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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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LASG Begins Vehicle Parking Lanes Demacation

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The Lagos State Parking Authority (LASPA) has revealed it will today commence creating additional Vehicle Parking Lanes in some selected locations across the State.
The Authority stated that all efforts have been geared towards improving the parking system of the State.
Speaking on the planned initiative on Friday in Ikeja, the General Manager of LASPA, Mrs. Adebisi Adelabu, stated that the vehicle parking lane mark exercise, which will begin with designated streets within Surulere, Ikoyi, Lekki, Obalende, Ikeja and Victoria Island axis of the State, is a step towards improving street parking from 2023.
Adelabu noted that the Parking Lane Markings will further guide motorists and pedestrians on appropriate parking regulations and spaces, minimise indiscriminate parking, confusion and uncertainty, while conveying a range of information to residents on parking procedures within each specified environment.
According to her, the lane markings will also include special consideration for people living with disabilities and signposts for parking directives, among other features.
The General Manager, however, solicited the understanding of residents within the locations who might be affected by any inconvenience the process might cause, assuring that the government is working rigorously in regulating and improving the parking culture as part of its Traffic Management and Transportation Agenda to ensure parking is convenient, safe and secure across the state.
Recall that the Authority had recently unveiled plans to begin full implementation of parking policy in the second quarter of 2023 and has continued to sensitise the public on the need to embrace the parking culture.

By; Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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NIMASA Builds Maritime Institutes, Skill Acquisition Centres In Zones

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Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Bashir Yusuf Jamoh, has revealed that the agency is embarking on building six skill acquisition centres, and maritime institutes in each geopolitical zone of the country.
He disclosed this while receiving the Minister of Transportation, Dr. Mu’azu Jaji Sambo, and the Secretary General of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), Mr. Kitack Lim, during the commissioning of the new NIMASA head office in Victoria Island recently.
The NIMASA boss said the agency has already started building of ten of its offices in various states of the country, saying that 2022 is dedicated for projects.
“We dedicated 2022 as projects year and we have more than ten projects ongoing now, but we expect that before the end of this administration, we will commission them.
“Parts of the projects have something to do with human elements.
“We have six skill acquisition centres all over Nigeria, one per political zone, and we have six maritime institute projects. Each geopolitical zone has a university with maritime institute, just to build maritime assets,’’ he said.
He thanked the Minister for always being there, and also expressed appreciatiin to the IMO Secretary General for his visit to Nigeria, noting that he is the second IMO Secretary General to visit Nigeria, with the last visit having taken place 15 years ago.
“I am particularly delighted that he is commissioning this building today. He promised to come and has kept his promise”, he added.

By: Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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FG Borrows N24trn From CBN Amid Fiscal Risks

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Federal Government of Nigeria has borrowed N6.31trillion from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) through Ways and Means Advances in 10 months.
This amount has increased the total amount the Federal Government got from the CBN from N17.46trillion in December 2021 to N23.77trillion in October 2022.
It does not include the N23.77trillion the Federal Government is already owing CBN that is part of the country’s total public debt stock, which stood at N42.84trillion as at June 2022, according to the Debt Management Office.
The public debt stock only includes the debts of the Federal Government of Nigeria, the 36 state governments, and the Federal Capital Territory.
Ways and Means Advances is a loan facility through which the CBN finances the shortfalls in the government’s budget.
Section 38 of the CBN Act, 2007, states that the CBN may grant temporary advances to the Federal Government with regard to temporary deficiency of budget revenue at such rate of interest as the bank may determine.
The Act read in part, “The total amount of such advances outstanding shall not at any time exceed five per cent of the previous year’s actual revenue of the Federal Government.
“All advances shall be repaid as soon as possible and shall, in any event, be repayable by the end of the Federal Government financial year in which they are granted and if such advances remain unpaid at the end of the year, the power of the bank to grant such further advances in any subsequent year shall not be exercisable, unless the outstanding advances have been repaid.”
The CBN, however, said on its website that the Federal Government’s borrowing from it through the Ways and Means Advances could have adverse effects on the bank’s monetary policy to the detriment of domestic prices and exchange rates.
“The direct consequence of central bank’s financing of deficits are distortions or surges in the monetary base leading to adverse effects on domestic prices and exchange rates i.e macroeconomic instability because of excess liquidity that has been injected into the economy,” it said.
The apex bank had last November warned the Federal  Government against financing deficits by borrowing from the CBN through the Ways and Means Advances, saying this putd fiscal pressures on the country’s expenditures.
Despite warnings from experts and organisations, the Federal Government has kept borrowing from the CBN to fund budget deficits.
The Tide source noted that the Federal Government paid an interest of N2.03trillion from January 2020 to November 2021 on the loans it got from the CBN through the Ways and Means Advances.
It was also reported that the Federal Government paid an interest of N405.93billion from January 2022 to April 2022 on the loans it got from the CBN.
Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Cowry Asset Management Limited, Mr Johnson Chukwu, recently said the Central Bank’s lending to the government was putting pressure on the exchange rate and the inflation rate, with “liquidity that has no productivity attached to it coming into the system.”
An economist, Dr Aliyu Ilias, criticised the government for its constant reliance on borrowing, which was unhealthy for the economy.
He further urged the government to seek better ways of generating revenue rather than persistently borrowing from the apex bank.

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