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Nigeria Ranks 10th In Global Student Enrolment In US …As Number Rises By 12.3% To 14,438 In 2021/2022

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An increasing number of students are crossing the globe to gain practical, international experience that they can apply in their careers and life in a global society.
The 2022 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange, released, last Monday, indicated that new international student enrolment in the United States has rebounded and increased by 80percent, raising the total number of international students enrolled in U.S. institutions by 4percent.
A statement by the US Mission in Nigeria, and made available to The Tide in Port Harcourt, said that, “This strong rebound and growth confirms that the United States remains the destination of choice in higher education, with over 948,000 international students.
“International students are returning to in-person studies in the United States, with 90percent of all enrolled students attending in-person classes. The return to campuses allows international students to build life-long connections with American peers, increase collaboration within and across fields of study, and grow America’s international partnerships to address current and global challenges.
“The new Open Doors Report indicates there was a 12.3percent increase in the number of students from Nigeria studying in the United States for the 2021/2022 academic year. This represents a total of 14,438 Nigerian students, which is 33percent of all African students studying in the United States. This means that Nigeria remains the leading source of students from Africa and the 10th largest country worldwide sending international students in the United States.
“Nigerian students in the United States primarily study at the graduate level, with the remaining 31percent enrolled in undergraduate studies, 17percent pursuing optional practical training, and 2percent in non-degree programs or short-term studies.
“Open Doors 2022, released today by the Institute of International Education (IIE) and the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, highlights the continued competitiveness of the U.S. higher education sector as a destination of choice for international students.
“It also captures the growing interest in international educational exchange among U.S. students./ The release of the new/ Open Doors/ data marks the celebration of International Education Week, a joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education, to prepare Americans for a global environment and attract future leaders from other countries to study, learn, and exchange experiences in the United States.
“The/ Open Doors/ report/ is published annually by the Institute of International Education in partnership with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs”, the statement added./

By: Nelson Chukwudi

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Agric Remains Key Priority Of Our Govt -Fubara

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Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, has reiterated that agriculture remains one of the key priority areas of his administration.
He, therefore, stated that adequate steps have been taken to ensure the realisation of the vision of unlocking the food potential of the state agricultural sector through public, private partnership (PPP).
Governor Fubara stated this during the Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zone (SPAZ) Two Assessment Programme of the Federal Government, supervised by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture in conjunction with African Development Bank (AfDB), with the theme: “Industrialization of Agricultural Sector for Inclusive Economic Growth”, held in Port Harcourt, yesterday.
The Governor, who was represented by the Rivers State Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr Victor Kii, noted the state’s abundant fertile land, water resources and vibrant agricultural commodities, which place the state in advantageous position for partnership and investment in the agro-processing sector.
He said, “Our state is blessed with fertile land, abundant water resources and a vibrant agricultural commodity.
“As a Government, our Governor has made agriculture one of the key priorities of his administration. He has taken very decivise, concrete steps to translating this to reality,” he said.
Accordingly, his policy direction in respect to the Ministry of Agriculture is a public private partnership arrangement. So, I urge you all to explore the potential for public, private partnership and investment opportunity in our agro-processing sector,” he stated.
The Governor asserted that the tripod collaboration is a testament of the state government’s commitment to promote sustainable development and economic growth.
He also expressed optimism that the implementation of the SAPZ Two in the state will help to harness the state’s agricultural resources, create employment opportunities and boost agricultural industries.
He said, “This collaboration between the Federal Government and the African Development Bank and our state is a testament to our shared commitment to promoting sustainable development and the economic growth of the state.
“As a major boost, the implementation of the Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zone Two programme will harness our agricultural resources to draw innovation, create employment opportunities for our youths and boost the agricultural industries in our state,” he added.
In his remarks, the leader of the Federal Government delegation and National Coordinator of Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zone Two, Dr Yusuf Kabir, said the programme focuses on boosting agriculture for industrialization for the growth of the nation’s economy in line with the Renewed Hope Agenda of President Bola Tinubu.
Represented by the Financial Controller, SAPZ, Temitope Olaiwola, Dr Kabir, said with the phase one of the programme started in 2022 in seven states and the FCT, and lessons learnt from the implementation, the team was in Rivers State to assess the level of preparedness for the phase two of the project.
“As we are aware, the major focus of Renewed Hope Agenda of this government is agriculture. And until agriculture is industrialized, we go nowhere. And that is the full focus of SAPZ.
“It is not enough for us to produce, but it is important for us to industrialize our production, the value chain is preserved and ensure that our economy moves forward and improves the lives of our people at the end of the day.
“We started the phase one of SAPZ in 2022 in seven states and the FCT. Although we experienced a lot of implementation delay, we have a lot of lessons learnt. And based on the lessons learnt in implementing the programme in the pilot states, we decided to go into second phase.
“Therefore, I can say the states coming onboard the second phase, they are not disadvantaged states, because all the lessons learnt in implementing phase one will be used to improve on running phase two states,” he noted.
Also speaking, the representative of the African Development Bank, Ms Monde Nyambe, expressed the bank’s commitment to ensure that SAPZ Two is also implemented in Rivers State.
Nyambe, who is the Task Team Leader of the Nigeria SAPZ programme, noted that the presentations by the state government and discussions are to ensure the state’s eligiblity to participate in phase two of the programme.
In his vote of thanks, Head of Livestock and Veterinary Services, Rivers State Ministry of Agriculture, Dr Godswill Ukoikpoko, thanked the Federal Government and the African Development Bank for chosing Rivers State for the second phase of the SPAZ programme, at a time the state government is giving agriculture desired attention, assuring of the state’s readiness to sustain the programme.
Highpoints of the programme were presentations of Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA), General and Financial Feasibility reports as well as Detailed Engineering Drawings by consultants which are prerequisite for the state’s eligiblity for onboarding the programme.

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Senate Passes NDDC N1.9trn 2024 Budget Jerks It By N44,833,046

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The Senate has passed the 2024 budget of N1,911,844,833,046 for the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
The NDDC budget was jerked by N44,833,046, where it moved from the initial N1,911,800,000,000 that was defended on Monday by the Managing Director, Chief Executive Officer, Samuel Ogbuku when he presented the NDDC aggregate Expenditure of N1.911 trillion tagged “ Budget of Renewed Hope Agenda” before the Senator Asuquo Ekpenyong, APC, Cross River South led Senate Committee on NDDC to N1,911,844,833,046.
The budget was read the third time and passed after the clause by clause consideration.
The Chairman of the Committee, Senator Asuquo Ekpenyong, submitted its report in less than 12 hours after the public hearing on the budget, where Ogbuku, appeared for defence of the budget.
According to the Senate, it considered increase by N44.8 million in Personnel Costs, Overhead Costs, Internal Capital estimates as well as adjustments in the Reve profile of the Commission, as well as considered the extra sum of N44, 833,046 being the difference from the Revenue Projections proposed by the Commission and the amount approved by the National Assembly as reflected in the Appropriations Act, 2024.
Ekpenyong said, “the Committee considered increase In Personnel Costs, Overhead Costs, Internal Capital estimates, as well as adjustments in the Revenue profile of the Commission.
The Committee also considered the extra sum of Forty Four Million, Eight Hundred and Thirty Three li) Thousand and Forty Six Naira (N44,833,046) being the difference from the Revenue Projections proposed by the Commission and the amount approved by the National Assembly as reflected in the Appropriations Act, 2024 and consequently recommends the following as the expenditure profile: Personnel Expenditure- N38,545,349,193 Overhead Expenditure- N29,246,506,753 Intemal Capital Expenditure -N8,785,574,130; Development Projects- N835,267,402,970 and Legacy Critical Projects to be funded through Borrowings – N1,000,000,000,000.TOTAL EXPENDITURE: N1,911,844,833,046.
“That the lifespan of the Year 2024 NDDC budget should elapse on 3ist December, 2024.”
The passage of budget was sequel to the consideration of the report of the Committee on NDDC that was presented by the chairman, Senator Asuquo Ekpenyong, APC, Cross River South.
Shortly after presenting the budget, Senator Olamilekan, APC, Ogun West) observed that the Chairman of NDDC Committee was silent on the performance on 2023 upon which the 2024 was predicated.
Senator Adeola who was the first to pick holes in the report and queried how the budget performance of the agency for 2023 was not properly assessed before approving the 2024 budget in line with the legislative tradition, said that it amounts to process abuse for a proposal to be adopted without finding how the previous year budget was executed to justify fresh proposal, adding, “There is no mention of the performance of 2023 budget, so on what is the proposal for 2024 predicated?”
The President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio had to contend with complaints on observed lapses by Senators who made contributions on the bill.
Speaking in the same vein, Senator Adamu Aliero, PDP, Kebbi Central who explained that NDDC has proposed to borrow N1 trillion in the budget proposal which he observed was not in the borrowing plan of the Federal Government, however admonished NDDC, as a child of necessity that must use the money appropriated to it to serve the interest of the people, adding that NDDC’s budget is more than two states put together without the impact been felt.
He said, “NDDC is a child of necessity and the money must be used in the interest of the people, even as its budget is more than two states and we have not seen much”.
On his part, Senator Seriake Dickson, PDP, Bayelsa West called for support of NDDC having gone through forensic audit so that request for borrowing could be brought later by President Bola Tinubu.
In his contribution, Senator Adams Oshiomhole, APC, Edo North maintained that things have improved in the NDDC and explained that the President could write to the Senate for borrowing after the budget might have been passed into law, urging lawmakers not to “judge the NDDC by its dirty past”.
He recalled how the South South governors called for forensic audit of accounts of the NDDC. “Mr. President, you recalled that we as governors agreed that forensic audit of NDDC be carried out. This was done and jobs done were paid and those not done were separated.”
After contributions, the President of the Senate, Akpabio called for vote and the budget was passed into law.

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FG, States, LGs Share N1.1tn May Revenue

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A total sum of N1,143.210 trillion May 2024 Federation Accounts Revenue has been shared to the Federal Government, States and Local Government Councils in the country.
The Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) disclosed this in a communiqué issued at the end of its latest meeting, according to a statement by the Director, Press and Public Relations, Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, Bawa Mokwa, on Monday.
The FAAC June 2024 meeting was chaired by the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Wale Edun.
According to Mokwa, the communiqué revealed that the N1,143.210 trillion total distributable revenue comprised distributable statutory revenue of N 157.183 billion, distributable Value Added Tax (VAT) revenue of N463.425 billion, Electronic Money Transfer Levy (EMTL) revenue of N15.146 billion and Exchange Difference revenue of N507.456 billion.
The statement disclosed that total revenue of N2,324.792 billion was available in the month of May 2024. Total deduction for cost of collection was N76.647 billion while total transfers, interventions and refunds was N1,104.935 billion.
It added that gross statutory revenue of N1,223.894 billion was received for the month of May 2024. This was lower than the sum of N1,233.498 billion received in the month of April 2024 by N9.604 billion.
“The gross revenue of N497.665 billion was available from the Value Added Tax (VAT) in May 2024. This was lower than the N500.920 billion available in the month of April 2024 by N3.255 billion.
“The communiqué confirmed that from the N1,143.210 billion total distributable revenue, the Federal Government received total sum of N365.813 billion, the State Governments received total sum of N388.419 billion and the Local Government Councils received total sum of N282.476 billion.
“A total sum of N106.502 billion (13% of mineral revenue) was shared to the benefiting States as derivation revenue.
“On the N157.183 billion distributable statutory revenue, the communiqué stated that the Federal Government received N61.010 billion, the State Governments received N30.945 billion and the Local Government Councils received N23.857 billion. The sum of N41.371 billion (13% of mineral revenue) was shared to the benefiting States as derivation revenue.
“The Federal Government received N69.514 billion, the State Governments received N231.713 billion and the Local Government Councils received N162.199 billion from the N463.425 billion distributable Value Added Tax (VAT) revenue.
A total sum of N2.272 billion was received by the Federal Government from the N15.146 billion Electronic Money Transfer Levy (EMTL). The State Governments received N7.573 billion and the Local Government Councils received N5.301 billion.
“From the N507.456 billion Exchange Difference revenue, the Federal Government received N233.017 billion, the State Governments received N118.189 billion and the Local Government Councils received N91.119 billion. A total sum of N65.131 billion (13% of mineral revenue) was shared to the benefiting States as derivation revenue.
The statement added that according to the communiqué, in the month of May 2024, Companies Income Tax Oil (CIT) and Petroleum Profit Tax (PPT) increased significantly while Import and Excise Duties, Royalty Crude and Gas, Electronic Money Transfer Levy (EMTL), CET Levies and Value Added Tax (VAT) recorded considerable decreases.
It added that the balance in the ECA was $473,754.57.

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