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State Governments: Another cycle of non-payment of salaries to begin soon

There were news reports yesterday that President Buhari had approved the suspension of the payment of interest on debts owed by state governments.

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2020 budget, Don’t over heat bleak economic outlook – Finance Minister, COVID-19: Nigeria cuts revenue targets in anticipation of economic shock, State Governments: Another cycle of non-payment of salaries to begin soon

There were news reports yesterday that President Muhammadu Buhari had approved the suspension of the payment of interest on debts owed by state governments. According to the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, this was part of measures to reduce the debt burden on state governments.

The moratorium, according to the minister, would be granted on Federal Government and CBN-funded loans in order to create fiscal space for the states, given the projected shortfalls in FAAC allocations.

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Recently, the Adamawa State Governor was quoted in newspaper reports saying his state will be unable to pay the new minimum wage in March due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

READ MORE: Nigeria considers request for debt relief as debt stock climbs

The truth is that as long as state governments do not make desperate efforts to develop their internal revenue-generating capacity, the states in the country would continue to operate an inefficient rent collection system where they rely solely on FAAC allocation to meet basic needs such as paying workers salaries.

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Most states depend primarily on monthly receipts from the Federal Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) to fund their budgets. However, there are a few exceptions like Lagos and Rivers  more State. Some other states have also made some efforts to increase Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).

Unfortunately, monthly FAAC disbursements, which mainly originate from oil receipts to the Federal Government, are an unreliable source of income given its dependence on oil prices.

READ ALSO: Senate orders investigation of banks over withholding tax non-remittances

In December 2014, six months after oil prices began to decline (oil prices had fallen by about 46.5% at the time) it was reported that 11 state governments were unable to fund workers’ salaries and many needed bailouts to continue to fund their budgets.

State Governments: Another cycle of non-payment of salaries to begin soon_______________________________________________________________________

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Global oil market to re-balance in 2 months’ time

In the meantime, OPEC+ wants to keep the existing production output cuts beyond the June expiry date as part of efforts to rebalance the market. Countries like Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Iraq, have all reaffirmed their commitment to this effect.

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Crude oil prices, bonny light

With the uncertainty that still prevails in the global oil market due to the prevailing coronavirus pandemic, analysts have been coming up with different forecasts on the future of the market. The latest forecast is that the market will most likely recover by July 2020.

Crude oil prices and oil demand plunged over the past few months as a result of the pandemic. However, with the lifting of global lockdowns and gradual reopening of global economies, oil prices are expected to rebound. Russia’s energy minister, Alexander Novak, said the global oil supply and the oil demand will most likely rebalance by July.

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In the meantime, OPEC+ wants to keep the existing production output cuts beyond the June expiry date as part of efforts to rebalance the market. Countries like Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Iraq, have all reaffirmed their commitment to this effect.

In his analysis earlier today, OPEC’s Secretary-General, Mohammed Barkindo, urged OPEC+ members not to flout the output cut. According to him, OPEC+ members must remain committed to production cuts despite signs that oil demand is beginning to recover.

(READ MORE: Oil price gains likely to halt over demand uncertainty, as US-China tension intensifies)

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Global oil market to rebalance in 2 months’ time

On its part, Russia had agreed to cut down its oil production to 8.5 million barrels of crude per day in May and June, down from 10.5 million barrels.  There is a possibility that the country could extend the current level of output cut beyond June, a situation that is expected to serve as a major boost in the rebalancing of the oil market.

Last week, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said that it had seen signs that the oil market would rebalance quicker than originally expected after the United States and OPEC implemented the agreed output cut. The development came as a big relief to Nigeria because the rebound of oil prices and the rebalancing forecast will help reduce the country’s fiscal pressure and boost its revenue.

Note that the Brent crude and Bonny light crude sold for about $36 per barrel and over $33 per barrel respectively. These are above the revised budget oil benchmark of $25 per barrel for the 2020 budget.

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LIRS further extends deadline for filing annual tax returns by one month

“We constantly debated what other measures could be taken as an organization to support individuals and businesses at this time, hence, the additional one-month extension from June 1, to June 30, 2020.” – Ayodele Subair

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LIRS further extends deadline for filing annual return by one month

The Lagos State Internal Revenue Service (LIRS) has again extended the deadline for filing of Annual Tax Returns from May 31 2020 to June 30, 2020.

This is part of the state government’s effort to provide relief to taxpayers in light of the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. With this development, annual returns for individuals, both employees and self-employed persons, can be filed anytime before June 30, 2020.

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In a press release signed by Monsurat Amasa, the head of LIRS’ Corporate Communications Department, the agency urged taxpayers to take advantage of the magnanimity of the government and file their returns. The LIRS’ Executive Chairman, Mr. Ayodele Subair, explained the extension thus:

“As the Lagos State Government keeps abreast of global best practices in containing the Covid-19 pandemic and eases the effects of an economic downturn on taxpayers and residents of the State, LIRS had initially extended the deadline for filing annual tax returns for two months, from the statutory March 31st of every fiscal year to May 31, 2020.  

“We constantly debated what other measures could be taken as an organization to support individuals and businesses at this time, hence, the additional one-month extension from June 1, to June 30, 2020.”

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(READ MORE: COVID-19: Lagos issues new guidelines, considers full reopening of economy)

He further explained that taxpayers can file the annual returns from the comfort of their homes and offices using the LIRS eTax platforms. They can also generate assessment and payment schedule, and other tax administration matters on the same platform. Updates on business operations and alternative payment platforms are to be found on the verified handles, and the LIRS website.

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Podcast: How Covid-19 has birthed a new, vibrant digital economy

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Does Nigeria have a debt problem?, EMM podcasts

Join Adetayo Adesola, Lawretta Egba and Emmanuel Abara as they dicuss what sectors and industries will succeed and fail in a covid-19 world.

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