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Ameachi drags Hadiza to President Buhari over NPA’s unremitted N165.320billion —-the memo which nailed NPA Chief

 Eyewitnessnews Reporter

Fresh facts have emerged over the immediate reasons for the sack of Hadiza Bala Usman, the erstwhile Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority(NPA).
Our Correspondent stumbled on a memo that may have sealed the fate of the Kaduna state-born female activist.
In the memo, personally written and signed by Rotimi Ameachi, the Minister of Transportation, the Minister complained of the inability of the NPA’s management to account for the unremitted amount of N165.320 billion between 2016 to 2020.
In the memo, dated March 4th, 2021, and addressed to President Mohammadu Buhari, Ameachi accused the Hadiza- led management team of prolificacy.
In the memo, titled ”Remittance of Operating Surplus to the Consolidated Revenue Fund Account ( CRF) by the Nigerian Ports Authority from 2016- Date” the Minister said he has observed from the records submitted by the Budget office of the Federation that the yearly remittances of the operating surplus of the NPA within the period under review have been far short of the amount due for actual remittance.
The Minister, in the memo, therefore sought the approval of Mr President to institute an audit of the accounts and remittances of the NPA within the years under review.
The memo reads ” It has been observed from the records submitted by the Budget office of the Federation that the yearly remittances of operating surpluses by the Nigerian Ports Authority from the year 2016 to 2020 have been far short of the amount due for actual remittance( see the table attached).
” In view of the above, I wish to suggest that the financial account of the activities of Nigerian Ports Authority be investigated for the period 2016 to 2021 to ascertain the true  financial position and the outstanding unremitted balance of One Hundred and Sixty-five billion, three hundred  and twenty million, nine Hundred  and Sixty-two thousand, six hundred and ninety-seven naira only ( N165, 320, 962, 699);
“Prayer:  Approve that the account and remittance of NPA in the period of 2016- 2020 be audited to account for the gross shortfall of remitted public funds” the minister concluded.
The President granted the prayers of the Minister on March 17th,2021.
Already, in the sack notice that was couched in soft landing language of ‘suspension’, the Minister has announced the formation of the panel of inquiry that will make an inquest into the financial activities of the NPA while Hadiza has been asked to step aside.
The panel is headed by the Director of maritime services in the Ministry of Transportation.
The Minister, who was said to have been away to Jos on an official assignment when the news of Hadiza’ s ‘suspension’ filtered in late Thursday, is expected to announce the remaining members of the probe panel who are expected to hit the ground running thereafter.
Mohammed Koko, the Executive Director, Finance and Administration, has been asked to take over.
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Economy

Buhari, Jonathan, Obasanjo, Babangida, Abdusalami, Osinbajo, Atiku, others to spend N13.8billon from N27.5 trillion 2024 budget 

Tinubu presentation of 2024 budget to the National Assembly

The Eyewitness Reporter

The Federal government has earmarked the sum of N13.8 billion in the 2024 budget as the cost of upkeep of
former presidents, vice presidents, heads of state, Chiefs of General Staff, retired heads of service, permanent secretaries, and retired heads of government agencies and parastatals.

The beneficiaries include former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo, Goodluck Jonathan and Muhammadu Buhari, ex-vice-presidents Atiku Abubakar, Namadi Sambo and Prof Yemi Osinbajo.

Also expected to benefit from the windfall are ex-military Heads of State, General Yakubu Gowon and General Abdusalami Abubakar, as well as a former dictator and self-styled military President, General Ibrahim Babangida, and a former Chief of General Staff, Commodore Ebitu Ukiwe (retd.).

Also, N1tn was provisioned for the public service wage adjustment for government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (including arrears of promotion and salary increases, and payment of severance benefits and minimum wage-related adjustments).

A breakdown shows that the entitlements of former presidents/heads of state and vice presidents/chief of general staff will cost N2.3bn. At the same time, N10.5bn is proposed as benefits for retired heads of service, permanent secretaries and professors.

The payment of severance benefits to retired heads of government agencies and parastatals is proposed to cost N1bn.

Other allocations include N65bn for the Presidential Amnesty Programme for the reintegration of transformed ex-militants; N1bn for the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Energy; and N108bn for unnamed special projects.

The government is also proposing the sum of N40bn to offset electricity debts owed to power distribution companies by all MDAs.

President Bola Tinubu unveiled the N27.5 trillion budget estimates for the 2024 fiscal year.
The budget was presented to a joint session of the National Assembly on Wednesday, where it is currently undergoing scrutiny and deliberation for final approval.

In his presentation, he declared, “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.

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Customs

News Alert: Wale Adeniyi revives CG conference, holds 2023 edition December 13-15 in Lagos.

Wale Adeniyi, CGC
The Eyewitness Reporter
After 11 years of interregnum in the annual Comptroller General of Customs conference, Adewale Adeniyi, the Customs boss, has announced the rescucitation of the annual conference which holds December, this year.
In the social media broadcast, Adeniyi said he was delighted to announce that the 2023 CG Conference will hold from December 13th- 15th, 2023 at the Grand Africa Ballroom of the prestigious Continental Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos.
The theme of this year’s conference, according to the CGC, is “Leveraging Data Analytics for Secure and Efficient Trade Facilitation in Customs Operations”.
The Vice President of Nigeria, Senator Kashim Shettima, is expected as the special guest of honour while the Governor of Lagos state, Mr Babajide Sanwo- Olu and the Minister of Finance and the coordinating minister of Economy, Wale Edun, are also expected to grace the occasion.
Adeniyi stated that this year’s conference will centre around the discussion on implementing new measures to enhance service operations, championing secure and efficient operations across the federation.
“In line with my efforts and that of my management team to modernize the Nigeria Customs service through leveraging technology-driven Customs to shape the future of our operations, I am inviting you to this year’s Comptroller General Conference scheduled for 13tg to 15th December 2023 at the Grand Ballroom, Continental Hotel, Lagos.
” The theme of this year’s conference is Leveraging Data Analytics for Secure and Efficient Trade Facilitation in Customs Service.
” We are embracing innovation, utilizing the power of analytics to ensure the security and efficiency of Customs Operations.
“This significant event will centre around discussion on implementing new measures to enhance the service operations, championing secure and efficient operations across the federation.
“It will serve as a platform for attracting new business stakeholders to our shore.
” Don’t miss this opportunity to be part of this renewed hope experience as we consolidate on the achievements of the past, collaborate with our stakeholders and of course, bring in innovation to drive Customs Operations.
“The conference will be graced by esteemed guests, including the Vice-President, Senator Kashim Shettima as the special guest of honour, the governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu and the Finance Minister, Wale Edun” the CGC announced.
The CG conference is a platform for interaction where customs reviews its past operations and project for the future.
The last conference was held in 2012 in Katsina state.
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Headlines

Ukraine blocks Russia’s reelection bid at IMO council elections

The Eyewitness Reporter
The world is gradually ostracizing Russia from the comity of nations due to its aggression against Ukraine.
At the council election of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) held Friday, December 1st, 2023, Russia, for the first time since 1958, failed in its reelection bid into category A of the organization
The failure of Russia was masterminded by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who told the IMO General Assembly that Russia had no place in the August gathering.
Ukraine, which was not standing for election, had pushed for Russia to be ousted from the IMO Council.
“Russia has no place in the International Maritime Organization nor its governing bodies because no one in recent decades has caused greater harm to free navigation than Russia,” Zelenskiy told the IMO Assembly in a remote address on Monday.
Russia has been a member of Category A of the IMO and has consistently won reelection into the fold of the committee of countries with the largest maritime interests in the world.
But due to its war with Ukraine, the country has lost that revered place.

The outcome is another blow for Russia after it failed in its bid to return to the UN’s top human rights body in October, in an election seen as a key test of Western efforts to keep Moscow isolated.

Last year, Moscow also failed to win enough votes for re-election to the UN aviation agency’s governing council.

The London-based International Maritime Organization (IMO) is responsible for regulating the safety and security of international shipping and preventing pollution and comprises 175 member state countries.

Russia has been a member since 1958 and has been consistently re-elected to the IMO Council.

With voting on  Friday, 40 countries were elected by secret ballot to the IMO Council, which supervises the work of the body.

They include China, Greece, Italy, Japan, Liberia, Norway, Panama, South Korea, Britain and the United States.
Russia’s IMO delegation told the Assembly earlier on Friday that it deserved its place on the Council.”A balancing and constructive role is what our country contributes, not just to this body, but to the Organization as a whole,” Russia’s delegation said in translated comments.

In October, Russia said the IMO was departing from its impartial role due to “external pressure” which it said was impacting the fair treatment of all member countries.

Meanwhile, the IMO  Assembly on December 1st, 2021 elected the members of its Board for the two years 2024-2025.
 Category A, which includes the ten nations that have the highest interest in providing international maritime services, have been China, Greece, Italy, Japan, Liberia, Norway, Panama, the Republic of Korea, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
In category B of the IMO Council, which is made up of ten nations that have the greatest interest in international maritime trade, representatives of Australia, Brazil, Canada, United Arab Emirates, France, Germany, India, Holland, Spain and Sweden.
Category C, is made up of 20 nations that have a particular interest in maritime transport or shipping, and whose election to the Board will ensure the representation of all major geographical areas of the world, including Saudi Arabia, Saudi Arabia, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Chile, Cyprus, Denmark, Egypt, Philippines, Finland, Jamaica, Indonesia, Kenya, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Morocco, Peru, Qatar, Singapore and Turkey.
After the thirty-third Assembly of the IMO, which will end next Wednesday, the following day the newly elected Council will meet for its 131st session and elect the President and Vice-President for the next biennium.
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