What Buhari Told Nigerian Legislators While Presenting #Budget2018 (Full Speech)

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President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday presented the 2018 Budget before the joint session of the National Assembly.

Read Mr. Buhari’s full speech below.

2018 BUDGET SPEECH: BUDGET OF CONSOLIDATION

Delivered by:

His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari

President, Federal Republic of Nigeria

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.

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All Change: Nigeria Not An Oil Economy

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All Change: Nigeria Not An Oil Economy, By Kemi Adeosun

CLICK here to read more opinion articles

Descriptions of Nigeria’s economy often include such phrases as ‘Africa’s largest oil producer’ and ‘the oil rich African nation’. But, oil economies are typically characterised by low population densities and abundant oil resources.

Typical of such descriptions are Saudi Arabia, with a 10 million barrels of oil per day output and 30 million people. Kuwait, with 2.7 million barrels of oil per day, has four million people. And Qatar, with 1.5 million barrels of oil per day, has 2.5 million people.

These economies pursued an economic model that was built around a large government dependent almost entirely on oil revenue for funding its programmes and activities. Such economies could afford to have low, or in some cases, no domestic revenue mobilisation, in the form of taxes.

Tax to gross domestic product (GDP) ratios of less than 10 percent, against the Organisation of Economic Development (OECD) average of 34.6 percent, could be justified, especially in the era of high oil prices.

For over three decades, Nigeria pursued this model. But, things have been changing, with the election of President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015, propelled into office under the mantra of ‘change’.

That clamour for change, in the areas of good governance, security and economy, coincided with the collapse of global oil prices and a consequent huge deficit in government revenues.

These circumstances provided the ingredients for an overhaul of the entire economic model. The first, and rather numbing conclusion of that exercise, was that Nigeria is not actually an ‘oil economy’. With just two million barrels of oil per day and over 180 million people, simple mathematics tells us that 90 Nigerians share a barrel of oil, compared to three Saudis, 1.44 Kuwaitis and 1.69 Qataris.

With oil at just 10 percent of GDP, Nigeria simply does not fit into the mould of the traditional oil economies.

Interestingly, even nations who did legitimately fit into this narrow mould of high oil revenues and low populations, are abandoning what is now considered to be a flawed model. Thus, the imperative for Nigeria was even more urgent. Nigeria recalibrated its target peer group from the oil economies to the ‘oil plus’ economies, such as Mexico and Egypt.

Members of this new peer group have diversified economies and tax-to-GDP ratios of 20 percent and 16 percent, respectively, compared to Nigeria’s six percent.

Consequently, the change mantra had to be urgently applied to revenue mobilisation.

Analysis of the data suggests that revenue mobilisation is potentially the master key to unlocking Nigeria’s huge growth potential by funding its ailing infrastructure, including roads, power and rail.

A cursory look at the effective tax rates paid by the huge multinational and local operators, as well as the data on illicit financial flows, indicates a pattern of systematic tax evasion at all levels.

Recent statistics released by the Federal Ministry of Finance shows that Nigeria has just 14 million active tax payers from an economically active base of 70 million.

Over 95 percent of these tax payers are salary earners in the formal sector. Just 241 persons paid personal income taxes of N20 million ($65,573.77) in 2016.

Taxing the high networth and Nigeria’s huge community of entrepreneurs constitutes a critical, but yet attainable target.

The statistics for corporate tax payment shows the debilitating effects of base erosion and profit shifting, as well as abuse of an overly generous tax incentive and duty waiver system.

The historical government apathy towards revenue mobilisation is one of the effects of the mistaken identity that saw Nigeria perceive itself as an oil economy. This administration is determined to correct this identity crisis and all its concomitant effects. In that spirit, we launched an ongoing and well received, tax amnesty, the Voluntary Asset and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS), affording a nine-month window for Nigerian tax payer’s, both corporate and individual.

This is to regularise their tax status in exchange for a guarantee of no interest, penalty, tax investigation or further audit.

This amnesty follows successful initiatives in a number of countries, where tax evasion has been a problem, such as Indonesia, Argentina, South Africa and India.

It has been programmed to end just as the Automatic Exchange of Information, which will provide Nigerian tax authorities with unprecedented levels of information on offshore asset, becomes effective.

The initial signs suggest that Nigerians are responding positively to the new revenue narrative.

Despite the emergence from a recession, tax revenues are showing early signs of growth.

Value Added Tax (VAT) shows a 18.97 percent year-on-year improvement.

Over 800,000 companies, including some government contractors, that have never paid taxes have already been identified and are being audited.

This is an unprecedented initiative that entails cooperation between federal and state governments.

The Federal Ministry of Finance has also commenced a data-base project that combines data from the various arms of government, including bank records, property and company ownership, and customs records, to create accurate profiles of those liable to pay taxes.

The Ministry has also placed one of the world’s premier private investigation agencies on retainership to trace overseas asset.

Changing the Nigerian economic psyche is not an easy task.

By its nature, tax mobilisation risks the popularity of any government. But, the present administration understands that the short term lure of political expediency must give way to the long-term best interests of Africa’s largest economy. Her energetic, young and growing population are deserving of the chance to experience a truly transformed, sustainable and growing economy.

Kemi Adeosun is Nigeria’s Minister of Finance.

This piece was written by Kemi Adeosun. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of 360Nobs.com.

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Jail Sentence: Jay-Z, Kevin Hart Show Support To Meek Mill

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JAY-Z on his Facebook page has criticized the sentencing of rapper Meek Mill, describing it as “unjust and heavy-handed”.

Robert Rihmeek Williams popularly known as Meek Mill had been sentenced to 2-4 years in state prison by a Philadelphia judge for violating the terms of his probation.

Common Pleas Judge Genece Brinkley cited a failed drugs test and failure to comply with restrictions on his travel as reasons for his sentencing.

The sentence came as a surprise even as prosecutors recommended that he should not be punished as he has been off drugs since January and complied with most terms of his probation.

JAY-Z, in the Facebook post, wrote;

Comedian Kevin Hart on his Instagram also showed support for the rapper.

 

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Stand a Chance to Win Double Tickets to M-Net Movies Night Out: Justice League

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Calling all superhero fans. The time has come for our favourite DC superheroes to join forces to save the world. We have decided to bring you an exclusive pre-screening of JUSTICE LEAGUE with M-Net Movies Night Out and DStv.

Stand a chance to be one of the first to see JUSTICE LEAGUE in cinemas and prepare yourself for a night of high-packed action and adventure.

You can win a pair of tickets to this exclusive pre-screening by simply following @DStvNigeria on instagram, repost the Justice League poster on the page and tag a friend you want to come with to the Cinemas. It’s that easy. You can also join the trivia and competition on the DStv social media pages to win.

JUSTICE LEAGUE famed lineup of DC superheroes are: Ben Affleck as Batman, Henry Cavill as Superman, Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, Raymond Fisher as Cyborg, Jason Momoa as Aquaman, and Ezra Miller as The Flash.

Fuelled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman’s selfless act, Bruce Wayne enlists the help of his newfound ally, Diana Prince, to face an even greater enemy.  Together, Batman and Wonder Woman work quickly to find and recruit a team of metahumans to stand against a newly awakened threat. But despite the formation of this unprecedented league of heroes—Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg and The Flash—it may already be too late to save the planet from an assault of catastrophic proportions.

So, whether you’re Team Superman or Team Wonder Woman, be one of the first to see JUSTICE LEAGUE with M-Net Movies Night Out on Wednesday 15 November at Genesis Deluxe Cinemas @ The Palms, Lekki Lagos.

Winners will be selected on a random basis and will be notified on social media and via e-mail confirmation.

M-Net Movie Night-Justice League

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Davido Spits Out Bitter Truth About Meek Mill’s Legal Ordeal

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Davido who had once worked with Meek Mill on his song “Fans Mi” has reacted to current legal ordeal facing the Philadelphia rapper.

Meek Mill has been sentenced to between two and four years in prison for violating his parole with two arrests, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer: one for fighting and another for reckless driving.

The Philadelphia rapper – real name Robert Williams – has been on parole since autumn 2009, following a spell in prison on drugs and weapons charges.

In March this year, the 30-year-old was arrested after a fight in St Louis airport and in August he was arrested on a charge of reckless driving.

Although both charges were later dropped, the judge said the arrests violated Mill’s parole. He was immediately taken into custody.

Davido felt sorry for Meek Mill because he was seen walking alone into the court, despite his battalion followers.

Here is what O.B.O said;

Crazy how meek be in the club with a 100 niggas, but walking into that courtroom alone!! Says a lot about life! A word is enof for the wise

 

 

 

 

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(BREAKING): NYSC Begins Payments Of Corps Members’ October Allowance

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The management of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) has announced that it has begun the payment of outstanding allowance to Corps Members nationwide.

ALSO READ: NYSC Explains Why Corps Members Are Yet To Receive October Allowance

The announcement comes after initial delays attributed to “technical problems with the payment platform.”

In a post on its verified Facebook account, the NYSC said it is pleased to inform all serving Corps Members and the general public that the payment of outstanding allowance to Corps Members has commenced nationwide.

It read: RE: PAYMENT OF OUTSTANDING ALLOWANCE TO CORPS MEMBERS

The Management of National Youth Service Corps is pleased to inform all serving Corps Members and the general public that the payment of outstanding allowance to Corps Members has commenced nationwide.

The initial delay as a result of some technical hitches has been finally resolved.

Management appreciates and commend the patience, understanding, resilience and patriotism that was shown by the Corps Members while the unforseen challenge lasted.

We wish to reiterate our determined commitment to the welfare of Corps Members especially the timely payment of Corps Members’ personal allowance and we are committed to making this a top priority at all times.

Finally, we like to give the assurance that concerted efforts and logistics are being worked out and put in place to ensure a permanent solution to forestall future occurrence.

Thank you.

Signed:
Management

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(BREAKING): NYSC Begins Payments Of Corps Members’ October Allowance

Featured Image

The management of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) has announced that it has begun the payment of outstanding allowance to Corps Members nationwide.

ALSO READ: NYSC Explains Why Corps Members Are Yet To Receive October Allowance

The announcement comes after initial delays attributed to “technical problems with the payment platform.”

In a post on its verified Facebook account, the NYSC said it is pleased to inform all serving Corps Members and the general public that the payment of outstanding allowance to Corps Members has commenced nationwide.

It read: RE: PAYMENT OF OUTSTANDING ALLOWANCE TO CORPS MEMBERS

The Management of National Youth Service Corps is pleased to inform all serving Corps Members and the general public that the payment of outstanding allowance to Corps Members has commenced nationwide.

The initial delay as a result of some technical hitches has been finally resolved.

Management appreciates and commend the patience, understanding, resilience and patriotism that was shown by the Corps Members while the unforseen challenge lasted.

We wish to reiterate our determined commitment to the welfare of Corps Members especially the timely payment of Corps Members’ personal allowance and we are committed to making this a top priority at all times.

Finally, we like to give the assurance that concerted efforts and logistics are being worked out and put in place to ensure a permanent solution to forestall future occurrence.

Thank you.

Signed:
Management

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5 Feared Dead In Fresh Suicide Attacks Near Maiduguri

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No fewer than 5 persons have been feared killed while six others – all local farmers – were wounded after suicide bombers believed to be deployed by Boko Haram insurgents detonated themselves near Maiduguri, the Borno state capital, on Tuesday, witnesses said.

It was gathered that four female bombers attacked Kaleri area, an outskirts of Maiduguri in Mafa local government area and exploded the IEDs wrapped around bodies, killing at least one farmer and injuring 6 others.

An eyewitness, Ba’ Kura Muhammad, said: “At about 8:23am there was loud sound in our area so we were confused, some minutes later second occurred near military sand bags injuring cjtf member.”

“At least five were killed including one civilian killed and 7 farmers were taking to the hospital.”

Speaking with Premium Times, a top official of the Civilian-JTF, Danbatta Bello, said the blasts were caused by four female suicide bombers who were trying to invade Maiduguri through a suburb called Mairi-Kwait, located behind the University of Maiduguri (UNIMAID).

The civilian-JTF personnel said the mission of the attackers was foiled outside the fortifications set up around the university to ward off incessant attacks early this year.

According to him, one of the four suicide bombers blew herself up in the bush not far away from the fortification, while three others came closer before detonating themselves.

He said six farmers who were harvesting their crops were injured by the multiple blasts.

“We have just returned from the scene of the blast which was near Mairi-Kwait,” said Mr. Bello. “They were four female suicide bombers, and all of them got themselves killed in the blasts. One died in the bush, and three others died near the parapet after they detonated on a farmland where six farmers who were harvesting their crops got injured.”

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NUT Issues 14-Day Ultimatum To El-Rufai To Reverse Plan To Sack Over 21,000 Teachers

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The Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT) in Kaduna State has issued the State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, a two-week ultimatum to rescind his decision to sack over 21,000 teachers.

The affected teachers were said to have failed the recent competency test conducted for primary school teachers in the state.

Kaduna To Employ 25,000 New Teachers After 21,780 Others Failed “Primary 4 Exam”

The union said if the governor refused to rescind his decision, it will commence an indefinite strike action.

Daily Trust reports that the notice was served via a letter to the governor and takes effect from yesterday November 6 to November 23, 2017.

The Assistant Secretary General of the union, Comrade Adamu Ango, who signed the letter, said at the expiration of the ultimatum, the union would embark on an industrial action in compliance with the wishes of its members expressed at the meeting of the state executive council which was held yesterday.

“It was agreed by all stakeholders in the educational sector that the pass mark for the competency test be pegged at 60percent while those who are unable to score up to 60percent be retrained. However, in a classical display of bad faith which started as a rumour, the Kaduna state government unilaterally and arbitrarily pegged the pass mark for the test at an unprecedented 75percent,” NUT said.

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Gundogan: City Is Having A Good Run

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Manchester City attacking midfielder, Ilkay Gundogan believes Guardiola has made City a top team and warns them not to let up.

City are enjoying a great start to the season, going eight points clear at the top after a 3-1 win over Arsenal.

Gundogan has hailed Guardiola’s role in the development of the club, as they boast 52 goals in all competitions.

“Maybe Pep has the biggest share of our good run. He finds solutions for every opponent and every single situation and cares about every detail. This makes everything a lot easier for us,” Gundogan told SPOX.com.

“The way we play stands out on its own: very attractive, very quick, many opportunities, many goals. Right now, it’s great fun to watch us play.”

He added: “We are way more dangerous in front of the goal now. Our strikers make a goal from almost every opportunity.

“In combination with our good passing game and dominant football, it is easier for us to dominate the opponents. At some point in the game, the opponent has to react and then we receive even bigger open spaces, we can use.”

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Rose: No Problems With Pochettino

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Tottenham defender, Danny Rose insists the relationship between him and Mauricio Pochettino is a great one, despite his recent criticism of the club.

The England international fullback hit out at the club’s transfer policy, wages and ambition and he lobbied for a pay rise after he was linked with a host of clubs.

Rose returned to action against Real Madrid and played his first league game against Crystal Palace.

“For my part, it is forgotten,” Rose said. “I think it is forgotten on the club’s part as well.

“There is no point dwelling in the past if we want to take the club forward and go that one stage further and win the league and go as far as possible in the Champions League.

“Me and the gaffer are fine, we speak most days. The last three years, the lads will tell you I am the one in his office the most, speaking to him and going through videos and sharing text messages, even going round his house.

“Me and the manager are fine. He has been great at integrating me back into the team and getting me some minutes.

“I thought him putting me on against Real Madrid, even though it was only for 10 minutes, was a class act on his part, making me feel part of it again, even though he didn’t need to bring me on.

“As far as I’m concerned me and the gaffer are great and as long as we’ve both got the same goals, which is to win a trophy for Tottenham, then there’s nothing to worry about.”

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Buhari Presents 2018 Budget To National Assembly Today

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All is now set for President Muhammadu Buhari to present the 2018 budget proposals to a joint session of the National Assembly on Tuesday, November 7, 2017.

The 2018 budget proposal presentation is scheduled to hold at 2pm., amid there are concerns over the poor implementation of this year’s estimates.

The N7.6 trillion 2017 budget, which commenced in June, has N2.17 trillion as capital votes, but so far only about N450 billion of the capital budget was released by government.

Only few ministries such as power, works, housing, defence, transport and agriculture have so far received funding.

For 2018, the Federal Government plans to spend about N8.6tn, an increase of about 15 per cent from the N7.44tn budgeted for the current year.

The figures were contained in the 2018-2020 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper, which Buhari had earlier sent to the National Assembly in compliance with the provisions of the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007.

However, it was learnt that leaders of both the Senate and the House of Representatives were making last minute efforts to prevent drama during the presentation.

A source in the Senate told The Punch on Monday that both the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki; and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, held series of meetings with members of both chambers to douse the brewing tension since Buhari’s letter informing the lawmakers of the presentation last week.

The source added that some members of the House of Representatives specifically had made moves to prevent Buhari from laying the budget proposal today, while calling for postponement of the presentation.

The source said, “The President will present the budget on Tuesday (today) but there is an issue. Some members of the National Assembly, particularly in the House of Representatives, are against the presentation of a new budget proposal when the current one has not been implemented considerably.

“If you recall, there were protests in the House of Representatives when the President’s letter was read last week. The issue now is how to contain the aggrieved lawmakers so that they will not raise their grievances as Buhari presents the budget. Their grouse may be legitimate but we don’t want a situation where the session will record unpalatable drama or become rowdy.

“This is the reason why there have been series of meetings with caucuses in the chambers, including the one by the leaders, which will hold tonight (Monday). Again, it is most likely that there will be a closed-door session at the beginning of the plenary tomorrow; this is another way of preventing a crisis.”

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Moyes Appointed As West Ham Manager

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In the wake of the sacking of Slaven Bilic, West Ham has moved to appoint David Moyes as his replacement.

West Ham currently sit in relegation zone, 18th on the table, after their 4-1 loss to Liverpool and sacked Bilic in the aftermath.

Moyes has been appointed as their saviour, as they look to salvage the remainder of the season.

Joint-chairman David Sullivan, however, is optimistic about the club’s new appointment.
“I would like to welcome David to West Ham United,” he told the Hammers’ official website.

“This is a unique position for David Gold and myself – it is the first time in almost eight years at West Ham United that we have appointed a new manager during the season.

“We need somebody with experience, knowledge of the Premier League and the players in it, and we believe David is the right man to turn things around and get the best out of the players at the club. He is highly regarded and respected within the game, and will bring fresh ideas, organisation and enthusiasm.

“He proved with Everton that he has great qualities and we feel that West Ham United is a club that will give David the platform to display those qualities again.”

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Meek Mill Sentenced To 4 Years In Prison For Violating Probation

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American rapper, Meek Mill has been sentenced to two to four years in prison after for violating his probation with a pair of arrests earlier in the year.

The 30-year-old was arrested in March after a fight at an airport in St. Louis, and although those charges were dropped he also pleaded guilty to reckless driving in October after he posted videos of himself doing tricks on a dirt bike in New York City.

Meek Mill was initially arrested on drug and weapons charges in 2008, resulting in eight months in prison and five years of probation. After the rapper violated his probation in 2009 by travelling out of Philadelphia without approval, he was sentenced to an additional five months in prison and his probation was extended for 10 more years.

Common Pleas Court Judge Genece E. Brinkley, who has previously overseen matters relating to Meek Mill’s probation, deemed both arrests a violation of the rapper’s probation before sentencing him to two to four years in a state prison, according to Philly.com.

Jay-Z, whose Roc Nation company manages the rapper, took to Facebook to criticize the court’s ruling. He wrote,

“The sentence handed down by the Judge – against the recommendation of the Assistant District Attorney and Probation Officer – is unjust and heavy handed. We will always stand by and support Meek Mill, both as he attempts to right this wrongful sentence and then in returning to his musical career.”

 

The rapper’s lawyer when asked promised to appeal the sentence.

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Mr 2Kay Sues Eko Hotels For N500m

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Two weeks ago, reports had it that Singer, Mr. 2Kay was robbed and beaten at Eko Hotel and Suites premises after his performance at the Buckwyld and Breathless concert.

The singer has, however, slammed the hotel with a N500million lawsuit. According to a source who spoke with LIB, the amount was to take care of all the items the singer lost, hospital bill and other damages that were not mentioned.

“Mr. 2Kay has vowed to follow this lawsuit all the way, and he will not rest until he is fully compensated for his loss and damages’. Our source also said that the management of Eko Hotel has been served with the papers already and Police at the Bar Beach Station are still working round the clock to apprehend the culprits responsible for the attack” the source said.

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Italy Investigates Deaths Of 26 Nigerian Women At Mediterranean Sea

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Italian prosecutors have begun investigations into the deaths of 26 Nigerian women – most of them teenagers aged between 14 and 18 – whose bodies were recovered at the Mediterranean Sea.

While the bodies of 26 Nigerian women were recovered from the Mediterranean Sea, five suspects in the southern port city of Salerno are also being questioned as investigators are suspicious that their involvement in the women’s deaths was also preceded by sexual assault.

“Salvatore Malfi, the police prefect of the southern town of Salerno, said the 26 women may have been thrown off their rubber dinghy into the waters of the Mediterranean,” NPR’s Sylvia Poggioli reports from Rome. “The cause of death appears to be by drowning.”

A total of 375 migrants were rescued by the Spanish warship, Cantabria, which eventually docked in Salerno. Twenty-three of the deceased females were recovered from a rubber boat carrying 64 other people, BBC reports.

Most of the survivors originated from Nigeria, Senegal, Ghana, Sudan and The Gambia, while ninety of them were women and 52 children. Eight of the women were pregnant. A smaller number of Libyan men and women were also aboard the migrant ship.

Agence France Press reports that a spokesman for the EU anti-trafficking force Sofia said “another three bodies had been discovered during other life-saving operations in the Mediterranean this week.”

People-smuggling gangs charge each migrant about $6,000 (£4,578) to get to Italy, $4,000 of which is for the trans-Saharan journey to Libya, according to the Italian aid group L’Abbraccio.

Many migrants have reported violence, including torture and sexual abuse, by the gangs.

In July, European and African ministers convened to develop a method aimed at stemming the flow of refugees fleeing Africa into European ports and limit the number of undocumented immigrants to 20,000. Ministers discussed tougher deportation strategies as well as how to break up human-trafficking gangs.

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Boomplay Music Wins ‘Best African App’ Award At The Appsafrica Innovation Awards 2017

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L–R: Regional Director (East Africa) – Mr Chinasa Udeala, Snr. Marketing Manager (West Africa) – Miss Tosin Sorinola, Regional Director (West Africa) – Mr Oyebowale Akideinde, Director – Joe He & Country Manager, Tanzania – Miss Natasha Stambuli.

Boomplay Music, Africa’s fastest growing music streaming and download platform, reinforced its continued contribution to the African content distribution ecosystem, after being recognized by an independent panel of industry experts at the AppsAfrica Awards. AppsAfrica is a leading pan-African technology news portal and advisory service dedicated to delivering the latest insights on mobile, tech and innovation in Africa. The AppsAfricaAwards aim to celebrate and connect the best in the African mobile and tech ecosystem with global players, and are recognized as the premier accolade for anyone operating in Africa’s digital market.

Boomplay Music won the award for the ‘Best African App’, with its unique and user-friendly Boomplay Music application, which gives easy access to millions of songs, videos and entertainment buzz. The award was announced at the AppsAfrica Awards party in Cape Town, South Africa on November 6, 2017.Nominated in the same category was Carter – SA, Asorbia – Ghana, Truecaller Africa and Feastfox – SA. Boomplay Music led the pack in the category to become the first on demand music streaming and downloading app to ever win the award.

As at October 2017, Boomplay Music users have increased to over 16million, compared to 6million at the end of 2016. Meanwhile, the Monthly Active Users have also increased to 9 million, up from only 2 millionin the same period in 2016. According to Joe He, Managing Director of Boomplay Music, over 2 million users are now using the app to listen to music, watch videos and read news every day.

Boomplay Music app was awarded for its ease of use, beautiful user interface and innovations, particularly its significant impact in making music easily accessible to millions of Africans and ultimately driving more customers to mobile music consumption, while helping in curbing piracy through smart business strategies and ensuring intellectual property is duly protected using both technical and commercial efforts. Boomplay sees to it that content providers are able to make revenues off their music sales.

Commenting on the awards, the Managing Director of Boomplay Music, Joe He said: ‘’Bagging the award for the best African app showcases our renewed efforts to build a sustainable ecosystem for content providers, while ensuring that content consumption is a walk in the park for our users. The growth we have experienced in only a little over two years is super impressive. On behalf of Boomplay Music, we are emboldened by thisrecognition and will continue to sharpen our focus towards confrontingdigital content consumption challenges with new and adaptive innovations through technology.’’

Boomplay Music app is currently available for all android devices in the Google Play Store and will be available foriOSusers in the year 2018.

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FG To Demolish Costain, Jibowu Bridges As Work On Lagos/Ibadan Standard Rail Line Begins In December

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The federal government has announced that the laying of tracks of Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge rail line would start in December.

The Minister of Transportation Rotimi Amaechi, who made this known on Monday, also said that Jibowu and Costain bridges in Lagos would be demolished to give way for the new railway lines.

The minister made the remarks in Lagos when he met with the Steering Committee of the project and the China Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC).

He said “The two bridges that we may likely demolish are Jibowu and Costain to give way to the rail lines.

“But we are rebuilding them immediately; we are not going to abandon them.

“The challenges will be in the cities like Lagos, Abeokuta and Ibadan because we have to pay compensation, look at the water pipes, gas pipes, houses and cables.

“In Lagos especially, we deal with bridges, electric cables and water pipes and other assets.”

Amaechi also said that CCECC was consulting with Lagos State Water Corporation, Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, among others, to facilitate relocation of water and gas pipelines that were parallel to the railway line.

He added that CCECC would start laying tracks by December in Lagos, noting that parts of the rail lines that would be used for the project would arrive the country by end of November.

The minister, while inspecting the level of work done, called for speedy work by CCECC so as to meet the deadline.

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Strange Disease Kills 50 Children In Jigawa

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No less than 50 children have been feared dead after a strange disease struck at Gidan Dugus under Wangara district of Dutse Local Government Area of Jigawa State.

It is understood that the disease had first surfaced in July but was not reported by any person from the community until October 28.

It was also learnt that the children who died within the last two months in Gidan Dugus in Dutse Local Government Area of the State were within the age of one and five years.

Speaking on the development, the Village Head Malam Bashari Galadima Gidan Gudu told The Nation that ”the problem started about two months ago, but the situation got worse in the last few weeks”

He explained further how the disease affects the kids.

He said: “The children will start with serious fever, than develop stomach swelling and within a little time they will give up.”

”There are families that lost seven, four and three children to the disease and at a time, we buried between four and two kids daily during the worse period.”

It was gathered that the people of the area resorted to self medication and visiting pharmacy shops for treatment against going to hospitals that they consider too far from their area.

Also speaking, the Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary Alhaji Ali Dandidi said:

“We learnt the problem started sometime in July. The community members refused to go to the public health centre. They relied on and patronised chemists and other medical vendors all the while

“Nobody reported to the ministry (of health) until on October 27. The ministry sent a medical team there. The team took samples of the patients to the laboratory and we controlled the situation within a few days.”

“After laboratory tests of the samples, it was confirmed as malaria and typhoid. We supplied the drugs for treatment and the situation was brought under control.”

Gidan Dugu village is 35 kilometres from Jigawa State capital Dutse in the Northwest geo political zone.

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149 “Stranded” Nigerians Return From Libya

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At least 149 Nigerian returnees, who had been stranded in Libya, were received by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) on Monday – bringing the total number brought back to the country in the last five weeks to 975.

It was gathered that the returnees landed at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos at 6:35pm via the Boeing 737-800 aircraft with Registration Number 5A-DMG.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the returnees comprised of 29 females, 115 males and five children.

The returnees were assisted by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).

Receiving the returnees, the Director General of NEMA, Alhaji Mustapha Maihajja, lauded the efforts of the Edo State Government at curtailing the effect of illegal migration of youths.

Maihajja, who was represented by the Southwest Zonal Coordinator of NEMA, Alhaji Suleiman Yakubu, said the state had put various schemes in place to rehabilitate and reintegrate the returnees into the society.

He advised the returnees to take advantage of these programmes to acquire vocational skills or further their education in order to contribute their quota to national development.

The DG particularly commended the advocacy, sensitisation and enlightenment programmes that discourage parents, guardians and youths from embarking on deadly journeys.

He said that a special task force had been set up with the mandate to address the incidence of such deadly journeys.

The returnees were also received by officials of Edo State Government, the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and the Police.

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ASUP: Nigerian Polytechnic Lecturers To Begin Indefinite Strike On November 13

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The leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) has said that it will embark on an indefinite strike with effect from Monday, November 13, unless the federal government pays its 2016 shortfalls and all outstanding arrears.

The National President of the Union, Usman Dutse, issued the strike notice while briefing pressmen on the outcome of the ASUP National Executive Council Emergency meeting held in Abuja on Monday.

The union resolved that it has no choice than to embark on an indefinite strike after the expiration of its earlier 21 days ultimatum, adding that the conciliatory meeting organised by the Federal Ministry of Labour failed to produce positive result because the Ministry of Education was not interested in resolving the dispute.

Dutse also accused the government of using endless verification exercises to delay the payment of entitlements of members of the union, adding that while the union is not against government carrying out verification exercises, it should not endless and the exercise should not be used to denied workers their rights.

He said “Our union is therefore constrained to lament again that our sector is on the verge of collapse and needs all the emergency attention it urgently deserves. Until now, it should be noted that the issues raised here today have been there since 2014 and none of these issues has since 2014 been concretely resolved to improve the sector.

“It is against this background that we wish to remind governments at all levels and indeed all Nigerians that we cannot continue to be complacent in the face of imminent and seemly strategic annihilation of a sector that feeds and caters for millions of youths and families. A sector that if well harnessed will boost Nigeria’s technological know–how, improve ICT, create millions of employment opportunities and raise the level of both theoretical and practical technological literacy.”

Some of the issues include the non-implementation of the NEEDS assessment report recommended for the injection of N6.5 billion into the polytechnic education in 2014, adding that this has risen to about N8 billion.

According to him, no step had been taken to release a dime to enhance the quality of the polytechnics system.

He also said that the Non Release of CONTISS 15 Migration arrears has lingered since 2011 when the approval to migrate to the CONTISS 15 salary scale was secured from the government effective 2009, adding that “Since then, only the upper cader has been fully taken care of. Staffs in the lower cader are being short changed since then as they are yet to gat the full benefit of this policy. In response, government continues to set up committees without terminal dates and any meaningful response to the union’s protests.

“It is worthy to note that a lot of these issues constitute violations of the agreement signed between our union and the government in 2010. This is in tandem with the now well documented penchant of government to renege on agreements. Recently efforts to address these issues led to the convening, on the 24th of October 2017, of a conciliatory meeting by the Federal Ministry of Labour in Abuja.

“Curiously, the ministry in eye of the storm (The Federal Ministry of Education) was so poorly represented that no memorandum of action was agreed upon. This clearly showed the level of disdain and disrespect with which issues of the polytechnic sector are being handled by relevant agencies of government.

“In view of the above, our union rising from this emergency meeting hereby resolved to commence an indefinite and comprehensive strike action effective 13th November, 2017. This action shall be sustained until our demands are met or an implementable memorandum of action is agreed upon by our union and relevant agencies of government.

“We therefore call on well meaning Nigerians and indeed the public to prevail on the government to do the needful and avoid this imminent shutdown of the sector on an indefinite basis,” he added.

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ASUP: Nigerian Polytechnic Lecturers To Begin Indefinite Strike On November 13

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The leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) has said that it will embark on an indefinite strike with effect from Monday, November 13, unless the federal government pays its 2016 shortfalls and all outstanding arrears.

The National President of the Union, Usman Dutse, issued the strike notice while briefing pressmen on the outcome of the ASUP National Executive Council Emergency meeting held in Abuja on Monday.

The union resolved that it has no choice than to embark on an indefinite strike after the expiration of its earlier 21 days ultimatum, adding that the conciliatory meeting organised by the Federal Ministry of Labour failed to produce positive result because the Ministry of Education was not interested in resolving the dispute.

Dutse also accused the government of using endless verification exercises to delay the payment of entitlements of members of the union, adding that while the union is not against government carrying out verification exercises, it should not endless and the exercise should not be used to denied workers their rights.

He said “Our union is therefore constrained to lament again that our sector is on the verge of collapse and needs all the emergency attention it urgently deserves. Until now, it should be noted that the issues raised here today have been there since 2014 and none of these issues has since 2014 been concretely resolved to improve the sector.

“It is against this background that we wish to remind governments at all levels and indeed all Nigerians that we cannot continue to be complacent in the face of imminent and seemly strategic annihilation of a sector that feeds and caters for millions of youths and families. A sector that if well harnessed will boost Nigeria’s technological know–how, improve ICT, create millions of employment opportunities and raise the level of both theoretical and practical technological literacy.”

Some of the issues include the non-implementation of the NEEDS assessment report recommended for the injection of N6.5 billion into the polytechnic education in 2014, adding that this has risen to about N8 billion.

According to him, no step had been taken to release a dime to enhance the quality of the polytechnics system.

He also said that the Non Release of CONTISS 15 Migration arrears has lingered since 2011 when the approval to migrate to the CONTISS 15 salary scale was secured from the government effective 2009, adding that “Since then, only the upper cader has been fully taken care of. Staffs in the lower cader are being short changed since then as they are yet to gat the full benefit of this policy. In response, government continues to set up committees without terminal dates and any meaningful response to the union’s protests.

“It is worthy to note that a lot of these issues constitute violations of the agreement signed between our union and the government in 2010. This is in tandem with the now well documented penchant of government to renege on agreements. Recently efforts to address these issues led to the convening, on the 24th of October 2017, of a conciliatory meeting by the Federal Ministry of Labour in Abuja.

“Curiously, the ministry in eye of the storm (The Federal Ministry of Education) was so poorly represented that no memorandum of action was agreed upon. This clearly showed the level of disdain and disrespect with which issues of the polytechnic sector are being handled by relevant agencies of government.

“In view of the above, our union rising from this emergency meeting hereby resolved to commence an indefinite and comprehensive strike action effective 13th November, 2017. This action shall be sustained until our demands are met or an implementable memorandum of action is agreed upon by our union and relevant agencies of government.

“We therefore call on well meaning Nigerians and indeed the public to prevail on the government to do the needful and avoid this imminent shutdown of the sector on an indefinite basis,” he added.

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Oriste Femi Releases Tracklist For His New Album “L.I.F.E” [SEE PHOTO]

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Musican Taliban, Oritsefemi has revealed the tracklist of his much-anticipated album titled “L.I.F.E”.

The singer who had earlier put out the artwork of the album on Instagram has now followed up the post by releasing the tracklist of the well anticipated album.

The unveiled tracklist shows the exciting line up of collaborations on the album including the tracks featuring Olamide, Lil Kesh, Ladyluck, smallDOCTOR, YOMI.

See tracklist below.

Brand new album ” LIFE ” hope you are ready for this great one 👍

A post shared by Oritse Femi🇳🇬 (@oritsefemi) on Nov 6, 2017 at 3:53am PST

 

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Fire Outbreak Hits Popular Nigerian Music Channel, HipTV Studio (VIDEO)

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Emerging reports have revealed that one of the leading music channels in Nigeria, HipTV has its studios engulfed by fire.

The fire outbreak which started around 5:30 pm Monday evening got many neighbours, bystanders on their feet in an attempt to reduce the destructive effect of the fire till the Lagos State Fire Service arrived.

The reason behind the outbreak is not yet uncovered.

Watch the video below:-

 

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