Coronavirus: Bayelsa government expresses worries over decline in oil revenue

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Mr Maxwell Ebibai, the Technical Adviser on Finance to the Governor, raised the alarm on Wednesday during the state’s monthly transparency briefing in Yenagoa.

Ebibai said that the COVID-19 challenge had posed a great threat, not only to the health of the citizens, but also to the global economy.

While noting that the Nigerian economy was largely dependent on proceeds from crude oil, he added that the development portended a grave danger to the country’s economy.

“According to the 2020 projections based on the COVID-19 challenge, if the benchmark for oil remains 30 US dollar per barrel, the Federal Government will receive about N1.5 trillion, as against N3 trillion it received in 2019.

“The average sale of crude oil for February was $22 per barrel, but we, the state government, will still put in place measures to cushion the revenue shortfall, to be able to meet our statutory obligations.

“We will embark on an aggressive taxation drive and also collaborate with the Federal Government and multinational agencies to fund its expenditure,” he stated.

Ebibai solicited for the support and cooperation of the people and corporate organisations in the state to enable government shore up its internally-generated revenue.

Presenting the income and expenditure profile for the month of February, Ebibai said that concerning the inflows, the state received N13.4 billion from the federation account.

He said the figure comprised N2.8 billion statutory allocation, N9.4 billion derivation and N939 million Value Added Tax (VAT), among other components.

Ebibai also said that total deductions of N1.68 billion total deduction was made from the federation account, including foreign loans of about N37 million.

“Restructured loans and refund on 13 percent indices on derivation to other states stood at N128.4 million; salary bailout to local governments, N16.3 million and non-oil revenue of N101.6 million, among others.

“Net funds from the Federal Government after deductions stood at N11.7 billion, while internally-generated revenue for February stood at N848.9 million,” he stated.

On expenditure side, Ebibai said total payments for the month of February amounted to N7.7 billion, including bank loans and guarantees of N1.7 billion.

“Salary for civil servants stood at N3.8 billion, while that of political appointees gulped N21.9 million, gratuity to pensioners, N200 million, leaving the state with a balance of N9.9 billion.

“The state government spent N3.2 billion as recurrent expenditure, while capital expenditure was N4.3 billion, leaving a balance of N2.4 billion

“We recorded a deficit balance of N2.38 billion brought forward from the month of January,” the governor’s aide said, adding that the total balance, as at the end of February 2020, was N105.6 million.