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FG Recorded N3.4tn Fiscal Deficit in 2018

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  • FG Recorded N3.4tn Fiscal Deficit in 2018

Between January and December last year, the Federal Government recorded a fiscal deficit of N3.4tn in its operations, figures obtained from the Central Bank of Nigeria have revealed.

The 2018 budget, signed by President Muhammadu Buhari on June 20 last year, had total spending of N9.1tn.

It is made up of N2.87tn for capital expenditure, N3.51tn for recurrent (non-debt) expenditure while N2.01tn was budgeted for debt servicing.

The N9.1tn budget was expected to be financed from N2.99tn to be generated from oil revenue, N31.25bn from Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas dividend while N1.17bn was expected to be realised through revenue from minerals and mining.

To fund the budget, the Federal Government had planned to generate N658.55bn from Companies Income Tax, N207.51bn from Value Added Tax, N324.86bn from Customs while N57.87bn was expected to come from federation account levies.

In the same vein, the government was expected to raise N847.95bn through independent revenue from its agencies, while tax amnesty income, signature bonus and unspent balance from previous years was to provide N87.84bn, N114.3bn and N250bn respectively

Details of the fiscal operations of the Federal Government as contained in the CBN economic report for the fourth quarter of 2018 showed that the government had not been able to generate adequate revenue to meet its expenditure.

For example, in the first quarter of last year, the Federal Government’s retained revenue was put at N884.88bn while it’s expenditure was N2.01tn. This resulted in a fiscal deficit of about N1.13tn.

In the second quarter of last year, the Federal Government earned N1.12tn while it’s expenditure was N1.63tn, resulting in a deficit of N504.8bn.

For the third quarter, the revenue of the Federal Government was put at N1.03tn with the expenditure of N1.89tn, leading to a deficit of N855.09bn.

For the fourth quarter, the fiscal deficit widened to N910.4bn as the government was only able to generate N916.44bn to take care of its total expenditure of N1.82tn.

The report read in part, “The Federal Government retained revenue for the fourth quarter of 2018 was estimated at N916.44bn.

“This was below the proportionate quarterly budget estimate and the receipts in the preceding quarter by 51.5 per cent and 11.5 per cent, respectively.

“Of the total revenue, the Federation Account accounted for 90.4 per cent, while Value Added Tax, Excess crude/Petroleum Profit Tax,

Federal Government Independent Revenue, Excess Non-oil and Exchange Gain accounted for 4.3, 3.5, 1.4, 0.3 and 0.1 per cent, respectively.

The estimated Federal Government expenditure for the fourth quarter of 2018 stood at N1.82tn and was below the proportionate quarterly budget estimate of N2.37tn by 23.1 per cent and the level in the preceding quarter by 3.4 per cent.

“A breakdown of the total expenditure showed that the recurrent component accounted for 87.8 per cent, while capital and statutory transfers accounted for 5.9 and 6.3 per cent, respectively.

“A further breakdown of the recurrent expenditure showed that the non-debt component accounted for 53.8 per cent, while debt service payments were 46.2 per cent.”

The Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, had last month while unveiling a Strategic Revenue Growth Initiative aimed at boosting the level of revenue generation, said the government was concerned about the inability of some of its agencies to meet their revenue target.

She admitted that it had become a challenge for the government to mobilise fiscal resources to deliver on its developmental objectives, adding that President Muhammadu Buhari had directed that revenue generation needed to be enhanced.

She said while oil revenue to oil Gross Domestic Product ratio stood at about 39 per cent, non-oil revenue to non-oil GDP was about 4.2 per cent.

The finance minister explained that the country’s VAT revenue to GDP stood at less than one per cent, noting that this was low when compared to the ECOWAS average of 3.4 per cent.

In terms of excise revenue, she said at 4.1 per cent, revenue generated from excise duty in Nigeria was low compared to Ghana at 15.3 per cent and Kenya at 19.5 per cent.

She said, “Nigeria’s low revenue generation capabilities have been an enduring challenge to the past and present governments.

“Although we are celebrated as the country in Africa with the largest economy, translating this wealth into revenues remains a challenge.

“We have, therefore, faces difficulty in mobilising domestic funds necessary for human capital development and infrastructure that are both drivers of sustainable economic growth.

“Our current revenue to Gross Domestic Product ratio of about seven per cent is unsatisfactory and we are keen on exerting all efforts in turning this around.”

Ahmed said she had tasked the ministry of finance and its agencies to identify what could be done to turnaround the current revenue situation.

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.

Economy

Electricity Consumers Get 611,231 Meters Under MAP Scheme

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Electricity Consumers Get 611,231 Meters Under MAP Scheme

A total of 611,231 meters have been deployed as at January 31, 2021 under the Meter Asset Provider initiative since its full operation despite the COVID-19 pandemic and other extraneous factors, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission has said.

NERC disclosed this in a consultation paper on the review of the MAP Regulations.

The proposed review of the MAP scheme is coming nearly four months after the Federal Government launched a new initiative called National Mass Metering Programme aimed at distributing six million meters to consumers free of charge.

“The existence of a huge metering gap and the need to ensure successful implementation of the MYTO 2020 Service-Based Tariff resulted in the approval of the NMMP, a policy of the Federal Government anchored on the provision of long-term low interest financing to the Discos,” NERC said.

The commission had in March 2018 approved the MAP Regulations with the aim of fast-tracking the closure of the metering gap in the sector through the engagement of third-party investors (called meter asset providers) for the financing, procurement, supply, installation and maintenance of meters.

It set a target of providing meters to all customers within three years, and directed the Discos and the approved MAPs to commence the rollout of meters not later than May 1, 2019.

But in February 2020, NERC said several constraints, including changes in fiscal policy and the limited availability of long-term funding, had led to limited success in meter rollout.

NERC, in the consultation paper, highlighted three proposed options for metering implementation going forward.

The first option is to allow the implementation of both the NMMP and MAP metering frameworks to run concurrently; the second is to continue with the current MAP framework with meters procured under the NMMP supplied only through MAPs (by being off-takers from the local manufacturers/assemblers).

The third option is to wind down the MAP framework and allow the Discos to procure meters directly from local manufacturers/assemblers (or as procured by the World Bank), and enter into new contracts for the installation and maintenance of such meters.

“Customers who choose not to wait to receive meters based on the deployment schedule of the NMMP shall continue to have the option of making upfront payments for meters which will be installed within a maximum period of 10 working days,” NERC said.

The regulator said such customers would be refunded by the Discos through energy credits, adding that there would be no option for meter acquisition through the payment of a monthly meter service charge.

“Where meters have already been deployed under the meter service charge option, Discos shall make one-off repayment to affected customers and associated MAPs. Such meters shall be recognised in the rate base of the Discos,” it added.

NERC urged stakeholders to provide comments, objections, and representations on the proposed amendments within 21 days of the publication of the consultation paper.

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Economy

Nigeria’s Economy Moving in Right Direction but Slow – Amina Mohammed

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Nigeria’s Economy Moving in Right Direction but Slow – Amina Mohammed

Nigeria is moving in the right direction economically but its movement is not fast, the United Nations stated on Thursday.

Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, Amina Mohammed, said this during a meeting at the headquarters of the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment in Abuja.

She said the challenges in Nigeria were huge, its population large but described the country’s economy as great with lots of opportunities.

The UN scribe stated that after traveling by train and through various roads in the Northern parts of Nigeria, she discovered that the roads were motorable, although there were ongoing repairs on some of them.

Mohammed said, “This is a country that is diverse in nature, ethnicity, religious backgrounds and opportunities. But these are its strengths, not weaknesses.

“And I think the narrative for Nigeria has to change to one that is very much the reality.”

Speaking on her trips across parts of Nigeria, she said, “What I saw along the way is really a country that is growing, that is moving in the right direction economically. Is it fast enough? No. Is it in the right direction? Yes it is.

“And the challenges still remain with security, our social cohesion and social contract between government and the people. But I know that people are working on these issues.”

She said the UN recognised the reforms in Nigeria and other nations, adding that the common global agenda was the Sustainable Development Goals.

Mohammad commended Nigeria’s quick response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as she expressed hope that the arrival of vaccines would be the beginning of the end of COVID-19.

On his part, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Adeniyi Adebayo, told his guest that the Federal Government was working hard to make Nigeria the entrepreneurial hub of Africa.

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Economy

N10.7tn Spent on Fuel Subsidy in 10 Years – MOMAN

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N10.7tn Spent on Fuel Subsidy in 10 Years – MOMAN

Nigeria spent a total of N10.7tn on fuel subsidy in the last 10 years, the Chairman, Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, Mr Adetunji Oyebanji, has said.

Oyebanji, who was the guest speaker at the 18th Aret Adams Lecture on Thursday, said N750bn was spent on subsidy in 2019.

He highlighted the need for a transition to a market-driven environment through policy-backed legislative and commercial frameworks, enabling the sustainability of the downstream petroleum sector.

“Total deregulation is more than just the removal of price subsidies; it is aimed at improving business operations, increasing the investments in the oil and gas sector value chain, resulting in the growth in the nation’s downstream petroleum sector as a whole,” he said.

The managing director of 11 Plc (formerly Mobil Oil Nigeria Plc) said steps had been taken, “but larger and faster leaps are now required.”

According to him, deregulation requires the creation of a competitive market environment, and will guarantee the supply of products at commercial and market prices.

“It requires unrestricted and profitable investments in infrastructure, earning reasonable returns to investors. It requires a strong regulator to enable transparency and fair competition among players, and not to regulate prices,” Oyebanji said.

He noted that MOMAN had recently called for a national debate by stakeholders to share pragmatic and realistic initiatives to ease the impact of the subsidy removal on society – especially on the most vulnerable.

He said, “A shift from crude oil production to crude oil full value realisation through deliberate investment in domestic refining and refined products distribution, creates the opportunity to transform the dynamics of the downstream sector from one of ‘net importer’ to one of ‘net exporter’, spurring the growth of the Nigerian economy.

“Effective reforms and regulations are key drivers for the growth within the refining sector. Non-functional refineries cost Nigeria over $13bn in 2019. If the NNPC refineries were operating at optimal capacity, Nigeria would have imported only 40 per cent of what it consumed in 2019.”

Full deregulation of the downstream sector remains the most glaring boost to potential investors in this space, according to Oyebanji.

He said, “As crude oil prices will fluctuate depending on the prevailing exchange rates, it will be astute to trade in naira to avoid inevitable price swings.

“There needs to be a balance between ensuring the sustainable growth of the crude oil value chain (upstream through downstream) and providing value for the Nigerian consumer and the Nigerian economy.”

He said the philosophy should be for the government to put the legislative and commercial framework in place and let the market develop by itself.

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