Senators, Reps query NCC over secret recruitment, arbitrary funds increase – Newstrends
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Senators, Reps query NCC over secret recruitment, arbitrary funds increase

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Federal lawmakers on Monday queried arbitrary increase in the financial provisions for payment of consultancy service of Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), and N29.195 billion proposed for payment of salaries and wages in the 2021 fiscal year, against the sum of N16.850 billion approved in the 2020 fiscal year.

Members of the Joint Senate and House of Representatives’ Committee on Telecommunications, who raised the red flag during the 2020 budget performance and 2021 budget defence presented by the NCC Executive Vice Chairman, Umar Dambatta, also demanded an explanation over the increase in the consultancy services of N1bn proposed for 2021 against the sum of N394.331 million approved in the 2020 Appropriation Act.

One of the aggrieved lawmakers, who queried the Director of Finance and Administration’s report on the wide variance between the proposed N29.195 billion salaries and wages for 2021 and N16.850 approved for 2020 in relation to the 300 staff recruited by the commission, alleged that “you employed people but it was done through the backdoor.”

Hon. Siaka Adekunle Ayokunle alleged that “a lot of things are shredded in secrecy here”, expressed concern over the difference between the projected revenue and expenditure,

Senator Emmanuel Orker-Jev who expressed concern over the recruitment of the 300 workers, stressed the need for the commission to provide the nominal roll with a view to ascertaining the actual number of employees and adherence to federal character policy.

Dambatta, who was asked by the Director of Finance and Administration to provide details of the budget performance for the year under review, had said the budget performance as of November 30, 2020 showed the total budget of N140.383 billion, but the actual came to N79.660 billion.

He said, “For the expenditures (recurrent), a total recurrent expenditure that was budgeted was N39.297 billion and what was spent was N28.5 billion.

“Under the capital project, the total capital expenditure was budgeted at N8.129 billion and the actual as at 30th November was N1.427 billion.

“For special projects, the total budget was N20.863 billion and what has been spent so far is N13.65 billion.

“For total capital project, the budget was N28.9 billion and what was spent was N1.4 billion; Transfer to USPF, N7.5 billion was projected and N5.583 billion was spent.

“For Transfer to Federal Government of Nigeria, N64.208 billion was budgeted and N35.7 billion was remitted.”

On the revenue side, the commission realised total sum of N167 million out of N1.5 billion budgeted for licensing fees; realized N51.5 billion out of N68.5 billion for annual operating levy; realized N22.778 billion out N47.653 billion budgeted.

From the documents presented to the joint committee, proposed total revenue expected for 2021 stands at N112.810 billion and an additional sum of N49.527 billion from funds for broadband infrastructure and transfer from reserve (totalling N162.067 billion for 2021), against the sum of N123.132 billion and an additional sum of N17.252 billion from funds for broadband infrastructure (totalling N140.384 billion) for year 2020.

The total recurrent is also expected to rise from N39.297 billion in 2020 to N61.541 billion in 2021; total capital and special expenditure are to rise from N28.993 billion in 2020 to N51.524 billion in 2021; showing an overall increase in the Commission’s total expenditure from N68.290 billion in 2020 to N113.065 billion in 2021 as proposed.

The commission’s projected transfer to the Federal Government for the year 2021 is N42.002bn against N64.208bn for the year 2020 out of which N29.697bn has so far been remitted, in addition to N5.5 billion paid recently.

Chairman, House Committee on Telecommunications, Hon. Akeem , said, “Legislative approval to budget proposal is a cardinal ingredient of democratic practice. It provides a window of checks on the expenditure profile of the Executive, so the people, through their representatives have a say on how the Executive arm of government runs the government as part of the checks and balances of governance.

“It is pursuance to this that we are here to examine your proposal for 2021. The extent to which your commission was able to meet its 2020 budget responsibility will also be examined to identify if they were problems and how to resolve them where they exist.”

Adeyemi who directed the NCC management team to provide the nominal roll for further legislative action, said the “Committee will call for interactive session sometimes next year with the view to addressing some of the concerns raised.”

Dambatta promised that the nominal roll would be made available to the committee as requested.

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Govt paying N600bn for fuel subsidy monthly — Rainoil CEO

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Govt paying N600bn for fuel subsidy monthly — Rainoil CEO

The CEO of Rainoil Limited, Gabriel Ogbechie, has claimed that the federal government resumed the payment of the controversial fuel subsidy following the devaluation of the Naira in the foreign exchange market.

Ogbechie made this statement on Tuesday during the Stanbic IBTC Energy and Infrastructure Breakfast Session held in Lagos.

He pointed out that with Nigeria’s daily fuel usage at 40 million liters and the foreign exchange rate at N1,300, the government’s subsidy per liter of fuel falls between N400 and N500, culminating in a monthly total of approximately N600 billion.

He said; “When Mr. President came in May last year, one of the things he said was that Subsidy is gone. And  truly, the subsidy was gone, because immediately the price of fuel moved from 200 to 500 per liter. At that point truly, subsidy was gone.

“During that period, Dollar was exchanging for N460, but a few weeks later, the government devalued the exchange rate. And Dollar moved to about N750. At that point, subsidy was beginning to come back.

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“The moment the two markets officially closed, officially the market went to about N1,300. At that point, that conversation was out of the window. Subsidy was fully back on petrol. If you want to know where petrol should be, just look at where diesel is. Diesel is about N1,300 and petrol is still selling for N600.

Furthermore, he said that NNPC being the only petrol importer in the country implies that there is an ongoing subsidy, as prices had to be fixed.

Earlier yesterday, the former governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El Rufai, said the federal government is spending more on petrol subsidy than before.

In addition, the Special Adviser to the President on Energy, Mrs. Olu Veŕheijen, said that the Federal Government reserves the right to pay fuel subsidy intermittently to cushion hardship in the country.

“The subsidy was removed on May 29. However, the government has the prerogative to maintain price stability to address social unrest. They reserve the right to intervene.

“If the government feels that it cannot continue to allow prices to fluctuate due to high inflation and exchange rates, the government reserves the right to intervene intermittently and that does not negate the fact that subsidy has been removed,” she said.

Govt paying N600bn for fuel subsidy monthly — Rainoil CEO

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Breaking: Dangote brings diesel price down to N1000/litre

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Breaking: Dangote brings diesel price down to N1000/litre

Dangote Petroleum Refinery has announced a further reduction in the price of diesel.

When it commenced operation a few weeks ago, Dangote Petroleum Refinery pegged the price of diesel as N1,200.

While rolling out the products, the refinery supplied at a substantially reduced price of N1,200 per litre three weeks ago, representing over 30 percent reduction from the previous market price of about N1,600 per litre.

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However, on Tuesday, a further reduction of N200 was noticed in the price, with the product now pegged at N1,000.

This significant reduction in the price of diesel, at Dangote Petroleum Refinery, is expected to positively affect all the spheres of the economy and ultimately reduce the high inflation rate in the country.

The President of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, had during the Eid-el-Fitr celebration said if the cost price of diesel comes down, the inflation rate will be substantially reduced.

Dangote spoke when he visited President Bola Tinubu in his residence in Lagos State to celebrate the end of the Ramadan fast with him.

Breaking: Dangote brings diesel price down to N1000/litre

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Naira records five-month highest gain, sells below N1000/$ at parallel market

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Naira records five-month highest gain, sells below N1000/$ at parallel market

The naira continued its positive showing against the United States dollar on Monday, selling below N1000/$ in some segments of the parallel market.

Newstrends reports that the Federal Government, groups and some individuals have mounted a spirited campaign for those hoarding the dollars to push them out as naira continues to appreciate.

On Monday, the naira was offered in some parts of Lagos and Abuja between N995 and N1,050 per dollar in the parallel market. It was N1,230/$ on Friday.
The latest gain, being over five-month highs, came in the wake of the Iranian attack on Israel and a rise in the crude oil price.
Goldman Sachs, American investment bank economists, had earlier predicted that the naira’s bullish momentum on the foreign exchange market would likely cause it to trade for less than N1,000 per US dollar in the coming months.
According to a report by Nairametrics, the group claimed that the rally in Nigerian currency helped recover from large losses after two devaluations since last June by being bolstered by capital inflows and successive interest rate hikes.
In March, Goldman Sachs projected that the Naira would appreciate to N1,200 per dollar in 2024.

At the official foreign exchange market, the rate was put at N1,136/$ in contrast with N1,205/$ last Friday.

The top bank has implemented several policy initiatives in recent months to bring stability to the foreign exchange market.
The CBN increased interest rates to 24.75% at the most recent meeting of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), which helped it recover losses from the two devaluations that occurred since June of last year.
Further gains for the naira result from the CBN’s ongoing intervention, which involves selling foreign exchange to Bureau De Change operators at a revised rate.
The market anticipates higher inflows of US dollars from the sale of foreign currency bonds in the second quarter as disclosed by Finance Minister Wale Edun.

The Federal Government has just offered high-yield short-term debt products at a premium to entice overseas capital into the economy.

The Middle East’s geopolitical unrest and
Notwithstanding a drop in Nigeria’s production volume, crude oil prices have risen beyond $90.

Nigerian grades of oil are trading at a premium to the ICE Brent benchmark.

The Middle East’s geopolitical unrest and the anticipation of an Iranian government strike on Israel caused oil prices to soar.

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