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2020 budget presentation: Buhari blames budget failure on poor revenue

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2020 budget presentation:  Buhari blames budget failure on poor revenue

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resident Muhammadu Buhari has blamed the poor performance of the 2019 budget on the underperformance of oil and non-oil sources and dwindling revenue from the Value Added Tax (VAT).

Buhari, who disclosed this while presenting the 2020 appropriation bill titled: “Budget of sustaining growth and job creation” before a joint session of the National Assembly yesterday, said that the projected revenue fell short of the actual receipts.

 

He said: “The 2019 ‘Budget of Continuity’ was based on a benchmark oil price of $60 per barrel, oil production of 2.3 mbpd and an exchange rate of N305 to the United States dollar. Based on these parameters, we projected a deficit of N1.918 trillion or 1.37 per cent of Gross Domestic Product.

 

“As at June 2019, Federal Government’s actual aggregate revenue (excluding government-owned enterprises) was N2.04 trillion. This revenue performance is only 58 per cent of the 2019 budget’s target due to the underperformance of both oil and non-oil revenue sources. Specifically, oil revenues were below target by 49 per cent as at June 2019.

 

“This reflects the lower-than-projected oil production, deductions for cost under-recovery on supply of premium motor spirit (PMS), as well as higher expenditures on pipeline security/maintenance and frontier exploration.”

 

Giving further details, the president noted: “Daily oil production averaged 1.86 mbpd as at June 2019, as against the estimated 2.3 mbpd that was assumed. This shortfall was partly offset as the market price of Bonny Light crude oil averaged $67.20 per barrel, which was higher than the benchmark price of $60.

 

“Additionally, revenue projections from restructuring of joint venture oil and gas assets and enactment of new fiscal terms for production sharing contracts did not materialise, as the enabling legislation for these reforms is yet to be passed into law.”

 

He also noted that “receipts from Value Added Tax were below expectations due to lower levels of activities in certain economic sectors, in the aftermath of national elections. Corporate taxes were affected by the seasonality of collections, which tend to peak in the second half of the calendar year.

 

“The performance of non-oil taxes and independent revenues, such as internally generated revenues, were N614.57 billion and N217.84 billion respectively.”

 

On the expenditure side, he said: “The 2019 budget implementation was also hindered by the combination of delay in its approval and the underperformance of revenue collections. As such, only recurrent expenditure items have been implemented substantially. Of the prorated expenditure of N4.46 trillion budgeted, N3.39 trillion had been spent by June 30, 2019.”

 

According to him, “as at September 30, 2019, a total of about N294.63 billion had been released for capital projects. I have directed the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning to release an additional N600 billion of the 2019 capital budget by the end of the year.”

 

He lamented that the global economic environment remains very challenging, adding that the nation’s annual growth increased from 0.82 per cent in 2017 to 1.93 per cent in 2018 and 2.02 per cent in the first half of 2019.

 

He said the nation “also succeeded in significantly reducing inflation from a peak of 18.72 per cent in January 2017, to 11.02 per cent by August 2019.

“This was achieved through effective fiscal and monetary policy coordination, exchange rate stability and sensible management of our foreign exchange.

 

“We have sustained accretion to our external reserves, which have risen from $23 billion in October 2016 to about $42.5 billion by August 2019. The increase is largely due to favourable prices of crude oil in the international market, minimal disruption of crude oil production given the stable security situation in the Niger Delta region and our import substitution drive, especially in key commodities.

“The foreign exchange market has also remained stable due to the effective implementation of the central bank’s interventions to restore liquidity, improve access and discourage currency speculation,” he stated.

Meanwhile, the president has said the Federal Government would soon be forwarding to the National Assembly an executive version of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), assuring of his administration’s resolve to completing the reforms to the governance and fiscal aspects of the bill.

 

He said: “Furthermore, completing the reforms to the governance and fiscal terms of the petroleum industry will provide certainty and attract further investments into the sector. A consequence of this will be increase in jobs and in government’s take.

“I therefore seek your support in passing into law two Petroleum Industry Executive Bills I will be forwarding to you shortly.”

 

According to the Buhari, “The draft Finance Bill proposes an increase of the VAT rate from five per cent to 7.5 per cent. As such, the 2020 Appropriation Bill is based on this new VAT rate. The additional revenues will be used to fund health, education and infrastructure programmes.

 

 

“As the states and local governments are allocated 85 per cent of all VAT revenues, we expect to see greater quality and efficiency in their spending in these areas as well.”

He explained that the VAT Act already exempts pharmaceuticals, educational items and basic commodities.

“Specifically, Section 46 of the Finance Bill, 2019, expands the exempt items to include the following

Brown and white bread; cereals including maize, rice, wheat, millet, barley and sorghum; fish of all kinds; flour and starch meals; fruits, nuts, pulses and vegetables of various kinds; roots such as yam, cocoyam, sweet and Irish potatoes; meat and poultry products including eggs; milk; salt and herbs of various kinds; and natural water and table water.

 

“Additionally, our proposals also raise the threshold for VAT registration to N25 million in turnover per annum, such that the revenue authorities can focus their compliance efforts on larger businesses thereby bringing relief for our micro, small and medium-sized businesses,” he stated.

 

On reforms in the public service, the president disclosed that the Federal Government would continue to control personnel cost, warning that any government staff not captured on the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) platform by the end of October 2019 will not receive his salary.

 

Similarly, the president announced the ban on any authorised recruitment, directing that any MDA that intends to employ must seek approval failure to do so.

“All agencies must obtain the necessary approvals before embarking on any fresh recruitment and any contraventions of these directives shall attract severe sanctions,” Buhari said.

 

He also warned against indiscriminate opening of liaison offices by MDAs, saying: “respective heads of MDAs must ensure strict adherence to government regulations regarding expenditure control measures.

“The proliferation of zonal, state and liaison offices by federal ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs), with attendant avoidable increase in public expenditure, will no longer be tolerated,” he said.

 

Speaking further, the president revealed that government would introduce new performance management frameworks to “regulate the cost to revenue ratios for government-owned enterprises, which shall come under significant scrutiny.

“We will reward exceptional revenue and cost management performance, while severe consequences will attend failures to achieve agreed revenue targets,” the president said.

 

 

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Security experts to Buhari: Go after Boko Haram sponsors

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Muritala Ayinla

Security experts have tasked President Muhammadu Buhari and the Nigerian Army to launch intelligence surveillance on sponsors of Boko Haram, saying that the ongoing war against the terrorists cannot be won except efforts are made to expose and deal with their sponsors in the country.
The experts, many of whom are retired generals, brigadier-generals and security intelligence officers who have served in foreign peace missions, also called on the Federal Government to intensify strategies to tackle security issues in the country, saying that Nigeria would be seen as failed state if the military also fails in their war against terrorism.

They spoke at the Da’wah Workshop organised by the Lekki Muslim Ummah, calling on President Buhari and Army Cheifs to go after after sponsors of the dreaded terrorists group in the country, saying the best approach to tackling Boko Haram menace are launching an attack on the sponsors.

Speaking on the theme of the workshop titled: “Dealing with the Insecurity in the Nation”, General Muhamm Ibn Umar Adeka (rtd) said Nigerians should continue to wonder where the supposed poor and hungry Boko Haram terrorists are getting weapons and food and others in spite of the continued onslaught by the Nigerian Army on them.

According to him: “It is a strategy in the military, when enemies are being fought, you also look out for and block the possible means of where your enemies can get power. We can’t continue to fight their foot soldiers without dealing with their sponsors who frequently empower them against the state.”

General Adeka, who insisted that the sponsors of Boko Haram must be jailed and not be treated with kids glove, said it was disheartening that some people even in the military don’t want the problem of terrorism to stop, alleging that some have become billionaires overnight due to corruption and frequent diversion of resources meant for the procurment of weapons to fight the insurgency.

On his part, Special Adviser to the Oyo State Governor, Mr Fatai Owoseni, said kidnappers were becoming more sophisticated daily in their operation and strategies.

He said kidnappers now have three groups namely: Those who go hunt for victims to kidnap; those who provide places where the kidnappers’victims will stay and those who negotiate with the relatives of the victims for ransom.

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Police arrest two for robbery, rape in Niger

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Daniel Atori, Minna

Two suspected armed robbers terrorising residents of Dynabado village in Munya Local Government Area have been arrested by the Police in Niger State.
It was learnt that they were arrested by a team of policemen attached to Munya Division after a tip-off from a member of the public.
The suspects, Yusuf Maikoma and Isah Batime from Fulani Camp Injita village Munya, are reportedly known for their nefarious activities in the area.
The New Telegraph learnt that the suspects invaded the house of one Tachi Abuja, injured his left hand and made away with his valuables.
Findings also have it that the suspects had invaded the house of one Bulus Barde of Kingbado village Munya on November 16, 2019, robbed him of his N160,000 and raped two women in his house.
It was reliably gathered that the suspects had been dispossessing residents of the area of their valuables at gun point for some time.
One of the suspects, Maikoma, told our correspondent that he and his accomplice normally dispossessed people of their valuables adding that “if we don’t get any valuables from them, we rape their women as compensation.
“We rape their women if they (our victims) cannot give us money or valuables, but our move that day was dashed by a team of policemen, who arrested us.”

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DSS invasion of court to arrest Sowore #NextLevel of dictatorship, impunity, says Frank 

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Johnchuks Onuanyim Abuja

Former Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Timi Frank has said the invasion of the Federal High Court Abuja, by agents of the Department of State Services (DSS) to re-arrest the #RevolutionNow Convener, Omoyele Sowore, is the implementation of President Muhammadu Buhari’s #NextLevel of dictatorship and impunity.
According to Frank, who strongly condemned the gestapo attack and flagrant desecration of the nation’s Temple of Justice, Nigerians should be alarmed over the total disregard for the rule of law and fundamental human rights by the present administration.
In a statement he issued Sunday in Abuja, Frank posited that what happened in court on Friday is a consummation of the complete annexation of both the legislature and the judiciary by Buhari-led executive.
He said: “We have seen the DSS invade the home of justices at midnight. We have seen the invasion of the National Assembly by the DSS. We have seen the sack of a Chief Justice of Nigeria by this administration.
“We have seen the hand picking of Presiding Officers for the Ninth National Assembly. What further evidence do we need to conclude that this is total dictatorship and reign of impunity rather than democracy and rule of law?”
He stressed that Sowore’s ordeal represents the greater ordeal Nigerians have been facing since 2015 and will continue to face in the hands of Buhari.

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Imo Assembly bars correspondents from plenary, as reporters kick  

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Steve Uzoechi

OWERRI

The Imo Sate House of Assembly and correspondents in the state may be headed on a collision course, as the Assembly has commenced a restrictive policy that effectively bars correspondents from its activities within the chambers.
About 33 correspondents comprising reporters for national newspapers, radio and television networks were barred by the new policy of the Assembly.
Following several embarrassing incidents and crude blockade of correspondents and other journalists from accessing the parliament, even with valid identity cards from their various media outfits, the correspondents, under the aegis of the Correspondents’ Chapel, Imo State Council of the Nigerian Union of Journalists, petitioned the Speaker of the Imo State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Chiji Collins urging him to review the policy that clearly denies journalists access to information from the Assembly.
The letter which was dated November 11, 2019 and signed by the Chairman and Secretary of the Correspondents’ Chapel regretted that the Assembly did not think it fit to notify correspondents in the state before enforcing the strange policy which was premised on exercising some form of control through a mandatory accreditation for journalists.

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Foreign investment: FG to introduce new Visa regime in 2020

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Emmanuel Onani, Abuja

In its determination to boost Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the country, the Federal Government has concluded plans to introduce a new Visa regime in 2020.

Online reports by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), as well as “Trading Economics”, show that FDI flows to Nigeria stood at $1.9 billion in 2018, even as it was said to have recorded a rise of $909.54 million in the second quarter of 2019.

The Comptroller-General of Immigration (CGI), Mr. Mohammad Babandede, who conveyed the federal government’s plan for a new Visa regime, said the move will serve as an incentive to foreigners wishing to invest in the country.

Babandede, who spoke at the end-of-year dinner and award night at the weekend, disclosed that the new policy will be unveiled by the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola before the end of the year.

“The e-visa policy will encourage investors to Nigeria, thereby generating Foreign Direct Investment for Nigeria and making Nigeria a most preferred destination through transparency in administration and facilitation of facilities by service,” the CGI said.

The immigration chief assured of transparency in the new regime, while noting that national security will not be compromised.

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Aftermath of Bayelsa election: Stop heating up polity, APC warns Dickson

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By Pauline Onyibe, Yenagoa

The Bayelsa State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) at the weekend told the governor of the state, Henry Seriake Dickson, to stop threatening the peace of the state by trying to raise tension following the electoral defeat of his candidate, Senator Douye Diri of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the November 16 governorship election.

APC therefore advised the governor to toe the path of democracy and rule of law by taking his grievances to the court.

Doifie Buokoribo, the party’s publicity secretary, who expressed APC’s position in a statement in Yenagoa, the state capital, said: “In the last few weeks, since the overwhelming victory of our candidate at the November 16 governorship election, David Lyon, Governor Henry Seriake Dickson has inundated the state and indeed, the country with wild allegations and inciting comments.

“He has screamed blue murder at all relevant institutions of state, from the electoral body to the security agencies, and the winning All Progressives Congress (APC). And he has absolved only himself and his section of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) of blame.

“From his furious mind, Dickson has issued threats to the electorate in Bayelsa State and APC members, particularly, and he has boasted about his capacity to unleash violence and turn the state upside down.

“Dickson has displayed everything, but commitment to democratic ideals and legal processes of electoral conflict resolution.

“We, however, unequivocally state and also remind Dickson that the elections have been concluded and the Governor-elect, David Lyon, is only waiting to be sworn into office as the next Governor of Bayelsa State. And for those who feel aggrieved, like Dickson, there are constitutionally prescribed processes open to them to follow in trying to redress their grievances. Disparaging the institutions of state and inciting the public to violence are, certainly, not among the processes.”

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Lagos shuts 24 pharmacies, stores

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By Muritala Ayinla

The Lagos State Taskforce on Counterfeit, Fake Drugs and Unwholesome Processed Foods have shut at least 24 pharmacies, patent medicine shops and unlicensed premises in some parts of the state for offences bordering on illegal operation and operating beyond scope of practice.

New Telegraph learnt that the shut facilities are located in Abule Egba, Alagbado, kola, Meiran, Ekoro and Oko-Oba in Ifako Ijaiye and Alimosho local government areas of the state.

The state’s Commissioner for Health, Professor Akin Abayomi, who disclosed this while reviewing the report of the enforcement exercise carried out by the Task Force, said that the sealing of the affected pharmacies and patent medicine stores was in accordance with the provisions of Section C34 of the Counterfeit, Fake Drugs and Unwholesome Processed Foods Provision Act of 1999.

He explained that the enforcement which is part of the mandates of the Pharmaceutical Inspectorate Unit (PIU) of the Ministry of Health is in line with the State government drive to put a halt to the ugly trend of having unqualified personnel deal with drugs.

The enforcement and compliance raid by the State Task force on Counterfeit, Fake Drugs and Unwholesome Processed Foods was carried out in collaboration with the National Agency for Food Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Pharmacists’ Council of Nigeria (PCN), Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Federal Taskforce on fake drugs and the Police Officers from Environmental and Special Offences Unit (Task Force) of Lagos Police Command.

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Benue tax agency, police intensify clampdown on illegal tax activities

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From: Cephas Iorhemen
MAKURDI

The Benue State Board of Internal Revenue Service (BIRS), in collaboration with the state police command, intensified a joint operation at the weekend to clampdown on illegal tax activities where more culprits were arrested.

The illegal tax operators, findings by New Telegraph showed, have engaged in sharp practices during which they extort huge sums of money from heavy duty vehicles, trucks, lorries and cars.

The only agency recognised by the state government to do so is the BIRS which deploy its staff to different locations to collect taxes to boost the internally generated revenue of the state.

The joint weekend’s operation yielded positive results with further arrests of more criminals and evacuation of illegal tax points and its operators.

The Executive Chairman of the agency, Mr. Andrew Ayabam, who led the sting operation, arrested one Aondohemba Mayange at an illegal road block mounted at Antyu village in Ushongo Local Government Area of the state.

The culprit was arrested by the task force while carrying out an operation on a truck conveying agricultural produce after the driver of the vehicle refused to pay a huge illegal tax.

Mayange is now cooling his heels behind bars.

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Foreign investment: FG to introduce new Visa regime in 2020

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Emmanuel Onani, Abuja

In its determination to boost Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the country, the Federal Government has concluded plans to introduce a new Visa regime in 2020.

Online reports by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), as well as “Trading Economics”, show that FDI flows to Nigeria stood at $1.9 billion in 2018, even as it was said to have recorded a rise of $909.54 million in the second quarter of 2019.

The Comptroller-General of Immigration (CGI), Mr. Mohammad Babandede, who conveyed the federal government’s plan for a new Visa regime, said the move will serve as an incentive to foreigners wishing to invest in the country.

Babandede, who spoke at the end-of-year dinner and award night at the weekend, disclosed that the new policy will be unveiled by the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola before the end of the year.
“The e-visa policy will encourage investors to Nigeria, thereby generating Foreign Direct Investment for Nigeria and making Nigeria a most preferred destination through transparency in administration and facilitation of facilities by service,” the CGI said.

The immigration chief assured of transparency in the new regime, while noting that national security will not be compromised.

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Buhari salutes Joshua over Ruiz Jr. victory

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Buhari salutes Joshua over Ruiz Jr. victory

President Muhammadu Buhari has sent a message of congratulations to Anthony Joshua following his victory over Andy Ruiz Jr, which ensured he regained his world boxing titles which he lost to the Mexican six months ago.

Buhari, speaking through his Special Adviser Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, said he was saluting Joshua for bringing joy to millions of Nigerians at home and in the Diaspora, who had rooted for him to regain the titles he lost about six months ago.

In a tweet on the verified Government of Nigeria Twitter handle, the President said: “The downfall of a man is truly not the end of his life. There’s always another, and better day. This is a lesson we must all learn from you as a country.”

Adesina’s tweet concluded by adding: “He wishes @anthonyfjoshua well as he seeks to bring more glory to Nigeria, and to the boxing profession.”

Saturday’s night win meant Joshua became a two-time word heavyweight champion by exacting revenge over Ruiz Jr in dominant fashion with a unanimous points victory in a tense rematch in Saudi Arabia.

Six months on from the night where Ruiz stunned boxing, Joshua risked his career being left in tatters with a second defeat but served up 36 minutes of movement and well-timed punching to take the IBF, WBA and WBO titles back to Britain, reports the BBC.

After cutting his Mexican rival inside the first round he simply never looked back and picked out smart jabs and right hands throughout before being serenaded with chants of “AJ, AJ, AJ” by the 14,000 or so fans in the largely full Diriyah Arena.

Ruiz never looked close to landing a knockdown and when scores of 118-110 118-110 and 119-109 were read out, Joshua jumped up and down in the ring in celebration, just as the man who had wrecked his US debut did in June.

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