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SPEECH BY HIS EXCELLENCY, MUHAMMADU BUHARI, PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA AT THE SIGNING INTO LAW OF THE 2020 APPROPRIATION BILL.

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Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Tuesday, December 17, 2019

PROTOCOLS

1. It is my pleasant duty, today, on my 77th birthday, to sign the 2020 Appropriation Bill into law. I thank the National Assembly, in particular, the Senate President, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and indeed all the Distinguished and Honourable Leaders, and Members, for passing the 2020 Appropriation Bill, expeditiously.

2. You will recall, that I laid the 2020 Appropriation Bill before the Joint Session of the National Assembly on 8th October, 2019 and forwarded the 2019 Finance Bill shortly thereafter.

3. I am very pleased that the National Assembly worked uncommonly long hours in the interest of our people and the national economy to ensure detailed legislative review and passage of the Budget within two months.

4. This patriotic zeal adopted by the Ninth National Assembly has restored our budget cycle to a predictable January to December fiscal year.

5. Furthermore, in the twenty years since the return to civilian democracy, this will be just the fourth time that the Federal Budget was passed before the end of the previous year, and this is the earliest.

6. The passage of the Finance Bill, which I am told will be done in the coming days, will also be a landmark achievement worthy of recognition, being the first time, this has been done in the last twenty years.

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7. We look forward to receiving this Bill, shortly, for Presidential Assent. Once passed into law, the Finance Bill will support the funding and implementation of the 2020 Budget. We shall sustain this tradition by ensuring that subsequent budgets are also accompanied by a Finance Bill.

8. For these achievements, I must therefore congratulate and thank the Distinguished Senate President, the Right Honourable Speaker and indeed, all members of the Federal Legislature for their commitment and support.

9. I equally thank the Ninth National Assembly for supporting important legislations such as the Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contract Amendment Act and the 2019 Finance Bill. These laws are vital to the successful implementation of the 2020 Budget.

10. I am aware of the regular high-level discussions that took place, between senior officials of the Executive and the Legislature during this period. I commend this renewed partnership, the mutual understanding as well as collaboration between these two arms of government.

11. Now, we are well positioned to effectively implement the budget and deliver our promises to Nigerians. Businesses will also benefit as they are now in a position to plan more effectively.

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12. We have to sustain this harmonious working relationship. I expect that, going forward, this will be the norm.

13. I have directed that efforts be made to ensure the presentation of the 2021 Appropriation Bill to the National Assembly in September 2020. I am confident that all Federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies will cooperate with the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning to keep to this timeline.

14. I will work with the Ninth National Assembly to give effect to the constitutional, legislative and other actions that may be necessary to address the various challenges currently associated with our federal budgeting process, including the enactment of an Organic Budget Bill.

15. The 2020 Budget passed by the National Assembly provides for aggregate expenditures of Ten-point-Five-Nine-Four Trillion Naira (N10.594 trillion), an increase of Two Hundred and Sixty-Three-point-Nine-Five Billion Naira (N263.95 billion) over the Executive’s Proposal that was submitted in October 2019. We have examined the adjustments and may revert to the National Assembly with a request for a Virement or other relevant amendments.

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16. The Honourable Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning will make a public presentation of the details of the approved budget.

17. With today’s global oil market outlook and our strategic approach to revenue growth, we are optimistic that we will be able to finance the 2020 Budget.

18. However, being a deficit budget, an appropriate 2020 – 2022 Borrowing Plan will be forwarded to the National Assembly, in due course.

19. Mr. Senate President, Right Honourable Speaker, for this submission, I will once again count on your usual cooperation and support by ensuring quick consideration and approval of the Plan.

20. To optimize the desired impact, I have directed the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning and all Federal MDAs to ensure effective implementation of the 2020 Budget.

21. I wish to acknowledge the efforts of the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, the Budget Office of the Federation, and all stakeholders, who collaborated and worked painstakingly, to produce the 2020 Appropriation Bill, that I have just signed into law.

22. I thank you most sincerely for your kind attention.

23. May God continue to bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

– Muhammadu Buhari

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Breaking: Labour Suspends Today Planned Strike As FG Reverses Electricity Tariff Hike

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The Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress have suspended the strike scheduled to commence today (Monday).

This followed an agreement reached with the Federal Government at a meeting which started at 8.30pm on Sunday and ended at 2:50am this morning.

After exhaustive deliberations on the issues raised by the labour centres, the meeting agreed to suspend the application of the cost-reflective electricity tariff adjustments for two weeks.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, read the five-page communique signed by the representatives of the government and labour.

The NLC President, Ayuba Wabba; and his Trade Union Congress counterpart, Quadri Olaleye, amongst others signed on behalf of Organised Labour while the Minister of Labour, Chris Ngige; Minister of State Petroleum, Timipre Silva; Minister of State Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo (SAN); Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed; and the Secretary to Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha and others, signed on behalf of the government.

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Olaleye confirmed the development in an interview with The PUNCH on Monday morning.

He said, “Definitely correct. We just left a press conference. We signed a document to suspend the action for two weeks for the government to implement those things that we agreed in the agreement. So, we are suspending for two weeks.

“We don’t need a notice again to re-convene if there is a need to do that.”

The parties agreed to set up a technical committee comprising Ministries, Departments, Agencies, NLC and TUC.

 

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Senator Abbo’s followers Pledge Loyalty To Gov Fintiri

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Some key followers of Sen Ishaku Abbo of Adamawa North District have declared a shifting of loyalty to Governor Ahmadu Fintiri.

Although, Abbo is in the same Peoples Democratic Party ((PDP) with the state governor, Abbo has been a critic of both the party and the governor, waging an unending battle against both.

In an action indicating disaffection against him by some within his own support base on Friday, however, many among his supporters visited Governor Fintiri, pledging their loyalty to him.

Members of the delegation to the Government House in Yola, led by Abbo Support Group’s former Coordinator, Peter Ishaya Kwache, told Fintiri that he now had their “complete shift of loyalty”.

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Mr. Kwache said they were members of the PDP, who worked to ensure the success of all candidates of the party in the 2019 general election, particularly Abbo, but that they had for a while been at a loss about Abbo’s relentless criticism of the party and the government led by Fintiri.

 

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Water Bill: A Northern Agenda To Righten The Noose On The South – Rep Member

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The Member representing Ughelli North, Ughelli South and Udu federal constituency in the House of Representatives, Hon. Francis Waive, has described the Water Resources Bill as a Northern agenda to tighten the noose on the Southern part of the country.

Hon Waive who is a member of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC from Delta State in a statement, weekend while expressing concerns on the bill, explained that though some provisions in the bill are welcoming and warm, because of the nature of governance and the tendencies to misuse powers in the country, “we cannot at this point in time properly handle this kind of a law without causing more harm than good.”

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According to him, “One will be tempted to ask, what is the intention behind this law? Is it really for the general good of the Nigerian people as it states? How well has the various natural resources been managed for the general good?”

Speaking further, he said: “The oil from the Niger Delta region has not positively impacted the life of the people from the Niger Delta and the one who bears the impact of the exploration activities.

“The various River Basins which are currently under the control of the government, has not been properly managed; instead it has been grossly politicized, how then can the government manage and control all the water bodies in the country.

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“According to public opinion this law is a Northern agenda to further tighten the noose on the South, because obviously the majority of the states from the middle belt down south are surrounded by water. There is also a high resemblance of intentions of some provisions of this act with that of the unsuccessful RUGA bill.

“In my opinion, the bill is of no immediate benefit to the generality of the populace at this point in time, plus we have not developed enough as a country to be able to properly manage all the resources we have to now begin to look at water. Water is the least of our problems as a country.”

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