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Buhari Signs 2022 Budget, Decries Changes Made By NASS

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President Muhammadu Buhari has signed the 2022 Appropriation Bill of N17.126 trillion into law.

The President signed the budget presented to him by his Senior Special Assistant (Senate) on National Assembly, Senator Babajide Omoworare, on Friday at the Council Chamber of the Presidential Villa in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

He was, however, displeased with some changes as well as major additions and reductions made by the National Assembly in critical projects ‘without justification’.

President Buhari highlighted some of the worrisome changes in the budget to include an increase in projected Federal Government independent revenue by N400 billion, reduction in the provision for Sinking Fund to Retire Maturing Bonds by N22 billion, and reduction of the provisions for the Non-Regular Allowances of the Nigerian Police Force and the Nigerian Navy by N15 billion and N5 billion respectively; all without any explanation.

He also expressed his reservations on the inclusion of new provisions totalling N36.59 billion for National Assembly’s projects in the Service Wide Vote, which he said negated the principles of separation of powers and financial autonomy of the Legislative arm of government.

The President was also concerned about the changes to the original Executive proposal in the form of new insertions, outright removals, reductions and/or increases in the amounts allocated to projects, as well as reduction of the provisions made for as many as 10,733 projects and the introduction of 6,576 new projects into the budget.

According to him, most of the projects inserted relate to matters that are basically the responsibilities of state and local governments and do not appear to have been properly conceptualised, designed, and cost.

President Buhari said he would revert to the National Assembly with a request for an amendment as soon as the lawmakers return from their recess, to ensure that critical ongoing projects cardinal to his administration do not suffer a setback as a result of reduced funding.

He recounted that during the presentation of the 2022 Appropriation Bill, he stated that the 2022 fiscal year would be very crucial in his administration’s efforts to complete and put to use critical agenda projects, as well as improve the general living conditions of Nigerians.

The President insisted that the cuts by the lawmakers could render the implementation of the budget impossible.

He promised to commence early preparation of the 2023 transition budget and quickly begin the process to ensure early submission of the 2023-2025 Medium-Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper as well as the 2023 Appropriation Bill to the National Assembly.

The President of the Senate, Ahmed Lawan; Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila; Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha; and Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, among others, witnessed the signing of the budget.

In his response, the Senate President told State House correspondents that the lawmakers were right in their decisions.

The reservations of the Executive, according to him, are not unusual and may not necessarily coincide with that of the legislature.

This comes a week after lawmakers in the House of Representatives and Senate chambers of the National Assembly passed a budget of N17.126 trillion, increasing the benchmark price of crude from $57 to $62 per barrel.

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Business & Economy

Senate To Probe CBN’s Anchor Borrowers, Ways And Means

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Nigerian Senate
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The Senate on Tuesday, resolved to further investigate N10trn Anchor Borrowers’ Programme by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), as well as accountability in the Ways and Means loans by the Apex Bank.

The Red Chamber said the move was to plug loopholes in future development finance activities of the CBN.

The Senate resolved to set up an ad hoc committee to investigate the details of the Ways and Means, including the various intervention programmes such as the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme, monies given to state governments, manufacturers, aviation, banks, excess funding in the power sector, amongst others which raised the current debt profile of the country.

This was part of resolutions of the Senate after a debate over the report of the National Assembly Joint Committees on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions (BIOFI), Finance, National Planning, Agriculture and Appropriation on the state of the economy.

On the compliance and transparency of economic actions, the Senate equally resolved that the CBN ensured compliance with the provisions of the Act in respect of Ways and Means and accountability through timely submission of its budget, financial statements and report of its activities to the President and National Assembly as stipulated in the Act.

In an extensive debate, Senator Adamu Aliero argued that some state governors, including some retired ones in the Senate, were beneficiaries of N18bn as shock absorbers under the Ways and Means since 2015.

Some lawmakers suggested that a special committee be set up to scrutinize the N30trn intervention disbursements (some of which were grants) and ways to mop them up.

Deputy Senate President Barau Jibrin also explained that the intervention monies were expended outside appropriation without the knowledge of the parliament and noted that lawmakers have a right to interrogate the expenditure.

Senator Victor Umeh, however, deferred, as he enquired to know how the money was spent before approval by the Senate. The issue of whether or not to investigate the matter raised another furore in the Red Chamber.

Senate President Godswill Akpabio thereafter maintained that owing to the current economic situation, it has become expedient to thoroughly examine the Ways and Means funds.

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Oil marketers get approval to sell Dangote fuel

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The seven major oil marketers in Nigeria have registered with the Dangote Petroleum Refinery for the lifting and distribution of refined petroleum products produced by the $20bn plant.

Dealers under the aegis of the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria confirmed on Sunday that with the registration, they would commence the distribution of fuel produced from the facility once the commercial terms are sorted.

This came as the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria also revealed that they would meet with the management of the Dangote refinery this week to discuss terms of product loading.

Similarly, the Petroleum Products Retail Outlets Owners Association of Nigeria stated that PETROAN had been engaging the management of the multi-billion dollar refinery for the supply of products from the facility.

As IPMAN and PETROAN engage the refinery, major marketers who are members of MOMAN have already registered with the plant and are set to start buying products.

The seven major marketers include 11 Plc, Conoil Plc, Ardova Plc, MRS Oil Nigeria Plc, OVH Energy Marketing Limited, Total Nigeria Plc and NNPC Retail.

Last Friday, the Dangote Petroleum Refinery announced the commencement of production of Automotive Gas Oil, also known as diesel, and JetA1 or aviation fuel.

The President of the Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, had in a statement issued by the firm, thanked President Bola Tinubu for his support, encouragement, and thoughtful advice towards the actualisation of the project.

He also thanked the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission, Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, and Nigerians for their support and belief in the historic project.

“We have started the production of diesel and aviation fuel, and the products will be in the market within this month once we receive regulatory approvals. This is a big day for Nigeria. We are delighted to have reached this significant milestone.

“This is an important achievement for our country as it demonstrates our ability to develop and deliver large capital projects. This is a game changer for our country, and I am very fulfilled with the actualisation of this project,” Dangote stated.

The refinery, located in Lagos, has so far received six million barrels of crude oil at its two SPMs located 25km from the shore. The first crude delivery was done on December 12, 2023, and the 6th cargo was delivered on January 8, 2024.

The refinery can load 2,900 trucks a day at its truck-loading gantries. The products from the refinery will conform to Euro V specifications, according to the firm.

“The refinery design complies with the World Bank, US EPA, European emission norms, and Department of Petroleum Resources emission/effluent norms, employing state-of-the-art technology,” the company stated.

The Dangote Petroleum Refinery and Petrochemical Project, a subsidiary of Dangote Industries Limited, is a 650,000 barrels per day crude oil refinery, located in Dangote Industries Free Zone, Ibeju-Lekki, Lagos, Nigeria.

The Dangote Petroleum Refinery is an industrial plant that transforms crude oil into various usable petroleum products such as diesel, gasoline, jet fuel, and kerosene.

Dangote Petroleum Refinery with a capacity to refine 650,000 barrels of crude oil per day covers an area of approximately 2,635 hectares in the Lekki Free Trade Zone in Lagos.

When contacted and asked whether major oil marketers would be involved in the lifting of refined products from the Dangote refinery, or whether the facility would distribute the fuel itself, the Executive Secretary/Chief Executive Officer, MOMAN, Clement Isong, replied, “I confirm that we (major marketers) have met with him (Dangote).

According to Isong, all MOMAN members have registered with Dangote Petroleum Refinery to become marketers of its products

Punch

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Senate Gives Kyari, NUPRC Boss 24 Hours To Appear For Budget Defense

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The Chairman of the Senate Appropriation Committee, Senator Adeola Olamilekan, on Wednesday, directed the Group Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL), Mele Kyari, to appear before the committee in 24 hours.

Olamilekan, who asked Kyari to appear in company of the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), warned that failure to appear undermines the legislature and sabotages the process.

They are required to present the list of all individual companies operating with OML licenses in Nigeria as well as total production output approved on a daily basis.

The lawmaker expressed concerns that some of the revenues required to drive the 2024 budget was attributed to the NNPCL, which according to him, was owned by the Federal Government and responsible to it, and by extension the three arms of government.

The NNPCL, had earlier shunned for a second time, summons by the Senate to appear before its committee probing over N11trn expenditure on turn around maintenance of refineries in the country between 2010 and 2023.

The absence of Kyari, whose entity is at the centre of the investigation, stalled efforts by the Senate panel to make progress on the matter.

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