Nigeria Spends 3% GDP on Social Investments – Ahmed
By Tony Obiechina, Abuja
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed on Friday disclosed that Nigeria spends more than three per cent of Gross Domestic Products (GDP) on social investments.
Speaking at the launch of the Africa Social Safety Nets Report by the National Social Safety Nets Coordinating Office (NASSCO) and World Bank in Abuja, Ahmed wondered why the Report failed to consider other social protection programmes like pensions, health insurance and interventions that target people living with disabilities.
“The Report further reveals that West Africa has the highest number of Cash Transfer Programmes in Africa. The implication of this for us is that we must continue working towards a long time solution to poverty, as Cash Transfers cannot be sustained.
“This means that we must have a long-term plan to build human capital and resilience of our people. Our midterm focus will be to have in place a universal health coverage for all, scale up our school lunch programmes for all primary school students and provide scholarship for all students in tertiary education.
“In the long term, Nigeria will be thinking towards transformational growth and development by setting up economic clusters for entrepreneurs,” she said.
In his welcome remarks, the World Bank Country Director, Mr Rachid Benmessaoud advised Nigeria to scale up its social investment programmes to address the large number of people living in extreme poverty in the country.
Benmessaoud said that Nigeria spending less than three per cent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on social investments was not enough to fight against poverty, build human capital and spur economic growth.
He said the bank was in full support of the country’s social investments and that was why it helped to establish a Social Registry, containing legitimate names of poor households in parts of the country.
The director said the Registry had assisted the federal and state governments to reach genuine vulnerable people through different targeted intervention programmes like the conditional cash transfers.
Speaking earlier, the National Coordinator of NASSCO, Mr Iorwa Apera said his office would ensure that the next report on social safety nets gives a more holistic picture of government’s spending on pro-poor programmes.
“The President has declared that he is lifting a hundred million people out of poverty. That is a strong policy statement and what are we doing with this is that we are building a social register of the poor and vulnerable targeting interventions to lift them out of poverty.
”At the moment the register is in 32 states and has 5.4 million individuals, which serves as a huge data base for lifting these 100 million people out of poverty,” he said.
In 2016, the Federal Government established the National Social Investments Programmes, to tackle poverty and hunger across the country.
One of the programmes, the N-Power is designed to assist the unemployed between the ages of 18 to 35 to acquire and develop life-long skills. They are paid a monthly stipend of N30,000. The Conditional Cash Transfer programme directly supports those within the lowest poverty bracket by giving them monthly stipends of N5,000.
FAAC Shares N722.677bn February Revenue to FG, States, LGCs
By Tony Obiechina, Abuja
The Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) has shared a total sum of N722.677 billion February 2023 Federation Account Revenue to the Federal Government, States and Local Government Councils.
This was contained in a communiqué issued at the end of the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) meeting for on Wednesday and made available in a statement signed by Mr Bawa Mokwa, Director of Press & Public Relations, Office of Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF).
The N722.677 billion total distributable revenue comprised distributable statutory revenue of N366.800 billion, distributable Value Added Tax (VAT) revenue of N224. 232 billion, Electronic Money Transfer Levy (EMTL) of N11.645 billion and N120.000 billion Augmentation from Forex Equalisation Account.
In February 2023,, the total deductions for cost of collection was N27.449 billion and total deductions for transfers, savings, recoveries and refunds was N109.909 billion.
The balance in the Excess Crude Account (ECA) was $473,754.57
The communiqué confirmed that from the total distributable revenue of N722.677 billion; the Federal Government received N269.063 billion, the State Governments received N236.464 billion and the Local Government Councils received N173.936 billion. A total sum of N43.214 billion was shared to the relevant States as 13% derivation revenue.
Gross statutory revenue of N487.106 billion was received for the month of February 2023. This was lower than the sum of N653.704 billion received in the previous month by N166.598 billion.
From the N366.800 billion distributable statutory revenue, the Federal Government received N178.683 billion, the State Governments received N90.630 billion and the Local Government Councils received N69.872 billion. The sum of N27.614 billion was shared to the relevant States as 13% derivation revenue.
For the month of February 2023,, the gross revenue available from the Value Added Tax (VAT) was N240.799 billion This was lower than the N250.009 billion available in the month of January 2023 by N9.210 billion.
The Federal Government received N33.635 billion, the State Governments received N112.116 billion and the Local Government Councils received N78.481 billion from the N224.232 billion distributable Value Added Tax (VAT) revenue.
The N11.645 billion Electronic Money Transfer Levy (EMTL) was distributed as follows: the Federal Government received N1.747 billion, the State Governments received N5.822 billion, and the Local Government Councils received N4.076 billion.
From the N120.000 billion Augmentation, the Federal Government received N54.998 billion, the State Governments received N27.896 billion, the Local Government Councils received N21.506 billion and a total sum of N15.600 billion was shared to the relevant Sates as 13% mineral revenue.
According to the communiqué, in the month of February 2023, Petroleum Profit Tax (PPT), Companies Income Tax (CIT), Oil and Gas Royalties, Import and Excise Duties all decreased significantly while Value Added Tax (VAT) and Electronic Money Transfer Levy (EMTL) decreased marginally.
Afreximbank Supports Fidelity Bank With $180m Credit To Finance Trade, Others
By Tony Obiechina, Abuja
The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) has announced the enhancement of the financing facility provided to Fidelity Bank plc, Nigeria under the Afreximbank Trade Facilitation Programme (AFTRAF).
The decision to increase Afreximbank’s support is consistent with the economic and commercial success of the financing facility, the first $125 million of which has been fully utilised by Fidelity Bank.
The expansion to $180 million was also bolstered by the continued strong financial performance of Fidelity Bank, Nigeria’s largest Tier 2 bank.
The augmented financing facility will allow Fidelity Bank to scale up and accelerate its activities and programmes in trade and related activities.
Commenting on the development, Prof Benedict Oramah, President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Afreximbank, commented said Afreximbank is keen to support a leading African bank that supports African businesses and entrepreneurs.
He said, “Fidelity Bank has proven its ability to make smart use of this type of financing, with consequent benefits for the Nigerian economy. Afreximbank is keen to support a leading African bank that supports African businesses and entrepreneurs.”
Afreximbank deploys innovative structures to deliver financing solutions that support the transformation of the structure of Africa’s trade, accelerating industrialization and intra-regional trade, thereby boosting economic expansion in Africa.
A staunch supporter of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), Afreximbank has launched a Pan-African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS) that was adopted by the African Union (AU) as the payment and settlement platform to underpin the implementation of the AfCFTA.
The bank is working with the AU and the AfCFTA Secretariat to develop an Adjustment Facility to support countries in effectively participating in the AfCFTA.
Nigeria’s Currency in Circulation Drops to N982bn
By Tony Obiechina, Abuja
The currency in circulation in the country dropped by a 235.03 per cent to N982.09bn at the end of February from N3.29tn recorded at the end of October 2022.
According to figures obtained from the CBN, this followed the naira redesign policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) which revealed that N2.3tn was mopped up from circulation during the period under review.
According to the CBN, the currency in circulation moved from N3.16tn to N3.29tn and N1.38tn in November 2022, December 2022 and January 2023 respectively.
The Governor of the CBN, Godwin Emefiele, had in October 2022, announced plans to redesign the old N200, N500 and N1,000 notes.
Emefiele also announced deadlines for Nigerians to swap their old notes with the new notes.
The governor decried the challenges associated with currency management, including the hoarding of banknotes by members of the public, with statistics showing that over 80 per cent of currency-in-circulation was outside the vaults of commercial banks.
Other challenges, according to him, included a shortage of clean and fit banknotes with an attendant negative perception of the CBN and increased risk to financial stability and increasing ease and risk of counterfeiting evidenced by several security reports.
At the expiration of the deadline for the old notes, due to the scarcity of the new naira notes, President, Muhammadu Buhari had approved the continued use of the old N200 as legal tender till April 10.
However, the Supreme Court on Friday, 3 March 2023, ruled that the old Naira notes should remain legal tender till 31 December 2023, thereby setting aside the deadline of the CBN.
However, in its new ruling, the Supreme Court said that all the old notes would remain legal tender until December 31, 2023, while nullifying the Naira redesign policy.
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