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Budget Support: FG Begins Deduction of N614b From 35 States

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… Earns N2trn Revenue in Six Months

By Tony Obiechina, Abuja

The Federal Government will from this month begin deductions from state government allocations, the N614 billion bailout funds extended to them as budget support funds.

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed made the announcement while outlining the Draft 2020-2022 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper (MTEF/FSP) in Abuja on Tuesday.

The Minister pointed out that the deductions will be made during this month’s Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) meeting.

“The recovery process for us is to deduct from the FAAC allocation to the states and then we remit to the CBN and we are going to start this remittances by the next FAAC so there will be no requirement for us to consider the FSP implementation. 

“We do that as a matter of wanting the states to stay on the path of fiscal sustainability but it will not be a condition for the deduction. We will deduct direct at source and remit to the CBN”. 

The Minister further stated that ,”the N614 billion bail out funds to states  was not going to form part of the revenue for funding the budget, it was a loan which was advanced by the CBN and the repayment will be made to the CBN”.

Ahmed who put personnel cost, inclusive of Pensions at over N3.0 trillion has continued to rise said the Federal Government  was however talking steps to contain the situation.

To this end, she warmed that in keeping with Presidential directive, Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) which failed to implement the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (IPPIS) by the end of next month will not be paid their salaries.

” On the expenditure side of the framework, we have tried to keep most expenditure items as low as possible “, the minister pointed out.

On inflation, the minister said ” except for a few months, inflation has continually declined since January 2017 from 18.72% to 11.08% in July 2019″.

“Our Real GDP growth projections are rates of 2.93%, 3.35% and 3.85% for 2020, 2021 and 2020, respectively. Even though this falls short of the ERGP projection, the trajectory remains in the right direction”, she added.

Mrs Ahmed also disclosed that the Federal Government, was proposing to spend a total revenue of N7.6 trillion in the 2020 Budget with overview expenditure of N9.7 trillion.

” The draft 2020-2022 Medium Fiscal Framework shows that Nigeria faces significant medium-term Fiscal challenges, especially with respect to revenue generation and rapid growth in personnel costs”, she added.

“With Nigeria joining other African countries to sign the agreement establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTA), there could be tremendous opportunities for Nigeria in the medium term.

“However, the AfCFTA could also create a nightmare situation for the country unless the right policies and actions are implemented expeditiously to improve Nigeria’s economic competitiveness”, the minister warned.

FG Earns N2trn in Six Months

The Federal Government  earned N2 trillion as revenue  from January to June 2019, Director-General of the Budget Office, Mr Ben Akabueze, has said.

Akabueze disclosed this at the Public Consultative Forum on the 2020 to 2022 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper (MTEF/FSP) in Abuja yesterday.

He explained that within the period under review, about N3.3 trillion was expended by the Federal Government.

The director-general said that there was an average of 1.6 million barrel of crude oil production per day on base production.

He disclosed that an aggregate of four trillion naira revenue was collected in 2018 with expenditure of N7.4 trillion, including N1.7 trillion capital budget within the period.

He expressed hope that the remaining half of the year would be better in terms of revenue performance.

Akabueze disclosed that from the data received from Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), the country’s oil production output had risen to 2.1 million barrels per day.

Also, at the forum, the Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mr Babatunde Fowler, urged taxpayers in the country to monitor their taxes to ensure they were remitted to appropriate authority.

“It is now a responsibility of everybody, especially taxpayers, to monitor to ensure transparency and accountability, if you have your tax deducted, then ask for the receipt.

“Make sure you check within 41 days of when the money was remitted to the federation account.

“This is important because during the tax amnesty close to 40 per cent has to do with withholding of tax, deducted but not remitted,’’ Fowler said.

He added that the service had put in place measures to ensure that only those companies that paid tax would access government’s contracts and services.

Fowler said necessary facilities would be deployed to the Office of the Accountant-General, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor and other government agencies to ensure compliance.

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Tinubu Charges Qatari Investors to Report Bribe Demanding Officials

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By David Torough

President Bola Tinubu yesterday in Doha, Qatar charged captains of industry in Qatar to report to him any government official who will demand a bribe or any form of inducement at any point in their business activities in Nigeria.

Speaking at the Nigeria-Qatar Business and Investment Forum in Doha yesterday Tinubu told Qatari investors that Africa’s largest economy is being reformed and upgraded.

He reassured the international business community that Nigeria is ready for serious business as his administration will deal decisively with any and all entrenched interests in the country who undermine investor confidence in the Nigerian economy, pledging to remove all bottlenecks standing in the way of profitable and legitimate enterprise.

The president said, “I am here to give you the assurance that reforms are going on; forget about whatever you heard in the past. Whatever is the obstacle or problem that some of you might have experienced; it is in the past, because there is no obstacle in the future.

“Do not offer a bribe to any of our people, and if it is requested or taken from you, report to us. You will have access to me. Nigeria will no longer be defined by the past, but by what we do now and moving forward. Do not let perceptions become a hindrance to your will to invest. Nigeria is serious about revolutionizing investment promotion.

“We are removing obstacles today and we are going to continue to remove all obstacles. We have done so much within nine months. And I assure you, it is free entry and free exit. Your funds will flow smoothly into and out of our country. Bring your investments.”

Tinubu noted that the war against corruption and insecurity in Nigeria had been significantly strengthened with the appointment of the former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, as National Security Adviser (NSA).

“We have a man who has won many global awards for anti-corruption as an anti-corruption czar.

“My responsibility is to tell you that Nigeria is open for business and to assure you that your investments are safe in our hands. We have men and women of great reputation here. And we believe we can forge a good committee that will advance our discussions to fruitful conclusions.

“A nation is an artificial entity unless there are good people to drive it. People build great nations and we have great people. We are ready,” the President affirmed.

Tinubu noted that Nigeria possesses vast opportunities in various fields, telling his host: “We have oil and gas; we have solid minerals. I do not see why we cannot become prolific partners in exploring iron ore, as well as steel production, and energy across the board.

“I am here to give you assurances in all spheres: tourism, hospitality, healthcare, and many other opportunities that abound around us. Do not be the investors who miss out on the golden opportunity we present,” the President added.

Welcoming the Nigerian delegation in the presence of Qatari captains of industry, Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad bin Qassim Al Abdullah Al Thani, Qatar’s Minister of Commerce and Industry, said his country looks forward to exploring opportunities in Nigeria, owing to its population demography and market, as it seeks to prioritize new investments in low carbon initiatives, mineral products, petroleum chemicals, industry, and consumables.

“We look forward to working with our Nigerian counterparts to achieve our joint objectives in these sectors,” the Minister said.

The President of the Nigeria-Qatar Business and Investment Forum were: Borno State Governor, Professor Babagana Umara Zulum; Kaduna State Governor, Senator Uba Sani; Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu; National Security Adviser (NSA), Ribadu; Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance, Mr. Wale Edun; Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr Dele Alake; Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Professor Muhammad Ali Pate; Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Mr. Adegboyega Oyetola; Minister of Trade, Industry and Investment, Dr Doris Uzoka-Anite; Minister of Youth, Dr Jamila Bio Ibrahim; and the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Gas), Mr. Ekperipe Ekpo.

Others at the meeting were Special Adviser on Energy, Mrs. Olu Verheijen; and the President of the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Mines, and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Mr. Dele Kelvin Oye.

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Mob Beat Two Policemen to Death after Road Crash

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By Our Reporter

Two policemen on escort duty were yesterday beaten to death, two others injured following a mob action at Ikpeshi in Akoko-Edo Local Government Area of Edo State.

This happened after a Toyota Hilux vehicle belonging to the escort duty policemen in the convoy of former Edo House of Assembly member Emmanuel Agbaje hit a motorcycle, resulting in the death of the rider, a woman and her child.

Ikpeshi youths, according to sources, besieged the office of Edo State Security Vigilante Network, where the two policemen were taken, overpowered them and beat the policemen to death.

Two other policemen were rescued by the vigilante members.

The rescued police were taken hospital.

The four policemen were from Police Mobile Force (PMF) 19, Port Harcourt in Rivers State.

The chairman of Akoko-Edo local council, Tajudeen Alade who condemned the activities of Ikpeshi youths declared that the persons involved would be identified, arrested and prosecuted to serve as a deterrent to others.

Edo Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Chidi Nwabuzor, confirmed the incident.

He said investigation into the incident was ongoing after which the command would release more details to the public.

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NDIC Reimburses Depositors of 183 Rested Microfinance, Mortgage Banks

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By Tony Obiechina, Abuja

Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) has reimbursed depositors of 179 rested microfinance and four mortgage banks across the country.

The Managing Director of the corporation, Dr Bello Hassan disclosed this at the NDIC Special Day during the just-concluded 45th Kaduna International Trade Fair.

Hassan, who was represented by the NDIC’s Deputy Director of Communication, Hauwa Gambo reiterated that the corporation’s priority was the protection of depositors’ funds of licensed banks in distress.

According to Hassan, in carrying out its statutory functions, the corporation has introduced the Single Customer View framework to expedite payment to depositors of liquidated banks.

He added that the NDIC has enhanced its collaboration with the judiciary for speedy prosecution of failed insured banks which has resulted in resolving long-drawn cases of closed banks such as Fortune and Triumph Banks liquidation.

According to the NDIC boss, the efforts have significantly improved the debt recovery rate, which enabled the corporation to declare 100 per cent liquidation dividends to uninsured depositors of more than 20 deposit money banks.

He said, “Our priority at NDIC is the protection of Nigerian depositors. We are dedicated to safeguarding depositors’ funds from the adverse effects of bank failure. The corporation has introduced the Single Customer View framework to expedite payment to depositors of closed banks.

“The corporation has enhanced collaboration with the judiciary for speedy prosecution of failed insured institutions. This concerted effort has resulted in resolving long-drawn cases of closed banks such as Fortune and Triumph Banks in liquidation.

“Moreover, we have utilised alternative dispute resolution mechanisms and out-of-court settlements, revitalising our liquidation activities. These efforts have significantly improved our debt recovery rate, enabling us to declare 100 per cent liquidation dividends to uninsured depositors of more than 20 deposit money banks in liquidation.”

Hassan also said that NDIC deployed digital remote payment strategies to facilitate electronic funds transfers to verified depositors’ alternate bank accounts.

To address the apathy among depositors with small balances, he said the NDIC launched the ‘Deposit Tracer’ in partnership with mobile operators, which allows depositors to access their unpaid balances through mobile accounts.

He urged depositors of banks in liquidation to utilise the various initiatives by the corporation to claim their funds trapped in closed banks.

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