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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

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

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Nigerian Senate
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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Aliko Dangote
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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

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

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Mele Kyari
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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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