By Timothy Choji, Abuja
The Nigerian government says the country’s daily oil production has increased from between two million barrels to 2.1 million barrels per day.
Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed made the revelation on Wednesday, while briefing State House Correspondents on the outcome of the weekly cabinet meeting presided by President Muhammadu Buhari.
She however said that with the recent fall in global oil price due to the effect of the Coronavirus, COVID-19, government may not find it easy.
Mrs Ahmed explained that “already International oil price had dropped to $52 below the budget benchmark of $57 per barrel, impacting negatively on the nation’s estimated revenue for the fiscal year.
She said government has not taken any measures yet, concerning the shortfall, as it will give room for a reasonable period, where it will make a review and then possibly make an adjustment of the 2020 budget through working together with the National Assembly.
“We are concerned because it does have an impact on revenue and at the current crude oil price of 53 percent is below the budget bench mark. What we are doing is that we are studying the situation and when the budget was passed, we committed to do a midterm review.
“We will do the midterm review and if the revenues are so significantly affected, we will have to do some revisions in the budget by way of budget adjustment. I will want to inform you that the crude production is now at 2 million barrels per day and in some days, it has moved up to 2.1 million barrels per day, so that in itself will be a cushion.”
Value Added Tax
Meanwhile the Minister while fielding questions on the increase of VAT explained that some supermarket food items will not be exempt from VAT.
“When you buy meat for instance that has been cut and packaged, it has undergone some processes and so it doesn’t qualify for exemption. But if you go to the open market and buy your garri, tomatoes, meat then there is no VAT to be paid. The supermarkets have some value addition, engaged staff, run different kinds of services and incur some cost.
“So, they buy from the same market you buy and they do some processing, packaging and put in the shop. So, if you choose to buy your food items from the supermarket you will be paying VAT. Those Nigerians we are trying to protect will go to the market and will not be paying VAT,” the Minister said.