Ghanaian President Calls For True Freedom In Africa

Ghanaian PresidentThe President of Ghana, John Dramani Mahama, has called for what he called true freedom in Africa for the continent to develop economically and educationally.

He made the call while presenting a lecture during the 40th anniversary of University of Ilorin.

The Ghanaian President lamented that the continent has never been free from colonialism and also blamed past African leaders for their harsh method of governance which he noted retarded the growth of their countries.

Each country, he stressed, should evolve plans to develop its education and economy to meet its peculiar needs.

Also speaking, President Muhammadu Buhari represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir David Lawal, urged the private sector to complement the efforts of the federal government in the education sector by investing to improve the education in the country.

He also urged them to think outside the box in the funding and running of their campuses.

Osinbajo Says Next Budget Will Spring Economic Development

Yemi Osinbajo, vice president of Nigeria on BudgetNigeria’s Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, says the next budget, which the new administration is already drafting, is positioned to spring economic development.

The Vice President spoke at the Port Harcourt International Airport on Sunday in an interview with Channels Television’s correspondent, Emmanuel Ereyi.

Professor Osinbajo further said Nigerians should expect the continuation of good governance, as promised by his party during campaigns.

He stressed that the coming days of the present administration would see the stabilisation of power, security and completion of the drawing of the next budget.

The Vice President was in Port Harcourt, the capital of Rivers State, as a guest at the Catholic Bishops’ Conference.

On the choice of members of the cabinet, he assured Nigerians that best crop of ministers would be presented by the Federal Government at the end of the month.

President Muhammadu Buhari had on September 7 in Aburi, Ghana, reassured Nigerians and the international community that he would name his cabinet before the end of the month.

President Buhari gave the assurance at a joint press conference with President John Dramani Mahama of Ghana.

2015 Budget Passes Second Reading At National Assembly

National-Assembly-NigeriaNigeria’s 2015 budget of 4.3 trillion Naira has passed the crucial second reading in the Senate and the House of Representatives.

At plenary on Wednesday, federal lawmakers in the Senate, however, described the 2015 budget as a deficit budget which was grossly exaggerated.

The lawmakers in the upper chamber also expressed concerns that in the face of the declining oil prices, the country may not be able to finance its capital and recurrent expenditure.

The budget is key in the deliberations of the National Assembly, as they try to ensure that the budget approval was concluded before the general elections that will hold in February.

It is one month to the elections and the federal lawmakers in the Senate and the House of Representatives are in a race to retain their seats.

Although the lawmakers are engaging in electioneering, they are required to perform their constitutional duties one of which is working on the 2015 budget.

The 2015 budget is put at 4.3 trillion Naira with a recurrent expenditure of 2.6 trillion Naira and capital expenditure of 627 billion Naira.

Lawmakers in the Senate were highly critical of the 2015 budget, considering the declining price of oil in the international market, which has gone lower than the revised benchmark price of crude, which was put at 65 dollars per barrel.

The lawmakers are worried that the country may have a deficit budget.

A federal lawmaker, Senator Olubunmi Adetunmbi, expressed concerns that the Senate Committees on Finance and Appropriation would find it difficult to work on the 2015 budget and he gave reasons which also highlighted the current trend in the crude oil market.

Some lawmakers also condemned the withdrawal of funds from the Excess Crude Account without appropriation from the National Assembly and also the refusal of government agencies to remit funds to the Federation Account.

In the House of Representatives, federal lawmakers also expressed reservations about the 2015 budget and the need for diversification of the economy.

After deliberations on the budget, it scaled through the second reading in the Senate and the House of Representatives and was sent to the respective committees for further legislative work.

Kaduna: Governor Yero Warns Against Revenue Diversion

yero_kadunaKaduna State Governor, Mukhtar Yero, has warned officials of the State Revenue Board against tampering with revenues accruable to Government.

Yero gave the warning in Kaduna while inaugurating the Taxpayer Biometrics Card Registration System in the state.

The Governor warned that the state would no longer tolerate diversion of its revenues, advising the officials to ensure that every person pays based on what the law stipulates.

He said that the state currently generates only 1billion Naira monthly and directed the board to raise its collection to not less than N3billion every month.

He also advised them to widen their scope and get more people captured in the new taxpayer biometrics, to enable the government generate enough revenue with which to execute developmental projects.

The Governor, his deputy, as well as other top government officials were registered during the exercise.

2012 Budget – Capital releases rose to N1.01 trillion

The total releases for this year’s capital budget has risen to N1.01 trillion as the Federal Government announced the release of another N300 billion for the fourth quarter.

The fourth quarter release, which represents 75 percent of the total capital budget of N1.3 trillion, according the Ministry Finance, is to ensure that the momentum on capital budget implementation is maintained as the year comes to a close.

The latest release is coming amid criticisms by the National Assembly that the implementation of the budget, which effectively commenced in April, is below expectations.

In a statement issued by Paul Nwbuikwu, the Senior Special Assistant to the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the ministry said the impact of budget implementation can be gleaned from improvements in various sectors of the economy, including power, agriculture, job creation, transportation, and ports reforms.

Power supply in many parts of the country, the ministry pointed out, “has improved to a consistent level of 15 hours per day” even as it stated that rehabilitation of existing power infrastructure has yielded up to 1000 megawatts of additional electricity.

“NIPP projects are being fast tracked which will lead to an additional 1055 megawatts by end 2012. The prospects for progress in power supply have increased significantly with the imminent conclusion of the privatisation programme,” the statement said.

On agriculture, it affirmed that in pursuit of the 3.5 million jobs target by 2015, 13 new private sector rice mills with a capacity of 240,000 metric tonnes have been established even as one million metric tonnes of dried cassava chips are exported to China.

It also stated that the railway modernisation programme is progressing with the Abuja-Kaduna line is now at 46 per cent completion while the rehabilitation of Lagos-Kano and Lagos-Ibadan lines has opened up new platforms for passenger traffic.

Giving an insight into how the implementation of the 2012 Budget has rubbed off positively on ports reforms, the ministry stated that the clearance time for cargoes in the ports has been reduced from 39 days to seven days.

On job creation drive, the ministry said the Community Services, Women and Youth Employment Programme components of the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P), which was inaugurated in February 2012 are already working in 14 states.

The target is to create 370,000 jobs per year.

Economist says Nigeria has one of the best budgeting systems in the world but…

An economist, Sam Olisa on Thursday said that Nigeria has one of the best budgeting systems in the world but the only challenge the country face is implementation.

Speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr Olisa said the indices to measure the success of a budget should not be the percentage of implementation as suggested by either a Minister or the National Assembly but on its impact on the ordinary Nigerians.

Economist says budget for 2013 better than that of 2012

An economist, Katchy Ononuju on Thursday said that next year’s budget as proposed by President Goodluck Jonathan before a joint session of the National Assembly on Wednesday is by far better than that of 2012.

Mr Ononuju, who was a guest on Channels Television’s programme, Sunrise Daily, said: “This is a much better budget as a proposal of intent than the last one we had. In this, we’ve been able to reduce our exposure to recurrent expenditure. We actually brought it down from the former 72 percent to now 68 percent.”

The economist said the reduction of recurrent expenditure will help release more money for capital expenditure. He said those in government need to ‘put something in for those who voted politicians into place.’

Analyst asks government to trim down agencies’ budget items

A public Finance analyst, Professor Akintola Bello on Thursday said one of the challenges facing budget implementation in Nigeria is the inclusion of too many items on the budget list by government agencies.

Speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr Bello said: “I don’t think that our people do budget very well. If you give anything (project) to an agency and ask them to cost it, they will come up with a cost and the costing is so bogus. There is no rationale to the cost; they just put an idea there.”

The financial analyst said the government lacked the capacity to do costing insisting that outlook of the previous budget should determine the subsequent one.

Jonathan to present 2013 budget to National Assembly tomorrow

President Goodluck Jonathan will on Wednesday present the 2013 budget to a joint session of the National Assembly.

The Senate President, David Mark on Tuesday read a letter from the president to the senators. In the letter, President Jonathan, urged the National Assembly to allow him to present the budget by 10:00 am.

The letter read in part; ‘as a follow up to my letter of Sept. 21, 2012, I write to crave your kind indulgence to grant me the slot of 10am on Wednesday Oct. 10, 2012.

“This is to enable me formerly address a joint session of the National Assembly on the 2013 budget.’’

President Jonathan had earlier sought the approval of the National Assembly to present the budget on Oct. 4, but the date had to be shifted.

The Senate Leader, Victor Ndoma-Egba, moved a motion, which was unanimously adopted, that the senators move to the House of Representatives Chamber on Wednesday to receive the document.

The senators, however, resolved to hold plenary session by 9:am on Wednesday to enable them quickly deliberate on some issues before the budget presentation.

2013 Budget: Nweke Jnr describes demand for increased benchmark price as tragic

Frank Nweke Jnr, the Director General of the Nigeria Economic Summit Group (NESG) on Thursday said that his group does not support the House of Representatives’ demand to increase the benchmark price of crude oil in the 2013 budget from $75 to $82.

Mr Nweke, who was a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, said that the NESG also does not support the “perennial altercation between the legislature and the executive” arms of governments.

“This latest jack-up in the benchmark price for the 2013 budget is ill-advised. When I first got information about this yesterday, I described it as tragic,” he said.

2013 Budget: Gbajabiamila says issue of benchmark price is unconstitutional

The House of Representatives’ Minority leader, Femi Gbajabiamila on Thursday said the power to decide how the revenue earned by Nigeria is spent is the prerogative of the National Assembly not the executive arm of government.

The lawmaker, who was speaking on Channels Television’s programme, Sunrise Daily, against the fallout between the presidency and the legislature over the benchmark price of crude oil in the 2013 budget, said pegging the price of crude oil is a way through which the Federal Government short-changes the states.

“There is no issue of benchmark vis-à-vis the constitution. If we decide we want a benchmark so that we can save, that part of the constitution needs to be amended. There is no issue of benchmark as far as I am concern,” Mr Gbajabiamila.

The Minority leader said though the House of Representative is yet to receive the 2013 budget, it would improper to present a fresh budget when previous one is yet to be implemented.

“The position of the House is very simple. You don’t jump from one to the other without care of the one that comes before. Again, it is very tardy to present a budget when there is a 2012 Budget that is pending,” he said.

We’ve not started budgeting in Nigeria – Analyst

A budget expert, Emeka Ejikonye on Thursday said what Nigerians generally refers to a budgeting is mere fiscal policy making activities.

Mr Ejikonye, who was speaking on Channels Television’s programme, Sunrise Daily, against the fallout between the presidency and the legislature over the benchmark price of crude oil in the 2013 budget, said until the Nigerian government “start doing budgeting, Eldorado will continue to elude us.”