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FG Targets N11trn Rev In 2013 …Sets Aside N950bn For Security



The Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala,has said that the gross federally collectible revenue in 2013 budget was projected at N11.34 trillion.

Okonjo-Iweala made this known at a press briefing on the breakdown of the 2013 Budget, yesterday in Abuja.

She said, “The gross federally collectible revenue is projected at N11.34 trillion, of which the total revenue available for the Federal Government’s budget is forecast at N4.1 trillion.”

This, she said, represented an increase of 15 per cent over the estimate for 2012.

According to the minister, the projection is based on oil production of 2.53 million barrels per day compared to 2.48 million barrels per day in 2012.

“Benchmark oil price of $79 per barrel, up from $72 per barrel in 2012, Projected real GDP growth rate of 6.5 per cent and average exchange rate of N160 per dollar,’’ she said.

The minister said that the non-oil sector was expected to sustain the 2013 budget.

She commended the Federal Inland Revenue Services for attaining 20 per cent growth in non-oil tax revenue between 2007 and 2012.

On the expenditure provision, she said that budget made provision for an aggregate expenditure of N4.987 trillion.

This she said represented a modest increase of 6.2 per cent over the N4.697 trillion appropriated in 2012.

“This is made up of N387.97 billion for statutory transfers; N591.76 billion for debt service; and N2.38 trillion for recurrent (non-debt) expenditure of which N1.717 trillion is the provision for personnel cost, while overhead cost is projected at N208.9 billion.

“A total of N1.62 trillion has been provisioned for capital expenditure,’’ she said.

The minister added that an additional N273.5 billion had been provisioned for the subsidy reinvestment (SURE-P) programme.

Okonjo-Iweala said that with the development, the fiscal deficit was projected to improve to about 1.85 per cent of GDP in the 2013 Budget when compared with the 2.85 per cent in 2012.

She said that N497 billion was marked out for critical infrastructure such as power, works, transport, and aviation.

The minister said that another N705 billion was set aside for human capital development under education, water, agriculture and health sector

“We also allocated over N950 billion for national security purposes, comprised of N320 billion for the police, and N364 billion for the Armed Forces, N115 billion for the Office of the NSA, and N154 billion for the Ministry of the Interior.

“For 2013, the SURE-P programme has a projected allocation of N180 billion, augmented by the 2012 unspent balances of N93.5 billion.

“This amount will be used to make further progress in the provision of social safety net schemes, maternal and child healthcare, youth development and vocational training for Nigerians,’’ she said.

Okonjo-Iweala said that the budget had key priorities, which included the reduction in cost of governance, and debt management.

Others are infrastructure investments, job creation and the development of the manufacturing sector.

She said that the recurrent spending in total expenditure had reduced from 74.4 per cent in 2011 to 67.5 per cent in 2013 while capital spending increased from 25.6 per cent in 2011 to 32.5 per cent in 2013.

The minister said that N100 billion was saved for 2013 budget from the implementation of IPPIS.

On debt management, she said that N75 billion of maturing debt obligation payment was made last week and N25 billion had been set aside in a sinking fund to be used for retirement of maturing debt obligations in the future.

The minister said that government had reduced annual domestic borrowing to finance the budget deficit from N852 billion in 2011, to N744 in 2012, and now to N577 billion in 2013.

She said, “we are also making concerted efforts to defray the debts of our foreign missions.

“We have made a provision of N13 billion in the 2013 budget to help clear accumulated debts as at the cut-off date of June 2012.”

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Nigeria, US Sign Pact To Reduce Illicit Trafficking Of Ancient Arts



The Federal Government and the United States, yesterday, signed the Cultural Property Implementation Act (CPIA) Agreement.
According to the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, the CPIA would reduce the pillage of Nigeria’s ancient arts which are mostly smuggled to Europe, the US and other places for the benefit of art collectors.
Mohammed said the signing of the MoU became necessary because, despite all efforts by the Ministry of Information and Culture and the National Commission for Museums and Monuments, with the assistance of law enforcement agencies, to prevent illicit export of the nation’s archaeological and ethnological materials, widespread looting and illicit excavation of these materials still continue.
He said this when he signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the CPIA with the US Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard, in the presence of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, in Abuja.
Special Assistant to the President on Media, Office of the Minister of Information and Culture, Segun Adeyemi, disclosed this in a statement titled, ‘Nigeria, US Sign Pact To Reduce Illicit Trafficking of Ancient Arts.’
Mohammed was quoted as saying, “This legislation was enacted by the United States to restrict the importation into the US of archaeological materials ranging in date from 1500 B.C. to A.D. 1770 as well as ethnological materials, including those associated with royal activity, religious activity, etc from nations that have entered into the kind of bilateral initiative that we are signing here with the United States today.”
The minister said on the basis of the agreement, Nigerian antiquities being imported into the US without the requisite export permit will be seized at the border of the US and returned to Nigeria without the arduous and costly task of going through the labyrinth of judicial and diplomatic processes.
“We are optimistic that this agreement will reduce the pillage of our irreplaceable archaeological and ethnological materials, as the market for these materials is being shut in the United States against illicit traffickers.
“The agreement will last for an initial period of five years. If it works well, as we anticipate it will, it shall be renewed for a longer term. We implore other friendly nations to take a cue from the United States of America and join us in finding means to prevent the illegal importation of our antiquities into their countries,” he said.
The minister, who thanked the US Government, in particular the US Embassy in Nigeria, for making the MoU possible, said the Nigerian Government looks forward to a diligent implementation of the landmark agreement, so it can become a game-changer in the nation’s efforts to prevent the looting of its priceless ancient works of art.
In her remarks, the US Ambassador to Nigeria, Beth Leonard, said the agreement was aimed at preserving, restoring and protecting Nigeria’s cultural heritage.
“In Nigeria, over the past decade, the US Mission has partnered with the Nigerian government and state institutions to preserve cultural landmarks and sites through projects worth over one million dollars and funded by the US Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation.
“Just last November, I signed a grant award to digitally survey the Busanyin Shrine located within the Osun Osogbo Sacred Grove. That $125,000 grant will help document a series of shrines within the Grove and provide training to local professionals in digital tools and cultural heritage management,” she said.
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Three Out Of 10 Nigerians Are Mentally Sick -Reps



The House of Representatives has said that three out of every 10 Nigerians have one form of mental illness or another.
Quoting the World Health Organisation (WHO) statistics, the House added that over 20,000,000 Nigerians were currently suffering from various degrees of mental illness or disorder without psychiatric health care.
To this end, the House mandated its Committees on Health Institutions and Healthcare Services to liaise with the Federal Ministry of Health towards improving mental health facilities around the country and further carry out serious sensitization of Nigerians on this issue.
It also asked the Committee on Health Institution to explore the modalities of liaising with stakeholders in the health sector to promote, educate and sensitise Nigerians on mental health.
The resolution, however, followed a motion titled “Need to Address the Rising Cases of Mental Health in Nigeria” presented by Hon. Uchechuku Nnam-Obi from Rivers State and considered by the House at yesterday’s plenary.
Presenting his motion, Nnam-Obi noted that the World Health Organisation (WHO) considers mental health as a state of well-being in which the individual can cope with the stress of life, work productively and contribute to the community.
According to him, mental illness manifests in mood disorder, anxiety disorder, trauma-related disorder, personality disorder, old age-related disorder, substance abuse disorder or mental pattern that causes significant distress or impairment of personal functioning.
He said: “According to the World Health Organisation statistics, over twenty million Nigerians are currently suffering from various degrees of mental illness or disorder without psychiatric health care.
“Three out of 10 Nigerians have one form of mental illness or the other, presently there is no mental health legislation in Nigeria. However, the Nigerian mental health policy is the only framework that has access to mental healthcare, dealing with mental and neurological disorders in Nigeria, discouraging stigmatisation against persons with mental disorders and has institutionalised standards for Psychiatric practice.
“The increase in cases of depression is traceable to multifactorial inter and intrapersonal issues which leads to suicidal death in the country and this requires urgent attention.
“Nigeria has only 130 Psychiatrists with over 20million citizens suffering from mental disorders.
“With the few functional Mental Health Facilities and inadequate mental health practitioners in the country, mental health cases are left for traditional practitioners, hence the upsurge in mental health in Nigeria.
“The statistics are troubling and the continued lack of a legal framework on mental health in the country will simply cause the situation to degenerate”
Adopting the motion, the House gave six weeks to the committees within which to carry out the assignment and report back to it for further legislative action.

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Wike, PDP Govs Commiserate With Tambuwal Over Brother’s Death



Representatives of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Governors’ Forum, yesterday, paid a condolence visit to the Sokoto State Governor, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal over the death of his elder brother, Alhaji Muhammed Bello.
Bello, who is also the Waziri of Tambuwal, passed on in Sokoto, last Tuesday night at the age 87.
He was the head of the Tambuwal family.
On the PDP governors’ delegation were, Governors Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State; Nyesom Wike (Rivers); Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu); Oluseyi Makinde (Oyo); and Ahmadu Fintiri of Adamawa State.
The Vice Chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, who led the delegation, said they were in Sokoto to commiserate with Tambuwal and his entire family over the sudden death of his elder brother.
“We feel your pain, and we understand that a great vacuum has been created, not only within the caliphate, but across Nigeria and other places where Daddy had sphere of influence. We believe that God Almighty will grant you the fortitude to bear this great loss.
“We are, however, consoled by the fact that Daddy left legacies that will remain indelible; one of them is your very good self and your impact and contributions to our dear country.”
The governors urged the Tambuwal family, particularly the Sokoto State governor, to remain strong, steadfast and uphold those virtues which the late Waziri of Tambuwal, cherished so much.
In his response, Sokoto StateGovernor, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal, who is the PDP Governors’ Forum chairman, said the entire Tambuwal family was gladdened by the condolence visit.
According to him, his late elder brother, who lived his life in the service of community, held the family title, Waziri of Tambuwal for 37 years after the demise of their father.
“We are, indeed, very highly consoled not only by your presence, but your words of consolation. For you to have left behind whatever you are doing in your respective states to come all the way to Sokoto this afternoon, shows clearly how you sympathise with us and how close you are to us. I assure you that we appreciate this.”

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