By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The Senate Committee of Appropriations has been given till Wednesday, November 24, 2021, to conclude the budget defence by sub-committees so as to meet the December 14 target for the passage of the 2021 budget submitted to the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari a few weeks ago.
President of the Senate, Mr Ahmad Lawan, in a statement issued on Tuesday by his Special Assistant on Press, Mr Ezrel Tabiowo, stated that failure to complete the defence tomorrow could mar the timely passage of the budget as planned.
However, he assured Nigerians that the parliament, especially the upper chamber, will do a thorough job that would be satisfactory to them.
Mr Lawan praised the ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) of government for appearing before the committees of the chamber to defend their respective budget estimates.
“According to our timetable for the budget defence and subsequent processing by our committees or subcommittees of the Appropriations Committee, tomorrow will be the last day for the budget defence.
“Tomorrow will be the last day for the budget defence by subcommittees for appropriation before the committee on appropriations.
“It is gladdening that all our committees have finished their budget defence with ministries, departments and agencies as programmed by this Senate. But we have a little bit of a hitch, we are behind schedule with some of our committees.
“So, I’m sure that those committees that should have appeared before the committee on appropriation, but could not have had some challenges with getting some details from the MDAs.
“Tomorrow, no matter what, we have to conclude with the budget defence by the subcommittees before the committee on appropriations, and it is very important,” the Senate President was quoted as saying.
Explaining why work on the budget must be concluded in good time, Mr Lawan said, “In fact, it is very, very essential that we keep to our timetable, otherwise, we may run into a very serious problem with our time for the budget to be considered and passed by December 14.
“I’m sure that our committees will be able to appear before the committee on appropriations by tomorrow.
“I will also add that the committee on appropriations should make itself available to our subcommittees for appropriation.
“We have up to the weekend to conclude on the work of defence by the subcommittees before the appropriations committee so that the appropriations committee is able to also work to compile the document for us to work with when we come to the next segment for the budget processing – that is the laying, consideration and passage of the budget proposal by the grace of God.
“I want to take this opportunity to thank all our committees for doing very well so far, and I’m sure that this little hitch is not something that we cannot deal with.
“On the whole, the program is going on, and I’m particularly glad that we have been able to finish the defence by the MDAs, and also commend the MDAs for coming forward to defend rather than leaving us to do what we think they want.”
Ellah Lakes, Enugu Government Seal Rice Processing Deal
By Dipo Olowookere
A Nigerian agribusiness company, Ellah Lakes Plc, has sealed an agreement with the Enugu State government for the processing of rice aimed to improve food security in the state and the nation at large.
The chief executive of the firm, Mr Chuka Mordi, described the deal as “a significant landmark for the company in fulfilling our strategic objective of diversifying our portfolio and production base.”
Ellah Lakes said in a statement that with the partnership, it will transform the Ada Rice Company and Plantation in Adani, Uzo-Uwani LGA, into a Staple Crop Processing Zone (SCPZ) in Enugu State.
This is expected to create not less than 5,000 jobs over the next 24 months as the company will have the opportunity to establish a feed mill and ethanol processing plant on the site in Adani.
Business Post reports that Adani community is well-known for the cultivation and production of rice but due to poor infrastructure and support of the government, it has suffered low patronage.
This partnership between the Enugu State government and Ellah Lakes should change the narrative for good and boost local production of rice.
In the statement issued on Wednesday by Ellah Lakes, a company listed on the trading platform of the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited, work is scheduled to begin immediately in Adani.
“Ellah Lakes is happy to announce that it has entered into an agreement with the Enugu State Government, through the Enugu State Technical Committee on Privatisation and Commercialisation, for the expansion and further development of the Ada Rice Company and plantation in Adani, Uzo-Uwani LGA, into a Staple Crop Processing Zone (SCPZ) in Enugu State, Nigeria.
“Ellah Lakes will produce and process rice with the participation of over 200 indigenous farmers in the local out-grower program. Ellah Lakes will also develop a feed mill and ethanol processing plant on the site in Adani.
“The development is expected to create a minimum of 5,000 jobs over the next 24 months, and work is scheduled to begin immediately,” a part of the statement disclosed.
“This is a significant landmark for the company in fulfilling our strategic objective of diversifying our portfolio and production base, and we are very excited to be working with the Enugu State Government.
“We are very pleased with this collaboration with the very progressive government of Enugu State. For us, this is the beginning of a great journey to expand the industrial base of the state, and we look forward to a mutually beneficial, valuable and fruitful venture,” Mr Mordi was quoted as saying.
Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers Rewards Customers
Ahead of the festive season, Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers, Nigeria’s largest Pension Fund Administrator (PFA), has unveiled the Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers Loyalty Program tagged Umatter.
It is a reward scheme targeted at the customers of the PFA, to reward them for their loyalty and patronage through exclusive discounts as they shop with their e-loyalty card.
The loyalty program is available at the PFA’s partner merchants’ locations and stores across the nation. It is aimed at providing Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers’ customers with exciting shopping discounts to help them spend less and save more when they shop.
Some of the participating merchant outlets are Maybrands, Café Royale, Hubmart Stores, Chocolate Royal, La Campagne Tropicana, Physio Centers of Africa, Medplus, iStore, Oriki, Launderland and Active Leisure. The discounts range from 5 to 12 per cent on products and services purchased.
Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers’ partnerships with these major outlets will enable customers to seamlessly enjoy instant discounts on their purchases during this festive period, thereby making life even more easy and affordable for customers who use the Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers e-loyalty card.
Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers will continue to initiate valuable programs like this that encourage people to continue saving for their retirement and building their financial future.
New and existing customers can be a part of this exciting loyalty program by visiting www.stanbicibtcpension.com or calling 01 271 6000.
FG to Inject N381trn into Economy to Create Job, Tackle Poverty
By Adedapo Adesanya
The federal government is partnering with the Industrial Training Fund (ITF) to inject N381 trillion into the economy to cushion the growing rate of poverty, job losses and economic degradation in Nigeria.
This was disclosed by the Director-General of the Fund, Mr Joseph Ari, during a media interaction with the Correspondent Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists in Jos.
Mr Ari said the federal government came up with a 5-year National Development Plan tied around the sum of money to be able to achieve this aim.
He said the plan will replace the initial Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (EGRP).
According to him: “The plan, which projects the creation of 21 million jobs, with 35 million Nigerians lifted out of poverty, affordable housing for Nigerians and an export-led economy among others, is expected to cost N381 trillion to implement and have six focal areas of economic growth and development, infrastructure, public administration, human capital development, social development and regional development.
“As the leading human capital development institution in Nigeria, we have commenced the process of repositioning our programmes and activities to effectively prepare the Nation’s workforce in line with our mandate of developing a pool of qualified Nigerians to man the public and private sectors of the national economy as we believe that for this plan to succeed, all Nigerians as individual citizens and as institutions must contribute their bit.
“You will recall that on the assumption of office in 2016, the economy was in recession leading to massive job losses and corresponding increases in poverty.
“Our initiatives then particularly the emphasis on skills intervention programmes was borne out of the need to drive the actualization of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (EGRP), which we achieved to an appreciable degree by training hundreds of thousands of Nigerians that are today gainfully employed or even employers of labour,” Mr Ari said.
He, however, lauded the media for a robust coverage of the Funds activities over the years, saying that the media has been critical in return of peace in the state.
“Beyond this, fora such as we are holding today have been critical to the return of peace in plateau state, thereby creating the necessary environment for our organisation to thrive especially within the last five years on account of your professionalism and determined efforts to rise above sensationalism, headline-grabbing and petty politics,” Mr Ari said.
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