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Fuel subsidy to gulp N450bn in 2020

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Zainab Ahmed, minister of finance, budget and national planning, says under-recovery, also known as subsidy, on petrol will be N450 billion in 2020.

She said this at the public presentation of the 2020 budget proposals in Abuja on Monday.

Ahmed said it was called “under-recovery” because it was the cost of operation of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

“We have a provision for under-recovery of PMS in the sum of N450 billion. If you look at the budget office website, it is in the fiscal framework, which is an annexure to the budget,” she said.

President Muhammadu Buhari had on Tuesday, presented a budget proposal of N10.33 trillion to a joint session of the national assembly.

He put the federal government’s estimated revenue in 2020 at N8.155 trillion, comprising oil revenue of N2.64 trillion, non-oil tax revenues of N1.81 trillion and other revenue of N3.7 trillion.

Other estimates are N556.7 billion for statutory transfers, N2.45 trillion for debt servicing and provision of N296 billion as sinking fund.

The 2020 budget is based on an oil production estimate of 2.18 million barrels per day, oil price benchmark of 57 dollars per barrel and an exchange rate of N305 to a dollar.

Ahmed said that recurrent (non-debt) spending was expected to rise by 11.28 per cent, from N4.39 trillion in 2019 to N4.88 trillion in 2020.

This, she said, would reflect in salaries and pensions, including provisions for implementation of the new minimum wage.

Ahmed said the overall budget deficit of N2.17 trillion represents 1.52 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP) and N1.64 trillion of it would be funded by both domestic and external borrowing.

According to her, the external sources will provide N850 billion, while domestic sources will provide N744.99 billion.

Citing the top 12 ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) capital allocations, she said the ministry of works and housing was allocated N259.2 billion, power N127.67 billion, transportation N123.07 billion, education (including Universal Basic Education Commission) N162.74 billion.

Others are defence N99.87 billion, health N90.98 billion, agriculture and rural development, N79.79 billion and water resources, N78.34 billion.

Humanitarian affairs, disaster management and social development, N45.45 billion, aviation, N53.85 billion, industry, trade and investment, N41.34 billion and science and technology, N37.55 billion.

She, however, said that there were key expenditures captured in the medium term expenditure framework (MTEF), but were not in the 2020 budget.

“They are N61 billion for the Presidential Power Initiative, N1.22 trillion for federally funded projects in the oil and gas sector to be undertaken by NNPC on behalf of the federation,” she said.

“Others are: N272 billion as transfers to Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND) for infrastructure projects in tertiary institutions and N82.35 billion as transfer to Nigeria Sovereign Wealth Investment (NSIA) for Public Private Partnership/Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF).”

For revenue, Ahmed said there were strategic revenue growth initiatives (SRGI) aimed at boosting revenue generation to meet targeted revenue to GDP ratio of 15 percent.

She added that the SRGI would be implemented with increased vigour to improve revenue collection and expenditure management.

She said Nigeria must mobilise significant resources to invest in human capital development and critical infrastructure.

“Some reforms will be tough but they must be done to look at the facts and be frank to ourselves,” she said.

“However, we will engage the public sector in whatever we do, including any changes in taxes, with regards to rates or administration methods.”

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Awosika Replaces Belo-Olusoga as Access Bank Chairman

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Mrs Ajoritsedere Awosika has been announced as the new Chairman of Access Bank Plc. She will replace the present occupier of the position, Mrs Mosun Belo-Olusoga, who is expected to retire in January 2020.

A statement issued by the lender explained that Mrs Belo-Olusoga will retire from the post on January 8, 2020 on completion of her maximum 12-year term limit allowed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s Code of Corporate Governance for Banks and Discount Houses.

In the statement, Access Bank said Mrs Belo-Olusoga, who became the Chairman of the board in July 2015, confirmed that she has no disagreement with the board and there are no issues relating to her retirement that need to be brought to the attention of the shareholders of the company or the regulatory authorities.

‘The board of directors of Access Bank Plc is pleased to announce that its Chairman, Mrs Mosun Belo-Olusoga, will be retiring in January 2020.

“This follows her completion of the maximum 12-year term limit allowed by the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Code of Corporate Governance for Banks and Discount Houses. Mrs Belo-Olusoga became the Chairman of the Board in July 2015.

“Mrs Belo-Olusoga has confirmed that she has no disagreement with the Board and there are no issues relating to her retirement that need to be brought to the attention of the shareholders of the Company or the regulatory authorities,” a part of the notice read.

It also thanked Mrs Belo-Olusoga for her contributions to the bank’s transformational growth, wishing her successor, Mrs Awosika, success in her new appointment.

The lender said the appointment of Mrs Awosika as its new Chairman was in line with its robust leadership succession plan so as to lead the company to its the next phase of transformation into becoming Africa’s Gateway to the World.

Mrs Awosika joined the board in April 2013 as an Independent Non-Executive Director and has been the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Board Credit and Finance Committee and the Board Audit Committee respectively in addition to membership of other Board Committees.

She is an accomplished administrator with over three decades experience in public sector governance. She was at various times, the Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministries of Internal Affairs, Science & Technology and Power.

Mrs Awosika is a fellow of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) and the West African Postgraduate College of Pharmacy. She holds a Doctorate degree in Pharmaceutical Technology from the University of Bradford, United Kingdom.

She is the Chairman of Chams Plc and Josephine Consulting Limited and a Non-Executive Director of Capital Express Assurance Ltd.

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Seplat Picks CFO Brown to Replace Avuru as CEO

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The Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc, Mr Roger Brown, will from August 1, 2020, be the new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the energy firm.

A statement from the company said Mr Brown will take charge of day-to-day activities of Seplat upon the retirement of the present CEO, Mr Austin Avuru, who steps down on July 31, 2020,

For a decade, Mr Avuru piloted affairs of the company, making it a strong organisation, with the deployment of agile systems, processes and stakeholder relationships that allowed the firm to grow rapidly from  a gross production of 22,700 boepd as at December 2010 to peaks of 111,368 boepd gross production as at December 2018 through major drilling campaigns and major new Oil and Gas plants development.

The acquisition of 40 percent of OML 53, post company’s IPO of 2014, created an opportunity in partnership with NNPC, to spawn a mid-stream subsidiary, ANOH Gas Processing Company Ltd currently progressing what will ultimately be a 300MMscf/d of Gas, 22,500bdp of condensate and 1,200boepd of LPG processing company.

Seplat said it could not have achieved all these without Mr Avuru’s leadership skills, personal dedication and hard work, at the head of the company.

“The board of Seplat is grateful to Mr Avuru for these accomplishments and is looking forward to his continued service at the board level,” the statement said.

The energy company said looking forward, it plans to position itself for a next phase growth ambition which would see the expansion of its footprint in terms of energy business activities, a plan to pursue offshore assets as well as opportunity driven entry into different geographies.

The company said it believes that such a corporate transition would require a different kind of organisational structure, people skills set and mentality to compete well in the expanded space, noting that in view of this, it would be reviewing its current organisational and systems structure.

It said to lead the aspiration, it had to settle for Mr Brown to succeed Mr Avuru as CEO so as to lead the restructuring during the transition period between now and final exit date of the present leader.

Mr Brown joined Seplat in 2013 as the CFO and played a key role in the successful dual listing of the company in 2014. Since he joined the firm, he has played significant roles in various asset acquisitions by the company.

Prior to joining Seplat, Mr Brown was an advisor to the company since 2010 while he was the Managing Director and head of EMEA Oil and Gas at Standard Bank Group.

During his time at the bank, he was instrumental in providing advice and deploying capital across the African continent in the oil/gas, power/infrastructure and the renewable energy sectors.

“Mr Brown brings to the CEO role, a deep knowledge of the company in his 6 years as the CFO and a member of the board. He has strong financial, commercial and M&A experience as well as proven people skills which will be an asset as the company embarks on the next phase of its growth plan,” the statement stated.

“While we thank Mr Avuru for a meritorious service, we welcome Mr Brown and wish him every success in his upcoming new role,” the company concluded.

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El-Rufai backs border closure, says ‘some countries closed their borders for centuries, decades’

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Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State has backed Federal Government’s closure of land borders.

According to him, it is unfair for smaller countries to be sabotaging a big country like Nigeria.

El-Rufai who was a special guest at the graduation of Senior Course Three of the Nigeria Customs Command and Staff College, Gwagwalada, Abuja on Friday said the step taken was commendable.

He explained that Nigeria like any other country like to trade with other countries but added that there must be fairness.

The governor noted that closure of the borders should be sustained until there were established deals that covered every country.

“The partial closure of borders is highly commendable. Nigeria is the largest country in West Africa and the continent and it is clear that our neighbours are using our openness and brotherhood to trade, to exploit us.

“I fully support and subscribe to the closure of borders and we should sustain it for as long as possible.

“We need to do this for our country to have a fair deal and for our manufacturers to be protected.

“All those talking about free trade or preaching about it today closed their borders for centuries and decades ago.

“Nigeria must grow its own internal capacity, we will not do so if we allow our neighbours to use the porosity of our borders to sabotage our economy,’’ he explained.

El-Rufai, however, commended the physical development at the Customs Command College in Gwagwalada.

He lauded the effort of the current Customs boss for his reform agenda.

“I am impressed with what I have seen on ground in terms of physical development as well as the content”.

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