We will not scrap YouWIN – Nigerian government

The Nigerian government, Wednesday, said it would not scrap the Youth With Innovation Entrepreneurship, YouWIN! Connect, programme.

The Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, who stated this in a Facebook LIVE interactive session, noted that the scheme would be reviewed in line with the economic agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.

There have been reports of fraud in the management of the schemes, with top government functionaries alleged to have facilitated slots to their cronies.

The Federal Government launched an investigation into the allegation, leading to speculations of possible outright scrap of the programme by the government.

But speaking during the Facebook LIVE session on Wednesday, Ms. Adeosun said the scheme was being reviewed, adding that the exercise would enable the government to incorporate the initiative into
university curricula across Nigeria.

“The Buhari administration has no plans to scrap it (YouWIN!Connect),” she said.

“The Federal Government has reviewed the scheme and repositioned it as the YouWiN!Connect, which focuses on continuous enterprise education and skills building.

“As part of the restructuring, the YouWiN!Connect now publishes weekly editorials in four national newspapers. The principles of the YouWiN! Connect will be incorporated into university curricula across Nigeria.”

Commenting further, Ms. Adeosun stated that the finance ministry had been supporting small businesses, creating jobs, improving transparency, cutting the cost of governance, and boosting government revenues.

The minister said the current administration was putting in place measures to ensure that the economy would be diversified in a manner that any fluctuation in oil prices would not have significant impact
on government revenue.

“The good news is that we are working through the issues one by one, and trying to ensure that as we rebuild the economy, we get away from the boom and bust cycle of the past; we want to build an economy where, whether oil price is high or low, there’s sustainable growth for Nigeria and for Nigerians,” she said.

 

Source: Premium Times

President Buhari Orders Payment Of London-Paris Club Refunds To States

Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, has directed the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, and the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, to urgently begin the process of releasing the second tranche of the London-Paris Club refunds to the states.

President Buhari gave the directive on Thursday when he addressed the meeting of the National Economic Council in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

The President, who made a strong case for the settlement of unpaid salaries and pension liabilities of workers, said the move was to ease the people’s financial hardship.

The National Economic Council meeting, which is the highest economic decision making body of the Federal Government, is made up of State Governors and chaired by the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo.

In reaction to the President’s declaration, some governors at the meeting, Abdulfattah Ahmed, Udom Emmanuel and Darius Ishaku, expressed confidence that the development was strong enough to steer the change agenda of the administration.

They also advised President Buhari to take more rest if need be, even as the President insisted that he would remain relentless in the pursuit of the interest of Nigerians.

Other matters discussed at the meeting include the problem of deforestation and update on the security situation across the country.

Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, Mr Tunde Fowler, highlighted the problems of tax evasion and the scheme being put in place to stop it.

 

Source: Channels TV

We have released N5.1trn from 2016 Budget – Finance Minister

The Federal Government has so far released ?the sum of 5.1 trillion Naira out of 6.06 trillion Naira passed by the National Assembly in the 2016 budget.

The Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, said this on Wednesday at a meeting organised by the Joint National Assembly Committee on Appropriation in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

Mrs Adeosun told the committee members that despite the shortfall in revenue in 2016, the Federal Government has so far released 870 billion Naira for capital expenditure, excluding the proceeds from the Eurobond.

However, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriation, Senator Danjuma Goje, sought to know if the Ministry of Finance diverted funds from loans to finance personnel expenditure rather than capital expenditure.

He also expressed dissatisfaction with the absence of the ?Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) at the stakeholders meeting on implementation of the 2016 budget.

Senator Goje noted that the Acting Director from CBN, Mohammed Yakubu, was not competent to speak before the Joint committee, insisting that the CBN governor must appear before the committee latest Friday morning.

“We have left serious business of processing 2017 budget to ensure the level of implementation of the 2016 budget. It is Nigerians’ right to know the level of implementation.

“The CBN governor could not call us, he only sent an Acting Director in the CBN to appear before the committee,” he said.

Giving details of releases for 2016 budget before the committee, the Accountant-General of the Federation, Hammed Idris, informed the lawmakers that 870 billion Naira was released for capital projects which constituted 55%, while 2.3 trillion Naira was released for personnel cost and 351 billion Naira for statutory transfer.

Mr Idris added that 1.3 trillion Naira was meant for debit servicing, service wide votes for 285 billion Naira while overhead was 138 billion Naira.

He explained that personnel cost and debit service were achieved 100%, overhead cost achieved 85% while capital was achieved 55%.

On his part the Director-General of Budget Office, Ben Akabueze, said there was a shortfall of 1.1 trillion Naira in targeted Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) for 2016, explaining that only 398 billion Naira was realised in 2016 IGR out of targeted 1.5 trillion Naira.

He? attributed poor capital funding in 2016 to revenue shortfall, stressing that projection oil revenue only accounted for 20% of the total 2016 budget.

Mr Akabueze said “the reason we are unable to implement capital budget fully is as a result of shortfall in the IGR”.

He, however, failed to give a clear picture of how the loan borrowed was utilised, but promised the lawmakers for details before the end of implementation of 2016 budget.

 

Source: Channels TV

“IMF is not bad, but we don’t need their loan”, Finance Minister Kemi Adeosun declares.

Kemi Adeosun, minister of finance, says the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is not bad, but Nigeria does not need the fund’s borrowing programme.

In an interview with CNBC Africa,  Adeosun said the IMF loan programme has made a “huge national debate,” but the country see IMF as its last resort.

“For us, the IMF is really lender of last resort when you have balance of payments problem. Nigeria doesn’t have balance of payments problems per se, it has a fiscal problem, which is that major revenue source has lost so much value,” Adeosun said.

“What IMF does for you is that it gives you programmes for reforms, we are already doing as much reform as any IMF programme would impose on Nigeria.

“Nigerians want to take responsibility for their future. We must have our home-grown, home-designed programme of reform, that Nigerians take ownership for,  because they are painful reforms.

“When you go through this type of adjustment of your economy, these reforms are very painful, and they have to be home-grown. We have to take responsibility for this ourselves, so that when it succeeds, Nigerians would say; yes, we did this.

“I am not saying the IMF are bad, but I’m saying right now, we don’t see that need. we feel this is a problem Nigerians created and Nigerians will solve.

 

Source: The Cable

Kemi Adeosun: Cost of operating TSA is not sustainable but it’s here to stay.

Kemi Adeosun, minister of finance, says the cost of operating the treasury single account (TSA) centrally, is not sustainable.

Describing the TSA as an important reform of the current administration, she maintained that the policy had come to stay.

The minister said government was working to separate agencies which should bear the cost and the ones that government should be responsible for.

She added that efforts were in place to improve the implementation and functionality of the TSA “because of its huge benefits”.

She spok at a retreat in Abuja.

“One of the challenges that we have is who should bear the cost of the TSA? Currently, it is being borne centrally, but that is not sustainable,” she said.

“We are now working on how to stratify the various agencies. Those who should bear their own costs and costs that should be borne by the government. This will be rolled out in this year.

“There are still funds in commercial banks and we have written to the banks, giving them a window to come forward. Where in doubt, they have been asked to consult us.

“We also have an audit team that has started the process of checking the completeness of monies that were transferred into the TSA and already, they have been able to recover a significant amount of money.

“The policy allows us to manage our treasury functions with far more accuracy than what we had in the past. There is still a long way to go but overall, we are very satisfied with the progress we have made and we look forward to it being extended and utilised far more as the year goes on.”

Adeosun, Kyari, Kachikwu on FG’s committee to ensure fuel remains at N145/litre.

The federal government has set up a committee to see to the coordination of Petroleum Equalisation Fund (PEF), which is aimed at keeping the pump prices of petroleum products at its current prices.

Kemi Adeosun, minister of finance; Abba Kyari, chief of staff to the president; and Ibe Kachikwu, minister of state for petroleum resources, are members of the committee.

This was disclosed by Bashir Dan-Malam, the state chairman of IPMAN, in an interview with NAN in Kano on Friday.

Dan-Malam advised members in Kano state to continue with their normal business, promising that the association would sanction anyone caught hoarding or selling the product above the approved price of N145.

“As leaders of the association, we feel it is necessary to tell our members the truth as the government has no plan to increase fuel price for now,” he said.

“This is a rumour. Anything you did not hear from us, ignore it.”

Dan-Malam said during a meeting with members of the committee, it was resolved that the union should reconcile with the Petroleum Equalisation Fund (PEF) on the outstanding payment of transportation charges.

“During the meeting it was agreed that a committee to be chaired by the Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun consisting of all stakeholders be set up with a mandate to reconcile all outstanding balances,” he said.

“The administration has clearly demonstrated its willingness to create an enabling environment for a viable and sustainable downstream sector in Nigeria and IPMAN is 100 per cent committed to achieving this goal.”

FG, States to Review World Bank Projects In Nigeria

The Federal Government and states would meet soon to review the performance of World Bank-assisted projects in the country.

The Finance Minister, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, revealed the plan while speaking on a television program on the outcome of the just-concluded International Monetary Fund (IMF)/World Bank annual meetings in the United States.

Adeosun said in a statement by her Special Assistant on Media, Mr. Festus Akanbi: “There are a number of other stalled projects. Some of them are health-related. Some of these projects incidentally are at state government level. So, one of the things we have to do is that I will be reporting to the National Executive Council meeting where state governors will be in attendance and the Federal Executive Council quarterly.

“If a project is really failing, I think other governors have the right to tell the affected state governors that look, let them cancel this project and bring it to my state. So there has to be a greater sense of responsibility because the interest rate to these monies is as low as 1.5 percent and you have about 20 years to pay. So if a state or department is fortunate enough to get a World Bank loan, I think it should have some urgency around how it is used. There are some projects in agriculture and some on irrigation that is stalled.

“There is $500 million for irrigation projects which are held up because the counterpart funding, which is Nigeria’s contribution, just $4 million has not been paid. We called the Minister of Water Resources and he said he had just released the money and the World Bank is excited because it means that project will now be on course.

“There is no doubt that the $500 million irrigation project is going to improve agriculture and create jobs. So there are quite a few takeaways that are positive.”

On the outcome of the meeting, the minister said Nigerians should look forward to tapping the immense opportunity created by the glut in the global capital market.

She, however, pointed out that this development does not translate to a change in government’s priorities.

She also spoke on the $500 million World Bank social facility for rebuilding the North East devastated by insurgents.

She said the executive is working with the legislature so that the fund can be accessed without delay.

The minister said the legislature is being carried along on the commitments secured at the IMF/World Bank meetings, adding that representatives of the National Assembly were part of the Nigerian delegation.

Nigeria needs infrastructure, not iPhones – Adeosun tells donors, investors

The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, has informed multilateral donor institutions and investors that Nigeria is hungry for infrastructure that can trigger growth, not iPhones and pricey suits that will drive consumption.

Adeosun spoke Wednesday night at a session during the International Monetary Fund (IMF)/World Bank annual meetings in Washington D.C., saying investors must start to realise that western economies are matured and offer lower returns, while Africa with its infrastructure gap offers greater returns.

The minister made the remarks on the heels of the announcement by the IMF that it would offer zero interest rate on its concessional lending facility from 2016 to 2018 to Nigeria and other low-income economies that are in dire need of financial support to boost their economies and overcome challenges as a result of low commodity prices.

Adeosun said: “It seems very simple, in terms of what needs to be done. We are quite excited about negative interest rates. We like that you’re not earning any money.

“We are happy to take your money and give you very small positive interest rate. We think that the time has come, everyone is thinking out of the West, but there is nothing left in the West, everybody has to now come to Africa.

“But we don’t want investors to come to Africa to sell us iPhones and many expensive suits.

“We want to become productive, so we want this investment to come into infrastructure that will enable us to compete and really enable Africans to stay in Africa.”

She informed her audience that Nigeria has started a journey, which would take its economy from being dependent on oil as a primary commodity, to a more productive economy.

Adeosun said the economy had moved from spending 90 per cent of its budget on recurrent items and only 10 per cent on capital expenditure, to 70 per cent on recurrent expenditure and 30 per cent on capital expenditure.

“From the numbers that we have done, the infrastructure gap that we face, even if we devote our budget for the next three years, it is not enough, so we’ve got to look for creative ways to mobilise additional capital.

“We started of course with spending our own money (pension funds) because we think, of course, that the first thing we have to do is to re-establish some benchmarks, some ability to deliver on roads, on rails, on basic infrastructure,” she said.

According to her, Nigeria’s long-term plan is to mobilise private capital. “We think the narrative around who pays for infrastructure is a very important one in Africa. I say that because at the moment, if you don’t have infrastructure, you are going to pay anyway. If you spend six hours on a journey that should take you an hour, you’ve paid.

“So how do we convert that payment, which is currently informal and very painful, into a formal payment and therefore turn to a revenue stream that could attract investors, That is the challenge that we are working on now.

“As I have said, we are leading with our own money. We are looking at a regulatory framework that would enable investors to come in. We know it’s a new market and we are going to de-risk it.

“So what we are starting with are just infrastructure bonds that we guarantee, and then hopefully, when investors get an appetite for what the Nigerian infrastructure framework can provide them in terms of returns, we believe, we’d be able to remove some of the safeguards needed at the moment.

“We are hungry for infrastructure. We’ve got 170 million people who don’t have power in sufficient quantities, we don’t have a rail system, we don’t have a road structure, we believe that if we solve these infrastructure challenges, the entire productivity chain — agriculture, solid minerals, manufacturing, our unemployment problems — could all be solved.

“Our population is young; we have to provide a standard of living that keeps young vibrant Africans in Africa, because we think that is very important for eliminating poverty,” the minister stated.

Nigeria will get out of recession soon – Adeosun

The Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, has assured Nigerians that the current economic recession the nation was experiencing will not be prolonged.

She gave the assurance on Friday in Abuja while addressing a news conference.

She said that there was a strategic plan by the administration to see that the recession ended soon and also ensure that the economy recovered fully.

She said, “We have a strategic plan that will take us out of the recession we have found ourselves in; we want to make sure the recession is as short as possible because we do not want a prolonged recession.

“From what we are looking at we do not think that it will be a prolonged recession; we think that some of the initiatives that we are working on will now begin to bear fruits.

“We are on course and are confident that the plan we have put together will work and put the economy back on track.

“It is a long term plan that would reposition the economy so that we do not go into this boom and burst circles that are driven by the oil price.

“The economy has to be more resilient than that so that we do not find ourselves back where we are.’’

She said that measures put in place by the FG showed was that the end of the recession had begun and Nigeria would come out stronger.

Listing some of the measures the administration had taken to address the situation, she said that since the budget was released in May, over N420 billion had been released and cash backed for capital projects.

She said that the largest sector that the money was spent on was Power, Works and Housing.

She also said that a lot had been done in the defence sector to rebuild the capability of the army, especially on efforts in the North East.

She said, “Agriculture has received significant funding because of the time sensitivity of agriculture and because of the fact that food prices were rising, we needed to intervene so that we could get food prices down.

“There is activity resuming on roads, power projects and health projects and we have released money to water resources and solid minerals.’’

Adeosun also said that there was a cash plan to release another N350 billion which would go into the various MDAs.

“The focus is going to be similar, however, there would also be funding of about N60 billion for the Special Intervention Programme and that is very important in putting money into people’s pockets.

“The school feeding programme and the N-Power teachers corps we will cash back today as part of the N350 billion additional release which would take our total capital spending to about N700 billion.”

She also said that N50 billion was set monthly as budget support plan for some state governments from the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee to support them with additional money to enable them to pay salaries.

She said that the loan had been on for three months for the interested states because some states which were buoyant decided not to participate.

On recovery of assets, Adeosun said that the committee was in the process of collating with the non-cash assets like farmlands, vehicles and houses and that a fixed asset register would soon be opened to determine their value.

She said that the jewelries were from different locations and were being brought together to determine the market value and that the next line of action would be decided by the committee.

Adeosun explained that the present recruitment by the police and some other government agencies were made possible by the reduction of ghost workers.

She added that the savings that were made from the exercise would enable funding for the new recruitment.

“Sometime in January, personnel cost was N165 billion along with pension cost, but so far so good; we have reduced, through the removal of about 40,000 ghost workers, the personnel cost by around N10 billion per month.

“Now we have saved about N100 billion this year.’’

She said that though the times were tough, there was hope for Nigerians, adding that issues around infrastructure were the biggest problems of Nigeria which resulted in high cost of living.

“The biggest problem we have is not wages but the cost of living which is too high so it is not how much money you have but it is what it costs you to live.

“The problem we have is that many of the things that people are spending money on are the things government should be doing like roads, power and so on.

“So we have to address these things because that is what will really make impact for the average working Nigerian and so when you address the infrastructure you address the cost of living and that is what this government is working on.’’

Happy Recession, Nigeria!, By Gimba Kakanda

kemi-adeosun

We do not know the exact starting date of this historic festival, nor are we in the know of its end date. I mean this festival of inflation and hunger, unemployment and job cuts, liquidation and crime, mental health crisis and despair. There’s something savagely beautiful about celebrating our misery, about refusing to see it as a danger, preferring to call it a mere “word”, for example, since it does not threaten the existence of those in the political house – elected politicians and their allies in and out of the corridor of power.

Some think the decision to celebrate our misery was taken on our behalf by our foreign-sounding Minister of Finance, Ms. Kemi Adeosun. It’s a fact that she called the decline in our Gross Domestic Product by -2.06 %, a recession, a mere word. And it’s also a fact that she has not told us why a decline in one sector – which contributed only 15% of the GDP, according to her professional colleagues – has resulted in a recession. This is somewhat strange for an administration that claims to have been diversifying, contradicting reports that our non-oil exports have dropped by 43%.

Adeosun’s denial of our threatening reality is a familiar trend amongst our governing elite. Reacting to the ranking of Nigeria as one of the five poorest countries in the world by the World Bank, then President Goodluck Jonathan said, “Nigeria is not a poor country. Nigerians are the most travelled people. There is no country you go that you will not see Nigerians.” And then, “I visited Kenya recently on a state visit and there was a programme for Nigerian and Kenyan business men to interact and the number of private jets that landed in Nairobi that day was a subject of discussion in Kenyan media for over a week.”

This disheartening yardstick of measuring poverty was actually that of a President of a nation “with almost 100 million people living on less than a $1 (£0.63) a day” – according a 2012 data. So, it didn’t come as a surprise reading the similarly elitist delusion of Mr. Bayo Onanuga, a journalist whose class suicide as a firebrand critic of elitism and military brutality to a former senatorial candidate and now head of the government-controlled News Agency of Nigeria is as intriguing as it comes. He pandered to Jonathan’s thinking, that the luxurious lifestyles of beneficiaries of the nation’s most corrupt class represents the realities of a blacksmith in Potiskum, a roadside yam seller in Ogbomosho and a vulcaniser in Onitsha.

To Mr. Onanuga, a text message from his London-bound daughter – “Daddy, my flight is filled up o” – was a confirmation of his belief that reports of economic hardship in Nigeria were untrue and the true situation exaggerated. His reaction to the threatened existence of citizens who may go to bed tonight without any means is Denial. It is a style of engagement widely adopted by other government appointees, all understandably immune to hunger.

On various social media platforms, other outspoken political appointees have been publishing statistics that not only repel our realities but attempt to create an imaginary paradise for Nigerians. In line with the festive nature of the times, of course. Even the President’s media managers seem to believe their bogus statistics and grandstanding on Twitter will redeem the growing inflation and hunger nationwide. But the truth is that it is even their confrontational and combative style of communicating these alternate realities that will multiply the army of displeased citizens. It’s unfortunate that our friends who used to be critical of the government suddenly are now quick to say to say, “You guys are too critical” on finally jumping ship.

Like our politicians, the trappings of political power have confused the conscience of our former civic allies. They have become even worse than the Establishment they once antagonised. Instead of delivering on their roles of advising their principals, they are becoming intolerably obnoxious, giving the managers of our economy illusions of good performance and misleading public perception.

The governing elite have succeeded in recruiting the Bayo Onanugas into contradictions of their old values, so that they now see the civic vigilance they were once known for as a social nuisance. It has got to the point that when a critic points to a snake the politicians were given power to hire able hands to kill, he’s asked to tell the government how to kill it. And this, unfortunately, is the mentality of the praise-singing brigade stationed to defend our politicians. The critic highlights shortcomings to get the government’s think-tank ticking. You can’t be in possession of a fire extinguisher and ask the man who alerts you to fire to quench it for you!

If a leader expects more from critics after being shown a flaw in his idea, he’s either incompetent or his lieutenants are due for the sack. The similarity between a critic and a politician is that both have ideas. The difference is what matters. Only one has access to popular political legitimacy, administrative machinery and the public purse. But since we are in reality being asked to celebrate this severe economic downturn, let me kindly wish Nigerians toasting to national misery a happy recession. May God save us from us!

By Gimba Kakanda

@GimbaKakanda On Twitter

‘Nigeria Has No Other Option But To Borrow’ – Finance Minister, Kemi Adeosun

Minister of finance, Kemi Adeosun, has hammered that, “at this point, Nigeria has no choice but to borrow — to invest in the Nigerian economy”.

Adeosun said this at a town hall meeting in Abuja, that the federal government is very conscious and conservative about its borrowing, so as not to leave a heavy debt burden for future generations.

“We urgently need to do the railing system to enable agriculture and solid minerals to be competitive, so I really don’t see that there is any option than to borrow.

“We have a very conservative borrowing programme, and we must borrow; because to do rail — the rail that we have now was done in the colonial era — there has been really significant upgrade,” she said.

“The difference is that, we’ve been borrowing in the past to pay salaries; now we borrow to invest in infrastructural development.” she said.

She held that, the size of the public sector is an evidence of the failure to develop private sector, adding that the latter should be the major employer in the country.

How Nigeria Is Fighting Corruption – The Economist

 

NIGERIANS know what to expect when they approach police checkpoints. “How can you appreciate me?” ask officers, AK-47s dangling languidly from their shoulders. “Happy weekend!” say security guards from the early hours of Friday morning. Or simply: “What do you have for me?” Nigeria, as David Cameron, Britain’s former prime minister, pointed out, is “fantastically corrupt”. In Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index, it is 31st from the bottom. Nigeria’s president, Muhammadu Buhari, a former military ruler, wants to change this. How is he doing?

 

Few doubt Mr Buhari’s intent. But the task he has set himself is Herculean. Successive military and civilian governments have siphoned money from the vast revenues of their oil industry. Many locals think the problem reached unprecedented heights under the previous administration of Goodluck Jonathan. In March an official audit found that the state-owned oil company withheld over $25 billion from the public purse between 2011 and 2015. Meanwhile cartels involving government officials, militants and oil employees stole tens of thousands of barrels of crude each day. A savings account was drained, although oil prices were high for most Mr Jonathan’s tenure. And money which was supposed to arm soldiers against Boko Haram insurgents was squandered: the vice-president recently estimated that the previous regime diverted $15 billion through dodgy arms contracts.

 

Since Mr Buhari came to power in May 2015, dozens of public officials and their cronies have been arrested by a beefed-up Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). The most famous of those, the former national security adviser Sambo Dasuki, is charged with dishing out $2 billion worth of fake contracts for helicopters, aeroplanes and ammunition. Under new management, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation has grown slightly less opaque: it now publishes monthly financial reports. Shady “swap” contracts which trade crude oil for refined petrol have been renegotiated and the worst of the last regime’s oil deals are under scrutiny. The chairman of one local company, Atlantic Energy, was arrested last year, shortly after the ex-petroleum minister was arrested in London. In all, the government claims to be recovering about $10 billion of stolen assets (though most of those will be tied up in court for years). It has also cancelled a fuel-subsidy racket which, at its peak, cost Nigerians $14 billion a year.

 

Mr Buhari’s government has been learning from other crusading countries, such as Georgia. But not everyone is impressed. His political opponents, who ruled Nigeria for 16 years until 2015, call the campaign a witch-hunt. There are reasons to doubt the capacity of the anti-corruption agency—and of the courts—to hold the powerful to account. The EFCC is yet to send down any of its most influential adversaries, though it is splurging on training for prosecutors. Most government agencies, including the one that collects taxes, do not make their budgets public. Nor do most state and local governments, which suck up about half of public revenues. In an effort to fix this, a tenacious finance minister, Kemi Adeosun, has told skint governors that they must make their finances public before they receive a second federal bailout. She has struck thousands of ghost workers off the public payroll. Her “treasury single account” may be the biggest coup of all. It replaced a labyrinth of government piggy banks, giving Nigeria more control of its earnings. Financiers reckon that it could serve as a lesson to others in West Africa as well. The continent’s most famously corrupt country might yet teach others a thing or two about transparency.

FG To Grant N90bn Loan To States, Bars Governors From Collecting Loans From Banks

Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, says the Federal government will be granting states a N90 billion loan which is to be paid back within one year. At a meeting with the finance commissioners of the 36 states to discuss the Fiscal Sustainability Plan FSP in Abuja yesterday June 14th, Adeosun said the loan will be given to the state governments after they meet 22 stringent conditions put together by the federal government. According to her, the loan will be in two tranches:

“The loan is in two tranches – N50 billion for three months to be shared across the 36 states including FCT and then N40 billion for nine months. The idea is to tie states over for a year so that they rebalance. The loan is an average of about N1.3 billion per state for the first three months and N1.1billion for the next nine months. It is a loan and it is fully repayable although it has a secured tie against future dividends, revenues and any amount that government might owe the states.”she said

She also announced that state governors are not to collect any more loans from banks but should rather source for funds from the capital market. The decision was taken due to the disappointing manner in which some past and present state governors have managed the loans they have taken from some commercial banks. She noted that the stability of the economy in the states would reflect on the economy of the country as a whole.

“Nigeria’s economy is a confederation of the economies of her 36 states and the FCT.



Thus, we recognise the critical importance of developing a broad-based economy, with productive activities in every region and state. At the federal level, to create headroom for the urgently needed investment in infrastructure, we are pursuing a very disciplined approach to managing public funds, ensuring the maximisation of revenues and the minimisation of the costs of governance. The Fiscal Sustainability Plan, FSP, replicates this far-reaching public financial management reform programme across all tiers of government and marks a turning point in the management of state finances. By raising the standard for public financial management in the areas of transparency, accountability and efficiency, states will be repositioned to embark on a path towards fiscal independence. On the cost side, the pressure is to cut costs, starting with the commitment to eliminate, once and for all, the menace of ghost workers by BVN checking of payroll and the requirement that all salary payments are made directly to individual accounts. This will enable states control the size of their wage bill and ensure that it is affordable. The formal commitments being made to improve expense management, greater efficiency in recurrent spending and prudent debt management will combine to ensure that states can move towards improved long term financial health. In the area of revenue, the FSP is based on the fundamental principle that each and every state in Nigeria must be economically viable. Accordingly, it recognises the fact that Internally Generated Revenue, IGR, must be maximised and we have extended the definition of revenue beyond the traditional confines of taxes, licences and fees.”she said

Budget Deficit: FG Will Only Borrow From Lowest Cost Debt Providers – Adeosun

The Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, said the Federal Government would only borrow from the lowest cost debt providers to fund the deficit in the 2016 budget.

 

Adeosun said this on Thursday in Abuja while addressing the Senate Committee on Appropriation, chaired by Sen. Danjuma Goje.

 

She said that the decision was for government to easily service the debts as high cost debts would be counter productive in view of the nation’s economic realities.

“We know that there is a need, because of the budget deficit, to borrow but what I will like to assure you is that borrowing is going to be responsible as possible.

“What we have done is to approach the lowest cost debt providers first; we have secured loan with the China Exim bank at less than two per cent.

“We have secured loan facility with World Bank 1.5% concessioner loan with long moratorium period before we have to start repaying and at low interest rate,” she said.

The minister added that the ministry had made some projections around the nation’s revenue beyond the use of the sources of revenue which were oil proceeds, customs and taxes.

 

She said that to fund the 2016 budget, independently generated revenue would be quite significant in financing it.

 

“We believe that is one of the opportunities that the lower price has given us that we are now focusing on the non-oil revenue.

“We are aggressively looking at ministries, departments, agencies on board to understand what their true revenue base is and to know how much they are contributing to the wider economy.

“We have set in process in the ministry of finance a very rigorous framework of revenue management and to actually monitor revenue.

“We are beginning to roll those out into other agencies of government that collect revenue of any description,” she said.

WAEC Denies Offering Kemi Adeosun Free Form To Resit Maths Exam

The West African Examinations Council has dismissed a report that its Registrar, Dr. Iyi Uwadiae, made some disparaging remarks about the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun.

 

The council, in a statement, on Wednesday said it found the story “embarrassing”.

 
Reports on Tuesday claimed that the registrar faulted the minister’s presentation during her budget defence at the National Assembly last week and so offered her “a free chance to resit her Mathematics examination.”

 

WAEC Head, Public Affairs in Ghana, Mr. Abiodun Aduloju, said the story was aimed to cause disaffection between the council and the government of Nigeria.

 

He added, “The publication is worrisome and embarrassing to WAEC, as the registrar did not make the statement credited to him and could not have responded as purported to an allegation in which the name of his organisation was not mentioned.

 

“The registrar does not reside in Nigeria and has not granted a press interview or engaged in an informal chat with any Nigerian media representative or authorised anyone to speak on his behalf concerning the minister’s statement.

 
“Uwadiae is an experienced public personality and a seasoned diplomat, who holds sacrosanct the entrenched culture of mutual understanding and respect that exists among all operatives and representatives of the governments of the five member countries of the council.”

 

Credit: Daily Post

FG To Raise N5bn Via Eurobond, Others To Plug Budget Deficit

The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, has said that the Federal Government would raise about $4.5 billion from multiple external sources, including the Eurobond market, to plug its budget deficit.

 

The Minister speaking over the weekend at the KPMG CFO Forum held at Eko Hotel in Lagos said the aim was to overcome the country’s worst economic crisis in years through a record budget.

 

Nigeria, Africa’s biggest economy and top oil producer is still reeling from the fall in crude revenues, which before now accounted for the source of 95 percent of its foreign earnings, leading to the naira hitting record lows on the parallel market amid dwindling foreign exchange reserves.

 

According to Adeosun, “Our total borrowing expectations are now at N1.8 trillion ($9.1 billion) and we hope to raise approximately $4.5 – 5 billion from multiple external sources. This includes multilateral agencies, export credit agencies as we are also planning to tap the Eurobond market,”

 

She noted that the government was optimistic that it would receive the desired support after cutting government costs and improving revenue collection adding that the Muhammadu Buhari administration, intends to achieve this through four keys.

“We shall stimulate the economy to achieve a real GDP growth rate of 4.2 per cent in 2017; reduce cost of governance, extract efficiencies in the public service and enhance collection of internally generated revenue. Government would also increase infrastructure development and be able to fund the budget deficit and negate trade balance cost effectively,” she said.

According to her, the contentious issue of the exchange rate policy that will complement the fiscal policy of this administration will be a product of determining the real equilibrium exchange rate path of the naira. “The finance ministry expects that the monetary policy authorities will be in a position to determine the steps required to put the currency in equilibrium after considering a number of variables,” she added.

 

She noted that other prongs of government’s economic plan included greater coordination of fiscal and monetary policy, initiatives to achieve broad improvements in overall business environment, specific policy initiatives to catalyse Medium, Small Micro Enterprises (MSME) of 50 per cent GDP growth.

 

This the Minister said, would be actualised through tax harmonisation and incentives, inclusivity through increase in share of business awarded to MSME from government and social welfare programme to support lowest income demographics.

 

“In all, the target outcome is to achieve a real GDP rate of 4.2 per cent, infrastructure development to unlock economic growth, diversification the economy and growth of the non-oil sector, improvement in overall business environment and improvement in key socio-economic indicators,” she said.

 

She noted that there would be increased capital spending to address infrastructure deficit as government would increase expenditure on infrastructure to 30 per cent of total expenditure from the 10 per cent it was in 2015. “There would be investment of N1.8 trillion in transport, roads, housing, power and health; Selective use of private capital through PPPs with substantial increase in gross capital formation, enablement of industrialization and increased competitiveness of business coupled with acceleration of GDP growth, job and wealth creation,” she stated.

 

Credit: Today

FAAC: FG, States, LGs Share N387.8bn For December

The Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, on Tuesday in Abuja said that N387.8 billion was shared among the federal, states and local governments as revenue for December, 2015.

 

 

Adeosun, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Mr Mahmoud Isa-Dutse, announced this while addressing newsmen on the outcome of the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) meeting. She said that the shared amount comprised the month’s statutory revenue of N315 billion.

 

 

 

“Also, there is the exchange gain of N4.5 billion which is proposed for distribution. Adeosun also said that the money shared included the N6.3 billion that was refunded to the federation account by Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). “Therefore the total revenue distributable for the month of December, including VAT of N62 billion, is N387.8 billion,” she said.

 

 

 

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that N369.9 billion was shared to the three tiers of government as revenue for the month of November. This month’s allocation shows an increase of N17.9 billion. Giving the breakdown of revenue among the three tiers of government, Adeosun said the Federal Government received N147.5 billion, representing 52.68 per cent while states got N74.8 billion, representing 26.72 per cent.

 

 

 

The local governments, she said, received N57.7 billion, amounting to 20.60 per cent of the amount distributed. She said N42.05 billion, representing 13 per cent derivation revenue was shared among the oil producing states. Adeosun also announced that during the month under review, Nigeria Liquified Natural Gas paid a dividend of 150 million dollars which had earlier been distributed to the three tiers of government. The minister said that the country generated N214.6 billion as mineral revenue and N100.3 billion as non-mineral revenue in December.

 

 

 

 

She said this showed an increase of N16.04 billion and N1.5 billion respectively from what the country generated in the preceding month. The minister also said the balance in the Excess Crude Account was 2.25billion dollars, indicating that nothing had been removed or added since July, 2015.

 

 

 

Adeosun said acts of vandalism on oil pipelines among other factors had continued to negatively impact on oil revenue generation. She said shut-in, shut-down of production for repairs, production shortfall due to technical hitches at different terminals throughout the month impacted negatively on crude oil and gas revenue.

 

 

 

According to her, there was a revenue loss of 143.9 million dollars as a result of reduction in federation export sales and drop in the average price of crude oil from 49.58 dollars in October to 43.4 dollars in November, 2015,” she said.

 

 

 

(NAN)

Kemi Adeosun Assumes Office As Finance Minister

Hours after she was sworn in as a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun assumed office in the Ministry of Finance.

 

Adeosun, who was once a Commissioner of Finance in Ogun State, arrived the Ministry’s premises and immediately went into closed door meeting with the directors of the ministry.

 

One of the directors said that the minister promised to meet the directors one on one to know their individual problems.

 

Before her arrival at the ministry, staff of the ministry had trooped out in their numbers to receive the minister and perhaps, listen to her for some comments especially in the new areas she intends to drive the policy of government.

 

She was later presented a handover note by a Director, Alhaji Haruna Mohammed, while using the occasion to inform the media team covering the ministry of her readiness to work with them for good service delivery to the Nigerian people.

 

Credit : Daily Sun