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Commission Accuses MDAs, Contractors Of Submitting Varying, Suspicious Records

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Assessment of the annual budgets of Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the Federal Government revealed ‘suspicious discrepancies’ in figures submitted by contractors and the supervising MDAs.
The Fiscal Responsibility Commission, which reported this development, said the irregularities were unearthed in the course of the monitoring of the budgets of MDAs by the Budget Office of the Federation.
The 2018 Annual Report and Audited Accounts of the FRC said the discrepancies were more prominent in the ministries of Power, Works and Housing, Niger Delta Affairs, Water Resources and Aviation.
Section 30 of the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007 mandates the Budget Office to monitor and evaluate MDAs annual budgets, assess the attainment of fiscal targets and report to the Joint Finance Committee of the National Assembly and the FRC.
In fulfilment of the mandate, the Ministry for Budget and National Planning conducted physical inspection of selected capital projects across the six geo-political zones of the country.
Highlighting key observations of the exercise, the FRC, in the report, said, “The submission of financial transcript by some MDAs and that of contractors often showed discrepancies in figures that gives room for suspicion.
“This was noticeable in many agencies, particularly Power, Works and Housing, Niger Delta Affairs, Water Resources and Aviation ministries.”
The report stressed the “need to reconcile financial transcripts of contractors with the supervising ministries to ensure uniformity in submitted figures for transparency and accountability”.
The report added that adjustment of MDAs’ projects and programmes by the National Assembly without conceptualisation and design in most cases distort the implementation of the budget.
According to the report, most of the projects included in the budgets of the MDAs by the National Assembly are outside their (MDAs) core mandates.
The report said MDAs wasted government resources by engaging in the procurement of items that were left to be vandalised at the project sites.
Inadequate funding and poor planning were also identified as factors that undermined budget implementation in the MDAs.
The report said, “Seasonal weather conditions have negative effects on the capital budget implementation.
“Often, releases do not factor in the seasonal periods, resulting in poor performance of the budget cycle.
“The major challenges faced by MDAs revolved around inadequate funding for the budget.
“This has caused a lot of setbacks in the implementation of capital projects and programmes.”
It added, “The implementation of MDAs capital projects/programmes was marred by the late approval of the budget by the National Assembly.”
“This resulted in the late release of funds which came almost at the tail end of the third quarter of the fiscal year.”
A total of N2.87tn was allocated to capital spending in the 2018 budget to cater for economic and structural reforms through the provision of critical infrastructure such as roads, power, housing, rail and aviation sectors.
The Budget Implementation Report of the Budget Office concerning 2018 capital performance for MDAs as at 30th June, 2019, showed that a total of N1.86tn was released and cash backed to MDAs for 2018 capital projects and programmes.
The sum of N1.45tn was released while N328.54bn was released as capital supplementation and N43.56bn as Sukkuk proceeds.

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NTVOA Promotes 24hr-Online Operations On Faulty Vehicles

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The National Towing Vehicles Owners Association (NTVOA) has commenced consultation with security agencies and stakeholders in the transport logistics chain system on the best way to respond promptly  to rescue articulated vehicles parked along major roads and highways nationwide through digitalisation .
The Trade Union Congress (TUC) affiliate association said plans are already afoot to introduce an app designed to respond swiftly to brokendown  vehicles in furtherance to ensure free flow of traffic.
NTVOA said it will test-run the app in  Lagos when completed  due to the predominant and peculiar nature of traffic, noting that the technological device would take the form of “Uber”
In a chat with the National Secretary of NTVOA, Comrade Sylvester Afonughe in Ogun State, he noted that the move would be an all inclusive app through which security agencies will also be alerted  in line with the technological innovation .
He said the operation when completed will encourage faster response to vehicles with technical hitches to be evacuated from the roads.
The scribe sad aggressive campaigns and sensitization mechanism would be put in place to enable stakeholders understand how to use the app upon completion.
Afonughe, an engineer and the Business Relationship Manager, Moniepoint, affirmed that: “It looks tasking, no doubt, but that is what we are looking at as a union because we have already commenced consultation for the website which will operate like Uber or O Pay in nature.
He said the union is also resolved to key into the automation system as part of efforts to address human contact and to promote seamless operations in modern day transport technology.
“We are looking at how we can improve on our operations because it is what I single-handedly initiated under the stable of my organization, then the national can take it up from there.
“So many factors are also considered in this project because we are looking at 24 hours online real time operations because we cannot rule out night activities.

“Security is key here so these are the things we are looking at because we need to carry security agencies along because security must not be compromises when we kick start this project.

By; Nkemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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NIWA Provides Waterways Ambulance For Search, Rescue

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The National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) has introduced a new ambulance boat to serve the Lagos waters.
Disclosing this in a statement made available to our correspondent in lagos, NIWA said “The decision to introduce the new ambulance was in response to critical empowerment of the search and rescue team in Lagos, and as strategic fulfilment to suggestions made by the cream of maritime media at a recent parley with the Managing Director of NIWA, Dr. George Moghalu .
“Dr. Moghalu noted that the new craft fitted with amber lights and two 175 Horse Power engines by Yamaha, with cream colour leather interior, fitted with medical equipment, first aid boxes, communication system and stretchers, will form the fulcrum rapid response to accidents on Lagos waterways.
“Rugged and built to  ferry accident victims and those who require immediate medical attention to the nearest hospital and Medical Hold Bay, the ambulance watercraft can travel at controlled timing without fear or anxieties of being buffeted by high impact waves”, it stated.

By: Nkemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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CBN Raises Savings Interest To 4.2%

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Bank customers in the country are now to be paid more interest on their savings after the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) reviewed upward minimum interest payable to 30 per cent of the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR).
At its last meeting in July, the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the CBN had raised MPR to 14 per cent due to the persistent rise in inflation rate in the country.
The upward review of interest on savings was stated in a circular signed by the CBN Director, Banking Supervision, Haruna Mustafa, and issued to all banks dated August 15, 2022.
With the new circular, banks are expected to increase interest rate on savings from 10 per cent of MPR to 30 per cent of MPR with effect from August 1, 2022.
Consequently, bank customers can now earn up to 4.2 per cent, which is 30 per cent of the 14 per cent MPR as against 1.4 per cent, which was 10 per cent of the MPR.
According to The Tide’s source, the circular states in part:  “It will be recalled that as part of the efforts to ameliorate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Central Bank of Nigeria reduced the minimum interest rates payable on local currency savings deposits from 30 per cent to 10 per cent of the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR).
“This was aimed at stimulating growth in the larger economy following the economic slowdown occasioned by the pandemic.
“However, following the return to full normalcy and considering the prevailing macroeconomic conditions, it has become necessary to effect an upward adjustment of the interest rate payable on local currency savings deposits.
“Accordingly, effective August 1, 2022, the negotiable minimum interest rate on local currency savings deposits shall be 30 per cent of MPR. This supersedes our letter dated September 1, 2020, referenced BSD/DIR/GEN/LAB/13/052 on the subject.”

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