From Basil Obasi, Abuja
In fulfilling its promise on social intervention programmes, the Federal Government has announced the released N25 billion, translating to five per cent of the N500 billion earmarked for the programme in the 2016 budget.
The Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, who disclosed this in Abuja, yesterday, explained that, in spite of funding constraints, government has achieved 50 per cent implementation of the 2016 capital budget.
According to a statement by the Director of Information in the ministry, Adedeji Ajibade, the minister disclosed that there was approval from the steering committee in the sum of N150 billion and, apart from the N25 billion, there is another N40 billion in the process of being released.
She further explained that the programmes would be in four parts. The first is the homegrown school-feeding programme, which is targeting 5.5 million primary school pupils in all the states of the federation from Primary 1 to 3. The Federal Government would be responsible for Primary 1 to 3 pupils, while the states would take charge of Primary 4 to 6.
NEPAD: NNPC, police synergise to check attacks on facilities
From Uche Usim, Abuja
As militants sustain attacks on oil and gas facilities in the country, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) are collaborating to stem the menace.
The two agencies made this commitment when the Group Managing Director of NNPC, Dr. Maikanti Baru, visited the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mr. Ibrahim Idris, at the Force Headquarters in Abuja yesterday.
The NNPC boss drew the attention of the police to the growing insecurity around oil and gas installations, the latest being the attack on the Chevron gas pipeline in Delta State.
The GMD explained that the attacks on oil and gas facilities were taking a toll on the national budget, with massive shortfalls in revenue as well huge losses in petroleum products, environmental degradation, refineries shutdown and loss of lives.
He called on the police boss to deploy police to all oil and gas facilities, adding that the corporation was ready to provide any support needed for enhanced security.
The IGP, on his part, stated that the police had enjoyed long-standing cooperation with the NNPC and expressed optimism that the collaboration would continue.
NAICOM relocates inspectorate to Lagos
By Maduka Nweke
The National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) has announced the relocation of its Inspectorate Directorate from the head office in Abuja to the Lagos control office.
According to the commission, the relocation was part of ongoing restructuring aimed at improving efficiency of the workforce and bringing the commission closer to the regulated entities for effective insurance industry supervision.
Head, Corporate Affairs Department, NAICOM, Rasaaq Salami, said the aim of the relocation was, among other things, to make insurance regulation services readily available the operators, minimise cost of regulation and ensure quick resolution of disputes and other issues in the course regulating insurance operators.
He enjoined insurance industry to take advantage of the new proximity to the inspectors to enjoy quicker and efficient service from the regulator.
The commission recently carried a routine re-organisation and rotation of heads of directorates in tandem with the innovative spirit that is being injected into the industry.
The redeployment, Salami said, was part of an exercise aimed at improving efficiency for effective insurance industry supervision.
AGRICULTURE: FG moves to develop crop processing zones
From Magnus Eze and Nsisong Morgan, Abuja
The Federal Government has stated its commitment to developing staple crop processing zones (SCPZ) in strategic locations across the country.
This was disclosed by Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, in a keynote address at a two-day conference in Abuja. He said government is now using fiscal and infrastructure incentives to attract private food manufacturing firms to the country.
He said this would “reduce post-harvest losses, lower the cost of transporting raw materials, stimulate rural economic growth and link farmers directly to food processing companies.”
Represented by the Deputy Director, Irrigation Agriculture and Crop Development, Mr. M. O. Owolabi, the minister also acknowledged the efforts of past administrations to promote agriculture, noting that, in pursuing food security, government would make agriculture a lucrative business.
Chairman, National Caretaker Committee of RACMI, organisers of the event, Mr. James Sagbamah, said the event provided stakeholders in the sector a platform to explore practical steps of realising the Agriculture Promotion Policy 2016-2020 (Green Alternative) of the present administration.
Director of Development Finance Department, Central Bank of Nigeria, Dr. Mudashir Olaitan, who was represented by assistant director in the department, Mr. Babatunde Ogunlajam, urged farmers to form cooperatives, saying that the bank cannot grant loan to any farmer, except he belonged to a group of farmers that has trust fund account and deposited 0.25% cash.