New Nigeria govt to inherit N77tn debt – DMO
The Federal Government has hinted that public debt may rise from N44.06tn to N77tn at the end of the year and this will be passed on to the new administration.
Director-General of the Debt Management Office, Ms Patience Oniha, said that if efforts to securitise the Ways & Means were successful, N22. 7 trillion would be added to the public debt in a transparent manner.
She disclosed this on Wednesday during the public presentation of the 2023 budget organised by the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Dr Zainab Ahmed.
Oniha said, “The DMO released the figure for the country’s debt stock as at September, you don’t expect it to be significantly different from December. Secondly, there are a lot of discussions on the Ways and Means. In addition to the significant costs saving in loans service we would get by securitizing it.
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- New Nigeria govt to inherit N77tn debt – DMO
“There is an element of transparency in the sense that it is now reflected in the public debt stock. Once it is passed by the National Assembly, it means we will be seeing that figure included in the public debt. You will see a significant increase in public debt to N77tn.”
The DG added that for the nation’s debt stock to decrease, revenue discussions must take the centrestage in order to ramp up that aspect of the budget.
In his remarks, the Director-General of the Budget Office of the Federation, Mr Ben Akabueze, said “Let’s take budget discussions to the revenue side.”
He stated, “Unless we fix the revenue side of the budget, the concerns about borrowing will not be addressed.”
He added that the challenge of reducing the recurrent budget, in order to increase the capital budget was difficult, explaining that nothing much could be done to reduce personnel cost, which was taking much of the non-debt recurrent.
Akabueze disagreed with claims that the Federal Government workforce was over-bloated.
For the year’s budget, the recurrent (non-debt) spending is estimated to amount to N8.33tn, inclusive of N200 billion social investment programme, while aggregate capital expenditure of N6.46tn is 30% of total expenditure; and 3.5% lower than the 2022 budget (inclusive of the capital component of statutory transfers, capital & project-tied loans expenditures).
At N6.31tn, debt service is put at 29% of total expenditure, which is 71% higher than the 2022 estimates as it includes an interest payment of N1.2 trillion for Ways & Means.
CBN releases more cash, orders banks to open Saturday, Sunday
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says it has directed all commercial banks to open for operation on Saturdays and Sundays.
It also said more banknotes had been evacuated from its vaults to commercial banks across the country.
A statement by the spokesman for the CBN, Isa Abdulmumin, said the measures were part of coordinated efforts to ease the circulation of banknotes of various denominations.
It said a substantial amount of money, in various denominations, had been received by the commercial banks for onward circulation to their respective customers.
He said the CBN had directed all banks to load their automated teller machines (ATMs) as well as conduct physical operations in the banking halls through the weekends.
“Branches of commercial banks will operate on Saturdays and Sundays to attend to customers’ cash needs,” the statement added.
Abdulmumin said the CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, would personally lead teams to monitor the level of compliance by the banks in various locations across the country.
He urged Nigerians to be patient as the current cash shortage would ease soon with the injection of more banknotes into circulation.
How N4.8tn annual fuel subsidy made Nigeria poorer – NNPC
Nigeria’s petrol subsidy regime has been “fuelling the vicious cycle of poverty” , the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited has said.
A total of 133 million Nigerians are said to be living in poverty.
Lawal Musa, Senior Business Advisor to Mele Kyari, group chief executive officer (GCEO) of NNPC, said the Federal Government spends as much as N4.8 trillion annually on petrol subsidy — at the expense of the wellbeing of Nigerians.
He stated this at a joint National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS)/Civil Society Organisations (CSOs).
In a presentation titled, “Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) and the Nigerian economy’’, he said the amount spent on petrol subsidy payments could deliver infrastructural projects to the citizens.
Musa said deregulation of petrol prices could deliver 500,000 new houses and skill up of 2 million Nigerian students, among others.
According to him, the amount spent on subsidy could provide 7,500 kilometers of road network at N400 million per kilometre and 37 well-equipped 120-bed tertiary health centres at N32 billion per hospital annually.
He added that the subsidy spend could deliver N12 trillion in four years to Nigeria, adding that the cost of petrol subsidy surpasses the direct benefits to the masses.
In addition, the NNPC GCEO adviser said deregulation of PMS prices could also provide additional 27,000 megawatts of electricity to Nigerians as well as build and equip 2,400 hospitals in 774 local government areas.
Nigeria is the largest producer of crude oil in Africa, possessing 28 percent of Africa’s reserve, with petroleum contributing significantly to the country’s economy,” he said.
“The benefits derived have over the years been eroded due to the amount paid on subsidy, a regime [that] has been fuelling the vicious circle (sic) of poverty in the country.”
Musa explained that petrol was sold at the lowest price in Nigeria, among most West African countries, in spite of the average cost of $2.7 per litre globally, which amounted to about N570 per litre.
He noted that verifiable petrol demand data is critical to national planning and energy security.
On his part, Garba Deen Muhammad, NNPC’s spokesperson, said the organisation was engaging with students as critical stakeholders in the new organisation, which he said belonged to over 200 million Nigerians — including the students.
Muhammad said the engagement, which would be done annually, was aimed at enlightening the students and CSOs on NNPC as a new entity, registered by the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), under the Company and Allied Matters Act (CAMA).
Nigeria Air will commence operation before May 29 – FG
The Federal Government says the new national carrier, Nigeria Air, will commence operation before the end of the current administration on May 29.
Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, disclosed this in Abuja on Thursday.
He spoke amid worry about a lingering court case instituted against the project by airline operators of Nigeria.
Sirika gave the assurances during the National Aviation Stakeholders Forum 2023.
He said the Federal Government was already taking measures to overcome the hurdles introduced by the indigenous airlines.
According to him, the project is 98 per cent completed.
“All of the road map items except, perhaps the airline, which in my opinion is at 98 per cent completion, and we will fly within the remaining two months by the grace of God,” the minister said.
“We will also finish the concessions. So, all those things we said we would do when we came in, we did them.”
The minister described as unfair the action of the local airlines, adding that the Buhari government had supported local airlines more than all previous governments.
He accused them of constituting a stumbling block to the actualisation of the national carrier expected to generate new jobs and better opportunities in the industry.
He said the Nigerian Aviation industry is the only one in the world where qualified pilots are without jobs.
He said 50 pilots had come to him complaining about their unemployment status, adding that the national carrier should be able to employ more pilots and create other job opportunities.
He said Ethiopian Airlines, the offered bidder for the national carrier, is highly competent and profitable enough to add value to the Nigerian aviation sector.
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