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Infrastructure gap: FG’s N1.33 trillion budgetary allocation raises concerns



The 2024 budget of Nigeria, amounting to N27.5 trillion, has evoked diverse reactions in the public sphere. There is a mix of both pessimism and optimism regarding whether the budget will positively impact the lives of ordinary citizens, especially given the proposed N1.33 trillion allocation to infrastructure. Concerns have been heightened due to the historical underperformance of Nigeria’s recent budgets.

The allocation of 5% of the budget, equivalent to N1.33 trillion, to infrastructure, encompassing works and housing, power, transport, water resources, and aviation, raises apprehensions among Nigerians. Despite the country’s substantial infrastructure deficit, experts argue that this allocation may not sufficiently address the annual infrastructural gap.

Named the “Budget of Renewed Hope,” a detailed examination reveals that Security and Defence received the highest allocation of N3.25 trillion, constituting 12%. Education followed with N2.18 trillion. The 2024 budget is 10.8% higher than the 2023 budget, totaling N24.82 trillion.

The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Atiku Bagudu, stated that the budget aims for an estimated revenue of N18.32 trillion, with a deficit of N9.18 trillion. Notably, N8.490 trillion (30%) is allocated for debt servicing, N9.918 trillion for recurrent non-debt expenditure, and N7.717 trillion for contributions to the Development Fund for capital expenditure.

Key benchmarks include a Crude Oil Benchmark of $77.96 per barrel, a daily oil production of 1.78 million barrels per day, and a foreign exchange rate of N750 to USD. These factors are crucial for the nation’s economy, particularly amid challenges caused by the removal of fuel subsidies since June 2023, resulting in increased costs of transportation, food, and essential services.

CEO of SD & D Capital Management, Mr. Idakolo Gbolade, expressed skepticism about the budget achieving its intended impact, highlighting that the N1.33 trillion allocated to infrastructure does not reflect the savings from fuel subsidy removal. He criticized the budget estimates, citing unrealistic assumptions, and raised concerns about the haphazard implementation of budgets in the country.

Prof Godwin Oyedokun from Lead City University emphasized the need for a departure from historical budget underperformance, urging the 2024 budget to lift Nigerians out of multidimensional poverty if properly implemented. He called for increased fiscal responsibility from the government.

In contrast, renowned economist Prof Segun Ajibola expressed optimism that the budget could positively impact Nigerians if all provisions were effectively implemented. However, he underscored the need for alternative funding models, such as Public Private Partnerships, to address the significant infrastructural deficit in the country. Ajibola highlighted the importance of eliminating middlemen in the distribution process for social development and poverty reduction programs to have a meaningful impact on targeted beneficiaries. Overall, he expects the 2024 budget to improve the lives of average Nigerians, contingent on robust implementation.


BVN, NIN requirement: CBN keeps mum as deadline expires



The Central Bank of Nigeria has kept mum as the deadline for banks to restrict customers’ accounts without a Bank Verification Number or National Identity Number has expired.

DAILY POST recalls that CBN, in a notice on December 1 last year, signed by the Director of Payments System Management Department, Chibuzo Efobi and Director of Financial Policy and Regulation Department, Haruna Mustapha, asked banks to restrict tier-1 accounts or wallets without NIN or BVN.

“For all existing Tier-1 accounts/wallets without BVN or NIN: Effective immediately, any unfunded account/wallet shall be placed on ‘Post No Debit or Credit’ until the new process is satisfied.

“Effective March 1, 2024, all funded accounts or wallets shall be placed on ‘Post No Debit or Credit’, and no further transactions will be permitted. The BVN or NIN attached to and/or associated with all accounts/wallets must be electronically revalidated by January 31, 2024”, the statement partly reads.

However, CBN acting spokesperson, Hakama Sidi has yet to respond to calls from DAILY POST on Friday over the fate of banks’ customers without NIN or BVN.

Meanwhile, in a telephone interview with DAILY POST, the President of the Bank Customers Association of Nigeria, Dr Uju Ogubunka, appealed to CBN for a deadline extension.

According to him, though many accounts have NIN or BVN, there are still many without the requirement.

“At this point, the best thing for CBN to do is extend the deadline for bank customers to have their NIN or BVN”, he told DAILY POST.

A source who preferred anonymity in a tier-1 bank told DAILY POST that no customer account had been restricted owing to the NIN or BVN requirement.

“At the moment, no customers’ accounts have been restricted. Customers in the last three days have trooped in to update their account”, he said.

DAILY POST reported that bank customers were in a last-minute rush to meet the NIN and BVN requirement deadlines as they besieged their respective banks.


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Gov Mbah signs New Enugu City, ENSIEC bills into law



On Friday, Governor Peter Mbah of Enugu State officially approved the New Enugu City Development Agency Bill, the Enugu State Geographical Information System Service Bill, and the Enugu State Independent Electoral Commission (ENSIC) Amendment Bill, turning them into law. The signing ceremony, witnessed by Enugu State House of Assembly Speaker Uchenna Ugwu at the Government House in Enugu, marked significant steps in the state’s governance.

Governor Mbah clarified the purposes of these laws during the signing event. He highlighted that the New Enugu City Development Agency Law grants administrative authority to oversee the development of a new city master plan, aimed at accommodating both present and future generations. The Enugu State Geographical Information System Service Law, on the other hand, focuses on automating and digitizing processes for service delivery, beginning with land-related matters.

Regarding the ENSIEC Amendment Law, Governor Mbah noted its alignment with constitutional amendments concerning electoral bodies, ensuring compliance with the evolving legal framework.

Explaining the rationale behind the New Enugu City Development Agency, Mbah emphasized the government’s forward-thinking approach to governance, addressing the need for urban expansion to accommodate the growing population. He underscored the significance of having a master plan for future generations to prevent urban congestion.

Furthermore, Mbah elaborated on the Enugu State Geographical Information System Service, emphasizing its role in fulfilling the administration’s promise to streamline land administration processes and provide efficient services. He highlighted the agency’s mandate to manage property information systems and facilitate digital platforms for accessing services and making payments.

Governor Mbah expressed gratitude to the State House of Assembly for their support and swift passage of these executive bills, acknowledging the importance of collaboration in driving the state’s development agenda forward. He emphasized that progress and success hinge on the collective efforts of all stakeholders, including the legislature.

In conclusion, Governor Mbah affirmed his administration’s commitment to fulfilling its promises and leveraging legislative support to enhance governance and service delivery in Enugu State.

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Tinubu’s presidency not by chance – Shettima



Vice President Kashim Shettima asserts that Asiwaju Bola Tinubu’s rise to the presidency is not coincidental but a divine blessing due to the sincerity of his character. Shettima made these remarks during a courtesy visit by the Nigerian Christian Pilgrim Commission (NCPC) delegation at the Presidential Villa in Abuja on Friday.

“The path leading to Tinubu’s presidency wasn’t accidental. He is known for his consistent sacrifices for the nation’s welfare. His success is viewed as a divine reward for his genuine intentions,” Shettima stated.

He stressed the importance of leaders fostering unity, highlighting Tinubu’s significant role in offering an alternative political platform within Nigeria’s system.

“Tinubu has made sacrifices and facilitated unity. He provided a haven for those facing political persecution and offered an alternative platform when others struggled for recognition,” Shettima elaborated.

Shettima urged Nigerians to be patient with Tinubu’s leadership, emphasizing that his presidency is not a coincidence but a deliberate journey towards national success.

He also charged the newly appointed NCPC Board to demonstrate unwavering commitment to their duties and reminded them of the importance of religious dedication in addressing national challenges.

“All of you were selected based on your religious commitment. We cannot overlook the issues within our system. It’s essential for all of us to strive for positive change to achieve the Nigeria we envision,” he concluded.

Previously, Bishop Stephen Adegbite, the Executive Secretary of NCPC, expressed gratitude to President Tinubu for the opportunity to serve on the board and praised Vice President Shettima’s outstanding leadership, citing his support for the Church and peace efforts in Borno State.

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