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FG Plans N7.9tn Budget for 2018

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  • FG Plans N7.9tn Budget for 2018

The Federal Government on Thursday said it would send the 2018 budget proposal to the National Assembly at the beginning of October this year.

The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udo Udoma, disclosed this in Abuja during a public dialogue with top government officials, members of civil society organisations and the Organised Private Sector, among others, on the 2018-2020 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper.

He said the decision to submit the 2018 budget proposal early was in line with provisions of the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2000.

Udoma noted that the early submission of the budget proposal to the lawmakers would give them enough time to consider the fiscal document and pass it on time.

The minister said the overall goal of the government was to ensure that the country returned to a predictable budget year, which would run from January to December.

He stated, “We are having extensive consultations and all the inputs from the various consultations will be taken into consideration in preparing the MTEF and Fiscal Strategy Paper.

“The MTEF outlines the Federal Government’s fiscal policies and our macroeconomic projections for the next three years from 2018 to 2020, and it provides the broad framework for the 2018 budget.

“And as you know, we are committed to delivering the 2018 budget to the National Assembly by the beginning of October, and this is part of that process.”

Explaining the parameters for the 2018 budget, he said that the Federal Government was targeting to spend the sum of N7.9tn as against N7.44tn this year, adding that the fiscal deficit was expected to rise to N2.77tn from N2.35tn in the 2017 fiscal year and that there was no need for Nigerians to panic about the country’s debt burden.

Udoma added that the nation’s debt profile was sustainable as it was still within the threshold approved by the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2007.

According to the minister, there is no country in the world that does not borrow, nothing that the Federal Government was well capable of meeting its obligations to creditors.

“We are maintaining our deficit and debts within sustainable limits. Debt financing will be restructured gradually in favour of foreign financing as part of the strategy to lower debt service burden and free up more fiscal space for the private sector,” he added.

The minister said the government was targeting total oil production volume of 2.3 million barrels per day, with an oil price benchmark of $45 per barrel.

He added that the plan of the government in 2018 was to reduce inflation rate to 12.42 per cent with a Gross Domestic Product growth rate of 4.8 per cent and nominal GDP of N133.97tn.

In terms of revenue projections, Udoma stated that the government was targeting the sum of N5.16tn for 2018 as against N5.08tn in 2017.

Of this amount, N2.1tn is to be generated from oil revenue; non-oil revenue is expected to contribute N1.36tn; dividend from Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas, N29.58bn; and revenue from minerals and mining, N1.06bn.

Others are independent revenue from agencies of government, N847.9bn; domestic recoveries and fines, N364bn; other Federal Government recoveries, N138.43bn; and grants and donor funding, N281.6bn.

In terms of expenditure, the minister explained that the government was planning to spend the sum of N2.63tn on non-debt recurrent expenditure, while N350bn would be set aside for special intervention programmes.

For capital expenditure, Udoma said the sum of N2.4tn would be spent on capital projects’ implementation as against the N2.17tn approved for 2017.

“We are addressing the recurrent and capital spending imbalance. Government will continue to allocate at least 30 per cent of its budgeted expenditure to capital projects,” he added.

The minister described the targets of the government in 2018 as ambitious, but noted that they were achievable.

He said, “In line with the goals of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan 2017-2020, the medium term fiscal policies of government will be directed at achieving macroeconomic stability, accelerating growth, intensifying economic diversification and promoting inclusiveness.

“The need to look onwards to boost non-oil revenues cannot be overemphasized as we diversify. We are on track to achieve full recovery and return firmly to the path of growth. Fiscal prudence must be observed at all levels of governance.”

The event was attended by the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed; Director-General, Budget Office of the Federation, Mr. Ben Akabueze; and Director-General, Debt Management Office, Mrs. Patience Oniha, among others.

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.

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Economy

ECOWAS@46: Commission Seeks Trade Partnership With OPS To Deepen Intra-African Trade

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The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in commemoration of its 46th anniversary has sought partnership with the Organised Private Sector (OPS) to deepen intra-African trade and lift millions out of poverty.

This was revealed yesterday by the president of the ECOWAS Commission, Mr. Jean-Claude Brou, at a webinar organised in collaboration with the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) yesterday.

The theme of the webinar is “Optimising Sustainable Trade, Investment and Regional Economic Integration through Effective Partnership between ECOWAS Institutions and the Organised Private Sector”.

Jean-Claude, represented by Mr. Kolawole Sopola, Acting Director, Trade, ECOWAS, said the commission, in recognition of the private sector’s role, created a stronger framework to boost the sector’s capacity for enhanced trade.

He said that the commission had also adopted more than 100 regional standards with 70 others under development on some products.

Brou listed mango, cassava, textile and garments as well as information and communication technology among such products.

“The growing importance of informal trade compels the ECOWAS to create a framework expected to engender more availability and reliability of up to date information on informal trade.

“The framework also seeks to implement reform that is essential to eliminate obstacles to informal trade among others.

“It is important to improve investment, particularly, private investment, in all sectors and I stress that digitalization must be at the center of activities for economic recovery.

“Infrastructural deficit must be addressed as well as sustainable and cheaper energy for the competitiveness of products.”

“The commission is developing projects on roads, renewable energy and education, needed for private sector development; all these to lift millions in the sub-region out of poverty,” he said.

Dr. George Donkor, President of, ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development (EBID) said that many western states showed numerous hurdles to overcome as countries continue to export raw materials, therefore maintaining low levels of development.

Donkor, however, said that reforms were already underway to accelerate the capacities of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) to spur private sector development for intra-African trade.

He noted that the EBID 2025 strategy was aimed at ensuring that the private sector benefitted up to 65 percent of the $1.6 billion available facilities.

“A vibrant private sector is key in driving regional integration and securing its active participation and has the potential to create a win-win situation for all participants.

“Increasing credit to the private sector will enhance capacity and the EBID is ready with strategies to ensure that the sector’s capacity is boosted,” he said.

Also, Otunba Niyi Adebayo, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, said that collaboration across societal sectors had emerged as one of the defining concepts of international development in the 21st century.

He stressed the need for ECOWAS member states to work together as a bloc to take advantage of the opportunities in the African Continental Free Trade Area.

“Since the establishment of ECOWAS in 1975, various protocols and supplementary protocols regulating member countries conduct have been signed.

“Our world has limited resources — whether financial, natural, or human — and as a society we must optimize their use.

“The fundamental of a good partnership is the ability to bring together diverse resources in ways that we can together achieve more impact, greater sustainability and increased value for all.

“This is so because it emphasises the need to work together as a bloc to leverage and take advantage of the opportunities offered by the African Continental Free Trade Area.

“My Ministry will do everything possible to ensure that the vision of the commission is taken to the next level,” he said.

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IMF Retains 2.5 Percent Economic Growth Estimate For Nigeria

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The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has retained Nigeria’s 2.5 percent economic growth forecast for 2021.

The institution said this in its World Economic Outlook (WEO) for July titled “Fault Lines Widen in the Global Recovery” released on Tuesday in Washington DC.

According to it, the slow rollout of vaccines is the main factor weighing on the recovery for Low-Income Developing Countries (LIDCs) which Nigeria is part of.

It also retained its 6.0 percent growth forecast for the global economy for 2021 and 4.9 percent in 2022, adding that though the global forecast was unchanged from the April 2021 WEO, there were offsetting revisions.

The IMF had at its 2021 Virtual Spring Meetings in April, projected a 2.5 percent growth for Nigeria’s economy in 2021, up from 1.5 percent it projected in January.

It said that in LIDCs, the overall fiscal deficit in 2021 was revised up by 0.3 percentage points from the April 2021 WEO, mainly because of the re-emergence of fuel subsidies as well as the additional COVID-19 and security related support in Nigeria.

“Still, at 5.2 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the overall fiscal deficit remains well below that of advanced and emerging market economies, reflecting financing constraints, about 60 percent of LIDCs are assessed to be at high risk of or in debt distress.

“The public debt-to-GDP ratio for 2021 is projected at 48.5 percent.

“Several LIDCs have announced an intention to restructure their debts and some have sought debt relief under the G20 Common Framework (Chad, Ethiopia, and Zambia),” it said.

On the global scene, the IMF said that uncertainty surrounding the global baseline remain high, primarily related to the prospects of emerging market and developing economies.

It added that although growth could turn out to be stronger than projected, downside risks dominated in the near term.

“On the upside, better global cooperation on vaccines could help prevent renewed waves of infection and the emergence of new variants, end the health crisis sooner than assumed, and allow for faster normalisation of activity, particularly among emerging market and developing economies.

“Moreover, a sooner-than-anticipated end to the health crisis could lead to a faster-than-expected release of excess savings by households, higher confidence and more front-loaded investment spending by firms.”

On the downside, it said growth would be weaker than projected if logistical hurdles in procuring and distributing vaccines in emerging markets and developing economies led to an even slower pace of vaccination than assumed.

The report added that such delays would allow new variants to spread, with possibly higher risks of breakthrough infections among vaccinated populations.

“Emerging market and developing economies, in particular, could face a double hit from tighter external financial conditions and the worsening health crisis, further widening the fault lines in the global recovery.

“Weaker growth would, in turn, further adversely affect debt dynamics and compound fiscal risks.

“Finally, social unrest, geopolitical tensions, cyber-attacks on critical infrastructure, or weather-related natural disasters, which have increased in frequency and intensity due to climate change could further weigh on the recovery.”

On ensuring a fast-paced recovery, the IMF said the highest priority was to ensure rapid, worldwide access to vaccines and substantially hasten the timeline of rollout relative to the assumed baseline pace.

According to it, the global community needs to vastly step up efforts to vaccinate adequate numbers of people and ensure global herd immunity.

This, it said, would save lives, prevent new variants from emerging and add trillions to the global economic recovery.

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FG to Put an End to N360 Billion Annual Electricity Subsidy Payments in 2022 – Osinbajo

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Electricity - Investors King

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Monday said the Federal Government will end an estimated N360 billion annual subsidy payments in the electricity sector in 2022. This represents a monthly subsidy payment of N30 billion.

Osinbajo disclosed this while speaking at the 14th Nigerian Association for Energy Economics/IAEE conference in Abuja on Monday.

At the conference titled “Strategic responses of energy sector to COVID-19 impacts on African economies“, the vice president, who was represented by Engr. Ahmad Zakari, the Special Assistant to the President on Infrastructure, said the federal government would be investing over $3 billion in the sector to strengthen distribution and transmission infrastructure across the nation.

He stated that the numerous efforts of President Muhammadu Buhari at ensuring the power sector plays a critical role in the growth of the nation’s social and economic well-being will materialise fully once the ongoing reform in the energy sector is complete.

He said: “Electricity tariff reforms with service-based tariff has led to collections from the electricity sector by 63 per cent, increasing revenue assurance for gas producers and stabilizing the value chain.

“It is anticipated that all electricity market revenues will be obtained from the market with limited subsidy from next year as reforms in metering and efficiency with the DISCOs continue to improve.

“Accelerated investment in transmission and distribution, over $3 billion will be out into this sub-segment of the electricity value chain that will put us on the path to delivering 10 gigawatts through the interventions of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Siemens partnership, World Bank and Africa Development Bank, and others.”

He said as the electricity sector continued to be stabilized, more power was needed for the country’s large population.

“That is why this administration continues to invest in generation to cater for our current and future needs,” he said.

Osinbajo charged the participants to come up with solutions to key energy challenges facing the country, especially with the COVID-19 pandemic and energy transition.

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