- Minimum Wage: FG asks technical committee to look for additional revenue
The Technical Committee on the Implementation of a new Minimum Wage inaugurated last Wednesday by President Muhammadu Buhari has been asked to look for additional sources of revenue to pay the minimum wage and the consequential salary adjustment that will follow.
The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, during an interactive session with the media on Friday, explained that the committee would, among other things, identify additional sources of revenue to ensure that the government could meet the increased costs that would arise from the implementation of a new minimum wage without affecting government’s ability to meet the other obligations particularly with respect to the ambitious infrastructure development plans of the current administration.
According to Udoma, whenever a new minimum wage bill is enacted, there are demands for some wage increases even from those already earning more than the new minimum wage.
He said, “All these salary increases will impose additional costs on the government. Therefore, the committee is expected to make suggestions as to how the government can raise additional revenues to ensure that the government can still meet its expenditure on other services such as education, health, infrastructure and other important functions of the government, after paying the increased salaries.”
A statement signed on Sunday by the Special Adviser (Media) to the Minister, Akpandem James, added, “The committee is expected to, among other things, look at how to get additional revenues so that as our wage bill goes up, we are able to increase our revenues to ensure that our spending on capital projects, basic infrastructure, health, education and others is not reduced. In short, the committee is to advise on ways to ensure that notwithstanding the increase in payroll costs, there continues to be adequate funding for other government activities. This is not just for the 2019 fiscal year, but going forward, thereafter.”
Because of government’s commitment to the minimum wage and increased salaries, Udoma had said that the amount provided for recurrent (non-debt) spending would rise from N3.53tn in 2018 to N4.72tn in 2019.
So, there is a substantial increase in the recurrent expenditure, which according to the minister, reflects an increase in salaries and pensions including provisions for the implementation of a new minimum wage.
“This is the reason why the President has set up a technical committee to look at additional revenue sources so that we can pay the minimum wage and the consequential salary adjustment,” he reiterated.
On the issue of the budget deficit, Udoma said the government was proposing to bring it down slightly from the N1.95tn projected for 2018 to N1.895tn in 2019. This, he said, was 1.3 per cent of Gross Domestic Product and Well Within the Three Per cent Limit Set by the Fiscal Responsibility Act.
On the debt service to revenue ratio, the minister gave the assurance that as the nation’s revenue situation improved, the ratio would come down.
The minister said, “Nigeria does not have a debt problem, as such. Our debt is within prudent limits. However, we need to optimise our revenue generating potential. This will bring down our debt service to revenue ratio. Given the size of our economy, we can, and should, be doing better, in revenue generation. This explains our focus as a government on revenues and revenue generation.”
With regard to the complaints that the budget was small, the minister explained, “Some commentators have complained that the 2019 Budget proposal is too small. They would like us to have a larger budget. All of us in the government would also like Nigeria to have a larger budget. Indeed, as our revenues grow, we will be able to expand our budget size. In truth, though we have increased our budget size significantly since we took over the government in 2015, our budget size is still far too small to meet all our needs.
“However, we are limited by the size of our revenues. Our current proposal for 2019 represents the maximum size that we believe we can prudently fund from our revenue and debt sources. There is no point announcing a large budget that you cannot fund. As we are able to generate more revenues in the future, we will be able to continue to increase the size of our budgets.”
Also speaking on the issue of unemployment, the minister explained that the government was working hard to improve the enabling environment for economic expansion which would lead to the creation of additional jobs.
Manufacturing Firms Borrowed N570bn from Banks in 2020 – CBN
Manufacturing firms borrowed a total of N570bn from Nigerian banks last year amid the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Banks’ credit to the manufacturing sector rose to N3.19tn as of December 2020 from N2.62tn at the end of 2019, according to the sectoral analysis of banks’ credit by the Central Bank of Nigeria.
The sector received the second biggest share of the credit from the banks after the oil and gas sector, which got N5.18tn as of December.
“The manufacturing sector, which is the engine of sustainable growth, is still struggling with the debilitating impact of the pandemic and is yet to recuperate,” the Director-General, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, Mr Segun Ajayi-Kadir, said in January.
MAN, in a January report, revealed that most manufacturers said commercial banks’ lending rates were discouraging productivity in the sector.
The report said 71 per cent of Chief Executive Officers interviewed “disagreed that the rate at which commercial banks lend to manufacturers encourages productivity in the sector.”
It said the cost of borrowing in the country remained at double digits even amidst the reforms meant to culminate in lower rates to engender the country’s economic recovery process.
The report said, “Special single digit loans offered by development banks are still hard to leverage as conditionalities to assess the loans through commercial banks are often overwhelming and laden with additional charges that will eventually make the interest rate double digit.
“Seven per cent of respondents were, however, of the opinion that the rate at which commercial banks lend to manufacturers encourages productivity in the sector while the remaining 22 per cent were not sure of the impact of the rate of lending on productivity in the manufacturing sector.”
The report showed that 64 per cent of respondent disagreed that the size of commercial bank loan to manufacturing sector had encouraged manufacturing productivity.
It said the very high presence of the government in the money market, particularly through the sale of treasury bills, had been crowding out the private sector from the market.
Nigeria Earns Extra N318.4 Billion as Crude Oil Hits $67/Barrel
FG Generates Additional Income of N318.4 Billion as Crude Oil Hits $67/Barrel
The Federal Government earned an additional N318.36 billion in February following the surge in crude oil price above $60 per barrel.
Brent crude oil, against which Nigerian oil is priced, average $60 throughout the month of February.
In March, it rose to $67 per barrel.
According to the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, Nigeria’s crude oil price was retained at $40 per barrel for 2021.
However, she said the nation is presently producing below its 2.5 million barrel per day capacity at 1.7mbpd. This, she said includes 300,000bpd condensates.
“Although Nigeria’s total production capacity is 2.5mbpd, current crude production is about 1.7mbpd, including about 300,000bpd of condensates, which indicates compliance with OPEC quota,” the finance minister stated.
Going by the number, Nigeria is producing 1.4mbpd of crude oil without condensates, but with an additional $20 revenue when compared to the $40 per barrel benchmark for the year. It means the Federal Government realised an additional income of N318.360 billion or $20 X 1.4mbpd X 30days in the month of February.
Crude oil jumped to $68.54 per barrel on Friday following OPEC+’s decision to role-over production cuts.
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.
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