Below are the headlines found on The Guardian Online Newspaper for today, Wednesday, 8 November, 2017.

Wed, 08 Nov 2017
President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday presented to a joint session of the National Assembly a budget estimate of N8.612 trillion for the 2018 fiscal year.

The key parameters and assumptions for the 2018 budget with a deficit of N2.005 trillion as presented include an oil benchmark of $45 per barrel, oil production estimate of 2.3 million barrels per day, exchange rate of N305/$ for 2018, real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth of 3.5 per cent and an inflation rate of 12.4 per cent.

The proposed N8.612 trillion of the 2018 aggregate expenditure comprises recurrent costs of N3.494 trillion; debt service of N2.014 trillion; statutory transfers of about N456 billion, sinking fund of N220 billion (to retire maturing bond to local contractors) as well as capital expenditure of N2.652 trillion which is the 30.8 per cent of the entire budget.

On revenues, the president said that the “total federally-collectible revenue is estimated at N11.983 trillion in 2018. Thus, the three tiers of government shall receive about 12 per cent more revenues in 2018 than the 2017 estimate. Of the amount, N6.387 trillion is expected to be realised from oil and gas sources. Total receipts from the non-oil sector are projected at N5.597 trillion.”

President Buhari, however, disclosed that “the Federal Government’s estimated total revenue is N6.607 trillion in 2018, which is about 30 per cent more than the 2017 target. As we pursue our goal of revenue diversification, non-oil revenues will become a larger share of total revenues.”

In 2018, the Federal Government expects to generate N2.442 trillion as revenue from the oil sector while it expects N4.165 from non-oil as well as other revenues.

Buhari listed the non-oil and other revenue sources of N4.165 trillion as share of Companies Income Tax (CIT) of N794.7 billion, share of Value Added Tax (VAT) of N207.9 billion, Customs & Excise receipts of N324.9 billion, Federal Government’s Independently Generated Revenues (IGR) of N847.9 billion, share of Tax Amnesty Income of N87.8 billion and various recoveries of N512.4 billion, N710 billion as proceeds from the restructuring of government’s equity in joint ventures and other sundry incomes of N678.4 billion.

“It is expected that our fiscal operations will result in a deficit of N2.005 trillion or 1.77 per cent of GDP. This reduction is in line with our plans under the ERGP to progressively reduce deficit and borrowings,” he noted

On how to finance the budget, Buhari said: “We plan to finance the deficit partly by new borrowings estimated at N1.699 trillion. Fifty per cent of this borrowing will be sourced externally, whilst the balance will be sourced domestically.”

The president also provided explanations on how his administration intends to manage the nation’s debt.

Wed, 08 Nov 2017
Stakeholders in the Nigerian sports’ sector have raised the alarm over what they described as the country’s poor preparations for the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games and FIBA Women World Cup in 2018 as well as the FIFA World Cup scheduled to hold in Russia also next year.

The Commonwealth Games will hold in Gold Coast, Australia in April, while the World Cup will kick off in Russia in June next year.

Experts believe that for an athlete to win a medal at such competitions and the Olympics, he must have been preparing for at least four years before the event. Within that period, the athlete is expected to compete in various international meets, where he tests his ability against other world-class stars, apart from going for qualifiers that are specified.

For the FIFA World Cup, serious preparations don’t start until after the end of the football season leading to the competition, but the country’s federation is expected to put all logistics together, well ahead of the arrival of the team, for the buildup to the competition.

Recently, the Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung, came under severe attack for asking the National Assembly to help the ministry get enough funds for the country’s preparation and participation in next year’s Commonwealth Games and the World Cup. To some stakeholders, the minister’s plea was a tad too late as the Commonwealth competition is just around the corner, while others berated Dalung for asking for funds for a World Cup for which the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has already qualified for a $2 million training grant from FIFA following the Super Eagles qualification for the competition.

On Wednesday, the House of Representatives held a public hearing on the NFF bill, the status of the National Sports Commission and funding for 2018 competitions. The move, according to some stakeholders, is rather too late, as any money from the exercise cannot be accessed by the sector until the national budget is passed and money appropriated to the Sports Ministry next year.

Sometimes, funds from the national budget do not get to the end users until late into the year, thereby rendering it useless for the purposes it was supposed to serve.

Reacting to the country’s seeming inability to begin preparation for the Commonwealth Games, sports analyst, Sabinus Ikewuaku, recalled that after the London 2012 Olympic Games, where Nigeria failed to win a single medal, the government organised a summit where it agreed with the experts that the country needed another source of funding to achieve its potential in sports.

Wed, 08 Nov 2017
US President Donald Trump on Wednesday offered North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un what he called “a path towards a much better future” as tensions soar over Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions.

“The weapons you are acquiring are not making you safer,” Trump said in an address to the South’s parliament, in what he described as a direct message for Kim.

“They are putting your regime in great danger,” he added. “Every step you take down this dark path increases the peril you face.”

Trump denounced Pyongyang as a “cruel dictatorship” and told Kim, who is the third generation in the country’s ruling dynasty, that: “North Korea is not the paradise your grandfather envisioned. It is a hell that no person deserves.”

But “despite every crime you have committed against god and man,” he went on, “we will offer a path towards a much better future”.

It would have to start, though, with North Korea stopping its development of ballistic missiles and “complete verifiable and total denuclearisation”, Trump said.

Wed, 08 Nov 2017
As Italian prosecutors begin investigation into the death of 26 teenage Nigerian girls who died in the Mediterranean Sea, off the coast of Italy on Sunday, Nigerians while reacting to the incident on social media, expressed outrage at the seemingly loud silence of the Federal Government.

The deceased girls, said to be between the ages of 14 and 18, were found dead in the sea while attempting the dangerous journey of crossing from Libya to Europe over the weekend. The bodies of the 26 female Nigerian migrants were found by Spanish warship Cantabria, who brought the bodies to Salerno, Italy, after they were purportedly sexually abused and murdered.

Atinuke Oyibo said: “It is Italian prosecutors that are investigating the deaths of 26 Nigerian women whose bodies were found at sea. Nigerians where are you?” @PremiumTweep said: “The bodies of 26 Nigerian females were discovered in the Mediterranean Sea yet no government official is talking about it.”

Kingsley Omose said: “No, these monsters will not shed a tear for the 26 Nigerian girls who died in the Mediterranean Sea fleeing from their misrule. They were our daughters, we offered them no future and now they are dead.”

Also reacting to the incident, the Center for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL), slammed the Federal Government for not providing a conducive environment for development of youths in the country.

The group blamed the government for the harsh economic situation in the country, which they said caused the tragedy, adding that the government at both federal and state levels must tackle the rising rate of unemployment in the country to curb the menace of human trafficking.

CACOL Director, Debo Adeniran, said: “The problems of illegal migration and trafficking are an accumulated issue. We have a high population of children and youths in this country and we are not planning for their future. Workplaces are winding up and no new jobs are springing up. This is why people want to leave and look for the proverbial ‘greener pastures.’”

Wed, 08 Nov 2017
The Benue State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Michael Gusa, yesterday insisted that the new anti-open grazing law did not violate the country’s constitution.

He made the clarification yesterday in an interview in Makurdi, the state capital, saying those who are opposed to the law were the Fulani herdsmen and others not resident in the state.

He added such people were either ignorant of the provisions of the law or deliberately out to ferment trouble.

Gusa said contrary to insinuations, the law prohibiting open grazing does not in any way violate the provisions of the Nigerian Constitution.

He explained that the law only restricts the movement of livestock and not human beings, stressing that the herdsmen in Benue are comfortable with it.

“The law prohibiting the open grazing of livestock is not targeted at any tribe. Many of the herdsmen who want to remain in the state had complied with the law.

“Since the implementation of the law, no Fulani man living in the state has complained, except those in Abuja and other states. When Zamfara State enacted the Sharia law, those who could not live in conformity with it, left the state,” he said.

He pointed out that the herdsmen must live in peace with the farmers or seek alternative abodes, if they cannot restrain their cows from destroying crops.

He said prior to the enactment of the law, the herdsmen killed many people in the state and forced others to relocate to safer areas to avoid invasion.

Wed, 08 Nov 2017
The Lagos State Police command has arrested two brothers, Savior Philip, 35 and Paul Philip, 17 for allegedly defiling' their nieces aged eight and 13 respectively, who were left in their care at Bariga area of Lagos. 

Wed, 08 Nov 2017
Sir Oseni Salawe Elamah, Executive Secretary of the Joint Tax Board (JTB), has disclosed that state governments will reap huge benefits from the implementation of Voluntary Assets and Income... 

Wed, 08 Nov 2017
Scientists say they have 'completely' cured bowel cancer using a pioneering form of immunotherapy. They report they have achieved a '100 percent cure rate' in mice without any treatment-related toxic effects. 

Wed, 08 Nov 2017
A chieftain of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in Anambra State, Prince Ikechukwu Tabansi, has warned former governor, Peter Obi, to stop castigating the incumbent, Willie Obiano. 

Wed, 08 Nov 2017
Tanzania president John Pombe Magufuli has fired two municipal council heads after they failed to recall government allocations for road projects under their districts. 

Wed, 08 Nov 2017
ICT and Networking solutions company, Cisco Systems is celebrating 20 years of up-skilling millions of young people through its flagship CSR programme, the Cisco Networking Academy (NetAcad) in Nigeria. 

Wed, 08 Nov 2017
Governors of the southeast geo-political zone have disclosed a plan to hold an economic summit in the region. 

Wed, 08 Nov 2017
The General Coordinator of the Lagos Women Run, Tayo Popoola is delighted with the increased number of persons interested in taking part in the 2017 edition of the event scheduled to hold on Saturday at the National Stadium, Lagos. 

Wed, 08 Nov 2017
The Inter Party Advisory Council (IPAC) has described a planned television debate for aspirants in the Anambra State governorship election as a breach of the nation's electoral law. 

Wed, 08 Nov 2017
Anambra State 'cannot afford a governor who would emerge on the basis of a stolen mandate', said the Anglican Bishop of Ihiala diocese, Rt Rev. Israel Kelue Okoye. 
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