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Buhari to Nigerians: Bear with us if we haven’t done enough

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President Muhammadu Buhari has pleaded with Nigerians yet to feel the impact of his government to bear with the administration.

He spoke in Ilorin through the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, at a town hall meeting with traditional rulers, youths, students, organised labour, market women and other stakeholders on the #EndSARS protest and its aftermath.

The forum was attended by the Kwara State Governor, Abdulrazaq Abdulrahman, Speaker of Kwara State House of Assembly, Yakubu Danladi; the Emir of Ilorin, Alhaji  Sulu Gambari, and other traditional rulers, representatives of market women, traders and other stakeholders.

In the President’s message delivered by the minister, he said the administration had the interest of the youths and the people in general at heart and was doing a lot to touch their lives.

The President said the government was constrained by dwindling resources occasioned by the impact of COVID-19 which also affected the global economy.

He said, “If we have not done enough or we have not touched everybody, we appeal that you please bear with us.

“In the first instance, what we have is less than 60 per cent of the revenue that was available to other governments that came before us.

“We all know what we suffered during COVID-19, and as we are just trying to recover from this we also faced another crisis.

“We appeal that you should please assist the government and be patient. This government is dedicated to serving the people and we will continue to try our best to do so.

“I thank you all for your perseverance, understanding and patience.”

The President said the administration had many initiatives targeted at creating jobs for the youth and alleviating poverty among women and vulnerable groups.

He said the government initiated a N75bn National Youth Investment Fund to provide opportunities for the youth.

He said the fund was part of the N2.3tn economic sustainability plan aimed at cushioning the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on most vulnerable Micro Small Medium Enterprises across the country.

The President said other initiatives targeted at the youths included N-POWER which had engaged 500,000 beneficiaries with 400,000 more in December.

He said 10,000 youths had been trained and benefitted under N-TECH and N-AGRO respectively.

The President said the federal government FINTECH created enabling environment for growth of businesses that use technology to enhance or automate financial services and processes.

He said over two million farmers, traders, mostly youths, were empowered under FARMERMONI, TRADERMONI and MARKETMONI.

The President said over 500,000 youths had also benefited from the Graduate Internship Scheme which provides short-term employment graduates.

He said 1,000 farmers from each of the 774 LGAs in the country were empowered and guided under the Youth Entrepreneurship Support programme.

Also, Governor Abdulrazaq thanked the President for the initiative of directing ministers to interact with the people at the state level.

He prayed for peace, unity and stability of the country.

Emir of Ilorin said the town-hall meeting was a good forum for the people to express their minds and grievances to government.

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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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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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