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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.

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Banking Sector

MIPAD Announces Onyeali-Ikpe Among Global Top 100 Trade Champions of African Descent Worldwide

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In acknowledgment of her outstanding impact on global trade, Dr. Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe, the Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Fidelity Bank Plc, has been recognized as one of the honorees in the 2024 Most Influential Global Top 100 Export and International Trade Edition.

Themed, “Championing the Vision of Global Africa as a Unified Economic Block and Single Market,” the initiative which was announced on May 25, 2024 in celebration of Global Africa Day, lists several leaders in the global trade space of African descent, including the President, African Export–Import Bank (Afreximbank), Prof. Benedict Okey Oramah,); Minister of Trade and Export Promotion, Algeria, H.E. Kamel Rezig; Chairman, World Trade Centre Accra, Ghana, H.R.H Togbe Afede; the Nigerian Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Doris Nkiruka Uzoka-Anite; Executive Director and CEO, Nigerian Export Promotion Council (Nigeria), Nonye Ayeni; Executive Vice President, Intra-African Trade Bank (IATB), Kanayo Awani; Director, Trade Development (Africa & Caribbean), World Trade Centre Miami, US, Kemi Arosanyin; Secretary of State for Business and Trade and President of the Board of Trade (United Kingdom/Nigeria), Kemi Badenoch; President, US-Africa Business Centre at US Chamber of Commerce, Kendra Gaither; and President of the Buenaventura Chamber of Commerce (Colombia), Milady Garces Arboleda.

According to a statement by Most Influential People of African Descent (MIPAD), the organisers of the initiative, “These honorees are recognized for their groundbreaking achievements in Trade & Export and are called upon to champion the vision of a unified Global Africa as an economic block. This recognition aligns with the ethos of the International Decade for People of African Descent, highlighting MIPAD’s ongoing commitment to celebrating individuals, organizations, and governments demonstrating outstanding leadership in advancing people of African descent globally.”

Commenting on the initiative, Dr Onyeali-Ikpe said, “This recognition demonstrates our market leadership in the international trade space at Fidelity Bank and our devotion to helping Nigerian businesses play a more active role in the global trade space.

Since 2022, we have hosted the largest private-sector driven trade expo tagged the Fidelity International Trade and Creative Connect (FITCC) with hundreds of export businesses from Nigeria, off-takers in the UK and USA, investors, regulators, media and other key stakeholder in the trade sector. Through FITCC, we have closed deals totaling $450million. Our commitment as a bank is to do more in this space and we thank MIPAD for the recognition.”

The Most Influential People of African Descent (MIPAD), is a global civil society initiative in support of the International Decade for People of African Descent, proclaimed by United Nation’s General Assembly resolution 68/237, to be observed from 2015 to 2024. MIPAD identifies high achievers of African descent in public and private sectors from all around the world as a progressive network of relevant actors to join together in the spirit of recognition, justice and development.

Ranked as one of the best banks in Nigeria, Fidelity Bank is a full-fledged commercial bank with over 8.3 million customers serviced across its 251 business offices in Nigeria and the United Kingdom as well as on digital banking channels.

The bank has won multiple local and international awards including the Export Finance Bank of the Year at the 2023 BusinessDay Banks and Other Financial Institutions (BAFI) Awards, the Best Payment Solution Provider Nigeria 2023 and Best SME Bank Nigeria 2022 by the Global Banking and Finance Awards; Best Bank for SMEs in Nigeria by the Euromoney Awards for Excellence 2023; and Best Domestic Private Bank in Nigeria by the Euromoney Global Private Banking Awards 2023.

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Banking Sector

Heritage Bank Liquidation: NDIC Opens Bidding for Assets and Branches

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The Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) has commenced the process of liquidating the bank’s assets across Nigeria.

This move comes as part of NDIC’s role as the liquidator of the failed bank, aimed at recouping funds and resolving outstanding liabilities.

The NDIC, through an advertorial published in major newspapers, has announced the sale of 48 properties belonging to Heritage Bank.

These properties include the bank’s head office located at 143 Ahmadu Bello Way and its annex at 130 Ahmadu Bello Way, Victoria Island, Lagos.

Also, the liquidation covers chattels such as vehicles, office equipment, plant, and machinery spread across 62 locations nationwide.

Interested parties are invited to participate in a public competitive bidding process. They have been given the opportunity to inspect the assets and submit bids to acquire them.

The bidding process requires potential buyers to submit bids accompanied by a Certified Bank Draft amounting to 10% of their bid.

Successful bidders will be required to settle the balance within two weeks of notification of their successful bid.

The liquidation process marks a significant step in NDIC’s efforts to manage the fallout from Heritage Bank’s closure effectively.

The corporation has also commenced the verification and payment of depositors with balances of N5 million or less, a category that constitutes about 99% of the bank’s customer base. According to Bello Hassan, the Managing Director of NDIC, Heritage Bank had approximately 2.3 million depositors with total deposits amounting to N650 billion, while its loan portfolio stood at about N700 billion.

The decision to revoke Heritage Bank’s license was made by the CBN due to the bank’s persistent breach of regulatory requirements and its inability to improve its financial position despite intervention measures.

This action underscores the CBN’s commitment to maintaining financial stability within the banking sector and protecting depositors’ funds.

Stakeholders within the banking industry, including the Bank Directors Association of Nigeria (BDAN) and the House of Representatives, have expressed support for the regulatory actions taken.

BDAN’s Chairman, Mustapha Chike-Obi, emphasized the necessity of such decisions in safeguarding the overall health of the banking sector.

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives has passed a resolution urging the CBN to investigate the management and leadership of Heritage Bank to ascertain if any mismanagement or wrongdoing contributed to its failure.

The resolution also called for a comprehensive review of NDIC’s operations to ensure it is adequately equipped to fulfill its mandate as a deposit insurer and investor in failed banks.

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Economic Woes Slash Nigerian Manufacturing Tax Revenue by 70%

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In a striking indication of the challenges facing Nigeria’s manufacturing sector, tax payments from manufacturers have plummeted to their lowest level in three years.

According to the latest Company Income Tax (CIT) report by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the tax revenue from both local and foreign manufacturing firms fell by a staggering 70.4 percent in the first quarter of 2024.

The revenue dropped to N43.2 billion from N145.1 billion in the same period last year, indicating the severe impact of the country’s tough operating environment on manufacturers’ financial performance.

This decline also reflects a year-on-year decrease of 31.4 percent from N62.9 billion, highlighting the ongoing difficulties manufacturers face.

The report points to increased borrowing costs, driven by rising interest rates and the devaluation of the naira, as key factors squeezing the sector.

“Manufacturers are not finding it easy with the high cost of production,” said Abiodun Kayode-Alli, a senior tax manager at PwC.

He explained that the harsh economic climate has significantly reduced the amount companies contribute to the government in taxes.

“Apart from the tough business environment, collection in Q1 is usually not much because most companies have until June 30 to complete filing and payments.”

Company Income Tax, a levy imposed on the income of corporations, varies based on company size.

Small firms with gross turnovers of N25 million or less are exempt, medium-sized firms (turnover between N25 million and N100 million) pay 20 percent, and large companies (turnover above N100 million) are taxed at 30 percent.

Despite these gradations, the manufacturing sector, which used to be a major contributor, recorded the lowest growth rate among 21 sectors.

The aggregate CIT collection fell by 12.9 percent to N984.61 billion in Q1 from N1.13 trillion in the previous quarter.

This downturn is particularly concerning given that the Federal Inland Revenue Service recently disclosed a shortfall in tax revenue, generating N3.94 trillion against a target of N4.8 trillion.

Muda Yusuf, Chief Officer of the Centre for the Promotion of Private Enterprise (CPPE), highlighted the severe losses incurred by major players due to the foreign exchange reforms.

“The economy has not been favorable to most manufacturers, who are significant contributors to tax revenue,” Yusuf said.

BusinessDay’s research reveals that seven out of 13 listed consumer goods firms reported combined losses of N388.6 billion in Q1.

These firms include industry giants like International Breweries Plc, Cadbury Nigeria Plc, Nigerian Breweries Plc, and Nestlé Nigeria Plc.

Also, companies such as BUA Cement, Lafarge Africa Plc, and Nascon Allied Industries Plc saw their earnings decline significantly.

“A lot of consumer firms had higher finance costs because of FX losses and higher interest rates,” noted Ayorinde Akinloye, a Lagos-based investor relations analyst. “Despite some having good operating performance, their profits declined, while others recorded huge losses.”

The Central Bank of Nigeria’s aggressive monetary policy, raising the rate to 26.25 percent in May to combat inflation and support the naira, has exacerbated these financial pressures.

The liberalization of the foreign exchange regime also resulted in a near 30 percent devaluation of the naira this year, further complicating the economic landscape for manufacturers.

This challenging environment has prompted several multinationals to exit the Nigerian market. In the past ten months, companies like Kimberly-Clark, Procter & Gamble, GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Nigeria, Equinor, Sanofi, and Bolt Food have ceased operations in the country.

“Many companies that seem to be alive today are sick and most are not making profits. Many will still shut down because they cannot plan. About 10 million businesses have closed shop,” said Femi Egbesola, national president of the Association of Small Business Owners of Nigeria.

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