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Buhari says, he signed the revised 2020 budget to mitigate Covid-19 effect.

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Buhari says, he signed the revised 2020 budget to mitigate Covid-19 effect.

President Muhammadu Buhari has signed into law, the revised N10.8 trillion budget for the year 2020 passed by the National Assembly in June yesterday.

The President said the revised Appropriation Act 2020 became necessary in response to recent developments, in particular, the COVID-19 Pandemic.

“Crude oil prices in the world market declined sharply from a high of $72.20 per barrel in January 2020 to below $20 per barrel in April 2020, and have since remained around $40 per barrel.

“Nigeria’s crude oil production quota has been reduced as part of the efforts of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to strengthen the oil market. Global trade has generally been disrupted as almost all economies were locked down for protracted periods in the wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Osinbajo, Lawan and Gbajabiamila witness the signing of the amended 2020 budget by Buhari
which was necessitated by the unforeseen COVID pandemic and its effect on revenue projections and the national economy.
“All these developments are plunging the global economy into recession, and Nigeria has not escaped the impact of this.

“In effect, the assumptions underlying the 2020 Appropriation Act are no longer sustainable.

“It is therefore imperative to adjust our expected revenues, considering the widespread disruptions in domestic and international economic activities due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, and the containment measures taken in response thereto.

“Understandably too, we needed to reallocate resources in the Appropriation (Repeal and Amendment) Act, 2020 to ensure effective implementation of required health and emergency measures, as well as to mitigate the negative socio-economic effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

“The 2020 Amended Budget, which I have just signed into law today, underscores our Administration’s firm commitment to effectively contain the spread of COVID-19 and protect the lives and livelihood of our people. With these budget amendments, as well as our recently launched N2.3 trillion Stimulus Programme, we are well-positioned to safeguard the economy.

“Considering recent budget implementation challenges, I have directed that efforts be made to ensure effective implementation of the Appropriation (Repeal and Amendment) Act, 2020 in order to realise its laudable objectives.

“All Ministers are to ensure that their Ministries, Departments and Agencies intensify capital project delivery efforts and fully cooperate with the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning to achieve the laudable objectives of the Budget.

“We have, nevertheless, made some progress in the implementation of the Appropriation Act 2020. As at 31st May 2020, the sum of N253.33b has been released for the implementation of capital projects.

“The Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning is in the process of effecting budgetary releases that will ensure that all Ministries, Departments and Agencies receive at least 50 per cent of their amended capital budgets by the end of this month.

“The Appropriation (Repeal and Amendment) Act, 2020, that I have just signed into law, provides for aggregate expenditures of N10.81 trillion, which is an increase of N216 billion over the level of expenditure initially proposed in the 2020 Appropriation Act. The Honourable Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning will provide further details of the 2020 Amended Budget.”

Corroborating Buhari while fielding questions from newsmen, President of the Senate, Ahmed Lawan said the National Assembly had to pass the revised fiscal document without delay in order to mitigate and cushion the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic on the suffering Nigerians.

“The significance of that is to tell you that the National Assembly has worked with the Executive arm of government to get this document put together as it was required of us and today the President signed, as you’ve witnessed, and that means that we have implemented the Appropriation 2020 Act up to the end of May.

“Now, you have an amended or revised Appropriation Act, 2020 and the implementation of this will start immediately, probably from today.

“That means that we’ll be addressing the challenges of COVID-19 Pandemic because the essence of the revision was, first of all, to address the problem of the shortfall in revenues and secondly to ensure that the challenges posed by the pandemic are addressed, bringing a lot of palliatives and economic opportunities for Nigerians.”

“This is of interest to us in the National Assembly because we believe Nigerians at this time need a lot of support, both as individuals and businesses. Going forward, we believe that the implementation of this year’s budget, in total, will be much higher than we have ever witnessed previously because we have started the implementation from January.

“The 2020 Revised Appropriation Act, which the President signed, is also an additional impetus to what we are focusing; we want 2021 Budget that will be a consolidation of our performance here. The COVID-19 impacts will continue for some time.

“So, this will set the foundation for us to avoid falling into recession next year. Though growth may be slow or low, the definite thing that this particular budget will do is to ensure that we don’t go into a pitfall of a recession that will make it difficult for us to come out.

“Growth may be negative, but the guarantee we have is that if we are able to implement this budget, probably expenditure is sustained, the economy will be a little bit better than ordinarily, it would be. We hope we are able to achieve this by December and already, the 2021 Appropriation Bill process has started.”

The signing of the budget took place inside the Council Chambers of the State House, Abuja and witnessed by Vice-President, Yemi Osinbajo, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, Chief of Staff to the President, Ibrahim Gambari as well as the President of the Senate, Ahmed Lawan, and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila among other principal officers.

Others were the Ministers of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed; Minister of State Finance, Clement Agba, Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emiefile and Director General Budget, Ben Akabueze.

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Bauchi/Benue Govs’ feud: Gov Diri to the rescue

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Bauchi/Benue Govs’ feud: Gov Diri to the rescue

By Princess Rose Yusuf

The Bayelsa State Governor, Duoye Diri has waded in to the war of words between the Governors of Bauchi and Benue State as the recent altercations between the Governors have become very disturbing.
He called on the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to wade in and ensure that the matter is resolved.
He was speaking during a courtesy visit to Governor Bala Muhammed in Bauchi State Government’s House Thursday.
Diri said,
“The raging current issue between two brother Governors of the same party is not good, I seize this opportunity to advise and call on both of you who are members of our great party to please cease further actions and reactions on the burning national security issues.
“May I also use the opportunity to call on our party to immediately intervene and resolve whatever issues that are still yet unresolved amicably as a party and as brothers.”

In his response, Governor Muhammed promised to cooperate and reduce the tension and he gave the assurance that no words would be heard on the matter again. He also seized the opportunity to  apologise to all Governors, the national assembly, his constituents and all Nigerians.
He said, “There is no disharmony between me and my brother and my friend in Benue, we are just having the courage to discourse a burning National issue and I am happy that Nigerians have the opportunity, to discourse the issue and we are going to do everything on my own part to make sure we disedcalate the issue that it will not bring injury to our party and to national unity. I was not doing anything in anyway to insult, or to cause any injury to my brother whom I have worked together with at the cabinet and now as Governors.
“I want to use this opportunity to apologise to my various contituencies; especially the national assembly even though I said the truth but it has injured their sensibilities or it has touched on their privileged as we used to say in parliamentary parlance.
“I was doing it out of nationalism and patriotism. At the same time the Governors if what I said was also injurious to them, I apologise to them and say sorry to them and indeed all Nigerians.
“But certainly as I said, my brother, I have no apology for saying the truth, but certainly sometimes you say the truth and it would be injurious.

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Senate confirms Bawa as EFCC Chairman

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Senate confirms Bawa as EFCC Chairman

The Senate on Wednesday confirmed Abdulrasheed Bawa as the substantive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

He was confirmed after being grilled during Senate plenary.

For more than six years the commission was headed by persons in acting capacity.

For the first time a staff of the commission who is not a police officer is being appointed as chairman.
He rose through the ranks from the academy before being nominated to head the commission.

The Anti graft agency’s chairmanship designate reacted to a plethora of questions posed by Senators on his preparedness for the job, given his age and working in a complex society like Nigeria, at planary

Bawa, addressed most of the concerns of lawmakers, while assuring that he would bring his experience to bear having joined the agency in 2004.

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Gov Bala Mohammed berates Ortom for criminalising the Fulani herders

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Gov Bala Mohammed berates Ortom for criminalising the Fulani herders

By Princess Rose Yusuf

Governor Bala Muhammed of Bauchi State has berated the Benue state governor for being an arrow head in excerbating the bad media framings, criminalizing the Fulani tribe in Nigeria.
Muhammed spoke at the Press week organised by the Bauchi state Correspondents’ Chapel, Monday, in Bauchi.
The Governor reminded Ortom that other states in the North also accommodates other tribes, including people from the Tiv extraction in Bauchi and other places.
In his words, “We have so many Tiv speaking people farming in Alkaleri, In Tafawa Balewa and in Bogoro LGAs; has anybody told them to leave the State?. “We have not; because its their own inalienable rights to be there.

Explaining further, he said there are Yorubas in Bauchi, for over 150 years, even before the birth of Nigeria; some of them have risen to become permanent Secretaries in the Civil Service of the state, and other states of the North East like Gombe and Borno.“
“However, because at the moment the Fulani man is practicing the tradition of pastoralism, he has been exposed to the vagaries of the forest, cattle rustlers who carry guns, killed him and take away his livelihood, his cows.”
The Governor said he is left with no option than to carry the AK47 because the society and the government could not protect him.
“What is his fault? it’s the fault of the government and the people.”Governor Senator Bala said“nobody  should criminalize all Fulanis, because in every tribe, there are criminals. “If Cybercrime is practiced by one tribe, you don’t criminalise all the tribe by saying they are criminals.
“That sensitivity is highly needed, and journalists have to exercised restraints in some reports, decipher the wrongs from rights, especially any report that is not building this country Nigeria, which can divide her and threaten the peace and the unity of the country

He however, commended his counterpart Simon Lalong of Plateau State for ending the mutual suspicion between fulanis and farmers of his state without looking at political differences.
He said, “I must comment the chairman of the Nortgern Governor’s forum, Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State. “With his diverse background despite being a minority State, he’s leading the northern Governors with focus, with sense of humour, and maturity.

Muhammed indicated that people like Lalong are needed in Nigeria for the good fight of faith for unity and peace in his state as the fight between farmers and fulanis in the Plateau has ceased, because of justice and equity.

Patriotism among communities is now common place in Plateau because of governance that fosters understanding between the diverse ethnic groups in the state.

“And that is what is happening in Bauchi, where everyone is important. So the media must single out those people for promotion not like people in other States that are asking Fulanis to leave their lands.
The Governor indicated that nobody can intimidate any one over land since it belongs to all(our fathers land) quoting section 23, 24 and 25, of the constitution to back up his claim he said that every Nigerian is free to stay anywhere.
It is worthy of note that Governor Muhammed though not a Fulani by tribe, but a Bajari from Duguri district, Alkaleri LGA has been standing in defense of the Fulani.
In a swift reaction the Benue state Governor expressed disappointment with his colleague the Bauchi state Governor, for heaping the blame of the negative perception of Fulani herders on him.
“He said, it was surprising that a colleague, who took the oath of office to protect and preserve the Constitution, now takes the lead in violating provisions of the same Constitution by calling for lawlessness.

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