24 Nov

Daily Watch – #Budget2017 “unrealistic,” Airports’ concession paused over financing

  • The draft budget framework for 2017 submitted to parliament by President Muhammadu Buhari is based on unrealistic assumptions about oil production and the currency exchange rate, lawmakers said on Wednesday. The budget plans, which include spending a record ₦6.866 trillion ($22.57 billion) to pull Africa’s biggest economy out of recession, assume oil production of 2.2 million barrels a day and an exchange rate of ₦290 to the U.S. dollar. The framework must be approved by the Senate before the final budget for next year is submitted. “There’s no doubt that the assumptions are not realistic. Even in times of peace, we cannot achieve 2.2 million barrels per day,” said Senate President Bukola Saraki. “Our responsibility is to work on it and do the right thing,” he said, adding that the spending plans would be referred to Senate committees on finance, appropriation and national planning to be reworked. It could be months before a final budget is passed into law. The 2016 budget became law in May after being delayed by several weeks due to wrangling between the government and the Senate. Attacks on energy facilities in the Niger Delta cut crude production, which was 2.1 million barrels per day (bpd) at the start of 2016, by more than a third earlier this year.
  • The House of Representatives on Wednesday asked the aviation minister, Senator Hadi Sirika, to stop the planned concession of some Nigerian airports, saying the minister must provide details of how the proposed concession would remedy the challenges facing the sector and benefit consumers. The reps want Sirika to provide details on the current status of the ongoing remodelling of international airports, the reasons behind the scope and design of the remodelling and provide detailed drawings and specifications of the current design to enable the ascertainment of the actual cost of the ongoing remodelling exercise, compared to loans issued out for the project.
  • The three tiers of government yesterday shared ₦420 billion, for the month of October 2016, with ₦203.952 billion of the amount was shared as statutory allocation among the three tiers. Finance minister, Kemi Adeosun said the country suffered a revenue loss of about $51 million in federation export sales as result of the activities of militants in the Niger Delta. After making deductions and paying revenue generating agencies, the federal government got ₦96.6 billion; state governments got ₦49 billion, local governments ₦37.8 billion while ₦13.5 billion was shared as 13 percent derivation to oil producing states. From Value Added Tax, a total of ₦69.6 billion was shared amongst the three tiers as well as ₦37.3 billion from exchange gains and ₦109 billion from excess Petroleum Profit Tax. Adeosun said the FG will soon roll out tax incentives to boost a nascent manufacturing sector as part of measures to get Nigeria out of recession next year.
  • The sale of new vehicles in Nigeria has recorded a 60 percent decline this year, according to the Managing Director, Toyota Nigeria, Kunle Ade-Ojo. He said the figure dropped to 6,000 units this year from 15,000 units sold by all dealers of new vehicles in different parts of the country in 2015. This comes after the Director-General, National Automotive Design and Development Council, Aminu Jalal said the demand for new and used vehicles had dropped from 400,000 annually to 250,000 units, attributing the situation to the harsh operating environment affecting every sector of the economy. Ade-Ojo also said factors such as shortage of foreign exchange and buyers’ low purchasing power due to the economic recession were responsible for the decline in the vehicle sales this year, adding that the imposition of a 70 percent tariff on imported vehicles as stipulated by the auto policy led to the increase in the prices of new vehicles.
  • Union Bank plans to seek shareholder approval next month to raise ₦50 billion ($158.7 million) through a share sale to existing investors, the bank said on Tuesday. In a notice to shareholders, the lender also said it will seek approval to increase its authorised share capital to ₦17.5 billion from ₦9.5 billion on December 7.
  • The FIRS Executive Chairman, Babatunde Fowler, says withholding tax certificates will now be emailed directly to taxpayers within one week of payment, beginning from December 1, 2016. He made the announcement at the KPMG Tax Breakfast Meeting in Lagos. While addressing tax issues, the FIRS boss enjoined all taxpayers to take advantage of the special tax waiver window created by the agency. According to him, the waiver relates only to accumulated penalty and interest, and not principal tax due. He added that the agency would use all legal means at its disposal to recover outstanding taxes including criminal prosecution of the board and management of defaulting organisations. In his words, “Based on this waiver, part payment (or full payment as the case may be) of undisputed tax liabilities should be paid, while the balance can be paid in instalments. Meanwhile, a reasonable amount of not less than 25 percent should be paid.” And as part of measures to make the filing of tax returns easier and more convenient for payers, Fowler explained that taxpayers would be required to apply in writing to the tax controller of their current tax office, indicating their tax office of choice and requesting the transfer of their file and Taxpayer Identification Number.