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FG Submits 38 Agencies’ Budgets To Senate

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The submission of 38 agencies’ budgets to the Senate was in line with the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007, an official of the Ministry of Budget and National Planning has said.
The official, Mr James Akpandem, Media Adviser to the minister, Sen. Udoma Udo Udoma, gave the explanation in an interview with newsmen in Abuja on Thursday.
Akpandem recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday sent 2016 budget proposal of the 38 agencies to the Senate for consideration.
The agencies are NAN, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Bureau of Public Enterprises, National Agencies for Science and Engineering Infrastructure, Nigerian Airspace Management Agency and Nigerian Shippers Council.
The list also contained National Maritime Authority, Raw Materials Research and Development Council, National Sugar Development Council, Nigerian Postal Service and Nigerian Ports Authority and Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria, among others.
He explained that the process was part of measures to correct the irregularities in budget processes and also to ensure effective implementation of 2016 budget.
“The one that was sent before was the Budget of the Country; but the one sent recently is the Budget of Agencies.
“These agencies are what we call self-generating agencies.
“They have their Boards and laws governing their operations. These agencies prepare their budgets and pass them through their respective governing boards.
“They are self-funding, that is, their activities are not funded from the budget of the country,’’ the official said.
Akpandem said that their budgets were supposed to go alongside the budget of the country to the National Assembly, but over the years this had not happened.
He said that the development had been there over the years, adding that some members of the National Assembly, subsequently, drew the attention of the President to the anomaly.
“This was because the President insisted that things must be done properly by all government agencies.
“The president then ordered that all budgets must pass through due process.
“The affected Departments and Agencies were therefore ordered to submit their budgets through the appropriate channels and get them properly approved,’’ he said.
He, however, said that revenue from these agencies had been captured in the revenue segment of the 2016 budget of the country and profits from their activities were retained in the account of government.
In addition, he confirmed to journalists that monies had been released for ongoing capital projects in various fields.
He also said that money had been released for new projects that had gone through the necessary procurement processes.
The official said that only very few new projects had gone through due process.
According to him, we still have up to April 2017 to implement the 2016 budget going by the 2016 Appropriation Act.
“As already pointed out by key actors of this government, the pace of implementation of the 2016 will greatly depend on revenue receipts.
“The revenue receipts have not been very favourable for some months now for very obvious reasons; but economic indicators in the last few weeks show that the trend is being gradually reversed.
“For instance, the inflation level which was high in June is not something that would last. It will go down drastically towards the end of the year.
“The high rate experienced in the past few months was triggered by exchange rate movements and once the exchange rate stabilises, it will go down.
“What we are experiencing right now is a one-off inflation, it cannot get worse; it is usually triggered by some forces, and once the trigger is down, the rate goes down also.
“When it left single digit into second digit, it was triggered largely by the drop in crude oil price in the global market,’’ Akpandem said.

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Traders Protest FG’s Move To Restore Festac Town

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The move by the Federal Government to restore Festac Town in Lagos to its original status has sparked up protest among traders occupying Agboju Amuwo Planks and Building Materials Market.
The traders on Wednesday, protested at the FHA office in Festac Town against the demolition of their market, following the demolition of illegal structures by the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) ahead of the restoration. 
The Tide recalls that there was a petition to the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, in 2020 about illegal structures that had taken over Festac Town.
Speaking at a stakeholders’ meeting on the restoration of Festac town organised by FHA, last year, its South-West Zonal Manager, Mr Akintola Olagbemiro, said, “This year, we commenced the restoration of Festac town, following the consent judgement from the court against illegal occupants of Festac land.
“Our action is to save the residents from the insecurity that has taken over the entire Festac town as a result of illegal structures everywhere”.
The chairman of allottees of First Gate to Third Gate, Mr Kole Olatunji, in his remarks at the meeting said the land from First Gate to Third Gate was allocated between 1985 and 1999, noting that with the consent judgment, original owners of the land as allocated should take over their plots.
But the chairman of plank market, Muhammed Bello, protested the seven-day notice given to traders to vacate the place without alternative arrangements.  
Bello said: “How do they expect us to remove our wares in seven days?
“What we want is that they should allow us to remain there and we will pay whatever amount they ask us to pay”.
Speaking in the same vein, the chairman of Cane Chair and Furniture Association, Emmanuel Okoye said: “We need freedom. Let them tell us where they want us to stay. That place was swampy. We filled the place with several millions of Naira which we got as loans.
“We also rely on loans to do our business. Whatever the government wants us to pay; we are ready to pay to remain there. We have been there for 27 years. What we lost to the demolition is over N300 million”.

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Fuel Tanker Explosion Kills Five, Injures Two In Ogun

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No fewer than five persons were on Wednesday burnt to death, while two others sustained first degree of injury in a fuel tanker explosion at Ajilete, along Owode-Idiroko road, in Yewa South local government area of Ogun State.
Eyewitness accounts revealed that a truck bearing 33,000 litres of petroleum product was descending the steep portion of the road when its tank suddenly detached from truck’s body and tumbled to the ground with a bang.
The explosion, the witnesses said, killed five persons on the spot, while two other persons were injured.
The Tide learnt that the seven victims were all residents of the area where the accident occurred.
Confirming the incident, the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) Commander, Idiroko Unit, Akinwunmi Olaluwoye, said five deaths were recorded in the accident which occurred at about 8.15 am on Wednesday. 
According to him, the remains of the dead had been claimed by their families.
He disclosed that a bus and a motorcycle were also caught in a web of the explosion and razed.
He said, “no vehicle rammed into the tanker. The tank dropped off from the back of the tanker and exploded. The number of persons involved are seven; five dead, two injured.
“The driver had taken away the head of the truck as at the time we got there. But we have allowed the police to take charge and handle that aspect”.

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Travellers To Access $4,000  As CBN Boosts Forex Supplies

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Nigerians travelling abroad can now access a maximum amount of $4,000 foreign exchange from banks following the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) announcement to increase forex supplies.
The CBN had said in a recent statement that it had concluded plans to increase the amount of foreign exchange allocated to banks to meet legitimate needs.
This followed the warning by the CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, to Deposit Money Banks to desist from denying customers the opportunity to purchase foreign exchange.
The purposes to access forex included Personal Travel Allowance, Basic Travel Allowance, tuition fees, and medical payments as well as Small and Medium Enterprises transactions or for the repatriation of Foreign Direct Investment proceeds, the CBN had stated.
Sources from some of the banks said those travelling on business trips could also access a maximum amount of $5,000 for each trip.
At a virtual Bankers’ Committee meeting last week, the bankers discussed how the CBN intended to assist with forex to ensure availability for the upcoming summer period and the return of students to school in September.
The CBN also said the BDCs would continue to have their weekly allocations.
The committee observed that the rates were going up.
It stated, “The CBN has said that all the banks must make availability at all times and anyone who wants to buy BTA, PTA, medical fees, student school fees and all the eligible invisible purchases to ensure that Nigerians are not forced to go and queue in the parallel market.
“So what the Central Bank is doing is to encourage all banks to make sure that there is available forex at all times, and that his information should be communicated on all our platforms.
“We are asking our customers to come to the branches and for BTA, for example, present the required documents, which are basically your international passport, your visa, your valid ticket and fill up the form in the bank.
“And what we have been instructed to do is ensure that we don’t turn anybody back and that we should request from the Central Bank once we exhaust the forex that we have.
“The idea is to have a hitch-free summer period and the resumption for children to go back to school. The idea is to ensure there is less pressure on the forex and then the rates will come down”.
Speaking during the virtual meeting, the Group Managing Director, Access Bank, Herbert Wigwe, said, “I think again as part of the Central Bank’s role in terms of price stability and the need to support small and medium enterprises, there was highlight of the need for banks to go and support SMEs who import small raw materials for them to set up their businesses”.
The Managing Director, Ecobank, Patrick Akinwuntan, said, “All banks are available to ensure forex need is met.”
Managing Director, Sterling Bank, Abubakar Suleiman, said the CBN had provided sufficient foreign exchange to meet the needs of all legitimate Nigerian travellers and therefore, the idea of going to any other market should not arise at all.

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