Fire Guts Part Of Finance Ministry Building In Abuja

Picture showing smoke billowing from the Federal Ministry of Finance building in Abuja on Wednesday, February 23, 2022.

 

A fire outbreak has gutted part of a building at the Federal Ministry of Finance located in the Central Business District, Abuja.

Black smoke was seen billowing from a part of the building, following the fire outbreak on Wednesday morning.

The spokesperson of the Ministry of Finance, Olajide Oshundun told Channels Television that the fire started early morning around 6:50am. He added that some staff of the Ministry noticed smoke emanating from the room that houses the battery for an inverter.

READ ALSO: People Would Have Trekked If Not For Lagos-Ibadan Transport Projects – Buhari

Oshundun said the fire was put out with fire fighting equipment at the Ministry within twenty minutes and that the effect of the fire incident is minor as it only affected the basement of the Ministry.

Also, the Federal Ministry of Finance in a tweet explained the cause of the fire outbreak.

According to them, the incident occurred on the corridor in the basement involving an isolated battery pack and it has been put out by the security personnel on duty.

 

The fire outbreak is just the latest of many that have affected government offices in Abuja.

In May 2020, a part of the Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST) building in Abuja was gutted by fire.

A month before that incident, a building housing the office of the accountant-general of the federation (AGF) was gutted by fire.

Pension Arrears: Retired Soldiers Protest In Abuja

 

Retired soldiers on Wednesday occupied the Federal Ministry of Finance, Abuja, in protest over the non-payment of their pension arrears.

The ex-servicemen are appealing to the Federal Government to approve the payment of minimum wage arrears accruing to them between 2019 till date.

They are also demanding a stop on all deductions on the pension of all retired medical officers as well as the inclusion of officers who fought during the civil war on the military pension scheme.

READ ALSO: Four Soldiers Who Tortured Civilian To Death Bag Jail Terms

A representative of the retired soldiers, Anthony Agbas, who delivered a letter to officials at the Ministry of Finance told Channels Television that they have fought for the country and deserve payment of their pensions.

He added that they are hopeful that their demands will be met without further delay, following the peaceful protest.

See photos from the protest below…

PHOTOS: Local Contractors Protest Unpaid Benefits In Abuja

Local contractors held banners and protested unpaid benefits in front of the Ministry of Finance on August 31, 2020.
Local contractors held banners and protested unpaid benefits in front of the Ministry of Finance on August 31, 2020. Photo: Sodiq Adelakun/Channels Television

 

Some local contractors on Monday protested ‘unpaid benefits’ at the Ministry of Finance in Abuja.

The contractors said that in spite of verification of their contracts by the Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit (PICA), which recommends the settlement of contracts within the threshold of one to N10 million, the Ministry of Finance is yet to commence payment.

Officials of the Ministry of Finance met with representatives of the contractors during the protest on Monday.

After the meeting, Publicity Secretary of the Local Contractors of Nigeria, Roland Dandi, said the ministry officials asked for about two weeks to begin to settle the debt.

“They said they have concluded the last section of the verification and are now ready to pay,” he said.

“We pray that we are going to be alive till that time. We will give them three weeks. After that and our monies are not paid, Nigeria will see us in a different, drastic step, much more than we have done today.”

 

See more photos from the protest below:

 

Local contractors held banners and protested unpaid benefits in front of the Ministry of Finance on August 31, 2020.

Local contractors held banners and protested unpaid benefits in front of the Ministry of Finance on August 31, 2020.

Local contractors held banners and protested unpaid benefits in front of the Ministry of Finance on August 31, 2020.

Local contractors held banners and protested unpaid benefits in front of the Ministry of Finance on August 31, 2020.

Local contractors held banners and protested unpaid benefits in front of the Ministry of Finance on August 31, 2020.

Local contractors held banners and protested unpaid benefits in front of the Ministry of Finance on August 31, 2020.

Local contractors held banners and protested unpaid benefits in front of the Ministry of Finance on August 31, 2020.

Local contractors held banners and protested unpaid benefits in front of the Ministry of Finance on August 31, 2020.

Local contractors held banners and protested unpaid benefits in front of the Ministry of Finance on August 31, 2020.

Local contractors held banners and protested unpaid benefits in front of the Ministry of Finance on August 31, 2020.

Local contractors held banners and protested unpaid benefits in front of the Ministry of Finance on August 31, 2020.

Local contractors held banners and protested unpaid benefits in front of the Ministry of Finance on August 31, 2020.

Federal Pensioners Protest Non-payment Of Arrears

Federal Pensioners Protest Non-payment Of ArrearsRetired federal civil servants have protested the non-payment of 15 months pension arrears allegedly held back by the Federal Ministry of Finance.

The senior citizens besieged the Ministry’s Headquarters in Abuja, Nigeria;s capital on Thursday to register their displeasure over the non-payment of their pension arrears.

They bemoaned the death of fellow members due to their inability to pay for medication and other necessities, owing to the non-payment of pension benefits under the Contributory Pension Scheme.

The aggrieved pensioners consequently issued a seven-day ultimatum to the Federal Government to pay the outstanding pension arrears.

And failure to meet up with the deadline, the Federal Ministry of Finance will be occupied by the group of elderly Nigerians.

Uncovered 50,000 Ghost Workers Saved FG 200bn Naira In 2016 – Presidency

Federal Government, Presidency, Ghost Workers, Garba ShehuThe Federal Government says it has rid its payroll of 50,000 ghost workers and saved Nigeria 200 billion Naira.

The government also disclosed that 13 billion Naira has been taken off the payroll monthly from February to December 2016.

The spokesman to the President, Mr Garba Shehu, made the announcement at an interactive meeting with reporters on Tuesday to mark the end the year.

Mr Garba revealed that 11 persons championing the syndicate of ghost workers have been handed over to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for interrogation.

Continuous Auditing

“The flagship programme of the Muhammadu Buhari administration to rid the system of fraud and instill good governance is on course. Through a notable initiative, the Efficiency Unit of the Federal Ministry of Finance, the government has embarked on the continuous auditing of the salaries and wages of government departments.

“When the committee was constituted in February 2016, the Federal Government monthly salary bill was 151 billion Naira, excluding pensions. Now the monthly salary warrant is 138 billion Naira, excluding pensions. Which means that the government is making a monthly saving of about 13 billion Naira (that is from February 2016 till date),” said the President’s spokesman.

Mr Shehu added that “the pension bill was 15.5 billion Naira monthly as at February. Now it is down to 14.4 billion Naira, which means average monthly saving made is of about 1.1 billion Naira”.

He said that the total number of ghost workers so far removed from the payroll was about 50,000, stressing that some of those allegedly championing the syndicate of the ghost workers were already undergoing trial.

Federal Government Adoptees

Mr Shehu further noted that the recently-released 21 Chibok girls were being treated as adoptees of the Federal Government, but revealed that there was a lot of local and international interest in the future plans of the girls.

“A black American billionaire, Mr Robert Smith, who is currently sponsoring the education of 24 girls from Chibok, among them the first set of escapees from Boko Haram at the American University of Nigeria, Yola has offered to pay for the education of the 21 released through negotiations and is offering to take responsibility for all the others who will hopefully be eventually set free. The Murtala Mohammed Foundation in the country is equally interested,” he said.

Shehu also responded to complaints by some of the parents of the 21 Chibok Girls that they did not have enough room for interaction with their daughters brought home for Christmas by the Department of State Services (DSS).

Buhari, three-day trip, Germany, Aisha Buhari, 21 Chibok girls

He admitted that there were some hitches arising from a lack of understanding of the objective of the trip on the part of some security operatives but that following the receipt of the complaint, a directive had been given from the headquarters for the access by the parents to be eased.

“If the situation persists, please let us know so that the higher authorities will make a further intercession,” he stated.

Issue Of Interest In APC

The President’s aide also addressed an issue of interest to a lot of the members of the ruling party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) concerning appointments into boards.

He assured the public that the process would be fully back on track at the beginning of the new year.

“You know that the reconstitution began methodically, from sector by sector. You should expect that to resume at the beginning of the New Year. The President has given directions on what to do,” he told reporters.

Favorable Environment For Diversification

On the agricultural programmes of the administration, Mr Shehu said that President Muhammadu Buhari’s persistent call for a return to farming was yielding good results.

“The talk about agriculture has driven people to the farm. This year, there is a huge boom in the rural economy. We have witnessed an excellent harvest. Farmers are getting value for their output. What has encouraged farmers the more is the increasing availability of extension services. New farming techniques are helping farmers to do their occupation better. The readiness of off takers to buy the produce is also a major boost.

Unemployment, kwara, 20,000 Jobs, Agriculture

“When you put all these together with the systematic move to curb importation, as they boost local production through the restriction of the available foreign exchange to critically important sectors of the economy, you have favorable environment for the diversification of the economy.

“As we speak, several of the country’s major manufacturing industries are actively backward-integrating- Nestle, Unilever, the breweries are using what we have as local materials, changing their formulations to maintain production levels and keep their share of the market.

“Manufacturers, who are hooked on import of raw materials, are advised to re-strategise and take full advantage of local raw materials. The future belongs to those who employ the use of local raw materials,” the spokesman added.

NLC Demands Fair Tax Justice System In Nigeria

NLC, Tax, Nigeria
NLC President, Mr Ayuba Wabba,

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has demanded a fair tax justice system that will make it mandatory for business organisations to pay tax that is equal to their investment.

The union says at least 50 billion Naira is taken out of Africa annually and that the time to arrest the trend is now.

The NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, believes Africa is being impoverished by the local and multi-national companies which enjoy a tax haven without contributing their profits to the development of the continent.

He urged the Federal Government to reduce the burden of taxation imposed on the average Nigerian worker who ‘compulsorily pays tax regularly’.

Mr Wabba made the call on Wednesday at the Unity Fountain in Abuja, where he led some workers to submit a letter of protest at the Federal Ministry of Finance.

He asked the Nigerian Government to protect Africa’s wealth through an effective tax regime that would provide a tax haven for some people.

The Director of Special Duties at the ministry, Mohammed Dikur, received the protest letter with a promise to ensure it gets to the Minister of Finance.

FG To Introduce Procurement Guidelines

external reserves-procurementsThe Federal Ministry of Finance has announced plans to introduce price guidelines for procurement purposes by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

Having reviewed the overhead expenditure data of the MDAs from 2012 to 2014, the unit found that cumulative expenditure on items purchased was 825 billion Naira.

According to the head of the unit, Mrs Patience Oniha, the figure represents 61% of the cumulative total overhead expenditure of 1.35 billion Naira for the period.

In order to cut costs on recurrent expenditure, Mrs Oniha said that the efficiency unit of the Ministry would introduce ministerial debit cards to the MDAs to monitor procurement and expenses.

Finance Minister Cancels Oil And Gas Pre-Shipment Tender Exercise

financeThe Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, has ordered the immediate cancellation of the tendering process for the engagement of Pre-Shipment Inspection and Monitoring Agents for Oil and Gas.

The decision was necessitated by the receipt of numerous complaints and a petition regarding alleged irregularities in the process, she said.

A statement by the spokesperson for the Ministry read: “In June 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari mandated the Federal Ministry of Finance, under the then Permanent Secretary, Mrs Anastasia Nwoabia, to commence the process of engaging Pre-Shipment Inspection and Monitoring Agents. Upon the approval of the Bureau of Public Procurement, a selective tendering process was initiated under which 65 companies were selected and invited to bid”.

However, since the inception of the process, numerous complaints were sent to the Federal Ministry of Finance, suggesting that the method by which the 65 companies were selected was faulty and lacked transparency.

Additionally, a formal petition was received by the Bureau of Public Procurement, making specific allegations about the process.

Under Public Procurement rules, the receipt of a formal petition requires a suspension of the tendering process to allow an investigation. However, in this instance, the Minister has taken the decision to cancel the process.

The Minister said that, “the sheer volume of complaints and the wide range of sources they emanated from, had raised a sufficient level of concern around the process to warrant a full cancellation rather than a suspension.

“This administration stands for transparency and accountability and it is therefore important that all procurement and tendering exercises must be undertaken in accordance with best practices”.

Pre-Ship Inspection of Oil and Gas Exports commenced in 2015 and requires a Clean Certificate of Inspection to be issued, confirming the volume and the value of all exports.

The programme is believed to have enhanced government revenues by preventing misstatement and understatement by exporters.

The Ministry of Finance stated that it was in consultation with the Bureau of Public Procurement to commence a new process and to ensure interim arrangements for service provision.

The Ministry further stated that details of the new process would be communicated shortly.

Senate Passes 2015 MTEF, Approves $52 Oil Price Benchmark

Ministerial NomineesThe Senate has passed the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Policy Paper (FSP).

The Senate at plenary on Wednesday set the benchmark price of crude at $52 dollars per barrel, against the benchmark price of $65 dollars per barrel set by the Federal Ministry of Finance.

The Senate also set an exchange rate of one hundred and ninety naira to one dollar against one hundred and sixty five naira to the dollar set by the Ministry of Finance.

The Chairman Senate Committee on Finance, Senator Ahmed Markarfi, said the benchmark price of crude was reviewed lower because of the falling price in the international market.

The Senate also approved the reduction of recurrent expenditure from N2.6 trillion to N2.4 trillion and increased capital expenditure from N633 billion to N700 billion.

FG Releases Guideline For Payment Of N45 Billion To Oil Marketers

Nigeria's Finance Minister Okonjo-Iweala speaks during an interview in Abuja
Nigeria’s Finance Minister Okonjo-Iweala speaks during an interview in Abuja

The Federal Ministry of Finace has released a guideline for the payment of oil marketers in the country, a statement by the Special Adviser ot the Finance Minister on Media, Paul Nwabiukwu said on Wednesday.

The statement, which noted that the ministry has “received several enquiries regarding the status of payments to oil marketers for fuel imports”, urged marketers to “note the following”

“Only marketers whose claims have been cleared after they have gone through the verification processes are paid. This is to ensure that the unpleasant experiences of the recent past with regard to wrong and irregular payments are not repeated.

“The process for the latest batch of payments totalling N45 billion is currently on and the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation (OAGF) has confirmed that some marketers who have submitted letters of indemnity to the OAGF have already been paid. Other claims are being attended to.

“The letters of indemnity are an additional requirement for payment because banks which financed imports by some marketers had written to the OAGF through their lawyers to complain that their clients (the marketers) are making interest payments through other banks contrary to the terms of agreements reached. The banks in question are insisting that the interest payments be made through them since they granted the facilities that attracted the interest.

“To ensure that the Federal Government is not held liable in the event of any litigation between these banks and their marketer-customers, the OAGF has instituted the new procedure.

“It is important to note that subsidy payments are made retroactively because claims must go through all the necessary processes before they are approved and paid”, it said.

The statement further added that “government will continue to discharge its obligations to marketers whose claims are approved”.