The Federal Government of Nigeria has spent N29.3 trillion in the last 10 years on (non-debt) recurrent expenditure. The government has earned N33.2 trillion as revenue in this period.
This is according to data compiled from the budget implementation report of the federal government compiled and published by the Budget Office of Nigeria.
High on non-debt recurrent expenditure
Nigeria’s recurrent expenditure includes spending on personnel expenses, pensions, and gratuities, service-wide votes, and overheads. It has consumed about 50.6% of total budget expenditure and 88.5% of revenue in the last decade.
- Nigeria is amid an economic crisis brought upon by the fall in oil prices and more recently the covid-19 pandemic.
- The federal government currently relies on about 33% of its actualized revenue since 2015 when oil prices started their sustained fall. It was about 55% between 2013 and 2015.
- With oil revenues falling, the impact of a continuous increase in recurrent expenditure has widened Nigeria’s fiscal deficits closing at N6.1 trillion in 2020, the highest since we started tracking records in 2009.
- Economic analysts have for years pointed to Nigeria’s high spending on recurrent expenditure compared to capital expenditure as a phenomenon that is inimical to economic growth.
Nigeria has recorded a budget deficit every year since 2009 averaging about N1.1 trillion in the 5 years before the Buhari Administration came into power in 2015. However, since 2015, budget deficits have averaged N3.3 trillion.
The government budget deficits have meant increased borrowing, exacerbating the situation. Last year, Nigeria borrowed N2.8 trillion from the central bank via the Ways and Means provisions. To service this borrowing about N3.2 trillion was spent in 2020, once again the highest on record.
Recurrent expenditure vs Capital expenditure
A cursory review of the data shows that at N29.3 trillion, recurrent non-debt expenditure is about 3x more than the N10 trillion spent on capital expenditure in the last 10 years.
- The Buhari Government has often compared itself with prior PDP led governments claiming it has spent more on capital expenditure. In 2020, the government spent N1.7 trillion on capital expenditure, the highest on record.
- They have also spent between N1.4 trillion and N1.7 trillion between 2017 and 2020.
Whilst, their numbers have been impressive, spending on Capex as a percentage of total government expenditure is far lower than any other year in the last 10 years.
Here are some stark numbers
- Nigeria spends on average 21% of the total budget on capital expenditure. The highest percentage was 29.8% in 2017.
- It was 20.9% in 2020.
- In contrast, recurrent expenditure as a percentage of total expenditure is as high as 115% on average in the last 10 years. It was 86% in 2020.
- While capital expenditure has risen to N1.7 trillion in 2020 compared to just N958 billion in 2017, it is far lower in dollar terms at $4.6 billion compared to $5.8 billion respectively.
In the recently approved budget for 2021, Nigeria plans to spend N13.5 trillion in budgetary expenditure out of which N4.3 trillion is for capital expenditure and another N5.64 trillion on recurrent(non-debt) expenditure.
If this plan pans out the government would have succeeded in increasing its capital expenditure as a percentage of total expenditure to 32% in line with 30% included in the ERGP.
If history is to be relied upon as a basis for projecting, the government is more assured of hitting its recurrent non-debt expenditure spend than capital expenditure.
Nigeria’s Capital Expenditure challenges
According to a world bank report, capital expenditure involves spending on transport, information technology, power and utilities, defense, etc.
- A recent Moody’s report indicates Nigeria needs to spend about $3.3 trillion in capital expenditure over the next 30 years or $1.1 trillion a decade to close its infrastructure deficit.
- This amounts to $100 billion (N40 trillion) per annum or 28% of Nigeria’s GDP of N144 trillion, a tall task considering where the country is at the moment.
- Nigeria is far from this goal and may not meet this target if it continues to spend more on recurrent expenditure compared to capital expenditure.
Also, the government will also need to explore new revenue sources other than oil to boost its revenues while relying less on budget deficits.
- Doing this will require massive tax reforms that target the informal sector, block leakages and reduce wasteful incentives.
- Unfortunately, the covid-19 pandemic has pushed back any immediate plans to aggressively tax revenue.
- For example, in its 2021 budget, the government is projecting a tax revenue of N1.4 trillion down from N1.6 trillion a year earlier.
The Private Sector way
Another possible area of increasing achieving Nigeria’s infrastructure goals is via the private sector. But to do this, Nigeria will need to improve its capital formation policies that enable the private sector to invest in public infrastructure while delivering a legal path to recovering its investments and profits.
- There is also the public-private partnership initiative pursued by the federal government towards funding infrastructure development in the country.
- Just recently, the president approved the setting up of a $39.4 billion Infrastructure Company, wholly focused on critical infrastructural investments in Nigeria.
According to the president, “this Infrastructure company will raise funding from Central bank of Nigeria, Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority, Pension funds, and local and foreign private sector development financiers.”
Upshots: Nigeria plans to spend N5.6 trillion on recurrent non-debt expenditure in 2021. The increase is coming from the following;
- Personal cost for MDA’s rising from N2.8 billion (as per 2020 budget) to N3 billion in 2021 budget.
- Personal cost for government-owned enterprises (GOEs) will more than triple from N218 billion to N701 billion.
- Overheads also increased considerably during the year.
- In addition, debt servicing for 2021 is budgeted at N3.1 trillion up from N2.6 trillion in 2020.
Dangote Sugar, sweet in more ways than one
Significant growth in gross revenue was driven largely by sale to Nigerian Bottling Company Limited and Seven-Up Bottling Company Limited.
By refining capacity, Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc (DSR Plc) is acknowledged as the largest Sugar Refinery in sub-Saharan Africa and one of the largest in the world. With up to 60 percent market share, it is also clearly, the most dominant player in the Nigerian sugar market.
DSR Plc recently released its audited Financial Statements for the year ended December 31, 2020 and overall and year-on-year group performance results were very good.
Despite the impact of the Covid-19 induced lockdown which curtailed distribution across the country and resulted in decreased revenues from income generated from freights, gross revenues increased by over 33 percent year-on-year to ₦ 214.3 billion. The significant growth in gross revenue was driven largely by a rise in revenue from the sale of its 50kg sugar, with the two main customers being the Nigerian Bottling Company Limited and Seven-Up Bottling Company Limited who operate principally from Lagos.
Year-on-year, gross profit increased by over 40 per cent to ₦ 53.75 billion, Profit before tax increased by almost 53 per cent to ₦ 45.62 billion, and Profit after tax increased by 33 per cent to ₦ 29.78 billion.
Notwithstanding the good result, the group operating results showed some issues and headwinds. First, during the year, DSR Plc wound up Dangote Niger Sugar Limited (one of four companies that had been set up to acquire large expanse of land and locally grow sugarcane as part of its concerted backward integration project). The winding-up was sequel to continued community dispute over land acquired in Niger State for this purpose. This winding-up event cost DSR Plc approximately ₦ 100 million.
Second, there continues to be a heavy reliance on Lagos for its gross revenues as revenues generated from Lagos State increased significantly from circa 33 per cent at the end of 2019 to over 50 per cent by the end of 2020. The share of the Lagos segment in gross revenue thus continued to grow and currently represents a significant market concentration risk for DSR Plc.
Third, provision for impairment on financial assets or in simple terms, receivables that are unlikely to be collectable, also trended upwards from ₦ 1.3 billion in 2019 to ₦ 1.45 billion by end of 2020 with net financing expenses also rising significantly from ₦ 516.2 billion in 2019 to ₦ 1.92 billion by the end of 2020. This rise in expenses was largely driven by a significant rise in exchange losses incurred in the ordinary course of business, rising from about ₦ 7 million in 2019 to over ₦ 1.57 billion at the end of 2020.
Finally, administrative expenses represented mainly by employee salaries grew year-on-year by over ₦ 1.2 billion.
With the recent reopening of land borders, we expect that revenues and margins will become squeezed as sales and production volumes become constrained by the influx of largely smuggled, lower quality, and much cheaper sugar and its substitutes. DSR Plc’s sugar refinery is also strategically located very close to the Apapa port and its logistics operations, distribution of raw materials and delivery of finished goods will continue to be impacted by the infamous Apapa Traffic Gridlock and road diversions/closures around the axis. Although the effort of Lagos state and the recent introduction of the electronic call up of truck by the NPA has eased the issue, still, it needs to be watched closely.
Earnings per share at the end of 2020 was ₦ 2.45 (2019: ₦ 1.87; 2018: ₦ 1.85)
Subject to approval at its forthcoming Annual General Meeting, DSR Plc board of directors have proposed a dividend of N1.50k per ordinary share (2019: ₦ 1.10k, 2018: ₦ 1.10k).
This performance is sweet in more ways than one.
The Nigerian economy is increasingly dollarized but there is a way-out
Nigeria’s overdependence on Oil has brought about high dollarization in Africa’s biggest economy.
For managers of the Nigerian economy, it was a huge sigh of relief when the National Bureau of Statistics reported that the country had surprisingly exited a recession in the 4th quarter of 2020. Contrary to most analyst expectation, the Nigerian economy grew by 0.11% in the 4th quarter of 2020.
Despite the return to growth, albeit tepid, a dark cloud of uncertainty continues to hover over the minds of millions of Nigerians as the broader economy remains in a fragile state. A key factor that remains a bellwether for the economy is the exchange rate, which is always perfectly correlated with the price of oil and the resultant dollar related export earnings.
Data has repeatedly shown that the country of over 200 million people is affected by the volatility of crude oil prices in the international market, particularly in the exchange rate value of the naira. Without oil, the Nigerian economy in its current state will collapse.
Data from Nairalytics, a data-sharing portal, reveals that the oil sector provides for 85% of Nigeria’s export earnings and 55% of its government revenues, making the nation highly dependent on the dollar for its survival. It appears a lot of financially savvy Nigerians now this already and are increasing their dollar positions.
According to Silas Ozoya, Founder/CEO of SUBA Capital LLC, in an exclusive interview with Nairametrics, a growing number of Nigerians are getting more attached to the US dollar due to high inflation and low purchasing power of the naira.
“Many Nigerians are beginning to dollarize their spending, investment and asset holdings to hedge against the ever-increasing inflation rate and our strong economic romance with recession,” Ozoya said.
Nigeria, Africa’s biggest crude oil producer, has been heavily impacted by the plunge in crude oil prices following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the nation’s authorities adjusting the naira twice in the year 2020 to deal with the pressure.
Besides the drop in foreign exchange revenues from crude oil export, diaspora remittances, which made up about 5% of Nigeria’s GDP in the year 2019, also experienced a significant decline in 2020, again due to the impact of the pandemic and the economic challenges faced by many nations across the globe.
Uwa Osadiaye, a financial analyst in a leading merchant bank, in a note to Nairametrics, revealed that the Nigerian apex bank had made great efforts to reduce the country’s high dependence on the dollar. He advised the nation to increase its Agricultural production.
“The central bank has tried to do this with little success but I believe that beyond administrative measures, the key could lie in increased domestic production of things we consume that aren’t commoditized internationally for a start, such as food crops,” Osadiaye said.
Temitope Busari, CFA, in a telephone interview with Nairametrics, said that it was time for Nigeria as a country to diversify.
“One outcome of the diversification of the Nigerian economy, and perhaps the most critical one at this time, is the potential to diversify our foreign exchange earnings as a sovereign state. It will reduce overdependence on crude oil, maximize opportunities in erstwhile neglected sectors and project the country as the destination for top-class value creation in other areas outside being an oil-producing state,” Busari stated.
The financial analyst also spoke on the need for Africa’s leading oil producer to invest more in intellectual property and encourage Nigeria’s talent in the diaspora, saying:
“We have produced some of the most brilliant minds in the world evidenced by the ground-breaking successes recorded by Nigerians in diaspora (Medical professionals, Software engineers, resilient small business owners to mention a few), and we must begin to drive policies to retain that talent in-country and make the world pay premium dollar for it.”
Adetayo Teluwo, a scholar at Warwick Business School, said that the narrative seems to be changing as Nigerians are now beginning to embrace homemade goods.
“The Fashion & Style scene continues to boom. From side hustles to globally-competitive websites with options to accept payments from customers all over the globe,” Teluwo said.
Economic experts believe that the way to solve this growing menace is for Nigeria to promote free markets and support large scale exports from the Agricultural, Mining, and Technology sectors. The country should tap into its raw diamond which is “intellectual services” to develop a knowledge economy.
Nigeria can draw lessons from India, which has performed remarkably well in creating an outsourcing and knowledge-based economy valued at over 150 billion dollars per annum. This has put India on the technology map, as a destination of low-cost but high-quality technical services, helping the densely populated nation to generate sufficient economic ripple effect to drive job and wealth creation.
Nairametrics | Company Earnings
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- Abbey Mortgage Bank projects N51.08 million profit in Q2 2020.