2017 Budget: Dalung Solicits Additional 23bn Naira For Ministry

Solomon Dalung, 2017 Budget, MinistryThe Minister of Youth and Sports, Mr Solomon Dalung, has appealed to the National Assembly to include about 23 billion Naira to the ministry’s 2017 budget.

He explained that the addition is for the shortfall of over 100,000 prospective corps members participating in the national youth service scheme in 2017.

Mr Dalung made the appeal during a budget defence session before the House Committee on Youth Development on Thursday in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

He revealed that some funds in 2016 were not appropriated, adding that it had a negative effect on the accomplishments of some major government programmes geared towards youth development.

The minister further sought for the support of the committee for extra funding for the ministry.

The Chairman of the House Committee, Adekola Segun, noted that the plea is one the committee identifies with.

In another development, the Auditor-General of the Federation, Anthony Ayine, appeared before the House Committee on Public Accounts to defend their 2017 budget proposal.

Mr Ayine stressed the need to fund the agency adequately in order to discharge its mandate of improving accountability in the 500 Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government.

He explained that while the office needs over 4.6 billion Naira for the year, only about 2.7 billion Naira has been allocated for the agency.

After much defence, the lawmakers agreed that the agency needed more funds.

The Deputy Chairman of the committee, Ibrahim Baba, pledged that the lawmakers would ensure that the agency was put on a first line charge.

Senate Insists Ministries Must Abide By Law On Purchase Of Made In Nigeria Goods

bukola-saraki-displays-made-in-nigeria-bagThe Senate in Nigeria says it will come down hard on any Ministry, Department or Agencies (MDAs) of the government which violates the Public Procurement Law.

The law which compels the MDAs to give preference to locally produced goods in Nigeria.

Senate President Bukola Saraki gave the warning on Friday at a meeting with members of Leather and Allied Products Manufacturers Association of Abia State.

He decried huge revenue of the nation that goes into buying foreign goods.

More than two trillion Naira is spent annually on purchasing goods, he said.

The Senate President further assured the manufacturers that the National Assembly would ensure that a large chunk of the funds go into the pocket of Nigerian manufacturers.

He also urged Senate Committee Chairmen to ensure in the course of their oversight duties, that MDAs comply with the provision of the law on patronage of local manufacturers.

Senator Saraki further asked military and para-military agencies to emulate the Army by procuring items like boots and other needs locally.

The Nigerian had bought boots from local manufacturers in Aba, a popular town in Abia state, known for manufacturing of clothing, shoes and other items.

Madagascar Names New Minister

Hery Rajaonarimampianina says government is ready to alleviate poverty

Madagascar President, Hery Rajaonarimampianina, on Sunday announced the replacement of eight ministers, including a new finance minister, after dissolving the government earlier this month amid mounting public frustration over power and other issues.

Air force commander and businessman, Jean Ravelonarivo, was sworn in as the new premier.

There were innovations in the Ministries of health, culture, trade among others. While 22 other ministers maintained their jobs.

Maurice Gervais Rakotoarimanana, an accountant who has worked with the World Bank, would be the next Minister of Finance and budget.

The president said in a press conference that special attention would be given to building the energy sector saying, “This government is ready to fight. Ready to fight against poverty, ready to fight for the development of infrastructure, for education, for health”.

The mineral-rich island nation has been struggling to rebuild its economy which was crippled after a coup in 2009 that drove away donors and investors.

A peaceful election in 2013 has redeemed the nation a bit, but it is still struggling to impose stable government and economic. Challenges remain such as weaning the nation off fuel and electricity subsidies.

According to analysis by the International Monetary Fund released last week, Madagascar’s economy boosted about 3 percent in 2014, and could also increase by 5 percent this year if it can increase tax revenue and improve the business climate.

Madagascar is one of the world’s poorest countries, despite its reserves of nickel, cobalt, gold, uranium and other minerals.

Orubebe tells NGOs to criticise FG constructively

The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Elder Godsday Orubebe, has called on Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO) existent in Nigeria to criticise the government constructively.

The minister was speaking after an NGO, Anti-Corruption Network, headed by a former member of the House of Representatives, Mr. Dino Melaye, accused his ministry of involvement in fictitious contracts totalling N29 billion between 2010 and 2011.

The projects as alleged by Melaye are Canalisation/River Training Centre in Foupolobulou Ndoro Creek; canalisation contract and the Land Reclamation/Shoreline protection project at Ogbobagbene in Burutu Local Government Area.

Mr. Melaye said the scam involved payments for “phantom projects”, over-budgeting and violation of Bureau of Public Procurement guidelines for the award of government contracts.

Kidnapped Spanish doctor gains freedom

After weeks of frantic search, Spanish doctor; José Manuel Machimbarrena Corcuera kidnapped in Nigeria’s South Eastern city of Enugu April 4th has been freed and in good health, according to the Spanish Foreign Ministry and Nigerian police.

Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo; Spain’s Foreign Minister said in Madrid that the man was believed to have been abducted and that his disappearance “has all the characteristics of a kidnapping for economic reasons.”

“Mister Corcuera was released on Friday,” a ministry spokesman said but did not divulge details of the circumstances that led to his freedom.

He said the man had been seized for ransom, but it is not clear if any ransom was paid, on the insistence of discretion from the doctor’s employers in the matter.

The 58-year-old doctor, works for a clinic belonging to a foundation financially supported by a Catholic institution called Opus Dei in Nigeria.

His kidnap, which sparked an outrage in his home country due to his work in missions, resulted in a 24-hour manhunt of his abductors until he was released, according to Enugu Police Spokesman Ebere Amaraizu.

The Spanish embassy worked hand in hand and tirelessly with Nigeria till he was confirmed alive and free so also were they in constant contact Dr. Jose’s family down in Madrid.

Kidnappings has been the order of the day in southern Nigeria for a while now  as ransom are being demanded before release of hostages mostly in the oil-producing region of the country; the Niger Delta and following payment of the requested ransom, they release the victims unharmed.

A recent event of kidnap which would have caused diplomatic rancour between Nigeria, Britain and Italy as Italian authorities pointed accusing fingers at Britain for non-dissemination of information was that of the kidnap of a Briton and an Italian by  Islamist group Boko Haram, which is concentrated mainly in northern Nigeria.

With a botched coded mission carried out after the hideout of the hostages were known, both hostages died in crossfire between government forces and the Islamist group.