President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has said that the National Assembly would mount more pressure on revenue generating agencies to ensure that they remit N1 trillion naira in revenues annually to enable the federal government fund its budget.
Lawan stated this in his remarks after the chamber approved President Muhammadu Buhari’s submission of the revised 2022-2024 fiscal framework.
The Senate President explained that generating more revenues through the agencies will reduce government’s deficit and dependence on external borrowing to fund the country’s national budget.
He noted that increased revenue can be realized, if the Executive and Legislature collaborate to ensure that revenue generating agencies remit all monies collected to the treasury.
He said, “I’m sure that those MDAs that remitted N400 billion could possibly have remitted N1trn naira, if we had pushed harder.
“So, we need to push harder because what this means is a revelation, that many of these MDAs have been cornering funds that ordinarily should have gone to the treasury.
“But for many years, they have been taking the funds unfairly and illegally. So, we should not be content with only N400 billion naira.
“It is a good thing that it happened, because that is an exposure of what they have been doing.
“But we must insist that it goes beyond the N400 billion naira. I’m sure we can get even more than N1 trillion.
“I agree that we need more revenues, so that we are able to fund our budget with less deficit.
“But we can only achieve that if the Executive and Legislature work hard to ensure that the revenue generating and collecting agencies perform their jobs very well and remit the funds to the treasury.”
Speaking on government’s resort to external borrowing, Lawan said, “I also agree that the deficit or the borrowing is a bit high.
“But then again, the choice is limited, because on one breadth we cannot say that we will not borrow because it is becoming too much, when we don’t have ways and means of funding infrastructural development in the country.
“[And] we cannot say we should just fold our arms and not do anything because the country will never move. So, it’s a catch-22 situation.
“I believe that we need to be very mindful that we need to reduce the borrowing, but that means we have to improve on the revenue that we receive.
“I believe that the additional revenues that have not been captured like the TETFUND, Bank of Industry and so on, were before just left out of the federal budget. Now, we can see everything, and we need to see more.”
Contributing to the debate on the revised 2022-2024 fiscal framework, Senator Chukwuka Utazi (PDP, Enugu North) advised the federal government to take seriously the issue of diversifying the Nigerian economy.
The lawmaker harped on the need to explore alternative revenue sources such as mining to boost the country’s revenue figures, warning that “the time of oil is over”.
Senator Betty Apiafi (PDP, Rivers West) described the government’s decision to jerk up the 2022 budget projection from 13.98 trillion to N16.45 as over ambitious and a proposal taken too far.
She added that one of the major challenges confronting the national budget is the absence of funds appropriated for under-recovery.
“No matter how much you get in terms of revenue, and we are really struggling, under-recovery can wipe that out”, the lawmaker said.
Apiafi called for sanctions on any Ministry, Department and Agency of Government found to have violated the provisions of the Appropriations Act.
She insisted that the sum of N510 billion for Service Wide Vote in the 2022-2024 revised framework was “outrageous”, adding that the National Assembly must be given a breakdown on how the amount would be used by the executive.
Meanwhile, a total of six bills on Wednesday scaled second reading in the Senate.
The bills are: Disaster and Risk Management Council of Nigeria Bill, 2021; Federal Capital Territory University of Science and Technology Abaji (Establishment) Bill, 2021; and Microbiology Council of Nigeria Bill, 2021.
Others are the Federal Eye Centre, Ochadamu Bill, 2021; A bill to Repeal the Legal Practitioners Act, 2004; and the Legal Education Act (Amendment) Bill, 2021.
The bills were referred by the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, to the Committees on Establishment and Public Service; Tertiary Institutions and TETFUND; Health (Secondary and Tertiary); and Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters.
The Committees were all given four weeks to report back to the upper chamber.
In a related development, President Muhammadu Buhari’s request for the confirmation of Engr. Farouk A. Ahmed as Chief Executive Officer of the Board of the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority was referred by the Senate President to the Committee on Petroleum Resources (Upstream).
The Committee is expected to report back in four weeks.
Also referred was the President’s request to confirm Hon. Justice Husseini Baba Yusuf as Chief Judge of the FCT High Court, Abuja.
The request was referred to the Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, for it to also report back in four weeks.
President Buhari transmits Business Facilitation bill to N’Assembly
The Senate has received the Business Facilitation (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2022, forwarded to the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari, for consideration and passage.
The bill was accompanied by a letter dated 17th June, 2022.
The letter, addressed to the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, was read during plenary on Tuesday.
President Buhari, in the letter, explained that the expeditious consideration and passage of the bill would promote the ease of doing business in Nigeria.
It reads, “Pursuant to Sections 58(2) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), I forward herewith the Business Facilitation (Miscellaneous Provision) Bill 2022 for the kind consideration of the Senate.
“Business Facilitation (Miscellaneous Provision) Bill 2022 seeks to promote the war of doing business in Nigeria by amending relevant legislation.
“While hoping that this submission will receive the usual expeditious consideration of the Senate, please accept, Distinguished Senate President, the assurances of my highest consideration.”
N5 trillion urgently needed to cushion effects double digits increase on ordinary Nigerians – World Bank
The World Bank has warned that Nigeria could lose about N5trillion in 2022 from gasoline subsidies.
The bank also said that N5 trillion is urgently needed to cushion ordinary Nigerians from the crushing effect of double-digit increases in the cost of basic commodities.
The World Bank said in it Nigeria Development Update (NDU) released on Tuesday in Abuja.
The report said: “When we launched our previous Nigeria Development Update in November 2021, we estimated that Nigeria could stand to lose more than N3 trillion in revenues in 2022 because the proceeds from crude oil sales, instead of going to the federation account, would be used to cover the rising cost of gasoline subsidies that mostly benefit the rich”.
World Bank Country Director for Nigeria Shubham Chaudhuri, however noted: “Sadly, that projection turned out to be optimistic. With oil prices going up significantly, and with it, the price of imported gasoline, we now estimate that the foregone revenues as a result of gasoline subsidies will be closer to 5 trillion Naira in 2022.
“N5 trillion is urgently needed to cushion ordinary Nigerians from the crushing effect of double-digit increases in the cost of basic commodities, to invest in Nigeria’s children and youth, and in the infrastructure needed for private businesses small and large to flourish, grow and create jobs.”
The report noted: “Nigeria is in a paradoxical situation: growth prospects have improved compared to six months ago but inflationary and fiscal pressures have increased considerably, leaving the economy much more vulnerable”.
Nigeria’s banking sector now immune to economic shock – NDIC
Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) has said that the banking sector is now immunized to withstand shocks that may impact the economy and the financial system.
Mr Bello Hassan, Managing Director of NDIC said this at a retreat for members of the Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions with the NDIC, in Lagos.
Any change in fundamental macroeconomic variables or relationships that has a significant impact on macroeconomic outcomes and measures of economic performance, such as unemployment, consumption, and inflation, is referred to as an economic shock.
Mustapha Ibrahim, Executive Director (Operations), who represented the NDIC boss, said Nigerian banking industry was currently resilient to most of these difficulties, particularly external shocks over which the Corporation had no control.
He said: “We have tried to immunise the system to withstand shocks that may be impacting on the economy and the financial system”.
Hassan, further said that effective risk-based management remained critical to a safe and sound financial system.
“The NDIC and the Central Bank of Nigeria have a very robust supervisory framework under the risk-based supervisory format the risk-based approach is actually proactive. For the most part, we try to anticipate all these risks – Macro, micro, domestically and globally – to address them continuously.
“So, it is so dynamic that we also are constantly on a real-time basis, monitoring the industry continuously and fine-tuning our supervisory tools, both onsite and offsite, to mitigate some of the challenges the banks may be facing,” he said.
On his part, Chairman, Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions, said the retreat demonstrated progress in creating lasting and workable relationships in the national interest.
Sani, who was represented by Senator Olubunmi Adetunbi, was optimistic that the outcome will aid in the strengthening of the financial and banking sectors, particularly the corporation’s supervisory and regulatory role.
“The National Assembly and NDIC are key institutions critical to the growth and development of the Nigerian economy. While we provide the legal and institutional frameworks, NDIC carries out its regulatory or supervisory responsibilities in order to safeguard the banking sector.
“Engagement of this nature gives us the platform to deeply look into our activities and responsibilities and also examine how far we have gone in carrying out our mandate as required. It helps in injecting fresh ideas into our operations which will materialise into an improved, effective and efficient service delivery to Nigerians,” he said.
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