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COVID-19 Bites Nigeria As FG Slashes Proposed 2020 budget Of 8.41tn To 5.8tn



The Federal Government has revised downward the revenue projection for the 2020 budget by N3.3tn from the initial approved amount of N8.41tn to N5.08tn.

The revised revenue projection is contained in a proposal sent to the National Assembly by the executive.

The reduction became imperative in view of the negative impact of the coronavirus pandemic, which had led to disruptions to global supply chains, a sharp drop in global crude oil prices, turmoil in global stock and financial markets.

These outcomes have had severe consequences on households’ livelihoods and business activities, resulting from a drop in global demand, declined consumer confidence and slowdown in production.

Based on the revenue parameters underlying the revised proposal, the Federal Government revised downwards the oil price benchmark from $57 per barrel to $30 per barrel.

Similarly, the oil production volume was reduced from 2.18 million barrels per day to 1.7 million barrels per day.

The exchange rate was however raised from N305 to a dollar to N360 to a dollar based on the devaluation of the naira by the Central Bank of Nigeria

An analysis of the revenue items showed that oil revenue suffered the highest reduction of N2.38tn from the initial approved amount of N2.63tn to N254.25bn.

Based on the proposal, the dividend from the NLNG was reduced from N124.26bn to N80.37bn while non-oil revenue would witness a decline of N269bn from N1.8tn to N1.53tn.

In the same vein, revenue projection from the signature bonus was revised downward from N939.3bn to N568.68bn, while revenue from stamp duty was reduced from N463.94bn to N200bn.

However, independent revenue from agencies of government was increased by N66.88bn from N849.96bn to N916.84bn.

On the expenditure side, the executive is proposing a reduction of about N321bn in spending from the initial estimate of N10.59tn to N10.27tn.

Based on the revised proposal, statutory transfers were cut by N152.67bn from N560.47bn to N407.8bn, capital expenditure was revised downward by N155bn from N2.78tn to N2.62tn while recurrent expenditure was reduced by N25bn from N4.49bn to N4.46bn.

A breakdown of some of the Nigerian expenditure items showed that anniversaries/ celebrations were reduced by N3.08bn; computer software, N3.14bn; office buildings, N24.86bn; residential buildings, N479.6m; monitoring and evaluation, N10.8bn; land acquisition, N1.45bn; computers, N1.9bn; purchase of motor vehicles, N5.25bn and office furniture, N3.94bn.

Others are rehabilitation of office building, N49.52bn; repair of residential buildings, N1.07bn; research and development, N45.6bn; provisions of roads, N1.96bn; provision of water facilities, N650m; provision of waterways, N650m; repairs of public schools, N330.85m and purchase of power generating set, N555.96m.

There is also a reduction of N176.5m on purchase of motorcycle; computer printers, N151.48m; photocopying machines, N131.46m; purchase of trucks, N134.46m; purchase of buses, N485.78m and purchaser of scanners, N193.74m, among others.

Further analysis of the proposal showed that the drop in revenue has widened the fiscal deficit by N3.01tn from the initial approved about N2.17tn or 1.29 percent to N5.18tn or 3.43 percent.

According to the proposal, the fiscal deficit is expected to be financed through fresh borrowing of N4.43tn as against the initial borrowing plan of N1.59tn.

Also, the executive is proposing to raise N126.04bn from privatization proceeds as against the initial projection of N252.08bn.

In the same vein, about N424.95bn is being projected to be raised from multilateral/bilateral project loans. This is about N96.83bn higher than the N328.12bn which had earlier been approved when the budget was signed by the President.

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Foreigners without COVID-19 certificate will lose visas – Nigeria Immigration Service



The Nigeria Immigration Service has warned that foreigners who fail to present their COVID-19 test certificates on arrival in the country will have their visas revoked.

Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Immigration Service, Muhammed Babandede gave the warning while speaking at the weekly briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 in Abuja on Tuesday January 5. 

Babandede assured Nigerians that the 100 travelers under a travel ban for flouting the mandatory seven-day post-arrival COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction test cannot obtain fresh passports or compromise the NIS officers as the system was automated and cannot be bypassed or manipulated.

He said; 

“The public health is a big issue in the country and so based on that directives, we have complied by blocking 100 passports from travelling, which means, even if they go to the police and declare those passports missing, they cannot be reissued anywhere in the world and they cannot cross our national borders until the period of six months or communication received from the right authorities stating that they have complied.

“This will also include non-Nigerians; we have the powers to revoke visas, even the comptroller-general has the power to revoke visas. “

Babandede who also revealed that he has been receiving calls to help those under travel restriction stated that every visitor must have the COVID-19 test result.

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SGF Boss Mustapha and wife go into isolation as household members test positive for COVID-19



Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Boss Mustapha, and his wife, Olu have gone into isolation after some members of his household tested positive for COVID-19.

Mustapha said they took the COVID-19 test immediately after it was discovered that members of his household had been infected. He and his wife however tested negative for the disease.

In a statement released on Sunday, December 13 by the SGF who is also the chairman of the presidential task force (PTF) on COVID-19, it was gathered that the affected persons are asymptomatic and have been moved to a treatment centre.

The statement read; 

“I would like to inform the general public that some members of my household tested positive for COVID-19 yesterday evening.

“Although they are currently asymptomatic, they have been isolated and are receiving care in one of the government treatment centres.

“My wife and I tested negative, but will remain in self-isolation and work from home according to protocols by the health authorities.

“I would like to remind all Nigerians that COVID-19 is real. As the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) announced last week, we are recording an increase in cases across several states.

“Please stay safe and protect yourself. Adhere to all public health and safety measures so that we do not lose the gains we have made in the fight against COVID-19.  As a family, we covet your prayers.

“Please Take Responsibility for yourself and to protect our country”

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Golden Pen By Austin Okoro: COVID 19 And The State Of The Nation



The Coronavirus outbreak has actually crippled the economic activities of the nation. Every state in Nigeria is either partially or totally locked down for fear of Coronavirus disease.

Nigeria as of today has recorded more cases of the disease than other African countries. We heard that more than two hundred persons have been infected with the virus and they are undergoing treatments. We also heard that about six people have died already including a medical doctor from Katsina state who was taking care of patients. But whichever way our country must move forward.

What worries me most in this episode is the way the national leadership is handling cash meant to solve this problem. We have learned through confirmed media that several billions of naira have been spent already. We heard that the National Assembly is demanding accountability from the Finance Minister, accountant general and others about their expenses so far. We have heard that the office of the accountant general has gutted with fire.

It is truly unfortunate that a leadership that is fighting corruption is now swimming in it. So many deceptive stories have been circulating in the Media Hub. The Federal government said the school feeding program will continue even though the children are at home, what arrant nonsense? How can you feed children who are at home? I think it is a scam or a way to divert fund but it is unfortunate it came from the president.

The Minister of Finance said that they are sharing twenty thousand naira (#20,000) to the vulnerable people in our society especially in the North. She also said it will take place in the South East since there are no poor people there, it is very bad. The fact that Igbos are enterprising does not mean that there are no poor people there.

But the truth is that they are diverting funds and don’t want Igbos to catch them in their nefarious act But I thank the governor, Senator Hope Uzodinma who I learned dragged them to Imo State to replicate what they are doing in the North, we are watching.

At the state level, such evil actions are not lacking. We have heard that some states are sharing food items and even money. In Lagos states for instance where the main action is taking place, we learned that government agents gave half bags of rice and beans to a whole zone to share. This is corruption in the highest order. A lot of criminality is ongoing in almost all the states of the federation in the name of fighting COVID 19.

I can’t drop my pen without giving kudos to those that are getting it right. I must say kudos to Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State who not only took it upon himself to fight the virus in his state but ensured that the welfare of the people is in order.

The governor of Lagos, Mr. Babajide Sanwo Olu who took proactive steps in the fight should be commended. The governor of Imo State, Senator Hope Uzodinma is not doing badly kudos to him also. Since the outbreak of the pandemic, he has ensured that the disease did not enter the state by providing strict measures. He has established six Isolation centers in the three zones of the state with world-class equipment. He has paid salaries to workers and has short down the state.

He, also provided security vehicles, to ensure the protection of life and property. This is a welcome development. Although as Oliver Twist, we need some more. The governor should share food items to all the citizens of the state to cushion the effects of hunger caused by the sit at home order.

Nigeria as a country should ensure transparency in the sharing of whatever palliatives brought to the people by the federal government. The issue of discrimination should be jettisoned in this period of calamity. And I know that no matter what the dreaded disease will do, we shall overcome.

Another advice is that any official caught trying to divert what is meant for the people should be dealt with to serve as a deterrent to others. Nigeria must survive.

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