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Buhari Seeks $5.5bn Foreign Loans

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President Muhammadu Buhari has requested the Senate’s approval  to borrow the sum of five billion, five hundred million dollars from external financial sources, to fund  capital projects in  the 2017 budget and to finance local debts as well.
President Buhari in a letter read to the Senate by  the  President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki yesterday, said the external loan are expected to come  in two parts .
First is $3.0 billion for re-financing of maturing domestic debt obligations of the Federal Government, and  the second part of $2.5 billion for the financing of the Federal Government’s 2017 Appropriation Act and Capital Expenditure projects in the Act.
According to the letter, the request for the external loan of three billion was based on the resolution arrived at by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) in its meeting held on August 9.
As stated in the letter,  the $2.5billion would be borrowed from international capital market, through Eurobonds or a combination of Eurobond and diaspora bonds, while , the $3 billion would be sourced from Eurobond in the international market, and, or through loan syndication by banks.
According to the  letter, the $2.5 billion external loan would be used to finance the deficit in the 2017 Appropriation Act and provide funding for the capital projects in the budget, which it listed to include Mambilla Hydropower Project, construction of a second runway at the Nnamdi Azikiwe international Airport.
Other projects to be funded by this loan are: counterpart funding for rail projects and the construction of the Bodo-Bonny Road, with a bridge across the Opobo Channel.
The three billion dollars , President Buhari said would be used for the re-financing of domestic debts would be used to reduce the debt service levels and lengthen the tenure profile of the debt stock, hence the federal government seeks to substitute maturing domestic debt with less expensive long term external debt.
Buhari in the letter also told  the Senate that the loan request would not lead to increase in the public debt portfolio of the country,
According to him ,  the substitution of domestic debt with relatively cheaper and longer term external debt will lead to a significant decrease in debt service cost, adding that the proposed refinancing of domestic debt through external debt will also achieve more stability in the debt stock while also creating more borrowing space in the domestic market for the private sector.
”It is important to note that the proposed sourcing of three billion dollars loan from external sources to refinance maturing domestic debt will not lead to an increase in the public debt portfolio because the debt already exists, albeit in the form of high interest short term domestic debt”.He wrote.
However,  terms and conditions of the borrowing as indicated in the letter  can only be determined at the point of issuance of finalization based on prevailing market conditions in the International Capital Market.
President Buhari futher urged the Senate to give the request expeditious consideration and ,as he  reminded them to note that the external loan terms is a market based transaction specifically determined by the timing and prevailing conditions of the capital market at the time .
Meanwhile, Senate yesterday approved a budget of N152.8 billion for the 2017 expenditure of the Federal Inland Revenue (FIRS).
The approved budget indicates
a total of N31 billion representing 20.33 of the total budget mapped out for capital budget.
Following the report and recommendation of the Senate Finance committee, the Senate approved N75.8 billion as personnel cost which is 49.58 percent, N46 billion for overhead cost also of 30.09 percent.
The personnel cost however increased from N51.8 billion in 2016, to N75.8 billion in 2017 due “to the planned recruitment of 700 additional staff in 2017 and upward review of salary by 30% as approved by Salary, Wages and Income Commission,”
The FIRS has a projection of N4.9 trillion of revenue in its 2017 budget.
The Nigerian Senate also approved the sum of N270.5billion budget for the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) for the year 2017.
The NPA also has  a revenue projection of N288.7billion in the year 2017
Also N161.9 billion was approved for the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) with a projected revenue of N161.9 billion for 2017.
In his remarks at plenary, the  President of the Senate , Bukola Saraki noted that it is necessary for revenue generating agencies to live up to their mandates as this would reduce the need for borrowing by the Federal Government.
Saraki said the Senate would ensure through its oversight functions that  the agencies live up to expectations.

Nneka Amaechi-Nnadi

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UBEC, RSUBEB Begin Digital School Construction In Rivers

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As part of government’s efforts to realize its dream of making the nation’s educational system a global digital community, the Federal Government, through the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) and the Rivers State Universal Basic Education Board (RSUBEB), have commenced the construction of a modern digital Smart Basic School in the state, with 14-month completion schedule.
The school, which is a pilot modern basic education facility, is designed by UBEC in collaboration with RSUBEB to entrench digitization of ICT-driven basic education system across the 36 states and FCT, Abuja.
Speaking with journalists at a brief handover ceremony of the proposed smart school site to UBEC by RSUBEB at the Community Primary School, Uzuoba in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of the state, over the weekend, the National Consultant, UBEC Smart School Project, Prof Masud Abdulkarim, said the school was designed to incorporate digital technology into the basic education system in the country, which he said, has been in practice in advanced countries for years.
Abdulkarim stated that the desire of the Federal Government was to ensure that Nigerian children were not left out in the digital space, saying that the school would have great impact on the youth and give them equal opportunity to compete globally in the technology world.
He described the school as the first of its kind in the history of the country, adding that the school would have four categories that would take care of the nursery, handicapped, primary as well as junior secondary students with a maximum of 35 persons per class of two streams.
Abdulkarim noted that with the strategy, no fewer than 700 children would be enrolled into the school.
According to him, the school would afford the children the opportunity to become robotic engineers, artificial intelligence (AI) engineers and ICT engineers, and added that as future leaders, they need to be equipped and encouraged.
The UBEC consultant commended the state government for the provision of the school for the construction of the smart school, and described the site as the most suitable across the 23 states so far visited.
“Let me thank the RSUBEB for the site, in fact, it is the best and most suitable site among the 23 states we have so far visited. Because it has an existing school structure with a fence to protect our equipment and infrastructure. Moreso, the project will impact on the schools around because they will benefit from our Wi-Fi”, he stated.
Abdulkarim called on the host community to jealously guard the project as a growing child, till its maturity to adult stage, saying that they were important stakeholders in the project.
Also speaking on behalf of the Chairman of Rivers State Universal Basic Education Board (RSUBEB), Ven Fyneface Akah, a commissioner in the board, Chief Faith Amaso, called for synergy between the contractors and host community in other to remove every impediment that may affect the delivery of the project on schedule.
Akah opined that the project, when completed, would improve basic education in the state, and expressed happiness over the commencement of the project in the state.

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Rivers United Beat Young Africans Of Tanzania 1-0

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Rivers United Football Club of Port Harcourt, yesterday, at the Adokiye Amasiemaka Football Stadium, trounced the Young Africans Football Club of Tanzania 1-0 in a return leg match of the ongoing Confederation of African Football Club Champions League competition.
The stadium, which was filled to capacity, witnessed a trilling encounter, which saw the crowd craving for more.
It would be recalled that Rivers United had defeated the Young Africans of Tanzania 1-0 in the first leg of the championship at the Benjamin Mkapa Stadium, Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, last Sunday.
Reacting to the feat, the Chairman of Degema Local Government Area, Hon. Michael John Williams, expressed joy over the victory of the Rivers United FC of Port Harcourt against the Young Africans of Tanzania in the ongoing Confederation of African Football (CAF) Champions League.
The match, which ended 1-0 in favour of the Rivers United FC, took place at the Adokiye Amiesimaka International Stadium in Rivers State, yesterday.
Top government officials in the state, including Rivers Deputy Governor, Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo; LG council chairmen and commissioners, amongst other sports enthusiasts, graced the event.
Speaking on the outcome of the match, Williams stated that the Rivers United players exhibited the Rivers team spirit, which culminated in their victory.
The political heavyweight in Degema LGA, noted that nothing would be impossible for Rivers people to achieve when they work together in unison and firm determination.
He added that the massive support and huge investment in the sports sector by the Governor Nyesom Wike administration, also motivated the Rivers team, who worked hard to secure a back-to-back victory.

By: Nelson Chukwudi

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NJC Okays Six Chief Judges, 30 Others For Appointment

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The National Judicial Council (NJC), has recommended the appointment of chief judges and 30 others as judicial officers to beef up judicial functions in some states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
At its 95th meeting held on September 15 and 16, 2021, the council considered the list of candidates presented by its Interview Committee, and recommended the 36 successful candidates to their respective state governors for appointment as heads of courts and other judicial officers in Nigeria.
They are Hon. Justice Richard O. Olorunfemi as chief judge, Kogi State, Hon. Justice Joe Itsebaga Acha for Edo, Hon. Justice Akintoroye Williams Akin for Ondo, Hon. Justice Husseini Baba Yusuf for FCT, Hon. Justice Ekaette Francesca Fabian-Obot for Akwa Ibom, and Hon. Justice J. O. Adeyeye for Ekiti State.
Others are Hon. Kadi Baba Gana Mahdi as Grand Kadi, Yobe; Umaru Ahmad Liman as Grand Kadi, Bauchi; Hon. Justice Osagede Osado Emmanuel as President, Customary Court of Appeal, Nasarawa; Hon. Justice Mashud Akintunde Akinfemi Abass as President, Customary Court of Appeal, Oyo State; and Siyaka Momoh Jimoh Usman as President, Customary Court of Appeal, Kogi State.
Three judges are recommended for High Court of Gombe, and they are Zainab Abdulkadir Rasheed, Abdussalam Muhammad, and Daurabo Suleiman Sikka.
Akwa Ibom has Effiong Asukwo Effiong; Bauchi has Nana Fatima Jibril; while Kaduna High Court has Abdulkarim Mahmud.
The three candidates recommended for Katsina State are Kabir Shuaibu, Ibrahim Ishaku Mashi, and Ibrahim Abubakar Mande, while Prof Alero Akeredolu was recommended for Ondo State.
Four successful candidates for Oyo State are Olusola Adebisi Adetujoye, Folabimpe Beatrice Segun Olakojo, Prof Taiwo Elijah Adewale, and Kareem Adeyimika Adedokun.
Kogi State has three candidates, and they are Abubakar Sule Ibrahim, Abdullah Sulyman, as well as Aminu Ali Eri.
Two Kadis for Sharia Court of Appeal are Adamu Kuna Jibril and Ahmed Baba Bala, while the four for Bauchi are Musa Sani Abubakar, Mahdi Manga, Khamis Al-Hamidallah Muhammad and Sani Musa with Ondo State having one in the person of Orimisan James Okorisa and Oyo Customary Court of Appeal having Ajadi Olubukola Omolayo.
A statement by the NJC Director of Information, Mr Soji Oye, and released in Abuja, yesterday, said that all the recommended candidates are expected to be sworn-in after approval by President Muhammadu Buhari, and their respective state governors, and confirmation by the respective state Houses of Assembly.

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