Buhari proposes N6.5 trillion for budget 2017 – Daily Trust

The Nigeria Government is ready with N6.5 trillion for the 2017 fiscal year, reports Voice of Nigeria.

This was contained in a budget call circular issued by the office of the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, to all Ministries, Departments and Agencies.

According to the circular, this was in accordance with the 2017-2019 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper.

It said the aggregate Federal Government retained revenue for the 2017 fiscal year was projected at N4.1 billion, while the aggregate expenditure level was projected to be N6.9 billion.

The circular said: “This aggregate expenditure is made up of statutory transfers of N370.7 billion, Debt Service of N1.63 billion, Recurrent (non-debt) expenditure of N2.56 billion and Capital expenditure of N1.76 billion.

“The N1.63 billion in respect of Debt Service is made up of N1.47 billion for domestic debt; N159.6 billion for foreign debt and N177.4 billion for sinking fund to retire maturing loans.”

It said the capital expenditure would be guided strictly by the justification and critical nature of such programmes and budgets.

It also said the N1.76 billion set aside for critical capital expenditure includes N150 billion for Special Intervention Programme, N200 billion for Capital Supplementation and N1.41 billion for MDAs capital expenditure

“Additionally, the Federal Government intends to incur recurrent expenditure of N350 billion on the Special Intervention Programmes, bringing the total to N500 billion,” it said.

The document also directed all MDAs to prepare the budget based on the 2017-2019 MTEF.

According to the circular, the budget preparation should take into consideration the policies and strategies contained in the document as it outlines the development priorities of the Federal Government.

It also noted that the annual budget would continue to be prepared using the Zero-Based Budgeting approach and in line with the government’s policy thrust.

The circular discouraged the practice of regular incremental budget adjustments, each project was to be carefully scrutinised before resources were allocated and that the ZBB process places emphasis on actual needs and not wants.

It said: “Therefore, all MDAs are to carefully scrutinise and justify their projects and programmes for which resources are to be allocated in line with the immediate needs of the country and government’s development priorities.”

The priorities were grouped into six broad pillars to reflect the 26 policy priority programmes of the Government.

It listed the pillars to be economic reforms/growth, social development, critical infrastructure, states/regional development, governance, security and environment.

The Federal Executive Council on August 24 approved the 2017-2019 MTEF and FSP.

The budget call circular is in line with the 2017 budget preparation calendar signalling the commencement of MDAs’ preparation of their 2017 budgets.

Ayade lauds Buhari on economic diversification – Today

Cross River State Governor, Ben Ayade, has commended President Muhammadu Buhari for diversifying the nation’s economy by making agriculture its main stay.

Ayade, who spoke during the flag off the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Rice Anchor Borrowers Programme at Odukpani Local Government headquarters, said the introduction of the programme was the beginning of the nation’s march to food sufficiency.

“We must thank President Buhari for introducing this programme, because if you follow the roadmap, plan and vision for this initiative, you will definitely know that this is the beginning of the emancipation of Nigerians from their continuous dependence on imported rice.”

Governor Ayade who noted that the rice value chain initiative remains a special ceremony that will increase rice production in Africa because Nigeria is the epic centre of Africa, lauded the CBN governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, for the gesture.

Worried by the huge amount spent annually to import rice, the governor said: “This is what President Buhari wants to stop because it has the nationalistic outlook to put an end to the declining rate of the naira to the dollar. When we stop importing rice, we will be adding value to our naira. It is key that you appreciate, at this point, the CBN governor and in particular, President Buhari, for it is a concept that we must support. The vision of trying to be self-sufficient in rice production is critical but in Cross River State, we will add our own dimension to it. The government of Cross River is going to set up a proper professional food bank, the very first in Nigeria.”

Continuing, the governor disclosed that “we are going to set up a food bank, one in each local government area, the major essence is to serve as the catallistic financial muscle that will pick up and buy off every single seed of rice that you will produce.”

Affirming that the state government will support CBN and the Federal government in ensuring that farmers don’t return to the mundane way of farming, Ayade said: “The farming we are going to do in Cross River State is going to be special because we are known for class, style and beauty”, adding that “we will provide an agricultural mechanism centre to provide an industrialized support for farming.”

He reiterated the resolve of his administration to support the CBN and the Federal government’s initiative in ensuring that farmers get all needed support required for a good yield that will lead to the inclusion of other farmers into the program in the nearest future.

“This conglomeration of agricultural value chain is coming in handy at a time when we have a government that is sensitive and focusing on agriculture, I believe that if we do this rice project successfully, the rubber plantation will come in, the cocoa, groundnut, banana and cotton will all come in and we have a new horizon for business men,” the governor said.

Recession cuts telecoms operators’ earnings by N31b in Q2 – Guardian

The harsh economic climate in the country is having its toll on the telecommunications sector. The earnings of telecommunications operators dipped significantly as over 60 million telephone lines became inactive at the end of the second quarter.

The Guardian learnt that the fall in the industry’s Average Revenue Per User (ARPU), among other factors, might have contributed to the slide in service providers’ earnings within the period.

ARPU is a measure used primarily by consumer communications and networking companies. It is defined as the total revenue divided by the number of subscribers.

The index, according to a source in the Ministry of Communications, who spoke to The Guardian anonymously, dropped sharply from N3,000 in 2001 to N500 in 2016, due mainly to the dwindling disposable income of subscribers amid the harsh economic climate.

This figure was corroborated yesterday by an official of a leading telecommunications company, who disclosed that ARPU has been on the decline in the last one year.

The official said: “For instance, in January and July 2015 it fell by 21.7 per cent and 15.7 per cent, a pattern that repeated itself in 2016.”

As a result, the about 62 million lines, which went dead, due to current economic challenges, might have cost the quartet of MTN, Globacom, Airtel and Etisalat a revenue of about N31 billion within the period under review.

According to the telecommunications source, in response to economic realities, subscribers are generally spending less than they used to. “Unfortunately, operational and capital expenditure required to support that user base has not declined in proportion and is actually on the rise, as a result of the same economic realities. The industry therefore, requires understanding and support to ensure we are sustained.”

While many telephone lines are becoming inactive, the operators are also losing subscribers to one another. For instance, for the period under review, about 60,356 subscribers ported out of the various networks over complaints of poor service quality.

The figure represents an increase of 13.94 per cent, relative to the 52,973 outgoing porters recorded in the previous quarter, and an increase of 10.58 per cent, relative to the 54,581 outgoing porters recorded the previous year.

Statistics from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) for the second quarter showed that Airtel, Etisalat and Globacom each contributed to the increase, and recorded relatively large growth rates both year on year and quarter on quarter. MTN was the exception; it recorded decrease over both periods.

According to NBS, the largest increase in outgoing activity was by Globacom, which had an increase of 76.37 per cent, from 7,152 in the first quarter to 12,614 in the second quarter of 2016. Year on year, the increase was lower at 47 per cent, from 8,581 outgoing porters in the second quarter of 2015.

Etisalat recorded the second largest increase of 59.44 per cent or from 4,800 to 7,653 between the first and second quarters, and by 28.88 per cent from 5,938 in the second quarter of 2015.

The number of outgoing porters recorded by Airtel was 13,192, which was 32.12 per cent higher than the 9,985 recorded in the previous quarter, and 26.06 per cent higher than the 10,465 recorded in the second quarter of 2015.

The report noted that by contrast, MTN recorded 26,897 outgoing porters in the second quarter of 2016, which represents a 13.34 per cent decline, relative to the 31,036 recorded in the previous quarter and a decline of 9.25 per cent, relative to the 29,637 outgoing porters recorded in the second quarter of 2015.