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Economy

Budget: FG to spend N1.16tn more in 2018

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…As Jonathan accuses APC of lying, non-performance***

The country’s national budget will rise by N1.16tn in 2018, according to projections contained in the 2018-2020 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy submitted to the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The President forwarded the MTEF/FSP to the National Assembly on Tuesday, with a covering letter read to members of the House of Representatives by the Speaker, Mr. Yakubu Dogara.

Details of the MTEF, which The PUNCH obtained in Abuja on Thursday showed that the Federal Government would spend N8.60tn next year, up from the N7.44tn appropriated in 2017.

The difference of N1.16tn represents a “15.5 per cent” increase over the budget of the current year.

This will also mean additional deficit in the 2018 budget size of up to N592.75bn or “25.0 per cent” over the N2.36tn deficit contained in the 2017 budget.

In 2016, the country’s budget was N6.06tn.

The details of the MTEF reveal that the anticipated aggregate revenue to fund the 2018 budget will be N5.65tn “or 11.0 per cent or N562.50b over the 2017 estimate of N5.08tn.”

Major expenditure heads include N12.12tn for recurrent and N2.03tn for capital expenditure.

The government projects the country’s Gross Domestic Product to grow by 3.5 per cent in 2018, but inflation will “moderate to 12.42 per cent.”

The government arrived at this, using a crude oil production projection of 2.3 million barrels per day in 2018, with a benchmark price of $45 “and an average exchange rate of N305/$1.”

Daily oil production is expected to be 2.4mbpd in 2019 and 2.5mbpd in 2020.

In 2017, oil production suffered setbacks before it later climbed to 2.2mbpd. The benchmark for 2017 was $44, while the exchange rate was also N305/$1.

Generally, the government hopes that oil production will rise, owing to improved security and consultations with groups in the Niger Delta region.

For instance, it said pipeline vandalism dropped to 94 points in April 2017, compared to 214 vandalised points in the same period in 2016.

The document added, “The nominal GDP is expected to increase from N104.79bn in 2017 to N134.7bn in 2020.

“Similarly, consumption expenditure is projected to grow from N83.66 in 2018 to N107.77bn in 2020. These are reflective of a gradual recovery of the economy.”

The MTEF merely gives a general outlook of the government’s plans for 2018-2020.

Specific details, particularly in respect of the 2018 budget, are expected to be contained in the estimates of the budget that will soon be presented to the National Assembly by Buhari.

By the provisions of the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007, the National Assembly is to first consider and approve the MTEF/FSP before the estimates of the budget will be presented to lawmakers.

Meanwhile, the House in plenary asked the government to recover the $14.29bn gas flare fines owed the country by International Oil Companies from 2008 to 2016.

The House also called for a status report on the damage caused by gas flaring in affected communities.

The resolution was passed following a motion moved by a member from Edo State, Mr. Johnson Agbonayinma, and six other lawmakers.

The motion read partly, “The House is aware that the Federal Government, in a bid to discourage gas flaring and encourage the redirection of gas flared from waste to wealth, and to save the environment and the lives of the people living in the gas flared environment, imposed a penalty of $3.5 per 1000 SCF of gas flared by oil companies.

“(The House is) also aware that the Deputy Director and Head, Upstream of the Department of Petroleum Resources, while speaking at a conference in Houston, Texas, USA, recently, said that the country had lost $14,298bn between April 2008 and October 2016 in form of penalties for gas flaring, which the IOCs failed to pay.

“In a similar vein, the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, in its latest Oil and Gas Audit Report, noted that firms operating in the country had failed to abide by the regulating penalty of $3.5 for every 1000 SCF of gas flared by oil companies.

“(The House is) concerned that multinational oil companies, which adhere strictly to internationally acceptable environmental best practices in their countries and other parts of the globe, have refused to pay the agreed penalties on gas flared in Nigeria.”

In the meantime, former President Goodluck Jonathan has accused the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led administration of running a government of lies and propaganda.

Jonathan spoke in Abuja yesterday while receiving one of the chairmanship aspirants of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Prof Tunde Adeniran, at his residence.

The former President insisted that the PDP, which controlled the federal government from 1999 to 2015 did well for the country but that the APC had failed the country and its people.

He said the APC administration has nothing to show as achievement.

?Challenging the APC leadership to public debate on its performance, Jonathan said, “The PDP administration for 16 did well and will continue to do well. But this administration has done nothing, the administration is full lies and propaganda

“In the power sector, we did well to revive it, a certain state governor criticised our government, saying that any serious government should be able to fix the power sector within six months. But today, the APC has been in power for how many years? Fortunately, the then governor is in the APC Government as a Minister”.

The former President said that all hope was not lost, adding that the PDP would go all out and put its house in order for it to return to power in 2019.

Jonathan said that Nigerians have been able to see the difference between the PDP and the APC in terms of performance.

“With the rate at which people are coming around to associate with a party that lost elections, it shows that the people still believe in the PDP. With the number and calibre of the people coming out to vie for the seat of the national chairman and other offices of our party, it shows that our party still has another chance”, the ex- President added.

But APC Deputy National Chairman (North) Senator Lawal Shuaibu, rejected the ex-president’s comment.

Shuaibu said: “In the history of governance in this country, there is no government that deceived Nigerians like that of Goodluck Jonathan.

“I have never seen where a government was being run on the basis of speculation rather than realities like that of Goodluck Jonathan.

“I am not even talking about the PDP government. I am talking particularly about Goodluck Jonathan’s government. They were so deceptive that Nigerians actually realised their act of deception and decided not to trust them again and that was why they lost the (2015) election.”

Speaking on his expectations, Jonathan said the PDP needed “a national chairman who will rule the party democratically and carry others along. In fact, the national chairman is the leader of the party. It is not the other way round”.

He said judging by his long interaction with Prof Adeniran, coupled with testimonies of other party leaders, Adeniran possessed what it takes to lead the party at this critical point in time.

The ex-President warned the party leaders and the aspirants against turning the convention into a battle field.

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Economy

Unstable Economy: UK Firm Presents Solutions To Nigerian Business Leaders

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SOAN Inaugurates New Leadership, Boosting Hopes Of Crushable Inflation

Nigerian business leaders are to benefit from the programme of United Kingdom-based leadership development organisation TEXEM UK on how to win despite the exodus of staff, very high inflation and turbulent operating landscape.

TEXEM’s Director of Special Projects, Caroline Lucas, said on the organisation’s website, www.texem.co.uk, that the programme with the theme “Strategies for Sustainable Organisational Success” is slated for April 24 and April 25 in Lagos.

According to Lucas, in today’s volatile and disruptive business landscape, organisations face numerous strategic challenges.

“TEXEM’s programme, “Strategies for Sustainable Organisational Success,” offers tailored solutions to address these pressing issues.

“Senior leaders grappling with skyrocketing costs, high currency risks, and disruptive technologies require practical insights and tools to navigate uncertainty effectively.

“This programme provides actionable strategies for sustainable success amidst turbulent times,” she said.

Lucas asserts that exceptional crisis management skills are essential in the face of staff exodus and geopolitical disruptions.

“TEXEM equips participants with the necessary leadership capabilities to lead through crises, ensuring organisational excellence even amidst adversity.

“Innovation becomes imperative in turbulent waters.

“TEXEM’s programme fosters a culture of innovation and provides guidance on harnessing adversity as a catalyst for profitable growth,” she said.

According to her, participants will learn to turn challenges into opportunities, driving sustained profitability.

Lucas said resilience and effective risk management are crucial in today’s volatile landscape.

She said through interactive sessions and case studies, TEXEM helps senior leaders develop unshakable qualities, enabling them to navigate uncertainty and confidently mitigate risks.

“Optimizing resource utilisation is paramount amidst soaring costs.

“TEXEM offers insights on managing resources efficiently, ensuring optimal impact even amidst cost pressures. Decisive problem-solving is paramount.

“TEXEM enhances participants’ decision-making capabilities through peer learning and observation practice, empowering them to make better decisions that drive organisational success,” Lucas said.

She said that beyond the curriculum, networking opportunities with industry peers enrich the learning experience, abound.

“Professional exchange provides valuable insights into different approaches to overcoming challenges, enhancing overall learning and impact.

“TEXEM’s programme aims to develop leadership strategies for optimum performance in an era of uncertainty.

“By helping participants understand how to manage and deploy resources more efficiently, it equips them with the skills needed to thrive in turbulent times,” Lucas said.

Saying that adversity is the mother of innovation, she added that TEXEM empowers individuals and organisations to thrive in volatile times, fostering innovation and sustained profitability.

“At the end of the programme, participants can expect to develop leadership skills for better decision-making and possess survival skills to navigate crises effectively.

“Through its comprehensive approach and proven methodology, TEXEM ensures participants unlock their potential, foster innovation, and drive sustained profitability in today’s challenging environment,” Lucas said.

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Economy

Sanwo-Olu Urges Use of Innovative Technologies in Solving Challenges

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Sanwo-Olu Urges Use of Innovative Technologies in Solving Challenges

Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State has called for the use of innovative technologies in resolving the economic and social challenges of the country.

Sanwo-Olu said this on Wednesday during the pioneer graduation of the Lateef Jakande Leadership Academy (LJLA) at Konga Place in Lekki.

He said that the new platform of globalisation and Internet of things must be significantly employed to resolve new challenges encountered in the course of improving the living standards of citizens.

30 students, 15 men and 15 women, between 18 and 35 years, graduated from the academy after a one-year course and mentorship in leadership.

The Lagos Leadership Summit (LLS) is a pivotal platform dedicated to empowering Nigeria’s young professionals with the skills and insights essential for success in various leadership roles.

With a focus on leadership excellence, ethical governance, and youth inclusion in governance, the summit offers a unique opportunity for participants to engage with renowned leaders and industry experts.

” You have to be able to innovate for us, you are here as leaders of not tomorrow but today. Proffer solutions that the government can use as a tool, to solve the challenges that we are facing today but more importantly to solve global issues.

“And that is why we started the Lateef Jakande Leadership Academy. For us as a government, we felt how well can we honour a man than for us in public sector to set up a cream of new leaders.

“So we set up this school that has the first set, the one-year fellowship, who indeed have not only shown us that we took the right step, they have been outstanding individuals,” the governor said.

The guest speaker and former governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Fashola, noted that it was important for followers to trust their leaders for a successful outcome.

“The people need to trust the government, they must know the capability of their leaders so that when issues beyond human expectations happen, the followers can show empathy to the plight of their leaders.

” I have always been an advocate that believes that the process is as important as the result, the end shouldn’t justify the means, the process is crucial, it serves as a blueprint for others coming behind,” he said.

Similarly, Dr Obafemi Hamzat, Deputy Governor, who spoke on “Leadership And Community Engagement”, stated that to achieve effective leadership in Nigeria, there was the need to navigate complex political, economic and social landscapes.

Hamzat urged the citizens to be involved in governance while stressing the need for collaborations with private stakeholders and the public sector.

According to him, community engagement with government at all levels is pivotal to the nation’s development.

In her address, Mrs Ayisat Agbaje-Okunade, LIJA’s Executive Secretary, noted that the challenges faced required leaders who are not only capable but compassionate, visionary, and adaptable.

According to her, leadership must transcend rhetoric and manifest tangible outcomes.

“We need leaders who inspire confidence, foster unity, and drive transformation.”

Agbaje-Okunade urged the participants to embrace the responsibility that comes with leadership and pave the way for a generation of new leaders.

The keynote speaker, Mr Abubakar Suleiman, Chief Executive Officer, Sterling Bank, said that leadership is about leading people on a new purposeful journey.

Suleiman said being a strategic thinker and a transformational leader was what makes leadership different from management, adding that the future is being crafted in leadership.

“In essence, as a leader, you must be able to lead people to the future hence, you must be convincing for people to be bold to follow you, able to trust and believe in you.

“For one to be a leader, the people must be able to believe and trust you to take them to the future where you have never been to,” he said.

Also speaking, Mr Tunbosun Alake, Commissioner, Innovation, Science and Technology, stressed that leadership had nothing to do with being young or old but having good values and character.

The commissioner advised the participants to pursue excellence in their various career paths to succeed in life.

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Economy

Eid-el-Fitr: Tinubu Urges Sacrifice, Integrity For National Rebirth

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Eid-el-Fitr: Tinubu urges sacrifice, integrity for national rebirth

 President Bola Tinubu has urged Nigerians to continue to make sacrifices and exhibit integrity for national development.

Tinubu said this after observing the Eid-el-Fitr prayer at the Eid Ground at Dodon Barracks on Wednesday in Lagos.

The President also called on Nigerians to continue to have faith in his government and remain patriotic citizens.

Tinubu said that the Renewed Hope Agenda of his administration, aimed at bringing prosperity to Nigerians, was being diligently implemented.

Encouraging Muslims to extend the values of sacrifice and resilience beyond the fasting period, Tinubu emphasised the need for Nigerians to prioritise the exhibition of love for their country.

‘’The resilience and sacrifice that we have shown and made during these months should be preserved.

“Be a kind and cheerful giver. We must love our country more than any other country because this is the only one we have.

‘’We must continue to protect the integrity of our government and leadership. The Renewed Hope Agenda is alive, well and fine, and Nigerians should continue to be very hopeful. Without hope, there is no salvation.

“Without hope, there is no development. Without hope, there is no life. Eid Mubarak,’’ the President said at the end of the prayers led by the Chief Imam of Lagos State, Sheikh Sulaiman Abou-Nolla.

Earlier in his sermon, the Chief Imam urged Nigerians to shun all acts of violence, ensure peaceful co-existence, and continue to have faith in the country.

He asked those in leadership positions to remain faithful to their oaths of office and work towards alleviating the suffering of the less privileged.

‘‘Let us not forget our brothers and sisters in Gaza and other areas of conflict,’’ the Chief Imam said.

He offered prayers of God’s guidance, wisdom, and protection for the President and the Lagos State government, as well as for peace and stability in the country.

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