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Don Urges Buhari to Assign Finance Ministry to Economist, Accountant

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A University don, Prof. Sarah Anyanwu of the Department of Economics, University of Abuja, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to assign the Ministry of Finance to an economist or accountant among the 43 Ministers designate.

The don who gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

on Tuesday in Abuja stressed that “the right people should be put in the right positions to move the nation forward’’.

Anyanwu said the ministry of finance was very crucial to the advancement of the nation in general, and there is the need to assign a qualified, competent professional to man it to salvage the nation’s economy.

NAN reports that the 43 ministers designate will be inaugurated and assigned portfolios by the President on Aug.

21.

“You cannot have an engineer or lawyer in charge of the ministry of finance or Budget and National Planning.

“What does an engineer or lawyer knows about the economy?

“We have too much mismatch in terms of staffing in Nigeria and we do not put round pegs in round holes.

“We should learn to put the right people in the right positions and at the right time for things to work,’’ she said.

The don also advised the prospective finance minister to continue with policies and initiate new ones that will help in blocking leakages at all level and ensure revenues are judiciously utilised.

Specifically, she said the Treasury Single Account (TSA) policy should be continued while budget releases should be timely and monitored to ensure effectiveness.

“The nation’s finances should be managed prudently especially at this crucial period where revenues are dwindling’’.

Mr David Ibidapo, an economy and financial analyst, said the incoming finance minister must focus on economy diversification by ensuring aggressive concentration on other sectors away from oil,

“About 80 per cent of our export is in crude oil sector and we know that it is a volatile market.

“If the price of crude is below the budget benchmark, it reduces earnings, coupled with the fact that our production capacity is not optimal.

“There is the need for aggressive concentration on other sectors of the economy to ensure that we will not be largely exposed to shocks in the oil market.”

He said that the fiscal and monetary policies must be harmonised to drive the economy in the same direction.

Ibidapo said that the economy “is currently in a very precarious situation and if the fiscal and monetary policies are going in different directions, it will be counter-productive’’.

He also expressed the concerns over the multiple exchange rates the nation was experiencing.

Ibidapo, recommended the elimination of multiple exchange rates, adding that the rates should be moved closer to a market determined rate.

“If you move exchange rate from N306 per dollar to N360 per dollar, we will see more money for the government.”

Ibidapo also advocated for the privatisation of some government owned assets to bring about healthy competition which would drive growth in the economy.

On his part, Mr Umaru Baba, a statistician, advised the incoming minister of Budget and National Planning to study the Econmic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).

He said the minister must work out possible and effective ways of gathering data that would support the plan.

“If the plan is achieved, the Nigerian economy will be one of the big economies in the world,’’ he said.

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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Business News

CBN Unveils Strategy to Boost Remittances, Grants AIP To 14 New IMTOs

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By Tony Obiechina, Abuja 

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has activated plans to double foreign-currency remittance flows through formal channels by granting 14 new International Money Transfer Operators (IMTOs) Approval-in-Principle (AIP).

This was disclosed in Abuja on Wednesday, by the Bank’s Acting Director of Corporate Communications, Mrs.

Hakama Sidi Ali, who stated that the initiative will help increase the sustained supply of foreign exchange in the official market by promoting greater competition and innovation amongst IMTOs to lower the cost of remittance transactions and boost financial inclusion.
 

She said, “This will spur liquidity in Nigeria’s Autonomous Foreign Exchange Market (NAFEX), augmenting price discovery to enable a market-driven fair value for the naira.

“It will be recalled that the CBN Governor, Mr. Olayemi Cardoso, had recently declared: “We’ve set ourselves a target to double remittance flows into Nigeria within a year, a goal I firmly believe is within reach. 

“We are wasting no time driving progress to remove any bottlenecks hindering flows through formal channels permanently. We have a determined pathway and a sequenced approach to tackling all challenges ahead, working hand in hand with key stakeholders in the remittance industry,” she stated.

Continuing, Sidi Ali, said that the CBN viewed increasing formal remittance flows—one of the major sources of foreign exchange, accounting for over 6% of GDP—as a means of reducing the historical volatility in Nigeria’s exchange rate caused by external factors, such as fluctuations in foreign investment and oil export proceeds.

The increase in the number of IMTOs is one of the primary actions initiated by the CBN’s remittance task force, overseen by Governor Cardoso as a collaborative unit pulling together specialists to work closely with the private sector and market operators to facilitate the ease of doing business in the remittance ecosystem in Nigeria. 

The task force was established as a direct result of an executive learning session with IMTOs during the World Bank/IMF Spring Meetings held in Washington DC, United States of America, in April 2024. The task force will meet regularly to implement strategy and monitor the impact of its measures on remittance inflows.

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Economy

FG Vows To Ensure Continuous Flow of Tax Revenue – Madein

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By Tony Obiechina, Abuja 

The Federal government is committed a tax culture that will ensure the continuous flow of revenues into government coffers, the Accountant General of the Federation, Dr Oluwatoyin Madein has said.

Madein stated this at the 26th Annual Tax Conference of the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN) in Abuja, with the theme: “Sustainable Tax Culture and Economic Roadmap for Nation Building”.

Madein said, “Like the CITN, the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation is committed to a sustainable tax culture that will ensure the continuous flow of revenues even at an improved level.

“Tax revenue as at today is the highest source of revenue accruing to the federation.

Therefore at the Federation Account Allocation Committee meetings we eagerly await the numbers coming from the FIRS because the performance keeps on increasing and brings succour to all tiers of government.”

She charged tax practitioners to work harder in getting more revenue from taxes, stressing that tax revenue is currently the highest income source for the federation.

The government noted that based on the current high revenue from taxes, members of the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee were always looking forward to the figures from the Federal Inland Revenue Service every month, in order to have funds to share to the three tiers of government.

“Tax revenue as at today is the highest source of revenue accruing to the federation. Therefore at the Federation Account Allocation Committee meetings we eagerly await the numbers coming from the FIRS because the performance keeps on increasing and brings succour to all tiers of government”, she added. 

FIRS exceeded its 2023 revenue target by N816bn, as its total actual revenue collection for last year stood at N12.37tn, outperforming the N11.56tn target.

This is contained in a presentation by Amina Ado, Coordinating Director of Special Tax Operations Group at the FIRS.

The accountant-general tasked tax practitioners to step up efforts in collecting taxes, so as to shore up more revenue for the government to provide infrastructure and other amenities.

Madein said, “Let us remain steadfast in our commitment to building a better future for all. Together we can harness the transformative power of taxation to create a more prosperous, equitable and sustainable world.

“Like I said earlier, at FAAC we eagerly look forward to tax numbers because at the moment revenue from non-oil has been a great revenue source to the federation.

“Therefore, to tax practitioners, you are doing so well, but we need more of this to be able to deliver on all the areas that the citizens are looking forward to, because for even infrastructure development, it is only through funds that we can get it done.”

She further stated that it was her strong belief that “the conference will go a long way to deepen the collaboration between our organisations in building capacity for all the professionals, experts and tax payers for better understanding of the tax laws, rules and regulations.”

In his remarks, the President/Chairman of Council, CITN, Samuel Agbeluyi, pointed out that the withdrawal of subsidies on fuel and electricity had reduced the purchasing power of the masses.

He noted that raising electricity tariff for a selected band after fuel subsidy was withdrawn “is going to reduce the purchasing power of the masses. So we urge govt to consider these actions on the masses.

He, however, stated that the institute was happy to know that President Bola Tinubu had asked the Central Bank of Nigeria to slow down on the recent cybersecurity levy that was approved by the apex bank.

“We will continue to advise the govt on its policies, considering how these polices affect the citizens,” Agbeluyi stated.

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