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2016 Budget: Passage Date Shifts Again

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The Senate has said that
the Thursday deadline fixed for passage of the 2016 Appropriation Bill was no longer feasible.
Spokesman of the senate, Aliyu Sabi, gave the indication in Abuja when he briefed newsmen on the latest development on the Bill in the National Assembly.
He said that the budget would be laid on Thursday last but would be subjected to further legislative actions which would last for days before legislative action would be concluded on it.
Sabi, who did not give a new date for the approval of the budget, explained that the briefing was to forestall any speculations on the position of the budget.
“All is almost set for the laying of the 2016 budget on Thursday last at the senate as we have promised Nigerians.
“With that, one or two processes that are required will take place and we will have our budget as promised.
“This has put to rest any suspicion of what is happening. I am here to inform you that tomorrow Thursday, March 17, God sparing our lives the 2016 budget will be laid last by the Chairman of the Appropriation Committee.
“We are laying the budget and that means that every little work that needed to be done with respect to getting that budget as an appropriation has been done.
“Literally, laying the budget means that beyond laying it, we will discuss it, by taking it clause by clause and giving it the loud voice that would proclaim its passage,” he said.
He said that the fact that the Senate had worked on the budget to the point of having it ready to be laid last Thursday was a clear indication of the readiness of the senate to meet its initial March 17 deadline.
Sabi commended the effort of the senate so far and said that the chamber was determined to give Nigerians a budget that would be acceptable and implementable.
“When a target is set it is to allow you to work very hard to achieve the target. By virtue of the fact that the budget would be laid tomorrow, it shows that we had worked so hard to get to that point.
“After laying the budget, the rest is merely administrative.
“As far as we are concerned, in line with the legislative procedure, laying the budget tomorrow is as good as we have passed the budget.
“What remains is for us to go through one or two things as a procedure; we have done very well by ensuring that the budget would be laid tomorrow,’’ he added.
It would be recalled, President Muhammadu Buhari presented the 2016 budget to a joint session of the National Assembly on December 22, 2015.
After weeks of defence of the budget by Ministries, Departments and Agencies, the parliament announced that the budget would be approved on February 25, 2016.
It could not achieve this due to contentious issues of alleged padding which ensued.
It later gave March 17 as deadline for the passage.

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OML 25: NNPC, Shell, Belemaoil’s Pact ’ll Sustain Peace – Kyari

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The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC says a new era of sustainable peace has begun at OML 25 Flow Station in Kula Kingdom following the resolution of the oil dispute between Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC and its host communities.
The Group Managing Director of NNPC, Mele Kyari stated this at the formal hoisting of Shell and Belemaoil Flags alongside that of the NNPC and Nigerian flag signaling the resumption of oil production in the facility.
The GMD of NNPC represented by the Group General Manger of the National Petroleum Investment Management Services, NAPIMS, Musa Lawan reiterated that while Shell remains the operator, Belemaoil would be in charge of Maintenance, Operation, Surveillance and Patrol.
The Group General Manger of the National Petroleum Investment Management Services, NAPIMS, Musa Lawan described as disheartening the level of backwardness and neglect of the host communities of OML 25.
The Founder and President of Belemaoil Engr. Jack-Rich Tein Junior assured the host communities of OML 25 that the company would work with NNPC and Shell to bring a better life to them.
Also speaking, the apex socio-cultural group of elder statesmen in the Niger Delta known as the Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF said the OML 25 Community Engagement Approach could be used as a model in addressing the Niger Delta question to bring lasting peace to the region.
Clark, represented by a high powered delegation of PANDEF led by a former Nigerian Ambassador Godknows Igali at the official re-opening of the Flow Station by the Host Communities of Oko-Ama, Belema, Offoin-Ama and Ngeje of Kula Kingdom, said he would continue to work with the federal government to ensure that the OML 25 Community Engagement model is replicated to other oil bearing communities in the region.
He said such model would enable the Host Communities feel the impact of oil exploration in their area.
For his part, the Spokesman of PANDEF Anabs Sara-Igbe commended the federal Government for moving the construction of 85km Degema-Kula Expressway from the Ministry of Niger Delta to the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC.
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has apologised to the Host Communities of OML 25 Flow Station in Kula Kingdom, Rivers State for the level of neglect, economic hardship and under development of the area despite 40 years of oil production and huge contribution to the wealth of the Nation.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Niger Delta Affairs, Ita Enang made the apology at a Townhall Meeting in Belema Community during the Official Re-opening of the oil platform by the host communities.
He said it is sad and unacceptable that after 40 years of oil exploration in the area, the people are still demanding for basic amenities such as Schools, Hospitals and Potable Water.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Niger Delta Affairs Ita Enang also assured that the Federal Government would work with state governments in the Niger Delta and the NDDC to re-direct the 2020 budget in favour oil bearing communities in the region.
Our correspondent reported that the Paramount Ruler of the Oko Royal House, owners of Belema Community, King Bourdillon Allen Ekine formally removed the traditional injunction stopping oil production at the OML25 Flow Station and presented a proposal of a roadmap for the development of the Community to the federal government and NNPC.

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CBN Issues Fresh Guidelines On Payments System

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has issued regulatory guidelines for the operation of Indirect Participants in the Payments System, with effect from November 11.
The apex bank made this known in a circular issued by CBN’s Director, Payments System Management Department, Mr Sam Okojere, to banks, last Thursday.
The Indirect Participants are payments service providers who are non-clearing financial institutions but settle their payments obligations through clearing banks.
According to the guideline, to qualify as an indirect participant, an institution shall: have a satisfactory risk-based rating from the CBN and secure a letter of recommendation from its direct participating bank, signed by the Chief Risk Officer and an Executive Director of the direct participating bank.
The bank also directed that an indirect participant expected to settle all its payments obligations through only one direct participating bank per payment scheme at any given time.
“The relationship between a direct participating bank and an indirect participant shall be governed by a Settlement Agreement.
“Where the account of an indirect participant with a direct participating bank is not adequately funded, the direct participating bank may decline further settlement services to the indirect participant and inform the payment processor accordingly.
“Except as otherwise agreed, a direct participating bank or an indirect participant shall give at least thirty 30 days’ notice to the other party before terminating the Settlement Agreement for any other reason apart from the circumstances in 3.4.
“The terminating party shall notify the Payments Service Provider (PSP) of its intention to terminate.

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Minimum Wage: NLC Orders State Councils To Prepare For Strike

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The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has directed its state councils to prepare for strike on Oct. 16 if negotiation breaks down again with Federal Government.
In a circular sent to state councils, signed by its General Secretary, Mr Emmanuel Ugboaja, NLC said this was a notice in case the proposed negotiations slated for October 15 with the Federal Government broke down.
“You will recall that a joint Communiqué was issued by the NLC, Trade Union Congress (TUC) and the Joint National Public Service Negotiating Committee (JNPSNC) stating that two weeks from the date of the said communiqué, industrial harmony could not be guaranteed in the country should an agreement not be reached with the Federal Government on the Consequential Adjustment of Salaries as a result of the New National Minimum Wage of N30,000.
“You are hereby directed to coordinate preparations with TUC and JNPSNC in your States for necessary industrial action should the time expire without an agreement as contained in the circular.’’
The Tide reports recalls that the organised labour is demanding 29 per cent salary increase for officers on salary level 07 to 14 and 24 per cent adjustment for officers on salary grade level 15 to 17.
The Federal Government had, however, presented a proposal of 11 per cent salary increase for officers on grade level 07 to14 and 6.5 per cent adjustment for workers of grade level 15 to 17.
It would be recalled that implementation of the new wage has remained a problem, arising from the issue of relativity and consequential adjustments.
On May 14, the Federal Government inaugurated the relativity and consequential adjustment committee, which in turn set up a technical sub-committee to work out a template for the adjustment of salaries of public service employees.
However, government and labour have failed to reach an agreement over relativity and consequential adjustments for the implementation of the new minimum wage more than six months after it was signed into law.

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