The Minister of Finance and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, has said the federal government will borrow over N11 trillion and sell national assets to finance the budget deficit in 2023.
She also said the government’s budget deficit is expected to exceed N12.42 trillion if it should keep petroleum subsidy for the entire 2023 fiscal cycle.
Mrs Ahmed disclosed this on Monday while appearing before the House of Representatives Committee on Finance to defend the 2023-2025 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP).
Explaining two scenarios of the budget deficit to the committee, the minister said the first option involves retaining the petroleum subsidy for the entire 2023 fiscal year.
According to her, in the first scenario, the deficit is projected to be N12.41 trillion in 2023, up from N7.35 trillion budgeted in 2022, representing 196 per cent of total revenue or 5.50 per cent of the estimated GDP. In this option, she added, the government would spend N6.72 trillion on subsidy.
Mrs Ahmed said the second option involves keeping subsidy till June 2023 and that this scenario will take the deficit to N11.30 trillion, which is 5.01 per cent of the estimated GDP. In this option, PMS subsidy is projected to gulp N3.3 trillion.
She noted that the first option is not likely to be achievable based on the current trend while the second option would require tighter enforcement of the performance management framework for government-owned enterprises that would significantly increase operating surplus in 2023.
The projected deficit under the second option, the minister said, is expected to be financed through new borrowings from local and international sources. This will include a total of N9.32 trillion in new borrowings, comprising N7.4 trillion from domestic sources and N1.8 trillion from foreign sources. The government is expected to generate N206.1 billion from privatisation proceeds and N1.7 trillion in multilateral project-tied loans.
PREMIUM TIMES had reported that the federal government would be spending N18.6 billion daily on PMS
The two proposals have budget deficits far above the stipulated threshold in the Fiscal Responsibility Act.
President of the Senate and Chairman of the National Assembly, Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan; Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt (Hon.) Femi Gbajabiamila, and President Muhammadu Buhari, during the 2020 Budget presentation by the President at the National Assembly on Tuesday, 8th October, 2019.
FILE: President of the Senate and Chairman of the National Assembly, Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan; Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt (Hon.) Femi Gbajabiamila, and President Muhammadu Buhari, during the 2020 Budget presentation by the President at the National Assembly on Tuesday, 8th October, 2019.
According to the existing Act, the deficit must not exceed 3 per cent of the GDP. However, the law makes provision for the President to cross the threshold with the approval of the National Assembly.
Section 12 (1and2) of the Fiscal Responsibility Act reads, “The estimate of:
1). Aggregate expenditure and the aggregate amount appropriated by the National Assembly for each financial year shall not be more than the estimated aggregate revenue plus a deficit, not exceeding three per cent of the estimated Gross Domestic Product or any sustainable percentage as may be determined by the National Assembly for each financial year.
2). Aggregate expenditure for a financial year may exceed the ceiling imposed by the provisions of subsection (1) of this section if in the opinion of the President there is a clear and present threat to national security or sovereignty of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The government is projecting N19.76 trillion as total expenditure under option two, with projected oil daily production fixed at 1.69 million barrels per day at $70 per barrel. The exchange rate has been fixed at N435.57 to a dollar and inflation at 17.16 per cent.
Mrs Ahmed stated that crude oil production challenges and PMS subsidy deduction by NNPC Limited constitute a significant threat to the achievement of our targets, as seen in the 2022 performance up to April.
She noted that the draft MTEF/FSP was prepared against the backdrop of continued global challenges occasioned by lingering COVID-19 pandemic effects, as well as higher food and fuel prices due to the Russia/Ukraine war.
Police Arrests Suspects And Recover Weapons After Rampage In Osun
The Osun State Police Command on Monday disclosed that it has arrested ten persons in connection with the disruption of law and order in Osogbo while trying to take control of motor parks.
Fidel Info reports that Hoodlums, earlier in the day, were on a rampage across Osogbo, Osun state capital shooting sporadically into the air and attacking members of the National Union of Road Transport Workers, NURTW, across major parks in the town.
However, the police, in a statement by its Public Relations Officer, SP Yemisi Opalola, said the security outfit arrested ten suspects and recovered various weapons.
The statement reads partly, “This is to inform the general public that the Osun State Police Command is aware and frowns at the crises that erupted within the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) in the state.”
“The Commissioner of Police, CP Faleye Olaleye, swiftly charged the Area Commanders, Divisional Police Officers, and Tactical Commanders to ensure the situation is brought under control and arrest culprits.”
“Consequently, the Police operatives tactical operation led to the arrest of Ten (10) Suspects and recovery of One (1) Barretta pistol, Two (2) Pump Action, Two (2) Barrel guns, Nine (9) live and Four (4) expended cartridges, Five (5) cutlasses and charms.”
“The Commissioner of Police wishes to assure the general public that the Police Command is fully on top of the situation as Mobile/Conventional/Tactical/Patrol teams have been deployed to curtail the crises and advice members of the public to go about their lawful businesses/work without fear of insecurity or attacks.”
“He, therefore, sternly warned that anyone found culpable in these unwarranted violence/attacks will face the full wrath of the law.”
Nigeria Has Enough Food To Feed All Residents – FG
The nation has enough food to feed every resident, according to Dr. Mohammad Abubakar, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Fidel Info reports that this was disclosed by Abubakar during his presentation at the fifth meeting of the “PMB Administration Scorecard 2015-2023 Series,” which took place on Monday at Radio House in Abuja.
The Minister attributed the country’s soaring food prices to both inflation and the effects of the Covid-19 outbreak, which led many nations, including Nigeria, to halt vital economic activity for months.
According to him, the ministry is building 10 large-scale integrated rice mills with a daily capacity of 320 metric tonnes in Jigawa, Kano, Adamawa, Niger, Kaduna, Gombe, Ekiti, Ogun, Bayelsa, and the Federal Capital Territory, in addition to assisting in the production and distribution of breeder, foundation, and certified rice seeds for farmers, all of which are intended to increase the nation’s food supply.
He added that the number of fertilizer factories has expanded from eight to 200 as a result of the presidential fertilizer initiative, which was started in 2016 and increased production from 300,000 metric tonnes to seven million metric tonnes.
He said, “We have enough food to take care of Nigerians. We are producing food across the country and we will continue to do so to feed Nigerians in line with our mandate and expedite the transformation of the rural communities of Nigeria.
“As it is today, many parts of the world, including our own country are yet to fully recover from the negative effects of the pandemic, which has triggered inflation and high food costs across the world.”
“The fact that some categories of food are imported by Nigeria is not an indication that we have food shortages. The high cost of food that we experience in the country is a result of rising inflation, which is not peculiar to Nigeria but due to the Covid-19 pandemic that forced many sectors of economic production to be shut down for many months.”
He also noted that the ministry was also constructing two 2000 metric tonnes specialized warehouses for the storage of food commodities at federal government-retained silo complexes in Irrua, Edo State and Ilesha, Osun State.
He said, “In a bid to ensure that the country had enough food to eat, the ministry has procured 79,277.30 metric tonnes of food commodities between 2020 and 2021 to replenish the national strategic reserve that was depleted by Covid-19 release and relief to the Poultry Association of Nigeria in 2021.”
Despite his assurance that the federal government has started taking action to eliminate such confrontations, Abubakar stated that he was unsure whether pastoralists purposely let loose their animals.
He said, “One of the measures to checkmate herders’/farmers’ conflicts is the introduction of the National Livestock Development Programme and the proposal to have ranching and grazing reserves across the country.”
Adeleke Clashes With Osun Assembly On Renaming State
On Monday, the Osun State House of Assembly disapproved of Senator Ademola Adeleke’s move to change the name of the state from “State of Osun” to “Osun State,” who had just been sworn in as governor.
Fidel Info reports that the Assembly stated that no one can use force to change the state’s anthem, crest, or flag because they are enactments of laws that were approved on December 18, 2012.
Adeleke changed the state’s name from “State of Osun” to “Osun State” and its nickname from “The State of the Virtues” to “The State of the Living Spring” during his inauguration on Sunday, November 27, 2022.
Additionally, as of July 7, 2022, Adeleke revoked all appointments made by the outgoing governor, Adegboyega Oyetola.
Additionally, he mandated the freezing of all government bank accounts and stated that all decisions made by the Oyetola-led administration as of July 17 will be reviewed.
The House issued a press release on Monday, November 28, 2022, to refute the governor’s decision. It was written by Moshood Kunle Akande, the chairman of the House Committee on Media and Publicity. It read, “The State of Osun House of Assembly having reviewed the inaugural speech of the Governor and the activities of the inauguration hereby resolves as follows;
“The usage of the State Anthem, Crest, and Flag is an enactment of the law and as such, its usage is a matter of law and not choice.
“The enactment ‘State of Osun Anthem, Crest and Flag Law, 2012’ assented to on December 18, 2012, contained in Schedule 1, II, III, IV and V, which carefully details every component of this law is not in ambiguity.
“Schedule I is the State Anthem, Schedule II has to do with the State Crest, and Schedule III is the symbolic significance of the elements in the Flag.
“Lastly, while we are aware of a court judgment in effect recognizing ‘Osun State, the Assembly, pending the determination and exhaustion of all legal means would not be drawn into this matter.”
The lawmakers further said that the state will continue to be described as the “State of Osun” and “Ipinle Omulabi” (State of the Virtuous).
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