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MDAs must defend their budget by Oct.29-Lawan

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President of the Senate,Dr Ahmad Lawan on Tuesday announced that all Ministries, Departments and Agencies(MDAs) must appear to defend their budget latest by Oct. 29.

Lawan said this, following the second reading of the 2020 Appropriation Bill and the immediate refer of the bill to the Senate Committee on Appropriations for further legislative inputs.

The senate also mandated the committee to report back to plenary in two weeks time.

Lawan said that the window for budget defence for MDA’s would end by Oct 29,noting that any MDA that failed to appear before the said date should forget about budget defence.

He also advised the Niger Delta Development Commission(NDDC) to present its budget on time.

He said that failure to present the budget would amount to the non provision of funds for the commission to spend in the 2020 fiscal year.

He said that the senate would no longer tolerate MDA’s who spend funds without appropriation.

According to him,all MDAs must defend their budget before end of October.

He said the senate had put Nov. 5, as timeline for the conclusion of matters relating to budget defence.

He urged all senate committees to work closely with the appropriation committee to meet the set date.

He said that it was time for national assembly to show that it could pass the budget before the end of 2019.

Lawan, however, noted that revenue generation was a major issue in implementing the nation’s budget over the years, noting that the senate would continue to engage revenue generating agencies on their activities in revenue generation.

He said that the agencies must periodically update the senate on their revenue generating activities.

Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari had forwarded the Finance Bill 2019 for consideration and passage by the National Assembly.

The bill which seeks to enact fiscal measures supporting the 2020 budget is in pursuant to section 58 and 59 of the 1999 constitution as amended was sent via a letter to President of the Senate.

The finance bill 2019 proposes incremental but necessary changes to Nigeria taxes and fiscal laws to ensure optimal funding of 2020 budget.

According to Buhari, the finance bill has five strategic objectives.

He listed the objectives to include, promotion of fiscal equity by mitigating instances of regressive taxation and reforming domestic tax laws to align with global best practice.

He said that the bill was designed to introduce the tax incentives for investments in infrastructure and capital markets.

The president said that the bill would also help support micro, small and medium size businesses in line with the ease of doing business reforms and raising revenues for government.

According to him, the finance bill proposes an increase of the Value added Tax (VAT) rate from 5 per cent to 7.5 per cent.

He expressed believe that the bill would receive expeditious passage of the senate (NAN).


KC/NNO/ABI


Edited by Nick Nicholas/Ali Baba-Inuwa

Economy

Revenue mobilisation clarifies misconceptions by MDAs on funding

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The Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), on Wednesday expressed concern over the misconceptions on accessing of funds from federation account by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of government.

Mr Elias Mbam, Chairman of the Commission expressed the concern in a document made available to News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja.

Mbam said that the only beneficiaries to the federation account were the federal, state governments and the local government councils in each state as provided in section 162 (3) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

He further explained that the commission had the mandate to monitor the accruals to and disbursement of revenue from the federation account accrued revenue to the federal, state and local governments.

“The commission also advises the federal, state and local governments on fiscal efficiency and methods by which their revenue can be enhanced.

According to him, this explanation became necessary following a letter from the Ministry of Police Affairs to Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning and copied the commission requesting it to fund `Nigeria Police Trust Fund’.

The request recalled that on June 24, 2019 Mr President signed into law the Nigeria Police Trust Fund (Establishment) Act, 2019.

In the request, the objective of the Act was to provide a legal framework for the management and control of the special intervention fund established under section 3 of the Act for training and retraining of personnel of the Nigeria Police Force.

And also for the provision of state of Art security equipment and other related facilities for the enhancement of the skills of the personnel of the Nigeria Police in the handling of operational equipment and machinery.

According to the letter, sources of funding for the Trust Fund include 0.5 per cent of the total revenue accruing to the federation account as well as 0.005 per cent of the Net Profit of companies operating business in Nigeria among other sources.

The chairman reiterated that “the commission is saddled with the responsibility to monitor accruals of revenue into the federation account from revenue generating agencies and disbursement of all the accruals to the three tiers of government while blocking leakages”.

Mbam explained that the president, upon the receipt of advice from the commission, would table before the National Assembly proposals for revenue allocation from the federation account.

“And in determining the formulae, the National Assembly shall take into account, the allocation principles especially those of population, equality of states, internal revenue generation, land mass, terrain as well as population density,” he said.  


Edited By: Abiodun Esan/Ekemini Ladejobi (NAN)

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General news

Adopt our skill acquisition programme, NYSC advises MDAs

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Mr Rotimi Adeleye, Sector Commander, Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Ondo State Command, has urged all ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) to adopt the scheme’s Skill Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Development (SAED) programme for human capacity development.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that SAED is an initiative of the NYSC, aimed at equipping corps members with vocational skills that will be of immense benefit to them after service.
NAN also recalls that NYSC was created on May 22, 1973 by the then Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon.
In an interview with NAN on Monday in Akure during one of the activities commemorating 47th anniversary of the scheme, Adeleye advised all ministries, departments and agencies of government to replicate SAED to enhance capacity building.
He said that the active role played by NYSC to curtail the spread of coronavirus was a demonstration that, if given necessary support and encouragement, corps members could turn the economy around for the good of the country.
“Honestly speaking, many of us, who passed through the scheme, know that NYSC has adequate human resources to make our economy work again, but what the corps members need is the right environment to showcase what their potentials.
“I have been to orientation camps severally, and the seriousness with which the managers of the scheme handle the SAED programme is enough for government to expand its scope.
”If the citizens are not opportune to visit the camp during orientation course to see what these patriotic Nigerians are doing, what we have seen or witnessed since the outbreak of COVID-19 tells us that there is a light at the end of the tunnel,” he said.
Adeleye said that fabrication of machines and production of materials, such as hand sanitiser, face masks and liquid soap, was enough evidence that the corps members could take the country out of the economic mess in which it had found itself.
“I am happy that the present Director-General of NYSC, Brig.-Gen. Shuaibu Ibrahim, is intensifying enlightenment and sensitisation about the correct ways of wearing the uniform.
“Many uniformed government agencies and organisations have changed their uniforms severally but NYSC has, since its inception, maintained its identity, which is the uniform and this is commendable,” he said.

Edited By: Ugboma Chioma and (NAN)‘Wale Sadeeq

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Politics

COVID-19: Reps C’ttee cautions MDAs against tampering with 2020 budget

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The House of Representatives Committee on Appropriation  has cautioned  Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) against tampering with the 2020 Appropriation Act.

The Chairman of the committee,Rep. Muktar Betara (APC-Borno) ,issued the warning in a statement in Abuja on Friday.

According to him, no MDA has powers to tinker with the budget as only the National Assembly is statutorily empowered to review, adjust, consider and pass budget.

“There are  reports that  following the downward review of the budget from N10.59 trillion to N10.52 trillion due to the COVID-19 crisis.

“As a result of the dwindling oil prices, some MDAs were already adjusting the budget proposal to suit their needs.

“Such acts will not be condoned by the National Assembly as any MDA or official found to be engaged in such illegal practice will be made to face the music.

“I want to warn that no other arm or department of government has any power over budget except the legislature, which is the National Assembly,” he said.

The lawmaker stressed that the process to review the budget was ongoing in line with the powers of the National Assembly.

He said that the Constitution confers appropriation powers on the parliament as well as its responsibilities over the national purse.

According to him, both the 1999 Constitution and Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007 provide for no limitations on the National Assembly’s power to amend the Appropriations bill. 

“Section 80 (4) specifically provided that ‘no money shall be withdrawn from the Consolidated Revenue Fund or any other public fund of the Federation,  except in the manner prescribed by the National Assembly.

“Therefore, we shall not shirk in our responsibilities and we will also not hesitate to wield the big stick on whoever goes beyond his brief to tamper with the budget,” he said.

Betara said that because of the importance the National Assembly attach  to the budget, members of the relevant committees would continue work on it during the two-week Sallah break.

He assured that the House of Representatives Committee on Appropriation is committed to working with other relevant committees, the Senate and Executive to have workable and implementable budget to help the country overcome the negative economic effects of COVID-19. 

Edited By: Buhari Bolaji/Sadiya Hamza (NAN)

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Environment

COVID-19: FG fumigates 200 premises, issues certificates of decontamination to MDAs

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The Minister of Environment, Dr Muhammad Abubakar, says that the ministry has fumigated over 200 premises, comprising ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs), as part of measures to halt the spread of coronavirus in the country.
Abubakar said this while issuing certificates of contamination to 17 MDAs on Wednesday in Abuja.
He said that the ministry had, on April 1, launched the National Decontamination/Disinfection Programme, in collaboration with the Ministry of Interior, through the Federal Fire Service.
According to him, over 200 premises, comprising MDAs, market places, schools, motor parks, public institutions and residential areas, have so far been decontaminated.
“The fumigation of the 200 premises was the first phase, while the second phase has taken off, with over 50 premises covered so far.
It is, therefore, expected that owners of premises will get them decontaminated by environmental health officers for the safety and healthy living of Nigerians,” he said.
Abubakar said that the ministry would be monitoring compliance and would not hesitate to commence enforcement in case of any breach.
He said that the ministry would also commence the decontamination of airports and aircrafts operating in the country.
The minister said that the exercise would be in collaboration with MDAs and other relevant stakeholders, adding that the ministry would also extend the exercise to other states of the federation.
He said that the approach was part of the government’s efforts to contain COVID-19 and eliminate other viruses, bacteria fungi and harzardous contaminants in the country.
Abubakar appreciated the officials of the Environmental Health Officers, Federal Fire Service, the volunteer environmental health officers, the Nigeria Police Force and the media on the progress of the project.
He, however, advised Nigerians to adhere to government’s directives and safety protocols by health professionals in order to fight COVID-19 effectively.
The Director-General of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), Mallam Yakubu Mohammed, who spoke on behalf of the 17 MDAs, urged Nigerians to join hands with the government in the fight against coronavirus.
According to him, this is the time Nigerians should show patriotism in order to stop the spread of the deadly disease.
“For now, the only cure for coronavirus is for everyone to adhere strictly to the orders so as to eliminate the virus.
“So we should support the government, because they cannot do it alone.
“I am, therefore, calling on all Nigerians and relevant stakeholders to join the government to ensure that we fight this deadly disease.

Edited by ‘Wale Sadeeq

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General news

COVID-19: C/River Govt. urges MDAs to maintain precautionary measures

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The Chairman, Cross River COVID-19 Response Task force, Dr Betta Edu, has urged civil servants, who resumed work on Monday, to observe all the precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in the state.

Edu, who is also the Commissioner for Health, made the call on Monday in an interview with News Agency  of Nigeria in Calabar.

According to her, all the returning civil servants in the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of government should observe all the precautionary measures put in place by the state government and WHO.

“All MDAs must have a bucket and running water in front of their offices and all persons going in must wash their hands before entry.

“Also, hand sanitisers should be used by staff in their cars, offices and at conference rooms.

“Everyone entering the MDAs offices is expected to be on his or her face mask always, both staff and clients, or face immediate prosecution in the mobile court.

“Meetings of more than 20 persons are prohibited in all MDAs and they are not allowed to hold public events or gatherings, as heads of such MDAs will be sanctioned in accordance with the law.

“All workers and members of the public, who go out for their daily duties, are expected to retire home at the end of work because the Federal Government’s curfew will be implemented in the state.

“Interstate and international borders remain shut, local vigilantes and security agencies are requested to continue giving the usual support at the borders,” sha said.

Edu said that the enforcement unit of the task force would be going from one MDAs to another to monitor the compliance level.

Edited By: Sam Oditah/Felix Ajide (NAN)

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Health

World Bank, EU distribute computers to MDAs in C/River

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The World Bank and European Union (EU) have donated computer sets to critical Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in Cross River.

Dr Asibong Inyang the state Commissioner for International Development Cooperation (MIDC), who distributed the computers, said they were to aid the MDAs in combating the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic.

“This is under the auspices of the European Union funded/World Bank supervised State and Local Governance Reform (CR-SLOGOR) Project under its State Integrated Financial Information Management Systems (SIFMIS).

“It is to enhance efficacy and accountability in public financial management in Cross River State,’’ Iyang said.

According to her, the distribution of four set of computers each to the State Ministry of Health and Internal Revenue Service (CRIRS) is due to the critical nature of their activities, especially in this critical period.

The commissioner further reiterated the state government’s commitment toward courses that would improve and engender development in the state.

Responding, the Commissioner for Health, Dr Betta Edu, described the gesture as timely.

She added that the equipment would help in video conferencing, monitoring and evaluation, as well as other virtual communication among the ministries, staff and partners at this period of global health crisis.

She thanked the state government for the proactive approach towards containment and prevention of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Edu urged residents of the state to comply with the precautionary measures put in place by the government.

Also speaking, Chairman of Cross River State Internal Revenue Service (CRIRS), Mr. Akpanke Ogar, thanked the orld Bank for their intervention in ensuring that the state revenue agency carries out its activities in line with international best practice.

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Edited By: Johnson Eyiangho/Ismail Abdulaziz
(NAN)

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General news

Coronavirus: Gov Uzodimma distributes hand sanitizers to MDAs, schools, others in Imo

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Imo Governor, Hope Uzodimma on Tuesday flags off distribution of hand sanitizers to civil servants, markets, schools and other public places in the state.

Speaking at the event in Owerri, Uzodimma ordered partial shutdown of the workforce to prevent possible spread of Coronavirus also known as COVID-19,

The governor assured the people of the state of his government’s preparedness to tackle the pandemic rocking the nation and the world at large.

He said, “In continuation of our programme to nip the spread of Coronavirus in the bud, government has decided to close all night clubs and late night restaurants as from Wednesday.

“Civil Servants above 45 years will be encouraged not to come to work because they are the most vulnerable group,” he said.

Uzodinma said those on essential services would continue to come to work and promised that adequate measures had been put in place for their safety.

He reiterated that his government would continue to be proactive in the fight against the virus and enjoined all citizens of the state to keep away from crowded places and strive to upgrade their personal hygiene.

“We are consistent with our commitment to the fight against the dreaded virus, our commitment to ensure that citizens awareness is put in place and as well continue to remain vigilant to ensure that all things needed to enlighten our people about this disease are put in place,”he said.

While admitting that coronavirus is real and spreading fast, the governor vowed to guard against anything that would bring the disease to the state.

“Today, we decided to procure hand sanitizers and we will distribute them to all nooks and crannies of the state,”he said.

Uzodimma further promised that his administration would continue to do its best to ensure that the state was safe.

He however, tasked the citizens to be vigilant and quickly report anyone with any sign or symptoms to the nearest hospital.

Edited By: Remi Koleoso/Maureen Atuonwu
(NAN)

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Science & Technology

COVID-19: Minister urges MDAs to use UCS platform for video conferencing, tele-presence

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The Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, has encouraged Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to utilise the Federal Government’s Unified Communication Services (UCS) within its Abuja metro fiber network.

The Minister, Dr Isa Pantami, said this in a statement signed by the ministry’s spokesperson, Mrs Uwa Suleiman, on Tuesday in Abuja following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pantami explained that the UCS platform was provided through one of its parastatal agencies, Galaxy Backbone for video conferencing, tele-presence and video IP phone facilities in most MDAs.

He further explained that the UCS platform was for reliability and to secure audio and video communication within the 1Gov network, adding that it would provide a smart means of communication and collaboration within the public sector.

According to the minister, platforms available to minimise the need for physical meetings while performing the day-to-day functions of government are:

“IP Voice and Video Telephony Services; About 16,000 units have been deployed to provide users secure free voice and video communication over Galaxy’s network using physical handsets and software-based endpoints.

“Video Conferencing and tele-presence services; about 120 terminals have been deployed to provide real-time video conferencing for users to meet and collaborate with colleagues and partners across various locations nationwide and internationally.”

On COVID-19, Pantami reminded the public to take measures such as the social distancing, a necessary precaution towards curbing the spread of the deadly and highly infectious virus.

“It is highly recommended to exercise measures such as social distancing as the disease is known to spread primarily through contact with infected persons, surfaces or environments.

“There is need for civil servants and the workforce in the country to minimise physical and face-to-face meetings,” he said.

The Minister, however, called on all MDAs and public officers, who had these services deployed to use them by hosting remote meetings and conferences which would help limit the spread of the virus.

Edited By: Ifeyinwa Omowole/Donald Ugwu
(NAN)

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Economy

ICRC urges MDAs to regularise all PPP arrangements they have with private sector

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The Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), has asked all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to regularise all arrangements it has with the private sector with the ICRC.

Mr Chidi Izuwah, the Director-General, gave the directive at the First Quarter, Public Private Partnership Units Consultative Forum (3PUCF) on Thursday in Abuja.

He added that the regularisation would help to harmonise all PPP programmes of the Federal Government.

“We shall be doing this in association with the Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit (PICA) and all other agencies to ensure revenue leakages are blocked.

“We shall issue further statements on this in due course,’’ he said.

Izuwah said it was in line with presidential directives to ensure that all revenues from PPPs go into one dedicated Treasury Single Account (TSA) to ensure that proper data in terms of investment and revenues coming in from PPP were accounted for.

“The Special Concession Account (SCA) is very crucial and we are working with the Ministry of Finance to put it in place.

“In compliance with the Treasury Circular by the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation (OAGF), TRO/861/VOL.1/052A and dated June 26, 2018, the ICRC has established a Department for Revenue and Investment.

“In compliance with Section 9 of the ICRC (Establishment, etc) Act, 2005, we have opened the SCA as required by law at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

“The SCA is an account under the TSA which seeks to provide key information on all government PPP programmes,’’ he said.

Izuwah added that the organisation would issue a formal set of instructions and guidelines in association with other agencies of government to help recover the funds.

“Many MDAs have leased properties and gone into all sorts of arrangements with the private sector and we regard them as PPPs.

“So, all those arrangements of leasing government assets to the private sector are covered under Section 1 of the ICRC Act.

“Everybody would be informed of the full notice and advice and the process for the regularisation.’’

Mrs Ekaro Comfort, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Water Resources, said the ministry had attracted private sector investors for the development of some PPP projects in the water sector.

Represented by Mr Peter Nwaba, the Director, Special Duties, she said the ministry had concessioned the 40 Mega Watts (MW) Dadinkowa Hydropower Project in Gombe state.

She added that it had also developed 136 MW Manya and 182 MW Bawaku Hydropower project in Taraba and Benue states among others.

According to her, PPP options have been globally recognised as an infrastructure project delivery scheme.

Nigeria News Agency , reports that ICRC was established to regulate PPP activities in Nigeria to address physical infrastructure deficit which hampers economic development.

Edited By: Ese E. Ekama (NAN)

 

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