Improving healthcare is one of the priorities of the Government of President Muhammadu Buhari, and that is why in spite of the very tight revenue constraints and the demands of other competing sectors, the Health sector has continued to receive increased allocations.
The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, who stated this in Abuja on Tuesday while declaring open the Value for Money in Health Sector Workshop, said this can be seen in the prioritization of Health related expenditures in all the national budgets.
He explained that even with a reduction by 3.2% of the aggregate Federal Government expenditure, from N9.120trillion in the 2018 Budget to N8.83 trillion in the 2019 budget proposal, an increase of 8% was proposed in the 2019 Budget over the amounts allocated for health in the 2018 Budget. He however added that there is a need to ensure that these increased expenditures are actually improving healthcare outcomes.
“It is a workshop that will focus on how we can improve value for money. As we are able to demonstrate and show improved healthcare outcomes for the money we are currently spending, governments at all levels will be encouraged to further increase funding to the health sector.
While indicating that government will continue to be supportive of increased funding to the health sector, and would like the workshop to examine and advise on innovative ways of doing so, he stated that “it is even more critical that we institute key reforms to maximize the values derivable from the allocations to the healthcare sector through improved efficiency in the use of budgeted funds”.
He stressed that the workshop is to enable the participants to deliberate on how to achieve better outcomes for expenditure in the health sector. “This is an important issue as most developing and middle-income countries, particularly those like Nigeria with large and rapidly growing populations, need to find more effective and efficient ways of delivering quality health services to their citizens”, he added.
The Buhari Administration places a very high premium on improving health care delivery and social welfare of the people. “This is why in the Administration’s economic blueprint, the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (the ‘ERGP’) one of the three principal objectives of the Plan is “Investing in our People”.
In particular, in the ERGP the Federal Government commits the country to investing in health and education in order to meet the international targets set under the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Under the ERGP the country is committed to improving ‘the accessibility, affordability and quality of healthcare’.
The Minister drew attention to the fact that apart from the Federal Government, the various State Governments as well as Local Government Councils have also been prioritising health expenditures in their budgets since responsibility for the health sector is constitutionally shared amongst all the tiers government.
Spending by the sub-national governments, he stated, must therefore be taken into account in any assessment of the amount of public funds that is being expended in the health sector. “Indeed, no meaningful discussion about improving healthcare in Nigeria can take place without involving the sub-national governments.”
That is why the organizers of this workshop, the Collaborative African Budget Reform Initiative (CABRI), also invited State representatives to participate in the event, he pointed out. He hoped that the outcomes of the workshop will help shape public sector expenditure management practices at both the Federal and the Sub-national levels, with respect to the health sector.
Special Adviser (Media and Communication) to the Hon. Minister
Budget and National Planning Minister, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma on Thursday told the Senate Committee on Finance that some slight adjustments had been effected on the 2019 Medium Term Fiscal Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper (MTEF/FSP) between when it was approved by the Federal Executive Council and the finalization of the 2019 Budget Proposals.
The Minister who was briefing the Committee on the 2019 Revenue and Expenditure Projections said the adjustment only affected the expenditure levels as it was done to reflect some unanticipated expenditure items and the consequences of those adjustments.
The key assumptions and macro-framework of the 2019 Budget targets 2.3mbpd of oil production at an oil benchmark price of $60 per barrel; exchange rate of N305 per Dollar, Inflation rate at 9.98%, Nominal consumption of N119.28 trillion, Nominal GDP at N139.65 trillion and GDP growth rate of 3.01%
Before giving an overview of the 2019 Expenditure Framework, the Minister briefed the Committee on the 2018 expenditure outturns. He stated that of the total appropriation of N9.12 trillion, N7.24 trillion had been spent as at December 31, 2018; representing 79% performance. He indicated that Debt Service and the implementation of Non-debt Recurrent Expenditure, including payment of workers’ salaries and pensions, were on track.
He explained that Capital releases only commenced after the signing of the 2018 Budget on June 20, 2018; and as at January 11, 2019, a total of N1.226 trillion had been released for capital projects.
Spending on Capital, he explained further, was prioritised in favour of critical ongoing infrastructural projects in the power, roads, rail and agriculture sectors. “Implementation of the 2018 Capital Budget will continue into 2019 until the 2019 Budget is passed into law,” he pointed out.
The Minister said Government will continue its fiscal strategy of directing resources to most productive and growth-enhancing sectors while efforts will be intensified to increase revenue. “Government will also leverage private capital to supplement capital allocations from the Budget.
Highlights of Government’s fiscal strategy, he enumerated to include enhancing economic growth and ensuring inclusiveness; promoting economic diversification; maintaining macroeconomic stability; increasing revenue generation; rebalancing the distribution of Government spending; improving quality of spending; and, ensuring sustainable deficit levels.
To achieve these objectives, the Minister said fiscal, monetary and trade policies will continue to be aligned and implemented in a very coordinated manner. “The strategy recognizes the need to deliberately cushion the effects of adjustments on the poor and vulnerable members in the society.”
An overview of the 2019 expenditure framework shows that:
· 2019 FGN spending (exclusive of GOEs/BT Loans) is projected to be N8.83 trillion, less than FY2018 approved budget by 3.22%.
· Recurrent (non-debt) spending is expected to rise by 34.17%, from N3.52 trillion in FY2018 to N4.72 trillion (reflecting increases in salaries & pensions including provisions for implementation of a new minimum wage).
· At N2.14 trillion, debt service is 24.24% of planned total expenditure.
· Provision to retire maturing bonds to local contractors decreased by 36.84% from N190 billion in FY2018 to N120 billion.
· N2.28 trillion has been allocated for capital spending, inclusive of capital in statutory transfers.
· For comprehensiveness and transparency, the expenditure plans of the top nine Government-owned Enterprises (GOEs), as well as Multi-lateral and Bi-lateral project-tied loans have been integrated into the 2019 - 2021 Medium Term Fiscal Framework, but have not been included in the budget proposal.
· With the inclusion of N275.88 billion representing capital for the top-nine GOEs and N556.02 billion for Multi-lateral/Bi-lateral project-tied loans, the aggregate capital budget is N3.12 trillion. This represents 30 percent of the total FGN proposed expenditure for 2019.
The Minister said in order to get full value for monies expended by the Government over time and to avoid duplication and waste, emphasis will continue to be on completion of existing projects. Accordingly, provisions have been made to carry over projects that are not likely to be fully funded under the 2018 budget to the 2019 capital budget.
Explaining the basis for the 2019 assumptions, the Minister said notwithstanding the softening in international oil prices in late 2018, the considered view of most reputable oil industry analysts is that the downward trend is not necessarily reflective of the outlook for 2019. Currently, the average Brent oil price projection for 2019 by 32 different institutions with relevant expertise is still about $69/b.
However, he assured that government will closely monitor the situation and will respond to any sustained changes in the international oil price outlook for 2019. He disclosed that President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the NNPC to take all possible measures to achieve the targeted oil production of 2.3 million barrels per day.
He told the Committee that the 2019 Budget proposal seeks to continue the reflationary & consolidation policies of the 2017 and 2018 Budgets respectively, which helped put the economy back on the path of growth; pointing out that the 2019-2021 MTFF, Medium Term Sector Strategies and proposed 2019 Budget reflect many of the reforms and initiatives in the ERGP, which is the roadmap to economic recovery and a more sustainable growth.
To address the revenue challenges that government is currently facing, the Minister said the Government will intensify its efforts to improve public financial management through the comprehensive implementation of the Treasury Single Account (TSA), Government Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS) and Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System
Other key initiatives include the immediate commencement of the restructuring of the Joint Venture Oil Assets so as to reduce government shareholding to 40 percent; an exercise the President has insisted must be completed within the 2019 fiscal year.
He said the Department of Petroleum Resource has also been directed to, within three months, complete the collection of past-due oil license and royalty charges, including those due from Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) (a subsidiary of NNPC), which it had agreed to pay since 2017; while the Ministry of Finance, working with all the relevant authorities, has been authorized to take action to liquidate all recovered, unencumbered assets within six months.
The Minister said among other revenue generating initiatives, the President has directed that work should immediately be concluded on the deployment of the National Trade Window and other technologies to enhance Customs collections efficiency from the current 64 percent to up to 90 percent over the next few years.
Special Adviser (Media and Communication) to the Hon. Minister
Nigeria’s economy has turned the corner and is now firmly on the path of growth, Budget and National Planning Minister, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma said in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, on Wednesday.
Pointing to the recently released 4th quarter numbers by the National Bureau of Statistics, the Minister told a gathering of media practitioners at the Nigeria Union of Journalists Press Centre, that the report shows the strongest performance since the economy emerged from recession.
“It shows that 39 out of 46 economic activities are now growing. Agriculture is growing; Manufacturing is growing, and Services has recorded its best performance in 11 Quarters. Particularly notable is the fact that the growth is driven by the non-oil sector which has recorded its strongest growth since the fourth quarter of 2015. In short, we have turned the corner and are now firmly on the path of growth, he said”
Senator Udoma said the current real GDP growth performance is most encouraging and shows a movement in a very positive direction, especially with regard to the non-oil sector performance; and assured that with the Buhari Administration’s continuing commitment to the implementation of the ERGP, the economy is expected to further strengthen in 2019, and over the medium term.
He explained that at inception the administration faced real crisis in the economy which included a sharp drop in oil revenues with consequent fiscal challenges as the Federal Government had to struggle to meet its commitments while many States were unable to pay salaries on a regular basis. Investors and businessmen complained about the difficulties they encountered in doing business in Nigeria; Foreign reserves had dropped from $37.33 billion in June 2014 to $23.81 billion in September 2016 and inflation had risen from 9.2% in June 2015 and peaked at 18.5% in December 2016 coupled with exchange rate instability as the Naira lost value in the parallel market, ultimately falling to as low as N520/US$.
These, he further explained, led to the economy dipping into recession by the second quarter of 2016 registering GDP contraction of -1.49% from where it dipped further to -2.34% by the third quarter. Government had to take immediate steps to stop the economic drift and reverse the collapse, he added.
He enumerated the steps to include the introduction of an expansionary budget in 2016 christened the Budget of Change, because once an economy begins to decline and goes into recession, the private sector is usually reluctant to invest. Government must intervene to boost the economy and restore confidence and putting in place a comprehensive Medium Term Plan – the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), 2017-2020 with the broad of objectives of restoring growth, investing in the people and building a globally competitive economy.
The Minister also explained measures introduced under the ERGP include:
· Establishment of Investors’ and Exporters’ FX window by the Central Bank of Nigeria to deepen the market, boost liquidity and accommodate all FX requirements;
· Setting up the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC), which initiated and completed a 60-Day National Action Plan across many reform areas to improve the country’s Ease of Doing Business Ranking. This was complemented by Issuance of Executive Order EO1;
· Establishment of Nigeria Industrial Policy and Competitiveness Advisory Council as a vehicle for partnering with the private sector on the industrialization agenda;
· Partnering with the private sector on infrastructure development through various models such as Road Trust Fund Scheme, Concessions arrangements; Public, Private Partnerships (PPPs), etc.;
· Introduction of Social Investment Programme to take care of the poor and the venerable, build skills, and support small business enterprises with N500 billion allocation in annual budgets every year;
· Support for agriculture with over N120.6 billion disbursed to more than 800,000 farmers under the Anchor Borrower’s scheme, including the revitalization of 11 fertilizer blending plants, setting up of special Presidential Committee on key commodities such as Rice and Tomato;
· Improving domestic revenue mobilization by positive engagement with communities in the Niger Delta so as to reduce disruptions to oil production. Other initiatives directed at increasing revenue mobilisation include the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS), Executive Order on remittances of GOEs Operating Surplus, etc.;
· Initiatives to enhance public efficiency include the establishment of an Efficiency Unit within the Ministry of Finance to cut costs and block leakages. Other initiatives include the implementation of the Treasury Single Account, Whistle Blowing Policy, Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit, and implementation of Integrated Payroll Personnel System (IPPIS) across MDAs to enhance efficiency and eliminate unjustified payroll entries;
· Adoption of 22-point Fiscal Sustainability Plan with the States to encourage discipline in the management of State finances;
· Increased budgetary allocations to capital expenditure – from 16.1% in 2015 to 30.2% in 2016, 31.7% in 2017 and 31.5% in 2018 – with priority given to the key execution priorities of the ERGP, as well as human capital and security, which are amongst the key objectives of the ERGP; and,
· Improved capital expenditure releases, in spite of revenue constraints – N1.2 trillion from 2016 Budget, N1.58 trillion in 2017 Budget and N1.23 trillion from the 2018 Budget as at 10th January, 2019.
He was delighted that the implementation of the ERGP is yielding positive results. “We have improved oil production to take advantage of the slight recovery in oil prices. The economy is now on a positive growth path after exiting recession in Q2 2017, and other macroeconomic indicators have also witnessed significant improvements.”
The improvements he listed include:
· Real GDP growth has improved from -2.34% in Q3 2016 to 1.17% in Q3 2017 and to 1.81% in Q3 2018. The recent report by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on GDP shows that Real GDP grew further by 2.38% in Q4 2018 - stronger than 2.35% growth inherited by the administration in Q2 2015. For the full year 2018, real GDP stood at 1.93% higher than 0.82% in 2017.
· The performance of Real GDP has continued to be driven by the non-oil sector which grew by 2.70% in Q4 2018 up from 2.32% in Q3 2018, 2.05% in Q2 2018 and 0.76 in Q1 2018. This also compares favourably with -0.33% in Q4 2016 and 1.45% in the corresponding quarter in 2017. The growth of the non-oil sector in Q4 2018 represents the strongest growth in the sector since Q4 2015.
· Key sectors like Manufacturing, Agriculture, Quarrying and other minerals and Services are witnessing steady growth. While the Manufacturing sector grew by 2.35% in Q4 2018 compared to 1.92% in Q3 2018, Agricultural sector rose from 1.91% in Q3 2018 to 2.46% in Q4 2018. Services recorded its best performance in 11 quarters, growing by 2.90% in Q4 2018 compared to 2.64% in the previous quarter. In addition, Quarrying and other minerals grew by 20.95% in Q4 2018 as against 17.03% in Q3 2018.
· Inflation Rate has been trending downwards from 18.55% as at December 2016 to 15.37% in December 2017 and further to 11.44% in December 2018. This is below the ERGP target of 12.42% for 2018.
· Stability has been restored in the Exchange Rate Market bringing near convergence between the interbank rate (NIFEX) and the autonomous rate (NAFEX) over the past 12 months.
· There is sustained accretion to External Reserves from $23.81 billion in September, 2016 to $43.042 billion as at 4th February, 2019.
· Capital inflows have improved by 56.7% from $1.82 billion in Q3 2016 to $2.86 billion in Q3 2018.
· The economy has witnessed sustained positive trade balance since Q4 2016, as the value of Nigeria’s export continue to exceed imports. As at Q3 2018, Nigeria’s trade balance stood at N681.27 million as against a deficit of N135.96 million in the corresponding quarter of 2016.
· Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) in the month of January 2019 stood at 58.5 index points indicating expansion in the manufacturing sector for the 22nd consecutive month.
· Nigeria’s rank in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index improved from 170th in 2015 to 146th in 2018. This shows a movement by 24 places reflecting the impact of the reforms in the business environment.
Also, the Minister said Government is making significant progress on the implementation of the various components of the National Social Intervention Programme (N-SIP), stating that as at December 2018 the following had been achieved:
· 1,646,395 loans have been successfully disbursed under the Government Enterprise & Empowerment Programme (GEEP), with 1,302,793 of the loans given under the TraderMoni scheme;
· Over 9.3 million school children are currently being fed each day in 49,837 schools across 24 states under the Home-Grown School Feeding Programme. This programme has also provided direct jobs to 96,972 catering staff engaged under the scheme;
· 297,973 poor Nigerians in 217 Local Government Areas (LGAs) across 20 States, have benefited from the N5,000 Conditional Cash Transfer Scheme and 2,530 community facilitators have been trained;
· 500,000 graduates are benefiting from the N-Power programme while 20,000 non-graduates in the N-Build category are either currently in training or serving as interns
He also pointed out that one of the key initiatives to facilitate the implementation of the ERGP, particularly to unlock private investments and create jobs, was the conduct of Focus Labs in key selected areas of the economy, which has led to a number of quick wins for the country including the establishment of Nigeria’s first Gold Refinery in Ogun State.
Government, he stressed, is committed to an increase in the Minimum Wage as part of efforts toward improving the standard of living of Nigerian workers, noting that some provision has been made for this in the 2019 Budget while a high-powered Technical Committee has been set up to advise on ways to ensure that the attendant wage adjustments can be funded without increasing the level of borrowing, as well as on how to implement these consequential adjustments in such a manner as to minimize their inflationary impact.
The Minister also noted that even with the improved budgetary allocations to infrastructure, government spending is not sufficient to address the large infrastructure deficit which is why government is encouraging Public Private Partnerships pointing particularly to the Tax incentives on Road Infrastructure Development and Refurbishment Investment Tax Credit Scheme which seeks to leverage private sector capital for the development and refurbishment of road networks in industrial clusters and key economic areas in the country.
This, he said, entitles private investors to full recovery of the cost incurred on road projects in the form of a Road Infrastructure Tax Credit which can be utilized against participants’ future Company Income Tax (CIT) payable to the Federal Government.
Special Adviser (Media) to the Hon. Minister
Abuja, Thursday March 7, 2019 -- Today, the high economic cost of violence against children in Nigeria was revealed in an unprecedented report, launched jointly by UNICEF and the Federal Government, under the leadership of the Ministry of Budget and National Planning and the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development.
According to the report, the economic impact of the violence against children in Nigeria is estimated to be about USD$6.1 billion, which is equivalent to about 1.07 percent of the country’s GDP.
This financial loss is from the cumulative loss of earnings due to loss of productivity, stemming from suffering associated with different degrees of violence, over time.
“The cost of inaction is high, when it comes to violence against children,” said Mrs. Ifeoma Anagbogu, Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development. “Violence affects children’s health, education, and productivity. It is clear that we need to eliminate any form of violence against children – both from a moral perspective and an economic perspective.”
The report revealed that about half of the Nigerian children surveyed experienced physical violence by parents, adult relatives, direct or indirect caregivers or community members, before they reached 18.
“The findings of this study point to the strong need for increased funding of interventions by government to reduce violence against children in Nigeria,” said Mr Olajide S. Odewale, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Budget and National Planning.
It was noted that the study may actually underestimate the economic burden of violence against children, as several serious consequences of such violence were not included, due to a current lack of data.
The evidence presented in the report indicates an urgent need to provide child protection services in Nigeria and prioritize the elimination of violence against children, which can ensure the country’s human capital has the mental, physical, and emotional stability needed to boost its social and economic development.
“This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Convention of the Rights of the Child, giving us an opportunity to join our collective efforts to protecting children from violence, abuse and neglect. This includes a re-commitment to increase investment in child protection services,” said Mohamed Malick Fall, UNICEF’s Country Representative in Nigeria.
The research on violence against children was led by the Government of Nigeria, in collaboration with UNICEF, and with funding from the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), through USAID, the EU and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.
Victoria Agba- Attah
· Real GDP grew by 2.38% in Q4 2018
· Non-oil sector drives economic growth
· Services sector records best performance in 11 quarters
· 39 out of 46 economic activities record growth in Q4
Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, has expressed delight at the 4th Quarter 2018 numbers just released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). The report shows that the real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by 2.38%, indicating the strongest quarter growth since the economy slipped into recession in 2016.
The full year 2018 real GDP stood at 1.93%, higher than the 0.82% growth rate recorded in 2017.
The Minister was particularly encouraged by the fact that the growth was largely driven by the non-oil sector which grew by 2.70% in the quarter, posting a growth of 2.0% for full year 2018, representing the strongest growth in non-oil GDP since the fourth quarter of 2015.
Senator Udoma who was reacting from Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, on Tuesday, said the results show a clear indication of recovery as the Nigerian economy continues to post signs of improvement.
These results, he added, reflect the Buhari administration’s continued implementation of targeted policies, programmes and projects across various MDAs and other sectors of the economy as set out in the ERGP. “Adherence to the ERGP has resulted in the economy coming out of recession and heading towards sustainable economic growth,” he said.
At the Dialogue Session on Nigeria’s Economy organized by Deloitte in Lagos penultimate Thursday, the Minister had indicated that with the policy actions of the Buhari Administration in the last three years and the sustained implementation of the ERGP, the Nigerian economy will continue to maintain its recovery and increase its growth trajectory in 2019.
He had told the participants at the dialogue that though the growth performance is still not where we would like it to be, the direction of growth indicates a positive momentum, especially with regard to the non-oil sector. "Our aim is to take all measures necessary to ensure that we increase the growth rate whilst maintaining fiscal sustainability”, he had stated.
The 2018 fourth quarter GDP result reinforces the Minister’s position as it shows a 0.57% increase over the 1.81% real GDP figure posted in the third quarter of the year and indicates a stronger growth level than the 2.35% which the Buhari administration inherited in the second quarter of 2015. These numbers, released in accordance with the NBS Release Calendar, are the final quarter and 2018 full year figures.
According to the NBS report, real GDP grew by 2.38% in Q4 2018 compared to 1.81% in Q3 2018 and 1.17% in Q3 2017. For the full year 2018, real GDP growth stood at 1.93%, higher than the 0.82% achieved in 2017.
The report further shows that the growth was driven by the non-oil sector in Q4 2018, up from 2.32% in Q3 2018; 2.05% in Q2 2018 and 0.76 in Q1 2018. This also compares favourably with -0.33% in Q4 2016 and 1.45% in the corresponding quarter in 2017. For the full year 2018, it indicates that the non-oil sector stood at 2.0% as against 0.47% in 2017.
A further breakdown of the non-oil sector shows that the Q4 growth was driven by Transportation which grew by 9.48% (13.91% for 2018), the Construction sector by 2.05% (2.33% for 2018) and Electricity by 0.95% (7.30% for 2018). These three sectors form major parts of the infrastructure component of the ERGP, which has been one of the priority areas of the Buhari administration.
Other non-oil sectors that drove growth in Q4 2018 include Telecommunications (16.67%), Agriculture (2.46%) and Quarrying and other minerals (20.9%). There was also strong growth recorded in the Manufacturing sector which grew by 2.35% compared to 1.92% in Q3 2018 and 0.14% in Q4 2017.”
While the non-oil sector drove GDP growth in Q4 2018, the oil sector slowed down with Crude oil and Gas GDP contracting by -1.62%, compared to -2.91%in Q3 2018. Industry performed better as it grew by 0.95% compared to -0.11% in Q3 2018.
The report also indicated that Services GDP growth recorded its best performance in 11 quarters, growing by 2.90% in Q4 2018 compared to 2.64% in Q3 2018. While growth in the economy was moderated by the contraction in the oil sector, 39 out of 46 economic activities recorded positive growth in Q4 2018.
The Minister while reviewing the growth performance observed that the encouraging result in GDP growth is also consistent with improvements in other indicators including inflation, foreign reserves, exchange rates, trade balance and capital inflows, amongst others.
The Minister was therefore happy and most encouraged as these indices show an economy that is on the mend and on the path of recovery to sustained growth. “It is a clear indication that our programmes and policies are on the right track,” he added.
Special adviser to the Hon. Minister
12th February, 2019