Tag Archives: Finance Minister

Finance Minister – Nigeria to suffer recession soon.


Nigeria’s finance minister, Zainab Ahmed, says the coronavirus pandemic and falling oil prices are set to force the economy into negative growth.

Ms. Ahmed made the comments after the National Economic Summit meeting in Abuja on Thursday.

“On the economy, COVID-19 has resulted in the collapse in oil prices,” she said. “This will impact negatively, and the impact has already started showing on the federation’s revenues and on the foreign exchange earnings.

“Net oil and gas revenue and influx to the federation account in the first quarter of 2020 amounted to N940.91billion. This represented a shortfall of N125. 52billion or 31% of the prorated amount that is supposed to have been realized by the end of that first quarter.”

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She added that the economic contraction will multiply the misery of the poor.

“The crisis will only multiply this misery,” she said. “The economic growth in Nigeria, that is the GDP, could in the worst case scenario, contract by as much as –8.94% in 2020. But in the best case, which is the case we are working on, it could be a contraction of –4.4%, if there is no fiscal stimulus. But with the fiscal stimulus plan that we are working on, this contraction can be mitigated and we might end up with a negative –0.59%.”


#Newsworthy…

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Just in: NASS meet with finance minister over 2020 budget amendment. [Nigeria]


The Leadership of the National Assembly on Thursday met with the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning to be briefed by the latter on the plan by the Federal Government to amend the N10.59 trillion 2020 budget passed by the National Assembly in December last year.

The meeting which had in attendance principal officers from both chambers was presided over by the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila.

The Senate President, in his welcome address, told the Executive arm of Government to ensure that the interest of Nigerians remains protected in the proposed cut to the 2020 national budget.

Lawan also expressed the willingness of the Federal lawmakers to expeditiously consider the proposed amendment to the 2020 budget which the Minister said would be presented to the National Assembly by next week.

“The budget amendment is very important, but I believe that when we are faced with this kind of challenge (COVID-19 pandemic), it is an emergency and we should do everything and anything possible to fast track the passage and implementation of the government intervention that is so critical and crucial at this stage.

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“I believe that we shouldn’t delay it any longer. Next week, and I will suggest the early part of next week, we should have that document(MTEF) ready so that we can consider it alongside the budget. It is supposed to be the tonic of what Nigerians are waiting for.

“We have listened to the various adjustments you have made to avoid going into recession. However, to avoid going into a deeper recession, I think we need to do a little bit much more.

“After this meeting with the leadership, I suggest that you engage with our relevant committees in the Senate and House of Representatives to look at the nitty-gritty that would be considered more in detail at the presentation level.

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“On the whole, let me assure you that the National Assembly and Executive arm are on the same page, and that is to say that we will work to ensure that we have a budget 2020 amendment that will address the needs of the people of this country.

“One thing is that the net public expenditure must be targeted at net maximum performance for the benefit of the people of this country.

“In other words, we must come up with an amended budget that is operable and favorable to Nigerians,” Lawan said.

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In his remarks, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, called on the Federal Government to adopt a feasible benchmark in the proposed amendment to the 2020 budget.

“The benchmark is so critical and so important because once you passed the law, it becomes difficult to adjust that benchmark, and then what happens to the excess?

“We have always had problems with the Excess Crude Account, potentially an account which has no backing of the law. So, let’s even assume that the price remains static at $35, which means we have $10 going to the Excess Crude Account which we have no control over in terms of spending, that is why we guard that benchmark price very jealously.

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“Is there a possibility of having a provisio built-in in the budget…So that there can be an automatic kick in if the benchmark price goes beyond $26 or $27. We want you to explore that possibility.

“So, I think you should study the market and see what happens next week by the time you present the adjusted budget,” Gbajabiamila said.

Speaking on Nigeria’s debt profile, the Speaker said, “I would also want to address the issue of our deficit and tie it with the issue of debt relief. I’m not sure I heard any presentation on how much we owe and how much we are paying back in this budget.

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“The reason I asked is that at the moment, I believe, for want of a better word, some of our creditors are very vulnerable right now. And depending on how you package your case, I believe they should be the ones coming to beg you to take debt relief, if not outright cancellation.”

Earlier, the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, while briefing the leadership of the National Assembly said, “the US$57 crude oil price benchmark approved in the 2020 budget is no longer sustainable.”

The minister said further that: “it is necessary to reallocate resources in the 2020 budget, to ensure the effective implementation of required emergency measures, and mitigate the negative socioeconomic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

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Ahmed stated that in line with the global economic outlook and relevant domestic considerations, the assumptions underpinning the 2020-2022 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and the 2020 Budget was revised to slash crude oil benchmark price from US$57 per barrel to US$25 per barrel; reduce crude oil production benchmark from 2.18 million barrels per day to 1.9 mbpd.

She added that the federal government also adjusted the budget exchange rate to N360/US$1; and reduced the upfront fiscal deductions by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) for mandated Oil and Gas sector expenditures by 65 percent from N1.223 trillion to N424 billion.

She disclosed that the amount available for funding the 2020 Budget is now estimated at N5.548 trillion, down from N8.419 trillion, a revised revenue estimate which is 34 percent (N2.87 trillion) lower than what was initially approved.

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Federal Government’s aggregate expenditure budget was slashed by N88.412 billion; Statutory Transfer from N560.47 billion to N397.87 billion; and Overhead costs of Ministries, Departments and Agencies of Government from N302.43 billion to N240.91 billion.

Debt Service provision was, however, increased from N2.453 trillion to N2.678 trillion.

On Provision of N500 billion for COVID-19 Intervention Fund, the Finance Minister in her presentation explained that N263.63 billion will be sourced from Federal Government Special Accounts, N186.37 billion from Federation Special Accounts and the balance of N50 billion expected as grants and donations.

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According to her, “the sum of N186.37 billion will be applied toward COVID-19 interventions across the federation, while an additional N213.60 billion was provided in the Service Wide Votes for COVID-19 Crisis Intervention recurrent expenditures.”

She disclosed that while a total of N100.03 billion was provisioned in the Intervention Fund for new capital spending, the Federal Government carried out a cut in capital expenditures for Ministries, Departments and Agencies of Government from N1.564 trillion to N1.262 trillion.


#Newsworthy..

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2020: Nigerian govt to reduce oil benchmark from $30 to $20 per barrel – Finance Minister.

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Plans are ongoing by the Federal Government to review the 2020 budget to reflect an oil benchmark of $20 per barrel.

A report gathered by NobleReporters quoted that the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning Minister, Zainab Ahmed, who disclosed this on Tuesday during a web conference about the impact of low oil prices on Nigeria’s economy.

A further downward revision will mean that the Federal Government has now dropped the benchmark from an initial $57 per barrel to $30.

NobleReporters learnt that Mrs Ahmed also intimated on plans by FG to cut oil production to 1.7 million barrels per day (mbpd), from the 2.1 mbpd previously proposed in the budget.

“We are in the process of an amendment that is bringing down the revenue indicator to $20 per barrel.”

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Other key highlights from the conference include; plans to defer debt service obligations to 2021 and beyond until macro conditions improve.

An 80% drop in estimated net oil & gas revenue available for Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) distribution to N1.1 trillion against the N5.5 trillion previously earmarked.

A marginal drop in Customs projected revenue to N1.2 trillion in 2020 from the previous N1.5 trillion.

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While the amount accruable to the federation account is now projected at N3.9 trillion from the initial N8.6 trillion.

The government is also looking at providing support for the aviation sector as part of measures to alleviate the impact of COVID-19.


#Newsworthy…

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Nigerians with N5000 account balance to enjoy cash transfer from FG.


The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq, says urban poor dwellers with an account balance of N5,000 or less will be among the beneficiaries of the Federal Government Conditional Cash Transfer scheme.

The minister made this known when she fielded questions from State House correspondents in Abuja on Tuesday, April 14. She added that Nigerians who buy N100 call credit are also people who will be considered poor and vulnerable and will be allowed to benefit from the scheme.


The minister, who earlier confirmed that N-Power beneficiaries were being paid their stipends, stated on Tuesday that the prospective beneficiaries would be part of the additional one million households approved by President Muhammadu Buhari to boost the nation’s social register.

President Buhari had on Monday, in a broadcast, directed that the current social register be expanded from 2.6 million households to 3.6 million households in the next two weeks.


The president said that the expansion of the social register was part of the palliative measures to address the hardship being experienced by the poor and vulnerable members of the society as a result of the extension of the lockdown order.

The minister, who had earlier updated the president on the activities of her ministry, revealed that those saddled with the responsibility of carrying out president’s directive on expansion of the social register would focus more on the urban poor.


She said: “You are also aware that Mr President in his broadcast yesterday (April 13) has directed that we expand the beneficiaries of the Conditional Cash Transfer by one million.

“In this regard, we are going to focus more on the urban poor. These are people who depend on informal sector to earn their livelihood – They are daily wage earners and these are people we are really going to focus more on as well as people living with disabilities.”


The minister further explained that apart from the National Social Register, the Bank Verification Numbers (BVN) and previous record of purchase of recharge card by mobile phone owners would form parts of criteria in identifying the beneficiaries of the cash transfer.

She said: “We are also using the mobile network, people that top up their phones with maybe N100, N200. These are the people we consider to be poor and vulnerable.”

Nigerians have expressed displeasure with the methods the federal government has employed in the disbursement of cash and food items. Also, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) criticized President Muhammadu Buhari for “failure to provide palliatives” to cushion the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria.


#Newsworthy…

COVID-19: Nigeria will go into recession if epidemic continues for 6 months – Finance Minister.


Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, Zaina Ahmed, has said the country will go into recession if the Coronavirus pandemic persists longer than six months.

She made this known on Friday March 27. NobleReporters learnt.

“We are hopeful that this pandemic will be limited in time. If it is an average of three months, we should be able to close the year with positive growth. But if it goes longer than that – six months, one year – we will go into recession.” she said


#Newsworthy…

Irregular payments of benefits causing outstanding accrued liabilities – PenCom blames

…Inadequate NIMC personnel affecting ECRS compliance


The National Pension Commission (PenCom), has said outstanding payment of accrued pension liabilities by the Federal Government to the retirees under the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS), have resulted to delayed and irregular payments of retirement benefits its employees who retired from December 2018 to date.


According to the Commission, under the CPS, retirement benefits consist of Accrued Pension Rights (APR) for past services rendered prior to the commencement of the repealed Pension Reform Act 2004, the monthly Pension Contributions, and investment income accumulated from the commencement of the CPS in 2004.

Specifically, the Acting Director-General, PenCom, Aisha Dahir-Umar, said the delay in payment of the accrued rights creates a gap that hinders the consolidation of all components of the retirement benefits, which in turn translates into delayed payment of pension after retirement.


Speaking with The Guardian, she said President Muhammadu Buhari, has directed the Budget Office of the Federation to include the sums of N12.83 billion, N25 billion, and N25 billion in the budgets of 2020, 2021, and 2022 respectively to settle the outstanding accrued pension rights of FGN employees.

She said Buhari also directed the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, to ensure that funds are fully released accordingly, and adequate provisions are made subsequently in the annual appropriation for payments of accrued pension rights, and funds released upon approval of Budget.


Meanwhile, Dahir-Umar said the failure of most of the treasury funded Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) to submit their updated nominal roll on time to the Commission, has also affected the timely remittance of monthly pension contributions into their workers’ Retirement Savings Accounts (RSA).

Her words: “All treasury funded MDAs that are yet to migrate to the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS), are required to submit their updated nominal roll twice a year, in January and July, to the Commission.

“The nominal roll facilitates accurate computation of monthly pension contributions of each employee before remittances are made to their respective RSAs. However, most of the MDAs do not submit their updated nominal roll on time to the Commission and this has affected the timely remittance of monthly pension contributions into the RSAs of some FGN employees.”

In his remarks, Executive Director, Premium Pension Ltd., Kabir Tijjani, said operators were aware of a pronouncement by President Muhammadu Buhari sometime in 2018, saying the government would make funds available to clear pension arrears, including accrued rights within the next few years.


Accordingly, the number of retirees that could not access their benefits in the form of accrued rights has been substantially reduced.He said: “There are still arrears left yet unpaid, but it is not as bad as it was in the past three to five years ago. There is a remarkable improvement, and what is now outstanding is no longer much. We hope that by the end of this year, or going into next year, all arrears in terms of the accrued right would be cleared.”
Meanwhile, Tijjani, said the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), which is saddled with the responsibility of issuing National Identification Number (NIN), does not have adequate personnel and presence to attend to the numerous Nigerians that are seeking to get the NIN.

He maintained that it is still a challenge for people to acquire their NIN, which would enable them to enrol for the Enhanced Contributor Registration System (ECRS), but expressed the hope for a positive change going forward.

“We got assurances from NIMC that the government is making an effort to fund the agency adequately starting from this year, so that they would be having a number of outlets where Nigerians can go easily and register, but as it is right now, it is still a challenge.

“We don’t expect slow growth as such, but looking at it historically from the time PenCom made it mandatory for people to have NIN before enrolment, the number of enrolment declined, but gradually it is increasing,” he said.On the code of corporate governance, he said it would strengthen corporate governance and how businesses are conducted, risk management, ensure the safety of the pension fund under management, and would also promote good practices among all operators in the industry.


#Newsworthy…

2020: FG plans to to change 100m people’s story – Finance Minister


In what may be termed the first soothing news of 2020, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed on Monday reiterated Federal Government’s plan to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty this year, in line with a pledge earlier made by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019.

Ahmed, who made the disclosure in a television programme said the fulcrum of achieving that goal would be to provide sufficient enabling environment for small businesses across Nigeria.


She said: “President Muhammadu Buhari has directed that we must pull 100 million Nigerians out of poverty and that is our major focus. Based on the president’s directives, we want to move fast to make the kind of change the president wanted in the country.

“In 2020, we want to move very fast because we realized that going at the steady rate we are doing is not going to make the kind of change that the president has directed must happen.


“So, we have to make sure that we are creating more jobs and reducing unemployment, and pulling as many Nigerians as possible out of poverty. And that is the reason why when we did the finance bill, you will find that the bill was largely targeted at making businesses easy for the small and very small businesses. This is because we believe that is where the economy needs to really grow and stabilize from.”

The World Poverty Clock shocked the federal government in 2019, when it revealed that 91,885,874 people in Nigeria now live in extreme poverty (less than $1.9 or N693.5 per day).


In June 2018, the World Poverty Clock named Nigeria the poverty capital of the world with statistics showing that 87 million people live in poverty.

The latest numbers indicate that from June 2018 to June 2019, four million Nigerians have joined the poverty club occasioned by factors such as unemployment, insecurity, among others.


Industry records show that the Nigerian economy recorded 2.3 per cent GDP growth in 2019, particularly in the telecoms sector.

More so, agricultural growth increased slightly, but remained blighted by insurgency in the northeast region, and incessant farmer-herder conflicts.

Finance Minister, Zainab Ahmed


Oil sector growth remained stable, but manufacturing production slowed due to the weaker power supply sector. Overall, the slow pace of recovery in 2019 is attributable to weak consumer demand and lower public and private investment.

According to the World Bank, the country’s growth outlook is vulnerable to domestic and global risks. It is facing a sharper than expected slowdown in the global economy, as well as geo-political and trade tensions.


#Newsworthy…

32 year old Kabiru Moh’d arrested for making video of president Buhari getting married to Minister of finance, Ahmed Zainab


A 32-year-old man, Kabiru Mohammed, has been arrested by men of the Department of State Services DSS for creating and sharing fake videos depicting President Buhari’s marrying the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed and Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Social Development, Sadiya Farouq.

Recall that in October 2019, rumors were rife that President Buhari was set to wed Farouq. It turned out to be a false report as nothing like that ever happened.


Parading Mohammed before newsmen at its National Headquarters on Friday January 3rd, the DSS Public Relations Officer, Dr Peter Afunanya, said an investigation was launched, following a formal complaint to the Service by the Minister for Finance.

“Last year, 2019 between August and October there was a defamatory video that circulated widely across Nigeria and showing false engagement of Mr President in marriage with some members of his cabinet. One was the Minister for Finance, Hajiya Zainab Ahmed and another was that of the Minister for Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Farouq. On the 11thof October, 2019 the Honourable Minister for Finance, brought a formal complaint to the Service in which she stated that the video had cost her big embarrassment and asked that an investigation be opened into that audio/video and the materials associated with it, the infographics and all the materials that were in circulation at the moment. She asked that a detailed investigation be opened in that regard with a view to identifying the persons or groups of persons that may have been behind the circulation of such defamatory materials.


The Service went into investigation and we can announce that it had apprehended the person that is involved and the person who started this and who circulated the materials. His name is Kabiru Mohammed. He hails from Kano. He is 32 years. He holds a diploma in Hausa and Fulfulde from the Federal College of Education, Kano and also holds a diploma in Mass Communication from Aminu Kano Islamic School, according to him.

He has confessed and investigation has also revealed his involvement in the creation of these materials and the circulation of the materials. Investigation is continuing to determine the actual reasons behind his intent. What we can assure you as Nigerians is that we would continue to deepen this investigation and bring it to a logical conclusion.


We will do everything needful within the ambit of the law to bring this to a logical conclusion, as to determine whether there is or not other persons, interests and motives behind this other than what he has said.

We want to use this opportunity to once again please ask Nigerians as always that the spread of false news through the social media does not do well for any person. You may enjoy the spread of such falsehood when you are not the victim. But if you become the victim, you will know the pain. And we want to urge every citizen and residents and of course Nigerians, that anywhere they are, they should desist from spreading falsehoods, misrepresentations, rumours against one another, against then government, and against institutions of government.

Kabiru Mohammed


By the time you click that button and you spread or participate in sharing news that is not true, you are helping in causing disharmony, you are helping in bringing problem in the country. And you are also feeding on differences in the country to bring about chaos, anarchy and instability. As we go into the New Year, we urge everyone to make a new attitude and begin to find reasons to be more patriotic, to be more law abiding, and be better citizens and to help move Nigeria forward. On our part we would continue to perform our duties and responsibilities without let or fear and will always collaborate with all stakeholders particularly the media and strategic partners to make sure there is lasting peace in the country.”

A remorseful Mohammed admitted to creating and sharing the videos and pleaded for forgiveness, saying it was a mistake.


#Newsworthy…

India launces plan to invest $1.43tr bugdet.

...on rails, ports,ways,others


The government of India on Tuesday announced an ambitious plan to invest $1.43 trillion in various infrastructure sectors like ports, railways, and highways, among others.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced the mega plan, touted to achieve a $5 trillion economy in the next five years. However, she remained silent on the mode of funding for the infrastructure blueprint.

Announcing the blueprint for India’s infrastructure investments, Sitharaman said, “Prime Minister Narendra Modi had in his Independence Day speech spoken of investing in infrastructure. Subsequently, a task force identified $1.43 trillion worth projects after conducting 70 stakeholder consultations in a short period of four months”.

Nirmala Sitharaman | Finance Minister


Under the blueprint, named the National Infrastructure Pipeline, investments will be made in the energy sector, agriculture, mobility, ports, highways, airports, and telecommunications.

Sitharaman did not disclose how it will be funded.


#Newsworthy…