…Seeks amendment of 2022 supplementary budget
…I am aware of your pains — President Tinubu
…House to deliberate on request today — Abass
By Moses Adeniyi
As part of the measures to cushion the adverse effect of the discontinuation of payment of subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), popularly called petrol, President Bola Tinubu is seeking approval from the National Assembly (NASS) the sum of N500billion for palliative measures.
This move follows several calls for palliative measures to be put in place by organisations such as the United Nations, Lagos Chambers of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and other stakeholders to President Tinubu.
The President yesterday wrote to the House of Representatives, requesting the approval of N500 billion to cushion the effects of fuel subsidy removal.
Consequently, the President who is demanding a speedy consideration of the request, is seeking the amendment of the 2022 supplementary appropriation act to accommodate the funds.
House to deliberate on request today — Abass
In line with the demand of the President requesting speedy consideration, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt.Hon Tajudeen Abbas said on Wednesday that the House will consider the President’s request at plenary on Thursday after reading the letter containing the President’s request during Wednesday’s plenary.
The letter titled, “Request for the amendment of the 2022 appropriation act,” reads in part: “I write to request the approval of the House of Representatives an amendment of the 2022 appropriation act in accordance with the law.
“The request has become necessary in other to source funds to provide necessary palliatives to cushion the effect of the recent removal of fuel subsidy in Nigeria.
“The sum of N500 billion only has been extracted from the 2022 appropriation act of N819.536 for the provision of palliatives to Nigerians to cushion the effect of fuel subsidy removal. I expect that the House will speedily consider the request.”
I am aware of your pains — President Tinubu
Meanwhile, President Tinubu has appealed to Nigerians to wait patiently for the gains of the removal of subsidy, promising to come up with palliatives that will put smiles on the faces of the majority.
President Tinubu who admitted that he is aware that Nigerians are suffering from the impacts of the removal of petrol subsidy, assured that the savings from the new terms will benefit the greater number of Nigerians against the few he described as “smugglers and exploiters.”
The President, who made the promise in a meeting with the Class of 1999 Governors at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, said, “On the subsidy removal thank you for the support. And I understand people are suffering. Yet, there can be no childbirth without pain.
“The joy of childbirth is the big relief of the pain. Nigeria is reborn. It is a rebirth of our Country to face our problem, to bring the savings to benefit the largest number of people in the Country and not a few smugglers and exploiters. Thank you for your support.”
Recall that President Tinubu following the outcry which trailed the announcement of the removal of subsidy on PMS on May 29, 2023, mitigate the impact of subsidy removal on Nigerians, had on Wednesday 07 June, directed the National Ecomomic Council (NEC) led by the Vice President, Kashim Shettima to begin the process of providing palliatives to cushion the impacts of the removal of subsidy which informed astronomic hike in the pump price of fuel.
Tinubu had given the directive when he met with some major oil marketers led by Ogun State governor, Dapo Abiodun at the State House in Abuja.
In a further development, the National Economic Council (NEC) in mid June, as part of its first deliberations upon inauguration, in Abuja, said it considered recommendations from the National Salaries Income and Wages Commission to pay N702billion as cost of living allowance to civil servants as part of intervention plans to mitigate the effects of the removal of subsidy on petroleum.
President Tinubu had earlier directed State Governors to concretise various palliative measures to ease the attendant hardship from the petrol subsidy removal.
Tinubu in an effort to justify the removal of subsidy in the aftermath of his decision declared in his inaugural speech on May 29 had stated that “subsidy is an elephant that was going to bring Nigeria to its knees.”
“I am grateful that you are paying attention to what I have been doing.
“You have paid attention to the subsidy removal. Why should we in good heart and sense, feed smugglers and be Father Christmas to neighbouring countries, even though they say not every day is Christmas?
“The elephant that was going to bring Nigeria to its knees is the subsidy. A country that cannot pay salaries and we say we have potential to encourage ourselves.
“I think we did the right thing. We are all ears. We are ready to listen at any given time. I promise you an open-door policy and that is the way I will go. That open door policy is for you to call me and send to me at any given time any concern that you might have.
“We may not have it right 100 per cent of the time but we must get it right 90 percent of the time for this country,” Tinubu had said in June at a meeting with the National Council of Traditional Rulers of Nigeria (NCTRN) at Aso Rock,” He said.
Why Tinubu’s administration prioritises investment in human capital — Shettima
Vice-President Kashim Shettima says President Bola Tinubu’s administration is prioritising investment in human capital and related areas because the greatest asset of the country is its people.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Communications, Office of the Vice-President, Mr Stanley Nkwocha, in a statement on Monday said Shettima stated this at an event in Abuja.
Shettima spoke at the Barewa Old Boys Association (BOBA) Annual Lecture and Awards ceremony.
The theme of the lecture was, “Expand the horizon for a deeper understanding of the opportunities and challenges at the meeting point between the citizen and the State.”
Represented by the Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, Office of the Vice-President, Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, Shettima commended the organisers for the choice of theme for the lecture.
The vice-president said that the direction Nigeria was heading would be determined by the quality of the country’s human assets.
According to him, Nigeria is burdened by its past and current challenges which will take huge efforts to overcome.
Shettima said, “We are also beckoned by greatness for which we have been well prepared by our huge endowments in human and other resources.
“The difference in which direction we go will be located in the quality of our human assets.
“The choices we make today will be critical in determining whether we just continue to grow a population, or we build a strong economy to support and add quality to the life of a huge citizenry.
“Because we have invested in developing the quality of our population through good and relevant education, health services, and informed access to developing opportunities in technology and growing our natural resources.”
Shettima, who stressed the need for good governance and a secured country, sought the support of Nigerians.
He assured that in return, the Tinubu administration would strive to build a less challenging economy.
Shettima added, “We have to ensure good governance and security as priorities, not least because these are vital to inclusive development, the growth and development of the democratic process.
“From where we stand, Nigeria has no choice than to think and act boldly. We need the support and trust of all Nigerians.
“In return, we have pledged to lead the nation towards building a less challenging economy, in spite of the current hardships which we wish were avoidable.
“Nigeria’s greatest asset is its people. We have to rediscover and teach our young wholesome values like service, honesty and hard work. As an administration, we have very clear priorities we believe must be achieved.”
He expressed optimism that the nation would overcome its current challenges and “lay the foundations of sustainable growth and security under President Tinubu’s watch.”
“We have to compete with what we have. If we will win the battle to be a great nation, we cannot afford to be discouraged by setbacks and limitations imposed by our past and current circumstances.
“We are a resilient and resourceful people, but we have to put these qualities to use in building a strong economy and country our young will be proud of.”
PDP heads to Supreme Court to challenge Sanwo-Olu’s victory
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Lagos State has refused to concede defeat even as it has resolved to challenge the ruling of the Court of Appeal, affirming Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu as winner of the March 18 governorship election.
The Lagos State PDP Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Hakeem Amode, disclosed this in an interview on Monday in Lagos.
Recall that the party had earlier said that it would review the ruling of the Appellate Court before taking further action on the matter.
According to Amode, justice has not been properly served in the PDP’s governorship candidate, Dr. Olajide Adediran’s (popularly called Jandor) petitions against Sanwo-Olu’s re-election.
“We are challenging the ruling of the Appeal Court, affirming Sanwo-Olu as winner at the Supreme Court. In a couple of days, our petitions will get to the Supreme Court,” Amode said.
He said that the justices of the Court of Appeal had failed the party by not seeing the merit in Adediran’s petition.
“Looking at some of the Appeal Court’s rulings, there have been so many inconsistencies in its stand on pre-election matters.
“We, as a party, feel justice is yet to be served in our petitions against the outcome of the March 18 gubernatorial election in this state.
“We have a strong belief in the Supreme Court to look at the crux of the matter and make a statement that will serve as precedent.
“The party and our candidate are not deterred; we have reviewed the Nov. 15 Appeal Court’s ruling and decided to pursue justice at the Supreme Court,” Amode said.
The Court of Appeal sitting in Lagos on Nov. 15 dismissed issues raised by the PDP’s Adediran and the Labour Party candidate, Mr Gbadebo Rhodes-Viviour, against the judgment of the election tribunal.
The appellate court dismissed Adediran’s 34 grounds of appeal against Sanwo-Olu’s victory.
On the alleged non-qualification of Sanwo-Olu and his running mate, Dr Obafemi Hamzat, the court had ruled that it could not litigate the issue because it was a pre-election matter.
It held that the appellants failed to prove the allegation that Sanwo-Olu forged his West Africa Examination Council (WAEC) certificate.
The tribunal had earlier, on Sept. 25, dismissed Adediran and Rhodes-Viviour’s petition against Sanwo-Olu’s victory.
An appeal to the Supreme Court should be filed within 14 days from the date of the ruling, and the apex court then has 60 days to hear the case and make its ruling.
FEC pegs $77.96 crude benchmark, N750/$ exchange rate for 2024 appropriation bill
…Approves $1bn support loan from AfDB
…Tinubu to present budget to N’Assembly today
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has pegged its 2024 projections for crude oil and the dollar to naira exchange rate at $77.96 and N750 respectively.
This new projection is a deviation from the earlier projection announced by Atiku Bagudu, Minister of budget and planning in October.
Bagudu had earlier stated that the FEC established a reference price of $73.96 per barrel for crude oil and an exchange rate of N700/$ as key assumptions for budgetary planning.
“Now, it was presented on the background of the commendable measures that have been taken since June in order to restore macroeconomic stability by particularly the deregulation of petroleum prices, in which we maintained that subsidies are gone and indeed the regulation of the foreign exchange market,” he said.
Nigerian NewsDirect however gathered that the projected crude oil price benchmark by the Federal Government is below the $94.91 projection of the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) and the $100 a barrel forecast by Goldman Sachs for next year.
This raises questions to the projections of the government to avoid a huge deficit by 2024 when the budget is being implemented.
Speaking with journalists after the FEC on Monday approved the 2024 budget, Bagudu revealed that the new budget is N1.5 trillion higher, than the initial N26 trillion earlier approved by the Council before the passage of the Medium Term Framework and Fiscal Policy document, by the National Assembly.
He disclosed that the Council also approved a revised Medium Term Economic Framework and Fiscal Policy document which will be represented to the National Assembly alongside the 2024 Appropriation Bill, describing the budget as “a process until it is signed into law.”
The council also approved a concessionary budget support loan of $1b from the African Development Bank ( AFDB).
Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Mr Wale Edun, made this known.
Edun said that the Presidential Fiscal Policy and Tax Reforms committee headed by Taiwo Oyedele, briefed the Council on its recent report presented to the President.
He noted that the committee has affected the economy, helping to boost the fiscal position of the government and assisting to increase tax revenue to GDP, to 18 percent in Nigeria, from the current 7.5 percent.
Meanwhile, Nigerian NewsDirect gathered that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu will present the 2024 budget to a joint session of the National Assembly on Wednesday barring any last minute changes.
The Secretary, Research and Information Department at the National Assembly, Dr Ali Umoru, confirmed this to journalists.
It was gathered that the number and category of persons to be given access into the National Assembly Complex will be restricted on the day due to space constraints and security.
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