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FG to use 559 bn recovered loot to fund 2017 budget-Minister

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The Federal Government said on Monday it would use a fraction of the looted funds recovered so far to finance part of the 2017 budget.

The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udoma Udoma, who gave this hint at the 2017 budget breakdown in Abuja, said the total revenue projected was N5.08 trillion, with 11 per cent (about N559 billion) coming from the recoveries made by the government.

“On recoveries, we are being extremely conservative. What is in the budget is what we know about already. So, if more comes, we will use it. Know that recoveries of looted funds are not the most dependable way to finance the budget because of the legal processes that have to be concluded before they can be spent. So, the money quoted in the budget is the one we have already recovered and in our pocket to spend as we wish.’’

He said the total revenue projected exceeded the 2016 projection by 30.26 per cent, adding that oil revenue projection was put at 41.7 per cent compared to 19 per cent in 2016.

Udoma added that the high revenue expectation from oil was driven by Joint Venture Calls (JVC) cost reduction, higher production and price, exchange rate as well as additional oil-related revenues.

According to him, Company Income Tax (CIT) will contribute 15.9 per cent; Value Added Tax (VAT), 4.8 per cent; independent revenue, 15.9 per cent and others, 5.2 per cent.

He also said the projected budget deficit, which stood at N2.36 trillion remained relatively low at 2.18 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

“This is within the 3 per cent threshold stipulated in the Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA). The budget is to be financed mainly by borrowings, which have been projected at N2.32 trillion. Of this amount, N1.07 trillion is intended to be sourced externally while N1.25 trillion will be sourced domestically.’’

Udoma stated that N35 billion is expected as revenue from the outright sale of government property and privatisation of state-owned enterprises, adding that to generate the projected revenue, the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) had been challenged to improve their efficiency and broaden their reach to achieve the set targets in the 2017 budget.

He said the Federal Government would strive to maximise the revenues it could generate from the oil and gas sector because the foreign exchange generated from the sector was critical for plans to diversify to the non-oil sectors.

“It is important that we use what we have to get what we need and want and what we have is oil. It is important that we make sure there is peace in the Niger Delta so that we can achieve the maximum from that resource,” he said.
The N7.44 trillion budget was signed into law by the Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, on June 12, a month after it was passed by the National Assembly.

Referred to as the Budget of Recovery, the budget was first presented on December 14, 2016, to the two chambers of the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari at an estimate of N7.30 trillion. The lawmakers, however, increased it by N143 billion.

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Education crisis widening social gaps in Nigeria, others –World Bank

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The World Bank Group has warned that the education crisis in Nigeria is currently widening the social inclusion gaps in the country .

The group said this in its World Development Report for 2018 titled “Learning to Realise Education ’s Promise ” which was presented in Abuja on Wednesday .

The event was attended by the Minister Finance , Mrs . Kemi Adeosun , her counterpart in the Education Ministry , Adamu Adamu , and major stakeholders in the education sector .

The bank in the report called for greater action and coordination of the education sector to achieve the objectives of poverty reduction.

It said millions of young students in low and middle -income countries face the prospect of lost opportunities and lower wages in the future because their primary and secondary schools were failing to educate them to succeed in life .

Warning of a ‘learning crisis’ in global education , the World Bank report said schooling without learning was not just a wasted development opportunity but also a great injustice to children and young people worldwide.

Without learning , it said education would fail to deliver on its promise to eliminate extreme poverty and create shared opportunity and prosperity for all .

The report observed that even after several years in school , millions of children could not read , write or do basic mathematics .

This learning crisis , according to the report , is widening social gaps instead of narrowing them .

It added that young students disadvantaged by poverty, conflict, gender or disability got to adulthood without even the most basic skills of life .

The World Bank Group said like in Kenya , Tanzania, and Uganda “where third grade students find it difficult to make a sentence ,” evidence had shown that in Nigeria , when fourth grade students were asked to complete a simple two- digit subtraction problem , more than three – quarter could not solve it.

It said , “The diagnosis in this World Development Report may make for disheartening reading , but it should not be interpreted as saying that all is lost – only that too many young people are not getting the education they need .

“Learning shortfalls eventually show up as weak skills in the workforce , making it less likely that young people will find good- paying , satisfying jobs .

“But change is possible , if systems commit to learning , drawing on examples of families , educators, communities , and systems that have made real progress . ”

 

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New study finds that 78% of black fathers are unmarried

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A new study has found that most black fathers are unmarried and this revelation has led to a coversation online.

The study carried out by the Centers For Disease Control reveals that more than 3/4 of all Black fathers are not married. The study also found that 72% of Black men have had children by age 44. But only 27% of African American fathers were ever married to the child’s mother. That number applies irrespective of the race of the child’s mother.

The study goes on to point out that 78% of Black men with kids fathered at least one child outside of marriage.

Past studies have pointed out the high percentage of unwed Black mothers. The new study pointing out the percentage of unwed fathers exposes a crisis among Black men and social media activists are concerned by the high percentage of unwed fathers.

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IVF made easy: Scientists create device to identify strongest sperm

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Scientists from Cornell University have created a device that will help doctors identify the strongest sperm to be used for in-vitro fertilization.

The result of the research was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

Alireza Abbaspourrad, Cornell’s Yongkeun Joh assistant professor of food chemistry and ingredient technology, said conventional methods of separating motile sperm is tedious and takes hours.

The device takes advantage of sperm’s ability to go against the flow — a process called rheotaxis. It has a microfluidic channel through which the sperm swim and a microscopic corral — shaped like a “C” — with a retaining wall that attracts the strongest swimmers.

“The older method is tedious, time-consuming and not efficient. It’s the time that laboratory technicians and physicians expend that makes the process expensive,” Abbaspourrad said.

“With this method, it’s five minutes instead of several hours.”

Soon Hon Cheong, Ph.D., assistant professor at Cornell’s College of Veterinary Medicine, and Meisam Zaferani, a doctoral student in chemistry, also worked on the device.

“Here, we took advantage of sperm’s natural tendency to redirect against fluid flow, once the sperm reach a certain velocity,” said Cheong.

“Once the sperm detect interference, they can use it to swim upstream. That’s when we can trap them. We could separate the good sperm from the not-so-strong in a reasonably elegant way. We are able to fine-tune our selection process.”

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