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Lost assets: Cardoso leads Lagos eight-man rebuild team

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  • Sanwo-Olu signs executive order

 Fola Raheem

Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Wednesday signed an Executive Order for the formation of an eight-man board to coordinate efforts to restore assets lost or damaged in the recent attacks by hoodlums on public and private facilities in the state.

Citibank Nigeria Chairman, Mr. Yemi Cardoso, will head the Board of the Lagos Rebuild Trust Fund. The board members were unveiled at a press conference at the Governor’s Office, Alausa, Ikeja.

A statement by the Lagos State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Gbenga Omotosho, reported Sanwo-Olu said the government decided to put the destruction behind it and face the huge and necessary task of rebuilding the state.

The government, he said, would be embracing new standards of governance and building stronger partnerships, which would enable the state to bequeath stronger institutions and cohesion among residents.

He spoke of how many friends and admirers of the state had been calling to lend a hand in the rebuilding of the razed assets.

He said, “In the last few weeks, we have been inundated with local and global offers of assistance to rebuild our state and recover all we lost to arson and violence in October. It is obvious that we can no longer wait to begin the onerous task of reconstructing Lagos. In the next few days, our government will be sending a bill to the House of Assembly for the establishment of a Trust Fund to Rebuild Lagos.

“Today, I am signing an Executive Order to set up an eight-man Lagos Rebuild Trust Fund Committee, which will begin to oversee our recovery process. To ensure the highest standards of probity, transparency and accountability, FBN Trustees headed by Mr Kunle Awojobi will oversee the Lagos Rebuild Trust Fund Committee. The Committee will comprise five members from the private sector, two members from the public sector and one member from the International Donor Aid Community.

“We will embrace new standards of governance and build stronger partnerships, stronger people, stronger institutions, and stronger Lagos. Our strength lies in our uncanny ability to overcome the most complicated challenges because we have people who genuinely love Lagos State and will assiduously do all they can to preserve its peace and unity.”

Sanwo-Olu said the trust fund would be responsible for getting detailed cost of restructuring and rebuilding of destroyed assets.

The Funds, he added, will also advise the state government on the most critical assets to prioritise and identify emergency response service critically needed.

The rebuilding plan, the governor said, would be all-inclusive, stressing that the government would welcome support and contributions from well-meaning individuals and corporate organisations who believe in the Lagos dream.

His words: “I believe this is the starting point of a new socio-economic process. I am hopeful that this initiative will help us to seamlessly make the transition to a rebuilt Lagos with upgraded public structures, facilities and amenities. I know that the ashes that presently dot our landscape will birth modern and globally acceptable infrastructure.

“At the centre of this decisive action to rebuild Lagos is the need to closely work with the people and organisations who call Lagos home; those who believe in the Lagos dream, and those who share our collective vision of a mega-city that thrives on peace and unity among all ethnic groups.”

Other members of the Trust Fund’s Board are the Managing Partner, Olaniwun Ajayi LP, Prof. Konyinsola Ajayi, SAN; Chief Executive Officer of Sterling Bank, Mr. Abubakar Suleiman; Co-Founder and CEO, Flutterwave; Mr. Gbenga Agboola; Vice Chairman, Standard Chartered Bank, Mrs. Bola Adesola – all representing the private sector – and a representative of an International Donor Agency.

The Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Mr. Sam Egube, and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Works and Infrastructure, Engr. Jimi Hotonou, are members of the Board representing the public sector.

As part of the government’s objectives to fully heal the wounds of the crisis, the governor also announced six other committees. They are: Business Continuity Committee; Assessment Committee; Execution, Measurement and Evaluation Committee; Communication and Engagement Committee; Trust Fund Implementation Committee; and Security and Enforcement Committee.

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Buhari to present 2023 budget proposal to NASS Friday

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President Muhammadu Buhari will present the 2023 Appropriations bill to a joint session of the National Assembly on Friday.

The appropriations bill will contain budget proposals for the 2023 fiscal year.

He made this known in a letter to the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, which was read out at the start of plenary on Tuesday.

The formal budget presentation is scheduled for 10am

and it will be the last main budget Buhari will be presenting as he will leave office on 29 May 2023 when his second four year term will end.

The Federal Government is already proposing an aggregate expenditure of N19.76 trillion for the 2023 fiscal year with a budget deficit of about N12.41 trillion.

Some key assumptions in the proposal include an estimated oil benchmark of $70, crude oil production put at 1.69mbpd, exchange rate of N435.57/$ and inflation rate at 17.16 per cent.

The Federal Government pegged growth rate at 3.75 per cent because it believes that “Growth is expected to be moderated to 3.30% in 2024 before picking up to 3.46% in 2025.”

The Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, had disclosed that the federal government will borrow over N11 trillion and sell national assets to finance the budget deficit in 2023.

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Education

ASUU also corrupt, undermining govt investment – Buhari

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President Muhammadu Buhari has said a number of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) are involved in corrupt practices.

He said the corruption in the universities and other institutions was undermining government’s funding and investment in education.

ASUU has been on strike since February 14 over increase in lecturers’ allowances and salaries as well as improved funding for the universities.

Buhari has appealed to the union to call off the strike but the lecturers have stood their ground.

The President on Tuesday while declaring open the Fourth National Summit on Diminishing Corruption organised by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Office of Secretary to Government of the Federation (OSGF) and Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB), said ASUU was no less complicit in the corruption in tertiary education.

He said corruption in the education sector had continued to undermine investments, while critics downplayed funding by focusing only on budgetary allocations, urging a more comprehensive re-evaluation of expenditure.

The President said, “This year’s summit will mirror how corruption undermines educational policies, investments and create an unfriendly learning environment for our youths.

“Incessant strikes especially by unions in the tertiary education often imply that government is grossly underfunding education, but I must say that corruption in the education system from basic level to the tertiary level has been undermining our investment in the sector and those who go on prolonged strikes on flimsy reasons are no less complicit.

“The 1999 Constitution places a premium on education by placing it on the Concurrent List, thereby laying the responsibilities of budgeting and underwriting qualitative education on both the Federal and State Governments.

“The total education budget for each year is therefore a reflection of both federal and state budgets and should be viewed as other financial commitments in their totality.

“The allocation to education in the federal budget should not be considered via allocation to the Federal Ministry of Education and also academic institutions alone, but should include allocation to the Universal Basic Education, transfers to TETFUND and refund from the Education Tax Pool Account to TETFUND.

“Corruption in the expenditure of internally generated revenue of tertiary institutions is a matter that has strangely not received the attention of stakeholders in tertiary education, including unions.

“I call on stakeholders to demand accountability in the administration of academic institutions and for unions to interrogate the bloated personnel and recurrent expenditure of their institutions. Let me also implore the Unions to work with the government to put faces and identities to names on the payroll.

“Due to declining resources, the government cannot bear the cost of funding education alone. I task our academics to attract endowments, research and other grants to universities, polytechnics and colleges of education similar to what obtains in other countries.”

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Seven police officers dismissed, 10 others demoted

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The Police Service Commission (PSC), on Tuesday, dismissed seven senior police officers over gross misconduct.

The commission also announced the demotion of 10 other officers through reduction in rank.

These decisions were taken during the continuation of the 15th plenary meeting of the commission.

The meeting is expected to end on Thursday, October 6, 2022, according to a report by The Trust.

Presided over by its acting chairman, Justice Clara Ogunbiyi, the meeting considered all the Pending Disciplinary Matters (PDM) before the commission.

The PDMs, which totalled 47, also treated some appeals from dismissed police officers.

Addressing newsmen shortly after the meeting in Abuja, the spokesman for the commission, Ikechukwu Ani, said, the dismissed officers include one CSP, one SP and five ASPs.

He said that one SP was retired in public interest, adding that the commission reduced the ranks of one CSP to SP, three SPs to DSP, and two DSPs to ASPs.

The commission further reduced the ranks of four ASPs to Inspectors.

10 senior police officers, including an ACP, a CSP, a SP and two DSPs were given the punishment of severe reprimand.

Five ASPs were also awarded the punishment of severe reprimand.

Thirteen officers received the punishment of reprimand; two are to receive letters of warning while four officers were exonerated.

Ani quoted Justice Ogunbiyi as saying the commission would henceforth give the desired attention to Pending Disciplinary Matters so that those found guilty are punished immediately while those found not guilty are cleared to continue with their career progression.

Justice Ogunbiyi called on police officers to ensure they operate within established rules and avoid taking laws into their hands.

The commission, she said, would continue to work to sustain a professional police force.

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