29 Mar

Daily Watch – Senate summons Kachikwu over petrol scarcity, Food prices shoot up

  • The Senate has summoned the Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu, to appear before its Committee on Petroleum Downstream on Tuesday, over the lingering scarcity of petroleum products in the country. The Chairman, Senate Committee on Petroleum Downstream, Sen. Jibrin Barau, said that the summons became necessary following the hardship on Nigerians. Barau complained that in spite of assurances from the ministry that the situation would be brought under control, it had lingered. Barau assured that the senate would take a position on the matter after hearing from the minister of state, who is also the Group Managing Director, NNPC.
  • Sellers and buyers of goods in Awka are lamenting a drastic increase in the cost of items. A basket of tomatoes which previously sold for N4,000 now costs between N15,000 and N16,000. A bag of garri has gone up to N10,000 from N6,000. Most of the sellers placed the blame on the current petrol scarcity.
  • Emboldened by the N3 trillion stashed away in the TSA purse, Nigeria has announced that it will immediately reflate the economy with N350 billion in payments to contractors. While some analysts say this will be helpful in ailing the economy, concerns will still continue about how to expand productivity in the economy, so as not to push up inflation. Lawmakers passed the budget after months of political wrangling, pushing through record federal spending even as low oil prices have brought the worst economic slowdown in 15 years. The Federal Government plans to spend a record breaking N1.8 trillion on capital projects, N1.5 trillion to service debts, and N2.65 trillion on recurrent expenditure excluding debt. The spending plan factored in oil at $38 per barrel and projected output of 2.2 million barrels a day. Now that the budget has been passed, financing the high spending will be a challenge according to analysts. The government is in talks with the World Bank and the African Development Bank over $3.5 billion in loans, but it is still not clear where the rest of the funds needed will come from.
  • The most recent data released by the CBN has shown a significant increase in internally generated revenue in most states. The CBN data for 2014 revealed that IGR provided 21.8 percent of the total revenue of the 36 states and Abuja, compared with 15.3 percent the previous year. Analysis of the data showed that aggregate IGR grew by 37 percent to N801 billion from N586 billion in 2013. Lagos generated the most, achieving an IGR/total revenue ratio of 67 percent while Ogun, Rivers and Anambra States recorded 40 percent, 32 percent and 31 percent respectively. The CBN data also revealed that VAT receipts stood at N389 billion, representing 10.6 percent of total revenue in 2014.