Nigeria had no warning from Washington that it could be added to the list of countries subject to a U.S. travel ban, information minister Lai Mohammed told Reuters, adding such a move would be “hasty” and send the wrong signal to investors. U.S. President Donald Trump said last week he would add more countries to his travel ban list. While he gave no details, a source familiar with the proposal said the tentative list included seven nations – Nigeria, Belarus, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Sudan and Tanzania. An announcement was imminent, said Mohammed, adding that while Abuja had reached out to the U.S. administration since learning about the plan, his government did not get any warning and had not been told any possible reason.
President Buhari disbanded the Niger Delta Development Commission Board which was earlier confirmed by the Senate and awaiting inauguration. Buhari had sent the names of 16 members board to the Senate, which was confirmed on 5 November 2019. The appointments of Pius Odubu and Bernard Okumagba as Chairman and Managing Director respectively of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and 13 others amidst pomp and pageantry for the members were confirmed. However, the appointments were put on hold Tuesday as Buhari in a letter to the Senate President read on the senate chamber disbanded the board. This new development may have brought to an end the power play and the intrigues that have continued to rock the commission which has crippled its activities for some months now. According to Buhari in the letter, he directed that the forensic audit of the board be carried out which is being overseen by the interim management team while the confirmation was ongoing.
The FG, according to the CBN, ran a deficit budget of ₦1.14 trillion in Q4 2019. This is compared to the ₦479.62 billion recorded in Q3 same year. The report said the government earned ₦938.72 billion and expended ₦2.07 trillion within three months leading to the deficit. The FG had projected to spend ₦2.59 trillion in the period under review, 20.1 percent shortfall, compared with the actual amount spent. The ₦938.72 billion generated by the country was 55.6 percent and 46 percent below the quarterly budget estimate and revenue generated in Q3 2019 respectively. Out of the amount generated, the Federation Account accounted for 83.8 percent, while Federal Government Independent Revenue, Value Added Tax, Exchange Gain and Non-oil Excess, accounted for 8.7 percent, 4.4 percent, 2.7 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively. The total expenditure showed that the recurrent component accounted for 73 percent while capital and statutory transfers accounted for 21.3 percent and 5.7 percent respectively. Of the recurrent expenditure, debt service payments by the government were 25.9 percent. Federally-collected revenue in Q4 of 2019 settled at ₦2.6 trillion which was lower than the quarterly budget of ₦3.76 trillion by 30.8 percent Meanwhile, the decline in federally-collected revenue (gross), relative to the quarterly budget, was attributed to shortfalls in both oil and non-oil revenues.
President Buhari is surprised at the state of security in the country, particularly security challenges in the North West and other parts. He said, according to his media aide, Femi Adesina, that the administration is aware of the Boko Haram, but the banditry among others are alien to his government. Buhari, however, vowed “harder times’’ await the bandits whose disruptive activities have brought sorrow to Nigerians, kept many away from their means of livelihood, and heightened insecurity in parts of the country. The President said this when he received a delegation of Eminent and Respected Citizens of Niger State led by Governor Abubakar Sani Bello in the State House, Abuja, on Tuesday. He said the onslaught of the bandits had also affected agricultural output in some parts of the country, in spite of the favourable weather for farming, because many farmers were attacked, and others had to stay away for safety. He added that the discovery of oil and gas reserves in Chad Basin, Benue trough and Bida, and some parts of Bauchi and Gombe, would further bolster current efforts to strengthen the Nigerian economy.