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Revised 2020 budget gets Buhari’s assent today

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**as finance Minister confers with NASS leadership on 2021-2023 MTEF/FSP

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Dr. Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed has explained that to strictly adhere to the January – December budget cycle, the President will today (Friday) sign into law, the revised N10.8 trillion budget for the year 2020 passed by the National Assembly in June. 

She spoke when met with the leadership of the National Assembly Thursday on plans to submit the 2021-2023 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper (MTEF/FSP) later this month. 

Lawan

The Minister who briefed 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.

“This for us is a journey towards ensuring that the progress that we have made collectively to return the fiscal year to January – December is maintained for the 2021 budget as well. 

Gbajabiamila

“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 address indicated that the meeting was holding at the instance of the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, and the main purpose of the meeting was 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.”

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Economy

Humanitarian minister flags off special grant for rural women in Plateau

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Humanitarian minister flags off special grant for rural women in Plateau

The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development has launched the one off payment of a special Grant  for rural women in Plateau state.

Over one hundred and fifty thousand women will receive a one-off special grant of twenty thousand naira each in all the 774 local government councils across Nigeria.

On her maiden launch of the special funds distribution held at the Banquet hall, Government House, the minister said the grant was a one-off disbursement to rural women to mark the International Day of Rural Women. 

“Since the inception of President Muhammadu Buhari’s Administration in 2015, the Government has been paying more attention to protecting and promoting the plight of the poor and vulnerable in the country.
This she said informed the decision to initiate the National Social Investment Programme (NSIP) as a strategy for enhancing social inclusion.

“The Grant for Rural Women programme was introduced to sustain the social inclusion agenda of the Buhari Administration, including the realization of the national aspiration of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years. It is designed to provide a one-off grant to some of the poorest and most vulnerable women in rural Nigeria. 

“The grant of N20,000.00 will be disbursed to over 150,000 poor rural women across the 36 States of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory.

“The grant is expected to increase access to financial capital required for economic activities.
“It is our hope that the beneficiaries of this programme will make good use of the opportunity to increase their income, enhance their food security, and generally contribute towards improving their living standard”.

Farouq also thanked the Minister of Women Affairs, Pauline Tallen for her contributions in ensuring a smooth take- off of the program in Plateau state.
She also used the opportunity to present assorted grains from the National Food Reserve, approved by President Muhammadu Buhari as palliative for distribution to vulnerable persons affected by the  restriction of movement to curtail the spread of COVID-19 pandemic. 

Food items presented to the state include 71 trailer load of Maize, Sorghum and Millet  to cater to 294,199 households.

Earlier, the Governor of Plateau State Dr Simon Bako Lalong expressed immense gratitude to the minister for her visit to the state. He acknowledged the role of women in the society especially the rural women. 

“This palliative will assist vulnerable people affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and other disasters like conflict and flood.  
“This occasion is unique because it also features the disbursement of cash transfer to 500 rural women to mark the International Day of Rural Women.
“I am also delighted to note that 3005 pregnant and lactating women In Plateau state are currently receiving an additional five thousand naira as top-up of the Conditional Cash Transfer.
“This will go a long way in improving the lives of women and children in Plateau state particularly their health and economic empowerment”.

Governor Simon Bako Lalong in his comments 9noted that 26,004 vulnerable households in Plateau state were already receiving the Cash Transfer of N10,00 bi-monthly while 47,000 others await payment. He said the  state has 231,870 households on the State Social Register with 877,301 individual households. He appealed to the federal government to extend other social and intervention programs to capture those on the waiting list. 

The theme for this year’s International Day of Rural Women is “Building rural women’s resilience in the wake of COVID-19”.

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Economy

Apprehension over Buhari’s misgivings on recession

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Apprehension over Buhari’s misgivings on recession


President Muhammadu Buhari left many Nigerians more confused when he admitted that the country’s economy may slip back into another recession in the third quarter of 2020, even while in the Fourth quarter.
Buhari expressed the misgivings while presenting the N13.1 trillion budget for 2021 with a deficit of N4.8 trillion that will be financed mainly by borrowing.
Many Nigerians were led to believe that the recession afterall may have since started going by his admittance while quoting the previous quarter.
This is more so as the President seem to be re-echoing what
Nigeria’s finance minister Zainab Ahmed had said in August 2020.

Ahmed had warned that unless Nigeria achieves a very strong third quarter 2020 economic performance, the country may slide into recession.
“Nigeria is exposed to spikes in risk aversion in the global capital market, which will put further pressure on the foreign exchange market as foreign portfolio investors exit the Nigerian market,” the minister  had said.
“Nigeria’s Q2 GDP growth is in all likelihood negative and unless we achieve a very strong Q3 2020 economic performance, the Nigerian economy is likely to lapse into a second recession in four years with significant adverse consequences.”
The President also said the projected GDP growth will be  negative in the third quarter of the year while the fourth quarter just started.
As such, the president said the economy may lapse into the second recession in four years, with significant adverse consequences.
However, inspite of the apprehension, Buhari assured Nigerians that his team were working assiduously to ensure rapid recovery in 2021 saying there is no cause for any alarm.
“We remain committed to implementing programmes to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty over the next 10 years,” he added

Buhari said the country’s economy is currently facing challenges with the macroeconomic environment being significantly disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.
“Real Gross Domestic Product (‘GDP’) growth declined by 6.1 per cent in the second quarter of 2020. This ended the 3-year trend of positive, but modest, real GDP growth recorded since the second quarter of 2017,” the president said.

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Economy

Despite concerns over whooping N3.12tr for debt servicing, FG gives hope

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Despite concerns over whooping N3.12tr for debt servicing, FG gives hope

Not perturbed by concerns raised by stakeholders over N4trillion borrowing the Federal Government has pledged to meet up with it’s debt obligations with N3.12trillion for its servicing in the 2021 budget proposal.
President Muhammadu Buhari gave the indication Thursday when he presented the 2021 budget proposal of N13.08trillion to the National Assembly in Abuja.

According to him, the amount represents an increase of N445.57 billion from N2.68 trillion in 2020.
“We remain committed to meeting our debt service obligations.

“Hence, we have provisioned N3.12 trillion for this in 2021, representing an increase of N445.57 billion from N2.68 trillion in 2020.
“A total of N2.183 trillion has been set aside to service domestic debts while N940.89 billion has been provided for foreign debt service.

“N220 billion is provided for transfers to the Sinking Fund to pay off maturing bonds issued to local contractors and creditors.’

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