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FG may rake N850bn from abandoned dividends, dormant accounts

By News Desk

As part of measures aimed at sourcing funds to finance 2021 budget, the Federal Government has disclosed that it was considering borrowing N850 billion from dividends and dormant accounts of Nigerians.

It explained that though the government would be borrowing the said amount, it would be ready to return the money during such times when the beneficiary of the funds identified themselves and got certified by banks.

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, said that apart from the planned borrowing of dividends and dormant accounts, the country also plans to borrow at least N5.6 trillion to finance the 2021 budget deficit.

“There would be as much as N850 billion sourced from dividends and dormant accounts of Nigerians. Again, this is a special trust fund, it means the government is keeping the money in trust for the beneficiaries at any time a registrar or a bank confirms that this is a true and bonafide beneficiary of this fund government will release from that trust fund to the investor’s bankers bank entitlement,” she said while addressing newsmen yesterday during the virtual presentation on the 2021 budget.

The minister hinted that While half of the borrowing would be from foreign sources, the balance would be borrowed domestically.

She said that a fixed amount of N2.34trn would be borrowed from both sources while another N709.69bn would be borrowed from multilateral and bilateral sources.

On the revenue projection of N7.99trn which is 36 percent higher than the 2020 projection of N5.84trillion, the minister said that 30 per cent of the money would be from oil-related sources and 70 percent from non-oil sources.

The 2021 budget comes with an aggregate capital expenditure of 4.37tr representing 32.29 per cent of total expenditure and 62.9 per cent higher than 2020. The debt service provision is N3.32trn representing 24.5 percent and 12.6 percent higher than the 2020 revised budget.

On the 2020 budget performance, the minister said that the government released N1.8tr for capital infrastructure by December 2020.

She said that the amount represented 89 percent of the provision for capital expenditure noting that out of the amount released, N118.3bn was for COVID-19 capital expenditure. Ahmed added that N3.27 trillion was spent on debt servicing while N3.19trn was spent on salaries and pensions.

The minister said that the government projected N9.97tr expenditure for 2020, but spent N10.08trn representing 101 percent performance due to the additional COVID-19 expenses.

Responding to an inquiry on the fate of oil subsidy provision, the minister maintained that it was an issue that had been dealt with. She ruled out the possibility of retaining oil subsidy.

“No. We are not bringing back fuel subsidies. No provisions have been made for subsidy of fuel, no provisions have been made for subsidy of electricity,” she said.

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