The Federal Government has disclosed plans to reduce the 2020 budget by as much as N1.5 trillion.
The disclosure was made by the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, while briefing State House correspondents at the end of the Federal Executive Council, (FEC) meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Council Chamber, Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Ahmed said that there will be a cut of 20% from the capital expenditure of the 2020 budget while recurrent expenditure will be reduced by as much as 25%. Recall that She had earlier in the month hinted at the possibility of reducing the 2020 budget due to the coronavirus outbreak.
According to Ahmed, Buhari had approved other far-reaching measures in the face of the current economic realities occasioned by COVID-19. One of those measures is the cut in crude oil benchmark from $57 per barrel to $30 per barrel in the revised budget. The global crude oil prices are now less than $30 per barrel.
Ahmed’s words: “We should cut down on the size of the federally funded upstream projects of the Petroleum sector. The reason being that we want to be able to receive more revenue by less reduction from NNPC.
“The reduction of the crude oil price from $57 per barrel to $30 means that we are going to get so much less revenue, almost 45 percent loss as we planned. And because of that, we have to amend a number of projections in the budget as well as in the MTEF to reflect our current reality.
“We also need to adjust Customs revenue which has been budgeted at N1. 5 trillion but we are adjusting it downwards because we anticipate that trade volumes will reduce and once trade volume is reduced, Customs revenue will be significantly impacted as a result.”
Speaking further, Ahmed said the government would continue to pay salaries and would not sack workers, but would not be recruiting or increasing its workforce size for the time being.
On concerns of the economy slipping back into recession, Ahmed said the budget cut would result in about 40 to 45% reduction and also it will affect states because it means FAAC will be significantly reduced.
“FAAC is just a pool of funds and we share what is realized, so it will affect the states as well. So we are expecting the states to take similar measures to amend the plans that we have made and bring them down to current realities.
“On plans to scale back VAT and excise duty, I am not making any commitment on that right now because these are provisions in the law in the Finance Act and as you know, we will, even in the amendment to the MTEF and the budget, have to engage with the National Assembly. The fiscal authorities are working with the fiscal authority team and we will get the President’s approval before we come up with what we will announce to the public.” Ahmed added.
Meristem features Nike Okundaye in Campaign titled “The Journey”, highlights the importance for partners
Meristem taps into Okundaye’s creative energy, highlighting the shared story of growth and collaboration.
It has been a long journey for financial services provider, Meristem Nigeria, having started out as a boutique stockbroking firm over 16 years ago and morphing into a capital market conglomerate offering an array of diversified service and product offerings. The tale is similar for the art and culture doyen, Nike Okundaye-Davies whose humble beginning in traditional weaving and dying practice annealed her to the art world and art lovers.
At a graceful age of 70, she has achieved over 102 solo art exhibitions, 36 group art exhibitions, a permanent display of two of her works in the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, a Harvard recognition and many other global acclaims. With four (4) art galleries spread across the country, and the Lagos center being the biggest art gallery in West Africa, she once told a Forbes journalist that her dreams are driven by careful financial planning as she reinvests at least two-thirds of her income in her business and art centers.
Meristem taps into her creative energy in this campaign, highlighting the shared story of growth and collaboration for both institutions, and the need to onboard the right partners to achieve long term financial goals and investment security.
Meristem, a capital market conglomerate and diversified financial services provider offering stockbroking, wealth management, asset management, trustee services and financial advisory. Over the past 16 years, Meristem has been consistent in value creation and innovation within the capital market space. The Nigerian stock exchange awarded Meristem as the best digital broker of the year. In 2018 also, Meristem became the first Nigerian asset management firm to attain compliance with the Global Investment Performance Standards (GIPS) by the CFA Institute. In 2017, Meristem handled the single largest trade in the history of the Nigerian Stock Exchange.
Shell considers relocating its headquarters to the UK
Royal Dutch Shell has consistently pushed for the Dutch Government to stop taxes on dividends.
Oil and gas giant, the Royal Dutch Shell, is considering moving its corporate headquarters from The Netherlands to Britain. This could be a move against the implementation of dividend tax in The Netherlands.
The move was disclosed by the oil company’s Chief Executive Officer, Ben Van Beurden, during an interview with a Dutch newspaper on Saturday, July 4, 2020. According to him, the oil giant is not ruling out relocating its headquarters from the Netherlands to Britain. He said:
“You always need to keep thinking. Nothing is permanent and of course we will look at the business climate. But moving your headquarters is not a trivial measure. You cannot think too lightly about that.”
Further confirming the Chief Executive Officer’s comment, a Shell spokesman told Reuters that the oil giant is looking at ways to simplify its dual structure, as it had been doing for many years.
Royal Dutch Shell has consistently pushed for the Dutch Government to stop the tax on dividend paid to shareholders, as this makes financing dividend, share buy-backs and acquisition a lot more difficult.
An earlier attempt by the Dutch Government to stop the dividend tax as an incentive to convince Unilever to unify its dual structure in Rotterdam, was met with an outcry by the public, who see that as a gift to rich foreigners.
It can be recalled that Shell had announced a few days ago that it might likely write down between $15 billion-$22 billion in post impairment charges for the second quarter of 2020. The impairment, which is its largest since the merger with Shell Transport and Trading Company Ltd in 2005, shows the huge adverse impact that the coronavirus pandemic has had on the oil giant’s businesses.
Also, in a move that shocked investors, Shell for the first time since the Second World War, cut down the dividend that it paid to its shareholders by two-thirds due to the negative impact of the pandemic. The decision came as a surprise to many including shareholders of the oil company which is by far the biggest payer of dividend in the FTSE 100.
Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi tests positive for COVID-19
Umahi has directed those who worked in the budget review for 2020 to immediately test for COVID-19.
The Governor of Ebonyi State, David Umahi has tested positive for COVID-19, reported on Saturday afternoon.
Umahi’s Special Assistant on Media, Mr. Francis Nwaze, confirmed the news and also revealed that some associates of the governor also tested positive.
He also said that the Governor is not showing any symptoms of the disease, though he has isolated himself in line with the NCDC protocols.
“The governor has directed his Deputy, Dr Kelechi, to coordinate the state’s fight against the disease and appealed to the citizens to take the NCDC protocols seriously.
“He will currently be working from ‘home’ and will be conducting all meetings virtually,” Nwaze added.
David Umahi becomes the sixth Nigerian governor to test positive for the disease, Governors of Kaduna, El- Rufai, Bauchi, Bala Mohammed and Oyo, Seyi Makinde have fully recovered while the recent cases have been the Governors of Ondo, Rotimi Akeredolu and Delta, Ifeanyi Okowa.
On Thursday, Governor Umahi announced that the state’s Executive Council was finalizing the budget review required by World Bank and said “most us broke down and are being treated of malaria.”
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He also directed those who worked in the budget review for 2020 to immediately test for COVID-19 and admitted he is expecting a second test result after he initially tested negative in March.