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400,000 youths benefit from N-Power, says NASS C’ttee

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The House of Representatives Committee on Poverty Alleviation and Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency (SMEDAN) says 400,000 youths have benefited from the N-Power Scheme.

Rep. Balarabe Salame, Chairman of the committee, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Abuja, said that the success was recorded during his tenure as the committee’s chairman.

NAN reports that the N-Power is a scheme set up by President Muhammadu Buhari in  2016 to address the issues of youth unemployment as well as help increase social development.

The lawmaker, representing Illela/Gwadabawa Constituency of Sokoto State, said the N-Power and SMEDAN had effectively alleviated poverty in the country.

”There are so many committees, one can make millions from, but I asked for a committee that will touch the lives of the masses  and I was given the Poverty Alleviation Committee.

“Prior to now, no accountability was made for funds the government allocates for poverty alleviation, but since I assumed as chairman of the committee, 400,000 youths were given N-Power.

“And in my state, in each constituency, the women benefit from women’s grant.

“No fewer than 1,000 women have been given N20,000 each to start up a small business, while SMEDAN has also empowered youths and small scale businesses,” he said.

Meanwhile, the All Progressives Congress (APC) Stakeholders Forum, also paid the chairman a courtesy visit and presented him with an award of ‘Legislature of the Year’.

Salame, a three-time member of the house, said he believed he had served his constituency favourably during his tenure in the House of Representatives and as such, would not be seeking a re-election.

He appealed to other lawmakers to empower members of their constituency adequately and impact positively on their lives to reduce crime and insecurity.

“I thank Almighty Allah for giving me the help and people like you that always advice, support me and appreciate what I have been doing.

“I believe I have achieved what I intended to achieve and will not contest in the next elections for a seat in the House of Representatives,” he said.

On his part, Rep. Abdullahi Sa’ad, Deputy Chairman, Public Accounts Committee, commended Salame’s commitment to human capacity building.

He pointed out that there had been an improvement in the collating of  inputs of lawmakers and conveying same to the Executive for integration in the programmes of the government.

Sa’ad also praised the synergy between the Executive and the 9th Assembly, noting that the absence of friction between both arms of government enhanced their operations.

“I thank God we have this opportunity to appreciate Salame and say thank you and may God continue to give you the wisdom to forge better partnerships with the Executive and the Legislature.

“This administration is arguably the best in terms of social intervention in the history of this country; the amount of social intervention we have seen.

“Both money spent and the people who have benefited, are unprecedented in the history of Nigeria.

“There are several bills to create a permanent body responsible for social intervention programmes in Nigeria and I believe the committee under him, will be the ones to scrutinise the bill and make recommendations for further legislative actions.

“I congratulate you on the award and believe that as it is not the first, it will also not be the last.

“We continue to pray for God’s guidance, as you continue to touch positively on the lives of your constituents and other Nigerians,” he said.

A member of the APC Stakeholders Forum, Mr Abdullahi Hassan, said that the solutions to the issue of insecurity in the country were good leadership, job creation and adequate engagement of the youths.

“We found out that unemployment is one of the major factors that has contributed to the insecurity we are facing today.

“Be it IPOB, Boko Haram or Banditry, any kind of crime and criminality going on today in Nigeria, the genesis is unemployment.

“Fortunately, Rep. Salame has within the last four years carried out programmes that have changed the living standard of people in his constituency economically.

“Because of that, the leaders of the APC Stakeholders Forum at the national headquarters of the party decided to pay you a visit and appreciate your initiative for positively impacting on the lives of your people,” Hassan said.

Highlight of the visit was the presentation of the award by the Chairman of the APC Stakeholders Forum, Faruq Hassan, to Salame.

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Oil Prices Continue to Climb on Supply Disruptions As Brent Hits $78/1

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Brent crude futures rose more than 1% to above $78 a barrel on Friday, the highest since October 2018 and widening a weekly gain to 3.6 per cent amid global supply concerns following storms in the US that damaged facilities on the Gulf coast.

WTI crude rose for the fifth consecutive week, with futures up almost 3 per cent to an 8-week high of $73.98 a barrel boosted by growing fuel demand and falling US crude inventories.

Disruptions in US Gulf Coast production following Hurricane Ida and other storms have led to sharp draws in US and global inventories. EIA data showed US crude stocks fell by 3.5 million barrels to 414 million last week, the lowest since October 2018. Capping some gains was China’s first public sale of state oil reserves. State-owned PetroChina and private refiner and chemical producer Hengli Petrochemical bought four cargoes totaling about 4.43 million barrels.

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Buhari: Five million homes to get solar power by 2030

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Nigeria is working on an ambitious energy plan including decentralised solar energy solutions that will substantially reduce the energy shortcomings by the year 2030, President Muhammadu Buhari has said.

The President spoke on the sidelines of the 76th United Nations General Assembly in New York on the High-Level Dialogue on Energy.

Spokesman for the President, Mr Femi Adesina, in a statement Friday night, quoted Buhari as saying, “Nigeria’s commitment to a just transition is reflected in our ambitious Energy Compact, which includes the government’s flagship project to electrify five million households and 20 million people using decentralised solar energy solutions.

“This is a major first step towards closing our energy access deficit by 2030. Nigeria’s commitment is also reflected in the development of our Energy Transition Plan, which was developed with the support of the UK COP26 Energy Transition Council.”

He called for support from developed countries to unlock the financing needed to accelerate a just energy transition for all.

“The focus of our discussions on transition must now evolve how we help countries develop detailed energy transition plans and commitments to mobilize enough financing to empower countries to implement those plans,” he said.

The President said the scale of financing required for Nigeria to achieve net-zero would amount to over $400bn across the Nigerian economy in excess of business-as-usual spending over the next 30 years.

He said, “This breaks down to $155bn net spends on generation capacity, $135bn on transmission and distribution infrastructure, $75bn on buildings, $21bn on industry and $12bn on transport.”

Buhari, however, said that gas would continue to have a big role to play before phasing it out, explaining that solid fuel cooking was still wreaking havoc in Africa:

He said, “As a global leader on the energy transition, it is imperative that I flag a major risk to development that stems from the current narrative around the energy transition, particularly on the role of gas and the lack of financing.

“Nigeria’s Energy Transition Plan has laid out our road map to reach net-zero and highlights the scale of the effort required, which includes the development and integration of renewables into current grid infrastructure at tremendous scale and electrification of all sectors.

“This is challenging for any country, especially a developing country. On our development objectives, gas will have a key role to play here for some years before being phased out.”

President Buhari noted that these plans must also take into account the provision of access to electricity and clean cooking solutions for those in Nigeria and around the world currently without access.

He also stressed the essential role of gas in addressing clean cooking challenges.

“Globally, there are 2.6 billion people who lack access to clean cooking – which is unacceptable. Even more concerning is that solid fuel cooking in Africa causes almost 490,000 premature deaths annually, making it the second-largest health risk in Africa,” he stated.

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States can’t collect VAT, it’s on exclusive list – Malami

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State governments are not empowered to collect value-added tax (VAT) in the country because it is on exclusive legislative list, the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, has said.

The AGF gave this position on Friday night in an interview with Channels Television.

The Federal Inland Revenue Service has been at loggerheads with Rivers and Lagos State governments over VAT collection. And the matter already receiving the backing of some other state governments is current in court.

Malami, who said the collection of VAT in the country is under the exclusive legislative list, posited that only the National Assembly could make laws on VAT.

He said, “A lot has precluded the state from collecting value-added tax. One, generally speaking, as you rightly know, the issue of the value-added tax is an issue on the exclusive legislative list.

“And the implication of being in exclusive legislative list matter is that only the national assembly can legislate on it. The question that you may perhaps wish to address your mind on is whether there exists any national legislation that has conferred the power on the state to collect VAT. And my answer is ‘no’.

“In the absence of a law passed by the national assembly in that direction, no state can have a valid claim to collection of value-added tax.

“The responsibility, right and constitutional powers to legislate on collection of VAT are exclusively and constitutionally vested in the National Assembly and not in the state.

“Where the national assembly has not passed any law in that regard authorising the state to collect VAT, then it goes without saying that no state can arrogate unto itself the powers to collect VAT.”

According to the minister, it will be reckless for any state to go ahead to collect VAT, despite the court’s decision asking parties to maintain the status quo.

He said, “I don’t see any state perhaps taking the law unto its hands without allowing the judicial process to take its natural course and in breach of the prevailing legislation.

“I don’t see the states acting arbitrarily and setting a very bad precedence as far as governance is concerned with particular regard to the fact that the matter is receiving judicial determination.

“I can’t understand. I can’t perhaps bring that thought into consideration that I believe it could amount to a high level of recklessness on the part of any state government to be operating in breach and to be operating a lawless governance style as far as the Nigerian state is concerned.”

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