The Senate will approve the $29.96 billion loan request from President Buhari after getting the information needed for the loan to be approved, Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, said Monday. Some members of the Senate had vowed to resist the approval of the loan request whenever the debate on its general principles came upon the floor of the red chamber. President Buhari had on Thursday, 5 December, resent the $29.96 billion 2016-2018 external borrowing plans to the Senate for its consideration and approval. The request was made despite warnings from the International Monetary Fund over the rising debts owed by the country. The Debt Management Office had also said out of Nigeria’s total debt profile of ₦25.7 trillion as of June 2019, external borrowing accounts for about 32 percent while the 68 percent is domestic. The President’s plan to borrow the $29.96 billion was approved by the Federal Executive Council in August 2016 and sent to the 8th Assembly in September 2016 but was rejected in November 2016 by the then leadership of the National Assembly led by Senator Bukola Saraki and Yakubu Dogara. In a letter, dated 26 November 2019, Buhari said the 8th National Assembly approved only a part of the external borrowing request forwarded to it in September 2016.
The Nigerian government is planning to ban the importation of more items being produced or with the potential of being produced in Nigeria, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Sabo Nanono has said, and explained that such a move would be part of the government’s effort in preserving the country’s foreign exchange and ensure national development. The country has put strong foreign exchange restrictions on the importation of many food items including rice and poultry and shut its land borders to stop the importation of such items and check smuggling. Nanono said that the closure of the country’s land borders does not in any way breach the free trade agreement in the West African sub-region as it was meant to protect the country and its citizens from the nefarious activities which take place at the borders.
The National Pension Commission has said that the total assets under the Contributory Pension Scheme rose to ₦9.81 trillion as of the end of October. The Pension Fund Administrators invested 70.43 percent of the funds, totalling ₦6.91 trillion in FGN securities; FGN bonds, treasury bills, agency bonds, Sukuk bonds and green bonds. Quoting the acting Director-General, PenCom, Aisha Dahir-Umar, the commission said the CPS had, in the last 15 years, made appreciable progress in addressing most of the shortfalls of the erstwhile pension system. The pension industry membership had grown to 8.85 million participants as of 30 September 2019, while the pension fund assets under management were deployed in critical sectors of the economy, she added. Out of the 298,614 retirees under the CPS as of the 30 September, 227,400 retirees are on programmed withdrawal and 71,214 opted for an annuity. Similarly, death benefits have been paid to 59,057 beneficiaries.
The Federal High Court in Abuja has ordered the transfer of the Soku oilfield from Bayelsa State to Rivers State. The court declared Rivers state the rightful owner of the oil field, following a lawsuit instituted by the state. Justice Inyang Ekwo ordered the National Boundary Commission to rectify the error in its 11th edition of Administrative Map produced by the NBC in 2002, which designated San Bartholomew River as the boundary between the two states as it was in 1996 when Bayelsa State was carved from Rivers State, instead of River Santa Barbara. The NBC was said to have, in its letter dated 3 July 2002, in response to the Rivers State Government’s protest admitted its mistake and promised to rectify it in the 12th edition of the administrative map. The Rivers State Government filed a suit against the Attorney-General of Bayelsa State and the Attorney-General of the Federation before the Supreme Court in 2009 after the NBC failed to rectify the mistake as promised. The Supreme Court in 2012 ruled in favour of Rivers State and ordered the rectification of the error. By August 2019, when the mistake had yet to be corrected, the Rivers State Government instituted a suit before the Federal High Court in Abuja solely against the NBC, seeking an order of mandamus compelling it to correct its error. Justice Ekwo ordered the commission to immediately produce the 12th edition of the Administrative Map. The judge also ordered that the judgment be served on the relevant statutory bodies, especially; the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission and the office of the Accountant-General of the Federation for them to immediate re-compute the amount of oil revenue accruable to Rivers with the transfer of the Soku oil field to it.