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FG Asks States To Refund N614bn Budget Support Debts

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By Mathew Dadiya, Abuja

Federal Government on Thursday, asked state governments to pay back the N614 billion given as bailout support funds from 2016 to 2017 to cushion the effect of the recession.

The debt profile formed part of deliberations at the National Economic Council(NEC) meeting chaired by Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zaniab Ahmed gave the indications while briefing State House correspondents on some of the resolutions of NEC.

She said that the unemployment rate risen to 20.1percent, while inflationary level dropped from 18.7percent in 2014 to 11.

08percent in 2019.

The minister said, “NEC was briefed on the progress of the facility detailing how the FG has made a total of over N614 billion available to 35 States being N175 billion each

“Council agreed to constitute a team from the Nigerian Governors Forum to meet with the CBN and Ministry of Finance to finalize modalities for commencement of repayment”.

She also gave the current balances in the Excess Crude Account as at 20th August 2019 as $95,329,245.24, while the Stabilization Fund Account stood at N21, 729,976,810.66 and the Natural Resources Development Fund was pegged at N95,896,886,829.69.

 On the medium term expenditure framework, the Finance, Budget and National Planning Minister informed NEC that Nigeria macroeconomic environment has stabilized in recovering gradually.

She explained that there has been eight (8) successive month of economic growth since emerging from recession, noting that the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), remains the basis for the Medium Term fiscal strategy.

She equally noted that macro-economic stability has been achieved with growth in end Q3 2019 at 3.01% while there has been a continued increase in Real GDP from 1.89% in Q2018 to 2.01% in 2019.

“There has been significant growth in non-oil sector to GDP which increased 90.4% in Q1 2018 to 90.9% in Q1 2019. Unemployment rate at 20.1% at Q3 2018

“There is need for more diversification to boost inclusive growth and Mr. President is strongly committed to employment generation in this second term,” she stated.

She also noted that considerable success has been recorded in containing insurgency is parts of the North East, with economic activities recovering. While recurring conflicts between farmers and herdsmen, as well as incidences of flooding has affected agricultural products.

Breaches in NNPC pipelines was observed to be still regular, partly accounting for low oil production volume in first half of the year.

Her words, “Inflation has continually declined since 2017 from 18.72% to 11.08% in July 2019. The draft 2020 – 2022 Medium Term Fiscal framework indicates that Nigeria faces significant medium term fiscal challenges especially with respect to revenue generation.  Therefore there is need to improve revenue collections and expenditure management.

“There is also need to take bold decision and urgent action to achieve fiscal sustainability and macro-fiscal objectives”.

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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Economy

Access Holdings Awards Shares Worth N427.13m to 8 Senior Executives

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Access Holdings Plc has awarded 23.8 million ordinary shares worth N427.13 million to its senior executives and those of its subsidiary, Access Bank.

This was disclosed in a notice sent to the Nigerian Exchange Ltd.(NGX) in Lagos.

The notification was sent in line with the disclosure requirements of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the NGX.

It is also in pursuant of the terms of its shareholders’ approved Employees Performance Share Plan.

The group said that Ms Bolaji Agbede, Acting Group Chief Executive Officer, Access Holdings, Mr Roosevelt Ogbonna, Managing Director/CEO, Access Bank, and six others were vested with 23,883,790 shares worth N427.

13 million in total.

According to the filings, Ogbonna got the highest amount of shares, totalling 12,345,679 and valued at N220.37 million, having been traded at N17.85 per share.

Agbede was vested with 2,216,992 shares, valued at N39.795 million.

Other directors who had shares vested on them include: Mr Seyi Kumapayi, Executive Director, African Subsidiaries, Access Bank, with 1,234,568 shares worth N22.16 million.

Ms Iyabo Soji-Okusanya, Executive Director, Commercial and Investment Banking Division, Access Bank, got 1,691,308 shares at N17.95 per share, valued at N30.36 million.

Mrs Chizoma Okoli, Access Bank’s Deputy Managing Director, Retail South, also got 1,728,395 shares valued at N30.85 million.

Dr Gregory Jobome, Executive Director, Risk Management, and Hadiza Ambursa, Executive Director, Commercial Banking, were vested with 1,728,395 shares each,valued at N30.85 million and N31.02 million respectively.

Also, Access Holdings’ Company Secretary, Mr Sunday Ekwochi, was vested with 1,210,058 shares worth N21.72 milion.

The group stated that the shares were vested on May 3 and May 6.

It noted that the vesting of the shares was not a purchase or sale transaction in the context of the Exchange’s rules.(NAN)

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