MTN Season Of Surprise Thrills Lafia People With Exciting Gifts

It was the turn of Lafia, capital of Nassarawa State, to feel the love as MTN’s Season Of Surprise train berthed in the town.

There was gift aplenty ranging from television sets, bags of rice, cartons of Noodles, Umbrellas, groundnut oil, airtime and amongst others for everyone who turned up for the surprise initiative.

Adamu Balu, a resident of the town and  recipient of a brand new television could barely contain the excitement as he took delivery of the gift.

Hajiya Muhammed, also a resident in the town was also recipient of a bag of rice. The trader was beside herself with excitement as sh

“This is really a season of surprise for me. I am happy because bags of rice are usually expensive bags during this period and we were not even thinking of buying it. Now my family can have a wonderful Christmas thanks to this Season of Surprise.

The Season of Surprise continues to touch locations around the country spreading glad tidings of the Yuletide season in its wake

Here are pictures and clips from visit.

 

Atiku’s Speech At APC Convention In 2014 Versus Atiku’s Speech At PDP Convention In 2017

Last week, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar returned to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), a party he has left on two occasions for the then Action Congress (AC) and the All Progressives Congress (APC), where he resigned from few weeks ago.

Each time the Wazirin Adamawa leave one party for the other, even though he returns again, there are always negative things to say about the party he is jumping from.

Here, we look at the speech of the former Vice president when he dumped the PDP for the APC in 2014, where he highlighted the party’s numerous failures and his speech in 2017 after leaving the APC for the PDP, where the disparaging comments he made about the party in 2014 has turned to praises.

THE 2017 SPEECH

LET’S BUILD A NIGERIA FOR ALL

Speech by Atiku Abubakar, GCON, former Vice President and Presidential Aspirant of the All Progressives Congress (APC), at the Presidential Convention of the APC, at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere, Lagos.

Wednesday 10 December, 2014.

Protocol

Let me begin by saying thank you to all of you who have travelled from far and near, braving bad roads, traffic jams and delayed airline flights to be here tonight night.

Yes, by the end of this convention we would have elected a Presidential candidate for our party for the 2015 elections. But that’s not the main reason why we are here. We are here because we all see and feel what I have seen and felt travelling the length and breadth of this country for several weeks now: Nigerians want change. And they want change because they are fed up with the PDP led government.

They are tired of the regime of insecurity that sees huge numbers of our people slaughtered everyday by terrorists who have also seized Nigerians territories, with our government seemingly unable to do anything about it. They are tired of the crushing level of unemployment that is destroying this generation of Nigerian youth.

Nigerians want change because they are fed up with paying for electricity and getting darkness which is also destroying our industries and contributing to unemployment and crime.

Nigerians are tired of the dangerous PDP mathematics that is destroying our democracy, the math where 16 is greater than 19 and 7 is greater than 19. I’m of course referring to the Nigerian Governors Forum and recent events in Ekiti State respectively.

Nigerians are tired of the abuse of power, lawlessness and impunity of the PDP government; the type of impunity that sees a court sacked and judges beaten up by thugs under the direction of a party to a litigation, a governor-elect. They are tired and disgusted by the abuse of power exemplified by the siege on our parliament, teargassing of the Speaker, Honourable members and staff of the parliament on the orders of the same Executive that asked him, as Speaker, to reconvene parliament to deliberate on a matter of critical national importance.

Nigerians are tired of the continued embarrassment and humiliation of our national army and police force that had performed gallantly in the past at home and abroad but are now reduced to a butt of jokes in beer parlours and motor parks across Nigeria and indeed around the world. Who has not heard the uncomplimentary comparison with hunters and local vigilantes?

Nigerians are tired of plying the death traps called roads from Enugu to Port Harcourt, Benin to Ore Road, Lagos to Ibadan and Lokoja to Abuja, to mention just a few.

And they are tired of the collapse in our public school system and the mass failures being registered year in year out by WAEC, NECO, and JAMB.

These are some of the reasons why Nigerians want change. And they are the main reasons for our being here these two days. Because we can give Nigerians the change they deserve, the change that will save this country!

Thus you are also here because you also have hope. You came here because you believe in what this country can be. You came because you believe in CHANGE, change to a Nigeria for all.  You believe that our hopes and dreams can become reality.  You believe in a nation bound in freedom, peace and unity.  You believe in a government that serves its people with heart and might.  You believe that our great country can set a standard for all of Africa to see.

I pray that you will give me the opportunity to lead our party, the All Progressives Congress, in the movement to bring about this CHANGE, change for a better Nigeria, a Nigeria for all.   Thus, I stand before you to offer myself for consideration as the candidate of our great party in the presidential election of February 2015.

Today, you will disprove those who say that there is no difference between the PDP and the APC, because today we will demonstrate that every vote counts, and that we are serious about renewing our democracy by democratic means.

Distinguished delegates, fellow Nigerians, the APC is offering something we have not had for a long time – real choice. For the first time in living memory, the Nigerian people will have the opportunity to democratically replace a Party that has lost its way with a Party that knows what to do.

Now, Nigeria needs a leader who understands what it takes to deal with a challenging economic environment, who understands what it takes to create jobs; who understands what it takes to ensure that education should not only be accessible but must deliver the skills that matter; someone who understands what it takes to turn this country around and has the will to defuse tensions and to end conflicts among our peoples.

Today, you should signal your desire for change by making the wise decision to elect a flag bearer that is a proven manager of men and materials, a person who knows that good governance transcends the limits of red tape bureaucracy, and who is a tested bridge-builder. The nominee you are about to elect must be a person trusted across our ethnic and religious divides, a person that is gifted at playing the balancing act when it comes to the sensitivities and sensibilities of our multi-ethnic and multi-religious nation.

Without sounding self-conceited, many of you here gathered, and millions of our compatriots outside this Convention arena, know that for years, I, along with other compatriots, some of who are here present, fought to oust the military and establish democratic structures.  Many times, my efforts have earned me the wrath and vengeance of wicked and unreasonable men.  Back in 1995, during General Sani Abacha’s reign of terror, my home in Kaduna was attacked in the middle of the night.  The assailants overpowered the security guards on duty, gained access to the house, and entered through the bedroom of my first son, Adamu, who was then 20 years old.  They beat Adamu up, tied his hands behind his back, and made their way towards the master bedroom.  I emerged with my wife, Titi, behind me, and told them: “It’s me you want.  Here I am.  Leave my son alone.”

One of the men fired a shot that narrowly missed my head.  Fortunately, one of my guards had jumped over the fence and alerted the police, who arrived shortly after.  Unfortunately, six of the policemen lost their lives in the ensuing gun battle.  After the attackers left, Adamu and I picked up the bodies, loaded them in a van and drove to a nearby hospital in the middle of the night.  Adamu was so traumatized that he could hardly eat anything for some weeks.

Despite this horror experience – and several other very painful occurrences, which included the murder of my mentor, Shehu Yar’Adua, and the loss of some of my property and major businesses – I continued to speak out against tyranny and dictatorship.  I continued to call for the entrenchment of democracy in Nigeria.  I continued to reach out to well-meaning compatriots and sympathetic members of the international community, working with them to liberate Nigeria from the suffocating grip of Abacha’s reign of terror.

I have been a successful entrepreneur, creating jobs and empowering men and women, to generate wealth and improve their material conditions. I was also in the public service of our great country for 20 years, in addition to my service as the Vice President of this country.  As Vice President I largely assembled the economic team, pursued the privatization programme of the government and gave direction to the National Economic Council. I vigorously pursued reforms within the limits of the responsibilities assigned to me as Vice President.  I played an important role in the establishment of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and, in particular, sourced funds within government to enable it to commence operations.  Indeed it was my recommendation, after a trip to Brazil, which led to the enactment of the Public Procurement Act, another initiative to reduce corruption in our public life.

These privileged public service positions have adequately equipped me for an exceptional leadership with a thorough knowledge of how to effectively and efficiently run a democratic government.

Also the years I spent in the public service in different locations in the country along with managing my businesses that spread across the nation over the years have provided me with unrivalled understanding of the diversity of our people and have greatly helped me to build a network of enduring friendships and associates across our ethnic and religious divides.

Without doubt, these unique experiences and exposure make me stand out as an aspirant with a sound mix of public and private sector experience and with a wide network of tested and trusted relationships cultivated over a long period of time with different groups in the country.

I therefore implore you, as you go to cast your ballot, to consider this important leadership and team-building attribute. And also ask yourself who among the contestants, if elected President, would likely be the most accessible to you, to listen to your concerns and those of Nigerians. That person would be me.

Distinguished delegates, whatever I have to do, I have always prepared myself well. I have, therefore, prepared a comprehensive Policy Document that identifies our nation’s problems and proffers workable solutions to them. This important document was produced, based on the social democratic ideological posture of our great Party, the APC. The document, a product of wide consultations, has been examined by a panel of more than 50 distinguished experts in an open Summit. It has also been openly discussed and published for public evaluation and reactions. If you give me this mandate it will form the basis of a new deal with the people of Nigeria.

The priority areas identified in that policy document are Employment Generation and Wealth Creation; Infrastructure and Power; Education and Skills Acquisition; Security; Citizenship and Governance; Agriculture and Food Security; Niger Delta and Desert- and Insurgency-Ravaged States.

But I cannot do any of any of these things alone.  I need your support.  That is our purpose here today.  I am aspiring for the presidential ticket of the APC, not just to hold an office, and definitely not to become rich or famous, but to join you to change a nation, our nation.

Distinguished delegates, fellow Nigerians, we have not built the APC simply to replace the PDP. We have built the APC to replace a political system that has been hijacked by a small cabal of anti-democratic forces. We have built the APC to give every Nigerian a choice.

Let me remind us all that the change that this nation so earnestly desires can only be achieved with unwavering unity and oneness in the rank and file of our Party. We must stand united, unshaken and unmoved. We must clearly show the strength represented in one of our party’s symbols, the broom; and that is to say that when many broom sticks are tied, knotted together, the bunch sweeps faster, better and cleaner. And it cannot be broken.

We must, therefore, stand together no matter the odds, and no matter the outcome of this primary election. To do otherwise is to fail as a party of change and of national rebirth and become a fodder in the insatiable mouth of the PDP cabal that is sucking this nation dry.  To fail to unite, is to grind to a halt this great mass movement which is important to provide our people with a formidable alternative to the failing PDP. This must not happen. It must be avoided at all costs.

Let us send a very powerful message to the Nigerian people that we are a party that is serious about defeating the PDP and that is ready to govern. And the best way to do that is by nominating the best candidate tonight and by how we conduct ourselves during and after this Convention.

I believe that you will give me your mandate by nominating me as the APC presidential flag bearer to carry out, with you, the onerous but important task of building A Nigeria for All.

Thank you.

God bless APC!

God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria!

 

THE 2017 SPEECH

A winning PDP will get Nigeria working again
Remarks by Atiku Abubakar, GCON, former Vice President, Federal Republic of Nigeria, at the Convention of the Peoples Democratic Party, at the Eagle Square, Abuja
Saturday 9th December, 2017.

Protocol
I believe in Nigeria.
I believe in one Nigeria where all our people
have equal opportunity
I believe in one Nigeria where we all share a common good.
This belief inspired me and other compatriots to establish The Peoples Democratic Party on the ideals of one united nation, built on the principles of Justice, Equity and Equal Opportunity.
For the past 19 years, I have fought for these principles, even when some in the party have not:
• I fought against factionalism

  • I fought for our Nation’s constitution and to prevent tenure elongation
  • I fought for our party’s constitution – even at the expense of being forced out of the very party that I helped found. For this is the price one must sometimes pay for democracy.
    However, I never abandoned our founding principles.
    I stayed true to them as I did on Monday the 17th August, 1998 when the late Alex Ekwueme, the late Solomon Lar and the late Abubakar Rimi and our other founders gathered to announce the birth of the PDP.
    And, today, I am proud to say that I have returned home – home to our party.
    • I am proud that the PDP is the party that successfully took over power from the military in 1999
    • I am proud that the PDP gave Nigeria her first transition from a ruling party to an opposition party – a transition that is now a model for all of Africa
  • I am proud that the PDP has an unequalled record of growing our economy for the benefit of all
    However, in 2015 the PDP was no longer united and Nigerians voted for change.

Now we must unite as a party to secure the trust of the Nigerian people again because under the APC Nigeria is not working and our people are not working.
Let us consider what the APC has achieved versus what they promised at election time:
• The APC promised us three million new jobs a year.
In Government the APC has lost us three million jobs a year

  • The APC promised us peace and unity.
    Under the APC Nigeria is now more divided and acrimonious than at any time since the civil war
  • The APC promised us restructuring. In office the APC denied restructuring.

The APC promised a war on corruption but all they have delivered is a war on the opposition, with handouts for their cronies and handcuffs for their opponents.
Compare the record of the APC in Government to the record of the PDP in Government:

  • We, the PDP, achieved a 10-year increase in the life expectancy of our people
  • We, the PDP, enabled 99 million more of our people to have a mobile phone
  • We, the PDP helped Nigeria become the largest economy in Africa
    As members of the PDP, we all have a lot to be proud of.
    In the 16 years that we governed this nation we kept it united, peaceful and prosperous.
    We made mistakes, but we put our nation first.
    We did not favour only states that voted for us and punish those that did not. We favoured all.
    And we also know that 5% and 97% do not add up to 100%.
    We now have an APC government, which continues to blame previous governments and scapegoat people rather than solve problems it was elected to solve.
    The PDP is the party that will restructure Nigeria into a modern nation with working institutions and a system that gives back power to the people by promoting:
    • Free enterprise – because it is businesses that create sustainable jobs, not government
  • Property rights – that encourage people to invest in job creation
  • A smaller, more effective government that does not consume 75% of the federal budget just on paying salaries
    We the PDP are Nigeria’s only truly national party.
    We must work to earn the trust of Nigerians again and, if given another chance in Government use it to continue to work to improve the lives of our citizens.
    So my message to you today is plain and simple:
    The PDP is stronger together and Nigeria is stronger together.
    • We, the PDP, must be the party that is the hope of the common man for the common good of the commonwealth of Nigeria
  • We, the PDP, must be the party that takes power from the centre and puts it firmly in the hands of the Nigerian people
  • We, the PDP, must be the party that embodies the Nigerian vision, and ensures that the Nigeria of divisions never, ever happens again
    So at this very important Convention let us elect the very best leaders….
    • LEADERS who truly understand what it means to position the PDP as a viable and preferred alternative to the mis-governing APC!
  • LEADERS who understand the urgency of restructuring to devolve more power to the states and to our people
  • LEADERS who truly understand what it means to create the right environment to create jobs – especially for our youths

So let’s get the PDP winning again so we can get Nigeria working again.

PDP! (Power)
PDP! (Power)
Power! (To the People)

DOWNLOAD: Making Steady, Sustainable Progress – Buhari’s Mid-Term Scorecard

On the 16th of November, 2016, the media team of President Muhammadu Buhari presented a book titled “Making Steady, Sustainable Progress For Nigeria’s Peace And Prosperity – A Mid-Term Scorecard On The President Muhammadu Buhari Administration”

This fact-based compendium which was prepared by the Buhari Media Support Group an independent media advocacy group for the President Buhari administration captures the works of the Buhari administration between May 29, 2015 and May 29, 2017.

It highlights details of an administration which has made increased, but steady progress in the building of a new Nigeria.

From addressing the challenges in education to agriculture, militancy in the Niger Delta to terrorism in the Sahel, armed banditry and cattle rustling in the Savannah, the book captures the efforts of the Buhari administration to continues to soldier on, making steady progress in the resolute effort to make Nigeria more secure and improve the living conditions of the Nigerian people.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD

Fact Sheet On Buhari Administration’s Niger Delta New Vision

The Buhari administration, in line with its New Vision for the Niger Delta (#NDNewVision), is working hard to ensure that the people of the region benefit maximally from the wealth of their land.

So far, the Buhari administration has also taken actions to underscore its commitment to the people of the region.

These include:

  • Increased Budgetary Allocation to Niger Delta Ministry and NDDC
  • Take-off of Maritime University in Delta State
  • Commencement of Ogoni Clean-up
  • Investments in Infrastructure: Bonny-Bodo Road and Ibaka Deep Sea Port
  • Approval for establishment of Export Processing Zone in Delta State
  • Approval for establishment of Modular Refineries
  • Presidential Amnesty Programme

INCREASED BUDGETARY ALLOCATION:

  • N71.20 billion allocated in the 2018 Budget for the Niger Delta Development Commission
  • N53.89 billion allocated in the 2018 Budget for the Ministry of Niger Delta, up from the N34.20 billion provided in 2017

MARITIME UNIVERSITY, DELTA STATE:

  • The new Maritime University in Okerenkoko, Delta State, has now commenced operations, inviting job applications for academic staff.
  • President Muhammadu Buhari administration recently approved an increase in the take-off grant from the N2bn earlier announced to N5bn. This sum was included in the 2018 budget presented to the National Assembly earlier this week, under the Federal Ministry of Education allocation.
  • Academic activities are expected to start in the University soon following the completion of the hiring process for professors, readers, senior lecturers, lecturers, assistant, assistant lecturers and graduate assistants to teach in the faculties of Science, Maritime Transportation, Maritime Engineering and Technology, Maritime Environmental Management and General Studies.
  • The take-off of the Maritime University was one of the major requests tabled before the Federal Government when the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, went on a series of tour to all the Niger Delta states during the year, following President Buhari’s meeting with leaders of Pan Niger Delta Elders Forum (PANDEF) last November.

OGONI CLEAN-UP:

  • In June 2016, the Buhari administration started the implementation of the 2011 United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report on Ogoniland devastated by decades of oil spills.
  • An Inter-Ministerial committee on Hydrocarbon Pollution Restoration Project (HYPREP) (under the Federal Ministry of Environment) was established.
  • HYPREP has since set up structures in place for the final take off of clean-up and restoration of the region devastated by oil spills. This shows the commitment of the FG to restore the region.
  • 8 Companies engaged to conduct Demonstration Clean-up Exercises in the 4 Local Government Areas of Ogoni Land, to enable HYPREP select the best and most suitable technology for the remediation work. These Demonstrations were recently concluded; the results are being studied by the Governing Council of the Ogoni Clean-up Project.
  • HYPREP has also trained 15 indigenous Ogoni scientists on environmental assessment remediation.
  • HYPREP assessed existing water facilities in Ogoni land in line with the UNEP recommendation report that potable water be provided for Ogoni following pollution of water sources in region by oil spills.
  • Health impact assessment study to be done to ascertain whether there is a link between some disease patterns and oil pollution in the affected communities.
  • Bids have been invited for consultancy on provision of water, health study and environmental remediation.

 

INFRASTRUCTURE

Investment in Ibaka Deep Sea Port:

  • The Federal Government has budgeted N1 billion towards the development of Ibaka seaport in Akwa Ibom.

Investment in Bonny-Bodo Road Project:

  • The N120 billion Bonny-Bodo road project was flagged-off in October 2017 by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, SAN.The 34-kilometre road project, linking Bonny Island to the mainland was first mooted about 40 years ago.
  • The Bonny-Bodo bridge and road project is a Public Private Partnership arrangement jointly funded by Nigeria LNG and the Federal Government, in which the Federal Government and the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Company Limited (NLNG) will each bear 50 percent of the N120.6 billion that it will cost to complete the project.
  • When completed, the 34-kilometres road would connect several major communities in the Niger Delta region and boost socio-economic development and improve the lives of people in the Niger Delta region.

EXPORT PROCESSING ZONE (EPZ):

  • The Federal Government approved the establishment of the Export Processing Zone (EPZ) comprising the Gas City Project at Ogidigben, and the Deep Seaport in Gbaramatu, Warri South-West local government area, Delta State.
  • When fully operational, these projects are expected to boost socio-economic activities and improve the security landscape of the Niger Delta region.

MODULAR REFINERIES:

  • The objectives of establishing modular refineries in the Niger Delta region include the following: to create a robust domestic refining sector necessary to meet and exceed the full capacity of national demand, address the proliferation of illegal refineries in the Niger Delta, and attendant environmental degradation, and to provide jobs for unemployed youths in the region.
  • 13 out of 35 applications have reached what is known as the LTC (License to Construct) stage.
  • Two out of these 13 refineries are almost ready for shipment. Consideration for Customs duty waiver and some form of tax holiday also underway.
  • Government is also working with Nigerian Sovereign Wealth Fund (NSWF), Bank of Industry (BOI), AfrExim Bank, and Nigerian Content Development Management Board to address the issue of lack of financial capacity on the part of the local partners (Local partners are expected to come up with a minimum of 15% of cost as counterpart funding).

PRESIDENTIAL AMNESTY PROGRAMME (PAP):

  • The Presidential Amnesty Programme engages ex-militants and youths from the impacted communities in formal education, vocational skills acquisition and empowerment schemes.
  • The 2018 budgetary allocation for the Niger Delta Amnesty Programme is N65 billion.
  • 21,615 beneficiaries have so far been trained, out of which 4,079 have been empowered.
  • PAP has empowered 4,079 ex-militants through the establishment of businesses such as agriculture (cluster farms). 3,237 ex-militants are in various stages of Vocational Training and University Scholarship Programmes.
  • The Amnesty Office has initiated the training of 10,000 beneficiaries in modern agriculture and established them into 10,000-hectare cluster farms in the nine (9) Niger Delta States.
  • PAP modern agricultural schemes are projected to create 80,000 new jobs in three years

2018 Budget Speech: Budget Of Consolidation, By President Muhammadu Buhari

At the Joint Session of the National Assembly, Abuja

Tuesday, 7TH of November 2017

PROTOCOLS

1. I am here to present 2018 Budget Proposals. Before presenting the Budget, let me thank all of you Distinguished and Honourable Members of the National Assembly, and indeed all Nigerians, for your support and prayers for my full recovery while I was on medical vacation.

2. I am very pleased to address this Joint Session of the National Assembly, on the revenue and expenditure estimates, and related matters, of the Federal Government of Nigeria for the 2018 fiscal year.

3. The 2018 Budget will consolidate on the achievements of previous budgets and deliver on Nigeria’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) 2018 – 2020.

OVERVIEW OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENTS IN 2017

4. 2017, so far, has been a year of uncertainty on many fronts across the world. Whether it is Brexit, the crisis in the Korean Peninsular, or indeed, the political uncertainty in key oil producing nations of the Middle East and South America, we can all agree that these developments have in one way or another impacted Nigeria’s economic fortunes.

5. By all accounts, 2018 is expected to be a year of better outcomes. The tepid economic recovery is expected to pick up pace and the global political terrain is expected to stabilize. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is anticipating global GDP growth of 3.7 percent in 2018. Emerging markets and developing economies are expected to lead with GDP growth of 4.9 percent, while advanced economies are projected to grow at a slower rate of 2 percent.

6. Nigeria’s journey out of the recent recession was a revealing one. We heard many opinions from within and outside Nigeria on how best to address our economic woes. We listened carefully and studied these proposals diligently. Our belief has always been that the quickest and easiest solution may not necessarily be the best solution for a nation as diverse as ours. We took our time to create a balanced and equitable response, keeping in mind that only tailored Nigerian solutions can fix Nigeria’s unique problems.

7. And from the recovery that we are seeing today, it is clear that we made the right decisions. Distinguished and Honourable Members of the National Assembly, I am now asking you to continue to support our economic policies in order to consolidate and sustain on the success achieved so far. We simply cannot go back.

8. In the non-oil sector, crop production has been one of the main contributors to non-oil growth, which rose to 0.45 percent in the second quarter of this year. This was primarily driven by our ongoing financial, capacity building and infrastructure development programs.

9. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, working with development partners and the private sector, have embarked on numerous capacity building projects. We have also completed over 33,000 Hectares of Irrigation Projects that have increased water availability in key food producing states. We shall continue to intensify our interventions through the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme and the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative to ensure that this momentum is sustained. We have also made provisions in the 2018 Budget to complete ongoing Irrigation Projects at Ada, in Enugu State; Lower Anambra, in Anambra State; and Gari, in Jigawa State. In 2017, many factories and projects in the food and agricultural sectors were commissioned in Kebbi, Nasarawa, Kaduna, Anambra, Edo, Jigawa, Rivers, Niger, Ogun and Ebonyi States, to mention a few. This is a clear statement that our economic diversification and inclusive growth ambitions are coming to fruition.

10. Significant progress has also been made in the Solid Minerals development sector. In Ondo State, for instance, work is ongoing to fully exploit the bitumen resources to meet the 600,000 MTs of asphalt imported per annum for roads and other construction projects. To consolidate on these efforts, we have also established a 30 billion Naira Solid Minerals Development Fund to support other minerals exploration activities across the country.

11. In the oil and gas sector, the relatively higher crude oil prices supported our economic recovery. Our mutually beneficial engagement with oil producing communities in the Niger Delta contributed immensely to the recovery in oil production experienced in recent months. We would like to thank the leadership and communities in the Niger-Delta for their continued support and to also reiterate our assurances that this Administration will continue to honour our commitments to them. We cannot afford to go back to those dark days of insecurity and vandalism. We all want a country that is safe, stable and secure for our families and communities. This means we must all come together to address any grievances through dialogue and peaceful engagement. Threats, intimidation or violence are never the answer.

12. We are working hard on the Ogoni Clean-up Project. During the year, we engaged 8 international and local companies proposing different technologies for the mandate. To enable us select the best and most suitable technology for the remediation work, we asked each company to conduct Demonstration Clean-up Exercises in the 4 Local Government Areas of Ogoni Land. These Demonstrations were recently concluded and the results are being studied by the Governing Council of the Ogoni Clean-up Project. Although the Project will be funded by the International Oil Companies, we have made provisions in the 2018 Budget for the costs of oversight and governance, to ensure effective implementation.

13. On the international front, I would like to thank our friends and partners in the Joint OPEC / Non-OPEC Ministerial Monitoring Committee (JMMC) who graciously granted Nigeria an exemption from the output cuts imposed on OPEC Member Countries in January 2017. This exemption, which was extended in September 2017, significantly helped during our most challenging time. We shall continue our positive engagement with other oil producing nations to ensure that the momentum generated is sustained.

14. Permit me, Mr. Senate President and Right Honourable Speaker, to state that despite the downturn in oil prices and our challenging economic circumstances, this Administration was able to invest an unprecedented sum of over 1.2 trillion Naira in capital projects through the 2016 Budget. This is the highest ever in the history of this country. This is a clear demonstration of our commitment to consolidate on our economic diversification reforms and lay a stronger foundation for future growth and development.

15. Our Sovereign Wealth Fund, which was established in 2011 with US$1 billion, did not receive additional investment for 4 years when oil prices were as high as US$120 per barrel. However, despite record low oil prices, this Administration was able to invest an additional US$500 million into the Fund. This further demonstrates that in our struggle to have a stable and secure nation today, we have not, and will not, lose sight of the need to lay a solid foundation for the future prosperity of successive generations.

16. We have asked the Sovereign Wealth Fund to look inward and invest locally. Some of the successes we are seeing today in the agricultural sector are driven by this new investment approach by the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA). The NSIA also has a very strong pipeline of local investments that will support our inclusive and diversified economic growth plan.

17. Stability has been restored to the foreign exchange market due to the interventions by the Central Bank of Nigeria to improve access to liquidity, discourage currency speculation and increase net foreign exchange inflows. As at the 30th of October, 2017, our external reserves had increased to US$34bn. This stability has supported our efforts to provide the enabling environment and interventions needed to empower Micro, Small and Medium-Sized enterprises, investors, manufacturers and exporters, to sustain and in some cases, grow their operations. Indeed, by the second quarter of 2017, exports significantly outpaced imports, resulting in a trade surplus of 506.5 billion Naira.

Ease of Doing Business Reforms

18. One of the targets we set for gauging our progress in creating an enabling environment for business was to achieve a positive movement in the World Ease of Doing Business Index. You would recall Nigeria experienced a decade-long decline in this ranking. In 2008, Nigeria was ranked 120th. By 2015, our situation had deteriorated to 169th of the 189 countries surveyed. Our very simple, logical and user-friendly reforms are reversing this trend. A recently released World Bank business ranking report announced that Nigeria had moved 24 places to 145th position in 2017. I am delighted that we have met and even surpassed our target of moving at least 20 paces up this global ranking. The same World Bank report also stated that Nigeria is among the top 10 reforming countries in the world.

19. To ensure these reforms are institutionalized, Executive Order Number #1 on the Promotion of Transparency and Efficiency in the Business Environment was issued in May 2017. The Order contained measures that ease the process of business registration, approval of permits, granting visas and streamlining port operations. We are committed to continuing and accelerating the Ease of Doing Business reforms, which are critical to attracting new investments, growing the economy and creating jobs for our people.

Improved Tax Administration

20. Although the economy is diversified with non-oil Sector accounting for over 90 percent of total Nominal GDP, the Government’s revenues are not as diversified yet. Our Tax-to-GDP ratio of about 6% is one of the lowest in the world. This situation is not consistent with our goal of having a diversified, sustainable and inclusive economy. Accordingly, we are stepping up efforts to ensure all taxable Nigerians comply with the legal requirement to declare income from all sources and remit taxes due to the appropriate authorities.

21. Already, we have introduced the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS) on the 1st of July, 2017. The Scheme provides non-compliant taxpayers with a nine-month window to regularise their tax status relating to historical periods. In return, overdue interest and penalties will be forgiven. In addition, no investigations or criminal charges will be brought against participating taxpayers. We expect that this Scheme will widen the tax net for both the Federal and State Governments. I am therefore, asking all Nigerians to seize this opportunity and do right thing. Let us not shy away from our duty to build a better Nigeria.

Optimising Efficiency in Expenditure

22. In 2016 this Administration adopted a policy of allocating at least 30 percent of our annual budget to capital expenditure. This was entrenched in the ERGP to unlock further growth in the economy. This tradition was maintained in the 2017 Budget and has been reflected in the proposal for 2018, in which 30.8 percent of total expenditure has been set aside for the capital vote.

23. To support these efforts, you would recall that an Efficiency Unit was set up under the Federal Ministry of Finance to reduce wastage, plug leakages and foster greater fiscal transparency. We have intensified the implementation of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) across government MDAs to automate personnel records and salaries’ payment process, with the goal of eliminating ghost workers. 461 Federal MDAs have been captured on the system, so far. Our target is to enroll all MDAs. I have directed the military and other security agencies to ensure total compliance without further delay.

Increased Investment in Infrastructure

24. Mr. Senate President, and the Right Honourable Speaker, we shall continue to develop our infrastructure across the country. Although a lot of progress has been made, the huge contractor liabilities we inherited have adversely impacted our infrastructure development timetable. Indeed, contractors were owed trillions of Naira when this Administration came into office. In some areas, we have made payments so projects may be completed; while in others, we are reconciling the liabilities to identify and settle legitimate claims. As a responsible and accountable Administration, we decided that clearing this backlog was an important priority.

25. For instance, at the outset of this Administration in 2015, the Abuja Metro-Rail Project, which began in 2007 was only 50% completed, after 8 years. Today, in just 18 months, we have pushed the project to 98% completion. This was achieved as the Nigerian Government was diligently able to meet its counterpart funding obligations for the Chinese loans.

26. We have also continued work on key strategic Roads. Over 766 kilometres of roads were constructed or rehabilitated across the country in 2017. For instance, work is at various stages of completion on these strategic roads with immense socio-economic benefits:

a. Rehabilitation of Ilorin-Jebba-Mokwa-Birnin-Gwari-Kaduna Road;

b. Dualization of Oyo-Ogbomosho-Ilorin Road;

c. Rehabilitation of Gombe-Numan-Yola Road;

d. Dualization of Kano-Maiduguri Road;

e. Rehabilitation of Sokoto-Tambuwal-Jega Road and Kotangora-Makera Road that transverse Sokoto, Kebbi and Niger States;

f. Rehabilitation and Reconstruction of Enugu-Port-Harcourt Road;

g. Rehabilitation of Enugu-Onitsha Dual Carriageway Road;

h. Rehabilitation of Aleshi-Ugep Road and the Iyamoyun-Ugep Section in Cross River State;

i. Rehabilitation, Reconstruction and Expansion of Lagos-Ibadan Dual Carriageway Road;

j. Construction of Loko-Oweto Bridge over River Benue in Nasarawa and Benue States; and

k. Construction Gokanni Bridge along Tegina-Mokwa-Jebba Road in Niger State.

27. Under the Federal Roads Development Programme, we recently completed a Data Collection Exercise on the 7,000km Federal Road Network which was funded by the World Bank. This information is enabling us to make informed decisions regarding the planning, budgeting and management of the Federal Road Network. Going forward, we will be working based on facts rather than subjectivity.

28. Furthermore, we have also invested a lot of time and effort in identifying alternative means of funding new projects. For example, the recent 100 billion Naira Sukuk Financing will cater specifically for the development of 25 roads across the country. We also developed different structures that empower private investors to contribute to the development of roads of significant national importance. Already, we are seeing results. For example:

a. The Bonny-Bodo Road is being jointly funded by the Federal Government and Nigeria LNG Limited. This project was conceived decades ago but it was abandoned. This Administration restarted the project and when completed, it will enable road transportation access for key communities in the Niger- Delta region; and

b. The Apapa Wharf-Toll Gate Road in Lagos State is also being constructed by private sector investors in exchange for tax credits.

29. Distinguished Members of the National Assembly, our Power Sector Reforms still remain a work in progress. Although we have increased generation capacity significantly, we still have challenges with the Transmission and Distribution Networks. That said, I am pleased to announce that since 2015, the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) and Niger-Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC) have added 1,950 MVA of 330-132kV transformer capacity at 10 Transmission stations, as well as 2,930 MVA of 132-33kV transformer capacity to 42 substations nationwide. With these additions, the Transmission Network today can handle up to 7,000 Mega Watts (MW).

30. The key bottleneck now is the Distribution Network where the substations cannot take more than 5,000 MW. This is constraining power delivery to consumers. We are working with the privatized Distribution Companies to see how to overcome this challenge. Nigerians should be rest assured that this Administration is doing all it can to alleviate the embarrassing power situation in this country.

31. Furthermore, to sustain the continued expansion of generation capacity and enhance evacuation, we approved a Payment Assurance Guarantee Scheme which enabled the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trader (NBET) to raise 701 billion Naira. This assures the Generation Companies of up to 80% payment on their invoices. This intervention has brought confidence back into the sector and we expect additional investment to flow through, particularly in the gas production sector.

32. Distinguished Members of the National Assembly, this Administration is committed to the development of Green Alternative Energy Sources. To date, we have signed Power Purchase Agreements (PPA) with 14 solar companies. We also approved:

a. The completion of the 10 MW Wind Farm in Katsina State, a project that was abandoned since 2012; and

b. The concession of 6 small hydro-electric power plants with a total capacity of 50 MW.

33. To enable the successful take-off of these, and future Green Projects, I am pleased to inform this Distinguished Assembly that the Federal Government will be launching the first African Sovereign Green Bond in December 2017. The bond will be used to finance renewable energy projects. We are very excited about this development as it will go a long way in solving many of our energy challenges, especially in the hinterland.

34. On Rail, we recently received 2 additional locomotives and 10 standard gauge coaches for the Abuja-Kaduna Rail Line. These will be deployed for the new non-stop express service between the two cities that will only take one hour and fifteen minutes. This new service will complement the existing service currently in place. We plan to commission this by December 2017.

35. We have also kick-started the abandoned Itakpe-Ajaokuta-Warri Rail Line. This project has been on for over 17 years. We had to take some drastic measures but I am pleased to announce that work is ongoing and we expect to commission this service by September 2018. This service will start with 7 standard gauge coaches.

36. The situation at the Apapa port complex is a top priority for this Administration. The delays due to congestion and their adverse impact on business operations and costs is a key concern to our Government. As I mentioned earlier, we are partnering with the private sector to fix the road. We shall do the right thing considering. We will not cut corners.

37. In addition to the road, we have also commenced the extension of the Lagos-Ibadan Standard Gauge Rail Line to connect Apapa and Tin Can Port Complexes. This project will significantly ease the congestion at the ports and enhance both export and import operations. This project shall be completed by December 2018. Already, working with the private sector, we have repaired the Apapa Port Narrow Gauge Line which is currently being used to evacuate goods from the port, thereby easing congestion.

38. As we all know, sometimes doing the right thing takes time and requires sacrifices. I am therefore appealing to all stakeholders to work with us in ensuring we deliver a solution that we will all be proud of.

39. Certainly, the infrastructure requirement to reposition Nigeria for the future is huge and our resources are limited. Government, therefore, will pursue private partnerships to maximise available capital and developmental impact. In the next fiscal year, we will also establish 7 tertiary health institutions across the country through partnership with our Sovereign Wealth Fund and other private sector investors.

Agricultural Development

40. The agricultural sector played a crucial role in Nigeria’s exit from recession. Today, it remains the largest employer of labour and holds significant potential to realise our vision of repositioning Nigeria as a food secured nation.

41. We will consolidate on existing policies and develop new ones to ensure the numerous value chain challenges in the agricultural sector are addressed. As I mentioned earlier, several investors have deployed significant capital in the production and processing of rice, sugar, maize, soya, cassava, yams, tomato, oil palm, rubber and poultry, to mention a few. We are also seeing increased investment in the agro-inputs manufacturing sector such as fertilisers.

42. We are determined to protect these investments and encourage more. Food Security is an important aspect of this Administration’s National Security agenda. Any person involved in smuggling of food items is a threat to our National Security and will therefore be dealt with accordingly. A Committee chaired by the Vice President is working on this matter. A key part of their work will be the reactivation of the Badagry Agreement signed between Nigeria and the Republic of Benin in 2003. This agreement, which was abandoned by previous Administrations, established a mutually beneficial framework for the two neighbours and allies to partner in tackling smuggling and other cross border crimes. I would like to assure investors in the agricultural value chain that the menace of smuggling will be handled decisively.

43. To further support investors and State Governments, we will accelerate the establishment of at least 6 Staple Crop Processing Zones, in the first phase. This initiative will develop infrastructure for the production, processing and storage of strategic commodities. The focus is on backward integration for grains, horticulture, livestock, fisheries and sugar; as well as exportable commodities such as cocoa, cassava and oil palms.

Health Sector Developments

44. During 2017, the country had a number of disease outbreaks such as Meningitis, Yellow Fever, Monkey Pox and Lassa Fever. I would like to commend the Federal and State Ministries of Health for their selfless service and timely responses to contain these outbreaks. I would also like to thank the World Health Organisation, the Global Fund and UNICEF, for their continued support during these trying times. This collaboration was a key factor in the low mortality rates experienced. To further improve our response to such outbreaks, we are working to upgrade our Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response System. This will further enhance the efficiency of our diagnostic and clinical management processes.

45. In this respect, I urge this Distinguished House to expedite the passage of the Bill for the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control to enable us consolidate on the successes recorded to date.

Implementing the Social Investment Program

46. I am pleased to inform you that we have recorded tremendous success in the implementation of the Federal Government’s Social Investment Program. Specifically,

a. Over 4.5 million Primary 1 to Primary 3 pupils in public schools are being fed under the School Feeding programme;

b. Over 200,000 unemployed graduates have been employed under the N-Power Scheme in education, health and agricultural sectors;

c. Over 250,000 enterprises have benefitted from the sum of 12.5 billion Naira, which has been disbursed to entrepreneurs to expand their businesses; and

d. Over 110,000 households are currently benefitting from the Conditional Cash Transfer programme across the country.

PERFORMANCE OF THE 2017 BUDGET

47. The 2017 Budget of Recovery and Growth was based on a benchmark oil price of US$44.5 per barrel, oil production of 2.2 million barrels per day, and a Naira-to-US Dollar Exchange Rate of 305. Based on these assumptions, total revenue of 5.084 trillion Naira was projected to fund aggregate expenditure of 7.441 trillion Naira. A projected fiscal deficit of 2.356 trillion Naira was to be financed mainly by domestic and external borrowing.

48. On revenue performance, collections were 14 percent below target as of September 2017, mainly due to the shortfall in non-oil revenues.

49. A key revenue shortfall was from Independent Revenues; only 155.14 billion Naira was remitted by September 2017 as against the projected pro-rated sum of 605.87 billion Naira. This represents a 74 percent shortfall, which is very disappointing.

50. This recurring issue of under-remittance of operating surpluses by State Owned Entities is absolutely unacceptable. You will all recall that in September 2017, the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) announced that they were ready to remit 7.8 billion Naira back to the Government. The shocking discovery was that in the last decades, JAMB only remitted an aggregate of 51 million Naira. This clearly illustrates the abuses that occur in State Owned Entities as well as their potential for increased Independent Revenues, if only people would do the right thing. We all need to play our role to ensure the right thing is done. I would also like to remind Nigerians that the Whistle Blower lines are still open.

51. Accordingly, I have directed the Economic Management Team (EMT) to review the fiscal profiles of these agencies, to ensure strict compliance with the applicable Executive Orders and Financial Regulations. There may be a need to consider a review of the Fiscal Responsibility Act and the Executive will be approaching the National Assembly on this issue in due course.

52. On the expenditure side, a total of 450 billion Naira of the capital vote had been released as at the end of October 2017. With your support for our funding plan, our target is to release up to 50% of the capital vote for MDAs by the year’s end. We have prioritised payments of our counterpart obligations on our concessionary loans, as well as funding of critical infrastructure and other projects with socio-economic benefits. Furthermore, MDAs have made provisions to carry over to the 2018 Budget, capital projects that are not likely to be fully funded by year-end 2017, to ensure project continuity.

53. Regrettably, the late passage of the 2017 Budget has significantly constrained budget implementation. As you are aware, the 1999 Constitution authorized necessary Federal Government expenditures prior to the 12th of June, 2017 when the 2017 Appropriation Act was signed into law. This year, we have worked very hard to achieve an earlier submission of the Medium-term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper (MTEF/FSP), and the 2018 Appropriation Bill. Our efforts were to avail the National Assembly with sufficient time to perform its important duty of passing the Appropriation Bill into law, hopefully by the 1st of January, 2018. It is in this spirit that I solicit the cooperation of the Legislature in our efforts to return to a more predictable budget cycle that runs from January to December.

PRIORITIES FOR THE 2018 BUDGET OF CONSOLIDATION

54. The 2018 Budget Proposals are for a Budget of Consolidation. Our principal objective will be to reinforce and build on our recent accomplishments. Specifically, we will sustain the reflationary policies of our past two budgets. In this regard, the key parameters and assumptions for the 2018 Budget are as set out in the 2018-2020 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP). These include:

a. Benchmark oil price benchmark of US$45 per barrel;

b. Oil production estimate of 2.3 million barrels per day, including condensates;

c. Exchange rate of N305/US$ for 2018;

d. Real GDP growth of 3.5 percent; and

e. Inflation Rate of 12.4 percent.

Federally-Collectible Revenue Estimates

55. Based on the above fiscal assumptions and parameters, total federally-collectible revenue is estimated at 11.983 trillion Naira in 2018. Thus, the three tiers of Government shall receive about 12 percent more revenues in 2018 than the 2017 estimate. Of the amount, the sum of 6.387 trillion Naira is expected to be realised from oil and gas sources. Total receipts from the non-oil sector are projected at 5.597 trillion Naira.

Federal Government Revenue Estimates

56. The Federal Government’s estimated total revenue is 6.607 trillion Naira in 2018, which is about 30 percent more than the 2017 target. As we pursue our goal of revenue diversification, non-oil revenues will become a larger share of total revenues. In 2018, we project oil revenues of 2.442 trillion Naira, and non-oil as well as other revenues of 4.165 trillion Naira.

57. Non-oil and other revenue sources of 4.165 trillion Naira, include several items including: Share of Companies Income Tax (CIT) of 794.7 billion Naira, share of Value Added Tax (VAT) of 207.9 billion Naira, Customs & Excise Receipts of 324.9 billion Naira, FGN Independently Generated Revenues (IGR) of 847.9 billion Naira, FGN’s Share of Tax Amnesty Income of 87.8 billion Naira, and various recoveries of 512.4 billion Naira, 710 billion Naira as proceeds from the restructuring of government’s equity in Joint Ventures and other sundry incomes of 678.4 billion Naira.

Proposed Expenditure for 2018

58. A total expenditure of 8.612 trillion Naira is proposed for 2018. This is a nominal increase of 16 percent above the 2017 Budget estimate. In keeping with our policy, 30.8 percent (or 2.652 trillion Naira) of aggregate expenditure (inclusive of capital in Statutory Transfers) has been allocated to the capital budget.

59. We expect our fiscal operations to result in a deficit of 2.005 trillion Naira or 1.77 percent of GDP. This reduction is in line with our plans under the ERGP to progressively reduce deficit and borrowings.

60. We plan to finance the deficit partly by new borrowings estimated at 1.699 trillion Naira. Fifty percent of this borrowing will be sourced externally, whilst the balance will be sourced domestically. The balance of the deficit of 306 billion Naira is to be financed from proceeds of privatisation of some non-oil assets by the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE).

61. The proposed 8.612 trillion Naira of 2018 Aggregate Expenditure comprises:

a. Recurrent Costs of N3.494 trillion;

b. Debt Service of N2.014 trillion;

c. Statutory Transfers of about N456 billion;

d. Sinking Fund of N220 billion (to retire maturing bond to Local Contractors);

e. Capital Expenditure of N2.428 trillion (excluding the capital component of Statutory Transfers).

Statutory Transfers

62. 456.46 billion Naira was provided in the 2018 Budget for Statutory Transfers. The 5 percent increase over last year’s provision is mainly due to increases in transfer to Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), which are related directly to the size of oil revenue.

Debt Restructuring

63. We are closely monitoring our debt service to revenue ratio. We shall address this ratio through our non-oil revenue-generation drive and restructuring of the existing debt portfolio. Presently, domestic debt accounts for about 79 percent of the total debt. Our medium-term strategy is to reduce the proportion of our domestic debt to 60% by the end of 2019 and increase external debt to 40 percent. It is noteworthy that rebalancing our debt portfolio will enhance private sector access to domestic credit. In addition, annual debt service costs will reduce as external debts are serviced at lower rates and repaid over a longer period than domestic debt.

Recurrent Expenditure

64. A substantial part of the recurrent cost proposal for 2018 is for the payment of salaries and overheads in key Ministries providing critical public services such as:

a. N510.87 billion for Interior;

b. N435.01 billion for Education;

c. N422.43 billion for Defence; and

d. N269.34 billion for Health.

The allocation to these Ministries represent significant increases over votes in previous budgets.

Personnel Costs

65. Personnel costs is projected to rise by 12 percent in 2018. Although we have made substantial savings by registering MDAs on the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (IPPIS) platform, the increase is mainly due to provision for staff promotion arrears, and recruitments by the Military, Police Force and para-military agencies. Furthermore, I have directed agencies are not to embark on any fresh recruitment unless they have obtained all the requisite approvals. Any breach of this directive will be severely sanctioned.

Overhead Costs

66. Overhead costs is projected to rise by 26 billion Naira in 2018, a modest increase of about 12 percent reflecting inflationary adjustments. MDAs are required to adhere to government regulations regarding cost control.

Capital Expenditure

67. To consolidate on the momentum of the 2017 Budget’s implementation, many ongoing capital projects have been provided for in the 2018 Budget. This is in line with our commitment to appropriately fund ongoing capital projects to completion. By allocating 30.8 percent of the 2018 Budget to capital expenditure, the Federal Government is also demonstrating its strong commitment to investing in critical infrastructure capable of spurring growth and creating jobs in the Nigerian economy.

68. Key capital spending allocations in the 2018 Budget include:

a. Power, Works and Housing: N555.88 billion;

b. Transportation: N263.10 billion;

c. Special Intervention Programmes: N150.00 billion;

d. Defence: N145.00 billion;

e. Agriculture and Rural Development N118.98 billion;

f. Water Resources: N95.11 billion;

g. Industry, Trade and Investment: N82.92 billion;

h. Interior: N63.26 billion;

i. Education N61.73 billion;

j. Universal Basic Education Commission: N109.06 billion;

k. Health: N71.11 billion;

l. Federal Capital Territory: N40.30 billion;

m. Zonal Intervention Projects N100.00 billion;

n. North East Intervention Fund N45.00 billion;

o. Niger Delta Ministry: N53.89 billion; and

p. Niger Delta Development Commission: N71.20 billion.

69. As I had previously indicated, we aim to consolidate on our achievements in 2017. We shall meet our counterpart funding obligations. We shall complete all ongoing projects. And we shall carry forward all strategic projects that were budgeted for but which we were unable to kick start due to liquidity challenges, late passage of the budget, prolonged contractual negotiations, and other matters.

70. Specifically, I would like to bring your attention to the following key projects and programmes that we are determined to implement in 2018:

a. N9.8 billion for the Mambilla hydro power project, including N8.5 billion as counterpart funding;

b. N12 billion counterpart funding for earmarked transmission lines and substations;

c. N35.41 billion for the National Housing Programme;

d. N10.00 billion for the 2nd Niger Bridge; and

e. About N300 billion for the construction and rehabilitation of the strategic roads mentioned earlier.

Consolidating on the Social Intervention Programme

71. This Administration remains committed to pursuing a gender-sensitive, pro-poor and inclusive growth. We are keenly interested in catering for the most vulnerable. Accordingly, we have retained the 500 billion Naira allocation to the Social Intervention Programme. Under the programme, 100 billion Naira has been set aside for the Social Housing Programme.

72. Government will also continue to implement the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) programme, as well as the National Home-Grown School Feeding programme in 2018. These initiatives are already creating jobs and economic opportunity for local farmers and cooks, providing funding to artisans, traders and youths, as well as supporting small businesses with business education and mentoring.

Regional Spending Priorities for Peace, Security and Development

73. To maintain peace and security in the Niger Delta for economic and social activities to thrive, the provision of 65 billion Naira for the Presidential Amnesty Programme has been retained in the 2018 Budget. In addition, the capital provision for the Ministry of Niger Delta has been increased to 53.89 billion Naira from the 34.20 billion Naira provided in 2017. This is to further support the development in the region. We will complete all critical projects, including the East-West Road, which has a provision of about 17.32 billion Naira in 2018.

74. Across the nation, and particularly in the North East region, our commitment to the security of life and property remains absolute. We will ensure that our gallant men and women in arms are properly equipped and well-motivated. The result of our efforts is evident in the gradual return to normalcy in the North East. It is in this spirit that I recently assented to the North-East Development Commission Bill that was passed by this Distinguished House. We expect that this development will consolidate on our ongoing efforts to combat insurgency, reintegrate Internally Displaced Persons and rebuild communities in the North East Region, which have been adversely affected by the insurgency.

75. Similar attention is being given to efforts to reduce violent crime across the country. The Nigerian Army was recently deployed to combat the growing scourges of cattle rustling and banditry that have plagued our communities in Kaduna, Niger, Kebbi, Katsina and Zamfara States. We will also continue to arrest the incidence of Armed Robbery, Kidnapping and other Violent Crimes across our nation.

76. We have also increased our focus on cyber-crimes and the abuse of technology through hate speech and other divisive material that is being propagated on social media. Whilst we uphold the Constitutional rights of our people to freedom of expression and association, where the purported exercise of these rights infringes on the liberties of other citizens or threatens to undermine our National Security, we will take firm and decisive action.

77. In this regard, I reiterate my call for Nigerians to exercise restraint, tolerance and mutual respect in airing any grievances and frustrations. Whilst the ongoing national discourse on various political issues is healthy and welcome, we must not forget the lessons of our past. I trust that the vast majority of our people would rather tread the path of peace and prosperity, as we continue to uphold and cherish our Unity in Diversity.

CONCLUSION

78. Distinguished and Honourable Members of the National Assembly, you will recall that in my 2017 Budget Speech, I promised a new era for Nigeria and an end to the old ways of overdependence on oil revenues. The statistics and initiatives I mentioned clearly show that this new era has come and the old Nigeria is surely disappearing. We must, therefore, all work together to protect and sustain this CHANGE to create a new Nigeria:

a. A Nigeria that feeds itself;

b. A Nigeria that optimally utilizes its resources;

c. A Nigeria with a diversified, sustainable and inclusive economy.

79. Mr. Senate President, Mr. Speaker, Distinguished and Honourable Members of the National Assembly, this speech would be incomplete without commending the immense, patriotic and collaborative support of the National Assembly in the effort to move our great nation forward. I wish to assure you of the strong commitment of the Executive branch to deepen the relationship with the Legislature.

80. Nigeria is currently emerging from a very difficult economic period. If we all cooperate, and support one another, we can consolidate on our exit from the recession and firmly position Nigeria for economic prosperity. All the projects presented within this Budget have been carefully selected and subjected to extensive consultations and stakeholder engagements. As a Government, we are determined to bring succour to our people, improve their lives, and deliver on our promises to them. 2018 is a crucial year as we strive to ensure that we consolidate our successes and institutionalize the policies and practices that drove this turnaround.

81. I appeal to you to swiftly consider and pass the 2018 Appropriation Bill.

82. It is therefore with great pleasure and a deep sense of responsibility, that I lay before this Distinguished Joint Session of the National Assembly, the 2018 Budget Proposals of the Federal Government of Nigeria.

83. I thank you most sincerely for your attention.

84. May God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

#Budget2018: 10 Major Takeaways From Senate President Bukola Saraki’s Speech

  1. ON THE ECONOMIC RECOVERY EFFORTS

“I must commend Mr. President, the Economic Management Team, my Distinguished colleagues and Honourable members of the House of Representatives as well as all Nigerians, for working together to make the necessary sacrifices to get the economy out of recession. Without doubt, this recovery benefitted from greater policy coordination, prioritization and passage of economic reform bills, but more importantly, the resilience of the Nigerian people.”

  1. ON THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE 2018 BUDGET

“It is pertinent to note that the implementation of the 2018 Budget – how it is implemented – will be a defining element of this Administration. We must therefore continue to work together to steady the ship of this recovery.”

  1. ON NIGERIA & OIL

“As the country gradually recovers, it is important to reset the fundamentals that drive our economy – so we do not slide back into recession. We must reassess the relationship between oil and our economy. Oil prices are gradually inching up, but that is no reason for complacency in our diversification drive. We must grow our economy away from oil – as well as the need to increase non-oil revenue generation and collection.”

  1. ON INDEPENDENT REVENUE & PLUGGING LEAKAGES

“Revenue from taxes as well as independent revenues from State Owned Enterprises must be taken seriously. If the budget is to be funded, we cannot afford to turn a blind eye to revenue under-performance. While there is a need to review extant laws guiding the operation of some Government enterprises, I would urge for more determined effort on the part of the Executive, to plug leakages.”

  1. ON PRODUCTIVE BORROWING

“…We must ensure that our borrowing is targeted at productive projects that will stimulate the economy. We must ensure real value-for-money in projects funded by borrowing, and make doubly sure that the projects are not overpriced.”

  1. ON ENSURING THAT THE ECONOMIC RECOVERY IMPACTS LIVES

“As the country emerges from that period of uncertainty, the question on the lips of many Nigerians has been this: How does the recovery translate into tangible economic benefits for me? We must remember that the real gains must be felt on a personal level by the individual, for economic recovery to have meaning. People are seeking to get back to work but cannot find jobs.”

  1. ON ENSURING THAT THE 2018 CREATES JOBS

“While I commend your current efforts at tackling unemployment – especially among the youth through Federal Youth Programmes such as YouWin, N-Power, and YES-Programme – deliberate steps must be taken to make the 2018 budget a job oriented one.”

  1. ON #MADEINNIGERIA

“…we must see to the implementation of the Procurement law, with particular relevance to the part that has to do with support for Made-In-Nigeria goods. The implementation of the 2018 budget must anchor on the Made-In-Nigeria project. This should be reflected in government procurements in 2018.”

  1. ON THE NEED FOR EQUITY IN DISTRIBUTION OF DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS

“We must never lose sight of the need for equity and balanced development across the entire spread of our country. Infrastructural development should be seen to be well distributed, to create growth pools away from the major city centres and drive the regeneration of our rural areas. Agriculture, for instance, is meaningless without those that will engage in farming in the countryside. The current rate of rural-to-urban migration is alarming and unsustainable – congesting the cities and stretching resources to breaking point, while undermining the economic viability of some states. People must be able to see a future for themselves in every corner of this country, not just in the big cities.”

  1. ON CO-OPERATION BETWEEN THE LEGISLATURE & THE EXECUTIVE

“As I close, Mr. President, I would like to advise and caution that there is no better time in this Administration than now for a rigorous drive for good working relationship between the Executive and the Legislature. The early passage of the 2018 budget will depend on this good working relationship.”

How President Buhari Surpassed The Achievements Of Past Nigerian Leaders In Just Two Years – BMSG

… As He Continues To Blaze The Trail

After careful, data-based and incisive research, the Buhari Media Support Group (BMSG) has affirmed that since the return of Nigeria to democratic rule in 1999, no Nigerian President has measured up to the level of achievements recorded by President Buhari in just two years his tenure.

In the past two years, the government of President Muhammadu Buhari has launched unprecedented programmes, reforms and policies and has attained landmark achievements on implementing them all.

We point out that President Buhari has towered above his predecessors, riding on the crest of integrity, commitment to the national cause and deep sense of responsibility laced with intent to leave Nigeria a better place for all.

Coming from decades of corruption, and complacency in which case, Nigeria all through, depended solely on oil resources, hence a mono economy, President Buhari administration took off by changing the narrative and laying the foundation for diversification of the Nigeria’s economy.

After inheriting a near collapsed economy at the instance of phenomenal looting of treasury by officials of past government, the government of President Buhari displayed ingenuity and wisdom, setting up an economy diversification agenda, which melted the grim recession that confronted Nigeria when it took off two years ago.

Efforts by the President to rescue the economy have since been trailed by successes. In less than two years, Nigeria is already taking its pride of place among industrialized countries; whereas, in just two years, the agricultural sector has produced over 40,000 farmers who are now in the league of millionaires, while the number keeps growing.

In just two years security in the North East has been restored, while similar unrest in other section of Nigeria, most especially the south-south and the south-east had been effectively addressed.

Under President Buhari, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) and other law enforcement agencies have been strengthened and emboldened to fight treasury looters while recovering stolen funds and fraudulently acquired properties that run into trillions of naira along with other foreign currencies. The achievements of the anti-graft agencies are unprecedented this time around.

The Nigerian military under President Buhari have given good account of themselves after yielding positively to command in ending unrest in the Niger Delta. The feat by the military has eventually set the tone for growth of national economy with resumption of oil exploration in the zone. The military also squarely addressed the agitation for secession in the south-east zone, making it possible for Nigeria to regain its rhythm as a nation with all component units now having sense of belonging.

For us in BMSG, it is apt to conclude that no Nigerian President has rivaled the standard of dedication, hard work and results that the President Buhari administration has landmarked so far. In this regard, sky is the limit for the President who means well for Nigeria.

Profile Of New Secretary To The Government Of The Federation, Boss Mustapha

President Buhari has appointed Boss Mustapha as the new Secretary General of the Federation.

The appointment follows the sack of the suspended Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal.

His Profile:

Mr, Boss Gida Mustapha is a lawyer, management consultant, politician, business man and boardroom guru of considerable repute. His appointment.

Born in Adamawa State, Mr Mustapha attended Hong Secondary School, in Hong Adamawa state and North East College of Arts and Sciences Maiduguri Borno state, crowning it with WASC and HSC in 1976. He earned his Bachelor of Law (LL.B) from the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria in 1979 and was called to bar in 1980. From 1980 to 1981, Mr Mustapha did the compulsory National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) – Directorate of Legal of legal Services at the Army Headquarters and was in charge of review of Court Marshall Proceedings.

After his National Service, he joined Sotesa Nigeria Limited, an Italian consultancy firm, as an Executive Director in charge of Administration, leaving in 1983 to join the prestigious law firm Messrs Onagoruwa & Co in Lagos.

With his law practice fully taken off, Mustapha was appointed Principal Counsel in the firm Messrs Mustapha & Associates, His legal interests and expertise included privatization commercialization and Liberalization of Public Companies/Corporate and Government Parastatals. He was also involved in preparation of varied and miscellaneous banking documents such as Debentures, Guarantees, Mortgages, Bonds and Loan Syndications.

One of Mr. Mustapha’s career highlights was his appointment as a member of Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the defunct Petroleum (Special) Trust Fund (PTF), serving meritoriously from 2000 to 2007. At the PTF, he was responsible for production of an up-to-date comprehensive project and programme report, including location, coverage and whether performed, performing or abandoned production of final report of Assets and Liabilities, examination of the Administrative structure and cost effectiveness of pf Projects and Services among other duties.

Mr. Mustapha also played key leadership roles at the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) serving as Social Secretary and Chairman at the Yola branch.

After his stint at the PTF in 2007, Mr. Mustapha was appointed Principal Partner of the law firm, Adroit Lex. His law practice and the burning desire to serve the larger society conspired to attract him into politics, at various times, he was member Federal Republic of Nigeria Constituent Assembly (1988-1989), Chairman People’s Solidarity Party-Gongola State (1989-1990), state chairman, Social Democratic Party-Gongola State (1990-1991); he was even a gubernatorial candidate for SDP in Adamawa state in 1991.

He was the Deputy National Chairman of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria from 2010 to 2013. In 2007, he again played a prominent role, serving as the Deputy Director General of the party’s Presidential campaign Organization. His services remained in high demand after the fusing of ACN joined forces with other parties to form the All Progressive Congress (APC).

He was a member of NCC and Secretary APC Presidential Campaign Organization Mobilization (2015) and member, APC Transition Committee (2015). He is also a member, APC Board of Trustees.

Until his appointment, Boss Mustapha was the Managing Director of the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA).

In addition to the NBA, Boss Mustapha is a member of various professional bodies including African Bar Association (ABA), Commonwealth Lawyers Association, International Bar Association (IBA) and Human Rights Institute (HRI). But Mr. Mustapha’s accomplishments go beyond politics and the Bar; he is respected boardroom guru, having been appointed into the boards of several companies in the manufacturing financial services as well as oil and gas sectors. He is the National Vice President, Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship international Nigeria.

He has travelled extensively visiting no fewer than 30 countries, and always taken interest in how waterways assets are managed in those countries. His address to management staff on assuming office set the tone style and direction of his administration.

Mr. Mustapha who is married with children, enjoys golf, lawn tennis, travelling, documentary films, charity work and meeting people

In Kenya, 6.2 Per Cent Of Donated Blood Has HIV, Syphilis, Report Says

The Kenya National Blood Transfusion Service (KNBTS) has released  a report that part of blood its bank is contaminated with HIV and syphilis. The report published three weeks ago in a foreign journal shows 6.2 per cent of donated blood had high levels of HIV, with as high as 15 per cent in some counties.

The authors of the report, published in the Journal of Blood Disorders and Transfusion of India, are said to have had access KNBTS data. They had also analysed part of the blood collected from 32 of the 47 counties last year.

Other than HIV and syphilis, the report also showed significant contamination of donated blood with hepatitis.  In a written response to our enquiries over the publication, KNBTS director Margaret Oduor termed the report alarmist and sensational.

“This research was not sanctioned by KNBTS and therefore we disown the content of the article in its entirety,” Dr Oduor said. She said only about 0.5 per cent of blood collected annually is contaminated with HIV. “It is possible the authors of the report have other interests unknown to us,” Oduor said, noting only about 0.4 per cent of the annual blood collection is contaminated with syphilis. But hours after The Standard made inquiries over the report, two of its authors disowned it. They said it should be withdraw saying its findings are inaccurate.

Dr Oduor said they had allowed the authors and employees of a health organisation, mHealth Kenya, access to their blood banks and data of at least 20,230 donors. mHealth Kenya provides links between public and private to support, improve, optimise and sustain provision of quality health services.

The organisation was supposed to help KNBTS, through its blood bank, to get blood donations through an initiative called Text4Life. The plan was funded by the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention of the United States. “Our work was to help the blood bank utilise mobile phone platform in communicating with its donors countrywide,” mHealth Kenya Limited CEO Cathy Mwangi said.

And now, Oduor is angry that mHealth employers, three of whom participated in authoring the damning report, may have used their data illegally. Also, she said the officials published the report without the consent of KNBTS. “I stand by the results we published as a true reflection of the quality of donated blood to KNBTS within the study period,” lead author Gerald Mahuro said. He is a former employee of mHealth.

Authors claimed they had permission from KNBTS blood bank to publish the report. “Being employees of mHealth Kenya Ltd, authors of the report had permission, from KNBTS, to use the data in the publication,” says the study. However, on Saturday afternoon, the authors wrote to the editor of the Indian journal requesting that the report be withdrawn temporarily because it had been submitted non-procedurally. Dr Mwangi and her employee N Kipkorir said they were included as co-authors without their input or consent. “Mahuro published data he took away with him upon his dismissal,” she said in a letter to the editor of the journal.

However, Mahuro told The Standard he stood by the report and maintained the data he used was accurate even the procedure for publishing may not have been followed. The fourth author and the most qualified on the subject matter, Peter Gichangi of the University of Nairobi, said the data as presented in their paper was plausible. Prof Gichangi is also the Country Director at International Centre for Reproductive Health Kenya (ICRHK), which is affiliated to the Ghent University of Belgium. He is also at the centre of another controversy where UK’s University of Manchester is fighting with Kenyatta National Hospital over ownership of a cervical cancer treatment developed in Kenya. However, this is not the only independent study showing high rates of infectious agents in donated blood in Kenya.

A study published last year by a team led by Magdaline Wairimu Kamande of Kenya Methodist University showed 5.2 per cent of blood at KNBTS bank at the Nyeri Centre was contaminated with HIV. Kamande’s study, appearing in the IOSR Journal of Pharmacy, was said to have been approved by KNBTS. An audit of KNBTS laboratories in April showed the agency was performing poorly as far as safety was concerned. But Odour assured Kenyans they effective screening systems and that all donated blood is safe.

Standard Digital Kenya

Competition In Nigeria’s Pay Tv Industry Just Got Stiff-er, As StarTimes Announces Daily, Weekly Subscription

StarTimes today announced daily and weekly subscription package via its Twitter handle @StarTimes_Ng which they call pay per day.

Details of the new announcement are yet to be released but this comes as a good development for an industry that many Nigerians believe is in need of more competitors.

 

Insights Into The NPA INTELS Contract Agreement

By Abdullahi Abubakar
I read in some quarters that because of 2019 politics, Buhari has directed NPA to cancel Atiku’s INTELS agreement. To be very clear on this, the first letter challenging this agreement was initiated by past administration with a letter dated June 2016 written by former Executive Director of Finance to INTELS for a review of the Service Boats Pilotage Revenue.
This present management came into office in July, 2017. In essence, this is administration is only following up on the initial call for review. I will take you through the contract agreement between the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA and INTELS Logistics which is in two folds for you to judge the party that is being short-changed. The NPA engaged the services of INTELS basically;
1. As Managing Agent for monitoring and collections of revenue from Service Boats Operations in the pilotage districts.
2. Development of Port infrastructure at Onne Ports Complex.
Summarily, the first fold is a 10year contract agreement to manage, especially, logistics of vessels of Oil and Gas related activities amongst others (and over the years, INTELS have monopolized logistics of Oil and Gas related activities). To also collect all money invoiced for service boats operations and other relevant dues invoiced against vessels owners.
In view of the above, the NPA pays INTELS a commission of 28% of total revenue generated. Withholding tax, inclusive. This pricing is outrageous but quite surprising, the NPA hasn’t made it a major issue of contention. For a better perspective, commercial Banks also collect tax on behalf of the government and charge between 0.25% to 1% as commission.
NB: the 28% is deducted at source as dictated in the terms of the contract.
The second fold which is development of Ports Infrastructure at Onne Ports where in August 2013, the Authority, through the Federal Executive Council (FEC) engaged Deep Offshore Services Nig Limited, a sister agency of INTELS, to construct Port infrastructure at Onne Ports Phase 4B for the sum of $2.7bn for a 6years period. Term of this contract is that, recovery of project cost is through amortization process from port charges and Service Boats Operations revenue.
This means, NPA will also remit 60% balance of the 72% left (100% – 28%) for this port development.
Meanwhile, capacity of Phase 3 and 4A earlier constructed by INTELS is evaluated at less than 60% but at a cost 20% higher than initial contract sum because NPA pays cost of funds of Libor + 6 percent.
Important to note, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore and Dredging International Asia Pacific – Daelim Joint Venture signed a contract for $1.8bn for a new port wharf terminal Phase 1. This entails the construction of a new port terminal with 20 deep-water berths having a total capacity of 20million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUS) per annum.
On the flip side, Deep Offshore Services are constructing only 8 deep-water berths for the Phase 4B at $2.7bn. This is almost a billion dollar extra for less number of deep-water berths. Ridiculous!
Perhaps deliberate, there is no clause mandating INTELS to remit any percentage of the Service Boats Operations revenue collections to NPA and on a stipulated date. Hence remittances are based on mutual understanding between both parties. So from 2013, INTELS remitted an average of $3m monthly which represents only about 18% of average revenue collected. Remittance went all-time high in 2014 to an average of $5.6m monthly. It is a cause of worry to NPA that this remittance dropped to an average of $3.6m monthly in 2016. This called for a review by the former management which was followed through until recent approval to terminate the contract.
After reconciliation, Service Boats Operations revenue collected by INTELS from January 2014 when execution of Phase 4B commenced to September 2016 was $510m while sum of $162m which represents about 29% of the total revenue was remitted to NPA within the period.
Worthy of note also, the LAST remittance made by INTELS to NPA was in October of 2016 ?—? one year ago. However, INTELS is owed $674.8m as at December 2016 for executed project cost not yet amortized. The Managing Agent, INTELS is as well holding on to the sum of $128.3m being jointly reconciled revenue as at December 31st, 2016.
Since the Managing Agents, INTELS control the revenue, they went ahead to execute a project at the Onne Ports Complex worth $109m without any recourse to their principal, the NPA. Another thing is, the Managing Agent keep the balance at their disposal for, sometimes, months, with no interest element paid to the principal.
What is it in the reviewed agreement that INTELS is declining to affirm to? The following Standard Operating Procedures were drafted and reviewed for adoption;
1. The NPA is suggesting the balance of 72% be shared between NPA and INTELS in the ratio of 30:70.
2. Two transit accounts be opened with two commercial banks where individual boat operators pay their charges and funds be swept into the TSA account with CBN daily. INTELS get their 28% Commission within 7 days. In the event that NPA fails to pay the commission within the stipulated time, it shall pay INTELS a 0.15% for the outstanding.
3. Since capacity utilization of the completed phase 4B is very low, that further execution be formally stopped and the completed section be put to commercial use to generate revenue for the Authority.
Nothing spurs us to action, else the Civil Society Organizations and other pressure groups would be at the fore front demanding a repeal of this agreement and perhaps, demand a downright payment of outstanding balances.
Abdullahi K. Abubakar is on twitter as @abubakar47i

Meet The 41-year-old Newly Appointed CBN Deputy Governor, Aisha Ahmad

The Presidency on Thursday announced the nomination of Aisha Ahmad, to take over as Deputy Governor Central Bank of Nigeria from Sarah Alade who retired in March.

President Buhari’s spokesman, Femi Adesina, said in a statement that the president had urged the Senate to expedite the confirmation of Ms Ahmad.

“In accordance with the provisions of Section 8(1) (2) of the Central Bank of Nigeria (Establishment) Act 2007, President Buhari urged the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, to consider the expeditious confirmation of Mrs. Ahmad, who would then resume work immediately,” the statement read.

Mr Adesina added that Mr Buhari had written the Senate, seeking the confirmation of appointment of members of the Monetary Policy Committee of the CBN.

He said the appointees were to replace four members, whose tenure expires at the end of this year.

“The nominees are: Prof. Adeola Festus Adenikinju; Dr. Aliyu Rafindadi Sanusi; Dr. Robert Chikwendu Asogwa and Dr. Asheikh A. Maidugu.

“After Senate clearance, the new members of the Monetary Policy Committee are to resume duties next January,” the statement added.

THE NEW DEPUTY GOVERNOR’S PROFILE

Banking industry feelers say with over 20 years experience with global financial institutions such as Stanbic IBTC Bank, Zenith Bank PLC and Bank of New York Mellon, Diamond Bank PLC, the new CBN deputy governor-nominee, Aishah Ahmad, seems fully prepared for the position.

Mrs Ahmad was born on October 26, 1976, and hails from Niger State.

According to her profile in the most recent annual report of Diamond Bank, Mrs Ahmad was the Head, Consumer and Privilege Banking at the bank. She was previously the Head, Retail Banking Directorate.

She joined Diamond Bank in June 2014 as a Deputy General Manager and the Head, Retail Financial Services Division, overseeing Privilege Banking, Consumer Banking Group, Retail Assets, Cards and Customer Engagement & Insight.

Prior to joining Diamond Bank, Aishah worked with Stanbic IBTC Holdings where she served in various capacities as Head, High Net-worth Individuals; Head, Private Client Services and Deputy Head, Private Client Services between 2009 – 2014.

She had also worked with other companies such as Zenith Capital Limited as Head, Business Development, Bank of New York Mellon (UK), Synesix Financial Limited (UK), Zenith Bank Plc as Head, Retail Banking Unit, and NAL Bank Plc as Head, Private Banking.

She also worked with First Interstate Bank Plc as Executive Assistant, Treasury Group, Manstructs Group Nigeria Limited as Group Accountant and Z. O. Ososanya & Co.

She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from the University of Abuja, an MBA (Finance) from the University of Lagos and an M.Sc. Finance and Management from the Cran?eld School of Management (UK).

She is a Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA) and she holds the prestigious Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation.

Mrs Ahmad is currently the Chairperson of Women in Business and Public Service, WIMBIZ, and a board member of the SOS Children’s hospital.

She is renowned for her experience in the private banking space having managed many High Net-worth Individuals (HNI’s) throughout her career.

Mrs Ahmad is married to Abdallah Ahmad, a retired brigadier-general, and has two children.

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