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Economy

2017 Budget: ‘Public Trust Will Ensure Sustainability’

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Budget 2017 year on cube with pencil and clock
  • 2017 Budget: ‘Public Trust Will Ensure Sustainability’

A former President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), Chief John .K. Randle has said the 2017 appropriation bill which is currently before the country’s lawmakers requires public trust if it is to fly.

Randle who made this known in a statement, said there was need for co-operation and understanding between President Muhammadu Buhari, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Godwin Emefiele and the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun. He also argued that in the last two or three decades, the country had veered off from the ideal of 60:40, whereby 60 per cent of our revenue would be consumed by recurrent expenditure leaving a healthy balance of 40 per cent for capital expenditure.

According to him, “whichever way we lean, we must admit that the budget would require political tailwind if it is to fly. An essential ingredient of the tailwind is public trust.”

The public commentator added that financial analysts who had been tracking Nigeria’s budget and debts for several decades cannot but recall that the current insurgency (Boko Haram) which has engulfed the North-eastern part of the nation probably owed its genesis to what was inflicted on that area in the 1970’s and 1980’s.

Recalling the poor level of local manufacturing industries in some parts of the country, he said , “when we had only six states which later became 12 states under General Yakubu Goon, that part of the country was clearly devastated by arid desert, poverty and lack of industries. Even the few industries they had were ravaged by the Structural Adjustment Programmme (SAP) under the military government of General Ibrahim Babangida. Some of the early casualties were the tannery and shoe factories in Maiduguri.”

Randle noted that when the budget and debt management derailed, the consequences are nearly always stupefying- resulting in riots; currency collapse; bank crisis; and sometimes regime change.

However, he cautioned that the federal government’s tag of the 2017 budget as ‘budget of recovery and growth’, should avoid delay, so that it would not drag on for many months before it is signed into law.

“Unless there is a drastic improvement in the government’s capacity to deliver on its promises and put an end to project formulation delays, there is no hope that the 2017 budget will galvanise the economy out of recession. That is the main reason we must take all the promises contained in the 2017 budget with cautious optimism,” he said.

He however expressed concern that Nigerians have become non – chalant about critical issues, alleging that, “a case in point was when the then Minister of Finance, Chief Anthony Ani presented his annual budget in 1995 and publicly disclosed that included in Nigeria’s external debt was an amount of $1 billion which was ostensibly borrowed by Nigeria, but was actually shared amongst eight prominent Nigerians whom he declined to name. The funds never reached Nigeria! Nobody asked any questions about such a weighty issue.”

Randle warned that if at the end of this year, Nigerians are again presented with excuses that projects are not executed either due to revenue shortfall, inability to borrow money or delays in project formulation, “chances are we will still be mired in a recession or worse.”

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

Economy

FG Launches E-ticketing Platform to Deepen Train Usage and Convenience

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FG Launches E-ticketing Platform to Deepen Train Usage and Convenience

In a bid to improve the usage and enhance the convenience of train transport in Nigeria, the Federal Government on Thursday announced the launching of the Electronic Ticketing platform for the Kaduna-Abuja rail services.

The N900 million E-ticketing platform was introduced by the Minister of Transportation, Chibuike R. Amaechi, and the Nigerian Railway Corporation.

Amaechi said the new platform would improve efficiency, promote accountability, reduce leakage and enhance economic growth, as well as save time.

The E-ticketing platform was a Public-Private Partnership project done in conjunction with Secure ID Solutions, who provide and would manage the system for 10 years in an effort to recoup its investment before the Nigerian Railway Corporation take charge.

Kofo Akinkugbe, the Chief Executive Officer, Secure ID Solutions, said as the new E-platform issued 25,000 tickets after a successful pilot test on Thursday.

Potential Travelers can book via three ways:

1. Mobile app
2. Website
3. POS or Cash at the station

A validator would be used to scan the ticket barcode to ascertain its authenticity before boarding.

Amaechi further announced that self-service ticket vending machines at various train stations would be introduced soon.

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Economy

Nigeria’s Excess Crude Account (ECA) Balance Now $72.4 Million

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Zainab Ahmed Finance Minister

Nigeria’s Excess Crude Account (ECA) Balance Now $72.4 Million

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, on Thursday said Nigeria’s Excess Crude Account (ECA) stood at $72,411,197.80 as of January 20th, 2021.

The minister disclosed this at the first National Economic Council (NEC) meeting of the year presided over by Yemi Osinbajo, Vice President and had in attendance State Governors, Federal Capital Territory Minister, Central Bank Governor and other senior government officials.

Ahmed said “Excess Crude Account (ECA), balance as at 20th January, 2021, $72,411,197.80; Stabilization Account, balance as at 19th January, 2021, N28,800,711,295.37; Natural Resources Development Fund Account, balance as at 19th January 2021, N95, 830,729,470.82.”

The minister also said President Muhammadu Buhari has approved N6.45 billion for the setting up of gas plants in 39 locations nationwide in an effort to increase COVID-19 treatment.

What is Excess Crude Account (ECA)

Excess Crude Account (ECA) is an account used to save the disparity in the market price of crude oil and budgeted price of crude oil as stipulated in the Federal Government Appropriation Bill.

Key Takeaways of Excess Crude Account (ECA)

  • Excess Crude Account (ECA) was established in 2004 by the Federal Government to stabilize Nigeria’s economy and smooth out the effect of crude oil fluctuation on Africa’s largest economy.
  • The ECA rose to its highest of $20 billion in November 2008 during the global oil boom when prices were above $100 per barrel.
  • Controversy, allegations of corruption, and uncertain performance have trailed the ECA since creation.
  • The balance plunged from $20 billion in 2008 to $72.4 million in January 2021.

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Economy

AfCFTA: Nigeria Customs Service Requested For Detailed Role In The Free Trade Agreement

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Container Shipping

AfCFTA: Nigeria Customs Service Requested For Detailed Role In The Free Trade Agreement

Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) requested for a proper and detailed role expected to be carried out in the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement.

The NCS said detailed explanations of roles and responsibilities of all parties involved in the free trade agreement should be spelled out to avoid overlapping of duties and to achieve a seamless implementation of AfCFTA.

Mr. Joseph Attah the Public Relations Officer, on behalf of the Comptroller-General of the NCS, Col Hameed Ali (Rtd.), issued a statement to address the call for a detailed role of the Customs.

“Our functions are highly automated and primarily systems-driven, hence the need to methodically harvest and integrate all data associated with AfCFTA into our system for easy deployment, access, and use by the trading public.

“We, therefore, await the National Action Committee (NAC) on the list of duties and charges waived for liberalised goods under AfCFTA. The list of the 90 percent liberalised national trade offers (NTOs); list of the 70 percent non-liberalised exclusive goods at the regional level; and list of the 3 percent non-liberalised sensitive goods.

“The appointment of a competent authority responsible for issuing and authenticating certificates of origin and registering enterprises and products within the region.” He said.

In the statement, NCS pledges commitment to the success of the trade pact and also identifies the transformational impact the free trade agreement would have on businesses in Nigeria and the Africa continent at large.

“Also, it is pertinent to inform the public about steps which must be taken to enable its smooth and full implementation,” He added

NCS recommended that the member-country of the free trade agreement should have a representative in the continental chamber, this is to ensure transparency and build the confidence of the members in the system.

“This, in our view, should be complementary to the activities of the various chambers of commerce of each country in the region. While awaiting clear directives concerning tariffs for all goods covered by this agreement, we want to assure the public of our preparedness to fully deploy our services at the shortest notice.

“Our desire is to imbue trust in the system while guaranteeing the economic safety and wellbeing of businesses within the country,”  NCS noted.

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