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Buhari to Present 2020 Budget September Ending

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Femi Gbajabiamila
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By Mathew Dadiya, Abuja

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila on Friday, disclosed that President Muhammadu Buhari may present the 2020 budget to the National Assembly by the end of September to enable the lawmakers pass the appropriation bill early and return the nation’s budget circle to January.

The Speaker said this while briefing State House correspondents after meeting with President Buhari behind closed doors at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

He reassured that the government of Nigeria would always stand with her citizens.

Gbajabiamila said the only way to bring the budget circle back to January to December was for an early presentation of the budget adding that he discussed the matter with President Buhari.

The speaker however, said that he would not give a definite answer whether the National Assembly would get the 2020 budget proposal this month or early next month.

“I cannot give a definite answer but I know the budget is going to come as early as possible. It maybe the end of this month or shortly thereafter, but I cannot give you a definite date.

“But it’s going to be an early presentation so that we can pass the budget before the end of the year and return to the January to December circle,” he said.

He also revealed that the issue of the $9.5 billion defaulted gas contract judgment awarded against Nigeria by a British court in favour of an Irish firm P&ID was discussed during his meeting with the President.

“The issue of the recent $9 billion award against Nigeria. I say that with a smile but not really smiling. Clearly we are in opposition to that and steps will be taken,” he added.

On the xenophobic attacks on Nigerian citizens and the looting and burning of their shops in South Africa, the lawmaker said that Nigeria may cut her bilateral relations with South Africa.

Asked if there were moves to severe bilateral ties with South Africa, Gbajabiamila said, “We are not there yet, nothing is off the table, we will take each day as it comes. As of now Mr. President has taken proactive steps in evacuating our citizens, recalling the High Commissioner, and other things will follow.

“I believe we will stand with and by Nigerians. The leadership of the House has issued a statement and it is in tandem with what the executive is doing. We stand by our citizens that is our priority, to protect the constitution, to protect the welfare of the citizens and that is exactly what we are doing and that is what the president is doing.”

He said he was at the State House to engage with the President on the burning issues, stressing that in the last few days, Nigeria had witnessed unfortunate incidents involving her citizens in South Africa.

“As you are aware, I cut my trip to Tanzania short and came home with the hope of reconvening the House, where we are going to address this very important issue. We have called that off because events have overtaken it; the government has taken proactive steps, the same steps we would have asked for.

“We are all on the same page with the president and the government. So I came to fully discuss that with Mr. President. We discussed the issue of security, what has been happening in South Africa and other national issues that require the attention of both the legislature and the executive, and we had very fruitful discussions on those issues.”

On the insistence of the South African government not to pay compensation to the victims of the xenophobic attacks because payment of compensation was not contained in the country’s laws, the Speaker said that he had not heard such statement from the South African government.

He said, “Well I haven’t heard that statement from South Africa, I don’t know if it is official or off the cuff statement by somebody. When it’s made official, we will take further steps. I am sure we will be on the delegation process in South Africa and probably other avenues that are international that we can pursue.”

Economy

Nigerian Banking System is Stable, CIBN Assures Nigerians

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The Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) on Wednesday reassured Nigerians that the banking system remained “safe, sound and resilient,” dispelling fears of bank liquidations.

Its president, Prof. Pius Olanrewaju, gave the reassurance in a statement in Lagos to correct misinformation and fake news that licence of more banks would be revoked.

Olanrewaju emphasised the importance of clarifying rumours that additional bank licenses would be revoked, following the regulatory action taken by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) against Heritage Bank Plc on June 3.

“We would like to allay the fears of bank customers and the general public that the assertion is false and misleading.

“The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) have debunked the claim,” the Chairman of Council, CIBN, stated.

He added that the ongoing recapitalisation process announced by the CBN aims to further strengthen the resilience of banks and their capacity to support the growth of the Nigerian economy.

“Consequently, we urge the public to continue conducting their banking services without hesitation or apprehension,” Olanrewaju said.

According to him, CIBN is committed to promoting best practices and ensuring that the sector remains safe and sound, in collaboration with other stakeholders in the ecosystem. (NAN)

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Business News

FG Secures Investment Commitments of over $30bn Across Sectors-Minister

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The Federal Government  has secured investment commitments of more than 30 billion dollars across different sectors of the economy.

Dr Doris Anite, the Minister, Industry, Trade, and Investment (FMITI), said this during her presentation at the Ministerial Sectoral News Conference to mark President Bola Tinubu’s first year in office  on Tuesday in Abuja.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that her presentation was titled “Unlocking Trade and Investment to Achieve Renewed Hope Agenda “- Key Achievements and Contributions of the ministry.

Anite said Nigeria’s investment landscape was now witnessing a significant influx of foreign capital, aligning with the Renewed Hope agenda  Tinubu.

She said in addition, the ministry was taking decisive and structured steps to attract capital investments, which would transform the nation’s homegrown enterprises and industries into global players.

“We have concluded stakeholders’ engagements with our domestic private equity and asset management firms towards the inauguration of an Investment Mobilisation Initiative aimed at increasing local and foreign investment as a catalyst for economic growth.”

The minister said in a bid to boost private equity capital formation, the Nigeria diaspora fund was initiated.

“The Nigeria diaspora remit between 20 to 25 billion dollars annually according to the World Bank, but these remittances have not been channeled intentionally to private equity.

“ Therefore, the investment initiative by my ministry is creating the platform to target, mobilise and utilise some of these funds into the productive economy.

“Our Private Equity and Asset Management firms are adept at attracting investments and the support from the Ministry is an assurance that the government is backing this investment drive.

“Government will provide the enabling environment, remove the roadblocks and red tapes to ensure that these investments thrive.”

Anite said the investment drive was not limited to only Nigerian Diasporans, but the ministry was also reaching out to all fund providers.

She said the ministry had also received support from development finance partners.

“I have no doubt that with the success of this initiative, Nigeria will witness a boom in the formation of businesses, and a strong financial and capital market.

“Nigeria will also witness the creation of a strong economic and industrial base to catalyse a one trillion dollar Gross Domestic Product (GDP) economy.”

Anite said the ministry was set to host the Nigeria Investment Summit, a platform to connect domestic and global investors to Nigeria.

“We are creating and de-risking the investment opportunities in Nigeria, and will showcase these as we inaugurate our digital dealroom which will present the investment opportunities and help facilitate the investments to happen.”

She said this had become necessary because most contracts issued in Nigeria had other jurisdictions as places for arbitration, mostly England.

“We have observed that this is so because most businesses experience delays in the arbitration and legal process for enforcing contracts.

“This red tape will be removed with the automated commercial courts, and this will boost investor confidence and increase investment flows.” (NAN) 

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Economy

Domestic Securities Market a Major Source of Funding for FG – DMO

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The Debt Management Office (DMO), says the Nigerian domestic securities market remains a major source of funding for the Federal Government.

The Director-General of the DMO, Patience Oniha, said this on Monday in Lagos at an interactive session with primary dealers in the Federal Government securities market.

According to Oniha, during COVID-19, when the international markets were closed, we were able to raise the full amount needed to fund the budget.

“Last year, we raised seven trillion Naira as new domestic borrowing. It speaks to the size of the domestic market, its resilience, and its sophistication, unlike we have in many African markets,’’ she said.

Oniha said that the 2024 budget had a deficit of six trillion Naira to be financed through new domestic borrowing.

She said that the National Assembly also approved N7.3 trillion Ways and Means for securitisation.

“Out of the new domestic borrowing of six trillion Naira, we have raised N4.5 trillion. For the Ways and Means, out of seven trillion approved for securitisation, we have raised N4.905 trillion.

“The financial sector has come a long way, and this is another strategic meeting to chart a way forward,’’ Oniha said.

Mrs Nadia Zakari, the President, Financial Market Dealers Association (FMDA), said that the Nigerian business environment was evolving and unique, necessitating such interactive sessions.

According to Zakari, such sessions are critical for both market operators and the Federal Government for them to be able to make decisions as they plan for the rest of the year.

“We stand as financial intermediaries, and we are in a very important position of interacting with other market operators, the end investors and the DMO,’’ she said. (NAN)

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