***as it approves N2.176trn 2023 supplementary budget
In the midst of severe hardship faced by Nigerians in recent months, the Senate on Thursday approved supplementary budget for the renovation in the presidency with a whooping sum of N13.5 billion.
The approval also corvered purchase of official vehicles for the First Lady’s Office with N1.5bn contained in the budget.
A breakdown analysis of the expenses for the Presidency in the budget included
renovation of residential quarters for the President to gulp 4bn, renovation of Aguda House to gulp N2.5bn, renovation of Dodan Barracks, official residence of the President in Lagos to gulp N4bn, renovation of official quarters of vice president in Lagos to gulp N3bn.
The expenses will be funded from the N2.176trn supplementary budget The Senate passed.
The proposed expenditure for Tinubu and Shettima’s residences’ renovation and the purchase of official cars for the Office of the First Lady are part of the N28 billion budgeted for the State House in the 2023 supplementary budget.
Other items for the State House include; the purchase of SUV vehicles at N2.9 billion and the replacement of operational pool vehicles at N2.9 billion.
While the renovation of Aguda House would gulp N2.5bn; computerization and digitalisation of the State House was allocated N200m.
The senate, had expeditiously passed the N2.176 trillion 2023 supplementary budget transmitted to it by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu on Tuesday.
The budget was passed within 48hrs it was brought to the red chamber following the adoption of a report by the Appropriations Committee, presented by the chairman, Senator Adeola Olamilekan (Ogun West) during plenary.
President Tinubu had, in a letter read at plenary asked the federal lawmakers to approved the proposal, the second of such this year after N819.5 billion was approved to provide palliatives for poor Nigerians.
The president, in his letter, said it had become necessary to make further provision for additional palliative measures, including the wage award for public servants and the enhanced Cash Transfer Programme which is intended to benefit the most vulnerable members of society.
“In addition, critical defence expenditures are also urgently required to provide for peace and the security of lives and property without which the government’s economic growth agenda cannot be achieved.
“Similarly, critical investments are also required to construct much needed infrastructure, particularly roads, which projects must be commenced within the (dry season) period between now and the end of the year,” he added.
A detail of the 2023 Supplementary budget indicated that, N1.010.802,015,985 was for Recurrent expenditure while N1.165,989,270,049 was for Capital expenditure.”
The supplementary budget which was read for the first time on Tuesday was passed for second reading at the senate on Tuesday.
The budget has a capital component of N1.165 trillion and a recurrent component of N1.010 trillion.
The breakdown of the allocations to sectors and agencies shows that, Service Wide Vote takes the lion share of N615 billion followed by the Ministry of Defence with N476.5 billion while Federal Ministry of Works gets N300 billion.
The State House is to gulp 28 billion; the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security gets N200 billion; Ministry of Housing, N100 billion; Department of State Services, N49 billion while the FCTA gets N100 billion.
Also, Police formations and commands were allocated N50 billion; Office of the National Security Adviser (NSA), N29.7 billion; Capital supplementation was allocated N210 billion while the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) gets N18 billion
Senate urges FG to withhold statutory allocation to LGC without elected officials
The Senate has urged the Federal Government to henceforth withhold statutory allocation to the Local Governments Councils(LGC) without democratically elected leaders
In the last three months of August, September and October the Local Governments received N702.647b out of N1.006 shared for the three tiers of government in the period under review.
The legality or otherwise of the Federal Governmemt’s power to enforce the Senate’s recommendation is left for legal experts to analyse
The Senate’s recommendation came after debate on the Urgent Need to halt the erosion of democracy: the dissolution of elected Councils in Benue State sponsored by Sen. Moro, Abba Patrick (Benne South)
The senate condemned the arbitrary dissolution of democratically elected Local Government Councils in Benue and other states in Nigeria
It also resolved to urge the Federal Government to review the Benue State governor’s dissolution of the elected councils and constitution of caretaker committees and reinstate the elected council executive forthwith.
The upper legislative chamber urged the governor of Benue state to adhere to his oath of office to obey the rule of law and defend the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
While leading the debate Senator Moro he was dismayed by the dissolution of Democratically Elected Councils in Benue State,
According to him, replacing the elected chairmen with Caretaker Committees to is an aberration and alien to the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended)
Quoting Section (1) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) he said it guarantees a system of local government by Democratically Elected Councils.
He insisted that it is the Constitutional responsibility of every state to ensure the existence of Local
Government Councils by law.
He indicated that there are subsisting court rulings directing the Governor, the House of Assembly, their agents, privies etc not to tamper with the tenure of the elected Councils
He therefore challenged the Governor/Government of Benue State to first appeale the outstanding judgments which has not been done adding that it is against the grain of the rule of law
Senator Adams Oshiomhole (Edo North) pointed out thatabout 16 states in Nigeria are currently without democratically elected council officials.
He urged the Senate to direct the Finance Minister to stop funding LGS without elected council officials.
Oshiomhole’s suggestion was supported by Senator Ali Ndume.
The senator representing Oyo North, Abdulfatai Buhari indicated that the Electoral Act should be amended to empower the Independent National Electoral Commission to conduct local government elections.
The President of the senate Godswill Akpabio also frowned at the establishment of multiple federal agencies but advocated the creation of the National Electoral Commission for Local Government so that governors would no longer have overbearing influence on council polls
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
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