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BudgIT Supports Ningi over Budget Padding Allegation



As the over N3 trillion 2024 Budget scandal deepens, BudgIT, a civil organisation which simplifies the Nigerian budget, promoting transparency and fostering active citizen engagement, has backed Senator Abdul Ningi’s claim.

Co-founder and CEO of BudgIT, Seun Onigbinde, threw his weight behind Ningi’s claims that over ₦3 trillion was allocated in the 2024 budget without details or expenditure items for what of the allocation was provided.

Onigbinde, said this when he featured as a guest on Channels Television’s Politics Today programme on Tuesday. Onigbinde said as the rowdy session by the Senate was ongoing, the BudgIT team fact-checked claims by Ningi.

Ningi, who recently resigned as chairman of the Northern Senators’ Forum and faced suspension over budget allegations, had told the British Broadcasting Corporation in an interview that over N3 trillion is not tied to any project in the budget.

Speaking on Channels TV, Onigbinde said, “There should be a detailed breakdown of the budget. On that point, Ningi is right. But to say that we are running two parallel budgets, I don’t think that is factual.”
While acknowledging the absence of a breakdown for approximately N3.7 trillion in statutory transfers, Onigbinde however said this practice was not uncommon historically.

“If Senator Ningi says there is a N25trn budget, yes, that is the MDA’s budget. It’s different from the government-owned enterprises budget. In the current budget, the National Assembly gave a very broad summary of its allocations but there are no detailed allocations on a granular level that everybody can understand. TETFUND should not just get an allocation. What are you spending money on? INEC is collecting a huge chunk of funds but there is no public details about what the funds are used for.
“If you put all these together, that is around N3.5 trillion to N3.7 trillion. So, if Ningi wants to interrogate that there are components of the budget where there are no breakdown, that is very factual.”

“There are statutory elements in the budgets that do not have breakdown, but that does not seem unusual , it seems like the situation is from the past.

Historically, there are items in the budget that don’t have breakdown like statutory transfers like NJC, NDDC, TETFUND, which has been a campaign and advocacy point.
Onigbinde, also observed that several projects were allocated to agencies without capacity to deliver, citing examples such as the Ministry of Agriculture, where an initial proposal of N363 billion ballooned to N993 billion with questionable projects.
He warned that it is an attempt to stall development.

“The ministry of agriculture is the biggest culprit of this”, he said. “The executive proposed N363 billion for the ministry of agriculture budget. It came out to be N993 billion, over N600 billion worth of thousands of projects were put in. And you have some agencies that have become notorious . Federal Cooperative college , Orji River, is a school now building a town hall almost 1000 kilometres far away from the school. That is not accountability , what is the technical capability of the Federal Cooperative college to deliver a hall?

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FG Dismisses Dangote Petroleum As Inferior, Says Refinery Not Yet Licenced, Not Completed



By Eric Elezuo

A Federal Government of Nigeria petroleum regulatory agency, the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, (NMDPRA), has dismissed petroleum products from the Dangote Refinery as inferior, in the guise of those f4om Watersmith and Aradel, making a case for superiority of imported ones.

The revelation was made by the Chief Executive Officer of NMDPRA, Mr. Farouk Ahmed, while responding to questions from a section of the press, a video of which is trending online, adding that the refinery is only 45% completed, and yet to be licenced for operation by the Nigerian government.

Earlier, the Vice President of Dangote Industries Limited, Devakumar Edwin, had alleged that most fuel products imported into Nigeria are substandard, blaming International Oil Companies (IOCs) of frustrating Dangote’s quest for production.

In the short video, which lasted a little over a minute, Mr. Ahmed debunked theories attached to the functionality of the Dangote Refinery, saying it does not have the capacity to ‘feed’ the nation of its petroleum needs, as it stands. He however, refuted arguments that some elements within the oil and gas sector were trying to scuttle the Dangote Refinery.

A transcript of the NMDPRA’s boss short response is as follows:

“It about concerns of supply of petroleum products acros the nationwide, and the claim that we are trying to scuttle Dangote. That is not so. Dangote Refinery is still in the pre-commissioning stage. It has not been licenced yet. We haven’t licenced them yet. I think they are about 45 per cent completed, or completion rather.

“We cannot rely on one refinery to feed the nation, because Dangote is requesting that we suspend or stop imports, especially of AGO and DPK, and direct all marketers to his refinery. That is not good for the nation in terms of energy security, and it is not good for the market because of the monopoly.

“Dangote Refinery, as well as some modular refineries like Watersmith Refinery and Aradel Refinery, are producing between 650 and 1,200 PPM. Therefore, in terms of quality, their products are inferior to imported ones,” he stated.

It will be recalled that only last Sunday, the President, Dangote Industries Limited, Aliko Dangote, while hosting senior journalists from across various media concerns, revealed that the Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) owns only 7.2% of stakes in the refinery, and not 20 percent as widely circulated. He also revealed that the refinery is set to begin fuel supply in August 2024.

Many stakeholders and respondents have alleged that there’s no love lost between the government of the day and the Dangote Group, and that explains the hiccup situation surrounding the takeoff the $19 billion refinery.

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JAMB Denies Setting Admission Cut-off Mark, Says No Such Thing



The Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB), has denied setting cut-off marks for admissions into higher institutions across the country.

In a statement posted on its official X account on Thursday, the Board dismissed reports that it had set 140 as cut-off marks for universities, and 100 for polytechnics respectively.

“There’s no such thing as ‘cut-off mark’ in admission process to tertiary institutions in Nigeria, what’s obtainable is minimum tolerable score determinable by individual institutions,” it said.

The denial comes just one day after it was widely reported, that the Board had pegged 140 as a cut-off mark for admission into universities, and 100 as the minimum cut-off point mark for admission into polytechnics and colleges of education.

The statement attributed to JAMB Registrar, Professor Ishaq Oloyede, quoted him as announcing the development in Abuja at the 2024 Policy meeting of the Board.

The meeting had in attendance the Minister of Education, Tahir Mamman, vice-chancellors, rectors and registrars of higher institutions and other stakeholders.

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We Communicated Our Stand to Dangote, NNPC Reacts to Owning Only 7.2% Stake in Refinery



The Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited has explained why it holds only a 7.2% equity in the $19 billion Dangote Refinery, instead of the widely speculated 20%. 

A statement released on Sunday by Femi Soneye, the Chief Corporate Communications Officer of NNPCL, addressed the company’s recent decision regarding its investment in the Dangote Refinery.  

Soneye said that the decision to reduce their investment was carefully considered and communicated several months ago to Aliko Dangote. 

Dangote mentioned to newsmen on Sunday that NNPC no longer holds a 20% stake in the refinery.  

He explained that this change occurred because NNPCL failed to pay the balance of their share, which was due in June. 

Reacting, NNPC said:  

“NNPC Limited periodically assesses its investment portfolio to ensure alignment with the company’s strategic goals.

“The decision to cap its equity participation at the paid-up sum was made and communicated to Dangote Refinery several months ago,” NNPC said.


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