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[STATE HOUSE PRESS RELEASE] President Tinubu: Security, Job Creation, Poverty Reduction Top Priorities Of 2024 BudgetWritten by Admin
President Bola Tinubu says Nigeria's national defence and internal security, local job creation, macro-economic stability, investment environment optimization, human capital development, poverty reduction, and social security are some of the top priorities of the 2024 Budget of Renewed Hope.
Addressing a joint session of the National Assembly on the 2024 Federal budget proposal on Wednesday in Abuja, President Tinubu said the nation's internal security architecture will be overhauled to enhance law enforcement capabilities with a view to safeguarding lives, property, and investments across the country.
He said the proposed budget prioritizes human capital development, with particular attention given to children, because human capital remains the most critical resource for national development.
"To improve the effectiveness of our budget performance, the government will focus on ensuring value for money, greater transparency, and accountability. In this regard, we will work more closely with development partners and the private sector.
"To address long-standing issues in the education sector, a more sustainable model of funding tertiary education will be implemented, including the Student Loan Scheme scheduled to become operational by January 2024," the President affirmed.
Speaking on the economy, President Tinubu said a stable macro-economic environment is crucial in his administration's bid to catalyze private investment and accelerate economic growth; hence, his government shall continue to implement business and investment friendly measures for sustainable growth.
"We expect the economy to grow by a minimum of 3.76 percent, above the forecasted world average. Inflation is expected to moderate to 21.4 percent in 2024. In preparing the 2024 Budget, our primary objective has been to sustain our robust foundation for sustainable economic development. A critical focus of this budget and the medium-term expenditure framework is Nigeria's commitment to a greener future.
"Emphasizing public-private partnerships, we have strategically made provisions to leverage private capital for big-ticket infrastructure projects in energy, transportation, and other sectors. This marks a critical step towards diversifying our energy mix, enhancing efficiency, and fostering the development of renewable energy sources. By allocating resources to support innovative and environmentally conscious initiatives, we aim to position Nigeria as a regional leader in the global movement towards clean and sustainable energy.
"As we approach the COP28 climate summit, a pivotal moment for global climate action, I have directed relevant government agencies to diligently work towards securing substantial funding commitments that will bolster Nigeria's energy transition. It is imperative that we seize this opportunity to attract international partnerships and investments that align with our national goals. I call upon our representatives to engage proactively to showcase the strides we have made in the quest to create an enabling environment for sustainable energy projects.
"Together, we will strive for Nigeria to emerge from COP28 with tangible commitments, reinforcing our dedication to a future where energy is not only a catalyst for development but also a driver of environmental stewardship," he said.
The President said a conservative oil price benchmark of 77.96 U.S. Dollars per barrel and a daily oil production estimate of 1.78 million barrels per day were adopted after a careful review of global oil market trends, and that a Naira to U.S. Dollar exchange rate of 750 naira per U.S. Dollar was adopted for 2024 as well.
Giving a breakdown of the 2024 Appropriation Bill, the President said: "Accordingly, an aggregate expenditure of 27.5 trillion naira is proposed for the Federal Government in 2024, of which the non-debt recurrent expenditure is 9.92 trillion naira while debt service is projected to be 8.25 trillion naira and capital expenditure is 8.7 trillion naira. Nigeria remains committed to meeting its debt obligations. Projected debt service is 45% of the expected total revenue.
"The budget deficit is projected at 9.18 trillion naira in 2024 or 3.88 percent of GDP. This is lower than the 13.78 trillion naira deficit recorded in 2023, which represented 6.11 percent of GDP. The deficit will be financed by new borrowings totaling 7.83 trillion naira, 298.49 billion naira from Privatization Proceeds, and 1.05 trillion naira draw down on multilateral and bilateral loans secured for specific development projects."
President Tinubu said his administration remains committed to broad-based and shared economic prosperity, adding: "We are reviewing social investment programmes to enhance their implementation and effectiveness. In particular, the National Social Safety Net project will be expanded to provide targeted cash transfers to poor and vulnerable households."
He also said efforts will be made to further contain financial leakages through the effective implementation of key public financial management reforms.
The President commended the patriotic resolve of the 10th National Assembly to collaborate with the Executive on the mission to renew the hope of Nigerians and deliver on the promises made to Africa's largest population.
"As you consider the 2024 Budget estimates, we trust that the legislative review process will be conducted with a view to sustaining our desired return to a predictable January-December fiscal year. I have no doubt that you will be guided by the interest of all Nigerians. We must ensure that only projects and programs with equitable benefits are allowed into the 2024 Budget. Additionally, only projects and programs that are in line with the sectoral mandates of MDAs and those which are capable of realizing the vision of our administration should be included in the budget," the President declared.
Chief Ajuri Ngelale
Special Adviser to the President
(Media and Publicity)
November 29, 2023
President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio said Nigeria achieved in 24 years a feat that took the United States 185 years to achieve.
In his address during the 2024 budget presentation by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to the joint session of lawmakers at the National Assembly on Wednesday, Nov. 29, he said, ex-Senators occupy strategic positions in the executive which made the two arms to foster a healthier relationship.
Akpabio said with former lawmakers running the executive, a cordial relationship between the two arms would not only be a must, but they will continue to walk hand in hand and see eye to eye.
Akpabio said: “Mr President, the United States of America has started democracy for about 247 years. But it was only when it marked its 185th anniversary that it succeeded in producing two former senators John F Kennedy and Lyndon B Johnson as president and vice president respectively.
“But within 24 years of our democracy, we have achieved what took the United States of America 185 years to achieve.
“Not only do we have two former Distinguished Senators serving as the President and Vice President of our dear country; we also have other alumni of this Assembly in positions of public trust: Secretary to the Federal Government, Senator George Akume; the Chief of Staff to the President, Rt Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, a former Speaker of the House of Representatives, and other Senators in the Cabinet.
“Mr. President, Distinguished and Honorable Members, maintaining a cordial relationship with the Executive Arm has always been a requirement of the law, but now, given that our Old Boys now run the Executive, a good relationship with the Executive is a must.
“Never have we had so many bridges and connection points between these two arms of Government.
“So we will continue to walk hand in hand and see eye to eye with the Executive Arm while ensuring that the principles of separation of powers, as well as checks and balances as enshrined in our Constitution are observed in the overriding public interest.”
The Founder of the Living Faith Church Worldwide, also known as Winners Chapel, David Oyedepo, has warned his son, Isaac, to avoid tarnishing or bringing down any Church while discharging his ministerial duties.
Naija News reports that Oyedepo stated this in a YouTube video Isaac shared on his X handle on Tuesday.
In the video titled, ‘Unveiling of the Isaac Oyedepo Evangelistic Ministries.’ Oyedepo addressed a congregation believed to be members of his son’s newly-founded ministry.
The cleric recalled how he corrected a church member who attempted to speak ill of TREM and Deeper Life Bible Church during a testimony, urging Isaac not to toe the path of the young generation of ministers who believed they were everything.
He said, “My son, His times are not in your hands, your times are in His hands. Don’t be part of maligning or bringing down any ministry.
“Some years ago, someone stood up to give a testimony and to malign TREM and Deeper Life and I corrected it immediately. Never get to a point where you say this thing is only happening with me.”
It would be recalled that Oyedepo’s family made headlines a month ago after the news emerged about Pastor Isaac’s resignation from his father’s ministry.
The reported resignation was announced by Church Gist, a media platform owned by Pastor Leke Beecroft, one of the long-term pastoral assistants at the LFC Headquarters in Ota.
In September, Pastor Isaac was said to have hinted about his plan to commence a new church ministry. The national youth pastor of the Youth Alive Fellowship (YAF), had disclosed that the new youth pastor will take the youthful congregation to glorious heights.
Budget Presentation: Nigerians Are Suffering, Do Not See It As A Mere Financial Document – Speaker Tells TinubuWritten by Admin
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Tajudeen Abbas, has said the 2024 budget must address the most critical needs of long-suffering citizens.
He insisted that Nigerians are living through difficult times and called for a focus of the budget on social welfare.
Abbas stated this on Wednesday during President Bola Tinubu’s presentation of the 2024 budget proposal.
Naija News reports that Tinubu’s removal of fuel subsidy and unification of the exchange rate has led to an upward swing in the cost of living in Nigeria.
The speaker warned that the budget should not be seen as “a mere financial document.”
“Mr. President, it is a well-known fact that millions of our constituents are living through incredibly difficult times. For this reason, they also look to the Tinubu-led government to provide quick and sustainable solutions,” Abbas said.
Addressing the president’s request to pass the budget before December 31, Abbas said the president should ensure the MDAs appear before the committees for hearings.
“Mr. President, let me, on behalf of my colleagues in the National Assembly, assure you that we will give this bill the utmost priority it deserves. While we would give it accelerated consideration, we will diligently scrutinise it alongside Nigerians to ensure that when it is passed, it will be a budget that best addresses the most critical needs of our people,” Abbas added.
The Governor of Bayelsa State, Douye Diri, on Wednesday, presented the 2024 Appropriation Bill of N480.993 billion christened ‘Budget of Sustainable and Shared Prosperity’ to the House of Assembly for consideration.
The 2024 fiscal year’s estimates are N41.722 billion higher than the approved 2023 budget of N439.271 billion, currently under implementation by the state government.
He lamented that “the greatest challenge in the course of implementation of the 2023 budget is the high inflation rate in the country”, noting that current reports from the National Bureau of Statistics indicated that food inflation was about 31.5% while inflation hovered around 27 per cent.
Diri, however, said a general analysis of the budget performance, as of September 2023, showed that his administration “had achieved an overall performance of 73 per cent, where both the recurrent and capital expenditures got due attention.”
He claimed that the implementation of the 2023 budget achieved considerable success and consistency in critical areas such as security, education, agriculture, health, works and infrastructure, sports and the civil service.
Presenting the 2024 budget proposal, the governor said the fiscal document was consistent with the assumptions contained in the state’s 2024-2026 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper which the Assembly approved in October 2023.
The total recurrent expenditure is N154.096 billion representing 46.41 per cent, while total capital expenditure would gulp N257,777 billion which is 53.59 per cent.
Giving a breakdown of the budgetary allocation, which covered only nine sectors, Diri said Works and Infrastructure got N141.837 billion; Education N49.888 billion; Health N26.041 billion; Environment N15.554 billion; Agriculture N14.886 billion; Power N6.049; Lands and Housing N6.876 billion; Youths and Sports N7.656 billion; Transport N6.424 billion.
He explained that the budget would be financed through an opening balance of N13.625bn, statutory allocation of N57 billion, VAT N36 billion, 13 per cent derivation of N208.920 billion, IGR N23.869 billion and other capital receipts (stamp duties, loans, grants etc) N141.578 billion.
“We are guided by the desire to prepare a realistic, implementable and prioritized budget which is a reflection of the aspirations and wishes of critical stakeholders, and the economic realities in the country,” he said.
Diri assured the legislature that the executive arm would ensure strict discipline, transparency and due process in the implementation of the 2024 budget.
He also said that the Ministry of Budget and Economic Planning had been empowered to regularly analyse, monitor and evaluate the budget performance against the various policies, programmes and projects of the government.
While appealing to the Assembly to give the 2024 fiscal document expeditious approval, Diri expressed the hope that the lawmakers’ subsequent oversight of the implementation of the budget would bring greater dividends to the people of the state.
In his remarks, the speaker of the 24-member House of Assembly, Abraham Ingobere, commended the governor and his team for the administration’s achievements, assuring him that the legislature would prioritise the consideration and passage of the budget.
Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), has faulted president Bola Tinubu’s recent reconstitution of the management board of the Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited, saying it breached a binding Judgement of a competent court of law.
While addressing a press conference, National Coordinator of HURIWA, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko who spoke on behalf of a coalition of ten Non-governmental bodies, asserted that it was illegal for the president to have made the announcement when he is aware that the Federal government had appealed a Federal High Court’s Judgement which invalidated the removal of Senator Ifeanyi, Ararume as Chairman of NNPC Ltd on inception.
HURIWA said, “The rule of law is the cornerstone of any democratic society, and its principles must be upheld at all times. The recent appointments announced by President Tinubu raise serious concerns about the commitment of the federal government to abide by the rule of law, especially when there is ongoing litigation related to the NNPC board.
“Firstly, we acknowledge the president’s authority to make appointments under Section 59(2) of the Petroleum Industry Act, 2021. However, the timing of these appointments, amidst a legal dispute over the removal of Senator Ararume, is not only questionable but also constitutes a clear affront to the rule of law.
“In the case of Ifeanyi Ararume vs. President Muhammadu Buhari, the Federal High Court in Abuja declared Ararume’s removal as the non-executive chairman of NNPC as wrongful and ordered his reinstatement. The court also awarded damages of N5 billion in favor of Senator Ararume. This decision is binding until set aside by a competent court.
“The question that begs an answer is: Where is the respect for the rule of law when the federal government, through President Tinubu, proceeds to make new appointments while the appeal filed against the court’s decision is still pending and subsisting? This action is not only a disregard for the judicial process but also a display of lawlessness and impunity.
“The doctrine of ‘sub judice,’ which prohibits discussing the merits of a case that is already before a court, is well established in our legal jurisprudence. It is intended to prevent interference with the judicial process and ensure that parties receive a fair and unbiased adjudication. President Tinubu’s decision to make new appointments in the NNPC during the pendency of an appeal is a clear violation of this doctrine.
“Moreover, the principle of ‘stare decisis’ dictates that the decisions of a court are binding on all inferior courts and authorities. The federal government, by making new appointments despite the court’s ruling in Ararume’s case, is undermining the authority of the judiciary and setting a dangerous precedent.
“We cite the case of R v. Sussex Justices, Ex parte McCarthy (1924) 1 KB 256, where Lord Hewart CJ famously stated, “It is not merely of some importance but is of fundamental importance that justice should not only be done but should manifestly and undoubtedly be seen to be done.” The actions of the federal government in making new appointments while a legal challenge is ongoing cast a shadow on the integrity of the judicial process.
“Furthermore, we refer to the case of Adegoke Motors Ltd. v. Adesanya (1989) 3 NWLR (Pt. 109) 250, where the Supreme Court held that parties should not take steps that will render nugatory the outcome of pending legal proceedings. The federal government’s insistence on making new appointments creates a situation where the appellate court might be faced with a ‘fait accompli,’ rendering any decision on the appeal meaningless.
“Therefore, HURIWA calls for a reversal of the recent appointments in the NNPC pending the determination of the appeal in Senator Ararume’s case. We urge President Tinubu and the federal government to respect the rule of law, adhere to the principles of sub judice, and uphold the sanctity of judicial decisions. The legal process must be allowed to run its course without interference, and any attempt to circumvent the rule of law should be vehemently condemned.
“As we emphasize the importance of upholding the rule of law, we must also recognize the broader implications of these actions for the democratic fabric of our nation. The judiciary, as the guardian of justice, plays a pivotal role in ensuring that the rights of individuals are protected, and its decisions are crucial in maintaining the delicate balance of power among the three arms of government.
“The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, as amended, clearly delineates the powers and functions of the executive, legislative, and judicial arms of government. This separation of powers is fundamental to the democratic governance of our country and is designed to prevent the abuse of power and the emergence of authoritarianism.
“When the executive arm of government, in this case, the presidency, disregards the decisions of the judiciary and proceeds with actions that directly contradict those decisions, it undermines the delicate checks and balances that sustain our democracy. It is not just Senator Ararume whose rights are being violated; it is the very foundation of our democratic system that is under threat.”
The Supreme Court has ruled that both the old and the redesigned Naira banknotes remain valid legal tenders in the country beyond December 31.
The apex court, in a ruling by a seven-man panel led by Justice Inyang Okoro, on Wednesday, said the banknotes should remain in circulation, pending when the Federal Government, after due consultation with relevant stakeholders, takes a decision on the matter.
It made the order after hearing an application that was moved on behalf of the federal government by the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Prince Lateef Fagbemi, SAN.
It will be recalled that the court nullified on March 3 the ban on the use of the old N200, N500, and N1000 banknotes as valid legal tenders by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration.
The court held that the old Naira notes should be used alongside the redesigned currencies until the end of the year.
In its lead judgement that was prepared and delivered by Justice Emmanuel Agim, the apex court slammed the FG for unilaterally introducing the demonitization policy through the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, without consulting the Council of States, the Federal Executive Council, the National Security Council, the National Economic Council, Civil Society Organizations and other relevant stakeholders.
It held that the FG failed to give valid notice to all the federating units before it decided to withdraw the old banknotes from circulation and introduce new ones.
The Supreme Court maintained that evidence before it established that a purported notice on the monetary policy was through “mere press remarks” by governor of the CBN, Mr. Godwin Emefiele.
It held that such remarks did not qualify as “reasonable notice” to the states as envisaged under section 20(3) of the CBN Act.
Besides, the court invalidated the directive President Buhari gave in the broadcast he made on February 16, which allowed only the old N200 note to remain a legal tender until April 10.
While accusing President Buhari of disobeying the interim order it made on February 8, which directed that the old banknotes should remain in use till the determination of the case before it, the apex court stressed that the President, by going ahead to ban the old banknotes, acted in a way that was inimical to democratic governance.
According to the court, having acted in disobedience to its order, FG lost its right to be granted an audience before it.
Following the end of the last administration, the President Bola Tinubu-led government re-applied to the Supreme Court for an indefinite extension of its December 31 deadline.
In furtherance of my sacred duties and obligations as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, it is my honour to be here today to present my administration’s 2024 Budget Proposal to this Joint Session of the 10th National Assembly.
This moment is especially profound and significant to me because it is my first annual budgetary presentation to the National Assembly.
Distinguished Senators and Honourable Members of the National Assembly, I commend your swift consideration and passage of the 2023 Supplementary Appropriation Bills and the 2024-2026 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper. Your prompt action underscores your devotion to economic development and to the greater welfare of our people.
It also highlights your desire to work in close collaboration with the Executive branch. We do not serve ourselves. We must always strive to work together to serve and benefit the people of our beloved country.
I am confident that the National Assembly will continue to work closely with us to ensure that deliberations on the 2024 Budget are thorough but also concluded with reasonable dispatch. Our goal is for the Appropriation Act to come into effect on the 1st of January 2024.
It is, by now, a matter of recorded history that my very first fiscal intervention as President of this great nation was to end the fuel subsidy regime which had proven to be so harmful to the overall health of our national economy. The second was to negotiate and subsequently present a supplementary budget to enable my government to fund the items needed to restore macro-economic stability and mitigate the harsh impact of subsidy removal.
The third was to secure a second supplementary budget, this time to enable us to keep our promises to promote national security, invest in infrastructure and provide much needed support to the most vulnerable households in our society.
In swearing-in my cabinet and reflecting on the unique challenges facing us, I invited the Ministers to imagine that we are attempting to draw water from a dry well. Today, I stand before you to present our Budget of Renewed Hope; a budget which will go further than ever before in cementing macro-economic stability, reducing the deficit, increasing capital spending and allocation to reflect the eight priority areas of this Administration. The budget we now present constitutes the foundation upon which we shall erect the future of this great nation.
PREVAILING ECONOMIC ENVIRONMENT
Economic conditions remain challenging both abroad and at home. Despite lingering Post-Covid supply and production bottlenecks, armed conflict in various parts of the world and restrictive monetary policies in major economies, we expect global growth to hover around 3.0 percent in 2024. This relative low rate has significant implications for our economy due to our current reliance on importation.
Distinguished Senators, Honourable Members: despite the global headwinds, the Nigerian economy has proven resilient, maintaining modest but positive growth over the past twelve months.
Inflation has trended upward due to weak global conditions. To contain the rising domestic prices, we will ensure effective coordination of fiscal and monetary policy measures, and collaborate with sub-national governments to address structural factors driving inflation in Nigeria.
The Budget proposal meets our goal of completing critical infrastructure projects which will help address structural problems in the economy by lowering the costs of doing business for companies and the cost of living for the average person, The Honourable Minister of Budget and Economic Planning will provide full details of this proposal.
PERFORMANCE OF THE 2023 BUDGET
Distinguished Senators and Honourable Members, an aggregate revenue of 11.045 trillion naira was projected to fund the 2023 Budget of 24.82 trillion naira with a deficit of about 6.1 percent of GDP.
As of September 30, the Federal Government’s actual aggregate revenue inflow was 8.65 trillion naira, approximately 96 percent of the targeted 8.28 trillion naira. Despite the challenges, we continue to meet our obligations.
THEME AND PRIORITIES OF THE 2024 BUDGET
Distinguished Senators, Honourable Members, permit me to highlight key issues relating to the budget proposals for the next fiscal year. The 2024 Appropriation has been themed the Budget of Renewed Hope. The proposed Budget seeks to achieve job-rich economic growth, macro-economic stability, a better investment environment, enhanced human capital development, as well as poverty reduction and greater access to social security.
Defence and internal security are accorded top priority. The internal security architecture will be overhauled to enhance law enforcement capabilities and safeguard lives, property and investments across the country.
Human capital is the most critical resource for national development. Accordingly, the budget prioritizes human development with particular attention to children, the foundation of our nation.
To improve the effectiveness of our budget performance, government will focus on ensuring value for money, greater transparency and accountability. In this regard, we will work more closely with development partners and the private sector.
To address long-standing issues in the education sector, a more sustainable model of funding tertiary education will be implemented, including the Student Loan Scheme scheduled to become operational by January 2024.
A stable macro-economic environment is important to catalyse private investment and accelerate economic growth. We have and shall continue to implement business and investment friendly measures for sustainable growth.
We expect the economy to grow by a minimum of 3.76 percent, above the forecasted world average. Inflation is expected to moderate to 21.4 percent in 2024.
In preparing the 2024 Budget, our primary objective has been to sustain our robust foundation for sustainable economic development. A critical focus of this budget and the medium term expenditure framework is Nigeria’s commitment to a greener future.
Emphasizing public-private partnerships, we have strategically made provisions to leverage private capital for big-ticket infrastructure projects in energy, transportation and other sectors. This marks a critical step towards diversifying our energy mix, enhancing efficiency, and fostering the development of renewable energy sources.
By allocating resources to support innovative and environmentally conscious initiatives, we aim to position Nigeria as a regional leader in the global movement towards clean and sustainable energy.
As we approach COP 28 climate summit, a pivotal moment for global climate action, I have directed relevant government agencies to diligently work towards securing substantial funding commitments that will bolster Nigeria’s energy transition.
It is imperative that we seize this opportunity to attract international partnerships and investments that align with our national goals. I call upon our representatives to engage proactively to showcase the strides we have made in the quest to create an enabling environment for sustainable energy projects.
Together, we will strive for Nigeria to emerge from COP 28 with tangible commitments, reinforcing our dedication to a future where energy is not only a catalyst for development but also a driver of environmental stewardship.
Distinguished members of the National Assembly, the revised 2024-2026 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP) sets out the parameters for the 2024 Budget.
After a careful review of developments in the world oil market and domestic conditions, we have adopted a conservative oil price benchmark of 77.96 US Dollars per barrel and daily oil production estimate of 1.78 million barrels per day. We have also adopted a Naira to US Dollar exchange rate of 750 naira per US Dollar for 2024.
Accordingly, an aggregate expenditure of 27.5 trillion naira is proposed for the Federal Government in 2024, of which the non-debt recurrent expenditure is 9.92 trillion naira while debt service is projected to be 8.25 trillion naira and capital expenditure is 8.7 trillion naira.
Nigeria remains committed to meeting its debt obligations. Projected debt service is 45% of the expected total revenue.
Budget deficit is projected at 9.18 trillion naira in 2024 or 3.88 percent of GDP. This is lower than the 13.78 trillion naira deficit recorded in 2023 which represents 6.11 percent of GDP.
The deficit will be financed by new borrowings totalling 7.83 trillion naira, 298.49 billion naira from Privatization Proceeds and 1.05 trillion naira drawdown on multilateral and bilateral loans secured for specific development projects.
Our government remains committed to broad-based and shared economic prosperity. We are reviewing social investment programmes to enhance their implementation and effectiveness. In particular, the National Social Safety Net project will be expanded to provide targeted cash transfers to poor and vulnerable households. In addition, efforts will made to graduate existing beneficiaries toward productive activities and employment.
We are currently reviewing our tax and fiscal policies. Our target is to increase the ratio of revenue to GDP from less than 10 percent currently to 18 percent within the term of this Administration. Government will make efforts to further contain financial leakages through effective implementation of key public financial management reforms.
Distinguished Senators and Honourable Members, in view of the limited resources available through the federal budget, we are also exploring Public Private Partnership arrangements to finance critical infrastructure.
We, therefore, invite the private sector to partner with us to ensure that our fiscal, trade and monetary policies, as well as our developmental programs and projects succeed in unlocking the latent potential of our people and other natural endowments, in line with our national aspirations.
Distinguished Senators and Honourable Members, this Budget presentation would be incomplete without commending the patriotic resolve of the 10th National Assembly to collaborate with the Executive on our mission to renew hope and deliver on our promises to the Nigerian people. I assure you of the strong commitment of the Executive to sustain and deepen the relationship with the National Assembly.
As you consider the 2024 Budget estimates, we trust that the legislative review process will be conducted with a view to sustaining our desired return to a predictable January-December fiscal year.
I have no doubt that you will be guided by the interest of all Nigerians. We must ensure that only projects and programs with equitable benefits are allowed into the 2024 Budget. Additionally, only projects and programs which are in line with the sectoral mandates of MDAs and which are capable of realizing the vision of our Government should be included in the budget.
As a Government, we are committed to improving the lot of our people and delivering on our promises to them. The 2024 Budget has the potential to boost performance, promote the development of Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, enhance security and public safety, and improve the general living conditions of our people.
In closing, I am confident that these budgetary allocations and directives will set Nigeria on a transformative path towards a sustainable and resilient energy future, fostering economic growth, job creation, and environmental preservation.
It is with great pleasure, therefore, that I lay before this distinguished Joint Session of the National Assembly, the 2024 Budget Proposals of the Federal Government of Nigeria, titled The Renewed Hope Budget.
I thank you most sincerely for your attention. May we collectively chart the course towards a brighter and cleaner future for our great nation.
May God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
President Bola Tinubu has presented the 2024 Appropriation Bill of N27.5 trillion before a joint session of the Senate and the House of Representatives.
The appropriation bill was christened the “Budget of Renewed Hope.”
President Tinubu entered the Chamber of the House of Representatives at 11.13 a.m. The National Anthem was recited upon his arrival.
The President of the Senate and Chairman of the National Assembly, Godswill Akpabio, called the House to order at 11.15 a.m.
Akpabio began the reading of the welcome address at 11.20 a.m.
Ahead of today’s budget presentation three weeks ago, Tinubu forwarded to both chambers the 2024–2026 MTEF and Fiscal Strategy Paper.
In the paper, N26.1 trillion was proposed as the total expenditure profile for the 2024 fiscal year.
The Senate, through its Committee on Finance, after two weeks of interactive sessions with heads of ministries, departments, and agencies on revenue and expenditure projections made for them, approved the MTEF.
However, it was later adjusted to N27.5 trillion, which is being presented today.
The National Judicial Council (NJC) may on Friday forward the names of 11 successful candidates for the position of Supreme Court justices to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for appointment.
It also gathered that 22 priority and reserved candidates were shortlisted and screened on Tuesday at the Committee Room of the NJC in Abuja from 9 am to 6 pm.
The priority candidates include Justice Jummai Sankey, Justice Stephen Adah, Justice Mohammed Idris, Justice Abubakar Umar, Justice Chidiebere Uwa, Justice Obande Ogbuinya, Justice Ugochukwu Ogakwu, Justice Moore Adumein and Justice Habeeb Abiru.
The names of the reserved candidates are Justice Muhammad Sirajo, Justice Ridwan Abdullahi, Justice Joseph Ikyegh, Justice Abubakar Talba, Justice Balkisu Aliyu, Justice Abdullahi Bayero, Justice Onyekachi Otisi; Justice Theresa Orji-Abadua, Justice Chioma Nwosu-Iheme, Justice Biobele Georgewill, and Justice Oyewole Kayode.
Speaking to The PUNCH, a source at the National Judicial Council said that the names of the shortlisted justices were cleared by the various security agencies, including the Department of State Services (DSS) and police before they were forwarded to the NJC.
The source said the names should be forwarded to President Tinubu after the NJC plenary.
The source said: “The screening was done today (Tuesday). It started at 9 am and lasted till 6 pm. The screening of justices was held in the committee room of the NJC. Their names were earlier sent to security agencies for clearance before they came to the NJC.
“The interview committee comprising members of the council is the one conducting the screening for the shortlisted justices. That committee is headed by the second in command, which is Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun.
“The council will meet, and the names of successful candidates will be ratified. After the plenary, the names of the ratified justices will be immediately sent to the President. The plenary should be concluded at most in the next two days.”
Naija News understands that the NJC guideline for the appointment of justices to the apex court stipulates that the Chairman of the Judicial Service Commission/Committee is expected to come up with a provisional shortlist on the merits.
The list is to consist of not less than twice the number of judicial officers intended to be appointed at the particular time and circulate the provisional shortlist together with a request for comments on the suitability or otherwise of any of the shortlisted candidates.
The list is then forwarded to the NJC for its consideration of each of the short-listed candidates.
The candidates who have been shortlisted shall undergo an interview by the NJC to ascertain his or her suitability, after which the names of the successful candidates are forwarded to the President.
There is no respite in sight for university workers under the umbrella of Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, who are agitating for the release of their withheld salaries resulting from last year’s industrial action.
DAILY POST reports that the union last week lost its suit against the federal government over the salaries withheld for the period they were on strike in 2022.
The development came after the National Industrial Court, NIC, dismissed the case filed by ASUU against the Minister of Labour and Employment and the Accountant General of the Federation.
ASUU was on strike which lasted for eight months in 2022 over issues revolving around revitalisation of public universities and a review of lecturers’ salaries and allowances, among other matters.
After several meetings and efforts to resolve the strike ended inconclusively, the federal government headed to the National Industrial Court to challenge the union’s action.
In its ruling, the industrial court granted the federal government’s application for an interlocutory injunction to restrain ASUU from continuing with the strike pending the determination of the substantive suit.
However, early in November last year, when they returned to work, the members of the union were bewildered following the payment of half salaries for only 18 working days in October to its members by the federal government.
The development followed the federal government’s insistence on implementing the ‘No Work, No Pay’ policy when the university workers were away from their duty posts.
The then Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, had said that the lecturers were paid in pro rata for the number of days they worked, counting from the day that they suspended their industrial action.
The National Industrial Court further upheld the no work, no pay rule when it ruled in the suit filed by the federal government against the ASUU.
The union had demanded salaries of members from February 14 to October 7, 2022, when the strike was called off.
But according to the court, it was within the right of the federal government to withhold salaries of workers who embark on industrial action.
In June this year, ASUU filed a separate lawsuit against the federal government over what it described as discriminatory, unfair and illegal treatment of its members.
The suit was filed by Femi Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, on behalf of ASUU.
The union asked the court to determine whether having paid the salaries of members of the Joint Staff Union, National Association of Resident Doctors and lecturers in the Medical Facilities/Medical and Dental Academic of the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Nnewi Campus, Anambra State during the period of industrial actions, the decision of the defendants to withhold the salaries of the members of the claimant from February to October 2022 was not discriminatory and illegal.
The union also wanted the court to determine “whether the members of ASUU were not entitled to payment of their salaries for the months of February to October 2022, of which their members were on strike.
While ruling on the matter last week, the President of the NIC, Hon. Justice Benedict Kanyip, dismissed the case on the basis that it was an abuse of court process, frivolous and vexatious.
Justice Kanyip also awarded the sum of five hundred thousand Naira (N500,000) payable by ASUU to the Attorney-General of the Federation within 30 days.
“This stance is further reinforced when the supporting affidavit of the instant suit is considered. In paragraphs 6 to 12 and 15 of the affidavit in support of the instant suit, the Claimant recounted what constitutes the work of a lecturer, how the strike it embarked upon does not abrogate the responsibilities of its members as lecturers, how, despite that the defendants refused to pay its members their salaries for the period of the strike, how the strike continued thereby, how the teaching job component of their job was only restored upon the orders of this Court and the Court of Appeal, etc. These were matters ASUU ought to have canvassed in Suit No. NICN/ABJ/270/2022 if they had filed their defence processes. But ASUU ‘strategically’ chose not to.
“ASUU accordingly has itself to blame for all these ‘strategic’ blunders. It cannot, by the instant suit, re-litigate a suit it deliberately refused to file a defence to. To do so would be re-litigation through the backdoor. I so hold,” the court ruled.
Recall that before the court judgement, President Bola Tinubu had last month approved the partial waiver of the “No Work, No Pay” order against ASUU members.
According to the presidential spokesman, Ajuri Ngelale, Tinubu approved the grant of the waiver with a mandatory requirement that the Federal Ministry of Education and the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment must secure a Document of Understanding establishing that the exceptional waiver granted by the President would be the last one to be granted to ASUU and all other education sector unions.
Ajuri said the waiver would allow for the previously striking members of ASUU to receive four months of salary accruals out of the eight months of salary which was withheld during the eight-month industrial action undertaken by the union.
He said Tinubu invoked the Principle of the Presidential Prerogative of Mercy, seeking to “mitigate the difficulties being felt during the implementation of key economic reforms in the country, as well as his recognition of the faithful implementation of terms which were agreed upon during the deliberations between ASUU and the Federal Government of Nigeria”.
Findings by DAILY POST indicated that the union was not amenable to the condition attached to its members receiving the four months of salary accruals out of the eight months of salary.
A top official of the union told DAILY POST that signing the agreement would amount to ‘slavery.’
He said the union would never relinquish its rights because of the withheld salaries.
Speaking to DAILY POST about the matter, the ASUU UNN branch chairman, Comrade Nobert Oyibo Eze said the government was yet to reach out to the union concerning the eight months’ backlog of salaries – a fallout from last year’s strike.
He also said that the national body of ASUU has not come out with any statement on the recent court pronouncement on the matter.
Eze said that the leaders must consider the interest of the people for things to work well in the country.
He further warned that ‘‘it is going to be worse for this country if the courts are no longer doing what is proper’’.
He said, ‘‘As far as the idea of four months salary and signing documents are concerned, ASUU has not received any official communication from the government. And the truth of the matter is that we have done the work. And you cannot deny us our salaries after we have done the work.
‘‘You see, the problem with the Nigerian system is that we have a political class that is hypocritical, that is self-centred and extremely wicked.
“Why would they want to answer a doctor and a professor and claim they have attended university, which they did not? They claim all sorts of titles from the educational sector, they want to be doctor, professor; they want to claim they have the degrees. So, education is good to them but they cannot fund it in this country. What exactly is the government of this country doing?
“Recently, it was reported all over the place about the N160 million they appropriated to each one of the members of the National Assembly to buy bulletproof vehicles. So, they are the only ones to be secured.
‘‘The major salary they are paying the workers, they cannot pay it. Whenever it comes to their own, there would be money.
“I read somewhere two days ago about how N104 billion was sandwiched, smuggled into the budget as an end of the year parting gift, where a senator will take N300 million and a member of the House will take N200 million.
“Whenever it comes to their own needs, there would be money. But when it comes to taking care of the workers who generate this money, they will be talking about empty treasury. Are they talking to kids?
‘‘President Tinubu said during his campaign that if he becomes the president of this country, he will make sure that he stops strikes in the university by ensuring that whatever the universities need to be functional that he provides them.
“Since he took over as the President, has he called the members of the union to dialogue? Why do we have this type of system where the people, the masses who are working are being crushed?
“Today, we are buying a litre of fuel at N700, how much is our salary? A professor’s salary cannot feed him summarily for two weeks.
‘‘I want to tell them that if they want things to work in this country, they must consider the people. If all of us die, who are they going to govern?
“Why is it that our political class is self-centred? Other governments are pumping money into the system to have a state-of-art-university. Here in Nigeria, they are busy proliferating universities, which they don’t fund. The health sector is sick.
“I’m saying, unless they pay those salaries, things will not work well in the universities. And they are even using the eight months salaries, which we have worked for as a cover because the major issues why we went on strike, nobody talks about it anymore.
“We went on strike because our take-home-package can no longer take us home. This salary we are receiving today, they were negotiated and effected in 2009. What is the exchange rate now compared to 2009?
“What is a professor in Nigeria earning when you convert the dollars to naira? It is a shame that our people go to places where things work, they send their children overseas to study because things are working well there.
‘‘Why is it that the people who are now in government, those who went to the university, who enjoyed bursary award, free education, federal scholarship cannot even give scholarships, cannot even pay salaries?
“All over the place, the primary and secondary schools are crying. Then come to the universities, colleges of education and polytechnics.
‘‘Nobody is enjoying the strike. If they uplift the system, strike will stop. As long as they continue to play politics, we will continue to go on strike.”
When asked to comment on the court judgement, he said, ‘‘The courts are no longer the hope of common persons. I cannot address that issue because the national body has not come out with any statement.
“You see, they are using courts to do whatever things they want to do. The court is not helping the situation. Nigerian people don’t believe in court any more.
“It is going to be worse for this country when the courts are no longer doing what is proper; nobody will be interested in going to court.
‘‘We did our work. There is no question…Are they saying we did not work?
“After the strike, we went back and made sure that every lacuna was closed up. JAMB has continued to admit people because we are teaching.
President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has sought the Senate approval to borrow $8,699,168,559 and €100 million to execute critical projects across the country.
The figures put together amount to N7, 097,738,729,598.
The president’s request was contained in a letter read at the commencement of plenary on Tuesday by Senate President Godswill Akpabio.
Daily Trust reports that the fresh loan request will add over N7 trillion to the national debt, which stood at N87.38 trillion as of June 2023, according to the Debt Management Office (DMO).
The $8,699,168,559 at the prevailing exchange rate is equal to N7, 009,268,074,728.66; while €100m equals N88, 470,654,870.00.
When added to the existing total public debt of N87.37trn, the debt profile will rise to over N94 trillion.
Tinubu, in the letter, explained that the request was part of the federal government 2022-2024 external borrowing plan approved by former President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
He said the projects to be funded with the loan cut across different sectors of the economy, and were selected based on economic evaluation and the expected contribution to the country’s development.
The letter reads, “I write in respect of the above subject and to submit the attached the federal government 2022-2024 external borrowing plan for consideration and early approval of the National Assembly to ensure prompt implementation of the projects.
“The Senate may wish to note that the past administration approved a 2022-2024 borrowing plan by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) held on May 15, 2023.
“The projects cut across all sectors, with specific emphasis on infrastructure, agriculture, health, water supply, roads, security, and employment generation as well as financial management reforms.
“Consequently, the required approval is in the sum of $8,699,168,559 and €100 million.
“I would like to underscore the fact that the projects and programmes in the borrowing plan were selected based on economic evaluations as well as the expected contribution to the social economic development of the country, including employment generation and skills acquisition.
“Given the nature of these facilities and the need to return the country to normalcy, it has become necessary for the Senate to consider and approve the 2022- 2024 external abridged borrowing plan to enable the government to deliver its responsibility to Nigerians.”
The House of Representatives Committee on Health on Tuesday raised concerns over the decline in the country’s health manpower.
The committee disclosed that due to the relocation of doctors and nurses from the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) to various parts of the world, five wards comprising 150 beds have been shut down. LUTH is Nigeria’s premier health training institution.
Chairman of the committee, Dr Amos Magaji, described the situation as worrisome saying the legislative arm is working toward nipping the increasing rate of Nigerians going abroad for medical tourism in the bud.
He said the Nigeria health workers migration overseas has taken a huge toll on the country’s heath system affirming that “the japa syndrome will be curtailed by building state-of-the-art infrastructure and making the sector attractive and rewarding to workers irrespective of their fields.”
Speaking during an oversight visit to LUTH, Idi-Araba, the health committee chairman reiterated that “Nigeria as a nation has found itself in a precarious moment, especially in the healthcare system where japa has taken centre stage. We used to have japa only for nurses, and doctors, but now it has even gone to many departments in the health sector.
“We saw significant problems here. Right now, there are about five wards in LUTH, totalling about 150 beds that have been shut down because there are no nurses and doctors to work in those wards. And these are a result of the ‘japa’ syndrome we are having.
“As a committee, we will work together with the Federal Government and also with the teaching hospital to find a way out of these national embarrassments that have befallen this country.
“It’s not something that can be fixed in one day, but nevertheless, we are going to be approaching it piecemeal. We are going to do what we can do immediately and what we can do long-term approach to it.
“So, by the grace of God, some of the issues of the ‘japa’, we are actually looking at how to solve this problem, starting even from the enrollment in universities, and then how house officers are employed, and then of course, the residency programme.”
“They have sacrificed so much for Nigerians to be healthy, for us to get proper health care. Our hands are on deck, and then that was the reason why if you were here earlier, you discovered that some of the key questions and some of the key things we attended here were things that have to do with delivering affordable and accessible health care to Nigerians.”
Meanwhile, Chief Medical Director of LUTH, Professor Wasiu Adeyemo told the lawmakers that the cancer centre of the university teaching hospital has treated over 9,600 patients since it was commissioned by former President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019.
Professor Adeyemo added that citizens of other countries in Europe, Africa and America now visit the centre for treatment and urged Nigerians to patronise the facility just as he commended the federal government and the House of Rep for the supports LUTH enjoys in providing quality healthcare for Nigerians.
The embattled former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, will spend both the Christmas and New Year Day celebrations behind bars.
This is as he failed to meet his bail conditions on Tuesday.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC) charged Emefiele with six counts bordering on alleged breach of procurement procedure in the award of the contract to April1616 Investment Limited.
In August, the anti-graft agency had first charged Emefiele and one Mrs Sa’adatu Yaro and April 1616 Investment Limited, purported to belong to Mrs Yaro, on alleged breach of the procurement Act in respect of the purchase of some vehicles.
However, the arraignment could not go on because of the reported ill health of Yaro.
When the matter was called on Friday, EFCC’s lawyer, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, SAN, drew the attention of the court to an amended charge dated Nov. 8, 2023.
In the new charge, Emefiele was the sole defendant and the charge reduced from 20 to six, to which Emefiele pleaded not guilty.
At the resumed trial, Shamsudeen Abulili, the first prosecution witness, an officer of the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) gave evidence on how the company April 1616 Investment Limited was incorporated on August 1, 2016 with RC : 1350837and tendered several documents on how the company was floated.
He read out before the Court names of the shareholders of the Company which comprised Aminu Idris Yaro, with 500,000 shares, Maryam Aliyu Abdullahi, 350,000 and Saadatu Yaro , 150, 000.
The witness, led in evidence by EFCC counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, SAN, said that Emefiele’s name was not in anyway connected with the company.
The witness explained that although CAC was responsible for incorporation of the company, it however has no roles in the day to day running of affairs of the entity.
The second witness, Remigious Ugwu, a Compliance Officer with Zenith Bank told the court on how various sums of money in millions of naira were paid by the CBN into the April1616 Investment Limited.
Specifically, he told the court how on Oct.19, 2020, a sum of N39, 060, 465. another N421, 953, 488 on Nov. 6, 2020 and the third one N304, 883, 720 was paid on Nov. 23, 2020 to the same company by CBN.
Similarly, he said that N304, 883, 720 was paid on January 1, 2021 and another N304, 883, 720 paid the same company on March 23, 2021 by the Central Bank of Nigeria.
He admitted that non of the payments has any link with Emefiele’s name while also that he did not know the purpose of the payments.
The witness who tendered various documents on behalf of the bank said that the former CBN governor was not a signatory to the bank account of the company.
The third witness, Oluwole Owoeye, a Deputy Director, Banking Services with CBN and former Secretary to Major Contract Tendering Committee MCTC of the CBN said that his body was responsible for ensuring of compliance with Procurement Act told the court by CBN in the award of contracts.
When cross examined by Emefiele ‘s counsel, Matthew Burkaa, SAN, Owoeye informed the court that his committee was not involved in the vetting of bidding for the award of contracts that led to prosecution of Emefiele.
The witness explained that another committee handled the bidding because it was above the thresholds of his own Committee
“My Lord, all I know is through our records is that contracts for award of vehicle supplies were awarded to April1616 but I cannot say whether the contracts were executed or paid for because my Committee played no role”
He admitted that MCTC and Procurement Department were fully functional while Emefiele held sway as CBN governor.
After listening to these testimonies , Justice Hamza Muazu adjourned until January 18 and January 19, 2023.