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Again, Rivers Ranks First In Fiscal Performance

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Again, Rivers State Government has retained its overall fiscal performance position for the third consecutive time.
It ranked first in 2020 and 2021 among the 36 states in Nigeria.
Kaduna and Cross River states made it to the top five, Yobe dropped to the bottom five, having fallen 13 places from 21st last year to the 34th position this year.
BudgIT, a civic-tech organisation leading the advocacy for fiscal transparency and accountability, rated Rivers ahead of others in the 2022 edition of its annual State of States report titled: “Sustainable Governance Reforms for a New Era”.
BudgIT’s Research and Policy Advisory Lead, IniobongUsen, said the report, which is BudgIT’s signature analysis, assessed and ranked the fiscal performance of all 36 states, from the most sustainable to the least sustainable.
Usen stated that for the 2022 edition, all 36 states were ranked using five metrics.
Index A examines states’ ability to meet Operating Expenses (Recurrent Expenditure) with only their Internally Generated Revenue; Index A1 looks at the percentage year-on-year growth of each state’s Internally Generated Revenue.
He said: “Index B reviews states’ ability to cover all operating expenses and loan repayment obligations with their Total Revenue (Internally Generated Revenue + Statutory Transfers + Aids and Grants) without resorting to borrowing.
“Index C estimates the debt sustainability of the states using four major indicators: Debt as a percentage of GDP; debt as a percentage of revenue; debt service as a percentage of revenue; and personnel cost as a percentage of revenue.
“Index D evaluates the degree to which each state is prioritising capital expenditure with respect to their operating expenses (recurrent expenditure).”
Commendably, BudgIT noted that cumulative spending on capital expenditure by the 36 states grew by 52.52percent from N1.77trillion in 2020 to N2.70trillion in 2021.
Eight states increased the capital expenditure year-on-year by more than 100per cent, however, just five states, Anambra, Ebonyi, Cross River, Kaduna, Rivers, prioritised capital expenditure over operation expenses, signalling the prioritisation of investments in infrastructure, job creation, and human capital development.
BudgIT narrated that the operating expenses of Yobe and Bayelsa (the least ranked states on Index A) was more than seven times the revenues generated by both states Internally, reinforcing the heavy reliance on federal transfers and budget support to fund their budgets.
On Index A1, save for three states which ranked the least, Anambra, Kogi and Kebbi; 33 states experienced an increase in their IGR from the previous year, with 13 states growing their IGR by more than 50per cent.
Jigawa, Delta, Ebonyi, AkwaIbom and Nasarawa ranked first to fifth respectively on Index C which assessed the debt sustainability of the 36 states.
Cross River, Ogun, Imo, Osun, Plateau were the bottom five states on Index C.
Lagos State, with a capital importation of $31.78billion between 2019 and 2021, received 99.19per cent of the cumulative capital importation for 36 states of the federation.
Interestingly, 11 states received no capital importation between 2019 and 2021.
On debt sustainability, Usen said the cumulative debt stock of the 36 states grew by 8.68per cent from N5.86trillion in 2020 to N6.37trillion in 2021.
A more disaggregated view of the subnational debt shows that 11 states reduced their total debt liability, with Delta State having the most impressive decline of N33.84trillion.
BudgIT noted that Kogi State, with a foreign debt year-on-year growth of N85.65trillion, ranked first among the 17 states that grew foreign debt in 2021.
The four states with the highest dollar-denominated debt ($250 million and above), Lagos, Kaduna, Cross River and Edo, are the most susceptible to exchange rate volatility.
“The cumulative expenditure of the 36 states increased rose by 27per cent (from N5.23trillion in 2020 to N6.64trillion) in 2021. Notwithstanding, while 31 states increased their total expenditure from the previous year, fivestates reduced their expenditure—with Zamfara having the highest decline of 15.59per cent”, the report said.
BudgIT said the cumulative personnel cost of the 36 states grew by 5.38per cent from N1.46trillion in 2020 to N1.54trillion in 2021.
It said nine states reduced their overhead cost from the previous year, signalling a reduction in the cost of governance.
Conversely, 11 states increased their overhead cost from the previous year by more than 40per cent, with AkwaIbom having the highest growth.
Usen added: “On fiscal transparency, the 36 states of the federation currently publish in a timely manner their proposed budgets, approved budgets, budget implementation reports, audited financial statements for both the states and the local governments.
“In the same vein, many states have enacted an Audit Law that grants operational and financial autonomy to the Offices of Auditors-General of the State and Local Governments, thereby empowering their supreme audit institutions to effectively hold governments accountable.

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We Get Petrol At N200 Per Litre From Depots, IPMAN Cries Out

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The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) has decried the ‘unsustainable’ price that the private depot owners sell the premium motor spirit, otherwise known as petrol in the country.
Speaking, yesterday, on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, the Deputy National President of IPMAN, Zarama Mustapha, revealed that the private depots get petrol at the approved price of N148/litre from the sole importer of the commodity, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited, however, sell it for as high as N195 to N210 to independent marketers, which is not sustainable.
“Though marketers get petrol at the approved price of N148/litre from NNPC depots, the company does not have enough storage facilities to cater to the needs of marketers, hence, the latter resorts to private depot owners. It is more of the issue of private depots collecting the products at the approved price and not selling to the independent marketers at a price approved by the mainstream, downstream regulatory authority.
“You cannot get a product at N195 to N200 and expect to sell it at N175,” he noted.
The IPMAN official said depot owners give excuses such as the cost of transporting the product from the mother vessel to their depots and escalation of the dollar as reasons for the price hike.
Mustapha lamented that most Lagos depots are in a chaotic situation and marketers spend three days to load refined petrol that they are not supposed to spend more than three hours to lift.
He urged the NNPC to engage depot owners to sell the product to marketers at the recommended price, saying the common man is at the receiving end.
For weeks, vehicle owners have had a tough time getting petrol from filling stations, especially in Lagos and Abuja.
Whilst many outlets are closed, the few open ones sell the indispensable commodity for as high as N250 per litre from the uniform price of N169/litre.
The supply shortage has led to long, gruelling snake-like queues at the few open filling stations as motorists and business owners jostle to buy fuel while others resort to the black market.
The situation has also worsened traffic on major roads as vehicle owners block at least one lane to join queues to filling stations.

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Make Nigerian Youths Innovative, Buhari Tells Corporate Leaders

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President Muhammadu Buhari has tasked leaders of corporate organisations to build the capacity of Nigerian youths to be innovative and embrace technology to make positive contributions to their organisations and the nation.
The president, represented by the Attorney General of the Federation, Mr Abubakar Malami, said this at the Institute of Directors (IoD) 2022 Annual Director’s Conference (ADC), yesterday, in Lagos.
The ADC had as its theme: “Corporate Governance and Digital Transformation: Leading Purposefully for Growth and Sustainability.”
Buhari, noting that the challenges associated with corporate governance were multifaceted, stressed the need for heads of organisations to harness technology to achieve effective governance.
He reiterated the commitment of his administration to providing the necessary legal support and framework to support the entrenchment of good corporate governance practices across various sectors of the economy.
Buhari also pledged his commitment to supporting the IoD by giving the institute’s chartered bill the necessary consideration to enable it to achieve its mandate.
Deputy Secretary General, United Nations, Ms Amina Mohammed, said the world was hit by a series of global crises which have affected the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
Mohammed said technology and digitalisation would set the era of digital transformation in areas of health, education, agriculture and finance.

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Nigeria Does Not Belong To North, Arewa Youths Tell Northern Elders

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The Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (AYCF) has said that Nigeria does not belong to the North ahead of the 2023 general election.
Apparently reacting to the recent interview granted by a member of the Northern Elders Forum, Alh Sani Zango Daura, in which he called on the North to support a Northern candidate.
The AYCF, in a statement issued by its National President, Yerima Shettima, noted that supporting a southerner was clearly a demonstration of justice.
He noted that this was because Nigeria does not belong to the North alone, or Muslims and Christians of the North, insisting that “even on moral grounds, the most responsible political action by the North was the decision on powershift in 2023, because the Presidency cannot be hereditary and Nigeria is not a Banana Republic”.
Shettima further said, however, that the elder was expressing his personal opinion and not the stand of the North in general, saying that a “ little balancing was needed in position of our father Zangon Daura, more so when he admitted that the elders are mere escorts for the younger generation today”.
The AYCF noted that when 13 Northern governors led by Kaduna State Governor, Mal Nasirel-Rufai endorsed a Southern candidate for the 2023 presidency, they repeatedly cited political justice.
“Though we are not card-carrying members of the APC, we shared the view that the decision was in line with being fair to the South in 2023.
“We are aware, as well as our father ZangonDaura, that the North is respected for honouring its promises to the South and this one absolutely undeniable character of all Northerners.
“We are not known to break promises and that explains why our son, President MuhammaduBuhari never objected to the idea of a Southern presidential candidate in the ruling party. In the North, like our father ZangonDaura knows, promises are sacred and in fact a culture”.
It would be recalled that in a viral audio of AlhajiZangonDaura while addressing a group of youths, suggested that they should throw their weight behind a fellow Northerner for the presidency in 2023, citing historic and religious instances, something the AYCF said it believed was “overtaken by events, current realities, and the spirit of justice and fairness in the Nigerian project”.

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