The Grassroots Development Initiative (GDI), has concluded a three-day Massive Grassroots Empowerment Programme of more than 500 residents of Buguma City, headquarters of Asari-Toru Local Government Area, Rivers State.
The scheme, sponsored by five stalwarts of the GDI, which lasted from last Saturday to Monday, also gave a total sum of N50million grant to support small and medium scale enterprises development in the area.
While Alabo Thorpe Tariah gave 100 men N100,000 each, Comrade Ibisobebo Wokoma rewarded three residents with car gifts, handed over documents for land property to a resident, distributed building materials, barbing equipment and cash gifts to over 100 persons.
Also, Comrade Telema George provided N100,000 each to 100 enterprising young persons, just as Comrade Asitoa Charles empowered 100 community youth who are already into business ventures to build up their capital and Mrs. Siya Eferebo handed over N100,000 each to 100 young girls and women in the area to enhance their business endeavours.
In a bid to also celebrate their own, the five sponsors of this empowerment exercise extended the largesse to some members of the organisation who went home with different amounts of cash gifts and other incentives.
The exercise which was colourfully flagged-off last Saturday, had in attendance the Vice-Chairman of PDP, Rivers West Senatorial District, Chief Odiari Princewill, who doubles as the leader of GDI in ASALGA.
Other dignitaries who grace the event and add colour to the flag-off event were Hon. Granville Tekenari Wellington, the member representing Asari-Toru Constituency 1 in the Rivers State House of Assembly; Hon. Orolosoma Amachree, former leader of Asari-Toru Legislative Assembly and Alabo Thorpe Tariah, the leader of PDP/GDI in Ward 6, Asari-Toru LGA.
The fifty million naira (N50,000,000) economic empowerment was targeted at providing capital outlay and improving the capital base of small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) in the local government area was launched in the multi-purpose hall of the Asari-Toru council secretariat.
The empowerment exercise lasted from Saturday till Monday, 16th October, 2017 and recorded a total number of five hundred and fifty (550) beneficiaries.
Thousands of residents took to the streets to express their joy over this benevolent and philanthropic gesture of the pro-Wike group. Kalabari native songs of praise and celebration complimented with traditional dance steps, only seen during very special festivals, were on display to show how thankful and elated the people were of such gesture.
Speaking on the sidelines of the event, Princewill lauded the GDI stalwarts who thought it necessary to empower the people of the area by encouraging them with start-up capital to venture into small and medium businesses, which is the backbone of every thriving economy.
He charged all supporters and followers of the Rivers State Governor, His Excellency, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, to emulate and imbibe his unparralled passion for grassroots empowerment and movement.
“To show that we are indeed loyal and true supporters of His Excellency, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, CON, we need to continually replicate the love and burning desire of His Excellency in developing and improving lives of the common people at the grassroots.”
“With what have happened today, we will begin to experience an all turn around in the economy of Asari-Toru LGA, which will in the long run, boost the economic profile of Rivers State; engage the youths thereby curbing criminality and providing employment for our people”, he said.
In the same vein, Hon. Wellington charged the people to keep faith with the Gov. Wike led administration and to judiciously use and invest the capital provided them into a colossal capital base and also encourage them to invest in the LGA to blossom the economic fortunes of the area.
He said: “If God can use men to favour you at such a time when the year is about ending, then there is every reason to steadfastly have faith in God.
“Your support and prayers for the Governor Wike led state government will continually be rewarded. Asari-Toru people’s support for our amiable governor has thus far attracted infrastructural projects, appointment of our sons and daughters into juicy positions of trust and massive youth and women capacity development.
“For those who bankrolled this empowerment exercise, it is my prayer that our good Lord replenish your purses and uplift you in your personal and political lives. You all have once again shown that the people-oriented and empowerment blood of the New Rivers Vision family runs in your veins.”
“With the sustenance of economic empowerment and provision of soft loans to support businesses in our land, Asari-Toru LGA will in no distant time become the economic hub and Dubai of Rivers State.”
Overtime, Asari-Toru LGA has strongly been adjudged as an unwavering support base of the Rivers State governor. The governor’s foot soldiers in the LGA reinstated and re-emphasized this fact by extending and replicating the goodwill of the state governor to their people at the grassroots.”
FG Recorded N150.36bn Fiscal Deficit In April – CBN
The Federal Government recorded a fiscal deficit of N150.36bn in April, after recording an aggregate expenditure of N559.67bn and retained revenue of N409.31bn.
Figures obtained from the Central Bank of Nigeria’s April report on ‘Fiscal operations of the Federal Government’ revealed at the weekend.
The report shows that the federal revenue rose by 28.2 per cent in April 2021 to N1.12tn in relation to N862.79bn in March 2021, due to improvement in non-oil earnings.
It also shows that the provisional aggregate expenditure of the FGN put at N559.67bn was 50.6 per cent below the budget benchmark and 59.4 per cent short of the level in March 2021.
Also, the fiscal operations of the Federal Government in April 2021, according to the report, contracted by 67.8 per cent, relative to the budget estimate.
Part of the report read “Federation revenue rose by 28.2 per cent in April 2021 to N1.12tn, relative to N862.79bn in March 2021, owing to improved non-oil earnings.
“However, the retained revenue of the Federal Government of Nigeria at N409.31bn, was 38.5 per cent below target.
“Similarly, the provisional aggregate expenditure of the FGN, at N559.67bn, was 50.6 per cent below the budget benchmark and 59.4 per cent short of the level in March 2021.
“Consequently, the fiscal operations of the FGN in April 2021 contracted by 67.8 per cent, relative to the budget estimate.”
It added that the FGN debt outstanding, as of the end-March 2021, stood at N28,984.3bn and represented a 15.8 per cent increase, relative to its level in March 2021.
TSA Promotes Transparency, Accountability In Revenue Collection In Kebbi – Chairman
Alhaji Iliyasu Arzuka-Jega, Chairman, Kebbi State Board of Internal Revenue, has said that the introduction of Treasury Single Account (TSA) has encouraged accuracy, efficiency and accountability in revenue collection in the state.
Arzuka-Jega stated this at a news conference yesterday in Birnin Kebbi, the Kebbi State capital.
The Tide source reports that TSA is a public accounting system whereby government receipt, revenue and income are collected into one single account.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is responsible for the maintenance and management on such account.
It was proposed by the Federal Government in 2012 and fully implemented by the Buhari led-administration.
Arzuka-Jega said that the introduction of digital revenue collection techniques assisted the board towards simplifying its work more convenient and easy.
He said that, “We are now in the era of technology, all our collections have been upgraded from manual to digital.
“In this circumstances, we found it necessary not to be left behind towards ensuring that leakages are blocked and revenues collected enter into government’s coffers.
“All our collections have now been centralised because we operate Single Treasury Account (TSA), where all revenue realised go in there, this has put an end to divertion of fund.”
The Chairman said that the board had recorded significant impact of TSA since inception, as against previous years when revenue collections whether external or internal were done manually.
He said that the manual method of revenue collction was fraught with irregularities which resulted to situation where fund could not be accounted for.
“Now, we do receive payments from Lagos and other states, and we only see evidence of payments made to our platform under the TSA,” he said.
NNPC Explains 2020 Audited Report
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has explained the controversial areas of its 2020 audited financial report that placed the corporation on a profit lane.
It would be recalled that on August 26, President Muhammadu Buhari announced a profit after tax of N287billion by the corporation in 2020, the first of its kind in the oil giant’s 44-year history.
This feat, which was commended by Buhari, had also won the Group Managing Director of the corporation,MalamMeleKyari-led management accolades from stakeholders and Nigerians from all walks of life.
Kyari, however, explained how the corporation’s performance turned out positive at a time the negative impact of the Covid-19 pandemic affected businesses worldwide.
Also, the Group Executive Director, Finance & Accounts, Mr Umar Ajiya, also shed more light on the development, and equally addressed some of the issues raised by those who doubt the veracity of the profit declared by the corporation.
He said the trend of real openness has begun not only in the NNPC but also in the Nigerian petroleum industry, especially with the signing of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA).
Ajiya said that during the period under review, the NNPC took some unprecedented steps among which was cost optimisation aimed at refocusing its businesses.
Also, in the week, the Nigerian Gas Marketing Company Limited (NGMC), a subsidiary of NNPC, restated its commitment to the development of its host communities.
The Managing Director of the company, Mr Justin Ezeala, made the commitment at the opening ceremony of the Women Skills Acquisition Programme for its host communities in its northern operations.
He said NGMC was committed to developing a robust sustainable relationship with all its host communities, and disclosed that the beneficiaries were carefully nominated by executives of their respective communities and would undergo intensive three-week training in catering, tailoring/fashion design, hairdressing and make-up (including pedicure, manicure andgele tying).
He tasked the host communities on the sustenance of the existing peaceful relationship while assuring them of the company’s continued support.
Addressing the beneficiaries, the Lead Consultant, Bernard Emekpe, said the programme was a testament to NNPC’s vision of engaging the communities in which it operates.
He advised the beneficiaries to see this as a lifetime opportunity and take control of their destiny.
A representative of the host communities, Otokina Goodluck, and some of the beneficiaries said the program was a life-changing opportunity, and promised to make judicious use of it.
The beneficiaries were drawn from Ajaokuta, Geregu, and Aku communities in Kogi State.
Meanwhile, the Republic of Norway has commended the Federal Government on the successful signing of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA).
The Norwegian Ambassador to Nigeria, Knut EilivLein, gave the commendation during a business visit to the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva in Abuja.
He said they were delighted at the signing of the bill which he said would accelerate development and strengthen the oil and gas industry.
On his part, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, said the difference between past efforts and the eventual PIB that was passed by the National Assembly was that all industry stakeholders, including government agencies were carried along.
Still, on the week under review, the GMD was conferred the BusinessDay Energy Executive of the Year Award by BusinessDay Newspaper Management in recognition of his giant strides in repositioning the oil and gas industry in Nigeria.
Receiving the award in Abuja, Kyari said the trust by Buhari was the propelling force behind the many achievements recorded in the nation’s oil and gas sector within the last two years.
He described his position and the confidence that he enjoys from the President as a privilege, stressing that he and members of his management team were working hard to justify the trust in the interest of the nation and to the benefit of Nigerians.
He attributed the transformation and recent profit by the corporation to quality leadership and prudent management of resources, noting that it was part of his efforts towards keeping the trust.
The GMD stated that the corporation’s courage to publish its 2018 Audited Financial Statement with a huge loss was in line with his management resolve to be transparent and accountable to the public, emphasizing that the success story of ¦ 287billion profit in the 2020 financials was a result of the determination to do things differently.
The NNPC helmsman, while appreciating the management of BusinessDay Media Limited for the award, declared, “As the biggest company with the largest assets in Africa, NNPC has no reason not to make a profit.”
Earlier in his remarks, the Managing Director of BusinessDay Media Limited, Dr Ogho Okiti, said globally acceptable parameters were adopted in selecting the awardees.
“In addition, our Business Research and Intelligence Unit (BRIU) in conjunction with our Oil and Gas Editorial Team have carefully analysed the data available on each company as well as their work programme recorded with the DPR for the period between 2019 and 2020 to arrive the selection”, he said.
Also speaking, the Father of the Day, King Alfred Papa Preye Diete-Spiff, acknowledged the contributions of the oil and gas industry to national development, and called for diversification of the economy.
For piloting the corporation into the post-Petroleum Industry Act era, the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) pledged its unalloyed support for the management of the NNPC.
The Group Chairman, PENGASSAN, Comrade Victor Odor, disclosed this during a courtesy visit to the Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division (GPAD), GarbaDeen Muhammad, in his office in Abuja.
Odor, who said the visit was to felicitate with the corporation’s spokesman on his appointment, declared that the union would stop at nothing to defend the corporation’s current position as a profit-making company against those who believe that NNPC could never do well, adding that the NNPC GMD and his management team have done well in repositioning the corporation and deserved support.
He said the union would focus more on functional conflict management than disruptive conflict management in its constructive engagement with the management to ensure sustainable growth and profitability for the corporation.
Responding, the Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, GarbaDeen Muhammad, who appreciated the union leaders for the kind gesture, said the GMD was very passionate about repositioning the corporation and the entire oil and gas industry.
He assured the union leaders that management was appreciative of their support and was always ready to work with them to take the corporation to greater heights.
The Group Chairman of PENGASSAN was accompanied on the visit by the Group Vice Chairman, Comrade EghosaAghimien, and Group Secretary of PENGASSAN, Comrade OlugbengaShokunbi.
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