The Federal Government recorded a fiscal deficit of N488bn in April.
The Central Bank of Nigeria disclosed this on Tuesday in its monthly economic report for the month of April.
Part of the report read, “The fiscal operations of the Federal government in April 2020 resulted in a deficit of N488.24bn compared with the N181.27bn benchmark and its levels of N854.12bn and N690.54bn in March 2020 and April 2019 respectively.
“The observed moderation in the overall fiscal deficit in April, relative to comparable periods, could be attributed to the 16.3 per cent increase in revenue, and the 29.6 per cent decline in expenditure.”
Although the current deficit level was already significantly above the benchmark, the report said it was expected to deteriorate further in the coming months, owing to the pessimism surrounding the infection curve of COVID-19, and the slowdown in economic activities, which were likely to induce extra-budgetary spending funded by new borrowings.
The revenue profile of the FGN revealed subsisting revenue challenges because of declining oil receipts and low contribution of non-oil products.
The report said the total retained revenue of N285.66bn recorded in April was 59.3 per cent below its benchmark.
A breakdown of the revenue components showed that all the revenue heads were significantly below their budget benchmarks.
However, the April receipts exceeded collections in March 2020 by 16.4 per cent but fell short of the collections in April 2019 by 14.8 per cent.
Aggregate expenditure of the Federal Government in April fell below its budget benchmark and levels in March and the corresponding period of 2019.
The decline was due to delays in capital releases, moderation in overhead costs occasioned by the lockdown of government offices, and consensual cessation of interest obligations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
At N773.90bn, the Federal Government’s expenditure in April was 12.3 per cent below its benchmark, and 29.6 per cent and 24.6 per cent below aggregate spending in March 2020 and April 2019 respectively.
The decline in expenditure in April was reflected in both capital and recurrent expenditures.