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Reps ask ITF to Account for N12bn, Demands Explanation on N39bn Prepaid Meter

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The House of Representatives has ordered the Industrial Training Fund ( ITF), to account for over N12 billion difference recorded in their accrued budget actuals as at Dec. 31st, 2022.

Rep. James Falake, Chairman, House committee on Finance gave the order when the management of ITF appeared before it for the 2024-2026 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper interactive session in Abuja.

He expressed grave concern over the failure of the management of the Industrial Training Fund (ITF) to embark on revenue generation from over 128,000 private and public quoted companies operating in Nigeria.

After scrutinizing various financial statements submitted to the Committee, Hon.

Faleke queried the disparity with the audited report submitted by ITF, revealing a deficit of over N12 billion

Faleke observed that the difference was noticed in the accrued budget actuals as recorded in the Auditor General’s report for the same period.

He queried the operating expenditure of N39.8 billion in 2022 with a total revenue of N45.1 billion by the ITF, with only 2,691 staff nationwide.

He warned that if ITF failed to account for the difference after 24 hours, it would be forced to refund the entire N3 billion to government coffers.

Mrs Safiya Mansur, Director Finance and Accounts, ITF, said the fund sourced it’s revenue from the one per cent training contributions from public and private companies.

According to her, there are 128,000 registered companies contributing employers to the ITF, out of which only 57,000 are up to date in their contribution.

To ensure compliance, she said, the ITF intensified monitoring of the defaulting companies, where some resorted to litigation but was later resolved due to the intervention of the previous house committee.

Meanwhile, Falake asked the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to explain why it registered a company without capacity to deliver but was given N39 billion to supply prepaid meters for distribution to consumers.

The House also urged Nigeria Communications Commission to explain within 72 hours why it failed to remit about N291 billion revenue to the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation between January 2022 and September 2023.

The NCC said the money was spent on broadband connection in public places such as markets.

Faleke said a company, Ziglasis was contracted by the Federal Ministry of Power and paid N39 billion to supply prepaid meters , but failed to do so after collecting the money for the project.

The Committee queried the Electricity regulator for licensing the company which has not delivered on the contract if signed and collected tax payers money.

He asked the Vice Chairman of NERC, Mr Musiliu Oseni to bring the Managing Director of Ziglasis and officials of the Ministry of Power before the House on Nov 14 to explain why the company had not delivered on the contract.

Responding, the commission said the contract for the supply of the meters was not awarded by the Ministry.

The Committee however insisted that since they gave the license to the company that qualified them for the contract, the commission should produce the management of the company.

The House also queried the agreement entered into between the Nigeria Bulk Electricity Company and Azura power company in the table or pay agreement which committed the country to 30 million dollars power purchase agreement.

Faleke said the agreement with Azura is such that whether or not the company supply power to turn national grid, the country must pay them $30 million monthly, adding that the agreement has a world Bank guarantee.

The House committee also asked Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to explain how it spent N291 billion in 2022 on broadband when the money was supposed to have been paid into the CRF.

The Committee Chairman said the NCC should also provide the House with details of the broadband, the location of three projects and other necessary information on how the money was spent.(NAN)

NEWS

Alleged Defilement: Businessman Docked for Failing to Produce Suspect

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Court Sentences Applicant to 6 Months in Prison for Stealing Cell Phone
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A businessman, Robert Makolo on Monday appeared before an Ikeja Chief Magistrates’ Court, for failing to produce a suspect he stood surety for in a case of defilement.

Makolo had promised to produce the suspect, John, who is his brother in court by the adjourned date.

The Magistrate Mr Lateef Owolabi, adjourned the case until May 30 for mention and to enable the defendant produce the suspect.

Reports says that Makolo had earlier been arraigned on Jan.

22 and stood trial on a two- count charge of conspiracy and perversion of justice.

He had pleaded not guilty.

Magistrate Owolabi, granted the defendant bail in the sum of N200,000 with two sureties in like sum who must produce evidence of 3 years tax payment to the Lagos State Government.

He said that one of the sureties must be a blood relative.

The prosecutor, SP Josephine Ikhayere had told the court that Makolo stood in as surety on  Nov 16, 2023 at the Anthony Police Station.

Ikhayere alleged that Makolo stood as a surety for his brother Paul, who was involved in a case of defilement.

She said the defendant promised to produce his brother the suspect anytime his presence was required at the police station until the case is finally disposed of.

She said that the defendant undertook to produce the suspect on Nov. 30, 2023 but failed.

The prosecutor said that the section contravene the provisions of Section 97 and 411 of the Criminal Law of Lagos.(NAN)

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Education

Minimum Entry age to Tertiary Institutions18 Years – FG

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The Federal Government has directed that admission to tertiary institutions should not be given to candidates less than 18 years.

The Minister of Education, Prof. Tahir Mamman gave the directive on Monday during a monitoring exercise of the ongoing 2024 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) in Bwari, Federal Capital Territory.

He decried the activities of some parent, who were pressuring their underage students to get admissions into tertiary institutions,

The minister said that the 18-year benchmark is in line with the 6-3-3-4 system of education.

“The minimum age of entry into the University is 18, but we have seen students who are 15, 16 years going in for the entrance examination.

“Parents should be encouraged not to push there wards too much. Mostly, it is the pressure of parents that is causing this.

“We are going to look at this development because the candidates are too young to understand what the whole university education is all about.

“This is the period when children migrate from controlled to uncontrolled environment; when they are in charge of their own affairs.

“But, if they are too young, they won’t be able to manage properly. I think that is part of what we are seeing in the Universities today,” he said.

On skill acquisition for those who will not be able to gain admissions into tertiary institutions, Mamman said the ministry is taking skills to pupils from primary school.

“ In overall, it is 20 per cent that can be admitted into the University, Polytechnic and Colleges of Education system.

“So, where will the 80 per cent go to? That is why the issue of skills acquisition is very important.

“Any student who is unable to proceed to tertiary institutions should be able to have a meaningful life after primary and secondary school’s education and the only solution to this is skill acquisition,” he said.

Corroborating the minister’s position on the benchmark of 18 years for admission to tertiary institution, the JAMB spokesperson, Dr Fabian Benjamin said 18 years is the is in line with the 6-3-3-4 education system.

The Minister of State for Education, Dr Yusuf Sununu who was in the monitoring team applauded the conduct of the 2024 UTME, particularly, the introduction of online examinations as a way of checking malpractices.

He said the Computer Based Test (CBT) had reduced examination malpractices to the barest minimum.

Sununu commended the Board for setting simple but high standard for the examination. (NAN)

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NEWS

EFCC Arraigns Businessman for Allegedly Tampering with Forfeited Property

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Monday arraigned a businessman, Ifeanyi Bosah-Reginald, before an Ikeja Special Offences Court for allegedly tampering with forfeited property.
Reports says that Bosah-Reginald was arraigned on a count charge alongside Magnificat Homes & Leisure Ltd.

 and fifth Neighborhood Management Ltd.

The EFCC alleged that the defendant ran foul of the offence of dealing with forfeited property without authorisation contrary to Section 12(1) of the EFCC (Establishment) Act 2004.

The defendant, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge.
The EFCC Counsel, Mr Babatunde Sonoiki, thereafter applied to the court that the defendant should be kept in appropriate custody and also  asked for a trial date.

According to the EFCC, the defendant was alleged to have trespassed property of one  Jokotade Tade Estate Resources Ltd. and that of one Mrs Foloshade Ogundare.
The EFCC said the property, a subject of forfeited order in suit ID/2168/2015, was said to be measuring about 10,687 hectares, situated at Sangotedo Lekki, Lagos State.
It said the property had been forfeited to the Federal Government based on the interim forfeiture order of the court of competent jurisdiction.
Justice Rahman Oshodi ordered the defendant to be remanded in Kirikiri Correctional Centre.
The judge, however, adjourned the case until  May 31 for commencement of trial. (NAN)

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