9th Assembly: Goje Steps Down For Lawan In Senate Presidency Race

 

Senator Danjuma Goje has stepped down for Senator Ahmed Lawan over the Senate presidency race of the ninth assembly.

Goje who met with President Muhammadu Buhari over leadership of the Senate on Thursday, alongside Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna state, told a briefing that they have met and senator Goje has agreed to step down and fully endorse Senator Ahmed Lawan.

READ ALSO: Senate Leadership: I Will Run For Deputy Senate President, Even If APC Refuses Kalu

Meanwhile, Goje said he has decided to agree with the choice of president Buhari and the APC, and his support is borne out of personal conviction and love for his party.

However, Lawan thanked Goje and El-Rufai for the endorsement and stressed that the move will unite the party.

He also stressed the importance of a focused and united party in the Senate in order to move the country forward.

Finance Minister Says N5.1trn Released From 2016 Budget

Finance Minister Says N5.1trn Released From 2016 BudgetThe Federal Government has so far released ‎the sum of 5.1 trillion Naira out of 6.06 trillion Naira passed by the National Assembly in the 2016 budget.

The Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, said this on Wednesday at a meeting organised by the Joint National Assembly Committee on Appropriation in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

Mrs Adeosun told the committee members that despite the shortfall in revenue in 2016, the Federal Government has so far released 870 billion Naira for capital expenditure, excluding the proceeds from the Eurobond.

However, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriation, Senator Danjuma Goje, sought to know if the Ministry of Finance diverted funds from loans to finance personnel expenditure rather than capital expenditure.

He also expressed dissatisfaction with the absence of the ‎Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) at the stakeholders meeting on implementation of the 2016 budget.

Senator Goje noted that the Acting Director from CBN, Mohammed Yakubu, was not competent to speak before the Joint committee, insisting that the CBN governor must appear before the committee latest Friday morning.

“We have left serious business of processing 2017 budget to ensure the level of implementation of the 2016 budget. It is Nigerians’ right to know the level of implementation.

“The CBN governor could not call us, he only sent an Acting Director in the CBN to appear before the committee,” he said.

Giving details of releases for 2016 budget before the committee, the Accountant-General of the Federation, Hammed Idris, informed the lawmakers that 870 billion Naira was released for capital projects which constituted 55%, while 2.3 trillion Naira was released for personnel cost and 351 billion Naira for statutory transfer.

Mr Idris added that 1.3 trillion Naira was meant for debit servicing, service wide votes for 285 billion Naira while overhead was 138 billion Naira.

He explained that personnel cost and debit service were achieved 100%, overhead cost achieved 85% while capital was achieved 55%.

On his part the Director-General of Budget Office, Ben Akabueze, said there was a shortfall of 1.1 trillion Naira in targeted Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) for 2016, explaining that only 398 billion Naira was realised in 2016 IGR out of targeted 1.5 trillion Naira.

He‎ attributed poor capital funding in 2016 to revenue shortfall, stressing that projection oil revenue only accounted for 20% of the total 2016 budget.

Mr Akabueze said “the reason we are unable to implement capital budget fully is as a result of shortfall in the IGR”.

He, however, failed to give a clear picture of how the loan borrowed was utilised, but promised the lawmakers for details before the end of implementation of 2016 budget.

Senate Receives 2016 Appropriation Bill

senateThe Senate has received the report of its Committee on Appropriation on the 2016 budget.

The Chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriation, Senator Danjuma Goje, laid the report at the resumption of legislative proceedings on Tuesday.

The National Assembly Committees on Appropriation postponed the submission of the budget till today (March 22) to give it more time to work on the budget.

The submission of the report puts an end to weeks of speculation on the 2016 budget report.

The Senate spokesman, Senator Aliyu Abdullahi, had explained to newsmen a week earlier that the National Assembly was unable to pass the budget as planned because the appropriation committees were trying to make sure that there are no errors in the budget.

The Senate is expected to pass the budget on Wednesday as Senator Abdullahi had given the assurance that the National Assembly would pass a budget which would meet the aspirations of Nigerians.

NASS Defends Position On N500Bln Social Welfare Package

NASSThe joint committee of the National Assembly on appropriations says the National Assembly has not discarded the proposed 500 billion Naira for social welfare in the 2016 budget.

This is according to a statement jointly signed by the chairmen of the appropriation committees of the two chambers, Senator Danjuma Goje and Rep. Abdulmumin Jibrin.

The lawmakers said that they had only made observations on the proposal during their meeting with the Ministers of Finance, Budget and National Planning, during their meeting on the 2016 budget.

The lawmakers said that they had expressed concern over reports indicating that the government is yet to put in place adequate preparations for the welfare programme and suggested to the executive that the money proposed in the 2016 budget be invested in some critical sectors, while adequate preparations are made for its full take off in 2017.

They say they are waiting for the response of the executive on their suggestion.

Senate Approves $200mln Lagos Loan

dollarsThe Senate in Nigeria has approved a $200 million World Bank loan for Lagos State, in accordance with President Buhari’s request on September 29.

The approval was given after the Senate ad-hoc Committee on Local and Foreign Debt presented a report on the loan.

After the committee’s review of the request, it recommended the approval of the loan on the grounds that the first and second tranches had been approved by the National Assembly while this third tranche had been captured in the 2015-2017 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF).

Eligible To Borrow More

In the report, the committee stated that Lagos State, Nigeria’s commercial nerve, had justified the loan with acceptable debt sustainability levels and therefore was eligible to borrow more.

But a Federal Lawmaker, Senator Danjuma Goje, cautioned against what he termed ‘frivolous approval of loans’ for state governors, saying most of the governors mortgage the future of their states by accumulating a huge debt profile for their successors.

However, Senate President Bukola Saraki maintained that loans which would aid infrastructural development should not be condemned.

North-East Senators Say No To Imposition Of Senate President

North-EastThe North-East caucus in the Senate has declared that it would resist any plans to impose any candidate for Senate Presidency on the group.

Briefing journalists in Abuja, the leader of the group, Senator Danjuma Goje, asked Nigerians to disregard any purported endorsement of any senator from the North-East for the office of the Senate President.

The All Progressives Congress, APC, is yet to officially declare if it would zone the seats of the principal officers of the National Assembly and to which areas.

However, there have been reports that the APC may have zoned the seat of the Senate President to the North-east.

Senator Goje told journalists that the caucus should be allowed in consultation with the party leadership to nominate their preferred candidate for the position.

APC Screening Committee Clears Gov Amosun

AmosunThe National Screening Committee for governorship aspirants in the South West under the platform of the All Progressives Congress, APC, has cleared Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State.

Chairman of the committee and former Governor of Gombe State, Senator Danjuma Goje, while presenting the screening certificate to Governor Amosun in Lagos, revealed that only Ogun State has one candidate in the South West.

While noting that the presentation of the certificate meant that Governor Amosun had been cleared to go into the party’s primaries, he commended the Governor for the developmental strides being recorded since he became the Governor of the state.

Responding, Governor Amosun commended the party leadership for the cream of experienced statesmen that made up the committee, pointing out that he, alongside his colleagues, would still fly the flag of APC in Ogun.

He stated that the party’s manifesto, which is development-oriented, is paramount to his administration in the Gateway State.

He expressed confidence that the APC would be victorious in the 2015 presidential election and would thereby extend development to the length and breadth of the country.