FG Outlines 34 Priority Projects In 2016 Budget

The Federal Government has set out “34 strategic priority programmes and projects” that it intends to achieve beginning with the 2016 budget.

Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed disclosed this to reporters after a cabinet meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

She said President Muhammadu Buhari was expected to receive the corrected version of the budget details from the National Assembly today or tomorrow.

Sources said the President would sign the budget immediately before he travels to France on Friday.

The minister said the 34 specific areas, which were grouped into four major objectives are governance and security; diversification of the economy; creating support for the poor and the vulnerable: as well as reflating the economy through investment.

She added that they were presented with “clear deliverables, targets and indicators to ensure that ministries, departments and Agencies deliver on implementation.”

According to the minister, the 34 priority areas needed to be implemented in 2016? are categorised into thematic areas are:

* To achieve and maintain a capital spend minimum of 30 percent annually with the objective to reflect the economy and enhance employment generation capacity for the productive sector.

* To achieve an appropriate exchange regime to achieve a predictable exchange rate by the end of 2016.

* To increase low interest lending to the real sector at single digit “maybe nine percent” in order to increase output and growth.

* (On diversifying the economy) To attain self-sufficiency in tomato paste in 2016 and rice production by 2018.

Nigeria spent $2.41 billion on rice importation between January 2012 and May 2015 and another $1bn on tomato paste importation.

*To increase local production of maize, soya beans, poultry and livestock and to stop import. The deadline for these to be announced later in the year.

*To expand the agro- allied sector to intensify local production of cassava, cocoa, cashew nuts, fruits and sesame seeds.

* To make use of 5,000 hectares arable land ?in 12 River Basin Development Authorities and to utilise 22 dams for commercial farming.

Priorities under power, rails and road

*To optimise up to 7,000 megawatts installed capacity with the associated infrastructure in order to enhance investment, productivity and employment.

*To complete the Kaduna-Abuja-Ajaokuta ?railway lines in 2016.

*To commence the construction of the Lagos – Kano standard gauge rail line and also to finalize the negotiation regarding the Calabar-Lagos rail line.

The objective of this is to increase availability of mass transit, to relief pressure on road infrastructure.

*To undertake the rehabilitation and construction of 31 major projects and restore the degraded sections of some major high ways and improve connectivity over a distance of 210,093 kilometres through public works maintenance, Public Private Partnership (PPP) and other interventions.

*To adopt and execute comprehensive national oil and gas policy which is supposed to be the road map for the petroleum industry development diversification as well as privatisation.

*Sets a three-year deadline to achieve self-sufficiency in refined petroleum products? and to become a net exporter of petroleum products.

*To push for the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).

*(Ease of doing business) Sets target to move 20 places up the ranking from 169 to 149 by fast-tracking business approvals, acquisition of land titles, issuance of visas for persons seeking to come into the country do business.

*To invest in the lives of our people by implementing various social projects covering health and education.

* Government to rehabilitate 5,000 primary health centres in 5,000 wards this year to deliver affordable health care services to Nigerians as close as possible to their homes.

Daily Trust

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

Osinbajo Highlights Six Thematic Strategies And 33 Priority Actions Of The 2016 Budget

Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo has highlighted the strategic implementation plan of the 2016 budget.

He said in a piece that the implementation plan “articulates six thematic strategies and 33 priority actions, which will constitute the short-term priority of the federal government over the next 12 months”.

The vice president said the current administration is concerned about the hardship that Nigerians have been experiencing, and is taking steps to address them.

THE FULL PIECE

We acknowledge the pains you face and are concerned about them.

There are a multitude of things that require decisive action. We are taking action and in due course they will produce satisfying outcomes. Our determination is firm and unrelenting.

Consequently, I am pleased to share President Muhammadu Buhari’s strategic implementation plan for the 2016 budget.

This Strategic Implementation Plan articulates 6 thematic Strategies and 33 priority actions which will constitute the short-term priority of the Federal Government over the next 12 months.

1. Lasting Changes in the Policies, National Security and Governance.

? Achieve an Appropriate Foreign Exchange Regime

? Increase low interest lending to the Real Sector. We will need to move toward a single digit interest rate.

? Maintain Capital Spending in the Budget at a minimum of 30%. Complement this with funds from the Infrastructure Fund for commercial projects

? Intensify the Implementation of Public Financial Management Reforms to Grow Revenues and Cut Costs.

? Maintain Sustainable Debt Management Strategy.

? Introduce Fiscal Incentives to Improve Collections

? Intensify the Fight Against Corruption by increasing Transparency, Accountability and Compliance with Law and Order

? Intensify Public Procurement Reforms in Projects to obtain Value for Money and cut costs.

? Sustain the Fight Against Insurgency, Kidnapping and Other Violent Crimes, Terrorism, Cyber-Crimes, Piracy, Oil Theft and Illegal Mining Activities.
Intensify the reorientation of the populace through Integrity Campaigns

2. Diversify the Economy by Fast-tracking Industrialization, Agriculture and Agro-Allied Processing, as well as attracting investment into the Solid Minerals, Tourism and Entertainment Sectors

? Implement Measures to Achieve Self-Sufficiency & Become Net Exporters of certain agricultural Items:
Rice-2018,
Tomato Paste-2016,
Wheat-2019.
Increase local production of maize, soya, poultry & livestock, so as to achieve self-sufficiency: deadlines to be announced in due course.

? Revitalize and Expand Agro-Allied Processing to intensify local production and processing of cassava, cocoa, cashew, fruits and sesame seed

? Utilize 5,000 hectares of Irrigable Land in the 12 River Basin Development Authorities and utilize 22 Dams for Commercial Farming activities by prospective investors

? Develop Dadinkowa, Gurara and Oyan dams with 82.5 MW capacity contribution to the National Grid.

? Adopt and Implement a Roadmap to Stimulate Investment into the Solid Minerals sector, and plug Revenue Leakages in the Sector

? Implement the National Industrial Revolution Plan and Launch the ‘Made in Nigeria’ Campaign

? Increase Manufacturing Capacity through the operationalization of Industrial Parks, Free and Export Processing Zones, etc.

? Enhance support facilities to provide increased financial, technical assistance, networking and information to new investors and existing enterprises.

? Implement the Roadmap to Increase Private Sector Investment in Culture, Tourism, Entertainment and Sports

? Create high-technology innovation hubs to support growth in the Digital and Technology Sectors

3. Priortize critical Infrastructure, focused on increasing investment in Power, Rail and Roads, etc.

? Optimize the 7,000MW installed capacity and ensure associated infrastructure to Fuel, Transmit and Distribute this capacity.

? Ensure Tariff includes all costs of Transmission, Generation and Gas at new price, and Distribution Company costs required to operate, maintain and upgrade distribution networks.

? Resolve all Issues on Gas Pricing, Tariffs and Payment Assurance. Conclude Roadmap on Gas Development.

? Complete the Kaduna-Abuja and Ajaokuta-Warri Rail Lines scheduled for 2016; commence the construction of the Lagos-Kano standard gauge Line; and finalize negotiations for the Calabar-Lagos Rail Project.

? Undertake the rehabilitation and construction of 31 major Road Projects scheduled for 2016 to restore degraded sections of the Federal Highways network and to Establish Connectivity over a distance of 2,193km (through public works projects, maintenance works, PPP and other interventions)

? Complete the Rehabilitation of 4 Airports (i.e. Abuja, Kano, Lagos and Port Harcourt..

4. Oil and Gas Reforms

? Adopt & Execute a Comprehensive National Oil & Gas Master-Plan (‘NOGM’) as the roadmap for the Petroleum Industry’s Development, Diversification, Privatization & Governance. Adopt & Execute a Roadmap of Gas Development & Flare Elimination

? Set a deadline to be Self-Sufficient in Refined Petroleum Products & become a Net Exporter

? Work with the National Assembly on the passage of a Revised Petroleum Industry Bill (‘PIB’) or Bills to give effect to the NOGM & to resolve Fiscal & Governance Issues of the Sector, & Eliminate Gas Flaring.

? Conclude negotiations to deal with all funding gap issues in the Upstream Sector

5. Ease of Doing Business

? Move 20 places up global Ease of Doing Business Rankings, by implementing fast track measures for business approvals, acquisition of land titles, etc. (Nigeria is currently ranked 169 out of 189 countries by the World Bank – 2015 Survey)

? Fast-track visa application and issuance processes

6. Social Investment

? Implement Social Intervention Programme and specific Health / Education projects included in 2016 Budget

? Health Sector Interventions including Flagging off the Revitalization of 1 Primary Health Centre per Ward (a total of 10,000 nationwide)

The Social Investment plans include the following:

? Train and deploy 500,000 unemployed graduates as volunteer teachers who would be paid on the job while they seek jobs in their chosen careers.

? Homegrown School Feeding for primary school pupils across the country paid for by the government

? Micro-credit scheme that provides very soft loans to a million market women, artisans, traders

? Creating innovation and technology hubs/ parks on a large scale and skills acquisition & vocational training for over 300,000 non-graduate youths

? Conditional Cash Transfer where one million poor and vulnerable Nigerians would receive N5000 monthly

? Bursary awards for tertiary education students of Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths, STEM.

President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration remains committed to economic diversification through import substitution and export promotion.

In addition to this, we will continue to engage the Nigerian people. We will resume Town-hall meetings to explain the progress and address the challenges.

Together, Nigeria will prevail.

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

Dogara Solicits Britain’s Support In Rebuilding North-East, Says The House Takes Gender Issues As A Priority

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt Hon Yakubu Dogara, has again solicited Britain’s support in resettling people displaced from their communities due to attacks by Boko Haram insurgents in the North East of Nigeria.

Speaking when ?he received Britain’s minister of State, Baroness Joyce Anelay, in his office on Tuesday, Dogara urged Britain to consider convening a special aid conference for rebuilding the North East as was recently done for the victims of the civil war in Syria.

He added that as members of the global community, the displaced Nigerians? deserve global security and support.

?Dogara also thanked the minister of state for the tactical training and retraining of troops as it relates to the war against insurgency, as well as support through the DFID for the legislative process.

?Lamenting the plight of orphans and displaced people across the country, he said, “we will like to seek assistance from Britain, explore the possibility of convening an international donor conference just like was done recently in UK for Syria; it will be able to help us resettle these IDPs.”

“We all acknowledge that Nigeria is part of the global community, we are global citizens. It is not only citizens of Nigeria that are caught up in this unfortunate incident, but we are global citizens so I believe that the global citizens ought to offer some kind of support and security as well.”

“We are winning the war against terror, the problem is managing these victories and we have to settle them as soon as possible”, he added.

The Speaker also said that the House of Representatives has been gender friendly and takes gender issues as priority, a proof of which is their headship and membership? of committees of the House.

Responding, Baroness Analey noted the Speaker’s request, adding that she will convey his message to her home country.

“I hear so much from my colleagues and the secretary who have been here in the last year; they all come back with one message and that is to say that the people who are victims in any conflicts are the children?. So I note the point you made and I accept.”

The British minister of state was in the National Assembly to promote gender issues.

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

Odious Rave From The South On Kitchen Cabinet, A Misplaced Priority By AbdulRahman Agboola

The fundamental ideals of freedom of speech often generate diversity of thoughts and reasoning with positive and negative implications on topical issues in the society. Affinity in our clime has proved to be threatening to peoples’ sense of judgment on policy matters especially when the thrust of those policies checkmates greed and selfishness among a particular power block.

It is not demeaning to state that the alarming level of dependency of people on political office holders accounts for irrational behaviours and social malaise that culminated to the misfortunes inherited by the present administration. We seem too eager of our benefactors’ ascendancy to the ranks that will increase our benefits, an odd mentality of dark ages dubiously polished as loyalty, resulting to the proliferation of corruption and economic maladies.

It is really disheartening to note the odious rave from the South on the appointment of Kitchen cabinet by Mr President. The raves cast aspersions on the good discretion of the President in accommodating Southerners as close allies, a mischief targeted at tainting his discretion as either doubtful or wrong and as such should not be trusted with our collective mandate or how can one better explain the allegation of biasness against the President.

The issues at stake transcend ordinary party affiliations as the alibi for the ill-conceived criticism is the Federal Character which is applicable only circumstantially, when other germane parameters primarily dictates the basis of comparison of personalities for appointments, this alibi becomes secondary with all intents and purposes.

The thoughts that all Nigerians are determined for a new lease of life where economic prosperity will elude none relayed a relief to adherents of change, but the new wave of disapproval of the direction being set for Nigerians by this new administration by self-serving critics in the South indicates an urgent need for a rethink as the challenges ahead seems enormous and must not be treated with levity, if we must progress as a Country.

Criminals are mindless of the fates of the victims of their crimes; same applies to fraudulent politicians who are mindless of the future of the Country. The South to a very large extent served as the conscience of this Country before the last administration, as the North was predominantly populated with conformist who aligns with any government in power but the tide seems to be changing from the last administration and except for Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and his team in the South West, Rotimi Amaechi/Oshiomole and team in the South South and Ogbonaya Onu/Rochas Okorocha and team in the South East, this Country would have been in dilemma now, but they salvaged the unity of the Country with their holy alliance with the ultimate wishes of the populace when it mattered most in the interest of this Country and on that noble path they should remain steadfastly with hope of a brighter rewarding future for the populace.

The trust entrusted by these Political Leaders of Southern extraction on Muhammadu Buhari at the last general election was ultimately based on their zeal and crave for good governance and return of sanity into the system for the glorious benefits of all citizens, I begin to wonder if those raving on the appointments of people from North as Chief Of Staff to Mr President and Secretary to the Government of Federation never thought their actions smears the good image of the South on their rave against Mr President on errand boys positions.

At the election of the Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives on 6th June, 2015, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila from the South West lost to Hon Yakubu Dogara with a difference of 8 Votes in an election where all PDP Members of the House of Representatives from the South aligned with the North by voting for Dogara where Gbajabiamila and voted against the Candidate from the South under the guise of either vendetta or slicing the influence of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu who was a leading promoter of Gbajabiamila for Speaker which makes the South architects of their misfortunes.

The title of the Chief of Staff is not more than the head of servants to Mr President or better still, the handler of Mr President a position that possess little or no influence in general administration of government policies while the occupant of position of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation serve as a Secretary to the Federal Cabinet and only takes briefs from Mr President or on his behalf equally with little or no influence in decision making. Apart from the exclusive functions of the President, only Ministers and heads of agencies have influence in the cabinet and that is where Federal Character is sacrosanct.

Except we tend to posit that crooked activities will be prevalent within the corridors of power like the last administration where Office of Chief of Staff or Secretary to the Government of Federation served as platforms for criminal manipulations and fraudulent activities then the rage against Mr President is not only preposterous but a misplaced priority ad infinitum.

We should strive for true federalism with an entrenched Local Government Administration where peculiarities of each community will determine their priority outside the essential services provided by Government to the people while the excesses of State Governors must be challenged especially in terms of policy formulations and implementations to conform to best practices and effective service delivery.

Ode to the West Wind was a poem by Shelley in 1820, the poet describes the violence of the ‘Wild West Wind’ and of nature itself, causing so much destruction in the autumn, but at the same time he finds it good because it prepares the way for new life in the spring “Be through my lips to unawaken’d earth, the trumpet of a prophecy! O Wind, if winter comes, can spring be far behind?” Wind could be very destructive but it is imperative for a downpour, in the same vein, the wind must blow off parochial interest along ethnic and religious partitions in Nigeria for the downpour of good governance and rule of law to prevail in Nigeria.

The decision of Mr President to make integrity his watchword should reawaken our consciousness to the fact that smear and campaign of calumny aimed at getting rid of perceived political rival majorly prevalent among Politicians in the South have its adverse effect on the image of the personalities with integrity within the fold.

When Governor Wike of Rivers State commenced his vicious attack against his predecessor over temporary rivalry among the duo that were best of friends years ago, little did he know that he was damaging the interest his benefactor or how do you expect Mr President to flagrantly disregard those accusations with the wave of the hand considering the timing. Former Governor Rotimi Amaechi surely has his usefulness in other key positions in government; his charismatic and oratory prowess is too outstanding to be ignored and will certainly make a big wave in the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, it is Governor Wike that must watch his steps as the table will turn against him if the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal order a fresh election in Rivers State.

In my assessment of our Class Captain as fondly called by APC Governors in South West, Former Governor of Lagos State Babatunde Raji Fashola, the position of Chief of Staff to Mr President is highly derogatory to his personality except we undervalue his plenteous capabilities. Those attacks against him from his allies on the imperfection of his administration though ill-conceived should be viewed as a call for caution in his future endeavours in governance and should be taking by him in good faith and realign with the structures that facilitated his ascendancy to the exalted seat of Lagos State Governor in Lagos State, I urge him to live above the division caused by the rivalry between the two major political interest ( Justice Forum vs Mandate) within the rank of APC in Lagos State.

The ultimate demand of good governance and rule of law is merit but it cannot subsist in isolation, merit implies equitable consideration of the best person in line for a particular assignment. We elected Mr President in a mood of cautious optimism for excellence in the discharge of the duties of his office and his credibility that earned the confidence of the populace must remain untamed and should never allow the manoeuvres of the political elites within the corridors of power derail his utmost consideration for the populace, as an adherent of Change, I would not doubt the worthy intentions of our estimable President and urge the populace to sincerely form a human shield around his intentions for our collective good.

 

Comrade AbdulRahman Agboola

National Coordinator,

Mass Action for Good Governance and Grassroots Development in Nigeria

massaction4gg@gmail.com 08032813279

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

Preliminary Objections (Contesting Jurisdiction Of A Court And Substantive Suits), A Battle Of Priority By Olamide Owolegbon

At the commencement of a suit and upon the service of the writ, a defendant’s counsel should first consider the crucial question of competence (likelihood of raising a preliminary objection contesting the jurisdiction of the court) , if upon careful perusal of the originating processes and statement of claim, it is clear that the objection would be granted. This is pertinent, as it prevents a situation where parties embark on an exercise in futility.

The supreme court in the case of “Abubakar & ors V. Nasamu and ors [2012] 5 SCM, 1” held that jurisdiction is crucial and radical issue and it is mandatory to first resolve it before proceeding with the suit, the reason behind this being that issue one in the briefs of all the parties in the four consolidated appeals is jurisdictional in nature, it is mandatory to first and foremost resolve it one way or the other before proceeding to considering other issue in the appeals on the merit. The reason being that jurisdiction is a radical and crucial question of competence. Once there is a defect in competence, it is fatal and the proceedings are a nullity.

In A.-G, Adamawa State v. A.-G., Fed. [2014] 14 NWLR (Pt.1428) 570 per OGUNBIYI J.S.C. rightly alluded to Order 29 Rule 1 of the Federal High Court Rules, 2009 which provides thus:

  1. where a defendant wishes to –

(a) dispute the Court’s jurisdiction to try the claim; or

(b) argue that the Court should not exercise its jurisdiction, he may apply to the Court for an order declaring that it has no such jurisdiction or should not exercise any jurisdiction which it may have, and the Court may take such application together with the Plaintiff’s substantive suit in so far as the substantive suit does not involve the taking of oral evidence.

The position aforementioned leaves the consideration of the hearing of the application for preliminary objection solely or jointly with substantive suit at the mercy of the court.

Then in Lafia L.G. V. Exec. Govt. Nasarawa State [2013] ALL FWLR (pt 668) 956 S.C. @982 para H per Rhode- Vivour JSC pointed out that  jurisdiction is fundamental in every suit. It is a threshold matter, so once raised,  must be decided quickly before anything else. This is so because if a court lacks jurisdiction to hear a case, but goes ahead to hear the case, no matter how well the case is decided, the entire proceedings would amount to a nullity. It is the life and soul of a case. It is so important that it can be raised at anytime in the court of first instance, on appeal, and even in the Supreme Court for the first time. It can also be raised suo motu provided counsels are given the opportunity to address the court on it before a decision is taken.

Also in Ajayi V. Adebiyi [2012] ALL FWLR (pt 634) 1 S.C. @30 para C per Adekeye JSC mentioned inter alia, it is noteworthy that an application or preliminary objection seeking an order to strike out a suit for being incompetent on the ground of absence of jurisdiction is not a demurer and therefore can be filed and taken even before the defendant files his statement of defence or without the defendant filing a statement of defence. The reason being that the issue of jurisdiction can be raised at anytime. In addition, the relevant things to be considered by the court in determining the issue of jurisdiction are the facts as deposed to in affidavits, writ of summons and the statement of claim where one had to be filed and served. The statement of defence is not one of the relevant materials for that purpose.

In the case of National Deposit Insurance Corporation V. Central Bank of Nigeria (2002) FWLR (pt 99) 1021, the court identified the difference between demurrer and objection to jurisdiction by holding that “there is distinction between objection to jurisdiction and demurrer. It is misleading to equate demurrer with objection to jurisdiction. It is a standing principle that in demurrer, the plaintiff must plead and it is upon the pleading that the defendant will contend that accepting all facts pleaded to be true, the plaintiff has no cause of action, or where appropriate, no locus standi. The issue of jurisdiction is not a matter for demurrer proceedings. It is much more fundamental than that and does not entirely depend as such on what a plaintiff may plead as facts to prove the relief he seeks. What it involves is what will enable the plaintiff to seek a hearing in court over his grievance and get it resolved because he is able to show that the court is empowered to entertain the subject matter. It does not always follow that he must plead first in order to raise the issue of jurisdiction”

It is true that once an issue of jurisdiction is raised in any suit, the court must not give an order in the suit affecting the defendant until the issue of jurisdiction is settled. The trial court obviously made a wrong order in dismissing the application of the appellant based on issues of jurisdiction, locus standi of the plaintiff / respondent and limitation law.

In the case of  Petrojessica Enterprises Ltd v. Leventis Technical co ltd (1992) 5 NWLR (pt.244) 675 at 693, it was held that jurisdiction is the very basis on which any tribunal tries a case. It is the lifeline of all trials. A trial without jurisdiction is a nullity. This importance of jurisdiction is the reason why it can be raised at any stage of a case be it at trial.

Wrapping up, I submit that where preliminary objection touches upon the competence of the action or on the jurisdiction of the court to entertain same, it would be impulsive and reckless for any court to proceed with a suit which is deficient in that respect, as any proceedings or decision taken without jurisdiction, no matter how brilliantly or fussily conducted, would amount to nullity. As you cannot place something on nothing and expect it to stand. It will simply crumple like a pack of cards.

 

Olamide Owolegbon Esq.

@olamide_kaka

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]