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Delta Raises 2021 Budget by 34%, to Spend N378.5bn

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Delta State 2021 Budget

By Dipo Olowookere

The budget estimate of Delta State for the 2021 fiscal year has been raised 34.05 per cent or N96.2 billion higher than the 2020 financial year by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa.

On Tuesday, the Governor presented the Appropriation Bill to the Delta State House of Assembly and during the presentation, he said the sum of N378.48 billion is to be spent next year as against N282 billion approved for this year.

Mr Okowa, who described the bill as Budget of Recovery, noted that more funds would be used to carry out projects across the state, justifying the reason for the N207.52 billion earmarked for capital expenditure and N171.32 billion for recurrent expenditure.

According to him, N113 billion, representing 89.94 per cent of the capital budget is allocated to the economic sector, N35 billion is allocated to the social sector, N10.93 billion for the administration sector and N42 billion for the regional sector.

“In 2021, we propose to spend N66.66 billion on road infrastructure, N6.79 billion on health, education will gulp N23.55 billion, agriculture will take N2.04 billion and water sector will get N1.83 billion.

“Job and Wealth Creation Bureau will gulp N1 billion and youth development will receive N1.25 billion. These key sectors are very essential in our 2021 budget,” the Governor informed the state lawmakers.

He explained that the impact of the COVID-19 on the global economy has made it necessary to spend more funds to revive the economy of the state, especially in the critical sectors.

Mr Okowa said the 2021 budget proposals reinforced the state government’s commitment to road infrastructure, education, health and job and wealth creation programmes as the principal-drivers of the Stronger Delta agenda.

According to him, since 2015, his administration has progressively increased its annual spending on education infrastructure and would continue to scale up investments in the sector as the state continued with plans to establish nine new technical colleges to take off in the 2021/2022 academic session.

He, therefore, stated that “the proposed 2021 Budget for Delta is primarily focused on protecting and supporting our people in a COVID-19 environment, accelerating infrastructural renewal, incentivizing growth, enhancing job creation, engendering social inclusion and developing sustainably.

“Overall, the proposed 2021 budget is predicated on inclusive economic growth that is sustainable and people-centred, with strengthening fiscal sustainability through increased efficiency in spending, improved revenue mobilization and debt sustainability.

“It also entails improving processes and systems in public financial management, and monitoring and evaluation, to bolster better public sector service delivery.”

The Governor explained to the lawmakers that the budget, which was derived from the state’s 2021-2023 FSP/MTEF, was anchored on crude oil production benchmark of 1.86 mbpd, an oil price of $40, an exchange rate of N379/$1 and a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth of 3 per cent with a national inflation rate of 11.95 per cent.

Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan. Mr Olowookere can be reached via dipo.olowookere@businesspost.ng

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Economy

CBN Puts Down N500m to Encourage Entrepreneurship Among Students

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Encourage Entrepreneurship

By Ashemiriogwa Emmanuel

As part of its policy measures to address rising youth unemployment and underemployment, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has disclosed that it will support students in tertiary institutions to encourage entrepreneurship.

According to the apex bank, a grant of N500 million would be awarded to five top Nigerian polytechnics and universities with the best entrepreneurial pitches or ideas.

“Five top Nigerian polytechnics and universities with the best entrepreneurial pitches/ideas shall be awarded as follows: first place – N150 million; second place – N120 million; third place – N100 million; fourth place – N80 million; and fifth place – N50 million,” a report from the central bank on Wednesday, October 20, titled Guidelines for the implementation of tertiary institutions entrepreneurship scheme stated.

The bank said it would receive offers from crucial sectors of the economy like agribusiness, information technology, creative industry, and science and technology.

On implementation, CBN disclosed that a Body of Experts (BoE) from the private and public sector would be put together for the regional and national entrepreneurship competitions to evaluate entrepreneurial and technological innovations submitted by participants.

The BoE, who will review and recommend the projects, will comprise four representatives from the Bankers’ Committee, one representative from consulting industry, and one nominee from the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN).

The body to review the pitches also comprises one nominee each from the Nigerian Universities Commission (NUC), National Board for Technical Education (NBTE), and from the CBN (Secretary).

“Participation under the developmental component shall be restricted to undergraduates of Nigerian polytechnics and universities.

“Interested Nigerian polytechnics and universities shall apply to participate in the national biennial entrepreneurship competition on a dedicated online portal (https://cbnties.com.ng), outlining brief details of the project, potential impact, and evidence of originality of the project.

“The submitted applications shall be evaluated by the BoE through engagements that showcase undergraduates competing by pitching entrepreneurial and technological innovations at regional levels, with finalists proceeding to the national event for final consideration and ranking by the BoE,” CBN disclosed.

According to the bank, the program, which will be aired a month on national television stations and on social media, will help promote the value of entrepreneurship.

It said that the awarded grant will be credited “in tranches of 55:45 ratio” directly to a dedicated account opened for the purpose of the funding.

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Economy

NGX Group Gains 10% to Lift Stock Market by 0.26%

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NGX Group Shares

By Dipo Olowookere

The nation’s stock market rebounded by 0.26 per cent on Wednesday after going down by 0.71 per cent on Monday, which was the last trading session as the exchange was closed on Tuesday for a public holiday in Nigeria.

Investors were in high spirits yesterday when they returned to the market and this reflected in the level of activity as the trading volume rose by 47.47 per cent to 499.5 million stocks from 338.7 million stocks, the trading value increased by 25.16 per cent to N5.1 billion from N4.1 billion, while the number of deals grew by 2.25 per cent 5,998 deals from 5,866 deals.

Business Post reports that when the exchange closed for the day, FBN Holdings was the most traded equity with the sale of 147.6 million units valued at N1.8 billion, followed by eTranzact, which transacted 105.2 million units worth N215.6 million.

Furthermore, Access Bank sold 27.9 million units worth N266.0 million, Transcorp traded 22.3 million units valued at N22.8 million, while GTCO recorded a turnover of 20.6 million shares worth N612.9 million.

It was observed that the market closed in the positive territory as a result of the growth posted by the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Group Plc as its share price went up by 10.00 per cent to settle at N21.45.

GlaxoSmithKline rose by 6.87 per cent to N7.00, NPF Microfinance Bank gained 5.85 per cent to trade at N1.81, Coronation Insurance grew by 4.17 per cent to 50 kobo, while FBN Holdings appreciated by 3.83 per cent to N12.20.

On the flip side, Prestige Assurance was the worst loser as its value depreciated by 8.51 per cent to 43 kobo, Consolidated Hallmark Insurance fell by 8.33 per cent to 55 kobo, Academy Press also dropped 8.33 per cent to 33 kobo, Cadbury Nigeria lost 5.88 per cent to sell for N8.00, while Union Bank went down by 5.66 per cent to N5.00.

In all, a total of 21 stocks closed on the gainers’ chart while 18 stocks finished on the losers’ chart, indicating a positive market breadth and investor sentiment.

However, three of the five major sectors of the market closed bearish with the energy, consumer goods and banking counters losing 0.39 per cent, 0.24 per cent and 0.20 per cent respectively, while the insurance and industrial goods sectors rose by 0.58 per cent and 0.04 per cent apiece.

At the close of transactions, the All-Share Index (ASI) improved by 105.04 points to 41,249.71 points from 41,144.67 points, while the market capitalisation expanded by N54 billion to N21.526 trillion from N21.472 trillion.

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Economy

Naira Appreciates to N414.07/$1 as Bitcoin Hits $66k

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bitcoin nigerians

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Naira appreciated against the US Dollar at the Investors and Exporters (I&E) window of the foreign exchange (forex) market by 0.16 per cent or 66 kobo on Wednesday, October 20 as trading returned after the Eid-el-Maulud holiday break.

At the close of business at the midweek session, the local currency was sold for N414.07/$1 in contrast to N414.73/$1 it was traded on Monday, according to data obtained from FMDQ Securities Exchange.

During the second trading session of the week, a turnover of $334.97 million was recorded as against the $172 million achieved at the preceding session.

This indicated a $162.97 million or 48.7 per cent rise in the value of transactions yesterday and because of the anticipation of pressure on the Nigerian currency, FX supply was made available to traders and this supported the growth posted by the domestic currency during the trading day.

But at the interbank segment of the market, the Nigerian currency maintained stability against the American Dollar as it remained unchanged at N410.89/$1 on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, at the cryptocurrency market, Bitcoin (BTC) rallied to an all-time high (ATH) of $66,000 yesterday as optimism surged for greater mainstream acceptance in the wake of the successful launch of the first exchange-traded fund for US investors.

In a Naira equivalent, the most popular digital coin in the world was sold for N37,004,384.99 after it rose by 2.8 per cent.

On October 19, 2021, the Proshares Bitcoin Strategy ETF (BITO) was launched. The bitcoin exchange-traded fund is the first ETF ever to be approved in the United States and it’s based on bitcoin futures markets.

This development, Business Post gathered, triggered a renewed interest in the cryptos and caused Litecoin (LTC) to rise by 9.3 per cent to N117,992.99. Dash (DASH) went up by 5.9 per cent to sell for N111,892.63, Tron (TRX) grew by 4.7 per cent to trade at N58.70, while Ripple (XRP) appreciated by 4.4 per cent to trade at N635.00.

Further, Dogecoin (DOGE) was 4.2 per cent higher to sell at N150.96, Cardano (ADA) saw its value rise by 4.1 per cent to N1,305.81, Binance Coin (BNB) made a 3.4 per cent gain to trade at N205,395.75, while Ethereum (ETH) rose by 1.7 per cent to trade at N2,203,900.99.

However, the US Dollar Tether (USDT) went down by 0.4 per cent to sell for N565.49.

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