agencies, calling for prayers and support for the families of officers and soldiers who paid the supreme price or lost limbs in the patriotic fight that culminated in liberation of the dreaded Sambisa forest.

The Governor said: “The economic recession currently staring us in the face in Nigeria called for concerted efforts on the part of all and sundry to play the roles expected of us to ensure that the country survives these trying times.

“Part of these efforts is for the restive Niger-Delta youths to cease fire and allow peace to reign. They should stop the sabotage of oil installations and embrace dialogue. They should realize that it is only in an atmosphere of peace that the desired development can be achieved.

“To the good people of Oyo State, I want to assure you that with your cooperation and support, the administration under my leadership will continue to work towards the recovery of our economy.

“Recall that in my budget speech on Thursday, I reported how much work had been done to enhance our revenue base by expanding the tax net; by blocking financial loopholes, fixing leakages and institutionalizing prudence in all spheres of the administration.

“May I, therefore, urge you to play your part in this direction.”

The Governor thanked the people of the state for maintaining peaceful co-existence and for their commitment to the growth and development of the state.

He, however, restated his warning that any attempt to plunge the state into chaos and lawlessness would be crushed with the full force of law.

Ajimobi said that his government would not relent in its efforts at ensuring the sustenance of the ongoing infrastructural revolution and economic re-engineering aimed at improving the general wellbeing of the citizenry.

Ajimobi Presents N207bn Budget Of Self-Reliance In Oyo

Ajimobi Presents N207bn Budget Of Self-Reliance In OyoThe Oyo State Governor, Abiola Ajimobi has presented a total budget of N207.671 billion for the 2017 fiscal year to the State House of Assembly, which represents an increase of 19.13% over the 2016 budget.

The Governor, while presenting the budget titled “Budget of Self Reliance”, explained that the recurrent expenditure will cost N126.87 billion which is 61.09% of the budget while the capital expenditure will take N80.80 billion or 38.91%.

Governor Ajimobi stated that Personnel Cost, made up of salaries, allowances and promotion arrears stands at N56.04 Billion or 26.99% while overhead cost accounts for N20.04Billion which is 9.75%, adding that N50.79bn or 24.45 is meant for the Consolidate Revenue Fund Charges to sum up the total Recurrent Expenditure of N126.87 billion.

Ajimobi said that the budget has been designed to be Internal Generated Revenue (IGR) driven, emphasizing that N107.23bn or 51.64% of the proposed N207.671 billion Budget is to be funded from IGR, N66.49bn or 32.01% from Federation Account while N33.97bn or 16.35% is expected from capital receipts, which is restructuring and reallocation of funds to priority areas.

The Governor stressed that the state’s restructured Board of Internal Revenue was poised for enhanced performance to ensure a realistic budget tenure adding, “in the face of the challenges in the outgoing year, arising from almost complete reliance on Federal Allocation which has grave consequences, as Federal Statutory Allocation itself is dependent on extraneous factors, this budget has been designed to be Internally Generated Revenue driven.

“In the Informal sector, the Board is targeting 20% of the population which is presently pegged at 6million individuals with presumptive tax rate of N3000 per annum.”

Governor Ajimobi noted that the government anchored the 2017 budgetary proposals on Infrastructure, Agriculture and its value-chain framework, Education and Health, pledging that other sectors would be given adequate attention in order to ensure that the budget achieves it theme as budget of self-reliance.

He reiterated the conduct of the local government elections in the state in 2017, saying, “I wish to reiterate and remind us, that February 2017 is around the corner when we shall all have the opportunity to elect our leaders at the grassroots level.

“The leaders that are expected to emerge are those that will be able to key into and consolidate our developmental agenda.  I, therefore, solicit your support for the successful conduct of the elections.”

The Governor gave the assurance that the government would pursue projects and programmes that will “attract Assistance and Sponsorship from Development Partners, Promote Public-Private-Partnership initiative as a vehicle in the delivery of infrastructure and services, Stimulate Citizens’ interest in Micro, Small and Medium Scale Entrepreneurships as well as Efficient and Effective Utilization of Resources through rigorous monitoring of the implementation and evaluation of the impact of projects and programs on the citizenry”.

While lamenting the poor revenue of the state in 2016, Governor Ajimobi said that as at September 30, 2016, the overall budget performance was 46.09% or N79.939bn out the N173,429bn approved estimates for the present fiscal year.

“It is no gainsaying that the laudable “Agric-Oyo” programme implemented in 2016 has raised the level of food production in the State by 27.5% and GSP by 1.5%.

“Consequently, Government will extend “Agric-Oyo” activities to the remaining Local Government Councils that have shown a willingness to collaborate with the state Ministry of Agriculture,” the Governor pointed out.

Responding after the Governor’s presentation, the state House of Assembly commended the Governor Ajimobi for ensuring that there is a cordial relationship among the arms of government in the state.

In his remarks, the Hose of Assembly Speaker, Micheal Adeyemo said that the 8th Assembly has enjoyed great support from the present administration as expected, calling for the urgent need to review the rates and taxes in the state to ensure that the government realizes its vision of funding the budget through IGR.

In his own words, Hon. Oyebamiji Joshua, an Accord Party member, representing Akinyele 1 described the Governor as a courageous person, adding “despite not being in the same party with you, I commend the governor for his vision.

“Only those with vision will have mission. This budget proposal has shown that despite the low revenue, the governor is ready to ensure that Oyo is setting the pace again”

The Minority Leader of the House, Hon. Joshua Olagunju Ojo representing Oriire State constituency commended the Governor for providing adequate security for the people, for his infrastructural development insight as well as creation of Local Council Development Areas to bring government closer to the people.

What Reps Told Sports Minister About 2016 Budget Spending

What Reps Told Sports Minister About 2016 Budget SpendingThe House of Reps Committee on Sports says it will not consider the 2017 budget unless it is given a detailed presentation of how the 2016 budget was spent by the Ministry of Sports.

The House Committee took this position following allegations from different federations in the Sports Ministry regarding the disbursement of funds.

As part of its duties in ensuring the implementation of the 2016 budget, the House committee met with the Minister of Sports and officials of the ministry on Friday.

The meeting also sought to tackle pending issues such as the allegations against the Ministry of Sports regarding the disbursement of funds to the various sports federations in the ministry as some of them are yet to receive allocations as stated in the 2016 budget.

The Minister of Sports and Youth Development, Solomon Dalung, said that he was not aware of such allegations and that putting up a defence would be injustice to the Sports Ministry.

The Minister also touched on funding for the Rio 2016 Olympics and the challenges faced by the Ministry.

A member of the committee, Danburam Nuhu, observed that the ministry ought not to spend beyond the funds approved by the National Assembly.

As the debate rounded off, the chairman of the committee, Bukar Lawal, said that the Minister would have to face the committee again on another day.

Committees are also expected to complete work on the 2016 budget as soon as possible as the 2017 budget proposal is already before the National Assembly.

Budget Process Challenges Overwhelm Relative Progress, Saraki Says

Bukola Saraki, Budget, NASSThe National Assembly says it acknowledges its flaws in the passage of Nigeria’s 2016 Budget.

The Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, made the statement in his opening speech at a joint session of the National Assembly in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

The lawmakers said although they made relative progress in the passage, the challenges they encountered were far beyond their achievements.

They, however, noted that the 2016 budget process benefitted from the synergy and consultations between the legislative and executive.

At the Wednesday’s joint session, President Muhammadu Buhari personally presented a budget proposal of 7.298 trillion Naira for the 2017 fiscal year.

It has in attendance, the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, the ministers and the Service Chiefs among other government functionaries.

Senator Saraki’s speech read: “It is my pleasure on behalf of my distinguished honourable colleagues to warmly welcome you, Mr President and your entourage to this joint session of the National Assembly.

“Mr President, while we may have struggled with key aspects of our budget process in the past, I’m happy to note that we have made some important progress. To start with, we have seen the budget presentation coming slightly earlier this year.

Review Budget Systems

“Though we hope to see an even greater improvement on this in the coming year, but more importantly, however, is that so far in this year’s budget process, it has benefitted from greater cooperation and consultations between the National Assembly and the Executive.

“Mr President, I wish to note that the National Assembly recognises, however, that the problem with our budget and budgeting processes goes far deeper than the relative progress we have made.

“This is why in august this year, we inaugurated a joint executive and legislative committee, and a technical committee to review our budget systems and identify ways we can make them more transparent, more participatory, more result-oriented and therefore more effective. The committee has since submitted its report and the National Assembly already started a process of implementing the recommendations”.

2017 Budget: Buhari Advises Implementation Be Based On Economic Recovery

2017 Budget: Buhari Advises Implementation Be Based On Economic RecoveryPresident Muhammadu Buhari has proposed that the implementation of the budget should be based on our economic recovery and growth strategy.

The President made the recommendation while he presented the 2017 Appropriation Bill to a joint session of the National Assembly in Abuja.

“It is my pleasure to present the 2017 Budget proposal to this distinguished joint assembly. It is a budget of recovery and growth.”

He added that: “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.

Although Buhari admits to the challenging times, he also believes it is a time of opportunity for Nigerians.

“We continue to face the most challenging situation in the history of our nation.

“Nearly every home and nearly every business is affected one way or the other.- Yet I remain convinced that this is also a time of great opportunity”.

The 2016 budget presented in December 2015 was enmeshed in controversies before it was eventually signed into law by President Buhari five months after.

This time around, the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, had earlier said the National Assembly would ensure timely passage of the 2017 budget once they receive the document.

Buhari To Present 2017 Budget To National Assembly Next Week

Buhari To Present 2017 Budget To National Assembly Next WeekNigeria’s President, Mohammadu Buhari, will on Wednesday next week, officially present the 2017 federal budget to the National Assembly.

It had been announced earlier on, that the budget would be presented on November 7, 2016.

However, according to a letter to the senate which was read on the floor of the upper legislative chamber by the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, the president would present the document before a joint session of the National Assembly.

The Minister Of Budget And National Planning, Mr Udo Udoma, told newsmen after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting last Wednesday, that the seven trillion Naira proposal was ready, after extensive consultations with different stakeholders.

According to him, the 2017 fiscal document, of which he gave no details, had been well prepared to avoid the pitfalls that characterised the 2016 budget.

“The document that we are presenting to the National assembly is a carefully prepared one,” Udoma said.

He told reporters that over 800 billion Naira had been released so far in the 2016 budget as capital projects with all recurrent expended.

I’ll Ensure Budget 2017 Is Not Padded – President Buhari

I'll Ensure Budget 2017 Is Not Padded – President BuhariPresident Muhammadu Buhari has vowed that the distortions that happened to Budget 2016, in which series of projects and figures were injected into the financial document will not happen to budge 2017. 

The President received members of the Governance Support Group (GSG), led by Hon. Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, at State House, Abuja on Friday and made the promise.

The President said: “I am waiting for the 2017 Budget to be brought to us in Council. Any sign of padding anywhere, I will remove it.”

President Buhari reiterated that he had been in government since 1975, variously as governor, oil minister, head of state, and Chairman of the Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF), “and never did I hear the word ‘padding’ till the 2016 Budget.”

He promised that such would never happen again under his watch.

The President said that the government stands by its tripod campaign promises of securing the country, reviving the economy, and fighting corruption, but lamented that some people are deliberately turning blind eyes to prevailing realities in the country.

“They don’t want to reflect on the situation in which we are, economically. They want to live the same way; they simply want business as usual,” he said.

On violence that attend rerun elections in the country, President Buhari stated:

“I agonized over the elections in Kogi, Bayelsa and Rivers states. We should have passed the stage in which people are beheaded, and killed because of who occupies certain offices. If we can’t guarantee decent elections, then we have no business being around. Edo State election was good, and I expect Ondo State election to be better.”

Speaking on the anti-corruption cases before the courts, the President said he believed the cleansing currently going on “will lead to a better judiciary”.

“When people are sentenced, Nigerians will believe that we are serious.”

President Buhari equally told his guests that the progress being made in agriculture and exploitation of solid minerals “gives a lot of hope”.

He added: “Our grains go up to Central African Republic, to Burkina Faso, but they can’t buy all the grains harvested this year. And next season should be even better.

“We will focus on other products like cocoa, palm oil, palm kernel, along with the grains. We can start exporting rice in 18 months, and we are getting fertilizers and pesticides in readiness for next year.”

Speaking on behalf of members of GSG, Hon. Nwajiuba said the government had succeeded to a large extent on the security and anti-corruption fronts, adding that the group was positive that the economy would soon experience a turnaround, “as the government is working very hard in that direction.”

The group said the biggest constituency of the President was the poor and lowly, and thus recommended what it calls “a social re-armament of the poor.”