FEC approves N10.07trn 2020 budget proposal, raises VAT to 7.2%

#TrackNigeria: The Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Wednesday approved N10.07 trillion 2020 Budget proposal for onward transmission to the National Assembly for consideration and approval.

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Hajiya Zainab Ahmed, made this known when she briefed State House correspondents on the outcome of the meeting of the Council which was presided over President Muhammadu Buhari.

She revealed that the Council also approved the Medium Term Expenditure Framework 2020 to 2022, which would guide the 2020 Budget.

She revealed that the Council approved the Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategic Paper (MTEF/FSP) for 2020 to 2022, which would guide the implementation of the 2020 Budget.

The Minister said the next step was to present the document to the National Assembly for consideration.

“The expenditure for the year 2020 is in the total sum of N10.07 trillion. This is three per cent less than the approved expenditure in the 2019 budget that has been passed into law.

“The total expenditure includes statutory transfers, non-debt recurrent expenditure such as salaries and pensions and also the social intervention Programme,’’ she said.

According to her, the 2020 budget has a debt service estimated at N2.45 trillion and a sinking fund to retire maturing obligations issued to local contractors and other creditors in the sum of N296 billion.

“So there is a total sum of N3.43 trillion that is provided for personnel and pension cost inclusive of N218 billion for the top 19 government owned enterprises in the country.

“This represents an increase of N453 billion over the 2019 approved budgetary expenditure. This also implies a 40 per cent of this recurrent expenditure to the projected revenue.

“The budget deficit is projected at N2.15 trillion in the year 2020 and this is lower than what was approved in the 2019 budget which was N2.47 trillion.

“Let me state that these projections include draw downs on project tied loans and this represents 1.51 per cent of estimated gross domestic product (GDP). This is well below what is allowed by the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2007 which is still put at three percent.

“I want to add that council approved our presentation and so the next phase for us is to consult with the National Assembly,’’ she added.

She also disclosed that the Council approved a proposed increase of Value Added Tax (VAT) from five per cent to seven point two per cent.

The minister, however, stated that the VAT Act would have to be amended by the National Assembly first before the increase come into effect.

“We also reported to Council and the Council has agreed that we start the process towards the increase of the VAT rate. We are proposing and Council has agreed to increase the VAT rate from five percent to  7.2 per cent.

“This is important because the federal government only retains 15 per cent of the VAT, 85 per cent is actually for the states and local government and the states need additional revenue to be able to meet the obligations of the minimum wage.

“This process involves extensive consultation that needs to be made across the country at various levels and also it will involve the review of the VAT Act. So, it is not going to be implemented immediately until the Act is reviewed.

“So accordingly, following these assumptions the total revenue estimate in the sum of N7.5 trillion for the year 2020 and N2.09 trillion that will be accruing to the federation account and the VAT respectively.

“There will of course be the distribution to the three tiers of government based on the statutorily revenue sharing formula as defined in the constitution and to this effect, it means the federal government will be receiving proposed aggregate of N4.26 trillion from the federal account and the VAT pool.

“The states and the local governments are expected to receive N3.04 trillion and N2.27 trillion respectively,’’ (NAN)

FEC approves N182bn for construction, rehabilitation of roads nationwide

Osinbajo Vice President of Nigeria presides over FEC meeting and flanked by Boss Mustapha Secretary to the Gov

#tTrackNigeria: The Federal Executive Council (FEC) presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday approved about N182 billion for the construction and rehabilitation of various roads across the country.

The Minister of State for Works and Housing, Alhaji Abubakar Aliyu, said this while briefing State House Correspondents on the outcome of the maiden FEC meeting held at the Presidential Council Chamber, Abuja.

He disclosed that the first segment of the approval was for the extension of the Lagos-Badagry express road to Nigeria’s border with Benin Republic at the cost of N15.2 billion.

“We have considered and approved some roads to be constructed.

” One is an existing road extended from Lagos-Badagry express way, which is on-going; the Council approved an extension to the Nigeria-Benin border for an additional cost of N15, 297, 762, 234.22, that is from the subsisting contract,” he said.

The minister also announced that the Council approved N189billion for the construction of 14 roads in various parts of the country.

“We also approved the award of contracts for 14 road projects, they include the construction of two bridges at Kontagora-Rijau road at the cost of N1.12billion and construction of additional lane on Kano-Katsina road at the cost of N9.4 billion, ” he said.

According to him, the construction of Kontagora-Bangi road in Niger state will cost N20.3 billion, with a completion period of 48 months while rehabilitation of outer Marina-Bonny Camp road and Eko bridge will cost N9.2 billion, with a completion period of 12 months.

“Others include rehabilitation of Ibori-Idomi western road in Edo State at the cost of N4.5 billion with a construction period of 12 months; construction of Ilogu-Ireni road in Kwara and Osun states at the sum of N18.41billion,’’ he added.

The minister further stated that the Council approved N2.5 billion for the construction of Wudil bridge on Kano-Maiduguri road while N12.3 billion was approved for the rehabilitation of Wukari-Ibi road in Taraba.

He added that the council approved N10.6 billion for the construction of Baro Port road in Niger, N25 billion for the rehabilitation of Ajingi-Kafin Hausa road in Jigawa while rehabilitation of Abba-Owerri road would cost N6.98 billion.

According to the minister, the council approved N16.9billion for the rehabilitation of Kaliyari-Damaturu road in Yobe; N17.3billion for the construction of Yaba-Yangoji road in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and N12.7billion for the rehabilitation of two outstanding sections of Nnnewi-Okigwe road in Imo and Anambra.

The Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, who also spoke on the outcome of the meeting,ndisclosed that the Council approved the revised estimate total cost for the rehabilitation of Itakpe -Ajaokuta Rail line.

He said the contract was awarded $122 million but “we requested for a total of 56 million dollars additional works which were broken down into 38.8 million dollars additional works and $17.2 million variation, now bringing the contract of Itakpe to Warri to a total of $178.7 million.

“Then, we also requested for Lagos to Ibadan with extension to Lagos port complex in Apapa.

“We asked for additional works for $374 million with another variation of $282 million totaling $656.8 million and added to $1.5 billion that the contract was initially awarded for,” he said. (NAN)

BSPR awaits FEC approval for Oronsaye report on reform of government agencies – Arabi

Bureau of Public Service Reforms (BPSR) is awaiting the approval of the Federal Government for the full implementation of the Steve Oronsaye report on reform of government agencies to give meaning to the ongoing reforms in the public service.

The Director-General of BSPR, Mr Dasuki Arabi, who made the disclosure in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja, said efforts were on to ensure the Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved the implementation of the recommendations of the committee.

Arabi said President Muhammadu Buhari had  directed that the report be deliberated on at FEC, although the recommendations were being implemented  piecemeal.

“The president has given his nod for the secretariat on implementation of Oronsaye white paper report to move ahead with that and I am confident that it is going to be done anytime soon.

“Coincidentally, we work with the secretariat to the white paper implementation team and the report is one of the things the steering committee on funds looked at. But because of the likely fallout of the exercise, the president directed that the recommendation be pushed to the Federal Executive Council for consideration.

“Most likely, after that, it will go to the National Assembly (NASS) because most of the agencies to be scrapped or merged have enabling laws. So, they must look at those laws and repeal them before we have the new agencies.

“Agencies of government are created to address specific issues at a time; just like the Gurara Water Commission that came on board when Abuja was being created; the dam has been built, we have been using the water, I think they should ease off.

“If there is another agency that is looking at addressing the challenges of New Media, then it comes on board and after sometime, it goes.

“In looking at the cost implications of having multiple agencies, there is the need for closer collaboration of government and legislation to see how they can control high number of government agencies and parastatals that are being created,” Arabi said.

He noted that the Ministry of Solid Minerals Development which came into existence by the actions of BPSR had contributed  about .three per cent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) , mainly due to the security challenges in states where mining activities occurred.

“Our work led to the creation of Solid Minerals Development Fund and the restructuring of the Ministry of Solid Minerals Development.

“A lot of reforms were introduced around management of mining licenses and somewhere along the line there is a report that they have contributed about three per cent to the GDP of this country.

“Unfortunately, most of the areas where mining activities are supposed to be taking place have been in turbulence.

“If you take Nasarawa, Benue, Plateau, Kaduna, Niger, Zamfara – these are some of the core areas that we expected a lot of activities to happen but because of security challenges those things have not been happening.

“Other parts of the country where we have pockets of solid minerals deposits, especially around South-East and South-West, are doing fairly well.

NAN reports that the Presidential Committee on reform of government agencies led by Oronsaye, a former Head of Civil Service of the Federation, had recorded some 541 government parastatals, commissions and agencies (statutory and non-statutory) in the country.

The committee however, recommended the reduction of statutory agencies of government from 263 to 161.

The proposal was submitted to former President Goodluck Jonathan.

The report said that the average cost of governance in Nigeria was believed to rank among the highest in the world. (NAN)

Buhari postpones Federal Executive Council meeting

Muhammadu Buhari GCFR

By Danlami Nmodu

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting will not take place on Wednesday, September 4, 2019, Senior Special Assistant to the President (Media and Publicity) Garba Shehu said in a statement Tuesday evening.

According President Muhammadu Buhari’s media aide, “This is due to the fact that all the memos earlier submitted to the Council for consideration have been returned to the various Ministries. This action will allow Ministers who were recently sworn in have their inputs in the memos sent by their predecessors in office.

 “Similarly, the period is to enable the Ministers, who are still taking briefs from bureaucrats in the Ministries and familiarizing themselves with their work space, have more time to contribute to discussions at the meeting,” the statement said.

He said “They will also utilize the period of the break to work towards the early preparation and submission of the 2020 budget estimates.”

Ikeazor promises to speak for pensioners as she leaves PITAD

The Minister of State, Ministry of Environment, Mrs Sharon Ikeazor, has assured pensioners that she will continue to speak for them at the Federal Executive Council (FEC).

Ikeazor, the out-going Executive Secretary, Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD), gave the assurance on Thursday in Abuja at a reception organised by members of the directorate to celebrate her new appointment.

Ikeazor was among the 43 ministers inaugurated by President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday.

Ikeazor, who took over the leadership of PITAD in October 2016, pledged to continue defending pensioners’ interest at a higher level.

“ With my appointment as a federal minister, pensioners now have a voice in the FEC, I will always be speaking out for pensioners anywhere I am,” she said.

Ikeazor attributed her success in office to the cooperation she received from staff of the directorate and charged them to support his successor.

She advised them to sustain the momentum at the directorate by working hard and ensuring that all pensioners were treated fairly.

“I know I have driven you all hard but please as I leave, do not relent, keep the pace, hold on to all stakeholders and continue with the hard work I started, “she said.

She further advised heads of government agencies in the country to give National Youth Service Corps members posted to serve in their offices opportunity to grow, saying that “in them, lie great abilities.’’

Mrs Nnenna Akajemeli, SERVICOM National Coordinator congratulated Ikeazor for her new appointment, saying she merited it.

Akajemeli noted that during her tenure at PITAD, Ikeazor entrenched social justice in the directorate and ensured that every pensioner received their due.

She said that interaction with pensioners by SERVICOM revealed that Ikeazor brought good service to pensioners in the country.

“During your tenure in office, you were able to right the wrongs and strengthen the directorate by bringing service to the people with responsibility and visibility.

“We have seen the difference; you have indeed brought good service to the people, especially pensioners.

“You recorded tremendous successes in PITAD which has brought you to this height, “ she said.

Akajemeli recalled that Ikeazor while in office set up an independent committee that ensured the regularisation of staff in PITAD.

“We wish you the very best and we look forward to greater achievements from you, in your new assignment as Minister of State for Environment,“ she added.

Also, Mr Chille Igbawua, the Chief Commissioner of the Federation, Public Complaints Commission, said Ikeazor`s success in PITAD would continue to speak volumes.

According to him, Ikeazor is leaving behind a legacy that will continue to speak for her long after her exit from office.

Some pensioners  said Ikeazor took pensioners as special people which earned her lots of respect and regards.

To them, she succeeded in her job not because she is a woman, but because she decided to be “a human being with passion to help“.

Dr Chioma Ejikeme has been appointed to take over from Ikeazor as PITAD Executive Secretary.

Present at the event were representatives from the Police Service Commission, PITAD past Executive Secretaries, Military and Police Service Retiree Association and association of different pensioners’ unions. (NAN)