01 Aug

Daily Watch – Public holidays cost Nigeria ₦9.7bn, Automated budgeting arrives next year

  • Prominent community leaders in the restive Niger Delta region threatened on Monday to pull out of peace talks with the government unless their demands were met by 1 November. They told a news conference in Abuja the FG had failed to implement promises to drag the region out of poverty, a key demand by militants who had stopped attacks on oil pipelines to give peace talks a chance. “Human endurance has a limit beyond which one cannot predict what the outcome will be,” said chief Edwin Clark who spoke for the Pan Niger Delta Forum which has been holding peace talks with the government since last year. The Niger Delta leaders had presented President Muhammadu Buhari a list of 16 demands at a meeting on Nov. 1, 2016, after which the main militant groups halted attacks in the southern swamplands to give the talks a chance. “If at the expiration of the November 1, 2017 ultimatum, the Federal Government fails and or refuses to accede to these lawful and legitimate demands of the Niger Delta people, PANDEF may consider pulling out of the ongoing peace process in the Niger Delta,” Clark said.
  • The FG will be using the Government Integrated Financial Management Information System for the preparation of the 2018 budget, five years after it was first acquired. The DG at the federal budget office, Ben Akabueze told a workshop for budget officers in government at MDAs on Monday that the GIFMIS is an information technology-based system for budget management and accounting that is being implemented to improve public expenditure management processes, enhance greater accountability and transparency across the MDAs. Akabueze said over 4,250 government officials involved in budget preparation from about 800 MDAs across the country would be trained in how to use the automated GIFMIS platform for the 2018 budget preparation.
  • The Guardian reports that Nigeria lost at least ₦9.74 billion last year as a result of multiple public holidays observed during the year. The paper said that in 2016 alone, about 15 national public holidays were observed, excluding others declared in some states. NBS data for Q4 2016 showed that 81,151,885 workers spent 37.38 million hours during the period to contribute ₦29.29 trillion to the economy at an average production rate of ₦783.51. Using the same estimates, with the expectation that workers spend an average of eight hours of productivity daily, 15 days of public holidays at ₦783.51 productivity value adds up to ₦9.74 billion, a full 10 percent of the budgetary allocation in 19 states in 2016 when assessed on a state-by-state basis, was lost to the idle periods.
  • Nigerian conglomerate UAC expects stronger results in the second half of the year and plans to raise ₦15.4 billion ($42.3 million) from shareholders after half-year profit fell, outgoing Chief Executive Larry Ettah said on Monday. UAC, with interests in real estate, paints, foods and livestock feed, last week posted a 59 percent fall in pretax profit to ₦1.63 billion for the half-year to June. Ettah, who retires at the end of the year, said UAC had shareholder backing for the share sale, which it could launch around September or October, once it gets SEC approval. Shares in UAC which have lost 1.4 percent this year, gained 0.12 percent to ₦16.70 on Monday. They shed 18.9 percent last year. High interest rates have hurt margins at UPDC, its real estate business, whose profit declined 68 percent in the first half while economic challenges impacted on sales, Ettah said.