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Business News

FG discloses how it will finance N5.36 trillion budget deficit

FG intends financing the N5.36 trillion budget deficit through domestic, foreign loans and proceeds from privatisations. 

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Power: Mambilla Power Project not prioritised by Ministry of Power for 2021 Budget - Finance Minister

Federal Government of Nigeria has said that it would finance the N5.36 trillion budget deficit through domestic, foreign loans and proceeds from privatisations.  This was disclosed by the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed after the Federal Executive Council meeting on Wednesday.

The Minister told Reuters that the cabinet approved a revised budget of N10.52 trillion at the meeting, against the N10.59 trillion approved earlier. Ahmed added that expenditures related to COVID-19, which was not included in the budget, has been added to it.

The revised budget, which requires the approval of the National Assembly, was based on assumption that crude oil price would be at $25 per barrel, the output of 1.94 million barrels per day and an exchange rate of N360 to $1.

Meanwhile, it appears the government has changed its mind over budget reduction, as it acted differently from what it said about two months earlier. The finance minister had said in March that the N10.59 trillion budget would be reduced by 15% due to the global oil prices crisis, which is about N1.58 trillion. But Ahmed announced only a reduction of N71.5 billion only.

READ ALSO: Buhari administration on track to double Nigeria’s fiscal deficit

She told Reuters that the deficit would be part-financed with loans from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). the World Bank, Islamic Development Bank and Afrexim Bank.

Meanwhile, Nairametrics had reported when the Director-General of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Alex Okoh urged the government to stop financing budget deficit every year with borrowings from foreign and local loans. According to him, it would be best for the budget deficit to be funded by proceeds from the sale of moribund national assets.

Okoh, who stated this during an interactive session between his agency and the Senate Committee on Privatisation said that there were national assets that could be converted into a liquid for that purpose instead of taking foreign and local loans.

READ MORE: Zenith Bank’s Profit Before Tax Rises by 3% to N58.7 billion in Q1 2020

“It is not good to keep on borrowing on a yearly basis to finance deficit budget when a lot of very valuable national assets are lying fallow and moribund. Proceeds from outright privatisation or concession of the moribund assets should serve as the best alternative in funding yearly budget deficits since the assets are more or less becoming national liabilities.

“There are about 600 state-owned enterprises in the country which gulp not less than $3 billion on a yearly basis with little or no returns into the public purpose,” he said.

 

 

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Abiola has spent about 14 years in journalism. His career has covered some top local print media like TELL Magazine, Broad Street Journal, The Point Newspaper.The Bloomberg MEI alumni has interviewed some of the most influential figures of the IMF, G-20 Summit, Pre-G20 Central Bank Governors and Finance Ministers, Critical Communication World Conference.The multiple award winner is variously trained in business and markets journalism at Lagos Business School, and Pan-Atlantic University. You may contact him via email - [email protected]

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Uche uche

    May 14, 2020 at 7:21 am

    Taking loans with no sustainable source of income is irresponsible for anyone including Nigeria. It’s time to slash the budget by 50% since that’s the approximate percentage that us recurrent expenditure and consolidate alternative sources of revenue. From previous experience privatisation has never yeilded significant positive results in Nigeria. So if this is the plan Nigerian government has … it’s so sad.

  2. Funke

    May 14, 2020 at 7:30 am

    I think the article headline should be better put as, Nigeria is Broke, Announces sellout plans

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Appointments

ValuAlliance Asset Management appoints two new Directors

ValuAlliance Asset Management has announced the appointment of two persons into its Board as Directors.

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ValuAlliance Asset Management, the fund manager of the ValuAlliance Value Fund, has announced the appointment of Messrs Obinnia Abajue and Kofi Kwakwa into its Board as Directors.

This is according to a disclosure sent to the Nigerian Stock Exchange and seen by Nairametrics. In line with statutory requirements, the appointments are subject to confirmation from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and approval by the shareholders at the company’s next Annual General Meeting (AGM).

According to the notice, Mr Obinnia Abajue was appointed as Independent Non-Executive Director while Mr Kofi Kwakwa was appointed as Non-Executive Director. The profile of the aforementioned experts is succinctly captured below;

READ: FBN Holdings appoints ex-CEO of Guinness Nigeria and 2 others as Board Directors

Mr Obinnia Abajue

Mr. Abajue has over two decades of experience in banking and financial services. He is the current Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Hygeia HMO Limited, a position he has held since November 2016. He is an alumnus of the University of Lagos and Imperial College London, where he obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Actuarial Science and an MBA respectively. Mr Abajue is a fellow of numerous professional bodies like; The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, UK; The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria; The Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria and the Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers of Nigeria.

Kofi Kwakwa

Mr. Kwakwa is a Ghanaian and a former CEO of Sagevest Holdings, an investment holding company in Ghana. He has over 25 years of experience in investment banking and consulting, having worked in top firms like Standard Bank, McKinsey & Company among others. He is currently a director at African Capital Alliance Limited (ACA), having joined the Board since 2015. Mr. Kwakwa is an alumnus of Swarthmore College and Harvard Business School, both in the USA, where he obtained a B.A. in Mathematics/Economics and an MBA respectively.

READ: Dangote Sugar yearly revenue surge by 33%, announces a dividend of N1.50

What they are saying

Commenting on the recent development, a part of the press release reads: ‘’The Board of Directors congratulates Mr. Abajue and Mr. Kwakwa on their appointment and is looking forward to tapping into their vast wealth of experience to further accelerate the achievement of its vision, to be the premier investment management fiduciary in the segments we serve.’’

What you should know

  • ValuAlliance had earlier posted a Profit After Tax of N237.96 million in its last reported financial statements-Q3, 2020. The PAT figures indicated a surge by over 1,000% YoY.
  • ValuAlliance Value Fund formerly known as “SIM Capital Alliance Value Fund”, is a closed-end collective investment scheme, registered and regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission, whose units are listed on the main board of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (“NSE”).

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Energy

Nigeria’s long road to metering: Who bears the brunt?

While consumers remain unmetered due to the inefficiencies of the Discos, the Discos continue to charge outrageous estimated bills.

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One of the many challenges facing Nigeria’s electric power sector is the issue of metering. From being a pre-privatisation problem, lack of metering has evolved to be a more sophisticated post-privatisation feature skirting the corridors of the Nigerian power sector for the last few years.

Statistics show that the number of unmetered customers across Nigeria has continued to rise. In 2016, a metering status report from the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) showed that about 3 million of the registered accounts of customers were unmetered. In 2017, this number grew as NERC reported that over 4 million unmetered customers. In 2019, a NERC report showed that over 5 million Nigerians were unmetered and this number has continued to rise.

In a bid to address the metering gap, in 2013 at the onset of the privatised electricity sector, the Credit Advance Programme for Metering Implementation (CAPMI) scheme was launched. The purpose of the scheme was to relieve the Distribution Companies (Discos) of the burden of financing the cost of the meters. As such it enabled the customer to pay for the meter upfront while the Disco amortised the cost through electricity supplied to the customer over a period of time.

READ: Nigerian firm set to raise $1.2 billion to purchase electricity meters

The CAPMI removed the initial capital outlay for financing meters from the Discos and Discos were to provide the customer with a meter within 45 days of payment. However, the scheme failed to deliver on its objective. As noted by the then Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola in 2016, “Discos that collected money from their customers to procure and install meters at their homes have mostly failed to do so”. The CAPMI was eventually discontinued in 2016, leaving the sector with at least a 50% metering gap.

In April 2018, the Meter Asset Provider (MAP) scheme was introduced by NERC in a bid to address the same problem. Under this scheme, there were to be third party meter suppliers engaged by the Discos, effectively removing the burden of providing meters from the Discos. The Discos were mandated to engage MAPs within 120 days.

READ: Consumer Complaints: DisCos received 203,116 complaints in Q2 2020 – NERC

The scheme, unlike the CAPMI, ensures that the customer received a meter from the MAP without making any upfront payment, while the payment was sculpted into the customer’s monthly electricity tariff as an energy charge until it was fully amortized. The scheme also gave customers the opportunity to choose to pay upfront and get their meters installed within 10 days in return for energy credits. It turned out that more customers were taking the alternative approach rather than the original approach as the rollout was not very favourable to those who chose to go the energy charge amortization route.

The MAP scheme has not been as successful as was hoped, with Discos missing deadlines to engage MAPs and MAPs facing the challenge of increased import tariffs and lack of local manufacturing capacity. In October last year, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) launched its National Mass Metering Programme (NMMP) with a view to funding the local production, and in some, cases importation of meters by meter providers and Discos. Perhaps this was a case of putting the cart before the horse, since the facility came after the Federal Government had revised electricity tariffs upward of a 100%, not considering the fact that a teeming number of customers who had subscribed under either the CAPMI or the MAP scheme were yet to receive meters.

READ: FG to inject over N198 billion on capital projects in power sector in 2021

With the addition of the NMMP facility to CBN’s existing N213billion Nigerian Electricity Market Stabilisation Facility (NEMSF) advanced to the Discos in 2014, significant progress is yet to be seen from this facility gathering. While it is hoped that the NMMP will help close the metering gap, the brunt of the lack of metering since the privatisation of the sector has always been borne by the consumers, many of whom have had to pay exorbitant prices for meters under previous schemes, with nothing to show for it.

Interestingly, while consumers remain unmetered due to the inefficiencies of the Discos, the Discos continue to charge estimated bills even after the February 2020 NERC Order that capped estimated billing. While the Order may have merely reduced incidences of outrageous bills, Discos continue to bill customers outrageous amounts.

READ: NNPC to boost power generation with additional 5,000 megawatts to national grid

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It is unfortunate that almost a decade after the privatisation of the Nigerian electricity sector, the Discos are unable to tackle one aspect of Aggregate Technical, Commercial and Collection (ATC&C) losses and continue to put the burden of metering or estimated billing on the customer, added to the increased electricity tariffs the customer has to pay in spite of epileptic power supply. NERC must really sit up in mandating compliance by the Discos in seeing that the NMMP combined with the MAP meet the December 2021 deadline of closing the metering gap.

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