- FG Releases 50% of Funds for Capital Expenditure
The Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Zaynab Ahmed, on Wednesday said the Federal Government had so far released about 50 per cent of the capital expenditure component of this year’s budget.
She disclosed this while answering questions at a press briefing held at the end of a meeting of the Federal Executive Council presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.
She was joined at the briefing by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed; and Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola.
Ahmed said, “On the borrowing plan that Mr. President has sent to the National Assembly for 2016; indeed, included in the borrowing plan is the amount that is required for both local and foreign borrowing to fund the 2016 budget deficit.
“The budget implementation itself is on course. The 2016 budget is fully performed to date in terms of personnel; that is to say, we are not owing any salaries at the federal level. Operational expenditure has been disbursed for eight months and the ninth month is just being processed. Capital expenditure has been disbursed to the tune of nearly 50 per cent.”
“About N720bn has been released from the MDAs’ budget of N1.4tn as of the end of September.”
Ahmed said the preparation of the 2017 budget was at an advanced stage.
She explained that the Economic Management Team had reviewed it extensively, while the next step was for the document to be taken to the Federal Executive Council for approval, after which it would be sent to the National Assembly.
The minister said the council was also presented with a progress report on the implementation of the government’s social investment programme.
She said there was already an approval from the steering committee in the sum of N150bn, adding that N25bn had been released into the account, while another N40bn was in the process of being released into the account.
Ahmed added that the Homegrown School Feeding Programme arm of the scheme had commenced in Kaduna State, noting that the Federal Government would handle Primary 1-3, while the states would be responsible for Primary 4-6.
She explained, “There is no spending yet on the national social investment programme. We are just kicking off; some funds will be released to the Bank of Industry this week for the EIP programme and for the school feeding programme, it is only after the cooks have performed that they will get their first payment.
“For the job creation programme, it is when the graduates have resumed and have worked for the first month that money will be released to them.”
Fashola, on his part, said the council approved the completion of the 215 megawatts Kaduna power plant, which began in 2009.
He said the project, which was initially meant to be completed in 2012, would now be completed in 2017.
The second project approved by the council, according to Fashola, is the construction of a substation to evacuate 40MW of power from the first phase of the Gurara hydroelectric power plant to connect to Kaduna and to enable it to interconnect to the Mamdo transmission substation, thus strengthening the transmission grid.
The minister stated, “What these two approvals will do is to complete ongoing projects, which is a commitment of this administration, and create work because contractors will return to site, and increase our power by 215MW.
“From Kaduna, we will get 40MW extra into the grid from the Gurara phase one, and we are expanding the transmission (network) across the country.”
Tinubu Forms Economic Advisory Committee with Private Sector Titans
In a bid to address Nigeria’s economic challenges amidst soaring inflation and currency depreciation, President Bola Tinubu has announced the formation of an Economic Advisory Committee with influential figures from the private sector.
The decision follows a high-level meeting held at the State House in Abuja, where key stakeholders deliberated on strategies to stabilize the economy and mitigate the rising cost of living.
Among the notable members enlisted to the committee are Tony Elumelu, Chairman of United Bank for Africa, and Aliko Dangote, Chairman of Dangote Group, both distinguished figures in Nigeria’s business landscape.
The inclusion of these private sector titans underscores Tinubu’s commitment to engaging diverse perspectives and expertise in charting a path towards economic recovery.
Speaking on behalf of the federal government at the meeting, President Tinubu emphasized the imperative of collective efforts in revitalizing the economy and ensuring a brighter future for all Nigerians.
He underscored the importance of addressing pressing issues such as food security, job creation, and the stabilization of the exchange rate.
In response, Aliko Dangote expressed optimism about the committee’s potential to generate actionable recommendations that would foster economic growth and alleviate poverty across the nation.
Similarly, Tony Elumelu highlighted the significance of implementing effective policies to drive employment opportunities and enhance food security.
The committee’s mandate encompasses a broad spectrum of economic concerns, including currency stability, inflation management, and fiscal policy reforms.
As Nigeria grapples with the multifaceted challenges of a turbulent economy, the collaborative efforts of government and private sector stakeholders signal a proactive approach towards finding sustainable solutions and restoring confidence in the nation’s economic prospects.
Federal Government Halts Cooking Gas Export to Lower Local Prices
In a bid to stabilize domestic prices and meet rising demand for cooking gas within Nigeria, the Federal Government has announced a temporary halt on the exportation of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), commonly known as cooking gas.
This decision follows a significant surge in the cost of cooking gas, which has placed a strain on consumers across the country.
According to reports, the halt in LPG export aims to increase the availability of the commodity within Nigeria’s borders, thereby reducing its local price.
The move is part of broader efforts to address the challenges faced by consumers grappling with the high cost of living.
In recent years, the demand for cooking gas has steadily increased in Nigeria, driven by urbanization, population growth, and a shift towards cleaner energy sources.
However, despite being a major producer of LPG, Nigeria has struggled to meet its domestic demand due to insufficient local production and distribution infrastructure.
Data from the Nigerian Midstream Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority reveals that while the total consumption of cooking gas in Nigeria has been on the rise, the country has relied heavily on imports to bridge the supply gap.
The recent decision by the government underscores its commitment to prioritizing the domestic market and ensuring that Nigerians have access to affordable cooking gas.
Consumers have been grappling with escalating prices, with reports indicating a significant increase in the cost of refilling a 12.5kg cylinder of cooking gas in major cities like Abuja, Lagos, and Kano.
The decision to halt LPG exports signals a proactive measure by the government to mitigate the adverse effects of rising prices and alleviate the financial burden on households across the nation.
Manufacturing Sector Records 7.70% Quarter-on-Quarter Growth in Q4 2023
In the fourth quarter of 2023, Nigeria’s manufacturing sector grew by 7.70% year-on-year, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
The surge in growth reflects a significant uptick from the preceding quarter and underscores the resilience of the manufacturing industry amid economic challenges.
This growth trajectory indicates positive momentum and signals potential opportunities for economic recovery and development.
The manufacturing sector, comprising thirteen key activities ranging from oil refining to motor vehicles and assembly, demonstrated notable dynamism across various subsectors.
This growth surge is attributed to increased production, enhanced operational efficiencies, and strategic investments across the manufacturing value chain.
Despite facing headwinds such as supply chain disruptions and regulatory uncertainties, the sector’s robust performance underscores its pivotal role in driving economic diversification, job creation, and industrialization efforts in Nigeria.
Moving forward, sustaining this growth momentum will require continued policy support, investment in infrastructure, and efforts to address key bottlenecks hindering the sector’s expansion.
By fostering an enabling business environment and promoting innovation and technology adoption, Nigeria’s manufacturing sector can further catalyze inclusive economic growth and contribute significantly to the nation’s development agenda.
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