Nigeria Will Appeal $9bn Debt Judgment- Emefiele
‘Buhari’s directive on food import part of CBN policies since 2016’
By Mathew Dadiya, Abuja
The governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele Monday, said that the country would appeal the recent judgment of the United Kingdom, Business & Property Courts (the Commercial Court) which awarded a cumulative sum of $9bn against Nigeria and in favour of a foreign firm, Process & Industrial Developments Limited.
The central bank governor, disclosed this while speaking to State House correspondents at the sidelines of a presidential retreat for ministers – designate, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Emefiele also assured investors across the globe not to entertain any fear over the matter adding that Nigeria has sufficient and strong grounds on the basis of which it could file a stay of execution and appeal.
He maintained that the federal government would aggressively follow through to ensure that the execution of that judgement was stayed and that the appeal succeeds at every level both within Nigeria and abroad.
“It is important for me to use this opportunity to assure our friends, local and foreign investors who called to expressed solidarity with us, not to express concern but to say that there is no need for anybody to worry, ” he said.
The apex bank boss explained that there were certain anomalies in the process leading to the award of the contract which was being looked into by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC).
”I am not scared at all and I think it is also important that this question has come up. Since the news about the judgement broke out late on Friday, we have been discussing with our counsel, and they have advised that there are sufficient and strong grounds on the basis of which we could file a stay of execution and also an appeal against that judgement.
“We know that the implication of that judgement has some impact on monetary policy and that is why the CBN is going to step forward and very strongly too to ensure that we defend the country and defend the reserves of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The CBN governor also clarified that President Muhammadu Buhari’s recent directive on food importation was already on the bank’s management forex policies since 2016.
He explained: ”Mr. President’s comment on the issuing of forex to people who import food items into the country, is in the logic of CBN’s management foreign exchange policies that we started since 2016.
“If you recall, we started with about 41 items (food and non-food items), because we believe that those items can be produced in the country.
“As we stand today, there are about 43 items on that list and I will say substantially most of them are food items. We are basically saying, if we have a food item that can be produced in the country, why should we waste scare foreign exchange importing those items into the country, when those can be produced in the country.
He also described the attempt to misrepresent the comments of the President as very unfair and unfortunate.
According to him,the move by the president is to strengthen the position of CBN, “to say that he believes in what the CBN has been doing since 2016 and there is need for us to reinforce that going forward.”
“I will say that to be honest, we would aggressively go more into the list of items that are being imported into the country, items that can be produced in Nigeria.
“I will like to stress that we would ensure that more of these items will get on the list of items that are going to be restricted from accessing foreign exchange in Nigerian banking industry not just from the CBN source.
” Because, I have heard some comments that maybe it’s about the CBN’s source, it is not the CBN’s source, we are saying you will not be able to access foreign exchange from the Nigerian banking industry because it is important for us to produce these items in Nigeria and we will follow through on them.
The CBN governor maintained that there would not be an amendment to the forex restriction policy for some items.
“There will never be an amendment because the issue is this, why should we be exporting jobs to other countries? Today we are complaining that there is a high rate of unemployment, leading to some extent the level of insecurity in the country, why should we allow people to import food that can be produced in the country?”
He emphasised that Nigeria needs to improve wealth in her rural communities, insisting, “we will not change course, we will even be more aggressive on this programme.”
On whether the President’s directive will affect the Africa Free Trade Continental Area Agreement Emefiele explained that it would not affect the content of the AfCFTA.
He said, ”in any case the AfCFTA is an agreement that is ongoing, the terms of engagement are still being discussed and negotiated.
” The important thing is that Nigeria needs to stand as the largest economy in Africa and the largest populated country in Africa, we need to stand and dictate the terms under which we want to be in it and this is what we are staying.
The CBN governor said it’s wrong and inappropriate that an item that could be produced in Nigeria should be imported into Nigeria.
At this time, Emefiele said “we need to create jobs for our country, for the youths.
“We yearn for growth and the only way we can really accelerate growth in Nigeria between now and next four years is to see to it that items that can be produced in Nigeria are indeed produced in Nigeria rather than being imported into the country.”
Experts Canvass Better Attention to Taxes, Untapped Minerals, others
By Gom Mirian, Abuja
Experts in the research and development sectors have called on the incoming administration to focus on the growth-enhancing sectors in the country rather than relying solely on revenues from crude oil to develop the economy.
The call was made in Abuja at a one-day Leadership and Development Policy Dialogue Series (LDPDS)organized by the African Centre for Leadership, Strategy and Development (Centre LSD)tagged: “Nigerian Debt Profile: Issues, implications, Lessons and Solutions for the Next Administration.
Director portfolio management department of the Debt Management Office (DMO), Mr Oladele Afolabi said there were a lot of linkages and shortfalls in the payment of taxes, especially by companies which is the reflection of the low revenue received in the country.
While urging the next administration to ensure blockage of these linkages, tasked the government to explore untapped mineral resources in the country to generate more revenue since the revenue obtained from crude oil is incapable of developing the economy.
Speaking at the dialogue, a professor of Economics at the University of Abuja, Isa Muhammad said Nigeria spends N97 of every N100 earned or produced on debt service.
According to professor Muhammad, the Nigerian debt service to income ratio has drastically increased from 17% to 97% in ten years (2012-2021).
He said the increase is extremely high compared to the World Bank’s recommended limit of no more than 22.5%.
He said: “In 2022, a deficit of N6. 26 trillion is anticipated as a result of all fiscal activities.
“Debt payment is anticipated to cost N3.61 trillion, with N292.71 billion coming from sinking funds to pay off maturing bonds.
“This is an alarming instance of revenue challenge that, if not handled properly, could result in a problem with the sustainability of debt”, he said.
Professor Muhammad called on the next administration to strengthen government finances, lower the fiscal deficit over time, and adopt revenue and expenditure reform steps in the medium term.
He also called on the next administration to move away from budget deficits as income collections increase.
Earlier in his remarks, the Executive Director of the Centre LSD, Mr Monday Osasah, said dialogue became imperative following the Federal Government (FG), the outcry that Nigeria’s debt sustainability has become threatened owing to the rise in its revenue shortfalls.
He said: “This revenue, unfortunately, is not matched by the high debt servicing burden of the country. According to the Minister of Finance, Nigeria is expected to spend 60% of its total revenue on debt servicing in 2023.
Also, the Head of the National Bureau of Statistics(NBS), Dr Anthony Ayo urged the next administration to step down on the ‘debt-to-GDP ratio as a method of measuring debt sustainability but rather than adopt the ‘revenue-to-GDP approach to achieve effective results.
Mr Osasah said these assertions portend a grave threat to the Nigerian economy, as this depletes the resources available for other national developmental priorities.
He said the dialogue, therefore, presents an opportunity for stakeholders to have a shared understanding of the issues, implications, lessons, and solutions, as well as make recommendations for the next Administration.
Afreximbank Budgets $350,000 for Nigeria Inland Waterways Development
By Tony Obiechina, Abuja
African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) in its role as a systemically important and market-failure bank for Africa, has provided a grant of US$350,000 and leveraged on its partnership with the Nigerian Export-Import Bank (NEXIM), the Federal Ministry of Transportation and the Nigerian Navy to facilitate the movement of goods using navigable waterways in Nigeria.
In this regard, a major milestone in the quest to unlock the huge potentials in transportation on Nigeria’s inland waterways was recorded on Tuesday 16th March 2023 with the unveiling of the Navigational Charts of the Lower River Niger by the Honorable Minister for Transportation, Mr.Mu’azu Jaji Sambo supported by, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Boss Mustapha.
The Charting project was made possible by the grant from Afreximbank in recognition of the importance of inland waterways transportation and by extension, coastal waterways transportation, to its mandate of promoting Intra-African trade.
Speaking at the event, the Minister of Transportation, Mr. Mu’azu Jaji Sambo, hailed the support from Afreximbank through the grant and reiterated the importance of water transportation as the most environmentally friendly mode of transportation with significant economic benefits, citing the example of the United States of America where 60% of agricultural produce are moved through inland waterways.
He commended the efforts of all the parties involved in the activity and made commitment to progressing the subsequent activities involved to make the movement of goods on the lower River Niger from the hinterlands to the coastal lands possible.
Afreximbank was represented at the event by Mr. Remigius Nwachukwu, Manager Trade Finance, Anglophone West Africa, who commended the leadership and vision of Prof. Benedict Oramah, President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Afreximbank towards the realization of this project which falls clearly within the ambit of the mandate of Afreximbank in promoting, facilitating and financing intra- and extra-African trade.
Afreximbank also noted that existing African infrastructure was designed to carry African commodities to the global markets and not to facilitate intra-African trade. In this context, Afreximbank decided to support the development of the maritime sector including inland waterways to ensure that there are efficient and cost-effective routes to facilitate intra-African trade under the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).
The launch of the navigational charts is following a Maritime Survey and Charting Project executed by the Sealink Consortium in collaboration with the Nigerian Navy, Nigeria Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) and Neximbank which was financed through the grant from Afreximbank. The Navigational Charting was undertaken by a wholly indigenous team from the Nigerian Navy and NIWA.
The Regional Sealink Project is a trade facilitation initiative designed to bridge critical logistics infrastructure gap toward facilitating and deepening inland and intra-coastal waterways operations. The charts provide information on navigable and restricted areas of the river channel as well as serve as a springboard to attaining a fully developed navigable channel.
The Charting covered a distance of 456 km from Jamata, Lokoja to Burutu and have been approved by the International Centre for Electronic Navigational Charts having met International Hydrographic Organization’s standards.
Although some more work like dredging and removal of identified wrecks are still expected to be done on the channel, navigational activities can commence with the use of the Charts which Mariners can obtain from the International Centre for Electronic Navigational Charts either in hard copy or electronic form.
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.
Read Our ePaper
Regular Demolitions ‘ll End Insecurity – FCTA
Share Post Views: 18 By Laide Akinboade, Abuja The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), Thursday, said its commitment to ensuring...
FCTA Vows to Demolish Structures on Waterways
Share Post Views: 40 By Laide Akinboade, Abuja As part of the proactive measures to mitigate flooding in Abuja, the...
Kick-off and Final Match Dates Confirmed for 2023 AFCON in Cote d’Ivoire
Share Post Views: 67 Dates for the kick-off and final matches at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) scheduled...
Woman, 33, Arraigned for Impersonating Police Officer
Share Post Views: 67 A 33-year-old woman, Damilola Odutola, who allegedly impersonated a police officer in an attempt to invade...
Experts Canvass Better Attention to Taxes, Untapped Minerals, others
Share Post Views: 67 By Gom Mirian, Abuja Experts in the research and development sectors have called on the incoming...
Army to Review Troops’ Conduct During Elections, other Operations
Share Post Views: 67 The Nigerian Army is set to review the conduct of troops in Operation Safe Conduct during...
Agba Leads Govt Delegation to South Korea on Bilateral Cooperation
Share Post Views: 69 By Tony Obiechina, Abuja Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Ikanade Agba,...
Buhari Pleased with Troops` Performance in North East – Gen. Irabor
Share Post Views: 66 The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Gen. Lucky Irabor, says that President Muhammadu Buhari is happy...
Court Remands 9 Persons for Allegedly Robbing, killing a Police Inspector
Share Post Views: 78 A Makurdi Chief Magistrates’ Court in Benue on Thursday, ordered the remand of nIne persons in...
Dangote Lists N300bn Bonds, Largest Ever on NGX, FMDQ
Share Post Views: 69 Dangote Industries Limited (DIL) has formally listed its N300 billion Series 1 and 2 bonds issued...