- I’ll Advise Buhari on Fuel Subsidy, Says Kachikwu
Against the backdrop of the International Monetary Fund’s call for the removal of fuel subsidy in Nigeria, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, has said he will advise President Muhammadu Buhari on what to do.
The Managing Director, IMF, Christine Lagarde, had during a press conference last week at the joint annual Spring meetings with the World Bank in Washington DC urged the Federal Government to remove fuel subsidy, describing it as the right thing to do.
Lagarde had said that with the low revenue mobilisation that existed in Nigeria in terms of tax to Gross Domestic Product, it was important for the country to remove fuel subsidies and move available funds into improving health, education, and infrastructure, among others.
Kachikwu, while fielding questions from journalists on the sidelines of the annual international conference of the Oil and Gas Trainers Association of Nigeria in Lagos, said the removal of fuel subsidy in 2016 helped the country.
The Federal Government had on May 11, 2016 announced a new petrol price band of N135 to N145 per litre, a move that signalled the end to fuel subsidy payment to private marketers.
But the government later resorted to subsidy regime following the increase in the landing cost of petrol on the back of rising crude oil prices, with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, the sole importer of the product, bearing the burden of subsidising it.
“There is no doubt about the logic of trying to remove subsidy. However, the reality is that Nigeria has a very unique situation. You see the reaction immediately from the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers and the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association,” Kachikwu said.
NUPENG and PENGASSAN had in a joint statement on Sunday described as poisonous the IMF’s advice to the Federal Government on fuel subsidy.
Kachikwu added, “So, any president who is going to make that decision will have to weigh all the factors. I did this in 2016 when we took out what was then the subsidy because without that, the country would not have survived.
“But things have changed since then. So, I need to go back, sit down, look at the [IMF] advice, look at the circumstances, and advise Mr President on what I think is best for the country.”
The Minister of Finance, Ms Zainab Ahmed, said during a ministerial press briefing at the 2019 IMF and World Bank Spring Meetings that the Federal Government had “no imminent plan to remove fuel subsidy.”
“We are here to discuss with the global community on various policy issues. One of the issues that always come up in the report, especially the IMF World Economic Outlook report, is how we handle fuel subsidies. So, in principle, the IMF will say fuel subsidies are better removed so that we can use the resources for other important sectors. And in principle, that is a fact to do so,” she had said.
COVID-19 Vaccine: Crude Oil Extends Gain to $48 Per Barrel on Wednesday
Oil prices rose further on Wednesday as hope for an effective COVID-19 vaccine and the news that the United States of America’s President-elect, Joe Biden has begun transition to the White House bolstered crude oil demand.
Brent crude oil, a Nigerian type of oil, gained 1.63 percent or 78 cents to $48.64 per barrel at 11:50 am Nigerian time on Wednesday.
The United States West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil rose by 1.36 percent or 61 cents to $45.52 per barrel.
OPEC Basket surged the most in terms of gain, adding 3.16 percent or $1.37 to $44.75 per barrel.
This was after AstraZeneca, Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech announced the positive results of their trials.
Moderna and Pfizer had claimed over 90 percent effective rate in trials while AstraZeneca said its COVID-19 vaccine was 70 percent effective in trials but could hit 90 percent going forward.
“The possibility of having a vaccine next year increases the odds that we’re going to see demand return in the new year,” said Phil Flynn, senior analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago.
Also, the decision of President-elect Joe Biden to bring Janet Yellen, the former Chair of Federal Reserve, back as a Treasury Secretary of the United States is fueling demand and strong confidence across global financial markets.
“President-elect Biden’s cabinet choices, particularly Janet Yellen’s Treasury Secretary position, are adding to upside momentum across a broad space of asset classes,” said Jim Ritterbusch of Ritterbusch and Associates.
Seyi Makinde Proposes N266.6 Billion Budget for Oyo State in 2021
The Executive Governor of Oyo State, Seyi Makinde, has presented the Oyo State Budget Proposal for the 2021 Fiscal Year to the Oyo State House of Assembly on Monday.
The proposed budget titled “Budget of Continued Consolidation” was said to be prepared with input from stakeholders in all seven geopolitical zones of Oyo state.
Governor Makinde disclosed this via his official Twitter handle @seyiamakinde.
According to the governor, the proposed recurrent expenditure stood at N136,262,990,009.41 while the proposed capital expenditure was N130,381,283,295.63. Bringing the total proposed budget to N266,6444,273,305.04.
The administration aimed to implement at least 70 percent of the proposed budget if approved.
He said “The total budgeted sum is ₦266,644,273,305.04. The Recurrent Expenditure is ₦136,262,990,009.41 while the Capital Expenditure is ₦130,381,283,295.63. We are again, aiming for at least 70% implementation of the budget.”
He added that “It was my honour to present the Oyo State Budget Proposal for the 2021 Fiscal Year to the Oyo State House of Assembly, today. This Budget of Continued Consolidation was prepared with input from stakeholders in all seven geopolitical zones of our state.”
World Bank Expects Nigeria’s Per Capita Income to Dip to 40 Years Low in 2020
The World Bank has raised concern about Nigeria’s rising debt service cost, saying it could incapacitate the nation from necessary infrastructure development and growth.
The multilateral financial institution said the nation’s per capita income could plunge to 40 years low in 2020.
According to Mr. Shubham Chaudhuri, Country Director for World Bank in Nigeria, the decline in global oil prices had impacted government finances, remittances from the diaspora and the balance of payments.
Chaudhuri, who spoke during the 26th Nigerian Economic Summit organised by the Nigerian Economic Summit Group and the Federal Government, said while the nation’s debt is between 20 to 30 percent, rising debt service remains the bane of its numerous financial issues and growth.
“Nigeria’s problem is that the debt service takes a big part of the government revenue,” he said.
He said, “Crisis like this is often what it takes to bring a nation together to have that consensus within the political, business, government, military, civil society to say, ‘We have to do something that departs from business as usual.’
“And for Nigeria, this is a critical juncture. With the contraction in GDP that could happen this year, Nigeria’s per capita income could be around what it was in 1980 – four decades ago.”
Nigeria’s per capita income stood at $847.40 in 1980, according to data from the World Bank. It rose to $3,222.69 in 2014 before falling to $2,229.9 in 2019.
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