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Osinbajo, World Bank MD discuss climate change, energy access

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Vice President Yemi Osinbajo
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo
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Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Friday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, received Dr Mari Pangestu, World Bank Managing Director of Development, Policy and Partnerships.

Osinbajo’s spokesman, Laolu Akande, who spoke with State House correspondents after the meeting, said it was Pangestu’s first visit to Nigeria.

Akande added that it was her first country visit outside of Washington DC since she was appointed in March.

The spokesman said the duo discussed a number of issues especially around climate change and energy access.

“Of course, she gave a brief to the vice president talking about climate change, some of the outcomes of COP26.

“The vice president stated some of the things that President Muhammadu Buhari said especially the fact that Nigeria could likely meet the target by 2050, but more realistically; 2060.

“The vice president restated that in Nigeria, as in other developing countries, there are challenges of climate change but there are also challenges of energy access,’’ Akande said.

He said Osinbajo expressed concern that as Nigeria and other developing countries were dealing with climate change, they were also dealing with the critical issue of energy access.

Akande said the World Bank managing director agreed that the international community would take that kind of dual strategy to deal with the issue.

He said that Pangestu also implied in her comments that developing countries needed assistance in the transition to net zero emission.

“She also mentioned the fact that that issue of the help that developing countries require in order to attain net zero emission is quite important,’’ Akande said.

President Buhari, had on Nov.2, while addressing the COP26, Leaders’ Summit in Glasgow, Scotland, pledged that Nigeria would cut its emissions to net zero by 2060.

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Business & Economy

TINUBU: SECURITY, JOB CREATION, POVERTY REDUCTION TOP PRIORITIES OF 2024 BUDGET

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Asiwaju Bola Tinubu
President Bola Ahmed Tinubu
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President Bola Tinubu says Nigeria’s national defence and internal security, local job creation, macro-economic stability, investment environment optimization, human capital development, poverty reduction, and social security are some of the top priorities of the 2024 Budget of Renewed Hope.

Addressing a joint session of the National Assembly on the 2024 Federal budget proposal on Wednesday in Abuja, President Tinubu said the nation’s internal security architecture will be overhauled to enhance law enforcement capabilities with a view to safeguarding lives, property, and investments across the country.

He said the proposed budget prioritizes human capital development, with particular attention given to children, because human capital remains the most critical resource for national development.

“To improve the effectiveness of our budget performance, the government will focus on ensuring value for money, greater transparency, and accountability. In this regard, we will work more closely with development partners and the private sector.

“To address long-standing issues in the education sector, a more sustainable model of funding tertiary education will be implemented, including the Student Loan Scheme scheduled to become operational by January 2024,” the President affirmed.

Speaking on the economy, President Tinubu said a stable macro-economic environment is crucial in his administration’s bid to catalyze private investment and accelerate economic growth; hence, his government shall continue to implement business and investment friendly measures for sustainable growth.

“We expect the economy to grow by a minimum of 3.76 percent, above the forecasted world average. Inflation is expected to moderate to 21.4 percent in 2024. In preparing the 2024 Budget, our primary objective has been to sustain our robust foundation for sustainable economic development. A critical focus of this budget and the medium-term expenditure framework is Nigeria’s commitment to a greener future.

“Emphasizing public-private partnerships, we have strategically made provisions to leverage private capital for big-ticket infrastructure projects in energy, transportation, and other sectors. This marks a critical step towards diversifying our energy mix, enhancing efficiency, and fostering the development of renewable energy sources. By allocating resources to support innovative and environmentally conscious initiatives, we aim to position Nigeria as a regional leader in the global movement towards clean and sustainable energy.

“As we approach the COP28 climate summit, a pivotal moment for global climate action, I have directed relevant government agencies to diligently work towards securing substantial funding commitments that will bolster Nigeria’s energy transition. It is imperative that we seize this opportunity to attract international partnerships and investments that align with our national goals. I call upon our representatives to engage proactively to showcase the strides we have made in the quest to create an enabling environment for sustainable energy projects.

“Together, we will strive for Nigeria to emerge from COP28 with tangible commitments, reinforcing our dedication to a future where energy is not only a catalyst for development but also a driver of environmental stewardship,” he said.

The President said a conservative oil price benchmark of 77.96 U.S. Dollars per barrel and a daily oil production estimate of 1.78 million barrels per day were adopted after a careful review of global oil market trends, and that a Naira to U.S. Dollar exchange rate of 750 naira per U.S. Dollar was adopted for 2024 as well.

Giving a breakdown of the 2024 Appropriation Bill, the President said: “Accordingly, an aggregate expenditure of 27.5 trillion naira is proposed for the Federal Government in 2024, of which the non-debt recurrent expenditure is 9.92 trillion naira while debt service is projected to be 8.25 trillion naira and capital expenditure is 8.7 trillion naira. Nigeria remains committed to meeting its debt obligations. Projected debt service is 45% of the expected total revenue.

“The budget deficit is projected at 9.18 trillion naira in 2024 or 3.88 percent of GDP. This is lower than the 13.78 trillion naira deficit recorded in 2023, which represented 6.11 percent of GDP. The deficit will be financed by new borrowings totaling 7.83 trillion naira, 298.49 billion naira from Privatization Proceeds, and 1.05 trillion naira draw down on multilateral and bilateral loans secured for specific development projects.”

President Tinubu said his administration remains committed to broad-based and shared economic prosperity, adding: “We are reviewing social investment programmes to enhance their implementation and effectiveness. In particular, the National Social Safety Net project will be expanded to provide targeted cash transfers to poor and vulnerable households.”

He also said efforts will be made to further contain financial leakages through the effective implementation of key public financial management reforms.

The President commended the patriotic resolve of the 10th National Assembly to collaborate with the Executive on the mission to renew the hope of Nigerians and deliver on the promises made to Africa’s largest population.

“As you consider the 2024 Budget estimates, we trust that the legislative review process will be conducted with a view to sustaining our desired return to a predictable January-December fiscal year. I have no doubt that you will be guided by the interest of all Nigerians. We must ensure that only projects and programs with equitable benefits are allowed into the 2024 Budget. Additionally, only projects and programs that are in line with the sectoral mandates of MDAs and those which are capable of realizing the vision of our administration should be included in the budget,” the President declared.

 

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Tinubu Retains Kyari As NNPCL GCEO, Appoints Akinyelure As Board Chairman

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Kyari (left) and President Tinubu
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President Bola has appointed Pius Akinyelure as the Non-Executive Board Chairman of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) and also retained Mele Kyari as the organisation’s Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO).

A Monday statement by Tinubu’s spokesman Ajuri Ngelale said the duo is part of the new board and management of the NNPCL.

Their appointment, which is in compliance with Section 59 (2) of the Petroleum Industry Act, 2021, takes effect from December 1, 2023, he said.

Apart from Kyari and Akinyelure, other members and board of the management include: Alhaji Umar Isa Ajiya — Chief Financial Officer; Mr. Ledum Mitee — Non-Executive Director; Mr. Musa Tumsa — Non-Executive Director; Mr. Ghali Muhammad — Non-Executive Director; Prof. Mustapha Aliyu — Non-Executive Director; Mr. David Ogbodo — Non-Executive Director and Ms. Eunice Thomas — Non-Executive Director.

Tinubu also approved the appointment of two permanent secretaries for the Federal Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Petroleum Resources.

While Mr. Okokon Ekanem Udo was nominated as the former’s permanent secretary, Amb. Gabriel Aduda is for the latter.

“President Tinubu anticipates the fullest measure of compliance with the performance-driven and results-oriented mandate of his Renewed Hope administration in the implementation of energy policy that will monetize all available oil and gas resources of today while paving the way for the total exploitation of new and cleaner energy sources of tomorrow by this distinguished team,” Ajuri said.

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FEC Approves N27.5tn As 2024 Budget

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FEC Meeting at the Presidential Villa Abuja
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***Reviews Medium-Term Expenditure Framework,

The Federal Executive Council (FEC), on Monday, approved a 2024 budget of N27.5 trillion.

This followed the review of the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework earlier passed by the National Assembly which benchmarked the exchange rate at N700 to $1 and crude oil price at $73.96 cent per barrel.

Briefing State House Correspondents shortly after the FEC meeting at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, the Minister of Budget and Economic Planning, Abubakar Bagudu, said it revised the MTEF and the Fiscal Policy to use an exchange rate of N750 to $1 and also a benchmark crude oil reference price of $77.96 per barrel.

According to Bagudu, the FEC also approved an Appropriation Bill for 2024 with an aggregate expenditure of N27.5 trillion, an increase of over N1.5 trillion from the previous estimate.

He also noted that using the old reference prices, the forecast revenue is now N18.2 trillion which is higher than the 2023 revenue, including that provided in the two supplementary budgets, in which the deficit is lower than that of 2023.

Meanwhile, the FEC was briefed by the Fiscal Policy and Tax Reform Committee on its workings for roughly 90 days.

Addressing journalists, the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Wale Edun, said the committee had proposed the removal of VAT on diesel and is looking to increase the ratio of tax revenue to GDP to 18 percent, which is the average for Africa.

He also gave an update on the $100 million financing from the African Development Bank (AfDB) and $15 million from the Canada African Development Bank Climate Fund (CACF) inherited from the previous administration.

According to him, it is a concessional borrowing of around 4.2 percent per annum by Abia state through the federal government.

He said the funds are for waste management and rehabilitation of roads in Abia State.

Furthermore, Edun said the African Development Bank approved $1 billion concessional financing for Nigeria with a moratorium of eight years, at about 4.2 percent per annum, in recognition of the economic measures that have been taken and the swift movement towards macro stability.

He said the loan to be paid in 25 years at 4.2 percent per annum, has a moratorium of eight years

He said the AfDB, a concessional financing organisation, is to provide $1 billion in general budget support.

“The Federal Executive Council has also approved a total limit of N2 trillion to be available for use by the Ministry of Finance in order to go in and out of the market and essentially to, where possible, bring down the rate of interest on the current outstanding,” Edun explained.

“The view is that there will be an opportunity to save about 50 billion naira or more in debt servicing over time by giving back expensive debt refinancing it with cheaper funding.”

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