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Full President Buhari Speech While Laying The 2021 Budget Before The National Assembly

His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, the President, Federal Republic of Nigeria, laid the 2021 Budget, At the Joint Session of the National Assembly, Abuja. Today Thursday, 8th October 2020.

PROTOCOLS

  1. It is with pleasure that I present the 2021 Federal Budget Proposals to this Joint Session of the National Assembly.
  2. Distinguished and Honourable Leaders, and Members of the National Assembly, at this juncture, I wish to commend your tremendous efforts in approving the revision of the 2020 – 2022 Medium-Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper, and passage of the 2020 Appropriation (Repeal and Amendment) Act, in response to the Coronavirus Pandemic.
  3. Today marks an important occasion in our quest to accord the federal budget process the seriousness it deserves. In line with our commitment, we have worked extra hard to ensure early submission of the 2021 –2023 Medium-term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper, as well as the 2021 Appropriation Bill. It is my sincere hope that the National Assembly will pass this Bill into law early enough to enable implementation by 1st January 2021, given the collaborative manner in which the budget was prepared.
  4. In the course of this address, I will present the highlights of our budget proposals for the next fiscal year. The Honourable Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning will, later, provide the full details of these proposals.

Recent Developments

  1. The 2021 Budget was prepared amidst a challenging global and domestic environment due to the persistent headwinds from the Coronavirus Pandemic. The resulting global economic recession, low oil prices and heightened global economic uncertainty have had important implications for our economy.
  2. The Nigerian economy is currently facing serious challenges, with the macroeconomic environment being significantly disrupted by the Coronavirus Pandemic. Real Gross Domestic Product (‘GDP’) growth declined by 6.1 percent in the second quarter of 2020. This ended the 3-year trend of positive, but modest, real GDP growth recorded since the second quarter of 2017. I am glad to note that, through our collective efforts, our economy performed relatively better than that of many other developed and emerging economies.
  3. GDP growth is projected to be negative in the third quarter of this year. As such, our economy may lapse into the second recession in four years, with significant adverse consequences. However, we are working assiduously to ensure a rapid recovery in 2021. We remain committed to implementing programmes to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty over the next 10 years.
  4. As skills’ deficits limit employment opportunities in the formal economy, various skills’ development programmes are being implemented simultaneously to address this problem frontally. For instance, the Government is implementing the Special Public Works programme to provide employment opportunities to 774,000 youths across the 774 local government areas of Nigeria. We have also recently introduced the N75 billion Nigeria Youth Investment Fund, of which N25 billion have been provided in 2021 Budget.
  5. We thank all Nigerians, for your perseverance and continued support during these difficult times. We remain unwavering in our commitment to actualize our vision of a bright future for everyone.

Performance of the 2020 Budget

  1. Distinguished and Honourable Members of the National Assembly, you will recall that the 2020 ‘Budget of Sustaining Growth and Job Creation’ was amended in response to recent fiscal pressures. I am glad to report that these efforts enabled us to effectively respond to the public health challenge of Coronavirus outbreak and moderate economic impact.
  2. Pursuant to our revised assumptions, the amended 2020 Budget was based on a benchmark oil price of 28 US Dollars per barrel; oil production of 1.80 million barrels per day; and exchange rate of N360 to the US Dollar.
  3. Based on these budget parameters, aggregate revenue of N5.84 trillion was projected to fund N10.81 trillion in expenditure. The projected deficit of N4.98 trillion, or 3.57 percent of GDP, is expected to be financed mainly by borrowing.
  4. In 2020, average daily oil production was 1.88 mbpd up to June, as against the revised estimate of 1.80 mbpd for the entire year. However, the market price of Bonny Light crude averaged 40.79 US Dollars per barrel, significantly higher than the revised benchmark price of 28 US Dollars.
  5. As at July 2020, the Federal Government’s actual revenue available for the budget was N2.10 trillion. This revenue performance was only 68 percent of our pro-rated target in the revised 2020 budget. At N992.45 billion, oil revenue performed well above our budget target, by 168 percent. Non-oil tax revenues totalled N692.83 billion, which was 73 percent of the revised target.
  6. To improve independent revenue performance, I have directed that the cost profiles of Government Owned Enterprises (‘GOEs’) should be scrutinized and limits imposed on their cost-to-revenue ratios. Supervising Ministers have also been directed to ensure closer monitoring of the revenue generating activities and expenditures of the Government Owned Enterprises.
  7. On the expenditure side, as at end of July 2020, a total of N5.37 trillion had been spent as against the pro-rated expenditure of N5.82 trillion. Accordingly, the deficit was N3.27 trillion. This represents 66 percent of the revised budgeted deficit for the full year.
  8. Despite these challenges, we met our debt service obligations. We are also up to date on the payment of statutory transfers and staff salaries, while overhead costs have been significantly covered.
  9. For the first time in recent years, we commenced the implementation of this year’s capital budget in the first quarter. As at 15th September 2020 a total of about N1.2 trillion had been released for capital projects. Every Federal MDA has received at least 50 percent of its 2020 capital expenditure budget, in line with my earlier directives.
  10. Let me emphasise that revenue generation remains our major challenge. Nevertheless, Government is determined to tackle the persisting problems with domestic resource mobilization, as there is a limit to deficit financing through borrowing. The time has come for us to maintain a healthy balance between meeting our growing expenditure commitments and our long-term public financial health.

Key Achievements in the 2020 Fiscal Year

  1. Over the last year, this Administration has implemented several priority projects. I am happy to report that much progress has been made on several fronts and our Government has delivered on key policies, programmes and projects in these priority areas.
  2. In agriculture, we have recorded appreciable success in rice and other crops mainly through the Anchor Borrowers Programme and the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative, anchored by the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority, respectively. We are also accelerating the construction of 337 rural roads around key agricultural corridors to enhance access to market and reduce post-harvest losses. These efforts have reduced the adverse impact of Coronavirus on our food availability, prices and security.
  3. We have made progress on the railway projects connecting different parts of the country. The Lagos-Ibadan Line will soon be operational. The Abuja-Kaduna Line is running efficiently. The Itakpe-Ajaokuta Line was finally completed after over 30 years since it was initiated and commissioned in September 2020.
  4. Arrangements are underway to complete the Ibadan-Kano Line. Also, work will soon commence on the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri Line and Calabar-Lagos Coastal Line, which will connect the Southern and Eastern States to the North, and the South-South as well as South-East to the North, and South-West, respectively.
  5. The Second Niger Bridge is at about 46 percent completion. We hope to commission the project before the end of our tenure in 2023. We have awarded several contracts to rehabilitate, reconstruct and construct major arterial roads, in order to reduce the hardship to commuters and increase economic activity.
  6. To bridge the infrastructure deficit, we are also implementing innovative financing strategies to pull-in private sector investment. The Infrastructure Company, which I recently approved, will become a world-class infrastructure development vehicle, wholly focused on making critical infrastructural investments in Nigeria. This Infrastructure Company will raise funding from the Central Bank of Nigeria, the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority, the Africa Finance Corporation, pension funds as well as local and foreign private sector development financiers.
  7. Under the Road Infrastructure Tax Credit Scheme, we are undertaking the construction and rehabilitation of over 780km of roads and bridges, nationwide, to be financed by the grant of tax credits to investing business. Ongoing projects under this scheme include:

a. Construction and Rehabilitation of Lokoja-Obajana-Kabba-Ilorin Road Section II (Obajana-Kabba) in Kogi and Kwara States;

b. Construction of Apapa-Oworonshoki-Ojota Expressway in Lagos State; and

c. Construction of Bodo-Bonny road with a Bridge across the Opobo Channel in Rivers State.

  1. To enhance good governance, we strengthened our anti-corruption agencies to ensure they work independently and jointly, while respecting the rule of law. We have also worked to address emergent cases of insecurity and insurgency, nationwide, with innovative approaches. Our security operations in the Niger Delta, North Central and North West are yielding desired results. We are determined to get rid of bandits, kidnappers and criminal behaviour from our midst.

Theme & Priorities of the 2021 Budget

  1. Distinguished Senators; Honourable Members; let me now turn to the 2021 Appropriation Bill, which is designed to further deliver on the goals of our Economic Sustainability Plan. This Plan provides a clear road map for our post- Coronavirus economic recovery as a transitional plan to take us from the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (2017 – 2020) to the successor Medium-Term National Development Plan (2021 – 2025).
  2. In view of the many challenges confronting us, we must accelerate our economic recovery process, promote social inclusion and strengthen the resilience of the economy. The 2021 Appropriation has, therefore, been themed the ‘Budget of Economic Recovery and Resilience’. It is expected to accelerate the pace of our economic recovery, promote economic diversification, enhance competitiveness and ensure social inclusion.

Parameters & Fiscal Assumptions Underpinning the 2021 Appropriation

  1. Distinguished Members of the National Assembly, the 2021 – 2023 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper set out the parameters for the 2021 Budget, which include:

a. Benchmark oil price of 40 US Dollars per barrel;

b. Daily oil production estimate of 1.86 million barrels (inclusive of Condensates of 300,000 to 400,000 barrels per day);

c. Exchange rate of N379 per US Dollar; and

d. GDP growth projected at 3.0 percent and inflation closing at 11.95 percent.

Finance Bill 2020

  1. Distinguished and Honourable Members; I have directed the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning to finalise the Finance Bill 2020, which will be forwarded for your kind consideration and passage into law, shortly after today’s 2021 Budget presentation. The Finance Bill is to support the realization of our 2021 revenue projections, adopt appropriate counter-cyclical fiscal policies and enhance the efficiency of fiscal incentives.

Tax Expenditure Statement

  1. In compliance with the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2007, we will prepare and publish, a Tax Expenditures Statement for 2019. The 2019 Statement will be the first of these annual Statements, setting out the estimated cost of tax exemptions, incentives and rebates provided under Nigeria’s revenue and other laws. The 2019 Statement is expected to contribute to public discussion on the use of our tax policies and system to achieve socio-economic development.

Federal Government Revenue Estimates

  1. Based on the foregoing fiscal assumptions and parameters, total federally distributable revenue is estimated at N8.433 trillion in 2021. Total revenue available to fund the 2021 Federal Budget is estimated at N7.886 trillion. This includes Grants and Aid of N354.85 billion as well as the revenues of 60 Government-Owned Enterprises.
  2. Oil revenue is projected at N2.01 trillion. Non-oil revenue is estimated at N1.49 trillion. As you will observe, the format of the 2021 Appropriation Bill has been modified to include budgeted revenues, no matter how small, for each MDA, to focus on internal revenue generation. Accordingly, I implore you to pay as much attention to the revenue side as you do to the expenditure side.

Planned 2021 Expenditure

  1. An aggregate expenditure of N13.08 trillion is proposed for the Federal Government in 2021. This includes N1.35 trillion spending by Government-Owned Enterprises and Grants and Aid funded expenditures of N354.85 billion. For 2021, the proposed N13.08 trillion expenditure comprises:

a. Non-debt Recurrent Costs of N5.65 trillion;

b. Personnel Costs of N3.76 trillion;

c. Pensions, Gratuities and Retirees’ Benefits of N501.19 billion;

d. Overheads of N625.50 billion;

e. Debt Service of N3.124 trillion;

f. Statutory Transfers of N484.49 billion; and

g. Sinking Fund of N220 billion (to retire certain maturing bonds).

Fiscal Balance

  1. The 2021 Budget deficit (inclusive of Government Owned Enterprises and project-tied loans), is projected at N5.20 trillion. This represents 3.64 percent of estimated GDP, slightly above the 3 percent threshold set by the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007. It is, however, to be noted that we still face the existential challenge of Coronavirus Pandemic and its aftermath; I believe that this provides a justification to exceed the threshold as provided for by this law.
  2. The deficit will be financed mainly by new borrowings totalling N4.28 trillion, N205.15 billion from Privatization Proceeds and N709.69 billion in drawdowns on multilateral and bilateral loans secured for specific projects and programmes.

Statutory Transfers

  1. The sum of N484.49 billion provided for Statutory Transfers in the 2021 Budget represents an increase of N56.46 billion (or 13 percent) over the revised 2020 provision. The Statutory Transfer provisions are:

a. Niger Delta Development Commission – N63.51 billion;

b. North East Development Commission – N29.70 billion;

c. National Judicial Council – N110.00 billion;

d. Universal Basic Education Commission – N70.05 billion;

e. Independent National Electoral Commission – N40.00 billion;

f. National Assembly – N128.00 billion;

g. Public Complaints Commission – N5.20 billion;

h. Human Rights Commission – N3.00 billion; and

i. Basic Health Care Provision Fund – N35.03 billion.

  1. In compliance with the Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007, all beneficiaries of Statutory Transfers will be required to provide the Budget Office of the Federation with periodic reports on the allocation and expenditure of funds for inclusion in the quarterly Budget Implementation Report.

Recurrent Expenditure

  1. In our efforts to enhance national security and human capital development, a major part of the 2021 recurrent cost estimate is allocated to paying salaries and overheads in MDAs providing these critical public services. These include:

a. N227.02 billion for the Ministry of Interior;

b. N441.39 billion for the Ministry of Police Affairs;

c. N545.10 billion for Ministry of Education;

d. N840.56 billion for Ministry of Defence; and

e. N380.21 billion for Ministry of Health.

Personnel Costs

  1. Personnel cost is still our largest single item of expenditure. In the 7 months to 31st July 2020, it accounted for 34 percent of total Federal Government spending and is projected at 33 percent of 2021 expenditure.
  2. To check the incidence of payments to non-existent personnel and unauthorised allowances, only Federal staff that have been captured on the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (‘IPPIS’) platform will receive salaries.
  3. All agencies have been directed to ensure that they obtain all necessary approvals before embarking on any fresh recruitment. Any breach of these directives will be severely sanctioned.

Debt Service

  1. We remain committed to meeting our debt service obligations. Hence, we have provisioned N3.12 trillion for this in 2021, representing an increase of N445.57 billion from N2.68 trillion in 2020. A total of N2.183 trillion has been set aside to service domestic debts while N940.89 billion has been provided for foreign debt service. N220 billion is provided for transfers to the Sinking Fund to pay off maturing bonds issued to local contractors and creditors.

Overhead Costs

  1. Total overhead costs of MDAs and Government Owned Enterprises are projected to rise to N625.50 billion in 2021, mainly due to the inclusion of the overheads of an additional 50 Government Owned Enterprises. Overhead provisions have also been made for newly created agencies. To keep a tab on running costs, MDAs must adhere to extant expenditure controls.

Capital Expenditure

  1. An aggregate sum of N3.85 trillion is expected to be available for capital projects in 2021, as summarised below:

a. N1.80 trillion for MDAs’ capital expenditure;

b. N745 billion for Capital Supplementation;

c. N355 billion for Grants and Aid-funded projects;

d. N20 billion for the Family Homes Fund;

e. N25 billion for the Nigeria Youth Investment fund;

f. N336 billion for 60 Government Owned Enterprises;

g. N247 billion for capital component of Statutory Transfers; and

h. N710 billion for projects funded by Multi-lateral and Bi-lateral loans.

  1. The 2021 capital budget is N1.15 trillion higher than the 2020 provision of N2.69 trillion. At 29 percent of aggregate expenditure, the provision moves closer to this Administration’s policy target of 30 percent.
  2. Capital expenditure in 2021 remains focused on the completion of as many ongoing projects as possible, rather than the commencement of new ones. We have also made efforts to ensure equity in the distribution of projects and programmes in the proposed budget. I will be providing the National Assembly a list of some of the most critical projects which we must work collectively to ensure they receive adequate funding. Until projects reach completion, they do not deliver the dividends of democracy that Nigerians rightly deserve.

Highlights of the 2021 Capital Projects

  1. Key capital spending allocations in the 2021 Budget include:

a. Power: N198 billion (inclusive of N150 billion for the Power Sector Recovery Plan);

b. Works and Housing: N404 billion;

c. Transportation: N256 billion;

d. Defence: N121 billion;

e. Agriculture and Rural Development: N110 billion;

f. Water Resources: N153 billion;

g. Industry, Trade and Investment: N51 billion;

h. Education: N127 billion;

i. Universal Basic Education Commission: N70 billion;

j. Health: N132 billion;

k. Zonal Intervention Projects: N100 billion; and

l. Niger Delta Development Commission: N64 billion.

  1. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development will facilitate the integrated development of its sector by promoting crops’ value chains; as well as providing rural roads, water and sanitation, veterinary and pest controls, grazing, food and strategic reserves, and access to inputs and extension services.
  2. The 157 percent increase in the capital allocation to the health sector is to enhance the capacity to deliver healthcare services through the procurement of equipment, vaccines and other facilities. Two centres of excellence, as well as one Accident and Emergency Centre, will be equipped in Federal Teaching Hospitals in each geopolitical zone.
  3. In addition, numerous Primary Health Care Centres will be equipped and upgraded across the six geopolitical zones. Furthermore, funds have been allocated for the expansion of Midwives Service Scheme in the six geopolitical zones. To enhance occupational safety, funds have been provided for the provision of Personal Protective Equipment for health workers.
  4. The Ministry of Education’s capital allocation has been increased by 65 percent to improve the education of our children. Funds have been provided for the provision of scholarship awards to Nigerian students at home and abroad.
  5. We have provided funds for the upgrade of security and other infrastructural facilities in our Unity Colleges nationwide. To improve access to education, we have made provision for the establishment of five new Federal Science and Technical Colleges. We have also provided for the payment of allowances to 5,000 teachers under the Federal Teachers Scheme.
  6. In line with our commitment to invest in Transportation Infrastructure, capital allocation to the Works and Housing sector is to facilitate the completion of several critical projects in 2021. I have directed the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning to provide a detailed breakdown of key infrastructural projects in her subsequent Press Briefing.
  7. Key projects for implementation in the Power sector include several Rural Electrification Projects in the 36 States and Abuja, Rural Electrification Access Programme in Federal Universities, the Kaduna LPFO Gas Fired power Plant, the Mambilla Hydro Power Project and the Zungeru Hydropower Project.
  8. Provisions have been made for legacy debts owed to local contractors compensation and resettlement of project-affected communities, the Renewable Energy Micro Utility (Solar) project, and the construction of transmission lines and substations nationwide. These project’s implementation is expected to have positive impact on electricity supply nationwide, as well as boost productivity and employment.
  9. Projects to be implemented by the Ministry of Water Resources in 2021 include provision of potable water in the North East, construction of irrigation and dams across the country, and the provision of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene facilities.
  10. The Ministry of Transportation has earmarked funds for projects such as the Lagos-Ibadan-Kano Line, Abuja-Kaduna Line, Port-Harcourt-Maiduguri Line and Itakpe-Ajaokuta-Warri Line. These projects, when completed, will minimize the cost of transporting people and goods around the country.
  11. To maintain the peace in the Niger Delta region for economic and social activities to thrive, the provision of N65 billion for the Presidential Amnesty Programme has been retained in the 2021 Budget. In addition, the sum of N63.51 billion has been appropriated for the Niger Delta Development Commission and N24.27 billion has been provided for the capital projects of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs. These allocations should further support the development of the region by facilitating the completion of important ongoing projects, such as the East-West Road.

Government Fiscal Strategy in 2021

  1. The government is already implementing several measures to overcome our fiscal constraints. In addition to the Strategic Revenue Growth Initiatives, we are leveraging technology and automation, as well as more effective monitoring of Independently Generated Revenues. Our efforts are aimed at addressing revenue leakages and redirecting scarce resources to the poor and vulnerable. These efforts include:

a. Deregulation of the price of petroleum products;

b. Ongoing verification exercise with IPPIS; and

c. Implementation of service-based electricity tariffs.

  1. The new petrol pricing regime has freed up resources that was allocated to subsidise petroleum products. Similarly, the ongoing IPPIS verification exercise has closed gaps that encourage ghost workers or pensioners. The service reflective electricity tariffs will help resolve liquidity crisis in the power sector and make the sector attractive to foreign investment. These reforms have released trillions of Naira for allocation to other priority areas.
  2. Distinguished Senators, Honourable Members, permit me to reiterate that the main thrust of our capital spending programme in 2021 is the completion of as many ongoing projects as possible across the country. Accordingly, we have prioritized projects that can be rapidly completed to benefit our people.
  3. Distinguished Senators and Honourable Members, I note, with satisfaction, your determination to promptly consider and pass the Petroleum Industry Bill into law. The enactment of this Bill will boost confidence and attract further investments into our oil and gas sector, as well as increase revenues.
  4. I fully understand the difficulties many of our people are going through with the implementation of our reform agenda. However, the measures we are implementing are necessary for sustainable public finance, better allocation of our scarce resources and improved public service delivery. As we implement these reforms, social safety nets will be implemented to cushion the effect of the most vulnerable of our citizens as well as business owners.
  5. In furtherance of our inclusiveness agenda, the sum of N420 billion has been provided to sustain the Social Investment Programme. N20 billion has also been set aside for the Family Homes Fund, our Social Housing Programme. We have expanded our National Social Register, to include an additional one million Nigerians following the onset of Coronavirus. We recently introduced the N75 billion Survival Fund Programme to support and protect businesses from potential vulnerabilities. Furthermore, the Central Bank of Nigeria is reducing the interest rate on its intervention facilities from 9% to 5% with a 1-year moratorium till 31st March 2021, to provide concessional lending of: . N100 billion to households and small businesses;

a. N100 billion to the healthcare and pharmaceutical industry; and

b. N1 trillion to large agricultural and manufacturing businesses.

  1. We urge Nigerian businesses and individuals to make the most of these concessional credit facilities and other such opportunities.

Conclusion

  1. Mr. Senate President, Mr. Speaker, Distinguished and Honourable Members of the 9th National Assembly; let me use this opportunity to, again, commend your firm commitment towards ensuring a very harmonious and productive relationship with the Executive. It is important to further deepen this relationship in the interest of our people.
  2. As you review the 2021 Budget estimates, we believe the legislative process will be expedited to ensure its prompt passage to sustain the restoration of a predictable January – December fiscal year. In this regard, I have directed all Ministers and Heads of Agencies to be personally available for budget defence.
  3. Let me re-emphasize that Nigerians expect that the 2021 Budget will contain only implementable and critical projects, which when completed, will significantly address current structural challenges of the economy, improve the business environment and accelerate economic recovery.
  4. May I conclude my remarks by commending the National Assembly for its support in steering our economy during these very challenging times. We remain committed to sustaining this partnership. We believe that as we work together, we will jointly deliver on our joint mandate to our people.
  5. It is with great pleasure, therefore, that I lay, before this Distinguished Joint Session of the National Assembly, the 2021 Budget Proposals of the Federal Government of Nigeria, for your consideration.
  6. I thank you for your attention.
  7. May God continue to bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Hon. Minister of Information And Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed On Recent Increase In Petrol And Electricity Prices

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed in Press Conference today, address the recent issues surrounding the the hike in the price of fuel and electricity tariff. The Adress was as follows:

ON: FUEL PRICES

As you are aware, the long-drawn fuel subsidy regime ended in March, 2020, when the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) announced that it had begun fuel price modulation, in accordance with prevailing market dynamics, and would respond appropriately to any further oil market development.

Recall that the price of fuel then dropped from 145 to 125 Naira per litre, and then to between 121.50 and 123.50 Naira per litre in May. With the low price of crude oil then,
the cost of petrol, which is a derivative of crude oil, fell, and the lower pump price was passed on to the consumers to enjoy. With the price of crude inching up, the price of petrol locally is also bound to increase, hence the latest price of 162 Naira per litre. If, perchance, the price of crude drops again, the price of petrol will also drop, and the benefits will also be passed on to the consumers.

The angry reactions that have greeted the latest prices of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) are therefore, unnecessary and totally mischievous.

Gentlemen, the truth of the matter is that subsidizing fuel is no longer feasible, especially under the prevailing economic conditions in the country. The government can no longer afford fuel subsidy, as revenues and foreign exchange earnings have fallen by almost 60%, due to the downturn in the fortunes of the oil sector. Yet, the government has had to sustain expenditures, especially on salaries and capital projects. Even though we have acted to mitigate the effect of the economic slowdown by adopting an Economic Sustainability Plan, we have also had to take some difficult decisions to stop unsustainable practices that were weighing the economy down.

One of such difficult decisions, which we took at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic in March – when oil prices collapsed at the height of the global lockdown – was the deregulation of the prices of PMS. As I said earlier, the benefit of lower prices at that time was passed to consumers. Everyone welcomed the lower fuel price then. Again, the effect of deregulation is that PMS prices will change with changes in global oil prices. This means quite regrettably that as oil prices recover, there will be some increases in PMS prices. This is what has happened now.

Government can no longer afford to subsidize petrol prices, because of its many negative consequences. These include a return to the costly subsidy regime. With 60% less revenues today, we cannot afford the cost. The second danger is the potential return of fuel queues – which has, thankfully, become a thing of the past under this Administration. The days in which Nigerians queue for hours and days just to buy petrol, often at very high prices, are gone for good. Of course, there is also no provision for fuel subsidy in the revised 2020 budget, because we just cannot afford it.

Gentlemen, the cost of fuel subsidy is too high and unsustainable. From 2006 to 2019, fuel subsidy gulped 10.413 Trillion Naira. That is an average of 743.8 billion Naira per annum. According to figures provided by the NNPC, the breakdown of the 14-year subsidy
is as follows:

  • In 2006 Subsidy was 257bn
  • In 2007 Subsidy was 272bn
  • In 2008 Subsidy was 631bn
  • In 2009 469bn
  • In 2010 667bn
  • In 2011 2.105tn
  • In 2012 1.355tn
  • In 2013 1.316tn
  • In 2014 1.217tn
  • In 2015 654bn
  • In 2016 Figure Not Available
  • In 2017 Subsidy was 144.3bn
  • In 2018 730.86bn
  • And in 2019 Subsidy was 595bn
  1. The Federal Government is not unmindful of the pains associated with higher fuel prices at this time. That is why we will continue to seek ways to cushion the pains, especially for the most vulnerable Nigerians. The government is providing cheaper and more efficient fuel in form of auto gas. Also, Government, through the PPPRA, will ensure that marketers do not exploit citizens through arbitrarily hike in pump prices. And that is why the PPPRA announced the range of prices that must not be exceeded by marketers.
  2. In spite of the recent increase in the price of fuel to 162 Naira per litre, petrol prices in Nigeria remain the lowest in the West/Central African sub-regions. Below is a comparative analysis of petrol prices in the sub-regions (Naira equivalent per litre);
  • Nigeria – 162 Naira per litre
  • Ghana – 332 Naira per litre
  • Benin – 359 Naira per litre
  • Togo – 300 Naira per litre
  • Niger – 346 Naira per litre
  • Chad – 366 Naira per litre
  • Cameroon – 449 Naira per litre
  • Burkina Faso – 433 Naira per Litre
  • Mali – 476 Naira per litre
  • Liberia – 257 Naira per litre
  • Sierra Leone – 281 Naira per litre
  • Guinea – 363 Naira per litre
  • Senegal – 549 Naira per litre
  1. Outside the sub-region, petrol sells for 211 Naira per litre in Egypt and 168 Naira per litre in Saudi Arabia. You can now see that even with the removal of subsidy, fuel price in Nigeria remains among the cheapest in Africa.

ON: ELECTRICITY TARIFF

  1. Another issue we want to address here today is the recent service-based electricity tariff adjustment by the Distribution Companies, or
    DISCOS. The truth of the matter is that due to the problems with the largely-privatized electricity industry, the government has been
    supporting the industry. To keep the industry going, the government has so far spent almost 1.7 trillion Naira, especially by way of supplementing tariffs shortfalls. The government does not have the resources to continue along this path. To borrow just to subsidize generation and distribution, which are both privatized, will be grossly irresponsible.
  2. But in order to protect the large majority of Nigerians who cannot afford to pay cost-reflective tariffs from increases, the industry regulator, NERC, has approved that tariff adjustments had to be made but only on the basis of guaranteed improvement in service. Under this new arrangement, only customers with guaranteed minimum of 12 hours of electricity can have their tariffs adjusted. Those who get less than 12 hours supply will experience no increase. This is the largest group of customers.
  3. Government has also noted the complaints about arbitrary estimated billing. Accordingly, a mass metering programme is being undertaken to provide meters for over 5 million Nigerians, largely driven by preferred procurement from local manufacturers, and creating thousands of jobs in the process. NERC will also strictly enforce the capping regulation to ensure that unmetered customers are not charged beyond the metered customers in their neighbourhood. In other words, there will be no more estimated billings.
  4. The government is also taking steps to connect those Nigerians who are not even connected to electricity at all. As you are aware, under its Economic Sustainability Plan, the government is providing solar power to 5 million Nigerian households in the next 12 months. This alone will
    produce 250,000 jobs and impact up to 25 million beneficiaries through the installation, thus ensuring that more Nigerians will have access to electricity via a reliable and sustainable solar system.
  5. Gentlemen, please note that despite the recent service-based tariff review, the cost of electricity in Nigeria is still cheaper or compares favourably with that of many countries in Africa.

COST IN NAIRA PER KWH IN SOME AFRICAN COUNTRIES.

  • Nigeria 49.75
  • Senegal 71.17
  • Guinea 41.36
  • Sierra Leone 106.02
  • Liberia 206.01
  • Niger 59.28
  • Mali 88.23
  • Burkina Faso 85.09
  • Togo 79.88

ON: CONCLUSION

  1. Gentlemen, the timing of these two necessary adjustments, in the petroleum and power sectors, has raised some concerns among Nigerians. This is a mere coincidence. First, the deregulation of PMS prices was announced on 18 March 2020, and the price modulation that
    took place at the beginning of this month was just part of the on-going monthly adjustments to global crude oil prices.
  2. Also, the review of service-based electricity tariffs was scheduled to start at the beginning of July 2020 but was put on hold so that further studies and proper arrangements can be made. Like Mr. President said today, at the opening of the Ministerial Retreat, this government is not insensitive to the current economic difficulties our people are going through and the very tough economic situation we face as a nation. We certainly will not inflict hardship on our people.
    But we are convinced that if we stay focused on our plans, brighter and more prosperous days will come soon.
  3. The opportunistic opposition and their allies are playing dirty politics with the issue of petrol pricing and electricity tariff. Please note that these naysayers did not complain when the price
    adjustment led to lower petrol prices on at least two occasions since March. Nigerians must therefore, renounce those who have latched onto the issue of petrol pricing and electricity tariff review to throw the country into chaos.
  4. I thank you all for your kind attention Show quoted text.

Zulum Bags Tell Magazine Nigeria’s Governor of The Year Award

Tell Magazine on Monday surprised Borno Governor, Professor Babagana Umara Zulum with a special award as Nigeria’s Governor of the year, 2020, for courage in leadership.

The President, also editor-in-chief of Tell Communications, Mr. Nosa Igiebor, led a delegation to Maiduguri to present both a letter of the nomination and the award itself. Tell, one of Nigeria’s oldest surviving news magazine, was first published on April 15, 1991.

In company of Tell’s chief operating officer, Dejo Oyawale and executive editor, Wola Adeyemo, Mr. Igiebor entered Maiduguri on Sunday without Zulum’s knowledge and requested to take advantage of a public presentation of a compendium of media reports on the Governor, which had been publicized in advance. The event was well attended at the Multipurpose Hall of the Government House in Maiduguri.

Our correspondent reports that it was the first time a major media establishment in Nigeria would follow a Governor to his State and present such an award. Media representatives mostly invite VIPs to Lagos and Abuja to receive awards at ceremonies.

Igiebor: Why Borno Governor won Tell’s award

In his remark before presenting Tell’s award to Governor Zulum, Mr. Nosa Igebor, 68-year old veteran journalist, said Governor Zulum has remained consistent in his demonstration of unconventional courage in serving Borno people, since May 29, 2020.

“Leadership entails courage, commitment to the ideals of selfless service and unwavering dedication to pursue the for the benefits of the people you lead and serve. Since your assumption of office as Governor, you have consistently demonstrated these sterling qualities of leadership.

“Your style and substance are unmistakable and a welcome breath of fresh air to Nigeria’s sterile political space of self-aggrandisement. We are, indeed, very impressed by your resolve and determination to succeed in your mandate of delivering the dividends of democracy to the long-suffering people of Borno. While some other state administrators, including those whose domains enjoy relative peace, reel out excuses to the citizenry, you have remained undaunted in fulfilling your promise to a State that is under siege”.

“Your boldness to state things in black and white no matter the circumstances, has endeared you to many. In short, you have become the voice of the voiceless as you have proven that Government is not for the fainthearted, neither is timidity or criminal silence a prerequisite for real term growth and development.”

“In view of the impressive profile that Your Excellency has built in a relatively short time and which has gone a long way to restore hope, not only to the people of Borno State, but to the entire Nigerian citizenry, it is with much delight that the Executive Directorate of Tell Communications Limited is honoring and celebrating the most Courageous and Result-Oriented Governor in Nigeria, Professor Babagana Umara Zulum, with the Tell Special Award as Governor of the Year for Courage in Leadership (2020). Congratulations sir”

Governor Zulum, in response, expressed appreciation to the management of Tell Communications, saying he considered the award, a challenge to do more.

Zulum described Igiebor, as one of the veteran journalists who fought for Nigeria’s return to democracy in the 90s despite arrests and detention, and has been holding leaders accountable, through his 43 years of journalism.

Transfer: Cristiano Ronaldo Moves to PSG From Juventus

Reports ffrom across Europe has thicken about about Christiano Ronaldo’s possible move away from the Italian Champions, Juventus to the French capital.

The transfer rumors of Cristiano Ronaldo to PSG have taken more grounds following Juventus dismissal from the UCL, and the sacking of Maurizio Sarri.

His agent Jorge Mendes will be traveling to Portugal to have a meeting with PSG’s sporting director to discuss possible move for the 5 times Balon D’or winner.

Read More by following this site

NDDC Update: Pondei Lists Contracts Allegedly Paid Under Lawmakers’ Duress To Get Budget Approval

NNDC contracts allegedly paid under ‘duress’
Acting Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Prof. Kemebradikumo Daniel Pondei

The Acting Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Prof. Kemebradikumo Daniel Pondei, weekend, listed some of the contracts the Commission was allegedly coerced to pay by the National Assembly before its 2019 annual budget could be harmonized.

He alleged further that some Lawmakers, especially members of adhoc Committees held the Commission hostage over the years with the annual budget approval.

According to him, most of the contracts they were arm-twisted to pay, “were never done or sometimes, never completed.”

Pondei in a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media, Edgar Ebigoni, listed the contracts and benefitting firms to include; Kith Global Ventures Ltd; Remedial Works at New Ogorode Roads Lot 3, at the cost of N493,684,169.00 and paid on the 17/03/2020, 301 Constr. Ltd; Remedial Works at Nja Road to Akoku Uno Lot 1, at the cost of N350,027,919.80 and paid on the 17/03/2020. Cracked Stone Constr. Ltd; Remedial Works at Ajaolubeti Road Environs Lot 2 at the cost of N394,010,952.10 and paid on the 17/03/2020. Collincrystal Energy Ltd; Emergency at Benin Township Road Lot 7, at the cost of N 431,053.035.20 and paid on the 17/03/2020. Collincrystal Energy Ltd; Emergency at Benin Township Road Lot 3, at the cost of N361,357,276.20 and paid on the 17/03/2020 and Grapik Ltd; Emergency at Umudee Internal Road, at the cost of N207,673,107.70 and paid the 17/03/2020.

Others were, Southland Constr. Ltd; Remedial Works at Umuduru Chukwu Umuorlu Road, at the cost of N518,409,089.30 and paid on paid on the17/03/2020. Southland Constr. Ltd; Remedial Works at Umuduru, at the cost of N519,949,949.10 and paid on the 17/03/2020.

Grandfox Global Services Ltd; Emergency at Ope Road Okigwe LGA, at the cost of N580,438,578.00 and paid on the 17/03/2020. Collincrystal Energy Ltd; Emergency at Benin Town Road Lot 6, at the cost of N348,853,184.60 and paid on the 7/03/2020 and Crism Constr. Building Ltd; Emergency at Eziama Osuama International Roads Isiala Mbano LGA, at the cost of N561,592,377.80 and paid on the17/03/2020.

Also paid were, Argento Ltd; Emergency at Benin Township Road Lot 4, at the cost of N382,805,411.60 and paid on the 18/03/2020. Two Rocks Cont. Ltd; Remedial Works at New Ogorode Road Lot 4, N500,875,848.00 and paid on the 18/03/2020. Elkan Zibson Ltd; Emergency Repairs of failed and unmotorable sections of Ezumoha Internal Roads Isiala Mbano LGA, at the cost of N531,150,414.29 and paid on the 19/03/2020. Cracked Stone Constr. Ltd; Remedial works on Failed and Unmotorable sections of Benin Township Road Lot 8, at the cost of N417,806,787.01 and paid on the 19/03/2020. PDH Global Logistics Ltd; Emergency Repairs of Failed and Unmotorable sections of Umuezuo Umuagbavu Road Remedy Failed and unmotorable sections of Chikwe Orlu Street Environment, at the cost of N543,247,587.35 and paid on the 20/03/2020. Aritel Oil and Gas; Remedy Failed and Motorable sections of Chikwe Orlu Street Environment, at the cost of N550,100,132.34 and paid on the 24/03/202.

Dis Concept and Solutions Ltd; Urgently Remedy Failed and Un motorable sections of Jessy and Jenny Road off peter Odily Road PHC, at the cost of N476,794,367.22 and paid on the 26/03/2020. Ogugo Concept and Solutions Ltd; Emergency Repairs of Failed and Unmotorable sections of Environs Yenagoa LGA, at the cost of N300,029,695.14 and paid on the 26/03/2020. Webster Global ventures Ltd; Instruction of emergency Repairs of failed and unmotorable sections Benin Township Road Lot 2 Oredo LGA, at the cost of N357,242,054.35 and paid on the 26/03/2020. Webster Global ventures Ltd; Remedial Works of Failed and unmotorable sections of Akuku Illah Road Oshimili North LGA, at the cost of N 463,489,890.13 and paid on the 26/03/2020 and Webster Global ventures Ltd; Remedial Works of failed and Unmotorable sections of New Ogorode Road Lot2 Sapele LGA, at the cost of N 466,416,380.71 and paid on the 26/03/2020.

He alleged “this blackmail scheme explains why the 2019 Budget of the NDDC was passed by the NASS Committee in March, 2020”, adding that, “we are talking about a budget that was billed to expire in May, 2020. This implication is that the management of the NDDC had only five weeks, to implement the budget of one fiscal year, and present a performance report on the same budget.

“This scheme has continued to play out, because as at this Month of August 2020, the budget of the NDDC for the 2020 fiscal year has not been passed by the Joint National Assembly Committee on NDDC. Sadly, nobody seems to care to ask questions because people are falling for the well-scripted smokescreen playing out in the two Chambers of the National Assembly.”

According to the statement, “this document, is among the many others tendered before the NASS Committee, which never saw the light of the day, and which the NDDC Committee were never allowed to speak on, when they eventually appeared before the Committee, during the public hearing. It was based on this evidential claim that the IMC of NDDC staged a walk-out, on the first day they were to testify before the Committee.

“The details of this list can be verified from the Central Bank of Nigeria, through a Freedom Of Information (FOI) request.

“Indeed, the same allegation informed the reason all well-meaning Nigerians urged the Committee Chairman, Hon. Tunji-Ojo to recuse himself from the Chairmanship of that hearing. This is in keeping with the Nemo judex in causa sua, which is a Latin phrase that upholds the principle of natural justice that no one can judge a case in which they have an interest”.

It continued that, “it is very unfortunate that against all objective appeals and moral persuasions, Hon. Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, alongside some other accused members of the House Committee on NDDC, proceeded to hold a public hearing, which was initially slated for two days, being the 15th and 16th of July 2020, but which effectively ran till 20th of the month, only for him to decide, at his own pace and time, to recuse himself from the hearing, on the last day, an action which cast a dark shade on the entire public.

“This is because, the same reason for which he recused himself on the last day was enough for him to steer clear from the matter, ab initio. The foregoing points to a clear fact that the Committee set out to do a bidding, that was never in the interest of the public. They obviously needed a public hearing to tell the public what they wanted the public to hear, rather than the facts of the matter.

“The Spokesperson the House of Representatives, Hon. Benjamin Kalu, on a National Television Programme, recently, admitted publicly, that Contractors often approached Chairmen of the House Committees and the members, to use their office to compel MDAs to pay them. This definitely should be the new height of the abuse of the oath of office they swore, not to allow their personal interest interfere with the discharge of their official duties.

“Recall that since these allegations were first made by the Acting Executive Director, Projects, Dr. Cairo Ojougboh on National Television, Hon. Olubumni Tunji-Ojo has not deemed it fit to discountenance the allegations by way of a law suit”.

The statement also gave a detailed breakdown of the contracts which the National Assembly allegedly compelled the NDDC Interim Management Committee to pay before the 2019 budget is harmonized.

Source: The Nation.

House of Reps Hails President Buhari For Assent TO CAMA Bill, 2020

Hon. Benjamin Kalu, the Official Spokesperson of the 9th House of Representatives has on behalf of his colleagues commends President Muhammadu Buhari for his Assent to the CAMA Bill 2020, where he said that :

“The 9th National Assembly has scored another major landmark with the Companies and Allied Matters Act (amendment) Bill (“CAMA”), which was signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday, August 7, 2020.

On February 25, while meeting with the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council led by Dr Jumoke Oduwole, the Special Adviser to the President on Ease of Doing Business, Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila had assured Nigerians that the House would fast-track the consideration and amendment of CAMA, stating that the bill was a key priority of the 9th House necessary to address national economic challenges and to improve the legal framework for doing business in Nigeria.”

Mr Kalu further states that:

“The bill which was passed barely two weeks after that promise, comes as a result of the resolve of both chambers of the 9th National Assembly to facilitate the ease of doing business in Nigeria. Its final assent into law marks a key milestone in the fulfillment of the legislative agenda of the House under the leadership of Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila and is attributable to the harmonious working relationship between the Legislature and the Executive.

The Nigerian economy remains a priority for the 9th House and in the same manner with which it swiftly and diligently passed the Finance Act, the Deep Offshore Sharing Formula Act, and the revised Appropriation Act 2020, the House will continue to deploy strategic legislative interventions to improve governance and make the business environment more accommodating.”

“Going forward, the House will prioritize the Electoral Act (amendment) Bill, the Constitution Amendment, and the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB), among other all-important legislation as promised by the Speaker at different fora and in line with the contract between members of the House and the Nigerian people, because ‘Nation Building’ is indeed ‘A Joint Task’.” He concluded.

Transfer Latest: Arsenal FC To Unveil Chelsea Willian As Possible First Summer Signing

Latest reports are pointing that Chelsea’s Brazilian midfielder, Willian who refused to pen new contract for Chelsea may be headed for the other side of London.

The 31 year-old Brazilian sensational attacking midfielder, Willian has declined late advances from both Manchester United FC and Tottenham Hotspur FC to accept a switch to the Emirates Stadium according to reports.

The talented attacker, Willian is a free agent this summer after he rejected Chelsea’s offer of two-year deal. Instead, Willian will pen a three-year deal at Arsenal FC.

ESPN Brasil confirmed that the Mikel Arteta’s side will confirm the signing of the 31 year-old Brazilian ace in days to come. That’s after Willian declined late approaches from both Manchester United FC, Manchester City FC, Tottenham Hotspur FC and several outfits in MLS.

The Athletic claimed that the Gunners bid is not more higher than the sum he would earned from Inter Miami. However, Willian is showing eagerness to make his move to the Emirates Stadium because of Mikel Arteta and technical director Edu.

Several reports suggest that his Arsenal FC contract will be worth £128,000 weekly. It’s confirmed that Arsenal FC boss Mikel Arteta has been the clear favourite to land Willian. The Gunners’s push to land Willian as Arteta is showing eagerness to add experience to his ranks

The Poet: I Might Not Returned

POEM: Title, I MIGHT NOT RETURNED.

Keep the flower,
when you miss me smell
it, I will be the fragrance.

I might not return
One thing is certain
I will be there to protect
your brighter future.

The enemies of your
tomorrow are ransacking
our nation, we will go
and kill them all.

In case if they kill us,
we have tried our best
at our beats with they beasts.

Even though we fail you,
forgive us, we will give our
lives for our land.

Tell your mama l love you all,
when you grow into a woman
be supportive to your spouse.

I pray, I will return to see
you growing up, but I am afraid,
I might not,
The Almighty will be
your strength.

By: Auwal Uba Mustapha

President Buhari Says It’s In Our Best Interest To Strengthen The Gulf Of Guinea Commission

It is in the best interest of member states, and of Nigeria in particular, to fortify the Gulf of Guinea Commission, so it can perform the roles for which it was set up, President Muhammadu Buhari has said.

The President spoke Tuesday in a virtual audience with the Executive Secretary of the Commission, Mrs Florentina Adenike Ukonga, a Nigerian.

“The Gulf of Guinea is very strategic, and it is regrettable that most member states of the Commission are not up and doing. We need to check the theft of oil through the Gulf, the smuggling of arms and ammunition, and the breaking of border regulations through the waters,” President Buhari said.

He promised that Nigeria would be alive to her responsibilities in terms of prompt payment of dues, adding that he would also write leaders of member states “to participate actively in the programmes of the Commission, and to defray their financial commitments.”

While thanking Angola, where the secretariat of the Commission is based, for keeping faith with its responsibilities, President Buhari pledged that in spite of the economic challenges posed by COVID-19 pandemic, “we should keep the organization going.”

Mrs Ukonga had raised the many ills that plague the Commission to include lack of funds, through non-payment of annual dues by member countries, poor attendance at meetings or sending of low level representation, non-holding of elections to determine who the next Chairman would be, since Nigeria finished her tenure in 2018.

The Gulf of Guinea Commission, she said, is the framework for consultation on issues of development and cooperation by members, lamenting that in the absence of such, there were deleterious developments like overfishing of the waters, oil theft, pollution issues, arms trafficking, and others.

She appealed to President Buhari to rally the leaders of member countries, “so that the Commission can fulfill its purpose.”

Source: Femi Adesina, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity.
July 28, 2020

Mikel Arteta On AUBAMEYANG And How He handles the pressure

Report from Emirate Stadium said: “Big occasions call for big players – and they don’t get much bigger than Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.”

The Gabon international has 23 goals in all competitions this season, and ahead of our Emirates FA Cup semi-final against Manchester City, Mikel Arteta says the striker has proven time and again that he can be relied on when the team needs him most.

“I think he handles the pressure really well,” our head coach told Arsenal Digital. “It is part of his character that he is so relaxed and confident about himself.

“I think the fact he is able to sustain that level of pressure and still deliver every single year, scoring the amount of goals that he does, tells you everything about how he responds and how he enjoys challenges. I am sure he will be ready on Saturday.”

Aubameyang has featured almost exclusively on the left flank under Arteta – so what does our head coach like about him out there?

“I like him in both positions, but now to have a better balance in the team, to have a goal threat that we need in the squad, I think he adapts a little bit better,” he said.

“But he has played different positions a few times, and he will keep moving from time to time into different areas to cause difficulties to the opponent.”