The Presidency on Friday insisted that members of the National Assembly deliberately distorted the 2018 Budget in order to increase their allocation for constituency projects.
The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, said this in a statement made available to journalists.
Adesina was reacting to the response of the National Assembly justifying its distortion of the 2018 Budget.
He said the Executive arm of government was surprised that with an additional N170bn available for the lawmakers for constituency projects and another N100bn provided for the same purpose in the budget, they still felt it was necessary to cut allocations to important national projects, and thereby distorting the budget.
The statement read, “Throughout the budget consideration process, the executive, through the Ministry of Budget and National Planning, was in touch with the National Assembly. The executive was approached by the National Assembly who indicated that they intended to increase the benchmark price by $5, from $45 to $50.
“Out of the $5 increase the National Assembly informed the Executive that they intended to utilise US$2 (amounting to about N170bn) for projects selected by themselves. They asked the Executive to suggest important projects that could be accommodated with the funds arising from the balance of $3.
“After some consideration, the Executive was of the view that an increase in the benchmark price of crude oil to $50 was not unrealistic and the President decided to accept this in the spirit of compromise required for a successful budget exercise.
“The Executive had, in that spirit, suggested that from the additional funds arising out of the $3 increase, $1.25 from the increase should not be appropriated as expenditure, but utilised to reduce the deficit in the budget. The Executive therefore restricted itself to submitting, for the consideration of the National Assembly, important items that could be funded from $1.75 of the $3 increase. NASS eventually raised the benchmark price to $51, apparently to accommodate the additional allocations to Health and NDDC.
“The Executive is therefore surprised that with an additional sum of N170bn available for the National Assembly to spend on Constituency Projects, together with the sum of N100bn, already provided for in the Budget, that the National Assembly should feel it necessary to cut allocations to important national projects, and thereby distort the Budget, in order to further increase their allocation for Constituency projects. How much is enough!”
Zenith Bank Dominates Trading On NSE
Zenith International Bank on Wednesday dominated the activity chart on the nation’s bourse, accounting for 64.04 percent of the total volume of shares traded.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the bank sold 288.27 million shares valued at N6.68 billion.
Consequently, investors bought and sold 450.14 million shares worth N9.39 billion achieved in 2,858 deals, representing an increase of 200.79 percent.
This was in contrast with a turnover of 149.65 million shares valued at N2.79 billion transacted in 3,063 deals on Tuesday.
Further analysis of the activity chart shows that FBN Holdings came with an exchange of N40.95 million shares worth N303.49 million.
Guaranty Trust Bank traded 33.74 million shares valued at N1.26 billion, while FCMB Group transacted 11.24 million shares worth N18.56 million.
Access Bank sold a total of 9.39 million shares valued at N74.14 million.
However, the market indices recorded marginal loss, dropping by 0.14 percent due to price depreciation.
Specifically, the All-Share Index dipped 45.73 points or 0.14 percent to close at 32,108.30 against 32,154.03 recorded on Tuesday.
Also, the market capitalization which opened at N11.738 trillion shed N16 billion or 0.14 percent to close at N11.722 trillion.
Seplat topped the losers’ chart, dropping by N2 to close at N638 per share.
Lafarge Africa trailed with a loss of N1.70 to close at N15.70, Presco declined by N1.25 to close at N64.50 per share.
Dangote Sugar Refinery depreciated by 45k to close at N13, while Guaranty Trust Bank shed 25k to close at N37.05 per share.
Conversely, Nigerian Breweries led the gainers’ table, growing by 50k to close at N81.50 per share.
Fidson followed with a gain of 40k to close at N4.90, while Redstar appreciated by 30k to close at N4.50 per share.
United Bank for Africa added 20k to close at N8, while Zenith Bank increased by 15k to close at N24 per share.
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Union Bank’s Edu360; Fostering New Collaborations and Partnerships In Education
Union Bank recently held the first edition of its annual education fair, edu360 in Lagos, drawing stakeholders from across the education ecosystem including teachers, parents, school owners, investors, students and other key participants.
The event tagged “Investing in the Future”, took place at Harbour Point in Victoria Island and served as a platform for collaboration among the education sector stakeholders, with the goal of accelerating development and much-needed investment in the sector.
Speaking at the ceremony to mark the kick-off of the 2-day event, the Chief Executive Officer of Union Bank, Emeka Emuwa reiterated the Bank’s focus on education as a key driver of national development.
He said; “Edu360 is positioned to be the leading education platform in Nigeria, facilitating collaboration among stakeholders within the sector. We firmly believe that the private sector, working closely with the government and other stakeholders, can play a critical role in fast-tracking solutions to move the educational sector forward.
At Union Bank, we are committed to identifying sectors that are vital to shaping a better, sustainable future for Nigerians.”
The Bank’s Head of Commercial Banking, Adekunle Sonola and other members of the Board of Directors were also in attendance along with Nigeria’sfirst female Minister of Industry, Chief (Dr.) Mrs. Nike Akande; the Minister of Education, represented by the Vice Chancellor of the University of Lagos, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe and the Governor of Lagos state represented by his Special Adviser on Education, Mr. Obafela Bank-Olemoh.
While delivering the keynote address, Dr. Modupe Olateju-Adefeso, Managing Director of The Education Partnership (TEP) Centre spoke extensively on the linkages between and education and national development, drawing examples from the health sector.
Over200 teachers from government and private owned schools benefited from free training sessions as part of Union Bank’s drive to upskill the workforce of the important sector. The teachers also received free teaching aids to support their teaching efforts.
There were also digital training sessions for parents and children courtesy Google in addition to Coding and Robotics classes. The fair also featured private workshops and seminars to address sensitive issues concerning raising well-adjusted children in today’s world.
Speakers at the panel discussions included Olympic gold medallist, Enefiok Udo-Obong; award-winning actress, Bikiya Graham Douglas; Special needs advocate, Angela Emuwa; Consultant psychiatrist, Dr. Yewande Oshodi and popular Nollywood actress and Producer, Kemi ‘Lala’ Akindoju
Over 70 exhibitors and partners including Google, Lego, Sage, Nestle, Simpli Foods, as well as leading schools in and around Lagos participated in the 2-day exhibition to showcase their goods and services.
Union Bank remains committed to supporting Nigeria’s growth by identifying and investing in sectors that are vital to shaping a better, more sustainable future for generations to come.
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