- FG Urged to Diversify Economy to Avert Debt Crisis
Analysts at FSDH Merchant Bank Limited have stressed the need for the federal government to urgently implement policies that will grow and diversify the revenue base of the country to avoid imminent debt crisis.
In a report made available, they maintained that Nigeria’s rising debt profile remains higher than revenue growth, adding that Nigeria has the lowest government revenue to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ratio at six per cent among some selected countries.
The experts added that Nigeria’s over dependency on crude oil revenue, combined with volatility in both the price and production of crude oil are major reasons for sluggish growth in government revenue.
According to them, “Growing non-oil revenue will require that the Nigerian economic environment has inherent structures that can support business growth. Such structures include adequate physical infrastructure, policies, legal and regulatory frameworks that will make the economy business friendly to generate taxable profits.
“Our analysis of the ratio of the interest payment on domestic debt relative to the federal government’s allocation from the Federal Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) shows that the FGN is spending too much of its revenue to pay interest on loans. This leaves the government with little resources to spend on critical sectors of the economy that could support strong growth and maintain a healthy economy to generate revenue.”
The analysts added that the current high interest payment relative to revenue may also increase the credit risk of the country.
“Although the government has been able to meet its debt obligations (interest and principal payments) so far, if the current situation is not addressed, the interest rate on government loans may increase because of the perceived elevated risk. This would also lead to higher interest rates for private sector operators.
“It is important to note that the external environment is becoming tighter than before because of the rising interest rate in the United States.
“The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) of the US Federal Reserve increased the Federal Funds Rate by 0.25 per cent to a range of 2 per cent to 2.25 per cent on 26 September 2018. FSDH Research predicts the FOMC will still announce another rate increase before the end of the year. This development will increase the borrowing cost on any new Dollar denominated loan.
“Consequently, borrowing in the international market is no longer as attractive as it was before. It is crucial, therefore, to structure the Nigerian economy to enable it to generate revenue and rely less on borrowing to meet its basic needs, “they explained.
Brent Crude Oil Maintains $43 Per Barrel Despite Surge in US Inventories
Brent Crude Oil Sustains Upsurge Despite Rising US Inventories
Brent crude oil, against which Nigerian oil is priced, sustained its upsurge at $43 per barrel on Wednesday during the London trading session despite a report showing a build-up in the U.S. crude inventories in the week ended July 3, 2020.
According to the U.S Energy Information Administration (EIA) report released on Tuesday, crude oil production in the U.S is expected to decline by just 70,000 barrels per day from the 670,000 bpd previously predicted to 600,000 bpd.
While this was below the projected decline, it also points to a build-up in U.S stockpiles and suggested that oil production from the world’s largest economy may not decline as previously projected in 2020.
“The EIA’s forecast of a lower decline in U.S. output was partially offset by its outlook for firm demand recovery, which limited losses in oil markets,” Hiroyuki Kikukawa, general manager of research at Nissan Securities said.
“Still, expectations that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allies would taper oil output cuts from August and softer U.S. equities added to pressure,” he said.
The EIA projected that global oil demand will recover through the end of 2021 as demand was predicted to hit 101.1 million barrels per day in the fourth quarter of the year.
Illegal Withdrawals: Rep To Investigate NNPC, NLNG Over $1.05bn
Rep To Investigate NNPC, NLNG Over Illegal Withdrawal of $1.05bn from NLNG Account
The Nigerian House of Representatives has concluded plans to investigate illegal withdrawal of $1.05 billion from the account of the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas Limited (NLNG) by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
The decision followed the adoption of a motion titled ‘Need to Investigate the Illegal Withdrawals from the NLNG Dividends Account by the Management of NNPC’ moved by the Minority Leader, Ndudi Elumelu, on Tuesday.
The House adopted the motion and mandated its Committee on Public Accounts to “invite the management of the NNPC as well as that of the NLNG, to conduct a thorough investigation on activities that have taken place on the dividends account and report back to the House in four weeks.”
Elumelu said, “The House is aware that the dividends from the NLNG are supposed to be paid into the Consolidated Revenue Funds account of the Federal Government and to be shared amongst the three tiers of government.
“The House is worried that the NNPC, which represents the government of Nigeria on the board of the NLNG, had unilaterally, without the required consultations with states and the mandatory appropriation from the National Assembly, illegally tampered with the funds at the NLNG dividends account to the tune of $1.05bn, thereby violating the nation’s appropriation law.
“The House is disturbed that there was no transparency in this extra-budgetary spending, as only the Group Managing Director and the corporation’s Chief Financial Officer had the knowledge of how the $1.05bn was spent.
“The House is concerned that there are no records showing the audit and recovery of accrued funds from the NLNG by the Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation, hence the need for a thorough investigation of the activities on the NLNG dividends account.”
FG Gives Radio, Tv Stations Debt Relief, Writes Off 60 Percent Debt
FG Reduces Tv, Radio Stations Licence Fee by 30%, Writes Off 60% Debt
The Federal Government has reduced the existing licence fee paid by all open terrestrial radio and television stations by 30 percent.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, disclosed this at a press conference in Abuja on Monday.
He said the Federal Government has also decided to write off 60 percent of the N7 billion loan owed the government by television and radio stations.
He explained that the N7 billion is the total outstanding from television and radio stations on the renewal of their operating licences.
Mohammed, however, said for any station to benefit from the 60 percent debt relief, such a station must be ready and willing to pay the remaining 40 percent within the next three months.
According to him, the debt relief offer would open on July 10th and close on the 6th of October.
Mohammed said, “According to the NBC, many Nigerian radio and television stations remain indebted to the Federal Government to the tune of N7bn.
“Also, many of the stations are faced with the reality that their licences will not be renewed, in view of their indebtedness.
“Against this background, the management of the NBC has therefore recommended, and the Federal Government has accepted, the following measures to revamp the broadcast industry and to help reposition it for the challenges of business, post-COVID-19:
“(a) 60 per cent debt forgiveness for all debtor broadcast stations in the country; (b) the criterion for enjoying the debt forgiveness is for debtor stations to pay 40 per cent of their existing debt within the next three months.
“(c) Any station that is unable to pay the balance of 40 per cent indebtedness within the three-month window shall forfeit the opportunity to enjoy the stated debt forgiveness.
“(d) The existing license fee is further discounted by 30 per cent for all open terrestrial radio and television services effective July 10, 2020.
“(e) The debt forgiveness shall apply to functional licensed terrestrial radio and television stations only. (f) The debt forgiveness and discount shall not apply to pay TV service operators in Nigeria.”
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