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Economy & Politics

The 2018 Budget and a look at its priorities

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President Muhammadu Buhari

Like every other list, there are priorities. Putting the economy of the nation into perspective, the administration charts a course for the coming year.

Proposed Expenditure for 2018

The proposed expenditure for 2018 which is ₦8.612 trillion has been separated into various subdivision comprising: Recurrent Costs with ₦3.494 trillion; Debt Service, ₦2.014 trillion; Statutory Transfers of about ₦456 billion; Sinking Fund of ₦220 billion; and Capital Expenditure of ₦2.428 trillion. There is especially a 5 percent increase in statutory transfers (over last year’s budget) because of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), which are related directly to the size of oil revenue.

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Consolidation of the Social Intervention Programme

The Budget consolidates ₦500 billion in catering for the most vulnerable in the society with ₦100 billion set aside for Housing. Schemes like the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) and the National Home-Grown School Feeding programme will be implemented as they help create jobs for farmers, provide funding for traders and artisans and assist in growing small business via mentoring.

Overhead Costs:

Because of inflation, overhead costs are expected to rise by ₦26 billion (12 percent increase) in 2018 thus MDAs are admonished to follow the policies regarding cost control.

Regional Spending Priorities for Peace, Security and Development.

In a bid to keep the peace in the Niger Delta for socio-economic advancement, N65 billion has been allocated for the Presidential Amnesty Programme. This should also ensure the completion of ongoing projects in the area. Similarly, the Nigerian Army was deployed to various regions across the country to combat crime including armed robbery, kidnapping and insurgency.

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Capital Expenditure and Funding:

Funding for projects in 2018 has been allocated to various sectors of the nation to ensure proper economic development and availability of jobs:

  1. Power, Works and Housing: ₦555.88 billion;
  2. Transportation: ₦263.10 billion;
  3. Special Intervention Programmes: ₦150.00 billion;
  4. Defence: ₦145.00 billion;
  5. Agriculture and Rural Development ₦118.98 billion;
  6. Water Resources: ₦95.11 billion;
  7. Industry, Trade and Investment: ₦82.92 billion;
  8. Interior: ₦63.26 billion;
  9. Education ₦61.73 billion;
  10. Universal Basic Education Commission: ₦109.06 billion;
  11. Health: ₦71.11 billion;
  12. Federal Capital Territory: ₦40.30 billion;
  13. Zonal Intervention Projects ₦100.00 billion;
  14. North East Intervention Fund ₦45.00 billion;
  15. Niger Delta Ministry: ₦53.89 billion; and
  16. Niger Delta Development Commission: ₦71.20 billion.

The President revealed that alternative means of funding government projects have been identified and promises that 2018 will be a year of better outcomes, hence Budget of Consolidation.

 

Patricia

Chacha Wabara-Ogbobine is a Legal practitioner with over 9years post call experience. A research Consultant, professional writer and a blogger at heart,owner of four thriving websites with well over 10years of experience. Totally in love with keeping fit and coaching weight loss enthusiasts. I love my quiet time, being with my kids, watching TV series for hours on end.

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Economy & Politics

FAAN denies allegation of stolen N750 million, admits breach of procurement process

FAAN says that the accusation of the theft was just a low and unsubstantiated blow.

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FAAN reacts to release of guideline for resumption of flight operations post covid-19, FAAN releases new guidelines for post covid-19 flight operations

The Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), has denied allegations of stolen N750 million from its coffers, as alleged by an online medium. The aviation agency, while describing the allegations as entirely false, said that no funds to the tune of N750 million were approved or even went missing due to fraudulent contracts, as alleged.

This was disclosed in a series of tweet posts by FAAN, through its official Twitter handle on Thursday, July 30, 2020.

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An online medium had reported a stolen N750 million, following a fraudulent contract scheme that may have indicted top staff of FAAN. However, while speaking under conditions of anonymity, a highly-placed source within FAAN stated that the only procurement issue that was identified happened in February 2020.

According to tweet posts from FAAN, “Allegations of a stolen N750 million from the coffers of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) is entirely wrong, as no funds to the tune of any amount were approved or ever went missing due to a fraudulent contract.

READ MORE: FAAN now manages Murtala Muhammed International Airport’s toll gate 

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‘’The Managing Director himself, discovered and queried some procurement documents in February 2020. When the answers to the queries were found unsatisfactory, an investigation was launched, the staff involved were suspended, and later replaced in their official capacities.

‘’The recommendations of the management investigation were forwarded to the Federal Ministry of Aviation in June 2020. All this is fully documented and in line with federal civil service procedures.’

The statement also pointed out that some of the names being bandied around had no role in the failed procurement process. It encouraged investigative reporters to cross-check their stories and get factual information instead of smearing innocent people and settling personal scores.

READ MORE: FG pays doctors’ N15.8 billion hazard allowance

The statement from FAAN says that the accusation of theft was just a ‘low and unsubstantiated blow’ that could have been better clarified instead of going all the way to run the organization down. It also reiterated that a failed attempt to undermine the integrity of the procurement process, is not a theft, just as there was never any theft.

Also speaking on the issue of half salary to members of staff as was also reported by the online medium, a source in FAAN said due to paucity of funds, management decided to ease the burden of expenditure for all staff in view of the big Sallah on Friday by paying half salary to all senior staff only, with the balance to be paid next week.

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All FAAN junior staff were paid their full 100% salaries (that is GLs 1-7). It also stated that a notice to this effect was on all FAAN staff platforms since yesterday and the unions later got to know of it.

READ ALSO: UPDATED: Nigeria Inflation rate hits 12.2% as food index rises

An online media report had alleged that some top officials of FAAN and some of their children had conspired to steal N750 million from the aviation agency by re-awarding old contracts that had earlier been awarded by the Aviation Minister, Hadi Sirika.

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They alleged that the fraud was carried out by staff of the procurement department with the help of officials of the account and audit departments.

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Economy & Politics

Lagos sets up N1 billion seed capital for hospitality sector, rolls out optical fibre across the state

Sanwo-Olu said that this seed capital will be domiciled in the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund.

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COVID-19: Lagos State to begin curfew on Sunday to disinfect metropolis, Lagos state government discharges 7 more coronavirus patients, Lagos state will reverse to full lockdown, Sanwo-Olu to virtually inaugurate projects as he presents scorecard of first year in office, Lekki regional road: Sanwo-Olu revokes land titles of Elegushi Royal family

The Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has announced the approval of a N1 billion seed capital for investment in the tourism and hospitality sector in the state. The N1 billion seed capital is to help drive new growth in that sector

This was announced during his meeting with business leaders in the state, at an event tagged, ‘BOS Meets Business,’ which was held at the Banquet Hall in the State House, Alausa Ikeja.

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The Governor said that the investment was needed to support/strengthen the hospitality sector by providing key operators in the tourism business with soft loans to boost their capacity in driving growth. The governor said the initiative is necessary to position the tourism business as a new frontier for job creation and economic prosperity in the post Coronavirus era.

READ ALSO: A look at projects in Lagos State that may suffer after Ambode’s exit

Sanwo-Olu said that this seed capital will be domiciled in the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF), adding that the funds will be made available specifically to Micro, Small and Medium (MSMEs) operators in the sector

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The Governor also said that the Lagos State Government would be collaborating with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to further create access to funds to support the hospitality business.

Meanwhile, Governor Sanwo-Olu further disclosed that the state has concluded arrangements to provide technological infrastructure to support MSMEs by commencing installation of the first phase of the 6,000km optical fibre across the state.

READ ALSO: Lagos State Government orders building owners to conduct structural stability tests

He pointed out that the state had continued to improve on its ease of doing business policies to drive private investment and economic growth. This he said is made possible by the digitization of business registration and asset acquisition processes, which has removed administrative bottlenecks.

“We have just given approval for N1 billion support that will be given out through the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund to support hospitality business in the State. The beneficiaries of this fund will go through screening in line with the requirement of the agency. We are making this investment because of the huge potential for job creation and inclusive growth this sector can bring about.’

“We will be working with the CBN for more funding to fully develop the potential of our tourism sector. This effort is being completed with the rolling out of 3,000 km optical fibre across the State to provide technological infrastructure for the MSMEs whose operations would depend on fast Internet networks to drive their businesses,” the Governor said.

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He said this is the time for Lagos state to strengthen its economy which has a GDP valued at $130 billion and over 3 million MSMEs. The strengthening will come in the form of good policies for accelerated growth and prosperity. He also noted that the state is the 4th wealthiest city in Africa.

This policy and incentive for the hospitality sector by the Lagos State government will come as a huge relief for the small and medium scale operators in the industry which has been one of the worst-hit by the Coronavirus pandemic.

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READ ALSO: You can now track loans on LSETF website

The businesses in the sector have witnessed a lot of shutdown with loss of revenue and laying off of staff.

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Business

Lagos announces incentives as it reviews land use charge, reconsiders dusk-to-dawn curfew

The governor offered a 25% discount for those who make early payment of the land use.

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LAND USE CHARGE, Lekki sealed buildings, Lagos state governor issues new guidelines for lockdown, consider full reopening of its economy

The Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has announced some incentives for Lagosians, especially corporate organizations, for payment of Land Use Charge.

The Governor said that the repeal of 2018 laws on Land Use Charge was to further create incentives for more growth in the corporate sector. He stressed that the new Land Use laws had addressed controversial provisions and removed ambiguity in the levies paid by companies in Lagos.

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This was disclosed by the Governor during an event, ‘BOS meets Business,’ which was attended by the captains of industry, manufacturers, and members of Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN).

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During the event, the Governor also announced the granting of a 3-year waiver on penalty for those that defaulted in the payment of land use charge from 2019. He also offered a 25% discount for those who make early payment of the land use. Sanwo-Olu said:

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We are granting a waiver of three years in late payment, which covers 2017, 2018 and 2019. We are also giving 25 per cent special discount on early payment. By this, we have achieved a 48 per cent reduction for businesses in chargeable rates by repealing the 2018 Land Use Laws.

“We are taking these steps to show that we are not being insensitive to the plight of businesses and residents, especially in this period of pandemic that have slowed down activities. We have been doing everything possible to make sure businesses are not choked by taxes.”

READ: CBN discloses ongoing plans to create housing funds for developers

The Governor further disclosed that there will be a review of the dusk-to-dawn curfew imposed in the state by the federal government in response to requests by businesses across the state. According to him, the ongoing rehabilitation of major bridges and roads had impacted negatively on business activities in the state.

READ: Lagos introduces Dropbox facility for land documentation

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He urged the business leaders and the MSMEs operators to see his administration as a real partner in driving growth while assuring them that the government would continue to introduce more incentives to strengthen its partnership with the private sector. This is to help keep the Lagos economy on the path of growth.

In their own response, representatives of corporate organizations praised the efforts of the Governor in the reviews of the Land Use Laws. They, however, called for the harmonization of taxes and levies payable to the Government.

The Deputy President of Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Chief Olawale Cole, also praised the State Government for the 3-month moratorium given to MSMEs in the payment of Land Use Charge, noting that the incentive would stimulate more commitment in the sector.

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READ: Ripple payment now operational in U.S, 22 geopolitical regions

The Commissioner for Commerce, Industry and Corporative, Dr. Lola Akande, while also speaking at the event, noted that Lagos Government had taken steps since the last meeting with the Organized Private Sector to sustain the momentum of growth. She said:

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We recognize that creating an enabling business environment is the key to job creation, poverty eradication and growth of the State economy. Lagos State is positioned to support businesses and industrial sector to maximize their potential for greater contribution to the State’s GDP.”

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