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Nigeria Is Broke, Finance Minister Laments, As Public Debt Hits N41.6trn

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Nigeria’s fiscal position worsened as the cost of debt servicing surpassed the government’s revenue in the first quarter of 2022.

It was earlier reported that the 2022 fiscal performance report for January through April shows that Nigeria’s total revenue stood at N1.63 trillion while debt servicing stood at N1.94 trillion, showing a deficit of over N300 billion.

Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, on Thursday warned that urgent action is needed to address the nation’s revenue challenge and expenditure efficiency at both the national and sub-national levels.

The report showed that gross oil and gas federation revenue for the first four months of the year was projected at N3.12 trillion but as at April 30, only N1.23 trillion was realised, representing a mere 39% performance.

Despite higher oil prices, the report showed that oil revenue underperformed due to significant oil production shortfalls such as shut-ins resulting from pipeline vandalism and crude oil theft as well as high petrol subsidy cost due to higher landing costs of imported products.

However, non-oil taxes trailed targets marginally, with average performance of 92.6%.

“Revenue performance is expected to improve in the second half of 2022 as a result of concerted efforts to address the oil theft and pipeline vandalism, the report said. It added that there is also seasonality to some of the non-oil taxes, which means that the nation expects to collect significantly more in the second half of the year.

“The improved revenue collection should also moderate the Debt Service to Revenue ratio, which is currently above our target level,” the report said.

The expectation of improved revenue collection should also moderate the debt service to revenue ratio, which is currently above the nation’s target level.

In the first quarter of 2020, Nigeria’s debt service as a percentage of revenue rose to 99%, according to the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy (MTEF/FSP) report released by the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget, and National Planning.

The data showed that in Q1 2020, Nigeria incurred a total sum of N943.12 billion in debt service while the Nigerian government retained revenue at N950.56 billion. In effect, Nigeria’s debt service to revenue was estimated to be 99% during the period.

On Thursday, the new report showed that the Nigerian government’s share of oil revenues in Q1 2022 was N285.38 billion (representing 39 percent performance), while non-oil tax revenues totalled N632.56 billion, representing 84 percent. In essence, the government generated N401.8 billion from company income tax (CIT) and value-added tax (VAT) as CIT and VAT collections were N298.83 billion and N102.97 billion, respectively, representing 99 percent and 98 percent of their respective targets.

Customs collections (made up of import duties, excise and fees, as well as federation account special levies) trailed target by N76.77 billion (25.42 percent) while the other revenues amounted to N664.64 billion, of which independent revenue was N394.09 billion.

The report noted that for Nigeria, “fiscal risks are somewhat elevated”, following weaker-than-expected domestic economic performance and structural issues in the domestic economy. It warned that revenue generation remains the major fiscal constraint of the nation and the systemic resource mobilization problem has been compounded by recent economic recessions.

The underlying factors also include the Russia and Ukraine war, which the report said has assumed a new and worrisome dimension with severe implications on food and energy prices. It listed the resurgence of COVID -19 in some major economies, which has led to slowdown in economic activities in those countries; as well as renewed elevated inflation in most economies, prompting monetary tightening in these economies with the inherent negative impact on capital inflow to emerging markets economies.

Also identified as a contributing factor is the challenging domestic macroeconomic and business environment and the negative impact of insecurity on the domestic economy.

“Efforts will however focus on improving tax administration and collection efficiency,” the report said.

“Crude oil production challenges and PMS subsidy deductions by NNPC constitute significant threat to the achievement of our revenue growth targets, as seen in the 2022 Performance up to April.

“Bold, decisive and urgent action is urgently required to address revenue underperformance and expenditure efficiency at national & sub-national levels.”

Nigeria’s public debt hits N41.6trn
Meanwhile, Nigeria’s total public debt stock, comprising the debt obligations of the federal government, states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) rose from N39.56 trillion in December 2021 to N41.60 trillion ($100.07 billion) in the first three months of 2022 (January to March), the Debt Management Office (DMO) revealed yesterday.

In addition, the domestic debt service obligations of the federal government stood at N668,685, 710,112.98 in the first three months of 2022.

According to the DMO, with the increase in the country’s debt profile, its total public debt-to-gross domestic product (GDP) now stands at 23.27 per cent, as against 22.43 per cent December 31, 2021.

The DMO, in a statement posted on its website explained: “The amount represented the domestic and external debt stocks of the Federal Government of Nigeria, the 36 state governments and the Federal Capital Territory. The comparative figures for December 31, 2021, were N39.56 trillion or $95.78 billion.”

The total public debt stock, the agency said, included new domestic borrowing by the FGN to partly finance the deficit in the 2022 Appropriation Act, the $1.25 billion Eurobond issued in March 2022 and disbursements by multilateral and bilateral lenders.

According to data posted by the DMO, the federal government’s total domestic debt as at March 31, 2022, stood at N20.144 trillion (N20,144,027,724,703).

In the same vein, the federal government’s domestic debt service of N668,685 billion for the review period was for Nigerian Treasury Bills (NTBs), Federal Government Bonds, FGN Savings Bond, and FGN Sukuk Rentals.

A breakdown of the debt service obligations showed that N188,364,772,069.17 was paid out in January, N103,883,183,876.20 in February and N376,437,754,167.61 in March.

Federal government bonds accounted for the lion share of N630,535,774,886.21 followed by NTBs with N29,642,197,193.31 and FGN Sukuk Rentals N8,167, 315,066.60. Similarly, FGN Savings Bond took the rear with N340,422,964.8 million. Total debt service for NTBs in January was N3,220,890,038.78, while February and March were N7,23, 906,633.90 and N19, 189,400,520.63.

For Federal Government Bonds, a total debt service of N185,026,886,879.94 was paid in

January, N96,527,951,065.07 in February, and N348,980,936,941.20 in March. Also, the DMO data showed that FGN Savings Bond gulped debt service of N116,995,150.45 in January, N123, 326,177.23 in February and N100,101, 637.18.

There was no debt service pay out for FGN Sukuk Rentals in January and February, but in March, a total of N8,167, 315,066.60 was paid.

Meanwhile, Nigeria’s external debt stock as at March 31, 2022 stood at $39,969.19 billion.

This comprised debts for multilateral and bilateral creditors as well as commercial loans.

Nigeria owes the largest chunk of $18,957.22 billion to multilateral creditors, including the World Bank Group, International Monetary Fund (IMF), African Development Bank, European Development Fund Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa, Islamic Development Bank, and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

Out of the $18,957.22 billion owed multilateral agencies, $12,229.43 billion and $486.10 million respectively to the International Development Association (IDA) and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD)- two members of the World Bank Group.

It is also indebted to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to the tune of $3,395.08 billion and $4 495.87 billion to bilateral creditors, including China Exim Bank $3,667.65 billion), Agency Francaise Development of France ($567.89 million) and KfW of Germany ($164.04 million), among others.

Nigeria’s second external debt obligation were commercial loans, standing in excess of $15.918 billion. This included Eurobonds and Diaspora Bond.

BIG STORY

Project Lead Africa Announces 2022 Leadership Excellence And Dignity Awards, Tagged “Rewarding Tenacity”

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Organizers of Leadership Excellence And Dignity Awards have annouced November 13th for the 2022 maiden edition of Lead Awards. It was also revealed that the prestigious event will hold at the Dome International Conference Center, Akure, Ondo State.

Addressing a cross section of journalists over the weekend in Lagos, the Executive Director, Abiola Alaba Peters AAP, said the evening promises to be a gathering of captains of industries, government officials and prominent traditional rulers as far as Ondo State is concerned.

“It is our pleasure to announce to the general public, particularly the good people of Ondo State, that all is set for the 2022 Leadership Excellence And Dignity Awards. This announcement was necessary after several months of consultation and planning, the event will be live at the Dome International Conference Center, in Ondo State capital, Akure”

“The date is November 13th 2022, It’s going to be a cooperate night, an evening of glitz and glamour, we have put in so much into making this maiden edition a memorable one. And that is why we have also taking time to design the concept of the theme of this year ceremony, REWARDING TENACITY. We believe it’s time to celebrate the individuals and organizations who have put in their best in making our dear state what it is today”

“It’s promises to be a gathering of some of the biggest names in Ondo State, from politics, business, entertainment, among others, our traditional rulers are not going to be left out, we are also expecting guests from neighboring states. Alaba Peters concluded.

Giving further details on the event, the Media and Publicity Director, Adewoye Solomon, said although activities, such as nominations and voting has kicked off since January, the award ceremony will hold on a Sunday in the month of November 2022.

In his words, “Let me start by saying that, the process and activities for the award started in January this year, the award presentation will hold in Akure, on a Sunday, the second week of November 2022. Let me also add that, two months ago, we closed the voting process. We have about 25 categories of awards, which includes the special recognition category”.

“A total of 15 categories will be decided by general public, while the remaining 10 will be decided based on the panels’ decision. We received a good number of quality entries from across the state for this debut edition. We have our final shortlists of winners, which we are confident embody the excellence the awards stand for.”

Lastly, let me also add that, this is a strictly by Invitation event. We are introducing an electronic invites by next month. We also have some top celebrities coming in from Lagos. We will make some major announcement in the month of October, do well to follow us on all our social media pages for updates. Thank You “

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JUST IN: FG Makes U-Turn, Withdraws Order To Reopen Varsities

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The Federal Government, through the National Universities Commission, Monday afternoon, withdrew its circular which ordered vice-chancellors, pro-chancellors, and governing councils to re-open federal universities.

It was reported earlier that a circular tagged NUC/ES/138/Vol.64/135 was addressed to all vice-chancellors; pro-chancellors and chairmen of governing councils of federal universities ordering them to re-open universities.

But in another circular tagged NUC/ES/138/Vol.64/136, which the Director, Finance also signed, and Account of the NUC, Sam Onazi, the commission withdrew the order.

Though it did not explain why. The letter tagged, “withdrawal of circular NUC/ES/138/Vol.64/135 dated September 23, 2022” partly read, “I have been directed to withdraw the NUC Circular Ref: NUC/ES/138/Vol.64/135, and dated September 23, 2022, on the above
subject.

“Consequently, the said circular stands withdrawn. All pro-chancellors, chairmen of governing councils, and vice-chancellors of federal universities are to please note. Further development and information would be communicated to all relevant stakeholders.

“Please accept the assurances of the Executive Secretary’s warmest regards”

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Retired Soldiers Stage Protest In Abuja Over Pay Discrepancies [PHOTOS]

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Some retired soldiers on Monday in Abuja protested salary and pension gaps among the ranks of serving and retired military personnel.

The protesters were seen with mats and banners demanding that the federal government rectify the discrepancies.

One of the banners they carried, said, “Review the wide disparity in pay and pension across the ranks of servicing and retired personnel”

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