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FG to roll over 2017 Budget into 2018 – Adeosun

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  • As Diezani begs Court: Order Attorney-General to bring me back to Nigeria

The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, has revealed Federal Government’s plan to roll over at least 60 per cent of 2017 capital projects to 2018 budget proposal.

Adeosun made this known when she appeared before the Senate Joint Committees on Finance and Appropriations.

She was accompanied by the Minister for Budget and National Planning, Udoma Udoma, to give explanation on releases so far made for the implementation of the 2017 budget.

The minister noted that there was no stoppage in terms of capital releases and projects.

She explained that the decision to roll over 2017 budget to 2018 was based on the advice of the Senate Committee on Appropriations and Finance to the executive on how to make the budget more implementable.

Adeosun said, “we had a rollover from the 2016 to the 2017 budget. There was no stoppage in terms of capital spent as projects simply continued.

“The way in which we allocated the fund, the priotisation was according to the objectives of the economy and growth plan.

“We were focused on project completion. So we priotised projects that were nearer to completion that were critical in the first releases of capital.

“We need more of your support. We have a number of resolutions that we need to complete international borrowings.”

On his part, Minister of Budget and National Planning, Sen. Udoma Udoma, said the Federal Government has been working and trying to get the 2018 budget to the Senate before the end of October.

“We intend to have discussions with you so that we can finalise that and take it to the Federal Executive Council so that we restore ourselves to the January to December fiscal year.

“This is to make it much easier to report on the performance of budgets,” he said.

Udoma also debunked the rumour that they had not released much funds in terms of capital budget since January.

“That is not the case. Between January and June we still have 2016 Budget in operation and we allowed it to flow unhindered.

He said in implementing the 2017 budget, it would be helpful if there was clarity in terms of the virement because that would help in terms of implementing the 2017 budget.

Earlier, Chairman of the joint committee, Sen. Danjuma Goje, said the two ministers were at the National Assembly to brief the committees as well as Nigerians on the implementation of the 2017 budget.

“It is very important bearing in mind that the budget was passed by the National Assembly in May and signed into law by the then Acting President Yemi Osinbajo on 6th June 2017.

“We are now four months into the implementation of the budget. Nigerians need to know how far we have gone and what we are going to achieve, the successes.

“We have heard from the Minister of Budget and National Planning that they intend to submit the 2018 budget this month.

“By implication, if they bring it this month, they will expect the budget to be approved before the end of the year,” he said.

In the meantime, a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, has urged the Federal High Court in Lagos to compel the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) to bring her back to Nigeria from the United Kingdom, where she travelled to shortly after leaving office in 2015.

She said she would like to appear in court in Nigeria to defend a criminal charge bordering on alleged laundering of N450m, where her name was mentioned.

The main defendants in the charge are a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr. Dele Belgore; and a former Minister of National Planning, Prof. Abubakar Suleiman.

Belgore and Suleiman were charged before Justice Rilwan Aikawa for allegedly collecting N450m from Diezani and laundering same in the build-up to the 2015 general elections.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, which filed the charges, claimed that the N450m was part of a sum of $115m which Diezani allegedly doled out to compromise the 2015 general elections.

The SAN and the professor were arraigned on five counts, wherein Diezani’s name was mentioned, but she was declared as being “at large.”

At the resumed proceedings in the case on Tuesday, one Obinna Onya, a lawyer from Abuja, appeared before Justice Aikawa with an application seeking the joining of Diezani as one of the defendants in the charge.

The application, filed pursuant to Section 36(1),(5),(6 (a)-(e) of the Constitution and sections 216 (1) (2) (3) (4); and 217 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015, sought an amendment to the charges against Belgore and Suleiman, so as to join Diezani as one of the defendants.

The lawyer contended that contrary to the declaration by the EFCC that Diezani was at large, the former minister was in the UK and was willing to return to Nigeria so that she could appear in court to take her plea and defend the charges..

The lawyer argued that since Diezani’s name had been mentioned in the charge, it would be against her right to fair hearing for the case to proceed without affording her the opportunity to defend herself.

“The statement made by the prosecution means that the applicant (Diezani) is going to be convicted without being given the opportunity to defend herself,” Onya told Justice Aikawa.

The application prayed for an order “mandating the Attorney General of the Federation, being the agent of the complainant, to facilitate the prompt appearance of the applicant in court on the next adjourned date, to take her plea and to defend the allegations made against her in counts 1, 2,3 and 4 of the charge, numbered FHC/L/35c/2017.”

Onya urged Justice Aikawa to hear and determine the application before proceeding with the case on Tuesday.

But the prosecuting counsel for the EFCC, Rotimi Oyedepo, opposed him, saying the application was not ripe for hearing, as he had yet to be served.

However, Onya told the court that he had attempted to serve Oyedepo on Tuesday morning on the court premises but that the prosecutor declined, adding that his effort to serve the application at the EFCC office on Friday was also frustrated.

But Oyedepo advised him to go and serve the application at the registry of the EFCC, assuring him that the application would be accepted.

Responding, Justice Aikawa said the court could not entertain the application until all the parties had been properly served.

Meanwhile, the trial proceeded with the second witness for the EFCC, Usman Zakari, continuing his testimony.

Through the witness, Oyedepo tendered two letters written to the EFCC in relation to the case Standard Charted Bank Nigeria Limited and Guaranty Trust Bank.

The court admitted the two letters as exhibits in evidence against the defendants.

Justice Aikawa adjourned till Wednesday, October 4 for continuation of trial.

In the charges, Sulaiman, a professor of Political Science and International Relations at the University of Abuja; and Belgore, a former governorship aspirant in Kwara State, were accused of conspiring between themselves to commit the offence on March 27, 2015.

The duo were accused of making a cash transaction of N450m on March 27, 2015, without going through any financial institution.

But they pleaded “not guilty” to the charges

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Selloffs In MTN, Others Drag Market N25bn Down

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Selloffs In MTN, Others Drag Market N25bn Down

…RT.BRISCOE, Tantalizer lead the losers’ table 

 The equity market on Wednesday lost N25 billion due to selloffs in MTN Nigeria, Dangote Sugar and Guaranty Trust Holding Company (GTCO), among other stocks.

Specifically, the market capitalisation, which opened at N56.670 trillion, shed N25 billion or 0.04 per cent to close at N56.645 trillion.

The All-Share Index also dropped 0.04 per cent, or 43.3 points, to close at 100,032.32, as against 100,075.59 recorded on Tuesday.

As a result, the Year-To-Date (YTD) return slipped to 33.78 per cent.

United Capital led 10 per cent to close at N36.30, Africa Prudential followed by 9.88 per cent to close at N8.90, and Cutix gained 9.86 per cent to close at N6.13 per share.

Oando rose by 5.63 per cent to close at N16.90, and Julius Berger advanced by 4.79 per cent to close at N87.50 per share.

Conversely, RTBRISCOE led the losers’ log with 5.71 per cent to close at 66k, and FTN Cocoa Processors trailed by 4.44 per cent to close at N1.72 per share.

Tantalizer declined by 4.26 per cent to close at 45K, Neimeth International Pharmaceuticals shed 3.53 per cent to close at N1.64 and Consolidated Hallmark Plc lost N3.45 to close at N1.40 per share.

Analysis of the market activities showed trade turnover settled higher relative to the previous session, with the value of transactions up 35.71 per cent.

A total of 1.10 million shares valued at N10.08 billion were exchanged in 8,720 deals, compared to 368.39 million shares valued at N7.42 billion exchanged in 8,151 deals posted previously.

Jaiz Bank led the activity log-in volume with 528.49 million shares worth N1.15 billion, Cutix followed by 194.64 million shares worth N1.19 billion.

Zenith traded 77.75 million shares valued at N3.11 billion to lead the log-in value, Universal Insurance transacted 36.26 million shares worth N12.35 million and FCMB sold 33.88 million shares worth N257.09 million. 

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Stock Market Maintains Positive Trends, Up 0.11%

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Stock market maintains positive trends, up 0.11%

…Redstarex, Deap Capital lead the losers’ table 

 The Nigerian stock market maintained its positive trends on Tuesday, increasing the overall market index by 0.11 per cent.

Investors gained N62 billion or 0.11 per cent as the market capitalisation, which opened at N56.608 trillion closed at N56.670 trillion.

The All-Share Index also advanced by 0.11 per cent or 109.3 points to close at 100,075.59, compared to 99,966.28 recorded on Monday.

As a result, the Year-To-Date (YTD) return rose to 33.84 per cent.

Sustained by interest in Tier-one banking tickers such as Zenith Bank, FBN Holdings, United Bank For Africa (UBA), and Access Corporation, alongside United Capital, UACN and other advanced equities drove the market’s positive performance.

Meanwhile, market breadth closed positive with 19 gainers and 15 losers on the floor of the Exchange.

On the gainers’ table, United Capital led by 10 per cent to close at N33, Cutix Plc followed by 9.84 per cent to close at N5.58 and Sunu Assurances gained 7.75 per cent to close at N1.39 per share.

Cornerstone Insurance rose by 7.69 per cent to close at N2.10 and UACN went up by 7.42 per cent to close at N15.20 per share.

On the other hand,  Redstarex led the losers’ table by 9.82 per cent to close at N3, and McNichols Plc trailed by 9.01 per cent to close at N1.01 per cent.

Deap Capital Management and Trust Plc lost 5.77 per cent to close at 49k, Eterna Plc declined by 4.44 per cent to close at N17.20 and Universal Insurance shed 2.78 per cent to close at 35k per share.

Analysis of the market activities showed trade turnover settled higher relative to the previous session, with the value of transactions up 0.78 per cent.

A total of 368.39 million shares valued at N7.42 billion were exchanged in 8,151 deals, compared with 362.43 million shares valued at N7.37 billion exchanged in 8,405 deals posted previously.

Zenith Bank led the activity table in volume and value with 57.42 million shares worth N2.25 billion, and Access Corporation followed with 36.75 million shares valued at N707.17 million.

Guaranty Trust Holding Company(GTCO) also sold 29.16 million shares valued at N1.33 billion, Jaiz Bank traded 28.34 million shares worth N60.94 million and UBA transacted 20.31 million shares valued at N466.16 million.

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Sanitary Pads: Reps Query Minister Over N65m Spent On New Year Party, Others

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 The Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs Uju Kennedy-Ohaneye has drawn the ire of the House of Representatives following the unguarded manner she allegedly spent monies which included expenditures of N45 million for a New Year party and, N20 million for sanitary pads.

The House of Representatives which has now queried the minister, also frowned on her other unrelated expenditure which includes N1.5 million for vehicle fuel.

Rep. Kafilat Ogbara, Chairman, House Committee on Women Affairs, led the interrogation of the Minister, over the non-payment of N1.5 billion to contractors despite the fund release in Abuja.

She said that the investigative hearing was aimed at uncovering the truth and not witch-hunting the Minister and the officials of the ministry.

The committee also investigated the alleged diversion of funds meant for contractor payments, following a petition from contractors.

The committee also sought clarification on funds appropriated for the African First Lady’s mission and the whereabouts of the N1.5 billion meant for contractor payments.

The minister however denied the allegations of misappropriation, overspending, and non-payment to contractors.

The procurement officer confirmed contractors’ claims, and the Director of Finance and Administration acknowledged only paying approved contracts.

It would be recalled that the committee had at its last sitting summoned the minister to appear before it to explain the rationale behind the non-payment.

The committee also ordered the stoppage of all 2024 contract processes by the Ministry of Women’s Affairs until the whereabouts of the money for the said contracts are determined

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