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Faceoff as Humanitarian Minister Writes Finance Minister on N206bn Budget Padding

N206 billion inserted into the ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development

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Sadiya Umar Farouq, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development

The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq has written to the Minister of Finance seeking clarification on the N206 billion inserted into the ministry 2023 budget. 

It would be recalled that some ministries and government agencies alleged the insertion of some projects amounting to N423.8bn in their respective budget proposals without their knowledge. 

Some of the concerned MDAs include the National Universities Commission (NUC), Ministries of Defence, Power, and Humanitarian Affairs. Investors King learnt. 

Representatives of the MDAs had told the National Assembly that they can not explain what the sums are meant for or the details of the projects tied to the funds since they were not part of their proposals sent to the finance ministry for the 2023 fiscal year.

According to the Minister of Defence, Maj. Gen. Bashir Magashi (retd), about N11 billion was inserted into the ministry’s budget. He told a Senate Committee during budget defence sessions. 

Similarly, the Minister of Health also alleged the same thing accusing officials of the Ministry of Finance of padding. 

The Executive Secretary of NUC, Professor Abubakar Rashid, also told the joint Senate and House Committee on Tertiary Education and TETfund during budget defence that N12 billion was inserted by the Ministry of Finance into the agency budget. 

“In NUC’s budget, we have a problem. We had additional money given to us that we didn’t request, but I later went to the Ministry of Finance to find out because our budget was always hovering around N3 billion” he said. 

Sources from the ministry of humanitarian affairs disclosed that the letter written by the minister seeking clarification is necessary owing to the negative public perception it could give the ministry and the minister in particular. 

The sources added that the minister’s husband who is a governorship candidate in Bauchi state might also be affected by the negative media perception. 

“We are disturbed and the minister is not leaving anything to chance. We want a quick clarification of the inserted figure in our ministry’s 2023 budget proposal,” the source said. 

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Finance

Government Revenue Surges to N2.07trn in January 2024, FAAC Discloses

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FAAC

The Federal Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) has revealed a significant surge in government revenue to N2.07 trillion in January 2024.

This substantial increase reflects the buoyancy of Nigeria’s economic activities despite various challenges faced by the nation.

According to FAAC’s communiqué issued after its monthly meeting in Abuja, the N2.07 trillion revenue was distributed to meet the financial needs of the federal, state, and local governments.

N1.15 trillion out of the total revenue was disbursed to the various tiers of government, indicating a robust financial inflow.

The breakdown of the revenue distribution showcased that the Federal Government received N407.267 billion, state governments obtained N379.407 billion while N278.041 billion was disbursed to local governments.

Also, N85.101 billion, equivalent to 13% of mineral revenue, was allocated to the states as derivation revenue.

FAAC also highlighted that the revenue composition included N463.1 billion from distributable statutory revenue, N391.8 billion from distributable Value Added Tax (VAT) revenue, N15.9 billion from Electronic Money Transfer Levy revenue, and N279.03 billion from exchange difference revenue.

Despite the impressive revenue figures, FAAC noted a decrease in VAT collection by N71.7 billion compared to the previous month.

This decrease suggests fluctuations in consumer spending and economic activities, which could be influenced by various factors such as policy changes, economic conditions, and consumer sentiment.

Furthermore, FAAC reported increases in revenue from Companies Income Tax, Import Duty, Petroleum Profit Tax, and Oil and Gas Royalties.

However, revenue from Value Added Tax, Export Duty, Electronic Money Transfer Levy, and CET Levies experienced declines during the period.

FAAC’s disclosure of the January 2024 revenue underscores the importance of prudent financial management and effective allocation of resources to drive sustainable economic growth and development in Nigeria.

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Finance

Private Sector Credit Hits Record High of N76.94 Trillion in January 2024 – CBN Report

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Private employers

Private sector credit in Nigeria reached a record N76.94 trillion in January 2024, according to the latest report from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

This represents a 85.2% year-on-year increase from N41.54 trillion reported in January 2023.

The CBN’s Money and Credit Statistics report unveiled that credit to the private sector experienced a substantial month-on-month surge of 23.06%, or N14.42 trillion, from N62.52 trillion in December 2023.

This surge occurred amid the implementation of the CBN’s policy to unify the naira exchange rate.

Analysts attribute the reported N76.94 trillion credit to the private sector to the recent depreciation of the naira against foreign currencies.

The naira closed at N1,356.88 per dollar in January 2024, representing a 50.87% decline or N457.49 against the dollar compared to December 2023.

This depreciation compelled banks to extend credit to major corporations to meet the CBN’s mandated Loan-to-Deposit Ratio (LDR) threshold.

The CBN’s decision to resume the enforcement of the LDR policy, effective July 31, 2023, further propelled banks to increase lending to customers, stimulating the real sector of the economy.

With the CRR mechanism updated, banks with an LDR below the prescribed level faced a 50% lending shortfall penalty.

Experts suggest that the significant increase in private sector credit underscores the growing need for businesses to secure funds amidst economic uncertainties and exchange rate volatility.

It also signifies banks’ efforts to comply with regulatory requirements and support economic growth initiatives.

As Nigeria navigates its economic landscape, stakeholders anticipate further developments in credit dynamics and monetary policies to sustain financial stability and stimulate economic expansion.

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Loans

Senate Initiates Probe into N30tn Ways and Means Loans under Buhari Administration

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Muhammadu Buhari

The Nigerian Senate has embarked on a comprehensive investigation into the disbursement and utilization of the N30 trillion Ways and Means loans obtained by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) during the administration of former President Muhammadu Buhari.

The Ways and Means facility allows the CBN to provide financial support to the government to cover budget shortfalls.

The decision to probe the massive loans comes amid concerns about the transparency and accountability surrounding the utilization of these funds, particularly as the country grapples with economic challenges, food crises, rising inflation, and worsening insecurity.

The Senate’s investigation aims to shed light on how the substantial overdrafts from the CBN were acquired and expended under the leadership of former President Buhari.

There is growing apprehension that the indiscriminate spending of the overdrafts, particularly during Godwin Emefiele’s tenure as CBN governor, may have contributed significantly to the current economic predicament facing the nation.

The probe will delve into the details of the N30 trillion overdrafts, with a specific focus on examining the purpose for which the funds were allocated and how they were utilized.

Also, the Senate will scrutinize the N10 trillion disbursed under the Anchor Borrowers Scheme, as well as the utilization of $2.4 billion out of the $7 billion earmarked for forex transactions.

The initiative underscores the Senate’s commitment to ensuring transparency, fiscal responsibility, and prudent financial management in the country’s economic affairs.

It is anticipated that the probe will unearth vital insights into the financial transactions of the past administration, enabling corrective measures to be taken to address any mismanagement or discrepancies discovered.

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