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Buhari Presents 2018 Budget to N’Assembly Today

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budget
  • Buhari Presents 2018 Budget to N’Assembly Today

President Muhammadu Buhari will present the 2018 Appropriation Bill to a joint session of the National Assembly today (Tuesday).

The 2018 budget proposal presentation is scheduled to hold at 2pm.

The Federal Government plans to spend about N8.6tn next year, a jump of about 15 per cent from the N7.44tn budgeted for the current year.

The figures were contained in the 2018-2020 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper, which Buhari had earlier sent to the National Assembly in compliance with the provisions of the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007.

However, the news gathered that leaders of both the Senate and the House of Representatives were making last minute efforts to prevent drama during the presentation.

A source in the Senate, who spoke on condition of anonymity, disclosed on Monday that both the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki; and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, held series of meetings with members of both chambers to douse the brewing tension since Buhari’s letter informing the lawmakers of the presentation last week.

The source informed one of our correspondents that some members of the House of Representatives specifically had made moves to prevent Buhari from laying the budget proposal today, while calling for postponement of the presentation.

Leaders of both chambers were said to have begun a massive lobbying of the lawmakers, especially the aggrieved ones, and held meetings with them simultaneously on Monday.

The source said, “The President will present the budget on Tuesday (today) but there is an issue. Some members of the National Assembly, particularly in the House of Representatives, are against the presentation of a new budget proposal when the current one has not been implemented considerably.

“If you recall, there were protests in the House of Representatives when the President’s letter was read last week. The issue now is how to contain the aggrieved lawmakers so that they will not raise their grievances as Buhari presents the budget. Their grouse may be legitimate but we don’t want a situation where the session will record unpalatable drama or become rowdy.

“This is the reason why there have been series of meetings with caucuses in the chambers, including the one by the leaders, which will hold tonight (Monday). Again, it is most likely that there will be a closed-door session at the beginning of the plenary tomorrow; this is another way of preventing a crisis.”

Members of the House of Representatives had on Thursday protested as Buhari requested their permission in a letter to present the estimates of the 2018 budget to the joint session of the National Assembly.

Dogara, however, reminded his colleagues that under the Constitution, they could not refuse to receive the appropriation bill from the President.

Meanwhile, businesses in and around the National Assembly Complex are set to be negatively affected by Buhari’s presence on the premises. It was reliably gathered that a circular was sent to private offices in the building to close shop for the day.

A worker in one of the commercial banks in the building confirmed to one of our correspondents that there would be no banking services today (Tuesday).

A food vendor expressed doubts on whether to open for business as most of her customers would be shut out of the premises.

The National Assembly began beefing up security on Monday ahead of the President’s visit.

As part of the security measures, the management of the National Assembly advised all members of staff, who had no scheduled assignment relating to the budget presentation, to stay away from the premises.

The Director of Information and Publications, National Assembly, Mr. Dibal Ishaku, told The PUNCH that a circular had already been sent out to that effect.

“There is a circular that was issued. It’s even on our notice boards and the content is self-explanatory,” he stated.

The Police and Department of State Services operatives were also seen making security arrangements on Monday at the premises.

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

IMF Staff Completes Virtual Mission to Lesotho

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Lesotho has been struggling with the fallout from the pandemic and a sharp decline in revenues from the Southern African Customs Union (SACU); The authorities and the mission team made significant progress in their discussions on policies that could be supported by the IMF under a financial arrangement.

A team from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), led by Mr. Aqib Aslam, conducted a series of virtual missions, most recently from September 7 to October 15, 2021, to discuss the authorities’ economic and financial program and their request for IMF financial support.

The authorities and the mission team had productive discussions on policies that could be supported by the IMF under a financial arrangement. The program under discussion would aim to support a durable post-pandemic recovery, restore fiscal sustainability, strengthen public financial management, and ensure the protection of the most vulnerable. Other key structural reforms to be implemented include strengthening governance and fostering private sector investment to spur inclusive growth and employment over the medium term.

At the end of the visit, Mr. Aslam issued the following statement:

“Lesotho has been experiencing twin economic shocks resulting from the pandemic and a decline in revenues from the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) that have proved to be highly volatile. Public expenditures have been increasing while SACU revenues were buoyant but have not adapted to their decline and the limited growth in other revenue sources. At the same time, the economy has been in recession since 2017. The resulting fiscal and external imbalances, if left unaddressed, would continue to put pressure on international reserves and lead to government payment arrears.

“Discussions emphasized the need to support a robust and inclusive post-pandemic recovery. To this end, the mission discussed with the authorities a number of options for containing the fiscal deficit to a level that is sustainable and can be fully financed. The team noted that the adjustment should be focused on expenditure measures while boosting poverty-reducing social spending to protect the most vulnerable. Complementary actions include efforts to broaden financial access and inclusion; strengthen financial supervision; modernize the legal frameworks for bank lending, business rescue, and restructuring, and digitalize payment systems.

“On the fiscal front, efforts should focus on addressing the public sector wage bill, which is one of the largest in the world compared to the size of the economy; saving on public sector and official allowances; better targeting education loans; streamlining the capital budget and initiating gender-responsive budgeting. Discussions also considered measures to modernize tax policy and improve domestic revenue mobilization. The mission noted the need to address long-standing PFM issues to ensure the provision of reliable fiscal data, the integrity of government systems, and the sound use of public resources.

“Significant progress was made during the visit, and discussions will continue in the coming weeks. If agreement is reached on policy measures in support of the reform program, an arrangement to support Lesotho’s economic program would be proposed for the IMF Executive Board’s consideration.

“The IMF team thanks the authorities for their hospitality and constructive discussions.”

The IMF mission met with Prime Minister Majoro, Minister of Finance Sophonea, Central Bank Governor Matlanyane, and other senior government officials. The team also met with representatives of the diplomatic community, private sector, civil society, and multilateral development partners.

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Nigeria’s Inflation: Prices Increase at Slower Pace in September 2021

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Consumer Confidence

Prices of goods and services moderated further in Africa’s largest economy, Nigeria in the month of September 2021, the latest report from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has revealed.

Consumer Price Index (CPI), which measures the inflation rate, grew at 16.63 percent year-on-year in September, slower than the 17.01 percent rate achieved in the month of August.

On a monthly basis, inflation rose by 1.15 percent in September 2021, representing an increase of 0.13 percent from 1.02 percent filed in August 2021.

Food Index that gauges price of food items grew at 19.57 percent rate in the month, below the 20.30 percent rate recorded in August 2021.

The increase in the food index was caused by increases in prices of oils and fats, bread and cereals, food product N.E.C., fish, coffee, tea and cocoa, potatoes, yam and other tuber and milk, cheese and egg.

However, on a monthly basis, the price of food index rose by 0.20 percent from 1.06 percent filed in August 2021 to 1.26 percent in September 2021.

The more stable twelve months average ending in September 2021 revealed that prices of food items grew by 0.21 percent from 20.50 percent in August to 20.71 percent in September.

Prices of goods and services have been on the decline in Nigeria in recent months, according to the NBS. However. on masses are complaining of the persistent rise in prices of goods and services across the nation.

Some experts attributed the increase to Nigeria’s weak foreign exchange rate given it is largely an import-dependent economy.

 

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Global Debt Rises by $27 Trillion to $226 Trillion in 2020 – IMF

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IMF - Investors King

The pandemic has led to an unprecedented increase in debt—issued by governments, nonfinancial corporations, and households the IMF estimated in the latest Fiscal Monitor report. In 2020 global debt reached $226 trillion and increased by $27 trillion, the IMF estimated Wednesday  (October 13) in Washington, DC.

High and growing levels of public and private debt are associated with risks to financial stability and public finances, said Vitor Gaspar, Director of the IMF’s Fiscal Affairs Department.

“According to preliminary estimates from the Global Debt Database, global debt by governments, households, and non-financial corporations reached $226 trillion. That represents an increase of $27 trillion relative to 2019. Both the level and the pace of increase are record highs. We know that high and rising debts increase risks to financial stability and public finances,” Gaspar said ahead of the Fiscal Monitor release.

Gaspar emphasized that countries with a high credibility fiscal framework benefit from better bond market access. They also experience lower interest rates on sovereign bonds.

“A strong message from the fiscal monitor is that fiscal credibility pays off. Countries that have credible fiscal frameworks benefit from better and cheaper access to bond markets. That’s a precious asset to have in an uncertain and difficult times like COVID 19. Fiscal credibility pays off!,” added Gaspar.

He also recognized that while the international community has provided critical support to alleviate fiscal vulnerabilities in low-income countries, still more is needed.

“In 2020, the IMF’s rapid financing and the G20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative contribute to make resources available to the countries that need it the most. But more is needed. With a general allocation of SDRs of $650 billion, liquidity has been provided, but much more could be achieved if rich countries would make part of their resources available to the developing world. By doing so, donors would be contributing to fighting the pandemic and to the achievement of sustainable and inclusive growth,” said Gaspar

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