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2022 Budget: Buhari seeks N2.557trn for petrol subsidy, wants 2022 Appropriation Act amended

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President Muhammadu Buhari has requested the senate for an additional provision for N2.557 trillion naira be appropriated by the National Assembly to fund the petrol subsidy in the 2022 Budget Framework which was revised to provide fully for PMS subsidy. 
The Federal Government had soft-pedal on its initial plan to remove subsidy on petroleum products saying it was clear to even the blind and audible to the deaf that the situation of the country does not allow for that at the moment.
In seeking for a soft landing based on the outcry from Nigerians the minister of Petroleum Resources Timipre Sylva and his counterpart in the ministry of Finance Hajia Zainab Ahmad as well as the Group managing Director NNPC limited Mele Kyari met with the national assembly leadership to ammend the law to provide for an extension of subsidy provision beyond June 2022.
The President therefore requested the senate to amend the 2022 Appropriation Act passed by the National Assembly in December, 2021.
The request was contained in a letter dated February 10, 2022, and read during plenary by the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan. 
Buhari in his request said it was imperative to remove all capital projects that were replicated in the 2022 Appropriation Act. 
He disclosed that 139 out of the 254 projects in the budget totaling N13.24 billion had been identified for deletion. 
Buhari, therefore, requested the National Assembly to amend the Appropriation Act to provide for Capital Expenditures in the sum of N106,161,499,052 billion naira; and N43,870,592,044 billion naira for Recurrent Expenditures.
Buhari underscored the need to reinstate four capital projects totaling N1.4 billion in the Executive proposal for the Federal Ministry of Water Resources; and N22.0 billion cut from the provision for the Sinking Fund to retire mature loans needed to meet government’s obligations under already Issued Bonds.
The full text of the letter entitled, “Submission of the 2022 Appropriation Amendment Proposal”, reads:
“As I indicated at the signing of the 2022 Appropriation Act, I forward herewith the Proposals for amendment of the 2022 Appropriation Act (as detailed in Schedules I-V), for the kind consideration and approval by the Senate.
“Let me seize this opportunity to once again express my deep gratitude to the leadership and members of the Senate for the expeditious consideration and passage of the 2022 Appropriation Bill as well as the enabling 2021 Finance Bill.
“It has become necessary to present this amendment proposal considering the impacts of the recent suspension of the Petroleum Motor Spirit (PMS) subsidy removal and the adverse implications that some changes made by the National
Assembly in the 2022 Appropriation Act could have for the successful implementation of the budget.
“It is important to restore the provisions made for various key capital projects in the 2022 Executive Proposal (see details in Schedule l) that were cut by the National Assembly.  This is to ensure that critical ongoing projects that are cardinal to this administration, and those nearing completion, do not suffer a setback due to reduced funding.
“It is equally important to reinstate the N25.81 billion cut from the provision for the Power Sector Reform Programme in order to meet the Federal Government’s commitment under the financing plan agreed with the World Bank.
“In addition, it is necessary to reinstate the four (4) capital projects totaling N1.42 billion in the Executive Proposal for the Federal Ministry of Water Resources that were removed in the 2022 Appropriation Act.
“Furthermore, there is critical and urgent need to restore the N3 billion cut from the provision made for payment of mostly long outstanding Local Contractors’ Debts and Other Liabilities as part of our strategy to reflate the economy and spur growth (see Schedule I).
“You will agree with me that the inclusion of National Assembly’s expenditures in the Executive Budget negates the principles of separation of Powers and financial autonomy of the Legislature. It is therefore necessary to transfer the National Assembly’s expenditures totaling N16.59 billion in the Service Wide Vote to National Assembly Statutory Transfer provision (see Schedule l).
“It is also imperative to reinstate the N22.0 billion cut from the provision for Sinking Fund to Retire Mature Loans to ensure that government can meet its obligations under already issued bonds as and when they mature.
“The cuts made from provisions for the recurrent spending of Nigeria’s Foreign Missions, which are already constrained, are capable of causing serious embarrassment to the country as they mostly relate to office and residential rentals. 
“Similarly, the reductions in provisions for allowances payable to personnel of the Nigerian Navy and Police Formations and Commands could create serious issues for government. It is therefore imperative that these provisions be restored as proposed (see Schedule II).
“It is also absolutely necessary to remove all capital project is that replicated in the 2022 Appropriation Act; 139 out of the 254 such projects totaling N13.24 billion have been identified to be deleted from the budget.
“Some significant and non-mandate projects were introduced in the budgets of the Ministry of Transportation, Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation (see Schedule III). There are several other projects that have been included by the National Assembly in the budgets of agencies that are outside their mandate areas. The Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning has been directed to work with your relevant Committees to comprehensively identify and realign all such misplaced projects.
“It is also necessary to restore the titles / descriptions of 32 projects in the Appropriation Act to the titles contained in the Executive Proposal for the Ministry of Water Resources (see Schedule IV) in furtherance of our efforts to complete and put to use critical agenda projects.
“The Appropriation Amendment request is for a total sum of N106,161,499,052 (One hundred and six billion, one hundred and sixty-one million, four hundred and ninety-nine thousand, and fifty-two Naira only) for Capital Expenditures and N43,870,592,044 (Forty-three billion, eight hundred and seventy million, five hundred and ninety-two thousand, and forty-four Naira only) for Recurrent Expenditures. I therefore request the National Assembly to make the above amendments without increasing the budget deficit. I urge you to roll back some of the N887.99 billion of projects earlier inserted in the budget by the National Assembly to accommodate these amendments.
“However, following the suspension of the PMS subsidy removal, the 2022 Budget Framework has been revised to fully provide for PMS subsidy (see Schedule V). An additional provision of N2.557 trillion will be required to fund the petrol subsidy in 2022. Consequently, the Federation ACCOunt (Main Pool) revenue for the three tiers of government is projected to decline by N2.00 trillion, while FGN’s share from the Account is projected to reduce by N1.05 trillion. Therefore, the amount available to fund the FGN Budget is projected to decline by N969.09 billion.
 
“Aggregate expenditure is projected to increase by N45.85 billion, due to additional domestic debt service provision of N102.5 billion net of the reductions in Statutory Transfers by N56.67 billion, as follows: NDDC, by N12.61 billion from N102.78 billion to N90.18 billion; NEDC, by N5.90 bilion from N48.08 billion to N42.18 billion; UBEC, by N19.08 billion from N112.29 billion to N93.21 billion; Basic Health Care Fund, byN 9.54 billion from N56.14 billion to N46.60 billion; and NASENI, by N9.54 billion from N56.14 billion to N46.60 billion.
 
“Total budget deficit is projected to increase by N1.01 trillion to N7.40 trillion, representing 4.01% of GDP. The incremental deficit will be financed by new borrowings from the domestic market.
 
“Equally, it is imperative that Clause 10 of the 2022 Appropriation Act which stipulates that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) are authorized to charge and defray from all money standing in credit to the units as revenues, penalties or sanctions at 10% for technical setup and operational cost at the units in this financial year be repealed. 
 
“This clause is in conflict with the Act establishing these Agencies, as well as some other laws and financial regulations of the government. These are neither Revenue Generating Agencies nor Regulatory Bodies that generate revenue or charge penalty fees. They are fully funded (Personnel, Overhead and Capital) by Government through Budgetary provisions.
 
“The Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007, as well as the Finance Act 2021, require these Agencies to remit fully any recovered funds to the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF). This clause may lay a dangerous precedence, and spark clamours for similar treatment by other anti-corruption agencies.
 
“Also, the Clause 11 which stipulates that “Notwithstanding the provisions of any other law in force, Nigerian Embassies and Missions are authorised to expend funds allocated to them under the Capital components without having to seek approval of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs” should likewise be repealed. It too is inconsistent with extant Financial Regulations and the Public Procurement Act, which set thresholds for approving officers and Parastatal / Ministerial Tenders Boards for awards of Contracts for the procurement of goods and Services. This also amounts to an intrusion of the Legislature into what is an executive function.
 
“Given the urgency of the request for amendments, I I seek the cooperation of the National Assembly for expeditious legislative action on the 2022 Appropriation Amendment Proposal in order to sustain the gains of an early passage of the budget.
“Please accept, Distinguished Senate President, the assurances of my highest consideration.”
 

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Makinde tackles Akpabio for dishing out fake news

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Akpabio, Makinde
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***says Akpabio lied as no gov received N30b

Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State has taken on Senate President Godswill Akpabio over the fake news he dished out that states got an additional N30 billion each to address food scarcity.

Akpabio had made the comment some days back but at the commissioning of a newly renovated Iseyin Central Mosque provided by an Iseyin-born legal icon Ahmed Raji (SAN), Makinde said Oyo State did not get such funds.

“This is not the time to play politics, as we have real issues that deserve real solutions. But yesterday, I saw the video and read in the news where the Senate President, Sen. Godswill Akpabio, made a statement, though he said it was an unverified report, stating that the state governments received an additional N30 billion from the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, outside of our statutory allocation, in the last few months, to address food security,” Governor Makinde said on Thursday.

“Please, listen to me loud and clear. I can speak for Oyo State and can also speak for any of my colleagues. This is because, as the Vice Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, I know when things are happening.

“If I want to play politics, I will keep quiet and let this slide, but I am not going to let this slide. FIRS cannot give money to any state. It is not possible. All revenues accruing to the country go into the federation account and it is distributed to all tiers of government. The FG does not give states money.

“The money in the federation belongs to all of us; it does not only belong to the Federal Government. So, if the Senate President, who is the number three citizen in this country, could be quoting an unverified report, people are looking at us as leaders. This is the period that we are supposed to give confidence to our people. It is not the period to start playing politics or to start looking for scapegoats.

“We need to engage with our people. If our policies are not working, we need to listen to the people and amend them. So, if the number three citizen had nothing but an unverified report, why did he need to say it?

“Does his statement give confidence to the people or solve the problem of hunger and anger in the land? Let me say it clearly: as for Oyo State and most of my colleagues, there is nothing like N30 billion being given to states for food security and I stand to be challenged.

“Yes, the Federal Government promised the states N5 billion, and out of that, it only gave N2 billion and they are even asking that the N2 billion should be refunded right now.”

Makinde added that his government has been doing its best to mitigate the hardship on residents of the state, having been the first to announce and implement measures to cushion the effect of the hardship through the Sustainable Action for Economic Recovery (SafER).

“This is a very difficult period in our nation’s history because all of us are aware of what we are going through economically. But for us as an administration, I can say we are the first in Nigeria to announce and implement measures on the 9th of June 2023, to cushion the effect of this policy through SAfER.

“We have been doing our bit. And the reason I came here is for us to talk to ourselves and intensify prayers. So, this is one of the edifices through which we can reach God, though we have done our bit.

“We have health insurance for our own people, we gave farm inputs to our farmers but, at this stage, we need to cry to God. For the workers, we have been paying a wage award; N25,000 for workers and N15,000 for pensioners, and we have paid for close to six months.

“Only last week, I announced an extension for another six months so that we can have the time to conclude the discussion on minimum wage. Well, we know there is much to be done and we will continue to do everything within our power to support our people through this hard time,” Makinde added.

“It is the responsibility of the Federal Government to manage the fiscal situation in Nigeria and manage the inflationary trend we have in the country right now. We have been transparent about everything we are doing here and this is the time for us to stay together as a nation to solve the problems we are facing. It is not the time to engage in blame games and propaganda. Hunger and anger are real and, as leaders, we must address them,” the governor said.

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Creative Economy Ministry explore possibility of creating 2 million jobs by 2027

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he Ministry of Art, Culture and the Creative Economy is exploring a framework for financing the development of Nigeria’s creative economy to create twenty million jobs by 2027.

The Minister, Hannatu Musa Musawa made the disclosure at an interaction session with the Nigerian Economic Summit Group NESG in Abuja on Wedneday.
Special adviser on media to the minister Nnekka Ikem Anibeze quoted Musawa to have expressed the optimism to work with the NESG on fund generation and capacity building through which the ministry can contribute 100b to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product by 2030.

“With the support of NESG, the private sector and the right funding mechanism, I think we can do so much to help Nigeria out of the doldrums. The Federal Ministry of Art, Culture and the Creative Economy is the happy place of Nigeria no matter what. This is the sector that Nigerians want to hear about; the art, the films, the music … it is an expression of who we are.

“This is something that we really want to tap into especially now that the whole world is interested in the Nigerian content. With this, we can reposition Nigeria, so we came up with this brilliant initiative, Destination 2030 which is poised to change the narrative of Nigeria.

“The government will work towards producing a conducive environment that encourages growth and private investment to ensure that Nigeria’s cultural influence transcends borders as a brand, and unites Nigerians across all initiatives.

“We need to prove to the administration that the ecosystem can really bring value back. So it is not just about giving to the creatives by investing in them, but by also proving that we can get back the value, all the way down to the grassroots. So, funding for our programs is very key and I would love to share a number of these initiatives and programs with you to see where we can pull the funds from,” Musawa stated.

Earlier, the Nigerian Economic Summit Group led by the facilitator on Tourism, Hospitality, Entertainment, the Creative Economy, and Sports Dr. Ikenna Nwosu, said that NESG will provide technical assistance to the ministry to enable it to attract the funds.
Dr Nwosu also expressed readiness to collaborate with the ministry to update the National Policy on the Creative Industry and also train the ministry’s staff on efficient data collection.

“We discovered that the ministry does not have a National Policy on Creative Economy. It does not have an updated National Policy on Culture. The one they have is since 1988. We don’t have a National Policy to incentivize the sector. There are other sectors that were incentivized by government like the gas and telecommunication to build initiatives and train the operatives in the sector”.

Nwosu pledged support to the Ministry to enable them to carry out its mandate.

“The NESG decided that we must give the Honourable Minister the full complement of our human, technical, and development partner expertise to succeed.

“There is no limit to what she asks us to do . We are at hand to do it on a
24-hour basis and this is a commitment that we have made. We have demonstrated it and will continue to demonstrate it”.

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Niger Protests: Tinubu directs provision of food intervention to curb Shortage

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In his bid checkmate the shortage of food in the country, President Bola Tinubu has directed that a food intervention should be provided

The Minister of Information and National Orientation Muhammed Idris said this at the State House after a meeting of the Presidential Committee on Emergency Food Intervention convened by the Chief of Staff to the President Femi Gbajabiamila.

The gathering is coming against the backdrop of protests in some parts of the country over the rising cost of food and living.
The demonstrations had broken out in Niger and Kano states, prompting calls for urgent action to arrest the spiraling prices of essential food items.

Idris indicated that the government is concerned about what Nigerians are going through and is taking some steps to ensure they get some relief.

The meeting had in attendance the Minister of Agriculture, Abubakar Kyari; Minister of State for Agriculture, Sabi Abdullahi; the Minister of Budget and Planning, Atiku Bagudu; the National Security Adviser, Nuhu Ribadu and the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Yemi Cardoso among others.

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