- Buhari Signs 2019 Budget Today
Barring any last-minute change in plans, President Muhammadu Buhari will on Monday (today) give his assent to the 2019 appropriation bill.
The assent of the President will officially make the bill become law and signal the commencement of the 2019 fiscal budget.
The development was confirmed by a top official in the Budget Office of the Federation.
The official, who pleaded not to be named as he was not officially permitted to speak on the matter, explained that details of the signed budget would be made available during a public presentation on Tuesday by the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udo Udoma.
Already, the minister had sent out invitations for the event.
The invitation read in part, “Dear Sir/Ma, On behalf of the Honourable Minister of Budget and National Planning, Sen. Udoma Udo Udoma, CON, the Director General, Budget Office of the Federation hereby invites you to a public presentation of the approved FGN 2019 Budget scheduled as follows: Date: Tuesday, 28th May 2019; Time: 10:30 am; Venue: Main Auditorium, Federal Ministry of Finance, CBD Abuja.”
A presidency source, who also confirmed the signing, told one of our correspondents that the signing of the budget would be performed by the President “around 10 am at the villa.”
Buhari had laid the budget on December 18, 2018 on the floor of the National Assembly but certain extraneous forces such as the Christmas and New Year breaks as well as the general election had affected the quick passage of the appropriation bill.
When the bill was presented by the President to the National Assembly, the sum of N8.83tn was proposed.
It was made up of N4.04tn for recurrent expenditure, N2.03tn for capital expenditure and N2.14tn for debt servicing, among others.
However, after undergoing legislative scrutiny, the lawmakers on April 30 passed the 2019 budget of N8.91tn, raising it by over N90.3bn.
Highlights of the 2019 budget as approved by the National Assembly include the capital expenditure of N2.09tn, recurrent expenditure of N4.05tn, statutory transfers of N502bn, fiscal deficit of N1.9tn, and special intervention of N500bn.
The lawmakers also approved debt service of N2.25tn. Out of the figure, N1.7tn was approved for domestic debts, while the sum of N433bn was provided for foreign debts.
Similarly, the sum of N110bn was approved for a sinking fund to retire maturing debt obligations.
In recent times, there had been a delay in the passage and signing of the Federal Government budget due to disagreements between the executive and the National Assembly.
As a result of the power tussle between the executive and the legislature, the budget implementation had always commenced very late into the year.
For instance, the 2011 budget was passed on March 25, 2011, while that of 2012 was passed on March 14 of that same year.
For the 2013 budget, it was passed by the lawmakers on December 20, 2012, and signed into law by former President Goodluck Jonathan in February 2013 while 2014, 2015 and 2016 budgets were also signed in May of each year.
The 2017 budget, which was submitted to the lawmakers in December 2016, was not passed and assented to until June 2017.
The 2018 budget, which was designed to consolidate on the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, was presented to the National Assembly on November 7, 2017.
It was passed by the lawmakers on May 16, transmitted to Buhari on May 25 and assented by him on June 20.
NNPC To Resume Oil Exploration In Sokoto Basin
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation on Thursday announced plans to resume active oil exploration in Sokoto Basin.
A statement issued in Abuja on Thursday by NNPC spokesperson, Kennie Obateru, said the corporation’s Group Managing Director, Mele Kyari, said exploration for crude would resume in the Sokoto Basin.
The statement read in part, “Kyari also hinted of plans for the corporation to resume active exploration activities in the Sokoto Basin.”
The NNPC boss disclosed this while receiving the Governor of Kebbi State, Atiku Bagudu, who paid Kyari a courtesy visit in his office on Thursday.
In October 2019, the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), had during the spud-in ceremony of Kolmani River II Well on the Upper Benue Trough, Gongola Basin, in the North-East, said the government would explore for oil and gas in the frontier basins across the country.
He outlined the basins to include the Benue Trough, Chad Basin, Sokoto and Bida Basins.
Buhari had also stated that attention would be given to the Dahomey and Anambra Basins which had already witnessed oil and gas discoveries.
Kyari restated NNPC’s commitment to the partnership with Kebbi State for the production of biofuels, describing the project as viable and in tandem with the global transition to renewable energy.
He said the rice production programme in the state was a definite boost to the biofuels project.
Kyari said the linkage of the agricultural sector with the energy sector would facilitate economic growth and bring prosperity to the citizens.
He was quoted as saying, “We will go ahead and renew the Memorandum of Understanding and bring in any necessary amendment that is required to make this business run faster.”
The Kebbi State governor expressed appreciation to the NNPC for its cooperation on the biofuel project.
Bagudu said the cassava programme was well on course but the same could not be said of the sugarcane programme as the targeted milestone was yet to be attained.
Kebbi state is one of the states that the NNPC is in partnership with for the development of renewable energy.
Nigeria To Benefit As G-20 Approves Extension Of Debt Relief Till December
Finance ministers of G-20 countries have approved an extension of debt relief for the world’s poorest nations till December 2021.
David Malpass, World Bank president, made the announcement at the virtual spring meeting, on Wednesday.
TheCable had earlier reported that the G-20 countries will meet this week to consider an extension of the debt freeze.
The G-20, is a group of finance ministers and central bank governors from 19 of the world’s largest economies, including those of many developing nations, along with the European Union.
G-20 countries had established a debt service suspension initiative (DSSI) which took effect in May 2020.
Nigeria had benefited from the initiative which delivered about $5 billion in relief to more than 40 eligible countries.
The suspension period which was originally set to end on December 31, 2020 was extended to June 2021.
Malpass said the extension to December 2021 will boost economic recovery and promote job creation in low income countries.
He urged countries to be transparent in their approach to the debt service payment extension.
“On debt, we welcome a decision by the G20 to extend the DSSI through 2021. The World Bank is also working closely with the IMF to support the implementation of the G20 Common Framework,” he said.
“In both these debt efforts, greater transparency is an important element: I urge all G20 countries to disclose the terms of their financing contracts, including rescheduling, and to support the World Bank’s efforts to reconcile borrower’s debt data more fully with that of creditors.
“Participation by commercial creditors and fuller participation by official bilateral creditors will be vital. I urge all G20 countries to instruct and create incentives for all their public bilateral creditors to participate in debt relief efforts, including national policy banks. I also urge G20 countries to act decisively to incentivize the private creditors under their jurisdiction to participate fully in sovereign debt relief efforts for low-income countries.
“Debt relief efforts are providing some welcome fiscal space, but IDA countries need major new resources too, including grants and highly concessional resources. From April to December 2020, the first DSSI period, our net transfers to IDA and LDC countries were close to $17 billion, of which $5.8 billion were on grant terms.
“Our new commitments were almost $30 billion, making IDA19 the single largest source of concessional resources for the poorest countries and the key multilateral platform for support. To recover from COVID, much more is needed, and we welcome the G20’s support for advancing IDA20 by one year.”
IMF / Fiscal Monitor Report April 2021 Forecast
Unprecedented fiscal support by governments during the pandemic has prevented more severe economic contractions and larger job losses, but risks remain of long-term scarring the International Monetary Fund says in its Fiscal Monitor report released on Wednesday (April 7) in Washington, DC.
Meanwhile, such support, along with drops in revenues, has raised government deficits and debt to unprecedented levels across all country income groups, said Vitor Gaspar, Director of the Fiscal Affairs Department at the IMF.
“The first lesson one year into COVID-19 is that fiscal policy can act timely and decisively. The fiscal policy response was unprecedented in speed and size looking across countries. We also learned that countries with easier access to finance or stronger buffers were able to give more fiscal support. They’re also projected to recover faster,” said Gaspar.
Average overall deficits as a share of GDP in 2020 reached 11.7 percent for advanced economies, 9.8 percent for emerging market economies, and 5.5 percent for low-income developing countries. Countries’ ability to scale up spending has diverged.
“So, what have we learned? We’ve learned that fiscal policy is powerful and that sound public finances are crucial in order to enable that power to be used to the fullest,” stressed Gaspar.
Gaspar urged policy makers to balance the risks from large and growing public and private debt with the risks from premature withdrawal of fiscal support, which could slow the recovery.
“In the spring 2021, we emphasize differentiation across countries. Moreover, COVID-19 is fast evolving, as are the consequences from COVID-19. The fiscal policy must stay agile and flexible to respond to this fast-evolving situation.” Said Gaspar.
He also warned that the targeting of measures must be improved and tailored to countries’ administrative capacity so that fiscal support can be maintained for the duration of the crisis—considering an uncertain and uneven recovery
“Moreover, countries are very different in their structures, in their institutions, in their financial capacity and much else. Therefore, policies and policy advice have to be tailored to fit.” Said Gaspar
Gaspar concluded his remarks by emphasizing that global vaccination is urgently needed, and that global inoculation would pay for itself with stronger employment and economic activity, leading to increased tax revenues and sizable savings in fiscal support.
“A fair shot, a vaccination for everybody in the world may well be the highest return global investment ever. But the Fiscal Monitor also emphasizes the importance of giving a fair shot at life success for everyone. It documents that preexisting inequalities made COVID-19 worse and that COVID-19 in turn made inequalities worse. There is here a vicious cycle that threatens trust and social cohesion. Therefore, we recommend stronger redistributive policies and universal access to basic public services like health, education, and social security,” said Gaspar.
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