On Tuesday, the senate received a request from President Muhammadu Buhari to approve adjustments to the 2022 fiscal framework.
The request was contained in a letter dated 5th April 2022. The letter was read during plenary by the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan.
Buhari, in the letter, explained that an adjustment to the 2022 fiscal framework became imperative in view of new developments in both the global and domestic economies.
According to him, the developments were occasioned by spikes in the market price of crude oil, caused by the ongoing Russian-Ukraine war.
“As you are aware, there have been new developments both in the global economy as well as in the domestic economy which have necessitated the revision of the 2022 Fiscal Framework on which the 2022 Budget was based.
“These developments include spikes in the market price of crude oil, aggravated by the Russian-Ukraine war, significantly lower oil production volume due principally to production shut-ins as a result of massive theft of crude oil between the production platforms and the terminals.
“The decision to suspend the removal of Petroleum Motor Spirit subsidy at a time when high crude oil prices have elevated the subsidy cost has significantly eroded government revenues”, Buhari said.
The President, therefore, requested the upper chamber to approve an increase in the oil benchmark by US$11 per barrel, from US$62 per barrel to US$73 per barrel.
The President also sought a reduction in the projected oil production volume by 283,000 barrels per day, from the current target of 1.883 million barrels per day to 1.600 million barrels per day.
He also request the chamber to approve an increase in the estimated provision for PMS subsidy for 2022 by N442.72 billion from N3.557 trillion to N4 trillion.
Buhari stated the need to cut the provision for Federally-funded upstream projects being implemented by N200 billion, from N352.80 billion to N152.80 billion.
He also proposed an increase in the projection for Federal Government Independent Revenue by N400 billion; and an additional provision of N182.45 billion to cater to the needs of the Nigerian Police Force.
He added that “based on the above adjustments, the Federation Account (Main Pool) revenue for the three tiers of government is projected to decline by N2.418 trillion, while FGN’s share from the Account (net of transfer to the Federal Capital Territory and other statutory deductions) is projected to reduce by N1.173 trillion.”
He disclosed that the amount available to fund the FGN Budget is projected to decline by N772.91 billion due to the increase in the projection for Independent Revenue (Operating Surplus Remittance) by N400 billion.
He explained further that Aggregate Expenditure is projected to increase by N192.52 billion, due to increase in personnel cost by N161.40 billion and other service wide votes by N21.05 billion (both for the Nigeria Police Force), additional domestic debt service provision of N76.13 billion, and net reductions in Statutory Transfers by N66.07 billion.
Giving a breakdown, he said the net deductions would see a cut by N13.46 billion from N102.78 billion to N89.32 billion for NDDC; NEDC, by N6.30 billion from N48.08 billion to N41.78 billion; UBEC, by N23.16 billion from N112.29 billion to N89.13 billion; Basic Health Care Fund, by N11.58 billion from N56.14 billion to N44.56 billion; and NASENI, by N11.58 billion from N56.14 billion to N44.56 billion.
The President noted that the total budget deficit is projected to increase from N965.42 billion to N7.35 trillion, representing 3.99 percent of GDP.
According to him, the incremental deficit will be financed by new borrowings from the domestic market.
Naira Struggles as Apex Bank Delays Clearing $10 Billion Forex Debts
The Nigerian economy is facing growing uncertainty as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has yet to fulfill its promise of clearing over $10 billion in foreign exchange debts owed to Deposit Money Banks (DMBs).
This delay has placed immense pressure on the country’s currency, leading to a challenging situation for both financial institutions and the general public.
Over two weeks ago, the immediate past acting CBN Governor, Folashodun Shonubi, had announced that negotiations on these dollar debts with commercial banks had been concluded and all forex exchange backlogs would be cleared within one to two weeks.
However, multiple top bank executives have revealed that the promise remains unfulfilled, leaving banks in a tight FX liquidity position.
This liquidity crunch has compelled many lenders to temporarily suspend various FX transactions, including school fees and Personal Travel Allowance applications. The situation has also worsened the dollar scarcity at the parallel market, prompting bank customers to turn to the black market to meet their forex needs.
The delay in clearing these forex debts has further eroded confidence in the naira, resulting in a decline in its value to between 990/$ and 995/$ in major cities like Lagos, Abuja, and Kano.
Economic experts warn that if the situation persists, it could lead to higher costs of goods and services, causing more businesses to shut down.
Manufacturers, who heavily rely on imported raw materials, fear that the rising costs will lead to unaffordable products and a preference for cheaper imported alternatives.
The appointment of a new CBN Governor, Dr. Olayemi Cardoso, comes at a critical time, with the central bank facing significant challenges related to the forex market and currency stability.
As the nation grapples with these economic pressures, it remains to be seen how the new leadership will address these issues and restore confidence in the financial markets.
Nigerian Banks’ Borrowings from CBN Surge 835% in a Month, Raising Liquidity Concerns
The Nigerian banking sector has witnessed an unprecedented 835% surge in borrowings from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in the span of just one month, igniting concerns over the nation’s liquidity stability.
Data reveals that banks’ dependence on the CBN has reached new heights, with their borrowings skyrocketing from a relatively modest N323.97 billion in August to N3.03 trillion in September. This remarkable increase underscores a growing reliance on the CBN’s support in times of financial stress.
This surge in borrowing activity has primarily been attributed to the CBN’s stringent monetary policies aimed at curbing inflation and managing the demand for foreign exchange. These policies have, in turn, squeezed commercial banks, compelling them to tap into the CBN’s Standing Lending Facility (SLF) for immediate liquidity needs.
Despite the escalating dependence on CBN funds, the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the apex bank insists that the Nigerian banking sector remains fundamentally robust. MPC member Adenikinju Festus highlighted key indicators, including Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR) and Non-Performing Loan (NPL) ratios, which still align with prudential standards. Furthermore, liquidity ratios have improved, and returns on equity and assets have risen.
However, the banking industry’s persistently high operating costs are raising alarms. In comparison to international standards, Nigerian banks are grappling with substantially higher operating expenses, prompting concerns about their long-term sustainability.
In a parallel development, the CBN’s Development Finance Department has disbursed a total of N9.714 trillion to various sectors of the economy over the past three years, with manufacturing and industries receiving the largest share at 32.6%.
Other sectors, including energy, agriculture, services, micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), export, and health, have also benefited significantly from these disbursements.
While the CBN remains committed to fostering sustainable economic growth, the surging dependence of Nigerian banks on short-term borrowings from the central bank is casting shadows on the sector’s long-term stability.
As Nigeria grapples with these liquidity concerns, the financial industry and regulators face the challenging task of charting a course towards a more resilient and sustainable banking environment.
Central Bank of Nigeria Postpones 293rd Monetary Policy Committee Meeting
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has announced the postponement of its 293rd Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting, originally scheduled for September 25th and 26th, 2023.
Dr. Isa AbdulMumin, the bank’s Director of Corporate Communications, released a statement on Thursday confirming the decision.
In the statement, Dr. AbdulMumin stated, “The Monetary Policy Committee of the Central Bank of Nigeria has deferred its 293rd meeting, which was initially planned for Monday and Tuesday, September 25th and 26th, 2023, respectively. A new date will be communicated in due course. We regret any inconvenience this change may cause our stakeholders and the general public.”
While the CBN did not provide an official reason for the postponement, some industry experts suggest it may be related to the pending approvals for the newly appointed governor and deputy governors of the bank.
President Bola Tinubu recently nominated Yemi Cardoso as the potential head of the CBN. Additionally, Tinubu has endorsed the nominations of four new deputy governors for the apex bank, who are expected to serve for an initial term of five years, pending confirmation by the Senate.
The nominated deputy governors are Emem Usoro, Muhammad Abdullahi-Dattijo, Philip Ikeazor, and Bala Bello. However, the appointment of the CBN governor is contingent upon Senate confirmation, which is currently on a yearly recess.
The CBN assures stakeholders and the public that the rescheduled MPC meeting date will be communicated promptly as soon as it is confirmed.
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