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Dickson Presents N299.2bn Budget To Assembly

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Bayelsa State Governor Seriake Dickson has presented an Appropriation Bill of N299.2 billion budget for the 2014 fiscal year to the House of Assembly.

Tagged “Budget of Further Consolidation”, Dickson said N162.5 billion was earmarked for recurrent expenditure, while N136.7 billion was set aside for capital votes.

Reports say that the 2014 budget was N4.85 billion lower than the 2013 figure of N304.05 billion.

Dickson said the budget would be financed from a revenue projection of N282.6 billion and capital receipts of N16.5 billion.

He said the revenue profile consists of Statutory Allocation, N262.7 billion; Value Added Tax, N7.8 billion; Internal Generated Revenue, N12.2 billion; and Capital Receipts, N26.7 billion.

The said personnel cost would gulp N39.billion, overhead cost, N51.5 billion; Consolidated Revenue Charges, N58.8 billion; Human Capital Development, N13.3billion; and Capital expenditure, N146.7billion.

Dickson said the budget was aimed at completing all the infrastructure projects embarked upon and stimulating agricultural and industrial production-driven by private sector.

In his sectoral analyses, Works and Infrastructure had the lion share of N40.01 billion; Agriculture sector, N6.98 billion and Education sector with N26.9 billion.

Others are: Health, N7.5 billion; Public Utilities, N7.7billion; Sports Development, N4.1 billion; Social Development and Women Empowerment, N1.6 billion and Information and Communications, N2.1billion.

The others include Trade and Industry, N1.2 billion; Tourism, N2.34billion; Transport, N3.7 billion; Housing and Urban Development, N2.5 billion; and the Ministry of State Capital Development, N2.96 billion.

On budget implementation and monitoring of projects, he said that in compliance with the National Chart of Accounts, Ministries Department and Agencies were required to adhere strictly with approved budget provisions in 2014 financial year.

“The Ministry of Budget and Economic Planning through the state Budget Office is hereby directed to ensure the realisation of this lofty target. I demand quarterly reports in this regard.

“In addition, the Due Process Bureau and the Directorate of Project Monitoring must work in concert to ensure that all the projects slated for completion are completed on schedule,” Dickson said.

The Speaker, Mr Benson Konbowei, said the legislature would ensure a prompt passage of the budget.

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Stakeholders Meet To Assess Nigeria’s Preparedness For AFCFTA

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Stakeholders are expected to converge in Lagos today to take a look at the Nigeria’s preparedness to maximize the gains of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). 
The Tide learnt that stakeholders will be converging at the instance of a popular online newspaper, Primetime Reporters, to assess the progress made so far by the Federal Government through the National Action Committee on AfCFTA agreement.
The event which is the Third Annual Lecture and Awards of the online medium has as its theme: “Assessing Nigeria’s Preparedness to Maximize the Gains of AfCFTA.” 
The event will also witness conferment of awards on eight eminent Nigerians who have distinguished themselves in various fields of human endeavours.
The Managing Director/Editor-In-Chief of Primetime Reporters, Mr. Saint Augustine Nwadinamuo, made this known in a statement made available to The Tide in Lagos on Monday.
According to him, the event will hold at the National Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), Kofo Abayomi Street, Victoria Island, Lagos beginning from 10.00am.
Nwadinamuo said that the event would be chaired by a renowned legal practitioner, Barr. Osuala Emmanuel Nwagbara of the Maritime and Commercial Law Partners, Lagos, while the Director General, Lagos Chambers of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Dr. Muda Yusuf, would be the lead paper presenter.

By: Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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EFCC Nabs 419 Kingpin Over N250m Fraud

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has arrested a leader of a deadly 419 syndicate, Abayomi Kamaldeen Alaka (a.k.a Awise) over an alleged attempt to swindle an innocent Nigerian of N250 million. 
The Tide learnt that the syndicate operates from a shrine at Ashipa Town, near Abeokuta, Ogun State.
According to a statement made available to The Tide in Lagos on Sunday, by the EFCC, Awise’s arrest followed a petition by his victim, Juliet Bright who lost N250m to the fraudster after she was tricked to provide money for sacrifices and invocations to heal her of an ailment.
The statement said Bright was introduced to Alaka by one Akinola Bukola Augustina (a.ka. Iya Osun) whom she met on Facebook in the course of her search for solutions to her health challenge. 
What drew her to Augustina was the latter’s post under the name, Osunbukola Olamitutu Spriritual Healing Centre.
 Once Bright contacted Augustina, the latter promised to heal her if she could pay N16 million. 
The victim paid the money through an Access Bank account belonging to one Mohammed Sani, who later turned out to be a Bureau De Change Operator.
After paying the money without receiving healing, Augustina transferred the victim to other members of the syndicate, notably Awise. 
Bright revealed that she met Awise at his shrine in Ashipa Town and was hypnotized and subsequently transferred various sum through bank accounts and in cash to the suspect and his syndicate members, until she lost N250 million to them.
Despite all the monies collected from her, her health conditions has never improved.

By: Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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Expert Wants Farmers To Grow Plant Produce For Export

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An expert in Quarantine Agriculture, Dr Vincent Ozuru, has advised Nigerian farmers to give more attention to growing plants produce that could be exported.
He said that plant like the hibiscus, popularly known as Zobo is on high demand in some countries around the world, today.
Ozuru who gave the advice while speaking to aviation correspondents at Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa, noted that some plants produce, particularly hibiscus, had yielded huge revenue to the Federal Government through export.
According to him, Nigeria exported about 1,983 containers of hibiscus to Mexico alone in 2017 and earned $35 million within nine months of that year.
The agricultural quarantine expert explained that the export of the plant had a setback as a result of storage pest discovered by the Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service in some consignments.
“The issue has now been taken care of and the export is resuming again, and all matters have been resolved with the stakeholders across the value chain.
“Mexico is the largest importer of Nigerian hibiscus, and our farmers should brace up to the challenge.
“The good news is that Nigeria has a vast growing belt in hibiscus, and the harvest is available all year round.
“We need to take advantage of this opportunity to earn foreign exchange for ourselves and for the country at large, even with the commitment of the present administration to diversify the economy”, he said.
Ozuru called on Nigerian farmers to show more commitment to the growing of export produce and also endeavor to get ready information on it in order to increase their income.

By: Corlins Walter

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