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Economy

Buhari to Present 2020 Budget September Ending

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Femi Gbajabiamila
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By Mathew Dadiya, Abuja

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila on Friday, disclosed that President Muhammadu Buhari may present the 2020 budget to the National Assembly by the end of September to enable the lawmakers pass the appropriation bill early and return the nation’s budget circle to January.

The Speaker said this while briefing State House correspondents after meeting with President Buhari behind closed doors at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

He reassured that the government of Nigeria would always stand with her citizens.

Gbajabiamila said the only way to bring the budget circle back to January to December was for an early presentation of the budget adding that he discussed the matter with President Buhari.

The speaker however, said that he would not give a definite answer whether the National Assembly would get the 2020 budget proposal this month or early next month.

“I cannot give a definite answer but I know the budget is going to come as early as possible. It maybe the end of this month or shortly thereafter, but I cannot give you a definite date.

“But it’s going to be an early presentation so that we can pass the budget before the end of the year and return to the January to December circle,” he said.

He also revealed that the issue of the $9.5 billion defaulted gas contract judgment awarded against Nigeria by a British court in favour of an Irish firm P&ID was discussed during his meeting with the President.

“The issue of the recent $9 billion award against Nigeria. I say that with a smile but not really smiling. Clearly we are in opposition to that and steps will be taken,” he added.

On the xenophobic attacks on Nigerian citizens and the looting and burning of their shops in South Africa, the lawmaker said that Nigeria may cut her bilateral relations with South Africa.

Asked if there were moves to severe bilateral ties with South Africa, Gbajabiamila said, “We are not there yet, nothing is off the table, we will take each day as it comes. As of now Mr. President has taken proactive steps in evacuating our citizens, recalling the High Commissioner, and other things will follow.

“I believe we will stand with and by Nigerians. The leadership of the House has issued a statement and it is in tandem with what the executive is doing. We stand by our citizens that is our priority, to protect the constitution, to protect the welfare of the citizens and that is exactly what we are doing and that is what the president is doing.”

He said he was at the State House to engage with the President on the burning issues, stressing that in the last few days, Nigeria had witnessed unfortunate incidents involving her citizens in South Africa.

“As you are aware, I cut my trip to Tanzania short and came home with the hope of reconvening the House, where we are going to address this very important issue. We have called that off because events have overtaken it; the government has taken proactive steps, the same steps we would have asked for.

“We are all on the same page with the president and the government. So I came to fully discuss that with Mr. President. We discussed the issue of security, what has been happening in South Africa and other national issues that require the attention of both the legislature and the executive, and we had very fruitful discussions on those issues.”

On the insistence of the South African government not to pay compensation to the victims of the xenophobic attacks because payment of compensation was not contained in the country’s laws, the Speaker said that he had not heard such statement from the South African government.

He said, “Well I haven’t heard that statement from South Africa, I don’t know if it is official or off the cuff statement by somebody. When it’s made official, we will take further steps. I am sure we will be on the delegation process in South Africa and probably other avenues that are international that we can pursue.”

Economy

We Currently have $30bn Investment Commitments – FG

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The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr Doris Uzoka-Anite, says Nigeria currently has about 30 billion dollars investment committment from various investors.

Uzoka-Anite said this at the ongoing Ministerial Media briefing in Abuja on Friday.

According to her, the commitments will be redeemed over the course of five to eight years.

She said investments, commitments, and pledges were also received from our oil and gas free zone, adding that last week, some of them committed an additional 10 billion dollars in investments.

“I hosted the managing director of SHELL who explained to me about the investment plans of shell.

“ I know a lot of us are aware that shell is leaving; he came to explain to me what they mean by that.

And I can tell you that they are not leaving.

“Rather, they are expanding and increasing their investments in Nigeria; they are selling their onshore assets and increasing their investment in gas and offshore assets.” she said.

Uzoka-Anite, who envisaged more investments into the country, said  it would not have been possible without the commitment of President Bola Tinubu led administration.

She said that with increased investments comes job opportunities and economic growth, which wss part of the priority of the government. (NAN)

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Economy

Nigerian Breweries Records N106bn Loss in 2023

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Nigerian Breweries Plc has recorded a net loss of N106 billion for the year ended 2023, as against N13.93 billion posted in its 2022 financials, indicating 860 per cent loss.

Mr Uaboi Agbebaku, Company Secretary, Nigerian Breweries stated this in the audited financial result of the company for the year ended 2023 sent to the Nigerian Exchange Ltd.

(NGX)

Agbebaku said the gross profit of the company for the year under review also fell by 0.

3 percent to N212.5 billion, compared to N213.20 billion posted in the previous year.

He stated that the operating profit of the company declined by 15.

3 per cent to 45 billion, as against N53 billion recorded in the corresponding year.

The company secretary said that the firm recorded loss in its operating profit due to higher input cost and one-off reorganisation cost despite strong and aggressive cost savings and other efficiency measures.

According to him, the company however was able to grow its revenue by nine per cent to N599 billion, compared to N551 billion posted in the previous year, which was aided by positive price mix.

Agbebaku stated that the Nigeria business landscape experienced significant shifts in 2023, with substantial impact on businesses and livelihoods nationwide.

He explained that the Naira notes redesign which resulted in cash shortage that severely hampered social and economic activities nationwide set the tone for a turbulent year.

Agbebaku said: “High double-digit inflation rates with food inflation at more than 30 per cent and removal of subsidy on fuel.

“Coupled with the impact of the devaluation of the naira which resulted in a foreign exchange loss of N153 billion further exacerbated the already difficult environment for the populace and businesses.

“In a difficult operating environment, the Board will ensure that the company builds on its more than 77 years’ experience of operating in Nigeria to cope with current realities.

He said the company would continue to be resilient and forward-thinking, leveraging on its broad portfolio, strong supply chain footprint and passionate workforce to drive long-term value creation for its shareholders and other stakeholders.(NAN)

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Economy

NDLEA Tincan Command Intercepted 876.453kg Illicit Drugs, others in 2023-Commander

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 The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) Tincan Special Area Command,  says 876.453 kilograms of various illicit drugs and controlled substances were intercepted in 2023.

Commander Mohammed Abubakar of the command said this in a statement in Lagos on Thursday.

He listed the drugs as cocaine worth 24kg; Canabis – 852.

45KG; and Tramadol – 0.
003KG, all totalling 876.
453KG.

According to Abubakar, a total of 15 individuals were arrested and prosecuted during the period, out of which 10  were convicted.

He added that the feat was achieved through relentless efforts and meticulous investigation, which led to the dismantling of several drug trafficking networks and the subsequent prosecution of individuals involved.

“The Tincan special area command has been at the forefront of strategic operations in the area, targeting illicit drug smuggling activities and apprehending those responsible.

“In recent months, the efforts have culminated in multiple successful seizures and arrests, emphasising the agency’s commitment to eradicating drug-related crimes within our society.

“In one operation carried out at the Tincan port, a notable seizure of illicit drugs (Cannabis Indica also called Colorado) totalling 161.5kg was made, along with sum of 22,900 dollars offered as bribe to officers.

“The intercepted drugs, were concealed within cargo shipments of used vehicles from Montreal Canada, indicating the ingenuity of the involved drug traffickers,” he said.

Abubakar said that several investigations were conducted in collaboration with national and international law enforcement agencies, leading to the identification and apprehension of some of the key players in these drug networks.

The NDLEA boss noted that the combined efforts proved fruitful, resulting in the arrest of some of the persons directly involved in the importation, distribution, and sales of illicit drugs.

He said that throughout 2023, the command embarked on various sensitisation and enlightenment activities within and around the Tincan island port.

He listed them to include advocacy visit to all stakeholders in and around the port, public enlightenment and lectures, rallies and engagement of traditional rulers and non-governmental organisations around the port environment.

“All the activities were carried out under aegis of ‘War Against Drug Abuse’ (WADA) and  was designed to reduce demand and abuse of illicit drugs and psychotropic substances in Nigeria.

The NDLEA Tincan special area commander appreciated stakeholders in the maritime industry, and other relevant government agencies for their unwavering support and collaborative effort in these operations.

He added that their dedication and joint action had played a crucial role in the successes achieved thus far.

He also urged all licensed Customs clearing agents to stop the practice of authorising third party individuals to clear cargo under their company stamp.

He pointed out that the practice, automatically made the company liable to any cargo cleared,  using its name and stamp.

“This may become a real problem when illicit drugs are discovered and the company cannot provide any tangible information or whereabout of the owners of the cargo.

“Clearing agents have the responsibilities to not only adhere to laws but to cooperate with law enforcement agents undertaking an investigation.

“The NDLEA Tincan special area command sends a strong message to all those involved in drug trafficking and other illicit activities, we intend to use every available resource to bring them to justice and put an end to their illegal operations,” he said.

He said the command would continue to enhance their intelligence capabilities, invest in modern equipment, and provide training for its officers to combat drug trafficking effectively.

“The agency urges the public to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activities related to drug trafficking to the NDLEA or relevant law enforcement agencies. Together, we can create a safer and drug-free environment for all Nigerians,” he said. (NAN)

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