Ebonyi: Umahi Lays Foundation for Memorable Christmas And New Year

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“Positive shock that awaits those coming back home this season: They will encounter the amazing revolution taking place in Ebonyi. They will be shocked that the flyovers they see in other big cities in Nigeria are now very visible in our state. They will be shocked that most of the headquarters of our local government areas are now fully electrified, even as street lights are now part of life in Ebonyi State. They will be shocked by the beauty and peace in the state as the governor has ensured that no criminal activity is witnessed during this season. They will be shocked by the quality of roundabouts in the state. They will not help but admire the classy and new-look Government House Gate is now wearing. They will be shocked by the quality of roads that litter all our local government areas. They will be shocked that their elders and parents are well-taken care of by the government of Ebonyi State. They will be so shocked that going back to these other towns may no longer be a wise decision.”

Ebonyi: Umahi Lays Foundation for Memorable Christmas And New Year By Monica Ada C. Eze Prelude Let me start this treatise on how Ebonyians are remembered so specially during this season by quoting Kamil Ali, who stated: “As we enter the Season of Goodwill – Feel the warm glow in your heart by lighting up a smile on someone’s face.” And according to Engr. Dave Umahi the indefatigable Governor of Ebonyi State, “Love is in the air as we celebrate the Prince of love and peace embodied in the personality of Christ Jesus”

Engr. Dave Nweze Umahi, the Governor of Ebonyi State, South-East of Nigeria, was a very successful businessman before he ventured into politics and has all the good things to make one comfortable, but his desire to make a difference in the politics of his state influenced him to contest the highest political office in the state and, as God would have it, he succeeded through what is commonly defined in Ebonyi as divine mandate. He is popularly known by his chieftaincy title, Akubaraaoha (wealth that touches the lives of the multitude), because of his benevolence and philanthropy through which he has awarded thousands of scholarship to indigent students of Ebonyi State and alleviated others in other ventures.

Based on this, it looks as if Brian Tracy was foreseeing what is currently happening in Ebonyi State through the incumbent governor, Engr. Umahi, when he stated: “Successful people are always looking for opportunities to help others. Unsuccessful people are always asking, ‘What’s in it for me?’” To strengthen the position of Tracy, John Bunyan on the other hand stated: “You have not lived today, until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.” All these leader’s positions tally with Engr Dave Umahi’s vision and mission for Ebonyi State when he stated, “Our mission is to enhance the welfare of our people, and empower all Ebonyians to be self-reliant, through the compassionate delivery of transparent and God-fearing governance, based on integrity and dignity.”

Aim This article is not aimed at writing generally about the philanthropic acts of Governor Umahi because doing that is to write a book but, rather, this attempt is to expose to the entire world recent benevolence acts of the governor towards Ebonyi people; in making their Christmas and New Year celebrations not only memorable, but events they will live to remember for a long time.

Peace in Ebonyi The governor, in his principle that if there is no peace meaningful development will not only be elusive but developments earlier achieved will be destroyed, have reiterated that trouble-makers should look for other states to relocate.

Setting the pace in sustaining peace in Ebonyi, thereby making the state conducive for a peaceful celebration, Chief Umahi, said he would deal decisive with any individual or group of persons that attempt to re-ignite the Ezza-Ezillo crisis that has claimed more than 200 lives, and property worth millions of naira destroyed.

The governor’s statement is coming on the heels of alleged security report that some youths in the area were perfecting plans to organise a rally to remember their brothers and sisters who lost their lives in the unfortunate incident.

The governor said that he is still committed to ensure that the peace accord signed by Ezilo and Ezza-Ezilo people, which brought to an end the protracted communal clash, is not violated by any individual no matter how highly placed.

The governor stated this at a thanksgiving service organised by the Ebonyi State Government, to appreciate God for his benevolence on the people, at the Government House Chapel, Abakaliki, on 19thDecember, 2016.

His words: “I stand on the altar of God to say that anybody that wants to ignite crisis in Ezza-Ezillo, I will crush the person. I have directed that the people that organised or wanted to organise a rally in honour of their brothers and sisters in the unfortunate incident should be made available to me. They will spend the Christmas in cell. I must be emphatic, there is nothing to remember.” Governor Umahi said the thanksgiving was to appreciate God for the settlement of the crisis and the peaceful atmosphere being enjoyed in the state, pointing out that it was responsible for the level of infrastructural and social development so far recorded by his administration. Umahi slashes Ebonyi varsity student’s tuition To make the students feel the benevolence of the Ebonyi State Government under the able leadership of Engr. David Umahi; the Governor out of his magnanimity directed for the reduction of the fees of the state university students by  N10,000  thereby bringing to an end the intractable agitation by students  for tuition slashing. Recall that tuition was increased by former Governor Martin Elechi,  a development that led to  protests  by the students. This reduction was in fulfilment of Umahi pledge during his campaign when he assured that he would reduce the fees if supported to win 2015 governorship election. The governor, who announced the reduction during an interactive forum with the management and staff of the university at the permanent site, Ezzamgbo, explained that the reduction which would take effect from next year was for both students of Ebonyi origin and non-Ebonyians. Umahi, who had while making his remarks, noted that the reduction was necessary because students of the university paid almost the highest fees in the South- East and South-South, explained that the slash was to cushion the suffering of the students and their parents. He however enjoined the students to avoid cultism and criminal tendencies in order to continue to enjoy the tuition reduction. Umahi slashes Ebonyi varsity student’s tuition The governor had while announcing 3,000 bags of rice and N10 million for the students of the university as their Christmas gifts, over heard them    chanting,”reduce our fees, reduce our fees.” He also donated two buses to the Students Union Government for easy transportation of students to lectures. Before then, he announced the donation of rice each to all staff of the university with N5m to be shared by them for the Yuletide.He he told the students to continue to partner with his government. Umahi approved all promotions of the university staff which had been kept on hold for years and gave the university authorities N100m loan for agricultural activities.  The declaration caused a wide jubilation among the students and staff who sang and thanked  the governor for his largesse. Umahi also advised that for any student to graduate from the Department of Agriculture,he/she should have at least one hectare of farm. The Acting Vice Chancellor of the University,Prof. Francis Idike who commended the governor for gazetting the university staff and bringing commendable changes to the system. He assured the preparedness of the university community to toeing the vision and mission of his administration. Yuletide: 13th Month Salary Bonus To give Ebonyians a surprise Christmas package, Governor Umahi has not only approved to pay extra one month salary bonus, otherwise called 13th month to workers under the state employment in the spirit of Christmas celebration, but has paid and distributed bags of rice and tubers of yam to each of staff. He approved and directed that junior workers would receive 100 per cent bonus, whereas senior ones would be paid 50 per cent of whatever they receive monthly, boasting that his administration was neither owing workers salaries nor pensions. He disclosed his administration’s plan to begin immediate payment of gratuity arrears owed by both local and state governments since 1993, amounting to N8 billion. The governor, who expressed dismay that civil servants found it difficult to pay their retired colleagues their pensions but would want to be paid when they retired, noted that he would begin payment of gratuities this December, with the families of retirees who had already died. He said: “We are not owing anybody pension in Ebonyi State. Gratuity is owed since 1993, and gratuity for both local and state governments is over N8 billion, but the funny thing is that when you seat as a civil servant, you refuse to pay others their gratuities, and when you now leave, you start insisting, we should pay gratuity. “So, for those we have owed gratuity for a very long time; we are expecting a miracle. What we want to do for our brothers and sisters that were not paid gratuities before their death: we intend to look at their case and see how we can pay off their gratuities through their families. We hope to do it this December. “We also want to pay everyone that has retired 10 per cent of whatever we owe him/her in the name of pension and other allowances.” Christmas largesse for former Lawmakers from the State, members of NUJ, NUT, Federal Workers, Political Office Holders, University Staff, Others Ebonyi State is truly in a celebration mood as Governor Umahi goes about distributing love and touching the lives of every segments of Ebonyi State. No citizen from Ebonyi State or residents from other States will say that the Governor has not reached him or her one way or the other during this season. Be it former Lawmakers from the State, be it Federal Workers working in various organisations in the State or be it members of Nigeria UNION OF Teachers (NUT) or members of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) everybody have something from the Governor to celebrate Christmas. Apart from the largesse to civil servants, all the political office-holders, including the NWC of PDP, senior technical assistants and technical assistants have been granted funds to celebrate their Christmas and New Year festivities, including bags of rice and tubers of yam. Never in the history of Ebonyi State has our people been so remembered by their governor. Uplifting Women Petty Traders Women like me, and other appointees, are given place of honour and well-respected and regarded, but let me state that it is only the highly-placed women that are regarded. But even women, who under normal circumstances would not be privileged to get near the seat of power, are today given equal opportunities as any other citizen of the state. In this regard, Umahi has assisted Ebonyians, mostly women doing petty business (not hawkers) in Lagos with N140 million, which was shared N10 million per local government, to enhance their business ventures. Umahi extends empowerment scheme to wives of policemen The Governor of Ebonyi State, Engr.  David Nweze Umahi, has extended his administration's empowerment programme to police officers wives.in the state. He announced this during Christmas party organized for the officers and men of the state command in Abakaliki.  Engr. Umahi, who noted that government would not ask police officers on duty to join in his rice cultivation programme, said their wives should key into his women empowerment scheme in order to reduce over dependence on the salaries of their husbands. "There is no way we can ask   police officers on duty to come and cultivate rice or go and do training for empowerment  but we offer to partner  their wives," the governor said in a statement issued by his spokesman, Emma Anya, on Tuesday. He added, "Your wives can actually hold your homes. They can make up for the differences in your wages if they   engage in our empowerment programme.  We  can agree on what and what your wives can   be doing so  that we can support them;  so that at the end of the day, they  can be one of the pillars of your respective homes,  This, I believe will reduce financial challenges,  friction  and tension in your homes. Umahi, who said the visit/party for the   officers and men    was to celebrate the Yuletide with them, lauded them for their commitment to combating crimes in the state. He explained that his administration's provision of social amenities for them in their barracks was because of their efforts in sustaining peace in the state. He added, "I want to appeal to the Commissioner of Police to call the herdsmen for a meeting. There are so many cases of herdsmen. You've done extremely well and I have told the police headquarters of how you have been trying to solve the problem of herdsmen in the state.   But it is like they are reneging on the agreement we made in this place and so    we have to call them back for us to review the agreement." The governor, who noted that the living environment of the policemen was not too healthy, immediately approved the release of fund for the relocation of septic tanks in the barracks. Apart from ordering removal and replacement of windows of their apartments, Umahi directed that the barracks should be decorated to reflect the mood of the season. He also donated bags of rice and tubers of yam to the officers and men. Earlier, the State Police Commissioner, Mrs Peace. Ibekwe- Abdallah, had  said that Governor Umahi had been of great support to the command  as he had  reconstructed the  internal roads in the barracks and provided  street light  and water  for the officers and men. She eulogised the governor for providing enabling environment for the police in the state to perform their constitutional responsibility of checking crimes. Early Payment of Civil Servants’ Salaries While several states in the federation are finding it difficult to pay their staff salaries at this recession period, Umahi has directed that the salaries of staff of Ebonyi State be paid by the 15th of every month, and in order to motivate and empower its civil servants, the governor has also directed that the salaries be increased by five per cent. Based on this, Mr Leonard Nkah, the President, Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), Ebonyi chapter, commended Governor Umahi for approving 5 per cent pay-rise for workers, adding that by the action, Umahi had proved to be a listening governor. Governor Umahi announced the five per cent increase in workers’ salaries when he addressed the people on Saturday, at the Abakaliki Township Stadium, to mark the country’s 56th Independence Day anniversary. The state NULGE president expressed optimism that, “as a listening governor, Umahi would continue to adjust workers’ salaries upwards periodically.” Nkah also appealed to the governor to direct the relevant authorities to comply with the governor’s directive, by paying local government workers by the 15th of every month. Free Transpiration of Home-bound Ebonyians In demonstration of the selfless nature of his administration, the governor has directed the transportation of all Ebonyians in Kano, Kaduna, Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Ibadan, Nnewi, Onitstha and other big towns in Nigeria where they reside back home to the state capital, Abakaliki, for the 2016 festivities. Martin Luther King Jr,, may have had Umahi at the back of his mind when he stated: “Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.” Throwing more light in this regard, the great Indian leader of all times, Mahatma Gandhi, said: “The simplest acts of kindness are by far more powerful than a thousand heads bowing in prayer.”  Umahi’s benevolence and his love for his people will forever speak for him throughout his life. Early Payment of Civil Servants’ Salaries While several states in the federation are finding it difficult to pay their staff salaries at this recession period, Umahi has directed that the salaries of staff of Ebonyi State be paid by the 15th of every month, and in order to motivate and empower its civil servants, the governor has also directed that the salaries be increased by five per cent. Based on this, Mr Leonard Nkah, the President, Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), Ebonyi chapter, commended Governor Umahi for approving 5 per cent pay-rise for workers, adding that by the action, Umahi had proved to be a listening governor. Governor Umahi announced the five per cent increase in workers’ salaries when he addressed the people on Saturday, at the Abakaliki Township Stadium, to mark the country’s 56th Independence Day anniversary. The state NULGE president expressed optimism that, “as a listening governor, Umahi would continue to adjust workers’ salaries upwards periodically.” Nkah also appealed to the governor to direct the relevant authorities to comply with the governor’s directive, by paying local government workers by the 15th of every month. Positive shock that awaits those coming back home this season: They will encounter the amazing revolution taking place in Ebonyi. They will be shocked that the flyovers they see in other big cities in Nigeria are now very visible in our State. They will be shocked that most of the headquarters of our local government areas are now fully electrified, even as street lights are now part of life in Ebonyi State. They will be shocked by the beauty and peace in the state as the governor has ensured that no criminal activity is witnessed during this season. They will be shocked by the quality of roundabouts in the state. They will not help but admire the classy and new-look Government House Gate is now wearing. They will be shocked by the quality of roads that litter all our local government areas. They will be shocked that their elders and parents are well-taken care of by the government of Ebonyi State. They will be so shocked that going back to these other towns may no longer be a wise decision. Conclusion I will conclude this attempt by quoting Eleanor Roosevelt who stated: “When will our consciences grow so tender that we will act to prevent human misery rather than avenge it?” and Abraham lincoln,who said that, “To ease another’s heartache is to forget one’s own.” Finally, to Lord Bloody Soul, “A piece of benevolence, a shard of good will is sometimes all that is needed to raise a truly loyal army.” Governor Dave Nweze Umahi, you have through your benevolence, love, compassion and commitment to your people raised truly a loyal army that will ever be there for you to crush and conquer the world for you. Merry Christmas to my leader and uncle! Monica Ada Chidinma Eze is Technical Assistant (TA) on Media to Governor Dave Nweze Umahi and can be reached on dunaebonyitransformation001@gmail.com /quintrelking@gmail.com

About Post Author

Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Azizi Developments to Launch 50 New Projects in 2017!

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The ground-breaking number of projects is a statement by the Dubai-based developer on the strength of the real estate market

Dubai, United Arab Emirates – Dec. 22, 2016 – (ME NewsWire):  Azizi Developments – a leading UAE-based real estate developer with global reach into international markets – announced an unprecedented launch of 50 new developments, which will comprise of residential, commercial and retail space in 2017.

The announcement of such a high number of projects, ahead of the festive season and the New Year, demonstrates the confidence that Azizi Developments has in Dubai’s property and real estate market. The 2017 project plan is in line with the overall group strategy to invest in solid markets which have proven depth and stability.

Farhad Azizi, CEO of Azizi Developments, commented, “The rapid development of local infrastructure shows the full commitment of the Dubai government in its delivery of announced plans.” The Dubai Water Canal inaugurated on November 9th, is a recent example of the government’s commitment to plan for Expo 2020. “The government systems are in place to encourage development from a micro perspective. When evaluated at the macro level, we are finding that currencies are in our favour; in addition, the new government changes in the United States and Europe are directing investments towards this region. This launch not only reflects our success but showcases Dubai’s booming real estate market,” added Farhad.

The company’s confidence in the market derives from evaluations of deficits, trade balances and other consumer indicators. The 50 new projects to be developed in various areas in Dubai are currently in the land acquisition, permit application and design stages. The launch adds to the company’s impressive portfolio, involving 20 different UAE-based projects valued at around AED 7.3 billion.

Azizi Developments currently has 15 projects in Al Furjan, two in the Palm and the first in Dubai Healthcare City. The company’s flagship project is Azizi Mina Hotel Apartments, which represents the city’s ambitious outlook and luxurious lifestyle. Valued at AED 750 million, the 178-unit project is situated in a prime location on the ‘crescent’ part of the Palm Jumeirah.  

*source: ME NewsWire
The release can be read online: http://www.me-newswire.net/news/19269/en

Contacts:

SAHARA Communications
Amira Gamal
Tel: +971 4 3298996
Mobile: +971 50 5430701
amira@saharagcc.com

About Post Author

Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Dubai Police Unveils ‘Crime Prediction’ Software

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Dubai, United Arab Emirates- December 22, 2016-(ME NewsWire)- Space Imaging Middle East (SIME) is pleased to announce that Crime Prediction- its latest predictive policing software- has been successfully launched by the Dubai Police force.

The software, which is the first of its kind in the region, was developed in support of the UAE’s Smart Governance Initiative, and specifically designed to complement the Dubai Police force’s modernized approach to crime prevention and enhanced public safety.

Crime Prediction analyzes existing intelligence and crime patterns from police databases and, using sophisticated algorithms, produces highly accurate data related to when and where crime is likely to occur next. This intelligence in turn informs patrol teams on which districts may require additional resources in order to prevent potential criminal activity.

“SIME is incredibly honoured to have worked on this ambitious project with Dubai Police,” said Mohamad El Kadi, Managing Director of Space Imaging Middle East. “The Dubai Police Force is renowned for embracing new technologies to better serve and protect the local community, and this spirit inspired us to develop Crime Prediction.”

“This software is uniquely intelligent in its capability to accurately discern intricate patterns of criminal behavior in seemingly unconnected events and then predict the probability of reoccurrence.” said Spandan Kar, Head of SIME’s GIS Division. “We are confident that these precise analytics, when combined with the knowledge and instincts of experienced police officers, will create a formidable force to deter crime.”

About Space Imaging Middle East (SIME)

Space Imaging Middle East (SIME) is a leading total solutions provider that integrates all the elements related to the satellite imagery value chain. SIME's in-house GIS Department provides clients with a complete suite of professional services- from needs analysis and system design to project planning, management and implementation, SIME's professional & consultancy services cover all aspects of the imagery and GIS business domain.
For more information, visit  www.spaceimagingme.com

*source: ME NewsWire
The release can be read online:   http://me-newswire.net/news/19266/en

Contacts:

Space Imaging Middle East
Rasha Hammad
Marketing Coordinator, +9714-2661799
rasha@spaceimagingme.com
www.spaceimagingme.com

 
 

About Post Author

Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Dakuku Peterside Laughs Off Wike’s Panel of Enquiry

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The Rivers governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2015 general elections, Dr Dakuku Peterside has laughed off constitution of a Judicial Commission of Inquiry to investigate alleged violence that took place during the December 10, 2016 rerun election by Governor Nyesom Wike.

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About Post Author

Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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press statement by Augustine onyekachi wokocha

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press statement by Augustine onyekachi wokocha on the allegation of his involvement in the killing of DSP mohammed alkali and his orderly

My name is Augustine Onyekachi Wokocha. I am a member of the All Progressives Congress in Rivers State. Before now I have served in various capacities first as a member of Rivers State House of Assembly and later as Commissioner for Power for nearly eight years. During my years as a parliamentarian and public officer, I have never been associated with politics of violence and I call on any concerned member of the public either in the state or outside to check the records.

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About Post Author

Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Emirates introduces new range of comforts in First and Business Class

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Emirates has enhanced comfort in the air with a host of exclusive, new products introduced to its First and Business Class cabins. Customers will travel in luxury with new additions including First Class lounge wear, luxury blankets, skincare from VOYA and a new range of amenity kits from Bulgari.

Emirates’ ongoing investment in product reinforces its emphasis on comfort, enhancing the travel experience. The airline has partnered with experts in their respective fields and no attention to detail has been spared in the luxury product overhaul.

Sleep well

For a comfortable night’s sleep on board the aircraft, Emirates has introduced the world’s first moisturising lounge wear designed for an airline. It will be available in the First Class cabin on overnight long haul flights. In partnership with Matrix, the suits use Hydra Active Microcapsule Technology designed to keep skin hydrated during the flight. The patented technology uses billions of capsules applied to the fabric which gently releases naturally-moisturising Sea Kelp during movement.

Sea Kelp, a brown sea algae or seaweed normally found in the Antarctic Ocean, is known to be rich in nutrients that hydrate skin while retaining moisture, especially useful in an aircraft environment.

The Microcapsule Technology of the lounge wear locks in the moisturiser for up to 10 washes so customers can re-use them. The suits include matching slippers and eye mask and come in a stylish felt pouch.

For added comfort, Emirates offers a plush, faux sheep-skin blanket in First Class. The soft and luxurious comforter is on board and also sold at the Emirates Official Store. Business Class customers can also look forward to newly-introduced soft duvets in charcoal grey on their next flight.

Wake up refreshed

To complete the relaxing travel experience, a new range of luxury spa products are now available both on board and on the ground from award-winning Irish brand VOYA. Created exclusively for Emirates, this skincare line includes shampoo, conditioner, body wash, cleanser, body moisturiser, hand wash, soap and hand cream.  It will be available in the signature A380 shower spa on board and selected products in Emirates’ airport lounges. The hand and body cream can also be found in the First and Business Class washrooms.

The range for Emirates includes three different fragrances: rosemary & mint (Revitalise range), lavender & rosemary (Tranquility range) and  lime & mandarin (Soothing range). VOYA’s line of skincare is made from sustainable organic seaweed which has been hand harvested in Sligo, Ireland. The brand is a mainstay in luxury boutique spas worldwide and is now available in the skies on Emirates.

Emirates has also partnered with luxury Italian brand Bulgari for its latest designs of the airline’s exclusive kit bags. The new set of amenity kits for both First and Business Class feature Bulgari’s woody floral fragrance – Eau Parfumée au thé noir – and contain skincare essentials to keep customers feeling fresh and pampered throughout the flight.

The First Class kit bags, made from fine leather, come in eight designs in charcoal grey for men and pale grey for women. Eight additional designs are available in Business Class – four for men and four for women. The amenity kits are available on long-haul overnight flights.

Emirates was named “World’s Best Airline” at the prestigious Skytrax World Airline Awards earlier this year, a testament to its continuous investment in products and services.

Customers can enjoy gourmet, regionally inspired menus on board, paired with Emirates’ world class wine programme featuring the finest champagnes and wines from around the world.

Passengers in all classes can enjoy Emirates’ multi-award winning ‘ice’ Digital Widescreen with more than 2,500 channels of on demand entertainment including movies, TV programs, music and podcasts.

Emirates’ premium onboard experience is complemented by on ground comfort with a network of 40 dedicated Emirates Lounges located within major airports around the globe – all designed with the same attention to detail and exceptional service. First and Business Class passengers can also travel to and from the airport via Emirates’ complimentary Chauffeur-drive service.

 
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Off Salvation Road, Opebi
Ikeja, Lagos
08112808900,07069592772
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About Post Author

Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Ondo State Election and the Politics of Vote Buying

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“Politics cannot be effectively played or carried out without money. Even in those ancient days when politics started, some form of money was involved. At least, money or forms of it, was used in moving from one place to the other.

In fact, people involved in moving from place to place playing politics, spent money to buy food in places outside their places of abode. Again, money breeds corruption. The result of corruption is always money or money’s worth. There is no corruption anywhere in the world without some benefit to someone. And this benefit can usually be quantified in monetary terms. Thus, money, politics and corruption can be said to be bed fellows. They are somehow interrelated. This relationship is quite apparent in Nigeria where corruption is said to have eaten deep into the fabric of the society. The questions that may be asked, are: Has Nigeria always been involved in corruption? What role does money play if any, in politics and corruption in Nigeria? How influential is corruption in Nigeria’s politics? Is it possible for politics to be played in Nigeria devoid of money and corruption?”
Abstract of “Money, Politics and Corruption in Nigeria” – Bernard Oladosu Omisore, Journal of Public Administration and Governance, Vol 3, No 1 (2013)

The Nigerian political mindset and landscape are changing, the problem is whether it is for the better or for worse. This is evident in the recently concluded Ondo State gubernatorial elections. But please, do not let us be lulled or deluded into thinking all was well a hundred, or even eighty percent with that election. Far from it!
But first, we must commend the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for seemingly getting it right this time and doing a very good job considering the intimidating circumstance and the outgoing Ondo State Governor Olusegun Mimiko for his maturity in congratulating the victor and all the candidates for displaying rare sportsmanship in the history of Nigeria elections.
Prior to the election, at each of the parties’ Primaries, we saw some desperation on the parts of the contestants; do-or-die politics; nasty name-callings and abuses; money-politics, and of course, the usual Nigerian political pastime and speculation of fanning embers of disunity within the parties.
It would serve the observers well to come out and tell us the election was free and fair (I seriously doubt this is any Nigerian election, as of now), peaceful (yes, apparently, I did not hear of thuggery, ballot snatching, intimidation, beatings, cutlass, and gun attacks, etc.) and smooth (all seemed to go well)
But we all know the hindering that the PDP candidate went through before he eventually got the ticket to contest, just mere days before the elections. This, let’s be fair, must have greatly impacted on the performance of his party and the final results he got, as he had barely any time to campaign like the rest of his co-contestants. And what or who do we blame? First, his party, which was riven apart by the two factions with incessant court appearances and unintelligible and varying court orders. Secondly, the justice system of this country, which has once again proven its incompetence, bias and corruption.

Not a pretty sight or thought!
But my concern, despite all the above virtues of a peaceful, so-called, or doubtful free and fair election, is the money politics. The rampant and open buying and selling of votes by agents of the parties, with the main offenders being the PDP that currently controls the state and the APC that is in power at the federal level. Rumour abound that even the winning candidate’s party was “spreading” so much money around to buy votes, it was mind-boggling. With this, I cannot but show my disappointment and disenchantment with Barrister Rotimi Akeredolu, SAN, (alias Aketi) the governor-elect, and his political party, the APC, assuming (and of course he will do a disavowal, if asked) that he knew what was going on – the blatant and open buying of votes.
Incidentally, the noted, respected, and debonair Barrister was at my church in Ibadan, two Sundays before the election as the Distinguished Guest of Honour (and he deserves this honour a hundred percent) of the Church’s Harvest Thanksgiving Service. He made every attempt to attend, and though he came a bit late, the congregation used the opportunity to pray for his success at the polls. In fact, our Venerable Reverend was of the belief that Aketi has already won the election. I prayed for him too and believe he would win.
Now, for me, and for many other sincere and discerning Nigerians, we should not see this election as a victory for democracy alone; we should learn lessons from it, and improve on it. Again, I will not subscribe to the general trance that the election was not flawed. It was! The suspicion that money was used to buy votes (allegedly, but we all know this was true) has besmirched the result of the elections in my mind and eyes. I cannot accept that the election was not flawed with vote-buying accusations and rumours flying about.
Financing politics is a good investment in Nigeria. Once a godfather elects his protégée, return is guaranteed. Corruption in financing politics in the country permeates every level of the government and takes many forms. It is no wonder then that political parties are among the three most corrupt institutions, according to governance surveys in Nigeria. However, the problem has not yet received deserved attention.

Take money out Nigerian politics (before your slam me, yes, I know, even the United States elections consume a lot of money, but we all know there is a difference in the way election funds are used, regulated, and accounted for in that country) and what you have are great, conscientious, sincere, honest, and good leaders at all cadres or levels of government and the society emerging at every election, which will be truly free and fair. It is then that Nigerians will truly enjoy what we like to term as “dividends of democracy”.
In a society, such as ours, submersed and immobilised by greed, selfishness, deceit, deception, fraud and corruption, this venture of regulating and accounting for election funding might sound very optimistic and impossible, but as with everything, all it takes is a little bit of altruism and sincerity of purpose from our leaders and of course, awareness, watchfulness, speaking-out, resistance and protection by the general public and society, .
The poverty, ignorance and dispirit in the land are so considerable, and have constituted a formidable barrier to any positive thinking and action from all sections of the society, as well as a daunting barrier to good leadership and good governance.
With such an environment, lies in wait unscrupulous and evil opportunists and political jobbers who emerge, crawling out of the woodwork, virtually unchallenged at every electoral exercise, brandishing wads of money and pretending to love their people, by spending money they have stolen from the people in the first place. In Ekiti State, a new term for this emerged – stomach infrastructure.

The result is the scuppering of the ideals of democracy, political evolvement, and good governance. When this happens, of course, as we are now seeing, feeling, and experiencing, it is bad news, very bad news for the people/masses – the people, the society, the country suffers.
Any reward given to a person for voting in a particular way or for not voting can be called vote buying. Vote buying is a corrupt election practice. A vote buying bribe is that having a monetary value. The practice of vote buying is banned in most democratic countries. Vote buying is a threat to the conduct of fair elections. Vote buying is an offence when a person knowingly or wilfully gives false information or conspires with another individual for the purpose of encouraging his false registration to vote or illegal voting, or pays or offers to pay or accepts payment either for registration to vote or for voting.
Vote buying is an electoral fraud, it is an electoral malpractice, electoral corruption and election manipulation, or vote rigging and is illegal interference with the process of an election.
Since 1999’s new democratic dispensation in Nigeria (I will leave out 1979 for now), we have had a political campaign finance system that is corrupt and increasingly controlled by stolen money and godfathers, and I fear very much that, in fact, government of the people, by the people, and for the people is really not being practiced in Nigeria.
We cannot allow that to continue to happen. When scrutinised critically, those who were buying the votes did so in their pursuit for such power and wealth that would come their way once they enter government. This is the only logical conclusion; what else? And why do they want to enter government? To loot the treasury.
Let’s be truthful and admit it: this is a political system in which a handful of opportunists and special interests will determine who gets elected or who does not get elected. That is not what democracy is supposed to be about.

Getting unwanted, looted and free money out of politics is vital, if we truly want a democratic country that will be beneficial to “all of us, and not some of them” but much more needs to be done to sustain our democracy.  Notably, we must ensure that all Nigerians are guaranteed an effective right to vote, and their votes MUST count. A nation in which all people, regardless of their income, can participate in the political process, can run for office without begging for gifts from some political godfathers.
We need to get money out of politics and restore our democracy to combat a corrupted political system controlled by rich crooks, thugs and special interests, whose only interests are themselves and what they will gain from the system.

There is no doubt that money politics and vote buying have serious threats to democratic governance in Nigeria. To combat this resonating threat, electoral and other institutional reforms should be effective, and this can only be done by our elected officials, if they are sincere enough. Anti-corruption, intelligence, and law enforcement agencies as well as electoral authorities need to work together with banks and other financial institutions to monitor the movement of cash before and during elections. It is also essential that we change and imbibe a culture of democratic citizenship that begins with an electorate ready to insist on credible and transparent elections. Voters, and in this case, the poor suffering Nigerian masses, should be useful adequately to engage and transplant moral oppositions to vote buying.
Tell the Truth always!!!

About Post Author

Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Here’s all you need to know about Nigeria’s 2017 budget of recovery

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Read Time:24 Minute, 40 Second

Recently, President Muhammadu Buhari presented to the joint sessions of Nigeria’s National Assembly the 2017 Appropriation Bill christened ‘Budget of Recovery’. Here is a detail of the content of the bill as analysed.

The budget is based on a crude oil benchmark price of $42.50 per barrel, with an output of 2.2 million barrels per day.

Government’s expenditure is to be funded with the sum of 4.94 trillion Naira while oil is to contribute 1.98 trillion Naira of the amount.

The breakdown was made on Monday by the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udo Udoma, at the National Assembly in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.

He assured Nigerians that the government had no plans to increase the Value Added Tax which is set at 5% in 2017.

The breakdown of the budget, as presented by the Budget Minister, is contained in the statement below:

PROTOCOLS

I am pleased to welcome you to the presentation of the 2017 Federal Government’s Budget proposal christened Budget of Recovery and Growth – the second full year Budget of this Administration, which was recently presented by the President to the National Assembly.

1.0  BACKGROUND AND CONTEXT

  1. As you are aware, the 2016 Budget was presented to the National Assembly (NASS) by Mr. President on 22ndDecember, 2015. The budget was however not signed into law until May 6, 2016; effectively therefore, the 2016 budget has only been operated for about 7 months.  Nevertheless, as will be evident from the review of the 2016 budget performance that I will get to shortly, we have made reasonable progress on its implementation.
  2. The 2017 Budget was presented to the National Assembly by His Excellency, Mr. President on 14thDecember, 2016. The budget reflects our commitment to restore the economy to the path of sustainable and inclusive growth.  Efforts have been made to ensure that the budget aligns with Nigerian’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (NERGP).
  3. My profound appreciation goes to His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari and His Excellency, the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo under whose leadership the 2017 Budget was prepared. I also wish to thank my Cabinet colleagues for their understanding, especially as we all had to work within very tight schedules in the preparation of this budget.
  • REVIEW OF 2016 BUDGET PERFORMANCE
  1. The 2016 Budget, christened the Budget of Change was the first full year budget of the Buhari Administration. It was prepared against the background of general slowdown in global economic growth and massive decline in crude oil prices. It was based on the Zero Base Budgeting (ZBB) principle which requires that Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) justify every item of revenue and expense, as well as projects/programmes in the budget, a departure from the traditional incremental Budgeting approach that simply adjusts (usually upwards) amounts included in the previous budget. The 2016 Federal Government Budget was predicated on certain key parameters, including:

(i)       Benchmark oil price                  –        US$38/b

(ii)        Oil production                          –        2.2mbpd

(iii)       Exchange rate                          –        N197/USD

(iv)       Deficit (Fiscal Deficit to GDP ratio) – N2.20 trillion (2.14% of GDP)

(v)        Inflation                                   –        N9.81%

(vi)       GDP Growth Rate                      –        4.3%

 

2.1   2016 Budget Performance Against Set Target

  1. With respect to the 2016 Budget set targets, the performance as at Q3 of 2016 is as follows:
2016 Budget Performance against Set Targets
S/No Description (FY 2016 Budget) Q3 Target Actual (as at Q3 2016)
1 Real GDP Growth (%, YoY) 4.37   -1.55
2. Oil Production (mbpd) 2.2   1.81
3. Oil Price ($pb) 38   42.09
4. Inflation Rate (%) 9.81   17.85
5. Exchange Rate (N/$) 197   305
6. Revenue (N’trillion) 3.86 2.89 2.17 (75%)
7. Expenditure (N’trillion) out of which;

(a) Capital Expenditure     N’trillion)

6.06

 

1.77

 

4.55

 

1.33

3.58 (79%)

 

0.75.6*(56%)

8 Fiscal Deficit/GDP (%) -2.14   -1.44

SOURCES: NBS Report: OAGF, Appropriation Act

*Capital spending as at end of October 2016 was N753.6 billion

2.2   Oil Revenue Performance in 2016

  1. The FGN’s oil revenues decreased sharply in 2015 and 2016 because of oil production shut-ins and sharp decline in oil price since 2014. The oil price steadied at an average of $110 per barrel from 2012 to 2014, but dropped to a record low of $29 per barrel in February 2016, a drop of  70%.  Although for most part of the year crude oil prices exceeded the 2016 benchmark price of US$38 per barrel, there has been a significant shortfall in projected revenue caused by the disruptions in crude oil production as a result of militant activity in the Niger Delta.

2.3   Revenue Performance As At Q3 2016

  1. The FGN’s 2016 revenues have been low because of the sharp decline in oil-production. In particular, the revenue target for January to September 2016 was N2.8 trillion as against the sum of N2.2 trillion realised during the period.  The projected independent revenue was N1.1 trillion as against N0.2 trillion realised during the period.  The projected revenue for Custom was N0.3 trillion as against N0.2 trillion realised, while the projected non-oil tax receipts for the 1st– Q3 of 2016 is N0.8 trillion as against N0.5 trillion realised during the period.

3.0   BACKGROUND TO THE 2017 BUDGET

  1. Global economic activities remained sluggish in 2016. In particular, Global GDP growth rate is projected at 3.1% for 2016 from 3.2% in 2015. Due to:

(i)     Lower-than-expected economic activity in the U.S

  • Uncertain economic, political and institutional implications of BREXIT
  • Slowdown in China’s growth
  • Weak demand in advanced economies and its spill-over effects
  • Geopolitical tensions in several countries
  1. In spite of the foregoing developments, the Global outlook remains bright. In this regard, global GDP growth rate is expected to rise to 3.4% in 2017.

3.2   The Domestic Environment in 2016

  1. The Challenges in the domestic environment include:

(i)     Crude oil production shut-ins resulting from vandalism of oil facilities.   In particular, 4 strategic oil fields affected including Trans-Niger Pipeline and Nembe Creek Trunkline axis as well as the Qua – Iboe Terminal

  • Insurgency in parts of the North East
  • Fuel shortages and increase in electricity tariffs, kerosene and PMS prices in the first half of the year
  • Foreign Exchange (FX) scarcity

 

  1. The foregoing factors have constrained fiscal operations, real sector activities, and the external accounts. Other challenges in the domestic economy included:

(i)     Contraction in growth         (-2.24% in Q3)

  • High unemployment rate (13.9% as at Q3)
  • Higher inflation rate (18.5% as at November 2016)
  • Pressures on foreign reserves ($25.04 billion as at 14th December)
  • Slow down in corporate sector resulting in lower credit quality and rising non-performing loans.

4.0    THE NIGERIAN ECONOMIC RECOVERY AND GROWTH PLAN (NERGP)

  1. A Medium Term Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP 2017 – 2020) is being finalised which addresses the current economic challenges and is aimed at restoring growth. The Plan builds on the existing Strategic Implementation Plan (SIP), and contains strategic objectives and enablers required to revive the economy.  The strategic objectives of the NERGP are: (i) Pulling the economy out of recession; (ii)        Investing in our people (iii) Laying the foundation of diversified, inclusive and sustainable growth.
  2. The NERGP focuses on 5 broad areas namely:

(i)     Macroeconomic Stability

(ii)    Competitiveness

(iii)   Growth and Diversification

(iv)   Social Inclusion

(v)    Governance & Enablers

 

  1. The 2017 Budget proposal reflects many of the reforms and initiatives in the SIP and NERGP and in the 2017-2019 Medium Term Sector Strategies (MTSS), as well as the 2017-2019 Medium Term Fiscal Framework. A Multi-criteria analysis (MCA) approach was adopted to prioritize and select 2017 capital projects for 14 large capital spending MDAs involved in the MTSS.  Projects were linked to government policies and strategic priorities.  MDAs that were not involved in the MTSS process used the Rapid Appraisal Project Identification and Prioritization System (RAPIPS). Zero-Base Budget (ZBB) principles were used in preparing the Budget. ZBB ensured that expenditures in the 2017 Budget are linked to government’s strategic reforms and initiatives for economic recovery.
  • APPROACH TO THE 2017 BUDGET
  1. The 2017 Budget is designed to expand partnership between public and private sectors, including development capital to leverage and catalyse resources for growth. Other key objectives of the 2017 Budget include:
    • focusing on critical on-going infrastructure projects such as roads, railways, power, ICT, etc., that have quick positive effects on the economy;
    • utilizing Special Economic Zones and Industrial Parks as vehicles to accelerate domestic economic activity for innovation and wealth creation;
    • contributing to food security and creating platform for agro-business in agriculture supply chains through the Agriculture Green Alternative Plan;
    • establishing a Social Housing Fund to deepen the mortgage system and expand its availability across all states of the Federation;
    • encouraging and stimulating the growth of small and medium scale industries for innovation, job creation, productivity and wealth creation; and
    • providing social safety nets for poor and vulnerable Nigerians.

 

  • KEY ASSUMPTIONS AND MACROFRAMEWORK FOR THE 2017 BUDGET

 

  1. The key assumptions and macro-framework for the 2017 Budget are:

(i)     Oil production                            – 2.2mbpd

(ii)    Benchmark oil price                    – US$42.5/b,

(iii)   Exchange rate                            – N305/US$

(iv)   Inflation rate                              – 15.74%

(v)    GDP Growth Rate                       – 2.5%

(vi)   Nominal Consumption (N’trillion)  – 87.95

(vii)   Nominal GDP (N’trillion)              -107.96

  

6.1   Key Budgetary Reform Initiatives

 

  1. The Key Budgetary Reform Initiatives to improve the revenue base of the country include:

 

  • Subjecting the JV operations to a new funding mechanism, which will allow for Cost Recovery. Additional oil-related revenue include: Royalty Recoveries, Marginal Field Licenses, Early licensing renewals, etc;
  • Sustaining the use of TSA to monitor the financial activities of over 900 MDAs from a single platform;
  • Broadening the tax base, improve effectiveness of revenue collecting agencies, improve tax compliance etc;
  • Reducing leakages by tacking trade mis-invoicing and introducing the single window to drive customs efficiencies;
  • Improving the performance of independent revenue of government by ensuring that all MDAs (particularly revenue generating MDAs) present their budget in advance, and remit their operating surpluses as required by the FRA;
  • Extension of the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (IPPIS) to all MDAs.

7.0   2017 Budget Revenue Proposals – Where the Money is Coming    From?

(a)    An Overview of the Revenue framework

  1. Based on the key assumptions and budgetary reform initiatives, the 2017 Budget envisages a total FGN revenue of N4.94 trillion, exceeding FY 2016 projection by 28%. The Projected revenue receipt from oil is N1.985 trillion and Non-oil is N1.373 trillion.  The contribution of oil revenue is 40.2% compared to 19% in FY 2016 driven mainly by JVC cost reduction, higher price, exchange rate and additional oil related revenues.
  2. The details of the revenue as summarised below:

7.1   2017 Budget Expenditure Proposals – Where The Money is Going

  1. The 2017 Budget has an outlay of N7.298 trillion. This represents an increase of 20.4% over the 2017 budget provision of N6.06 trillion.  The details are:
  • Statutory transfers of N419.02 billion
  • Debt service of N1.66 trillion (22%);
  • Sinking fund of N177.46 billion (2.4%) to retire certain maturing bonds;
  • Non-debt recurrent expenditure of N2.98trillion (40.8%); and
  • Capital expenditure of N2.24 trillion (30.7%) inclusive of statutory transfers.

 

7.2   Financing the Deficit

 

  1. The overall projected budget fiscal deficit of N2.36 trillion for 2017, which is about 2.18% of GDP. This is within the threshold stipulated in FRA.  The budget deficit is to be financed mainly by borrowings which have been projected at N2.32 trillion.  Of this amount, N1.067 trillion (46% of this borrowing) is intended to be sourced externally, while N1.25 trillion will be sourced domestically. The debt service to revenue ratio is projected to be about 33.7% in FY2017.

7.3   Break down of Recurrent (Non-Debt) Expenditure

  1. The Recurrent non-debt expenditure of N2.98 trillion is made up of:
  2. Personnel costs – N1.86 trillion    (63%)
  3. Overhead – N229.81 billion (7%)
  • Service-Wide Vote pensions                 – N89.98 billion   (3%)
  1. Consolidated Revenue Fund Pensions – N191.63 billion (6%)
  2. Other Service-Wide Votes – N116.50 billion         (5%)
  3. Presidential Amnesty Programme         – N65 billion       (2%)
  • Refund to Special Accounts – N50 billion, and (2%)
  • Special Intervention Prog. (recurrent) – N350 billion     (12%)
  1. The largest recurrent allocations are for the following four MDA’s namely:
  2. Ministry of Interior                 – N482.37 billion;
  3. Ministry of Education                 – N398.01 billion;
  • Ministry of Defence                 – N325.87 billion;
  1. Ministry of Health                 – N252.86 billion.

 

  1. These four MDAs collectively take up about N1.46 trillion (about 70% of the combined provision for personnel and overhead). They have the largest share because of the size of their personnel. Some of the agencies and parastatals under these MDAs are yet to be captured on the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (IPPIS) platform. The sum of N2 billion has been provided in the 2017 Budget for the capturing to ensure all personnel that are not enrolled on the platform are captured.

7.5   Capital Expenditure in the Proposed 2017 Budget

  1. The Administration has committed to allocating at least 30% of the Budget to Capital from 16% allocation in 2015. In dollar terms, the 2017 budget proposal at ($23.80bn) is lower than 2016 estimates ($30.76bn).  As a % of GDP, we have grown the size of the Budget from 4.7% in 2015 to 5.9% in 2016 and to 6.7% in 2017.  Compared with South Africa (20.7%) and Ghana (19.2%) as at 2015, this is very low.  The ratio of capital spending in total increased from 16% in 2015 to 30% in 2016 and 30.7% in 2017.  The increase in infrastructure spending is expected to enhance revenue generation opportunities and over time significantly reduce deficit.

 

7.6   MDAs Capital Allocations by Pillar

  1. A significant part of the budgeting provision was allocated to reflect the Administration’s development priorities. This is aimed at engendering good governance practices and providing enablers for economic recovery and growth. Some of the key sectoral capital allocations in the 2017 Budget are as follows:

(i)         Infrastructure                                     56%

(ii)        Governance and Security                     20%

(iii)       Economic Reforms/Growth                  12%

(iv)       Social Development                             7%

(v)                States and Regional Development         4%

(vi)       Environment                                       1%

 

7.7.  Major MDA Capital Allocations

  1. There is a need to emphasize that the thrust of the 2017 Budget is to partner with private and development capital to leverage and catalyse resources for growth. By setting aside N2.24 trillion (inclusive of capital in statutory transfers), which is 30.7% of the total budget for capital expenditure, the objective, as set out in the SIP, of devoting at least 30% of the budget to capital expenditure has been achieved. Much of the capital provision is directed at those projects which will facilitate economic growth, diversification, competitiveness, ease of doing business, social inclusion, jobs as well as governance. This will ultimately engender the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In this regard, focus will be on initiatives in sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing, solid minerals, and services. Consequently, capital allocations to MDAs within these sectors were significantly enhanced.
  2. The largest capital allocation goes to FederalMinistry of Power, Works and Housing – N564 billion (7.7%) (25% increase over 2016 estimate). To address contractors’ liabilities the Federal Government intends to issue over N2 trillion worth of bonds to clear outstanding contractors’ liabilities. These bonds would have a 10-year maturity and the amortisation is expected to begin in 2018. With regard to existing liabilities on bonds which were issued to contractors by past administration, we have set aside the sum of N177.46 billion in the 2017 budget as a sinking fund to retire the maturing bonds. The second largest capital allocation is for the Ministry of Transportation which has the sum of N277 billion.
  3. The 2017 Budget is an Infrastructure Budget. A total of N1.047 trillion is dedicated to key infrastructural spending, made up as follows:
  4. Power, Works and Housing:                 – N529billion;
  5. Transportation: – N262 billion;
  • Special Intervention Programmes: – N150 billion.
  1. Defence: – N140 billion;
  2. Water Resources: – N85 billion;
  3. Industry, Trade and Investment:      – N81 billion;
  • Interior: – N63 billion;
  • Education – N50 billion
  1. Universal Basic Education Commission – N92 billion
  2. Health:         – N51 billion
  3. Federal Capital Territory: – N37 billion;
  • Niger Delta Ministry:                          – N33 billion;
  • Niger Delta Development Commission – N61 billion
  • Agriculture – N91 billion

 

8.0   Strategic Focus of the 2017 Budget

  1. The thrust of the 2017 Budget is to partner with private and development capital to leverage and catalyse resources for growth. Much of the capital provision is directed at those projects which will facilitate:

(i)     economic growth

(ii)    diversification

(iii)   competitiveness

  • ease of doing business
  • jobs and social inclusion
  • improved governance and security
  1. The spending focus will be on critical economic sectors that have quick transformative potentials such as infrastructure, agriculture, manufacturing, solid minerals, services and social development.

8.1    New Initiatives in the 2017 Budget

  1. Some of the new initiatives introduced in the 2017 Budget are:
  • A new Social Housing Programme
    • N100 billion provisioned for a new Social Housing Programme towards a N1 trillion fund

 

  • Special Economic Zone Projects
    • N50 billion for Special Economic Zone Projects to be set up in each of the geo-political zones to drive manufacturing/exports

 

  • Export-Expansion Grant (EEG)
    • N20 billion voted for the revival of EEG in the form of tax credit

 

  • Recapitalization of Bank of Industry (BOI) and Bank of Agriculture (BOA)
    • N15 billion provisioned to support these development finance institutions to support Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (MSMEs)

 

  1. These new initiatives will support economic diversification and inclusion in our growth-drive.

8.2. Some Projects in the 2017 Budget

  1. The highlight of some of the projects in the 2017 Budget are as follows:
  • Power
  • N20bn Rural Electrification projects in Federal Universities
  • 7bn as counterpart funding for the construction of 3,050mw Mambilla hydropower project
  • 12bn for the completion of power evacuation facility for 400mw Kashimbila hydropower plant.
  • Housing
  • N41bn federal government National Housing Programme nationwide.

 

  • Works
  • Over 65 roads & bridges construction and rehabilitation projects across the 6 geo-political zones of the country.
  • N20bn nationwide intervention fund for roads.
  • 5bn for the rehabilitation/reconstruction and expansion of Lagos – Shagamu – Ibadan dual carriageway sections I & II in Lagos and Oyo states.

 

  • Education
  • N5 billion for the provision of security infrastructure in 104 colleges (Perimeter fencing, Solar Street light, solar powered motorised borehole & CCTV).

 

  • Transportation
  • 14bn for various railway projects (Lagos-Kano, Calabar-Lagos, Kano- Kaduna, Ajaokuta-Itakpe-Warri, Kaduna-Idu) / counterpart funds and other rail projects
  • 03bn for the construction of terminal building at Enugu airport.
  • 08bn for airside rehabilitation of Abuja airport.
  • 47bn for the construction of an inland river port and supply of cargo handling equipment at Baro, Niger State.

      Health

  • 72 billion for joint venture investments in tertiary institutions with Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority.
  • 65 billion for procurement of vaccines and devices.
  • 46 billion for Global Fund and GAVI counterpart funding.

 

  • Water Resources
  • 86 billion for water supply schemes nationwide.
  • 3 billion for construction and rehabilitation of dams nationwide.

 

  • Agriculture & Rural Development
  • 5bn Rural Roads and Water Sanitation programme
  • 61bn Promotion and Development Of Wheat Value Chain
  • 13bn Guaranteed Minimum Price payment.

 

 

  • Mines & Steel Development
  • 0 billion for the establishment of mega regulatory agency for the sector
  • N 2.58 billion for detail mineral resources evaluation, equipping national geo-science laboratories and other projects.

 

  • Communications
  • N1 billion for extension of government service portal and deployment of additional National Spectrum Management System.

 

  • Niger Delta
  • 55 billion for dualization of East-West Road {Sections 1 to 5 covering Warri – Kiama – Ahaoda – Port Harcourt – Eket – Oron – Calabar}.
  • N8 billion counterpart fund contribution for East-West road

 

  • Social Intervention Programmes
  • N500 billion for FGN Special Intervention Programme (including Home Grown School Feeding Programme, Government Economic Empowerment Programme, N-Power Job Creation Programme, Conditional Cash Transfers and Social Housing Fund).

 

  • Regional Interventions.
  • N65 billion for reintegration of transformed ex-militants under the Presidential Amnesty Programme.
  • N45 billion North East intervention fund.

 

  • SDGs
  • N20 billion for SDGs conditional grants and social safety nets.

 

9.0   CONCLUSION

  1. Nigeria is in recession. Inflation and unemployment have been rising. As a Government, we are determined to bring succour to our people. The only way we can do this is by taking strong action to change, in a fundamental way, the current trajectory of the Nigerian economy. This is not the time for a timid and cautious approach. This is a time for bold and focussed action. To get out of this recession and back on the path of growth, Government must find the resources to spend on infrastructure, and to spend to reflate the economy. This spending will help to stimulate and attract private sector capital and private sector spending. This is what the 2017 Budget proposals seek to do.
  2. We should not allow ourselves to be discouraged by those who say we can’t find the money to fund the spending required to implement this budget. We must, and we can, find the resources. We will challenge our revenue generating agencies, particularly the FIRS and Customs to improve their efficiencies and broaden their reach so as to achieve the targets set for them in the 2017 Budget. They must be tasked to leverage technology to drive revenue collection. We will be issuing new guidelines and templates for computing the operating surpluses of the various Government Agencies so that we can achieve the targets we have set for independent revenues.
  3. Most importantly, we must maximize the revenues we can generate from the oil and gas sector. We cannot determine the price of crude oil but we can engage more extensively with the communities and people of the Niger Delta to minimize disruptions to oil production. We can introduce creative measures to improve on the efficiencies in that sector so as to increase the Government take. Indeed, a Cabinet Committee has been set up by President Muhammadu Buhari to come up with innovative and creative ways to raise additional revenues from the oil sector, and other sectors, to support the funding of the 2017 Budget. The report of this committee will be ready in time for the National Assembly to take this into account in considering the Budget in the New Year, when they return from their Christmas recess.
  4. Finally, our experience this year shows clearly that we have not just a revenue problem, but specifically, a foreign exchange problem. We must find ways of solving our foreign exchange shortages. 95% of our foreign exchange comes from the oil sector so the work we are doing on improving the level of our oil sector receipts will certainly help.
  5. However, we need to do more than this. Much more. We must reduce the demand for foreign exchange by producing as much as possible of what we need in Nigeria. From refined petroleum products to textiles, clothing and most of our food items. But we will continue to need imported items so we must increase the supply of foreign exchange by tweaking some of our policies to make them more investor friendly, and by creating the right incentives for non-oil exports. Ultimately, the sustained growth of our economy must be on the back of an export led revival. The proposals in the 2017 Budget are aimed at creating the right incentives for Nigerians to achieve all these. The 2017 Budget proposals are therefore also a call to action.
  6. These are difficult times, no doubt. But with the indomitable spirit of the Nigerian we can turn these difficulties into opportunities. It is to that indomitable spirit that this Government now appeals. I am confident that Nigerians will respond to this call to action. To truly revive this economy, we must turn Nigeria into a nation of producers.
  7. I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a better New Year during which we shall get out of recession.

About Post Author

Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Leading Steering Committee Announced for West African International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference

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Read Time:2 Minute, 13 Second

The committee will guide the content of over 25 business, technical and special focus sessions, featuring more than 75 prominent industry speakers and representatives from both the regional and international oil and gas community

LAGOS, Nigeria, December 20, 2016/ — The steering committee driving the programme for the West African International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference (WAIPEC) (www.WAIPEC.com) 2017 has officially been announced, representing a cross section of key senior business leaders and stakeholders from across Nigeria’s oil and gas sector.

WAIPEC, hosted by the Petroleum Technology Association of Nigeria (PETAN) (www.PETAN.org) will take place on 21-23 February 2017 at the Eko Convention Centre, Lagos and will promote Nigerian expertise and key projects throughout West Africa, whilst supporting the development of major new collaborations for the benefit of the region’s petroleum economy.

The steering committee representatives will feature:

    Ademola Adeyemi- Bero, Managing Director, FIRST Exploration & Petroleum Development Company Limited and Chairman, Nigerian Independent Oil Companies
    Austin Ojunekwu Avuru, Chief Executive Officer, SEPLAT Petroleum Development Company
    Bank Anthony Okoroafor, Chairman, Petroleum Technology Engineers Association of Nigeria (PETAN)
    Bayo Ojulari, Managing Director, The Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPCo)
    Emeka Ene, Petroleum Technology Engineers Association of Nigeria (PETAN)
    Geoff Onuoha, Vice Chairman, Petroleum Technology Engineers Association of Nigeria (PETAN)
    Ahmadu-Kida Musa, Deputy Managing Director, TOTAL Exploration and Production
    Ranti Omole, Chairman, Conferences Committee PETAN
    Engr. Simbi Kesiye Wabote, Executive Secretary, Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB)
    Dr. Mazadu Bako, Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC)

WAIPEC is the only oil and gas event to be held fully in partnership with Nigeria's petroleum industry and the ten committee members, alongside PETAN will draw on their unrivalled global resources to ensure that the event delivers to the needs of all stakeholders in Nigeria and through the region.

The committee will guide the content of over 25 business, technical and special focus sessions, featuring more than 75 prominent industry speakers and representatives from both the regional and international oil and gas community. Running alongside the conference – an exhibition is projected to attract more than 200 exhibiting companies and 6,000 visiting professionals from West Africa, Europe, Americas and Asia.

Bank Anthony Okoroafor, Chairman, PETAN explains; “PETAN has put together an esteemed panel of representative from both public and private exploration, production and services companies – their expertise together ensuring a programme that presents an invaluable insight for all stakeholders and participants in WAIPEC 2017.”

About Post Author

Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Wike, Stop Blackmailing Amaechi; Face The Police Probe Now

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Read Time:2 Minute, 10 Second

A Right group; Integrity Youth Alliance has called on the Governor of Rivers State, Govenor Nyesom Wike to stop diverting attention of Nigerians from the leaked audio threat he made against the INEC official that conducted the December 10th Re-run Assembly election in Rivers State.

Since an online news platform; Sahara Reporters exposed Governor Nyesom Wike, the IYA said that Wike has been looking for ways to divert the attention of Nigerians and the international communities from his threat.

“It is on record that the same Governor Wike that claimed to introduce Amnesty by mopping up guns from cultists could not account for those guns which probably went back to his hatch men that killed several people including DSP Mohammed Alkali and his driver in Uju Forest of Rivers State.
 
“Governor Nyesom Wike in his usual manner has mobilized some jobless youths led by his SA Social Media and Lere Olayinka, SA Public Affairs to Governor Ayodele Fayose to shift the killings of DSP Mohammed Alkali and his driver on Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi.

“The Wike Hatch men are claiming on social media that one Kachi Nwokocha who is the sponsor of the killing during the Rivers Re-run is an aide of Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi because he was a former Commissioner under the Amaechi administration.

“We find this so ridiculous of Wike because the same Wike was an aide of Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi during his administration in Rivers State, can we then say Wike who threaten to kill INEC official is an aide of Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi up till now? Asked the Danjuma Lamido, the Secretary General of Integrity Youth Alliance.

“We are challenging Governor Nyesom Wike to prove to the World that Kachi Nwokocha is an aide of Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi or else face a legal action within 7 days for defamation of Character of Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi.

“We are aware that Wike paid agents have taken over the social media to blackmail Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi and divert the attention of the security agencies from probing the audio message from Nyeom Wike, we therefore called on the Inspector General Police, the DG of DSS and the National Security Adviser to swiftly move into action to probe the killings and the audio message of Governor Nyesom Wike to avoid future occurrence of killing innocent citizens and security agents who are supposed to protect the unity of our great country, Nigeria.

Signed:

 
Danjuma Lamido,

Secretary General,

Integrity Youth Alliance

About Post Author

Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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