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Budget: Senate Committee Walks Out Trade Ministry Officials Over Missing N177 Million

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The Ministry of Trade and Industry on Monday could not account for the sum of N177 million being revenue generated by its department of Weighs and Measures, a critical revenue generation of the agency.

The officials who represented the Minister at the 2022 budget Defence at the Senate Committee on Trade and Industry stage managed a document they couldn’t explain on the budget performance for 2021 before seeking approval for 2022.

The failure to explain how the sum of N177 million angered the Committee, wondering what would have happened to the fund between January and September despite the 2021 budget approval for capital and recurrent for the agency.

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The Senate Committee on Trade & Investment on Monday walked out representatives of the Ministry for presenting an “unreadable document” containing a N1.6 billion projection as its budget proposal for 2022.

The Committee also described the Ministry’s action as vague documentation, accusing it of misappropriating N177 million retention from its 2021 internally generated revenue (IGR).

READ ALSO: 2022 Budget: BudgIT Raises Concerns, Queries Missing N198.7bn Oil Company Payments To NDDC

Vice Chairman of the Committee, Senator Kola Balogun called for an end to impunity while he described the Ministry’s budget document as unreadable and an attempt to confuse Senators.

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“These documents are not readable. It is very difficult for us to read it. It is also very difficult for us to make any sense out of it I think the Ministry should do better than this”, he said, adding that the revenue realized from the Department of Weights and Measures was slim.

“N500 million is too low from Weights and Measure. We were expecting that it should be tripled”, he said.

Lamenting on the situation, a member of the Committee and Senator representing Taraba Central, Yusuf Abubakar Yusuf, said the document presented by the Minister and her team clearly suggested that funds retained by the Department of Weights and Measures were misappropriated because they were not captured in figures.

According to him, “You have a projection of N1.6 billion, you realized N1.19 billion”, requesting that the Department of Weights and Measures furnish the Committee on how the money was utililsed.

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“It is not what they have spent. Do they have the appropriation for what they have spent? Because all these things are happening every year. Once they retained revenue, the just go and spend it without referring to the committee of appropriation.

“For me, it is variation of the approval of the national assembly. If you don’t do that, for me, it is misappropriation,” he said.

The Minister of State for Trade and Investment, Hajiya Aisha Abubakar had earlier told the Senator Saidu Alkali led- Committee that the Ministry projected to generate the sum of N1.6 billion in 2021, part of which N1.19 billion was already realised between the month of January and September 2021.

She referred the Committee to the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry to explain how the twenty percent retention was utililsed.

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In a swift reaction, the Permanent Secretary urged Senators to excuse him as he only resumed resumed three months ago which he doesn’t have adequate information to furnish Senators.

Meanwhile, both Director Finance and Administration and Director, Weights and Measures could not explain how and what exactly the money was used for, as they were both interrupted by the Chairman of the Committee, requested that they give details of how the N177 million was expended.

Senator Alkali queried: “this is performance. You are supposed to bring the details with underlying items.

READ ALSO: 2022 Budget: Reps Fear Economy Collapse, Say Debt Servicing Too High

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“What we are saying is, how did you spend the 20% you retained as percentage from the revenue you realised? Where are the details? This is what we are asking. How did you expend the amount you retained under your department? You have indicated here, this you have realised, this is what you have remitted to CRA and this is what you have retained. So we are asking, how did you spend the amount you retained?.

“You are not supposed to tell us this is how it is spent. It is supposed to be clearly written under a subject. The Ministry is supposed to have it under a subject, which the details are not here.

“Who give you the authority to spend N177 million and how did you spend it because you are supposed to get the approval of the National Assembly”, he further queried.

(DAILY POST)

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Nigeria Records N3trn Negative Foreign Trade Balance In Q3 – NBS

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National Bureau of Statistics(NBS) has revealed that Nigeria recorded N3 trillion negative foreign trade balance in the Third Quarter(Q3) of 2021 as total import hits N8.2 trillion against N5.1 tillion in the period under review.

The Statistician General of the Federation and Chief Executive Officer of National Bureau of Statistics, Dr. Simon Harry made this disclosure during a press briefing in Abuja on Monday.

He disclosed that Nigerian export trade was mainly dominated by Crude Oil, which amounted to N4 trillion Naira.

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Meanwhile, Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) valued at N1.05 trillion topped Nigerian import trade.

According to Dr Harry, “In terms of exports, Nigerian Export trade was mainly dominated by Crude Oil which amounted to N4trillion(78.47%) of total export in the Third Quarter. This was followed by Natural gas, liquefied with 487.49billion(9.50℅), floating of submersible drilling platforms with N163.70billion(3.19%) and Urea, whether or not in aqueous solution with 107.17billion(2.08%).

“On the other hand, imports were mainly motor spirit valued at N1.1trillion(12.91%), Dur wheat valued at 315.17billiom(3.87%), Gas Oil with N225.63billion(2.77%), Used Vehicles N185.41billion(2.27%).

“In terms of trading partners, the top five major trading partners in export trade during the 3rd Quarter, 2021 were India with N758.1billion, Spain with N627.01 billion, Italy with N446.04 billion, France with N363.23 billion and Netherlands with N242.49 billion. Similarly, the top import trading partners in the period under review were China with N2,441.79billion, India with 710.35billion, United States with 599.12billion, Netherlands with N554 billion and Belgium with N434.12 billion”, the statistician general stated.

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International trade is an exchange or trade of goods between different nations which cut across imternational borders or territories.

READ ALSO: NDDC BOARD: Akpabio’s Response To Women, Youths, Irresponsible – CSO

NBS stated that collection of data is majorly from secondary data sources such as the Nigeria Customs Service(NSC), Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation(NNPC), Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority(NPRA), Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN)

Others are Nigerian Export Procession Zone Agency(NEPZA), Nigeria Liquified Natural Gas Limited(NLNG), Nereli Technology Limited, Gojopal Nigeria Limited, Anglia International Limited, Oil and Gas Free Zone Agency(OGFZE), Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission(NERC), Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria(FAAN), Nigeria Civil Aviation(NCAA), Nigeria Port Authority, among others

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Illegal Revenue Collectors Arrested In Edo

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The Edo State Joint Security Operation, Wabaizigan and officials of the state’s Public Works Volunteers (PUWOV) have arrested three suspected illegal revenue collectors in Benin City, the Edo State capital.

This was made known in a Facebook post by the username Samson Mark.

In the post, it was said that state’s coordinator of PUWOV, Mukhtar Yusuf-Osagie, said the suspects were found with fake identification cards and receipts, as well as proceeds from the sales of revenue tickets.

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The suspects include Austin Otunba and Bisi Adewunmi, who was arrested at Airport Road, and Mr. Friday Imade, arrested along Oba Market Road, by Oredo Secretariat, in Benin City.

Yusuf-Osagie noted that the arrest, in collaboration with other security agencies in the state, is part of efforts by the Governor Godwin Obaseki-led administration to rid the streets of Edo of extortionists and other criminal elements.

According to him, “PUWOV officials have apprehended one Friday Imade, a suspected illegal revenue collector, who has been extorting residents along Airport Road axis in Benin City.

“In the same vein, the state’s joint security operation, Wabaizigan arrested two other illegal revenue collectors along Oba Market Road, who were illegally selling tickets and extorting unsuspecting traders. The suspects have been handed over to the Police for further investigation and prosecution.”

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READ ALSO:Edo: Association Battles Traditional Ruler Over Signpost, Petitions CP

Noting the government’s efforts at ending all forms of extortion and multiple taxations across the state, the PUWOV coordinator said, “The Edo State Government is committed to apprehending all illegal ticket racketeers and other illegal revenue collectors. Governor Obaseki is very involved and will never support oppression or exploitation of Edo citizens.”

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CAMA: Court Dismisses CAN’s Suit Against CAC, Trade Minister

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A Federal High Court, Abuja has dismissed a suit filed by the Christian Association of Nigeria against the Corporate Affairs Commission and the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment.

Justice Inyang Ekwo, in a judgment, dismissed the suit over the failure of the plaintiff to comply with the law in the name used in filing the originating summons.

“Therefore, this application lacks merit and ought to be dismissed and I hereby make an order dismissing same,” he declared.

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The News Agency of Nigeria reports that while the Incorporated Trustees of Christian Association of Nigeria is the plaintiff in the suit, the CAC and the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment are 1st and 2nd defendants respectively.

READ ALSO: Delta 2023: Omo-Agege Accused Of Promoting Ethnic Disunity In Warri, Delta

The plaintiff, in an originating summons marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/244/2021, had prayed the court to determine “whether Section 839, subsections (1), (7) (a) and (10) of the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA), 2020, is inconsistent with Sections 4(8), 6(6)(b) and 40 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) which guarantees the plaintiff’s right to freedom of association and the right to seek redress in court.

“Whether the provision of Section 854 of the CAMA is inconsistent with Section 39 of the CFRN which guarantees the right to freedom of expression,” among others.

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Part of the reliefs sought by the plaintiff include “a declaration that Section 839(1), (7) (a) and (10) of the CAMA are inconsistent with Section 40 of the CFRN and thus unconstitutional, null and void.

“A declaration that Section 839(1), (7) (a) and (10) of the CAMA are inconsistent with Section 4(8) of the CFRN and thus unconstitutional, null and void.

“A declaration that Section 839(1) and (7) (a) of the CAMA are inconsistent with Section 36(1) of the CFRN and thus unconstitutional, null and void.

“A declaration that Section 839(1) and (7) (a) of the CAMA has a direct effect on the judicial power of the court under Section 6(6) (b) of the CFRN, and Is therefore void.

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“An order striking down Sections 839(1), (7) (a) & (10), 842(1) and (2), 843, 851 and 854 of the CAMA for being unconstitutional.

“A declaration that Section 17(2) (a) & (d) of the CAMA demand an impossible and impracticable action; thus, void.

“An Order striking down Section 17 (2) (a) & (d) of the CAMA for being impracticable and unknown to Law.”

However, in the course of the proceedings, CAN brought an application, praying for an order to amend the originating summons and accompanying processes by replacing the word, “INCORPORATED” with “REGISTERED” in the name of the plaintiff in the suit such that it would read, “The Registered Trustees of the Christian Association of Nigeria.”

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The application was filed on the grounds that the name expressed in its certificate of incorporation is the “Registered Trustees of the Christian Association of Nigeria” and not “Incorporated Trustees of Christian Association of Nigeria.”

It stated further that in the originating summons, the plaintiff’s name was inadvertently expressed as “Incorporated Trustees of the Christian Association of Nigeria.”

“This error in the plaintiff’s name was as a result of the inadvertence of counsel.

“The error in the plaintiff’s name is what we seek by this application to rectify,” it added.

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The plaintiff argued that it was an oversight on the part of the counsel who prepared the draft of the processes.

In its counter affidavit, the CAC had opposed the plaintiff’s suit, challenging the propriety of the constitution of the parties and competence of the plaintiff.

It argued that “The Incorporated Trustees of the Christian Association of Nigeria;” as a non-juristic person, was unknown to law to institute and maintain the action.

“The plaintiff is not an entity registered under the Companies and Allied Matters Act and not one otherwise recognised as being vested with statutory rights of incorporation and bereft of the requisite locus standi, legal capacity or competence to sue and maintain this action eo nomine against the 1st defendant.

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READ ALSO: Alleged Illegal Recruitment: Labour Ministry Clarifies Position

Religious violators’ list: Persecution persists, state your criteria, CAN tells US
“The certificate of incorporation, Exh. P1, is a certificate of Christian Association of Nigeria and not the plaintiff.

“The plaintiff being the party invoking the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court is not a juristic person and incompetent to do so.

“The amendment which the plaintiff seeks is not one to cure a mere misnomer but an amendment to give life to the originating processes by substituting a non-juristic person with a juristic person.

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“The originating process of the plaintiff is incurably defective and cannot be cured by an amendment.

“This court cannot by an order, breathe life on an otherwise lifeless and/or non-existent entity.”

The CAC insisted that granting the application would change the character of the case and would be prejudicial to it.

Delivering judgment, Justice Ekwo said he had taken a look at the certificate of incorporation of the plaintiff attached to the origination summons as Exh. P1 and found that the name on the certificate is ‘The Registered Trustees of Christian Association of Nigeria.”

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“Further peruse shows that the certificate was issued under the regime of the Land (Perpetual Succession) Act, Cap. 98 of the 1958 LFN on 19th December, 1986.

“This means that the plaintiff was registered before CAMA first came into effect in 1990.

“With this evidence, it means the plaintiff can only sue and be sued in the name on the certificate issued to it on 19th December, 1986,” he said.

He cited a previous case to back his stand.

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“There must be consequential order in the circumstance of this case.

“The originating processes in the name of ‘The Registered Trustees of Christian Association of Nigeria’ cannot stand.

“Similarly, it is my opinion that this ruling has therefore also resolved the issue in the preliminary objection of the 1st defendant too.

“I find that the plaintiff did not comply with the law in the name used in filing its originating summons.

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“Therefore, this application lacks merit and ought to be dismissed and I hereby make an order dismissing same,” he ruled.

The judge added that the ruling affected the foundation of the case going by the defect in the name by which the plaintiff commenced the matter.

“I therefore make an order striking out the entire case. This is the order of this court,” Ekwo held.

(NAN)

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