The Senate on Wednesday gave the management of the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Limited one-week ultimatum to appear before its committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions or face the consequences.
The President of the senate Ahmad Lawan, issued the summons after the chamber considered a report by the Ethics Committee on the refusal by NLNG to pay compensation for lands acquired from seventy-three (73) host communities in Rivers State.
The report was coming against the background of a petition received from one Chief Enyinna Onuegbu on behalf of the communities located in Obiafu, Soku to Bonny, respectively.
The consideration of the report was, however, stepped down midway by the chamber, pending the outcome of the summons on NLNG.
The Senate President, while issuing the summons said, “Instead of just saying NLNG should go and pay 18 billion and at the end of the day nothing happens, let us give NLNG one more chance, and this should be by the Senate itself, not our committee.
“I am sure NLNG is listening. NLNG should appear within one week before our Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions with their evidence of compensation.
“If they fail, then the Senate will take a decision on NLNG in this respect.”
Chairman of the Ethics Committee, Senator Ayo Akinyelure (Ondo Central), in his presentation, said that, “following the incorporation of the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Limited (NLNG), it acquired landed properties in Rivers State in 1996 spanning over 210 kiln for use as its pipelines Right of Way (ROW) which ended at the export terminal of the NLNG in Finima Bonny Local Government Area of Rivers State.
“That there were over 73 Communities and over 200 families whose hitherto agrarian source of livelihood were negatively impacted upon by the said acquisition;
“That NLNG neither proved nor showed evidence to the Committee that it paid compensation to the 73 Communities for loss of use of their land to pipelines Right of Way (ROW); and that there was no Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the Communities and NLNG on future obligations in the name of Corporate Social Responsibility with the impacted communities;
“That there was evidence that other Oil Companies such as Shell Petroleum Development Company, Totalfina Elf Petroleum Nigeria Ltd, Agip oil Corporation paid compensation for loss of use of land to their Host Communities; and
“That the Communities were claiming the sum of N18,448,842,500,00 being compensation for the loss of use of their land as at May, 2020.”
In another development, the Senate urged the Federal Ministry of Education to forthwith issue one Mr. Sunday M. Akinwale a National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) exemption certificate.
This was contained in a resolution reached sequel to the consideration of a report by the Ethics Committee on a petition received from Mr. Akinwale against the Minister of Education and the Director-General of the National Youth Service Corps for non-release of his NYSC exemption letter.
Akinyelure, in his presentation, stated that the petitioner “graduated with LLB (Hons.) in Law at the age of 41 and has proceeded to Bar 1 and 2 and has been called to the Nigerian Bar and he currently practices as partner at Lawville Chambers in Akure, Ondo State;
“That Birmingham City University was an accredited institution in the United Kingdom and wondered why the Federal Ministry of Education should not evaluate his credential and process the release of his exemption certificate after he had proceeded to Law School, and having been called to the Nigerian Bar and currently, a practicing Lawyer;
“That the Federal Ministry of Education subjected Sunday Akinwale to harsh conditions by compelling him to go and re-sit for Mathematics;
“That the policy of the National Standing Committee of the Federal Ministry of Education on foreign qualifications negates section 11 of the National Youth Service Corps Act CapN84, Laws of the Federation of 2004.
“The Act empowers the NYSC among other duties to issue a discharge certificate to every member that has successfully completed the one year mandatory service. However, in place of the discharge certificate an exemption certificate may be issued to those that graduated at age 31 years and above.
“That the policy stood in the way of the release of the exemption certificate to Sunday Akinwale; and That the policy of the National Standing Committee on candidates who had already obtained their first degrees with deficient entry qualifications should re-sit for the affected papers before being cleared for NYSC, was not backed by law and so, could not stand.”
Tinubu asks Senate to endorse $8.6bn, €100m loans approved by Buhari’s govt
President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has asked the Senate to give him the authorization to borrow $8,699,168,559 and €100 million to carryout critical projects across the country.
The president’s request was contained in a letter read at the commencement of plenary on Tuesday by Senate President Godswill Akpabio.
Tinubu, in the letter, explained that the request was part of the federal government 2022-2024 external borrowing plan approved by former President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
He said the projects to be funded with the loan cuts across different sectors of the economy, and were selected based on economic evaluation and the expected contribution to the country’s development.
The letter reads, “I write in respect of the above subject and to submit the attached the federal government 2022-2024 external borrowing plan for consideration and early approval of the National Assembly to ensure prompt implementation of the projects.
“The Senate may wish to note that the past administration approved a 2022-2024 borrowing plan by the federal executive council (FEC) held on May 15, 2023.
“The projects cut across all sectors, with specific emphasis on infrastructure, agriculture, health, water supply, roads, security, and employment generation as well as financial management reforms.
“Consequently, the required approval is in the sum of $8,699,168,559 and €100 million.
“I would like to underscore the fact that the projects and programmes in the borrowing plan were selected based on economic evaluations as well as the expected contribution to the social economic development of the country, including employment generation, and skills acquisition.
“Given the nature of these facilities, and the need to return the country to normalcy, it has become necessary for the Senate to consider and approve the 2022- 2024 external abridged borrowing plan to enable the government deliver its responsibility to Nigerians.”
Niger Coup: Northern Senators ask ECOWAS to lift restrictions on Niger Republic
***Plead with Tinubu to restore electricity supply to Niger
The Northern Senators Forum on Monday called on President Bola Tinubu to as a matter of Urgency use his position as Chairman of ECOWAS to lift restrictions on Niger Republic in the interest of business and border community
They also demanded that Nigeria restore electricity supply to Niger Republic in line with the Nigeria-Niger treaty mandate.
The senators had in July on the heels of the military forceful take over of the democratically elected government in Niger, cautioned President Tinubu against use of Military power towards tackling the military coup, as they called for diplomatic options.
A communique issued at the end of their emergency meeting which was read by the chairman of the forum, Senator Abdul Ningi (Bauch Central) stated, “The forum on very strong terms condemn the spate of Military intervention in the democratic spaces in the West African subregion.
“The Northern Senators Forum in particular condemns the coup in Niger and urged the military junta in Niger to soften the relationship with the rest of ECOWAS military by setting free President Muhammed Bazoum and his immediate family to freely choose a country of his choice for asylum
They further urged the junta in Niger to bring about a transition time table that will last not more than two years.
They ask ECOWAS to lift restrictions on Niger Republic in the interest of business and border community.
“It is important that Nigeriens should not suffer because of the coup that took place just like we have seen what is happening in Gaza
“We ask the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Commander in chief of the Armed forces and of course the chairman of ECOWAS, President Muhammed Bola Tinubu to as a matter of humanitarian gesture restore electricity supply to Niger Republic in line with the Nigeria-Niger treaty mandate.
Ningi called on Nigerians and Nigerien to remember that they remain brothers, partners and Africans and above all, we remain human beings
Senate okays 2024-2026 MTEF, FSP as it seeks to probe Tax Waivers from 2015 Till Date
The Senate has approved the 2024-2026 Medium Term Expenditure Frame Work (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP).
The upper legislative chamber also ordered an investigation into all tax waivers from 2015 till date and directed that all waivers not directly linked to non-governmental/non-profit organizations should not be granted.
The Senate observed that before waiver can be approved, there are certain conditions attached, adding that some people have been benefitting from the waiver year in, year out.
Addressing newsmen, shortly after the plenary, the Chairman of the Joint Senate Committees on Finance, Appropriations, National Planning and Foreign Debt, Senator Sani Musa, lamented that so much have been lost to the waiver.
He said: “We can not continue to talk of waiver while we kill our local manufacturers.
What we have today are catels, who are not given back to Nigeria. We will take the bull by the horn.”
He said that the customer told the Senate that the nation lost about N1.3 trillion to waiver, adding that it doesn’t make any economy sense, when waiver is granted, and nothing is gained.
In the report of the Senate Joint Committees, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu will borrow N7.8 trillion to fund the 2024 budget of N26 trillion that will be presented to the National Assembly soon.
In the budget, N8.2 trillion is earmarked for debt services.
In the report presented for consideration on the floor of the Senate, Sani Musa revealed that the federal government projected the reduction in inflation from 27.33 % to 21.4% in 2024.
“The total budget for the 2024 will be N26 trillion with N16.9 trillion in retained revenue, N243.6 billion for the sinking fund, the statutory transfer for the budget will be N1.3 trillion, N1.2 trillion. In pension gratuity and retirees benefits.
“The total recurrent (non-debt) of N10.2 trillion, personal cost of MDAs- N4.49 trillion, capital expenditure (exclusive of transfers ) -N5.9 trillion, special Intervention (recurrent)- N200 billion and special Intervention capital -N7 billion comprise the.aggregate of Federal government expenditure of N26 trillion,” the report said.
The report further reads: “Following the criteria in the overview of the framework for revenues and expenses, which forms the basis of the 2024 FGN budget FGN proposed spending N26 trillion, of which N16.9 trillion was retained, new borrowings of N7.8 trillion (including borrowing from foreign and domestic), debt service to revenue ratio of 49%, pension, gratuities, and retiree benefits of N12 trillion, and a fiscal deficit of N9 trillion (including GOES)
“The projected N16.96 trillion revenues to the federal government for the 2024 fiscal year is attainable with effective revenue monitoring exercise and oversight by the relevant Committees of the National Assembly
“The projected fiscal deficit of N9.048 trillion, N10.02 and N11.48 proposed for the 2024, 2025 and 2026 fiscal years are 22%, 13.6% and 1% lower than the N11 6 trillion fiscal deficit for the year 2023. The proposed strategy for the government in 2024 towards deficit financing is to increase funding from privatization proceeds and foreign borrowing and reduce funding from multilateral and bilateral project- tied loans and domestic borrowing
“The Federal Government’s commitments to progressively restructure its debt portfolio towards achieving a balanced domestic-to-external debt ratio is evident in the 2024-2026 MTEF and FSP
“A significant number of the Federal Government’s Revenue- Generating Agencies engaged in arbitrary, frivolous, and extra-budgetary expenditure.”
The oil bemcark is pegged at $73.6 per barrel with daily production of 1.78 million barrel per day with an exchange rate of N700 to $1 .
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