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Media report linking me to expenditure in N40m Osun West ZIP is fake news-Oriolowo

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Media report linking me to expenditure in N40m Osun West ZIP is fake news-Oriolowo

***insists burden of proof lies with implementing agency

The Senator, representing Osun West senatorial district, Aderele Oriolowo has described as fake news, report that he spent paltry N2.5m out of the N40m allocated to his constituency project in the 2020 budget.
Oriolowo while debunking the media reports in some national dailies said he was not involved in the execution of the N40million Zonal Intervention Programme for practical skill development and training of youths and women in fishing recently conducted in selected areas of Osun West Senatorial District in Osun State.
According to him, the only role he played in the realization of the project was to facilitate the inclusion of the project in the 2020 budget to benefit members of his constituency
The senator said, the burden of proof or otherwise of the expenditure remains with the implementating agency and the consultant hired to execute the project.

An independent project monitoring organisation trackaNG had on its Twitter handle faulted what it refers to as the claims by Senator Aderele Oriolowo on the expenditure of the 2020 constituency projects.

To this Oriolowo said he never spoke with any media organisation where he made such claims as alleged.
Oriolowo maintained he never participated in the process of engaging the consultant nor organizing and executing the project, wondering how he should be the target of the report.

His words: To the issue raised on the report that the independent monitor organisation faulted a claim by me, I did not make any claim on this issue.
“Nobody contacted me to ask me in the finances of this project, I did not grant any press interview on the finances of the project. I couldn’t have because firstly, projects are jot domiciled in any legislator’s office, I mean the budget and its implementation.
“We as legislators are not saddled with it, we are just facilitators of projects.

“This project is anchored in an agency, specifically, Nigerian Institute of Oceanography and Marine Research Institute in Lagos.
“All I needed to know was when the project was approved for implementation, they came to me to gather my constituents for training and that I did,” Orolowo said.
Explaining further he stated that besides, budget implementations are usually done in phases, moreso with the impact of this Covid 19 pandemic which has tightened budgeting and expenditures globally, the agency may not have been fully funded and it was too early for the media to conclude that the allocation for the project was not optimally expended.

“I reliably gathered from the agency that the projects are being done in stages because of the Covid 19 pandemic, they have to break the participants into phases to avoid over crowing at a time.

“Secondly, It is a common Knowledge that with the state of the country now, not one hundred percent of project budgets are being released from the agencies which I know could be the same for that agency, they might have not received N100 be percent of the budget.

He said the independent monitor group should have investigated this before their tweet.
He also faulted the basis on which the organisation arrived at the total expenditure of N2.5m using only the N50,000 per participant as start-up grant as the cost of the Zonal Intervention Programme for Osun West senatorial district.
He wondered why the fact finding agency did not verify associated cost of the programme and relied only on the start up grant of N50,000 to each participants.

“You want to see the component of the work given to the consultant, is it only N50,000 stipend given to the participants, what about the cost of the hall used, course materials, training equipment and the materials assembled, logistics, are the facilitators budget included in the N2.5millon tweet? He querried

“We need to see the break down of the bill of quantity given to the consultant before we can ascertain what percentage of the job they were given and how well or otherwise they have performed, as am speaking to you now, I have not seen it.

”Of course I do not need it because the burden of accountability lies with the agency handling the project not me,” he submitted.
He said his only interest was to ensure that the project he has powered for his constituents reaches them as all other lawmakers would for their constituents.

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Legislature

Senate panel decries paltry N38b allocation to FERMA for road maintenance

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Senate panel decries paltry N38b allocation to FERMA for road maintenance


**canvasses for N300b yearly allocation to FERMA


The senate Committee on  works has raised concern over paltry N38B allocation to FERMA as being to meagre to do any manageable road Maintanance on the 36, 000km road network across the country.The committee chairman, Senator Gershom Bassey spoke after he presented his committees report on the budget defence of the ministry of works and FERMA to the appropriation committee.”The way we move goods and services in this country we use rad. 80% of goods are moved on the roads so it.makes sense for us to.invest heavily on our roads particularly in the maintenance if those roads. “If you are spending N300b to N400b every year on FERMA so that your roads would be in good shape because we know the lost of lives that we encountered on our roads and  the lost of efficiency.”A budget of N38b is really a paltry sum considering that you have 36, 000 km of road network and virtually all have one problem or the other. “For FERMA we are looking at Budget in excess of N300b every year. Just to maintain road network as it is and of course why not because the way we move goods and services in this country we dont use train. “May be a trailer loaded with goods that want to move from one town to another, a journey of half a day would now take four or five days, this is because of the poor maintenance culture. “I have always urged the Federal Government to pay more attention to FERMA because it is key. “It takes 2 to 3 or 4 years to build a new road but the one you have you have to maintain so it is important that more money is pumped into FERMA if it is N300b or N400b it is not too much for FERMA so that they can truly maintain our road networks and save lives and increase the efficiency of the economy. “He said as senators they can not increase budget “Well when you increase on what, the project has to be in place and that planning comes from the executive and that is why we say to the executives pay a bit more attention to FERMA so that it can function.”The idea that we are going to willy Nilly increase budget we are not engineers here, there has to be a plan. It has to be planned based budgeting. “We want the executives to plan for our roads, for FERMA to increase the efficiency, safety and maintenance of out roads. It is when we have that that you can come here and we can see where to adjust we can add an extra this or that but based on planWhen asked on the issue of privatisation as the 36000km road network are in bad shape. In the senate we have been singing that song for a long time about the concessions and the idea that you can have a concessioning model whereby some kind of trust fund or some pull that will complement it. Again we have raised a bill that has gone to second reading on a national road infrastructure agency that will be a stand alone agency that owns the road network with that concessioning becomes very easy. We have gone far with the arrangement but it is not something one can just wake up and do.
He had informed the appropriation committee that the Senate committee on work was transferring a project to the FERMA committee.
“We are in the legislature we don’t execute we are just here to oversight the budget I do know that FERMA is working and that is why a lot people like to work with FERMA because the efficiency and the engineering capacity inside that agfency. “I think the only thing missing why you have not seen many sign board as you used to see before but because of funding. 
“I know that it is a project that is ongoing in FERMA and so the issue is that you cannot dabble and start that project again in works even though monies are sent to works so they want to fund the same project in FERMA and I think that it is a technical thing that the works committee has requested.

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Perimeter fencing for Airports precautionary against Bush fire, stray animals says senate

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Perimeter fencing for Airports precautionary against Bush fire, stray animals says senate

The senate committee chairman on Aviation Smart Adeyemi has said the provision for Perimeter fencing contained in the 1021 budget is for safety reasons.
Adeyemi stated this when he presented the harmonised budget of the ministry before the appropriation committee in the senate.
He said,”Quite a number of the airports lack perimeter fencing and that is the reason you see animals moving around in the airport.
“It also leads to situation of fire incidences especially when people set fire on the nearby bushes in the airport.
“We are proposing perimeter fencing in a number of airports in Nigeria to safeguard the airport against when plane will be landing and the nearby bush fire extends into the airport.
“All these are measures that people may not see as serious but can threaten the safety of people flying.
“There is provision for purchase of more meteorological equipments to ensure adequate forecast of weather so that the pilots would be well guided. So we made provisions for what is required in the aviation to make it more safety compliant.
“In Nigeria we have succeeded in maintaining a very enviable record, and we commend the Aviation industry for that. So what we have done in the national assembly is to help to sustain the record of safety that we have had. “We have done very well and we have put in place all those measures that will further strengthen the industry and to encourage more Nigerians to fly.
“Like I said there are quite a number of airstrips that have been abandoned next year many of them will come to live.
“We have encouraged the airstrips to be rehabilitated so that people can take gets and land. This is a country is vibrant people move around. In a depressed economy one of the ways to go above the recession, moreover that it is a global economic recession that is threatening us is to make sure that you equip the aviation industry and encourage people to fly by providing or putting in place all those measures that are needed.
“When you have enough airstrip quite a lot of people can fly, a number of business men can move round the country and look at the potentials that we have. “So Aviation is very key not just for economic development but more so in a very depressed economy when you have a vibrant aviation industry it will enable that country to go above the recession.”
He described the 2021 budget for.the aviation industry as promising and progressive.
He said there is a provision for an alternative runway for convenience.
“We have a provision for a second runway in Abuja to save us from some of the occasion when plane will have to be hovering may be they will run out of fuel or some will have to go to nearby airport to land so when you have a second runway you are guaranteeing both the safety of the passengers, the aircraft and you are equally minimising cost. “When they don’t hover around they can adequately use the quantity of fuel calculated for the journey. “
He pointed out the necessity to have a second runway.
“It ought have to be done some 10 to 15 years ago. We have that as a major aspect of it. That is about N15b for the second runway.
“We equally have a proposal again for Katsina airport where we intend to set up aircraft maintenance station.

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To resuscitate Ajaokuta Steel, N3billion must be provided in 2021 budget says senate

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To resuscitate Ajaokuta Steel, N3billion must be provided in 2021 budget says senate

***world Bank notifies FG of plan to pull out of salary payment for some staffers

Senate committee on Solid Minerals, Mines and Steel Development has indicated that Ajaokuta Iron and Steel Project which has been under construction for close to 40 years, may afterall be  mirage if N3billion is not provided for its reactivation in 2021.

of the 21 plants next year , said t

The Chairman of the Committee  Senator Tanko Almakura ( APC Nasarawa South) spokeas he lamented that Staffers of the Iron and Steel Complex  working in Mining Cadastral Office, will not be getting their monthly salaries from January next year as the World Bank responsible for that had indicated its plan to pull out of the offer from January 2021.

Senator Almakura who gave the indication in Abuja Saturday, said the N3billion required is for facilitating the engagement of experts from Russia to reactivate 21 of the plants in the Iron and Steel Complex, was not captured in the 2021 budget of the Ministry Mines, Steel and Solid Minerals.

He said he had made presentation to that effect to the Senate Committee on Appropriation during presentation of the 2021 budget estimates of the Ministry to the committee on Thursday last week.

According to him, the remarks by  the Committee chairman Senator Jibrin Barau ( APC Kano North) for provision of the money in the final report on  the 2021 budget, was not assuring enough .

“Nigeria has sunk so much resourses on the Ajaokuta project for many years than and it cannot now allow just N3billion make her decades old efforts, futile.

“Resuscitation of Ajaokuta is key to Industrialization and development of the country. The Mines, Steel and Solid Minerals Ministry appealed to us during budget defence , to effect Appropriation for the N3billion .

“Since we cannot on our own as joint committees on Mines, Steel and Solid Minerals, increase the envelope of the budget presented to us by the Ministry, we pushed the appeal to the Appropriation Committee for the required appropriation .

“The N3billion is very necessary to be provided for in saving the Iron and Steel Project from slipping into permanent comatose status”, he said .

He added that completion of the Ajaokuta Iron and Steel Project, would serve as required catalyst for diversification of the Nation’s economy which is one of the key policies of President Muhamnadu Buhari led government .

On staffers who may not be collecting their salaries from next year January, Senator Almakura explained that they are contract staff working at the Mining Cadastral office of the Complex whose monthly salaries have been paid in the past years, from interventions from the world Bank.
The World Bank had since notified the country that it will stop that gesture after December this year.

When contacted on phone whether the N3billion will be appropriated as additional fund for the Iron and Steel Company , Senator Barau was evasive.

He said though  diversification of the Nation’s economy is a necessity at this time  but paucity of funds remains the stumbling block in acceding to such demands since the 2021  N13.08 trillion budget was projected on expected revenues and not monies already warehoused somewhere.

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