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Nigeria’s Poor Approach To Budget Worries NGO

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Executive Director, Civil Resources Development and Documentation Centre (CIRDDOC), an NGO, Mrs Oby Nwankwo, on Sunday, decried poor approach to budget process in the country.

Nwankwo made the observation in Abuja at the West African launch of the 2010 Open Index organised by  CIRDDOC and the International Budget Partnership (IBP) Washington DC in collaboration with ECOWAS.

She said that the launch was one of a series projected by the organisation aimed at achieving good governance as well as to seek for enthronement of transparent budget process at all levels in the country.

“The whole focus of the project is on the global assessment level of budget transparency in the 94 countries of which Nigeria is a member and also the group of 93 questions that member country researchers worked with to get information and response.”

“By the end of the day, the team of consultants in Washington will look at the information that we have and allocate marks or grade people according to a set criteria,’’ Nwankwo added.

The CIRDDOC boss said that Nigeria as at 2006 budget survey had scored 19 points out of a hundred while in 2008 budget process Nigeria stepped up to 20 points and stepped down to 18 with the loss of two points.

“It is obvious that Nigeria is not performing well from the way the budget process has been packaged and with the criteria used in arriving at the result,” she said.

She also said that there were minimum standards that a country must comply with in order to make her budget transparent, one of which was that eight of the budget documents must be produced and published.

Nwankwo said that Nigeria produced most of these documents but failed to publish them, saying that it was of no use if produced and left on the shelf.

She further said that another area the country had poorly faired in terms of budget process was the budget audit that was expected to be carried out at the end of every budget year in order to evaluate the impact and inform the citizens of her performance level.

She said that “though reports are audited but are rather kept in offices as official secret act and unless Nigeria meets certain minimum standards it won’t get to the future transparency level’’.

 Nwankwo said that with the recommendations made by Transparency International, also an NGO,  and CIRDDOC the country’s political will would be developed in order  to achieve the budget transparency target.

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11m Benefitted From $415m World Bank Supported CSDP  – FG

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The Federal Government has disclosed that 11 million Nigerians benefited from $415 million World Bank-supported Community and Social Development Project (CSDP) programme.
Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Hajiya Umar Farouq, disclosed this in an opening address during the close out ceremony of the CSDP programme.
According to Farouq, 11 million direct beneficiaries with an estimated 25 million indirect beneficiaries across 29 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) were reached between 2009 and 2021 when the CSDP programme was being implemented.
She also described the project as highly successful and highlighted sectors the project focused on including health, education, transportation, electrification, community housing, and others.
She said: “The Project became effective in 2009, has had two additional financing, all totaling USD415 million. In its over 11 years of existence, the CSDP has evolved into one of the strong pillars for the implementation of the Social Protection Programmes of the Federal Government under the supervision of my Ministry through the National Social Safety Nets Coordinating Office (NASSCO).
“The CSDP operates with the core principle of Community Driven Development (CDD) Approach.  This is a development paradigm that focuses on the needs of the poor and vulnerable and empowering them with development resources to address their peculiar needs.
“Using this unique approach, the CSDP has implemented micro projects in poor communities across the 543 Local Government Areas of 29 States and the Federal Capital Territory.
“This represents about 70 per cent of the total number of Local Governments in Nigeria.  The poor communities are identified specifically through the use of Poverty Maps agreed to by each participating State and FCT.
“The Project has made substantial impact on improving access of the poor and vulnerable to social and natural resources infrastructure across the benefiting communities.  The total number of beneficiaries of CSDP stands at 11 million direct beneficiaries across the 29 states, with estimated 25 million indirect beneficiaries.
“Specifically, the CSDP has achieved the following: Successful completion of 16,166 micro-projects in 5,664 communities and 934 vulnerable groups.  These micro-projects cut across eight sectors of intervention namely education, health, water, transportation, electrification, socio-economic, environment and community housing; 5,764 classrooms, 1,323 health centres and 4,442 water micro projects were constructed and or rehabilitated.

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Cooking Gas Use Campaign Begins In 12 States

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The Federal Government in collaboration with the Nigerian Energy Support Programme has kicked off the national sensitisation and awareness campaign for the use of Liquefied Petroleum Gas in Nigeria beginning with 12 pilot states.
The states include Sokoto, Katsina, Bauchi, Gombe, Enugu, Ebonyi, Delta, Bayelsa, Lagos, Ogun, Niger and the Federal Capital Territory.
The government said the campaign to ensure increased usage of LPG, popularly called cooking gas, was in line with its ‘Decade of Gas’ initiative, adding that its socioeconomic and health benefits far outweighed the use of kerosene and firewood.
Speaking at the inaugural campaign in Abuja, Tuesday the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, said there was no excuse for Nigeria not to be able to develop its gas sector considering the huge gas reserves in-country.
Osinbajo, who was represented by the Programme Manager, National LPG Expansion Plan, Office of the Vice President, Dayo Adeshina, said the use of LPG would help in cutting down gas flaring in Nigeria.
He said the government was working to ensure that Nigeria achieved the five million metric tons LPG consumption target, adding that efforts were being made to ensure the provision of cylinders at affordable rates to Nigerians.
“Our gas reserves in this country are enormous and we have every reason to develop the gas sector and ensure that our citizens use LPG,” the Vice President said.
He added, “The use of LPG is good for our health and has better socioeconomic benefits and this is in line with the ‘Decade of Gas’ initiative of government.”
Recently, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, said over 120 million Nigerians were experiencing energy poverty despite the huge natural gas resources across the country.
Participants at the awareness campaign also called for adequate penetration of LPG usage in Nigeria, as they pledged to support the government in achieving this target.

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Rail Transport Suffers 38% Decline In Q1 2021 – NBS

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Rail transportation suffered a 38 per cent, year-on-year average decline in passenger and cargo travel in the first quarter of the year 2021 (Q1’21).
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) disclosed this yesterday in its Rail Transport Data for Q1’21, which  showed that passenger travel fell by 34.4 per cent, year-on-year, to 424,460 passengers   in Q1’21 from 647,055 passengers recorded in Q1’2020.
Similarly, cargo travel fell by 43.13 per cent, year-on-year, to 10,511 tons in Q1’21 from 18,484 recorded in Q1 2020.
The NBS stated: The rail transportation data for Q1 2021 reflected that a total of 424,460 passengers travelled via the rail system in Q1 2021 as against 647,055 passenger recorded in Q1 2020 and 134,817 in Q4 2020 representing -34.40 per cent decline year-on-year and +214.84 per cent growth QoQ respectively.
“Similarly, a total of 10,511 tons of volume of goods/cargo travelled via the rail system in Q1 2021 as against 18,484 recorded in Q1 2020 and 35,736 in Q4 2020 representing -43.13 per cent decline year-on-year and -70.59 per cent decline QoQ respectively.
Revenue generated from passengers in Q1 2021 was put at N892,467,526 as against N398,999,290 in Q4 2020. 
Similarly,revenue generated from goods/cargo in Q1 2021 was put at N26.19 million as against N82.57 million in Q4 2020.

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