$9.6bn Fine: Osinbajo Meets With Lai Mohammed, Zainab Ahmed, Other Ministers

Osinbajo Heads Audit Committee For FG Policies, Programmes And Projects
A file photo of Professor Yemi Osinbajo

 

The Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, has met with the Minister of Finance, Budget and National planning Minister, Zainab Ahmed; Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami; Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed and the Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Silva at the State House.

The meeting was focused on the latest development surrounding the 9.6 billion dollar judgment debt against Nigeria by a British court was over a botched gas contract.

READ ALSO: Road Diversion Commences For Lagos-Ibadan Expressway Reconstruction

Others in attendance are the Minister of State for Niger Delta Affairs, Festus Keyamo; Group Managing Director of NNPC, Melee Kyari.

Also the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu and the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele.

Nigerian Govt To Recover N614bn Budget Support From 35 States

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo with the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha, and Finance Minister, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, and others at the National Economic Council meeting in Abuja on August 22, 2019.

 

 

The Nigerian government has begun talks to finalise the modalities for repayment of N614 billion budget support facilities loaned to 35 states by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, disclosed this to State House correspondents on Thursday after the National Economic Council meeting in Abuja.

According to her, the Council has agreed to set up a team comprising representatives of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, Ministry of Finance, and the CBN within a week to conclude the process.

READ ALSO: Two Nigerian Sisters Rescued From Suspected Traffickers In Mali

Mrs Ahmed explained that the N614 billion budget facility, which was introduced in 2016 amounting to 17.5 billion per state, was loaned to every state except Lagos.

Earlier, the minister made a presentation at the NEC meeting chaired by the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo.

She noted that the macro-economic environment of the country has shown significant growth and stability since after the recession.

According to Ahmed, there have been eight successive quarters of economic growth since the country emerged from recession.

She affirmed the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), as the basis for the Medium-Term fiscal strategy.

The minister also said macro-economic stability has been achieved with growth in end Q3 of 2019 at 3.01 per cent with the continued increase in Real GDP from 1.89 per cent in Q2 of 2018 to 2.01 per cent in 2019.

She informed the council that there has been significant growth in the non-oil sector, while inflation has continually declined since 2017 from 18.72% to 11.08% in July 2019.

According to a statement from Mr Laolu Akande, the Vice President’s media aide, the minister said the contribution of the non-oil sector to the nation’s GDP has also increased 90.4% in Q1 of 2018 to 90.9% in Q1 of 2019.

Climate Change: FG Adequately Financing Environmental-Friendly Projects – Zainab Ahmed

 

Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, has said that the Federal Government is taking into account, environmental and social governance by providing adequate financing for environmentally-friendly projects.

Mrs Ahmed, in an exclusive chat with Channels TV, said that since December 2017, FG has been able to issue two green bonds to fund projects relating to water, power, and environment.

“It is about being able to ensure we take into account, environmental and social governance when we are making decisions and also on the part of the government, to make sure that we raise adequate financing for environmentally-friendly projects.

“In Nigeria, we have been able to issue two green bonds in December 2017 and June 2019, which means we are aware of our responsibilities as a government; the green bonds are issued to fund projects that are in the national budget, relating to water, power as well as the environment and some projects in health.”

READ ALSO: Financial Autonomy: Buhari Promises To Stabilise State Legislature, Judiciary

The Minister added that a lot of planning, with the right level of funding, is needed to tackle environmental issues.

“It is a reality that climate change presents a very high risk to the world globally and we are not isolated in Nigeria, we have seen clearly what climate change has done to the far North, there is a very high level of desertification and it is increasing.

“There is a huge cost to environmental issues if they are not planned for and financed and addressed adequately, it will affect the growth that we aspire to and if we don’t plan for them and get the right level of funding, it will affect the growth of the Nigerian economy.

“The green bond gives us an opportunity to be able to raise adequate financing to fund environmental-friendly projects that are already incorporated in our national budget.”

She added that the green bonds will create jobs and make small businesses and individuals partake in improving Nigeria’s environment.

“The output is that there are opportunities even in the challenge that exists in climate change. Climate-friendly projects have the potentials to create a large number of jobs; we also have an opportunity in raising green bonds to be able to crowdsource funding so that investors are not just large companies, but small businesses as well as individuals.

“I hope going forward that the Nigerian government will be able to issue green bonds to enable the average Nigerian invest small sums so that we all feel that we are contributing directly towards the improvement of our environment.”

FEC Approves 0.2 Percent Import Levies

Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed

 

The Federal Executive Council, FEC, on Monday approved a new import levy on Cost, Insurance, and Freight (CIF) that will be charged on imports coming into Nigeria.

The Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, disclosed this while briefing State House Correspondents at the end of the weekly FEC meeting presided over by the Vice president, Yemi Osinbajo at the Council Chamber, Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Ahmed said the FEC approved a rate of 0.2 per cent as the new import levy on imports coming into Nigeria from AU countries.

READ ALSO: Nigeria’s GDP Records Slow Growth In 2019 First Quarter

She explained that there were some exceptions on goods originating outside the territory of member countries.

“The council approved a rate of 0.2% as a new import levy on Cost, Insurance, and Freight (CIF) that will be charged on imports coming into Nigeria but with some exceptions.

“The exceptions include goods originating from outside the territory of member countries that are coming into the country for consumption. It also includes goods coming in for aid.”

States To Get N649.4bn Paris Club Refund Balance, Says Minister

Nigeria Signs $523,823 TA Agreement Grant With Islamic Devt Bank
A file photo of the Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed.

 

The Federal Government is set to disburse the sum of N649.4billion to states as their balance of the Paris Club debts refunds.

The Supervising Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, said this on Thursday, in Abuja during a quarterly press conference on the activities of the Finance Ministry.

She said the funds have been verified and refund will be made to the states in due course.

READ ALSO: Stop Eating Foreign Rice, They Are Poisonous – Custom Boss

“For the final phase of the Paris Club debt refunds, the total sum of N649.434 billion was verified by the Ministry as the outstanding balance to be refunded to the state governments.

“The payments made by the CBN as at March 2019, is N691.560billion. The increase in CBN payments partly arose from the exchange rate differential at the point of payment. Although, some states still have outstanding balances, which will be refunded, in due course.”

The Minister also disclosed that a total of N603 billion has been saved through the Federal Governments initiative on Continuous Audit between 2016 to date.

Findings from the committee have led to the conviction of some ghost workers while others are currently undergoing trials.

“The Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit (PICA) has saved the Federation N603.78billion from its inception in 2016 to date. Among this figure, is the savings of N8.30 billion during Q1 2019.

“As part of this administration’s zero tolerance on corruption, PICA’s findings on ghost workers has been acted on by convicting some civil servants and also there are some that are undergoing trial on the court while others are undergoing investigation by the EFCC,” she said.

Others officials present at the media briefing include the Comptroller-General of Customs, Hameed Ali; the Director-General, Debt Management Office, Patience Oniha; the Managing Director, Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria, and other officials of the ministry of finance.

Nigeria Signs $523,823 TA Agreement Grant With Islamic Devt Bank

Nigeria Signs $523,823 TA Agreement Grant With Islamic Devt Bank
A file photo of the Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed.

 

Nigeria has signed a $523,823 (N185,957,165 million) Technical Assistant Agreement grant with the Islamic Development Bank (ISDB) Group in Marrakesh, Morocco.

The Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, disclosed this on Sunday in a statement by her Special Adviser on Media and Communications, Mr Paul Abechi.

According to the statement, the minister signed the agreement on behalf of the Nigerian Government while and President of the ISDB Group, Dr Bandar Hajjar, signed on behalf of the group.

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The signing took place during the 44th ISDB Group Annual Meeting held in Marrakesh, with the theme, ‘Transformation In A Fast-Changing World: The Road To SDGs’.

Mrs Ahmed explained that the TA agreement grants would be used to address capacity building and equipment, as well as logistics upgrade in the Hajj Commission.

She added that it was also aimed at the improvement of cotton, textile and garment value chain in the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment.

The minister revealed that the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) would get $243,823.0, while the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment would receive $280,000.

“The Technical Assistant Agreement Grant of $243,823.0 to the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria is for capacity building/equipment and logistics upgrade,” she said.

“TA grant of $280,000 to the Federal Ministry of Industry Trade and Investment is for the improvement of cotton, textile and garment value chain.”

Mrs Ahmed told participants at the conference that the governments at the state level in Nigeria were doing their best to boost agriculture and food production.

She said, “State governments in Nigeria are adopting cluster farming which has eased access to funds by farmers, increased growth and allows access to facilities without collateral.”

AGF, Finance Minister, Others Attend Unveiling Of VOARS

AGF, Finance Minister, Others Attend Unveiling Of VOARS
Mr Abubakar Malami and Mrs Zainab Ahmed at the unveiling of the Voluntary Offshore Assets Regularisation Scheme (VOARS) in Abuja on April 2, 2019. Photo: Channels TV/ Sodiq Adelakun.

 

The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, as well as the Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, on Tuesday attended the unveiling of the Voluntary Offshore Assets Regularisation Scheme (VOARS).

The event, which held in Abuja, was part of efforts to by the Federal Government to increase the nation’s tax base.

READ ALSONigerian Govt Launches Voluntary Offshore Assets Regularisation Scheme

It was also attended by the Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mr Babatunde Fowler, among others.

The VOARS is aimed at encouraging foreign investments to develop infrastructure in Nigeria.

See the photos below:

Mr Abubakar Malami

FIRS Chairman, Mr Babatunde Fowler

Mrs Zainab Ahmed

Nigerian Govt Launches Voluntary Offshore Assets Regularisation Scheme

 

The Nigerian Government has unveiled the Voluntary Offshore Assets Regularisation Scheme (VOARS), as part of efforts to increase the nation’s tax base.

Addressing an audience at the unveiling ceremony on Tuesday in Abuja, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, said the scheme was aimed at encouraging foreign investments to develop infrastructure in Nigeria.

He explained that the VOARS was an idea initiated by the Swiss Consortium with a view to facilitating regularisation of offshore assets owned by Nigerians.

READ ALSO: AGF, Finance Minister, Others Attend Unveiling Of VOARS

The AGF, therefore, appealed to Nigerians to key into the initiative of the government.

He gave assurance that when funds were voluntarily declared by the owners, the Federal Government would grant a permanent waiver of criminal prosecution for tax offences and offences related to offshore assets.

According to him, this includes immunity from tax audit of the declared and regularised offshore assets.

The unveiling ceremony held at the Transcorp Hilton in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

Also in attendance were the Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, and the Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mr Babatunde Fowler, among others.

See photos below:

UN Calls For Concerted Efforts To Reduce Poverty In Nigeria

 

 

United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed has called for effective collaboration between governments at all levels, development partners and non-state actors in addressing the needs of Nigeria where poverty and infrastructural challenges are the most acute.

Speaking at a Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Acceleration Conference organized by the Kaduna state government, Mohammed stressed the need for government and other stakeholders to take the issue of accurate data gathering and analysis very seriously in order to for government to effectively plan and implement its policies and programmes that will impact positively on the people.

Present at the conference were Kaduna state government officials, captains of industry, youths and development partners.

READ ALSO: FG To Increase VAT – Finance Minister

Most notable amongst those present were Governor Nasir El-Rufai and the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed.

Addressing the participants, the United Nations Deputy Secretary-General, emphasized that ending extreme poverty in Nigeria is a huge challenge requiring sustainable solutions and concerted measures from a number of actors including national and state governments, local administrations, development partners, international organisations, the private sector, and civil society.

On his part, the host Governor, Nasir El-Rufai said his administration is working hard to generate sufficient data and has also identified the state’s baseline status of the SDGs by working closely with development partners to achieve the targets of the plan.

In her presentation which focuses on what the government is doing to overcome fiscal challenges in the country, the Minister of Finance, said the federal government will soon launch the Strategic Revenue Growth programme aimed at improving revenue generation and freeing resources for effective implementation of the SDGs.

According to the organisers, the conference is designed to provide a necessary context for “Building Effective Partnership for Accelerated Progress towards the SDGs.

FG, States, LGs Share N648.71bn For September

FG, States, LGs Share N648.71bn For September
Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed (file)

 

The Federal, state, and local governments have shared a total of N648.71 billion for the month of September.

Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, announced this on Friday at the end of the monthly Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) meeting in Abuja.

According to her, the gross statutory revenue for the month is N569.3 billion naira which is N57.9 billion less than the N627.14 billion shared in August.

The minister, who presided over the FAAC meeting, stressed the need for the three tiers of government to save.

She also challenged members of the committee to maintain transparency and instil a saving culture for the rainy day in various states.

The next FAAC meeting is expected to hold during the National Council of Finance and Economic Development Conference in Kaduna, scheduled for Wednesday, November 28.

The report of the Committee on the Excess Crude Account is expected to be presented at the meeting.

ERGP: FG Encourages Child Spacing To Reduce Population Growth

 

The Federal Government says it is engaging critical stakeholders such as traditional and religious leaders to advise their members on child spacing.

The Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, said this on Tuesday at the Nigeria Economic Summit meeting which took place in Abuja.

According to her, the increase in the nation’s population was found to be one of the ‘great challenges’ in the Federal Government’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), hence the need to curb the “exponential population growth”.

She said, “We have been engaging traditional rulers and other leaders. Specifically, we have found out that to be able to address one of the great challenges that we identified in the ERGP, which is the growth in our population, we need to engage these institutions”.

In a tweet on Wednesday, the minister also cleared the air on reports that the government had plans to implement a policy that limits the number of children a mother can have, saying, “We never said we are placing a cap on childbirth.”

“What is child spacing? This is a healthy practice of waiting between pregnancies”.

 

Ahmed also spoke about the government’s efforts in creating more jobs for youths.

She listed the attainment of 7,000 megawatts of electricity as a major milestone in empowering youths with small businesses.

Zainab Ahmed Leaves Role At Ministry Of Budget And National Planning

 

Mrs Zainab Ahmed has left her role as Minister of State for Budget and National Planning to focus fully on overseeing the Ministry of Finance.

This was confirmed at the weekly Federal Executive Council Meeting on Wednesday.

“She is no longer Minister of State for Budget and National Planning for now until anything contrary happens. For now, she is in charge of the Ministry of Finance,” Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, said after the FEC meeting.

Mrs Zainab Ahmed

 

President Muhammadu Buhari had asked Mrs Ahmed to oversee the Finance Ministry on Friday after accepting the resignation of Mrs Kemi Adeosun.

Mrs Adeosun had resigned because of her National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) certificate scandal.

Mrs Ahmad had, upon assuming office at the Finance Ministry on Monday, warned that the country was facing serious revenue challenges.

“We have very serious revenue challenges and it is up to us to make sure we shore up the revenue base of the country,” she said.

“The President has a lot of confidence that we can do this if we work together. You are working for the President and at the end of the day, you’re working for the benefit of the citizens.”

The Ministry of Finance also confirmed the development in a tweet.

“Minister Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed has relinquished her position as Minister of State for Budget and Planning. She’s now to be appropriately addressed as Minister of Finance,” it tweeted.