***Speaker reads riot act
The already dozing Kogi House of Assembly has slipped further in to slumber as some members are no longer showing up for plenary on account of low moral poor morale of members occasioned by an alleged lack of proper welfare in the State legislature.
For instance Tuesday plenary witnessed one of the poorest attendance as 10 members out of 25 were present for legislative debate.
The trend it was gathered has been a reoccuring decimal where the Chamber can not gather the required quorum for the legislative activities to proceed.
Many had overlooked the situation earlier
due to the 2023 Presidential campaign of the State governor, which the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Mathew Kolawole has been the arrow head, visiting States with some members trying to sell the idea of Yahaya Bello presidency to his counterparts.
The Kogi Assembly based on the forgoing had been described by many commentators as a sleeping slumber chamber as virtually nothing was happening in terms of legislative duties.
This was going on to the level that an administrative staff of the House of Assembly who will not want his name in print indicated that the legislature in Kogi State has gone asleep for the meantime.
The staff lamented that members have nothing to boast of in terms of welfare packages, saying that for the first time in the history of Kogi Assembly, the cost of official vehicles they are using are being deducted from their salaries and their allowances are not paid.
According to the source, the members have deserted because of pressure from their constituents, revealing that some of them are ‘cooling off’ in Abuja.
Continuing the staff said some of them who are aggrieved may boycott plenaries in protest and give untenable execuses since they can’t risk speaking out on their plight.
The Speaker, Prince Mathew Kolawole however, could not hold back as he decried the attitude of some lawmakers who attend executive sessions without attending plenary sittings.
The Speaker made the observation at Tuesday plenary sitting saying any lawmaker who is fond of doing so would be termed to be absent.
He however, moved a motion to to put to effect some sections of the House rule dealing withabsenteeism m and it was seconded by the majority leader representing Ajaokuta State Constituency, Bello Hassan Balogun.
Citing relevant sections of the house rules, the speaker noted that the motion so moved was to put to effect relevant sections of the house rules.
Before Tuesday’s sitting, some members participated in an executive meeting which held in the Speaker’s office, but were absent from the plenary out of anger.
In the midst of the lack of quorum the lack of quorum a bill for a law to repeal and re-enact the Kogi State Hotel and Edict, 1995, establishing the Kogi State Hotels and Tourism Board and a bill for a law to establish Kogi State Erosion and Watershed Management agency passed second reading in the house
The Assembly members have spent two years and two months out of a four year mandate, having been sworn into office on May 29th 2019.
Senate approves 2022-2024 MTEF/FSP, okays N13.98trn budget projection for 2022
***endorses USD$57 per barrel oil benchmark, N410/US$1 Exchange rate
All is now set presentation of the 2022 Appropriations bill to the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari as the Senate on Wednesday approved the 2022-2024 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper (MTEF/FSP).
This is in tandem with the 9th National Assembly resolve to stick to the January to December budget cycle.
The passage of the 2022-2024 Medium Term Expenditure Framework was sequel to the consideration and exhaustive deliberation of a report by the Joint Committees on Finance; Local and Foreign Debts; Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions; Petroleum Resources (Upstream); Downstream Petroleum Sector and Gas.
The Joint Committee report was presented by Senator Solomon Olamilekan Adeola (APC, Lagos West), who chairs the Finance Committee.
The chamber during consideration of the report gave its nod to the Federal Government’s revenue projection of N8.36 trillion; and proposed expenditure of N13.98 trillion.
Accordingly, it also approved the daily crude oil production of 1.88mbpd, 2.23mbpd, and 2.22mbpd for 2022, 2023 and 2024, particularly “in view of average 1.93mbpd over the last 3 years and the fact that a very conservative oil output benchmark has been adopted for the medium term in order to ensure greater budget realism”.
The Senate in its recommendations approved the Benchmark oil price of USD$57 per barrel; adopted the Exchange Rate of N410.15/US$ by the Executive for 2022-2024; and gave its nod to the projected Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate of 4.20%; as well as 13% inflation rate.
In addition, the chamber approved fiscal deficit of N5.62 trillion; new borrowings of N4.89 trillion – an amount which includes Foreign and Domestic borrowing – subject to the provision of details of the borrowing plan to the National Assembly.
The Senate also approved other parameters such as Statutory transfers totaling N613.4 billion; Debt Service estimate of N3.12 trillion; Sinking Fund to the tune of N292 billion; Pension, Gratuities and Retirees Benefits of N567 billion.
Out of the Aggregate Federal Government’s Expenditure of N13.98 trillion, the upper chamber approved the sum of N6.12 trillion for Total Recurrent (Non-debt); N3.47 trillion as Personnel Cost for Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs); N3.26 trillion for Capital Expenditure (exclusive transfers); N350 billion Special Intervention (Recurrent); and N10 billion for Special Intervention (Capital).
The upper chamber in its report recommended that the Fiscal deficit estimate of N5.62 trillion also be sustained due to the Federal Government’s conservative approach to target setting and its determination to improve collection efficiency of major revenue generating agencies.
It further called on the Salaries and Wages Commission to review the salary structure of all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), in other to come up with a new salary structure that will reflect the true financial position of the Agencies.
The chamber also demanded a continuous review of the Fiscal Responsibility Act to ensure that all revenues are remitted to the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) as at when due, in order to curtail frivolous deductions and diversion of funds by the MDAs.
It further maintained that all laws relating to mining businesses be reviewed as a matter of urgency, to ensure upward review of rates applied to royalties, ground rent and licenses renewal of all mining companies operating in Nigeria to ensure transparency in the collection of revenue by relevant agencies, as well as recommend stringent sanctions in proposed new laws to address illegal mining.
The Senate amid its recommendations also called on the Nigeria Customs Service to accelerate the process of installing scanners at all ports across the country to curb the issues of smuggling and underpayment of custom duties on imported goods which has resulted in huge loss of revenue to the government.
It also charged the Federal Government to urgently implement the Petroleum Industry Act recently assented to by the President in order to curtail the problems of smuggling and round-tripping of petroleum products imported into the country.
In addition, the chamber recommended that the proposed budget of Government Owned Enterprises (GOEs) be reviewed upward to show the reflection of their capabilities to generate more revenue as a result of the findings of the Joint Committee.
Consequently, it further recommended that the offices of the Accountant General (AGF), Auditor General of the Federation (AuGF) and Fiscal Responsibility Commission be strengthened in the area of staffing and proper funding of its activities to ensure optimal performance of their duties in order to adequately monitor the remittances of all government revenue.
The chamber posited that the Act establishing some MDAs such as – Nigeria Investment Promotion Council (NIPC), National Lottery Trust Fund Act, Bank of Industry Act, Bank of Agriculture Act, Energy Commission Act and Nigeria Nuclear Regulatory Commission – if reviewed and amended as a matter of urgency, would assist to generate more revenue to the coffers of government.
It also recommended that the Federal Government budget be reviewed and purged of some agencies with demonstrated capacity to stand on their own without any recourse to Federal Government of Nigeria budget.
The chamber gave example of such agencies to include the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and Nigerian College of Aviation Technology, Zaria.
Buhari asks Senate to confirm EFCC board members
President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday sent a request to the Senate for the confirmation of the appointment of the Secretary and Board members of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)
The request was contained in a letter dated September 17, 2021, and read during plenary on Tuesday by the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan.
President Buhari explained that the request for the confirmation of the nominees was in accordance with the provision of section 2(1) of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment) Act, 2004.
Those to be confirmed include George Abbah Ekpungu, Secretary (Cross River); Luqman Muhammed (Edo); Anumba Adaeze (Enugu); Alhaji Kola Raheem Adesina (Kwara); and Alhaji Yahaya Muhammad (Yobe).
35 days after assenting to PIA Senate gets Buhari’s request for amendment
About one month after assenting to the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) 2021, President Muhammadu Buhari is asking the Senate to amend the act that was passed by the National Assembly over two months ago.
On 16th August 2021, President Muhammadu Buhari signed the Petroleum Industry Bill 2021 into law.
The signing of the Bill into law by the President was in furtherance to the passage of the Bill by both the Senate and the House of Representatives earlier in July 2021.
The PIA is expected to grow investors’ confidence in Nigeria’s Petroleum Industry and create more employment opportunities for the populace in the host communities.
The President”s request was contained in a letter dated September 16, 2021, and read during plenary on Tuesday by the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan.
President Buhari in the letter explained that the appointment of two non-executive members as provided for by the Act to the board of the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NPRA) and Upstream Regulatory Commission (URC) does not reflect balanced geopolitical representation.
He, therefore, requested amendment to Sections 11(2)(b) and 34(2)(b) which provides for the Administrative Structure of the PIA 2021, to increase the number of the non-executive members from two to six on the boards of the NPRA and URC.
According to him, doing so would foster national unity and “provide a sense of participation and inclusion to almost every section of the country in the decision making of strategic institutions such as the oil industry”.
In addition, the President proposed a deletion of Sections 11(2)(f), 11(2)(g), 34(2)(f) and 34(2)(g) from the Petroleum Industry Act, which would see to the removal of the Ministries of Petroleum and Finance form the Board of the Nigerian Petroleum Regulatory Authority and Upstream Regulatory Commission.
He explained that, “The proposed amendment will increase the membership of the board from nine (9) to thirteen (13) members that is representing 44 percent expansion of the board size.
“This composition would strengthen the institutions and guarantee national spread and also achieve the expected policy contributions.
“The two ministries already have constitutional responsibilities of either supervision or inter-governmental relations. They can continue to perform such roles without being in the board.
“It is also important to not that administratively, the representatives of the ministries in the board will be Directors – being same rank with Directors in the institution. This may bring some complications in some decision making especially on issues of staff related matters.”
He also sought an amendment to Sections 11(3) and 34(3) to be replaced with a new section that provides that appointments to the Board of the Commission or Authority under section 2 shall be made by the President, while those made pursuant to subsection (2)(a), (b) and (c) of section shall be subject to confirmation by the Senate.
The President further requested that Section 41(2) of the Petroleum Industry Act be replaced with a new section as “there shall be five (5) executive directors for the Authority whose appointment shall comply with the rules of the Federal Civil Service with each responsible for one of the following.”
The President, in his proposed the amendment, underscored the need to exempt serving public officers from the established confirmation process for political appointments.
“This will ensure effective management of the regulatory institutions through uniform implementation of public service rules for employees of the Authority.
“In future, these positions will obviously be filled by the workers in the Authority through career progression in conformity with the rules and regulations of the Federal Civil Service”, Buhari said
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