13 Jun

Daily Watch – 2017 Budget signed into law, Miyetti Allah protest in Taraba

  • Acting President Yemi Osinbajo has signed the 2017 budget into law. The budget was due to be signed a fortnight ago, but the signing was put off for undisclosed reasons. President Buhari had presented a budget proposal of ₦7.298 trillion to the National Assembly on December 14, but the senate which passed it on May 11 jerked it up by ₦143 billion. The budget has a projected revenue of ₦5.08 trillion with a deficit of ₦2.36 trillion. A total of ₦2.98 trillion was earmarked for recurrent non-debt expenditure, while ₦2.17 trillion was earmarked for contribution to the development fund for capital expenditure exclusive of capital expenditure in statutory transfers. A total of ₦434.41 billion was earmarked for statutory transfers; ₦1.84 trillion for debt service and ₦177.46 billion for sinking fund for maturing bonds.
  • Oil servicing firm, Baker Hughes, has disclosed in its latest report that the international rig count for May 2017 was 957, up 1 from the 956 counted in April 2017, and up 2 from the 955 counted in May 2016. This indicates that oil and gas companies have increased investment in exploration and production, despite the current lull in the international market. Speaking to the Vanguard, Abiodun Adesanya, president of the Nigerian Association of Petroleum Explorationists, indicated that profit margins had risen slightly in the industry which enabled more rigs to be opened.
  • The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission has threatened to dissolve the boards of the electricity distribution companies over continued poor performance. The threat came as the FG asked the DISCOs to improve their services if they must avoid losing their customers or running out of business once GENCOs start selling electricity to eligible customers. Commissioner, Engineering Performance and Monitoring, NERC, Prof. Frank Okafor, said, “A lot of the Discos have not done well in metering people. They committed to certain level of metering every year, but they have not done that. We are looking at very heavy sanctions, including calling off the boards of some Discos and replacing the boards. It is going to be as bad as that very soon because NERC has a right, just like the Central Bank of Nigeria does to the banks, to sack the boards and put in new boards.”
  • Members of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria yesterday protested an anti-grazing bill that is in front of the Taraba State House of Assembly. The protest started at the Ministry of Works in Jalingo and proceeded to the state assembly complex. Led by its state chairman, Sahabi Mammud, the association “rejected the bill in its entirety because it was ill-intended, discriminatory and a misplaced priority.” Citing various sections of the 1999 constitution (as amended), they complained that the bill would “restrict the movement of certain group of people who are constitutionally guaranteed of freedom of movement.” The speaker of the Taraba House, Peter Abel Diah, urged the protesters to attend the public hearing that would be conducted in the state’s geopolitical zone, and added that the bill was not targeted against any group as claimed by the association.