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Nigerians Are Poorer In Buhari’s First Term – Economist |The Republican News

President Buhari taking oat of office for his second term

Long lines of lorries stretch like tentacles from Apapa port, the largest in Nigeria. Drivers doze in their cabs, feet flung over dashboards; some sling hammocks beneath the chassis. Musa Ibrahim, an ebullient trader, says he has been queuing for two days. He gestures at empty buildings. “Most of the companies you see here they done close,” he sighs, writes The Economist.

The Nigerian economy is stuck like a stranded truck. Average incomes have been falling for four years; the IMF thinks they will not rise for at least another six. The latest figures put unemployment at 23%, after growing for 15 consecutive quarters. Inflation is 11%. Some 94 million people live on less than $1.90 a day, more than in any other country, and the number is swelling. By 2030 a quarter of very poor people will be Nigerians, predicts the World Data Lab, which counts such things.

Nigeria’s engine was already sputtering when President Muhammadu Buhari took the wheel in 2015. The price of oil, which makes up 9% of GDP and more than 90% of export earnings, had crashed. But “Baba Go Slow”, as Nigerians took to calling him, made a bad situation worse. Instead of letting Nigeria’s currency slide, which would have stoked inflation, policymakers rationed dollars to maintain the naira’s long-standing and artificially high peg to the dollar. To do so the central bank refused to release foreign currency for a long list of imports, ranging from toothpicks to shovels. Without dollars for equipment or supplies, factories closed and workers were laid off, leading to a recession in 2016.

The central bank confused things further by introducing several exchange rates. One was an official rate of 305 naira per dollar. Its main use seemed to be to allow the bank to brag about how strong the currency was since it sold almost no dollars at that absurd rate. Its second rate was used to funnel artificially cheap dollars (about 320 naira each) to favoured importers. Naturally, there were not enough of these dollars to go around, so most Nigerians (especially those buying toothpicks) had to pay as much as 500 naira on the black market. The gap between most of these rates has converged of late at about 360. But having so many rates puts off investors.
The government thinks the answer to the “dollar shortage” is for Nigerians to make and grow more and import less. To this end, it has slapped import taxes on rice and fertiliser and is giving tax breaks for a huge new oil refinery.

There is little sign of the kind of export-led industrial revolution that has lifted incomes in Asia. This is not only because the naira is overvalued. It is also because the state has spent decades neglecting basic public goods, like roads, schools and electricity. “In Nigeria, if you set up a business you have to build your infrastructure, you have to build your power plant, you have to build everything,” says Abdul Samad Rabiu, the chairman of the BUA Group, a conglomerate. Eghosa Omoigui, who manages a tech fund, compares running a business there to “running a nation-state”.

Where urgency is needed, Mr. Buhari offers the only caution. Few are holding their breath for any more drive in his second term, which began on May 29th. “We are trying to avoid shocks,” explains Adeyemi Dipeolu, his economic adviser: sharp currency movements or hikes in electricity tariffs would be felt by ordinary Nigerians. Yet officials are postponing a crisis, not averting one. Consider borrowing. The debt-to-GDP ratio is 28%. But Nigeria collects so little in tax that interest payments swallow about 60% of federal revenues.

“We don’t have a debt problem, we have a revenue problem,” insists Udoma Udo Udoma, the budget minister in Mr. Buhari’s first term. The government plans to raise funds by selling off some of its share in joint-venture contracts with oil companies and might hike taxes on luxury goods. Revenues are rising, but fall far short of budget targets. Some of the gaps is probably being filled by running up an overdraft with the central bank, which now holds more assets than the entire banking system.

Public finances would be healthier if the government raised the price of fuel, which is imported by the state oil company and sold on at a loss. Last year this subsidy was worth at least 0.5% of GDP—as much as the government spent on health care. Politicians are scared to end the subsidy. An attempt to do so in 2012 led to massive protests. Although the government has expanded school-feeding programmes and is working on a safety net for the poor, most citizens get few benefits from the state. Oxfam, a charity, ranks 157 countries on their commitment to reducing inequality, based on social spending, taxes and labour laws: Nigeria comes last.

For Nigeria to prosper, the state could harness the vim of its 200m citizens. Instead, it ignores them, except when politicians need votes. People have come to expect nothing from government, says Chika Okeke, who owns a small stationery shop in Lagos: “you struggle yourself.” (Independent)

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Be Proud You’re Part Of A Government That Ended Boko Haram, Buhari Tells Outgoing Ministers

Federal Executive council meeting

President Muhammadu Buhari has told the outgoing members of his executive council to be proud for being part of the administration that ‘liberated’ Nigeria from Boko Haram insurgency. He made the comments when he spoke at the valedictory meeting of the Federal Executive Council, on Wednesday. 

Read full remarks.
CLOSING REMARKS BY H.E. PRESIDENT MUHAMMADU BUHARI AT THE VALEDICTORY SESSION FOR MEMBERS OF THE FEDERAL EXECUTIVE COUNCIL (2015 – 2019) AT THE STATE HOUSE COUNCIL CHAMBER ON 22ND MAY, 2019.

Today’s Federal Executive Council meeting is the last time we will meet as a cabinet before the commencement of the second and final term of this Administration.


2. Our first meeting in this chamber was in November 2015. Over the past three and a half years, we worked together to deliver our campaign promises. I strongly believe that it is this team work that led to the successes recorded during our first term.

3. Some of our colleagues, with whom we started this journey, unfortunately are not here to join us in celebrating our successes.

4. Specifically, I must recognise our late brother, James Ocholi, SAN who passed away in a fearful motor accident with his wife, Blessing, and son, Joshua, only four months after being sworn in as a minister.

5. I want us to all put him, and, indeed, his family, in our memory. He was a true patriot committed to our change agenda.

6. I also acknowledge the contributions of other council members who resigned before the completion of our tenure to pursue other opportunities.

7. You will recall that when we started this journey, our country was facing numerous challenges.

8. We inherited a broken economy which eventually went into recession in the second quarter of Fiscal Year 2016. The situation was further compounded by insecurity and massive corruption.

9. Many would have given up. Indeed, many outside commentators said our situation was well nigh hopeless. However, we all came together and pushed forward to deliver our campaign promise to rescue our country from its parlous state.

10. Although we all had a common vision, we frequently had heated debates in this room on the best way to achieve our goals. These differing views are what made the decisions we took all the more rational.

11. It is this quality that made me retain my cabinet for the full term. Each of you in this room has a unique skill and strength. We are a reflection of the Nigeria we aspire to achieve. A diverse but tolerant nation where no one is silenced and where every opinion should be heard and considered.

12. I want you all to leave this meeting proud to have served your nation to the best of your ability.

13. You should be proud to have been part of the Government that liberated the local governments previously under Boko Haram rule.

14. You should be proud to have contributed to our food security and economic diversification agenda which led to the revival of our rural agrarian economy

15. You should be proud to have been part of the team that developed the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan which led Nigeria exiting its worst recession in decades.

16. You should be proud to have introduced the social investment program that enhanced livelihoods of millions of Nigerians.

17. You should be proud to have participated in settling outstanding pensions of many senior citizens abandoned by previous governments while supporting state governments to meet their salary arrears.

18. And, of course, you should all be proud to have overseen the most ambitious road, rail and airport rehabilitation programs in the history of our country.

19. I want to put on record, that your achievements in the last three and a half hears has guaranteed your position in the history books of this nation. You have certainly built the foundations for an improved economy and a more purposeful government.

20. Although today is our last council meeting, I expect all of you to continue working until Tuesday, 28th May 2019 when you will officially hand over your schedules to your respective Permanent Secretaries. Your handing over letters should be submitted to the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.

21. I want to conclude by thanking all of you for agreeing to serve our nation during these difficult times. I want to use this opportunity to recognise the silent partners to this cabinet, your spouses, families and friends, who supported you through these years.

22. I wish you the very best of luck and pray for your successes, for dear families and our for country in the years ahead.

Thank you and God Bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

(NAN)

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Yusuf Buhari Emerges As 4th Richest Child Of A Sitting President — Forbes

Son of Nigerian president, Yusuf Buhari

Forbes is about to publish a list of the richest president’s/despot’s kids on the planet and Yusuf Buhari made it to number 4 with a net worth of $2.3bn US dollars . Not bad when you consider that Yusuf’s father has only been President for 4years and that majority of the top ten rich kids have had the privilege of having their daddies in power for an average of 10yrs straight.

Yusuf also is the second richest African to make the billionaire thief club with daughter of Angolan president being the only other African to beat him to score 3rd on the list with a net worth of $10bn.

The daughter of late Venezuelan socialist dictator, Hugo Chavez topped the list with a whooping net worth (or should we say loot) of $6bn to dust Yusuf.

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Recession May Come In 2020, Brace Up For Tough Time —Nigeria Governors Forum

File photo: Nigeria Governors Forum

The Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) yesterday has warned the returning and newly elected state governors that recession may come in 2020 and so they should prepare ahead for tough times in their respective states.

The chairman of the group and governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari, warned that there may be another cycle of recession from mid-2020 to the third quarter of 2021, the Guardian reports.

He gave the advice at the induction programme organised for the old and new governors at the NGF Secretariat, State House Conference Center, Abuja yesterday.

The NGF chairman told his colleagues that it would not be a smooth ride when they begin a new administration in their states.

“On our part, we made a lot of achievement in infrastructural development and provision of social services because we enjoyed a relatively high oil price of about $100 to $114 per barrel between 2001 and the middle of 2014.

“However, by the mid-2014, the price of crude oil, which is sadly the main driving force of government’s expenditure, dropped to $75 per barrel. It, therefore, became very difficult for many states to even pay salaries of their workers.

“This scenario is a wake-up call for all of you to be prepared to face this kind of challenge, especially since there is the possibility of another cycle of recession by mid-2020 and which may last up to the third quarter of 2021. Your good spirit of stewardship will make you contain the situation should there be one. Also, as members of the National Economic Council (NEC), you must work hand-in- hand to boost the economy in tandem with the global best practices.

Speaking further, he said:

“Experience, they say, is the best teacher. Ours has been a challenging experience of managing state economies that are totally dependent on accruals from the federation account rather than exploring viable alternatives to run the economy.

For most of the states, internally generated revenues are nothing to write home about. You must, therefore, look inward by boosting your revenue generation and also utilize them effectively for execution of projects that will touch the lives of your people. You must not forget the high expectations of our people from us; now that the democracy is maturing daily, the challenges of governance and service delivery are more demanding,” Yari said:

“Borrowing is never a reliable alternative to solving our economic problems. Key revenue agencies like the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and the Nigeria Custom Service must be made to work more effectively now that Mr. President has signed the much awaited national minimum wage law, pegging the minimum workers salary at N30,000 per month.”

He urged the incoming governors to strengthen tax laws to encourage Nigerians to pay.

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Police Stop Man From Jumping Into Lagos Lagoon |The Republican News

lagos-lagoon-suicide

Suicide attempt suspect with police

Etim Ekpimah

 

Operatives of the Lagos State Police Command, on Tuesday, stopped a yet-to-be-identified man from jumping into the lagoon.

It was learnt that the man pretended to be picking something from the floor of the Third Mainland Bridge while he was forcing his head through the railings.

Policemen, who were not far away from the scene, were said to have rushed to the man and prevented him from jumping into the lagoon.

It was gathered that the Rapid Response Squad operatives, who apprehended the man, handed him over to cops at the Adekunle Police Station for investigation.

An eyewitness, Salami Ogundele, said he saw the man while driving on the bridge, noting that he did not know what the man was trying to do at the time.

He explained that he had to stop his vehicle when he saw some policemen running to the man through his car mirrors.

Efforts to reach the state Police Public Relations Officer, Chike Oti, proved abortive as he neither answered calls placed to his telephone nor responded to text messages sent to him.

However, the Divisional Police Officer, Adekunle Police Station, Maria Agbor, said if our correspondent wanted information on the man, he should come to the station. (Punch)

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Nigeria’s External Reserves Drop By $1bn In 13 Days |The Republican News

                                                           Naira and dollars

’Femi Asu

The nation’s foreign exchange reserves have dropped to a seven-month low, losing $1.02bn in the 13 days to Monday, latest data from the Central Bank of Nigeria showed on Wednesday.

The external reserves, which stood at $44.30bn on September 28, fell from $44.02bn on October 2 to $43bn on October 15.

The reserves, which rose to a high of $47.865bn on May 10, have dropped by $4.86bn in five months.

As of March 5, the reserves stood at $43.12bn, up from $42.75bn on March 2, according to the CBN data.

Last week, the International Monetary Fund said Nigeria needed to be cautious about the use of its foreign exchange reserves, saying oil prices could decline at any time.

The IMF, in its latest Regional Economic Outlook said tighter global financial conditions resulting from faster-than-envisaged monetary policy normalisation in advanced economies, or a sudden shift in investors’ sentiment could constrain financing and growth for many sub-Saharan African countries.

“Higher US interest rates and a stronger dollar also heighten risks, as observed historically in emerging and developing economies. In particular, the probability of a large reversal in foreign flows in sub-Saharan Africa is significantly higher the US interest rates go up,” the fund added.

The Director, Corporate Communications, CBN, Mr Isaac Okorafor, explained early this month that the external reserves had been going down recently because of higher yields in the United States.

Okorafor, however, gave an assurance that at the current level of $44bn, the reserves were sufficient to take care of the nation’s import bill for 17 to 20 months, much more than the three-month standard recommendation.

According to him, some foreign investors who have gone to emerging markets to take advantage of the high yields have had to go back to the US because of better opportunities there at the moment.

“The drop in our forex reserves is basically as a result of the capital flow reversals arising from rising interest rates in the United States. You will recall that the Federal Reserve has been raising rates and has even given guidance that this would continue in the near term,” he added.   (Punch)

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South Africa Goes Into Recession, Against Predictions Of Growth |The Republican News

           South African president Cyril Ramaphosa

South Africa’s economy tipped into recession as it shrunk 0.7 percent in the second quarter, official data showed Tuesday, dealing a blow to President Cyril Ramaphosa who came to office in February.

The downturn, which was the second consecutive quarter of negative growth, was driven by contractions in agriculture, transport, trade and manufacturing industries.

StatsSA said agriculture was hit by a fall in field crops, drought in the Western Cape and severe hailstorms in Mpumalanga province that damaged production.

After a revised 2.6 percent contraction in the first quarter, the latest data piled pressure on Ramaphosa who has promised a “new dawn” after his predecessor Jacob Zuma’s scandal-tainted nine-year reign.

Micheal Power, an asset manager at Investec, said domestic and international events had combined to stall economic growth.

“We are getting no help from the outside with the strengthening dollar, the escalating trade war and issues that are now facing emerging markets,” he told AFP.

“In some respects, this can be seen as a good thing if it means that we are now not drinking to avoid the hangover.”

The recession is the first in South Africa since the 2008–2009 global financial crisis, when South Africa experienced three consecutive quarters of economic decline.

Before Tuesday’s data, Bloomberg said only one of 12 economists surveyed had predicted a contraction.

Independent analyst Daniel Silke said on Twitter that the figures reflected an “inability to create confidence-building measures to enhance work opportunities and uplift investor sentiment.”

Ramaphosa, who faces elections in 2019, has been on an investment drive to attract foreign investment and tackle unemployment of about 28 percent.

(AFP)

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