By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara State on Thursday presented the 2017 budget to the state’s House of Assembly.
Mr Ahmed, in his speech, noted that he plans to spend N135.26 billion in the 2017 fiscal year.
According to him, the 2017 appropriation bill christened ‘Budget of Introspection and Sustenance,’ is anchored on current economic realities and his administration’s determination to look inwards for sustained prosperity and development.
The Governor noted that his government intends to fully exploit the economic potentials of the state by tapping into all potential sources of Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) through the improvement of existing revenue line items while breaking new ground.
However, he maintained that this would be “pursued in a manner that will not inflict hardship on our people.”
Business Post correspondent reports that Mr Ahmed explained to the lawmakers that the 2017 budget is N22.68 billion higher than what was presented in the outgoing 2016 fiscal year, representing 21.2 percent increase.
He also said out of the total budget size, a total sum of N57.5 billion is earmarked for recurrent expenditure, N71 billion is for capital expenditure and a total sum of N6.8 billion is allotted for public debt service, representing 42.5 percent, 52.5 percent and 5 percent of the total budget size respectively.
Moreover, the Governor told the House of Assembly that he intends to fund the 2017 budget through the statutory revenue allocation (FAAC) estimated at N23.8 billion, VAT estimated at N7.5 billion, other sundry revenue estimated at N7.5 billion, refund from London and Paris Club Loans at N10 billion, IGR of N20.3 billion, Capital Development Fund Receipt/Aid & Grants of N52.5 billion and term loan facility from Financial Institutions estimated at N5 billion.
In his speech, the Kwara State Governor said his “commitment to bridge the infrastructure development gap in the state remains unshaken despite the present economic challenges.
“In line with this determination, the state government has devised innovative means of financing the infrastructural projects in the state through the establishment of Kwara Infrastructure Development Fund known as IF-K, in which this Honourable House graciously passed into law recently.
“The fund is sourced from the state’s IGR deduction of N500 million only on a monthly basis. This singular act will free up money for our critical infrastructure and other social related expenditure.
“In addition, we are looking at alternative financing sources for some of our projects through Public Private Partnership in the coming financial year.”
He further disclosed that the 2017 budget proposal is for the promotion of the welfare of Kwarans by enhancing infrastructure, stimulating the socio-economic environment, boosting the informal sector and, by extension, expanding job creation, noting that, “I am aware that this year has been a difficult one for individuals, families and businesses in Kwara State.”
“I am determined that despite the current challenges, and based on the proposals I am presenting today, we will be able to put food on more tables, money in more pockets and more people in employment this coming year,” Mr Ahmed assured.
He said, “The 2017 budget is generally designed to diversify the production and revenue base of the state economy to deliver inclusive growth, infrastructural development, job creation and social intervention programs for the poor and vulnerable groups.”
Mr Ahmed promised to reduce the cost of governance and be prudent in the utilization of available resources in critical areas to help his administration achieve its goals for 2017 fiscal year.
Nigeria’s Pension Funds Reach N14.27bn as Contributors Near 10 million
By Adedapo Adesanya
The National Pension Commission (PenCom) says the total number of registered contributors and the value of pension fund assets stand at 9,795,957 million and N14.27 trillion respectively, as at June 2022.
The Director-General of PenCom, Mrs Aisha Dahir-Umar, gave the figures at a recent workshop themed Increasing Informal Sector Participation In The Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS): The Case for Micro Pension Plan (MPP).
Mrs Dahir-Umar, represented by the Head, Corporate Communications, Mr Abdulqadir Dahiru, said the increasing number of pension funds and contributors was responsible for the recapitalisation of the Pension Fund Administrators (PFA’s) by PenCom.
“The reason for the recapitalisation exercise was to ramp up the capacity of the PFA’s to manage the increasing number of registered contributors and the value of pension fund assets which stood at 9,795,957 million and N14.27 trillion respectively, as at June 30, 2022.
“PenCom increased the Minimum Regulatory Capital (Shareholders’ Fund) requirements of PFAs from N1 billion to N5 billion in 2021.
“All PFAs have complied with the commission’s directive to increase their minimum capital during the exercise which had a 12-month transition between April 27, 2021, and April 27, 2022,” she said.
According to her, the theme of the workshop aligned with the commission’s objective of expanding coverage of the CPS as it relates to the micro pension plan.
The director-general explained that the objective was to bring into the CPS, Nigerians working in the informal sector and those who were self-employed through the MPP.
Mrs Dahir-Umar noted that strategic efforts to drive the MPP remained one of the significant areas of focus of the commission.
She said the MPP was conceptualised to expand pension coverage to the informal sector, including small-scale businesses, entertainers, professionals, petty traders, artisans and entrepreneurs.
“The MPP was implemented to curb old-age poverty by assisting the workers, as mentioned above, to contribute while working and build long-term savings to fall back on when they become old, ” Mrs Dahir-Umar said.
The director-general stated that to create awareness of the MPP, the commission, in collaboration with the Pension Fund Operators Association of Nigeria, was currently championing an industry media campaign in major cities in the country’s six geopolitical zones.
She said it was expected that the exercise would bring about increased effectiveness and efficiency as well as improved service delivery in the industry.
“Let me re-affirm the commission’s commitment to creating awareness and holding social dialogue on the workings of the CPS with relevant stakeholders towards the smooth implementation of the scheme in Nigeria,” she said.
Outrage Over Payment of N18.39bn Daily for Fuel Subsidy
By Adedapo Adesanya
Some Nigerians have started to express anger over the disclosure by the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, that the sum of N18.39 billion is used by the federal government daily to pay for fuel subsidy.
Speaking during an investigative hearing of the House of Representatives ad hoc committee looking into the petroleum subsidy regime between 2017 and 2021, the Minister revealed that, “The total amount of subsidy per day is N18.397 billion per day.”
“So, if you are projecting for the full year, it would be N6.715 trillion. If you are projecting for half year, it would be 50 per cent of that,” she informed the lawmakers.
According to the Finance Minister, this was calculated using the information provided by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited and the regulator, the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA).
She said the information showed that 64.96 million litres of fuel are the projected average daily truck out, adding that N1.774 trillion was paid to independent oil marketers as subsidy in four years.
Aside from the increasing cost of petrol importation, economic and energy experts have continued to decry the rising cost of fuel subsidy by the federal government.
In January, the federal government said it will retain fuel subsidy indefinitely and amended the 2022 budget to provide funds for that purpose, a move that saw the provision jump over 800 per cent to N4 trillion.
Mrs Ahmed, at that time, said the government realised that the timing of the planned removal of the petrol subsidy was problematic and would worsen the suffering of Nigerians.
According to her, all payments on fuel subsidies were supposed to cease from July 2022 but, “subsequent to the passage of the [Finance] Act, we went back to amend the Fiscal Framework that was submitted to the National Assembly to incorporate this demand, but after the budget was passed we have had consultations with a number of stakeholders.
“It became clear that the timing is problematic, that practically there is still heightened inflation, and also removal of subsidy will further worsen the situation, thereby, imposing more difficulties on the citizens, and Mr President clearly does not want to do that.”
Naira Exchanges at N694/$1 in Peer-to-Peer FX Segment
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Naira depreciated against the United States Dollar at the Peer-to-Peer (P2P) window of the foreign exchange market on Thursday by 0.32 per cent or N2 to sell for N694/$1 in contrast to the preceding day’s rate of N692/$1.
However, it closed flat against the greenback in the Investors and Exporters (I&E) segment of the FX market at N429.38/$1 amid a slump in the value of transactions at the ecosystem.
According to data from the FMDQ Securities Exchange, forex transactions worth $63.30 million were carried out during the session compared with the $120.46 million reported a day earlier, indicating a decline by $57.16 million or 47.5 per cent.
But at the interbank segment, the local currency moved in the same direction on Thursday, appreciating against the British Pound Sterling and against the Euro.
It was observed that the domestic currency appreciated against the Pound Sterling by N1.72 to trade at N508.24/£1 compared to the previously traded rate of N509.96/£1 and against the Euro, the Naira gained N11.06 to settle at N420.83/€1 compared with the previous day’s N431.89/€1.
Also, in the black market, the domestic currency improved its value by N2 to trade at N678/$1 in contrast to the N680/$1 it was sold on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, in the cryptocurrency market, investors counted more losses as the appetite for the digital coins waned, with Shiba Inu (SHIB) dropping 9.9 per cent to sell for $0.00001343 and Dogecoin (DOGE) losing 8.4 per cent to close at $0.07429.
Cardano (ADA) depreciated by 8.1 per cent to settle at $0.4951, Solana (SOL) slumped by 6.2 per cent to sell at $38.30, Binance Coin (BNB) slid by 5.0 per cent to close at $291.64, Ripple (XRP) depreciated by 3.7 per cent to finish at $0.3616, Litecoin (LTC) went down by 3.0 per cent to quote at $58.99, Bitcoin (BTC) recorded a 2.5 per cent drop to end at $22,818.66, while Ethereum (ETH) retreated by 1.5 per cent to trade at $1,817.11, with the US Dollar Tether (USDT) retaining its previous day’s value of $1.00 due to the strong performance of the US Dollar against other currencies.
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