The House of Representatives on Thursday rejected a Bill seeking to scrap the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) and transfer of its assets and liabilities to the Ministry of Finance Incorporated.
The proposed legislation titled: “A Bill for an Act to Repeal the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority Act and Transfer the Assets and Liabilities to the Ministry of Finance Incorporated; and for Related Matters is being sponsored by Noon Oluwole Oke (Osun- PDP) the Chairman, House Committee on Public Accounts (PAC)
The rejected Bill provides that: “All funds currently in the custody of the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (hereinafter be referred to as the Authority) shall be transferred to the Federation Account and all investments made by the Authority shall be managed by the Ministry of Finance Incorporated
established pursuant to the Ministry of Finance Incorporated Act”.
However, after the debate on the general principles of the Bill when it was mentioned for second reading, majority of the lawmakers voted against it, insisting that repealing the NSIA was not in the best interest of the country adding that it at variant with the Constitution.
The sponsor of the Bill, Hon Oke argued that the Authority was established in 2011 to among other things, manage and save resources for Nigerians but some of its functions are already been performed by Central Bank of Nigeria, hence it should be repealed.
According to him, “My prayer is that this Bill be allowed to scale through second reading, so that we can carry out a very comprehensive work, invite members of the public to speak on whether this body (NSIA) doesn’t contravene section 162 of the Constitution.”
However, other lawmakers had different opinions such as Henry Nwawuba who said there was every need for Nigerian to guard against eventualities, hence NSIA was still relevant in managing the country’s Sovereign Wealth Fund.
According to him, “I want to state on record that there’s a benefit of having a Sovereign Wealth Fund, there must have been a reason Nigeria decided to save for the rainy day. It should be taken into consideration as we debate on this. We should look at merits and demerits”.
On his own, Hon Chris Azubogu, noted that scraping NSIA and transferring the Sovereign Wealth Fund to the Ministry of Finance will project and portray Nigeria in a light that is not acceptable internationally.
Hon Azubogu explained that Sovereign Wealth Fund as an institution had been involved in sourcing funds globally and a lot of people have had some trust to do business with Nigeria based on that.
“Let us step down this Bill do further consultation, engage. The agency does not do proper reports to National Assembly, going forward we will give them chance to come and explain to us what they are doing. If there are things we need to amend in the Act to make them more responsible to National Assembly we will do that than repealing it,” he stated.
Another member, Hon Ayokunle Isiaka Ibrahim while opposing the proposed legislation said: “I’m against this Bill. The little that I know, the sovereign investment fund was a creation of this parliament to serve some peculiar purposes. The question is the purpose being met or not?
Hon Lynda Ikpeazu pointed out that it was important for lawmakers to look at the intendiments behind enacting the NSIA Act 2011 and understand why it was set up in the first place then they can take a decision.
According to her, “The sponsor made a reference to section 162 of the constitution. But when you look at 162(3,4), you will find out that this parliament set up this fund. Now that is not to say we can’t repeal, but what I am saying is that it doesn’t offend it.”
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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