An NGO, the Amaka Chiwuike-Uba Foundation (ACUF), has urged the Federal Government to lay emphasis on credibility and high performance of the 2020 Revised Budget as a catalyst for infrastructure development.
The Board Chairman of ACUF, Dr Chiwuike Uba, made the call in a statement issued to newsmen in Enugu on Saturday while reacting to the signing of the revised budget.
Uba, while commending President Buhari for the budget and its signing on time, said that the budget had a deficit of about N4.5trillion, debt service of N2.9 trillion, a capital expenditure of N2.4 trillion and N4.9 trillion for recurrent expenditure.
He said that Nigeria’s budget had consistently suffered from low credibility and poor performance occasioned by corruption, inflation of contracts, stealing, poor planning and supervision, weak institutions and most especially, unrealistic revenue and expenditure projections.
According to him, the proposed 2020 federal government revenue may be difficult to achieve `as a result of the COVID-19 ravaging the globe.
Uba, who is a developmental economist, said that about 42 per cent of the 2020 budget would be funded through additional public debt as Nigeria’s debt service to revenue ratio is about 66 per cent.
He, however, said: “This is above the World Bank prescribed debt service to revenue ratio of not more than 22.5 per cent.”
The chairman also lamented that greater part of the budget might be siphoned for selfish uses and at the detriment of poor, unemployed and dying Nigerians.
He recommended that Nigeria’s budgets should be made transparent and accountable as Nigerians needed to know the budget for waivers and subsidies.
Uba also advised for the budget to be re-allocated “as the present allocations will not guarantee economic stabilisation and growth intended by the government”.
“We commend President Buhari for signing the revised 2020 Federal Government Budget of N10.8 trillion into law.
“Nevertheless, we are worried about the performance and credibility of the 2020 federal government budget.
“In most cases, the actuals are usually at variance with the budgets.
“According to the information accessed from the Budget Office of the Federation website, as of the 3rd quarter in 2019, the total debts and fiscal deficits increased by 13.7 per cent and 94.92 per cent, respectively, above the amounts provided in the budget.
“Given the current global crisis occasioned by the COVID-19, the proposed 2020 Federal Government revenue (loans, oil, and non-oil revenue) may be difficult to achieve. And, this, on the other hand, may also affect the proposed expenditures.
“The signed 2020 federal government budget has a budget deficit of about N4.5trillion, debt service of N2.9 trillion, a capital expenditure of 2.4 trillion, and N4.9 trillion for recurrent expenditures.
“This means that about 42 per cent of the 2020 federal government budget will be funded through additional public debt.
“ Nigeria is borrowing to fund consumption and this is not only unsustainable but unacceptable for a country struggling with high poverty rate, high misery rate, high unemployment, insecurity, and an economy facing recession among other challenges.
“Painfully, monies that end up into personal bank accounts are included as part of the metrics for determining budget performance.
“A typical example is the alleged N1.6 billion shared by the management of NDDC, as part of their COVID-19 palliatives.
“Budget performance should not be measured based only on the amount expended, but, more importantly, it should be based on the value-added.
“The value-added should be determined by evaluating the social costs of the foregone projects and activities as well as the social and economic benefits derived by the citizens for the monies spent.
“Clearly, Nigeria needs to rethink its project and infrastructure strategy. A cost-benefit analysis should be employed in project determination and implementation.
“The budget of about $28 billion is a far cry to South Africa’s budget of $122 billion and Kenya’s budget of $32 billion. Unfortunately, Nigeria has a population of over 200 million people.
“Nigeria’s population is 3.5 times the South African population of 57 million people and over four times Kenya’s population of 48 million. Yet, only about 22 per cent of the 2020 federal government budget is for capital expenditure,’’ he said.
Uba noted that the current administration promised to increase the capital budget, but that had not really happened as promised.
“Most of the government budget under-spending is related to capital expenditure, especially, the economic sector –infrastructure projects.
“In most cases, more than a third of these projects are never started. Even when they are started, it is never completed.
“It is even worse when you factor in over-inflated and poorly executed projects,’’ he added.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Donald Ugwu (NAN)
Revival of ailing industries will strengthen currency -Expert
Mr Promise Amahah, an economic expert says revamping ailing industries and economic diversification in the country will help to strengthen the value of the Naira among world currencies.
He advised the Federal Government to also sustain the tempo in its diversification drive in different sectors of the economic to further boost the economy.
“The fall of the Naira did not just happen overnight. When Naira was stronger was when we had Peugeot Automobile Nigeria, Volkswagen Nigeria, Dunlop Nigeria Ltd, Michelin Nigeria, Bata and Lennards.
“Our Naira had value when we had Nigerian Airways, Steel Rolling Mills; Osogbo Steel Rolling Mill, Ajaokuta steel, Arewa Textile Mill, BEREC Batteries, General Motors and Kingsway among others,” he said.
Amahah, who is the Chief Executive Officer of Strategy Worth and Technology (SWAT), lauded Federal Government for its move to revive Ajaokuta Steel Company.
The expert said the commitment by the Central Bank of Nigeria to revive Nigerian Cotton Textile and Garment industries was the right step in the right direction.
Edited By: Ismail Abdulaziz (NAN)
Oil prices fall as rising coronavirus case numbers cast shadow over fuel demand pickup
This is just as major producers ramp up output.
The slide comes after WTI rose 1.8 per cent and Brent climbed 1.5 per cent on Monday on better-than-expected data on manufacturing activity in Asia, Europe and the United States.
“On the demand side, we had quite encouraging global manufacturing (data) … but there’s still quite a bit of evidence of the oil demand recovery stalling in quite a few markets with a resurgence of COVID-19,’’ said Lachlan Shaw, Head of commodity research at National Australia Bank (NAB).
Denting fuel demand, cities from Manila to Melbourne are tightening lockdowns to battle new infections, while Norway has stopped cruise ship traffic in the latest European travel alarm.
In a further sign of a patchy rebound in demand, analysts estimate United States refined product stockpiles rose last week, according to a preliminary Reuters’ poll ahead of data due from the American Petroleum Institute industry group later on Tuesday and the United States government on Wednesday.
Five analysts estimated, on average, that United States inventories of gasoline rose by 600,000 barrels.
Distillate stockpiles, which include diesel and heating oil, likely grew by 800,000 barrels, while crude stocks fell by 3.3 million barrels in the week to July 31.
At the same time producers in the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies, together known as OPEC+, are stepping up output this month, adding around 1.5 million barrels a day of supply.
United States producers also plan to restart shut-in production and inventories remain near historical highs.
“I think it is fair to say that most oil market participants expected more downward pressure on oil to start the week with COVID-19 ravaging the landscape and OPEC+ adding more barrels into play,’’ said Stephen Innes, Chief Global Markets Strategist at AxiCorp, in a daily note.
Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)
Algeria to reopen mosques for public – President
The president made the remarks during a meeting of the High Security Council attended by top military and security officials as well as cabinet members to assess the COVID-19 epidemic inside the country.
Tebboune instructed Prime Minister Abdelaziz Djerad to programme a gradual reopening of mosques.
He added that the first phase of the programme will be limited to 1,000 large mosques in the country, which “will be able to allow the essential physical distancing with the imperative wearing of masks by all’’.
The prime minister was authorised to estimate the reopening of beaches and other places for recreation and relaxation.
Mosques, beaches and parks in the country have been closed since mid-March, as part of measures taken by the authorities to stem the spread of the COVID-19 epidemic.
Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)
NFF appoints caretaker committee for Anambra FA
The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) on Monday constituted a 6-man caretaker committee to steer the affairs of Anambra State Football Association for the next three months in the first instance.
This came less than 24-hours after the Jude Anyadufu led electoral committee set up late May concluded its task on Aug. 2 with a virtual election which returned Sen. Ifeanyi Ubah, the incumbent chairman for second term.
In a statement issued on Monday, the NFF said the caretaker committee became inevitable following the expiration of the Ubah led board on July 28 and the inability of the electoral committee to conduct the elections.
It would be recalled that the board and local football council elections were scheduled to hold on July 27 and July 28 before the Anambra government ordered the suspension of the exercise on July 25 citing breach of COVID-19 safety protocols.
The NFF said the caretaker committee led by Emmanuel Okeke had the mandate to conduct elections into the board and the LFCs between Aug. 4 when their appointment became effective and Nov. 2 when it would elapse.
The interim committee would be inaugurated on Aug. 5.
“Recall that the tenure of the Board of Anambra State Football Association and the Anambra State Local Football Councils elapsed by effluxion of time on April 30 and May 2 respectively.
“Arising from the novel coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) and the general lockdown, including football activities, the ASFA Congress was convened on April 28 leading to the extension of tenure of the Board and the LFCs, for another three months, which again expired on August 2.
“The Electoral Committee was unable to conduct elections into the Board of ASFA and LCF on July 27 in view of the Anambra State Government’s letter to the Electoral Committee complaining of the violation of the COVID-19 protocols of the State.
“Art. 85 of the NFF Statutes 2010 provides that ‘the Executive Committee shall have the final decision on any matter not provided for in the Statutes or in cases of force majeure.
“Consequently, the Executive Committee of the NFF in its wisdom, and in order not to create a vacuum do hereby constitute a Caretaker Committee for ASFA as follows: Emmanuel Okeke, Chairman and Victor Nwangwu, Vice Chairman.
“Others are Nonso Philip, Member; Charity Okonkwo, Member; Onyeabo Chimezie, Member and Onyedika Chijioke Secretary.
“The Caretaker Committee is to administer the activities of the Anambra State Football Association and also conduct elections into the Board of ASFA and LFCs within three months, effective from Aug. 4 to Nov. 2.
Edited By: Chidinma Agu/Hadiza Mohammed-Aliyu (NAN)