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FG Trims Budget Size, Proposes N8.6tn for 2019

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  • FG Trims Budget Size, Proposes N8.6tn for 2019

The Federal Government on Thursday proposed a smaller budget size of N8.6tn for the 2019 fiscal year in contrast to N9.1tn for 2018.

It also projected a total revenue of N7.9tn as well as reductions in both borrowing and deficit financing, according to details of the 2019-2021 Medium Term Expenditure Framework/Fiscal Strategy Paper unveiled in Abuja by the Minister of Budget and Planning, Senator Udo Udoma.

The minister, who unveiled the MTEF/FSP to members of the public comprising the media and Civil Society groups, stressed that the Federal Government was oblivious of the revenue challenges assailing it.

Udoma said the government would drastically cut down on borrowing in 2019, as he outlined key assumptions in next year’s proposed budget to include oil production volume of 2.3 million barrels per day at a price of $60 per barrel and an exchange rate of N305 to one dollar; inflation rate of 9.98 per cent; and Gross Domestic Growth rate of three per cent.

According to him, the Federal Government has also projected oil revenue of N3.6tn for 2019 against N2.9tn for the current fiscal year, and non-oil revenue of N1.385tn as against N1.348tn in the 2018 budget.

For non-oil revenue in 2019, the government has projected Company Income Tax of N799.5bn as against N794.6bn in 2018; Value Added Tax of N229.3bn, against the 2018 figure of N207.5bn; while the share of the Federation Account Levy is put at N54.1bn, against N57.8bn in 2018.

For the coming year, the Federal Government has picked top nine government-owned enterprises, excluding the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, to generate the sum of N955.3bn, while the sum of N624.5bn is expected from independent revenue sources, compared to the 2018 figure of N847.9bn.

For expenditure, the government projects statutory transfer of N506.8bn, against the 2018 figure of N530.4bn; debt service of N2.144tn in contrast to N2.013tn in 2018; and sinking fund of N220bn, against N190bn in 2018.

According to the government, it intends to commit more funds to paying pension, gratuities and retirement benefits of retired employees in 2019 by proposing N527bn as against N241.9bn in 2018.

Udoma said notwithstanding the small size of the proposed budget, certain critical items would be given priority.

He outlined those items to include human capital development, health, education and pension payment.

The minister said, “In 2019, we will concentrate on getting more revenue, oil and non-oil, by squeezing the maximum from oil, and build up non-oil revenue by an average of 30 per cent up from the previous figure.

“Here, we all know that the rate of tax to the GDP is still very low. We can do much better than we are doing. So, going forward, we will rely less on borrowing and debt, but do more on revenue build up so that debt service to revenue is brought down.

“This is the approach. To the government, it is revenue, revenue and revenue. That is our priority. If you have revenue, it’s possible to deliver on infrastructure.”

Udoma, however, explained that borrowing was critical when the country was short of funds to bring it out of recession.

He added, “And that borrowing was directed at capital projects and it worked. That is why you see activities on Lagos-Ibadan rail line and others.

“However, for that level of borrowing, we are taking it down because as revenue picks up, we will rely less on borrowing.”

The minister assured the audience that the MTEF document would be passed to the National Assembly by the end of this month and that the budget would be sent in November, but regretted that the January to December calendar had yet to be met.

“The January to December budget cycle is what this administration believes in, but as an election year, we do not envisage the National Assembly passing the budget on time. This might not be the ideal time for synergy, but both the National Assembly and the Executive desire it,” he stated.

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.

Finance

Ecobank To Pay Customers N5 For Every Dollar Received

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Ecobank To Pay Customers N5 For Every Dollar Received

Ecobank has implemented the CBN scheme which offers N5 for every Dollar received into domiciliary accounts or as cash over the counter. Korede Demola-Adeniyi; Head, of Consumer Banking, Ecobank Nigeria, who announced this in Lagos stated that the decision is in line with the CBN directive and fully aligns with efforts to encourage the inflow of diaspora remittances into the country.

She noted that the “CBN Naira 4 dollar scheme” is an unprecedented incentive for senders and recipients of international money transfers.

Korede Demola-Adeniyi said that the scheme takes effect from 8th March and will run till 8th May 2021. “Ecobank will pay N5 on every Dollar so beneficiaries will not only get the foreign currency sent from their family and friends abroad, but they will also get extra Naira”, she stated.

Only recently, Ecobank had a first-of-its-kind virtual Diaspora Summit to discuss opportunities for Nigerians living abroad and the various platforms available to assist them with their investment decisions and remittance needs. The event had major players in the remittance space, diaspora audience, government officials and notable stakeholders in attendance.

Further, the Managing Director, Ecobank Nigeria, Patrick Akinwuntan has disclosed that apart from consistent engagement with Nigerians in the diaspora, Ecobank is leveraging its digital technology to make remittances to Nigeria and Africa easy, convenient and affordable.

Mr. Akinwuntan stated that growing evidence has shown a positive relationship between diaspora remittances and economic growth.

“Ecobank will continue to pursue its mandate of helping to enhance the economic development and integration of Africa, through the 33 countries where the bank operates on the continent. Ecobank’s Rapidtransfer and mobile app (Ecobank Mobile) enable Africans, wherever they are, to easily and instantly send money to bank accounts, mobile wallets and agent locations across 33 African countries”, he stated.

Ecobank Nigeria, a member of the Pan African Banking Group is committed to supporting Africans in the diaspora by providing advisory services, remittance solutions, investment options and financial planning schemes. The bank also offers mortgages, treasury bills, capital market instruments, among others.

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Banking Sector

Peter Obaseki Retires as Chief Operating Officer of FCMB Group Plc

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The Board of Directors of FCMB Group Plc has announced the retirement of Mr. Peter Obaseki, the Chief Operating Officer of the financial institution, with effect from March 1, 2021. He was also an Executive Director of the Group.

His retirement was approved at a meeting of the Board of the Group on February 26, 2021. This has also been announced in a statement to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) by the financial institution.

The Chairman of FCMB Group Plc’s Board of Directors, Mr Oladipupo Jadesimi, thanked Mr. Obaseki for his valuable service and excellent support to the Board for many years.

FCMB Group Plc is a holding company divided along three business Groups; Commercial and Retail Banking (First City Monument Bank Limited, Credit Direct Limited, FCMB (UK) Limited and FCMB Microfinance Bank Limited); Investment Banking (FCMB Capital Markets Limited and CSL Stockbrokers Limited); as well as Asset & Wealth Management (FCMB Pensions Limited, FCMB Asset Management Limited and FCMB Trustees Limited).

The Group and its subsidiaries are leaders in their respective segments with strong fundamentals.

For more information about FCMB Group Plc, please visit www.fcmbgroup.com.

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Banking Sector

COVID-19: CBN Extends Loan Repayment by Another One Year

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Central Bank Extends One-Year Moratorium by 12 Months

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has extended the repayment of its discounted interest rate on intervention facility by another one-year following the expiration of the first 12 months moratorium approved on March 1, 2020.

The apex bank stated in a circular titled ‘Re: Regulatory forbearance for the restructuring of credit facilities of other financial institutions impacted by COVID-19’ and released on Wednesday to all financial institutions.

In the circular signed by Kelvin Amugo, the Director, Financial Policy and Regulation Department, CBN, the apex bank said the role-over of the moratorium on the facilities would be considered on a case by case basis.

The circular read, “The Central Bank of Nigeria reduced the interest rates on the CBN intervention facilities from nine per cent to five per cent per annum for one year effective March 1, 2020, as part of measures to mitigate the negative impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the Nigerian economy.

“Credit facilities, availed through participating banks and OFIs, were also granted a one-year moratorium on all principal payments with effect from March 1, 2020.

“Following the expiration of the above timelines, the CBN hereby approves as follows:

“The extension by another 12 months to February 28, 2022 of the discounted interest rate for the CBN intervention facilities.

“The role-over of the moratorium on the above facilities shall be considered on a case by case basis.”

It would be recalled that the apex bank reduced the interest rate on its intervention facility from nine percent to five percent and approved a 12-month moratorium in March 2020 to ease the negative impact of COVID-19 on businesses.

To further deepen economic recovery and stimulate growth, the apex bank has extended the one year-moratorium until February 28, 2022.

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