As long as democracy has existed, there have been divergent views, or what some researchers describe as Democracy Skeptics. From Plato’s warning of the mass rule, to contemporary critics claiming authoritarian regimes can fast-track economic programs. In the case of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari, in his 2020 Democracy Day speech, claimed that Democracy, especially his administration, has brought more fortunes to Nigeria than otherwise. Below are highlights of achievements and plans of his administration quoted from his speech:
- We have witnessed 11 quarters of consecutive GDP growth since exiting recession. The GDP grew from 1.91% in 2018 to 2.27% in 2019 but declined to 1.87% in the first quarter of 2020 as a result of the decline in global economic activities due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Every single economy in the world has suffered a decline. Ours has been relatively moderate.
- In order to stabilize the economy, the Monetary Authority took steps to build the external reserves which resulted in improved liquidity in the foreign exchange market. The external reserves grew from $33.42 billion on April 29th 2020 to about $36.00 billion in May 2020 which is enough to finance seven months of import commitments.
- Agriculture remains the key to our economic diversification strategy. The Presidential Fertilizer Initiative programme continues to deliver significant quantities of affordable and high-quality fertilizers to our farmers. This initiative has also revived 31 blending plants and created a significant number of direct and indirect jobs across the value chain.
- Government is also revamping the cotton, textile and garment sector via a CBN Textile Revival Intervention Fund that would considerably reduce foreign exchange spent on cotton and other textile imports. Through the food security initiative, we are promoting “Grow What We Eat” and “Eat What We Grow”. I am also delighted that more and more Nigerians are taking advantage of the opportunities in the agriculture and agri-business sector. I assure you that the government will continue to support the Agriculture sector through the CBN Anchor Borrowers Programme and similar schemes.
- To protect our farming investments, we have deployed 5,000 Agro-Rangers and employed 30,289 in our para-military agencies. We are also integrating rural communities to the formal economy by extending access to credit and inputs to rural farmers and building feeder roads. Our efforts on growing non-oil exports have started to yield some results. For instance, in the past year, our revenue from Cocoa and Sesame Seed increased by $79.4 million and $153 million.
- Africa presents a huge opportunity for our export base diversification and we are developing our strategy to grow intra-Africa trade through the Africa Continental Free Trade Area Agreement. Nigeria has risen by 25 places on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business ranking from 146th to 131st and is now rated as one of the top ten reforming countries. This development is due to the Visa on Arrival policy, consistent promotion of initiatives that expand facilities available to Micro Small and Medium Scale Enterprises, robust electronic registration and payment system, seamless processing of business registration and reduction of cost of registering business by 50%. We are confident that on-going efforts would result in further improvement of this rating.
- We remain committed to expanding our mining sector. To this end, I have directed the resuscitation of the Ajaokuta Steel Plant based on Government-to-Government financing and a Public-Private Sector financing. With foreign and domestic investments and the participation of Small Scale Miners, we are harnessing the supply value chain in gold production.
- The Power Sector remains very critical to meeting our industrial development aspirations and we are tackling the challenges that still exist in the delivery of power through different strategies. We are executing some critical projects through the Transmission Rehabilitation and Expansion Programme including the: a. Alaoji to Onitsha, Delta Power Station to Benin and Kaduna to Kano among others. Our agreement with Siemens will transmit and distribute a total of 11,000 Megawatts by 2023, to serve our electricity needs.
- On transportation, another critical sector to improving our economic competitiveness, we are growing the stock and quality of our road, rail, air and water transport infrastructure. Through the SUKUK-Funded Road Projects, a total of 412km of the targeted 643km road projects have been completed, representing 64%. The Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund projects are also progressing very well. On the 2nd Niger Bridge, piling work has been completed and the approach roads are being constructed. 48% of the work on this bridge has been achieved.
- The government continues to make investments in the Aviation sector to position it as a travel and trade hub in West Africa and the wider African continent. Airport Terminals in Abuja, Lagos, Kano and Port Harcourt are being expanded, while the rehabilitation of the Enugu Airport is almost completed. All our airports are being raised to international standards with the provision of necessary equipment, especially navigational aids, to guarantee world-class safety standards.
- For the first time in over ten years, Nigeria is conducting the bidding process for 57 Marginal Oil Fields to increase revenue and increase the participation of Nigerian companies in oil and exploration and production business. We continue to grow local content in other areas of the oil and gas sector with the disbursement of funds from the $200 million Nigerian Content Intervention Fund to indigenous manufacturers and service providers.
- Digital Economy continues to play an important role in our development agenda as we move into the age of Artificial Intelligence. 43. Since the creation of the Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy, the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy has been launched. Steps have been taken to achieve a reduction of connectivity cluster gaps from 207 to 114 as well as increase the level of 4G coverage by 30%.
- Our pursuit of affordable housing for the low and middle-income earners has received a boost with the delivery of 1,200 housing units, provision of 520 service plots with infrastructure through a Public-Private Sector partnership and the issuance of 868 mortgages totalling N7.7 Billion. Similarly, Home Renovation Loans totalling N16.2 Billion have been granted to 19,210 people.
Nigerian government spends equivalent of 83% of revenue to service debt in 2020
The Federal Government of Nigeria achieved a debt service to revenue ratio of 83% in 2020.
The Federal Government of Nigeria achieved a debt service to revenue ratio of 83% in 2020. This is according to the information contained in the budget implementation report of the government for the year ended December 2020.
According to the data seen by Nairametrics, total revenue earned in 2020 was N3.93 trillion representing a 27% drop from the target revenues of N5.365 trillion. However, debt service for the year was a sum of N3.26 trillion or 82.9% of revenue.
Nigeria’s debt service cost of N3.26 trillion has now dwarfed the N1.7 trillion spent on capital expenditure of N1.7 trillion incurred in 2020. This is also the highest debt service paid by the Federal Government since we started tracking this data in 2009.
The total public debt (External and Domestic) balance carried by Nigeria as of September 2020 stood at N32.22 trillion ($84.57 billion). Included in the total debt is a domestic debt of about N15.8 trillion.
What this means: Nigeria’s debt to GDP ratio is estimated at about 22%, one of the lowest in the world and much below what is obtainable in most emerging markets.
- However, the challenge has always been the debt service to revenue ratio, a metric that reveals whether the government is generating enough revenues to pay down its debts as they mature.
- Since the first recession experienced in 2016, Nigeria has struggled with a higher debt service to revenue ratio as revenues slid in direct correlation with the fall in oil prices.
- Nigeria’s government spent about N2.45 trillion in debt service in 2019 out of total revenue of N4.1 trillion or 59.6% debt service to revenue ratio.
- At 83%, 2020 ranks as the highest debt service to revenue ratio we have incurred. Before now it was 2017 with 61.6%.
Breakdown of what debts were serviced
The following amount was spent on debt service during the year
- To service domestic debt, the government spent N1.755 trillion in 2020 as against a budget of N1.87 trillion.
- For foreign debts, a sum of N553 billion was spent against a target budget of N805.47 billion. The drop here is likely a result of lower interest rates on foreign borrowing as well as very limited borrowing from the foreign debt market during the year.
- The government only contributed N4.58 billion into its sinking fund instead of the budgeted N272.9 billion.
- The sinking fund is required to set aside funds that will be used to pay down on other loans such as bonds when they mature in the future.
- Finally, a sum of N912.57 trillion was spent on servicing CBN’s loans, granted via its Ways and Means provisions.
- Nairametrics reported last week that a total sum of N2.8 trillion was extended by the CBN to the FG as Ways and Means.
What happens next: In 2021, the government projects a debt service of N3.1 trillion against revenue of N6.6 trillion or debt service to revenue ratio of 46.9%.
- The government plans to spend N4.3 trillion on capital expenditure during the year.
FG receives N144 billion in dividends from NLNG in 2020
NLNG, paid the Federal Government a dividend of N188 billion in the fiscal year ended December 2020.
Nigeria Liquified Natural Gas Company, NLNG, paid the Federal Government a dividend of N144 billion in the fiscal year ended December 2020.
This is according to the information contained in the Ministry of Finance Budget implementation report for the period of January 2020 to December 2020 and presented by the Minister for Finance Dr. Zainab Ahmed.
During the year, the Federal Government budgeted a sum of N80.3 billion as its share of dividends from NLNG, however, the actual sum received as its share was N144 billion, N63.2 billion more or 79% higher than projected.
The year 2020 was a difficult year for the government as the fall in crude oil prices and the economic shutdown that was triggered by the Covid-19 Pandemic dented projections and ravaged revenues.
NLNG Dividend Bliss
The dividend received from NLNG was a major bright spot in the government’s revenue performance for the year.
- During the year, the government projected revenue of N5.36 trillion but only received N3.9 trillion in revenues representing a shortfall of N1.4 trillion or 27% for the year.
- The huge dividend windfall received in 2020 is a stark contrast from 2017 when Nigeria just exited a recession triggered by falling oil prices and a sharp exchange rate devaluation.
- In that year, the Federal Government’s share of dividends from Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) dropped by as much as $687 million, from $1.04 billion in 2015 to $365 million in 2016, a 65% drop.
- The N144 billion received in 2020 topped the amount received from signature bonuses only N78.2 billion and complimented the N192 billion received by VAT.
- It is the most effective form of revenue generation for the government.
Back in July Nairametrics reported that the House of Representatives planned to investigate the alleged illegal withdrawal of $1.05 billion from the NLNG account by NNPC without its knowledge and appropriation.
- They had accused the NNPC of illegally tampering with the funds at the NLNG dividends account to the tune of 1.05 billion dollars thereby violating the nation’s appropriation law.
- NLNG is a company jointly owned by Nigerian owned NNPC(49%), Shell (25.6%), Total (15%), and ENI (10.4%).
- The company is located in Bonny Island and has six trains with a total capacity to process 22 million tonnes of LNG a year and as much as 5 million tonnes of natural gas liquids.
- NLNG currently accounts for about 7% of the total LNG supply in the world. Nigeria is ranked as the 4th exporter of Natural Gas in the world.
Upshots: The FG is targeting a revenue of N208 billion from NLNG as dividends in 2021. If this materializes, it will be a significant payout in dividend (in naira terms) competing with the N238.4 billion expected from VAT.
- Important to note that the recent devaluation of the naira will increase the naira value of dividends and other government revenue, as it did in 2020.
- The government also targets N6.6 trillion in revenue for the period under review.
Updated: An earlier version of this article captured the dividend as N188 billion instead of N144 billion. It has now been corrected.
Uganda Elections: Museveni re-elected for 6th term with 58.6% of the votes
Uganda’s President Museveni has won a 6th term in office as the opposition alleges wide-scale rigging.
The President of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni, has been re-elected as President, gathering 5.85 million votes compared to 3.48 million votes by main opposition leader, Robert Kyagulanyi, a.k.a Bobi Wine.
According to Reuters, this victory represents 58.6% of the vote cast while Bobi Wine got 34.8%
Bobi Wine announced that the election results show this is the most fraudulent election in the history of Uganda and urged his followers to reject the result.
What you should know
- Yoweri Museveni, aged 76, has been President of the East African nation since 1986.
- Bobi Wine claimed via his official Twitter handle that military men jumped over his fence and took control of his home yesterday.