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Infrastructure gap: FG’s N1.33 trillion budgetary allocation raises concerns

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The 2024 budget of Nigeria, amounting to N27.5 trillion, has evoked diverse reactions in the public sphere. There is a mix of both pessimism and optimism regarding whether the budget will positively impact the lives of ordinary citizens, especially given the proposed N1.33 trillion allocation to infrastructure. Concerns have been heightened due to the historical underperformance of Nigeria’s recent budgets.

The allocation of 5% of the budget, equivalent to N1.33 trillion, to infrastructure, encompassing works and housing, power, transport, water resources, and aviation, raises apprehensions among Nigerians. Despite the country’s substantial infrastructure deficit, experts argue that this allocation may not sufficiently address the annual infrastructural gap.

Named the “Budget of Renewed Hope,” a detailed examination reveals that Security and Defence received the highest allocation of N3.25 trillion, constituting 12%. Education followed with N2.18 trillion. The 2024 budget is 10.8% higher than the 2023 budget, totaling N24.82 trillion.

The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Atiku Bagudu, stated that the budget aims for an estimated revenue of N18.32 trillion, with a deficit of N9.18 trillion. Notably, N8.490 trillion (30%) is allocated for debt servicing, N9.918 trillion for recurrent non-debt expenditure, and N7.717 trillion for contributions to the Development Fund for capital expenditure.

Key benchmarks include a Crude Oil Benchmark of $77.96 per barrel, a daily oil production of 1.78 million barrels per day, and a foreign exchange rate of N750 to USD. These factors are crucial for the nation’s economy, particularly amid challenges caused by the removal of fuel subsidies since June 2023, resulting in increased costs of transportation, food, and essential services.

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CEO of SD & D Capital Management, Mr. Idakolo Gbolade, expressed skepticism about the budget achieving its intended impact, highlighting that the N1.33 trillion allocated to infrastructure does not reflect the savings from fuel subsidy removal. He criticized the budget estimates, citing unrealistic assumptions, and raised concerns about the haphazard implementation of budgets in the country.

Prof Godwin Oyedokun from Lead City University emphasized the need for a departure from historical budget underperformance, urging the 2024 budget to lift Nigerians out of multidimensional poverty if properly implemented. He called for increased fiscal responsibility from the government.

In contrast, renowned economist Prof Segun Ajibola expressed optimism that the budget could positively impact Nigerians if all provisions were effectively implemented. However, he underscored the need for alternative funding models, such as Public Private Partnerships, to address the significant infrastructural deficit in the country. Ajibola highlighted the importance of eliminating middlemen in the distribution process for social development and poverty reduction programs to have a meaningful impact on targeted beneficiaries. Overall, he expects the 2024 budget to improve the lives of average Nigerians, contingent on robust implementation.

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Gov Yusuf reappoints Sanusi as Emir of Kano, orders ex-monarchs 48 hours to vacate seats

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Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf has approved the reappointment of Emir Muhammadu Sanusi II as Emir of Kano under the new laws.

The governor has given former emirs 48 hours to vacate their palaces and hand over Emirate Council properties to the Commissioner of Local Government, who also serves as State Deputy Governor.

Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf of Kano State has signed the Kano Emirates Bill 2024 into law, repealing the 2019 Emirate Councils Law that altered the state’s over 1000-year history.

By signing the bill, the governor declared that the 2019 law has been repealed and is now history.

The signing was attended by the Speaker of the State Assembly, Ismaila Falgore, Deputy Governor Aminu Abdussalam, Secretary to the State Government Abdullahi Baffa Bichi and others.

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The State Assembly has fulfilled one of its constitutional roles by signing the bill into law.

CREDIT: DAILY POST

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Europa League: Lookman nominated for Player of the Week

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Ademola Lookman has been nominated for the UEFA Europa League Player of the Week. The Nigerian international delivered an outstanding performance, scoring a hat-trick in Atalanta’s 3-0 win over Bayer Leverkusen on Wednesday night.

His teammates, Davide Zappacosta and Ederson, have also been nominated for the award.

Additionally, Bayer Leverkusen defender Piero Hincapie is in the running for the accolade.

Lookman previously won the Player of the Week award during Atalanta’s semi-final victory against Olympic Marseille, where he recorded a goal and an assist in the second leg of the match.

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National Council on Sports: Tinubu lauds Mbah over safe environment, support

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Nigeria’s President, Bola Tinubu, praised Enugu State Governor, Dr. Peter Mbah, for creating a safe and conducive environment for the country’s sports stakeholders to gather for a national sports council meeting. Tinubu commended Mbah’s commitment to promoting sports, highlighting his administration’s satisfaction with these efforts.

Governor Mbah announced that his administration has partnered with the private sector to develop a state-of-the-art sports park aimed at enhancing sports development and talent discovery in the state.

During the inaugural National Council on Sports (NCS) meeting held in Enugu on Wednesday, President Tinubu, represented by the Minister of Special Duties, Hon. Zaphaniah Jisalo, emphasized the significant role sports play in a nation’s development. He noted that sports are not only a form of entertainment and recreation but also a business that warrants substantial investment.

Speaking on the theme “Sports for National Unity and Socio-Economic Growth,” President Tinubu urged Nigerians to view sports as a means to foster unity, promote health, and drive economic growth. He highlighted the opportunities sports provide for young people to develop character, discipline, and leadership skills, and called for innovative approaches to enhance sporting potential, inclusivity, and equal opportunities for all Nigerians, regardless of gender, age, or physical ability.

Governor Peter Mbah emphasized that sports serve as a powerful unifying tool, transcending tribe, language, and creed. He highlighted Enugu’s rich sporting heritage, including the achievements of Rangers International Football Club, and urged stakeholders to invest in the sports industry through effective partnerships.

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Mbah stressed the significant economic impact of sports globally and encouraged both public and private sector investment in the industry. He noted that his administration’s partnership with private investors to build a state-of-the-art sports park would provide a platform for youth talent discovery and sports enthusiasm. The facilities at the sports park will include training areas, athlete housing, and a physical therapy and sports medicine center.

Minister of Sports Development, Senator John Owan Enoh, remarked that Enugu was chosen to host the inaugural National Council on Sports due to its strategic importance in the nation’s sporting landscape. He emphasized the need for investment in sports infrastructure, talent development, and grassroots programs to nurture athletic talent, stimulate local economies, create jobs, and promote healthier lifestyles among Nigerians.

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