NASS Leadership Meet With Finance Minister Over 2020 Budget Amendment

 

The Leadership of the National Assembly on Thursday met with the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning to be briefed by the latter on the plan by the Federal Government to amend the N10.59 trillion 2020 budget passed by the National Assembly in December last year.

The meeting which had in attendance principal officers from both chambers was presided over by the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila.

The Senate President, in his welcome address, told the Executive arm of Government to ensure that the interest of Nigerians remains protected in the proposed cut to the 2020 national budget.

READ ALSO: Presidency Reveals How Buhari Will Tackle Nigeria’s Weak Health System

Lawan also expressed the willingness of the Federal lawmakers to expeditiously consider the proposed amendment to the 2020 budget which the Minister said would be presented to the National Assembly by next week.

“The budget amendment is very important, but I believe that when we are faced with this kind of challenge (COVID-19 pandemic), it is an emergency and we should do everything and anything possible to fast track the passage and implementation of the government intervention that is so critical and crucial at this stage.

“I believe that we shouldn’t delay it any longer. Next week, and I will suggest the early part of next week, we should have that document(MTEF) ready so that we can consider it alongside the budget. It is supposed to be the tonic of what Nigerians are waiting for.

“We have listened to the various adjustments you have made to avoid going into recession. However, to avoid going into a deeper recession, I think we need to do a little bit much more.

“After this meeting with the leadership, I suggest that you engage with our relevant committees in the Senate and House of Representatives to look at the nitty-gritty that would be considered more in detail at the presentation level.

“On the whole, let me assure you that the National Assembly and Executive arm are on the same page, and that is to say that we will work to ensure that we have a budget 2020 amendment that will address the needs of the people of this country.

“One thing is that the net public expenditure must be targeted at net maximum performance for the benefit of the people of this country.

“In other words, we must come up with an amended budget that is operable and favorable to Nigerians,” Lawan said.

In his remarks, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, called on the Federal Government to adopt a feasible benchmark in the proposed amendment to the 2020 budget.

“The benchmark is so critical and so important because once you passed the law, it becomes difficult to adjust that benchmark, and then what happens to the excess?

“We have always had problems with the Excess Crude Account, potentially an account which has no backing of the law. So, let’s even assume that the price remains static at $35, which means we have $10 going to the Excess Crude Account which we have no control over in terms of spending, that is why we guard that benchmark price very jealously.

“Is there a possibility of having a provisio built-in in the budget…So that there can be an automatic kick in if the benchmark price goes beyond $26 or $27. We want you to explore that possibility.

“So, I think you should study the market and see what happens next week by the time you present the adjusted budget,” Gbajabiamila said.

Speaking on Nigeria’s debt profile, the Speaker said, “I would also want to address the issue of our deficit and tie it with the issue of debt relief. I’m not sure I heard any presentation on how much we owe and how much we are paying back in this budget.

“The reason I asked is that at the moment, I believe, for want of a better word, some of our creditors are very vulnerable right now. And depending on how you package your case, I believe they should be the ones coming to beg you to take debt relief, if not outright cancellation.”

Earlier, the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, while briefing the leadership of the National Assembly said, “the US$57 crude oil price benchmark approved in the 2020 budget is no longer sustainable.”

The minister said further that: “it is necessary to reallocate resources in the 2020 budget, to ensure the effective implementation of required emergency measures, and mitigate the negative socioeconomic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Ahmed stated that in line with the global economic outlook and relevant domestic considerations, the assumptions underpinning the 2020-2022 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and the 2020 Budget was revised to slash crude oil benchmark price from US$57 per barrel to US$25 per barrel; reduce crude oil production benchmark from 2.18 million barrels per day to 1.9 mbpd.

She added that the federal government also adjusted the budget exchange rate to N360/US$1; and reduced the upfront fiscal deductions by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) for mandated Oil and Gas sector expenditures by 65 percent from N1.223 trillion to N424 billion.

She disclosed that the amount available for funding the 2020 Budget is now estimated at N5.548 trillion, down from N8.419 trillion, a revised revenue estimate which is 34 percent (N2.87 trillion) lower than what was initially approved.

Federal Government’s aggregate expenditure budget was slashed by N88.412 billion; Statutory Transfer from N560.47 billion to N397.87 billion; and Overhead costs of Ministries, Departments and Agencies of Government from N302.43 billion to N240.91 billion.

Debt Service provision was, however, increased from N2.453 trillion to N2.678 trillion.

On Provision of N500 billion for COVID-19 Intervention Fund, the Finance Minister in her presentation explained that N263.63 billion will be sourced from Federal Government Special Accounts, N186.37 billion from Federation Special Accounts and the balance of N50 billion expected as grants and donations.

According to her, “the sum of N186.37 billion will be applied toward COVID-19 interventions across the federation, while an additional N213.60 billion was provided in the Service Wide Votes for COVID-19 Crisis Intervention recurrent expenditures.”

She disclosed that while a total of N100.03 billion was provisioned in the Intervention Fund for new capital spending, the Federal Government carried out a cut in capital expenditures for Ministries, Departments and Agencies of Government from N1.564 trillion to N1.262 trillion.

COVID-19: Ensure Equitable Distribution Of Interventions, NASS Leaders Tell FG

A file photo of the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan

 

President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan has urged the Executive arm of government to ensure equity and fairness in the distribution of the stimulus package across the country.

Lawan made the appeal on Wednesday during a meeting of the National Assembly leadership with some members of the Presidental Committee on COVID-19.

He said all parts of the country should be considered in the intervention initiatives of the Federal Government.

“We must ensure that there is equity. That there is fairness in the interventions. Every part of this country should have something to ameliorate the situation whether it is Coronavirus infected or not.

“In fact, some of our states have been in a very difficult situation before the outbreak of Coronavirus and such interventions will definitely help,” Lawan said.

READ ALSO: How Stoppage Of Fuel Subsidy Will Benefit The Ordinary Man – Kyari

The Senate President also tasked the relevant agencies of government to ensure that they streamline their activities along with the provisions in the 2020 budge and to avoid needless duplication of projects.

“In our stimulus package, we need to ensure provisions that will streamline with what is already in the 2020 budget so that we don’t do duplication.

“In our last meeting, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning indicated very clearly that the Executive is proposing a N500 billion stimulus package.

“While this is a very good proposal, how we wish you could even have more than N500 billion, but my belief is that we don’t duplicate what is already in the 2020 budget.

“And of course, there is utmost need to streamline what the Federal Ministry of Finance is proposing and what the CBN is also proposing because some of the proposals may have a spill-over effect on some projects.

“So there is the need for the Federal Ministry of Finance and the CBN to have their intervention streamlined in such a manner that what someone loses under the stimulus package of the Federal Ministry of Finance, he gains in the stimulus package of the CBN.

“We must ensure that these Interventions have very clear and definite measurable targets. We shouldn’t just throw money and there and then we don’t see anything because the National Assembly will ensure that it monitors every single Kobo if and when the proposal endorsed,” Lawan said.

The Senate President said the meeting presented an opportunity to have all the facts regarding the current situation on Nigeria’s crude oil and the amendment being contemplated as regards the Medium Term and Expenditure Framework(MTEF) and 2020 budget.

On her part, the Finance minister Zainab Ahmed said the meeting was designed to be a consultative forum to bring the National Assembly leadership up to date “on what we have been doing but also to take your feedback, your guidance and advice as we move forward towards adjusting the MTEF, adjusting the budget as well as designing the N500 billion stimulus package.”

In attendance at the meeting was the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva and Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele.

Also, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, Deputy Speaker, Idris Wase, some principal officers and relevant Senate and House Committee members.

NASS Leaders, Humanitarian Affairs Minister Meet Over COVID-19 Lockdown

 

The leadership of the National Assembly has met with the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar-Farouk, in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

The meeting’s purpose is to find ways to reduce the effect of the lockdown order given by President Muhammadu Buhari on Nigerians following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.

The NASS leaders had earlier invited the Minister to brief them on the efforts of the Federal Government to protect the vulnerable members of the society amid the spread of the virus.

READ ALSO: Buhari Alone Will Decide If COVID-19 Lockdown Will Be Extended, Says SGF

Senate President Ahmed Lawan at the meeting on Tuesday called for a review of the strategy used at the National Social Investment Program in disbursing funds to poor households across the country.

He raised the suggestion that identifying the poor and vulnerable in the society can be a bit difficult as he believes that the poor have not been sufficiently reached out to.

He also asked the Minister to explain how the ministry intends to distribute food and materials to them going forward.

Responding, the Humanitarian Minister, Umar-Farouk, said she is yet to figure out how the Home Grown School Feeding Program works and admits that there are intrigues surrounding the program.

She, however, did not reveal what these intrigues are.

The Minister also said the monies disbursed for the conditional cash transfer to poor households so far are the loans from World Bank.

Umar-Farouk admitted that there is a need to widen the National Social Register to reach more poor and vulnerable people in the society and added that her ministry is presently in talks with the World Bank about this.

The meeting later went into a closed-door session.

The Federal Government had earlier commenced the disbursement of N20,000 conditional cash transfer to poor households across the country by starting with residents of Kwali Area Council in Abuja.

Umar-Farouk said the disbursement is part of the Federal Government’s efforts aimed at helping vulnerable Nigerians get through the lockdown directive given by President Muhammadu Buhari due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.

COVID-19: FG Seeks NASS Approval For N500bn Intervention Fund

File photo of Finance Minister, Zainab Ahmed

 

The Federal Government has sought the approval of the National Assembly for an intervention fund to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.

Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed met with NASS leadership on Saturday over an Executive proposal to establish a N500 billion COVID-19 Crisis Intervention Fund.

Zainab, with senior officials from her ministry, held the meeting with the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila.

The meeting which held at the National Assembly was also attended by the Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, Deputy Speaker of the House, Idris Wase and some other principal officers from both chambers.

According to a statement issued by the Special Adviser to the Senate President on Media, Ola Awoniyi, the meeting was a follow-up to one held last week Wednesday between the National Assembly leadership and members of the Presidential Committee which was set up for the management of the COVID-19 crisis.

“What we are proposing is an establishment of a N500 billion COVID-19 Crisis Intervention Fund.

“This Fund that we are proposing, that should be created, will involve mopping up resources from various special accounts that the government, as well as the Federation, have, to be able to pull this N500 billion,” Zainab said.

READ ALSO: NCDC Makes Error, Puts Confirmed COVID-19 Cases At 209

Speaking further, the Minister said in addition to the identified special accounts from where the money will be drawn as loans, the proposed intervention fund is also expected to be sourced from grants being expected and loans from multilateral institutions.

“Our general view is that this crisis intervention fund is to be utilised to upgrade healthcare facilities as earlier identified.

“The Federal Government also needs to be in a position to improve health care facilities not only in the states but to provide intervention to the states,” she stated.

Zainab explained to the lawmakers that the fund if approved, will also take care of special public work programmes currently being implemented by the National Directorate of Employment (NDE).

On his part, the Senate President said the meeting was in fulfilment of an earlier promise to provide support as the need arises in this time of crisis.

“I think coming to us for those loans is critical because we are in an emergency and time is of the essence. So, we must work as expeditiously as possible to ensure that we place the request before the National Assembly.

“I think the time has come for us to redefine the implementation of the Social Intervention programme, probably going out to communities to give them N20,000 per person might not be the best way to go. It is still an effort, but I think we need a better approach that will be more efficient,” Lawan said.

Lawan, Gbajabiamila Meet Ministers Over Planned 2020 Budget Review

 

The Leadership of the National Assembly have held a meeting with some Ministers and Heads of agencies from the Executive arm of Government to brainstorm on the impact of Coronavirus pandemic on the Nigerian economy.

The meeting which took place on Wednesday specifically touched on the planned review of the 2020 budget and Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper passed late last year by the National Assembly.

President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, who presided over the meeting, in his opening remarks said that an immediate review of the 2020 budget and Medium Term Expenditure Framework is imperative, particularly against the backdrop of the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on the global economy.

Read Also: COVID-19: Atiku Donates N50m Relief Fund

The meeting, which lasted almost four hours, according to Lawan, was summoned to “discuss the proposed review of the 2020 budget and the Medium Term Expenditure Framework.”

“If we have to review the budget itself, we have to consider the MTEF/FSP.

“Even in sickness, we need the government to provide services.

“The impact of COVID-19 is well known to all of us in terms of health and the economy.

“Here, we will be talking of revenues that we estimated to fund the budget 2020.

“Because the oil price has gone so low due to the impact of COVID-19, the Minister of State should be able to tell us where we will be in the next six months or so.

“We should have concepts that can deliver fast and are sustainable.

“Anything that we do that cannot provide succor and relief to our people will lead to catastrophe,” the Senate President warned.

Also speaking, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila said the meeting was very timely.

“Taking a cursory look at some of the papers (presentations), I think this meeting is actually very timely and very important because we live in very unusual time and it’s time we start thinking outside the box to see how we can stabilise our economy and the direction it’s going to take,” the Speaker said.

In her presentation, the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, explained that “prior to COVID-19 and Oil price decline, the Nigerian economy was already fragile and vulnerable.”

According to her, due to the global economic downturn precipitated by the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic, international oil prices plunged as low as $22 (USD) per barrel on the international market.

She added that the impact of the pandemic which resulted in international crisis created a disruption in travel and trade, and put “increasing pressure on the naira and foreign reserves as the crude oil sales receipts decline and the country’s micro-economic outlook worsens.”

Ahmed said that in view of Nigeria’s economic realities, the Crisis Management Committee constituted by President Muhammadu Buhari in response to the COVID-19 and Oil Price Decline Crisis expressed concern that “the decline in international oil prices or domestic production may be magnified if a severe outbreak of the pandemic occurs in Nigeria.”

Accordingly, the Finance Minister proposed a review of the 2020 budget using a US$30 per barrel price benchmark to prepare for the worst-case scenario, as well as insulate the Nigeria economy against any form of unexpected crisis.

She also told the leadership of the National Assembly that budgeted revenues for the Nigeria Customs Service have been reduced from N1.5 trillion to N943 billion “due to anticipated reduction in trade volumes; and privatization proceeds to be cut by 50 per cent, based on the adverse economic outlook on sales of the Independent Power Projects (IPPs) and other assets.”

Similarly, Ahmed disclosed that the Federal Government has undertaken cuts to Revenue-related expenditures for the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) for several projects included in the 2020 Appropriation Act passed by the National Assembly in December 2019.

“The Federal Government is working on Fiscal Stimulus Measures to provide fiscal relief for Taxpayers and key economic sectors; incentivize employers to retain and recruit staff during the economic downturn; stimulate investment in critical infrastructure; review non-essential tax waivers to optimize revenues; and compliment monetary and trade interventions to respond to the crisis,” the Finance Minister disclosed.

She added that the Federal Government had made provision for health sector interventions by introducing import duty waivers for essential input for pharmaceutical firms; tax waivers on new equipment; and deferment of tax to increase production.

Ahmed further disclosed that the Federal Government would be releasing the total sum of N6.5 billion in two tranches (N1.5 billion and N5 billion) to the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) as intervention to assist in the fight against the spread of the COVID-19 disease in Nigeria.

Also, she stated that the Lagos State Government would receive financial support from the Federal Government to the tune of N10 billion to combat Coronavirus spread in the state.

In addition, she informed the lawmakers that Nigeria had received a grant of US$18.2 million from Japan for strengthening seven National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) centres across the country.

The Finance Minister said that the sum of N1billion would be released by government to Pharmaceutical firms in the country.

In his presentation, the Governor of the Central Bank, Godwin Emefiele said, “while we would expect to see a decline in our expected growth projection for 2020 relative to 2019, the exact impact will be dependent on how well the coronavirus is contained over the next few months, and how long low oil prices persist.”

Members of the National Assembly Leadership present at the meeting included: Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege; Deputy Speaker, Idris Wase; Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi; Leader of the House, Ado Doguwa; Deputy Senate Leader, Ajayi Boroffice; Senate Minority Leader; Enyinnaya Abaribe; Minority Leader of the House, Tony Elumelu; Senate Deputy Whip, Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi; Deputy Minority Whip, Philip Aduda.

Others are Senator Barau Jibrin, Chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriations; and Senator Uba Sani, Chairman, Senator Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions.

Members from the Executive present at the meeting which held at the National Assembly include Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Agba; Minister of Petroleum Resources (State), Timipre Sylva.

Others are the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele; Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mele Kyari, and Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters, Senator Babajide Omoworare.

Reps Host Pupils, 24 Hours After Passing Resolution To Stop Visitors

Schoolchildren were hosted at the House of Representatives on Thursday, March 19, 2020, as Nigeria tightens its borders to limit the spread of the deadly coronavirus, Covid-19.
Schoolchildren were hosted at the House of Representatives on Thursday, March 19, 2020, as Nigeria tightens its borders to limit the spread of the deadly coronavirus, Covid-19.

 

The Federal House of Representatives hosted schoolchildren on Thursday at its complex in Abuja.

On Wednesday, the lawmakers had passed a resolution to stop visitors due to the coronavirus outbreak across the world.

READ ALSO: Reps Asks FG To Stop Open Worship

It is yet unclear why the House allowed the students to proceed with their visit.

The House had also resolved that lawmakers, their legislative aides and National Assembly workers be tested for the coronavirus.

No case of the coronavirus, Covid-19, has been confirmed in Abuja.

On Wednesday, Nigeria confirmed five new cases of the coronavirus, bringing the total cases in the country to eight.

The country also announced a travel ban on several hotspots countries which is expected to take effect on March 21.

Group Asks NASS To Prioritise Electoral Reforms

 

Members of some civil society organisations in Abuja, under the aegis of the Coalition in Defence of Nigerian Democracy and Constitution have asked the National Assembly to prioritise electoral reforms in order to avoid the situation with the 2019 elections where a number of elections were later nullified by the judiciary.

Speaking at a news conference in Abuja on Saturday, a co-convener of the group, Mr Ariyo Dare-Atoye noted that rather than the APC and PDP to keep playing blame games with the judiciary, they should mobilise their representatives in the National Assembly to act fast.

The group made the request against the backdrop of recent court cases that nullified the elections of some lawmakers and governors in the country.

NASS Will Sustain Synergy With Executive, Lawan Says In Christmas Message

National Assembly Is Ready To Work For Nigerians – Lawan
A file photo of the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan. Photo: [email protected]

 

 

The Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, pledged to ensure that the National Assembly sustains its cooperation with the Executive arm of government next year and beyond.

He made the promise in his Christmas message to the nation on Tuesday.

“I assure you that this synergy at the highest level of governance will be sustained in the year 2020 and beyond,” the Senate President said.

He added, “The modest achievements of the Assembly within the short period were made possible by the bi-partisan approach to national issues by the Federal lawmakers, the collaboration and harmonious relationship with other arms of government.”

Senator Lawan congratulated Nigerians, particularly Christians on the occasion of the Christmas and New Year.

According to him, Nigerians must not forget the essence of the season which is a reminder of the birth of Jesus Christ and the ideals for which he lived.

He described the birth of Jesus Christ as a great example of humility, noting that he lived and preached peace, love, tolerance and self-sacrifice, as well as left mankind with the hope of eternal joy.

The lawmaker said, “These virtues transcend religion and deserve to be embraced by all Nigerians especially as we go through the challenges of nation-building and development.

“In the spirit of the season, we as a people and government must remember the weak and the most vulnerable in our midst and do the best we can to bring them succour and help them to also feel the joy of the season.”

He also wished the people journey mercies as they travel to share the season with family and loved ones and urged them to celebrate with moderation.

On its legislative agenda, Lawan said the ninth National Assembly has resolved to work for Nigeria by enacting legislations that serve the generality of Nigerians.

He explained that the members of the Assembly have devoted themselves to facilitating good governance and stimulating the economy to raise the standard of living of Nigerians, since their inauguration six months ago.

The Senate President added that their decisions on critical sectors of the economy, before they adjourned for the Christmas and New year, were essentially to make year 2020 and beyond prosperous for all.

He stressed that the amendment to the Deep Off-Shore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contracts Act, the Fiscal Policy laws, Procurement Act and the timely passage of the 2020 Budget, have proven the determination of the lawmakers to work for Nigerians.

He, therefore, wished Nigerians a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

‘Senator Uwajumogu Was Full Of Life’ – Lawan, Gbajabiamila Mourn

The Senator representing Imo North Senatorial District in the National Assembly, Senator Ben Uwajumogu. Credit: Office of the Senate President

 

Senate President, Ahmad Lawan has eulogized the lawmaker representing Imo North Senatorial District in the National Assembly, Senator Ben Uwajumogu, saying he has full of life.

Lawan in a series of tweet on Wednesday said the news of Senator Uwajumogu’s passage is more difficult to accept.

“Senator Uwajumogu was full of life at the Senate Chamber on Tuesday, which made the news of his death even more difficult to take,” he said.

The Senate President noted that “Senator Uwajumogu’s sudden death is shocking and a painful loss to the ninth National Assembly where he always made robust contributions to the debates and other activities of the Upper legislative chamber.”

He regretted that members and workers of the Ninth Assembly will greatly miss their departed colleague.

READ ALSO: Senator Ben Uwajumogu Dies At 51

Similarly, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, said he was saddened by the incident.

Gbajabiamila recalled that the deceased lived a selfless life while serving as a member of the Imo State House of Assembly, Speaker of the house and Senator.

He, therefore, called on other lawmakers to emulate the virtues of the departed lawmaker, stressing that Senator Uwajumogu was “kind to friends and strangers alike, and he gave of himself generously to those in need.”

“His public service, from his time in the Imo State House of Assembly as a member, and later as Speaker of the Assembly, through to his service in the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, was never about personal ambition for its own sake.

“He was a man of the people, who served for the people and now, has left a legacy which the rest of us must emulate and surpass.

“My heart goes out to his wife and children, to his extended family, and to his friends, aides and constituents. I pray that God will give them the grace to bear this loss, and grant to the dearly departed, eternal rest. May his kind and gentle soul, rest in perfect peace,” the Speaker said.

Petroleum Tankers Safety Bill Passes Second Reading In Senate

 

A bill seeking to reduce frequent accidents by petroleum trucks on Nigerian roads on Tuesday scaled through the second reading in the Senate.

Sponsored by Senator Ifeanyi Ubah (YPP, Anambra South), the bill seeks to make consequential provisions towards safe transportation of petroleum products across the country.

In his lead debate, Ubah said the bill became necessary to provide a legal framework peculiar to that segment of the transport sector, and to further strengthen existing collaborations between government agencies on transportation of petroleum products by roads.

He said it was inspired by the urgent need to promote safety in the transportation of petroleum products using trucks, and to eliminate practices inimical to freight traffic and petroleum haulage in Nigeria.

“It also seeks to promote the welfare of tanker drivers by ensuring investments in Truck Transit Parks (TTPs) and related transport infrastructure,” he said.

The lawmaker recalled the high incidences of crashes by petroleum tankers over the years that often resulted into loss of lives and properties.

“According to a study by the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), between 2007 and 2010 alone a total of 4,017 tanker/trailer crashes were recorded on Nigerian roads with the yearly average of 1,148 cases and monthly average of 96 crashes,” Ubah said.

The bill, he said, introduced a novel provision which is the recognition of TTPs in selected locations across the country.

It also proposed the establishment of Freight Traffic Liabilities Claim Tribunal to handle civil claims arising from petroleum tanker crashes to ensure speedy dispensation of justice to the victims.

Senators who spoke on the bill were unanimous on the urgent need for legal framework to curb the menace.

Senator Chukwuka Utazi (PDP, Enugu North) said the bill provided for a short term solution to the problem and called for resuscitation of oil depots across the country to allow for the delivery of petroleum products through pipelines as a long term solution.

Utazi equally called for the rehabilitation of the nation’s railway network as another safer alternative of transporting petroleum products across the country.

House Of Reps Increases 2020 Budget To N10.6tn

 

 

The House of Representatives has increased the 2020 Appropriation Bill from N10.33 trillion to about N10.6 trillion.

The new figure was proposed by the House Committee on Finance at plenary on Wednesday.

Below is the report breakdown as presented by the Senate Committee.

READ ALSO: Buhari Launches Revised National Security Strategy

A Bill for an Act to authorize the issue from the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation the total sum of N10,594,362,364,830 (Ten Trillion, Five Hundred and Ninety-Four Billion, Three Hundred and Sixty – Two Million, Three Hundred and Sixty – Four Thousand, Eight Hundred and Thirty Naira)only, of which N 560,470,827,235 (Five Hundred and Sixty Billion, Four Hundred and Seventy Million, Eight Hundred and Twenty-Seven Thousand, Two Hundred and Thirty – Five Naira) only, is for Statutory Transfers, N 2,725,498,930,000 (Two Trillion, Seven Hundred and Twenty – Five Billion, Four Hundred and Ninety-Eight Million, Nine Hundred and Thirty Thousand, Naira) only, is for Debt Service, N 4,842,974,600,640 (Four Trillion, Eight Hundred and Forty – Two Billion, Nine Hundred and Seventy-Four Million, Six Hundred Thousand, Six Hundred and Forty Naira) only, is for Recurrent (Non-Debt) Expenditure while the sum of N 2,465,418,006,955 (Two Trillion, Four Hundred and Six – Five Billion, Four Hundred and Eighteen Million, Six Thousand, Nine Hundred and Fifty – Five Naira) only, is for contribution to the Development Fund for Capital Expenditure for the year ending on 31 day of December, 2020 (Referred: 10/10/2019).

President Muhammadu Buhari had on October 8, 2019, presented the appropriation bill to a joint session of the National Assembly.

There are plans by the National Assembly to pass the bill before Christmas, as to reset the nation’s budget pattern.

NASS Adjourns Plenary To Honour Late Member, Jafar Auna

 

The National Assembly on Tuesday adjourned plenary to honour a member, Jafar Auna, who died on Monday.

A minute of silence and prayers were held for him in both chambers of the National Assembly.

The adjournment was done after the Senate leader, Ahmed Lawan moved that plenary be adjourned to another legislative day.

Plenary was therefore adjourned to Wednesday, December 4.

READ ALSO: Lawan, Gbajabiamila Mourn Death Of Lawmaker, Jaafar Iliyasu Auna

Honourable Jafaru, who represented Rijau/Magama Federal Constituency of Niger State in the ninth National Assembly died on Monday morning in Abuja.

Lawan had earlier commiserated with the family of the deceased lawmaker and the government and people of Niger State and pray Almighty Allah to give them the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.

Gbajabiamila also in condolence said he was “deeply shaken” by the demise of the Niger Rep, adding that he was a gentleman who showed great willingness and determination to work with his other colleagues to make good laws for the country.