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N71.72m Upfront Salary Payment

Following DATAPHYTE’s report on the disparate salary structure of staff of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Nigerians have thrown in series of reactions. These reactions were received on the Facebook page of the International Centre for Investigative Reporting and the comment section of the story on Premium Times. Many of them point to the spate of accountability, the gross injustice in the country’s wage structure, and the urgent need for harmonization of Nigeria’s wage structure. For instance, one Frank Bassey through the comment section of the story on Premium Times raised an issue with the process of leadership within the DPR. Bassey pointed to the fact that the current DPR Director is Sarki Auwalu who was appointed at the instance of the President in December last year. However, from the Open Treasury data, Sarki Auwala stays on number 16 of the wage list and received only a little in excess of ₦55 million as upfront salary payment. On the other hand, one Antai Asuquo Eyo stayed atop the wage list and received over ₦71.72m upfront payment.[DATAPHYTE]

12.5% Monetary Policy Rate

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) recently announced the review of its Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) from 13.5 percent to 12.5 percent. The CBN Governor disclosed this at the end of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting in Abuja. The review was orchestrated by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy, the increased inflationary pressure, and the restrictions in international trade. According to the governor of the central bank, “the review is to enable the resumption of economic activities necessary to stimulate growth, accelerate the pace of recovery and restore livelihoods, particularly to the vulnerable in Nigeria”. The review of the MPR indicates that the government is willing to assist businesses to cope with the impacts of the pandemic. [DATAPHYTE]

80m In Poverty

With a staggering population of 205 million people, over 80 million Nigerians live in poverty. This is according to the Nigerian Living Standards Survey report published by the National Bureau of Statistics. The recently published data indicates that 40.09 percent of Nigerian are poor. Whereas the poverty rate in urban areas is only 18.04 percent, as much as 52.1 percent of rural dwellers are poor. The report also revealed that northern Nigeria had the most poverty headcount rate. Across geo-political zones, North-Eastern Nigeria had the most poverty average while South Western Nigerian had the least. The average poverty headcount rate by geo-political zone is North Central (42.7 percent), North East (71.86 percent), North West (64.84 percent), South East (42.44 percent), South-South (21.28 percent), and South-West (12.12 percent). [DATAPHYTE]

20% Tax Rate

CDD made the recommendations in its report, “Fluctuating Fortunes: A 5-year Economy Assessment under the Buhari Administration”. The report analysed the five-year term of President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration, its achievements, and shortcomings. According to CDD, the report used a vast array of data sources in assessing and interrogating core issues and conversations around building an economy. Also, the report credited reforms in the business environment and described the 2019 Finance Act as a policy game-changer. “The Act provides Companies Income Tax (CIT) and Value Added Tax (VAT) exemptions for small businesses (those with a gross turnover of ₦25 million annually). In addition, it reduces the tax rate for medium-sized businesses (those with a gross turnover of between ₦25 million to ₦100 million annually) from 30% to 20%.[DATAPHYTE]

N9.5bn National Assembly Renovation

The Federal Government has dropped budget allocation for the renovation of the National Assembly (NASS) complex by 75 percent in yet another blatant disregard for priorities. Initially, the government had budgeted N37 billion for the renovation of the NASS complex, a capital allocation fixed under the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) budget. Analysis of the revised 2020 budget showed that the Federal Government reduced budget allocation for the renovation from ₦37 billion to ₦9.25 billion, despite calls by Nigerians for outright removal. It is not certain if the Senate Committee on Finance will touch its budget. Apart from calls for its total removal by Nigerians, one would have expected the Federal Government to adjust proposed spending in line with economic realities and dwindling revenue. The global pandemic – COVID-19 – allowed government and policymakers to rethink and retrace steps, especially African leaders, over frivolous budget items.[DATAPHYTE]

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