Thirty-five States will struggle to fund their budgets, as the Federal Government’s earnings declined in the first quarter of 2019. The Federation Allocation Account Committee (FAAC) recorded a drop in its disbursement after posting N1.929 trillion.
FAAC‘s disbursement of N1.929 trillion between January and March of this year showed a drop of 0.45 percent, a slight difference when compared to the disbursement of N1.938 trillion during the same period in 2018.
Despite the decline in its finances for 2019, the N1.929 trillion was higher than the result posted in 2017. There is a recorded 36.7 percent increase when compared to the N1.411 trillion disbursed in the corresponding period in 2017.
Why the decline matters: The drop in Q1 2019 ended an impressive run of N2 trillion disbursement which lasted for three consecutive quarters between Q2 to Q4 of 2018.
Impact of the decline for the FG: According to report, the Federal Government received N803.18 billion in the first quarter of the year, 1.18 percent lower than the N812.8 billion it received in the same period in 2018. When compared to the N549.1 billion disbursed in corresponding quarters of 2017, it’s 46.2 percent higher.
Impact of the decline for States: The drop means in the first quarter of this year, 36 states shared N675.2 billion. This is a 1.19 percent decline when compared to the N683.4 billion disbursed to the states in Q1 2018. However, it is 48 percent higher than the N456 billion disbursed in Q1 2017.
The story is different for LG: The report showed that while FG and the States recorded a decline in their disbursement in the first quarter of 2019, the Local Governments recorded an increase of 1.28 percent when compared to N393.4 billion disbursed in the first quarter of last year. This means that the LGA’s disbursement is 47.8 percent higher than the amount disbursed to them in Q1 2017.
Reason for the decline: The 0.45 percent recorded in the disbursement for the first quarter of 2019 is blamed on the fall in oil prices. This slightly affected the earnings of the Federal Government.
This was made known in the latest issue of the Quarterly Review of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI).
“Oil prices experienced a downward spiral from November 2018. Oil prices were above $80 per barrel in October 2018 but by December 2018, they had dropped to $57 per barrel. The average oil price for the first quarter of 2019 was $63.17 per barrel.
“Average oil price for the year 2018 was $71.06 per barrel. Thus, oil prices have been considerably lower in the first three months of 2019 than they were in 2018.”
States will struggle to fund budgets: NEITI disclosed that the budget presented by 35 states this year cannot be funded adequately. According to NEITI, even if the net FAAC disbursements to each state in 2017 and 2018 are combined, the funds will still not be enough.
There’s a problem: As usual, both the Federal Government and the States will, once again, depend on external borrowings to fund their budgets. This is despite condemnation that allocations to some ministries and projects which are said to be fraudulent.
Recall that the Senate Committee on Trade and Investment recently uncovered that the sum of N42 billion was allegedly allocated to a private company in the Ministry’s 2019 budget.
However, the Minister of Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah denied the claims that it intends to allocate such figures to a non-existing private company, stating that the said company ‘Nigeria Special Economic Zone Company‘ is jointly owned by FG and stakeholders which he refused to disclose.
According to a document received by the Senate committee from the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), the company’s name is actually Nigeria Sez Investment Company Limited, and it exists as a private entity.
There has always been a criticism of projects in every budget each year, with most of them usually tagged unrealistic. This is because many people believe that the budget serves as a means for the Government to divert funds or ‘scam’ the people, just as London-based Chevening Scholar, Laolu Samuel-Biyi, recently observed.
IGP says protesters attacked 205 public, private facilities
Data collated when the #End SARS peaceful protest started indicated that 14 states recorded major violence.
The Nigerian Police Force has stated that about 205 critical national security assets, corporate facilities and private properties were razed down and vandalized during the EndSARS protest, which was hijacked by hoodlums and arsonists.
This was disclosed by Mr Mohammed Adamu, the Inspector-General of Police, during a virtual conference of Senior Police Officers in Abuja, according to a news report by NAN.
Adamu disclosed that data collated between Oct. 11, when the #End SARS peaceful protest started as a demonstration, and Oct. 27, after it was hijacked by the vandals, indicated that 14 states recorded major violence.
He said that some of the states severely affected by this civil unrest are Lagos, Edo, Delta, Oyo, Kano, Plateau, Osun, Ondo, Ogun, Rivers, Abia, Imo, Ekiti, and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
The violence had resulted in attacks on critical national security infrastructure, other corporate and private properties, as well as injuries or fatalities to civilians, the police, and other security agents.
What you should know
- 71 public warehouses and 248 privately owned stores were looted in the course of the protests nationwide.
- 51 civilian fatalities with 37 injured, and 22 policemen gruesomely murdered with 26 others injured were recorded during the protest.
- 10 firearms, including 8 AK 47 rifles, were carted away during the attack on police stations, and a locally made pistol had been recovered from elements operating under the guise of the EndSARS protest.
- 1,596 suspects have so far been arrested in connection with the violence and widespread looting across the country.
Protecting your money from fraudsters
The ability to carry out transactions from the comfort of your homes, comes with the responsibility of safeguarding your money.
The advent of the cashless policy in Nigeria came as both a gift and a curse. On the plus side, one does not need to lug bags of cash around, especially for interstate transactions—just get depositors to transfer funds to your account, and you in turn, transfer to your business partners.
The policy has also made banks more innovative by creating various payment platforms that don’t need physical cash. Each bank has a robust mobile banking app where customers can transfer funds, subscribe for cable TV, book flights, buy airtime, etc., without entering a banking hall. For those without smart phones, the Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) option is there. Even ATM cards have been upgraded to do more than pay cash. What a time to be alive!
However, with these strides in innovation, come the downsides—robbers have adapted with the times by moving from the highway and taking their “trade” online. The various options open to customers for processing transactions can also be manipulated by thieves to defraud account holders of their hard-earned funds.
Hopefully, after reading this article, readers would be better armed to protect their funds from these “online robbers.”
1. Do not divulge sensitive account details to unknown callers
As surprising as it seems, many people still fall prey to this trick, despite several warnings. There have been many instances of people admitting that they received calls from unknown callers, who claim to be staff of various banks. They are told that their accounts require some form of upgrade\corrections, and to do this, information like ATM card PINs and PANs, and details of messages sent to the account owners’ phones are needed. The “bank staff” then creates mobile banking apps tied to the bank accounts of the unsuspecting owners, and from there, all funds are transferred to several unknown recipients.
2. Protect card details
As already stated, ATM cards are not just used for cash withdrawals now—they can also be used for funds transfers, bills payments, online transactions, etc. this means that one does not necessarily need the physical presence of their card to process some transactions. With knowledge of the card Primary Account Number (PAN), which are the 16 digits displayed on the card’s surface, the Personal Identification Number (PIN), and Card Verification Value (CVV) number, displayed on the back of the card, funds can be moved from one’s account.
It is therefore important to protect these details, especially when using the card in public places like ATM lobbies, and POS machines. You should be equally careful not to call out such details, if absolutely necessary, within earshot of people.
3. Always keep your phone safe
Imagine mourning the loss of your phone, then having the added heartache of losing the funds in your bank account(s).
The value of a phone goes beyond its price, these days. It contains private valued information of its owner, among which are bank account details; it also contains the SIM through which transaction alerts are received. The SIM makes it possible to process USSD transactions.
There have been instances where phones were given to repairmen, only for the owners to realise later that funds had been transferred from their accounts via USSD to unknown beneficiaries. Even relatives have been known to secretly steal funds from accounts, just by handling the owner’s phones.
Always keep your phone locked, and know where it is at all times.
4. Pay attention to transaction alerts
It is very easy to assume that all is well with one’s account, and not bother with checking transaction alerts. After all, it is what you withdrew that must have left the account, right? Wrong!
As explained above, funds could have left your account without your authorisation. So pay attention to your transaction alerts, especially the balances, and quickly investigate any transaction that was not initiated with your permission—the earlier the better, for quick resolution with your bank.
Also note that the absence of alerts despite transactions could also be a red flag, as the SIM could have been swapped, giving fraudsters a free hand to run your account.
5. Know the USSD code for instant account deactivation
Imagine the horror of receiving alerts showing that your account is being continuously debited as you helplessly watch it happen, especially during over weekend when banks are closed.
This doesn’t need to happen. Right from the first debit, you should be able to take action and deactivate your account to prevent further debits. This is why it is important to know the emergency code of each bank where your funds are kept. For example, with Zenith Bank, any phone can be used to enter USSD code *966*911#, provide your account number, and the number used to receive alerts, and the account gets instantly deactivated. After this, you can take your time to investigate the stolen money, instead of frantically running around to stop further debits.
It is also important to know the various ways to reach your bank during emergencies—get their customer care lines from their websites, and if they have chatbots, engage them; also know their email addresses. Getting your account officer’s number too is useful.
Apparently, with the ability to carry out transactions from the comfort of your homes, comes the responsibility of safeguarding your money (to an extent). These tips should make it easier to do so.
However, in a case where the money has already been stolen, contact your bank as soon as possible for investigation and possible recovery.
COVID-19 Update in Nigeria
On the 30th of October 2020, 170 new confirmed cases and 3 deaths were recorded in Nigeria
The spread of novel Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) in Nigeria continues to record significant increases as the latest statistics provided by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control reveal Nigeria now has 62,691 confirmed cases.
On the 30th of October 2020, 170 new confirmed cases and 3 deaths were recorded in Nigeria, having carried out a total daily test of 3,008 samples across the country.
To date, 62,521 cases have been confirmed, 58,249 cases have been discharged and 1,141 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. A total of 620,758 tests have been carried out as of October 30th, 2020 compared to 617,750 tests a day earlier.
COVID-19 Case Updates- 30th October 2020,
- Total Number of Cases – 62,691
- Total Number Discharged – 58,430
- Total Deaths – 1,144
- Total Tests Carried out – 620,758
According to the NCDC, the 170 new cases were reported from 11 states- Lagos (106), FCT (25), Oyo (14), Edo (7), Kaduna (7), Ogun (4), Bauchi (2), Benue (2), Kano (1), Osun (1), Rivers (1)
Meanwhile, the latest numbers bring Lagos state total confirmed cases to 21,212, followed by Abuja (6,053), Plateau (3,630), Oyo (3,447), Rivers (2,810), Edo (2,664), Kaduna (2,648), Ogun (2,031), Delta (1,814), Kano (1,747), Ondo (1,666), Enugu (1,314), Kwara (1,069), Ebonyi (1,049), Katsina (952), Osun (926), Abia (898), Gombe (883). Borno (745), and Bauchi (713).
Imo State has recorded 616 cases, Benue (493), Nasarawa (482), Bayelsa (412), Ekiti (332), Jigawa (325), Akwa Ibom (295), Anambra (277), Niger (274), Adamawa (257), Sokoto (165), Taraba (146), Kebbi (93), Cross River (87), Yobe (82), Zamfara (79), while Kogi state has recorded 5 cases only.
Lock Down and Curfew
In a move to combat the spread of the pandemic disease, President Muhammadu Buhari directed the cessation of all movements in Lagos and the FCT for an initial period of 14 days, which took effect from 11 pm on Monday, 30th March 2020.
The movement restriction, which was extended by another two-weeks period, has been partially put on hold with some businesses commencing operations from May 4. On April 27th, 2020, Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari declared an overnight curfew from 8 pm to 6 am across the country, as part of new measures to contain the spread of the COVID-19. This comes along with the phased and gradual easing of lockdown measures in FCT, Lagos, and Ogun States, which took effect from Saturday, 2nd May 2020, at 9 am.
On Monday, 29th June 2020 the federal government extended the second phase of the eased lockdown by 4 weeks and approved interstate movement outside curfew hours with effect from July 1, 2020. Also, on Monday 27th July 2020, the federal government extended the second phase of eased lockdown by an additional one week.
On Thursday, 6th August 2020 the federal government through the secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 announced the extension of the second phase of eased lockdown by another four (4) weeks.