Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed has disclosed that most of the bad roads in Nigeria belong to the states.
The Details: According to the Nation, Ahmed argued that most bad roads in the country were within the jurisdiction of states. She made this statement after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting that held yesterday in Abuja.
She went further to state that the Federal Ministry of Works was the biggest beneficiaries of funding in the 2019 budget as it was adequately reimbursed for the purpose of roads rehabilitation in the country.
“So far, the sum of N650 billion had been released to fund capital projects,” she said. This figure, according to her is higher than the sum the President ordered to be released last month. She also promised that an extra N250 billion would be released for capital projects to bring the total sum to N900 billion by the end of the year.
Refuting the claim of the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola over the lack of finance to fund road repairs, Ahmed responded that the government had gone as far as issuing several Sukuk Bonds to cope with financial responsibilities associated with road construction.
The Minister said, “Works is always on the priority list; housing is always funded. Same is transportation and power, though we have revenue challenges.
“It allows me to state that the Minister of Works and Housing has a proposed budget of N247 billion for the year 2020 and the greatest component of this budget is the fixing of Nigerian roads.
“Indeed, 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 is always the priority and also the Ministry of Transport.
“Our fiscal space is tight, resources are limited because revenues are on the performing but at the time we have resources, funds to release, the highest proportion goes to Power, Transport, World and Housing. Also, we have introduced some measures that have seen private sector participants getting involved in road construction.”
Ahmed acknowledged that the government had not done enough to rehabilitate roads all over the country but still attributed most of the bad roads in the country to the states.
“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.
“Majority of the roads in the country are within the purview and responsibility of States as well as local governments.
“Have we done enough? No, not yet, that is why we are trying to do more including raising special funds to make sure that roads and such other infrastructure are being addressed,” she said.
Just in: Buhari suspends EFCC boss, Ibrahim Magu from office
The suspension follows the investigation of allegations of gross misconduct against him on Monday.
President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the suspension of the acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, from office. The suspension follows the investigation of allegations of gross misconduct against him on Monday.
According to available information, Magu was suspended to allow for probe into allegations against him.
The EFCC boss appeared before a presidential probe panel headed by retired Justice Ayo Salami, who is investigating the allegations against him.
Reps to investigate alleged illegal withdrawal of $1.05 billion from NLNG account
Gbajabiamila mandated the House to conduct a thorough investigation on activities of the dividends account.
The House of Representatives has concluded plans to investigate the alleged illegal withdrawal of $1.05 billion from Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) account by the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) without its knowledge and appropriation.
The decision by the lower chamber is on the heels of a unanimous adoption of a motion by the Minority Leader of the House, Ndudi Elumelu, during plenary session on Tuesday, July 7, 2020.
Going down memory lane, Elumelu recalled that the NLNG was incorporated as a limited liability company in 1989 with the aim of producing liquefied natural gas and natural gas liquids for export purposes which began in 1999.
He pointed out that the NLNG is jointly owned by the Federal Government, represented by the NNPC with a shareholding of 49% and Shell Gas with 25.6%, Total LNG Nigeria Ltd with 15% and ENI International with 10.4%.
The Minority leader said, “The dividends from the NLNG are supposed to be paid into the Consolidated Revenue Funds Account of the Federal Government and to be shared among the three tiers of government.’’
Going further in his motion, Elumelu said, “The NNPC who represents the government of Nigeria on the board of the NLNG had unilaterally without the required consultations with states and the mandatory appropriation from the National Assembly illegally tampered with the funds at the NLNG dividends account to the tune of 1.05 billion dollars thereby violating the nation’s appropriation law.
“There was no transparency in this extra-budgetary spending as only the Group Managing Director and the corporation’s Chief Financial Officer had the knowledge of how the 1.05 billion dollars was spent.’’
‘’There are no records showing the audit and recovery of accrued funds from the NLNG by the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation. Hence the need for a thorough investigation of the activities on the NLNG dividends account.”
In his ruling, the Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, mandated the House Committee on Public Account to conduct a thorough investigation on activities that had taken place on the dividends account.
Gbajabiamila mandated the committee to invite the management of the NNPC as well as that of the NLNG in the process and report back to the house in four weeks.
COVID-19: We may recommend lockdown to ensure Nigeria’s safety – PTF
PTF on COVID-19 on Monday, Mustapha warned that the deadly virus is still spreading at an alarming rate.
The Secretary to the Federal Government and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, disclosed yesterday that the PTF will not shy away from the possibility of another lockdown, adding that the PTF will recommend it to the President who will make the final decisions.
While speaking during the national daily briefing by the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 on Monday, Mustapha warned that the deadly virus is still spreading at an alarming rate.
“Therefore, we cannot afford to slow down and we must never compromise. Let us continue to learn from the history of pandemics by avoiding the mistakes of 1918.
“What happened in 1918 was very simple. During the Spanish Flu, it lasted for 2 years and in three waves, and during that period of time, 500 million people were infected, out of which they recorded fatalities of about 50 million persons. But the dangerous phase of the flu was the second phase,” Boss Mustapha said.
He added that the Spanish Flu lasted for 2 years of 1918 came in 3 waves, but the phase the most casualties were recorded was in the second phase. Adding that the impatience of people forced governments to lift lockdowns, and by the time the second wave arrived, millions died.
He acknowledged that the possibility of lockdown would not be popular with Nigerians, however, “but what will happen in the preceding weeks will determine”, citing rising cases in the United States after the holiday weekend and a the newly imposed lockdown in Madagascar despite developing its “herbal cure”.
“I believe as the days and weeks ahead will present, we will not speculate what will happen in the future but we will do everything within our mandate to ensure the safety and protection of the people of Nigeria. If that will recommend a prescription of a lockdown, this task force will not shy away from its responsibilities.”
He added that the recommendations of lockdown would be passed to President Buhari who will decide in the next 2 weeks.
“The PTF urged Nigerians to be vigilant, citing global developments in coronavirus in the past week from China to the United States.
“We urge that vigilance and care should be exhibited by all Nigerians irrespective of status. This virus does not discriminate and the PTF shall keep sustaining its sensitization messaging,” Mustapha stated.