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Senate Washes Hands Off 2010 Budget Increase

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The Senate has said that it is washing its hands off the over N400 billion increase in the N4.6 trillion budget estimate for 2010.

The legislative upper chamber, however insisted that the N4.06 trillion budget remains operational as well as an Act of the National Assembly until amended by the National Assembly.

The Upper House in a reaction said that the increase followed 27 additional requests and inputs from the executive in the 2010 appropriation bill.

Senate spokesman, Senator Ayogu Eze at a news briefing yesterday also insisted that the projected $67 per barrel benchmark for the year was fixed by the National Assembly after due consultation with the budget office in the presidency.

Although he said that Senate was not ready to trade blame with the executive on the budget, he however said “we did every thing together with the executive”.

According to him, it was the same executive that had initially presented a budget of N4.03 trillion that later introduced 27 more additional projects that increased the 2010 estimate.

He explained that the approved oil benchmark of $67 was largely informed by the then prevailing oil price of over $89 per barrel of crude oil at the international market.

He however said that Senate would take another look at the budget in line with the present economic realities, adding that until such amendment is done, the budget as it is, remains an Act of the National Assembly.

On state creation, Senator Eze said that Senate will be guided by the provision of Section 9 of the 1999 constitution.

Eze who confirmed that state creation was still on the card, however said that certain criteria will be considered by the Senate in recommending the states that will be created.

“I want to announce to you that as we come to the conclusion of that first phase, we are already getting ourselves ready for the next phase of the amendment of the Constitution, because there is a need for us to prove skeptics wrong because there are Nigerians that say states cannot be created under civilian dispensation.

“We want to prove in the next outing that indeed our democracy has come of age and we can do mutual discussion through dialogue, through debates and through consensus building among ourselves to restructure and realign the political framework of Nigeria in a manner that will be useful and beneficial and satisfy the aspirations of Nigerians.

“And having said so, when we start, we are going to take request for states creations on their merit. We will be guided by the basic provisions in Section 9 and the relevant sections in the Constitution and we are also going to be guided above all by some of the evidential parameters such as viability, such as ability of such a state being created to promote unity, promote harmony and promote the growth of the Nigerian state, because any state creation exercise that will be rancorous, unfortunately, we will stay away from it. “So, my advice is that those who want to request for state must go and organise themselves properly and do it consensually and come up with request that accord with the provision of 1999 Constitution and hopefully 1999 Constitution would be altered by that time as well as gain the positive response of the Houses of Assembly”.

The Senate spokesman however allayed fears that state governors will prevail on the State Assemblies to withhold their concurrence for the reviewed 1999 constitution

Senator Eze said that Senate has been in constant discussion with the governors and their states Assemblies, adding that the governors are eager to get the constitution amended by the National Assembly and therefore will not work against it now.

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Trade Modernisation: Customs’ CG Tours Huawei, Port In China

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The Comptroller-General  of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Adewale Adeniyi, recently led his team to the Headquarters of Huawei, a famous information and communications technology company in Shenzhen, China, where he discussed opportunities embedded in Nigeria Customs Service Trade Modernisation Project.
This was disclosed in a press release made available to our correspondent in Lagos by the National Public Relations Officer (NPRO) of the Service, CSC Maidawa yesterday.
According to the release, the CGC’s visit to Huawei Headquarters was part of his official visit to the People’s Republic of China for the 6th Global AEO Conference that took place in the city of Shenzhen between Wednesday, 8th May, Friday, 10 May, 2024.
Stating the purpose of his visit to the company’s office on behalf of his team, CGC Adeniyi said, “We are also delighted to associate with the Global Leader Technology Services through the Team of Trade Modernisation.”
It would be recalled that the Service had, during the Huawei Connect 2023 held in Shanghai in October, 2023, expressed readiness to deploy some of the company’s latest products for use in its trade modernisation project.
The CGC, who urged Huawei’s company leadership to sustain their digitalisation services to NCS, also sought their support to collaborate with the Nigeria Customs Service to maintain their transformative journey with the company.
On his part, Xujing Xu, the Huawei Company’s Vice President of Smart Transportation, welcomed the delegation of the NCS led by Adeniyi and the Management Team of the Trade Modernisation Project (TMP) Limited, led by Chairman Saleh Ahmadu.
He expressed confidence that their collaboration will benefit all parties involved, noting that “the foundational work for this transformation is already underway”.
The TMP Chairman, Saleh Ahmadu, during his address, said Huawei is living up to expectations to deliver its mandate under the auspices of Trade Modernisation Project Limited.
He appreciated the support accorded to him by the CGC and his management team towards the success of the NCS Trade Modernisation Project.
In his bid to upscale the level of NCS modernisation, the Comptroller-General of Customs, alongside members of the Trade Modernisation Project led by Chairman Saleh Ahmadu, visited Lantan Port to witness the level of automation and technological solutions provided by Huawei and other tech partners.

In a related development, a training programme on Trends and Digital Solutions for Customs officials and the TMP team was organised by Huawei the same day, which focused on equipping officials with the necessary skills to navigate the digital landscape of modern trade.

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NERC Declares Most Discos Insolvent 

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Most of the lectricity Distribution Companies (DisCos) in Nigeria have been said to be technically insolvent and unable to not only pay for invoices sent to them from the electricity market, but also invest in network expansion projects.
Speaking at the 8th Africa Energy Market Place 2024 in Abuja, Chairman of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Engr. Sanusi Garba, said the poor financial state of the DisCos makes it difficult for them to raise the needed capital to invest.
Garba noted that the challenges facing the sector were a culmination of past inactions and missteps by those saddled with the responsibilities of managing the sector, both at policy and operational levels.
According to him, “Today when you look at distribution companies, they are clearly and technically insolvent, and you also want them to raise capital in terms of debt or equity. It’s a herculean task.
“I also want to mention that implementing the power sector reform requires powerful political will to implement decisions that impact the wider public”.
On his part, the Minister of Power, Chief Adebayo Adelabu, said the government was working to get the distribution companies solvent and effective by unbundling their operations along state boundaries.
Adelabu insisted that the areas covered by the current DisCos are too large for them to deliver effective services to consumers.

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PH To Get Two CNG Refuelling Stations, Vehicle Conversion Parks

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Rivers State Capital, Port Harcourt, is set to have two Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) refuelling stations as well as two Vehicle Conversion Parks.
The Chief Executive Officer, FEMADEC Energy Limited, Fola Akinola, revealed this at the South-South/South-East Stakeholders Engagement Meeting on Presidential Initiative on CNG held in Port Harcourt, Weekend
Akinola, who stated that modalities have been concluded on the project, stressed the need for investment by stakeholders as a way of driving home the initiative of the Federal Government to ease the gas plight of its citizens.
Akinola said, “CNG is an old technology. We want to tell you that you have the opportunity to convert your vehicle from fuel to CNG. The stations will be launched in Port Harcourt and we are launching a refueling unit alongside. Rivers State is going to have a micro refuelling unit at Stadium Road and in GRA.
“For those that want to invest in CNG refuelling units, it is available. Even those who have fuel station facilities can as well invest in this”.
Earlier, the Programme Director, Presidential Initiative on Compressed Natural Gas, Michael Oluwagbemi, noted that Rivers State was the heart of oil and gas Region, insisting that the initiative was for the good of the nation as a whole.
“The initiative of the government is critical to our national development and to the well-being of the people. Rivers State is the heart of the oil and gas region”, he stated.
Oluwagbemi, however, expressed regret that over the last five to six decades, these resources have continued to waste.
“Nigeria is the second largest waste of oil and gas. We exploit it and waste it, then continue to suffer poverty. The President has set us on natural gas features and set up the nation on the path of growth. The use of gas ensures we have energy savings. Mind you, the price of Natural gas is controlled by the government.
“What the President is asking is to do more with the blessings God has given us. If we are able to move three million vehicles in the next three years, we are going to end the era of environmental degradation”, he said.
The Programme Director further said, “We will stop subsidising poverty, importing unemployment and exporting jobs.

By: Lady Godknows Ogbulu

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