The management of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) has reacted to claims by an online medium that the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, demanded the sum of $20 million from the agency to fund Bayelsa re-run elections.
The NCDMB while denying the allegation, described it as spurious, malicious and a piece of fake news. This is contained in its press statement released on June 19, 2020, as a reaction to the allegation.
It was pointed out that the sponsors of the lies were bent on tarnishing the good image of the NCDMB, and the reputations of the Executive Secretary, Engr. Simbi Wabote, and the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva.
According to the statement by NCDMB, “The attention of the management of the Nigerian Content Development & Monitoring Board (NCDMB) has been drawn to a spurious and malicious story published by an online medium- POINTBLANK NEWS, titled, Sylva demands $20 Million from Local Content Board Boss to fund Bayelsa Re-Run Elections.
“Ordinarily, the Board would have ignored this fake news, especially one planted in a notorious online publication. However, we are constrained to react because sponsors of the wicked tissues of lies are intent on tarnishing the good image of the Board and strong reputation of the Executive Secretary, Engr. Simbi Wabote and that of the Honorable Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva and portray the Board as partisan.”
READ ALSO: Analysis: NNPC and its refining losses
The board believed that the fabrication was sponsored by those trying to contest for senatorial elections in Bayelsa West Senatorial District, who were in the habit of raising wild allegations to lure NCDMB into local politics.
While trying to clarify issues, the NCDMB stated the following:
- There is no iota of truth in that story. It is completely mendacious and a figment of the imagination of those behind it.
- The current Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva has never demanded nor suggested to the Board and its leadership to fund any political activity in Bayelsa or any part of the country, however described.
- The Nigerian Content Development Fund (NCDF) was instituted for funding capacity development in oil and gas activities and cannot be applied for any other purpose except that expressly stated in the NOGICD Act.
- It is preposterous to allege that the Minister is demanding $20m from NCDMB to fund elections, whereas all funds belonging to the Federal Government are in the custody of the Central Bank of Nigeria and NCDMB’s funds cannot be withdrawn except for legitimate purposes consistent with its mandate. Thus it is absurd and unreasonable to contemplate or imagine that the Board can withdraw any money from the NCDF except for any of the purposes it was instituted under the Act.
- The status of NCDMB finances are in the public domain and can be verified by anyone or group that is so interested; and that is why the Executive Secretary has consistently announced the balance sheet and utilization of NCDF at every oil and gas fora.
- Contrary to the wicked suggestion in the story, NCDMB has never awarded any contract to the Minister or any company connected to him and neither has the Board awarded contracts for shore protection in Brass LGA of Bayelsa State because it is clearly outside our statutory mandate.
- It is pertinent to state that NEITI declared NCDMB as the most transparent federal oil and gas agency and the Board achieved this lofty feat because our operations are always complaint with the government’s financial regulations.
- NCDMB’s financial processes and operations are always open and transparent. The Board and its leadership have never been manipulated and cannot be influenced to favor individuals or political parties, no matter how highly placed because what the Board does must be in line with its mandate in the NOGICD Act.
- One would have expected POINTBLANK NEWS, if it were a credible media outfit, to conduct a thorough investigation with a view to validating the veracity of the story before going to press. But in this case, it was a mere conjecture by the authors to please their sponsors.
- From the foregoing, it is obvious that this story was calculated to malign the Board, its leadership and the Honorable Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, to score cheap political points and create disaffection. Going forward, the Board will not hesitate to take appropriate legal action against any individual or media organizations that publish materials that are spurious, malicious and libelous.
Uganda Elections: Museveni re-elected for 6th term with 58.6% of the votes
Uganda’s President Museveni has won a 6th term in office as the opposition alleges wide-scale rigging.
The President of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni, has been re-elected as President, gathering 5.85 million votes compared to 3.48 million votes by main opposition leader, Robert Kyagulanyi, a.k.a Bobi Wine.
According to Reuters, this victory represents 58.6% of the vote cast while Bobi Wine got 34.8%
Bobi Wine announced that the election results show this is the most fraudulent election in the history of Uganda and urged his followers to reject the result.
What you should know
- Yoweri Museveni, aged 76, has been President of the East African nation since 1986.
- Bobi Wine claimed via his official Twitter handle that military men jumped over his fence and took control of his home yesterday.
Okonjo-Iweala speaks on Twitter’s suspension of Donald Trump
Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has given her opinion on Twitter’s suspension of US President, Donald Trump.
Twitter board member and candidate for the DG of the WTO, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has said Twitter has rules under which it operates and CEO Jack Dorsey’s statement contains all that needs to be known concerning the suspension of US President, Donald Trump from its platform.
Okonjo-Iweala disclosed this in an interview with Arise TV on Friday evening.
- “Twitter tries to help the public conversation in the world and gives people a means to engage on important issues,” she said.
On the decision to censor Donald Trump
She said the Board agreed as a team to have one voice on the decision to suspend Donald Trump from the service and that CEO Jack Dorsey gave all that needed to be known.
- “Being on the Twitter board, I have to respect our rules for communications on what is happening. I have to be very honest that we as a board agreed that we have a team that will deal with this, to make sure that we have one voice. But, I can tell you that if you want to know why the decisions were taken, please look at the statement by the CEO, Jack Dorsey, I think it tells you all you want to know.
- “Twitter is an organization that has rules under which it operates, and if you read what it puts out, you will see that things are being implemented according to the rules.
On welcoming rules and regulations for the social media giant
- “Let’s wait and see, I don’t want to pre-judge or comment on anything. I don’t want to go beyond what I am willing to say, but let’s wait and see. These are very difficult times in the world. We all saw what happened in the United States. We have to be very careful. We would see what the future would be for the tech companies.”
- Nairametrics reported that social media network, Twitter, permanently suspended U.S President, Donald Trump, citing the risk of further incitement of violence.
- Jack Dorsey, the CEO and founder of Twitter, said that the decision to ban Donald Trump from the social network was the right decision, but one that sets a dangerous precedent.
2021 budget: Lagos to fund deficit of N192.49 billion with internal, external loans
Lagos to fund 2021 budget deficit of N192.494 billion by a combination of internal and external loans.
The Lagos state government has disclosed that it will fund its 2021 budget deficit of N192.494 billion by a combination of internal and external loans.
This was disclosed by the State’s Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Samuel Egube, while presenting the state’s budget for 2021 at a media round table session.
According to him, the total revenue estimate is N971.02 billion, consisting of internal generated revenue (IGR) of N723.81 billion; capital receipts (N71.81 billion); and federal transfer of N175.40 billion.
He said, “The Lagos 2021 budget is made up of N702.93 billion for capital expenditure and N460.49 billion for recurrent expenditure, implying 60:40 capital to recurrent ratio against 2020 budget which was at 55:45 capital to recurrent ratio.
“The breakdown of Lagos recurrent expenditure shows that total personnel cost (N168.72 billion); total overhead costs (N260.07 billion); and debt charges (N31.87 billion).”
Also at the event, Commissioner for Finance, Rabiu Onalapo, stated that the state will local debt instrument through domestic bond issuance to fund the deficit in its 2021 budget.
He said, “The debts are totally tied to capital projects adding that the state’s 19.8% debt to revenue ratio is projected to rise to 22% in 2021.
“This remains below the World Bank and federal government’s benchmarks of 40% and 30% respectively.”
Key Highlights and Projects under the Budget
- Roads and other infrastructure: A provision of N166.579 billion is provided for the construction and maintenance of roads and other infrastructure within the state.
- Traffic Management/Transportation: A total of N93.745 billion was budgeted under the transportation family for Blue and Red rail lines, Junction improvement all around the state, Completion of trailer parks in the state and development of quality bus corridors amongst others.
- Education: The sum of N146.935 billion was budgeted for the education sector. The figure is N10.835 billion higher than the 2020 provision of N136.100 billion.
- Science and Technology: Sum of N23.50 billion is provided for the building and upgrading of IT infrastructure statewide. This consists of N17.131 billion for the Smart City Project. The balance of N6.371 billion is earmarked for the e-GIS Land automation system, single billing system and ease of tax payment/levels among others.
What you should know
Babajide Sanwo-Olu, governor of Lagos, signed the 2021 Appropriation Bill into law on December 31, 2020.
This month, the Lagos State Government projected a monthly target of N60.318 billion Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) for the 2021 fiscal year.