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Published On: Tue, Nov 28th, 2017

Hike in electricity tariff inevitable – Osinbajo

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•As FG rakes in N250bn from VAT

By Lawrence Olaoye and Etuka Sunday

The federal government has said that Nigerians should be prepared to pay more for electricity.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo stated this on Monday at the Sixth Presidential Business Forum held at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The Forum, which focused on agriculture and its value chains, had the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbe; the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah; officials of government agencies and stakeholders in the agriculture sector in attendance.
Osinbajo insisted that the hike in electricity tariff was inevitable saying “There is no question at all that we must pay higher tariffs.”
According to him, the government was not going to increase tariff for now but was working towards cleaning the electricity value chain.
According to him, the N700billion Payment Assurance Guarantee set aside by government was payment to ensure uninterrupted payment for gas and liquidity in the power sector.
Osinbajo said the payment assurance guarantee was to fund a smooth transition “from where we are to a much more market-determined policy for electricity.”
The vice president said that government was working with the World Bank on this.
Osinbajo also hinted that President Muhammadu Buhari has directed that a committee be set up to explore the use of government’s intervention funds in agriculture.
He said “I’m chairing a committee to look at how to not only use intervention funds but how to monitor the use of intervention funds.”
He explained that the idea was to ensure that intervention funds go to the right persons.
Osinbajo said that government would not “bring down interest rate overnight,” pointing out that the “way out is by some kind of intervention and that’s what the president has asked that we do.”
The vice president said that government was refining the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme and other intervention funds for agriculture with a view to making them more effective in assisting farmers.
Osinbajo also pointed out that the issue of smuggling of agricultural produce into Nigeria was an existential threat to the country’s agricultural sector.
He disclosed that there were about three ship loads of about 120, 000 metric tons of rice coming from Thailand bound for one of the neighbouring countries.
Meanwhile, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) ‘s Sectoral distribution of Value Added Tax (VAT) data for Q3 2017 reflected that the sum of N250.56bn was generated as VAT in Q3 2017 as against N246.30bn generated in Q2 2017 and N196.70bn in Q3 2016 representing 1.73% Increase Quarter-on-Quarter and 27.39% increase Year-on-Year.
According to NBS, other manufacturing generated the highest amount of VAT with N28.98bn generated and closely followed by Professional Services and Oil Producing both generating N22.73bn and N12.09bn respectively while Mining generated the least and closely followed by Local Government Councils and Pharmaceutical, Soaps & Toiletries with N33.70m, N184.42m and N193.78m generated respectively.
The Bureau said, out of the total amounted generated in Q3 2017, N125.13bn was generated as Non-Import VAT locally while N72.10bn was generated as Non-Import VAT for foreign. The balance of N53.33bn was generated as NCS-Import VAT.
NBS said, the Federal Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) disbursed the sum of N558.08 billion to the three tiers of government in October from the revenue generated in September 2017.

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