Senator Gemade Defects From PDP To SDP

Senator Barnabas Gemade


Former Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) national chairman, Senator Barnabas Gemade has announced his defection from the PDP to the Social Democratic Party (SDP).

Gemade was one of the 14 All Progressives Congress (APC) Senators, who defected to the PDP a few weeks ago,

Giving reasons for his defection, Gemade claims that Governor Samuel Ortom betrayed him over Benue North East senatorial ticket.

Senate Challenges FG On Funding Of Industrial Centres

Senate Challenges FG On Funding Of Industrial CentresThe Federal Government has been asked to pay more attention to building Nigeria’s industrial capacity, by giving priority to the development and funding of Industrial Development Centers (IDCs) across the country.

The Senate Committee on Industries made the call during a visit to the Industrial Development Centre in Owerri, the Imo State capital, as part of its oversight function.

The Committee, led by Senator Sam Egwu, decried the state of the centres across the country, stressing the need to prioritise the IDCs and ensure they become functional, in order to contribute to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

A member of the Committee, Senator Barnabas Gemade, observed that one of the major causes of Nigeria’s recession was the failure to develop its industrial capacities.

He added that countries like China and India were able to thrive due to the priority given to industrialisation.

“IDCs were meant to give a foundation of producing middle-level staff for industrialising the nation. And since they were not working very well, and have remained moribund in most of the centres, 23 of them in the country, our level of industrialisation is where it is, which is part of why the recession has come to this nation.

“Countries like India and China that were basically at the same level with Nigeria, are highly industrialised now because they paid attention to their development of industrial capacity, that is what is lacking here,” he said.

The Director-General of Small and Medium Enterprise Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), Dikko Radda, said to achieve full diversification of the economy, government should give more priority to industrialisation.

“I believe we are going to get it right this time because the lawmakers are here and they are the people that appropriate funds for the development of these centres.

“I believe they are really worried about it, and I believe that they are going to do something about it. The government will put more priority on the IDCs,” he said.

National Assembly Commences Debate On 2017 Budget

NASS, 2017 Budget, House of Representatives, SenateThe National Assembly has begun work on the budget proposal for year 2017 presented to the legislators by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Both chambers commenced debate on the general principles of the proposed 7.2 trillion naira budget with lawmakers highlighting their concerns.

While some lawmakers expressed their concern regarding some of the key assumptions of the budget, others were passionate as they declared that the budget was nothing to write home about.

At the floor of the House of Representatives, the debate was kicked off by the Majority Leader of the House, Representative Femi Gbajabiamila.

House Majority Leader, Representative Femi Gbajabiamila

A lawmaker from Adamawa State, Representative Abdulrazak Namdas, and his Delta State counterpart, Representative Nicholas Ossai, were among those who gave their opinions about the budget.

The debate followed the same pattern at the Senate with the Majority Leader, Ahmed Lawan, setting the pace.

Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe of Abia State and Senator Barnabas Gemade from Benue State also informed the lawmakers about their views on the proposal.

This debate is expected to continue on Wednesday as the budget consideration continues for the second allotted day.

It is coming almost six weeks after President Buhari presented a ‘budget of recovery and growth’ to a joint session of the National Assembly on December 14, 2017.

President Buhari Presents 2017 Budget To Lawmakers

The budget is based on a crude oil benchmark price of $42.50 per barrel, with an output of 2.2 million barrels per day.

Government’s expenditure is to be funded with the sum of 4.94 trillion Naira while oil is to contribute 1.98 trillion Naira of the amount.

This was according to a breakdown by the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udo Udoma.

Mr Udoma has assured Nigerians that the government had no plans to increase the Value Added Tax which is set at 5% in 2017.

Senate Orders CBN To Pay Equity Contribution To Mortgage Bank

senate-in-nigeria-chamberThe Nigerian Senate has asked the Central Bank of Nigeria to immediately pay its equity contribution of 1.5 billion Naira to the management of the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria.

The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Housing and Urban Development, Senator Barnabas Gemade, gave the order on Wednesday in Abuja during an oversight visit to the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria.

Senator Gemade said the equity fund would assist the bank in providing affordable housing to Nigerians.

He also announced plans by the committee to make budgetary provision in the 2017 budget to enable the Federal Government address issues of housing deficit.

“We have seen the Central Bank of Nigeria make donations of billions of Naira in this country and for them to leave a responsibility like equity in a bank that is the foremost mortgage institution in Nigeria and contributing to the welfare of ordinary people by providing mortgage financing unattended to all these years leaves a lot be desired.

“I think that CBN should be ashamed of this particular situation and should do something about as quickly as possible,” he said

The Acting Managing Director of the Mortgage Bank, Mr Richard Esin, in his remarks promised to implement a new business model with a sharp focus on the mass and middle income markets that will provide affordable houses at five million naira and below.

“Over the next two dry season cycles, our plan is to, in phase one, ensure the completion of 24 estates. This will also lead to the generation of about 5,000 houses in the nation’s housing stock.

“A second phase with 38 estates, resulting in the erection of about 10,000 houses in the nation’s housing stock and then the last phase is the completion of 14 housing estates that will also bring in about 2,300 houses in the nation’s housing stock,” he told the lawmakers.

Nigeria’s housing deficit is huge, with the available housing to expensive for middle class and low income earners to access.

Senate Committee Inspects Erosion Sites, Federal Highways In Imo

Senate Committee Inspects Erosion Sites, Federal Highways In ImoThe Senate Ad-hoc Committee on Works on Tuesday made a fact finding visit to Imo State, South-East Nigeria to access the bad condition of federal highways and erosion sites across the state.

Senator Barnabas Gemade, who led the committee, said that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration was desirous to tackle the long decay and neglect of infrastructural development in the country.

They noted that it was unfortunate that over the years, most federal roads in the South-East such as the Owerri-Port Harcourt, Owerri-Onitsha, Owerri-Okigwe federal roads and many more have suffered dilapidation due to lack of proper maintenance by previous governments.

They however assured the people of the state that they would forward their findings to the Federal government and advice accordingly.

Despite the Erosion Control Project earlier initiated, the Imo State government said the erosion control project was too much to handle and called for support from the federal government.

Senator Gemade promised to rally support from the federal government through the Ecological Fund Office and also ensure that after the raining season, work would commence on most of the federal highways.

The Deputy Governor of Imo State, Eze Madumere, who received the Senators and accompanied them to the erosion site commended the effort of the committee on their visit.

Mr Madumere urged them to speed up their resolutions to the federal government so as to alleviate the sufferings of the residents of the state.

Stakeholders Advocate Agro-Based Economy For Benue

benue stakeholders on agro-based economyParticipants at the first Benue State Stakeholders Forum have advised the State Government to pursue agro-based economy in order to create wealth for the people.

This appeared to be the unanimous position adopted by the stakeholders who gathered at Government House in Makurdi on Saturday to interact with Governor Samuel Ortom on his performance in his first 100 days in office.

The Managing Director of NEXIM Bank, Mr Robert Orya and Mr. Ambrose Feese an investment banker, who led the call among other speakers, said that Benue State must turn to agriculture, in which it holds comparative advantage over other states, to avoid a total system collapse due to falling crude oil prices.

They further advised Governor Ortom to create an enabling environment for agriculture to thrive.

Lending his voice to the call, A former governor of the state Senator George Akume challenged well-placed Benue indigenes to rise up to the occasion and create wealth for the people through agriculture.

Expectedly, Governor Ortom listed the agricultural revolution as part of his administration’s resolve to address unemployment and wealth creation.

He also spoke about the success of his amnesty programme, peace and security, as well as his probe of the administration of his predecessor, Mr. Gabriel Suswam.

To underscore his preparedness for the task ahead, the Governor also launched a three years development plan.

Agriculture was the mainstay and major income earner for Nigeria until the discovery of crude oil in the country and the subsequent wind fall from the international price boom.

However, since the instability in the crude oil market began in 2012 most oil-producing countries, including Nigeria have been finding it difficult to manage their financial obligations.

PDP Reconciliation Committee Poised To Promote Internal Democracy

PDPThe South South Integration and Reconciliation Committee of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, says its recommendations will promote internal democracy within the party.

The committee concluded its meeting with different aggrieved groups from states in the South South zone as party members from Cross-River State appeared before it.

At the end of the session, the Chairman of the committee, Iya Abubakar, said that they would be considering all they have gathered from the delegations.

He also disagreed with the position of some members of the party from Rivers State that they were prevented from appearing before the committee.

He said that all party members agreed that everyone must work towards the development of the party.

Unlike the scenes from the previous day, there was order at the venue of the PDP reconciliation committee’s meeting.

Meanwhile, the party has commenced sale of forms for elective positions at its national headquarters. One of the first to pick a form is Senator Barnabas Gemade who said that he was confident to pick up the party’s ticket.

It is expected that the national headquarters of the PDP would after this become busy as it signals the start of the political season that will reach a climax with elections in February 2015.