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N’Assembly to transmit 2022 budget Thursday – Lawan

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Senate President, Ahmad Lawan
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…Says Senate must remain steadfast in stabilizing polity ahead of 2023
 
President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has said that the National Assembly will on Thursday transmit the 2022 budget passed by both chambers to President Muhammadu Buhari for assent into law.

Lawan gave the hint on Wednesday in his remarks moments before the chamber proceeded on recess.

According to him, the timely assent of the 2022 Appropriations bill into law would ensure the commencement of its implementation by January next year.

He added that businesses operating in the country as well as the economy stand to be impacted positively by the timely passage of the nation’s budget by the National Assembly.
 
He said, “For the 2022 Appropriation bill, we are expecting that the bill will be cleaned up between today and tomorrow, and we hope that by tomorrow, the bill will be sent to Mr. President for his assent.

“[And] we are very optimistic that Mr. President will assent to the bill, like he did for 2020 and 2021, so that by January 2022, the implementation of the budget 2022 will commence by the grace of God.

“We have seen the benefits of passing and assenting to the budget in good time, especially when we had to fight COVID-19.

“The consequence of the implementation of the budget in 2021 and 2020 was very clear. For us to come out of the recession that we found ourselves in the previous period, we must have had the fortune of passing the budget and getting Mr. President to sign in time.

“So, we believe that the economy of Nigeria, and Nigerian businesses especially, will continue to benefit from the passage of the appropriation bills in time and the assent by Mr. President, accordingly.

“We wish to make it clear that our desire is to provide legislations for the peace, order and good government of our country.”

The Senate President further hinted that the chamber would consider the report of the Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution as soon as it is presented early next year.

“When we return, we have one major legislation that has not been attended to at all as a chamber, and that is the constitutional amendments.

“Our Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution has been doing its work. But as a chamber, we haven’t finished working on it.

“We are expectant that our Committee on the review of the constitution will be presenting the report to this chamber as soon as we resume. The committee has done so much, and the report is almost ready.

“When we harmonize with our colleagues in the House, we should be able to vote on the issues that will particularly bring about peace, unity and good government in our country, before such bill will be sent to the State Houses of Assembly for concurrence.

“On the whole, we must thank Almighty God that almost all those major items we reflected in our legislative agenda as a chamber has been attended to.

“There’s nothing that has been left out, including the review or amendment to our standing orders on how our committees have better and more clearly defined jurisdictions and, of course, how we conduct ourselves here as a chamber.

“And this is because we’ve remained united even in the face of sometimes very difficult issues. We have gone through such difficult moments with dignity and respect for each other, and we have come out even stronger.”

The Senate President reminded his colleagues of the role of the Senate as an institution to stabilize the polity, particularly against the backdrop of issues likely to surface ahead of the 2023 general elections.

“Next year, by the grace of God, will be the last lap of our tenure. So, we have a lot to ensure that we finish all the things that we have penciled down for ourselves and, of course, there are many other issues that from time to time will be coming up in our polity.

“This Senate is supposed to play that role of stabilizing the polity in Nigeria.

“[And] I daresay, that the members of the National Assembly, particularly the Senate, is a stabilizing institution in the polity of Nigeria.”

He underscored the need for the National Assembly to work with the executive arm of government to provide the needed resources, as well as oversight the use of such funds in the fight against insecurity.

“The killings across the country are so bad, and it is not acceptable to us, but we have to work hard because we are part of government and we are also accountable to the people, for not only protecting their lives and property, but to ensure that they have a life that is worth living”, Lawan said.

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Business & Economy

ECOWAS Trade Promotion Organisation re-elects Dr. Ezra, as president

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Dr. Ezra Yakusak - MD/CEO NEPC
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Dr. Ezra Yakusak, the Executive Director/CEO of Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), has been reelected as the President of ECOWAS Trade Promotion Organisations (TPOs) Network in Accra Ghana.

Dr. Yakusat, will serve another One-year tenure and will lead 15 other member ECOWAS countries in driving trade within the sub-region.

His re-election is also in line with Article 11 of the ECOWAS TPO Network. The ECOWAS Trade Promotion Organization is a network of all Trade Promotion Organizations in West Africa established by the decisions of Council of Ministers at the Ordinary Session.

Nigeria became the pioneer president in April 2021. Dr. Yakusat, became the president following the expiration of the tenure of Mr. Awolowo as ED/ CEO of NEPC.

A statement by the council said the re-election of Dr. Ezra was at the end of 2nd Annual General Meeting of the Network held at Alisa hotel, Accra, Ghana from 19th – 20th May, 2022.

He was re-elected along with the vice president, Mr. Ben Guy Mbangue from Cote’ D’ivoire.

The duo constitute the Executive Bureau of the Network and the tenure expires after one year. All members present unanimously re-elected the President and Vice President respectively.

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Business & Economy

World Bank projects Nigeria’s Diaspora remittances to increase in 2022

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World Bank has projected Nigeria’s Diaspora remittance inflow to increase to $29bn in 2022 because of higher food prices and the continued adoption of official bank channels.

The bank said, migrants from the country are likely to send more money home to help with the hike in the prices of staples.

A report titled, ‘Migration and Development Brief (May 2022): A War in a Pandemic: Implications of the Ukraine crisis and COVID-19 on the global governance of migration and remittance flows,’ the bank stated that remittance flows to low and middle-income countries are expected to increase by 4.2 per cent to $630bn in 2022.

It said: “With risks weighted to the downside, there are several factors that support a view for continued—though more moderate—7.1 per cent gain inflows to Sub-Saharan Africa in 2022.

“Momentum for the use of official channels in Nigeria should sustain an uptrend in the year, within flows reaching $21bn.

“Though economic activity is likely to ease in the United States and Europe, fundamentals remain positive for continued gains in remittance flows to the remainder of Africa, as the influence of ‘altruistic’ motivations that were demonstrated in Africa and South Asia during the peak pandemic years will likely carry over to the period of sharp increases in staple food prices.”

The global bank further said remittance inflow to Sub-Saharan Africa was $49bn in 2021, with Nigerian contributing $19.2bn to the total inflow, adding that the use of informal channels to transfer money to the region caused a 28 per cent reduction in inflows in 2020.

“In 2022, remittance inflows are projected to grow by 7.1 per cent driven by continued shift to the use of official channels in Nigeria and higher food prices – migrants will likely send more money to home countries that are now suffering extraordinary increases in prices of staples,” the bank said.

The World Bank stated that the Naira-4-Dollar policy, which was an attempt to return remittance to formal channels, of the Central Bank of Nigeria helped boost inflows by 11.2 per cent in 2021, adding that the stabilisation of the naira against the dollar within a range of 410-415 per dollar over the last year also contributed to the pickup in recorded inflows.

It noted that the increased stability of the Naira and increased use of the e-Naira would help boost the nation’s chances of achieving $21bn in remittance for 2022.

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Business & Economy

Double trouble for Ahmed Idris: arrested by EFCC, suspended by Minister

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Ahmed Idris - Account General of the Federation
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The Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris has been directed to proceed on indefinite suspension over alleged laundering of N80 billion.

Idris, was suspended on Wednesday by Zainab Ahmed, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning.

In a letter dated May 18, 2022, the minister said the suspension “without pay” was to allow for “proper and unhindered investigation” in line with public service rules.

Ahmed Idris, was on Monday arrested by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC). over alleged diversion and laundering of N80 billion.

Wilson Uwajaren, Head of Media and Public Information of the EFCC, stated that verified intelligence reports showed that Idris raked off the funds through bogus consultancies and other illegal activities using proxies, family members and close associates.

Uwujaren added that the funds were laundered through real estate investments in Kano and in Abuja.

According to EFCC, Idris was arrested after he failed to honour invitations by the Commission to respond to issues connected to the fraudulent acts.

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