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2021 BUDGET: Senate Threatens 50 Agencies With Zero Allocation

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The Senate yesterday told revenue-gene- rating agencies of the federal government that they risk zero allocation in the 2021 budget if they fail to appear before it to defend their positions as contained in the 2021-2023 MTEF/FSP.
The joint committee on Finance and National Planning of the Red Chamber issued the warning after it became evident that some heads of the agencies were absent while some were represented by officers that could not speak on revenue figures of their agencies with any authority.
Chairman of the Senate committee on Finance, Senator Solomon Adeola (APC, Lagos West), sounded the war- ning during the opening of a 5-day sta- keholders’ interactive session on the 2021-2023 Medium Term Expenditu- res Framework and Fiscal Strategy Pa- per (FSP), which was.
Adeola said, “The 2021-2023 MTEF/ FSP was sent to the Senate on July 20 for consideration by President Muhamma- du Buhari preparatory to the presenta- tion of the 2021 Appropriation Bill.
And in line with the desire to achieve early passage of the budget to be in tandem with the January – December budget cycle, the Senate referred the MTEF/FSP to the Joint Committee for considera- tion even while members are on recess.
“Any head of agency that refuses to appear before the committee to defend figures it submitted as presented by the President to the Senate risks a zero allo- cation in the incoming budget, among other penalties.”
Adeola specifically mentioned the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Indu- strial Training Fund (ITF), Universal Ser- vice Provision Fund (USPF), NIMASA, NLNG, Nigeria Communication Com- mission (NCC), Oil and Gas Free Trade Zone, Nigeria Shippers Council (NSC) and Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA).
Other agencies are Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), As- sets Management Corporation of Nige- ria (AMCON), Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC), the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), Federal Inland Revenue Service, Assets Management Company of Nigeria, Nigeria Liquified Natural Gas, and Industrial Training Fund.
The committee insisted that it was compulsory for all the heads of the agencies to honour its invitations in person as it would not accept representation by proxies.
“All the heads and chief executives of the agencies must be present in person for presentation. We will not accept a presentation by proxy. Any agency that refused to appear will face the dire consequences,” Adeola warned.
Also, in a bid to rev up enough revenu- es for the funding of the proposed 2021 budget as well as reduce the deficit, the Senate yesterday uncovered an unused revenue surplus of about N11billion in the coffers of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Autho- rity (NCAA).
The joint Senate committee demanded an explanation on what the N11bn is meant for by the NCAA.
NCAA director of Finance, Bilkisu Sani, who represented the managing director of the agency, told the lawmakers that NCAA was fully sustained by its revenues, adding that it does not receive money from the federal government.
She noted that NCAA made 18billion in 2018; N18billion in 2019 and N8.634bil- lion so far in 2020 as revenues, with staff strength of 1,400 and N500million annual wage bill.
The director added that the agency con- sequently contributed N1.6bn, N3bn, and N700m so far to the coffers of the Federal Government in 2018, 2019, and 2020 respectively.
The Senate consequently raised questions on the N11billion revenue surplus for the 2019 fiscal year after the expenditure of the agency’s overhead cost for the year.
Sani said part of the surplus revenue was being spent on both local and foreign training in order to build the capacity of staff to be able to execute the mandate of the regulatory agency.
Apparently not satisfied with the explanation provided by the NCAA’s director, the joint Senate committee asked the managing director of the agency to appear before it today, Thursday, with justifiable reasons why the federal government should continue to partially fund the regulatory agency given the amount of unused money in its kitty.
Adeola who gave the directive said Sa- ni’s explanations about the N11billion ly- ing fallow in the agency were untenable.
“Frivolous expenditures will not be ce- lebrated. We need good justifications to support your expenditures and why this committee should continue to support such expenditure in this time of econo- mic downturn,” Adeola said.
The joint committee also summoned the minister of aviation, Hadi Sirika, to explain the alleged expenditures from the Bilateral Air Service Agreement (BASA) and Safety Funds domiciled with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) by the NCAA.
The directive followed a revelation from the presentation by NCAA director of fi- nance, Sani, on the status of BASA and Sa- fety Funds operated by NCAA, at the inte- ractive session.
Sani had revealed that the minister, Sirika was responsible for the Funds by authorising expenditures from them on the de- velopments in the Aviation sector.
Miffed by the revelation, the commit- tee said no official can authorise spending fromthe Funds except the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Sirika is expected to appear before the joint committee by 11am today as the ses- sion enters the second day.
FG To Sanction MDAs Over Failure To Submit Audit Reports
In the same vein, the federal government yesterday threatened to sanction any of the ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) of government that fail to render its audited statement of account as and when due.
The Accountant-general of the Federation (AGF), Ahmed Idris, who stated government’s position a meeting with directors/heads of internal audit of MDAs in Abuja yesterday, observed that while most MDAs were lagging behind in their reports, others have willfully refused to render their reports in clear violation of the provision of the Financial Regulations.
“Consequently, may I inform you that refusal to forward these reports by any MDA forthwith would be regarded as an attempt to undermine the authority of the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation and the Head of Internal Audit of such defaulting MDA(s) will be duly sanctioned,” Idris stated.
The meeting was organised at the in- stance of the AGF to sensitise the partici- pants on the new Interactive Data Extract Analysis (IDEA) software Licences that would be used by the audit monitoring department and deployed to some pilot agencies that indicate interest to acquire the software.
The move is part of efforts aimed at mo- dernising the internal audit functions in the public sector, with a view to recom- mending measures to increase professional performance of Internal Auditors in accordance with internationally recognised best practices.
“I have no doubt that the deployment of the IDEA software will enhance and op- timise the internal control environment,” Idris stated.
The AGF reiterated the need for Auditors to submit their reports promptly as and when due as specified by FR 1706 which states that.
“The Internal Auditor shall produce monthly, quarterly and half-yearly reports for the Accounting Officer on the progress of the audit with copies to the Accountant-general of the Federation and Auditor-General for the Federation respectively,” he stated
(Leadership.ng)

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2023 Presidency: Zoning Can’t Stop Tinubu From Clinching APC Ticket, Says Former Minister

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2023 Presidency: Zoning Can’t Stop Tinubu From Clinching APC Ticket, Says Former Minister
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2023 Presidency: Zoning Can’t Stop Tinubu From Clinching APC Ticket, Says Former Minister

Former Minister of Works and National Chairman of South West Agenda for 2023, Senator Dayo Adeyeye, has declared that former Lagos State governor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, remains the best candidate to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari, based on experience and political networks.

Adeyeye said this in Ado-Ekiti during the official launching of the South West Agenda, SWAGA 2023, a political platform rooting for the presidential aspiration of Asiwaju Tinubu.

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INEC Creates Additional 56,872 Polling Units Ahead Of 2023 General Election

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BREAKING: INEC Creates Additional 56,872 Polling Units Ahead Of 2023 General Election
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As 2023 general election draws nigh, the Independent National Electoral Commission on Wednesday announced the creation of additional 56, 872 polling units across the country.

The Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, stated this at a meeting with Resident Electoral Commissioners.

According to him, Nigeria now has a total of 176, 846 Polling Units from the initial 119, 973 following the conversion of voting points and voting points settlement to full-fledged Polling Units.

Yakubu said the commission had also removed 749 Polling Units from inappropriate facilities, with nine of them from shrines and several others from religious houses, royal palaces and private property.

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Issuance of Certificate: Wait for Ratification of Candidate by CEC, Umuojians Tell Anambra State Govt

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Issuance of Certificate: Wait for Ratification of Candidate by CEC, Umuojians Tell Anambra State Govt
The winner of May 8th 2021 traditional ruler election in Umuoji, Chief Sir Kanayo Okoye
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Issuance of Certificate: Wait for Ratification of Candidate by CEC, Umuojians Tell Anambra State Govt

By Abuchi Onwumelu

Following the continued Igweship tussle in Umuoji ancient kingdom where two illustrious sons are laying claim to the traditional stool of the town, concerned indigenes of the community have prevailed on Governor Willie Obiano’s led administration to allow the town to exhaust the processes provided by the constitution of the town before issuing certificate to any of contestants.

According to them, it behoves on the Central Executive Council (CEC) to ratify the selection of Igwe and subsequently present to Ndi Umuoji their next traditional ruler, even as they described issuance of certificate to any of the contestants without CEC/Special Assembly ratification as recipe for disaster.

They submitted that failure to allow the CEC which is regarded as the highest decision making body in Umuoji to carry out the task assigned to them by the constitution would distort the peace and progress of the community as well as pit brothers against brothers. They argued that such denial would usher in break down of law and order in the community.

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The concerned indigenes had recently at Government House, Awka through a peaceful protest demanded that Chief Sir Kanayo Okoye of Umuechem Village who scored the highest number of votes in May 8th 2021 election organized by Umuoji Improvement Union Nigeria (UIUN) and supervised by Anambra State Government be declared as the authentic winner as the new traditional ruler of Umuoji community, in Idemili North Council Area of Anambra State.

The peaceful protesters who were from the twenty-three villages that make up Umuoji, accompanied by community leaders, village Heads and members of Igwe-In-Council demanded for the issuance of certificate of recognition to Chief Kanayo Okoye who scored the highest number of votes during the Igweship election organized by the State government for the town on eighth May 2021.

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During the exercise, the protesters were seen with placards with inscriptions like; “Igwe Umuoji is not for sale”, ” Umuoji want Chief Kanayo Okoye”,” Umuoji demands Kanayo as the Traditional Ruler, among others.

Chief Tochukwu Mmodu who spoke on behalf of others said that during the May eighth election in the community, majority of Umuoji people voted for Chief Kanayo Okoye, which he said made him to win the election.

He expressed displeasure with the shape the event had taken, noting that few individuals were trying to so hard to create unnecessary tension in the community by organizing what he described as a shambolic and kangaroo jamboree in the name of run-off election on June 8th 2021.

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Chief Mmodu who described the action as unacceptable by the people of Umuoji community, appealed for immediate intervention of Anambra state government on the matter.

Contributing, the former President General of Umuoji community, Chief Gab Mbanefo and another stakeholder in the town, Chief Ifeanyi Efobi said that Umuoji Traditional stool is not for sale, described imposition of traditional ruler on communities as a taboo in Igbo land, pointing out that Umuoji community is too big to be so treated.

While receiving the peaceful protesters
at the Government House, Awka, Governor Willie Obiano called on various communities across the State to make communal living and peaceful coexistence their watchword.

The governor who spoke through the Secretary to the State Government, Professor Solo Chukwulobelu promised to look into their matter.

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