ROUNDTABLE – SPECIAL EDITION.
An extraordinary edition of Roundtable comes up today 13th Monday, July 2020.
Programme : ROUNDTABLE
Topic : *BUDGET 2020 & COVID-19 : Challenges and Prospects.*
ORIENTATION: TOWN HALL MEETING
Venue: Studio 1, TV COMPLEX ORITA OBELE, AKURE.
TIME: 2 – 4pm
MODE OF TRANSMISSION: LIVE
PLATFORMS: OSRC TV, ALALAYE FM, ORANGE FM & LIVESTREAM ON FACEBOOK, YOUTUBE, INSTAGRAM ETC.
ATTENDANCE: JOURNALUSTS & MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC.
2020 Budget was signed to Law on the 31st of December, 2019 after every other budgetary process leading to the Budget had been completed, thereby paving the way for the commencement of the implementation of the Budget with effect from 1st of January, 2020.
However, two months into the year, the Coronavirus, otherwise known as Covid-19, broke out, leading to worldwide lock-downs which resultantly turned down the world economy, and indeed changed the permutations of the macro-economic variables like crude oil price and production benchmarks, inflation and exchange rates, etc. used in making forecast for 2020 Budget, both at the State and National levels.
As part of the effects of the pandemic, crude oil which contributes a major proportion of the nation’s Foreign Exchange Earnings is now being sold more than 50% below the benchmark of $55 used in preparing the 2020 Budget. Also, its daily production, which many times does not have buyer, is now below 1.7m as against 2.18m projected in 2020 budget. Besides, the closure of borders as a result of the global lockdown impedes Nigerian Custom Services, another revenue spinner for the nation, to generate revenue. These have led to serious reduction on the quantum of revenue inflow from the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee and Independent Revenue.
In view of the above challenges, which will definitely work against effective implementation of 2020 Budget, governments at all levels have been making moves to review their 2020 Approved Budgets to include emergent expenditures caused by the pandemic.
Besides, the World Bank’s State Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS) project now has new guidelines and Disbursement-Linked Indicators (DLIs) which will accommodate and allow the Review of 2020 Budget in the disbursement of grant for year 2020. In order for the State to meet the new SFTAS requirements for year 2020 assessment and benefit from $5m grant, and also to reflect the new economic realities, Government has taken steps to review the 2020 Budget.
Also, to ameliorate the effects of the pandemic on our people and the State economy, Government has decided, using the instrumentality of the ongoing revised budget, to come up with many programmes among which are
- Social Safety Net
- Employment generation, among others
In agriculture, for example, the State has decided to use the following specific means to mitigate the effects of the pandemic on people:
i. Agriculture Advancement Programme:
a. Farmer Mobile Wallet (9,000 farmers)
b. Accredit Input Suppliers
c. Register Farmers (vote at least N50,000.00 to each farmer in form of improved seedlings, chemicals, farm tools, etc
d. Agricultural Chemical Advisory and Extension Services – Soil analysis, weather forecast, etc
e. Youths in Agriculture:
- Incubators and Incubatees
- 600 farmers per Local Goverment Areas
f. Civil Servants in Agriculture- Interested Officers on level 10 and above to own at least 1 hectare of farmland
g. Women in Agriculture – Special incentives
h. Agriculture Infrastructure Innovation – Rural Road Construction though grading of 50 km per Local Government Area (RAAMP)
i. Aketi Millennium Farmers Initiatives (Agbe Iwoyi) – Snailry, Piggeries, Poultry, Livestock, Vegetables, Cash crop such as ginger, sesame, garlic, etc
j. Agro-allied Initiative
a. Oil Mill (Ondo South)
b. Rice Mill
c. Chocolate or Cocoa Butter Factory
d. Aquaculture Business hubs at Igbokoda
ii. Tax Incentives
Tax relief and incentives for taxpayers and businesses to cushion the impacts of Covid-19 crises are as follows:
a. Implementation of the Hotel, Restaurant and Event Centres Consumption Tax due to start on the 1st June, 2020 is suspended in view of the peculiarly harsh impacts suffered by the entertainment/Hospitality sector;
b. Full implementation of the Land Use Charge rates based on property valuation is suspended. The existing amnesty rates for Residential Property will subsist as follows: High Value Zone (HVZ): N7,000.00-10,000.00, Medium Value Zone (MVZ): N3,000.00 – N5,000.00 and Base Value Zone (BVZ): N 1,000.00 – N3,000.00 per annum.
c. Penalty and Interest on arrears of Land Use Charge from year 2017 to 2019 is hereby waived for residential property. This waiver applies to those that make payment on or before December 31st 2020.
d. The minimum tax payable under the Presumptive Tax Regime (Artisans,) Market Women, etc.) in the state has been reduced by 50% for year 2020 only.
e. The deadline for the submission of Form A for employees and Annual Returns in accordance with Sections 41(3) & 81(1-3) of the Personal Income Tax Act (PITA) 2011 as amended, for companies operating in Ondo State is extended to 30th September, 2020.
f. The penalty hitherto being charged on late remittance of Pay As You Earn (PAYE) deductions has been waived between March and September 2020 for all sectors.
Registration for National Tax Identification Number (NTIN) can now be done on the website of Ondo State Internal Revenue Services (www.odirs.ng) following their full integration with the JTB MTIN administrators and the NTIN certificate will be sent to applicant’s e-mail directly. Applicants do not require a visit to ODIRS offices anymore for NTIN registration.
iii. Public Workfare – Zero Pot Hole
iv. Environment and Beautification:
– Employ 2000 youths to plant 10 million trees.
– Land scaping and beautification of cities and LGA Headquarters.
v. Soft loan to Covid-19 impacted SME’S and MSME’S (Hotels, Travels, Transport)-20 per LGA.
vi. Create a website, www.ondojob.org (create database for the unemployed)-Register citizens of Ondo State and merge with Kaadi lgbeayo.
vii. Information Communication Technology (ICT)
– Coding, Application development etc. send 18 (1 per LGA) best students abroad (China or India).
viii. Salaries are protected and prioritized.
In view of the above, the Ondo state Media group will be hosting the Ministry of Economic Planning and Budget led by the Hon. Commissioner, Pastor Emmanuel Igbasan on a session to review the 2020 Budget with both hindsight and foresight on the COVID-19 Pandemic and the state is coping.. Succintly put, the purpose is to examine the laid-out strategies for alleviating the effects of Covid-19 on the people.