The Federal Government has revealed plans to fund a budget deficit of ₦5.62 trillion with extra loans.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, disclosed his while speaking at a media briefing after the Federal Executive Council meeting on Wednesday.
Ahmed explained that the budget deficit projection for 2022 which is ₦ 5.62 trillion up from 5.60 trillion in 2021, represents 3.05 per cent of the estimated GDP, slightly above the 3 per cent threshold.
According to her, the President has been empowered by the Fiscal Responsibility Act to exceed the 3 per cent threshold if he deems it fit in a national security crisis situation.
The Federal Government hopes to have a budget expenditure framework projected at N12.658 trillion for the 2021 fiscal year.
This is contained in the latest Economic Outlook by the Ministry of Finance, Budget, and National Planning.
The document, signed by the Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, Ahmed Zainab, indicated that the figure represented a 17.2 per cent increase of the revised N10.8 trillion 2020 budget.
The aggregate revenue available for the budget for next year is projected at N7.498 trillion while the aggregate expenditure level is projected to be N12.658 trillion.
On the other hand, the aggregate expenditure is made up of Statutory Transfers of N481.41 billion, Debt Service of N3.124 trillion, and Sinking Fund of N220 billion.
Recurrent (non-debt) expenditure is also put at N5.746 trillion and Capital expenditure (exclusive of capital in Statutory Transfers) has N3.086 trillion.
Of the capital expenditure, the Ministries, Department, and Agencies (MDAs) Capital is N1.485 trillion.
The ministry explained that the projections were in accordance with the government’s 2021-2023 Medium-Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper.
It added that the key parameters for the 2021-23 fiscal framework were set in line with the global and domestic economic outlook.
Meanwhile, the Statutory Transfers of N481.41 billion consist of allocations to the National Judicial Council (NJC), Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), National Assembly (NASS), Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Public Complaints Commission (PCC), North East Development Commission (NEDC) and Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF).
These arms of government and agencies, the ministry said, are expected to apply the funds transferred strictly to accomplish the purposes for which they are intended.
All beneficiaries of statutory transfers were also required to provide the BOF periodic reports of the allocation and expenditure of the funds received, in compliance with the Fiscal Responsibility Act (2007).
“The N3.124 trillion in respect of Debt Service is made up of N2.183 trillion for Domestic Debt, and N940.89 billion for Foreign Debt. Additionally, N220 billion is provisioned for the Sinking Fund to retire maturing loans,” the outlook read.
It noted that the aggregate sum of N3.086 trillion, which excludes capital component of statutory transfers, has been set aside for six sundry critical capital expenditures.
They include N1.485 trillion for MDAS’ capital expenditure, N234.19 billion for Capital Supplementation, and N337.06 billion for Grants and donor-funded projects.
Others are N20 billion for Special Intervention Programme, N4335.59 billion for GOEs, and N674.11 billion for Multi-lateral and Bi-lateral Project-tied loans.
Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Dr. Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed on Thursday met with the leadership of the National Assembly on plans to submit the 2021-2023 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper (MTEF/FSP) later this month.
The Minister while briefing principal officers of the Senate and House of Representatives led by the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, and the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, disclosed that President Muhammadu Buhari had given directives for the Ministry to expedite action on next year’s budget estimates to enable him present the 2021 budget proposal to the National Assembly by the end of September this year.
Mrs. Ahmed further disclosed that in keeping strictly with the January – December budget cycle, the President will tomorrow (Friday) sign into law, the revised N10.8 trillion budget for the year 2020 passed by the National Assembly in June.
“This for us is a journey towards ensuring that the progress that we have made as a collective to return the fiscal year to January – December is maintained for the 2021 budget as well.
“The President has directed that we must deliver the budget to the National Assembly by the end of September,” the Finance Minister said.
Ahmed while giving an update on the 2020 budget implementation between January and May 2020, stated that the Federal Government’s retained revenue was N1.48 trillion, an amount representing 56 percent of government’s target.
She added that out of the sum generated as revenue, oil revenues accounted for N701.6 billion; non-oil tax revenues N439.32 billion; Companies Income Tax (CIT) and Value Added Tax (VAT) collections – N213.24 billion and N68.09 billion; and Customs collection N158 billion, respectively.
“Other revenues amounted to N339.51 billion, of which Independent revenues was N80.22 billion. Recoveries and Stamp duty collected during the period are yet to be booked in the fiscal accounts,” Ahmed said.
On Expenditure performance for the same period (January – May 2020), she disclosed that N1.25 trillion was expended for debt service; and N1.32 trillion for Personnel cost, including Pensions.
According to the Finance Minister, as at the end of May 2020, only N253.33 billion had been released for capital expenditure.
Ahmed while giving underlying assumptions driving the macro-economic parameters and targets of the 2021 – 2023 Medium Term Expenditure Framework, said same was “revised in line with the emergent realities.”
She stated that the Oil Price Benchmark for the 2021 fiscal year was pegged at USD$35; and USD$40 for 2022 and 2023, respectively.
Oil Production (mbpd) was placed at 1.86 for 2021, 2.09 for 2022, and 2.38 for the 2022 fiscal year; while the Exchange Rate remains at N360 to USD$1.
Ahmed stressed that, “although Nigeria’s total production capacity is 2.5 million barrels per day, current crude production is about 1.4 million barrels per day – in compliance with the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries’ production quota – and an additional 300,000 barrels per day of condensates, totaling about 1.7mbpd.”
She added that while the World Bank forecasts that crude oil prices will rise gradually from an average of USD$42 per barrel in 2021 to USD$44.5 per barrel in 2022; and USD$47pb in 2023, it is also expected that Brent crude oil prices may average $41 per barrel during the second half of 2020 and $50pb during 2021, climbing as high as $53pb by the end of next year.
“The nominal Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is expected to increase from N130,836.1 billion in 2020 to N132,125.4 billion in 2021 and then up to N138,415.8 billion in 2023,” Ahmed said.
Earlier, the Senate President in his welcome remarks said, “this meeting is holding at the instance of the Honourable Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, and the main purpose of the meeting is for the Minister to brief the leadership of the National Assembly on the 2021 – 2023 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper.
“Therefore, it will not be wrong to say that the journey to the presentation of the 2021 budget estimates by the Executive arm of Government has started in earnest.
“It is our expectation in the National Assembly, that this journey will lead to the presentation or laying of the budget estimates by the President before the end of September by the grace of God.”
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Tuesday said Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene had resigned over discrepancies in his accounts of meetings with the business family at the heart of a corruption scandal.
Nene was seen as one of Ramaphosa closest allies and a leading figure in the government’s efforts to tackle graft that allegedly flourished under former president Jacob Zuma, who was ousted in February.
But Nene revealed to a judicial inquiry last week that he had met with the Gupta business family at their home and offices six times — contradicting earlier statements that he had only met them in passing at social occasions.
“I have decided to accept his resignation,” Ramaphosa told a televised press briefing in Cape Town.
He added that Nene feared his testimony “detracted from the important task of serving the people of South Africa as we work to reestablish public trust in government.”
Nene, who was widely respected by investors, served as finance minister from 2014 to 2015 until he was sacked by Jacob Zuma and was re-appointed by Ramaphosa earlier this year.
He apologized after giving testimony to the inquiry, which is probing allegations of systematic corruption under Zuma’s government involving the three Gupta brothers.
“I was wrong in meeting the Guptas at their residence and not in my office or at least a public place,” his apology letter read.
“These visits do cast a shadow on my conduct as a public office bearer. I deeply regret these lapses and beg your forgiveness.”
Former central bank governor Tito Mboweni was named as Nene’s successor.
The Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun has given the importance of the Voluntary Asset and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS) by the Federal Government saying most Nigerians who pay their tax are low-income earners.
The Finance Minister said those who pay tax in Nigeria are low-income earners and salary earners whose taxes are deducted at source.
Speaking on the issue of tax payment during her appearance on a special Channels Television programme, The Core, on Wednesday, Adeosun said VAIS is justified as it pursues Nigerians who earn and have acquired more assets and income.
“Most of the taxpayers we have in Nigeria today are salary earners. They are about 94% of our taxpayers. I think we have about 14million taxpayers and 13.5million are pay as you earn. So, those are people whose income tax is being deducted at source. These are largely low-income earner.
“So would it be fair for those who made the most and have the most to be forgiven? Because if we do that, then we should also refund those who have actually paid their taxes. In the spirit of fairness, we think it is right the way we designed it,” she said.
VAIDS is a Federal Government initiative for assets declaration and in exchange for fully and honestly declaring previously undisclosed assets and income, taxpayers benefit from forgiveness of overdue interest and penalties.
The Minister said VAIDS is user-friendly as those coming to declare assets enjoy agreement to make payment in installment.
She said the scheme is to hunt those making money and not paying tax.
“In our experience, we find out that those who have really stolen money do not come out to declare for tax. They hide under the radar.
“What we found out largely is that because our economy is so informal, there were just a large number of people making money and not paying anything over a long period of time,” she said.
VAIDS according to the Minister is a tax amnesty. She explained it basically require people who have complaint issue to declare fully and honestly. In exchange, they are not be prosecuted or audited or charged penalties. “It is a focus on tax and revenue generation,” Adeosun added.
Debunking allegations that the scheme is a tool by the Federal Government to witch-hunt political opponents, Adeosun said the VAIDS is not a political agenda but solely aimed at raising funds for the nation’s development.
“We are not following the money, we are not asking how much did you earn? We are saying, this asset, whether it’s in Nigeria or overseas, how did you fund it?.
“When it comes to tax, there is no Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) or All Progressives Congress (APC). It is an equal opportunity, an amnesty. It is not a political tool, we want money to develop our country.”
The Minister of Finance has earlier revealed plans to aggressively go after tax evaders to prosecute them and publicly reveal their identities. She said on Thursday, March 1 during the VAIDS Stakeholders symposium at the Shehu Yar’Adua Centre, Murtala Square, in Kaduna State that tax evaders will be prosecuted, named and shamed.
Nigeria has unveiled plans to refinance trillions of naira-denominated treasury bills into new three-year tenured three billion dollar notes.
The plan according to the Federal Government, is part of steps to restructure the country’s domestic debt portfolio into longer term instruments and at much lower borrowing costs of around seven per cent.
Nigeria currently pays nearly 18 per cent on short-dated Naira treasuries issued each week by the Central Bank.
According to Finance Minister, Kemi Adeosun, the debt repackaging plan was approved last June by the cabinet, looking to stimulate economic growth and ease Nigeria’s cost of domestic debt servicing.
The Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) has a new board led by a former Newspaper Editor and former Presidential Spokesman, Mr Duro Onabule.
President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday approved the new board which consists of six other Executive Directors.
They are: Dr. Steve Egbo, Administration and Training; Abdul Hamid Salihu Dembos, Marketing; Mohammed Labbo, News; Fatima M. Barda, Finance; Stephen Okoanachi, Engineering; and Wole Coker, Programmes.
Some other appointments were also announced in a statement issued by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina.
“At the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN), Aliyu Hayatu is new chairman, while Buhari Auwalu and Yinka Amosun, are Zonal Directors, Kaduna and Lagos, respectively.
“Under the Ministry of Information and Culture, the following agencies have new appointees: Nigerian Film Corporation, Dr. Chika Maduekwe, General Manager; National Theatre and National Troupe of Nigeria, Comrade Tar Ukoh, Artistic Director; National Council for Arts and Culture, Mr Olusegun Runsewe, Director-General; National Film and Video Censors Board, Folorunsho Coker, Director-General,” the statement read.
The Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, will also serve as the Chairman of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), while Mr Mustapha Maihaja is to serve as the agency’s Director-General.
According to the statement, other members of the NEMA Board are: “The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr David Babachir Lawal; Captain Talba Alkali, representing Ministry of Transport and Aviation; Ambassador Rabiu Dagari, Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Dr. Ngozi Azadoh, Ministry of Health; Mr Muhammadu Maccido, Ministry of Interior; Mr Ajisegiri Benson Akinloye; Ministry of Water Resources, Air Vice Marshal Emmanuel Anebi, Nigerian Armed Forces; and AIG Salisu Fagge Abdullahi, Nigerian Police Force”.
The President’s spokesman said the appointments are to take immediate effect.
Ministers across West Africa are scheduled to provide perspectives to critical energy, finance and infrastructure issues at the Regional Energy Cooperation Summit 2017, holding in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, later in January.
In continuation of the Africa Energy Forum held in London in May 2016, West Africa’s head of utilities, regulators and industry operators from Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Liberia and Mali, will showcase investment opportunities and project pipelines in the coming event.
The Abidjan summit will afford all parties in the public and private sector, the opportunity to explore ownership for network assets, and hear directly from governments on the scale of the opportunities within the region’s integration strategy.
Although energy cooperation in West Africa is in progress, not so much has been achieved with the West Africa power poll, with its headquarters in Ghana.
A Federal High Court in Lagos has adjourned hearing on the trial of the Managing Director of Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) and six other persons till May 12.
Mr Ibrahim Abdulsalam and the other accused persons appeared before Justice Babs Kuewumi on Wednesday over an alleged fraud of 6850 billion Naira.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) arraigned Abdulsalam alongside Adegorite Olumuyiwa, and his wife who is the Managing Director of Multeng Travels and Tours Limited, Joy Ayodele Adegorite on a 24-count charge bordering on alleged fraud.
Other accused persons are Agbolade Segun, Clara Aliche, and two limited liability companies, Multeng Travels and Tours Limited, as well as Randville Investment Limited.
At the resumed trial of the accused persons, their lawyers led by Mr Wale Akoni, urged the court to grant a very short adjournment to enable them study the ‘bulky’ proof of evidence served on them by the prosecution.
Lawyers to the other accused persons, Dunkwa A, Lanre Olayinka, and Abiodun Julius, informed the court that it had been extremely difficult to gain access to their clients at the prisons’ facilities where they were being remanded.
According to them, the situation has made it impossible for them to perfect the bail terms.
The lawyers lamented that their clients’ detention had also compounded their inability to understand the proof of evidence, urging the court to grant their application for adjournment.
In a swift reaction, the EFCC prosecutor, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, vehemently opposed the application for adjournment while urging the court to dismiss same.
“We are opposing the application for adjournment. We found out that the applications lack merit and should be dismissed,” Oyedepo said.
The EFCC prosecutor further informed the court that the ground on which the applications for adjournment was made was overstretched.
He urged the court to dismiss the application for adjournment, and allow the trial to commence.
In his ruling, Justice Kuewumi conceded to the accused persons’ application for adjournment and deferred the trial till May 12.
The accused persons were also alleged to have converted various sums of money amounting to 4,003 billion Naira belonging to NAMA to their personal use.
The Managing Director of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), four other officials of the agency and an official’s wife are facing trial for allegedly stealing 6.9 billion Naira.
They are facing a 21-count charge of conspiracy, forgery and money laundering brought against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) before Justice Babs Kuewumi of the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos.
The accused persons are the Managing Director of the agency, Ibrahim Abdulsalam, a former Managing Director, who is said to be at large, Nnamdi Udoh, the General Manager, Procurement, Adegorite Olumuyiwa, the General Manager, Finance, Agbolade Segun, a Director of Finance, Clara Aliche and the wife of the General Manager for Procurement, Joy Ayodele Adegorite.
They were arraigned on Thursday alongside two companies Randville Investment Limited and Multeng Travels and Tours Limited.
The companies were allegedly used as conduit pipes to defraud the Agency, the anti-graft agency claimed.
According to the anti-graft agency, the accused persons allegedly conspired to steal the 6,922,676,815 Naira from NAMA.
When the charge was read to the accused persons, they all pleaded not guilty.
Prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, then asked the court to remand the accused persons in prison and grant a short trial date.
The lawyers for the accused persons pleaded with the court to remand their client in the EFCC custody pending the hearing of their bail applications but Justice Kuewunmi upheld the objection of the prosecution and ordered that the accused persons be remanded in prison.
He adjourned to April 12 for hearing of the bail applications.
Lawyers to the accused persons did not comment on the matter but counsel to the EFCC, who spoke to Channels Television’s correspondent, Shola Soyele, said the commission filed charges against the accused persons after investigating petitions written against them.
The Kaduna State Government has announced the retirement of 20 Permanent Secretaries from the State Civil Service, in line with plans to cut the cost of running government.
A statement by a spokesman for the Governor, Samuel Aruwan, said the retirement of the Permanent Secretaries was due to a decision to cut down ministries in the state from 19 to 13.
Mr Aruwan said the development was part of efforts by the current administration to save funds for the development of schools, hospitals, roads and other basic amenities.
According to the statement, some of the standing ministries are; the Ministries of Justice, Agriculture and Forestry Commerce, Industry and Tourism, Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs and the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture.
Others are Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, Women Affairs and Social Development, Water Resources, Health and Human Services, Education, Science and Technology, Budget and Planning, Finance, Works, Housing and Transport.
The statement added that the State government also announced the creation of five departments which would be headed by Permanent Secretaries. They are; the Public Service Office; the Bureau of Establishments; Political and Economic Affairs; Cabinet and Security Services and General Services. This will bring the total number of Permanent Secretaries in the state civil service to 18.
Meanwhile, the State Governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, has appointed Mr Ezekiel Baba Karik as the Executive Secretary of the State Emergency Management Agency.
The appointment of Mr Ezekiel Baba Karik, as Executive Secretary of the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), has also been announced.
He was a former vice-chairman of Kaduna South Local Government and an organising secretary in the campaign organisation of All Progressives Congress’ governorship aspirant, Honourable Isah Ashiru, prior to serving as special assistant to Mr Barnabas Yusuf Bala after his emergence as the running mate to El-Rufai. Mr Karik holds Postgraduate Diplomas in Management Studies and Business Administration.