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2020 Budget: NGO decries poor allocation for agriculture

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The Feed Africa Advocacy Network(FAAN), an agriculture based Non Governmental Organisation(NGO), says the allocation of N83 billion to the agricultural sector in 2020 Budgetary was abysmal and needed to be revisited.

The Executive Director of the network, Mr Chika Okeke, who made this known at a news conference in Abuja on Wednesday, said more funds needed to be allocated to the sector to actualise government’s diversification programme.

The Nigeria News Agencyreports President Muhammadu Buhari during the presentation of the 2020 Budget on Oct.8., announced that the sum of N83billion had been allocated for capital projects in the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

The Ministry of Works and Housing got the highest allocation with the sum of N262 billion, followed by Ministry of Power with N127 billion.

Others are, Universal Basic Education Commission with N112 billion, Defence-N100 billion and Zonal Intervention Projects-N100bn.

Okeke called for a supplementary budget to meet some of the critical needs required to stimulate growth of the sector.

“The 2020 budget for the sector does not reflect government’s pronouncements about taking agriculture seriously.

“The budget is not sufficient. It is no where close to what we expected. It is not close to where we are coming from and it will not take us to where we are going to.

“There is a need for a supplementary allocation for agriculture if we must work the talk of diversification of the economy.The federal government needs to revisit the allocation to the sector.

“We want the National Assembly to as a matter of urgency, set up process to allocate more funds to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and other agricultural projects that cut across other MDAs.

“Allocation of about N500 billion is not even enough for the sector because that is less than 10 per cent of what the budget is.

“So, we need to do more as a country. Africa cannot feed itself if Nigeria is not food sufficient. So for as long as Nigeria continues to sneeze as far as budget is concerned, Africa will catch cold, ” he said.

He said it was worrisome that at a time when other climes were catching in on new opportunities in the agricultural sector by allocating huge budgets, Nigeria’s budget was on the decline.

He noted that as a signatory to the Maputo Declaration in Mozambique in 2003, it was important for Nigeria to go beyond mere talks to action.

“Agriculture got 1.2 per cent of the 2016 Budget. In 2017 it got 1.86 per cent to about 2.23 in 2018 to 1.56 in 2019 and now we are going far below that to 1.4 per cent.

“Out of the 2020 budget of N10.33 trillion the agriculture sector was allocated N83 billion in capital expenditure which is about 1.4 per cent of the entire national budget.

“This is ridiculous and there is no reason why Nigeria, as we approach the last lap of the Sustainable Development Goal(SDG), would meet the goal 2020.

“There is nothing to explain the fact that at this time in this circumstance, Nigeria is still allocating a paltry 1.4 per cent of our national budget to agriculture. The continuous decrease shows a sustained decline.

“The 2018 to 2019 appropriation represented a decrease from about 78 per cent to about 55 per cent. The 2018 budget represented about 2.23 per cent which is a far cry from where Nigeria is supposed to be as far as the Maputo declaration 2003 is supposed to be.

“We are making this call to ask the federal government to take concrete steps by making adequate investment in the agricultural sector.

“Nigeria today has a population of about 200 million people. Expending about 1.4 per cent from our national budget to stimulate agricultural development is not acceptable,” he said.

He added: “This country will not go close to achieving the SDG goals if we continue to pay lip service to the agricultural sector by virtue of giving almost next to nothing to the sector.

“There is a need for a supplementary budget because the country is currently responding to the border closure. The prices of good stuff are going up.

“Meanwhile, the World Bank estimates that Sub Sahara Africa needs about 45 billion dollars investment in agriculture annually, while only about seven billion dollars is being invested in the region annually.

“For Africa to feed itself, Nigeria first needs to be self sufficient. We need investment to stimulate key sectors of the economy as far as agricultural value chain is concerned.”

The executive director called for sustained effort by government and other stakeholders to fix the challenges bedeviling the sector, including inactive research institutes, poor infrastructure among others.

He also called for more subsidies to farmers for improved productivity.

“Our research institutions are almost gone comatose. All of them are getting close to nothing to stimulate research and development and without research development we will not make any meaningful development as a nation.

“Be it in quality seeds, animal feeds formulation, soil management and all of that. N83 billion is not even sufficient for the research and development sector talk more of the entire sector.

“Another area that needs serious attention is mechanisation. Nigeria with almost a population of 200 million,has less than N50,000 tractors.

“It is estimated that we need about N1.5 trillion in investment to be able to bridge the gap between where we are now in terms of the number of tractors to where we ought to be.

“Let us look at the analogy of the top five countries that are supposed to be the most populous countries by 2050. India with a population of 1.3 billion and expected to be 1.6 billion in 2050 already has about 2.5 million tractors.

China with a population of 1.3 billion has 1.5 million tractors. Nigeria with a projected population going to 400 million by 2050 cannot boast of 50,000 tractors nationwide.

“Even in the use of fertiliser, Nigeria is the least. India uses 165.5 kg of fertiliser per hectare, China-503.3kg US-138.6kg, Brazil is about 186.

“It will shock us to know that for Nigeria, on the average, our fertiliser use per hectare is about 9.7kg. How can we stimulate productivity and yield with such poor usage of fertiliser.

“The US has about 4.5 million tractors with a population of about 300 million. Brazil has about 900,000 tractors with a population of 232 million.

“So, we need to allocate more funds to stimulate any meaningful development in the sector.”

According to him, subsistence farming will not get Nigeria where it ought to be in terms of food sufficiency, saying that to attain that, there was a need to allocate more funds to stimulate agricultural mechanisation.

He further called on the federal government to make great investment in infrastructures that support storage to avoid post harvest losses.

He noted that nearly 40 per cent of tomatoes produced in Nigeria is lost after harvest.

According to him, Nigeria is spending over N1 billion annually in importation of tomato paste in spite of being number one producer of tomato in Africa.

He said it was important for the federal government to understand that “Nigerians are hungry and agriculture is the hope of the country as far as non oil revenue is concerned.”

On border closure, the executive director commended government for taking such bold step.

He advised government not to give heed to pleas to reopen the borders until the neighboring countries gave concrete commitment to helping check smuggling of goods into Nigeria.

He called on government to create enabling environment to boost local production of goods and at affordable price.(NAN)

CJM/ABI


Edited by Ali Baba-Inuwa

Foreign

Arab Monetary Fund loans Morocco 211 mln USD to support state budget

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The Arab Monetary Fund (AMF) has loaned Morocco 211 million United States dollars to support its state budget amid COVID-19 concerns, said a statement by the fund on Friday.

This new loan will boost a reform program in the public finance sector in face of current circumstances, said the statement.

This is the second loan granted by the fund to the North African country in a month.

The AMF had on May 7 granted another loan to Morocco of 127 million dollars aimed at supporting the country’s external financial position and meeting emergency needs.

(XINHUA)

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Economy

Nsukka LGA chairman presents budget proposal of N2.96bn to councilors 

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Chief Patrick Omeje, the Chairman of Nsukka LGA in Enugu State on Friday presented  a budget estimate of N2.96 billion for 2020 fiscal year to the councilors for consideration and approval. 

The budget tagged ”Budget of New Beginning ” had a proposed  recurrent expenditure of N2,434,432,144.00 and  capital expenditure of N526,400,000.00.

The  three sectors the budget was allocated are: Administration,  Economy and Social services, while  economy sector  had the highest budgetary allocation.  

Omeje said the budget proposal would be funded from expected statutory revenue allocation from Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC), Value Added Tax, Internally Generated Revenue and others.

“Two billion, two hundred million naira is expected to come from statutory allocation and  eighty million naira from Internally generated revenue.

“Six hundred million naira is expected  from Value Added Tax, and  Eighty million naira only from others, ” he said.

The council boss  highlighted the achievements of his administration in his first tenure to include: opening Lejja link road which linked the people with Aku in Igboetiti LGA and Akpugo Eze in Uzo Uwani LGA.

In addition, renovation of Adada house that served as guest house and conference centre, donation and energising  of electricity transformers in Umukashi, Ezeani, Ibeku Opi communities and  inaugurating of health centres at Akpa Ozzi and Anuka communities.

Omeje urged residents to continue to join hands with him to move the council forward,  urging those he had offended in the course of carrying out his official functions to forgive him  as he had already forgiven anybody that had offended him.

“I  commend  councilors, stakeholders, traditional rulers, the media and all residents for their support to my administration and urge them to keep it up,” he said.

The  LG boss urged  councilors to give the budget proposal accelerated passage to enable the council to start implementation of the budget for the benefit of Nsukka people.

” In your usual support and determination to move the council forward, I will be happy if this budget is given accelerated passage,” he said.

Responding , the Leader of Nsukka Legislative Council, Mr Celestine Ugwuoke, commended Omeje for his style of leadership.

Ugwuoke assured the chairman that councilors would look into the budget, ask questions where necessary as well as give the budget speedy passage.

“We will give budget speedy passage for the benefit of Nsukka residents as well as to enable  the Chairman to continue his developmental agenda in the area.”


Edited By: Angela Okisor/Donald Ugwu (NAN)

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Economy

S/Korea unveils biggest extra budget plan to tackle COVID-19 outbreak

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South Korea unveiled the country’s biggest-ever supplementary budget plan on Wednesday to tackle an economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The extra budget plan worth 35.3 trillion won ($28.5 billion) will be submitted to the National Assembly for approval, according to the Ministry of Economy and Finance.

If approved, it would be the country’s largest-ever supplementary budget.

The previous high was 28.4 trillion won ($23 billion) earmarked in 2009 to deal with the global financial crisis.

Of the total, 23.8 trillion won ($19.2 billion) will be financed through the issuance of government bonds, while the remaining 11.5 trillion won ($9.3 billion) will be funded through an adjusted fiscal expenditure.

Minister of Economy and Finance, Hong Nam-ki, who doubles as Deputy Prime Minister for economic affairs, told a press briefing that the COVID-19 outbreak roiled domestic demand, such as consumption and investment, as well as export and tourism coming from the global economic downturn.

Hong noted that the worsening of economic situations and the employment shock was coming into a clearer sight, explaining why the government drew up the third extra budget plan in 2020 alone.

AIB

Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

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Foreign

S.Korea unveils biggest extra budget plan to tackle COVID-19 outbreak

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South Korea unveiled the country’s biggest-ever supplementary budget plan Wednesday to tackle an economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The extra budget plan worth 35.3 trillion won (28.5 billion U.S. dollars) will be submitted to the National Assembly for approval, according to the Ministry of Economy and Finance.

If approved, it would be the country’s largest-ever supplementary budget. The previous high was 28.4 trillion won (23 billion U.S. dollars) earmarked in 2009 to deal with the global financial crisis.

Of the total, 23.8 trillion won (19.2 billion U.S. dollars) will be financed through the issuance of government bonds, while the remaining 11.5 trillion won (9.3 billion U.S. dollars) will be funded through an adjusted fiscal expenditure.

Minister of Economy and Finance Hong Nam-ki, who doubles as deputy prime minister for economic affairs, told a press briefing that the COVID-19 outbreak roiled domestic demand, such as consumption and investment, as well as export and tourism coming from the global economic downturn.

Hong noted that the worsening of economic situations and the employment shock was coming into a clearer sight, explaining why the government drew up the third extra budget plan in 2020 alone.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Finland announces record-high supplementary budget to counteract COVID-19 impact

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The Finnish government on Tuesday announced a record-high supplementary budget of 5.5 billion euros (6.16 billion U.S. dollars) to counteract the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, Finance Minister Katri Kulmuni said.

With this budget, the debt taken by the government this year increased to 18.8 billion euros (21.04 billion dollars), Kulmuni said at a press conference.

The government also decided to extend the target timing of stabilizing the ratio between public debt and gross domestic product from 2023 to 2030, Kulmuni said, adding that the longer time frame would ease the pressure.

The senior official said Finnish universities will be authorized to add 4,800 students to this year’s enrollment.

According to the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, Finland confirmed a total of 6,887 COVID-19 infections by Tuesday afternoon, with 320 virus-related deaths and at least 5,500 recoveries.

The country reopened restaurants and cafes on Monday, with opening hours shortened and capacity of service halved. The new restrictions are supposed to stay until the end of October.

(XINHUA)

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Politics

2020 Budget: Senate increases oil price benchmark to $28

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The Senate on Tuesday increased the 25 dollars per barrel oil price benchmark proposed by the executive in the revised Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP) forwarded to it for approval.

The upper chamber made the increase on the oil price benchmark to 28 Dollars.

The resolution was sequel to the consideration and adoption of report of its Committee on Finance mandated to work on the revised documents by the executive during plenary.

The Chairman of the Committee, Sen. Solomon Olamilekan, presented the report.

Olamilekan in his submission said the increase effected on the oil price benchmark was as a result of the recent upward trend of the crude oil market which stood at 38 Dollars per barrel with a very strong expectation that the price would rise to as high as 40 to 45 Dollars per barrel.

The senate also reduced from 1.9 million barrel per day to 1.8 million barrel per day oil production proposed by the executive in the documents.

This is as it declared monies kept in the Natural Resources Development Accounts as waste.

However, other critical parameters including the exchange rate of N360 to a US dollar, 14.43 inflation growth rate and 4.42 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate were retained.

Other assumptions cum proposals retained include N5.09 trillion Federal Government’s revenue, N10 .51 trillion proposed expenditure, N4.95 trillion fiscal deficit, N4.17 trillion new borrowings (including Foreign and domestic Borrowings).

The Senate also retained the critical components of the proposal as presented by the executive with adoption of N10.51 trillion as total expenditure, N4.93 trillion as total recurrent, N2.83 trillion for personnel cost and N2.23 trillion for capital expenditure.

In his remarks, President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan urged the Senate Committee on Privatisation to liaise with the Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE) in ensuring that the projected N260 billion from proceeds of privatised agencies was realised and accordingly used to fund the budget.

He frowned at some of the special accounts being kept by the executive, particularly the Natural Resources Development Accounts.

According to him, such accounts at this time of scarcity of funds to finance the budget are not all that necessary.

Keeping monies in Natural Resources Development Accounts is more of waste than serving critical purposes,” he said.

He thereafter adjourned sitting of the Senate to Tuesday, June 9, for consideration and possible passage of the revised N10.509 trillion 2020 budget.


Edited By: Vivian Ihechu/Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)

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Politics

COVID-19: Lagos Assembly reduces state’s 2020 budget to N920.5bn

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The Lagos House of Assembly has passed a resolution to reduce the size of the state’s 2020 budget from N1.68 trillion to N920.5 billion due to the economic challenges posed by COVID-19 pandemic.

The resolution was made following a voice votes conducted by the Speaker of the House, Mr Mudashiru Obasa, during plenary in Ikeja on Tuesday.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Clerk of the House, Mr Azeez Sanni, had read a letter by Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu requesting the reduction in the size of the budget on the floor by the House.

The Lagos State Government had recently disclosed plans to reorder the N1.168trn 2020 budget following current economic challenges as a result of COVID-19 pandemic.

The Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Mr Sam Egube, said the reordering became necessary in view of the slump in oil price in international market as well as the reduction in Internally Generated Revenue.

Obasa, at the plenary, directed that the House Joint Committees on Budget and Economic Planning and Finance to reduce the budget size of the state for year 2020 from N1.68 trillion to N920.5 billion.

The speaker said the committees were to report back to the House within one week.

He said, “Based on the governor’s request, the House will work assiduously to review the budget to refocus, reorder and take into consideration the current challenges.

“We need to do this to give us the best chance of stimulating the economy and ensuring that the post-COVID-19 response economy will be strong and enduring.”

The House also paid  tributes to a former member of the Senate, who represented Lagos Central Senatorial District, Alhaji Muniru Muse, who died on Tuesday at 81.

Speaking on the demise of the politician, Mrs Mojisola Miranda, (Apapa Constituency 1), said that the Senator died in the early hours of Tuesday.

“Senator Muniru Muse was our leader in Lagos Central, Apapa in particular. He was a clerk in the Nigerian Port Authority and he later rose to become the Port Manager.

“He was the executive chairman of Apapa Local Government for two terms, and he later represented Lagos Central at the Senate for one term.

“I want us to observe a minute silence for him and write a letter of condolence to his family,” she said.

The requests were later granted as the Speaker directed the Clerk of the House to write a condolence letter to the family of the deceased.

The House later adjourned sitting until Monday.


Edited By: Tayo Ikujuni/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

 

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Politics

Revised 2020 budget: Buhari seeks Senate approval for $5.513bn external loans

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President Muhammadu Buhari has sought the approval of Senate for an external loan of 5.513 billion dollars to fund the revised 2020 Appropriation Act.

Buhari’s request was contained in a letter addressed to President of Senate Ahmad Lawan and read at plenary on Thursday.

Buhari in the letter said the loan which would be sourced from the multilateral organisations would be used to finance the revised 2020 budget and priority projects of the Federal Governments.

He said the loan became necessary given required funding of the revised 2020 budget and moves to insulate the nation’s economy from the COVID-19 pandemic .

He listed the multilateral organisations to source from to include International Monetary Fund(IMF)World Bank, African Development Bank and Islamic Development Bank.

A breakdown of the loan to be received from the organisations according to Buhari are :
IMF: 3.4billion dollars, World Bank 1.4billion dollars, Africa Development Bank 500million dollars, Islamic Development Bank 113 million dollars.

The President added in the request that the loans being urgently sought for are targeted at critical areas of funding of the 2020 budget,execution of critical projects slated for 2020 fiscal year and projects to support the state governments.

The senate also at plenary received documents on revised 2020-2022 Medium Term Expenditure Frame Framework (MTEF)and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP) and revised 2020 Appropriated Act.

The 2020 revised Appropriation Act  received for senate consideration is now predicated on oil production of 1.93 million barrels and oil price benchmark price of 25 dollars per barrel.

While the total budget estimates stood at N10.509 trillion as against N10.59.4 earlier approved, which amounts to difference of N85billion.

Senate also at plenary passed for first reading five bills.

The bills are Nigerian Railways Corporation Act repeal and reenactment Bill ,2020 by Sen.Buhari Abdulfatai (APC-Oyo), National Transport Commission Establishment Bill, 2020 by Sen. Buhari Abdulfatai (APC-Oyo North), Tertiary Education Trust Fund Act 2007 amendment Bill, 2020 by Sen. Bamidela Opeyemi (APC-Ekiti), among others.

Senate also at plenary debated and passed for second reading the bill to amend the 2020 Appropriation Act,having receive the document and suspended its rule 70 to debate the revised document on 2020 revised appropriation bill.

It also received the report on Federal Character and intergovernmental Affairs on confirmation of nomination of 38 persons for appointment as Chairman and members of Federal Character Commission.

Edited By: Remi Koleoso/Sadiya Hamza (NAN)

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Politics

Rep: Bill to amend 2020 budget passes second reading

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A Bill for an Act to amend the 2020 Appropriation Act has passed second reading in the House of Representatives.

The bill, which seeks to review the 2020 budget was presented by the Majority Leader of the house, Rep. Ado Doguwa (APC-Kano) at the plenary on Thursday.

The News Agency of Nigeria recalls that the 2020 budget had a total of N10,594,362,364,830.

However, the Executive proposed that the budget be reviewed to N10,509,654,033,053 reducing the budget by N84, 708,331,777.

Leading the debate, Doguwa said that the need to amend the 2020 budget was necessitated by the global effect of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said it had become necessary to review the parameters of the 2020 budget to meet the present day realities.

The Rep said that the review was solely in the interest of all Nigerians and the entire country following the current pandemic.

Doguwa urged members to support the bill as it promises to assist the country to combat the effects of the pandemic.

He said that the bill should be referred to the relevant committees of the house to speedily work toward its quick passage. 

Rep. Mohammed Shehu said that it was the fall of oil price in the international that had necessitated the budget review.

He said that the proposal sent by the Executive did not reflect the current reality on ground.

According to the rep, we as a country are in a time when we need to tighten our belt to survive the current challenges.

He said that the recurrent expenditure in the proposal does not reflect the difficult economic times.

The lawmaker said that the recurrent expenditure should be the first item on the budget that should be reduced.

According to him, as it stands, it means we want to continue with life as usual as we plan to borrow money.

He stressed that the house should do a thorough job by reducing the recurrent expenditure so as not to send Nigeria backwards.

Rep. Sada Gibia (APC-Katsina) called the attention of the house to provisions made for the excess crude account.

He said that the house must ensure that the amendment bill conforms with the provisions of the Constitution.

Rep. Taiwo Oluga also drew the attention of the house to the amount proposed for the edification sector.

She said that enough funds should be allocated to enable the country include e-learning in the curricula.

The lawmaker said that funds should be taken from allocations to the Ministry of Finance and put into education and agriculture.

In his ruling, the Deputy Speaker of the house, Rep. Ahmed Wase referred the bill to the relevant committees of the house for further legislative action.

Edited By: Felix Ajide (NAN)

 

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