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Senate receives Buhari’s request to amend 2022 Appropriation Act 

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President Muhammadu Buhari
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***As Executive budgets additional 2.557trn for petrol subsidy in 2022
 
The Senate has received a request from President Muhammadu Buhari to amend the 2022 Appropriation Act passed by the National Assembly in December, 2021.

The request was contained in a letter dated February 10, 2022, and read during plenary by the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan.

Accordingly, President Muhammadu Buhari in the letter said it was imperative to remove all capital projects that were replicated in the 2022 Appropriation Act.

He disclosed that 139 out of the 254 projects in the budget totaling N13.24 billion had been identified for deletion.

Buhari, therefore, requested the National Assembly to amend the Appropriation Act to provide for Capital Expenditures in the sum of N106,161,499,052 billion naira; and N43,870,592,044 billion naira for Recurrent Expenditures.

The President also requested that an additional provision for N2.557 trillion naira be appropriated by the National Assembly to fund the petrol subsidy in the 2022 Budget Framework which was revised to provide fully for PMS subsidy.

Buhari underscored the need to reinstate four capital projects totaling N1.4 billion in the Executive proposal for the Federal Ministry of Water Resources; and N22.0 billion cut from the provision for the Sinking Fund to retire mature loans needed to meet government’s obligations under already Issued Bonds.

The full text of the letter entitled, “SUBMISSION OF THE 2022 APPROPRIATION AMENDMENT PROPOSAL”, reads:

“As I indicated at the signing of the 2022 Appropriation Act, I forward herewith the Proposals for amendment of the 2022 Appropriation Act (as detailed in Schedules I-V), for the kind consideration and approval by the Senate.

“Let me seize this opportunity to once again express my deep gratitude to the leadership and members of the Senate for the expeditious consideration and passage of the 2022 Appropriation Bill as well as the enabling 2021 Finance Bill.

“It has become necessary to present this amendment proposal considering the impacts of the recent suspension of the Petroleum Motor Spirit (PMS) subsidy removal and the adverse implications that some changes made by the National
Assembly in the 2022 Appropriation Act could have for the successful implementation of the budget.

“It is important to restore the provisions made for various key capital projects in the 2022 Executive Proposal (see details in Schedule l) that were cut by the National Assembly.  This is to ensure that critical ongoing projects that are cardinal to this administration, and those nearing completion, do not suffer a setback due
to reduced funding.

“It is equally important to reinstate the N25.81 billion cut from the provision for the Power Sector Reform Programme in order to meet the Federal Government’s commitment under the financing plan agreed with the World Bank.

“In addition, it is necessary to reinstate the four (4) capital projects totaling N1.42 billion in the Executive Proposal for the Federal Ministry of Water Resources that were removed in the 2022 Appropriation Act.

“Furthermore, there is critical and urgent need to restore the N3 billion cut from the provision made for payment of mostly long outstanding Local Contractors’ Debts and Other Liabilities as part of our strategy to reflate the economy and spur growth (see Schedule I).

“You will agree with me that the inclusion of National Assembly’s expenditures in the Executive Budget negates the principles of separation of Powers and financial autonomy of the Legislature. It is therefore necessary to transfer the National Assembly’s expenditures totaling N16.59 billion in the Service Wide Vote to National Assembly Statutory Transfer provision (see Schedule l).

“It is also imperative to reinstate the N22.0 billion cut from the provision for Sinking Fund to Retire Mature Loans to ensure that government can meet its obligations under already issued bonds as and when they mature.

“The cuts made from provisions for the recurrent spending of Nigeria’s Foreign Missions, which are already constrained, are capable of causing serious embarrassment to the country as they mostly relate to office and residential rentals.

“Similarly, the reductions in provisions for allowances payable to personnel of the Nigerian Navy and Police Formations and Commands could create serious issues for government. It is therefore imperative that these provisions be restored as proposed (see Schedule II).

“It is also absolutely necessary to remove all capital project is that replicated in the 2022 Appropriation Act; 139 out of the 254 such projects totaling N13.24 billion have been identified to be deleted from the budget.

“Some significant and non-mandate projects were introduced in the budgets of the Ministry of Transportation, Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation (see Schedule III). There are several other projects that have been included by the National Assembly in the budgets of agencies that are outside their mandate areas. The Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning has been directed to work with your relevant Committees to comprehensively identify and realign all such misplaced projects.

“It is also necessary to restore the titles / descriptions of 32 projects in the Appropriation Act to the titles contained in the Executive Proposal for the Ministry of Water Resources (see Schedule IV) in furtherance of our efforts to complete and put to use critical agenda projects.

“The Appropriation Amendment request is for a total sum of N106,161,499,052 (One hundred and six billion, one hundred and sixty-one million, four hundred and ninety-nine thousand, and fifty-two Naira only) for Capital Expenditures and N43,870,592,044 (Forty-three billion, eight hundred and seventy million, five hundred and ninety-two thousand, and forty-four Naira only) for Recurrent Expenditures. I therefore request the National Assembly to make the above amendments without increasing the budget deficit. I urge you to roll back some of the N887.99 billion of projects earlier inserted in the budget by the National Assembly to accommodate these amendments.

“However, following the suspension of the PMS subsidy removal, the 2022 Budget Framework has been revised to fully provide for PMS subsidy (see Schedule V). An additional provision of N2.557 trillion will be required to fund the petrol subsidy in 2022. Consequently, the Federation ACCOunt (Main Pool) revenue for the three tiers of government is projected to decline by N2.00 trillion, while FGN’s share from the Account is projected to reduce by N1.05 trillion. Therefore, the amount available to fund the FGN Budget is projected to decline by N969.09 billion.

“Aggregate expenditure is projected to increase by N45.85 billion, due to additional domestic debt service provision of N102.5 billion net of the reductions in Statutory Transfers by N56.67 billion, as follows: NDDC, by N12.61 billion from N102.78 billion to N90.18 billion; NEDC, by N5.90 bilion from N48.08 billion to N42.18 billion; UBEC, by N19.08 billion from N112.29 billion to N93.21 billion; Basic Health Care Fund, byN 9.54 billion from N56.14 billion to N46.60 billion; and NASENI, by N9.54 billion from N56.14 billion to N46.60 billion.

“Total budget deficit is projected to increase by N1.01 trillion to N7.40 trillion, representing 4.01% of GDP. The incremental deficit will be financed by new borrowings from the domestic market.

“Equally, it is imperative that Clause 10 of the 2022 Appropriation Act which stipulates that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) are authorized to charge and defray from all money standing in credit to the units as revenues, penalties or sanctions at 10% for technical setup and operational cost at the units in this financial year be repealed.

“This clause is in conflict with the Act establishing these Agencies, as well as some other laws and financial regulations of the government. These are neither Revenue Generating Agencies nor Regulatory Bodies that generate revenue or charge penalty fees. They are fully funded (Personnel, Overhead and Capital) by Government through Budgetary provisions.

“The Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007, as well as the Finance Act 2021, require these Agencies to remit fully any recovered funds to the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF). This clause may lay a dangerous precedence, and spark clamours for similar treatment by other anti-corruption agencies.

“Also, the Clause 11 which stipulates that “Notwithstanding the provisions of any other law in force, Nigerian Embassies and Missions are authorised to expend funds allocated to them under the Capital components without having to seek approval of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs” should likewise be repealed. It too is inconsistent with extant Financial Regulations and the Public Procurement Act, which set thresholds for approving officers and Parastatal / Ministerial Tenders Boards for awards of Contracts for the procurement of goods and Services. This also amounts to an intrusion of the Legislature into what is an executive function.

“Given the urgency of the request for amendments, I I seek the cooperation of the National Assembly for expeditious legislative action on the 2022 Appropriation Amendment Proposal in order to sustain the gains of an early passage of the budget.

“Please accept, Distinguished Senate President, the assurances of my highest consideration.”
 

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Export Rejects: NEPC, other Inter-Agencies on a fact-finding mission to UK

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In a bid to curb the incidences of export rejects, the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) is leading an Inter-Agency team to the United Kingdom (UK) as part of strategic effort to address the issue which constitute a major constraint to the growth of the non-oil export sector.

The National Food, Drug and Administration Control (NAFDAC), Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS), Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), National Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO) Skypower Aviation Handling Company Limited (SAHCOL) Federal Produce inspection Service (FPIS) and Federation of Agricultural Commodities Association of Nigeria (FACAN) are among the Agencies participating on the fact-finding mission.

The Executive Director/CEO of NEPC, Dr. Ezra Yakusak who led the team lamented that these cases of rejection had resulted in stricter inspection regime on Nigerian exports in the importing countries and in some cases led to the suspension or ban of some products.

According to him “It also attracts unfavourable international media attention, gives the country a negative image as well as constitutes financial burden to the exporters who have to bear the cost of either reshipping the banned product to Nigeria or destroying the product.”

A statement by Ndubueze Okeke, the Head Cooperate Communication of the NEPC, the objective of the 5-day visit is to provide Nigerian export-regulatory and facilitating agencies the opportunity of observing the processes of agricultural commodities import procedures and interface with Port Health and Food Import Regulatory Agencies at the Border Control Points (BCPs) in the UK.

Other areas to be visited by the team are, Southampton Port (the second busiest port in UK), Spitafield Market – a one-stop aggregation and distribution centre for imported food in the UK as well as the Food Standards Agency (FDA), the parliament among others.

The team also held an interactive session with some Nigerian food importers in UK as part of effort to address the challenges encountered in importing food items from Nigeria to UK. It will be recalled that the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment (FMITI) Otunba Niyi Adebayo recently inaugurated a Technical Committee to address the incidences of export rejects with view to proffer solutions to the problem.

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SON Commends FAO, NCC on review of food standards

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The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has commended the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) and the National Codex Committee (NCC) for critical role played in the elaboration of food Standards at the International level especially at the various committees of the Codex Alimentarius Commission where Standards are adopted at the National level.

The Director General, Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) Mallam Farouk Salim disclosed on Thursday while speaking at the awareness and advocacy workshop organized by the National Codex Committee (NCC) in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations (UN).

for high level policy and decision makers and public presentation of the 4th Edition of the revised National Codex Committee Procedural Manual in Abuja said the review was apt in order to keep abreast with the growth of Codex activities.

Represented by his Chief of Staff, Prof. Olobayo Kunle, SON Director General said NCC has also contributed to the review of the Food safety policy and Food safety Bill in Nigeria.

“The National Codex Committee Procedural Manual was first prepared in line with CAC procedural manual published in 2002, with further revisions in 2007 and 2012 to guide the activities and improve functions of all the stakeholders involved for effective operations.

“The review of the NCC Procedural Manual was necessary to keep abreast with the growth of Codex activities over time, incorporate major changes, improve and strengthen Codex structure in Nigeria

“The National Codex Committee (NCC) Nigeria successfully applied for the Codex Trust Fund (CTF) 2 support to build strong, solid and sustainable national capacity to engage in Codex activities through the organization of annual awareness and advocacy workshops with political decision-makers, targeted competent authorities and other stakeholders to disseminate more information on Codex.

“The overall objective of the activity is to sensitize public decision-makers and competent authorities on the need to engage more in the national codex and to regularly provide all the support to increase its actions in favour of food safety at national level” he said.

The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) Representative to Nigeria, Fred Kafeero said since the inception of CAC, FAO has worked with World Health Organisation in the development of international food standards, guidelines, and codes of practices to protect the health of consumers and ensure fair trade practices in the food trade using the principles of risk analysis and scientific advice provided by joint FAO/WHO expert bodies and consultations.

Represented by the FAO Assistant Representative Administration, David Fehintola said its country office in Nigeria with support from the regional office for Africa has continued to partner the Government and the National Codex Committee towards creating effective and efficient policies and strategies to eliminate hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition in the country.

He said FAO believe that ensuring the supply of safe, quality and nutritious foods is as important as ensuring the availability of foods and food standardization as “Poor quality foods do not ensure food security” he said.

The FAO Representative to Nigeria said the agency has been supporting the National Codex Committee (NCC) in Nigeria, which has members from all the MDAs and the Private sector through the execution of the Codex Trust Fund 2 activities with a focus on the implementation of the Codex Strategic Plan 2020-2025.

“We, at FAO believe that it is vital that the NCC commits itself to the core values of the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) in its Inclusiveness, Collaboration, Consensus Building and Transparency in all its work.

“FAO in its support through the CTF2 project endeavors to ensure the participation of all Codex members in the country in standard setting process to ensure these core values are met.

“A lot has been achieved this year in terms of capacity building of codex members, advocacy, sensitization and public awareness as well as in the review, finalization and dissemination of the NCC procedural manual” he said.

 

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Export4Survival: NEPC partners NOA to drive campaign in 36 States

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As part of strategic collaboration to promote the export of Made-in-Nigerian products and thereby increase foreign exchange earnings for the country, the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) has team up with the National Orientation Agency (NOA) to create awareness for the Export4Survival campaign in 36 states of the federation.

The Executive Director of NEPC, Dr Ezra Yakusak while on a working visit to the NOA in Abuja, said the visit was borne out of the need to seek strategic collaboration with relevant government Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in a bid to rejuvenate the nation’s fragile economy in the wake of dwindling revenue from crude oil.

In a statement by Ndubueze Okeko, Head, Corporate Communications of the NEPC, Dr Yakusak, pointed out that the #Export4Survival is a patriotic call on all Nigerians to realize the urgency of engaging in non-oil export trade as a viable means of economic growth, poverty alleviation, industrial development and boosting our foreign exchange earnings.

“We must export our goods and services or perish. That is the only way the country could create jobs, create wealth and ensure a sustainable economy that guarantees prosperity for all Nigerians”, he added.

Responding, the NOA Director General, Dr. Garba Abari commended the NEPC for initiating the Export4Survival campaign as part of strategic initiative to increase the awareness of opportunities in the sector and benefits of exporting Nigerian goods and services to the overall growth of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

With 813 offices spread across the country, Dr. Abari said the NOA was strategically positioned to help the Council drive the campaign to the 36 states of the federation as well as the 774 local governments areas.

“Export4Survival is indeed strategic in finding a solution to the nation’s fragile economy. It is the only way to regain the value of the Naira as it will create wealth and job opportunities for all Nigerians”, he noted.

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