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Posts tagged ‘Government’

In This New Year Nigeria, I Pray Be Reborn By Hannatu Musawa.


Columnist:

Hannatu Musawa

Two thousand thirteen was a year of surprise,
Comprised of some highs, few sighs and goodbyes.
It commenced when Obama was again called to arise
As the head of his nation, for the world to sanitize.
He tries to be wise, applies much advice.
But the size of his duty is too much to surmise.
Other events in the year that did sensationalize,
Includes the death of dear Madiba, his heartbreaking demise.
We all know each who lives, equally dies
But few in life have the gift of provoking many cries.
The Syrian civil war made all criticize,
Al-Assad’s inability to peace-harmonize.
The World natural disasters became quantum in size,
It ravaged, it plagued us, long life it denies.
The financial recession continues to capitalize,
On our vast spending culture, so we could economize.
In Nigeria, the people criticize and despise,
It’s leadership for what’s seen as it’s oversize lies.
Twas a year that was loaded; Twas a year to revise,
Twas a year where insurgents were well on the rise,
And they roamed in the North East with explosive device.
Wow, 2013 really was a year characterized!
Forlorn Poor Nigeria, Our Motherland’s worn,
She’s at present existing on a calm before the storm.
Thy helm is deformed and corruption’s thy norm.
Thy form is a thorn and thy children thus mourn.
Thy quest to reform is adorned with much scorn.
Thy brethren thus warn, they just want to reform.
Lest thy leaders transform and at last do perform.
Conform dear Nigerians, our motherlands warn.
In this New Year Nigeria, we pray, be reborn.

The crux of the dismay Nigerians display today,
Is not in one cache, there’s a large dossier.
For starters the government does fail to portray,
Itself in a fray, where it’s people could obey.
As most are suffering, those in government stray,
They continue to spray vast money bouquets,
Stay in expensive chalets, have buffets and soirees
While the poor remain poor, Oh it’s such a cliché!
The gap between elite and mass does increase every day
And it’s hard for me to convey in this quite brief essay.
An example, for one, is the Malabu Oil foul play
Where certain officials have stolen billions away.
The elections in Anambra was a rigging harangue.
Peter Obi was treated like some rare Faberge,
He seemed most determined and poised to betray,
The people of Anambra and steal their votes away.
Then who can forget the shocking resume,
Of ASUU strike and our schools’ constant decay?
In our country there’s no color, our lives are just grey.
There’s no light, there’s no fuel and it’s just not okay.
Not a word from our President, not one communiqué.
Nigeria is desperate for some sunshine…, if only a ray.

Forlorn Poor Nigeria, Our Motherland’s worn,
She’s at present existing on a calm before the storm.
Thy helm is deformed and corruption’s thy norm.
Thy form is a thorn and thy children thus mourn.
Thy quest to reform is adorned with much scorn.
Thy brethren thus warn, they just want to reform.
Lest thy leaders transform and at last do perform.
Conform dear Nigerians, our motherlands warn.
In this New Year Nigeria, we pray, be reborn.

The aggravation in relation to the Premiere’s duration,
Has led to vilification by the Nigerian congregation.
This constant confrontation of power rotation,
Should not be an affirmation for stark discrimination.
Because despite our location, no one has dictation,
On the cremation of a nation with our kind of foundation.
The desperation expressed by some of the population,
Should be the concentration of backing the right man for the nation.
In my humble opinion, Fashola is the best for the station.
His aspiration will be the solution for Nigeria’s salvation.
But we must stop the sensation of ethnic citation.
It causes aberration, damnation and frustration.
Nigeria has much for ovation and celebration.
We’re a mishmash of sorts that make our Confederation.
From my personal notion, as I travel trough my nation.
Its beauty mesmerizes me; I’m never lost in translation.
I’m proud to belong to the very plantation,
Of a land that has various tribes in narration.
As the world becomes a global village in flotation,
It’s sad that, as people, we have self-condemnation.
However in consideration, of the millions in starvation,
Let’s pray for affection, salvation and restoration.

Forlorn Poor Nigeria, Our Motherland’s worn,
She’s at present existing on a calm before the storm.
Thy helm is deformed and corruption’s thy norm.
Thy form is a thorn and thy children thus mourn.
Thy quest to reform is adorned with much scorn.
Thy brethren thus warn, they just want to reform.
Lest thy leaders transform and at last do perform.
Conform dear Nigerians, our motherlands warn.
In this New Year Nigeria, we pray, be reborn.

As we face a new frontier in this baby New Year,
I urge all Nigerians to adhere to volunteer
To steer and be near what is good and sincere.

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

Mike Rogers, King Blast NYT Benghazi Report: ‘Misleading’.


Image: Mike Rogers, King Blast NYT Benghazi Report: 'Misleading' Rep. Peter King, left, and Rep. Mike Rogers

By Newsmax Wires

Two of the House’s top experts on terrorism blasted a New York Times report that says al-Qaida did not carry out the 2012 attack on the U.S diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya.

The Times report, published Saturday and based on numerous interviews with Islamists in Benghazi, concludes that there was no evidence that al-Qaida or any other international terrorist groups had any role in the assault that killed four Americans on September 11, 2012.

Instead, the Times reports that the attack was fueled in large part by anger at an American-made anti-Islamic video, as the Obama administration first claimed. The attackers were entirely locally based Islamist malcontents with few if any contacts outside of Libya.

But New York Rep. Peter King, member and former chairman of the House’s Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, told Fox News that the story’s premise that other anti-American militias led the attack is at best academic.

“It’s misleading,” King said. “It’s a distinction without a difference.” King specifically challenged the notion in the Times piece that the Libya-based terror group Ansar al-Shariah somehow was not part of the al-Qaida Islamist network.

“They are saying that ­al-Shariah is involved, but al-Shariah is a part of the al-Qaida umbrella, the al-Qaida network,” King said, challenging the Times’ conclusion that al-Shariah “had no known ­affiliations with terrorist groups.”

“Al-Shariah is a pro- al-Qaida terrorist organization,” King said, adding that the video had little to do with the attack, which he said was highly organized.

“This was a well-coordinated attack,” he said. “This was not a ragtag group.”

Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Michigan, told “Fox News Sunday” that the attack was clearly an “al-Qaida-led event.”

Rogers, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said his panel has gone through 4,000 classified cables, talked to people on the ground and done a postmortem on the event. He doubts, he said, whether the newspaper conducted such an exhaustive investigation.

“So what did they get wrong?” host Chris Wallace asked.

“That al-Qaida was not involved in this,” Rogers said. “There was some level of pre-planning. We know that. There was aspiration to conduct an attack by al-Qaida and their affiliates in Libya. We know that. The individuals on the ground talked about a planned tactical movement on the compound even. … That tells me they didn’t talk to people on the ground who where doing the fighting, shooting and the intelligence-gathering.”

Fellow committee member Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., agreed with Rogers that intelligence shows that al-Qaida was involved in the attack. But other groups were involved, too, Schiff said.

Schiff called it a “complex picture.” There was some pre-planning, he said, but it was not extensive, and people joined in the attack for multiple reasons, including because of an anti-Muslim video produced by a man in the United States.

Rogers also disputed the contention that al-Shariah was key to the attack. The intelligence shows otherwise, he told Wallace.

“Now, do they have differences of opinion with al-Qaida core? Yes. Do they have affiliations with al-Qaida core? Definitely,” he said.

Rogers said he doesn’t know whether the story was politically motivated to clear former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton before an expected presidential run in 2016. But he is suspicious of the timing, especially with former U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice talking about the subject on “60 Minutes” last week.

“I don’t want to speculate on why they might do it,” Rogers said, adding that what is being presented in The Times and on “60 Minutes” has been shown by committee testimony not to be accurate.

The attack killed Ambassador Chris Stevens, Foreign Service officer Sean Smith and former Navy SEALs Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty.

The Times’ conclusion also conflicts with other evidence, including the testimony of Greg Hicks, Stevens’ deputy, Fox reports. 

Hicks described the video as “a non-event in Libya” at that time, and consequently not a significant trigger for the attack. Also, a separate report by a leading social media firm found that the first reference to the anti-Islam film that was initially blamed for sparking the attack was not detected on social media until a day later.

Rep. Darrell Issa also stood by his conclusions that a group affiliated with al-Qaida was involved.

“It was accurate,” Issa said on NBC’s Meet the Press. “There was a group that was involved that claims an affiliation with al-Qaida.”

Issa said that Times reporter David Kirkpatrick did “very good work” but that he has seen no evidence that the video was the attack’s leading cause, a claim made by then-UN ambassador Susan Rice in the immediate aftermath of the attack.

The administration should come clean about misstatements about the causes of the attack, even if those claims were made to protect the CIA outpost in Benghazi, Issa said.

“They went out on five stations and told the story that was at best a coverup for the CIA or at worst something that cast away this idea that there was a real terrorist operation in Benghazi,” Issa said.

Kirkpatrick, who also appeared on the show, said that Republicans like Issa, King and Rogers conflated local Islamic militant groups with international al-Qaida.

“If you’re using the term al-Qaida to describe even a local group of Islamist militants who dislike democracy or have a grudge against the United States, If you’re going to call anybody like that ‘al-Qaida,’ then, okay,” he said.

A senior Obama administration official told NBC News on Saturday that the White House does not dispute the New York Times report.

Related Stories:

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Criminals occupy FG’s ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs)- Dasuki.


Dasuki

The statement credited to Col. Mohammed Sambo Dasuki (rtd), National Security Adviser (NSA), that many people with criminal antecedents occupy strategic positions in various Federal Government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) is troubling. Dasuki, through Layiwola Laseinde, director, policy and strategy of the NSA’s office spoke at a one-day workshop on the “Importance of Security Awareness Drills in Contemporary Nigeria”,  organised by the Special Services Office (SSO), Office of Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), in Abuja.The NSA was unsparing when he affirmed: “We want to make sure that people of dubious character are not employed. In some areas, you find out that people have committed crimes and once they have criminal background, they are likely to perpetrate death. I am not saying it is in all cases, but majority of the cases. So the government, especially the security agencies … want to make sure that each agency does its own in-house screening to screen out undesirable people …Government cannot afford for agencies to have staff with criminal record and that is the purpose of this workshop, that those who are trained can go and train other people and also organise their parastatals and agencies to ensure that in terms of personal record and discipline, everything is okay.’’We know that it is government that employs presumably qualified Nigerians into positions in these MDAs, not the Nigerian public. So, we expect the government, through its numerous security agencies that Dasuki, as NSA, oversees, to have routinely been effectively discharging their job of ensuring that men and women of shady background do not get employed in the MDAs or any other strategic institutions in the country. But it seems that the NSA office is getting to know too late that the country’s MDAs harbour a lot of misfits.

The fault is that of the NSA and he should take urgent steps to correct this sad trend.We now understand why there have been so many leakages in the system; it could not have been different in a place that harbours employees with criminal background. Any system that suffers from high moral standing cannot be a reliable custodian of values of a promising society; and that is what the Nigerian system currently suffers from. The primary constitutional duty of government is the security and welfare of the citizenry and there is no doubt that having people of questionable background in government MDAs constitutes a serious threat to the discharge of this responsibility.Definitely, some drastic steps must be taken. And we expect to see cogent results from the promised vulnerability assessment initiative of MDAs by the NSA through the Department of State Services (DSS). So far, result of the touted routine inspection of MDAs by the Security Inspection Committee in order to ensure compliance with security regulations as they affect the safety of government’s personnel, documents and facilities has not been felt.NSA Dasuki must realise that the task ahead is onerous and can only be accomplished with commitment and sincerity of purpose from government, especially its security agencies headed by his office. The entire process of employment in the MDAs and other strategic institutions has to be overhauled to block existing recruitment loopholes. Also, a tight security process must be designed to weed out misguided elements in
the system.
by: The Citizen.

Source: Rasio Biafra.

It’s Just Not Good Enough By Karo Orovboni.


By Karo Orovboni

Nigeria has plunged into decadence where everything and anything goes. We are a people who would adjust to anything. If Nigerians were to come as animals, we would certainly be chameleons. We really can blend in. That isn’t really a bad thing, but we get so used to deficient things so much so that we don’t even know what good life is anymore. Some don’t even know that water can run directly into their homes.

The political elites know this well and take full advantage of it. When they subject you to hardship, they know that in no time, you would adjust to it and life will continue. They run advertorials on the pages of the newspapers and online media to show off their non-existent performances. This is only possible in a country where mediocrity is embraced with open arms. I look at the self-acclaimed achievements of our political officers and ask myself, ‘is this their definition of achievement?’ Please indulge me if I sound over board, but I’m sorry, it’s just not good enough.

If our political officers’ performances were to be compared with the basic duties of government, only a minuscule percentage, if any at all would be able to match up to standard. We are still battling with the basics of governance and calling that achievement in the 21st century? When a sitting president runs a parade show to flag off the reconstruction of a federal road, you know you are in big problems. You have built a few roads that your government have neglected for years and managed to commission water projects and you think you have done well, but these are basic amenities government should provide. I’m sorry to say, but what we celebrate is mediocrity.

The telecommunications companies operating in Nigeria should have overcome their teething problems by now, the quality of service they provide to Nigerians is totally unacceptable anywhere else. Most of these companies also operate in other countries; they know that such quality of service cannot be ventured in other parts of the world. But they have come to abide with the mediocrity laws of Nigeria and provide services that are commensurate with the level of thinking of the citizens.

Health service is almost non-existent; we have emergency services that you would not want to call in an emergency. Citizens have to provide their own water, power, security, and sometimes, even roads. Where are your culture and tourism offices? Where do they recommend people go? This is solely embarrassing! Almost all Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDA) are plagued with unnecessary bureaucracies that only encourage bribery and corruption.

I arrived at our prestigious Murtala Mohammed International airport Lagos a few weeks ago; I had to wait for about two hours for my luggage. Whilst waiting, I started complaining about the length of time it was taking the bags to come out, one woman answered and said, ‘this is Nigeria’. You must have heard that statement at some point or the other, but we must not continue this way. Our mindsets need to change from this mediocracy system. We must raise the ante.

You go home after a long day at work, instead of enjoying some peace and tranquility, you are being entertained by the unpleasant noise and air pollution produced by your generator and those of your neighbours because successive governments over the years have not been able to provide stable power.

What sort of meaningful development do you expect anyway, when you present a budget where 73% is dedicated to recurrent expenditure while only 23% is budgeted on capital expenditure, this is simply not good enough.
To our political officers, please let us know when you are able to provide free education for all children from primary to at least secondary schools. Inform us when you have a low-interest student loan system in place where university students can easily access loans to help them ease off their tuition and living expenses. Please let us know when your universities are well equipped enough to make revolutionary researches.

Please let us know when your childbirth mortality rate is in the single digits; let us know when you have revived your non-existent health service that is in its own coma. Tell us when you have an emergency service that one can call in an emergency and expect response in a timely manner.

Please let us know when you have a transport system where both the rich and the poor can conveniently use. Let us know when you have a welfare system that meets the needs of the people, especially the unemployed and less privileged. Please let us know when you have fully functioning culture and tourism ministries across the states with offices, enriched with readily available information. Let us know when wealth creation is diversified and you no longer rely heavily on income from petroleum resources.

Let us know when you find a lasting solution to the power problem, let us know when citizens are comfortable enough to turn on the switch and expect the light bulbs to come on. Let us know when you are able to curb corruption, which has been the bane of development, and punish looters of the public purse, especially those within the corridors of power.

Please let us know when you have a totally reformed electoral system that guarantees rig-proof free, fair, and credible elections. A process where every vote is counted and antics like disenfranchisement of electorates and sorts are exclusively non-existent.

Let us know when you have policies that will strengthen the economy, support growth and competition in the business space, and create jobs that will reduce the currently alarming rate of youth unemployment. Please let us know when there is total transparency and accountability in the functions and operations of the government, to rebuild the trust between the government and the citizens that seem to have faded off with the wind. Let us know when there is major improvement in the security of lives and properties, where citizens feel comfortable to move around.

Until then, please don’t disturb us with your meager performance; it’s just not good enough.

Karo Orovboni

Follow Karo on twitter: @k_orovboni

 

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters

SaharaReporters Media Warned Of Planned ‘Major’ Assault By Abuja On Its Operators and Operations.


By SaharaReporters, New York

SaharaReporters Media would like to alert its readers, fans, supporters, commentators, columnists and whistle blowers it has learned authoritatively of a plan by the Nigerian government and several of its affiliates and cronies to inflict a major assault on its producers and reporters, and blackmail the website.

Our source says the plan follows the Abuja regime’s worry about the relentless groundbreaking reporting and unflinching by SaharaReporters to compromize, going into the 2015 election year, of the corrupt and incompetent governance in Nigeria.  Part of the plot involves blocking SaharaReporters and SaharaTV reception in Nigeria.

SaharaReporters has in the last five years had incidents of attempted hacking of its website, as well as spurious lawsuits funded by successive Nigerian governments and its agents that we have successfully navigated.   In some cases, we do not know who attempted or implemented those attacks.

While we lack the limitless resources of those who would like to shut down or compromise our operations, we stubbornly intend to continue to expose, with every tool available to us, the elements and practices that hold Nigeria and Africa down.

This pledge is sacrosanct, as we have demonstrated in the past, no matter who or what is in power.  We appeal to all those who seek the best of and for Africa to be resolute and to remain unbowed and unshaken with us, no matter the outcome of this latest plot.

We will provide developments or details as they become available.

A Plea For City/Town Self ­Rule In Nigeria By Adamu Muhammad Dankore.


By Adamu Muhammad Dankore

It drives me crazy no one is about about it.

In 1963, Nigeria adopted the United States Federal Republic structure, leaving behind the Parliamentary System of its colonial master, Britain.  In a Federal Republic, the executive, legislature and judiciary are each independent arms of government while one arm can perform the function of another in a Parliamentary System. In order words, elected legislators are also ministers in a Parliamentary System. Legislators cannot be ministers at the same time in a republic.

It was brilliant of our forefathers to have chosen to adopt the Federal Republic System. Here’s the conundrum though: US Economic Freedom Index, the overall health of the economy, increased 0.5% from 1999 to 2013, while Nigeria’s Economic Freedom Index reduced 0.6% over the same period. The point? The Federal Republic System is working for the US and not for Nigeria.

Same democratic structure, different directions? Maybe we should look a little deeper. Looking closely, our democracy lacked the bedrock of a Federal Republic­ harnessing the power of interest.

Interest is a loose concept I coined for things people do because they have to, because if they don’t there will be negative consequences. If they do, there will be positive consequences. And actually, democracy harnesses the power of interests in order to properly function. The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) is an example of an organized interest group. They have vested interest in the proper functioning of their staff and one of the ways they showed that is by going on strike. Farmers groups, Nigeria Governors’ Forum, student associations, the lists goes on, are examples of groups having restricted interests. In general, the wellbeing of our children, wife, husband, parents, town, state, country and so on are things we have a vested interest in. We have to care about these units otherwise there would be negative consequences.

The closer these units are to us, the more we care about them, the further away they are, the less we care. It is more likely we would care about an issue happening in our town than in another town 3 hours away. It is more likely we would care about an issue 3 hours away than 10hrs away.

Nigeria does not fully harness this concept. In fact, we left the mechanism behind after we remodeled the republic­ type democracy from the US, and that is the root cause of our problems. Yes, that is literally the root cause of our problems. Because we lacked the mechanism that empower people the most, no wonder Nigerians feel they don’t matter. When you make people feel they don’t matter, you can expect the worse from them. The Biafran War, Boko Haram, and Niger Delta Militancy are examples.

So how exactly does Nigeria’s Federal Republic fail to harness the power of interest? The answer is the absence of city/town self­ rule. This sounds mediocre but is one of the most, if not the major, indicators of how the common people have control over their democratic process. China, a communist country, has a city/town rule. South Africa, a parliamentary ­republic also has a city/town rule. Overall, countries that practice city/town rule do better in the Economic Freedom Index. The difference is glaring.

City/town rule is common sense than anything else. It’s not a privileged rule that works for some countries and not others. This common sense comes from the concept of vested interest I mentioned above­ people have the tendency to care more for things closer them, physically or emotionally, than those far away. Therefore, giving people the authority to manage the closest reasonable entity to them does not only deliver the most efficient results but also make the people in control of their future.  A city or town is the most reasonable governance entity closer to the people, not a Local Government Area we currently have in Nigeria.

Our Local Government Area/Wards structure is a good idea, except the local governments are not the closest reasonable entity to the people, compared to cities/towns/villages, more so, the Wards have few to zero administrative powers. It makes all sense to give cities/towns administrative authority rather than local governments. Supervisory, education, jail, hospital, and so on are examples of roles Local Government Areas should play. We should give our cities/towns the authority to collect taxes, manage roads, water, electricity, sewer system, environment, police and so on.

Unfortunately, not every Nigerian think local control is our main problem. I don’t blame Nigerians but the system. Our current democratic structure has made us accept top to bottom rule as the normal; a power structure that is not only ineffective at its best, but create takers instead of creators. Top to bottom means taking care of others instead of given them the power to do so. This kind of system cripples innovation, encourages money laundering, fuel godfatherism, create hopeless followers, and the root cause of 99% of our problems.

Adopting a city/town rule would give many more Nigerians, instead of the few, the opportunity to shape the future of their country by themselves. It would make Nigerians creators of wealth rather than takers. It would attract people and businesses into our communities creating jobs and securing our future.

Below is an outline of the logic behind why city/town rule produces the best results:

●     People have stakes (something to gain/lose) in their city/town; give them the authority, they will not allow it to rot. If they do, they suffer the consequences and make corrections themselves.
●     Better managed cities/towns attract people
●     The more the people in a city/town, the more businesses will relocate
●     The more businesses, the more economic activity and income for the city/town
●     The more money a city/town gets in form of taxes and fees, the more services it would provide
●     Improved cities/towns gives rise to financially strong local governments
●     Better local government makes a great state
●     Better states make a powerful country.

The top to bottom democratic structure we currently have in Nigeria does not work and it will never work. It is about the few babysitting the majority, a structure that does not only discourage being independent, but also encourages corruption (Nigeria is 144 out of 177 countries in terms of corruption says Transparency International), while also very incompatible with economic stability, the list goes on.

Countries that adopt city/town rule tend to be relatively less corrupt and have a more transparent local, state and national governments than those who don’t. Benin Republic, Botswana, Ghana, and South Africa are examples of countries that have city/town rule and have much less corruption, good elections, and of course investment­ healthy environments because it is the majority not the few that control their future.

Even though our problems are too many and with no apparent solution, local control aka city/town rule will solve our problems one after the other. It will create jobs and infrastructure, ease regional and tribal tensions, produce good leaders who would rise from local to national, conduct credible elections, and corruption will fall greatly because now millions more people would be responsible for managing their resources.

It is the majority that build cities, towns and villages so give them the power to do so. Safe and friendly cities, towns and villages make a strong local government, state and a country. It is not the other way round like we currently have in Nigeria.

City/town rule will put Nigeria on the path to economic freedom and corrupt­free society.

Adamu Muhammad Dankore
Hartley, Iowa, United States
+1-319-296-5799

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters

PHOTONEWS : Prominent Nigerian Activists Celebrate The Contributions Of The People Of Nigeria Towards The Demise Of Apartheid.


Barrister Femi Falana, SAN

Funmi Falana

Comrade Isa Aremu

Comrade Malachy

Kayode Opeifa

Left : Chairman of the Ikeja branch of the Nigeria Bar Association, Mr. Onyekachi Ubani

Abiola Akiode

Comrade Abiodun Aremu

Kayode Opeifa and Bamidele Aturu

Prominent activists and lawyers led by Femi Falana, SAN today celebrated  the contribution made by the Nigerian people and its government in bringing about the end of the apartheid regime in South Africa.

But they cautioned the legacy of apartheid is not over yet in South African as seen in recent events, and elites in Nigeria and South Africa are behaving much in the same way.

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

Budget 2014: Another Ritualistic Redundancy By Law Mefor.


By Law Mefor

Budget presentation by the Executive Arm of Government to the National Assembly for Appropriation has since become nothing but an annual hollow, redundant ritual. The budget is never implemented, thus making nonsense of the time and expense deployed to passing it into law in the first place. The 2014 Budget is no exception either.
The first signs that 2014 Budget is also doomed to fail like the rest started with the President and the National Assembly disagreeing on the Oil Benchmark. Owing to this, the President had to delegate the Minister of Finance to perform the presentation ritual, the first time it is happening in Nigeria. Though the President is not duty-bound by the Constitution or any other extant law to lay the budget in person, it has since become a welcome tradition that he does so and it also offers the President an opportunity to feel the legislative arm of government and create a latitude for a sustained camaraderie and rapprochement between the arms of government. So, for the President to decline, and not for any national exigency, is indicative of impending turbulent budget year. One also can only hope that the budget get passed within the 2nd Quarter of 2014, as the First Quarter appears doomed already with the National Assembly resuming only on the 15th of January.

The content of the 2014 budget proposal is not inspiring. Over 70% of the entire budget is going to Recurrent Expenditure.  Out of the N4.6 Trillion budget for 2014, only 27% is for Capital. If passed generally as it is, out of this 27%, only about 30% will eventually be implemented, going by when the budget will be passed which can not be earlier than April, and going by the 2013 budget performance, which dismally stands at about 35%. We need to also note that things like computers are listed as Capital whereas they are not, in the strict sense. Are we really serious about exiting poverty and underdevelopment by servicing only recurrent expenditure?

The Minister of Finance and the Coordinating Minister of the Economy Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala had once promised to devise ways to drastically reduce Recurrent Expenditure and shore up the Capital. But from what she laid before the National Assembly, one can see she is not working in that direction or she has given in.

There is no way Nigeria can exit the poverty belt in the manner the issue of Budget is handled. Fact is: actual development is hinged on Capital development. There has never been a time, since the return to Civil Rule in 1999, where Recurrent Expenditure is not implemented 100% and this essentially goes for the servicing of the bloated bureaucracy and political office holders, to the detriment of the economy and suffering masses.
Recurrent Expenditure has very little if not nothing to do with the suffering masses of Nigeria. Whereas Capital Expenditure, which is where the masses can feel the impact of development and dividends of democracy, has never been implemented up to 50% since 1999.

Over the years, the rate of Capital budget performance has continued to dwindle; this year’s budget performance is clearly below 40% where it comes to Capital whereas Government has already hit 100% implementation of Recurrent Expenditure. Government does not exist for the sole servicing of bureaucracy and politicians. The people who directly benefit from these amorphous budgets are not up to 1% of Nigeria’s population, and something must be done to focus more on the rest 99%, by reducing the cost of running Government in Nigeria, which appears too expensive.

The way and manner therefore budgets are prepared, passed and implemented in Nigeria is nothing but annual ritualistic redundancy and cannot lead  to staged development. In fact, it has led to further disarticulation of the economy and making it impossible for the country to be economically independent. Neocolonial economies can become independent if production is encouraged and need of citizens to purchase mainly foreign goods put in check. But today, Nigeria is not budgeting for the stimulation of productivity and doing something to add value to the primary products the nation exports, especially oil.

The Executive Arm is also known to blatantly violate the Appropriation Act by simply ignoring it and carrying on regardless of its provisions, despite being a (pivotal) law. Examples of this abound: the President was reported days ago to have instructed the Minister of Finance to find funds for the National Confab and there is no place such funds are provided for in the budget before the National Assembly. Another example; Stella Oduah just approved the purchase of bullet proof cars and other vehicles running into  about a billion naira without any appropriation, as shown in the Report of the House Committee on Aviation headed by Hon. Onyejeocha, turned in just this week. Whereas the 1999 Constitution as amended, clearly stipulates that there shall be no Governmental Expenditure without appropriation.

The willful and flagrant violation of the Appropriation Act forms part of the culture of impunity, which is destroying the nation by fueling corruption, as institutions of Government are trampled upon by the same Government officials who should strengthen and defend them. Impunity breeds corruption and corruption breeds underdevelopment, as the funds meant for development are stolen in broad-day light.

Nigeria needs to make a clean break from the current undemocratic practice and do away with the prevailing culture of impunity and executive lawlessness, for violation of the Appropriation Act is an assault on the Constitution and therefore a  grave offense, apart from the injury it inflicts on macroeconomic planning and development of the country.

Let us make a square facing to nation building and national development and where to start is by ensuring that at no time is the Recurrent Expenditure higher than the Capital Expenditure. For a growing economy, it is the only way to ensure Staged Development.

Law Mefor,  Forensic Psychologist and Journalist, is National Coordinator, Transform Nigeria Movement (TNM) Abuja; +234-803-787-2893; email; lawmefor@gmail.com.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters

Gov Obi tasks FG on federal highways & 2nd Niger Bridge.


Niger-Bridge

The issue of the deplorable condition of federal highways in the South East geo-political zone and the 2nd Niger Bridge came up again yesterday, during an interactive session of federal civil servants working in Anambra State, with Governor Peter Obi .
During the meeting, the governor called on the Federal Government to expedite action on the implementation of policy decisions relating to the two projects. The governor, who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government, SSG, Mr. Oseloka Obaze, described the two projects as very dear to the people of the zone and hoped that serious work would begin on them as soon as possible.

He promised that the state government would continue to maintain cordial relationship with both the federal government and its establishments within Anambra State through constructive, proactive, and mutually beneficial relationship.

According to him, Anambra State will also continue to support federal establishments domiciled in the state within its limited resources to enable them tackle challenges facing them.

The Head of Civil Service of the Federation (HOS), Alhaji Buka Aji, who was represented by the permanent secretary in the Federal Ministry of Transport, Mr. Nebolisa Emodi, urged public servants to adhere strictly to the rules while discharging their duties.
He assured that a lot of reforms were being carried out in the public service to engender quality delivery, in line with the transformation agenda of the federal government.

Aji added that plans were on to reduce huge financial cost of training personnel abroad by domesticating such training within the country.

He reminded them that meeting the demands of the transformation agenda entailed that workers maintained a high sense of discipline, punctuality to work, decorum, ownership of the reform process and avoiding rumour mongering, reminding them of the federal government’s zero tolerance for corruption.

Source: Radio Biafra.

US Admits Dropping Ball on 15,000 Obamacare Enrollees.


The government admitted Saturday it failed to send data to health insurers for about 15,000 people who enrolled in Obamacare through early December.

The error was corrected this week, before it could jeopardize their coverage, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said in a report that noted error rates for such data transmissions to insurers, a process known as an “834 transaction” are now close to zero.

While the government announced Dec. 1 that it fixed many of the bugs and errors that had frustrated consumers using its insurance-enrollment system, garbled back-end communications with carriers have taken longer to sort out.

The data transmissions are critical to complete the enrollment of millions of people seeking coverage under the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that was the signature domestic achievement of President Barack Obama’s first term.

“Our priority is working to make sure that every 834 form — past and present — is accurate, and that consumers are able to successfully enroll in the coverage of their choice,” Julie Bataille, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said in a blog post today.

The 834 form, which provides insurers information including new customers’ names, addresses, gender and Social Security numbers, is generated at the end of the sign-up process after a health plan is selected. The data transmission failed as much as 15 percent of the time in the middle of October, according to today’s report. The enrollment system and its website, healthcare.gov, at that time were plagued with errors, and federal technicians had only just begun a repair effort.

By Dec. 5, the rate of failed transmissions had fallen to less than 1 percent, according to the report. About 137,000 people had selected a health plan using the federal system by the end of November, according to the government.

The federal system serves 36 states, including Texas and Florida. About 365,000 people have enrolled nationwide, including in states such as California, New York, Kentucky, and Washington that run their own systems and have reported fewer technical problems.

Last week, Bataille’s agency shared all of its enrollment data with about 300 insurers participating in the federal system. That process, separate from the 834 transmissions, allows the plans to double-check their enrollment information against the government’s records.

“We are double and triple-checking all enrollment data across systems,” Bataille said in her post.

Americans who want coverage that begins Jan.1 have to sign up by Dec. 23. Bataille said the government will conduct another round of data reconciliation with insurers after that deadline.

© Copyright 2013 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.
Source: Newsmax.com

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