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Presidency Backs Dogara, Says 2016 Budget Not Padded.

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The Presidency on Tuesday said the 2016 budget, which President Muhammadu Buhari signed into law, was not padded.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Senator Ita Enang; and the Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters, Mr. Ismail Kawu, made the Presidency’s position on the lingering crisis in the House of Representatives known when they appeared before the leadership of the ruling All Progressives Congress at the party’s headquarters.

They told the party leaders that they were at the headquarters to make the Presidency’s position on the matter known.

But members of the Transparency Group, a group of lawmakers backing the former Chairman, House Committee on Appropriation, Abdulmumin Jibrin, faulted the Presidency, insisting that the allegation of padding should be investigated.

Jibrin had accused the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, and some officers of the House of padding the 2016 budget.

The APC had intervened in the matter last week, as its leadership separately met with Dogara and Jibrin. The efforts, however, failed.

Enang, while addressing journalists after the meeting on Tuesday, said, “I am here on the invitation of the APC leadership with my colleague (Kawu) to answer questions on the 2016 Appropriation Act.

“We have given explanation on every issue. There is nothing, to our knowledge, like padding of the budget. The budget, as assented to by the President, is the budget passed by the National Assembly and it is being executed.

“For now, the party is handling it as a domestic issue; a party issue. All of us have been told not to make public comments because the matter is still under consideration.

“We will not want to go into the details so that we will not breach the party’s directive or pre-empt the outcome of the party’s probe.’’

When asked if the Presidency had cleared Dogara of padding the budget, Enang said the Presidency would not “draw conclusions.”

He said, “I will say we came here as persons who work as liaison officers on the budget. The party wanted us to make clarifications and we have made those clarifications.

“We will not draw any conclusion. Please, let us not go too far by mentioning any office. Let it be that two of us have appeared before the party.”

When asked again if the Presidency’s denial of the padding of the budget had dismissed Jibrin’s allegation, Enang stated that there was nothing like padding in the legislature.

He said the legislature had the constitutional duty to amend the Appropriation Bill sent to it by the President.

“In all our years of legislative engagement, we have yet to find in the legislative lexicon the word, ‘padding.’ When the budget is presented before the legislature, the legislature is to consider the budget and pass as it deems fit.

“So, what the legislature passes becomes the Appropriation Act upon assent. Therefore, any word which has yet to crystallise in legislative lexicon, you cannot hear us mention it.”

The Transparency Group, however, insisted on investigation, urging Enang to advise President Buhari appropriately.

BIG STORY

UBA Takes Centre Stage At 2024 ECOWAS Mining Forum In Cotonou, Benin As Elumelu Gives Keynote Address

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Africa’s Global Bank, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, has been announced as the official sponsor of the 4th edition of the ECOWAS Mining and Petroleum Forum (ECOMOF 2024) scheduled to take place at the Palais des Congrès in Cotonou, Benin from February 22 to February 24, 2024.

The regional event is expected to see a large gathering of key players and stakeholders in the mining and petroleum sectors of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and as the financial institution of choice, with presence in 20 African countries and active involvement in major continental development projects, UBA is the preferred partner for the event, underlining the bank’s commitment to the growth of mining and Petroleum industry in the sub-region but to the whole not African economic development.

UBA Group Chairman, Tony Elumelu, would give the keynote address during the opening ceremony of this all-important event.

Elumelu who doubles as Chairman of Transcorp Group, with extensive interests in energy and power, will be speaking on the theme: “Geo-extractive Resources and Technologies: what pooling strategies for Value Creation in West Africa”

His speech is expected to highlight UBA’s increasing effort to support and develop the African continent through strategic investments in the key sectors of mining and petroleum.

Under the esteemed leadership of the President of the Republic of Benin, His Excellency, Patrice Talon, and the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and current President of ECOWAS, His Excellency Mr. Bola Tinubu, UBA Group will at the forum aim to restate its commitment towards supporting economic and social development across the continent.

The focus of ECOMOF 2024 underscores the significance of transforming the mining and oil sectors into economic pillars by formulating attractive policies for investors, essential for the sectors’ substantial contribution to the Gross Domestic Products (GDP) of ECOWAS member states.

The Transnational Corporation Group (Transcorp Plc) – a diversified conglomerate with strategic investments in various sectors, including power and energy – will also actively participate in the forum.

Key officials from UBA Group and Transcorp Plc, including the Chief Executive Officer UBA Africa, Abiola Bawuah; UBA’s Group Head, Corporate and Energy Bank, Ebele Ogbue, and President/ Chief Executive Officer, Transcorp Group, Owen Omogiafo will be actively involved in discussions and panels on the sidelines of the event.

Anticipated to attract over 2,000 participants from diverse sectors, including representatives from mining and oil industries, government officials, international and national investors, industry experts, ECOWAS delegates, and international organizations, ECOMOF 2024 promises to be a significant platform for collaborative dialogue and partnership building.

United Bank for Africa is one of the largest employers in the financial sector on the African continent, with 25,000 employees’ group wide and serving over 35 million customers globally. Operating in 20 African countries and in the United Kingdom, the United States of America, France and the United Arab Emirates, UBA provides retail, commercial and institutional banking services, leading financial inclusion and implementing cutting edge technology.

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JUST IN: FG Working To Reduce Rising Food Prices Inherited From Past Government — Finance Minister Wale Edun

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Wale Edun, Nigeria’s Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, said that President Bola Tinubu’s administration inherited a surge in food and general commodity prices from the previous government.

He, however emphasized the government’s commitment to reducing food prices and tackling the nation’s high inflation rate.

Speaking at the Public Wealth Management Conference in Abuja on Tuesday, February 20, the finance minister acknowledged the hardships faced by Nigerians and outlined measures taken to alleviate their suffering.

He revealed that, as part of these interventions, the government has released 42,000 metric tons of grains, with an additional 60,000 metric tons scheduled for release soon.

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JUST IN: State Police Bill Passes Second Reading At House Of Representatives

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A bill proposing the establishment state police has passed second reading at the house of representatives.

Sponsored by Benjamin Kalu, deputy speaker of the house, and 14 others, the bill proposes to transfer the term “police” in the 1999 constitution from the exclusive legislative list to the concurrent legislative list.

The bill, which comprises 18 clauses, seeks to amend sections 34, 35, 39, 42, 84, 89, 129 153, 197, 214, 215 and 216 of the constitution.

 

More to come…

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