Minister of Finance Zainab Ahmed has called on the National Assembly to approve a loan of $1.2 billion from Brazil meant to address issues in the 2021 fiscal year related to the agricultural sector, a move that provoked a general outcry over the rising debt profile of the country.
Ahmed made this disclosure during her ministry’s 2021 budget defense before the House of Representatives Committee on Finance, noting that the loan is needed as the government moves towards the diversification of its sources of revenue.
Many concerned Nigerians have expressed worry that the government would put forward such a plan in spite of the public outcry against national debt accumulation involving China and other foreign interests.
The minister further explained that the government is moving to acquire 100,000 hectares of land per state for food production and that access roads would be built in areas where farms will be sited to ease the movement of produce to markets and reduce post-harvest losses.
Discussing the budgetary performance for 2020, Ahmed explained:
“As at end of Q3 2020, FGN’s revenue available for budget funding (excluding GOES) was N2.83 trillion, 70% of target.
“FGN share of oil revenues was N1.203 trillion (representing 158% performance, over and above the prorated sum in the revised 2020 budget) while non-oil tax revenues totalled N927.47 billion (76% of revised target).
“Companies Income Tax (CIT) and Value Added Tax (VAT) collections were N486.68 billion and N137.03 billion, representing 79% and 64% respectively of the pro rata revised targets for the period. Customs collections was N303.76 billion (78% of revised target). Other revenues amounted to N69 7.75 billion, of which Independent revenues was N390.50 billion.”