Connect with us

Legislature

Lawan cautions FG on borrowing, as senate passes 2021-2023 MTEF/FSP

Published

on

Spread the love

Lawan cautions FG on borrowing, as senate passes 2021-2023 MTEF/FSP

…Advocates merger of agencies to reduce cost of governance  

The President of the senate Ahmad Lawan, has advised the Federal Government to reduce its borrowing by seeking alternative ways of implementing infrastructural projects not funded through local and foreign loans.

This was just as the upper legislative chamber passed the 2021-2023 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper ahead of the presentation of the 2021 Appropriation Bill to the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday.

The passage was sequel to consideration and adoption of the report of the Joint Committee on Finance; and National Planning and Economic Affairs.

Chairman of the Joint Committee, Senator Solomon Olamilekan Adeola (APC – Lagos West), in his presentation said the key parameters and macroeconomic framework driving the 2021-2023 Medium Term Expenditure Framework were revised in line with emerging realities that necessitated the revision of the 2020-2022 Medium Term Fiscal Framework.

Accordingly, the Senate approved daily crude oil production of 1.86mbpd, 2.09mbpd, and 2.38mbpd for the year 2021, 2022 and 2023; USD$40 per barrel as Oil Price Benchmark; and an Exchange Rate of N379/US$.

Inflation Growth Rate was projected at 11.95 percent; while Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate was fixed at 3percent.

The upper chamber also approved the Federal Government’s retained revenue of N7.89 trillion; Fiscal deficit of N5.19 trillion; N4.28 trillion projected new borrowings; Statutory transfers totaling N484.4 billion; N3.12 trillion as Debt estimate; N220 billion Sinking Fund; and N520.6 billion as Pension, Gratuities and Retirees Benefits.

Additionally, the Senate approved the Federal Government’s Aggregate Expenditure of N13.08 trillion; out of which N5.66 trillion is for Total Recurrent (Non-Debt); N3.05 trillion for Personnel Costs; N3.58 trillion for Capital Expenditure; N350 billion for Special Intervention (Recurrent); and N20 billion for Special Intervention (Capital).

The Senate in its adoption of the Joint Committee’s recommendations, underscored the need to amend Sections 21(1) and 21(2) of the Fiscal Responsibility Act to improve revenue generating and remittance capacity of Agencies of Government.

Calling on its relevant Committees to examine laws guiding the operation of all revenue generating agencies with a view to plugging wastages, the Senate advised the Federal Government to streamline stamp duty collection by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and domicile same with the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).

On meeting revenue targets, the upper chamber emphasized the need for the institution of sanctions on non-performing MDAs over inability to meet revenue targets, adding that the Federal Government must ensure that all Ministries, Departments and Agencies pay in full and promptly, for services rendered by other agencies, except where it is established that the beneficiary agencies are statutorily exempted from such payments.

The Senate further tasked the Federal Government to direct all outstanding remittances currently held by revenue-generating agencies to be remitted into the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) not later than thirty days from the date of approval of its resolution.

It added that the Federal Government, through the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) examine the activities of all Government Agencies currently operating under the partial commercialization agreement, to determine those that may be qualified for full commercialization, in order to enable them compete with their peers in the private sector, and therefore contribute more meaningfully to the revenue generation drive of the Federal Government.

The upper chamber also advised the Federal Government to direct the Accountant General of the Federation to develop a template to make for strict cost-control measures for all revenue-generating agencies, with clear sanctions for non-compliance.

While charging Government to ensure that all statutory transfers due to agencies be paid forthwith to enhance overall performance, the Senate called on the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to device strategies to reduce average cost of production in accordance with international best practices.

On the issue of borrowing, Lawan continued saying,
“We need to put up a lot of effort to ensure that these revenue generating agencies do their work promptly, efficiently and effectively.

“Where they have challenges, we must help them. Like most of us said, borrowing needs to be carefully applied here. There are projects that I feel we should ensure we don’t borrow to fund.

“We should explore other opportunities in sourcing funds such as the Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT), Public Private Partnerships and so many other options. I think we should explore on those so that we minimize the borrowing.

“There are lot of businesses that have interest in the development of our infrastructures, so we should explore the other means.

“But then again, we can not eliminate borrowing, that is the sad part of it. I think in the past we deluded our selves into thinking that Nigeria is the richest country in the world, meanwhile we are not developing our infrastructure.

“If we had applied whatever we had then, especially in our good years, we would have found that we wouldn’t have any money to spare to call ourselves rich.

“We need to look at the possibility of reducing the kind of borrowing we do in order to ensure that we don’t accumulate so much deficit and end up spending so much of our revenue servicing debts,” he said.

The Senate President who bemoaned the high recurrent expenditure profile of government, underscored the need for the merger of agencies so as to reduce cost of governance.

“Whenever we talk of cost of governance, we think of how to merge the different agencies.

“I think there is need for us to muster the political will, because we know what to do, but when it comes to doing the right thing, we find it difficult to do it.

“I think the time has come for government to do so, and government includes us, to address this issue.

“There are so many agencies, and these are agencies that were created to address specific challenges at the time.

“Now, they are irrelevant. They are simply conduits that are given money every year, while they have no value to add to governance.

“We need to really work closely with the Executive arm of Government. I know it is going to be a tough call, because it will be said this is not a time for people to lose their jobs, but somehow we need to find a way out of this as the cost of governance is high,” Lawan said.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Legislature

See Federal legislators demanding justice for killings during #ENDSARS protests

Published

on

By

Spread the love

See Federal legislators demanding justice for killings during #ENDSARS protests

Some legislators have expressed their commitments to setting agenda for
progressive laws in
Nigeria; initiating
progressive laws and speaking against anti-people bills in the
National Assembly.
They said they have
followed carefully
the #ENDSARS
protest by young people across Nigeria for the past two weeks and the killings in several cities including Jos, Kaduna,Abuja, Benin and Lagos
They noted that in
recent past, the protest has been
the most elaborate
that has united young Nigerians across
geography,
ethnic nationality and
religion.
They observed that the protest goes beyond the excesses of the police formation called
Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
The protests they observed was the result of
frustration by Nigerian youths
who have seen that
governments at all levels have failed to provide public goods
and opportunities for them to
lead a meaningful life.

They also recognised that over
the years, socio-economic
indicators in Nigeria have remained precarious as indices have consistently classified Nigeria
among the 15 worst states that are failing across the world.

They appealed for the utilization of globally
recognised methods of
policing in a democratic society rather than reliance on force,
intimidation and manipulation by government and security
agencies in attempt to break
the protest.

“We are enraged by reports of
shooting of unarmed,
defenceless protesters by
military officers at the Lekki
toll gate in Lagos after the
lights were turned off and CCTVcameras put off.
“We call on the President to
give an immediate order to all
security agencies to stop
shooting at protesters.
“We condemn this action by
government and security
agencies. This is inexcusable
and totally unacceptable.
“There is no justification
whatsoever for security
officials who are paid with tax
payers’ money to kill unarmed
protesters.
“We call on the President to
address the nation and take
concrete actions to respond to
the demand of the protesters.
“He should commit in words
and action to respect and
protect the right to protest.
He should publicly invite the
leaders of the protesters to an urgent dialogue while assuring them of their safety and that
outcomes would be
expeditiously implemented.

“We demand that the
perpetrators of this dastardly
act and all those who gave the orders should be brought to
account in a transparent and accountable manner.
“We ask the President to
immediately identify all the
officers involved and prosecute them for murder.
“We also condemn the attack
and burning of properties of
innocent citizens and
government.
“We call on government to
respond expeditiously to
demand of the protesters and
other lingering issues of
addressing the security
architecture of the country and addressing revelations of
corruption in many governmentagencies.
“As patriots, we will not keep
quiet while the country is
plunged into crisis under any
guise. A stitch in time saves
nine.” They concluded

The legislators that appended their signatures are:
Senators Olu Adetumbi, Michael Opeyemi Bamidele, Tolu Odebiyi, and (Dr)
Surajudeen Ajibola Basiru.
House of representatives members that signed: Prof. Julius Ihonvbere,
Hon. Rimamnde Shawulu Kwewum,
Hon. Francis Waive,
Hon. Peter Akpatason,
Hon. Tajudeen Yusuf ( Teejay)
Hon. Umeoji Chukwuma,
Hon. Kingsley Chinda,
Hon. Abubakar Hassan
Nalaraba,
Hon (Dr). Francis Ottah Agbo,
Hon. Unyime Idem,
Hon. Omowumi Olubunmi Ogunlola,
Hon. Ibrahim Kunle Olarewaju,
Hon. Segius Ogun,
Hon. Preye Oseke,
Hon. Ibrahim Obanikoro,
Hon. (Barr) Ifeanyi Chudy Momah,
Hon. Dennis Idahosa,
Hon. Nnolim Nnaji,
Hon. Benjamin Bem Mzondu,
Hon. Timehin Adelegbe,
Hon. Taiwo Olukemi Oluga,
Hon. Benjamin Okezie Kalu,
Hon. Amos Magaji,
Hon (Dr) Olododo Cook Abdulganiyu Saka,
Hon. Igariwey Iduma Enwo,
Hon Olubukola Oyewo,
Hon. Tolulope Akande-Sadipe Oluyole,
Hon Uzoma Nkem Abonta,
Hon. Satomi AlhajiAhmed,
Hon. Wole Oke,
Hon. Miriam Onuoha,
Hon. Ugonna Ozurigbo,
Hon. Nkeiruka C. Onyejeocha,
Hon. Solomon Adaelu,
Hon. Uko Ndukwe Nkole,
Hon (Dr) Paschal Chigozie Ogah
Hon. Nicholas Ossai Ossai,
Hon. Toby Okechukwu,
Hon (Dr.) Muriana Ajibola ,
Hon. Chukwuka Onyema,
Hon. Machin Bagos,
Hon. Solomon Maren,
Hon (Dr.) Abiante Dagomie Innombek,
Hon. Solomon Bolus,Hon. Dan Asuquo,
Hon. Bitrus Laori,
Hon. SolomonBob,
Hon. Tyoe Bob,
Hon. Benjamin Nzomdu,
Hon. Ken Chikere,

Hon. Boma Goodhead,
Hon. Boniface Emerengwa,
Rt. Hon. Dum Dekor,

Hon. Gogo Bright,
Hon. Fred Agbedi,
Hon. Dennis Amadi and Hon. Amos Gwani,

Continue Reading

Legislature

#EndSARS: Senate searches for soft landing, confers with Police, DSS

Published

on

By

Spread the love

#EndSARS: Senate searches for soft landing, confers with Police, DSS

***urges all Nigerians to work towards halting the protests


The leadership of the Senate has conferred with the police and Department of
State Services on the #EndSARS protests to find a soft landing.

It also admonished all well meaning Nigerians to intervene with a view to halting the #EndSARS protests.

The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan made the call after he received security briefings on the protests in some parts of the country.
The Inspector-General of Police, Adamu Mohammed and the Director General of the Department of State Services, Yusuf magaji Bichi were in attendance.

Shortly after the meeting that held in the office of the Senate President, Lawan told reporters that the time had come for the protests to stop as he appealed to all political and religious leaders to stand up with a view to prevailing on the protesters to allow peace a chance.
“I want to thank all Nigerians for the prayers and I want to urge opinion leaders and political leaders across the spectrum that this is of utmost concern to all of us.
“All leaders, regardless of their political affiliations, regardless of our religious passuasion, regardless of our geo-political locations, we must stand up and ensure that these protests come to an end because it is now taking a different dimension from the original protest by those who meant well by asking for SARS to be disbanded.
“Those that are going about the protest at the moment have shown clearly that they have no affiliation, no relationship whatsoever with the original #EndSARS protest.
“I will take this opportunity to urge all well meaning Nigerians that this is our country, that everyone must show interest in its survival and in its peace.
“This is a country that we have to ensure that it works for all of us. People have the right to say this is not the way they want to go once it is a legitimate way to express themselves through peaceful protest but we must never allow ourselves to be taken in the wrong direction of violent protest like we have witnessed in some parts of the country,” Lawan said.

The Senate President told reporters that the leadership of the Senate invited the IGP and the DG of DSS for a briefing on the current situation of the #EndSARS demonstration going on in many parts of the country.
Lawan said “This is for the leadership of the Senate to be properly informed of the situation. But before then, we have been reading in the media, both Electronics and Print what has been going on.
“We have been talking, discussing, consulting with our colleagues in the Senate, in the National Assembly generally and people on the Executive side of government and outside of government on how best we can approach this issue, this challenge, so that we are able to bring it to an end.
“The Senate took two motions so far with respect to the #EndSARS protest. One motion was sponsored by Senator Oluremi Tinubu two weeks ago and the Senate passed resolutions, of course, supporting legitimate and peaceful protest to #EndSARS and urged the security agencies to provide safe environment to protesters.

“The second motion was taken yesterday (Tuesday), sponsored by Senator Biodun Olujimi and of course, co- sponsored by all the Senators in the Senate. Far reaching resolutions were taken and we are absolutely in total support of the legitimate, constitutionally guaranteed right of citizens to peacefully protest in any issue they feel strongly about.
“We are however not in support of any violent protest by anyone. We believe that the #EndSARS protest started very genuinely and those who started it are Patriots who wanted to see change and change was initiated immediately.

“The President himself, President Muhammadu Buhari gave a presidential speech in his remarks to say that SARS was disbanded. And of course, subsequently, five demands of the protesters were accepted by the government generally because we believe that those demands are legitimate and we will continue to insist that the Federal Government must implement those demands it accepted from the protesters.
“But we equally believe that the time has come for the protest to stop. This is necessary for the government to be able to implement those demands that it accepted from the protesters.

Also in attendance were: Deputy Senate president, Ovie OmO-Agege, Senate Leader Yahaya A. Abdullahi, Senate Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe, Chief Whip of the Senate, Orji U Kalu, Deputy Senate Leader, Prof. Robert A. Boroffice, Senate Minority Whip, Philip T. Aduda, Senate Chairman on National Security And Intelligence, Ibrahim Gobir, Senate chairman Police Affairs, Halliru Jika.

Continue Reading

Legislature

Fashola blames Senators’ petitions for delay in execution of road projects

Published

on

By

Spread the love


Fashola blames Senators’ petitions for delay in execution of road projects

Minister of Works and Housing Babatunde Fashola has blamed senators’ petitions  for delayed execution of road projects in the country.
Fashola who appeared before the Senate committee on works to defend the ministry’s budget told senators that while the nation does not have the resources to fund the entire road projects, those that have funds for their execution were being frustrated by petitions from senators and counter directive from the Presidency.
“This directive came as a result of the petitions from senators to the President.
He said all the lettera were available and on the basis of that, they got directive to change the scope of work, I will furnish you with them,” The minister stated.
Fashola said it was time for the lawmakers in the national assembly to come together and agree that the road projects should be prioritised and completed instead of taking on new roads when the existing ones are yet to be completed.
This followed interrogations from the Senators on the slow pace of work on road construction in the country.
Members of the Senate Committee on works had taken turns to enquire from him the reason for the slow pace of work on roads in their respective senatorial zones.
The minister explained the need to prioritise projects for national development even as he blamed them for the delay of the Abuja-Kaduna road.
His words: “Specifically on the road that has four lanes that is not progressing as perhaps expected, let us first remember that was the last to be awarded of the three roads.
“So it would not run at the same speed. Lagos-Ibadan was awarded before this administration came, 2nd Niger bridge was also awarded before this administration came on board.
“Funding them was our priority, it was after all of that that we awarded Abuja-Kano road, so they will not run at the same speed.
“What I will point out to you sir is that, immediately we awarded that contract for Abuja – Kano road, members of the national Assembly wrote to the President that the scope of the contract should be changed from two lanes to three lanes.
“Once the contractor started, that letter was written, we got a directive from the President to change it from two lanes to three lanes. We couldn’t change it to three lanes without doing a new design.
“To procure a design you have to go through advertisement, that is the procurement law,  evaluation, BPP, no objection, then we move to FEC that took almost a year.
“When FEC approved the  3 X 3 lane the contractor started work and the job consultant was at 95 per cent complete, then we got counter instructions, “go back to 2 X 2” unfortunately, these men and women here cannot come out everyday to say, see what happened. So those who are complaining of delay would have to factor this now.”
Giving further explanation on why  it was impossible to make appreciable progress on road construction nationwide Fashola said paucity of funds was a good reason to decide on the most important roads that would connect more areas to deliver on goods and services.
He pointed out that the budget proposal for the 2021 fiscal year on highway for road construction is N276bn  while the ministry is indebted to about N392bn on jobs already executed.
He pointed out that this has placed the budget in a deficit of N116bn.
“If our revenue is increasing on daily basis and we are not committed to our capacity to even solve the roads we have committed to, it would diminished and we will become poorer.
“Until we complete a road and make it accessible to the public, it cannot create productivity and gain. Even the roads that brings raw materials to site, how are they, they are not special roads.
He cited an example of a road project with a cost of N19bn but had less than N1bn allocation for its construction in the 2020 budget and was later reviewed over the impact of Covid-19.
“Kwunya -Bagura road, the contract is N19bn, appropriation in 2020 is N535m  and by the time we had to do the  Covid 19 amendment, but went to N321m.
“What was not enough was further reduced, let us put ourselves in the shoes of these contractors  who mobilize to site in those circumstances.
On the cost of mobilizaton, he said they acquired sites, they pay for the sites because they rent it set up water treatment plant, power plant, hire security, that is money  going out, when he is not sure of the money coming back.
“It is time for us to start to say, we have seven contracts, we need to prioritize, which of these roads serve our best interest. Let us start to complete somethings,” Fashola stated.
The Minister counselled the senators to allow for a special funding pattern under the SUKUK to be captured under a special heading for the purpose of accounting while the availability of cash which he said is about N600bn could be deployed to road construction.

Continue Reading

Trending