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Buhari Govt Proposes N9.78trn Budget For 2020 – Finance Minister

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The Federal Government yesterday presented the medium term expenditure framework and fiscal strategy paper (MTEF/FSP) where it proposed a total budget of N9.78trn for 2020.

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed, who made the presentation also proposed a budget of N10.1trn for 2021 and N10.4trn for 2022 The crude oil benchmark for 2019 budget is put at $60pb whilst for 2020-2022 is reduced to $55pb with the oil production benchmark put at 2.18m barrels per day.

Mrs. Zainab Ahmed also noted that “the 2020 to 2022 fiscal years will be very challenging with respect to revenue generation and rapid growth in personnel costs” thus, the states would be adversely impacted. The minister said “oil revenue is projected to decline from N3.688trn in 2019 to N2.367trn in 2020.

This is due to lower production and lower oil prices” she said. But she however noted that FG will get more dividends from NLNG of up to about three folds. She also tipped non-oil revenue to grow marginally. Non-oil revenue is also increasing the N1.409trn in 2012, to over N1.55trn in 2020 she said. Speaking on the government borrowing, she said that hasn’t waned and the FG hasn’t hit the red flags.

“New borrowing is put at N1.605trn for 2019, projected at N1.7trn for 2020, N1.6trn for 2021 and N1.3trn for 2020. The borrowings will be 50 percent local and 50 percent foreign” she said. Based on the borrowings, she confirmed the debt servicing obligations have also risen significantly.

The minister said all ministries, departments and agencies not on the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) will not get paid as from October 2019 until they are able to do so. On 2019 capital expenditure she said “the aggregate capital expenditure in 2019 was N3.187trn but in 2020, it has been lowered to N2.05trn and the next years, the pattern will be the same thing.” She said the total fiscal deficit for 2019 is N2.474trn, in 2020 it will reduce to N2.154trn. The deficit to GDP is 1.77 percent in 2019.

Meanwhile, the federal government said it will effective September 2019 begin the deductions from state revenues the bailout monies given to them in 2015 and 2016. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had under the instruction of President Muhammadu Buhari given about N641bn to 35 states to pay backlog of salaries. All the states that benefited got at least N17.5bn.

The bailout has a 20-year repayment tenor for all states, except Ogun State, which opted for a 10 year tenor, according to a CBN statement at the time. It is not clear if this has been reviewed. Mrs. Ahmed had previously told journalists that the FG had set up a committee to recover the N614bn.

Based on the 20 year tenure, each state would be debited at least N73m every month from their federal allocations in the next 20 years to offset the debts. “So the recovery process for us is to deduct from the FAAC allocation to the states and then we remit to the CBN and we are going to start this remittances by the next FAAC (September 2019), she said.

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Tribunal Affirms Ihedioha’s Election As Imo Governor

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The Imo State Election Tribunal has affirmed the election of Emeka Ihedioha as governor of the state.

The chairman of the tribunal, Justice Umar Dogondaji, in his ruling on Saturday, dismissed the petition of Senator Hope Uzodinma because he did not discharge the burden of proof of the allegation that his results were excluded from the final results of the election.

He also dismissed the petition of the All Progressives Grand Alliance and its governorship candidate Senator Ifeanyi Arareume for lacking in merit as well as that of the candidate of the Action Alliance Party, Mr. Uche Nwosu, for incompetence.

The witnesses were discredited under cross-examination.

They all confirmed that there was no signature of the presiding officers on the documents they tendered as the results of the election in the various units in the state.

The judgment was delivered at the FCT High Court in Jabi, Abuja after a briefing in Owerri, the Imo State capital, where it had received and entertained several petitions.

The governorship candidates of the Action Alliance, All Progressives Congress, (APC) and All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), had filed petitions at the tribunal asking it to nullify the election of Ihedioha of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), on the ground that he was unlawfully declared as the governor of the state by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)

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Ten Wedding Guests Died In Ekiti Road Crash

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An accident involving wedding guest in Ekiti has occurred along Ado-Ikere road of the state which left many dead and several injured

At least 10 wedding guests have died in a motor accident on the Ikere-Ado Road in Ekiti State.

Several others also sustained injuries in the accident. 
The accident involved an 18 seater bus with registration number Ekiti LG 05 MUE.

Eyewitnesses confirmed that the victims were returning from a wedding reception when the tragedy occured.

One witness, Abiodun, told Dammylink that the driver lost control of the vehicle’s wheel. 

He said, “The vehicle was speeding and summasulted several times immediately the driver lost control of the wheel. 

“I counted at least 10 bodies on the road before the arrival of officials of Federal Road Safety Corps.

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Government Grants Amnesty To 13 Armed Bandits

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Niger State Government has granted amnesty to 13 suspected armed bandits that were arrested by security operatives along Kontonkoro axis in Magama Local Government Area of the state.

Gov. Abubakar Bello disclosed this while delivering a keynote address at the 2nd General Abdulsalami Abubakar Foundation Annual Peace Lecture on Saturday in Minna.

He said the bandits were released based on the dialogue and peace deal as well as agreement reached by the government and the bandits from the area in August.

The governor said the peace accord reached had led to a gradual reduction in activities of armed bandits
and kidnappings in the area.

“After hearing them on why they decided to engage themselves in such activities, we had to go into a peace agreement with them in the interest of peace and for them to help us with useful information to tackle spate of insecurity in the state,” he said.

The governor noted that they have been cooperating and helping security agencies with useful information on how to identify unrepentant bandits who were still terrorising the state.

He said the repentant suspects have been engaged into various trade and skill acquisition programmes, adding that the same approach would be applied with bandits in Pandogari, Allawa and Erena areas of the state, NAN reports.

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