By Modupe Gbadeyanka
After surviving an Impeachment threat from the Lagos State House of Assembly, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode on Tuesday presented the year 2019 budget proposal of N852.316 billion to the parliament.
During the laying of the fiscal proposal before the lawmakers today, Mr Ambode said the appropriation bill had been carefully prepared to be all-encompassing and dedicated to complete major ongoing projects in the state.
The Governor said N462.757 billion representing 54 percent of the total budget size had been earmarked for capital expenditure, while N389.560 billion representing 46 percent had been dedicated to recurrent expenditure, saying that key projects such as the Oshodi-Murtala Mohammed International Airport Road and Oshodi Interchange Terminal, among others would be completed.
He said from inception of his administration, nine key areas were given priority after careful assessment of the needs of the citizens, adding that such had informed the massive investment in the said sectors which he listed to include security, transport / traffic management, economy -including tourism and agriculture, housing, education, health, infrastructure – social and physical, water, wealth creation – skill acquisition/microfinance, e-Governance and enhanced capacity building, sustainable environment and smart city projects.
Giving details of what informed the budget size, Governor Ambode said the performance of Y2018 budget of N1.046 trillion as at November 2018 stood at 60 percent owing to reduction in revenue projections, while the total revenue stood at N530.192 billion.
According to him, “In the outgoing year, however, we experienced a reduction in our revenue projections, which affected our projected performance and our desired implementation of the Y2018 budget.
“The overall budget performance as at November 2018 stood at 60 percent/N574,206 billion with actual cumulative total revenue of N530,192 billion/64 percent, Capital Expenditure closed at N311,930 billion/49 percent and Recurrent Expenditure performed at N262,276 billion/82 percent.
“In preparing the Year 2019 budget, therefore, we were very mindful of the out-going year performance, the yearnings of our people and the fact that we are going into an election year.
“Consequently, we are today presenting a budget that will be all-encompassing, reflect the level of resources that will be available and with special consideration to the completion of major on-going projects in the state.”
While outlining the key components of the Y2019 budget and the sectoral allocations, the Governor said with priority given to completion of major infrastructure projects and smooth transition to the next administration, the government was proposing a total budget size of ‘N852,316,936,483,’ including a deficit financing of N77.086 billion which is expected to be sourced from internal loans and other sources.
He added: “The projected total revenue for Year 2019 is N775.231 billion, of which N606.291 billion is expected to be generated internally, N168.940 billion is expected from Federal Transfers while a total of N77.086 billion will be sourced through deficit financing within our medium term expenditure framework.
“In 2019, as was with our previous budgets, Economic Affairs still dominates the sectoral allocation of the proposed budget. This is due to our continued focus on the completion of major on-going projects such as: Oshodi-Murtala Mohammed International Airport Road; Agege Pen Cinema Flyover; Phase II of Aradagun-Iworo -Epeme Road, Oshodi Interchange Terminal; completion of JK Randle Complex, Onikan Stadium; Imota Rice Mill; Renovation/Furnishing of Lagos Revenue House, amongst others in order to meet their specified deliverable outcomes without any bias or prejudice to others.”
Expressing optimism that the revenues of the state would improve in 2019, Mr Ambode said the government had begun consolidating on the already established public financial management and technology-driven revenue reforms through data integration and use of multi-payment channels, just as he said that every strata of the society would benefit from the budget.
“The year 2019 budget has been carefully planned to accommodate all and sundry; women, youth and physically challenged, young and old. We will continue to spread development to all part of our state even as we embark on effective transition knowing fully well that the implementation, failure or success of the budget depend on all of us,” he said.
Besides, Governor Ambode commended the Speaker and members of the Assembly for the support accorded his administration in the last three and half years, while also acknowledging the role of royal fathers, religious leaders, members of the business community, professional bodies, development partners, non-governmental organisations, public servants and all residents as well as members of the fourth estate of the realm for their various support and contribution during the lifespan of his administration.
In his remarks, Speaker of the House, Mr Mudashiru Obasa, expressed optimism that the budget would be of great benefit to the people of the state, just as he assured that the House would work with the executive to pass the budget.
Group Launches Institute to Empower Startups, Entrepreneurs
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Association of African Startups, a leading Pan-African organization focused on equipping African Entrepreneurs with the required skills to create a sustainable business, has launched its Business Institute tailored to empowering African entrepreneurs.
The unveiling took place at the Association of African Startups Tech summit that occurred on June 18, 2022.
The Association of African Startups Business Institute (TAAS Business Institute) is a seamless tech platform that allows African entrepreneurs and the diaspora to gain access to 50 courses bathed in bundles for ease of learning and that would aid in business transformation.
These courses have been designed to help both existing entrepreneurs and potential entrepreneurs to scale their businesses and enter new markets within the continents and in the diaspora.
The institution allows entrepreneurs to gain access to 12-week intensive learning and development sessions with academia with over 30 years of experience.
Commenting on the development, Mrs Just Omomo Ibe, the founder and President of the Association of African Startups said the launch was a step towards uniting Africa’s five regions.
“We are pleased to finally launch the Association of African Startups Business Institute. This is a huge feat for us to bring to life a one-of-a-kind virtual training institute relevant to the regions of Africa and the diaspora. The goal is to train and equip and 10,000 entrepreneurs across the 5 regions.
“The Association of African Startups business Institute was designed for each of these entrepreneurs having access to 12 weeks of intensive learning and development sessions.
“Over the years, there has been a growing gap in which entrepreneurs lack the requisite skills and resources needed to grow their business.
“Therefore, I believe there is a need to bridge the gap which would aid in improving the ease of doing business. The Business institute was created to equip and empowers entrepreneurs with the requisite resources needed to compete comparatively within their market and globally.
“We believe with this new feat; we are strategically and deliberately creating a pool of entrepreneurs whose businesses will stand and surpass the 5 years mark of entrepreneurs within the continent,” she said.
She added, “Join us to make our strategic objective achievable by partnering with us to reach 10,000 entrepreneurs across the 5 regions.”
NUPRC to License Successful Marginal Oilfield Bids June 28
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) has confirmed that it will issue Petroleum Prospecting Licences (PPL) to successful awardees of Marginal Fields in the 2020 Bid Round on Tuesday, June 28.
The disclosure came from Mr Gbenga Komolafe, the Chief Executive Officer of NUPRC in a statement issued over the weekend, saying that the licencing would be conducted pursuant to the provisions of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), 2021.
The PPL is expected to ensure that the awardees contribute to the country’s increased crude oil production capacity which currently stood around 1.4 million barrels per day.
Nigeria has been bedevilled by a lack of capacity to meet the 1.799 million barrels per day capacity allocated to it by the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and other allies known as OPEC+ under a record deal signed in 2020.
With this new development, it hopes to exceed that allotted capacity soon.
Mr Komolafe said that the commission had in March informed all participants in the 2020 marginal oilfield bids round programme that it had put all necessary machinery in place to conclude the bid round exercise in line with the PIA 2021.
He also said that the agency would unveil the implementation template for the Host Communities Development Trust for commencement of the provisions under Section 235 of the PIA.
This, he said, was to positively impact restiveness in the host communities, and in the process guarantee seamless operations, boost investors’ confidence and provide enabling environment for sustainable development of the country’s hydrocarbon resources.
“These will mark the conclusion of some of the most urgent and critical tasks inherited by the Commission when it was inaugurated in October 2021, after the signing into law of the PIA 2021,” he said.
He added that the Commission constituted an in-house team to distil and address the concerns of awardees with a view to settling issues affecting multiple awardees per asset and formation of Special Purpose Vehicles by awardees, in line with the respective letters of award.
Mr Komolafe, therefore, urged awardees to avail themselves of the resolution mechanism provided by the Commission in the overriding national interest.
NOSDRA Blames Vandals for OML 18 Oil Leaks in Rivers
By Adedapo Adesanya
The National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) has confirmed an oil wellhead leak at the Oil Mining Lease (OML) 18 due to activities of vandals.
The well is operated by an indigenous operator, Eroton Exploration and Production Limited.
OML 18, which produces and exports crude through the 97-kilometre Nembe Creek Trunkline (NCTL), is located near the corridors of the export line in Rivers.
It was revealed that residents said the facility had been discharging oil and gas into the coastal environment for the past week.
Mr Idris Musa, Director-General of NOSDRA, who confirmed the leak, said NOSDRA had received reports on the incident and efforts were being made to plug the leaking oil well.
“The company reported and oil recovery is underway. Efforts are on to stop the source which is a wellhead,” Mr Musa said.
Also, a notification report by Mr Odianosen Massade, Corporate Communications Lead of Eroton indicated that the incident occurred on June 15, while a site assessment visit was carried out on June 23.
The oil firm said that preliminary findings indicated that the incident was due to suspected vandalism.
“This is to bring to your attention the loss of control of Cawthorne Channel well 15 resulting to an oil spill,” the company said.
CAWC015L/S is a dual string well which started production in May 1977. The shorts string was shut-in in 1988 due to the high gas oil ratio (HGOR), while the long string watered out and well quit in 1991.
“The spill started on the 15th of June 2022 and immediately an emergency response procedure was activated.
“The operations team quickly visited the site for preliminary investigation and discovered that the wellhead was vandalised.
“It was also observed that the wellhead platform was removed, and this will compound the difficulties in gaining access to the wellhead.
“Our team of Well Engineers are working with contractors and evaluating the safest procedure that will be required to bring the well under control.
“We have activated our oil spill emergency response plan and booms have been deployed for mitigation in the area as a preliminary containment procedure.
“Notifications have also been sent to all the relevant Regulators (NOSDRA, NUPRC & RSMENV).
“A Joint Investigation Visit (JIV) by all stakeholders is planned for this week although this is subject to the readiness and availability of the critical stakeholders.
“Our operations team is monitoring the site, commenced oil recovery and are prepared to respond to any escalation,” Eroton stated.
This is one in a series of leaks with one of the most recent happening on November 5, 2021, at nearby OML 29 operated by Aiteo Eastern Exploration and Production discharged more than 8,000 barrels of crude oil for some 32 days before the leak was plugged.
Eroton and Aiteo acquired their assets following the 2015 divestment by Shell Petroleum Development Company from some of its onshore assets.
The two Nigerian companies assumed operator status in the joint venture arrangement with the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC).
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