FG Aims 570,000 Jobs Through ERGP Labs

The Federal Government is looking towards the creation of  570,000 jobs through the implementation of the focused labs under the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.

The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udo Udoma, stated this In Abuja during the ERGP Mid-Lab syndication meeting.

A statement from the minister’s Media Adviser, Akpandem James, quoted Udoma as saying that the government was positive that given the number of projects that were likely to be ready for approval by the end of the lab process, the aim of resolving inter-agency bottlenecks, which is one of the cardinal objectives of the labs, would have been actuallised.

He said the purpose of setting up the labs was to identify and unlock investments from the private sector by resolving complex inter-agency problems that acted as barriers to private sector investments.

The minister stated, “By bringing you, the investors and heads of critical agencies of government, into a confined environment, the government is offering you a platform to finalise your business decisions in the fastest possible manner.

“Data from the three labs show that in the past three weeks, we are on course to meeting our target of $25bn investment commitment.

“So far, we have identified 59 projects that are four- and five-star. There are several other projects rated one- to three-star. We will continue to work with these categories of investors to improve the ratings of their projects to five-star projects.”

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who also spoke at the event, said he was particularly impressed by the level of commitment, enthusiasm and interest shown by the participants to fast-track the growth and development of the country.

He noted that even though regulatory processes were necessary in order to protect institutions and streamline activities, the government appreciated the fact that it was necessary to limit bureaucratic tendencies so that they would not get in the way of progress.

This, he added, was why the government decided to embark on the labs to address challenges that could stand in the way of investments.

Osinbajo said he was encouraged by the fact that Nigeria had what it takes to realise set goals.

“We have made remarkable progress and working together, we can achieve so much,” he added.

FG Receives N263.28bn From FAAC Allocation In Feb – NBS

The National Bureau of Statistics ( NBS ), says the Federal Government received a total of N263. 28 billion from the N635.55 billion Federation Account Allocation Committee ( FAAC ) disbursed to three tiers of government in February.

The NBS made this known in FAAC for February 2018 Disbursement data posted on the bureau’s website.

The states received a total of N172.87 billion and Local governments received N129.99 billion.

The bureau, however, stated that the amount disbursed to three tiers of government was from the revenue generated in January.

According to NBS, the amount disbursed comprised of N538.91 billion from the Statutory Account and N96.65 billion from Valued Added Tax ( VAT ).

“The sum of N52.04 billion was shared among the oil producing states as 13 per cent derivation fund.

“The revenue generating agencies such as Nigeria Customs Service, Federal Inland Revenue Service and Department of Petroleum Resources received N4.08 billion, N6.29 billion and N4.47 billion respectively as cost of revenue collections.”

Meanwhile, the breakdown of revenue allocation distribution to the Federal Government of Nigeria ( FGN ) revealed that N223.42 billion was disbursed to the FGN consolidated revenue account in the month.

It showed N4.73 billion as share of derivation and ecology, and N2.37 billon as stabilisation fund.

The breakdown further showed that N7.95 billion was shared for the development of natural resources and N5.62 billion to the Federal Capital Territory ( FCT ), Abuja.

NAN

2018 Budget: FG Summons Heads Of Agencies On Procurement

The Federal Government has summoned the Accounting officers and Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) from all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to brainstorm on effective implementation of 2018 budget.

Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, who conveyed this directive in a statement on Monday in Abuja, warned that there would be no proxy representation.

The statement signed by Lawrence Ojabo, Director Information, Office of the Secretary to the Government of Federation, said Mustapha, has directed that “the retreat is for all Chief Executive Officers and Accounting Officers, without exemption or proxy representation”.

He said: “Officers are to attend a mandatory retreat on Saturday, April 7th, 2018, at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel Abuja, on the application of the Public Procurement Act 2017.

The SGF said the retreat was to ensure effective implementation of the 2018 budget as well as address all identified inadequacies or deficiencies in 2017, with a view to enhancing 2018 budget implementation.

Ekiti 2018: PDP aspirants, supporters move to SDP
“The retreat, organised in conjunction with the Bureau of Public Procurement(BPP) will hold at 8.00 am, with the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Mrs Winifred Oyo-Ita as Guest of Honour, and Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Alhaji Muhammad Musa Bello as Chief Host.

“Registration and collection of retreat materials will take place on Friday,6th April 2018 at the Congress Hall of the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja from 2.00 pm.

“The directives of the SGF are contained in a circular letter reference number SGF/OP/1/S.3/XII titled“PROCUREMENT RETREAT FOR CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICERS OF FEDERAL PARASTATALS,” the statement said.

CNM Accuses Buhari’s Govt of Security Corruption

The Coalition for Nigeria Movement led by former President Olusegun Obasanjo has asked Nigerians to be wary of President Muhammadu Buhari’s government as it has corrupted security agencies ahead of the 2019 general elections.

It said the statement by a former Minister of Defence, Lt. Gen. Theophilus Danjuma (retd.), that the military was colluding with unscrupulous individuals should not be dismissed.

The spokesman for the CNM, Mr. Akin Osuntokun, said this while responding to allegations by heads of security agencies that there was a plot by some groups to disrupt the 2019 general elections.

The Directors-General of the Department of State Services, Mr. Lawal Daura; and National Intelligence Agency, Mr. Ahmed Rufa’I as well as the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Gabriel Olonisakin, had raised the alarm over the plans by some groups to disrupt the processes leading to the 2019 elections.

The evil plan, according to them, was for the groups to create a stalemate during the elections.

However, Osuntokun told one of our correspondents that the security heads were acting out the script of the All Progressives Congress.

He said, “It all sounds funny to me. I don’t know any group that meets that description but why would anyone want to disrupt the 2019 elections? The only people that would want to disrupt the elections are the APC which has sensed its imminent defeat.

“If what Gen. Danjuma said is true whereby our protectors have become murderers, then it means they are the ones that should be feared. They are the ones that should be suspected.

“If you can extrapolate from what Gen. Danjuma said, that means Nigerians are at the mercy of the government or the army that is colluding. The people we should fear are (those in ) the government.”

Osuntokun said it was unfortunate that the heads of security agencies were serving a ‘conspiratorial parochial agenda’ as they were protecting the President’s ethnic base.

He added, “Where is the need to reserve the command of the Nigerian military and security services exclusively for the ethno-religious base of the President if it is not to serve a conspiratorial parochial agenda?

“The only group that fits this description of a fictitious fifth columnist agenda is the government itself.”

Security services shouldn’t cause panic –NCP

The National Conscience Party asked Nigeria’s security services to wake up to their responsibilities and should not try to cause panic to achieve pre-arranged objectives.

The National Chairman of the party, Dr. Yunusa Tanko, said this in a telephone interview with Saturday PUNCH, in Abuja, on Friday.

He was reacting to the news that the nation’s security chiefs had raised the alarm over threats by unnamed groups to scuttle the 2019 general elections.

Tanko said, “That is very unfortunate. I wouldn’t want to say unprofessional; I only hope they are not raising a false alarm as part of a gimmick to short-change Nigerians.

“Security people do a lot of things; I don’t think it is fair for them to send panic or create fear among Nigerians. They are in the government; they are trained and paid to protect us.

“They have the capacity to deal with threats if they know these individuals or groups and they have evidence. What is stopping them from apprehending them?

“It is completely unnecessary for our security officials to try to create a situation of panic. As ordinary citizens, we don’t have the information and capacity they have. If they are now throwing it back to us, what do they expect us to do?

“Who do we move to for protection? It is their duty to ensure that the election is free and fair and not to send fear into the hearts of Nigerians.”

Speaking in a similar vein, the National Chairman of the Labour Party, Alhaji Abdukadir Abdulsalam, urged Nigerians to remain vigilant and ensure that nothing untoward was done by any individual or group to scuttle the 2019 elections.

Abdulsalam who also spoke in a telephone interview noted that Nigerians owed it a duty to themselves and the nation to remain vigilant while the institutions of the state live up to their responsibility.

“We expect our security officials to do their jobs by ensuring a peaceful atmosphere before, during and after elections.

“We should not become a nation that each time an election is coming we begin to raise security concerns. It does not portray us as a serious country.”

FG must act fast –CACOL, CD

Two civil societies, the Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership and the Campaign for Democracy have said that the Federal Government must not treat the alarm raised by the security chiefs on the 2019 elections with kid gloves.

The civil societies said the government must reshuffle the military and other security agencies to bring in fresh and efficient hands, devoid of political and economic interests.

The CACOL Director, Debo Adeniran, said, “That alarm by security chiefs is a manifestation of the ominous sign of distrust between the serving and retired military officers.

“These are ominous times and the government must not fold its arms. It is a warning that should be taken seriously and everyone who is investigated to have such plans against the 2019 elections must be arrested and prosecuted, no matter whose ox is gored.

“They should be rounded up and made to sign an undertaking for the 2019 elections.”

Meanwhile, the CD President, Usman Abdul, said, “We will not condone any act of sabotaging our democracy. We call on the President to allow those security chiefs who are due for retirement to go. The President must bring in those who are capable of steering the course of the 2019 elections.

“Given these security alerts, the government must not let the 2019 elections go awry. There must be an action immediately and one of such actions is the removal of whoever is deemed inefficient.”

News Source: PUNCH

FG Ready To Rehabilitate Repentant Boko Haram Members – Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday expressed the readiness to offer amnesty to members of the Boko Haram sect that are willing to drop their arms.

President Buhari said this at a meeting with freed schoolgirls who were previously abducted from their school in Dapchi, Yobe State by Boko Haram terrorists.

“Federal Government is ready to rehabilitate Boko Haram militants who are ready to lay down their arms,” he said.

He also warned security chiefs over any lapse and directed security beef up in schools that are vulnerable to attacks.

President Buhari said further that the negotiation strategy with the terrorists was effective as it aided release of the abducted schoolgirls unhurt.

In a tweet by his Special Adviser Assistant on New Media, Bashir Ahmad, Buhari said the negotiation paid off.

“We entered into negotiations solely to make sure that no single girl was hurt. This strategy paid off as the girls have been released without any incidents,” he said.

: “We entered into negotiations solely to make sure that no single girl was hurt. This strategy paid off as the girls have been released without any incidents.” – President @MBuhari

Electricity Thieves May Go To Jail Soon

The Federal Government, through the Director of Public Prosecutions of the Federal Ministry of Justice, Mr. Etsu Mohammed, has inaugurated the Enugu Zone of the Special Investigation and Prosecution Task Force on Electricity Offences.

According to the DPP, the task force is to deal with “the menace of electricity theft and vandalism of electricity distribution assets in the South-East zone,” which is the coverage area of the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company.

While inaugurating the 18-man task force on Wednesday, Umar said the growing menace of electricity theft in the area of coverage of the EEDC “has contributed immensely to the economic challenges that the power sector has faced over time in the South-East zone.”

On the mandate of the task-force, the DPP said, “Although SIPTECO is charged with the responsibility of investigating and prosecuting all electricity theft cases, you are also enjoined to make other recommendations to me and the management of the EEDC and make use of alternative dispute resolution mechanisms in appropriate cases.

“Bear in mind that the overall objective of your mandate is to prevent electricity theft, prosecute cases and recover lost revenue.”

He noted that the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), had earlier approved the setting up of a similar task force for the catchment area of the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company.

He said the said task force was inaugurated on May 2, 2017.

Speaking at the event on Wednesday, the Chairman of the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company, Emeka Offor, and the acting Managing Director of the company, Paul Okeke, noted that the major electricity crimes in the South-East included illegal connections, meter cloning and meter bypassing.

FG Blasts PDP For Doubting Abduction, Release Of Dapchi Schoolgirls

The Federal Government has taken a swipe at the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), following the release of the Dapchi schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram terrorists.

Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, faulted the party’s reaction to the girls’ release on Thursday in a statement by his media aide, Segun Adeyemi.

The abducted girls regained freedom on Wednesday, more than four weeks after the insurgents invaded the Government Girls Science and Technical College, Dapchi, in Yobe State.

Of the 110 girls snatched by Boko Haram on February 19, the government said 104 were returned by the terrorists with six unaccounted for.

In its reaction, the PDP accused the Federal Government and the All Progressives Congress (APC) of ‘scripting’ the abduction of the schoolgirls.

The party had also called on the United Nations and the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate the incident, which it said was a scripted drama by the APC in the bid to seek re-election in 2019.

Mr Mohammed, however, condemned the claim by the opposition, saying such postulation portrays the PDP as an “inhuman, insensitive, unpatriotic and unworthy party”.

He said since the release of the Dapchi girls were negotiated by friendly countries and reputable international organisations, it would have taken a conspiracy of global proportion to have stage-managed the adoption and release of the girls.

The minister noted that the PDP’s reaction amounts to an expression of sour grapes, alleging that the party failed – when it was in power – to quickly resolve a similar abduction of schoolgirls.

“As we have said many times since the abduction of the Dapchi schoolgirls, no government is exempted from its own share of tragedies,” he said. “What makes the difference is the way such tragedies are managed.”

“Whereas it took the PDP all of 18 days to even acknowledge the abduction of the Chibok girls in 2014, the APC Federal Government acted promptly and responsively when the Dapchi schoolgirls were abducted on February 19, 2018, hence their quick release,” Mohammed added.

He further claimed that the party that failed when it was in power has also failed as an opposition, going by its response to the release of the Dapchi schoolgirls – a development he said calls for a non-partisan celebration.

According to the minister, “In its 16 years in power, the PDP redefined governance as cluelessness, massive looting of the public treasury and crude exhibition of power. In its over three years in opposition, the PDP has again shown it does not understand the role of the opposition in a democracy.”

“How then can the PDP convince Nigerians that it has learnt its lessons and that it is ready to rule the country again? he questioned.

Mohammed explained that the Federal Government has ignored statements from the PDP because the party has failed to learn the ropes of being an opposition party.

He, however, said the government broke its own rules because “the PDP over-reached itself and scored an own goal at a time it could simply have congratulated the government and people of Nigeria on the release of the girls or just keep quiet.”

The Minister assured Nigerians that the Federal Government would intensify the ongoing efforts to secure the release of the remaining Chibok girls and return them safely to their families.

 

76 Not 105 Dapchi Girls Released – Lai Mohammed

The Nigerian government has confirmed the released of some of the girls abducted by Boko Haram militants from a secondary school in Dapchi, Yobe State.

The government said only 76 girls were released Wednesday, meaning the militants have not freed 34 of the girls.

The confirmation was made in a statement by the Information Minister, Lai Mohammed.

Mr. Mohammed said President Muhammadu Buhari directives to all security agencies to do everything possible to secure the release of the girls, who were abducted February 19, had “yielded fruits”.

He said the release of the remaining abducted students was “ongoing”.

He said the girls were released around 3 a.m. through “back-channel efforts” and with the help of some friends of the country, and that it was unconditional.

”For the release to work, the government had a clear understanding that violence and confrontation would not be the way out as it could endanger the lives of the girls, hence a non-violent approach was the preferred option.

”Within the period when the girls were being brought back, operational pause was observed in certain areas to ensure free passage and also that lives were not lost,” Mr. Mohammed said.

He said the number of the freed girls would be updated after the remaining ones have been documented, “especially because the girls were not handed over to anyone but dropped off in Dapchi.

FG Declares Dass First LG In North To Attain ODF Status

The federal government has declared Dass as the first local government area in the Northern part of the country to attain the Open Defecation Free (ODF) status.
Making the declaration in Dass, the headquarters of the local government in Bauchi State Monday, the Minister of Water Resources, Mr. Suleiman Adamu, said with this feat, Dass is now the second local government after Obaniku in Cross River State to attain the ODF status.
Presenting the ODF certificate to Dass through the state government, the minister explained that Obaniku in Cross River State was the first, and Dass in Bauchi State is the second in the country to attain the ODF status.
“Today, I’m excited that Dass LGA has come on board as the first LGA in Northern part to be ODF and the second in the country,” he said.
Adamu said that with the high priority his ministry placed on water, sanitation and hygiene and the support of development partners, the country has moved close to achieving ODF by 2025, five years ahead of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) target of 2030.
Adamu congratulated the people of Dass LGA and Bauchi State for the achievement, as well as United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and UK Aid for supporting the implementation of Sanitation, Hygiene and Water in Nigeria (SHAWN) under which this project is recorded.

We Will Name, Shame Tax Evaders Next Month – Adeosun

The Federal Government has revealed plans to aggressively go after tax evaders to prosecute them and publicly reveal their identities.

Through the Ministry of Finance, the Federal Government said tax evaders will be prosecuted, named and shamed using its the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS) which will end by March 31, this year.

The Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun said this on Thursday during the VAIDS Stakeholders symposium which held at the Shehu Yar’Adua Centre, Murtala Square, in Kaduna State.

According to her, the Federal Government has the political will and data to go after tax evaders who fail to take advantage of the tax amnesty programme.

“We will close VAIDS at the expiration of the programme on March 31, 2018. And once the programme is closed, we will name and shame and also prosecute tax evaders.

“Many Nigerians cannot explain their lifestyles or match their lifestyles, assets and income with their tax payment,” she said.

VAIDS, Adesoun explained, has been strengthened by the data on financial accounts, property and trusts shared by other countries. She said the programme will aid in recovering funds to provide basic needs for Nigerians.

“The offshore tax shelter system is basically over. Those who have hidden money overseas are being exposed and whilst Nigerians can legally keep their money anywhere in the world.

“They must first pay any taxes due to the Nigerian government so that we can fund the needs of the masses and create jobs and wealth for our people.”

Adeosun also said she is displeased with the six percent tax to gross domestic ratio for Nigeria. This, she explained is one of the lowest in the world

“We cannot be in the bottom division when it comes to tax collection and expect to be in the premium when it comes to development, it can’t work and so, we must come together as one and do the right thing,” she said.

New Minimum Wage Will Meet Economic Realities – FG

Mr Boss Mustapha, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), says the Federal Government is committed to ensuring that the new National Minimum Wage meets the present economic realities.

Mustapha said this at a dinner and award night organised to mark the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) 40th Anniversary celebration.

The theme of the anniversary is: “Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, National Unity and Social Justice’’.

According to him, the Federal Government is conscious of the need to bring wages to meet economic realities.

“It is in this regard that the Tripartite Committee on Minimum Wage was inaugurated to review the National Minimum Wage.

“The committee is determined to complete its assignment before the end of this year.

“I am confident that the outcome of the assignment would address the issue of social imbalance, inequality and the wide gap of poverty in the country.

“That is why this administration takes the welfare of the Nigerian worker as priority by putting so much effort into the resuscitation of the economy.’’

Mustapha said the primary objective of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) was to diversify the economy, grow skills, create wealth, gain infrastructures, ensure food security and provide jobs.

He noted the importance of the NLC in the affairs of any government could not be overlooked.

“It is the soul of the government because without the workers, be they civil servants, private sector workers or even pensioners, there will be nobody to man the system,‘’ he said.

The SGF while speaking on the theme of the NLC anniversary said it was apt and time to count on achievements and chat a new course for the future.

According to him, it is indeed a time to reflect on years of struggle, turbulence and the service of the congress to the Nigerian workers.

“I believe that together, we can build the Nigeria of our dream and improve on the generality of the life of Nigerians.

“It is also a time to recognise and reward excellence. I stand here to celebrate with the NLC, not just as SGF, but also as a comrade.

“ I have been a comrade right from my school days and shall remain so until tomorrow. I would like to say that you have a member in this government.’’

Earlier, Mr Ayuba Wabba, NLC President said the three-day anniversary celebration had been that of brainstorming event.

“From the volume of discourse, it is very clear that the future will be bright because we have assembled the best from among our rank and file.

“We brought in our founding fathers that laid the solid foundation that allowed us to continue to exist despite the challenges.

“I am certain and all of us are convinced that from the issues that were discoursed, we have reasons to look into the future and build NLC of our dreams.

“It is, therefore, our sincere hope that with the determination of our founding fathers and the solid foundation they have laid, we are assured that the future is already secured.’’

The NLC President said the anniversary award was to recognise the contribution of patriots, founding fathers, organisations and individuals that had worked assiduously to ensure that NLC continue to exist.

He said some of the awardee’s contribution were too numerous to mention, adding that some had paid the supreme price and laid down their lives.

“Some have suffered deformity and others are here with us and we are going to recognise their contributions.

“Therefore, this occasion is to recognise key contribution of individuals and organisations as well as our veterans who have stood their ground even in the face of adversity.

“In the era of the military, some of them spent several months in jail. There is no other occasion to recognise these people than the 40th-anniversary congress.’’

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that President Muhammadu Buhari was represented by Sen. Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour and Employment who presented the awards.

Some of the awardees include Mr Hassan Sunmonu, pioneer president of the NLC, Mr Ali Chiroma, late Pascal Bafyau, Mr Adams Oshiomole, among others.

They were awarded in recognition of their sacrifice and excellent services in the struggle for social justice