Nigeria’s House of Representatives has raised the country’s proposed 2020 Appropriation Bill to about ₦10.6 trillion, up was from the initial ₦10.33 trillion. The new figure was proposed by the House Committee on Appropriation, which laid its report on the national budget yesterday. The committee has recommended a total budget sum of ₦10,594,362,364,830. President Buhari had on 8 October presented the appropriation bill to a joint session of the National Assembly. Both the Executive and the Legislature plan to pass the bill before Christmas in order to return Nigeria to a January-December budget cycle. The new budget breakdown, as proposed by the House Committee on Appropriations proposes ₦560,470,827,235 for Statutory Transfers, ₦2,725,498,930,000 for Debt Service, ₦4,842,974,600,640 for Recurrent (Non-Debt) Expenditure, and ₦2,465,418,006,955 for contribution to the Development Fund for Capital Expenditure.
The Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, has requested an additional ₦255.6 billion to construct and rehabilitate 524 highways and bridges across the country. He made the request to the Federal Executive Council while briefing members of the council on the ongoing road and bridge construction/rehabilitation projects nationwide. The funding gap needed to be closed and so additional funds were needed to complete the prioritised projects in scheduled time, Fashola told the council after highlighting 80 as priority projects scheduled for completion in the 2020-2021 fiscal year. He added that the amount was the difference between the appropriation for the projects in the 2020 budget, which stood at ₦157.05 billion and the actual estimate for the completion of the projects, which he put at ₦412.64 billion. The prioritised road projects being funded through the Sovereign Sukuk Fund include Abuja-Abaji Road, Section 1, international airport link road junction, Sheda Village junction, and Abuja-Lokoja Road Section IV, Koton Karfi-Lokoja.
The workforce of Deposit Money Banks in the country reduced by 2,929 workers in Q3 2019. This figure is contained in a report on ‘Selected Banking Sector Data: Sectoral Breakdown of Credit, ePayment Channels and Staff Strength data’ posted on the NBS website. According to the report, the staff strength of the banks reduced by 2,929 in the quarter with 101,435 total staff as against the 104,364 recorded in the second quarter of the year. This represents a 2.81 percent decrease. It also reduced by 1,386 when compared to the 102,821 staff recorded in the same period last year. The report did not indicate the mode of reduction of staff and whether the staff were all sacked or if some had retired. The report did not also name the banks most involved in the staff reduction.
A federal judge in Lagos has ordered the FG to recover pensions collected by former governors now serving as ministers and members of the National Assembly following a lawsuit brought by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project. Justice Oluremi Oguntoyinbo also ordered the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, to challenge the legality of states’ pension laws permitting former governors and other ex-public officials to collect such pensions. The judgement is coming on the heels of the invalidated pension law for former governors and other ex-public officers in Zamfara State, which provided for the upkeep of ex-governors to the tune of ₦700 million each year, noting that the state has produced three former governors since 1999. The court will sit on 3 February 2020 for hearing on the compliance with the court orders by the FG.