The Senate has approved the sum of N140, 383,591,000 for the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) for the 2020 fiscal year.
In a statement by the Special Assistant on Press to President of the Senate, Ezrel Tabiowo, the approval came following consideration of the report of the Senate Committee on Communications during plenary on Wednesday.
Chairman of the Communications Committee, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, while giving a breakdown of the Commission’s total expenditure for the year 2020, said that N39, 297,044,000 is for recurrent expenditure and N20, 863,699,000 for special projects.
The lawmaker added that out of the total budget for the Commission, the sum of N8,129,462,000 is for capital expenditure, N64,208,446,000 for Transfer to Federal Government, and N7,500,000,000 as Transfer to the Universal Service Provision Fund.
Similarly, the Senate also approved the sum of N11,594,920,847 for the Universal Service Provision Fund for the 2020 fiscal year.
The approval came after consideration of the report of the Committee on Communications chaired by Senator Tinubu.
Out of the total amount approved, N2,354,055,799 is for recurrent expenditure, N196,108,610 for capital expenditure and N9,044,756,438 for USPF projects and programmes.
The President was represented by the Environment Minister at the event designed to plant one million trees annually in Kaduna State.
He pointed out that over 576 million trees were lost annually due to deforestation, adding that the situation had led to the increased rate of desertification, flooding and drought in some parts of Nigeria.
President Buhari feared that with the upsurge in the rate of deforestation, the Federal Government’s effort to achieve the forest cover and restore the environment by 25% might be a tall dream.
The Nigerian Senate has thrown out a bill which seeks the provision of special grants to Lagos state.
The bill entitled the ‘Lagos State Special Economic Assistance Programme’, is seeking a one per cent grant from the Federal Government for the share of the revenue accruing to the Federal Government.
The sponsor of the bill, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, argued that although Lagos State generated much of Nigeria’s income outside the oil sector, the economic activities and huge population of the state places a huge strain on infrastructure and services in the state.
Lagos state is one of Nigeria’s richest states, with huge internal revenue coming from tax and the state recently joined the list of oil producing states.
The request for economic assistance for Lagos State is coming at a time that the nation’s economy is in recession, with a report of the National Bureau of Statistics showing that the nation’s Gross Domestic Product index contracted by 2.06% in the second quarter of 2016.
Plan Has Not Changed
Every revenue counts now for the nation that depends largely on crude oil sales for revenue and the Federal Government had in the past months handed down a bailout to states that could not pay workers salaries.
On what the government is doing to address the economic crisis, the Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, said the tactical plan of the Nigerian government to address its economic challenges had not changed in spite of the official confirmation that the country had gone into a recession.
Mrs Adeosun was the guest of Channels TV’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily on Tuesday, September 20, where the conversation centered on the state of the Nigerian economy.
She recalled that the country had been in negative growth since 2012 with the hope that it would avoid recession but since the reality of the recession has dawned on the nation, the government is prepared to address it.
“Our plans haven’t changed. We need to stimulate the economy and we are going to do so largely by redirecting expenditure from recurrent into capital because we believe that capital expenditure will create jobs and create more productivity in the economy in the long run and help us to diversify,” she said.
The Finance Minister noted that the solution to Nigeria’s problem has been the same and getting out of recession remains dependent on how productive the economy becomes as well as how well it can create jobs.
“To do so, we’ve got to invest in our capital infrastructure,” she maintained.
The Lagos State Chapter of the Peoples Democracy Party (PDP) has vowed to stop the return of Senator Oluremi Tinubu to the Senatorial district, cautioning the Senator to stop her “unparliamentary, unpatriotic and inexperience manner of carrying out ordinary legislative functions and privileges”.
The Party’s stance is on the heels of reports of two interviews allegedly granted in two different National Newspapers, wherein Senator Tinubu “disparaged the Senate as nonentity and also described the hallowed Chamber as not befitting enough of her likes to return!”.
The said interviews were brought on the floor of the Senate, by Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba.
The PDP, in statement by the Lagos State Publicity Secretary, Mr Taofik Gani, noted that the Senate has “asked the committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions to investigate the Lagos central Senator following her statement that except the All Progressives Congress (APC) becomes the majority, she has had her fill in the senatorial seat and adding that the Senate has failed Nigerians”.
The party also noted that the Senate Majority Leader warned “Senator Tinubu to stop disgracing the State by her unparliamentary, unpatriotic and inexperienced manner of carrying out ordinary legislative functions and privileges”.
The PDP also vowed that “unless the Senator is lucky to escape reprimand by the Senate, it shall mobilise voters in Lagos Central Senatorial District to invoke section 69 of Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution. The said section talks about Powers and Processes to recall a Senator or Member of the House of Representatives.
“First, we want to re-assure Senator Remi Tinubu that indeed she has had her Fill in the Senate and can never return to the Senate in 2015, at least not as a Lagos Senator.
“As a matter of urgency, her completing this present term is hanging and imbalance. Unless she is lucky to scale through the senate and be cleared by the Senate committee asked to investigate her, we shall mobilise voters from her Senatorial District to commence the process of her recall as allowed under Section 69 of our Constitution.
“Lagosians are now too embarrassed by the ignoble actions of this APC Senator who we expected would be a fast learner and graduate from being a rookie Senator to an experienced Senator.
“Indeed, we do recognise her Right of freedom of expression, however, she ought to exercise same within the Rules of the Senate. Persistently making same mistakes shows that she is either Treacherous or inexperienced, consequently Unfit to remain in the Senate” the party said.
Lagos State Governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola (SAN) on Saturday joined Former Governor and National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, his wife, Senator Oluremi Tinubu and first civilian Governor, Alhaji Lateef Jakande to pay their last respects to a leader of the APC in Surulere, Alhaji Babatunde Odunsi.
The Governor who was one of the earliest callers at the Surulere residence of the deceased in the early hours of Saturday also joined others at the Janazah prayers held at the Wahab Folawiyo Central Mosque, Surulere later in the day.
The remains of the deceased were later interred at the Vaults and Gardens in Ikoyi after the traditional dust-to-dust rites was performed by the children and relatives of the deceased. They were supported by political associates of the late leader including Governor Fashola, Asiwaju Tinubu, lawmakers from the National and State House of Assemblies among others.
Governor Fashola described the departed leader as a foremost organizer and coordinator who would be sorely missed by all particularly in his Surulere constituency and Lagos State as a loyal party man and thorough grassroots mobiliser.
While condoling with members of Alhaji Odunsi’s family and the teeming party faithful on behalf of the Government and people of Lagos State, Governor Fashola prayed to Almighty Allah to admit the soul of the departed into Al-Jannah Firdaus.
Aged 82, the late Alhaji Lateef Babatunde Odunsi was a founding member of several progressive platforms having gone into politics since 1957 starting with the Action Congress to the Unity Party of Nigeria, the Action Congress of Nigeria and the APC.
Senator Oluremi Tinubu has called on Nigerians to be involved in the effort in rebuilding Nigeria and rescuing it from its many woes.
Senator Oluremi made this call in Surulere at the 4th edition of her annual Town Hall Meeting with her constituents, who emphasized that “Collective responsibility is the catalyst for national development”.
She also mentioned the level of woes currently surrounding the nation, saying Nigeria is grappling with looming dangers of worsening crime rates, insecurity and unemployment.
She further said: “more than ever before, we must emphasize strongly the need for all of us to collectively rise up and play our part in achieving positive change and development.”
She also reasoned that “evolving challenges in Nigeria indicate that at this critical juncture in our history, we must collectively strive towards achieving change.”
She listed signs of underdevelopment pervading the country to include inaccessibility to job opportunities, healthcare, power, potable water, food, education and housing.
“The negative effects of the aforementioned societal ills affect every member of the society,” she noted adding that the trend “is part of the reasons all citizens must shun apathy and get more involved.”
Senator Oluremi argued that the prevalent crises in the land should propel every well-meaning Nigerian to embrace “new efforts aimed at entrenching progressive principles and genuine development across the Nigerian federation.”