After leading the opening prayer and recitation of the national pledge, the Speaker approved the votes and proceedings of Thursday, November 16th, 2023.
Administration of Oath of allegiance to the Federal Republic of Nigeria and that of the Office of a Member of the House of Representatives on 4 Members-elect:
- Hon. Alfred Iliya Ajang (Plateau, Labour Party)
- Hon. Vincent Venman (Plateau, APC).
- Hon. Dalyop Fom, (Plateau Labor Party).
- Honorable Members from the Southeast caucus of the House of Representatives will be having a meeting immediately after plenary of Wednesday, November 22nd 2023 by 3:00 PM at Meeting Room 414.
- There will be a meeting of Honourable Members of the South-South caucus immediately after plenary at the Chamber of the House.
- The meeting of the Special Committee on the cases of oil theft in Nigeria will hold on Wednesday, November 22nd, 2023.
- Hon. Philip Agbese laid a petition on behalf of Africa Center for Justice and Human Rights against a government agency; Hydrocarbon Projects on the alleged monumental corruption, contract racketeering and abuse of office.
- Hon. Nnamdi Ezechi laid a petition on behalf of Commonwealth Energy Limited against the management of Niger Delta Development Commission on the alleged denial for payment of a contract done.
- Hon. Jesse Onuakalusi laid 2 petitions demanding for payment for a contract allegedly carried out in 2019.
- Hon. Ibrahim Umar laid a petition on behalf of a complainant against Ahmadu Bello University on the alleged non-payment of his gratuity and other retirement benefits.
All petitions were referred to the House committee on Public Petitions.
MATTER OF URGENT PUBLIC IMPORTANCE:
- Hon. Khadija Bukar moved a motion on the urgent need to address the recent attack on the Executive Governor of Yobe State and it was seconded by Hon. Onanuga Ariyomi. Hon. Khadija in leading the debate expressed worry on the attack on such a high profile individual in Yobe State and wondered who is safe if despite his heavy security, the Governor’s convoy could be attacked and some of his security details killed. She expressed further concern that despite the efforts of government, these sort of attacks on individuals continue to rise. Hon. Khadija called on the relevant security agencies to ensure more personnel are deployed to the region to maintain security, peace and order and that the relevant Committees of the House should also ensure compliance to the prayer of the motion.
The motion was voted on, adopted and referred to the House committee on Defense, Army as well as that on National Security.
ADMITTANCE INTO THE CHAMBER
Hon. Julius Ihonvbere:
“That the House, pursuant to Order Twenty–One, Rule 8 (2) of the Standing Orders of the House of Representatives, do admit into the Chamber, the Chief of Defence Staff, Chief of Army Staff, Chief of Naval Staff, Chief of Air Staff, Inspector General of Police and their entourage for the purpose of Sectoral Debates on security issues”.
The motion for admittance into the chambers of the House was moved by Hon. Julius Ihonvbere and seconded by Hon. Kingsley Chinda.
PRESENTATION OF REPORTS:
1.Committees on Finance, National Planning and Economic Development and Aid, Loans and Debt Management:
Hon. James Abiodun Faleke:
“That the House do receive the Report of the Committees on Finance, National Planning and Economic Development and Aids, Loans and Debt Management on the 2024 – 2026 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP)” (Referred: 1/11/2023).
The report was laid following a motion by Hon. James Faleke and seconded by Hon. Abubakar Nalaraba.
2.Ad–hoc Committee to Investigate the Gruesome Murder of Some Nigerians by Soldiers in Enugu:
Hon. Abdulrahman Sanni Egidi:
“That the House do receive the Report of the Ad–hoc Committee to Investigate the Gruesome Murder of Some Nigerians by Soldiers in Enugu” (Referred: 19/7/2023).
Laying of the report was stepped down by leave of the House.
ORDERS OF THE DAY:
1.Sectoral Debates Pursuant to Order Seventeen, Rules 1(3) of the Standing Orders of the House of Representatives.
Hon. Abdullahi Halims moved the motion for the commencement of the sectoral debate and it was seconded by Hon. Kingsley Chinda.
REMARKS BY THE RT. HON. ABBAS TAJUDEEN, PHD, SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, AT THE COMMENCEMENT OF SECTORAL DEBATES BY MINISTRIES, DEPARTMENTS, AND AGENCIES OF THE EXECUTIVE ON TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 21, 2023.
Today marks a significant milestone in the implementation of our Legislative Agenda as we commence the Sectoral Debates of the 10th House of Representatives. This is the maiden edition of the Debates, and I am pleased we are commencing with the security sector. Our focus on security is immediately clear, given the unprecedented challenges of the past decade. Over the last few years, we have made significant progress in tackling insecurity through improved investment by the Federal Government and the gallantry and professionalism of our service men and women. I salute the courage of our armed forces and law enforcement personnel.
- May I ask all of us to stand and observe a minute in silence for the gallant men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice to defend our nation and those who have fallen victim to the pervasive insecurity in our land [1-minute silence]. May their souls rest in peace. Amen
- Let me emphasize from the onset, that appearance in person for all invited heads of MDAs are required throughout this sectoral briefing. As such, the House shall not accept proxy representation for any reason whatsoever. Notices are sent well in advance to forestall any excuses.
- Dear Colleagues, only a few days ago, I had the honour of unveiling and presenting the Legislative Agenda of the House to the public. An important component of the Agenda is improving the quality of debates on the floor and engagement with the Executive on critical issues of national interest. As representatives of the Nigerian people, it is our duty to ensure that the policies and programmes implemented by the Executive are in line with the aspirations and needs of the citizens we all represent here in the People’s House.
- The commencement of the Sectoral Debates with Ministries, Departments, and Agencies once again demonstrates our determination to ensure that legislative measures and decisions are evidence-based and people-oriented. The Sectoral briefs will provide us with an opportunity to scrutinize the policies, activities and plans of each MDA. It will also allow the House and Members to understand better the challenges facing government agencies, their programmes and areas for legislative interventions.
- Accordingly, we have developed a Calendar for our planned engagement with the Executive covering several thematic areas, including the economy, education, health, agriculture, infrastructure, and many others. This will be undertaken regularly throughout the life of the Tenth Assembly. The Debates are in line with our constitutionally assigned powers to make laws for the good governance of the Federation and to ensure that government programmes and expenditures are in line with legislative intent. Therefore, the legislature must engage in constructive dialogue with senior government officials from all sectors to understand their operations, challenges and legislative needs.
- Honourable Colleagues, we made a conscious decision to commence the Sectoral Debates with the security Sector given that it is prioritized in our Legislative Agenda. Section 14(2) (b) of the 1999 Constitution (as altered) declares that the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government. In this declaration, the security and welfare of the people are conjunctively presented as a sole purpose.
- This session with the heads of security agencies is an important opportunity to brief the House on the progress made so far and other lingering challenges. Members will be able to ask questions on context-specific issues, and you will be given ample time to respond to the issues raised. Through this interaction, we aim to foster collaboration in tackling the multiple security challenges that confront us.
- I urge all members of this esteemed House to approach these briefings with an open mind and a commitment to serving our constituents and our country. Let us ask probing questions that seek clarity on legislations, policies, programmes, and implementation strategies. Dear Colleagues, let us approach these sectoral debates with a sense of purpose and responsibility. We must remember that our actions can potentially shape the future of our great nation. Together, we can build a prosperous, inclusive, and just Nigeria.
- I encourage our security chiefs to be transparent and forthcoming in their presentations. You are encouraged to provide us with accurate and up-to-date information, share your successes, and acknowledge your challenges. We are here not to reprimand but to understand better and, by so doing, find long-lasting solutions.
- I thank our security chiefs for their willingness to participate in this first phase of the Sectoral Debates. Your presence here today demonstrates your commitment to democracy and good governance. I assure you that the House of Representatives will provide a conducive environment for fruitful discussions and deliberations.
- Each of you will be given an initial ten minutes to give an overview of your agency, its work, successes, challenges and requests to the House. Subsequently, the floor will be opened for Members to ask questions. Each Member asking a question has two minutes for their question, while five minutes is allocated for response. This is to allow for more Members to participate. Members have an additional three minutes to ask follow-up questions.
- I now invite the Chief of Defense Staff to introduce the team and guide the process.
- Thank you once again.
(i) Chief of Defence Staff Lt. General Christopher Musa:
General Musa in his briefing praised the Legislature for always being a partner in progress with the Armed Forces. He assured Nigerians that the Armed Forces is committed to ensuring a secured country for Nigerians. General Musa recognized the activities of organized armed groups nationwide, but assured of the readiness of the Armed Forces to complement each other to ensure the thorough handling of all such insurgencies as it is mandated to do.
He commended all sectors of the Armed Forces, their Officers and leadership for their unwavering commitment to ensuring the success of a truly safe Nigeria. General Musa appreciated the hydra headed nature of activities of insecurity nationwide, but also assured of the commitment of the Armed Forces to ensure the neutralization of these activities nationwide.
He stressed the importance of inter-agency operations, as well as trans-national security agreements including joint operations for a wider sectional grade of success. He bemoaned the falling value of the Naira as all appropriated funds for the procurement of hardwares are converted to Dollars for their procurement which makes the huge amount become unable to spread the funds for appropriate purchase.
General Musa called on the Judiciary to always prosecute defaulters and convict the guilty to encourage the Armed Forces to continue working hard and not feel frustrated. He commended the Federal Government, as well as the Legislature for always being supportive of the success of the Nigerian Armed Forces. He however called for the economic empowerment of Nigerians, as poverty and economic lack fosters insecurity.
He further stressed on the strengthening of border patrol, curbing of the activities of illegal miners, as well as the fight against illicit drugs as other avenues of tackling insecurity. He called for increased manpower, training, welfare, practical appropriation for officers of the Armed Forces Sector. General Musa called on all Nigerians to be security alert to ensure a safer Nigeria and that such awareness should be inculcated in Nigerians from the primary school levels.
(ii) Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Taoreed .A. Lagbaja:
In shedding light on the activities of the Nigerian Army the CoAS stated that the Army is saddled with acting in aid of civil authority, defeating internal and external aggression and acting in line with its rules of engagement as enshrined in the Nigerian Constitution. He further stated that the Army also has multi-national sets of operation to coordinate missions against terrorism in and around the Nigerian State. General Lagbaja stressed that hitting of soft targets as well as the use of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) by terrorists account for some of the greatest casualties suffered by Nigerians and the Military in the fight against insurgency. He stated that the Army has made tremendous efforts to protect critical socioeconomic infrastructure from destruction at the hands of terrorists.
He stressed the conduct of intelligence based operations as well as interconnectivity with other security agencies for synergy of purpose and outcome as something that has been of immense help. General Lagbaja appreciated the National Assembly, especially the House of Representatives for always ensuring troops are well cared for and armed.
He further commended the troops of the Nigerian Army for their commitment in engaging insurgents without fear for even their own lives. He assured Nigerians that the Army will continue to remain committed to their mandate even if it means paying the supreme price for ensuring peace in the nation.
(iii) Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral E.I Ogala:
Admiral Ogala stated that the Nigerian Navy takes responsibility for protecting the territorial integrity of Nigeria, especially across the maritime domain. He stated that there are several Laws and Treaties to which the operations of the Nigerian Navy adhere to in its policing operations. He stressed that the Nigerian maritime area of interest is wide and needs to be adequately policed against pirates, smugglers, oil bunkerers and terrorists.
He also stated that this area of concentration is within the most lucrative coasts for criminal activities that need to be monitored and fought for constantly. Admiral Ogala stated that the Nigerian Navy have had to employ sophisticated equipment to ensure wide surveillance and have the equipment to swiftly respond to any detected threat. He also noted that the Navy works with the Civil Defense Corps and the Nigerian Police to ensure criminals apprehended are duly prosecuted. To this effect he also stressed the importance of maintaining coordination with international partners in fighting trans-national crimes that overlap maritime borders of countries.
He also commended the House for its support in providing appropriations and making good public orientation to Nigerian constituents on the critical and peculiar operations of the Nigerian Armed Forces. He called for more assistance in the Navy’s surveillance operations in covering what he termed as “back waters” in creeks and such as they currently have to rely on human tips. Admiral Ogala also called for the smooth passage of the Bill on Maritime Security Trust Fund before the National Assembly as it will aid officers and men to be well secured beyond retirement and service.
(iv) Chief of Air Staff, Air Vice Marshal Abubakar:
AVM Abubakar appreciated the House for the opportunity to interact with the Armed Forces. He assured Nigerians of the commitment of the Nigerian Airforce to containing and repelling threats and criminalities within the Nigerian airspace. He highlighted various achievements of the Nigerian Airforce in the sense of the establishment of various campaigns aimed at dealing with individual challenges in various regions which have continued to yield tremendous success.
He however stated that the rising cost of aviation fuel, delays in the release of funding for procurement of hardware, manpower, as well as porous borders needing constant patrol are among the challenges still faced by the Armed Forces. AVM Abubakar also stated that the Airforce partners with other security apparatus in ensuring efficiency in tackling security challenges.
(v) Inspector General of Police, Kayode Ogbetekun:
The IG of police praised the police officers he met on assumption of office despite the battered form they were in and expressed his commitment to ensuring the police force regains its glory days. He expressed worry that the United Nations ratio of 1 police to 400 individuals has not been achieved in a long while. He also lamented the neglect of providing functional patrol vehicles to police divisions, inadequate welfare and training of personnel as a few things that can hamper the effective operations of the Nigerian police. He appreciated the clamour by Nigerians for an excellent police force, but called for more support from government.
The IG also reiterated the commitment of the police to ensure it delivers on its mandate. He called on Nigerians to support the police as the police have begun applying sensitive and peculiarity to operations in individual communities it operates in. This is in a bid to promote cooperation with the citizenry.
QUESTIONS FROM HONORABLE MEMBERS:
Hon. Abubakar Nalaraba sought to know from the Chief of Defense Staff how effective is the counter terrorism strategy to tackling terrorism nationwide?
Hon. Sada Soli sought to know from the IG, as well as the CDS what the forces have done to leverage on the experience of retired personnel to aid in addressing challenges?
Hon. Ali Isa sought to address the reluctance of the security agencies to share intelligence with one another?
Hon. Aliyu Madaki sought to know from the Service Chiefs what measures are being taken against terrorism, kidnapping and banditry and to find out if the Nigerian Army has enough equipment and manpower to battle insecurity nationwide?
Hon. Onanuga Ariyomi called for the encouragement and patronage of local manufacturers of security hardware by the military which will be cheaper to procure. She also called for the confidentiality of informers to protect them from reprisal attacks.
Hon. Babajimi Benson sought to find out from the CDS the strategic priorities of the defence sector and what has been put in place to ensure success?
Hon. Alhassan Rurum sought to know the situational commander in the operation of war and who is in charge of operations in the Northeast and the Northwest regions?
Hon. Mamudu Abdullahi asked the Service Chiefs to work with the relevant Committees of the House to keep Nigerians informed and for more rapid success.
Hon. Abubakar Yalleman sought to find out from the IG the challenges of the Police and what measures should be taken to resolve them?
Hon. Ginger Onwusibe asked for the political means of solving the problems of insecurity?
A question was asked on how arms come out from the armouries of security agencies into the Hands of insurgents?
A call was further made to the Chief of Army Staff to mobilize men to clear out bandits in the Sokoto-Zamfara States axis as their activities have become uncontrollable.
A question was asked on the refusal by the military leadership to pay appropriated funds to officers of the Nigerian Army that led them to mutiny earlier?
A question on what happened to the surveillance technology of Nembe creek and why has it not yielded efforts was also asked?
What is the realistic timeline of adequately containing insecurity was also asked?
A question was directed to the CDS if the Armed Forces have all it takes to contain insecurity in Nigeria?
There was also a call for the release of Nnamdi Kalu.
A question was asked to know if there is any way to stop the funding of insurgents by their financiers?
Hon. George Ozodinobi sought to find out what the plans are for retiring military personnel to live well after retirement in terms of the prompt payment of all retirement benefits?
He also called for more involvement of the Armed Forces in keeping the peace in the Southeastern part of Nigeria.
Hon. Satomi Ahmed called for serious collaboration between the Legislature and the Armed Forces to ensure their success in securing Nigeria. He asked for the reactivation of a Mopol unit that was disbanded earlier. He called for the employment of cyber tactics in fighting insecurity.
Hon. Musa Abdullahi sought from the IG what can be done to make the Nigerian Police more professional?
Hon. Philip Agbese called on the Armed Forces to continue to adhere to the rule of human rights within their operations
Hon. Victor Nwokolo called for more synergy and cooperation between the Armed Forces and the people of different communities in which they operate.
Hon. Khadija Bukar sought to find out the root causes of insecurity in Nigeria?
Hon. Alhassan Ado-Doguwa called on the leadership of the Armed Forces to liaise with the Executive Arm of Government to increase funding for their operations. He assured Service Chiefs that the House of Representatives always cooperates with the security agencies in appropriations forwarded to it.
Hon. Bello Kaoje sought to find out what is being done to take care of illegal mining as it leads to the criminal acts of banditry and kidnapping?
Hon. James Faleke sought to find out how much information the Armed Forces gets from the Nigerian space satellite?
He also sought to find out if it is true that Navy Officers lobby to be posted to regions where they can perpetrate oil bunkering?
He further sought to ensure the police comply with human rights protocol and if police actually buy their own uniforms and ammunitions?
Hon. Wole Oke sought to know from the Chief of Army Staff why the capacity of the Armed Forces is being underutilized in the areas of peacekeeping and construction?
Hon. Nnolim Nnaji called on the military to diversify its operations into providing more services to other sections such as agriculture.
Hon. Awaji Abiante expressed concern about the Nigerian police inability to ensure peace in Rivers State following the alleged assassination attempt on the governor of the State.
Hon. Abdulsamad Dasuki called on the Nigeria Police to step up its effort to improve the level of trust and confidence Nigerians have in it by effectively carrying out all its mandates.
Hon. Aliyu Bappa sought to find out what efforts are in place to protect against the inflow of light weapons from the Niger Republic border? He also sought to find out if the recently procured aircrafts are being judiciously utilized in fighting insurgents?
Hon. Akin Rotimi called for the integration of local vigilantes in combatting crime. He sought clarification to ensure the issuance of police report is no longer mandatory before treating gun shot victims at hospitals .
Hon. Muktar Chawai called for the rejuvenation of operation safe haven in southern Kaduna.
Hon. Yusuf Gagdi sought to know how effective community policing has been and what efforts are being employed to ensure internal security is achieved and maintained nationwide?
Hon. Fayinka Oluwatoyin sought to find out when the Nigerian police barracks will be fit for occupation by current police officers?
Hon. Ibrahim Aliyu sought to find out the challenges preventing the Armed Forces from taking the war to the forests where the bandits stay?
Hon. Rabiu Garba sought to find out what is the percentage of utilization of the Defense Ministry infrastructure in Kaduna state that is saddled with manufacturing light weapons? He called for the empowering of all such local facilities nationwide.
Hon. Abdullahi Halims sought to find out the integrity of the intelligence unit of the Nigerian police
Hon. Regina Akume reiterated the call for the renovation of the Nigerian police barracks to proper living quarters for a well motivated police force.
Hon. Aminu Jaji sought clarification on why the claim that the Armed Forces does not negotiate with terrorists is postulated when video evidence abound showing that they do actually negotiate?
The House then went into an Executive Session for further interactions with the Service Chiefs following a motion by Hon. Abdullahi Halims and seconded by Hon. Kingsley Chinda.
On resumption of the House, the Deputy Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Kalu in his vote of thanks appreciated the contribution of the Service Chiefs in enlightening Nigerians on the issues of national security and the approaches to improving it. He commended President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for being proactive with national and regional security issues. Rt. Hon. Kalu assured Nigerians of the continuous bid by the Legislature to interact with key stakeholders of every sector of the nation for the betterment of all Nigerians.
The Speaker of the House Rt. Hon. Abbas Tajudeen commended Honourable Members for their participation in the first sectoral debate of the 10th House of Representatives, and stated that the next debate will be held on Thursday, November 30th, 2023. “There will be an engagement with the finance sector and the Minister of Finance, the Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service and probably the Comptroller of Customs are expected to come.”
CONSIDERATION OF REPORT (HOUSE IN THE COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY) Rt. Hon. Abbas Tajudeen Chaired:
2. Committees on Finance, National Planning and Economic Development and Aid, Loans and Debt Management:
Hon. James Abiodun Faleke:
“That the House do consider the Report of the Committees on Finance, National Planning and Economic Development and Aids, Loans and Debt Management on the 2024–2026 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP) and approve recommendations therein” (Laid: 21/11/2023).
After due consideration of the submissions by the Ministries, Departments and Agencies the following observations were made;
(i) the suggested benchmark oil prices are USD 73.96, $73.76 and $69.90 per barrel for 2024, 2025, and 2026 respectively;
(ii) the new administration has provided an enabling environment for an increased oil production volume from an average of between 1.2mbpd to1.6mbpd in the previous 3 years to a projection of 1.78mbpd in 2024, 1.80mbpd 2025, and 1.81mbpd in 2026;
(iii) a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate of 3.76%, 4.22%, and 4.78% is projected for 2024, 2025, and 2026 respectively based on the new policy direction of the government;
(iv) the FOREX market has been liberalized, and the exchange rate has been unified. The suggested benchmark exchange rate (N/$) for 2024, 2025, and 2026 was set at 700.00, 665.61, and 669.79, correspondingly;
however, the exchange rate pressures on the Naira is due to the lack of stable foreign reserve as a result of the lack of exports of locally produced goods;
(v) Despite the difficulties associated with eliminating fuel subsidies, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has taken steps to control the inflation rate and lessen pressure on the value of Naira in the foreign exchange market. Resultantly, the CBN estimated inflation rate is projected to reduce from 27.33% in October 2023 to an average of 21.40% in 2024, 20.3% in 2025 and 18.6% in 2026;
(vi) Following the criteria in the overview of the framework for revenues and expenses, which forms the basis of the 2024 FGN budget: FGN proposed spending N26 trillion, of which N16.9 trillion was retained; new borrowings of N7.8 trillion (including borrowing from foreign and domestic); debt service to revenue ratio of 49%; pension, gratuities, and retiree benefits of N1.2 trillion; and a fiscal deficit of N9 trillion (including GOEs);
(vii) the projected N16.96 trillion revenues to the federal government for the 2024 fiscal year is attainable with effective revenue monitoring exercise and oversight by the relevant committees of the National Assembly;
(viii) the projected fiscal deficit of N9.048 trillion, N10.02 and N11.48 proposed for the 2024, 2025 and 2026 fiscal years are 22%, 13.6% and 1% lower than the N11.6 trillion fiscal deficit for the year 2023. The proposed strategy for the government in 2024 towards deficit financing is to increase funding from privatization proceeds and foreign borrowing and reduce funding from multilateral and bilateral project–tied loans, and domestic borrowing;
(ix) that the Federal Government’s commitment to progressively restructure its debt portfolio towards achieving a balanced domestic-to-external debt ratio is evident in the 2024-2026 MTEF and FSP;
(x) a significant number of the Federal Government’s Revenue-Generating Agencies engaged in arbitrary, frivolous and extra-budgetary expenditure;
(xi) most of the Revenue Agencies violate the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2007 due to the lack of punitive provisions in the Act;
(xii) most agencies are not complying with financial reporting standards;
(xiii) that some Revenue Generating Agencies were involved in Joint venture agreements, especially in the oil and gas sector where Forward Sales Agreements are executed for upfront payments for future product delivery without recourse to the National Assembly. This trend was also observed in other sectors notably in the power sector where power purchase agreements were entered into by NBET and NDPHC committing the Federal Government to a whopping 40 million dollars monthly Take Or Pay agreement even when the agencies were fully aware that the country has limitations in meeting up with the obligation of the agreements;
Such agreements subject the country to International arbitrations which expose the country to huge contingent liabilities; in 2024 alone, contingent liabilities of the government are estimated at N6.9 trillion, and N7 trillion for 2025 and 2026 respectively.
(xiv) Table of Contingent Liabilities
Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria
FCDA- Katampe Infrastructure Project
Nigeria Ports Authority – Lekki Deep Seaport
Nigerian Export-Import (NEXIM) Bank
Nigeria Mortgage Refinance Company Plc
Payment Assurance Facility for Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading Plc
Power Sector Contingent Liabilities Put-Call Option Agreement (PCOA)
482Tuesday, 21st November 2023No. 62
Power Sector Contingent Liabilities – Partial Risk Guarantees (PRG)
Legacy FGN Exposure from PHCN Successor Companies
NNPC – AKK Gas Pipeline Project
Family Homes Fund Limited (FHFL)
Pension Arrears for MDAs
The above contingent liabilities are a result of various agreements signed on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria by various GOEs/MDAs and some states but guaranteed by the Federal Government of Nigeria, however, it was observed that most of these agreements were never brought to the National Assembly for consideration, hence these agreements were domiciled and subject to international Laws or legal systems.
(xv) that many agencies, particularly those in charge of collecting stamp duties, do not use information and communication technology (ICT) effectively for revenue collection;
(xvi) that the subsidiaries of NIPOST Properties Limited and NIPOST Transport and Logistics Limited were created out of NIPOST with individuals as shareholders without any share allotted to NIPOST as an entity;
(xvii) that the sum of N10 billion was released from the Ministry of Finance for the restructuring and recapitalization in 2022 without corresponding result;
(xviii) that despite the deficit budget, the proposed tax waivers to be granted in 2024 are N 2.7 trillion, 2025 is N 3.2 trillion and 2026 is 3. 8 trillion. These constitute 30% of the total fiscal deficit for 2024, 31% for 2025 and 32% for 2026
Based on the above findings, the Committee makes the following recommendations:
(i) that the benchmark oil price of USD$73.96, $73.76 and $69.90 per barrel be approved for 2024, 2025, and 2026 respectively;
(ii) that the daily crude oil production of 1.78 Mbps, 1.80 Mbps, and 1.81 Mbps, for 2024, 2025, and 2026 respectively be approved subject to NNPC confirmation of actual and verifiable deliveries;
(iii) that the Exchange Rate of N700, N665.61 and N669.79 to US$1 proposed by the Executive for the periods 2024–2026 be considered for approval with the federal government’s vigorous drive to enhance local production (both oil and non-oil) for increased foreign reserve growth;
(iv) that all items locally produced should be out rightly banned from importation and customs tariffs amended accordingly;
(v) that the CBN should ensure that Banks have access to FOREX to provide funds to importers and other users to prevent patronage of the parallel market;
(vi) that in light of the Federal Government’s response of fiscal measures to stimulate the economy through significant investment in infrastructure, SMEs, and the agricultural sector, the GDP growth rates of 3.76%, 4.22%, and 4.78% during the years 2024, 2025, and 2026 be approved;
(vii) that the inflation rate of 21.40% in 2024, 20.30% in 2025, and 18.60% in 2026 be approved;
(viii) that the Federal Government’s target-setting approach and its determination to enhance the major revenue-generating agencies’ collection efficiency will support the Fiscal deficit estimate of N9 trillion (including GOEs) is noted and hereby approved;
(ix) that the Federal Government should continue to enforce the implementation of the Performance Management Framework for GOEs by ensuring that they operate in a more fiscally responsible manner while reviewing their operational efficiencies and declared costs-to-income ratios;
(x) that the N7.8 trillion in new borrowings (both domestic and foreign) be supported as well, given the country’s current effective debt management strategy, which has moderated borrowing costs and decreased the amount of short-term debt in the portfolio and refinancing risk;
(xi) that the MTEF/FSP Document’s ancillary parameters listed below for 2024–2026 be maintained as well:
(a) FGN recommended spending N26 trillion, with N16.9 trillion in retained revenue;
(b) a N9 trillion budget deficit (including GOEs);
(c) N7.8 trillion in new borrowings (including borrowing from foreign and domestic sources);
(d) N1.3 trillion worth of Statutory transfers;
(e) an estimated N8.2 trillion in debt service;
(f) N243.6 billion in the Sinking Fund;
(g) N1.27 trillion in pension, gratuity, and retiree benefits; and
(h) total Recurrent (non-debt) of N10.2 trillion; Personnel Costs (MDAs) of N4.49 trillion; Capital Expenditure (exclusive of Transfers) of N5.9 trillion; Special Intervention (Recurrent) of N200 billion; and Special Intervention (Capital) of N7 billion comprise the aggregate FGN Expenditure of N26 trillion;
(xii) that the National Assembly begin the process of amending the Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA, 2007) to enhance the agencies’ ability to enforce fiscal responsibility and impose sanctions on erring staff. Specifically, about Sections 21 (1) and 22 (1)(2);
(xiii) that the National Assembly Standing Committees take prompt action to review the laws governing the activities of all revenue-generating agencies under their purview to identify specific sections or clauses that need to be amended to plug waste and increase the government’s capacity to generate revenue;
(xiv) that the Federal Government Agencies ensure deployment of ICT in the collection of all revenues by MDAs including stamp duty collection activities to block leakages;
(xv) having discovered that the subsidiaries of NIPOST so created are irregular and illegal, we, therefore, recommended that they be wound up and deregistered immediately;
(xvi) that the sum of N10 billion released by the Ministry of Finance for the proposed NIPOST restructuring and recapitalization be investigated and the funds fully recovered if established to be injudiciously utilized by the relevant Committee of the House charged with the responsibility of fiscal prudence;
(xvii) that the Budget Office of the Federation and the Ministry of Finance, Budget, and National Planning re-evaluate the underlying assumptions for all Federal Government agencies’ income targets to confirm the veracity of those assumptions and the effects;
(xviii) that the Federal Government should continuously assess the qualifications and performance of agency heads to guarantee that the government’s total income target as stated in the MTEF/FSP and the yearly budgets is consistently met with adequate sanctions necessary;
(xix) that all Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) pay for services provided by other government agencies on time and in full unless it is determined that the beneficiary agencies are statutorily exempt from such payments;
(xx) that the Ministry of Finance Incorporated (MOFI) examine the activities of all Government Agencies currently operating under the partial and full commercialization arrangement allowing them to compete with their peers in the private sector and thereby making a more meaningful contribution to the Federal Government’s revenue generation drive;
(xxi) that the Bureau of Public Enterprises Act be amended to remove the clause(s) that create conflict between it and MOFI where MOFI should be the authorized custodian of all Federal Government assets, both liquid and physical;
(xxii) that the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation Limited (NNPCL) should work towards reducing its production and operational costs thereby increasing available government revenue;
(xxiii) that all tax waivers not directly linked to non-governmental/non-profit organizations should not be granted; and
(xxiv) that all tax waivers from 2015 to date should be investigated by the relevant Committee of the House.
Synopsis of the report:
Hon. Faleke stated that the report is a result of considering the Mid Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) by the joint committee which scrutinized the document and came up with practical and realistic observations and recommendations. He urged Honorable Members to approve it.
Summary of voting:
Recommendations voted on and adopted: 1-24
HOUSE IN PLENARY:
The House reverted to plenary and adopted the report of the Committee of the Whole following a motion by Hon. Adewunmi Onanuga and seconded by Hon. Kingsley Chinda.
The House at 16:47 PM adjourned plenary to Wednesday, November 22nd, 2023 by 11:00 A.M following a motion for adjournment moved by the Deputy Whip of the House, Hon. Adewunmi Onanuga and seconded by the Minority Leader, Hon. Kingsley Chinda.
Courtesy: LightRay Media and Media Unit, Office of the Speaker, House of Representatives.