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2019 Budget ’Il Reduce Inflation -Expert

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A financial expert, Prof Uche Uwaleke, yesterday said that the Federal Government’s decision to reduce the size of the 2019 budget to N8.73 trillion would reduce inflation threat.
Uwaleke, Head of Banking and Finance Department, Nasarawa State University Keffi, said in Lokoja that the decision was wise considering the country’s present fiscal realities.
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Oct. 24 approved a budgetary proposal of N8.73 trillion for 2019 fiscal year, N400 billion lower than the 2018 budget which stood at N9.12 trillion.
The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Sen. Udoma Udo Udoma, made the disclosure when he addressed State House correspondents at the end of FEC meeting.
Udoma said the council also approved the 2019/2021 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP).
According to him, the MTEF/FSP is designed to translate the strategic development objectives of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) to realistic and implementable budget framework for the medium term.
He said the key assumptions highlights being proposed for 2019 budget included oil price benchmark of 60 dollars per barrel, oil production of 2.3 million barrels per day, exchange rate of N305/1 dollar, and GDP growth rate of 3.01 per cent.
Uwaleke said that the decision to slow down government’s expansionary spending, especially in an electioneering year would pose less threat to inflation.
He added that the decision would reduce the fiscal deficit to Gross Domestic Product ratio in line with the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) target.
According to him, the reduction will curtail government borrowing in view of the present huge debt service burden which is clearly unsustainable at over 65 per cent of revenue.
“I think the decision to scale down on the size of the 2019 budget is wise considering the present fiscal realities in Nigeria.
“The only worrying aspect of the proposed 2019 fiscal framework is the significant reduction in capital expenditure,” Uwaleke said.
He noted that the 2017 budget implementation experience coupled with the revenue challenges being encountered in the execution of the 2018 budget called for a conservative approach to next year’s budget.
“For example, the 2017 budget implementation report recently released by the Budget Office speaks of adverse variances in key budget targets due mainly to shortfalls in actual revenue receipts resulting in huge fiscal deficit.
“The same scenario is playing out with regard to the 2018 budget in respect of which the Federal Government has just sought the approval of the National Assembly for about N2.8 billion to finance the budget.
“Much as the increase in recurrent spending ostensibly to accommodate the implementation of the minimum wage is justified, the Efficiency Unit of the Federal Ministry of Finance should intensify efforts at reducing MDAs overheads and avoidable wastages,” he said.

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LG Boss Wants FG To Establish Trust Fund

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The Federal Ministry of Environment has been urged to establish an environmental trust fund to help cushion the negative impact of oil exploration and pollution suffered by the people of Eleme in Rivers State.
The Chairman, Eleme Local Government Area, Obarilomate Ollor, made the call during the visit of the Minister of Environment, Mohammad Abubakar to Eleme, for the flag-off of HYPREP training of community workers on remediation.
He thanked the minister for coming personally to flag off the training of the youths in the area for the basic remediation technics, which according to him is a lifetime experience.
He urged the youths to take the programme seriously to reduce the impact of hydrocarbon pollution, especially the oil spill in the area.
“Our people are friendly, hospitable and peaceful, but sometimes we feel that we are taking for granted for our peaceful deposition and that is why you hear issues of unrest sometimes.
“But this visit today has assured us that government attention and presence has come down to our people”.
“Apart from this hydrocarbon pollution that we have in Eleme, because of the presence of a lot of multinationals in our local government, we have pollution problems, which have affected lives.
“We don’t intend to approach this in a violent manner or be confrontational, but at this point, the government should begin to look at how to remedy this situation for our people before it becomes an issue”.
To stop pollution in the area, Ollor advocated for an Environmental Trust Fund for Eleme people that are heavily impacted by activities of industries to give some sort of confidence and courage to the people that they are not playing host to companies that don’t care about them.
“So, it’s an opportunity for me to mention it to you and I think that if you agree with me, our people have been friendly, even in the ongoing exercise and so we welcome you today to our local government for the flag off and the inspection you are to carry out”.
He appealed to the minister to carefully take a review of the impact of activities of industries on the people and fashion out a corporate plan on how to solve the problems before it becomes an issue of serious contention.
He maintained that the visit was timely and an indication that better days are ahead.
The high point of the minister’s visit was the flagging off of HYPREP training of community workers on remediation in Ogoniland.
Also present at the event were; Minister of State for Finance, Budget and National Planning, Clem Ikanade Agba; representative of the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Babayo Ardu, who is the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Niger Delta; Rivers State Commissioner for Agriculture, Dr Fred Kpakol; HYPREP BOT Chairman, Mike Nwieleghi; Vice Chairman of Eleme LGA, Virtue Ekee; Paramount Ruler of Ogale, Emere Nchia, Bebe Okapbi; Paramount Ruler of Ebubu, Emere Godwin Y. Chinwi; councillors, principal officers of the council; Eleme Youth Coordinator, Prince Okereke Nseo; HYPREP trainees; amongst others.LG Boss Wants FG To Establish Trust Fund

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Tokyo 2020: Adegoke, Amusan Break Nigeria’s Olympic Records

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Enoch Adegoke and Tobi Amusan have broken Nigeria’s records in athletics at the Olympics.
Adegoke became Nigeria’s first 100m Olympic finalist since 1996 clocking 10.00s in heat 2 of men’s 100m semis.
With this, he broke a 25-year record after Davidson Ezinwa at Atlanta in 1996.
On her part, Amusan wins her first semi-final in 12.62s to become the first Nigerian since Glory Alozie at Sydney 2000 to qualify for the 100m Hurdles final at the Olympics.
She broke Nigeria’s 21-year-old record.
Nigeria’s Oduduru disqualified, Itsekiri advances in men’s 100m
The men’s 100m semis was a tight race that ended in a photo-finish, with Adegoke ending up in second place in 10.00secs, the same time as American T. Brommell, with Great Britain’s Zharnel Hughes, who clocked 9.98secs, in the first place.
Compatriot Usheoritse Itsekiri crashed out in the semi-finals of the men’s 100m after he finished seventh in his heat in 10.29secs.
Adegoke’s 10.00secs is the slowest among the eight athletes who qualified for the final, and the Nigerian, who clocked 9.98secs on the way to the semis, will be hoping to be in the form of his life to end up on the podium.
In the women’s 100m hurdles event, Amusan clocked 12.62s to book a place in the final, which comes up today.

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Police Begin Investigation Of Ebube agu Personnel Shooting In Ebonyi

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The Police Command in Ebonyi says it has commenced investigations into the shooting of an Ebube agu Security Network personnel on Saturday.
The newsmen recalls that the personnel, simply identified as Seriki, was reportedly shot during the All Progressives Congress (APC) ward congress in Ugwuachara area of Ebonyi Local Government Area of the state.
The Commissioner of Police in the state, CP Aliyu Garba, told newsmen yesterday that investigations had commenced on the incident.
“We are still investigating the incident and we will brief the press at the end of the investigation,” he said.
Other sources, however, gave a different versions of the incident, which made residents of the area scamper for safety.
One of the sources said that the Ebube agu personnel was shot during an exchange of gunfire with some unknown gunmen who attempted to snatch the ward congress voting materials.
“The Ebube agu personnel, with the assistance of security agencies, engaged the unknown gunmen who later fled the scene, having being overpowered.
“The personnel was hit during the crossfire, while efforts to revive him at the Alex-Ekwueme Federal Teaching Hospital Abakaliki yielded no result,” the source narrated.
Another source, however, said it was during the exchange of fire that a personnel of one of the security agencies accidentally shot the Ebube agu operative.
“He was mistakenly shot by a security personnel, as they were pursuing the fleeing gunmen,” he said.

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