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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.

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COVID-19 Wiped Off $5B Diaspora Remittances, Says FG

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The Federal Government said that the COVID-19 pandemic has wiped off 20 percent of the $25bn annual diaspora remittances to Nigeria.

The government noted that various targeted programmes were being implemented to shore up the deficit.

Disclosing this at a press briefing in Abuja on Thursday to announce the 2021 Diaspora Day celebration scheduled for July 25, the Chairman, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, said the home remittances were over 83 percent of the national budget and 6.1 percent of the Gross Domestic Product.

The World Bank had said remittances by Nigerians in the Diaspora declined by 27.7 percent in 2020. It had also put remittances into the country in 2019 at $21.45bn.

She explained that the remittances serve as economic buffers and safety nets to families for school fees, feeding, hospital bills and many other social support systems.

According to her, 30 percent of the remittances are channeled into investments including real estate, commercial businesses and others.

Responding to a question on the impact of the pandemic on the remittances, Dabiri-Erewa stated, “The COVID-19 pandemic has reduced the annual Diasporan remittances by 20 percent but doesn’t forget that we are also coming up with different programmes.

“Remittances actually go to support families but we are having targeted programmes from the diaspora, particularly housing which would be unveiled that day.”

The NIDCOM chairman stressed that the nation could not afford to ignore about 17 million Nigerians living outside the sovereign boundaries of the nation, sending home remittances of about $25 billion annually.

She noted that the National Diaspora Day 2021 celebration themed: ‘Diaspora integration for national peace and development’, would anchor on peace to accelerate diaspora engagement for national growth and development, adding that no nation succeeded in an atmosphere of insecurity, hatred and divisive tendencies.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its consequences, Dabiri-Erewa explained that the diaspora day 2021 would be celebrated via a webinar and would feature the presentation of the recently approved National Diaspora Policy, nomination for awardees for the proposed National Diaspora Merit Award, presentation from the Diaspora Investment Summit Initiative, among other activities.

The President, Muhammadu Buhari, and other dignitaries, including the Deputy Secretary-General, United Nations, Dr Amina Mohammed; the Director-General, World Trade Organisation, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and others will address the participants.

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Nigeria Experience Worst Unemployment In A Decade, As More Youth Seek Migration To Escape Poverty – World Bank

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The World Bank affirmed that Nigeria is currently going through one of its worst unemployment crises in recent times.

“Nigeria is facing one of the most acute jobless crises in recent times. Between 2014 and 2020, Nigeria’s working-age population grew from 102 million to 122 million, growing at an average rate of approximately 3 percent per year, the multilateral lender said in its latest report on Nigeria.

“Similarly, Nigeria’s active labour force population, that is, those willing and able to work among the working-age population, grew from 73 million in 2014 to 90 million in 2018, adding 17.5 million new entrants to Nigeria’s active labour force.

“Since 2018, however, the active labour force population has dramatically decreased to around 70 million—lower than the level in 2014— while the number of Nigerians who are in the working-age population but not active in the labour force has increased from 29 million to 52 million between 2014 and 2020.

“The expanding working-age population combined with scarce domestic employment opportunities is creating high rates of unemployment, particularly for Nigeria’s youth,” the World Bank report noted.

However, between 2010 and 2020, the international financial institution estimated that the unemployment rate rose five-fold, from 6.4 percent in 2010 to 33.3 percent in 2020, with the rates being particularly acute since the 2015/2016 economic recession and further worsened as COVID-19 led to the worst recession in four decades in 2020.

Increasingly, it noted that educated Nigerians were struggling to find employment opportunities in the country while unemployment rates increased substantially for Nigerians across all education levels over the years, becoming progressively challenging for educated Nigerians to find employment opportunities.

“Combined with significant demographic changes and increased aspirations of the youth, Nigeria’s unemployment crisis is creating migratory pressure in the economy.

“Unemployment is considered to be a key driver of migration. Consequently, multiple surveys show that the number of Nigerians, who are looking to migrate internationally is high and increasing,” it pointed out.

In the last few years, the bank stated that the number of persons eager to migrate has increased from 36 percent in 2014, to 52 percent in 2018, noting that the desire to migrate remains higher among unemployed (38 percent), youth (39 percent), secondary education graduates (39 percent), urban residents (41 percent) and post-secondary graduates (45 percent) in Nigeria.

It maintained that since there has not been an expansion of legal migration routes for youth increasingly eager to find opportunities in the overseas labour market, young Nigerians are opting for irregular migration routes to realise their hopes for a better life.

“What is worrying, however, is the increase in the number of forced and irregular migrants from Nigeria, “ it disclosed.

According to a new report by the multilateral lender, the socio-economic challenges facing Nigerians in the last 10 years have led to an astronomical increase in the number of citizens seeking asylum and refugee status in other countries.

The World Bank further estimated that there were 2.1 million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Nigeria in 2020 alone.

The, however, blamed a combination of rising unemployment, booming demographics, and unfulfilled aspirations as resulting in increasing pressure on young Nigerians to migrate in search of gainful employment overseas.

In addition, the Washington-based institution disclosed that the number of international migrants from Nigeria has increased threefold since 1990, growing from 446,806 in 1990 to 1,438,331 in 2019.

It explained that despite this trend, the share of international migrants as a proportion to Nigeria’s population has remained largely constant, increased slightly from 0.5 percent in 1990 to 0.7 per cent in 2019.

The lender said the recent rise in irregular migration notwithstanding, the share of international migrants in Nigeria’s population was much lower compared to the shares in Sub-Saharan Africa and globally.

The data showed that the number has risen by over 1,380 percent in the years between 2010 and 2019, indicating that in comparison, the number of persons coming into Nigeria from outside has been relatively stagnant in the decade under consideration.

“An important trend that is observed in the data is the rise in the number of refugees and asylum seekers from Nigeria. The share of refugees and asylum seekers from Nigeria has increased drastically in the last decade, growing from 27,557 in 2010 to 408,078 in 2019,” it stated.

It noted that although the country was reaping dividends from the success of its citizens in the diaspora, which was put at five percent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2019, when it comes to the discourse on international migration, the narrative has not been palatable.

It stressed that to ensure mutual cooperation, the European Trust Fund for Africa (EUTF), which was established in 2015, with the aim to promote areas of mutual development interest between Europe and Africa, has since provided more than €4 billion in aid to African countries to address various development-related challenges and priorities in Africa.

Since its inception, the EUTF, the bank stated, has provided more than €770 million for migration-related projects in Nigeria, with most of the funds invested in border control measures, awareness campaigns to stop trafficking, and the creation of jobs domestically, including for returned Nigerian migrants.

While predicting that by 2100, Europe’s working age population between the ages of 20 and 64 would decline by 30 percent owing to low birth-rates and increased longevity, it further projected that at same time, the working age-population in Nigeria could increase by 140 percent.

“By expanding legal pathways for migration and implementing supporting measures to reap dividends from current migrants in the diaspora, Nigeria can further benefit from international migration.

“Nigeria’s institutions are well-placed to promote managed migration approaches that help create opportunities for prospective Nigerian job seekers to find employment internationally and can be supported to help design schemes that increase the returns to human capital investments for Nigerian youth,” the report concluded.

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African Development Bank Group and Ethiopia Sign $118 Million Grant Agreement to Support Agro industrial park, Youth Employment

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The African Development Bank Group and the Government of Ethiopia have signed two separate grant agreements for new projects to boost youth employment and electricity trade between Ethiopia and Djibouti.

The grants fall under the Bank Group’s concessional lending window, the African Development Fund, and will go towards the Productivity Enhancement to Support Agro Industrial Parks and Youth Employment Project worth $47 million, and the $71 million Ethiopia-Djibouti Second Power Interconnection Project, which aims to boost electricity trade between Ethiopia and neighbouring Djibouti.

The industrial parks and youth project will see the development of irrigation and water management infrastructure around the Integrated Agro-Industrial Parks, offering opportunities for graduate “agri-preneurs” to establish agro-related, commercially viable businesses. The $102 million venture is being co-financed with the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA), with a $5.25 million contribution by the Ethiopian government.

Under the scheme, 12,607 ha of irrigated land would be developed and about 3,000 youths will receive both agronomic/agriculture and business development training. Bank financing is expected to cover 4,607 ha and BADEA financing another 8,000 ha.

The irrigation infrastructure will strengthen water users’ associations; protect the water-shed areas around the irrigation schemes; go towards training farmers and youth agri-preneurs on soil and water conservation practices, agricultural production, value addition and marketing; and support established youth SMEs to access credit.

The project will be implemented over a five-year period (2021-2026) under the supervision of the Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Energy and the country’s Irrigation Development Commission.

The Ethiopia-Djibouti Second Power Interconnection Project follows an earlier Bank-financed power interconnection project between the two countries, and builds on its accrued benefits over the last 10 years. It will enable the construction of about 300 km of interconnector lines, 170 km of transmission lines to reinforce the network within Ethiopia, and new construction and expansion of substations in the two countries. In Djibouti, expected benefits include a 65% increase in customer connections and a sharp reduction in the use of thermal generation plants from 100% to around 16%. In Ethiopia, the project would lead to higher incomes from the power trade which over the last 10 years stood at over $275 million in revenue from power exports.

Upon completion, Ethiopia’s revenue from power exports will increase, while at the same time boosting Djibouti’s access to reliable, affordable, and clean electricity and lowering its greenhouse gas emissions.

“By enhancing economic ties through increased cross-border power trade and improved economic competitiveness, the project will contribute towards harnessing regional peace and stability and addressing regional fragility,” said Dr. Abdul Kamara, Deputy Director General, East Africa Regional Development and Business Delivery Office of the African Development Bank.

The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank Group approved funding of both projects on 7 July 2021. The grant agreements were signed on 21 July 2021 by Ethiopian Finance Minister Ahmed Shide, and Kamara.

The African Development Bank is a major player in Ethiopia’s development agenda and currently has operations valued at about $1.76 billion, covering basic services, energy, transport, water supply and sanitation, agriculture, governance, and the private sector.

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