Federal Government of Nigeria has reassured the nation that it will give priority attention to infrastructure, agriculture and power in the implementation of the 2016 budget.
This was said by the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Ahmed Zainab, at a meeting with members of Civil Society Organizations in Abuja on the implementation of the 2016 budget.
Over one month after the 2016 appropriation bill was passed by the National Assembly, some members of the civil society organizations have expressed their concerns about its implementation.
Some of them in the meeting were especially concerned with how the Federal Government would implement the 30% earmarked for capital projects.
A total of 6.06 trillion was appropriated for the 2016 fiscal year by the Federal Government with over two trillion deficit to be financed by borrowing recovered loots.
The Acting Director-General of the Bureau for Public Procurement, Ahmed Abdul, said that government would save over 40 billion Naira to finance capital projects with the adoption of electronic purchasing system in its offices.
The 2016 budget is referred to by the incumbent government as a ‘budget of change’ but analysts say the change the budget proposes depends so much on its implementation.
The Chairman of the House committee on appropriation, Representative Abdulmumin Jibrin, said budgetary allocations to critical sectors intended to diversify the economy are grossly inadequate.
Speaking at a budget collation exercise in the National Assembly, Mr Jubrin said allocation of funds to critical sectors such as solid minerals does not show government’s seriousness in its plan to diversify the economy.
He said that the appropriation committee would work on the 2016 budget reports from the various House committees and make necessary adjustments to save the country’s dwindling economy.
Some Civil Society activists have called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to correct the lapses associated with the use of card reader machines before the governorship and states’ House of Assembly elections.
The society called a post-election news conference in Abuja, having observed the advantages and challenges posed by the card reader machines during the presidential elections.
They told journalists that the use of Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) and the card reader machines would need to be implemented more effectively to ensure credible state level elections on April 11.
The group also urged the electoral body to probe reports of irregularities in some states to prevent a re-occurrence of the 2011 violence.
The activists, however, commended INEC for its transparency and President Goodluck Jonathan for his statesmanship after the results were announced.
INEC declared the Presidential Candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), General Muhammadu Buhari, winner of the Saturday, March 28 polls.
Governorship and House of Assembly elections are scheduled to hold on April 11 and Nigerians hope that the elections would also be peaceful and adjudged credible like the just concluded presidential elections.
Some Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have asked President Goodluck Jonathan to assent to the amended sections of the 1999 constitution before the end of his administration.
The appeal was made at a forum between civil society groups, journalists and legal experts, aimed at appealing to President Goodluck Jonathan to assent to the amended sections of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
According to the groups, the Presidential assent to the amended constitution, especially those sections that deal with election and post election matters are necessary, in view of the forthcoming polls.
The organiser, Mr Clement Nwankwo of the Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre, believes that it is important for the President to give his assent ahead of the elections.
Other Conveners at the meeting agreed that Presidential assent to the sections, especially those dealing with election matters such section 285, would provide a better framework for the tribunals and INEC to work.
Professor Oyewo, however, proposed that the lawmakers resolution on the amended sections should be allowed to be part of the laws, whether or not the sections have presidential assent after a period of time.
The National Assembly has amended some sections of the 1999 constitution including sections 65, 134,150, and 285, that deal with Electoral and Judicial Reforms.
Although both the Senate and House of Representatives have harmonised the amended sections, they are yet to be approved by the President.
The Chief Security Officer (CSO) and the Chief Details of Governor, Danbaba Suntai; the Taraba state Governor arrived Nigeria after successfully undergoing medical treatment in Germany sequel to injuries they sustained in the October 25th plane crash.
The plane belonging to the Taraba state government left Jalingo with Governor Danbaba Suntai and three of his aides heading to Yola; the Adamawa state capital when it crashed a few kilometres to the Yola airport.
The Taraba state commissioner of Information, Mr Emmanuel Bello told Channels television from Jalingo that the aides arrived the country via the International wing of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport; Abuja after a successful treatment in Germany.
The commissioner also said that the Aide de Camp (ADC) will be discharged next week as advised by the doctors.
“I can confirm to you that the Chief security officer of the governor and the chief details have arrived the country as the Aide de camp (ADC) will be arriving next week God willing as he still has little time to be discharge”
On the governor’s condition, Mr Emmanuel Bello says he is recovering speedily and hopes he will also be discharged in no distant time.
He thanked the people for their prayers and support towards the recovery of the governor and his aides.
It would be recalled that two days after the crash, the governor was flown to Germany while the three aides followed few days later for better treatment after a first aid treatment at the Federal Medical Centre Yola.
The Taraba State House of Assembly has recently deliberated and confirmed the state deputy governor in acting capacity following the absence of the governor a decision that was widely applauded as the right steps in the right direction and in line with the tenet of democracy.