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Writer, Editor, Reader, Public Analyst, Legal Practitioner & Politician.

End SARS: We Were Misled And Misinformed, IPOB Is At It Again

It is evidently clear that some persons are hell bent to destroy this country and we shall resist it by all means.

We were misinformed and misled to believe that soldiers killed peaceful protesters at the Lekki toll gate, whose bodies are yet to be seen, family members yet to be seen crying and the hospitals they were taken to yet to be seen or shown to us. We have not heard parents or relatives of the deceased coming out to cry. The governor confirmed only one death which was not as a result bullet, and it is yet to be confirmed if the incident happend at the scene of the protest at Lekki.

The burning and destruction of Public infrastructure, media houses and attacks on the Oba of Lagos and other personalities has shown the evil intent of some anarchist. We shall not allow this, and the best way to resist this madness is by resisting to be tempted to respond to their evil act, but to allow the constituted authority to do the needful.

Our young people up here in the North must keep calm and refuse to be tempted to see the violence from a regional, tribal or religious angle because that is their intention. Those in Plateau that have subconsciously allowed themselves to be used must wake up and note that they are only playing to the gallary of some evil persons.

We shall soon mobilize young people of influence from this part of the country to have a talk and see how to prevail on other young people with tendencies not to contemplate taking laws into their hands. Violence has never defeated violence.

We urge all voices of young progressive Nigerians both those for and against SARS to speak up against this insincerity and intent to burn down our country.

The IPOB guys have proven a point and we must resist them by refusing to be violent while we note that not all Igbos are members of IPOB.

Mallam Yusuf Amoke
22/10/2020.

A Gain In Disguise: The Departure of Alhaji Shehu Barau Ningi From PRP!

The PRP Family in Bauchi State has today received the resignation of Alhaji Shehu Barau Ningi from the party without an iota of surprise or disgust.

This public statement wouldn’t had been made, if not because of some issues that Alhaji Shehu Barau Ningi raised in his resignation letter which we consider inimical and injurious to the image and long-lived reputation of our cherished party.

The departure of Alhaji Shehu Barau Ningi from PRP is a conspicuous gain that heralds the future growth and development of the party as has now created a space for all persons with progressive ideals and ideas to join the redemptive bandwagon – the PRP.

Alhaji Shehu Barau Ningi had joined the PRP in 2019 after being tactically trashed from the APC by its leadership which he went back to meet now. He affirmed this in his resignation letter copying the APC Chairman by stating: “I am sure you will recall that my departure from the APC was not as a result of my resignation from the party. It was a result of my total exclusion from the affairs of the party by the leadership of the party”.

The PRP, due to its accomodating nature, accorded him all privileges including giving him the opportunity to steer the activities of the party at Bauchi State level. Even though a number of voices had objected the then decision of the party citing as justifications some unprintable incidences that characterized his existence in his former parties – ANPP, CPC, and APC.

The resignation and total departure of Alhaji Shehu Barau Ningi from PRP has saved a lot of energy and time from being wasted as there were already moves by some patriotic party members to effect his removal due to the stagnant condition which the party found itself since his assumption of its leadership almost two years ago. In this regard, the Bauchi State PRP family members did commend Alhaji Shehu Barau Ningi here for making their work short, brief and accomplished.

Alhaji Shehu Barau Ningi has mentioned in his resignation letter that a conflict in PRP was what majorly moved him to resign. At this juncture, we deem it important to specifically point out that there’s no any political party on earth that exists without one problem or another. It is a natural culture of politics and a part and parcel of human existence. Like any other political party in Nigeria, the PRP cannot be totally perfect and has its own issues that cannot be called crisis if compared with the crises that rocked and continue rocking the party he was going to – the APC. Was it not a crisis that paralyzed and polarized the APC to the extent that they dissolved their National Leadership and formed a Caretaker Committee? Was it not a crisis that destabilized and decapitated the APC to the extent that they arranged to hold extraordinary emergency convention as part of desperate measures to address the lingering and ravaging crises? Was it not the crises in APC that made some of its state governors like the former of Governor of Imo, Senator Rochas Okorocha and others to declare 2023 as its expiry date?

Therefore, citing a crisis that does not exist as a basis for his resignation cannot and will never hold water. We have no problem if Alhaji Shehu Barau Ningi joined the ruling APC in anticipation of appointment, renewal of appointment or any other promises that might be made to him because doing that didn’t start with him and will not end from him in Nigerian politics. But our problem was his intentional action of citing a non-existent problem that would dent the image of our party as his basis for resignation.

In addition, we consider it pertinent to bring to the attention of the general public that there is no any form of conflict among the PRP National Executive Committee (NEC), National Working Committee (NWC), and Board of Trustees (BOT) of the party as alleged by Alhaji Shehu Barau Ningi in his resignation letter. These organs work in synergy and harmony with one another. Recent successes and achievements recorded by the party, particularly at the National Level serve as an indisputable attestation to that.

PRP remains intact and united. Therefore, we urge well-meaning Nigerians, particularly the inhabitants and indigenes of Bauchi State to join the redemptive wagon of Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) now so as to move Nigeria forward and salvage Nigerians.

We thanked Alhaji Shehu Barau Ningi profusely for all his services and contributions to the PRP during his sojourn in the party. We equally hoped he would get what he’s after in the APC sooner rather than later. We pray that they won’t ‘totally exclude him from the affairs of the party’ this time around as they did previously.

Signed:
Comrade Muhammed Ishaq,
For the Bauchi State PRP Family.
20/10/2020.

Borno State: Zulum Shares Building Materials, Cash To Families of 25 Villages In Jere LG

Gov. Prof. Babagana Umara Zulum of Borno State, shares building materials, cash to families of 25 villages in Jere.

Borno State Governor, Babagana Umara Zulum on Saturday supervised the distribution of building materials and cash to 1,111 families who will reconstruct their homes across 25 villages in Jere local government area.

The distribution is one of government resettlement policies even though the government at many instances, builds and reconstruct thousands of homes on major projects.

Each of the 1,111 families empowered for resettlements, has at least six members.

They will be returning to safe communities they lived before they were displaced years ago.

At a brief ceremony which took place in Yawuri each family, called a household, received building materials and cash to renovate their houses and pick up the pieces of their lives.

Zulum assured the communities of Government’s continued assistance in ways that will boost access to livelihoods in irrigation agriculture taking advantage of potentials in the shores of Lake Alau.

The governor also promised to construct a new school and a hospital for the families.

The returning communities had been taking refuge in parts of Jere Local Government and Maiduguri Metropolitan for over 3 years.

Commissioner for Reconstruction, Resettlement and Rehabilitation, Engr. Mustapha Gubio informed the Governor that only displaced persons who indicated interest to to return were listed for the self-reconstruction empowerment.

Meanwhile, Governor Zulum was at Dalwa, a community in Konduga Local Government Area where the ministry for reconstruction already mobilised to site for construction of 500 houses.

President Buhari Assures Okonjo-Iweala of Support For Her WTO Ambition

President Muhammadu Buhari Monday in Abuja assured Nigeria’s former Minister of Finance and Economy, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, that the country will explore every opportunity and deploy its entire energy to ensure that she becomes the Director-General of World Trade Organisation (WTO).

Dr Okonjo-Iweala is one of two candidates contesting for the top position of the multilateral institution.

President Buhari, who received the former Managing Director (Operations) of the World Bank at the Presidential Villa, said she deserved more support to get the top job because of her profile and diligence in serving the country, and the world.

“I assure you that we will do all that we can to ensure that you emerge as the Director-General of WTO, not only because you are a Nigerian, but because you are a hardworking Nigerian. You deserve this,’’ he added.

The President assured Dr Okonjo-Iweala that he will make more phone calls, and send letters to some world leaders for more support.

“I did the same for Dr Akinwunmi Adesina for President of the African Development Bank. Both of you served the country under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). You are both highly qualified. We will continue to support you. I will immediately make those calls,’’ the President told Dr Okonjo-Iweala.

In her remarks, Dr Okonjo-Iweala, a renowned development economist, thanked the President and his ministers, particularly the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, and Ministers of Industry, Trade and Investment for supporting her staunchly.

“I feel very proud of Nigeria. I am getting so much support from you, Mr President, Chief of Staff, Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Ministers of Industry, Trade and Investments. The ministers have been working around the clock to ensure that I succeed,’’ she said.

The former Minister of Finance also appreciated ECOWAS leaders for their endorsement, mentioning in particular the outstanding contributions of President Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger Republic and immediate past Chairman of ECOWAS as well as President Alhassan Quattara of Cote d’Ivoire.

She asked the President to “make one final push within the week to beat the Koreans and bring this to Nigeria by sending a few letters and placing telephone calls to some world leaders, and also thank others for their support.’’

“Mr President, put a smile on my face,’’ she said, “I am very proud of the country.’’

The statement was made available today by Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity.

SARS: Senate President Commends President Buhari For Acceding To The Demand of The People

President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has commended President Muhammadu Buhari for listening to the voice of the Nigerian people over their dissatisfaction with the operations of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad(SARS) of the Nigeria Police Force.

Lawan said with the courageous decision to dissolve the police unit, the President and his government have shown themselves as responsive to the feelings of the people.

“I am applauding the President because it is a demonstration of good leadership to yield to the demand of the populace in difficult situations like this,” Lawan said.

He also commended the Inspector-General of Police for the decision and challenged him to come up with measures for the transformation of the Nigeria Police into an effective law enforcement and crime fighting agency that is also a true and respected friend of the Nigerian people.

The Senate President said the measures should fully address all the issues that earned the dissolved SARS the odium of the Nigerian people, and in particular of the articulate Nigerian youths.

“The expectation is that this situation offers us another opportunity to reform the operations of the entire Force.

“I also reiterate my call for the prosecution of all security personnel whose extra judicial killings and other acts of misconduct brought us to this sorry pass.

“I hope that the steps taken by the Inspector-General of Police will be followed with more comprehensive reform of the Police,” Lawan said.

The statement was made available yesterday by Ola Awoniyi, the Special Adviser on Media to the President of the Senate.

President Buhari Says Farmers Will Reap Benefits of Our Policies

President Muhammadu Buhari has said that Nigerian farmers stand to reap the benefits of his government’s reforms as he continues to accord the highest priority to agriculture, describing it as the country’s largest employer of labour and engine of growth.

At a meeting with Katsina State Elders Forum at the State House in Abuja on Thursday, the President said his administration will continue to take steps to enhance output and productivity by ensuring the availability of cheap agricultural credits, farm inputs, fertilizer and the introduction of latest technologies.

President Buhari said the choice of practicing farmers as ministers in charge of agriculture, first Chief Audu Ogbe and now, Alhaji Sabo Nanono, was a reflection of his strong wish to protect the interest of farmers and the attainment of national food self-sufficiency.

He agreed to look into the request of the Katsina Elders for the expansion of existing irrigation schemes at Zobe and Sabke dams to enhance employment and profitability in agriculture, saying that a situation in which 60 per cent of the state is productive in rain-fed agriculture for three to four months, and idle for the rest of the year was unacceptable.

The President told the meeting that he had charged his ministers of agriculture to work with the states to rediscover the lost animal grazing routes and reserves as a means to ending the frequent outbreak of violence between farmers and herders.

He also pressed the necessity of educating school-age children, saying that once the opportunity of early education is lost, it often turns out very difficult for them to make up.

According to him, “This is the best preparation we can give to them. We destroy their lives by denying children education.”

President Buhari also broached the issue of armed banditry and kidnapping that had bedevilled Katsina and other northwestern states and gave assurances that the situation will be overcome in the same way the farmer-herders attacks were subdued.

The leader the delegation, Alhaji Aliyu Balarabe Saulawa representing the Chairman, Alhaji Ahmadu Kurfi, Maradin Katsina, commended the President for returning peace to most parts of the state and for the various infrastructure projects, including the Kano-Jigawa-Katsina-Maradi rail link.

They welcomed the recent decision by government to elongate the service of teachers and improve their condition of service.

Garba Shehu
Senior Special Assistant to the President
(Media & Publicity)
October 9, 2020

Full President Buhari Speech While Laying The 2021 Budget Before The National Assembly

His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, the President, Federal Republic of Nigeria, laid the 2021 Budget, At the Joint Session of the National Assembly, Abuja. Today Thursday, 8th October 2020.

PROTOCOLS

  1. It is with pleasure that I present the 2021 Federal Budget Proposals to this Joint Session of the National Assembly.
  2. Distinguished and Honourable Leaders, and Members of the National Assembly, at this juncture, I wish to commend your tremendous efforts in approving the revision of the 2020 – 2022 Medium-Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper, and passage of the 2020 Appropriation (Repeal and Amendment) Act, in response to the Coronavirus Pandemic.
  3. Today marks an important occasion in our quest to accord the federal budget process the seriousness it deserves. In line with our commitment, we have worked extra hard to ensure early submission of the 2021 –2023 Medium-term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper, as well as the 2021 Appropriation Bill. It is my sincere hope that the National Assembly will pass this Bill into law early enough to enable implementation by 1st January 2021, given the collaborative manner in which the budget was prepared.
  4. In the course of this address, I will present the highlights of our budget proposals for the next fiscal year. The Honourable Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning will, later, provide the full details of these proposals.

Recent Developments

  1. The 2021 Budget was prepared amidst a challenging global and domestic environment due to the persistent headwinds from the Coronavirus Pandemic. The resulting global economic recession, low oil prices and heightened global economic uncertainty have had important implications for our economy.
  2. The Nigerian economy is currently facing serious challenges, with the macroeconomic environment being significantly disrupted by the Coronavirus Pandemic. Real Gross Domestic Product (‘GDP’) growth declined by 6.1 percent in the second quarter of 2020. This ended the 3-year trend of positive, but modest, real GDP growth recorded since the second quarter of 2017. I am glad to note that, through our collective efforts, our economy performed relatively better than that of many other developed and emerging economies.
  3. GDP growth is projected to be negative in the third quarter of this year. As such, our economy may lapse into the second recession in four years, with significant adverse consequences. However, we are working assiduously to ensure a rapid recovery in 2021. We remain committed to implementing programmes to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty over the next 10 years.
  4. As skills’ deficits limit employment opportunities in the formal economy, various skills’ development programmes are being implemented simultaneously to address this problem frontally. For instance, the Government is implementing the Special Public Works programme to provide employment opportunities to 774,000 youths across the 774 local government areas of Nigeria. We have also recently introduced the N75 billion Nigeria Youth Investment Fund, of which N25 billion have been provided in 2021 Budget.
  5. We thank all Nigerians, for your perseverance and continued support during these difficult times. We remain unwavering in our commitment to actualize our vision of a bright future for everyone.

Performance of the 2020 Budget

  1. Distinguished and Honourable Members of the National Assembly, you will recall that the 2020 ‘Budget of Sustaining Growth and Job Creation’ was amended in response to recent fiscal pressures. I am glad to report that these efforts enabled us to effectively respond to the public health challenge of Coronavirus outbreak and moderate economic impact.
  2. Pursuant to our revised assumptions, the amended 2020 Budget was based on a benchmark oil price of 28 US Dollars per barrel; oil production of 1.80 million barrels per day; and exchange rate of N360 to the US Dollar.
  3. Based on these budget parameters, aggregate revenue of N5.84 trillion was projected to fund N10.81 trillion in expenditure. The projected deficit of N4.98 trillion, or 3.57 percent of GDP, is expected to be financed mainly by borrowing.
  4. In 2020, average daily oil production was 1.88 mbpd up to June, as against the revised estimate of 1.80 mbpd for the entire year. However, the market price of Bonny Light crude averaged 40.79 US Dollars per barrel, significantly higher than the revised benchmark price of 28 US Dollars.
  5. As at July 2020, the Federal Government’s actual revenue available for the budget was N2.10 trillion. This revenue performance was only 68 percent of our pro-rated target in the revised 2020 budget. At N992.45 billion, oil revenue performed well above our budget target, by 168 percent. Non-oil tax revenues totalled N692.83 billion, which was 73 percent of the revised target.
  6. To improve independent revenue performance, I have directed that the cost profiles of Government Owned Enterprises (‘GOEs’) should be scrutinized and limits imposed on their cost-to-revenue ratios. Supervising Ministers have also been directed to ensure closer monitoring of the revenue generating activities and expenditures of the Government Owned Enterprises.
  7. On the expenditure side, as at end of July 2020, a total of N5.37 trillion had been spent as against the pro-rated expenditure of N5.82 trillion. Accordingly, the deficit was N3.27 trillion. This represents 66 percent of the revised budgeted deficit for the full year.
  8. Despite these challenges, we met our debt service obligations. We are also up to date on the payment of statutory transfers and staff salaries, while overhead costs have been significantly covered.
  9. For the first time in recent years, we commenced the implementation of this year’s capital budget in the first quarter. As at 15th September 2020 a total of about N1.2 trillion had been released for capital projects. Every Federal MDA has received at least 50 percent of its 2020 capital expenditure budget, in line with my earlier directives.
  10. Let me emphasise that revenue generation remains our major challenge. Nevertheless, Government is determined to tackle the persisting problems with domestic resource mobilization, as there is a limit to deficit financing through borrowing. The time has come for us to maintain a healthy balance between meeting our growing expenditure commitments and our long-term public financial health.

Key Achievements in the 2020 Fiscal Year

  1. Over the last year, this Administration has implemented several priority projects. I am happy to report that much progress has been made on several fronts and our Government has delivered on key policies, programmes and projects in these priority areas.
  2. In agriculture, we have recorded appreciable success in rice and other crops mainly through the Anchor Borrowers Programme and the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative, anchored by the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority, respectively. We are also accelerating the construction of 337 rural roads around key agricultural corridors to enhance access to market and reduce post-harvest losses. These efforts have reduced the adverse impact of Coronavirus on our food availability, prices and security.
  3. We have made progress on the railway projects connecting different parts of the country. The Lagos-Ibadan Line will soon be operational. The Abuja-Kaduna Line is running efficiently. The Itakpe-Ajaokuta Line was finally completed after over 30 years since it was initiated and commissioned in September 2020.
  4. Arrangements are underway to complete the Ibadan-Kano Line. Also, work will soon commence on the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri Line and Calabar-Lagos Coastal Line, which will connect the Southern and Eastern States to the North, and the South-South as well as South-East to the North, and South-West, respectively.
  5. The Second Niger Bridge is at about 46 percent completion. We hope to commission the project before the end of our tenure in 2023. We have awarded several contracts to rehabilitate, reconstruct and construct major arterial roads, in order to reduce the hardship to commuters and increase economic activity.
  6. To bridge the infrastructure deficit, we are also implementing innovative financing strategies to pull-in private sector investment. The Infrastructure Company, which I recently approved, will become a world-class infrastructure development vehicle, wholly focused on making critical infrastructural investments in Nigeria. This Infrastructure Company will raise funding from the Central Bank of Nigeria, the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority, the Africa Finance Corporation, pension funds as well as local and foreign private sector development financiers.
  7. Under the Road Infrastructure Tax Credit Scheme, we are undertaking the construction and rehabilitation of over 780km of roads and bridges, nationwide, to be financed by the grant of tax credits to investing business. Ongoing projects under this scheme include:

a. Construction and Rehabilitation of Lokoja-Obajana-Kabba-Ilorin Road Section II (Obajana-Kabba) in Kogi and Kwara States;

b. Construction of Apapa-Oworonshoki-Ojota Expressway in Lagos State; and

c. Construction of Bodo-Bonny road with a Bridge across the Opobo Channel in Rivers State.

  1. To enhance good governance, we strengthened our anti-corruption agencies to ensure they work independently and jointly, while respecting the rule of law. We have also worked to address emergent cases of insecurity and insurgency, nationwide, with innovative approaches. Our security operations in the Niger Delta, North Central and North West are yielding desired results. We are determined to get rid of bandits, kidnappers and criminal behaviour from our midst.

Theme & Priorities of the 2021 Budget

  1. Distinguished Senators; Honourable Members; let me now turn to the 2021 Appropriation Bill, which is designed to further deliver on the goals of our Economic Sustainability Plan. This Plan provides a clear road map for our post- Coronavirus economic recovery as a transitional plan to take us from the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (2017 – 2020) to the successor Medium-Term National Development Plan (2021 – 2025).
  2. In view of the many challenges confronting us, we must accelerate our economic recovery process, promote social inclusion and strengthen the resilience of the economy. The 2021 Appropriation has, therefore, been themed the ‘Budget of Economic Recovery and Resilience’. It is expected to accelerate the pace of our economic recovery, promote economic diversification, enhance competitiveness and ensure social inclusion.

Parameters & Fiscal Assumptions Underpinning the 2021 Appropriation

  1. Distinguished Members of the National Assembly, the 2021 – 2023 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper set out the parameters for the 2021 Budget, which include:

a. Benchmark oil price of 40 US Dollars per barrel;

b. Daily oil production estimate of 1.86 million barrels (inclusive of Condensates of 300,000 to 400,000 barrels per day);

c. Exchange rate of N379 per US Dollar; and

d. GDP growth projected at 3.0 percent and inflation closing at 11.95 percent.

Finance Bill 2020

  1. Distinguished and Honourable Members; I have directed the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning to finalise the Finance Bill 2020, which will be forwarded for your kind consideration and passage into law, shortly after today’s 2021 Budget presentation. The Finance Bill is to support the realization of our 2021 revenue projections, adopt appropriate counter-cyclical fiscal policies and enhance the efficiency of fiscal incentives.

Tax Expenditure Statement

  1. In compliance with the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2007, we will prepare and publish, a Tax Expenditures Statement for 2019. The 2019 Statement will be the first of these annual Statements, setting out the estimated cost of tax exemptions, incentives and rebates provided under Nigeria’s revenue and other laws. The 2019 Statement is expected to contribute to public discussion on the use of our tax policies and system to achieve socio-economic development.

Federal Government Revenue Estimates

  1. Based on the foregoing fiscal assumptions and parameters, total federally distributable revenue is estimated at N8.433 trillion in 2021. Total revenue available to fund the 2021 Federal Budget is estimated at N7.886 trillion. This includes Grants and Aid of N354.85 billion as well as the revenues of 60 Government-Owned Enterprises.
  2. Oil revenue is projected at N2.01 trillion. Non-oil revenue is estimated at N1.49 trillion. As you will observe, the format of the 2021 Appropriation Bill has been modified to include budgeted revenues, no matter how small, for each MDA, to focus on internal revenue generation. Accordingly, I implore you to pay as much attention to the revenue side as you do to the expenditure side.

Planned 2021 Expenditure

  1. An aggregate expenditure of N13.08 trillion is proposed for the Federal Government in 2021. This includes N1.35 trillion spending by Government-Owned Enterprises and Grants and Aid funded expenditures of N354.85 billion. For 2021, the proposed N13.08 trillion expenditure comprises:

a. Non-debt Recurrent Costs of N5.65 trillion;

b. Personnel Costs of N3.76 trillion;

c. Pensions, Gratuities and Retirees’ Benefits of N501.19 billion;

d. Overheads of N625.50 billion;

e. Debt Service of N3.124 trillion;

f. Statutory Transfers of N484.49 billion; and

g. Sinking Fund of N220 billion (to retire certain maturing bonds).

Fiscal Balance

  1. The 2021 Budget deficit (inclusive of Government Owned Enterprises and project-tied loans), is projected at N5.20 trillion. This represents 3.64 percent of estimated GDP, slightly above the 3 percent threshold set by the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007. It is, however, to be noted that we still face the existential challenge of Coronavirus Pandemic and its aftermath; I believe that this provides a justification to exceed the threshold as provided for by this law.
  2. The deficit will be financed mainly by new borrowings totalling N4.28 trillion, N205.15 billion from Privatization Proceeds and N709.69 billion in drawdowns on multilateral and bilateral loans secured for specific projects and programmes.

Statutory Transfers

  1. The sum of N484.49 billion provided for Statutory Transfers in the 2021 Budget represents an increase of N56.46 billion (or 13 percent) over the revised 2020 provision. The Statutory Transfer provisions are:

a. Niger Delta Development Commission – N63.51 billion;

b. North East Development Commission – N29.70 billion;

c. National Judicial Council – N110.00 billion;

d. Universal Basic Education Commission – N70.05 billion;

e. Independent National Electoral Commission – N40.00 billion;

f. National Assembly – N128.00 billion;

g. Public Complaints Commission – N5.20 billion;

h. Human Rights Commission – N3.00 billion; and

i. Basic Health Care Provision Fund – N35.03 billion.

  1. In compliance with the Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007, all beneficiaries of Statutory Transfers will be required to provide the Budget Office of the Federation with periodic reports on the allocation and expenditure of funds for inclusion in the quarterly Budget Implementation Report.

Recurrent Expenditure

  1. In our efforts to enhance national security and human capital development, a major part of the 2021 recurrent cost estimate is allocated to paying salaries and overheads in MDAs providing these critical public services. These include:

a. N227.02 billion for the Ministry of Interior;

b. N441.39 billion for the Ministry of Police Affairs;

c. N545.10 billion for Ministry of Education;

d. N840.56 billion for Ministry of Defence; and

e. N380.21 billion for Ministry of Health.

Personnel Costs

  1. Personnel cost is still our largest single item of expenditure. In the 7 months to 31st July 2020, it accounted for 34 percent of total Federal Government spending and is projected at 33 percent of 2021 expenditure.
  2. To check the incidence of payments to non-existent personnel and unauthorised allowances, only Federal staff that have been captured on the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (‘IPPIS’) platform will receive salaries.
  3. All agencies have been directed to ensure that they obtain all necessary approvals before embarking on any fresh recruitment. Any breach of these directives will be severely sanctioned.

Debt Service

  1. We remain committed to meeting our debt service obligations. Hence, we have provisioned N3.12 trillion for this in 2021, representing an increase of N445.57 billion from N2.68 trillion in 2020. A total of N2.183 trillion has been set aside to service domestic debts while N940.89 billion has been provided for foreign debt service. N220 billion is provided for transfers to the Sinking Fund to pay off maturing bonds issued to local contractors and creditors.

Overhead Costs

  1. Total overhead costs of MDAs and Government Owned Enterprises are projected to rise to N625.50 billion in 2021, mainly due to the inclusion of the overheads of an additional 50 Government Owned Enterprises. Overhead provisions have also been made for newly created agencies. To keep a tab on running costs, MDAs must adhere to extant expenditure controls.

Capital Expenditure

  1. An aggregate sum of N3.85 trillion is expected to be available for capital projects in 2021, as summarised below:

a. N1.80 trillion for MDAs’ capital expenditure;

b. N745 billion for Capital Supplementation;

c. N355 billion for Grants and Aid-funded projects;

d. N20 billion for the Family Homes Fund;

e. N25 billion for the Nigeria Youth Investment fund;

f. N336 billion for 60 Government Owned Enterprises;

g. N247 billion for capital component of Statutory Transfers; and

h. N710 billion for projects funded by Multi-lateral and Bi-lateral loans.

  1. The 2021 capital budget is N1.15 trillion higher than the 2020 provision of N2.69 trillion. At 29 percent of aggregate expenditure, the provision moves closer to this Administration’s policy target of 30 percent.
  2. Capital expenditure in 2021 remains focused on the completion of as many ongoing projects as possible, rather than the commencement of new ones. We have also made efforts to ensure equity in the distribution of projects and programmes in the proposed budget. I will be providing the National Assembly a list of some of the most critical projects which we must work collectively to ensure they receive adequate funding. Until projects reach completion, they do not deliver the dividends of democracy that Nigerians rightly deserve.

Highlights of the 2021 Capital Projects

  1. Key capital spending allocations in the 2021 Budget include:

a. Power: N198 billion (inclusive of N150 billion for the Power Sector Recovery Plan);

b. Works and Housing: N404 billion;

c. Transportation: N256 billion;

d. Defence: N121 billion;

e. Agriculture and Rural Development: N110 billion;

f. Water Resources: N153 billion;

g. Industry, Trade and Investment: N51 billion;

h. Education: N127 billion;

i. Universal Basic Education Commission: N70 billion;

j. Health: N132 billion;

k. Zonal Intervention Projects: N100 billion; and

l. Niger Delta Development Commission: N64 billion.

  1. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development will facilitate the integrated development of its sector by promoting crops’ value chains; as well as providing rural roads, water and sanitation, veterinary and pest controls, grazing, food and strategic reserves, and access to inputs and extension services.
  2. The 157 percent increase in the capital allocation to the health sector is to enhance the capacity to deliver healthcare services through the procurement of equipment, vaccines and other facilities. Two centres of excellence, as well as one Accident and Emergency Centre, will be equipped in Federal Teaching Hospitals in each geopolitical zone.
  3. In addition, numerous Primary Health Care Centres will be equipped and upgraded across the six geopolitical zones. Furthermore, funds have been allocated for the expansion of Midwives Service Scheme in the six geopolitical zones. To enhance occupational safety, funds have been provided for the provision of Personal Protective Equipment for health workers.
  4. The Ministry of Education’s capital allocation has been increased by 65 percent to improve the education of our children. Funds have been provided for the provision of scholarship awards to Nigerian students at home and abroad.
  5. We have provided funds for the upgrade of security and other infrastructural facilities in our Unity Colleges nationwide. To improve access to education, we have made provision for the establishment of five new Federal Science and Technical Colleges. We have also provided for the payment of allowances to 5,000 teachers under the Federal Teachers Scheme.
  6. In line with our commitment to invest in Transportation Infrastructure, capital allocation to the Works and Housing sector is to facilitate the completion of several critical projects in 2021. I have directed the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning to provide a detailed breakdown of key infrastructural projects in her subsequent Press Briefing.
  7. Key projects for implementation in the Power sector include several Rural Electrification Projects in the 36 States and Abuja, Rural Electrification Access Programme in Federal Universities, the Kaduna LPFO Gas Fired power Plant, the Mambilla Hydro Power Project and the Zungeru Hydropower Project.
  8. Provisions have been made for legacy debts owed to local contractors compensation and resettlement of project-affected communities, the Renewable Energy Micro Utility (Solar) project, and the construction of transmission lines and substations nationwide. These project’s implementation is expected to have positive impact on electricity supply nationwide, as well as boost productivity and employment.
  9. Projects to be implemented by the Ministry of Water Resources in 2021 include provision of potable water in the North East, construction of irrigation and dams across the country, and the provision of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene facilities.
  10. The Ministry of Transportation has earmarked funds for projects such as the Lagos-Ibadan-Kano Line, Abuja-Kaduna Line, Port-Harcourt-Maiduguri Line and Itakpe-Ajaokuta-Warri Line. These projects, when completed, will minimize the cost of transporting people and goods around the country.
  11. To maintain the peace in the Niger Delta region for economic and social activities to thrive, the provision of N65 billion for the Presidential Amnesty Programme has been retained in the 2021 Budget. In addition, the sum of N63.51 billion has been appropriated for the Niger Delta Development Commission and N24.27 billion has been provided for the capital projects of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs. These allocations should further support the development of the region by facilitating the completion of important ongoing projects, such as the East-West Road.

Government Fiscal Strategy in 2021

  1. The government is already implementing several measures to overcome our fiscal constraints. In addition to the Strategic Revenue Growth Initiatives, we are leveraging technology and automation, as well as more effective monitoring of Independently Generated Revenues. Our efforts are aimed at addressing revenue leakages and redirecting scarce resources to the poor and vulnerable. These efforts include:

a. Deregulation of the price of petroleum products;

b. Ongoing verification exercise with IPPIS; and

c. Implementation of service-based electricity tariffs.

  1. The new petrol pricing regime has freed up resources that was allocated to subsidise petroleum products. Similarly, the ongoing IPPIS verification exercise has closed gaps that encourage ghost workers or pensioners. The service reflective electricity tariffs will help resolve liquidity crisis in the power sector and make the sector attractive to foreign investment. These reforms have released trillions of Naira for allocation to other priority areas.
  2. Distinguished Senators, Honourable Members, permit me to reiterate that the main thrust of our capital spending programme in 2021 is the completion of as many ongoing projects as possible across the country. Accordingly, we have prioritized projects that can be rapidly completed to benefit our people.
  3. Distinguished Senators and Honourable Members, I note, with satisfaction, your determination to promptly consider and pass the Petroleum Industry Bill into law. The enactment of this Bill will boost confidence and attract further investments into our oil and gas sector, as well as increase revenues.
  4. I fully understand the difficulties many of our people are going through with the implementation of our reform agenda. However, the measures we are implementing are necessary for sustainable public finance, better allocation of our scarce resources and improved public service delivery. As we implement these reforms, social safety nets will be implemented to cushion the effect of the most vulnerable of our citizens as well as business owners.
  5. In furtherance of our inclusiveness agenda, the sum of N420 billion has been provided to sustain the Social Investment Programme. N20 billion has also been set aside for the Family Homes Fund, our Social Housing Programme. We have expanded our National Social Register, to include an additional one million Nigerians following the onset of Coronavirus. We recently introduced the N75 billion Survival Fund Programme to support and protect businesses from potential vulnerabilities. Furthermore, the Central Bank of Nigeria is reducing the interest rate on its intervention facilities from 9% to 5% with a 1-year moratorium till 31st March 2021, to provide concessional lending of: . N100 billion to households and small businesses;

a. N100 billion to the healthcare and pharmaceutical industry; and

b. N1 trillion to large agricultural and manufacturing businesses.

  1. We urge Nigerian businesses and individuals to make the most of these concessional credit facilities and other such opportunities.

Conclusion

  1. Mr. Senate President, Mr. Speaker, Distinguished and Honourable Members of the 9th National Assembly; let me use this opportunity to, again, commend your firm commitment towards ensuring a very harmonious and productive relationship with the Executive. It is important to further deepen this relationship in the interest of our people.
  2. As you review the 2021 Budget estimates, we believe the legislative process will be expedited to ensure its prompt passage to sustain the restoration of a predictable January – December fiscal year. In this regard, I have directed all Ministers and Heads of Agencies to be personally available for budget defence.
  3. Let me re-emphasize that Nigerians expect that the 2021 Budget will contain only implementable and critical projects, which when completed, will significantly address current structural challenges of the economy, improve the business environment and accelerate economic recovery.
  4. May I conclude my remarks by commending the National Assembly for its support in steering our economy during these very challenging times. We remain committed to sustaining this partnership. We believe that as we work together, we will jointly deliver on our joint mandate to our people.
  5. It is with great pleasure, therefore, that I lay, before this Distinguished Joint Session of the National Assembly, the 2021 Budget Proposals of the Federal Government of Nigeria, for your consideration.
  6. I thank you for your attention.
  7. May God continue to bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

The Poet: The Sky Falls In Rain

The sky falls rain
The rainbow rumbles it,
The sun shines the day,

The moon shines the night,
mood has changed my dawn,
the stars blink my eyes.
my star has left me,
tears flow down to my cheeks.

Memories of my late dad
haunt me in the hood,
we miss him.

We hang in silence,
look forward to hug him again,
it hurts the heart.

On fifth October, twenty nineteen,
cock crow clock ticking,
everyone mourning in the morning.
the time was eight thirty prompt,
my strength has failed,
my appetite has gone.

Blended in bleeding, weeping in grief
I am blunt, the day was grown in grey,
we never greeted to say bye.

Blessing shall be with you,
Paradise shall be your home.

Amin ya RABBIL alamin.

By: Maryam Abdulfatah Makinde & Auwal Uba Mustapha.

Arsenal Activates Thomas Partey’s Release Clause Away From Atletico Madrid

Arsenal have made a late move to sign Thomas Partey from Atletico Madrid before tonight’s transfer deadline, according to Goal.

The Ghana international – who has a release clause of £45 million (€50m/$58m) – has been a priority target for the Gunners all summer.

Discussions with Atletico have taken place during the past few months, with Arsenal hoping to land the midfielder for a fee less than his release clause, but Atletico have consistently stated that the only way Partey will be leaving this summer is if that clause is activated.

Arsenal have previously indicated that the release is too high, but Goal has been told that stance has now changed and Arsenal are willing to meet the clause and have indicated such to La Liga, who hold the player’s registration.

The Inspector General of The Nigerian Police Banned SARS And Other Tactical Squads

The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, has banned the personnel of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS) and other Tactical Squads of the Force from embarking on routine patrols.

This IGP’s ban was contained in a statement issued on Sunday by the Force, Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba.

The Inspector-General of Police, IGP M.A Adamu, NPM, mni has banned the personnel of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS) and other Tactical Squads of the Force including the Special Tactical Squad (STS), Intelligence Response Team (IRT), Anti-Cultism Squad and other Tactical Squads operating at the Federal, Zonal and Command levels, from carrying out routine patrols and other conventional low-risk duties – stop and search duties, checkpoints, mounting of roadblocks, traffic checks, etc – with immediate effect. In addition, no personnel of the Force is authorized to embark on patrols or tactical assignments in mufti. They must always appear in their police uniforms or approved tactical gear. The IGP’s directives come against the backdrop of findings by the leadership of the Force that a few personnel of the Tactical Squads hide under these guise to perpetrate all forms of illegality, contrary to the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), Code of Conduct and Rules of Engagement establishing the squads.

Specifically, the IGP has warned the Tactical Squads against the invasion of the privacy of citizens particularly through indiscriminate and unauthorized search of mobile phones, laptops and other smart devices. They are to concentrate and respond only to cases of armed robbery, kidnapping and other violent crimes when the need arises.

The IGP notes that the FSARS and other Police Tactical Squads remain a critical component of the Force in confronting prevailing and emerging violent crimes in the country. He however condemns every act of unprofessionalism, abuse of human rights and high-handedness by some personnel of the Squads. He has therefore ordered the X-Squad and the Monitoring Unit to embark on immediate and massive nationwide monitoring of activities of Tactical Squads and other police officers on the road. They are to ensure prompt arrest, investigation and prosecution of all erring police officers who violate these directives and other extant regulations of the Force.

The IGP has equally warned, that henceforth, the Commissioner of Police in charge of FSARS, Commissioners of Police in charge of State Commands and the FCT as well as their supervisory Zonal Assistant Inspectors General of Police, will be held liable for any misconduct within their Area of Responsibility (AOR). He therefore charged them to ensure effective supervision and mentoring of the personnel of the Tactical Squads under their jurisdiction.

Meanwhile, two operatives of the FSARS and their civilian accomplice operating in Lagos State, INSPR Sale James, INSPR Monday Uchiola and Okechukwu Ogbonna, have been arrested by the Lagos State Police Command, for acts of professional misconduct including extortion and intimidation of innocent citizens. The operational vehicle of the men has also been impounded and disciplinary procedure has already commenced against the defaulters.

The IGP reaffirms his commitment to bequeathing to Nigerians, a reformed Police Force that is accountable, responsible and ever ready to defend and uphold the rights of the citizens while discharging its duties of keeping the people safe and secure. He enjoins the citizens not to allow the misconduct by a few personnel of the Force to negatively impact on their belief, confidence and trust in the Police.

DCP Frank Mba, the Force Public Relations Officer, Force Headquarters, Abuja.