By Ubong Ukpong, Abuja
The Senate and the House of Representatives approved the sum of N4 trillion for petrol subsidy in the 2022 supplementary budget.
The approval followed President Muhammadu Buhari’s request to the National Assembly, to approve a “Bill for an Act to amend the Appropriation Act, 2022 in order to provide for Premium Motor Spirit Subsidy and make Adjustments on the Schedule; and for Related Matters.
The House also approved N182 billion Increment to Police Salary, N7. 35 trillion deficit as well as okayed US$73 per barrel oil benchmark.
These followed the consideration and adoption of the report of the House Committee on Finance on the request by the President for revision of the 2022 Fiscal Framework and passage of a bill for an Act to amend the Appropriation Act, 2022.
Buhari in a letter requested the review of the 2022 MTEF to make some adjustments to accommodate present realities such as oil production and price as well as suspension of the removal fuel subsidy.
Going by this, the House approved an increase in the oil benchmark to $73 per barrel and a daily oil production volume of 1.6 million barrels per day.
Other approvals included a cut in the provision for federally-funded upstream projects being implemented by N200 billion from N352.80 billion; increase in the projection for Federal Government independent revenue by N400 billion.
Also approved was domestic debt service provision of N76.13 billion, and net reductions in Statutory Transfers by N66.07 billion, as follows:
“Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), by N13.46 billion from N102.78 billion to N89.32 billion; North East Development Commission (NEDC), by N6.30 billion from N48.08 billion to N41.78 billion; and Universal Basic Education (UBEC), by N23.16 billion from N112.29 billion to N89.13billion.
“Basic Health Care Fund, by N11.58 billion from N56.14 billion to N44.56 billion; and that NASENI, by N11.58 billion from N56.14 billion to N44.56 billion.”
The President had also requested for an increase in the estimated provision for petrol subsidy for 2022 by N3.557 trillion, from N442.72 billion to N4.00 trillion.
Briefing House of Representatives correspondents on the passed revised budget, Chairman House Committee on Appropriation Hon Mukhtar Betara expressed satisfaction with the passage by House, saying it would help the President to achieve his policy.
He said people should take it easy with the criticism of the military over its heavy budgets, stressing that the large chunk of military budgets often went for recurrent and salaries of personnel, with meagre capital and overhead allocations.
Betara said with the present approved increment for the police, its budget would also become huge in recurrent and salaries.
Senate approves Buhari’s revised 2022 fiscal framework
The Senate also approved President Buhari’s request for adjustments to the 2022 Fiscal Framework. The approval followed the consideration of a report by the Senate Committee on Finance. The report was laid and presented by the Chairman of the Committee, Sen. Olamilekan Adeola(APC Lagos).
Senate accordingly approved the $73 dollars per barrel proposed by President Muhammadu Buhari, including approving oil production volume of 1.600 million per day, a Petroleum Motor Spirit (PMS) subsidy of N4trilion; and a cut in the provision for Federally funded upstream projects being implemented by N200 billion from N352.80.
While approving an increase in the Federal Government Independent Revenue of N400 billion, Senate gave its approval for an additional provision of N182.4 billion to cater to the needs of the Nigeria Police Force. It approved debt service provision of N76.13 billion, and net reductions in Statutory Transfers by N66.07 billion. A breakdown of the net reductions are as follows: NDDC, by N13.46 billion from N102.78 billion to N89.32 billion; NEDC, by N6.30 billion from N48.08 billion to N41.78 billion; and UBEC, by N23.16 billion from N112.29 billion to N89.13 billion.
Others are Basic Health Care Fund, by N11.58 billion from N56.14 billion to N44.56 billion; and NASENI, by N11.58 billion from N56.14 billion to N44.56 billion. The chamber also approved a fiscal deficit of N7.35 trillion.
In his presentation, Adeola said that the total budget deficit was projected to increase by N965.42 billion to N7.35 trillion, representing 3.99 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). According to him, the incremental deficit would be financed by new borrowings from the domestic market.
Lawmakers, who made contributions on the report for the review of the 2022 fiscal framework, attributed the Nigeria’s economic downturn to crude oil theft. Sen. Olubunmi Adetunmbi (APC- Ekiti ), said the federal government and security agencies owed it a duty to stop the stealing of our common wealth. He decried that at a time when most countries of the world were reaping hugely from the increase in crude oil prices caused by the Russia-Ukrainian crisis, Nigeria was left out for its inability to meet its OPEC quota.
The Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi, said the country should be in a state of mourning over its current experience, attributing the failure of security agencies to protect oil assets as a major reason for the decline of the economy. He expressed concern over rising cases of oil theft despite huge resources allocated to the military, police and other security agencies.
Other Senators, like Gabriel Suswam (PDP Benue ), Betty Apiafi (PDP Rivers), urged the Senate not to hastily approve the President’s request to adjust the 2022 fiscal framework until certain questions were answered.
While Suswam raised concerns on the widening gap in budget deficit and the federal government’s decision to resort to funding from the Capital Market, Apiafi, demanded answers from the NNPC and relevant agencies on solutions to curb crude oil theft. The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, in his concluding remarks, called on the Federal Government to take “radical” steps towards stopping the theft of crude oil by economic saboteurs.
Senate passes N17.3trn Revised 2022 Budget
The Senate similarly passed the revised 2022 N17.3trillion budget. Its action followed the adoption of the report of Senate Committee on Appropriation at Thursday’s plenary.
Presenting the report, Senator Barau Jibrin, the Chairman of the committee said that the budget was made up of N7 trillion recurrent expenditure and N5 trillion capital expenditure, while N817 billion was for statutory transfers.
Jibrin said that N3 trillion of the budget was for debt service. “Also, the Senate approved the total sum of N3.55 trillion for PMS subsidy in 2022, forwarded in two separate requests by the President to the National Assembly for approval,” he said.
We Currently have $30bn Investment Commitments – FG
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)
Nigerian Breweries Records N106bn Loss in 2023
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.
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.
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)
NDLEA Tincan Command Intercepted 876.453kg Illicit Drugs, others in 2023-Commander
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.
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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