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122 Agencies Fail To Remit N1.2trn Surplus Revenues, FG Admits

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The Fiscal Responsibility Commission (FRC) has said 122 Federal Government agencies have failed to remit N1.2trillion operating surpluses to the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF).
The Acting Chairman of the commission, Barrister Victor Muruako, disclosed this at a management retreat, yesterday, saying that the unremitted revenue are often mismanaged.
“Today, our records still show that most of the 122 agencies of government are in default of more than N1.2trillion which can fund a substantial portion of the FGN budget deficit if remitted in line with Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA) 2007.
“These sums are calculated from the already submitted end of year audited accounts of the defaulting agencies, which means the monies can be traced and recovered,” he said.
Muruako said FRC has caused these Government-Owned Enterprises (GOEs) to remit over N1.7trillion to the CRF, but noted that the Commission was starving of funds as it only has N380million in the 2020 budget to operate with.
On curbing these unremitted surpluses, he said, “The commission has insisted that only if the government can implement the FRC’s recommendations of reining in more GOEs in the Schedule of the FRA, 2007, there might be no need for the government to go borrowing to fund the budget.”
The FRC boss also said from the initial 31 corporations captured by the Act, 92 other firms have been added by the Ministry of Finance based on FRC’s recommendations, which caused GOEs to remit the N1.7trillion to the CRF.
Meanwhile, the Federal Government, yesterday, raised concerns that lack of collaboration between Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) affect service delivery and increasing cost of governance.
It says that going forward, interagency collaboration will be pushed in order to make rapid progress in service delivery.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, said this in a paper entitled “Reflection on ministerial performance” on the second day of the First Year Ministerial Performance Review Retreat held at the State House Conference Centre, Abuja.
According to him, significant progress has been made in the nine priority areas of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, noting that while the scorecard of ministries showed that much progress has been made on several fronts, a lot more needed to be done in meeting set targets.
Mustapha said: ‘Several ministries have made significant strides in the pursuit of their objectives and we shall take steps towards supporting them to do more.
“Some others have been challenged by a number of factors and we will take steps towards addressing these challenges and supporting them.
“These challenges, some of which we have identified; such as the need to collaborate at the priority area level and avoiding the debilitating effects of working in silos.
“This challenge has hampered speed, efficiency, effective delivery, and in several instances has added to, and increased the cost of running the Ministries, Departments and Agencies.
“We will have to support government to work in a more joined up manner and ensure that interagency collaboration becomes the norm, rather than the exception.
“It is our collective task to maximise the opportunities, mitigate and minimise the challenges in order that we can make rapid progress going forward.”
The SGF reiterated that the impacts of Covid-19 pandemic have had an adverse effect on nations across the globe, including Nigeria.
According to him, several projects have either slowed down, and in some cases, have stalled altogether as a result of the pandemic.
Mustapha, however, assured that “we shall weather this storm and indeed actively seek and exploit the opportunities that it presents. The Economic Sustainability Plan which was presented by Mr. Vice President, is one of the ways the government has responded towards cushioning the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Low revenues which have affected the timely release of funds, especially for the implementation of capital projects have been repeatedly mentioned as one of the major constraints to the implementation of MDA’s programmes and projects.
“We will not rest on our oars in seeking other alternative sources to raise funds for projects beyond revenue from government.”
Another area of concern, according to the SGF is the issue of inadequate capacity in the public service, which he described as a critical challenge that must be addressed.
He noted that the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation is currently working in that regard.
Mustapha said in order to address other related constraints, interagency collaboration and partnerships in government, as well as explore private sector resourcing in key MDAs where subject matter experts equipped with strategic skill sets to facilitate project delivery are required, will be encouraged.
“Our commitment going forward is to build on the progress we have made in the past year, reflect on the lessons learned, fix those issues that have proved to be impediments, double our efforts and ensure that this time next year when we gather again to review progress, we will be reporting more tremendous gains and achievements.
“To achieve this objective, it is planned that the Delivery Unit at the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation will support the ministers and the respective MDAs towards the actualization of this objective.
“Going forward, we need to formulate more home grown solutions, which I believe you have actually deliberated upon during the breakout sessions yesterday (Monday), to see what and how people in other climes are faring and where it suits, adopt and adapt what has worked as the World Bank Chief Economist suggested yesterday,” he added.
The SGF also assured ministers that his office will continue to support them on prioritisation of initiatives to focus on key projects and ensure alignment to the President’s overall objectives.

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Tai APC Collapses As Hundreds Return To PDP …Say They Were Blinded By Fake Promises

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Over 500 former members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Tai Local Government Area have returned to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The returnees led by the first PDP Chairman of the area, Hon Peter Gwezia, announced their return to the PDP, last Saturday, during the GDI’s sensitisation programme for the collection of Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVC) at the Council Secretariat, Saakpenwa.
Speaking on behalf of the rest of the returnees while renouncing membership of the APC, Hon Peter Gwezia, said he and other APC members decided to leave the party due to failure of leadership.
While promising to work for the success of the PDP in the 2023 election, Gwezia said the APC lacked ideas, and was like a vehicle without engine, could not take them to their desired destination, hence their decision to leave the party.
In his remarks, Deputy Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Hon Chukwuemeka Aaron, who received the returnees on behalf of the Chairman, PDP Rivers State, Amb Desmond Akawor, assured them of equal treatment, saying there are no new members in the party.
“I want to welcome you all and to say that in PDP and GDI where you are today, no person is new. We all have equal status, we all have equal rights. Some of the people that were with you there doing the jamboree that came back today, they are commissioners; they have gone to the National Assembly, become chairmen of councils.
“So, having seen what our leader, Chief Nyesom Wike has done in Rivers State, and in Tai, and what your chairman of council is doing in Tai, they have come back to take their rightful position. We want to thank all of you, and to say that the party chairman and the chairman of council will integrate you into the activities of GDI”.
Also speaking, GDI President-General, Chief Bright Amaewhule, said the performance of the present administration in the state was enough testimony for any Rivers son or daughter to reckon that PDP was the only party which had their interest at heart.
Amaewhule said that of the candidates lined up for the governorship seat in the state, only the PDP Governorship candidate, Sir Siminialayi Fubara, was competent and qualified to give the state good governance from day one.
He, therefore, challenged eligible voters who have not collected their PVCs to do so as soon as possible, and prepare to cast their votes for the right party which was a master of good governance and quality projects’ delivery in the state come 2023.
The returnees, alongside GDI members from the 10 wards of Tai, including youths, women and students groups, later engaged in a wild gyration, turning the entire arena into dance frenzy.
The event also featured solidarity speeches from stakeholders among them former and current National and State Assembly members, former and serving council chairmen, former commissioners, party stalwarts, and captains of industry, among others.

By: Nelson Chukwudi

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MOSOP Tasks SPDC On Fresh Oil Spill

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Factional President of the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP), Mr. Fegalo Nsuke, has called on Shell Petroleum Development Company (Shell) Joint Venture (JV), the oil and gas multinational company, to take full responsibility and appropriate action to curb a fresh oil spill in Bodo Community in Gokana Local Government Area of Rivers State.
Nsuke, who noted that the spill was first noticed in the community early last week, blamed Shell for the spill and urged the Dutch multinational to alleviate its impact on the community, curtail its spread and commence proper remediation and compensation in accordance with global best practices.
The MOSOP leader noted that the oil spills from the Trans Niger Pipeline operated by the Shell JV, suddenly erupted within the residential area of the community, alleging that it must have been caused by equipment failure.
He observed that although the cause of the spills, which was occurring 11years after the release of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) reports, was yet to be ascertained, the spills have affected residential areas and community dwellers have been asked by the MOSOP to evacuate the area, to avoid causality in case of a fire.
“This massive spill is occurring 11 years after the UNEP released a damning report exposing Shell’s devastation of the Ogoni environment.
“We have communicated with community leaders to cooperate with investigations and ensure that every detail about this spill is communicated to our secretariat as soon as possible”, he said.On his part, Executive Director, Youths and Environmental Advocacy Centre (YEAC), Fyneface Dumnamene Fyneface, said, “the cause of the crude oil spill which occurred inside the community where people live is not yet known at this time.”

By: Tonye Nria-Dappa

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Nigeria’s Freedom Of Expression Attracting Global Attention, Buhari Claims

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The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on Sunday, said it was instructive that Nigeria was attracting positive international attention as a country that promoted media freedom and freedom of expression.
He said this was premised on the government’s understanding of the important roles that information literacy and media education played in sustainable development.
According to a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, Buhari said this while pledging his “full support” for three major international events scheduled to hold in Nigeria in October and November 2022.
They include: the 2022 United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation’s Global Media, Information Literacy Week in Abuja, in October, the first Global Conference on Cultural Tourism and Creative Industry in Lagos, as well as the second Global Association of Literary Festivals Conference, Abeokuta, in November.
In the statement titled ‘President Buhari pledges support as Nigeria hosts major cultural, tourism and literary events,’ he said the global events were opportunities to showcase the nation’s rich heritage in culture, arts, tourism and entertainment as well as advancements on media freedom.
Earlier, the Minister of Information ad Culture, Lai Mohammed, said that hosting the 2022 UNESCO Global Media, Information Literacy Week, would help to address the rising spate of fake news, misinformation and hate speech.
Expressing his delight to welcome international visitors to Nigeria, Buhari urged citizens to leverage the events to exhibit the values “that make us a unique, friendly and peace-loving people.”
The statement read in part, “Welcoming the decision by the UNESCO’s World Tourism Organisation and the Global Association of Literary Festivals to grant Nigeria the right to host these separate historic events, the President assures all relevant stakeholders and participants of the warmth and hospitality of the people of Nigeria.
“On the MIL Week, Buhari notes that it is instructive that Nigeria is attracting positive international attention as a country that promotes media freedom and freedom of expression, recognising the important roles information literacy and media education play in sustainable development.
“On the first Global Conference on Cultural Tourism and Creative Industry, the President says the rapid growth of Nigeria’s film, fashion, music, and the Information and Communications Technology sector, and the increase in international appeal and acceptance would continue to spur government to devote more resources to the sector.”
Among other initiatives, Buhari noted that the Creative Industry Financing Initiative, established by his administration and managed by the Central Bank of Nigeria in collaboration with the Bankers’ Committee, had provided single-digit financing to many young Nigerians in the fields of fashion, film, music and information technology.
He noted that the $100 million re-development of the National Theatre, Lagos, into a world-class creative park is also ongoing, following the handover of the facility to the CBN and the Bankers Committee.
The President, therefore, expressed confidence that the literary world would find many good things to celebrate about Nigeria when they meet in the historic city of Abeokuta, homeland and birthplace of one of Nigeria’s finest literary icons and Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka.

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