The request by President Muhammadu Buhari for revision of the 2022 fiscal framework was approved by the senate after consideration of the report of the Finance Committee on Thursday.
This was just as the senate President Ahmad Lawan, asked the Federal Government to do all within it’s power to stop the theft of crude oil by economic saboteurs.
He also threw another challenge on the need to stop the importation of refined petroleum products into the country, to cut down on expenditures.
The approval for the revised fiscal framework came after the consideration of a report by the Senate Committee on Finance.
The report was laid by the Chairman of the Committee, Senator Olamilekan Adeola.
The Senate approved US$73 per barrel as proposed by President Buhari.
It also approved Oil Production Volume of 1.600 million per day; Petroleum Motor Spirit (PMS) subsidy of N4.00 trillion (NGN); and a cut in the provision for Federally funded upstream projects being implemented by N200 billion from N352.80.
While approving an increase in the Federal Government Independent Revenue of N400 billion, the chamber also approved an additional provision of N182.4 billion to cater for the needs of the Nigeria Police Force.
It approved debt service provision of N76.13 billion, and net reductions in Statutory Transfers by N66.07 billion.
A breakdown of the net reductions are as follows: NDDC, by N13.46 billion from N102.78 billion to N89.32 billion; NEDC, by N6.30 billion from N48.08 billion to N41.78 billion; and UBEC, by N23.16 billion from N112.29 billion to N89.13 billion.
Others are Basic Health Care Fund, by N11.58 billion from N56.14 billion to N44.56 billion; and NASENI, by N11.58 billion from N56.14 billion to N44.56 billion.
The chamber also approved the fiscal deficit of N7.35 trillion.
Adeola, in his presentation, said that the total budget deficit is projected to increase by N965.42 billion to N7.35 trillion, representing 3.99% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
He disclosed that, “the incremental deficit will be financed by new borrowings from the domestic market.’
Lawmakers, who took turns to make contributions during consideration of the report on the review of the 2022 fiscal framework, blamed the country’s economic downturn on crude oil theft.
Senator Olubunmi Adetunmbi (Ekiti North), said the federal government and security agencies owe it as a duty to stop the stealing of our common wealth.
He lamented that at a time when most countries of the world are reaping bountiful harvest due to the increase in crude oil prices occasioned by the Russia-Ukrainian crisis, Nigeria is left out owing to its inability to meet its OPEC quota.
The Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi, who spoke along the same lines as Adetunmbi, said the country should be in a state of mourning over what is currently happening to it.
He attributed the failure of security agencies to protect oil assets as a major reason for the decline of the economy.
He expressed worry over the increasing cases of oil theft inspite of huge resources allocated to the military, police and other security agencies.
Other such as Senators Gabriel Suswam (Benue North East), Betty Apiafi (Rivers West), called on the chamber not to hastily approve the President’s request to adjust the 2022 fiscal framework until certain questions are answered.
While Suswam raised concerns on the widening gap in budget deficit and the federal government’s decision to resort to funding from the Capital Market, Apiafi, on the other hand, demanded answers from the NNPC and relevant agencies on solutions in place to curb crude oil theft.
The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, in his concluding remarks, called on the Federal Government to take “radical” steps towards stopping the theft of crude oil by economic saboteurs.
He also called for a stop to the importation of refined petroleum products into the country, so as to cut down on expenditures incurred in the process, as well as to maximize profits from crude oil sales.
“This (crude theft) is not something to play politics with, and I don’t think the answers are going to be easy to come by.
“Radical decisions would have be taken, but before we find answers we have to live with this, but we have to be fast as possible in looking for answers.
“I had a session with the Chief of Defence Staff about a month ago, and my discussion with him was on the oil theft and the efforts of our security agencies to combat this menace.
“And like we know, our security agencies are doing their best but we have people – our people – who are sabotaging the oil industry, because the oil theft is not perpetrated by somebody else but by people who are citizens.
“So, we need to continue to support the security agencies in whatever way possible so that they are able to deal with this.
“I also believe that, whether there is oil theft or not, until we stop the importation of refined products to Nigeria, we will never get the best out of the oil and gas industry.
“So, we should work to ensure that we produce our refined products locally, because that is one way of cutting out our expenditure on importation.
“I also think that diversification of the economy is key, because we depend so much on this oil and gas industry, the slightest issues that affects it internationally affects us seriously in our country”, the Senate President said.
Senate Presidency: Yari, Tambuwal, others shut out in Senate new rule that bars first-timers
***CSOs ask non ranking senators to move against amendments in court
Not up to two weeks after the 10th Senate suffered an impeachment scare, the Senate on Tuesday amended its standing rule and barred first term members from seeking to be elected as president of the Senate or deputy president of the Senate.
Adopting a motion sponsored by senate majority leader, Opeyemi Bamidele, the senate amended section three of its standing rule and specifically stated that to vie for the position of president of the Senate or deputy president of the Senate, a senator must have spent one term or four years in the upper legislative chamber.
With the new amendment to the standing orders of the Senate, first term senators are now prohibited from contesting for the position of presiding officers of the Red Chambers.
Bamidele’s motion was titled: “Amendment of the Standing Orders of the Senate pursuant to Order 109 of the Senate Standing Orders, 2022 (As Amended).”
Rule 3 of the Senate Standing Orders as amended now stipulates that any senator wishing to contest for the position of the Senate President and Deputy Senate President must have spent a minimum of one term in the senate.
But the 1999 constitution as amended in its section 50(1) simply provided that “there shall be a President and a Deputy President of the Senate, who shall be elected by the members of that House from among themselves”
The Senate also amended its rules and created additional nine Standing Committees, bringing the number of Senate committees to 83 from its previous 74.
It would be recalled that last June, the former Zamfara State governor, Abdulaziz Yari, got the second highest votes of 46 against Godswill Akpabio’s 63 votes
The contest was the fiercest in the history of the election of President of the Senate.
Three weeks ago, the office of the Senate president raised an alarm about an alleged plot to remove Akpabio from the office.
The uproar generated by that alarm forced the Northern Senators Forum to condemn what they called an attempt by Akpabio to pitch Senators against President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
Meanwhile, criticisms have started gathering against the amendment as many believe that the discrimination introduced has no place in the constitution.
“Although the constitution gave power to the senate to regulate it, such regulations or rules .ust not be in breach of the Constitution” a lawmaker.
Reacting to the amendment, the Human Rights Writers Association (HURIWA) said:
“The amendments are unconstitutional and ultra vires because section 42(1) of the Constitution states clearly that policies of government ought not to be made in such a way that a certain category of citizens will be disabled from participating or benefitting therefrom.”
In a statement by its president, comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, HURIWA said that “the idea of allowing only ranking members to be qualified to contest for offices within the Senate’s hierarchy is impracticable in Nigeria where the turn-over rate of legislators into the national assembly is not as robustly sustainable as the Americans or British experience about their parliamentarians.
“In Nigeria, virtually 40 to 45 percent of Senators don’t get reelected. Supposing those who get re-elected lack charisma and leadership qualities, will the Senate be led by never-do-wells? This law is an attempt to muzzle opposition to the decadent leadership of Sebator Akpabio leadership that is made up of stooges of the executive arm of government. We in the HURIWA are asking those senators so affected negatively from these destructive amendments to file litigation to get the amendments quashed because the amendments are self-serving, lack progressive ideals and are very primitive and unconstitutional”
Deputy Speaker, Kalu, says, Reps working to promote SMEs through bills, policies
Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Okezie Kalu has disclosed that the Parliament is working on a number of bills to effectively promote small-scale and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria.
He also said that Nigeria under the leadership of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has already witnessed a series of transformative reforms aimed at repositioning the nation on the
path to sustained economic growth.
A statement by his Chief Press Secretary (CPS), Mr. Levinus Nwabughiogu quoted Kalu to have made the disclosure at the ground breaking ceremony of the Abia Innovation Industrial Park in Owaza, Ukwa West Local Government Area of the State on Saturday where he joined Governor Alex Otti to perform the ritual.
Initiated by the Abia State Government under the leadership of Otti, the project is expected to foster economic growth, create jobs, and position Abia State as a hub for innovation and industrialization when completed.
He said: “The 10th National Assembly, under the dynamic leadership of the Speaker and myself as Deputy Speaker, has been working tirelessly to complement these reforms with legislative actions that
support economic growth and development.
“7We understand that a
conducive legislative framework is critical to the success of initiatives such
as the Abia Innovation Industrial Park.
“Our legislative agenda is centered around creating an environment that
encourages innovation, entrepreneurship, and sustainable development.
“We are actively working on bills and policies aimed at promoting small and
medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), enhancing ease of doing business, and
attracting both local and foreign investments.
“It is not just the Abia State Government that is at work here. We are
fortunate to find ourselves in an era of remarkable leadership at the federal
level. Under the Bola Ahmed Tinubu presidency, Nigeria has witnessed a
series of transformative reforms aimed at repositioning our nation on the
path to sustained economic growth. “
Kalu further said that the industrialization of Abia State is not only a dream but also a well-thought-out strategy, stressing that it aligns perfectly with the broader national goals of achieving self-sufficiency and economic prosperity.
“This groundbreaking ceremony not only marks the beginning of a new industrial park but also symbolizes our unwavering
commitment to honoring the giants of our past while forging ahead into a
“This is the beginning of a new era. An era where innovation, industry, and
opportunity will flourish. An era where the dreams and aspirations of our youth and entrepreneurs will find a home and where Abia State will shine as a beacon of progress in our great nation, ” Kalu said.
Senator Jibrin Echocho celebrates with Nigerians at 63
Senator Isah Jibrin ( APC Kogi East), has rejoiced with Nigerians on the occasion of 63rd Independence anniversary of the country.
In a statement he personally signed in Abuja on Saturday, the senator urged Nigerians to remain steadfast in their believe in building a strong, united and prosperous country.
“Let us be driven forward by our zeal to strengthen our diversity, culture and beliefs as we remain one nation bound in freedom.
“To my dear constituents, I want to assure you that I will continue to be your voice in the Senate, fighting for your rights and interests with integrity and dedication.
“May this Independence day anniversary bring further positive turnaround, unimaginable fortune, unity of purpose, and breakthrough for Nigeria and Nigerians.
“Once again, I felicitate with all the good people of Kogi East, Kogi State, Nigerians at home and in the diaspora, and wish you all the merits of democracy”.
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