As part of Governor Udom Emmanuel’s effort at attracting investment to Akwa Ibom, the Commissioner of Economic Development and Ibom Deep SeaPort over the weekend shared the Completion Agenda with the Economic Envoy of the Kingdom of Netherlands at a cocktail reception held in honor of the new Consul General Mr Jan van Weijen at the Dutch Embassy grounds in Lagos.
Exciting similarities between Netherlands and Akwa Ibom were enumerated and the strong economic cordialities holds great promise for collaboration and partnership.
Akwa Ibom like Holland remains an emerging Port nation with opportunities in tourism, agriculture, aviation, water technology and education.
The Ibom Deep SeaPort remains a flagship PPP project of Akwa Ibom and Nigeria with critical economic potential in jobs, technologies and Investment opportunities
Economic Development Mandate for International Cooperation emphasizes the delivery of development finance/partners synergy towards impactful economic growth for the benefit of Akwa Ibom.
BVN: 2.02m customers enrolled in six months
Number of bank customers with BVN stood at 36.4m as at December 31, 2018
inancial institutions in the country enrolled a total of 2.02 million customers for the Bank Verification Number (BVN) project between April and September this year, latest data released by the Nigeria Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS) shows.
New Telegraph’s analysis of latest NIBSS BVN figures as well as the organisation’s Electronic Payments Fact sheet for January to March 2019 show that total BVN enrolments increased from 37.4 million at the end of March 2019 to 39, 415,508 as at October 6 this year. This means that total BVN enrolment rose by about 2.02million in the six month period.
Given that total BVN enrolment at the end of last year, according to NIBSS, was 36.4 million, it means that 3.02 million customers enrolled for the BVN initiative between the end of December 2018 and October 6 this year.
Analysts, however, point out that there has been a significant slowdown in BVN enrolment in recent months compared with the situation three years ago.
Indeed, thi newspaper’s analysis of BVN enrolment data since the initiative was launched in February 2014, shows that the pace of registration by bank customers has declined in the past one year.
For instance, on the eve of the October 31, 2015 deadline that CBN set for bank customers to register for BVN, data released by the apex bank as well as NIBSS (the organisation that provides the connectivity service for the initiative), showed that 20.8 million bank customers had enrolled over 40 million accounts in various banks in the country.
NIBSS data also shows that as at December 2016, the number of bank customers that had registered for BVN had increased to 27.7 million. It climbed to 30.7 million by October 29, 2017, indicating that about 10 million bank customers were enrolled on the BVN platform between October 2015 and October 2017 – a two-year period.
However, comparing the October 2017 BVN data with the October 6, 2019 figure indicates that 8.72 million customers were enrolled on the platform during the period.
Industry watchers told this newspaper that the slowdown in BVN enrolment was a cause for concern, as it could defeat the purpose for the introduction of the initiative.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in collaboration with the Bankers’ Committee, NIBSS and the German firm, Dermalog, launched the $50 million BVN project, on February 14, 2014, with the aim of capturing biometrics of every bank customer and giving them a unique identity that can be verified across the Nigerian banking industry. The hope was that this would significantly reduce incidents of fraud and money laundering in the banking industry as well as enhance financial inclusion by opening up opportunities for credit to millions of Nigerians without a standard means of identification.
Financial experts note that by giving each bank customer a unique identification number that can be verified across the country’s industry, the BVN project has reduced the chances of criminals trying to impersonate people to attack their bank accounts.
In fact, at a press conference, in August last year, top banking industry officials had announced that in line with plans for the implementation of the Shared Agent Network Expansion Facility (SANEF) initiative, CBN, lenders and their partners planned to increase total BVN enrolment from about 33 million, at the time, to 70 million by 2020.
The SANEF initiative, which is primarily aimed at accelerating financial inclusion in the country, was launched in late March 2018 by CBN in collaboration with DMBs, NIBSS, licensed mobile money operators (MMOs) and shared agents.
Speaking at the briefing, a member of the technical committee set up by CBN to deepen financial inclusion, Guaranty Trust Bank’s Mr. Bolaji Lawal, said that the plan to almost double the number of Nigerians with BVN within two years was critical to boosting the country’s financial inclusion rate as well as ensuring financial stability.
He stated then that operators were committed to enrolling “40 million new unique BVNs between now and year 2020; 10 million in 2018, 15 million in 2019 and 15 million in 2020.”
He disclosed that as part of plans to ensure that the 70 million enrolment target by 2020 was met, 10,000 remote BVN devices were ordered by NIBSS and were being deployed by DMBs, MMOs and Super Agents.
Further, he revealed that under the initiative, the CBN had set aside N20 billlion, which would be accessed by operators at a reduced interest rate to enable them create 500,000 shared agent network points (access points) across the country by 2020.
According to him, 70,000 access points had already been created and nine operators, comprising three mobile money operators and six super agents, which are part of the scheme, had accessed N4.5 billion of the N20 billion.
But given the slowdown in BVN enrolment and with total enrolment standing at 39.42 million as at October 6, 2019, analysts believe that the chances of operators in the financial system achieving their target of 70 million BVN enrolment by 2020 now look quite remote.
FIRS: Court dismisses suit against Fowler’s tenure
Federal High Court sitting in Kano, yesterday, dismissed a suit challenging the tenure of Mr. Babatunde Fowler as Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).
The trial judge, Justice Lewis Allagoa, struck out the suit and consequently upheld the preliminary objection filed by Fowler’s counsel, Paul Erokoro (SAN) that the plaintiff, Stanley Okwara, has no locus standi to file the suit.
The court held that it could not see how the rights of the plaintiff have been affected by the non-appointment of the Executive Chairman of FIRS after August 15.
“In this case, the plaintiff said he is an unemployed legal practitioner. How specifically that affects his rights to file this suit is not disclosed,” said the judge.
The court agreed with Fowler’s counsel that the plaintiff has no cause of action and that it was fatal to his suit that he didn’t file a pre-action notice to the court, as required by the Federal Inland Revenue Establishment Act (FIRSEA) 2007.
“I agree with the first defendant that the plaintiff ought to have served the defendant with a pre-action notice. Learned SAN asked the court to strike out the suit. I so hold,” Allagoa said.
The judge also upheld Erokoro’s submission that the suit should be struck out as there is no “justiciable cause of action.”
After the judgement, Ike Odume, FIRS Director of Legal Services, commended the court, saying: “My Lord, we thank you for being forthright in this matter. Thank you for doing justice. It cannot be less. I have been following this court from Enugu. I know you will always do justice. Thank you.
“My Lord, we will be asking for costs. We have come all the way from Abuja three times because of this matter. We will be asking for costs.”
Justice Allagoa, however, overruled Odume.
“Don’t kill a fly with a sledgehammer. Parties should bear their costs,” the court held.
The plaintiff had asked the court in the suit marked FHC/KN/CS/141/2019 to order Fowler to vacate his office, which, he claimed expired on August 18, 2019.
Okwara claimed that Fowler was appointed on 20th August 2015 and that his tenure had expired as FIRS Chairman after 20th August 2019.
Citing the provisions of Section 3(2) (a), Section 4(a) and Section 11 (a) of the FIRS Establishment Act 2007 and the decision of the Supreme Court in Ogbuinyinya & Ors. vs. Obi Okudo & Ors. (1979) All N.L.R. 105, Okwara claimed Fowler has no business to continue to hold office.
He also asked the court for an order directing Fowler to refund to the Treasury Single Account (TSA) of the Federation all the salaries, emoluments and other monetary benefits he has been drawing on the purse of the FIRS and file an affidavit of compliance within 14 days after the delivery of judgement in the suit.
But in a notice of preliminary objection dated 30th September and filed the same day, Erokoro noted that Okwara has not disclosed a special interest.
Given Okwara’s failure to establish his locus standi to commence the suit and for failing to abide by Section 55 of the FIRS Establishment Act by filing a pre-action notice on the FIRS chairman, for failing to present any reasonable cause of action, Erokoro asked the court to strike out the suit.
“When a plaintiff has not disclosed his standing to sue as in the instant case the question of whether other issues in the case deserve to be decided does not arise,” he noted.
Erokoro told the court that the adjudicatory machinery of the court cannot be activated as such powers can only be invoked by a litigant whose action is for the “determination of the civil rights and obligations of that person. That is the letter and the spirit of Section 6 (6) b of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
Citing Senator Abraham Adesanya Vs the President of Nigeria (1986) 5 SC 112, Erokoro said Okwara needs to have actual and real interest in the suit before he can sue.
“In this case, the plaintiff’s alleged cause of action is that he is an unemployed legal practitioner. He alleges that the tenure of office of the first defendant has expired. How the purported expiration of the tenure of the first defendant affects him is not disclosed. The case of Ogbuiniya and Ors Vs Obi Okudo & Ors (1979) ALL NWLR 105 heavily relied on by the plaintiff is distinguishable from the instant case. In that case, the plaintiff’s case were affected because a judge gave a judgement against the plaintiff at a time he had ceased to be a judge of that court,” he said.
CBN: Nigeria’s revenue dropped 29.4% in August
igeria’s total federally-collected revenue dropped by 29.4 per cent to N879.39 billion in August 2019 compared with the monthly budget estimate of N1.2 trillion, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said in its Economic Report for August, 2019 released yesterday.
The CBN also disclosed that the revenue fell below the receipt of N931.93 billion in the preceding month by 5.6 per cent.
According to the apex bank, “The decrease, relative to the monthly budget estimate, was attributed to the shortfall in both oil and non-oil revenue.
“Oil receipts at N484.75 billion or 55.1 per cent of total revenue was below the monthly budget of N798.83 billion by 39.3 per cent. However, it exceeded the receipt of N387.74 billion in the preceding month by 25.0 per cent. The decrease in oil revenue relative to the monthly budget was attributed to shut-ins and shut-downs at some NNPC terminals due to pipeline leakages and maintenance activities.”
Similarly, it disclosed that non-oil receipt at N394.64 billion or 44.9 per cent of total revenue, was below the monthly budget of N447.24 billion and the preceding month’s earning of N544.19 billion by 11.8 per cent and 27.5 per cent, respectively.
“The drop in collection, relative to the monthly budget, was due to the decline in revenue from Corporate Tax and Federal Government Independent Revenue,” the CBN said.
In the last few days, financial analysts have been questioning the Federal Government’s ability to realise the N8.155 trillion revenue projection in its 2020 budget. For instance, in its preliminary review of the budget obtained by New Telegraph, the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) faulted the projected revenue, stressing that it was overly ambitious and unrealistic given the trend the national budget had taken in recent years.
The CSJ pointed out that over the years, the Federal Government has continued to propose unrealistic revenue projections, thereby leading to poor implementation of budgets as there were usually no funds to execute projects.
It noted that in 2016, revenue projections fell short by 23 per cent; by 47.73 per cent in 2017 and in 2018 by 45 per cent.
Meanwhile, the CBN also revealed in the economic report for August 2019 that Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) borrowed a total of N2,867.77 trillion from it through its Standing Lending Facility (SLF) window during the period.
The regulator said: “Commercial banks and the merchant banks continued to access the standing facilities window to square up their positions in August 2019. The trend at the CBN standing facilities window showed more patronage at the Standing Lending Facility (SLF) window, reflecting the liquidity squeeze in the market. Applicable rates for the SLF and Standing Deposit Facility (SDF) remained at 15.50 per cent and 8.50 per cent, respectively.
“The total SLF granted during the review period was N2, 867.77 trillion (inclusive of Intra-day Lending Facility (ILF) converted to overnight repo). Daily average was N179.24 billion in the 16 transaction days in August 1 – 26, 2019. Total interest earned was N1.87 billion. The total SDF granted during the review period was N257.35 billion with a daily average of N16.08 billion in the 16 transaction days. Daily request ranged from N0.15 billion to N34.60 billion. Cost incurred on SDF in the month stood at N0.09 billion,” it added.
NBS: Border closure pushes inflation to 11.24%
he border closure by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) with effect from August 20 this year has accelerated prices of food items, pushing inflation index in the month of September to 11.24 per cent, compared to August figure of 11.02 per cent.
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) confirmed the rise in the consumer price index (CPI) released yesterday.
Price increases were recorded across major food items such as bread and cereals, oils and fats, meat, potatoes, yam and other tubers, fish and vegetables.
The increase in CPI figure is 0.22 per cent point higher than the rate recorded in August 2019 (11.02) per cent. Increases were recorded in all COICOP divisions that yielded the Headline index.
On month-on-month basis, the Headline index increased by 1.04 per cent in September 2019, this is 0.05 per cent rate higher than the rate recorded in August 2019 (0.99 per cent).
“The percentage change in the average composite CPI for the 12 months period ending September 2019 over the average of the CPI for the previous 12 months period was 11.268 per cent, showing 0.003 per cent point from 11.271 per cent recorded in August 2019.
“On month-on-month basis, the food sub-index increased by 1.30 per cent in September 2019, up by 0.08 per cent points from 1.22 per cent recorded in August 2019. The average annual rate of change of the Food sub-index for the 12-month period ending September 2019 over the previous 12-month average was 13.47 per cent, 0.01 per cent points from the average annual rate of change recorded in August 2019 (13.46 per cent),” NBS explained.
It added that all items less farm produce or core inflation, which excludes the prices of volatile agricultural produce stood at 8.94 per cent in September 2019, up by 0.26 per cent when compared with 8.68 per cent recorded in August 2019.
“On month-on-month basis, the core sub-index increased by 0.89 per cent in September 2019. This was up by 0.22 per cent when compared with 0.67 per cent recorded in August 2019. The highest increases were recorded in prices of cleaning, repair and hire of clothing, repair of household appliance, hospital services, major household appliances, glassware, tableware and household utensils, spirits, clothing materials, other articles of clothing accessories, garment and repair and hire of footwear.
The average 12-month annual rate of change of the index was 9.34 per cent for the 12-month period ending September 2019; this is 0.07 per cent points lower than 9.41 per cent recorded in August 2019.
In state-by-state analysis of food inflation trend, in September 2019, NBS data revealed that all items inflation on year-on-year basis was highest in Kebbi (14.09%), Bauchi (13.74%) and Plateau (13.25%), while Delta (9.72%), Bayelsa (9.40%) and Kwara (8.46%) recorded the slowest rise in headline year-on-year inflation.
On month-on-month basis, however, all items inflation was highest in Kogi (3.18%), Ondo (2.17%) and Kwara (2.02%), while Kano (0.45%), Rivers (0.41%) and Zamfara (0.33%) recorded the slowest rise.
Similarly, food inflation on a year-on-year basis was highest in Niger (16.65%), Nasarawa (16.57%) and Abuja (16.31%), while Akwa Ibom (11.72%), Benue (11.22%) and Bayelsa (9.95%) recorded the slowest rise.
On month-on-month basis, however, September 2019 food inflation was highest in Kogi (4.90%), Delta (3.82%) and Kwara (3.70%), while Kano (0.18%) and Zamfara (0.17%) recorded the slowest rise with Rivers recording price deflation or negative inflation.
2020 Budget: FG earmarks N199.03bn for roads, airports, railways
- Enugu airport terminal to gulp N1bn
- Abuja airport’s second runway to cost N10bn
- N110bn for road construction, rehabilitation nationwide
s part of its policy of investing in critical infrastructure for a sustainable future, the Federal Government has earmarked the sum of N199.03 billion for various projects in the aviation, transport and road sectors in the 2020 Appropriation Bill currently before the National Assembly.
Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, disclosed this in a presentation of the breakdown of the 2020 Budget in Abuja.
Highlights of the budget proposal indicates that the sum of N1 billion has been set aside for the construction of the terminal building at the Enugu Airport while N10 billion will be deployed to the construction of a second runway at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja.
The Abuja airport runway project would include asphalt overlay, marking and lighting in compliance with air safety standards.
Similarly, the sum of N67.17 billion has been proposed for counterpart funding for railway projects including the Lagos-Kano, Calabar-Lagos, Ajaokuta-Itakpe-Aladja (Warri), Port Harcourt-Maiduguri and the Kano-Katsina-Jibiya-Maradi line which leads to Niger Republic. The counterpart funding will also be extended to the Abuja-Itakpe and Aladja (Warri)-Warri Port and Refinery/ Warri New Harbour as well as the Bonny Deep Sea Port and Port Harcourt rail projects.
In addition, the sum of N10.86 billion will be used for the rehabilitation of various railway tracks such as Port Harcourt to Makurdi, Kuru to Maiduguri, Makurdi to Jos and Kafanchan to Kaduna. This would cover the maintenance of tracks, including emergency recovery of coaches, procurement of spare parts (including lubricants) for the locomotives, coaches and wagons. It would also include the procurement and rehabilitation of locomotives and rolling stock, procurement of workshop equipment and rolling stocks, design, manufacture, supply, installation, testing and commissioning of electric overhead travelling cranes for carriage and wagons workshop as well as upgrading of signaling and telecom system on the Eastern Line linking Port Harcourt to Maiduguri.
In the same vein, the budget has proposed the sum of N110 billion for the construction and rehabilitation of roads in every geo-political zone of the country.
This allocation is expected to take care of the counterpart funding for the dualization of the Makurdi–Enugu Expressway, the dualization of Akwanga–Jos – Bauchi–Gombe Road and the reconstruction of the outstanding sections of Benin– Ofosu–Ore–Ajebandele–Shagamu Expressway.
Other road projects included in the package are the construction of the outstanding sections of the Abuja–Lokoja Road, dualization of Obajana Junction to Benin, Lagos–Shagamu–Ibadan dual carriageway as well as preliminary works on the approach roads to 2nd Niger Bridge linking Anambra and Delta states.
Strike: FG, labour shift positions, to reconvene today
- Govt can’t shut down economy to pay salaries – Ngige
he proposed nationwide strike by workers, scheduled to start today across the country would no longer hold, as the organised labour and the Federal Government have agreed to continue negotiations on the consequential adjustment of the new minimum wage today.
The Federal Government, organised labour and the Joint National Public Service Negotiating Committee (JNPSNC), after hours of intensive deliberation and consultations chaired by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, yesterday, agreed to break the meeting and reconvene by 2p.m. today, to conclude negotiations.
New Telegraph recalls that the organised labour had gone ahead to mobilise its members across the country, to cripple activities in the country should government fail to meet its demands at the meeting held last night.
While labour took a stand on 29 per cent for officers on Grade Levels 07-14 and 24 per cent for those on Grade Levels 15–17, the government side, on its part, was insisting on 11 per cent salary raise for employees on Grade Levels 07-14 and 6.5 per cent for those on Grade Levels 15–17.
However, a source at the meeting last night revealed that government has agreed on 17 per cent for workers on Levels 7–9 and 15 per cent for workers on Levels 10 to 14. But labour is insisting that workers on level 7–14 gets 25 per cent, while those on grade Levels 15–17 should be given 20 per cent.
Addressing newsmen after the meeting, Deputy President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Amechi Asugwuni, urged government to move beyond the commitment it has shown to further shift its position in favour of its demands for Nigerian workers.
“Negotiation is still ongoing even though we actually thought negotiations will be concluded today, but we can’t predict the negotiations; therefore, adjournment became necessary. Tomorrow (today), we will meet by 2p.m. We expect that we will close that meeting positively.
“So far, commitment has been shown, but we believe that the areas that are still in contest are critical. Therefore, we urge government on their part to see how they can shift ground positively in order to mitigate the agitation ahead.”
The Head of Service of the Federation, Folashade Yemi-Esan, who expressed optimism that the meeting today would end positively, said the meeting was adjourned to allow both parties access to the necessary documents and information in order to sort out the grey areas that ensured during negotiations.
Her words: “We’ve had very peaceful engagement so far. The labour side has discovered that there was just one side of the welfare of workers and both sides made a lot of concessions, but we discovered that there are some grey areas that needed to be ironed out.
“Some documents and information are being sorted out which we are providing and by the grace of God, tomorrow (today) discussions will continue and we believe that we will be able to get everything resolved.”
Meanwhile, Ngige has said that government cannot afford to shut down the economy simply because it wants to pay workers’ salaries and wages.
Ngige made this known during a meeting with members of the Nigerian Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) in Abuja yesterday.
While giving a breakdown of the 2020 budget, he noted that personnel cost of the 1.3 million workers engaged in the federal civil service which was likely to jump up to 1.5 million soonest, was already gulping N3.8 trillion without overhead.
He explained that out of the 76 per cent dedicated to recurrent costs alone in the budget, the central government had allocated N200 billion to service the consequential adjustments of the new minimum wage.
“We cannot allow government to shut down the economy because it wants to pay salaries and wages.
“The 2020 budget of N10.3 trillion has N3.8 trillion as personnel cost without overhead. If you add running cost and other incidental costs, the total recurrent budget as presented to the National Assembly has taken 76 per cent. Where do we get the money to build roads, airport, rails, health centres, schools etc.?
“It is a matter of balancing a budget that is 76 per cent recurrent and 24 per cent capital. For me, it is nothing to cheer about. In the 76 per cent, government has captured N200 billion for consequential adjustment for the minimum wage and so on. These are all parts of personnel.
“N160 billion is for consequential adjustment of the minimum wage and not total package of workers’ salaries. Everybody has to make sacrifice. We must plug leakages.
“The ghost workers should go and we should know who the real workers are. As of today, we have 1.3 million persons in the federal civil service and maybe it will be more by the time we finish bringing everybody to IPPS. The number of workers, 1.4 million or 1.5 million out of 200 million people take 33 per cent of the budget which has deficit. It is important we know this. It is up to us to use all the money to pay salaries and the economy will grind to a halt and be like Venezuela,” Ngige said.
The minister further called on the leadership of organised labour to stop misleading Nigerian workers on the context of the ongoing consequential negotiations on the new minimum wage, which he said was not a holistic wage review.
Buhari, Osinbajo to spend N4.2bn in 2020
he offices of President Muhammadu Buhari and his vice, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, will cumulatively spend N4.2 billion in 2020.
The Office of the President has total expenditure allocation sum of N3,277,710,152 in 2020 while the Office of Vice President has total expenditure allocation of N1,032,220,943.
The amount covers their travels, refreshment and meals, going by budget breakdown for the presidency extracted from executive summary of budget 2020.
Of the amount, N3,327,934,749 covers their travels in 2020.
According to the breakdown, President Buhari is to spend N2,526,899,156 on travel and transport while Osinbajo is allocated N801,035,593 for the same purpose.
In the breakdown, the foreign trips of Mr. President is expected to cost the nation N1,751,296,576 while N775,602,580 will be spent on local travel and transport.
Osinbajo is expected to spend N283,974,710 on local travel and transport while international travel and transport will gulp N517,060,883.
Similarly, the two frontline citizens of the country have combined allocation sum of N149,194,710 as their food stuff/catering materials supplies for 2020 fiscal year.
For refreshment and meal, the President and Vice President would be spending N44,016,899. Buhari is allocated N25,652,502 while Osinbajo has N18,264,397 for meal and refreshment.
In the budget, N164,176,011 is voted for honorarium and sitting allowance in the Office of the President. The Vice President will spend N20,262,066 for the same purpose.
In the proposal, N98,306,492 will be spent on food stuff/catering materials supplies in the Office of the President while N50,888,218 is set aside for the same purpose for the vice president.
Another sum of N499,417 is being voted for acquisition of uniform and other clothing for Vice Present’s office.
The State House (headquarters) is allocated N526,234,964 to purchase motor vehicles, another N43,943,750 for the purchase of sporting/gaming equipment; N32,465,982 is set aside for conservation of wildlife; and rehabilitation/repairs of office buildings to cost N4,451,883,559.
In 2020, Office of the Chief of Staff to the President has total allocation of N24, 557,024. Of the amount, N20,391,700 is voted for overhead; office stationeries/computer consumables N511,751; refreshment and meals N4,517,445; honorarium and sitting allowance N13,552,334 and capital expenditure N4,165,324.
Office of Chief Security Adviser to the President is allocated N384,897,708 in 2020 budget. Of the sum, local training will gulp N4,350,000, refreshment and meals allocated N4,150,970.
In 2020, the state house medical centre has total budget allocation of N723,003,927. Drugs and medical supplies to gulp N208,350,424, uniforms and other clothing N14,250,663, and local travel and transport and training to cost N11,515,048.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) has a budget allocation of N11,403,564,969 billion in 2020. Of the budget for the SGF, the sum of N255 million is earmarked for anniversaries while purchase of motor vehicles (replacement) for former Heads of State will gulp N100,000,000.
In 2020, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has budgetary vote of N30,921,658,070. The anti-graft agency will expend N24,999,305,044 on personnel cost, salaries and wages; N12,050,019,010 for international travels and training; N50,228,438 for legal services; N201,138,106 for compensation to the locals at Piwoyi village, Abuja.
Meanwhile, Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Ikanade Agba, said that the mandate to return the country to the January-December budget cycle represented a great stride towards institutionalising predictions about the economic direction of Nigeria.
Agba said that the new budget cycle would also bolster the confidence of investors and development partners in Nigeria’s economy with concomitant growth and development.
In his closing remarks during the breakdown of the 2020 budget proposals in Abuja, the minister assured Nigerians that the 2020 budget would sustain growth and galvanise job creation.
He expressed confidence that with the continuous support for President Buhari’s administration, “we will surmount the challenges to the attainment of the country’s God-given destiny as a nation.”
He also said that there was a need to create a brand new paradigm in the management of our national economy through proper planning, stressing that “to pass the final litmus test, the country’s new push, coming on the heels of Mr. President’s commitment to take 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in the next 10 years, will be accountable and inclusive.”
On Nigeria’s infrastructure deficit, the minister said that revenues generated in the past were not effectively used, resulting in the huge deficit gap that existed and was evident in all sectors of the economy.
Permanent Secretary (Special Duties) in the Ministry of Finance, Dr. Mohammed Kyari Dikwa, in his remarks, expressed optimism that the 2020 budget, when passed, would lead to sustained growth and job creation.
He urged all the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to implement the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) scheme in their various institutions.
IMF: Nigeria needs reforms to boost growth
…says FX restrictions holding back investments …forecasts country’s GDP’ll remain flat this year
igeria needs structural reforms to lift growth and boost her poor revenue status, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has said.
Chief of the World Economic Studies Division of the IMF’s Research Department, Gita Gopinath, said this yesterday during the public presentation of the World Economic Outlook at the on-going World Bank/IMF annual meetings in Washington DC.
This is just as the Fund forecasts that Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth is projected to remain flat this year. “Robust growth is expected for non-commodity exporters such as Vietnam and Bangladesh, while the perfor mance of commodity exporters, such as Nigeria, is projected to remain lacklustre, according to the World Economic Outlook.
Besides, the Washington-based institution predicted the biggest slowdown in global economic growth by lowering its forecast from the 3.2 per cent it predicted in July to three per cent, blaming barriers in trade and a rise in global political tensions.
Specifically, IMF’s Divisional Chief, Research, Oya Celasun, said Nigeria’s slight positive growth experienced through strong agricultural production earlier in the year was not sufficient to turn per capital growth into positive.
IMF also said Nigeria currently has one of the lowest revenues in the world, adding that this is particularly so because of the drop in oil revenues and poor revenue base in non-oil sectors.
Fielding questions from journalists on measures of reforms that Nigeria should introduce to improve growth, she said the country should introduce tight monetary policy, simpler unified exchange rate system and improved spending on priorities such as social safety and infrastructure.
“There was a slight upward revision for growth this year and that came mostly from strong agricultural production earlier in the year, but the growth is not high enough to lift the per capita growth into positive tertiary,” she said.
“For some time, we have been emphasising on a comprehensive package to lift growth. On the element of that, it would have to be stronger non-oil revenue mobilisation as Nigeria has one of the lowest rates of revenue in the world, which was hit hard by the drop in oil prices that is essential for the country to be able to spend more on priorities such as social safety and infrastructure.”
IMF also said there was the need “for tight monetary policy and simpler unified exchange rate system. Foreign exchange restrictions have also been distorting public and private sector decisions and holding back investments.
“Generally, banking system has continued with stronger structural reforms. Infrastructure in power sector on the part of government would remain critical.”
Speaking earlier during the press briefing, Gopinath said: “In the case of Nigeria, a lot depends on oil prices and crashes and one thing to keep in mind about Nigeria is that the per capita growth remains weak and this is why we are talking about restructuring reforms.”
Responding to questions on the side-lines of the meeting on trade and tensions hampering intra Africa trade, Celasun said: “African countries don’t do much trade with each other, so, it creates greater facilitation of free trade and lower tariff barriers; it helps create new opportunities for growth, it is a longer term, medium to longer term. We would expect that if its implementation progresses fast, we would expect positive impact of medium term much needed given the demographics of Africa, many jobs will have to be created given the young population.
“It is not good for the economy. It affects activities directly sometimes, but it also affects confidence, but it is never helpful for growth. We have, over the last several years and always, seen occasional bursts of violence and unrest and this certainly does not help growth. Conflict doesn’t help economic activities.
“It was particularly weak this year with weaker growth, but is set to improve next year and that is good news, but in general, apart from very easy financial condition, many of the factors in the global economy are not positive.”
On the global economic outlook, IMF said 2020 recovery in the global economy will be slightly weaker than expected and U.S. growth will continue to slow.
IMF trimmed its global growth forecast for 2020 by 0.1 percentage points to 3.4 per cent, saying that rising trade and geopolitical tensions had put economies in a “precarious” position.
“As policy priorities go, undoing the trade barriers put in place with durable agreements and reining in geopolitical tensions top the list,” IMF said in its October World Economic Outlook.
“Such actions can significantly boost confidence, rejuvenate investment, halt the slide in trade and manufacturing and raise world growth,” it said.
The forecasts are the first since Kristalina Georgieva took over as Managing Director of IMF earlier this month, succeeding Christine Lagarde, who departed to lead the Eurpoean Central Bank.
‘AMCON debt may hit N6.6trn by 2024’
legal consultant and Senior Partner, Olaniwun Ajayi , Mr Muyiwa Balogun, has called on Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) and its Asset Management Partners (AMPs) as well as the Inter-Agency Presidential Committee set up by the Federal Government to leverage the 2019 Amended AMCON Act, which has been signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari and recover the over N5trillion outstanding AMCON debt before sunset.
Balogun, who made a case in support of the 2019 amendments while addressing external solicitors and AMPs of AMCON in Abuja, further painted a gloomy picture of what could further befall the already challenged Nigerian economy if the debts are not recovered in good time before the sunset period.
According to him, AMCON debt could easily rise to a whopping N6.6trillion by 2024 because AMCON still owes the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) N4.5trillion and also battling with N1.7trillion of Assets Under Litigation (AUL).
Given the fact that the debt will eventually become the burden of the Federal Government and by extension taxpayers, he argued that there was need for speed in recovery just as all hands should be on deck to ensure that AMCON recovers the debt as mandated by the new amendments.
He said it was immoral to allow the obligors go without punishment especially since both the Holy Bible and the Quran, which incidentally are the dominant religions in the country, abhor people who borrow without the intention to pay back.
The process needed the additional powers, according to Balogun because AMCON operating at 100 per cent efficiency to realise the available collaterals would still face a 68 per cent gap to plug the unrecovered exposure meaning that to plug the gap, AMCON should do whatever it takes including aggressively pursuing both primary and secondary obligors.
From his argument, it is only debtors that would have issues with the new amendments because those who mean well for the Nigerian economy will rather see the act as one that has come to enhance AMCON debt recovery capability and improve supporting regime for enforcement.
FirstBank’s fintech summit holds today
irst Bank of Nigeria Limited has announced the third edition of its annual fintech summit themed: “Banking + Tech = Solving Real Problems.”
The event is scheduled for today October 16, 2019 with a conference and panel sessions comprising tech experts, start- ups, regulators and other stakeholders to deliberate pressing issues, trends and upgrades in the application of technology in the financial services industry. Victor Asemota, founder, Swifta Systems & Services, is Keynote Speaker at the event.
According to Gbenga Shobo, Deputy Managing Director, First Bank of Nigeria Limited, “our Fintech Summit 3.0 is convened to set the tone for discussions that promote disruptions in the digital space, especially in the financial industry, as we recognise the opportunities for inclusive growth and influence of Fintech, not just in banking but also business operations across all industries. The 2019 edition of our fintech summit would build-up from the successes achieved in the last two editions.
“FirstBank, in the last few years, has used technology to deliver solutions to promote financial inclusion. With over 33,000 Firstmonie Agents in 36 states doing over N2 trillion worth of transactions, we are reducing poverty with our agency banking footprint. Our Firstmobile application has become the foremost mobile banking application in the country with over three million users doing over 14 million transactions monthly.
“It is one of the major gateways for Financial Inclusion where everyone can download the app and open an account at their own convenience! This was not the case a few years ago.
“Our USSD channel, *894#, is also solving financial exclusion problems for those who do not have easy access to internet data. With over 8 million users today, transactions worth over N4 trillion have been consummated using this channel.”
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