Connect with us

/">

BIG STORY

Bad Roads: Federal Government Releases N650bn For Capital Projects

Avatar

Published

on

The Federal Government said on Wednesday that road construction and repairs under the Ministry of Works and Housing were a significant beneficiary of N650bn so far released for capital projects in the 2019 budget.

It also named the ministries of transportation and power among the biggest beneficiaries of the funds released.

The Minister of Finance/Budget/National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, gave the figure in Abuja, while speaking with State House Correspondents after the meeting of the Federal Executive Council presided over by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo.

The Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, had said the nation’s roads were not as bad as they were portrayed.

He also said poor funding was the reason road projects were not executed at a faster pace by the government.

On Wednesday, Ahmed was asked to respond to the excuse given by Fashola. She said, “It is true that we are not able to fund the budget 100 per cent, but whenever we release funds for capital projects, the Ministry of Power, the Ministry of Works and Housing are always the priority and the Ministry of Transportation.”

Indeed, the finance minister declared that about N650bn had been released by the government for capital projects this year.

“In October, when the President was submitting the budget to the National Assembly, he indicated that he had given a directive that we should release N600bn for capital expenditure. We already have more than that. The target for us is to be able to release up to N900bn by December. But right now, we are at about N650bn capital release.”

She added that the government also allocated N247bn to Fashola’s ministry in the 2020 budget.

“It gives me an opportunity to state that the Minister of Works and Housing has a proposed budget of N247bn for the year 2020 and the greatest component of this budget is the fixing of Nigerian roads,” Ahmed said.

She added, “Our fiscal space is tight; resources are limited because revenues are underperforming, but at the time we have funds to release, the highest proportion goes to power, transport, works, and housing.”

Ahmed recalled that the government introduced measures to partner the private sector on-road funding and had issued Sukuk bonds since 2017.

She said, “We have introduced some measures that have seen private sector participants getting involved in road construction. One of these measures is the Road Infrastructure Task Credit Scheme that Mr President approved by Executive Order early this year. So far, we have 17 companies that are carrying out 19 roads (projects) across the six geo-political zones.

“I also want to remind you that for the past two years, we have issued Sukuk bonds. In 2017, it was for the construction of 25 roads. In 2018, 23 roads; there is also another one that is being processed.”

The minister disagreed with the notion that most of the bad roads in the country were federal roads, insisting that the majority of bad roads belonged to the various state governments.

“We have a lot of roads in the country but not every road you see is the responsibility of the Federal Government. The major arterial roads are the ones that are the responsibility of the Federal Government.

“The majority of the roads in the country are within the purview and responsibility of states as well as local governments”, she added.

Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

BIG STORY

Senate Passes Anti-Sexual Harassment Bill

Peter Okunoren

Published

on

The Senate on Tuesday passed the bill on sexual harassment in tertiary institutions after reading it for the third time.

The bill titled: ‘A Bill for an Act to prevent, prohibit and redress Sexual Harassment of students in tertiary educational institutions and for matters concerned therewith, 2019’, was sponsored by the Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, and 106 other senators.

The passage of the bill followed the consideration of the report of the Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters – which was in charge of reviewing the bill and organising a public hearing on the legislation.

The bill was reintroduced in the Senate on October 9 and scaled second reading on November 6.

The bill, with 25 clauses, seeks to promote and protect ethical standards in tertiary institutions. It also seeks to protect students against sexual harassment as well as prevent sexual harassment of students by educators in tertiary institutions.

The bill also proposes up to 14 years jail term for offenders.

The bill was reintroduced to the Senate two days after a BBC documentary exposed two lecturers of the University of Lagos, and a lecturer of the University of Ghana for sexual harassment. The documentary sparked reactions from many Nigerians who described the issue as a norm in Nigerian universities.

During the public hearing, lecturers, students, academic bodies and civil organisations raised concerns and proposed amendments to the bill.

One of such was the chairman of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, Biodun Ogunyemi, who described the legislation as biased.

He said the bill will stigmatise lecturers in universities.

In his presentation, chairman of the committee, Bamidele Opeyemi, said sexual harassment has been made an offence by removing mutual consent as a defence in the prosecution of sexual harassment cases in tertiary educational institutions.

The bill, he said, seeks to maintain the relationship that exists between educators and students with the aim of making tertiary institutions conducive centres of learning.

“This bill seeks to tame the hydra-headed monster in the name of sexual harassment which has become a pandemic in our tertiary institutions.”

The Senate, thereafter, resolved into the Committee of the Whole to consider and pass the bill.

In his remark, the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, said the bill is an important and landmark legislation that the ninth Senate has passed.

“We have to protect our daughters, sisters, mothers from sexual predators. From the recommendations, we wanted a fair means of offence that somebody is accused of.

“We want tertiary institutions to be a safe and peaceful learning environment for everyone,” he said.

The bill will be transmitted to the House of Representatives for concurrence and then sent to the president for assent.

Continue Reading

BIG STORY

COVID-19: No More Meals Aboard Domestic Flights — Aviation Minister

Avatar

Published

on

A new flight rule has banned meals aboard domestic flights. The Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, spelt out the rule during the Presidential Task Force, PTF, on COVID-19 briefing in Abuja, on Monday.

Sirika said food would no longer be served on domestic flights when operations resume, explaining that the decision is part of efforts to control the spread of coronavirus on flights.

His words: “For domestic operations, there will be no food. No food will be given to reduce contamination level and we will allow you to come with your mask.

“Like the MD of FAAN said the other day, we see it as your private thing. So, you have to bring your mask, they don’t have to be the fancy ones.”

On how the cabin crew came into existence, he said the cabin crew’s job was not to offer tea to passengers.

He said: “They came into the industry because of people who were getting air-sick so we thought we would be putting nurses in the airplane to look after those people who are sick. “Since then, they metamorphosed and became something new.

“They want to now give you tea because many people don’t get sick anymore. They will give you coffee, offer you food and drinks, and so on.

“So the main purpose of the cabin staff is to ensure that we all remain safe for your welfare and your health.”

Continue Reading

BIG STORY

BREAKING: Buhari Suspends EFCC Boss, Ibrahim Magu, For Alleged Money Laundering, Gross Misconduct

Avatar

Published

on

Ibrahim Magu has been suspended as the acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

This development comes a day after he was arrested and detained by security operatives in Abuja.

He had appeared before a panel probing allegations of gross misconduct against him.

Mr Magu spent last night in a police cell at the Force Criminal Investigation Department Headquarters in Area 10, Garki, Abuja, after he was quizzed on Monday for about six hours by a Presidential panel, chaired by a former President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ayo Salami.

It was gathered that Magu was detained at the FCID after the panel grilled him. The media aide of the anti-graft boss, Tony Amokedo, told the journalists that he is not aware of the suspension of his boss.

The panel was constituted by President Muhammadu Buhari to probe various allegations leveled against Magu following a petition by the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, and the Department of State Service (DSS). Malami’s memo allegedly accused Magu of diversion of recovered loot.

The memo was said to contain 22 allegations against the embattled EFCC chairman. But Malami through his spokesman, Dr Umar Gwandu, said he had no knowledge of Magu’s arrest. “You are just informing me now,” Gwandu said when told that Malami had reportedly written a memo in June 2020, which indicted Magu.

“I am also not aware of any memo written to the president on the EFCC chairman,” he said.

One of our sources said the Salami panel had “quizzed Magu” who has been the acting chairman of the EFCC since when he was first nominated for the job by President Buhari in 2015.

“I am sure Justice Salami was selected to chair the panel because he will not compromise.

“This is a serious setback for the administration’s anti-corruption war.

“As it is now, Magu is a loner. “He may be asked to hand over to the most senior officer in the commission while the investigation continued.

“I don’t see him surviving this,” the source told one of our correspondents.

Another source told the Daily Trust that “it took a long time before President Buhari gave the green light for Magu to be interrogated.”

According to the source, “What happened yesterday was a tough decision…It was at the instance of the president and he (Buhari) agreed that Magu should be asked questions.

“This was based on the petitions and facts made available to him.

“Magu is the face of the anti-corruption war of the president but the allegations are heavy.

“So, I can assure you that it was a tough decision taken by the president in order to save his image and that of his administration,” he said. It was not clear last night whether Magu was allowed to go home after he faced the panel or the DSS took him into custody.

Continue Reading




JoIn Us On Facebook


Live COVID-19 statistics for
World
Confirmed
11,619,375
Recovered
6,301,975
Deaths
538,043
Last updated: 1 minute ago






Most Popular

COVID-19 LIVE UPDATE

BE SAFE, STAY AT HOME