- FG Plans N6.8tn Budget for 2017
The Federal Government plans to spend an estimated N6.812tn as its budget for 2017.
The figure is about 13.3 per cent or N806bn above the N6.06tn budgeted for 2016.
These details were contained in the 2017-2019 Medium-Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper, which President Muhammadu Buhari forwarded to the National Assembly on Tuesday.
He explained that he was complying with the provisions of the Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007, adding that his action meant that the details of the 2017 budget would soon be laid before the legislature.
Part of his letter read, “Pursuant to the provisions of the Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007, the preparation towards the submission of the 2017 budget to the National Assembly is progressing well.
“The MTEF and the FSP, which provide the framework for the development of the 2017 budget, were designed against the backdrop of the generally adverse global economic environment, as well as fiscal challenges in the domestic economy.”
The documents also indicated the government’s intention to continue to provide for the needs of vulnerable people in the coming year.
“Thus, the recurrent (non-debt) expenditure and capital payments are projected to increase in nominal terms by N217.42bn and N177.6bn, respectively in 2017 over the 2016 estimates, “ the government said.
It stated that the aim of the 2017 budget was to “restore the economy to a sustainable, inclusive growth path” by laying emphasis on job creation and private-sector investments.
The documents projected a GDP growth of 3.02 per cent in 2017, while inflation was “expected to moderate to 12.92 per cent.”
Its assumptions on crude oil production indicated 2.2mbpd in 2017; 2.3mbpd in 2018; and 2.4mbpd in 2019.
On the benchmark, it projected $42.5 per barrel for 2017 budget; and $45 for 2018. For 2019, the figure was put at $50.
For the exchange rate, the government pegged it at N290 per dollar.
“It is also based on an average growth in employment and labour productivity, as well as an average gross fixed capital formation of 9.41 per cent of the GDP,” it stated.
The House did not make any comments on the documents on Tuesday.
But, as it is the tradition, copies will be distributed to all members to study before debates will start in the days ahead.
The requirement of law is that the MTEF and FSP must be approved by the National Assembly before the budget is laid by the President.
CBN Extends Letter of Credit Issuance Timeline Amid Forex Crisis
Move Aims to Address FX Scarcity Challenges and Enhance Customer Service
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has announced an extension of the timeline for issuing letters of credit from 24 hours to five working days, according to the newly approved 2023 service charter.
This adjustment comes as the country grapples with foreign exchange scarcity, impacting local and international trade.
The 2020 service charter initially stipulated a 24-hour timeline for the issuance and management of letters of credit, but the updated charter now reflects a timeline extension to five working days.
Also, the CBN has prolonged the timeline for the registration of Form M and NXP from 24 hours to two working days.
The move follows the CBN’s unification of all forex market segments in June 2023, aimed at promoting liquidity and stability.
However, this measure appears to have led to increased market instability, with the naira losing nearly a fifth of its value.
Reports indicate that foreign suppliers are now rejecting letters of credit from Nigerian businesses, affecting the importation of goods and services.
Letters of credit are crucial for the payment of visible goods imports, wherein a bank commits in writing to pay the exporter a specified sum within a defined timeframe upon receipt of proper documentation from the customer.
The extended timelines for letters of credit, Forms M, and NXP in the service charter are seen as measures to manage cash flow and instill confidence in the process amidst the ongoing forex crisis.
CBN Governor Yemi Cardoso stressed the commitment to responsive and citizen-friendly governance through efficient, responsible, and transparent service delivery in the revised service charter.
The move is part of the CBN’s effort to comply with the Business Facilitation Act 2022 and enhance ease of doing business in Nigeria.
Unity Bank MD Advocates Policy Actions to Stem Gender-Based Violence in Nigeria
The Managing Director of Unity Bank Plc, Mrs. Tomi Somefun has called for comprehensive policy actions that will dismantle the structures that enable gender-based violence in Nigeria.
At the Ebony Life Cinema, the venue of the film screening in Lagos, Unity Bank supported the BECKMA movie premiere by ARDA Development Commuications Inc. which was held to highlight issues of Gender-Based violence and driving positive change in society.
Making the call, Somefun stated that the Bank committed to partnering with the movie premiere and putting the power of the brand behind BECKMA as the event brings sustainability and gender equality to the front burner.
Represented by Unity Bank’s Group Head of Compliance, Mrs. Patricia Ahunanya, Somefun noted that “9 percent of women aged 15 to 49 had suffered sexual assault at least once in their lifetime and 31% had experienced physical violence,” citing a recent study by UNDP in Nigeria.
Speaking further, Somefun said “Gender-based violence is not just a women’s issue, but a societal ill that demands our collective attention. It is high time for us to step forward and advocate for comprehensive policy actions that will dismantle the structures allowing such atrocities to persist”.
She added, “I urge policymakers to enact stringent laws against gender-based violence, ensuring swift and severe consequences for perpetrators. Our homes and various organisations must also be a catalyst for change, inspiring others to follow suit.”
While commending the ARDA Development Communications Inc. for their initiatives to promote gender equality and empowerment in line with SDG5, Somefun assured of the Bank’s commitment to sustainable initiatives and further collaborative initiatives and advocacy programmes for the elimination of gender-based violence.
Nigeria’s NIBSS Directs Banks to Disconnect Non-Deposit Financial Institutions from NIP System
Banks in Nigeria have received a directive from the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) to disconnect Switches, Payment Solution Service Providers (PSSPs), and Super Agents from the NIBSS Instant Payment Outwards System.
The circular, dated December 5, 2023, highlighted that including these non-deposit-taking financial institutions as beneficiaries on the NIP funds transfer channels violates the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) guideline on electronic payments.
The NIBSS emphasized that while Switches, PSSPs, and Super Agents might process outward transfers as inflows to banks, their licenses do not permit them to hold customers’ funds.
The circular referred to the CBN’s guidelines on electronic payment of salaries, pensions, suppliers, and taxes, dated February 2014, as the basis for this regulatory stance.
The directive also pointed to a circular dated May 11, 2018, titled “Permissible Services and Products of PSSP Operation in Nigeria,” reinforcing the need for compliance.
As a result, banks were urged to delist all Switches, PSSPs, and Super Agents from the NIP Outward Transfer channels while allowing their participation in inward transfers.
In Nigeria’s payment ecosystem, operators are required to obtain licenses such as Switching and Processing, Mobile Money Operations, Payment Solution Services, or Regulatory Sandbox from the CBN.
Only Mobile Money Operators (MMOs) have the authority to hold customer funds, according to the CBN’s regulatory framework.
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