Connect with us

Top Story

FG will award contracts, borrow till May 28 — Fashola



…flags off N90bn Akure/Ado-Ekiti dualisation highway

…Buhari government is bereft of ideas, should not add salt to our injury — PDP chieftain

By Ibiyemi Mathew and Joel Oladele

Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola has stated that the outgoing administration of President Muhammadu Buhari will continue to award contracts until the midnight of May 28.

Fashola declared this in Akure, Ondo State while flagging off the N90 billion dualisation of the 49km dilapidated Akure/Ado-Ekiti highway.

Fashola was responding to recent criticisms which the outgoing administration had received over the award of contracts and external borrowing a few days before the expiration of this tenure.

According to him, “It is a juvenile conversation. They forgot, among other things, that the term of this administration ends at midnight on May 28.”

Speaking further, he noted that infrastructural development can only be actualised through borrowing or taxation adding that the project which will cost N90 billion, will be taken care of by Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) through the tax credit policy of the Federal Government.

According to him the project awarded to Samchase Nigeria Ltd. and Kopeck Construction Company is slated for completion within the next 24 months.

Speaking on the procurement act, the Minister asked the 10th National Assembly to amend it, noting that the law was slowing down the country’s development.

“There is a law passed by the National Assembly called the Procurement Act; if you don’t follow it, they will call you a thief.

“That procurement law and the processes that it prescribes are not consistent with the hurry that Nigeria is in for development. And I hope the 10th National Assembly will look at that procurement law and make adjustments. Its intention is good, but the processes slow down the country.

“They forget that you, the people, through your representatives, have passed a budget for us to implement. It is a law. The people then ask, “Why is the government borrowing?”

“The easiest thing to do in government is to say that our revenue is N10 and our work is N10, but that means that nobody should ask for a road.

“If you want development and you have chosen infrastructure—a road, school, bridge, pipeline, refinery—who is going to pay for it?” It is going to come at a cost.

“So that is why the first thing you will see when government, whether at the state, local, or federal level, responds to the needs of the people is an expenditure that exceeds the revenue; that is when you have what is called a deficit. Someone has to pay for that deficit.”

Buhari government is bereft of ideas, should not add salt to our injury — PDP chieftain

A former PDP Zonal Publicity Secretary, South West, Ayo Fadaka has said that the outgoing administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has proven to Nigerians in the last 8 years that it’s bereft of ideas and should desist from adding to the woes of the country through some of its activities in the dying minutes.

Fadaka stated this while reacting to a statement earlier credited to the outgoing Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola where he said President Muhammadu Buhari will continue to award contracts until the midnight of May 28.

However, speaking to Nigerian NewsDirect on Thursday, Fadaka said if the outgoing administration could not add any value to the country in the last 8 years, he wonders what magic they are up to when it has less than 5 days to leave the office.

He therefore urged President Muhammadu Buhari and his cabinet to leave Nigeria the way it is as citizens have resolved to fate while waiting for what the incoming administration will do differently to regain the lost glory of the country.

His words, “An attempt by Fashola to defend his boss’ last minute spending and borrowing can not be taken seriously. The man had 8 years to work. Within those 8 years, we could not see him to have worked for us so reasonably well. Within those 8 years, an economy that was second best in Africa was ruined and Nigerians were sentenced to penury.

“So, I think such an administration that has clearly shown us that it’s bereft of ideas in managing our affairs should have just been preparing to pack his bags and baggage and give us peace rather than putting us in more problems.

“An adage in Youruba land says – The god that cannot benefit us should not add to our woes. Buhari came and added to our woes colossally. While we are thinking that it may be possible for us to have a fresh air, he’s still suffocating our space and still borrowing more money and even thinking of paying judgement debt that has not been paid in all the 8 years.

“Buhari was the President and the Commander in Chief but obviously had no control but his toothpick. It is those people in his government that ruined our nation this much that are still trying to add more to our woes even as they depart. They should please just depart and go away.”

Reacting to whether it’s right for Tinubu to uphold or reverse many of the decisions made by Buhari as his administration is winding up, Fadaka said the President-Elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu should place national interest above party’s interest.

He  added that those who worked with Buhari led admiration should not be included in his cabinet as they have not proven themselves worthy.

“When Tinubu becomes President, he should please spare Nigeria the people who served under Buhari in his government. Those who worked closely with Buhari also failed us. It’s a collective responsibility, we must have a clean break from such a set of people. They are part of the rot that Buhari represents.

“It’s left to him but I want to believe that he can be patriotic enough to do an audit of the Augean stables to inherit and work in the best interest of our nation as that’s the only thing that can bring Nigeria back from the brink or else we perish together.”

Also speaking with Nigerian NewsDirect, a former National Vice Chairman of APC, South West, Kole Oluwajana, said nobody can fault Fashola’s statement as it’s constitutionally right for any government to keep making decision to the last minute in the interest of the nation.

“They are still in power until the swearing in of the new president. Let them finish what they need to do, it doesn’t make any difference.

“Every government does that, there are things they want to tidy up before they go. So nobody can fault it constitutionally or legally, so why are people complaining? That it’s not legal or not constitutional?

“The road they awarded, for instance the Akure/Ado-Ekiti road it’s something we are so eager about and any government that awards it is acceptable to us. We’ve been crying about it all these years so if they award it before they go, it makes it faster.

“If a new government comes, he will have to settle down. He’s not going to start awarding contracts. So anyone that is complaining has waited for too long and should just wait for 4 more days. Heaven will not fall.”

Reacting to the possibility of government officials taking advantage of such a dying minutes contract to loot public funds, Oluwajana said that can’t be the case of Fashola as he’s one of the most credible and trustworthy ministers under President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.

“Does Fashola look like someone who can’t be trusted with money? He’s one of the most proficient of all the ministers. Fashola is a lawyer, he’s not known to be a brash person. So, I want to believe that he’s doing that in the interest of the nation.

“ For me, even if Akure/Ado road is awarded an hour before they go, I will be happy for it. I just want it done.

“Government is in continuum  and it’s the same government of APC, not an opposition where there can be the possibility of witch haunting the previous administration. That’s one of the advantages of handing over to someone from the same party.

“The new president can only step into the shoes of his predecessor and continue with his program and improve on it where necessary without any disruption,” Oluwajana said.

Top Story

2024 Budget: SERAP condemns Wike’s proposal to allocate N15bn for VP’s residence, N2.8bn for publicity



…Urges senate to reject wasteful spending in supplementary budget

…Calls on EFCC, ICPC to investigate alleged spending of previous allocated N7bn for VP’s residence construction

By Sodiq Adelakun

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has called on Senate President Godswill Akpabio to reject the plan by FCT Minister Nysom Wike to spend N15 billion on a residence for Vice President Kashim Shettima.

SERAP, in a letter dated December 2, 2023, and signed by deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare, urged Akpabio to exercise the Senate’s authority and constitutional oversight roles by rejecting the proposed N2.8 billion for publicity by the FCTA, as well as any other wasteful and unnecessary spending in the 2023 supplementary budget and the 2024 budget proposed by President Bola Tinubu.

SERAP has criticised the plan to allocate N15 billion for a new residence for the vice president, stating that it violates the Nigerian Constitution and the country’s international obligations regarding corruption and human rights.

The group has called on the Senate to ensure that Governor Wike’s proposed expenditure aligns with constitutional provisions and his oath of office.

SERAP has also emphasised that the National Assembly, including the Senate, has a constitutional duty to address Nigeria’s debt crisis by rejecting extravagant and unnecessary spending that caters to the personal comfort and lifestyles of public officials.

The letter read in part, “The National Assembly cannot continue to fail to fulfil its oversight function. The Senate must assert and demonstrate its independence by checking and rejecting all wasteful and unnecessary spending by the executive.

“It would be a grave violation of the public trust and constitutional oath of office for the Senate to approve the plan to spend N15 billion on ‘a befitting residence’ for the vice president at a time when the Federal Government is set to spend 30 percent (that is, N8.25 trillion) of the country’s 2024 budget of N27.5 trillion on debt service costs.

“The Federal Government also plans to borrow N7.8 trillion to fund the 2024 budget. Nigeria’s public debt stood at 87.4 trillion naira as of June with 38 percent owed to external creditors including multilateral and commercial lenders.

“Should the Senate and its leadership fail to stop wasteful and unnecessary spending and rein in government borrowing, SERAP would consider appropriate legal action to compel the National Assembly including the Senate to discharge its constitutional oversight roles in the public interest.

“SERAP urges you to refer to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) the allegations of corruption in the spending of the previously approved N7 billion for the construction of a new residence for the vice president.

“The ‘construction’ was reportedly abandoned but the whereabouts of the N7 billion remain unknown.

“The Senate has the constitutional competence and legitimacy to compel compliance with the Nigerian Constitution and the country’s international obligations.

“The Senate ought to assert its authority and vigorously exercise its constitutional oversight roles to check the apparently wasteful and unnecessary spending by Mr Wike especially given the growing debt crisis and the indiscriminate borrowing by the government.

“It is a travesty and a fundamental breach of the lawmakers’ fiduciary duties for the National Assembly to allow the executive to use the national budget as a tool to satisfy the comfort and lifestyle of public officials.

“Nigerians have a right to honest and faithful performance by their public officials including lawmakers, as public officials owe a fiduciary duty to the general citizenry.

“Cutting the N15 billion on ‘a befitting residence’ from the FTCA budget would be entirely consistent with your constitutional oath of office, and the letter and spirit of the Nigerian Constitution, as it would promote efficient, honest, and legal spending of public money.

“According to our information, the Minister of the FCT, Nysom Wike and the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) plan to spend N15 billion for the construction of ‘a befitting residence’ for the Vice-President, Mr Kashim Shettima.

“The plan is contained in the N67 billion FCT supplementary budget which President Bola Tinubu had on Tuesday transmitted to the National Assembly for approval.

“SERAP notes that Mr Wike proposed plan to spend N15 billion on a new residence for the vice president despite the recent allocation of N2.5 billion for the renovation of the current residence of the VP in the federal government’s supplementary budget already passed by the National Assembly and signed by President Tinubu.

“The House of Representatives has reportedly approved the plan to spend N15 billion on ‘a befitting residence’ for the vice president.

“The National Assembly has also approved another N3 billion for the renovation of the vice president’s residence in Lagos State. Mr Wike also plans to spend N2.8 billion on publicity for the FCTA.

“The proposed plan to spend 15 billion on a ‘a befitting residence’ for the vice president is different from the N100 billion for the FCT contained in the federal government supplementary budget.

“SERAP notes that the Federal Government has also budgeted N8 billion on the two official residences of President Tinubu in Abuja and Lagos.

“On top of the planned spending of N15 billion on ‘a befitting residence’ for the vice president, billions of naira have been allocated for the purchase of cars for the Villa and the Office of the First Lady.

“Section 14(2)(b) of the Nigerian Constitution of 1999 [as amended] provides that, ‘the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government.

“Under Section 16(1)(a)(b), the National Assembly including the Senate has the obligations to ‘harness the resources of the nation and promote national prosperity and an efficient, a dynamic and self-reliant economy’, and to ‘secure the maximum welfare, freedom and happiness of every citizen.’

“Under sections 59(2) and 299 of the Nigerian Constitution, the National Assembly including the Senate has legislative powers over money bills including the proposed N15 billion, and other wasteful and unnecessary spending by the Federal Government.”

Continue Reading

Top Story

FIRS grants waiver on penalties, interests on outstanding tax liabilities till December 31



The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has granted a full waiver on accumulated penalties and interests for outstanding tax liabilities.

Chairman of the revenue service, Zacch Adedeji, made the decision known in a notice personally signed by him and made available to newsmen through his Special Adviser on Media, Dare Adekanmbi.

The agency imposes penalties and interests for failure by companies to fulfil their tax obligation as and when due as stipulated in extant tax laws.

Adedeji said the forgiveness of piled up penalties and interests was “in recognition of the challenges that many taxpayers have faced in settling their outstanding tax liabilities.”

According to him, the concession also syncs with the commitment of President Bola Tinubu to support businesses to flourish.

He explained that full payment of outstanding original tax liabilities without interest on or before the 31st of December this year must be done by companies wishing to benefit from the peculiar concession.

“Taxpayers are advised that the waiver of interest is subject to the full settlement of outstanding principal on or before 31 December, 2023.

“Please note that the full penalty and interest shall be reinstated after the expiration of this one-off concession window where the outstanding undisputed liability remains fully or partially unpaid.

“FIRS appreciates all taxpayers who have been diligent in complying with their tax obligations as and when due, while seeking their continued support and cooperation for a more responsive and robust tax system,” Adedeji said.

Continue Reading

Top Story

UBA bags African Bank of the Year, eight other awards at The Bankers Award in London



United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc has bagged the African Bank of the Year at the Bankers Awards 2023, organised by The Banker Magazine, a publication of Financial Times of London, the world’s leading business newspaper.

This is as the Bank also clinched eight other awards across its subsidiaries solidifying its position as the leading financial institution on the African continent.

The Bank’s subsidiaries also emerged as the Bank of the Year in eight of the 20 countries where it operates in Africa. The winning subsidiaries are UBA Cameroon, UBA Chad, UBA Ghana, UBA Cote d’Ivoire, UBA Mozambique, UBA Congo,  UBA Sierra Leone, and UBA Tanzania, underscoring the bank’s dominance and impact across diverse African markets. It is noteworthy that this would be the second time in the past three years that the Bank has won the regional award as the best bank in Africa, as it had emerged winner in 2021.

UBA’s Group Managing Director, Oliver Alawuba, who received the awards on behalf of the bank, expressed his gratitude and excitement about the awards, and said the recognitions come as a reassurance that the bank is on track in its goal of consolidating its leadership position in Africa, and creating superior value for its stakeholders.

“UBA is honoured to be named the Bank of the Year in these eight countries and to receive the overall Award for Africa. This accomplishment is a testament to the hard work, dedication, and innovative spirit of the entire UBA team. We remain committed to delivering top-notch banking services that positively impact the lives of our customers across the continent.”

Continuing, Alawuba said, “We have our millions of customers across the globe and our many thousands of staff to thank for this. They are the very reason why we keep winning and receiving these accolades.”

The Banker Awards is widely recognised as a benchmark for banking excellence globally, and UBA’s multiple victories underscore the institution’s commitment to providing exceptional financial services and superior financial intermediation on the continent. As Africa’s Bank of the Year, UBA has demonstrated its ability to navigate the complexities of the African banking landscape and emerge as a leading force in driving economic growth and financial inclusion.

Speaking earlier about UBA’s consistent excellence in the financial services sector across the continent which has earned the bank great accolades overtime, Editor of The Banker, Joy Macknight, said that as always, “UBA remains a clear winner across a wide range of criteria, having performed impressively across its footprint with a strong financial performance across most of its markets.

“In a year of strong competition among the continent’s major banking groups, UBA has gained the edge on its rivals to win the Bank of the Year award for Africa for the 2nd time in three years. Congratulations. The award recognises the bank’s strength across Africa, including many of its most competitive markets,” Macknight stated.

Since 1926, the Bank of the Year awards has been celebrating the best of global banking and is regarded as the industry standard for banking excellence.

Just recently, UBA won the 2023 FMDQ Gold Awards in three Categories including the Best FX Liquidity Provider,  Dealing Institution of the Year and Best Money Market Liquidity Provider. This recognition is a testament to UBA’s impressive capital strength and capacity to provide liquidity to the Nigerian financial market even in the face of harsh economic realities. Despite the headwinds, UBA Group has consistently maintained its position as Nigeria’s leading financial institution.

In June, the banking group announced impressive half-year financial results, and further increased the performance in Quarter 3, 2023, with profit before tax (PBT) soared to N502.01 billion, Shareholders’ Funds standing strong at N1.778 trillion, and total assets, reaching N16.24 trillion.

These outstanding figures not only reflect UBA’s institutional strength, but also demonstrate its position as a corporate role model in Nigeria and across Africa.

United Bank for Africa Plc is a leading Pan-African financial institution, offering banking services to more than thirty-five (35) million customers, across 1,000 business offices and customer touch points in 20 African countries. With presence in New York, London, Paris, and Dubai, UBA is connecting people and businesses across Africa through retail, commercial and corporate banking, innovative cross-border payments and remittances, trade finance and ancillary banking services.

Continue Reading