2017 Budget: FG Targets N565bn From Recovered Loot, MTN Fine

The Federal Government hopes to raise a total of N565bn from recovered loot and fines to be paid by MTN Nigeria to fund the 2017 budget.

The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udo Udoma, explained on Monday in Abuja during the public presentation of the 2017 budget breakdown that the disruptions to oil production and falling crude prices had made it impossible for the government to meet majority of its revenue projections.

The event was attended by the ministers of Health, Prof Isaac Adewole; Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun; Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbeh; Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed; and Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, among others.

Providing useful insights into how the looted funds would be recovered and used, the Director-General, Budget Office of the Federation, Mr. Ben Akabueze, said that N288.6bn out of the N565bn would come from recovered looted funds.

He said, “With respect to the looted funds for the revenue profile in the 2017 budget, it is a total of N288.6bn. This includes N97.6bn, which is the naira equivalent of $320m expected from the Swiss (government), which is part of what was recovered from the Abacha loot.

“It also includes N72bn that has already been received in cash from cases of recoveries and the balance of N90bn is from other expected recoveries, which are at an advanced stage and we feel comfortable and confident that they will come through in 2017 and have to be reflected in the budget.”

The Nigerian Communications Commission had in October 2015 fined MTN N1.04tn for selling over five million unregistered SIM cards.

The fine was later reduced to N330bn, out of which MTN has paid N50bn to the government. The balance of N280bn will be paid in six tranches over a period of three years.

The persistent attacks on oil installations by militants in the Niger Delta and the harsh operating climate resulting in low tax receipts from companies, according to Udoma, dealt a huge blow on the government’s revenue in the first nine months of this year.

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2019: New Mega Party Targets 16 Governors, See List

With an eye firmly fixed on the 2018 governorship polls in Ekiti and Osun States and 2019 general election, the movers of the proposed new mega party are already targeting at least 16 states of the federation whose governors they are confident will decamp to the new party, to bolster their chances of unseating the present government of President Muhammadu Buhari.

The new opposition party is believed to have the tacit support of the Senator Ahmed Makarfi-led faction of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that currently controls 11 states in the country, a National Leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Bola Ahmed Tinbubu, and former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, a major chieftain of the APC.

Both APC leaders have, however, denied their involvement in the proposed party, saying they remained committed to the APC.

Some of the states being considered for the taking are spread across five crucial geo-political zones of the country, with the calculation that once the new party is able to hold down these states, the others could be turned into battleground states, where it would compete for votes with the APC to shore up its chances in the 2019 elections.

The states already considered to be the strongholds of the proposed mega party are Abia, Ebonyi and Enugu in the South-east; Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Delta, Cross River and Bayelsa in the South-south; Osun, Oyo, Ekiti and Lagos in the South-west; Gombe, Taraba, Adamawa in the North East; and for now Benue State in the North-central zone.

Since the governors of the 16 states are seen to be sympathetic to the cause of the mega party, either directly or indirectly, their membership would most likely be taken for granted, while the party is saddled with the task of concentrating on areas where it is considered to be relatively weak.

The movers behind the new party are of the view that if they must make any meaningful impact in the elections in 2018 and 2019, respectively, then certain states are germane to the victory.

However, whilst the backers of the party are working on a winning strategy, the Makarfi-led PDP, sources confirmed yesterday, has expressed disappointment in the way Atiku and Tinubu denied their involvement in the formation of the new party.

The PDP leadership, while trying to empathise with the concerns Atiku and Tinubu might have over the news of their involvement in the proposed party coming out too early in the day, however, some members of the PDP felt that they should have known what they were up against from the outset.

According to a PDP chieftain, “We would have expected Atiku and Tinubu to have been more strategic in their reactions to the news.

“They just proved that they could develop cold feet at the slightest whiff and are not really prepared to take on the challenges that lie ahead. Their denials could be a setback for the mega party, as there is no way the formation can progress with this kind of attitude.

“We know it is going to be tough, but we must be ready to live with the consequences.”
From the perspective of the PDP, the source said the party was on the verge of putting its house in order and was preparing to start a new chapter, adding that once the challenges related to the leadership tussle are cleared, it would be in a better position to fully concentrate on the talks for a new mega party, which he described as the only joker for the 2019 elections.

He said the argument by some concerned observers about the Makarfi-led PDP not really needing an alliance or merger the minute it settles its leadership crisis may be logical, but noted that the battle to unseat an incumbent president in Nigeria was not an easy one to be prosecuted by one party alone however strong, hence the need for co-operation from people of like-minds to pool resources.

He noted that with the PDP going into talks with anyone as a united family, this would give it better grounds for negotiations and that the concerns about anyone selling out or undoing the party would be unfounded once the other faction has been completely neutralised.

“At least, we know that the Ali Modu Sheriff faction is working for and with the APC. So, the fears about the kind of damage they could do would have been adequately checkmated with their exit.
“The collaboration is therefore important and key to the success of our collective plan to take over the government and lead the nation to a better place,” he said.

He described the issue of the presidential candidacy as too early in the day since the consolidation of the proposed party was yet to take place.

“It is true that the APC wing of the proposed party might have been pondering their options on the choice of candidate for the presidency, but the PDP too has its own take on all of this and there are many options from which the ideal candidate can be chosen.

“But first, we need to tidy up the amalgamation and other things will follow,” he said.
The source did not however dismiss the influence of former President Olusegun Obasanjo on the choice of a presidential candidate for the mega party, but expressed concern about Obasanjo’s opposition to Atiku and former President Goodluck Jonathan, both of whom he said the former president had vowed never to have anything to do with.

“His take on Atiku is particularly worrisome because he once said even if he dies today and Atiku was coasting home to the presidency, he would beg God to let him come back to life, finish him off and then return to God.

“You may want to laugh this off, but it is deep and speaks so much about his disdain for these two persons, Atiku especially,” he said.



· Lagos
· Oyo
· Osun
· Ekiti
· Enugu
· Ebonyi
· Abia
· Delta
· Bayelsa
· Rivers
· Akwa Ibom
· Cross River
· Taraba
· Gombe

Credit: thisdaylive

Mercedes Targets African Market With New Pick Up Trucks

Mercedes-Benz has unveiled two variants of X-Class pickup truck, Powerful adventurer and stylish explorer to expanding its market share in the premium pickup segment.

Mercedes-Benz said the powerful adventurer variant possess all the strengths of a classic pickup – tough, functional, strong, and with off-road capability.

The stylish explorer variant on the other hand, holds a markedly expressive and dynamic appearance with select features that distinguishes Mercedes-Benz from every other automobile.

Targeting key markets, including Africa, the organisation said the variants would appeal to woo families, business owners, landowners, travellers/adventurers and trend conscious individualists.

Head, Mercedes-Benz Vans, Volker Mornhinweg said: “We will open up and change the segment of mid-size pickups – with the world’s first true premium pickup for the modern urban lifestyle. Our future X-Class will be a pickup that knows no compromise. Ladder-type frame, high-torque six-cylinder engine, and permanent all-wheel drive are compulsory for us.

“As an added value, we bring safety, comfort, agility, and expressive design – in other words, everything that distinguishes vehicles bearing the Mercedes star. We will thus appeal to new customers who have not considered owning a pickup before.”

The top-of-the-line model will come with a V6 diesel engine, 4MATIC all-wheel drive, 22-inch alloy wheels ready to tow up to 3.5 tons. The premium truck will also be equipped with exemplary assistance systems including camera, radar and ultrasound sensors. Customers will be able to choose from a variety of equipment scopes for the exterior and interior. High quality materials and infotainment features similar to the C-class and V-class will be readily available to create an elegant ambience inside and out.

“The Concept X-CLASS design variants interpret the hallmark brand design idiom of our SUVs in a most expressive form, and embody the dichotomy of our design philosophy: they are hot and cool”, Head of Design at Daimler AG, Gorden Wagener said.

According him, with its progressive design the powerful adventurer expresses cool modernity and thirst for adventure, while the stylish explorer on the other hand uses pure emotion to provide a tangible experience of modern beauty.

The market launch of the Mercedes-Benz X-Class in Europe will begin in late 2017. The pickup will be manufactured in a production cooperation with the Renault-Nissan Alliance. Production for the European, Australian and South African markets will start at the Nissan plant in Barcelona, Spain, in 2017. The X-Class for the Latin American market will roll off the assembly lines at the Renault plant in Cordoba, Argentina, starting in 2018.

Managing Director, Weststar Associates, Sole General Distributors of Mercedes-Benz Vehicles in Nigeria, Mirko Plath said: “We are extremely pleased with the final unveiling of the concept trucks. The X-Class pickup trucks will be a formidable addition to our fleet. I believe they are perfect for the Nigerian market due to the broad range of needs to be met for different customers. Thus, we look forward to their arrival in 2017”.



Kaduna Targets N3.5bn Monthly IGR– Commissioner

The Kaduna State Government is targeting N3.5 billion monthly Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), the state Commissioner for Budget and Planning, Muhammad Abdullahi, has said.

Abdullahi told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the state generated N1.6 billion in July, which doubled the N700 million and N800 million generated in November and December in 2015.

“We think Kaduna State can generate N3.5 billion a month and we are confident we would get there. This is not a theory; it is practical.

“We are at N1. 6 billion now and confident that by this time next year, we will hit at least N3 billion, “he said.

The commissioner said that plans had been concluded to build a strong revenue service with brilliant team to actualise the N3.5 billion IGR target.

He said that a world-class consultant had been hired to achieve this, adding that the effort was already yielding positive result.

He explained that the state was able to double its IGR in the past few months by not imposing a single tax.

In fact the new tax law that we have passed reduces some tax rates; we only improved efficiency in tax collection.

“What was happening in the past was that most of what government is collecting as revenue does not end up in government accounts.

“There was sloppiness in the collection processes and a lot of diversion of the resources.

“Therefore, what we did was to close the gaps, such that only the state revenue service is empowered to collect revenue.”

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Jigawa LGC Targets 13,104 Children For Polio Immunisation

The Dutse Local Government Council of Jigawa is targeting no fewer than 13,104 children to be immunised against polio virus in the ongoing polio immunisation in the area.

The Health Educator of the council, Alhaji Sani Yusif, disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Dutse on Sunday.

Yusif said the council had received enough doses of Oral Polio Vaccines (OPVs) to conduct the exercise.

He explained that the children would be immunised against polio and five other child-killer diseases during the five-day campaign.

The health educator said that 704 trained ad hoc staff, including 528 vaccinators, were conducting the exercise.

According to him, the council has donated 50 cartons of sweet to woo children to participate in the programme.

Yusif, therefore, urged parents in the area to cooperate with the vaccinators by making their children available for the inoculation.

NAN reports that the July round of polio immunisation was inaugurated in all the 27 local government areas of the state on Saturday.

Credit: NAN

Solar Panels, Other Targets Bombarded In Sambisa By NAF Alpha Jets

The Nigerian Air Force (NAF), in its bid to sustain the ongoing air assault against the Boko Haram terrorists in Sambisa Forest, has continued to hit vital targets with a view to decimating the capability and resolve of the members of the sect to continue to fight and cause havoc.

This was contained in a statement signed on Wednesday by the NAF Director of Public Relations and Information (DOPRI), Air Commodore Dele Alonge.

Alonge said the most recent success was the attack on the terrorist targets in Ngoshe and Pulka by the Alpha Jets providing close air support to own ground forces.

He also revealed that the aerial bombardment was instrumental to the recapture of the strategic boundary town of Gamboru-Ngala by the Nigerian army.

“The targets, which include solar panels believed to be used by the sect for generating electricity within the Sambisa Forest, were hit during the recent take-over of Gamboru-Ngala by own troops,” he said.

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