The Federal Government (FG) in a statement has projected to borrow a cumulative sum of N1.7 trillion to finance the 2020 budget. This represents an increase from the N1.6 trillion borrowed in 2019.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed, disclosed this on Tuesday at the presentation of the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper (MTEF/FSP) where N9.78 trillion was proposed for 2020 total budget.
The details: While explaining details on the draft of the 2020 to 2022 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper, Ahmed stated that the new borrowings would be 50% from an external source, while 50% would be from domestic sources. She confirmed that the debt service obligations for the country had also risen significantly as a result of increase in our national debt
Speaking on the proposed 2020 budget of N9.78 trillion, the Minister stated that oil revenue was projected to decline, while non-oil revenue was tipped to grow marginally.
“Oil revenue is projected to decline from N3.688 trillion in 2019 to N2.367 trillion in 2020. This is due to lower production and lower oil prices.
“New borrowing is put at N1.605 trillion for 2019, projected at N1.7 trillion for 2020, N1.6 trillion for 2021 and N1.3 trillion for 2022. The borrowings will be 50% local and 50% foreign,” she said.
Downsizing capital expenditure: On the 2020 budget, the Minister disclosed the downward review of capital expenditure in the country. According to her, the aggregate capital expenditure in 2019 was N3.187 trillion but in 2020, it has been lowered to N2.05 trillion and the next years, the pattern would be the same thing.
“Key Assumptions of the 2020 Budget Framework: Oil Production 2.18 mbpd; Oil Price $55/b; Exchange Rate N305/$; Inflation Rate 10.81%; Nominal Consumption N122.75 trillion; N142.96 trillion Nominal GDP; and GDP Growth Rate of 2.93%”.
In the meantime, the Federal Government has also warned Nigerians to brace up as the 2020 to 2022 fiscal years would be challenging with respect to revenue generation and rapid growth in personnel costs.
She however assured that government was ready to take firm decisions. To address rising personnel cost, she disclosed that “any government staff not captured in the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) by October 2019 should forget their salaries.”
The latest disclosure by Mrs Ahmed suggests Nigeria’s debt challenge persists, and this may take the country’s debt profile to a new height in the coming year, while capital projects may face some setbacks.
FG approves 60% debt forgiveness for licensed radio and television stations
The effective date of the debt forgiveness shall be July 10 – October 6, 2020.
The Nigerian government granted a 60% debt forgiveness to all licensees indebted to the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC). The move was an additional step to the 2 months license fee waiver granted to the industry as a palliative to deal with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, said the measures were put in place as a result of the report submitted by the post-COVID-19 initiative committee for the creative industry.
GOVERNMENT GRANTS 60% DEBT FORGIVENESS TO DEBTOR BROADCAST LICENCEES.
The Federal Government of Nigeria has granted 60% debt forgiveness to licencees indebted to the NBC. This is in addition to the 2 months licence fee waiver granted earlier……..https://t.co/Sd4UCPgNJH pic.twitter.com/1hkNJSjBvb
— nbcgovng (@nbcgovng) July 6, 2020
He added that many radio and television stations remain indebted to the government to the tune of N7.8 billion.
The Minister added that the debt forgiveness will not apply to pay-TV service operators but to only terrestrial TV and radio stations in the country.
He added that the criterion for enjoying the debt forgiveness is for the debtor to pay 40% of their existing debt within 3 months. Any station that is unable to pay the 40% indebtedness within 3 months window shall forfeit the opportunity.
Existing license fee is discounted by 30% for all open terrestrial radio and television services effective July 10.
The effective date of the debt forgiveness shall be July 10 – October 6, 2020.
Covid-19: Scientists ask WHO to revise recommendations as new evidence emerges
Researchers plan to publish in a scientific journal next week, an open letter to WHO.
Hundreds of scientists have asked the World Health Organization (WHO) to revise its recommendation for the novel coronavirus pandemic, after they discovered new evidence suggesting that air-borne smaller particles of the virus can infect people.
The WHO had disclosed that the coronavirus disease spreads primarily from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth, which are discharged when a person with the coronavirus disease coughs, sneezes or speaks.
According to the scientists whether the virus is carried by large droplets that zoom through the air after a sneeze or by much smaller exhaled droplets that may move quietly through the length of a room, the coronavirus is borne through air and can infect people when inhaled.
Researchers plan to publish in a scientific journal next week, an open letter to WHO by 239 scientists in 32 countries, where they outlined the evidence showing that smaller particles can infect people.
However, the United Nations health agency has said that the report from the scientists that the virus is airborne was not convincing.
According to the WHO technical lead for Infection Prevention and Control, Dr Benedetta Allegranzi, ‘’Especially in the last couple of months, we have been stating several times that we consider airborne transmission as possible but certainly not supported by solid or even clear evidence.”
It can be recalled that WHO said over the weekend that it was stopping its trials of the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine and combination HIV drug lopinavir/ritonavir on hospitalized patients with the coronavirus disease after they failed to reduce the death rate.
The setback came as the WHO reported more than 200,000 new cases of the disease globally, the first time in a single day.
FCMB shuts contact centre locations due to COVID-19 scare
Other banks have recently had to shut down their branches due to public health concerns caused by COVID-19.
First City Monument Bank (FCMB) Limited informed its customers, yesterday, that its contact centre locations have all been temporarily shut down following COVID-19 scare.
A brief statement that was issued via Twitter emphasised that the general shutdown of the physical locations is only a temporary and precautionary measure aimed at preventing further spread of the contagious virus. The statement, however, did not clarify whether there have been any reported cases of infection at these contact centre locations.
“Dear Customers, we trust you are doing well and staying safe. We would like to inform you about the temporary closure of one of our Contact Centre locations as a precautionary measure to curtail the spread of COVID-19 and protect our employees,” part of the statement said.
Meanwhile, customers were informed that FCMB’s contact centres will remain active in the meantime, albeit virtually. However, customers may experience delays prior to being attended to. Customers were also advised to explore the self-help options offered by the bank’s electronic banking channels in order to resolve their challenges.
As a result, even though our Contact Centre remains functional, you may experience longer wait times when reaching us. We sincerely apologize for every inconvenience.
— FCMB (@MyFCMB) July 5, 2020
Nairametrics understands that some of the bank’s customers have been experiencing some ‘not so great’ customer service over the past few weeks. One of these customers, who chose not to be named, confirmed this to Nairametrics. Reacting to the statement by the bank, the customer said:
“This statement explains why the bank has not been responding to complaints across all its channels. For at least 4 weeks now, they don’t respond to emails, WhatsApp messages or DMs. I have some funds that they have not reversed in like 4 weeks now. If you check Twitter, you will see so many similar complaints.”
Recall that some other banks have had to close down their branches due to the same reason given by FCMB. Just recently, Jaiz Bank Plc shut down its Ikeja branch for disinfection. Weeks before that, Wema Bank also confirmed that two of its branches were temporarily shut down after two staff became infected with the virus.