Thomas Schaefer, the finance minister of Germany’s Hesse state, has committed suicide apparently after becoming “deeply worried” over how to cope with the economic fallout from the coronavirus, state premier Volker Bouffier said Sunday.
Schaefer, 54, was found dead near a railway track on Saturday. The Wiesbaden prosecution’s office said they believe he died by suicide.
“We are in shock, we are in disbelief and above all, we are immensely sad,” Bouffier said in a recorded statement.
Hesse is home to Germany’s financial capital Frankfurt, where major lenders like Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank have their headquarters. The European Central Bank is also located in Frankfurt.
A visibly shaken Bouffier recalled that Schaefer, who was Hesse’s finance chief for 10 years, had been working “day and night” to help companies and workers deal with the economic impact of the pandemic.
“Today we have to assume that he was deeply worried,” said Bouffier, a close ally of Chancellor Angela Merkel.
“It’s precisely during this difficult time that we would have needed someone like him,” he added.
Popular and well-respected, Schaefer had long been touted as a possible successor to Bouffier.
Like Bouffier, Schaefer belonged to Merkel’s centre-right CDU party.
He leaves behind a wife and two children, GulfNews reported.
FG’s New Borrowings Rise By 278.03% In Six Years
The Federal Government’s thirst for debts appears to have deepened as new borrowing allocations rose by 278.03 per cent or N4.03tn between 2015 and 2021, The PUNCH has learnt.
This was disclosed in the presentation of the public debt data as of December 31, 2021, by the Director-General of the Debt Management Office, Patience Oniha.
According to the document, the new borrowing allocation for 2015 was N1.46tn, which was 90.17 per cent of the N1.62tn budget deficit.
For 2021, the allocation for new borrowing was N5.49tn, which was 85.11 per cent of the N6.45tn budget deficit.
On the source of the figures, the document read in part, “2015 comprises 2015 Appropriation Act and supplementary budget of N575bn for the same year. 2021 comprises 2021 Appropriation Act and supplementary budget of N802bn for the same year”.
The document further identified issues around the public debt level, which include fast-growing debts, high Debt Service to Revenue Ratio, and concerns around the use of proceeds from the debts.
However, the DMO DG tried to justify the reason for the increase in public debt levels, which, according to her, is due to the country’s huge infrastructure deficit, recession, consecutive budget deficits, and low revenue base.
The World Bank has said Nigeria’s debt, which may be considered sustainable for now, is vulnerable and costly.
According to the Washington-based global financial institution, the country’s debt is also at risk of becoming unsustainable in the event of macro-fiscal shocks.
Report had it earlier that the Federal Government incurred N950bn new domestic borrowing between January 2022 and March 11, 2022.
Also, the Federal Government plans to add N6.3tn new debts to the current debt stock, which would push the country’s total debt stock to N45.86tn by December 2022.
Kaduna Can Pay Workers’ Salary Without Federal Allocation – Budget Commissioner
The Commissioner for Budget and Planning in Kaduna State, Alhaji Muhammad Sani Abdullahi has said that N184.53 B has been allocated to capital expenditure and N94.05 B to recurrent, on a ratio of 66:37,in the state budget for 2022.
The Commissioner who spoke at a round table with some journalists in Kaduna, explained that the N89.67B for the Social Subsector , has 49% of the capital budget which is the largest sectoral allocation.
“Capital allocations in the social sub-sector are Education (N41.66B), Health (N28.63B) and Social Development (N19.37B). Capital budget allocation for public works and infrastructure is N28.94B and N8.79B for housing and urban development,” he said.
According to the Commissioner, Kaduna state government is targeting N150B annual generated revenue, even as the current internally generated revenue of N50B Kaduna can still pay the salaries of its workers without federal allocation.
Meanwhile, Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State has signed the state’s 2022 Budget, assuring residents of the state that the N278.58B budget will be faithfully implemented to advance public welfare and develop human capital and infrastructure.
The signing ceremony, held in the Council Chambers of Sir Kashim Ibrahim House on Wednesday was attended by the Speaker of the Kaduna State House of Assembly, Hon. Yusuf Zailani and principal officers of the legislature, commissioners and other aides of the governor.
Speaking at the event, the governor stated he is very pleased that for the seventh consecutive year, Kaduna State is signing its appropriation bill into law well ahead of the first day of January.
He explained that this alignment of the fiscal year and the calendar year, which has ensured that budget implementation can commence by 1st January of each year.
He attributed this consistent trend to the active collaboration between the House of Assembly and the executive for the benefit of the people of Kaduna State .
Malam El-Rufai described the budget as the budget of the people, a budget of sustainable growth. He commended the Kaduna State House of Assembly for its thorough work on the draft budget estimates, disclosing that the House of Assembly increased the budget size from the N233bn proposed by the executive to N278.58bn to accommodate more project requests.
He expressed his personal gratitude to the Speaker and the entire membership of the House of Assembly across party lines for the very cooperative and collaborative manner they have worked with the executive in the last six and a half years.
Speaker of the Kaduna State House of Assembly, Rt.Hon. Yusuf Zailani said that the legislature is fully aligned with the focus of the state government on human capital development and infrastructure.
Naira Slumps Further, Exchanges For 504/$ At Parallel Market
The naira exchanged to the dollar at N504 at the parallel market on Friday, according to the Bureau de Change operators.
It had earlier exchanged to the dollar at 500 in the previous week and at N490 a month earlier.
According to naijabdcs.com, the Central Bank of Nigeria’s official rate for the BDCs, the dollar was bought and sold at the rate of N503 and N504 as of Friday evening.
The CBN in May adopted the NAFEX Investor & Exporter forex window rate of N410.25 as its official exchange rate to the dollar.
It would be recalled that in April 2017, the CBN established the I&E forex window as part of efforts to deepen the foreign exchange market and accommodate all forex obligations.
The purpose of the window was to boost liquidity in the forex market and ensure timely execution and settlement for eligible transactions.
The CBN had also disclosed that it was increasing the amount of foreign exchange allocated to banks to meet legitimate needs.
This followed the warning by the CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, to Deposit Money Banks to desist from denying customers the opportunity to purchase foreign exchange.
The purposes to access forex included Personal Travel Allowance, Basic Travel Allowance, tuition fees, and medical payments as well as Small and Medium Enterprises transactions or for the repatriation of Foreign Direct Investment proceeds, the CBN had stated.
Under the new dispensation, Nigerians travelling abroad could access a maximum amount of $4,000 foreign exchange from the banks, while those travelling on business trips could also access a maximum amount of $5,000 for each trip.
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