Image

N19trn Debt: NESG, Utomi, Rewane Others Call For Caution

Kemi-Adeosun-Ogun

                              Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun

Everest Amaefule and ’Femi Asu

Economic and financial experts have raised the alarm over the nation’s rising debt burden, calling on the Federal Government to spend more on capital expenditure and exercise care in its quest for more borrowing.

The experts, who spoke in separate interviews with our correspondents on Tuesday, reacted to the N7.1tn increase in the nation’s total debt in two years to N19.16tn as of March 2017.

A professor of Political Economy and management expert, Pat Utomi, said, “A country is not different from a household, more or less generally, in terms of how it manages its finances. So, if your personal debt profile is going up at that rate, will you be comfortable?

“However, there are times that you need to spend your way, literally speaking, out of a challenge of output; recession being one of those. But I think that even at that, you need a certain level of care to make sure that you don’t get into an unsustainable debt scenario.”

Utomi expressed hope that the government would be more careful even if the recession required spending.

“My big worry is that the impact of the borrowing may not be reflected on output, in the sense that if we get into a double whammy where our debt balloons, but we don’t have the necessary stimulation of production, especially when our consumption is very external in its orientation, we need be very careful to watch all of those,” he added.

The Chief Executive Officer, Financial Derivatives Company Limited, Bismarck Rewane, said it was wrong for the government to be mainly borrowing to support recurrent expenditure.

He said, “We need to move away from debts for recurrent expenditure to debts for capital expenditure, which is projects-specific. The debt level itself is not dangerous, but the debt service level – the debt burden – is very high.

“We are using 66 percent of our independent revenue to pay interest. So, interest rates must come down substantially, or else, we are in trouble.”

The Board Chairman, Nigerian Economic Summit Group, a private sector think tank and policy advocacy group, Mr Kyari Bukar, said the amount of debt should not be a cause for concern considering the low debt to Gross Domestic Product ratio of the country.

“What one needs to pay attention to is the debt service amount versus the capital expenditure of the budget. The debt servicing and the ability to service the debts are the key areas of concerns that we should pay attention to,” he said.

The 2017 Appropriation Bill, which was passed into law by the National Assembly recently, provided N1.84tn for debt servicing compared to the N2.17tn provided for capital expenditure for all sectors of the economy.

“The kind of debt I will like to see happen is the debt where the money that is borrowed goes into productive sectors such as investment in railways, health care, education and other critical infrastructure. However, if we borrow to pay salaries, it starts to become a problem,” Bukar added.

A professor of Economics at the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago Iwoye, Sheriffdeen Tella, said, “It is not healthy to continue to increase our debts. In fact, the growth in the last two years has been quite alarming, and so there is a need for us to slow down on it. It is not the debt itself that is important, but the interest rates that you pay on such debt and the usage of the debt.

“If the government is going to spend more, as people have advised, the normal thing is that when you have a problem of depression, you go into expansionary fiscal and monetary policies. The expansionary fiscal policy, which is government spending more, must be based on the budget.

“When we say the government should spend more, the budget must be approved early enough; and so, when the government is spending on time, even if it is not much, the economy will expand on the basis of that.”

Some other stakeholders called for the appropriate utilisation of the N7.1tn borrowed by the Federal Government and the 36 states of the federation in the last two years.

The Managing Director, SHI-Logistics Limited, Dr Mike Omotosho, said the increasing debt meant that the burden of servicing it would increase.

Doubting the correct use of borrowed funds, Omotosho said it was wrong for the government to use debt to finance routine government expenses.

He stated, “First if we compare the percentage of our debt to our Gross Domestic Product, it is foolhardy to think we will not feel the negative effects in the long run.

“Borrowing in itself is not the main problem but what we spent the money on. In the last two years, I doubt if we have spent up to N2.5tn on infrastructure and other key policies that can help the economy and the people.”

He added, “This means that over 60 percent of the debt has gone into recurrent expenditure. There is no way the nation will not pay for this pretty soon. We had the N6tn budget in 2016 and about N2.4tn, representing about 40 percent, went into debt servicing. Now, that the debt profile has jumped up, imagine what will go into debt servicing.

“Our policymakers hardly consider the negative impact of debt when they go on a borrowing spree. I would have preferred we take the right way out of our quagmire rather than a decoy easy way that is filled with traps.”

An associate professor of Finance at the Nasarawa State University, Keffi, Uche Uwaleke, said there was no problem if the government utilised the loans to finance projects that would pay back the monies borrowed.

However, he added, if the funds were utilised to fund consumption, then the government had succeeded in mortgaging the future of the nation.

Uwaleke said, “A country like Nigeria with huge infrastructure deficit will have to borrow if it must develop at a fast pace.”              (Punchng.com)

http://www.twitter.com/RNNetwork1

Continue reading

Image

Buhari 2 Years On: Economy Struggles To Exit Recession |The Republican News

e1775-buhari2b3

President Muhammadu Buhari

As the nation marks two years of the President Muhammadu Buhari-administration, the economy is struggling to recover from its worst recession in 25 years, which has hit many Nigerians hard, ’FEMI ASU writes

Still smarting from the far-reaching impact of the recession that the economy slid into shortly after the start of the second year of the President Muhammadu Buhari-administration, many Nigerians are eager to see recovery.

But the Gross Domestic Product report released last week by the National Bureau of Statistics showed that the recession failed to end in the first three months of this year contrary to expectations.

The nation’s GDP contracted by 0.52 per cent (year-on-year) in real terms in the first quarter of 2017, representing the fifth consecutive quarter of contraction since the first quarter of 2016.

The economy had shrunk by 1.5 per cent in 2016, the first full-year contraction in 25 years.

After several months of slowdown in growth on the back of the steep fall in crude oil prices, the economy contracted by 0.4 per cent in the first quarter of 2016, 2.1 per cent in the second quarter, 2.2 per cent in the third and 1.3 per cent in the fourth.

Amid the sustained low oil prices, the resurgence of militant attacks on oil and gas facilities in the Niger Delta last year disrupted the nation’s oil production and worsened government’s revenue woes.

But analysts have said that the way the government handled the economy, particularly the delays by monetary authorities in implementing a flexible foreign exchange policy, exacerbated the impact of weaker oil earnings on the economy.

While the nation has seen a slowdown in the negative growth rates in the last two quarters, the Chief Executive Officer, Financial Derivatives Company Limited, Mr. Bismarck Rewane, said the journey to recovery would take time.

“Two years, we have gone down into the pit and we are coming back out. But the recovery journey is slow, painful and it is going to take time. Even if we get 0.1 per cent positive growth, we are out of recession. But that is not enough to make people comfortable,” he told our correspondent on Sunday.

The Chief Executive Officer, Cowry Asset Management Limited, Mr. Johnson Chukwu, said the Buhari’s government performed below par in its first two years, given the current state of the economy compared to what it was in 2015.

He said, “When the government took over in 2015, the unemployment rate was 7.5 per cent; as of the end of the third quarter of 2016, when the last report was made available, the unemployment rate had gone up to 13.9 per cent. In 2015, the inflation rate was below nine per cent; in April 2017, it was 17.24 per cent.

“In 2014, the GDP grew by 6.22 per cent; in 2015 when the government took over, it grew by 2.78 per cent. In 2016, it contracted by 1.5 per cent. Those are the highlights of parameters you use to measure an economic performance.”

Chukwu said the government should take responsibility for the deterioration of the economy, adding that the government would need to move at a fast pace in driving its economic recovery and growth plan.

The nation’s inflation rate, which climbed to 18.72 per cent in January, fell for the first time in 15 months to 17.78 per cent in February, 17.26 per cent in March, and 17.24 per cent in April.

The stock market has rebounded significantly in recent times as the market capitalisation of listed equities hit the $10tn mark on Friday from N8.716tn on April 21, when the Central Bank of Nigeria established a forex window for investors and exporters to boost liquidity in the forex market.

The foreign reserves, which rose to $30.988bn on May 4 from $25.84bn on December 30, 2016, have declined to $30.494bn as the CBN continued effort to prop up the naira by supplying the forex market.

The naira, which slumped to an all-time low of 520 to the dollar on the parallel market in February, stood at 382 to the dollar on Friday.

Electricity generation in the country has yet to reach the peak generation of 5,074.70 megawatts achieved on February 2, 2016. It stood at 4,206.10MW on Sunday, according to data from the System Operator.

The Global Chief Economist, Renaissance Capital, Charles Robertson, in an emailed report, noted that Nigeria’s per-capita GDP had fallen to around $1,740, from over $3,000 in 2014.

“We think most metrics in Nigeria will be demonstrating improvement in 2017, provided that oil prices and production do not plunge. We are cautiously positive on equities and bonds at an exchange rate of around N400/$,” he said.

Analysts at SBM Intelligence, in a new report on the Buhari’s administration, said perhaps the biggest economic item that dominated the conversation over the last year had been the government’s management of the foreign exchange market and its far-reaching impact on economic performance.

They said, “In this regard, the central bank and the Ministry of Finance have shown less than convincing mastery in handling this hot button issue.

“The announcement in June 2016 of a currency float, which was initially met with delight from investors and the market, turned to be the start of a multi-exchange rate system that bred a mix of frustration and confusion, while doing little to achieve the CBN’s intent of reining in the distortionary effect that short sellers and black marketers were having on the national currency.”

Rewane said the country would not get back to its five-year average growth rate until 2019/2020.

“The government needs to invest and spend. If you are going to be spending only N7tn in a year, which is four per cent of your GDP, that is not going to cut it. You need to do almost three times that for the impact to be felt. As far as I am concerned, everything directionally is okay but in nominal terms, we are still way below what we should be doing,” he added.  (Punchng.com)

http://www.twitter.com/RNNetwork1

Continue reading

Image

Recession: We Never Had This Bad – Rep

By Tony Udemba

Oghene Emma Egoh is a member of the House of Representatives, representing Amuwo Odofin federal constituency of Lagos State, on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
He stated his concern for the growing hunger in the land and the discriminatory approach by the present government in its war against corruption, just as he described the whistle-blower policy as capable of reducing the spate of corruption in the country. He also spoke on insecurity and other topical issues.
What are your views concerning the fight against corruption?
There is no doubt that the government is doing its best in the on-going fight against corruption in the country, especially given the spate of discoveries of huge sums of funds both in local and foreign currencies  in the houses and business premises of some yet to be identified persons. Certainly with these discoveries,   the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, is doing its best in fighting corruption which has continued to ravage the nation for too long. While this is going on,  a major concern  to most Nigerians is the pattern of discoveries of these huge sums of cash,  as exemplified by grave silence maintained by the EFCC on the ownership of the discovered funds , the premises from where the funds were hidden.  Simply put, EFFCC must tell the public the names of the owners of the recovered funds, as well as the owners of the properties where the funds were traced to. These are some of the questions on the lips of most Nigerians.
Nigerians must be saved the puzzle of guessing about the ownership of the funds.  It is not just enough to tell us that they discovered billions in some apartments or premises in Ikoyi, Victoria Island or some other places, EFCC should go the extra mile and ensure that the names of those behind these hidden funds are made public.  The truth is that everyone is getting tired of these unending entertainment going on in the country.  Rather, everyone is anxiously waiting to know the true owners of the discovered funds.
What is your take on the perceived targeting of PDP members in the anti-corruption war?
There is no gainsaying that some members of our great party, PDP, are being targeted in the on-going anti-corruption war. We are greatly concerned about  this sad development going on in the country, and continue to insist that those agencies that are in charge of the fight against corruption must operate in line with the laws and constitution of the nation. In fighting corruption emphasis must be placed on ensuring that the due process of the law is followed, and certainly not in victimizing political opponents or perceived enemies of the government.  What we want is fair treatment to everyone irrespective of political inclinations.
A situation where political opponents are hounded  into detentions, tried in the media, even before proper investigations start, is totally unacceptable. Certainly that is not the proper way of fighting corruption in the country.
How would you rate the whistleblower’s policy of the government?
I would want to commend the government for the introduction of the whistleblower policy, and most importantly for the successes so far recorded by the policy. At least we have seen, and continue to see, also on weekly basis lots of discoveries of huge sums of cash, both in local currencies been hidden by unknown individuals and personalities, in people’s homes and business premises.   It has not been too long that this policy was introduced in the nation, but you can see the amazing results recorded so far.
What is your reaction to the proposed introduction of modular refinery system in the Niger Delta region?
The proposed policy by the federal government to set up modular refineries in the oil-rich Niger Delta region is a welcome development. If fully implemented by the government it will certainly bring to a terminal end many years of illegal oil bunkering and youths restiveness in the area. The policy also has the potentials to address issues of unemployment, militancy, cultism and other violent criminal activities in the region.  But, like I said for this policy to be successful, the government must firstly, undertake a comprehensive census of operators of illegal petroleum refineries in the area to ensure that it has an accurate data of operators of such illegal refineries, as well as their locations.
Secondly, government has to ensure that these illegal operators are part of the new arrangement, and that  they are carried along as stakeholders in the project. The truth is that if they are carried along and made to be part of the modular refineries policy arrangement of the government , certainly all the issues of crude oil theft and illegal oil refining will stop, and become a thing of the past. Again, government must ensure that these operators of illegal refineries are re-orientated and trained to understand the concept and operations of modular refineries. While the government might be considering foreign technologies for the modular refineries, my advice is that it should consider some of our local technologies with the capability of providing such solutions.
What is your take on the economic difficulties in the country?
It is unfortunate that many Nigerians are passing through hard times and find it increasingly difficult to fend for their families. If you go round the country you don’t need to be informed about the level of hardship and the many challenges our citizens are passing through. We have never had it this bad.
The costs of food items and other essential commodities are in the upwards swing and simply out of the reach of the ordinary citizens. People are really suffering in the land, and I would like to urge the federal government to as a matter of urgency come up with palliative measures to bring down the costs of living and cushion the effect of the current difficulties in the country.
Another face of difficulties in the country is the astronomical rise in the number of unemployed persons in the county. The growing number of unemployed persons in the country is simply too alarming and a big problem for the nation if not properly managed . Though this presents a critical picture for the future of the nation and its socio-economic development, there is no doubt that the situation demands an urgent attention of the governments at all levels.  There is the need for the government to urgently come  up with effective policies and initiatives aimed at boosting employment opportunities in order to positively engage the huge number  of job seekers.
What is your take on the growing insecurity in the country?
It is quite unfortunate that for some years now the nation has been grappling with  the challenges of insecurity of various shapes ranging from  terrorist attacks, armed robberies, kidnappings, herdsmen attacks, youth restiveness  and other types of violent crimes. The situation is further made difficult to curb due to the rising army of unemployed persons and the challenges of an under-equipped police force.   The truth is that with a huge population of unemployed persons , it might be difficult to tame the increasing rise in  armed robberies and other  violent crimes across the land.
Again, if you  look at the sophistication of crimes  today in the country, you will no doubt agree with me that there is the urgent need for the federal  government to provide the police with adequate funding to enable them procure sophisticated weapons and equipment to frontally combat  criminal activities  across the country. I know that the government is doing its best in the fight against insecurity, but I strongly believe that the government has to do more in order to safeguard lives and property in Nigeria.
What are your views on the frequent executive – legislators faceoff ?
The three arms of the government work together, and act  as checks and balances to one another for the smooth running of the government. There is no doubt that there may be disagreements between the executive and legislative from time to time, but certainly these disagreements does not mean that they are fighting or quarrelling. One thing you must know is that in democracy there is bound to be agreements and disagreements. That is the beauty of our democracy.
What is your take on the crises facing PDP?
Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, is like a big family, and you will agree with me that even in big families people are bound to have quarrel. But, the most important thing is that sooner after such quarrels they still have to come together in reconciliation to forge ahead, and even be more united than before.  Though some PDP members are in court today,  I am assuring you that sooner or later, the matter will be settled and PDP will be back again in full force. Certainly I have no doubt in my mind that our great party, PDP will come out of this crises to become more stronger and united as the biggest political party in Nigeria and Africa. I am calling all our members to continue to keep faith with the party. Our party is repositioning itself to retake power in 2019.  (The Sun)

http://www.twitter.com/RNNetwork1

Continue reading

Image

Nigeria’s Economy Shrinks Again, MAN LCCI Expect Recovery In Third Quarter

 EmefieleKemiUdom
                                               Emefiele, Udoma and Adeosun

Ifeanyi Onuba and Oyetunji Abioye

The National Bureau of Statistics on Tuesday released the Gross Domestic Product report for the first quarter of this year, which showed that the economy contracted by 0.52 percent in the period.

With the negative growth rate of -0.52 percent, the Nigerian economy is still in recession.

The rate of growth for the first quarter of 2017 is, however, an improvement over the revised -1.73 per cent GDP growth rate as of December 2016.

Related: Nigeria To Exit Recession Soon, Says World Bank |The Republican News

This is the fifth consecutive quarter of contraction that the economy would record since the first quarter of 2016.

The NBS report read in part, “In the first quarter of 2017, the nation’s GDP contracted by 0.52 percent (year-on-year) in real terms, representing the fifth consecutive quarter of contraction since Q1 2016.

“This is higher than the rate recorded in the corresponding quarter of 2016 and higher by 1.21 percentage points from the rate recorded in the preceding quarter.”

However, the rate of growth, which is an improvement over the previous quarter, appears to be in line with the expectations of the Federal Government that the country will come out of recession by June this year.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, had on April 29 said that Nigeria was gradually moving out of recession.

Related: Nigeria To Exit Recession Soon, Says World Bank |The Republican News

He said going by a recent statement by the Central Bank Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, the country would exit recession by the end of June.

The NBS in the report stated that during the first quarter, the aggregate GDP stood at N26.02tn in nominal terms, representing an increase of 17.06 percent over the N22.23tn recorded in the first quarter of 2016.

During the period under review, it explained that the average oil production was 1.83 million barrels per day, which was 70,000 barrels higher than the figure for the fourth quarter of 2016.

It added that real growth of the oil sector slowed by 11.64 per cent year-on-year in the first quarter of 2017, representing a decline of 4.81 percent relative to the rate recorded in the corresponding quarter of last year.

Quarter-on-quarter, the oil sector, according to the report, grew by 14.86 percent in the first three months of this year.

As a share of the economy, the NBS report stated that the oil sector contributed 8.90 per cent of the total real GDP in the first quarter, down from the 10.02 percent recorded in the corresponding period of 2016.

For the non-oil sector, the bureau said growth was largely driven by the activities in the agriculture sector, particularly crop production, Information and Communication Technology, manufacturing, transportation, and other services.

It said, “The non-oil sector grew by 0.72 percent in real terms during the reference quarter. This was 1.05 percent higher than the rate recorded in the fourth quarter of 2016 and 0.90 percent higher than the corresponding quarter of 2016.

“In real terms, the non-oil sector contributed 91.10 percent to the nation’s GDP, higher from the share recorded in the first quarter of 2016 (89.98 percent), but lower than the share recorded in the fourth quarter of 2016 (93.25 percent).”

Related: Economic Recession: Nigeria Economy May Grow By 1% In 2017, Says World Bank |The Republican News

The report put the real growth rate of the agricultural sector in the first quarter of 2017 at 3.39 per cent year-on-year, representing an increase of 0.30 percentage points from the corresponding period of 2016.

For the manufacturing sector, the report stated that the real GDP growth in the sector in the first quarter of this year was 1.36 percent year-on-year, higher than the same quarter of 2016 by 8.36 percentage points.

This, it added, was the first positive growth rate recorded in the sector for over a year.

The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria and the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry have expressed optimism that following the 0.52 per cent contraction of the GDP in the first quarter, the economy should come out of recession in the second or third quarter.

“The 0.52 GDP contraction recorded in the first quarter is an improvement over the 1.73 contractions the economy recorded in December 2016.  We are already on the verge of moving from the negative territory to positive territory. In December, it was -1.73 percent; in March, it was -0.52; it is an improvement,” the Director-General, LCCI, Mr Muda Yusuf, said.

“Some of the positive developments we witnessed in Q1 such as better foreign exchange policy, improvement in ease of doing business and creation of FX window will be reflected in the Q2 result that will be released later this year,” he added.

The President, MAN, Mr Frank Jacobs, said he was not surprised by the negative GDP growth number because the country was not going to come out of recession overnight.

Jacobs said, “In as much as we are trying to get out of recession, it is not going to happen overnight. We expect that from Q3, we will begin to come out of recession. The current figure only shows that we are not yet out of the woods yet. We have to see how to manage production and seek to cope with some of the challenges facing manufacturers.”

Remarking on the outcome of Tuesday’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting, the MAN president said, “There is a need for a special window for manufacturers to access credit at five per cent interest rate. This will help them to play their role of creating jobs and also earn revenue in order to pay taxes.”     (Punchng.com)

http://www.twittercom/RNNetwork1

Continue reading

Image

Incompetent FG’s Ideas Led Nigeria Into Economic Recession, Says Soludo

 charles-soludo
                   Former Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Prof. Charles Soludo

Tony Okafor, Awka

A former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Prof. Chukwuma  Soludo, on Thursday said  poor ideas by the Federal Government’s  policy makers caused the economic downturn in the country.

He added that fixing the nation’s economy  was not rocket science.

Soludo’s position was contained in a paper he delivered at the 2017 International Conference of the Department of Business Administration of the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State.

The theme of the conference was “Managing a recessed economy; options for Nigeria.”

Soludo noted that Nigeria slipped into recession barely a year after the President Muhammadu Buhari administration took over power, stressing that the inability of the country’s policy makers to rise to the challenge plunged the economy into crisis.

He said the recession was avoidable had proactive steps been taken.

He said, “Poor ideas transcended over superior ideas, and we went into recession which was slightly avoidable. That is why academics must be alive to their responsibility of nudging us to reality; the reason I commend you for this international conference.

“Success and failure are all in the mind and only those who persist get to their destination.

“The recession Nigeria went into was largely avoidable and for things to change for the better, Nigeria cannot afford intellectual isolation because there is a need for exchange of ideas among intellectuals from various fields to put things right.

“Though economic crisis started in 2007 when most countries were witnessing recession, the Nigerian economy was growing because of the power of ideas of the people in charge. Instead of sustaining the growth, we drove the economy into this recession.

“For example, between 2010 and 2014, oil price was above $100 per barrel but we were unable to accumulate foreign reserve. When I took over as the CBN Governor, foreign reserve was about $10bn and we kept growing it on an annual basis as a deliberate policy such that it was over $45bn by the time I left.

“In 2010, I warned that if oil price went down to below $40 per barrel, most states would not be able to meet their obligations and that was exactly what happened. So, the problem was that we were not saving and we were even borrowing to implement recurrent expenditures.

“We were borrowing for consumption and for capital projects with the result that all the money we spent was borrowed at a time.

“When the oil price slumped, some people in government even felt that it was not going to last and continued their spending spree. Some also felt that the exchange rate could be fixed and some of us warned that doing so would result to high inflation.

“And when the problem manifested, a fire-fighting approach was adopted by the CBN which decided to give bailout to states. Because of these responses, the economy witnessed a shock and we thought we could reinvent economic theory and principle as a unique Nigerian approach.”

The former CBN boss, however, expressed optimism that the recently launched economic recovery plan of the Buhari government could lead to recovery, especially as there was a mounting pressure on government to perform because election was approaching.

He advised that the number of items in the exclusive list should be reduced in favour of states.

“We do not have to be running to Abuja for everything and that was why I was surprised when some people canvassed that local governments should be going to Abuja to take their allocations directly,” he said.

According to him, the first step should be to revert the control of minerals to the states, which he said should pay taxes to the Federal Government.  (Punchng.com)

http://www.twitter.com/RNNetwork1

Continue reading

Image

80-year-old Man, Wife, Children Arraigned In Court For Stealing Food

court-symbol-of-justice-600x352

An 80-year-old father, Musa Akano, his 45-year-old wife, Kehinde, their two children and one other person were on Wednesday brought before a Chief Magistrate’s Court, sitting in Iyaganku, Ibadan, Oyo State, for alleged burglary and stealing food items from a shop.

The accused were arraigned on four counts of conspiracy, burglary, stealing and receiving stolen goods.

The prosecutor, Shalewa Hammed, said the children of the couple – Musa, 17, and Idowu 11 – on May 8, 2017, conspired with the other accused, Azeez 17, to burgle a house on Ogunde Street, Apete, Ibadan, around 8pm to steal foodstuffs.

The prosecutor also said the accused broke into a shop belonging to Mrs. Olugbomi Jolade, to steal bags of rice, beans, beverages and other household items worth N34,700 on the same day.

He said the couple acted as criminal receivers who also specialised in selling stolen items.

“The offences committed by the accused contravened sections 517, 413, 390 and 427 of the Criminal Code, Cap 38, Vol. II, Law of Oyo State of Nigeria, 2000,” he stated.

The Chief Magistrate, Mrs. A. F. Richard, granted the accused bail in the sum of N50,000 with two sureties each in like sum.       (Punchng.com)

http://www.twitter.com/RNNetwork1

Continue reading

Image

World Bank Blames Nigeria’s Forex Crisis On Fixed Exchange Rate

nairadollars

Currency notes

Everest Amaefule, Abuja

The World Bank has blamed Nigeria’s enduring foreign exchange instability on the fixed exchange regime in the official forex market.

In a publication on African economies titled: ‘Africa’s Pulse,’ the World Bank singled out Nigeria and Angola as two countries that had yet to experience stability in the forex market despite rebound in the prices of commodities being exported.

The report stated, “The rebound in commodity prices and improved growth prospects in some countries have helped stabilise commodity exporters’ currencies.

“However, with the Nigerian naira and Angolan kwanza remaining fixed against the US dollar, the imbalance in the foreign exchange market remains substantial in both countries.”

The report also mentioned Nigeria as one of the countries in the region where there were substantial risks in the banking sector due to a number of factors, including non-performing loans and policy uncertainties.

The World Bank said, “Banking sector vulnerabilities remain elevated in the region, including in Angola, CEMAC countries, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Nigeria. Foreign exchange restrictions, policy uncertainty and weak growth have affected the soundness of the banking sector.

“Non-performing loans have increased, and profitability and capital buffers have decreased. Several proactive measures have been introduced to contain risks to financial stability, including through increased provisioning and by intensifying monitoring and supervision of banks.”

On inflation, the report stated that although inflation remained very high in the region, it had started to ease but singled out Nigeria and Angola as two countries where inflation was rising as a result of the depreciation of currencies in the parallel exchange market.

The report added, “Inflation in the region is gradually decelerating from its high level in 2016 but remains elevated. Although a process of disinflation has started in Angola and Nigeria, inflation in both countries remains high, driven by a highly depreciated parallel market rate.

“Inflation eased in metals exporters, because of greater currency stability and lower food prices due to improved weather conditions.”

The National Bureau of Statistics, however, reported that inflation in the country had continued to increase until it reached a peak in January.

According to the NBS, the inflation rate reduced from 18.72 percent in January to 17.78 percent in February. By March, it further went down to 17.26 per cent. The inflationary figure for April has yet to be released by the bureau.   (Punchng.com)

http://www.twitter.com/RNNetwork1

Continue reading