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Lawmaker excited over 2022 Appropriation Act that empowers embassies to spend capital expenditure

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Chairman, House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Yusuf Buba, has expressed happiness over the 2022 Appropriations Act that empowers Nigerian ambassadors in the missions abroad to spend funds appropriated as capital expenditure without seeking the approval of the ministry headquarters in Abuja.

He noted that the powers granted the foreign missions in the Act, recently signed by President Muhammadu Buhari, will, among others, ensure that bureaucratic bottlenecks that impede development at the missions are removed.

The lawmaker added that the new reform would make for quality progress in the activities of the nation’s foreign service.

Buba stated this in a statement made available by his Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs, Nkem Anyata-Lafia, on Saturday in Abuja.

The lawmaker, who said that monies the National Assembly, usually appropriates directly for the nation’s missions abroad as capital expenditure are meant for use for the procurement of official vehicles, buying and renovation of embassy buildings, effecting repairs on dilapidated or decayed infrastructure as well as carrying out other projects captured under the capital component in the fiscal documents of each year, decried a situation where such projects are not, usually, undertaken for far too long as a result of  the delay in approval from Nigeria.

“The National Assembly appropriates monies directly to the  foreign missions, but before they spend the capital component of these monies, they have to come back to Nigeria to get approval.

“And most of the times, there is too much delay.

“Sometimes, you would see embassies, those that have money in their capital accounts, for two years, three years, they can’t utilise such funds because of these delays.

“So, the new Act has graciously given embassies powers to spend their Capital expenditure without seeking approval from headquarters,” he said.

According to him, that makes it easier for them.

“If for instance, there is a storm and the roof of the embassy building is blown off, before now, the ambassador would have to wait for approval from Nigeria before he could repair that roof.

“But with these powers given by the National Assembly in the 2022 Appropriations Act, the ambassador can make approvals for the repair of that building without waiting for two weeks, one year, two years for approval before he can do that,” Buba explained.

The legislator, representing Gombi/Hong Federal Constituency of Adamawa State, said as part of efforts geared towards addressing the challenges, the Committee on Foreign Affairs met at the Foreign Affairs Ministry when its members were appointed about two years ago and most of the rots identified in the system had been cleared.

Citing example. he said that the semester system for cash-backing appropriated funds at the nation’s foreign missions was also adopted as part of the many reforms of the present government.

He said all of these were carefully aimed at repositioning the ministry and the foreign missions in line with global best practices and the foreign policy of the Buhari Administration.

Buba informed that as part of the effort to reposition the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA) for greater relevance in the service of the country in the years ahead, he had personally sponsored a Bill, which has reached an advance stage towards becoming a piece of legislation at the National Assembly.

“The NIIA will be upgraded to not only broaden the current scope of its operations, but to also award academic certificates in the specialised areas of Diplomacy, Democracy and Foreign Affairs in general,” he said.

He said the committee, in conjunction with the leadership of the House, has waded into the diplomatic row between Nigeria and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the recurring maltreatment of Nigerians living in Ghana, including the infamous incursion into the premises of the Nigeria High Commission in Accra, Ghana, by a private Ghanaian company early last year, the xenophobic attacks in South Africa as well as the smear campaign carried out against a former Nigerian Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon, retd, by a member of the the British Parliament.

“These have all become a big plus that has signposted the degree of performance of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Rep. Gbajamiala-led 9th House of Representatives in the immediate past year,” he said.

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JUST IN: Nigeria’s inflation rate rises to 16.82% in April 2022

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Food inflation

Nigeria’s inflation increased to 16.82% in April 2022, a six-month high, figures from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) show.

The increase follows following a similar uptick recorded in the previous month as a result of the increase in energy and food prices. This represents the highest rate recorded since August 2021.

This is according to the recently released Consumer Price Index report, released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

The consumer price index, which measures the rate of inflation rose by 16.82% year-on-year in April 2022, which is 0.9% points higher than the 15.92% recorded in the previous month (March 2022). On a month-on-month basis, the headline index increased by 1.76% in April 2022, compared to 1.74% increase recorded in the previous month.

Similarly, the urban inflation rate increased to 17.35 percent (year-on-year) in April 2022 from 18.68% recorded in April 2021, while the rural inflation rate increased to 16.32% in April 2022 from 17.57% in April 2021.

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2023: Group raises alarm over alleged kangaroo consensus, primaries in Oyo PDP

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A group within Oyo state chapter of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Concerned People Frontiers (CPF) has raised an alarm over plan by some leaders and cabal within the party to impose some aspirants over others in a consensus through kangaroo primaries in some constituencies across the state.

The group in a statement on Monday signed by its Coordinator and Secretary, Adewale Ajani and Kunle Fasasi respectively, a copy of which was made available to journalists also appeal to the governor of state, Mr Seyi Makinde to guide against such plan.

The duo explained that there are strong indications that the alleged consensus candidature through kangaroo primaries planned to be adopted by some leaders and cabal in the party will further deepen the crisis within the ruling party in the state.

Rising from an emergency meeting held in Ibadan, Oyo State on Monday, the group said it would be better to allow all the aspirants for various elective positions to test their popularity where genuine consensus have failed.

They appealed to Governor Makinde to intervene and call such leaders and cabal into other in order not to create more division in the party, which may eventually lead to defection of some aggrieved aspirants and their supporters.

According to the statement, “We want to use this medium to appeal to his excellency, Governor Makinde as the father to all in our great party, the PDP, to appeal to those planning consensus and imposition through kangaroo primaries to desist from such act.

“Information available to us is that some cabal within the party, who have their tentacles across various constituencies are planning kangaroo primaries where genuine consensus have failed. We got to know that they have perfected plan to have filled the balot boxes with votes of their preferred candidates before the commencement of the primaries.

“Any attempt to do that will be resisted and if they succeeded with the help of thugs, we would have no option than to dump the party.

“We have resolved to support and rally round any aspirant that may emerge as candidate if the primaries are free, fair and follow democratic tenets.

“We are once again calling on our democratic governor to call such leaders and cabal to order so that we can all united to work for the victory of our party in 2023 general elections but anything aside that may spell doom for our great party”.

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