Senate Ends 2022 Budget Defense, Today
President of the Senate, Dr Ahmad Lawan, has given the Committee on Appropriations till, today, to conclude budget defense by subcommittees of the upper chamber.
Lawan explained that the ultimatum became necessary in keeping with the December 14 timetable for the passage of the 2022 budget by the National Assembly.
He added that working to the contrary may mar the timely passage of the budget as planned.
The Senate president, nevertheless, assured Nigerians that the National Assembly would work assiduously in ensuring that it resolves any likely hitch that may interfere with the quick passage of the budget next month.
He commended ministries, departments and agencies of government for appearing before the committees of the chamber to defend their respective budget estimates.
Lawan said, “According to our timetable for the budget defense and subsequent processing by out committees or subcommittees of the Appropriations Committee, tomorrow will be the last day for the budget defense.
“Tomorrow will be the last day for the budget defense by subcommittees for appropriation before the committee on appropriations.
“It is gladdening that all our committees have finished their budget defense with ministries, departments and agencies as programmed by this Senate. But we have a little bit of a hitch, we are behind schedule with some of our committees.
“So, I’m sure that those committees that should have appeared before the committee on appropriation, but could not might have had some challenges with getting some details from the MDAs.
“Tomorrow, no matter what, we have to conclude with the budget defense by the subcommittees before the committee on appropriations, and it is very important.”
Explaining why work on the budget must be concluded in good time, Lawan said, “In fact, it is very, very essential that we keep to our timetable, otherwise, we may run into a very serious problem with our time for the budget to be considered and passed by the 14th of December.
“I’m sure that our committees will be able to appear before the committee on appropriations by tomorrow.
“[And] I will also add that the committee on appropriations should make itself available to our subcommittees for appropriation.
“We have up to the weekend to conclude on the work of defense by the subcommittees before the appropriations committee, so that the appropriations committee is able to also work to compile the document for us to work with, when we come to the next segment for the budget processing – that is the laying, consideration and passage of the budget proposal by the grace of God.
“I want to take this opportunity to thank all our committees for doing very well so far, and I’m sure that this little hitch is not something that we cannot deal with.
“On the whole, the program is going on, and I’m particularly glad that we have been able to finish the defense by the MDAs, and also commend the MDAs for coming forward to defend rather than leaving us to do what we think they want.”
By: Nneka Amaechi-Nnadi, Abuja
Fubara Inaugurates 10th Rivers Assembly, Inspects Projects
The Rivers State Governor, Siminalayi Fubara, on Monday inaugurated the 10th state House of Assembly.
The governor, during the inauguration at the hallowed chamber in Moscow Road, Port Harcourt, said it was in exercise of his constitutional powers.
According to a statement signed by his Senior Special Assistant on Media, Boniface Onyedi, the governor said, “My duty this morning is officially to dissolve the 9th Assembly and inaugurate the 10th Assembly, so that you can commence your first session.
“Whereas it is provided in Section 105 (3), of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, as amended. That the person elected as governor shall have the power to issue a proclamation for the holding of the first session of the state Assembly immediately after being sworn in.
“Therefore, I, Siminalayi Fubara, Governor of Rivers State, in exercise of the powers bestowed upon me by Section 105(3) as aforesaid, and of all other powers enabling me in that behalf, hereby proclaim that the first session of the 10th Rivers State Assembly holds at 10:00am on this day, Monday the 5th of June, 2023, in the Rivers State House of Assembly Complex, Port Harcourt.”
Soon afterwards, the members of the 10th Assembly uninamously elected former House leader and the lawmaker represnting Obio/Akpor Constituency 1, Martins Ameawhule, as new Speaker of the 32-member House.
Also, the member representing Gokana Constituency and former Chairman, House Committee on Environment, Dumle Maol, was elected Deputy Speaker.
Meanwhile, Fubara paid an unscheduled visit to the ongoing construction of the convocation arena at the University of Port Harcourt.
Speaking after inspecting the facility being built by the Rivers State Government, Fubara stated that the project was dear to the government because of its importance to education and youth development.
He charged the contractor handling the project to match words with action by completing the project within the next 60 days as promised, warning that failure to deliver will attract consequences.
Fubara used the opportunity to warn other contractors handling state government projects to step up their works as he will not condone any delay but would expect prompt delivery on projects.
He said, “From what I’m seeing here, the contractor is also assuring that in 60 days he can deliver.
“We will give him the benefits of doubt. But I need to say clearly that if in 60 days, I visit this project, I don’t see it completed, it’s not going to be easy for the contractor, that’s the truth.
“But I believe from what I have seen the extent of job that they are doing, I think they’re a bit serious compared to what we saw about two months ago.”
“The reason why this project is important to us is this: It has to do with education and youths. You can’t separate education from the youths and one of the objectives of our projects is development of the youths and advancement of education. So, our coming here is to see it, assess it ourselves and not only from the reports from the ministry, but for me to see it.
“It is not business as usual. I had a meeting with them the other day and I told them that even though this contract is not new that does not mean that you go home and sleep. You can see that I’m a very punctual person. If I give you 9:0 clock, it will be 9:0clock. So, my word to the contractor today is that you’ve assured me that in 60 days you’re going to deliver. There will be serious consequences if I come here by 60 days from today and this job is not ready”, he concluded.
TUC Demands N200,000 Minimum Wage For Workers
The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, (TUC), on Monday demanded payment of a new minimum wage of N200,000 monthly for Nigerian workers.
It also demanded that the government reverted to the old N185 pump price of petrol per litre to allow for a conducive environment for negotiation.
The union, in a statement by its President and Secretary General, Festus Osifo and Nuhu Toro, respectively, said: “For immediate implementation: Status quo ante of PMS pump price should be maintained while discussion continues. The minimum wage should be increased from the current N30,000 to N200,000 before the end of June 2023, with consequential adjustments on the cost of living allowance, COLA, like feeding, transport, housing, etc.
“A representative of state governors will be party to this communiqué and all the governors must commit to implement the new minimum wage.
“Tax holiday for employees both in government and private sector that earn less than N200,000 or 500USD monthly whichever is higher. PMS allowance to be introduced for those earning between N200,000 and N500,000 or 500USD to 1,200USD whichever is higher.
“The exchange rate for retailing PMS in the country must be kept within a limit of two per cent for the next 10 years where the fluctuation is more than two per cent, the minimum wage will automatically increase at the same rate.
“Setting up of intervention fund where the government will be paying N10 per litre on all locally consumed PMS. The primary purpose of this fund is to solve perennial and protracted national issues in education, health and housing. A governance structure that will include labour, civil society and government will be put in place to manage the implementation.
“Federal government should provide mass transit vehicles for all categories of the populace. State governments should immediately set up a subsidized transportation system to reduce the pressure on workers and students. The framework around this will be worked out.
“Immediate review of the National Health Insurance Scheme to cover more Nigerians and prevent stock of drugs.
“Visitation of the refineries that are currently undergoing rehabilitation to ascertain the state of work and setting up a timeline for its completion.
“The president should direct whoever will be labour minister to immediately constitute the National Labour Advisory Council, NLAC. This platform will be used by the government, labour and employers to discuss issues and policies of the government that may affect workers and all other mandates as specified in the law.
“Provision of subsidy directly for food items, the $800million could be a first step. The existing National Housing Fund, NHF, should be made accessible to genuine workers; the framework on this must be discussed and agreed.”
TUC also said the medium term would include the “deployment of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) across the country, in line with the earlier promise made by the government. The framework and timeline will be developed and agreed by both parties.
“Labour and government to design a framework that will be geared towards the reduction of cost of governance by 15 per cent in 2024 and 30 per cent by 2025.
“A framework should be immediately put in place to maintain roads and expand the rail networks across the country. Government must design a framework for social housing policy for workers through a rent-to-own system.
“The state of electricity in the country must be appraised and an action plan should be defined with timelines on how to get this fixed.”
Rivers Chief Judge Swears In 16 New Magistrates …Tasks Them to Adhere To Oath Of Office
Rivers State Chief Judge, Justice Simeon Chibuzor-Amadi, has charged the 16 newly appointed Magistrates in the State Judiciary to abide by their oath of office and take seriously the task of justice delivery in the State.
Justice Amadi gave the advice while swearing in the 26 new Magistrates at the Ceremonial Court Hall at the state High Court Complex in Port Harcourt at the the weekend.
He also advised the new magistrates to guard against the temptation of making quick money but should be ready for serve the State judiciously.
He stressed the need for the new Magistrates to comply with constitutional provisions and also isolate themselves from friends, family members and members of the public considering the nature of their job.
“Let me remind you all that to succeed, you must design your priority including studying harder to know the law and rules of the criminal justice to enable you discharge your duties efficiently and effectively”, he added.
The Chief Judge warned that frivolous excuses would not be tolerated especially from those that will be deployed to rural areas, insisting that they must be ready to serve at all times.
Those sworn in as Magistrates include AWUSE LILIAN-NGBECHI, AKAH OKWUDIRI, AKANI WOBIA-CRISTABEL, VICTOR-IHUNWO QUEENNETH-OGBONDA and
IBANICHUKA SAMUEL, while CONSTANCE KELVIN-CHINAKA, MARTYNS YELLOWE-DOKU, AMADI ISREAL-ISIGUZORU, AKPU OBISIKE-CHARLES and BRIGGS KINGSLEY were sworn in as Senior Magistrate Grade 1
Others are NDUKWU THANKGOD, HART ALEX ISOUALA and NWINEE HAROLD BARISIP sworn-in as Senior Magistrate Grade Two and WIKE LESLEY-BELEMA, EPELLE EMMANUEL-SONNY and AKEODI OYAGHIRI as Magistrate 11.
By: Amadi Akujobi
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