- Govt Concludes Work on 2019 Budget, FEC Gets Document Soon
President Muhammadu Buhari may present the 2019 Appropriation Bill to the National Assembly later this month.
Our correspondent learnt on Sunday that work on the fiscal document had reached an advanced stage with the conclusion of defence by Ministries, Departments and Agencies on Saturday.
It was further learnt that what was left was for the MDAs to effect the corrections made during the defence and submit clean copies to the Budget Office.
A top government official told our correspondent on condition of anonymity on Sunday that the Budget Office would, thereafter, present the document to Buhari who would present it to the Federal Executive Council for approval.
It is after the council’s approval that a date will be fixed for the presentation of the budget to the National Assembly.
It may be recalled that Buhari presented the 2018 budget proposal to a joint session of the National Assembly on November 7, 2017.
The source, however, said the Executive arm of the government alone should not take the blame for the budget presentation coming later than the date it was presented last year.
He said federal lawmakers should also share in the blame for allegedly being absent at their duty posts most of the time.
He cited an example of the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework, which he claimed could not be submitted to the National Assembly when it was ready because of the lawmakers’ absence.
He described the approval of the MTEF as critical to the presentation of the budget itself.
The government official said, “The budget will definitely be submitted this month. The bilaterals have been concluded yesterday (Saturday).
“All the Ministries, Departments and Agencies have defended their budgets. They started the defence on Monday and ended it on Saturday.
“It is now a matter of them fine-tuning the issues that have been raised, clean up and submit to the Budget Office. Then the Budget Office will confirm that it conforms to what was agreed, compile them and send.
“You also know that the MTEF is before the National Assembly. They have not approved it yet. The MTEF is a precursor to the budget itself. While the lawmakers are working on it, those concerned will also be packaging the budget. Once they approve it, it is just a matter of submitting.
“When people talk about late submission of the budget, they don’t talk about the non-availability of members of the National Assembly. They always take off at critical times. When the MTEF was ready, they were not around to receive it.
“If people who are preparing the documents know that those they are taking them to are not around, they will relax and just do it at their own pace. But when they know that those they want to submit to are around, they will do it in good time.
“The moment the lawmakers resumed, the MTEF was ready. The President sent it to them but you know some of them are outside the country. They will come in, address one or two issues and take off again.
“The summary of it is that the bilaterals have been concluded. All the MDAs have defended their budgets. They will go back and put them in proper forms before sending to the Budget Office.
“Once the Budget Office is through with it, it is a question of taking it to the Federal Executive Council. Once the council approves, the President will present it to the National Assembly.
“It is very likely that it will be presented this month. The main thing is just the bilaterals, which have already been concluded.”
When contacted on the telephone on Sunday, the Special Adviser (Media) to the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Mr Akpandem James, confirmed to our correspondent that the government was almost through with the budget preparation.
He expressed the conviction that the document would soon be presented to FEC.
“I can confirm to you that work has reached an advanced stage on the 2019 Budget. We have gone far in the preparation. The President will soon present it to the Federal Executive Council for approval,” he said.
Nigeria, Morocco sign MOUs on Hydrocarbons, Others
The Federal Government and the Kingdom of Morocco have signed five strategic Memoranda of Understanding that will foster Nigerian-Morocco bilateral collaboration and promote the development of hydrocarbons, agriculture, and commerce in both countries.
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, led the Nigerian delegation to the agreement signing ceremony on Tuesday at Marrakech, Morocco, while the Chief Executive Officer of OCP Africa, Mr Anouar Jamali, signed for the Kingdom of Morocco, according to a statement by the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board.
Under the agreement between OCP, NSIA and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Nigeria will import phosphate from the Kingdom of Morocco and use it to produce blended fertiliser for the local market and export.
The statement said Nigeria would also produce ammonia and export to Morocco.
“As part of the project, the Nigerian Government plans to establish an ammonia plant at Akwa Ibom State,” it said.
The Executive Secretary of NCDMB, Mr Simbi Wabote, and the Group Managing Director of NNPC, Mallam Mele Kyari, were part of the delegation and they confirmed that their organisations would take equity in the ammonia plant when the Final Investment Decision would be taken, the statement said.
Sylva said the project would broaden economic opportunities for the two nations and improve the wellbeing of the people.
He added that the project would also positively impact agriculture, stimulate the growth of gas-based industries and lead to massive job creation.
He said the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), had mandated the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and it agencies and other government agencies to give maximum support for the project.
“He mandated me to ensure that at least the first phase of this project is commissioned before the expiration of his second term in office in 2023,” he added.
According to the statement, the MOUs were for the support of the second phase of the Presidential Fertiliser Initiative; Shareholders Agreement for the creation of the joint venture company to develop the multipurpose industrial platform and MOU for equity investment by the NNPC in the joint venture and support of the gas.
Other agreements are term sheet for gas sales and aggregation agreement and MOU for land acquisition and administrative facilitation to the establishment of the multipurpose industrial platform for gas sales and aggregation agreement.
The NCDMB boss described the bilateral agreement as significant to the Nigerian economy as it would accelerate Nigeria’s gas monetisation programme through establishment of the ammonia plant in the country.
The agreement would also improve Nigeria’s per capita fertiliser application through importation of phosphate derivatives from Morocco, he added.
Wabote challenged the relevant parties to focus on accelerating the FID, assuring them that the NCDMB would take equity investment for long-term sustainability of the project.
He canvassed for the setting up of a project management oversight structure to ensure project requirements and timelines are met.
“There is also need to determine manpower needs for construction and operations phase of the project and develop training programmes that will create the workforce pool from Nigeria and Morocco and design collaboration framework between research centres in Nigeria and Morocco to develop technology solutions for maintaining the ISBL and OSBL units of the Ammonia complex,” he said.
Dangote Fertiliser Plant to Commence Shipment of Urea in March 2021
Dangote to Sells Petrol in Naira, Plans to Commence Urea Shipment in March 2021
The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, has said Dangote Fertiliser Plant will commence shipment of Urea in March 2021.
The CBN governor disclosed this during an inspection tour of the sites of Dangote Refinery, Petrochemicals Complex Fertiliser Plant and Subsea Gas Pipeline at Ibeju Lekki, Lagos on Saturday.
Emefiele further stated that Dangote Refinery would sell refined petroleum products in Naira when it starts production.
This he said would save the country from spending 41 percent of the nation’s foreign exchange on importation of petroleum products yearly.
“Based on agreement and discussions with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and the oil companies, the Dangote Refinery can buy its crude in naira, refine it, and produce it for Nigerians’ use in naira,” Mr Emefiele said.
“That is the element where foreign exchange is saved for the country becomes very clear. We are also very optimistic that by refining this product here in Nigeria, all those costs associated with either demurrage from import, costs associated with freight will be totally eliminated.”
Emefiele explained that this will make the price of Nigeria’s petroleum products affordable and cheaper in naira.
“If we are lucky that what the refinery produces is more than we need locally you will see Nigerian businessmen buying small vessels to take them to our West African neighbours to sell to them in naira.
“This will increase our volume in naira and help to push it into the Economic Community of West African States as a currency,” Mr Emefiele said.
UK Budget 2021: Will Sunak’s Budget Run Into Unintended Consequences?
Rishi Sunak’s Budget will encourage higher earners to consider their “international financial options” and will drive businesses away from the UK, warns the CEO of one of the world’s largest independent financial advisory and fintech organizations.
The warning from Nigel Green, chief executive and founder of deVere Group, comes as the Chancellor delivered his 2021 Budget in the House of Commons, his second since he took on the role.
Mr Green says: “The Chancellor has got an extraordinarily difficult hand to play as he tries to stem the economic damage caused by the pandemic, support jobs and businesses and, crucially, rebuild the public finances.
“Whilst Mr Sunak is being hailed a hero for the continued and unprecedented levels of support, it should also be remembered that he is – in a stealth move – dragging more people firmly into the tax net.
“He is raising taxes under the radar.
“Yes, there is no income tax rise. However, he is freezing personal tax thresholds, meaning as incomes rise and thresholds don’t, he is able to raise money by fiscal drag.”
Earlier this week, the deVere CEO noted: “Those most impacted by this stealth move will be looking at the financial planning options available to them, including international options, in order to grow and protect their wealth.”
Rishi Sunak also confirmed that corporation tax will increase to 25% from 2023, up from the current level of 19%.
Of this tax hike, Mr Green goes on to say: “Lower corporation tax helps job and wealth-creating business to survive and thrive. It also helps attract business to move and invest in the country.
“Instead of increasing taxes, Mr Sunak should have relentlessly focussed on growth and stimulus policies for businesses. This would have been of greater help to firms, the economy, jobs and, ultimately, the Treasury’s coffers.”
He adds: “Again, this corporation tax hike is likely to serve as a prompt for businesses to consider their overseas financial options.”
The deVere CEO concludes: “The Chancellor had to perform a tough juggling act. But stealthily dragging more people into the tax net and raising corporation tax might have negative, unintended consequences for the Treasury’s bottom line.”
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