FG Okays 2020 budget cut for N10.523trn

Due to the current economic realities caused by the drop in oil prices in the international market and the devastating pandemic of COVID-19, yesterday the federal government approved a revised budget for 2020, now pegged to N10.523 trillion. The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Hajiya Zainab Ahmed, disclosed this to correspondents from the House of State after the first virtual meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) of the council chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Ahmed noted that the council also approved the price of oil at $ 25 a barrel, oil production at 1.94 million barrels per day and an exchange rate from N360 to $ 1. She said her ministry had submitted a memo to the council seeking approval of amendments to the 2020-2022 Medium Term Expenditure Framework, as well as the 2020 budget amendment. Noting that the council approved the recommendations, the minister said: “The oil price is approved in US At $ 25 a barrel, oil production is 1.94 million barrels per day and then an exchange rate from N360 to $ 1. “The revised budget is now in the sum total of N10.523 trillion, a difference of almost N71.5 billion when compared to the approved budget.

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This is because, in reducing the size of the budget, we also need to bring in new previously un budgeted expenses to allow us to respond adequately to the COVID-19 pandemic. ” The minister also explained that the federal government will have direct revenue from financing the budget in the amount of N5.158 billion. Ahmed added that the budget deficit is N5.365 trillion, saying it would be financed by both domestic and foreign loans. She stated:

“The external loans we are making for 2020 are all concessionary loans from the IMF that have already been approved and crystallized from the World Bank, Islamic Development Bank and Afro EXZIM Bank. “There will also be a survey of previously committed loans for the main ongoing projects that we will extract from the existing facilities, as well as some special accounts with the approval of the President and the National Assembly, in addition to the revenues we hope to obtain. carry out from privatization.

"Therefore, loans and multilateral loans drawn from special accounts and from privatization will finance the fiscal deficit of N5.365 trillion that we have in the proposed amendment to the 2020 budget." The minister also disclosed that the federal government had requested, on behalf of the Ebonyi state government, a $ 80 million loan from the Islamic Development Bank, for the construction of the Abakilike ring road project.

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According to her, while the federal government borrows from the bank, it lends the loans to the Ebonyi state government. She continued: “We have done our debt sustainability analysis which proves that the State of Ebonyi has the capacity to repay this loan, which is provided on the basis of a long stay for payment. “This Ebonyi ring road connects 13 local governments in the states and neighboring Cameroon. It is an important road that will provide access to citizens of the state, farmers, markets and improve economic activities in the state. And neighboring states will also benefit from this project. "

Ahmed also disclosed that the council approved the Nigeria Customs Service to buy boats made in Nigeria for its surveillance and anti-corruption activities in sea waters. Ok47 N47 billion for the energy sector The federal government also approved N47 billion for the supply of an additional 40 megawatts of electricity to the national grid. Energy Minister Sale Mamman, who released it after the FEC virtual meeting, said the 40 megawatts would be evacuated from the Kashimbilla dam in the state of Taraba, where they are currently being generated.

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He said: “The Council approved the ministry's memorandum for the revised estimated total cost to increase the N47, 235, 303, 821.90 remaining contract to provide additional critical power network infrastructure for the complete delivery and use of evacuation . megawatt currently being generated from Kashimbilla, via Takum, Wukari and Yandev for the national network. ”The Minister of Power noted that the additional 40 megawatts will increase energy supply in the states of Taraba and Benue, as well as throughout the northeastern region of the country. He noted that if the energy generated is not evacuated from its source, Nigeria will lose about 120 gigawatts of energy, the equivalent of $ 9 million in one year.

In his briefing, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, said that the government's activities and programs will continue in progress, despite the challenges imposed by the feared COVID-19. He said: "It's been a long time and I'm sure everyone knows why. It's COVID-19, but we shouldn't allow COVID-19 to stop us completely. It may have delayed us, but we need to find ways to deal with COVID-19. “The task force and the various emergency response centers across the country are doing their best to stop and slow the spread.

The government also found it important to find at least one way to manage the government. Therefore, we resort to technology. “After a long time, for the first time in the history of this country, if I recall, a federal executive council was held by teleconference, where only ministers who had memoranda to present were physically present in the village, while other ministers joined them. its various offices via teleconference and, if that is something to do, it has proved to be a very efficient way of managing the government.

For his part, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Sabo Nanono, said that a loan of about 950,000 euros (about 1.2 billion Nl) was approved for the sector by the council. He said the loan is for agricultural mechanization, which will cover about 632 local government areas and another 140 processing plants. Nanono said: “This will be a major revolution in the agricultural sector, as we have never seen before. I think the executive board did the right thing and approved it. “We anticipate direct jobs of this in the region of seven million, while indirect jobs will be in a region of 20 million or more. So, that's the essence of it. There will be 140 agricultural processes attached to these service centers

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NPA receives N683m for operational vehicles

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For his part, the Minister of Transport, Rotimi Ameachi, disclosed that the FEC also approved the sum of N683 million for the purchase of 19 operational vehicles for the Nigeria Port Authority (NPA). Speaking at the FEC briefing, the minister said it was the first time in four years that the NPA would buy vehicles. “The Council kindly approved the sum of N683, 613,000 for the purchase of 19 vehicles for the NPA. It is the first time in four years that the NPA has purchased any vehicle; so the Council considered it and approved it. These are operational vehicles; they are not for the management team or anything else. They are all Toyota, ”he explained.

Project Mambilla Power, EastWest Road will not be financed with recovered US $ 311 million in Abacha

Meanwhile, looting Sani Abacha, recently repatriated, will target three of the federal government's five priority projects, excluding the Mambilla energy projects and the east-west roads.

In a statement released yesterday, the presidency noted that energy and road projects will not be among the five priority projects to benefit from Abacha's $ 311 million plunder under the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF), managed by Sovereign Investment Authority of Nigeria (NSIA). The statement issued by the presidential spokesman, Mallam Garba Shehu, noted: “Although the Mambilla and East-West expressways are considered under priority PIDF projects, I have found that they are exempt from the agreement signed between the Nigerian, North American and British. Jersey governments.

“According to the document, only the second bridge in Niger, the Abuja-Kaduna-Kano expressway and the Lagos-Ibadan expressway will benefit from the repatriated funds. The funds are domiciled at NSIA. "All print and online media must observe this correction and make the necessary adjustments to previous publications on the subject".

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