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Economy : Senate ‘ll be rigid on increased revenues to reduce budget deficit, borrowings – Lawan

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SENATE-PRESIDENT
Senate President Ahmad Lawan
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Senate President  Ahmad Lawan, on Monday, said that revenue generating agencies of government are capable of generating and remitting N3 trillion naira annually to the coffers of the federal government if efforts are made to cut down on wasteful spendings.

Lawan made this known in an address delivered to declare open an interactive session “on the need to improve internally generated revenue of the Federal Government of Nigeria and Revenue Projections of the Agencies as Contained In the Appropriation Act 2020.”

The meeting was between the Senate Leadership and Members of the Committee on Finance and Revenue Generating Agencies of Government.

The Senate President, in his speech, said the purpose of the meeting was to explore means of increasing government revenues.

According to him, one of such ways was for the National Assembly to be rigid on increased revenue to cut down on the country’s budget deficit and borrowings, as well as prevent wasteful expenditures by agencies of government.

He assured that the upper chamber would provide the needed support through legislation to ensure that revenue agencies perform to meet and surpass their targets.

He said, “In 2022, the National Assembly assumed and rightly so, that our government owned enterprises can generate up to N3 trillion if we are of the mindset that we can achieve that and, of course, ensure that we oversight to stall any possibility of unwarranted expenditures by agencies of government.

“But that does not mean in any way that it is going to be some kind of investigation on what you do, but an encouragement of what you need to do.

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“In this meeting and subsequent ones, there should be no holds barred on discussions.

“Where an agency feels it is encumbered in any way from achieving its target, it should say so, so that we are able to prescribe the right solutions for it to perform.

“As a National Assembly, let me say that the Senate particularly will be stiff on generating more and more revenue.

“We will be rigid, we will continue to insist, because we believe that this is one sure and guaranteed way of reducing our deficit and borrowing.

Lawan explained that the drive by the upper chamber for more revenues to the coffers of government, would enhance the economy and facilitate infrastructural development.

“This Committee is modified, because the leaders of the Senate believe that we can do far better and we have seen signs when last year some of the agencies performed beyond expectation.

“So, it is an opportunity for us to save and enhance our economy and, of course, make Nigeria achieve more infrastructural development which is the goal of this administration and every Nigerian.

“We believe that when you (revenue agencies) generate the money, we (National Assembly) appropriate it.

“Prudence is of essence here, when we spend our money. And when we borrow, like the National Assembly has always tried to do, we borrow to treat specific projects and programmes of government”, the Senate President said.

Chairman of the Committee on Finance, Senator Solomon Olamilekan Adeola, in his welcome address, lamented that there was insufficient funds for the implementation of policies and projects captured in the 2022 budget of the federal government.

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He explained that the funds were derived partly from the revenue generated by the government owned enterprises and other independent revenues sources of the federal government.

According to the lawmaker, “there is an urgent need for all hands to be on deck on revenue generation for government, as well as prevent misuse and leakages of such revenue for frivolous purposes not sanctioned by the laws of the National Assembly.”

He advised that for government to reduce and eliminate deficit budgeting associated with the nation’s budget over the years, effort must be made to minimise borrowing to fund projects.

Revenue agencies present at the interactive session include: National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure, the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), National Steel Raw Materials Exploration Agency, Nigerian Postal Service, Lagos University Teaching Hospital, and Nigeria Customs Service.

Others were the Nigeria Immigration Service, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Nigeria Prisons Service, Maritime Academy of Nigeria, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), and Abuja Geographic Information Systems (AGIS).

Also present were the Federal Capital Territory Administration,  Energy Commission of Nigerians, Administrative Staff College of Nigeria, Nigerian Export Import Bank (NEXIM), Nigerian Ports Authority and the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology, Zaria.

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Business & Economy

Tinubu To Present 2024 Supplementary Budget To NASS

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President Bola Tinubu Presenting 2024 Budget Proposal to the Joint Session of National Assembly
President Bola Tinubu Presenting 2024 Budget Proposal to the Joint Session of National Assembly
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President Bola Tinubu will soon present the 2024 Supplementary Budget to the National Assembly (NASS).

“I submitted the last budget to you,” the President said when he addressed a joint sitting of the National Assembly on Wednesday.

“You expeditiously passed it. We are walking the talk. I will soon bring the Year 2024 (Supplementary) Appropriation Bill. That is just for your information,” the President said in his terse speech at the joint sitting to mark the Silver Jubilee Of Nigeria’s 4th Republic.

In his response, Senate President Godswill Akpabio, said, “Thank you, Mr President, we will be expecting the Supplementary Appropriation Bill of 2024 as soon as possible.”

Also, at the joint sitting which coincided with the first anniversary of the Tinubu administration, the President confirmed ‘Nigeria, we hail thee’ as the “latest national anthem”.

Tinubu said, “You sang out the latest national anthem, ‘Nigeria, we hail thee’. This is our diversity, representing all characters and how we blend to be brothers and sisters.”

The President pleaded with both the Senate and the House of Representatives to continue to collaborate and work together with the administration to build the country on the path of sustained progress and development.

“We have no other choice; it is our nation. No other institution or personality will help us unless we do it ourselves. No amount of aid from foreign countries or any other nation (will fix us), they take care of themselves first. Let us work together as we are doing to build our nation, not only for us but for generations unborn,” he said.

 

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We Have No Magic Wand, Tackling Inflation Will Take Time — Cardoso

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Yemi Cardoso,CBN Governor
Yemi Cardoso,CBN Governor
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The Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Olayemi Cardoso has urged the citizens to be patient over the fight against current inflation and hike in food items in the country.

Cardoso disclosed this while briefing journalists at the end of the Monetary Policy Committee, MPC, meeting in Abuja.

The CBN governor mentioned that there was no magic needed to solve inflation in Nigeria but rather patience.

Also, Cardoso noted that despite pressure from food inflation, the general inflation rate was “moderating”, pointing out that “the tools the Central Bank is using are working”.

He stated, “I have several times and I will say again, there is no magic wand. These are things that need to take their time.

“I am pleased and confident that we are beginning to get some relief and in another couple of months we will see the more positive outcomes from the Central Bank have been doing.”

He added, “The committee thus reiterated several challenges confronting the effective moderation of food inflation to include rising costs of transportation of farm produce, infrastructure- related constraints along the line of distribution network, security challenges in some food producing areas, and exchange rate pass-through to domestic prices for imported food items.

“The MPC urged that more be done to address the security of farming communities to guarantee improved food production in these areas.

“Members further observed the recent volatility in the foreign exchange market, attributing this to seasonal demand, a reflection of the interplay between demand and supply in a freely functioning market system.”

The Central Bank of Nigeria has also blamed the recent volatility of the country’s foreign exchange market on seasonal demand for dollars.

“Members further observed the recent volatility in the foreign exchange market, attributing this to seasonal demand, a reflection of the interplay between demand and supply in a freely functioning market system,” a communique issued by the committee on Tuesday stated.

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Port Harcourt Refinery Begins Full Operations Next Month

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Port Harcourt Refinery
Port Harcourt Refinery
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The 210,000-barrel-per-day Port Harcourt refinery is expected to commence operations by the end of July, following multiple delays.

National Public Relations Officer of the Independent Marketers Association of Nigeria, Chief Ukadike Chinedu, revealed this new timeline on Monday. He noted that the refinery’s operation would boost economic activities, reduce petroleum product prices, and ensure an adequate supply.

In December last year, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Heineken Lokpobiri, announced the mechanical completion and flare start-off of the Port Harcourt refinery, the largest in the region.

The refinery consists of two units: an older plant with a 60,000-barrel-per-day capacity and a newer plant with a 150,000-barrel-per-day capacity. The refinery was shut down in March 2019 for the first phase of repairs after the government enlisted Italy’s Maire Tecnimont as a technical adviser and appointed oil major Eni as a technical adviser.

On March 15, 2024, NNPC Limited’s Group Chief Executive Officer, Mele Kyari, announced that the Port Harcourt refinery would begin operations in about two weeks. He made this statement during a press briefing following his appearance before the Senate Ad hoc committee investigating the various turnaround maintenance projects of the country’s refineries.

“We achieved mechanical completion in December,” Kyari stated. “We now have crude oil stocked in the refinery and are conducting regulatory compliance tests. The Port Harcourt refinery will start within two weeks.”

However, two months later, the refinery had yet to commence operations.

In an interview, IPMAN’s Ukadike emphasized that the work done on the refinery represented a complete overhaul rather than mere rehabilitation. He assured that every effort was being made to meet the July deadline.

Ukadike said, “When we visited, the MD informed us that the refinery was nearly ready and would start production by the end of July. The overhaul is extensive, with all the armoured cables replaced and everything almost brand new. The maintenance turnaround is massive, with work being done day and night. All hands are on deck to meet the target. By the end of July, the refinery should be operational.”

When asked about the government’s previous unfulfilled promises to restart the refinery, Ukadike acknowledged the delays but noted that no reasons were given for missing the last deadline in April

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