Federal Govt to borrow N5.6tr to finance budget

The Federal Government is to borrow N5.6 trillion from domestic and foreign sources to support the implementation of the N13.59 trillion budget.

The N5.6 trillion is the total deficit of this year’s N13.59 trillion budget.

Giving a breakdown of the borrowing plan in Abuja on Tuesday, Finance Minister Zainab Ahmed, also said the government is targeting about N850 billion from unclaimed dividends and dormant bank deposits.

She added that privatisation of some public assets valued at N205.15 billion might take place this year.

According to her, the government will raise N2.34 trillion each from domestic and foreign sources.

Multi-lateral and bi-lateral loan drawdowns will provide N709.69 billion.

On   unclaimed dividends and the  dormant deposits, Ahmed   said: “We have to get the exact report from CBN (Central Bank of Nigeria) and the registrars(of security firms) to ascertain that so it could be realised into this special a trust fund for unclaimed dividends and dormant account.”

The minister explained that government was also working with the CBN to regularise some previous borrowings.

Her words: “We are working with the CBN to regularise the previous borrowing that have been made to turn them into formal borrowing by the Nigerian economy and to this extent, the CBN and I need to agree on the rates and the tenures and the cost of the borrowing, so we would be formally doing that in the early 2021 on the previous borrowing that has been made, and also projected borrowings in 2021. So we will design special instrument that limits what is done in terms of domestic borrowing from the CBN.”

Read Also; Senate seeks reduction in borrowing

The minister disclosed that  government was assessing existing tax waivers to some organisations/ companies.

“What it’s costing us, we are now in the process of reviewing what can be scaled back because the size of the cost of the tax waiver is quite significant in terms of revenue for the country,” she said.

On the budget proper, the finance minister stated that in 2020, government over-spent what   the National Assembly appropriated by 101 percent.

According to her, on the expenditure side, “N9.97 trillion was appropriated (excluding GO Project tied loans), while N10.08 trillion (representing 101%) was spent.”

She attributed the excess spending to  unforeseen circumstances brought about by COVID-19.

Ahmed stated that “of the expenditure, N3.27 trillion was for debt servicing and N3.19 trillion for personnel cost, including pensions amounting to N6.46 trillion.

However, she did not elaborate on how government spent the balance of N3.62 trillion.

To retire maturing bonds to local contractors, she said   N200 billion had been provided for in the  2021 budget, representing 1.68 per cent of the total budget, adding that, “overall, N5.60 trillion has been provided for borrowing  to finance the budget deficit.”

By the end of 2020,  Ahmed disclosed that “N1.80 trillion had been released for capital expenditure (that is  about 89% of the provision for capital). Out of this, up to N118.37 billion was released for COVID-19 capital expenditure.”

For 2021, the aggregate revenue available to fund the year’s budget is projected at N7.99 trillion (36.9% higher than the 2020 projection of N5.84 trillion).

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