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Govt To Borrow More To Fund N6tr Deficit In 2022 Budget

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The Federal Government plans to finance the proposed 2022 budget deficit pegged at N6.258 trillion through fresh borrowings.

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, disclosed this during a press conference after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting in Abuja.

Ahmed noted that this would aid the funding of the Federal Government’s infrastructure projects.

“Government has been borrowing before this administration and continues to borrow and it is important that we borrow to provide developmental projects in the form of roads, rails, bridges, power and water for sustainable development in this country,” she said.

“If we just depend on the revenues that we get, even though our revenues have increased, the operational expenditure of government, including salaries and other overheads, is barely covered or swallowed up by the revenue.”

READ ALSO: Malami Under Fire For Threatening State Of Emergency In Anambra

While defending the government’s borrowings, she said the move was necessary to be able to build projects and to ensure that they were developed on a sustainable basis.

In spite of persistent agitations in some quarters against the frequent borrowing by the current administration, the minister insists that the total size of the borrowing was still within healthy and sustainable limits.

She added :“Nigeria’s borrowing, has been of great concern and has elicited a lot of discussions. But if you look at the total size of the borrowing, it is still within healthy and sustainable limits.

“As of July 2021, the total borrowing is 23% of GDP. When you compare our borrowing to other countries, we’re the lowest within the region, lowest compared to Egypt, South Africa, Brazil, Mexico, the very lowest, and Angola.

“We do have a problem with revenue. Our revenues have been increasing. We just reported to council that our revenues from non-oil have performed, as of July, at the rate of 111%, which means outperforming the prorated budget.”

This is coming as the Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved the 2022 Appropriation Bill for an aggregate expenditure of N16.39 trillion.

 

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Otedola Not Our Majority Shareholder – FBN

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Otedola Not Our Majority Shareholder - FBN

FBN Holdings Plc has faulted media reports that billionaire businessman, Mr Femi Otedola, has acquired a significant shareholding in the company.

The holding company for First Bank of Nigeria Limited, in a statement by its Company Secretary, Seyi Kosoko, filed with the Nigerian Exchange Limited on Friday, said it had not received any notification of such acquisitions.

It said, “The attention of FBN Holdings Plc has been drawn to media reports today (Friday) that a certain individual has acquired significant shareholding interest in FBN Holdings Plc.

READ ALSO: Senate Warns Govt Against Job Embargo, Rise In Recurrent Expenditure

“As a listed company, the shares of FBN Holdings are publicly traded, and sale and acquisition of shares is expected in the normal course of business. We operate in a regulated environment, which requires notification of significant shareholding by shareholders to the company, where shares are held in different vehicles, further to which the company will notify the regulators and the public as appropriate.

“The company is yet to receive any notification from the individual mentioned in the media report, of such acquisitions.”

 

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Senate Warns Govt Against Job Embargo, Rise In Recurrent Expenditure

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Senate Warns Govt Against Job Embargo, Rise In Recurrent Expenditure

The Senate on Thursday criticised the Federal Government for embargoing employment and yearly increase in workers’ salaries.

The Senate Committee on Establishment stated its position during a 2022 budget defence at the National Assembly, Abuja.

The lawmakers’ anger was triggered by yearly increase in the recurrent expenditure component of the budget which was submitted by the Chairman of National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission ( NSIWC), Mr Ekpo Nta before the Senate Committee on Establishment.

The failure of Nta to tell the committee the total amount of salaries and wages the federal government pays its workforce yearly, infuriated many members of the committee who wondered why recurrent expenditure in yearly budget is not decreasing on account of embargo placed on employment, and retirements at the various agencies.

Specifically, Senator Ali Ndume in taking up the NSIWC boss, said he was supposed to know the total wage bill of the Federal Government workers in arresting the dangerous trend of increases in yearly recurrent expenditure component of the budget without new recruitments and even with retirement of workers on a yearly basis.

“Honestly speaking, a time bomb is ticking out there with this policy because of the doors shut out against millions of youths seeking employment without success.

READ ALSO: CBN Plans N500m Grants For Undergraduates

“Making it worrisome is the fact that despite the policy, since 2018 till now, recurrent expenditure components of the yearly budget have been increasing.

“In 2018, it was N3.5trillion, N4trillion in 2019, N4.5trillion in 2020, N5.6trillion 2021 and N6.83trillion in the projected N16.39trillion 2022 budget.

“It is bad for recurrent expenditure to be increasing on yearly basis without an increase in the number of workforce through required recruitments.

“The embargo is turning into a time bomb that can explode at any time as witnessed in some countries in the past.

“Personally, I’m already thinking of where to run to if the avoidable crisis is not averted. I visited Ghana and Niger recently in this regard.”

Other members of the committee like Suleiman Kwari (APC Kaduna North), Nicholas Tofowomo (PDP Ondo Central) and the Chairman of the committee, Ibrahim Shekarau (APC Kano North), aligned themselves with Ndume’s admonition.

Pointedly, the Chairman of the Committee directed the Salaries and Wages Commission Chairman to liaise with the Accountant General of the Federation and other management officials of IPPIS, for required harmonization in arriving at the total amount of salaries /wages the Federal Government pays per annum.

 

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CBN Plans N500m Grants For Undergraduates

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CBN Plans N500m Grants For Undergraduates

To promote entrepreneurship and reduce unemployment, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) will support youths in tertiary institutions with N500 million grants.

The apex bank made the disclosure on Wednesday in a report titled ‘Guidelines for the implementation of tertiary institutions entrepreneurship scheme’.

It said, “Five top Nigerian polytechnics and universities with the best entrepreneurial pitches/ideas shall be awarded as follows: first place – N150m; second place – N120m; third place – N100m; fourth place – N80m; and fifth place – N50m.”

The CBN stated that activities to be covered under the scheme would include innovative start-ups and existing businesses owned by graduates of Nigerian polytechnics and universities in areas such as agribusiness, information technology, creative industry, as well as science and technology.

The report said agribusiness would include production, processing, storage and logistics, while information technology would include application/software development, business process outsourcing, robotics and data management.

READ ALSO: How To Know You Will Achieve Financial Freedom

The apex bank added that the creative industry would include entertainment, artwork, publishing, culinary/event management, fashion, photography, beauty/cosmetics; while science and technology would include medical innovation, robotics, ticketing systems, traffic systems, renewable energy, and waste management.

According to the CBN report, the interest rate will be five per cent per annum and nine per cent effective from March 1, 2022 or as may be prescribed by the regulator.

The bank said beneficiaries must apply on the dedicated online portal and provide all requisite documentation to support the application.

It also noted that priority would be given to innovative entrepreneurial activities with high potential for export, job creation and transformational impact.

 

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