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FEC approves revised 2021-2023 MTEF/FSP

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FEC Approves Nigerian Citizenship To 385 Applicants, As Some Desert Through Mediterranean Sea Option

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Wednesday approved the revised 2021 to 2023 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper (MTEF/FSP) at its virtual meeting.

The meeting that was presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Council Chamber of the State House approved an N12.66 trillion budget for each of the three fiscal years.

The Minister of State for Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mr Clement Agba, disclosed this while addressing State House correspondents at the end of the Council meeting in Abuja.

Agba listed other projections in the budget as 40 dollars per barrel oil benchmark, oil production volume of 1.6 million barrel per day, the inflation rate of 11.9 per cent, the projected gross domestic growth rate of three per cent and revenue target of N7.50 trillion.

On projected revenue for 2021, the minister said: “Yes, I spoke of the various assumptions that have been made in terms of parameters and those assumptions are what drives revenues that we get and in terms of how you are able to reflate the economy and spend helps your GDP.

“For Nigeria, it was projected that by the end of this year we should have the GDP top at -4.42 per cent. However, with the stimulus, if properly done and executed, we expect that the GDP will improve to about negative -1.8 per cent.

“So in terms of the revenue projection, for 2020 it was N5.84 trillion but for 2021 we expect that it will be N7.50 trillion.

“Even though the oil production is much lower than our capacity because we are restricted by the OPEC Plus quota in order to get the prices at par, we have brought in 63 Government Owned Enterprises (GOE).

“We are bringing them into the budget in order to be able to bring up additional N2.17 trillion into the budget, hence we are saying we are projecting a larger budget size for 2021 over and above the N10.84 trillion for the revised 2020 budget.

“When you look at the N7.5 trillion and the expectations to spend N12 trillion, yes definitely there will be gap and that gap has to be financed.

Also read: FEC approves N108bn for road projects in 4 states

“Even in the 2020 budget we had provisions to repay debt and in 2021 there is the provision to repay debt. There is a sinking fund, we look at the ratio and ensure that we are able to pay our debts.

“Of course that is why we have the debt management office to run those numbers and advise us.”

The Minister of State for Education, Mr Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba also disclosed that the Council approved N136 million for the procurement of theatre seats and computers for the University of Benin in Edo State.

He said: “We submitted a memo on behalf of the University of Benin, for the procurement and installation of theatre seats and computers for work in the auditorium of the University of Benin.

“The project is being funded by the 2019 Tertiary Education funds allocated to the school in the sum of N136 million and the contract was approved by FEC as proposed by the University of Benin and they will now proceed with the procurement.”

On the federal government’s position on the resumption of schools, the minister said the decision not to reopen schools remained the same.

According to him, the government is still meeting with stakeholders in the education sector to chart the way forward.

He said: “We are still meeting with parents over that; we are not confident yet that everywhere is safe, the number of COVID-19 infections from the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) are still very alarming and we have presented this to parents and all stakeholders in the education system.

“We are still meeting with them; in fact, there is a stakeholder meeting slated for Monday next week.’’

The minister revealed that the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) was also consulting and looking at a possible change of date for final year exams for graduating secondary school students.

“WAEC on its own part is also negotiating with other West African countries to look at possible shift in date and once they are through with that meeting and hopefully when we are also through with the consultations if there is any change in the ministry’s position, we will communicate,” he added.

 

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Onslaught: Troops Eliminate 105 Terrorists, Arrest 140 Others In 1 Week – DHQ

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Exercise Enduring Peace recording successes in FCT – Army

The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) says the troops of the Armed Forces of Nigeria operating in different theatres of operation eliminated 105 terrorists and apprehended 140 others in the last one week.

The Director, Defence Media Operations, Maj.-Gen. Edward Buba said this at a bi-weekly news briefing on the operations of the armed forces on Thursday in Abuja.

Buba said the troops also arrested 26 perpetrators of oil theft and rescued 86 kidnapped hostages in the South-South region.

He added that the troops recovered 208 assorted weapons and 5,332 assorted ammunition comprising 95 AK47 rifles, one assault rifle, 39 locally fabricated guns, 34 Dane guns, 14 pump action guns, among others.

In the North East, Buba said the troops of Operation Hadin Kai neutralised seven terrorists and arrested four terrorists as well as recovered 20 AK47 rifles, two fabricated guns and 12 dane guns.

He added that 353 rounds of 7.62mm special ammo, 209 rounds of 7.62mm NATO, 34 live cartridges, 62 mobile phones and the sum of N100,000, among others, were also recovered.

According to him, 224 ISWAP/JAS terrorists fighters and their families comprising 23 adult males, 126 adult females and 87 children surrendered to troops in the Bama and Konduga areas of Borno within the week.

Army raid kidnappers, rescue C/River commissioner; Police neutralise 3 suspected gunmen, recover 50 arms

In the North Central, Buba said the troops of Operations Safe Haven and Whirl Stroke neutralised 35 insurgents, arrested 65 violent extremists and 15 rescued kidnapped hostages.

He added that troops also recovered various caches of arms and ammunition within different theatres of operation.

In the North Central, the defence spokesman said the troops of Operations Hadarin Daji and Whirl Punch, neutralised 57 insurgents, arrested five and rescued 66 kidnapped hostages during the week.

In the South-South, Buba said the troops of Operation Delta Safe destroyed 18 illegal refining sites and recovered 657,300 litres of stolen crude oil, 23,750 litres of illegally refined AGO and 1,050 litres of DPK.

He added that the troops discovered and destroyed nine dugout pits, 19 boats and 21 storage tanks, 35 cooking ovens, nine vehicles, nine mobile phones, and three pump machines.

According to him, troops rescued three kidnapped hostages and apprehended 50 people suspected of oil theft and other violent extremists/insurgents as well as recovered 20 weapons and 243 ammunition, amongst other items.

In the South East, Buba said the troops of Operation UDO KA neutralised six insurgents, arrested five and recovered various types of arms and ammunition.

“All recovered items, arrested suspects and rescued hostages were handed over to the relevant authorities for further action,” he said.

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Food Prices: Tinubu Directs Immediate Release Of Grains, To Foreclose Crisis

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A little respite in the nation’s food crisis is expected as President Bola Tinubu has directed the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security to release about 42,000 metric tonnes of grain including maize, millet, and garri. The gesture is to douse hunger and prevent looming protests.

Some Nigerians however told the Maritime First that the directive was a lot coming late; and the metric tonnes being expected, too little, for over a hundred million people. Some cynics bluntly blame the President for his inability to tame insurgency and terrorism, which apriori, prevented the farmers from going to work.

ALSO READ:… Nigerians Now Eat Junks as High Food Prices Put Balanced Diet Out Of Reach- Survey

Some states have begun dress rehearsal for the real crisis protests, over galloping food prices. A bag of rice which sold for N62,000 Tuesday, last week in Bodija Market in Ibadan, emerged N69,000 Wednesday morning. less than 24 hours later, throwing calculation to the winds.

The Maritime First can freely indicate that widows, single mothers, and those from polygamous-induced large families are presently, not finding it too easy to cope.

In the meantime,, the Rice Millers Association of Nigeria has also committed to immediately release over 60,000 metric tonnes of rice to the public. The body however failed to indicate why they waited till the Presidential directive, before making their commitment.

The Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, disclosed this after the meeting of the Presidential Committee on Emergency Food Intervention on Thursday in Abuja.

The Minister also failed to indicate measures to be adopted, to ensure that middlemen do not hijack and mess up Tinubu’s honest effort.

He said that these were immediate measures taken by the Federal Government to reduce the hardships faced by Nigerians who are made to bear the brunt of high prices of food in the market.

“These will be made available and we know that that is enough to take Nigeria in the next couple of weeks. One month, six weeks, perhaps up to two months.

“Now the whole idea of this is to crush the cost of these food items. And these are measures that will happen immediately.

“Now, the third item is that government is also looking at the possibility of, if it becomes absolutely necessary and as an interim measure, to also import some of these commodities immediately so that these commodities can be made available to Nigerians,” he said.

Idris also said that the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security would further invest massively in the farming process to boost production and ensure the country’s food potential is fully exploited.

He said that government would appeal to persons or groups to stop hoarding these products in order to maximise profit at the detriment of ordinary Nigerians.

“Government of course is also looking at all those who are hoarding these commodities because actually, these commodities are available in the stores of many traders.

“Government is appealing to them that they should open up these doors and make these commodities available in the interest of our nation.

“There is no point when the whole country is looking for this food you are locking up these products where you make more money and then Nigerians suffer. Of course, the government will not fold its arms.

“If they don’t respond by bringing these commodities to the market, the government will take appropriate measures to ensure that these products are made available to Nigerians.”

The Minister said that the government would also take measures to ensure that food continues to be accessible and affordable to Nigerians.

“We ask that Nigerians need to be more patriotic; be our brother’s keepers. Sell this thing, of course at a margin but at a margin that is not also killing to Nigerians.

“This is an emergency. Every nation faces emergency situations. This is our own time to face these challenges.

“The President has directed that whatever it will take, food will be available to Nigerians at a cost that is also very reasonable,” he said.

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President Tinubu Returns After Private Visit To France

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President Bola Tinubu has returned to the country after a two-week private visit to France.

The President arrived in Abuja aboard the presidential flight at about 9:0 pm on Tuesday.

He was received by top government officials led by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Sen. George Akume.

The president left Abuja on Jan. 24 for his first break since assumption of office on May 29, 2023

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