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.
News Alert! CBN revokes operational licenses of 4,173 Bureau De Change operators for breach of regulatory guidelines
The Eyewitness Reporter
In its continuous efforts to sanitize the foreign exchange market and halt the frightening slide of the naira in exchange for the dollars, the Central Bank of Nigeria has revoked the operational licenses of 1,173 Bureau De Change operators.
In a press release issued Friday, March 1st, 2024 and signed by Mrs. Sidi Ali Hakama, the Acting Director, Corporate Communications, the apex bank said the axed BDCs failed to observe at least one of the following regulatory provisions which include payment of all necessary fees, including license renewal within the stipulated period in line with the Guidelines, rendition of returns in line with the Guidelines, compliance with guideline, directives and circulars of the CBN, particularly Anti-Money Laundering(AML), countering the Financing of Terrorism(CFT)and Counter-Proliferation Financing(CPF) regulations.
The apex bank said it relied on the powers conferred on it under the Bank and Other Financial Institutions Act(BOFIA)2020, Act n0.5 and Revised Operational Guidelines for Bureaux De Change 2015(the Guidelines).
“The CBN is revising the regulatory and supervisory guidelines for Bureau de Change operations in Nigeria. Compliance with the new requirements will be mandatory for all stakeholders in the sector when the revised guidelines become effective.
‘Members of the Public are hereby advised to take note and be guided accordingly”, the statement concluded.
Anxiety in public service over massive job loss as Tinubu set to implement Steve Oronsaye panel on civil service reform
In 2014, the Jonathan government released a white paper on the report. The Buhari administration after re-examining the white paper also released a second white paper in August 2022, but did not implement the report.
According to Bayo Onanuga,Special Adviser Information and Strategy to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the Tinubu administration has decided to confront the monster of high governance cost by implementing elements of the report.
Some of the key recommendations of the report for implementation include the National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission to be subsumed under the Revenue Mobilisation and Fiscal Commission.
The Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate(PTAD) is to be scrapped and functions to be taken over by the Federal Ministry of Finance
NEMA and National Commission for Refugees to be fused to become the National Emergency and Refugee Management Commission
Border Communities Development Agency to become a department under National Boundary Commission
NACA and NCDC to be merged
SERVICOM to become a department under the Bureau for Public Service Reform(BPSR)
NALDA to return to the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security.
Federal Ministry of Science to supervise a new agency that combines NCAM, NASENI and PRODA
National Commission for Museums and Monuments and National Gallery of Arts to become one entity that will be known as the National Commission for Museums, Monuments and Gallery of Arts.
National Theatre to be merged with National Troupe.
Nigerians in Diaspora Commission to become an agency under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Federal Radio Corporation and Voice of Nigeria to be one entity to be known as Federal Broadcasting Corporation of Nigeria
National Biotechnology Development Agency(NABDA) and National Centre for Genetic Resources and Biotechnology to be emerged into an agency to be known as National Biotechnology Research and Development Agency(NBRDA).
National Institute for Leather Science Technology and National Institute for Chemical Technology to become one agency.
Nigeria Natural Medicine Development Agency and National Institute of Pharmaceutical Research and Development to become one agency.
The National Metallurgical Development Centre and National Metallurgical Training Institute will be merged.
National Institute for Trypanosomiasis to be subsumed under the Institute of Veterinary Research in Vom, Jos.
“You lied” – FG lambasts cement manufacturers over hike in product price
The minister further declared that the excuse of an increase in mining equipment should not come up because equipment bought by the manufacturers has been used for decades and not purchased every day.
However, he noted that if the government decides to open the border for mass importation, prices of cement would crash and local manufacturers would be gravely affected.
The minister, who called on the manufacturers to be more patriotic, said BUA Cement, for instance, has been willing and is still willing as at the last time he spoke with them, to crash the price of their cement, lower than the N7000, N8000 agreed by the manufacturers and he sees no reason why the others should not do same.
“The challenges you speak of, many countries are facing the same challenges and some even worse than that but as patriotic citizens, we have to rally around whenever there is a crisis to change the situation.
“The gas price you spoke of, we know that we produce gas in the country. The only thing you can say is that maybe it is not enough.
“Even if you say about 50 percent of your production cost is spent on gas prices, we still produce gas in Nigeria. It’s just that some of the manufacturers take advantage of the situation.
Earlier, Group Chief Commercial Officer of Dangote Cement, Rabiu Umar blamed the high cost of gas and mining equipment for the hike in cement price.
He said: “It is safe to say we are all Nigerians and we are all facing the current head weight that is happening. I would like to speak on the popular belief that most of the raw materials to produce cement are available locally.
“While we have limestone and in some cases, we have gypsum and some cases coal, the reality is that it takes a lot of forex-related items to produce cement.
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