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Budget office

 

THE Federal Government has commenced preparation for the 2018 budget with the training of budget officers in 800 ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) across the country.

Speaking at the commencement of the training exercise in Lagos, Director General, Budget Office of the Federation, Mr. Ben Akabueze, said that the training was focused on the use of the Government Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS) budget preparation module, which would be used for the first time to prepare the 2018 budget.

Akabueze who was represented by the Director, Fiscal Policy, Budget Office, Mr Anslem Anyanwu, stated: “We shall be training over 4,250 participants involved in budget preparations from over 800 Federal Government MDAs in six cities across the six geo-political zones of the country.

 “We are quite excited about this development because for the first time since its procurement we shall be using GIFMIS budget preparation module. This is the first time the MDAs will be using GIFMIS to carry out both budget preparation and budget execution.

GIFMIS will enhance the smooth and seamless linkage between budget preparation, submission, execution, monitoring, evaluation and reporting.”

Addressing journalists at the sidelines of the event, Supervisory Director, Budget Office, Mr Ibrahim Iddrisu said, “Budget preparation in the last five years has been more or less a manual basis before uploading it into a GIFMIS system. We have been executing the budget on a GIFMIS but the preparation will be manual. It has been hectic. From last year there has been an evolution where we have to prepare it online and then upload it into the GIFMIS.”

Ibrahim explained that the difference between the 2017 and 2018 budget preparations is the use of GIFMIS platform. The platform gives seamless, no difficulty, using the same module within the same system from just preparation to execution.

 

Source - VANGUARD

nigerian students

Pupils in the class

 

Federal Government has ordered the Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC) to separate Christian Religious Knowledge and Islamic Religious Knowledge in the basic education curriculum.

 

Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, gave the order yesterday in Abuja, at the meeting of Ministers of Education with education stakeholders from six geo-political zones and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

 

The meeting attended by the commissioners for Education from various states of the federation was part of the ongoing efforts to strengthen the partnership within the three tiers of government in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals 4 (SDG4).

 

The minister noted that Nigeria has selected the Goal 4 of the SDGs, which emphasises inclusive and quality education for all and promotion of lifelong learning, for implementation in view of the importance of education as a fulcrum to national development.

 

Adamu, who was represented by the Minister of State for Education, Professor Anthony Anwukah, said the directive to separate the subjects becomes imperative in view of the various complaints by Nigerians, especially the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN)that has been vociferous about the issue.

 

He noted that the collapse of the subjects was not done by the current administration as it was an effort by the last administration of President Goodluck Jonathan to reduce the number of subjects offered by pupils and students in schools.

 

According to him, “There is this controversy over the merger of CRK and IRK in the school curriculum. There were complaints by parents that children were overloaded with so many subjects and the recommendation then was to merge one or two subjects. Unfortunately, water and oil were merged together and it is not working.”

 

The minister also noted in his keynote address the commitment of the Federal Government to revamping the education sector and appealed to the state governments as well as relevant stakeholders to support the federal government’s effort.

 

He noted that the federal government was aware that in the journey towards achieving the Education 2030 Agenda, key issues including the phenomenon of out-of-school children, insecurity in and around the schools and infrastructure decay must be addressed.

 

The minister said there was also the need to have credible and reliable data, and how to address the challenge of poor teacher quality as well as teacher gaps, low carrying capacity in tertiary institutions, and poor learning outcomes.

 

He said: “We recognise that the task of revamping the education sector is challenging, the ministry of education cannot do it alone. Our task is to coordinate national efforts to meet our national goals and objectives.

 

Source - LEADERSHIP

US Consul General John Bray

 US Consul General, John Bray

 

The United States Government has offered 150 Nigerian students within the Lagos Consulate District scholarships worth $2m to study in various universities in the US.

Out of the students, seven who applied through the EducationUSA Opportunity Funds Programme was granted fully-funded scholarships.

Speaking on Tuesday at the 2017 Pre-Departure Orientation Programme for the students, the US Consul General, John Bray, said five of the seven students who got full scholarships were travelling for their postgraduate studies, while the remaining two were going for their first-degree programmes.

Quoting the latest Institute of International Education’s Open Doors Report, Bray said Nigeria had experienced a remarkable increase in the number of students pursuing higher education in the US.

According to the report, about 10,674 Nigerians are studying at more than 730 colleges and universities in the US, making Nigeria the leading source of African students in the country.

Bray counselled the students to comport themselves creditably in the US, asking them to be good ambassadors for Nigeria.

“I urge you to be exceptional ambassadors for Nigeria and to take seriously your responsibilities to be good citizens and scholars, just as I wish you great success in your chosen academic fields and a fulfilling experience in the US,” he said.



Source - PUNCH

Breaking news

 

The house of representatives has asked the ministry of education not to group subjects like Christian religious studies (CRS) and Islamic religious studies (IRS) under civic education.

In the revised universal basic education curriculum implemented by the Nigerian educational research and development council (NERDC), both subjects were grouped under civic education.

At plenary on Tuesday, Beni Lar, a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lawmaker from Plateau state, opposed the compulsory inclusion of religious education in the revised curriculum.

Lar charged his colleagues to look into the issue which has sparked controversy in the country.

After a debate, the lower legislative chamber adopted the motion to ask the ministry of education not to merge the subjects.

Culled from THE CABLE

Amaechi

Rotimi Amaechi, Minister of Transportation.

 

Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi on Monday said that the economic recession in the country is not as bad as witnessed some months ago.

Amaechi, who has assured that the ongoing Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge rail would be completed by December 2018, said this in a chat with newsmen in Lagos.

Admitting that the All Progressives Congress (APC) must improve the economy, Amaechi said Nigerians should equally know that the economy was very bad when the present government took over.

His words: “When the recession was biting, people were shouting recession. Now that it is no longer as biting, though there is still recession it is not as biting as before, there is an improvement, true or false?

“Whether it is little or not, there is an improvement. Don’t forget that when we came, the economy was very bad, nobody wants to remember that.

“I agree with people that put up the agreement that ‘we should shut up our mouth and work, that we knew there was a problem and that was why we asked to be voted in and that was why we were voted in’.

“So I agree with them but they should acknowledge first that there was a problem.

“We are addressing the issues and you must give us time to rebuild. Rebuilding is not one day, it doesn’t happen one day, does it?’‎”

 

Culled from Daily Post.

MD Philip Morris Cosken KaganDicle

 

In this interview with the Managing Director of Philip Morris Limited, manufacturers of Marlboro and L & M brand of cigarettes, Mr Cosken KaganDicle, explains why the company established a manufacturing plant in Nigeria despite the challenges of operating environment, among other issues

WHY did you venture into the Nigerian market at the time you did?


Africa is at the forefront of investment focus for many international companies across a wide range of industries. Within Africa, Nigeria’s human and natural resources, combined with the fact that there has been political stability and democratic governance since 1999, make the country an attractive investment destination.

From our industry perspective, despite our global market leadership position as Philip Morris International, we were not present in Nigeria and one of our global competitors was enjoying what we can call a monopoly situation in Nigeria.



Monopoly situation

We commenced business in Nigeria in 2015, after obtaining all necessary statutory and regulatory approvals. Our objective has always been to provide our international brands of the highest quality, as alternative choices to the legally aged smokers who have made the choice to continue to smoke.


Recount your experience in Nigeria.

What challenges come with the operating environment? It has definitely been worthwhile. Looking back to the time I started as managing director in Nigeria, precisely in February 2016, I can say we have had a fast learning curve discovering the uniqueness of doing business here. Our experience shows that doing business in Nigeria at this time might not be as difficult as it is being portrayed outside the country, particularly in the media, which has created an erroneous perception of the Nigerian business terrain as a difficult operating environment. With the government’s intervention in addressing the power supply challenges, infrastructure deficiency as well as the recent economic reforms focused on the ease of doing business in Nigeria, the business environment can only get better. From PM’s perspective, the operational and economic outlook is extremely positive and we are here to stay.


What is your investment plan for Nigeria?

The plan is to steadily grow our investment in Nigeria. Since 2015, when we started our operations by taking advantage of the ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme (ETLS), which enables free movement of goods within West Africa, we have gone from 100 percent importation of brands from our manufacturing plant in Senegal, to taking the bold step of starting to locally manufacture our brands in Nigeria with our strategic partner, International Tobacco Company Limited (ITC). This goes to show the confidence we have in the Nigerian market and our focus on local manufacturing and other investments will certainly continue.


How does Nigeria compare with other markets where you operate?

Every market has its peculiarities. For PMI, countries that have signed up to and are guided by the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) resolutions have some unanimity in the treatment of the tobacco industry and this helps to maintain a unified approach in addressing the challenges facing the tobacco industry, such as illicit trade, youth smoking, etc. Since the enactment of the National Tobacco Control Act, 2015, which has led to the setting up of the National Tobacco Control Committee with a view to ensuring compliance with the law by all stakeholders, there have been a lot of activities within the industry and all players are aware that it is no longer business as usual. We welcome these developments in the hope that they will help the tobacco industry operate within the provisions of the law to the benefit of all stakeholders.


In what areas would you want to see changes?

Regarding the operating environment, it will be nice to see more of an improvement in power supply and quality of infrastructure. On industry specific changes, I would like to see more efforts towards the fight on illicit trade and counterfeit products as this will invariably increase revenue generation for the government. I am also keenly looking forward to the continued implementation of the Act and other subsidiary legislations with a view to ensuring compliance by all stakeholders.


Why did PML start local manufacturing in Nigeria at this time?

Since our entry into the market, we have been very clear about our commitment to Nigeria and about the contributions we can make to the local economy.  


Significant job creation

It has always been our strategy to manufacture our brands locally. Having found the right partner in ITC, we are proud that this is happening in less than two years of our presence in Nigeria; this will no doubt contribute to the local economy and establish a long lasting presence for our company.

There is also the advantage of significant job creation, which PMI globally is passionate about as attested to by the many Top Employer awards received across the countries and regions where we operate. We are already providing direct and indirect employment to thousands of Nigerians through our distributors, agencies and the support we are giving to the trade.






Nigerian produce

 

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh, has said Nigeria produce more food than the people can consume.

He stated that a huge chunk of the food got wasted due to poor storage facilities across the country.

He stated this yesterday while flagging-off the Nigeria Yam Export. Speaking at the event, Ogbeh pointed out export as one of the ways Nigeria can prevent food wastage, lamenting the country’s poor preservation capacity. He also stressed the need for Nigeria to begin to earn more foreign exchange by exporting yam.


According to him, “there is really no shortage, new yams will be here in two weeks. The old stock is still there everywhere and people in the market are getting worried that new yams will come and nobody will touch the old ones.”

“We actually over produce food here (in Nigeria), 30% to 40% of some of the food we produce is wasted because of poor preservation capacity,” the Minister stated.

 

Source - DAILY POST

Dr Abraham Nwankwo

Dr Abraham Nwankwo, Director General of Debt Management Office (DMO)

 

One of Nigeria’s longest serving public servant, Dr Abraham Nwankwo, Director General of Debt Management Office (DMO) will bow out from office on Friday after serving  for ten years. 

Dr. Abraham Nwankwo was appointed Director-General of the Debt Management Office in 2007, having joined the services of the agency in 2001 as Assistant Director. In-between (July 2006 – July 2007), he had a stint at the Board of the World Bank where he served as Senior Advisor to the Executive Director (Africa Group II Constituency).

One of the significant achievements of the Abraham Nwankwo reign at DMO was the conducting of Debt Sustainability Analysis on every State to decide whether or not to approve each request for new borrowing. The analysis led to  a drastic curtailment and mitigation of risk of over-borrowing by the States.

The Debt Sustainability Analysis initiative of the DMO formed part if the Subnational Debt Management Initiatives and Achievements of the organisation.

The DMO under Nwankwo in its quest to ensure prudent management of resources and the adoption of sound public debt management practices at all levels of governance developed a comprehensive programme for Sub-national which would enable them effectively determine their domestic debt stock and manage it as a matter of routine.

The DMO also successfully marketed Nigeria’s FGN bonds which are debt securities (liabilities) of the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) issued by the Debt Management Office (DMO) for and on behalf of the Federal Government.

Before joining the Public Service, Nwakwo had worked in the banking and finance sector where he held top management positions; in Academics, as a lecturer in Economics at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka for about five years; as well as in journalism as an Economics Journalist with the New Breed Organization.

He had all his University degrees from the University of Nigeria Nsukka: B.Sc. Economics (1980) – Winning the Prize for the best Economics degree; M.Sc. Economics (1983); and PhD Economics (1985) – Winning the University Prize for outstanding PhD research. He was the first PhD graduate in Economics produced by the University of Nigeria, 25 years after the institution was established.

In addition to numerous Publications in Academic Journals, he is also a creative writer. His published works in Literature and Economics include: “Minds of Time” (Poetry), “Tatu” (Drama) and “Oracles for Heroes” (Prose) – all published by Delta Publishers in 2004; “Through the Storm” (Drama) and “Stable Growth & Foreign Exchange” – both published by Evans Brothers in 2011.

Oli pipes

 

The Presidency has declared that Nigeria’s oil reserve estimate as per reserve has been estimated to dry up in the next 25 years to 30 years at most.

The Presidency added that the focus of the government must be on gas which is also estimated to last for over 60 years, adding that his government must ensure a dramatic move into gas production.

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu spoke yesterday at the 5th triennial delegates conference of the Petroleum & Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) in Abuja.

In reading President Muhammadu Buhari’s Keynote address on the theme: “Emerging Trends in the oil and gas industry and its impacts on Labour movement in Nigeria,” Dr. Kachukwu, who emphasized that he was representing and presenting the message of the president said  “As it concerns Nigeria, we must work inclusively hard to deal with some of the difficulties that we will continue to see in our production platforms. Whether it is the militants which is a key component or the slow speed of approvals or whether the fact that our policies are not even as fast as they should catch up with changing Times.

“Those of us who have the opportunity to seat in ministerial zones where we have to influence policies have got to work extremely hard to help drive the sea of change that is imperative if the sector is to survive.

“Infrastructural deficit is a key component. We lack infrastructure in the sector, whether it is down streamed or upstream or oil and gas. The absence of infrastructure has made it impossible to have a holistic private sector participation. We have got to find policies that will encourage private sector participants to play a key role.

“Coupled with that is the fact that countries are moving away from oil. Our oil estimate as per Reserve is at best about 25 to 30 years, while gas estimate is over 60 years. Clear enough, Nigeria is more of a gas country than an oil country. But what are we doing to ensure our dramatic movement into the gas production?

“I am just coming from the FEC where we presented a memo on gas which has been approved today. Major movement is in terms of what we need to do in the gas environment because it is so key that unless we can put the two energy together, we are not likely to see an improvement in our economy or see opportunities that most of you are beginning to miss in terms of job creation and employment in the oil sector.”


He added: “Gas is the new horizon of opportunity. There is so much happening that needs to happen, that should have happened yesterday. Gas is the future for this country and the place to be and we need to start looking at that. Increasingly, we are seeing very strong local players.

“I need to see gas flaring east out win the next three years. I like to see the refineries which is enmeshed in all kinds of confusion finally kick off.

“On the issue of refineries, let me say that there has been attempt and there is no approval to concession refineries or sell refineries. I keep hearing discussions all over the place especially from people who should know better.

“What we have approval for is to bring in a financing mechanism that will enable us to finance and develop and upgrade the refineries as they are. The reality is that once private sector players begin to build their own refineries, whatever we are afraid of will disappear and unless we begin to move very rapidly and quickly to position these refineries in such a way that they can compete, we will lose the refineries completely together with the job scale that exist there right now.

“My drive is to see that those investments go through a transparent process and the announcement that you hear about selection has not happened.”

On the emerging trends in the industry, he said the reality is that the oil industry is changing almost transformatively; while prices have tumbled and have continued to struggle despite all the works done in OPEC to boost it.

According to him, “the reality is that investments are declining at an alarming rate and suddenly, there are new entrants into the industry. Also, CEOs are struggling as to where to put very scarce resources and suddenly, it is just how well you can market your country, reposition your policies in such a way that there are benefits.

“All in a sudden, investment return in some of these exploration activities are beginning to get challenges. Only those who are able to look at their technology and new ways of doing business are going to survive the oil industry of tomorrow.

“If you take the annual return of most of the major oil companies, you will see the sort of disequilibrium that’s happening there and those who are beginning to jump in and out of leadership.

 

Source -  BREAKING TIMES

DR joe abah

DG, BPSR. Dr Joe Abah.

 

The Director-General of Bureau of Public Service Reforms, Dr Joe Abah has explained why there is a scarcity of Nigerian passports.

He said the development was caused by the increase in the exchange rate of the naira to the dollar.

Abah told newsmen on Monday in Abuja that dollar, which was formerly exchanging between N150 to N160, was now N300 and above.

He added that the passport was not produced in Nigeria as only three companies in the world had the capacity and techniques to produce an international travel passport.

His words, “The reason for the scarcity is because since it’s not produced in the country, Nigeria had a contract with the foreign firm to do most of the production. “And at the time the contract was signed, 100 dollars was worth N15,000 which is the cost of the Nigerian passport of 32 pages, the 64 pages costs N20, 000.

“So with the naira being so much against the dollar, it meant that the N15, 000 paid by individuals will only amount to 30 dollars, not 100 dollars. “So the money citizens were paying simply could not buy it anymore and the government was a bit reluctant to increase the price threefold.

“Currently, the government is making efforts to look for ways to subsidise the cost until we can produce the passport in country or dollar drops.’’

He noted that the passport would soon be produced like the drivers’ licence in the country, adding that the available passport booklets were presently being used to clear the backlog of applicants.

“A few months ago the Comptroller-General of Immigration announced that we now have passport booklets available across the country and across the world.

“However, there had been a backlog of about six months or so people who apply newly are still waiting because they are still dealing with the people who applied before them.

“So our expectation is that in the next few months, it will ease up and we will go back to the standard timing which is supposed to be 72 hours from where all your documentation is checked and correct”‎, he added.

 

Source - Daily Post.

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