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Lagos State Govt Cuts 2020 Budget By 21%

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Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has approved a downward review of the state’s 2020 budget by 21 percent to help mitigate the economic and social headwinds precipitated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gov. Sanwo-Olu speaking through the state commissioner for economic planning and budget, Mr. Sam Egube made this known on Thursday at a briefing, said the review brings the budget from the initial N1.169 trillion passed by the State House of Assembly and signed, to N920.5 billion.

Egube gave the proposed breakdown of the revised budget as follows: Total budget size is reduced by 21% from N1,168.562tn to N920.469 billion with the financing deficit increasing slightly by 11 percent from N97.533 billion to N108.005 billion.

Recurrent expenditure (debt and non-Debt) declines by 10 percent from the initial N457.529 billion to N411.608 billion, while total capital expenditure reduced by 28 percent from N711.33 billion to N508.861 billion.

The revised total revenue, according to the commissioner, represents a drop of 24 percent from the projected N1,107,029 billion to N812.464 billion.

Egube listed factors that necessitated the review to include fall in crude oil prices with deleterious effects on statutory allocation expectations, slide in internally generated revenue (IGR) and devaluation of the naira.

Others include reduced public and private investment, increased inflation, decline in demand for goods and services and reduction in manufacturing activities, which portends lower gross domestic product (GDP) growth and increased unemployment.

Egube stated that part of the state’s holistic approach to the COVID-19 shock already adopted by the government going forward include maintaining a strong pandemic response, restarting the economy and reimagining the way Lagos State operates.

He explained that with the strong pandemic response, the state government would engender food security and safety net mechanism, economic stimulus, and ensure public safety and wellbeing.

“To restart the economy, we are going to optimise the state’s budget for investments in jobs and priority sectors through job creation, economic stabilization and fiscal consolidation,” he added.

He said while reimagining the economy, the government will prepare the state to operate and thrive within the new reality with digitisation, business environment reforms, improved economy and diversification of revenue sources.

The Lagos State House of Assembly had in December, 2019 passed the N1.169 trillion 2020 appropriation bill. The approved budget contained N457 billion recurrent expenditure and capital of N711billion showing a strong preference for capital projects at 60 percent.

The first quarter of the 2020 budget, according to Egube, however, recorded a performance of 56 percent, about ₦163.2 billion which in absolute terms is higher than the 68 percent, about ₦148.3 billion recorded for the same period in 2019.

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The Country’s Economy Sliding Into Depression – Gov. El-Rufai

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Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai has said Nigeria’s economy is going into a state of depression.

The governor said all the states are presently dealing with very difficult situation as they battle the Covid-19 pandemic.

El-Rufai said this while speaking to State House correspondents on Friday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

“The economy is going to go into depression; there is nothing we can do about that; revenues have collapsed; yet you still have to invest in more public health facilities.

“Most of the leaders have to invest in treatment despite the condition and weighed to invest in security.”

He added that it is a difficult time for those at the leadership positions even as he called on all leaders to work in unity.

“This time is a very difficult time to be in a leadership position and that is why the people and the leaders must all work together and pray for God to end this Coronavirus pandemic.

“It is a major problem, but we are working together,” El-rufai added.

The Kaduna Governor, however, added that Nigeria will surely overcome as a resilient nation.

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Maikanti Baru, Former NNPC GMD, Dies at 60

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Maikanti Baru, the immediate past group managing director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), is dead.

He was 60 years old as at the time of his death, and only two months away from his 61st birthday.

This was disclosed by Mele Kyari, the current GMD of the state-run oil company.

“My brother, my friend and my mentor, Dr Maikanti Kachalla Baru, immediate past GMD of NNPC died late last night,” Kyari said.

“He was of exemplary character and disposition. May Allah forgive him and have mercy upon him.”

Baru was appointed NNPC GMD by President Muhammadu Buhari in July 2016, a position he held up until 2019.

Baru announced his retirement from NNPC in July 2019 when he clocked the age of 60.

“Today, having clocked the statutory age of 60, I have retired from the services of NNPC. I wish the new GMD Mallam Mele Kyari and his Team success. Thank you President Muhammadu Buhari for the opportunity to serve,” he tweeted on July, 2019.

Baru was born in July 1959 in Misau, Bauchi state.

He attended Federal Government College, Jos for his secondary education where he graduated in 1978.

In 1982, he obtained his bachelor of engineering degree from Ahmadu Bello University.

Baru has a doctorate in Computer Aided Engineering from the University of Sussex in the United Kingdom.

He was the 18th GMD of NNPC.

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Court Jails Six Air Force Personnel Over Badeh’s Killing

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A general court martial in Abuja has jailed six personnel of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) who were attached to Alex Badeh, former chief of defence staff (CDS).

The late Badeh served as Nigeria’s chief of defence staff between January 2014 and July 2015.

Badeh died from the gunshot wounds he sustained in an attack on December 18. He was returning from his farm along Abuja-Keffi road when he was shot dead.

In a statement on Saturday, Ibikunle Daramola, NAF director of public relations and information, said the six officers, who were supposed to provide armed security for Badeh, were jailed on Friday. But he did not indicate the jail terms of the convicts.

He said the personnel involved are Tom Gwani, Amu David, Philemon Degema, Sabo Simon, Mukhtar Abdullahi and Alfred Alexander.

“Six NAF personnel, who were aides to the former CDS were awarded various sentences by the GCM sitting at the NAF Base, Bill Clinton Drive, Abuja,” he said.

“The personnel were standing trial for various offences. Delivering his judgment, the President of the GCM, Air Commodore David Aluku, pronounced the six accused personnel guilty of various charges.

“These included their failure to perform military duties, by absconding from the convoy of the deceased former CDS, while it came under attack, as well as conduct to the prejudice of service discipline, for giving false statements.

“The charges against the accused also included other civil offences of criminal conspiracy and miscellaneous offences relating to property, for illegally disposing of 79 rounds of 5.56mm live ammunition issued for the protection of the late CDS, among others.

“While pleading in mitigation, the Defence Counsels urged the court to show leniency, describing the accused persons as first time offenders. The sentences were announced as being subject to confirmation by the Appropriate Superior Authority.”

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