Nigeria is on it’s way out of recession – World Economics.

World Economics, a financial analysis organisation, says that Nigeria is on its way out of recession.

In a report released on Tuesday, the organisation said it was too early to know if the changes were built on a solid foundation.

The February inflation report released in March by the National Bureau of Statistics revealed that the rate slowed down in February for the first time in 15 months.

“March Sales Managers’ Index (SMI) data suggests that the Nigerian economy is starting to grow out of the recession which saw 10 months of consecutive contraction,” it said.

“The market growth index grew to 53.5 in March as the monthly sales growth index edged up to 51.3, its highest value since March 2016. It is too early to speculate if the recovery is built on solid fundamentals for a sustained recovery but the changes reflected are not insubstantial.

“Price inflation for March, which is tracked by the Prices Charged Index, remained high at 61.3 – and indicative that very high levels of inflation continue.

“Overall, conditions in Nigeria have improved over the past month and managers are expressing optimism that the economy will continue to grow.”

World Economics says the Sales Managers’ Indexes provide the earliest monthly data on the speed and direction of economic activity in the fastest growing areas of the world: Africa, Asia and the America’s.

The World Bank had earlier projected that Nigeria will get out of recession in 2017 and the economy would grow by one percent.

The recession currently experienced is the worst in almost three decades.

Nigeria determined to overcome recession this year – Udoma

Nigeria is determined to emerge from its first recession in a quarter of a century this year and needs to put more effort in revamping its infrastructure, its budget minister said on Wednesday.

Udoma Udo Udoma said the economy was beginning to recover after it experienced a smaller contraction in the fourth quarter, although it was still in a recession.

“The 2017 budget is structured to do just that … we are anxious to get the budget passed so that we can begin the implementation and begin to take all the steps we need to get the economy out of recession,” he told reporters after a cabinet meeting.

Does Recession Truly Exists? – By Otolorin Olabode

Prices of goods have skyrocketed, companies are downsizing, We can’t afford to eat regularly, everyone is complaining. There is mass hunger in the land. This obviously is recession in the eyes of the poor.         On the other hand, let’s look at the analysis of recession by the rich. Owambe parties every Saturday, club outings on Friday, Regular online shopping orders, Lunch at upscale restaurants, frequent overseas trips, First class Air Tickets. finally, they acclaim “Recession is not affecting us”.

 

The two sides of a coin  they say don’t reflect the same outcome. Since, the Government made an official statement about recession in Nigeria, there has been agonizing tales of how Nigerians survive. From a woman stealing a pot of8 Amala to feed herself and her children to people killing Rats for meat. Many have had to subsidize their feeding regime by eating twice per day, while for others, it is a meal per day.

 

Even the Federal Government had to direct its ministers to fly Economy class when travelling by air. The rate of social vices have notched up higher with everyone seeking to use what they have to get what they want albeit through illegal means. The government has been emphasizing on the need to invest in Made-in-Nigeria goods and has made frantic moves to stop recession from scaling high by pumping money into the economy.

 

Nevertheless, there is a certain class of people in the society who despite the current recession continue to display their affluent wealth and we beg to ask “Is recession only affecting the poor?” Or is it not affecting the whole of Nigeria? In this case, the rich are not crying. Tales of how a popular senator bought a Rolls Royce worth 180million Naira still rings a bell in our head. Few days back, a Nigerian artiste bought a Mercedes worth 100million Naira.

 

However, it would have done the Nation enough good if we all can unite and help one another. one seem to wonder why in a 21st century country, there are beggars on the streets and highways. If Buhari and Osinbajo can take pay cuts in their salaries, what is stopping our greedy and self-centered senators from doing such. If Dangote and other rich people can donate to the poor, give scholarship awards to students and set up empowerment centers, what is stopping other so-called millionaires from treading the same path.

 

President Buhari, there is hunger in the land, the masses are suffering while the rich are enjoying, drinking the choicest wines from Spain, eating assorted meals, going on holiday trips and lavishing money on the latest expensive automobiles courtesy of the Nation’s treasury. President Buhari, the poor have the luxury of using rats as meat, eating an unbalanced diet,  getting sick everyday, the kids in the north are malnourished and one of your ministers is saying “Nigerians are not feeding well” . All is well with Nigeria.

 

Otolorin Olabode is a student of the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta. He is a Creative writer and also a seasoned content writer. He handles Latest9ja, a news and entertainment website.

 

He can be reached via Email: otolorinolabode@gmail.com or through +2348064717949. He can also be followed on Instagram: @viewsfromthebod

No Quick Fix To Recession– Osinbajo

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has declared that there is no quick fix to the current problems confronting the nation’s economy.

According to the vice president, “there is no country that can make progress without some pain.”

A statement last night from the office of the Vice President quoted him as declaring this earlier yesterday when he paid an unscheduled visit to the Mpape artisans’ village in Abuja.

He urged the artisans not to despair as government remained focused on improving key sectors that would revive the economy and create jobs saying “we’re trying to deal with the problem in the Niger Delta, address farming, industry and the economy so that this problem you’re talking about will be fixed permanently.”

Osinbajo, who assured of Federal Government’s commitment to supporting the growth of small and medium scale enterprises, said Buhari’s administration was progressing.

The vice president, however, admitted that the present administration was slow “because there have been a lot of damages in the past.”

Earlier, the chairman of the Mpape Artisans Association, Obafemi Adeleye, appealed to Osinbajo to help them secure a permanent location for their workshops. He assured the vice president of their support for Buhari administration’s policies.

Credit: dailytrust

Recession: FG Closes 9 Foreign Missions

The Federal Government has approved the closure of nine foreign missions and their conversion to non-residency representation or concurrent accreditation, as part of measures to reduce the cost of running Nigeria’s foreign representations in the face of economic realities.
It also reduced the number of officers at foreign missions, stopped posting staff of home ministries to foreign missions and approved the training of Foreign Service officers to carry out multiple tasks, including administration, immigration, trade, culture and education related functions.
The Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina said President Buhari stated this while declaring open an induction course organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Nigerian Career Ambassadors-designate who were recently cleared by the Senate.
According to President Buhari: “We are optimistic that the external factors that partly contributed to push our economy into recession will ebb in 2017. Until then, I regret that the resources available to fund our missions abroad will not be as robust as we would like.
“We are working hard to turn around our national economy by effectively reforming our macroeconomic environment through measures, some of which were outlined in my budget speech to the National Assembly last week.”
The president, who said the prevailing economic circumstances have led to a restructuring of Nigerian missions abroad, reminded the Ambassadors-designate that,  “as we are all making great sacrifices at home, we also expect you to similarly make judicious use of the resources put at the disposal of your missions. As Heads of missions, you will be held accountable for the utilisation of all resources under your control. These are lean times, and all of us are expected to do more with less.”
He specifically charged the Ambassadors-designate to change the narrative of Nigeria outside the country by playing up the positive values and outstanding contributions of Nigerians in the global arena.
“For far too long, we have allowed Nigeria to be defined by others, always emphasising our negatives. To the average foreigner, Nigeria evokes 419, terrorism, militancy, communal and religious clashes, insecurity, corruption and all our other faults.
“You have the duty to correct this narrative by taking the initiative to define and portray our country for what it truly is. We are a nation of 180 million vibrant, enterprising, hardworking, hospitable and peaceful people. We are a remarkable nation that has succeeded in harnessing our multiple diversities as strengths such that we are the leading country on the continent. Therefore, you will need to mobilise, sensitise and motivate all your staff so that together you engage with your host governments, the private sector and other segments of the society to explain that Nigeria is much more than the negative image portrayed to them.”
The President further urged them to leverage on the achievements of Nigerians within the country and in diaspora.
“Think of people like Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka, Chinedu Echeruo who founded Hotspot application which he sold to Apple for over a billion dollars; think of Bayo Ogunlesi, who runs over a billion dollar infrastructure fund and is now Adviser to US President-elect; and Jelani Aliyu, an accomplished car designer at General Motors. Indeed, these and other hardworking Nigerian professionals in the diaspora have never forgotten their roots and have been making significant contributions to their communities back home, and even to our economy through  their huge remittances.”
Buhari further urged them to sustain the work ethic characterized by the love of country, professionalism, excellence, integrity and honour associated with the “Nigerian diplomatic tradition established in 1957 by the pioneers of the Nigerian Foreign Service, sometimes referred to as the “12 Apostles” and also “bequeath same to succeeding generations. ”
President Buhari also charged the Ambassadors-designate to stress Nigeria’s commitment to international peace and security through contributions “to nearly every UN peacekeeping initiative since 1960 when we achieved our independence.
In addition, we are the stabilizers and shock absorbers of West Africa, having helped to contain potentially de-stabilising developments in the sub-region.”
Buhari further charged the Ambassadors–designate always to be mindful of the national priorities that “revolve around the economy, security, anti-corruption, good governance, agricultural transformation and infrastructure development, including rail, roads and power” and use their roles “as Principal Representatives to build meaningful partnerships to attract foreign investments, new skills and technologies.
“As Nigerian Ambassadors, you must show leadership, fairness and justice to all. Discipline, probity, accountability and zero tolerance for corruption must be your watchwords. You are expected to project the best image and traditions of our country in your conduct and all you do.”
The president, however, expressed optimism that the current economic recession will fade next year.

Credit: sunnewsonline

Nigerians count losses, blame economic recession for MMM woes.

TOLUWANI ENIOLA writes on how economic recession drove three million Nigerians to embrace the controversial Mavrodi Mundial Moneybox, which has left them in the lurch after a freeze last week

With a 30 per cent return on investment within 30 days and other perks such as bonuses from referrals, the idea was too promising for Oladejo Ojo, an almost broke small-scale business owner, to turn down.

“Even if you don’t have the money, I will lend you. Trust me, try it and see the results,” Ojo’s friend, Olayemi kept prodding him when he complained of his difficulty in getting capital to start the scheme.

The idea sounded too good to be true but the bank statement his friend showed him assuaged his suspicion and fears.

Unsure of the fallout of his decision, Ojo joined the trending Mavrodi Mundial Moneybox, popular known as MMM, in October 2016. With an initial deposit of N17,000, which he borrowed from his friends, he had made a profit of more than N100,000 in less than two months.

In 30 days, his N17,000 initial deposit yielded N5, 100, the 30 per cent of his capital. He also gained more from referral bonuses from the 10 per cent of the amount the subscribers he enlisted contributed.

“It was a miracle of a sort to the biting recession which seriously affected my business in terms of cost of operations and even sales. I completed the mandatory National Youth Service Corps scheme last year with no job.

“I started a small business at the Federal University of Technology in Akure. The strike on the campus also crippled sales. A close friend of mine asked me to join MMM in order to make ends meet. So far, it has been weeks of testimonies. I enrolled five people in the scheme and settled my debt effortlessly,” he said while narrating his experience with SUNDAY PUNCH.

Just like Ojo, Adedeji, a sales executive in the Ikeja area of Lagos joined the MMM scheme last year when his employers could no longer pay his full salary. Adedeji, who was a victim of the failed wonder banks that plunged many Nigerians into debts in 2005, told SUNDAY PUNCH that he decided to participate in the MMM scheme because of the high profit  margins.

He stated, “Ordinarily with my experience with the failed wonder banks, I should be the one advising people not to put in for MMM but with the way it started, it was too nice to shun. Although we knew it was not sustainable, we were driven by the will to survive.

“Owing to the fact that salaries are not paid and the hardship in the country, I decided to invest a little amount of money and gain little, while I planned to withdraw all my capital. I registered with N50,000 to start.”

Adedeji, who has since introduced more than 15 other jobless youths to the scheme, has been able to make close to N500,000 as gains through referral bonuses and the 30 per cent of his initial capital.

The sweet melody however changed for Ojo and Adedeji last week when the founders of MMM announced that the accounts of three million Nigerians had been frozen for one month.

Both men are still in a daze over the announcement as their initial capital and profits are trapped in the scheme.

“When I got the news that our accounts had been frozen on Tuesday, I was traumatised because I was expecting N100,000 as bonuses that day. I am beginning to regret this because I was planning to use the fund to buy materials for my business,” Ojo told SUNDAY PUNCH.

How MMM works

From Lagos to Abuja to Kano and Aba, MMM became the solution to millions of Nigerians struggling to survive the economic recession.

MMM was created in 1989 in Russia by Sergei Mavrodi, Vyacheslav Mavrodi, and Olga Melnikova.  It describes itself as “a community of ordinary people, selflessly helping each other, a kind of the global fund of mutual aid.”

The scheme encourages its participants to send ‘help’ (money) to other participants who had provided help previously.

For instance, if one of its participants accepts to provide help of N50,000, the bank account of the person who requested an help of N50,000 or people whose total request equals N50,000 will be sent to such a participant to pay the money into. In the following month, such a helper would get 30 per cent of his initial capital plus bonuses from other referrals.

A statement on its website explains the business thus, “This is the first sprout of something new in modern soulless and ruthless world of greed and hard cash. The goal here is not the money. The goal is to destroy the world’s unjust financial system. Financial apocalypse! Before you join, be sure to be acquainted with our ideology!”

Also on its website, although it claims to have run the scheme successfully in 118 countries, SUNDAY PUNCH gathered that it was banned in China, Zimbabwe and South Africa on the grounds of being fraudulent. In South Africa, our correspondent learnt that accounts of its subscribers were frozen.

Despite its antecedents in other countries, MMM caught on like wildfire in Nigeria. Google’s Communications and Public Affairs Manager for Anglophone West Africa, Mr. Taiwo Kola-Ogunlade, said MMM has been a major trending topic in Nigeria’s cyberspace.

Web traffic data and analytics, Alexa.com showed that the MMM website was rated the 12th most visited website in Nigeria and 3,330 globally.

Renowned economist, Prof. Akpan Ekpo, in an interview with SUNDAY PUNCH, said  the scheme was not sustainable because it is a Ponzi scheme.

Ekpo described MMM as a Ponzi scheme because it imitated the investment model of Italian businessman, Charles Ponzi. According to him, MMM is fraudulent because it uses the contributions of new investors to pay the old ones.

“Those who partake in such schemes would reap initially while later, it would fail because it is not sustainable,” he stressed.

Repeated warnings were issued from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Securities and Exchange Commission that MMM was not feasible and should not be patronised, but many Nigerians did not pay heed.

“The commission hereby notifies the investing public that the operation of this investment scheme has no tangible business model hence it’s a Ponzi scheme, where returns are paid from other people’s invested sum. Also, its operation is not registered by the commission,” SEC stated.

But reacting to the criticisms by the government agencies, the founder of the scheme, Sergei Mavrodi, urged the Federal Government to look at the benefits of the scheme, adding that many Nigerians had benefitted from it.

In a scathing open letter addressed to the Federal Government, Mavrod was quoted as saying, “What are you trying to get? Do you want the MMM system to collapse and millions of people to suffer? Who will support them then if now MMM is their only means of livelihood? Will you? You even don’t pay wages to people? Or might you not care about them? Might you be using a trendy topic to make a good name for yourselves? What will you say to a mother who will have no money to buy food for her child? Will you let her child die for the sake of the higher interests of the economy?

“You say that MMM is a scam. What is the scam here, if all members are warned in advance about all the risks, the possible and impossible ones? They know there are no investments at all. The warning is a red text on a yellow background placed on the most prominent place of the website.”

Recession pushed Nigerians to MMM — Experts

MMM launched its website in Nigeria when the recession began to bite Nigerians hard in November 2015. By the last quarter of 2016, up to three million Nigerians had joined the scheme. There are other get-rich-quick schemes such as Ultimate Cycler, Crowd Rising Paradise, Helping Hands but MMM is the most popular.

Financial experts say if the economy was not in bad shape, less people would have fallen for the Ponzi scheme.  From the last quarter of 2015 till date, life has been hard for the average Nigerian.

The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun,  had declared that Nigeria was in its worst possible time, quoting the Gross Domestic Product figures for the 2016 second quarter issued by the National Bureau of Statistics.

According to the NBS, in the second quarter of 2016, the nation’s GDP declined by -2.06 percent (year-on-year) in real terms.

“This was lower by 1.70 percentage points from the growth rate of 0.36 percent recorded in the preceding quarter, and also lower by 4.41 percentage points from the growth rate of 2.35 percent recorded in the corresponding quarter of 2015,” the NBS had stated.

Similarly, recent data published by the bureau also showed that the economic recession had led to 1.5 million job losses. In the 2016 report on underemployment and unemployment in Nigeria, the NBS stated that the country’s unemployment rate rose from 10.4 per cent in the last quarter of 2015 to 12.1 per cent.

Also, at the parallel market, the prolonged scarcity of foreign exchange also forced the naira to an all-time-low of 420 against the United States dollar.

Manufacturing firms, industries and banks are some of the worst hit. Earlier in the year, many banks and industries sacked thousands of workers in a bid to contain the recession.  With a dip in revenue occasioned by the falling oil prices, many states of the country also cannot pay workers’ backlog of salaries.  The effects of this have been damning for families.

To compound Nigerians’ woes, food prices have also increased, making them beyond the reach of the poor. A market survey conducted by our correspondent showed that the prices of some food items have increased by over 100 per cent since the inception of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.

Traders and consumers of staple food items such as rice, beans, garri, palm oil, vegetable oil, flour, wheat, spaghetti etc. are lamenting the soaring food prices which are taking its toll on their businesses and homes.

The arrival of MMM became an elixir of a sort for millions of Nigerians who were already pushed to the wall.

A MMM subscriber, Bayo Salako, in an interview with SUNDAY PUNCH said he considered MMM as a substitute for lack of job.

“For personal and security reasons, I can’t disclose how much I have earned, but I can honestly tell you that by the grace of God and with the help of MMM, I’ve been able to upgrade my life from my initial status to my current level,” he said.

Similarly, Ekiti-State based civil servant, Fajewonyomi Akinwunmi, said he took to MMM to cushion the effect of  unpaid salaries.

Akinwunmi was invited by a friend to join MMM and in no time, he had introduced 10 people to the scheme. This, according to him, has transmuted to thousands of naira for him monthly.

He said, “I initially thought it was one of these fake schemes but after some months, I decided to register and give a try. The first ‘help’ I provided was a boom and ever since then, it has been from one testimony to the other. It has really changed my life and boosted my finances. It took me out of the rat race of recession.”

Amidst the challenges of skyrocketing inflation, rising unemployment, unpaid salaries and mass retrenchment that have been the hallmark of the economic recession, many Nigerians have made millions of naira as profits.

Sharing his success story from the scheme, Bamidele Michael said he joined MMM after several persuasions from friends and acquaintances.

“Being a sceptical person, I observed how they operated and how people get paid. I finally joined in October after being personally convinced. I invested N300,000 and got extra N95,000 as gain,” he told SUNDAY PUNCH.

Although majority of those who invested in the scheme are low and middle-income earners, many rich Nigerians joined the fray. The story of Jane shared on the MMM website showed that the rich have not been left out of the scheme.

Jane’s testimonial partly read, “My name is Jane. I reside in Lagos, Nigeria. On the 1st of November 2016 and 3rd November 2016,  I did pledge to provide help of 3,200,000 on both days and on the 29th of December 2016, I requested to get a help of 10,238,000, an accumulation of my  30 per cent mavro and some referral bonuses. In less than 48 hours, all funds were paid into my account. MMM Nigeria is real and really pays.”

An economist, Johnson Chukwu, blamed the recession for the rush for Ponzi schemes in the country.

Chukwu said since millions of naira of savings might be trapped in the scheme, the effects will be on the micro level.

He said, “Owing to the recession, a lot of people are facing hard times. If you close the windows to legitimate businesses, people will look for anything that will keep them alive. The MMM came at a point when people were desperate to survive. The returns on investment are way outside this world. It became too attractive for people who had no opportunities for gainful engagements.”

Banker and financial analyst, Kunle Ezun, said although the banks would not lose much because they didn’t lend to the MMM subscribers, the failure of the scheme would be felt.

Ezun maintained that since over three million Nigerians enrolled for the scheme, it had become an income line for the banks because they served as the platform for the transfer of funds.

He said, “You can’t rule out the fact that there will be an impact on the banks. Banks provided the platforms for funds transfer. If we put that into context, it means whatever transactions that were done by the MMM subscribers, there was a level of income that accrued to the banks. If every bank took N100 on every transfer, that’s a lot.”

The Director-General of the West African Institute for Financial and Economic Management, Prof. Akpan Ekpo,  stressed that millions of Nigerians would not have patronised MMM if the country’s economy was stable.

The economist stated that since many of the MMM subscribers were from the informal sector, the loss of their savings would affect the sector.

He said, “The government should work more than last year. It needs to spend more on capital projects and get us out of the recession. The government should find ways to create opportunities for employment and provide temporary relief for the jobless. Recession drives the scheme.

“People are wrongly saying the government should not spend more on recurrent expenditure. But when you are in a recession, where workers are owed salaries, the Federal Government must ensure that it gives money immediately to the state governments or directly to those who are being owed so that demands for goods and services will increase. When in a recession, you have to spend both recurrent and capital expenditure. Otherwise, people will patronise fraudulent schemes and when they lose money for a long time, crime will increase.”

Tale of regrets, debts

The sudden news that the Ponzi scheme had frozen the accounts of its participants for one month on Tuesday threw the country into panic.

A statement by the promoters of the scheme cited “heavy workload on system” as the reason for the ban.

A day after freezing the accounts of its subscribers in Nigeria, the MMM scheme launched its website in Kenya, promising 40 per cent return on investment in 30 days, 10 per cent higher than what it gave its Nigerian subscribers.

With the freezing of the accounts, participants who were supposed to withdraw their profits and 30 per cent interest cannot do so until January 2017, further confirming the fears that the scheme had crashed.

This will be a bleak Christmas for millions of its subscribers who were expecting to get “help” in December from the scheme.

Bola Adeyinka, a job seeker told SUNDAY PUNCH that when she heard the news, she lost appetite for food. Adeyinka invested N200,000 which she partly borrowed from her sister.

“I put all my savings into the scheme. I was expecting N300,000 today. My target was to reap N500,000. If I can get my N200,000 back, I won’t do it again. I pray that they lift the suspension in January,” she told SUNDAY PUNCH.

Also on Tuesday, while Ojo was expecting to be paid over N100,000 as bonuses, Adedeji was expecting N57,000 as bonus. These are apart from their initial capital.

If the scheme crashes, they would have lost thousands of naira. People like Jane who invested millions of naira are the worst hit.  Some of them took to the social media to express their despair as the reality of losing their investments dawned on them.

Akinwunmi, another subscriber, said, “Waking up this morning to read from my private office (that it had been suspended until January) was shocking.”

Although the promoters of the scheme had tried to pacify its subscribers not to panic, the red signal is evident based on the fact that the scheme crashed after a temporary suspension in South Africa.

An online medium, DailyPost, had reported that a Benue State indigene, identified simply as Adakole, tried to commit suicide by ingesting insecticide when he learnt that MMM had frozen his account.

Adakole reportedly invested N300,000 meant for his wedding in the scheme. Checks by our correspondent showed that many people committed suicide when the scheme crashed in Russia.

To forestall similar occurrences,  the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, on its Twitter handle, asked Lagosians to quickly dial the toll-free number 112 to report any case of attempted suicide.

N7.3trn 2017 budget‘ll end recession – Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday presented to the National Assembly, an aggregate budget revenue profile of N7.298 trillion for the 2017 fiscal year, which is about 20.4% increase over the N6.06 trillion 2016 budget estimates.

The occasion was also one which provided the President an avenue to reel out his scorecard on the performance of the 2016 budget, which according to him, had attained 59% implementation; representing N3.58 trillion out of the N6.08 trillion budgeted, as at September ending.

He pointed out that the 2017 budget, tagged “Budget of Recovery and Growth”, was higher than the 2016 Appropriation by about 19.95 per cent.

Buhari said the implementation of the 2016 Budget was hampered by the low oil prices in the first quarter of the year, and disruptions in crude oil production which led to significant shortfalls in projected revenue.

It would be recalled that there had been various attacks by the Niger Delta Avengers and other groups in the oil producing region that reduced the country’s oil production by about 50 per cent.

He said this also negatively affected revenue collection by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS).

He, therefore, assured that 30.7% of the 2017 appropriation bill will be capital in line with the determination of federal government to reflate and pull the economy out of recession as quickly as possible.

Parameters of the expenditure are predicated on oil price benchmark of $42.5, oil production rate of 2.2million barrel per day and exchange rate of N305 to a US dollar.

This is against the N290 to a US dollar earlier proposed in the 2017-2019 Medium Term Expenditure Frame work (MTEF) forwarded to both chambers of the National Assembly for approval in October this year.

A breakdown of the budget proposals as submitted by the President shows that N419.02 billion was earmarked for statutory transfers, N1.66 trillion for debt servicing, N177.46 billion as sinking fund.

Others are N2.98 trillion for non-debt re-current expenditure, N2.24 trillion for capital expenditure including capital in statutory transfers.

Sectoral allocations of the budget show that in capital votes, Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing got the lion share of N529 billion, followed by Ministry of Transportation which has N262 billion, Ministry of Interior, N150 billion, Ministry of Defence N140 billion among others.

Specifically, the President remarked that in line with his administration’s commitment to an independent and efficient Judiciary, 2017 budgetary provisions for the third arm of government has been increased from N70 billion it was last year to N100billion.

Buhari added that aggregate revenue available to fund the federal budget is N4.94 trillion which is 28% higher than 2016 full year projections.

Oil, according to him, is projected to contribute N1.985 trillion of the N4.94trillion , while non oil revenues, largely comprising Companies Income Tax, Value Added Tax, Customs and Excise duties, and Federation Account levies are estimated to contribute N1.373 trillion.

“We have set a more realistic projection of N807.57 billion for Independent Revenues, while we have projected receipts of N565.1 billion from various Recoveries. Other revenue sources, including mining, amount to N210.9 billion”, he said.

President Buhari further told the lawmakers that the 2017 budget has a deficit plan of N2.36 trillion which is about 2.18% of GDP and to be financed mainly by borrowing, projected to be about N2.32 trillion.

“Our intention is to source N1.067 trillion or about 46% of this borrowing from external sources while, N1.254 trillion will be borrowed from the domestic market”, he explained.

But in the votes for recurrent expenditure, the Ministry of Interior has the largest allocation of N482.7billion, followed by the Ministry of Education which has N390billion, Defence N325billion, and Health N252billion etc.

Also, President Buhari assured Nigerians that his administration was determined to ensure a departure from dependence on imported goods to locally made products.

He promised to ensure a new era where Nigerians consumed locally made products, saying “for many years we depended on oil for foreign exchange revenues. In the days of high oil prices, we did not save, we squandered.

“We wasted our large foreign exchange reserves to import nearly everything we consume. Our food, our clothing, our manufacturing inputs, our fuel and much more. In the past 18 months when we experienced low oil prices, we saw our foreign exchange earnings cut by about 60 per cent.

“Also, our reserves eroded and our consumption declined as we could not import to meet our needs. By importing nearly everything, we provide jobs for young men and women in the countries that produce what we import, while our own young people wander around jobless.

“By preferring imported goods, we ensure steady jobs for the nationals of other countries while our own farmers, manufacturers, engineers and marketers remain jobless.”

“We will CHANGE our habits and we will CHANGE Nigeria,’’ he said.

Earlier in his earlier remarks, the Senate President Bukola Saraki, said budget estimates from the executive no matter how beautifully drafted, remains a proposal that can be tampered with by the legislature in line with constitutional provisions.

He added that whatever approval made by the legislature on the budgetary provisions, should be well implemented by the executive to arrest the hunger in the land.

And moving the vote of thanks, Speaker, House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, described as frustrating, the repeated experience of poor implementation of the nation’s annual budget.

According to him, “….an Appropriation Act must be allowed to run for an uninterrupted period of twelve months, for the Executive to have enough time to execute it. This means that both Mr. President and the National Assembly must find a way to continue the execution of the 2016 Budget, especially the capital component till May 6, 2017, which is twelve months from the date Mr. President signed the 2016 Appropriation Bill.”

He asked the President to be ‘creative’ in ensuring the workability of the budget to achieve the desired result, assuring that the federal legislature cannot and would not be an obstacle to proper budget implementation.

FG Unveils N7.02trn Package To End Recession

As part of moves to get the country out of recession, the Federal Government has outlined new revenue sources to fund the 2017 budget.
This is even as the House of Representatives also yesterday passed for the Second Reading the 2017-2019 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP).
The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udoma Udo Udoma, who unfolded the new revenue measures, stated this when he appeared before a joint committee of the Senate on Appropriation and Finance, to defend the MTEF/FSP. He said the Federal Government will issue new oil licences, review the current joint venture arrangements with oil companies, review marginal oil fields and mount pressure on revenue generating agencies to surpass expected targets.
Also, the government has stated that the 2017 budget oil benchmark will be pegged at $42.50. This is a departure from $38 per barrel which was used for 2016 budget.
Daily oil production volume for next year was retained at 2.2 million barrels. The exchange rate was put at N305 to the dollar. The new exchange rate is significantly higher than that of 2016. The 2016 budget exchange rate was pegged at $197.
Udoma said N10 trillion is being targeted by the government as revenue during the 2017 fiscal year. Out of this amount, about N5 trillion is expected to be generated from sales of crude oil.
Non-oil revenues will rake in about N5.06 trillion. These revenues are expected to come from corporate and company taxes, Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas, Stamp Duties, capital gains tax, Value Added Tax (VAT), Customs, Excise, fees, surcharges on luxury items, special levies and Federal Government independent revenue.
The 2017 budget which was initially pegged at N6.6866 trillion, has also been raised to N7.298 trillion. In 2016, the government submitted an ambitious N6.059 proposal to the National Assembly.
Out of this, the government is expected to expend N1.488 trillion in servicing domestic debts. In 2016 budget, the Federal Government earmarked N1.307 trillion.
On foreign debt, the Federal Government will spend N175.882 billion. It spent N54.480 on foreign debt servicing in the 2016 budget.
On capital expenditures, the Federal Government budgeted N2.058 trillion. In the 2016 budget, N1.587 was earmarked by the Federal Government for capital projects.
Recurrent expenditures will gulp N1.866 trillion. About N1.748 was budgeted for the same purpose in the 2016 Appropriation. The new figure is coming, despite claims by the Federal Government that thousands of ghost workers have been yanked off from government’s payroll.
The Federal Government also intends to borrow N2.321 trillion. Out of this, N1.253 will be sourced locally, while N1.067 will be gotten from foreign sources. In the 2016 budget, N1.182 was reportedly borrowed locally, while N635.8 billion was gotten through foreign borrowing.
On budget projections, Udoma said: “I know N7 trillion seems larger than N6 trillion. In actual dollar term, the 2017 budget is smaller. We have had challenges in revenue generation in funding the 2016 budget. We are trying to get to the bottom of revenue generating agencies in order to raise more money.
“We want to issue a presidential order to ensure that revenue generating agencies are unable to spend money unless payment of salaries until their budgets are passed.
President Muhammadu Buhari is expected to present the 2017 budget proposal today before a joint session of the National Assembly.
Unlike in the past, the budget submission will go ahead,  despite the non-passage of MTEF and FSP by the Senate.
Meanwhile, the House  of Representatives yesterday passed for Second Reading, the 2017-2019 MTEF/FSP submitted by Mr. President.
The document was referred to the joint Committees on Appropriations, Finance and Loans, Aids and Debt Management. It contains plans for capital expenditure for 2016 increased to N635.77 billion.
It also has a revenue target of N4.169 trillion (against N3.856 trillion in 2016) and total expenditure of N6.687 trillion.
A further breakdown of the MTEF showed the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is expected to grow at 3.02% in 2017, with crude oil benchmark pegged a $42.5 per barrel and 2.2mbpd oil production; foreign exchange pegged at N350/$ while fiscal deficit was pegged at 3 percent.

Read More: sunnewsonline

2017 Budget Will Pull Nigeria Out of Recession- Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari has appealed to Nigerians not to lose faith in the ability of his administration to make a difference in their lives, saying the 2017 Budget contains measures that will pull Nigeria out the current economic recession.
The president in his 2016 Eid-el-Maulud message to Muslim faithful, urged Nigerians not to despair as he was doing his best to redress the situation, particularly with a number of policies he had embedded in the 2017 budget proposals, which he would lay before the National Assembly on Wednesday.
He said: “As we use the memorable occasion of this celebration to reflect on our current challenges, I urge you not to lose faith in the ability of this administration to make a difference in the lives of our people.
“The 2017 Budget proposals, which I will lay before the National Assembly on Wednesday, will contain measures that we are confident will get the nation out of its economic woods.”
The president, while wishing all Muslims a happy and memorable celebration of the birth of the great Prophet, said through His (Prophet)  teachings, particularly on peaceful living, tolerance, sobriety, generosity, sacrifice and honesty, and wisdom, the nation had gained immensely in building a harmonious and prosperous society.
Buhari said the universal truth of the Prophet’s values remained unchanged.
He said: “Against all odds, we have used these pillars of strength in securing a just and fair society, and our efforts are beginning to yield dividends in curbing terrorism, militancy, corruption and other crimes that devalue our humanity.”
Buhari called on Nigerians not to allow the reality of the temporary challenges to undermine “our hope, reverse our collective will to succeed, or divide us”.
Rather, Buhari said, it should remind us of “why we need to stay together, fight together and succeed together”.
According to him, we all share a vision of a better Nigeria, and we will all share in the responsibility of building the country of our dreams.
He said: “As we look forward to 2017 with hope and huge expectations, let me assure you that with collective dedication and hard work, we will overcome the mountain of economic difficulties, and return our country to the path of prosperity.”
The president described the occasion of the Prophet’s birth as, “another period of celebration, and deep reflection”.
“Celebration, because we are marking the birth of Prophet Mohammed (Peace Be Upon Him), and deep reflection, because it is another opportunity of pausing, taking a deep breath and reflecting on the current realities before us,” he added.
Credit: thisdaylive

Udoma Udo Udoma: Nigeria needs oil to get out of oil-propelled economy

Udoma Udo Udoma, minister of budget and national planning, says Nigeria needs revenue from crude oil to diversify its economy.

In a statement issued by Akpandem James, his media aide, on Thursday, the minister said the country’s immediate priority was to get oil production output back to the desired level to secure revenue needed to diversify the economy.

He told the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) regional director for Africa, Abdoulaye Mar Deiye, in Abuja, that “although the country is focused on diversification of its economy, it needs oil to get out of the oil-propelled economy”.

He explained that though the global slump in oil prices introduced some shocks that affected the country’s economy, the immediate reason for the slump into recession was the massive reduction in output caused by militancy in the oil-bearing Niger Delta region.

While exploring a number of engagements that would ensure the return of normal production activities in the region, Udoma said government was intensely focused on a long term economic agenda that would ensure sustainable economic growth and development.

He also briefed the visiting UNDP regional director on the National Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (NERGP) that is currently being finalised by the federal government.

Her acknowledged the support of the UNDP, particularly in the area of technical assistance, including capacity building and the humanitarian situation in the northeast.

In his response, Deiye expressed delight that the ministry of budget and national planning was given the coordinating role of the situation in the northeast and indicated the UNDP’s willingness to support the ministry to ensure success in its defined goals.

He said UNDP was aware of the current complexity of the situation in Nigeria, particularly with respect to the security challenges and the oil price collapse, stating that the fall in oil price which is the country’s main source of revenue had also affected budget implementation.

Despite these challenges, he acknowledged that Nigeria still remains the largest economy in Africa.

We’re building on Vision 2020 to get out of recession, says Udoma

Udo Udoma, minister of budget and national planning, says the economic plan of the federal government to pull the country out of recession builds on the previous development plans, particularly the Vision 20-2020.

Briefing the national assembly about the plan —National Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (NERGP) — on Wednesday, Udoma said the need for the plan and its effective implementation was all the more imperative, especially given the current state of the economy.

Recalling that the country has had several beautifully-packaged but hardly-implemented economic plans in the past, he said efforts must be made to ensure that the new plan does not eventually suffer the fate of its predecessors.

To ensure the NERGP does not go the way of others, he disclosed that government was putting in place a specially staffed delivery unit that will drive implementation of the NERG Plan through effective monitoring and evaluation.

The NERGP focuses on five broad areas: macroeconomic policy, economic diversification and growth drivers, competitiveness, social inclusion and jobs, and governance and other enablers.

Acknowledging receipt, and confirming consideration of earlier inputs from the national assembly, he told the lawmakers, drawn mainly from the relevant committees of the two chambers, that “we are here to consult you in a more organized and focused way so as to further enrich the plan with further inputs from you”.

He told them that the plan is national in nature and will require inputs from the National Assembly and the sub-national governments.

The time-frame for the plan is 2017 to 2020 and all subsequent annual budgets under the Buhari Administration will be driven by the NERGP.

“This plan builds on the previous development plans the country has developed, particularly the Vision 20-2020,” Udoma said.

“The development of this plan is part of a process we have been working on since we came into government. We started with the Strategic Implementation Plan (SIP) for the 2016 budget.”

He explained that regarding the NERGP, consultations had been held with several stakeholders, including a retreat involving representatives of the private sector, academia, government officials and other stakeholders, which generated very insightful ideas on issues to consider in the plan.

“We also held a roundtable with the Honourable Commissioners and Permanent secretaries of State’s Ministries of Economic Planning and Budget, as well as our Development Partners,” he said.

“It is a medium-term plan (2017-2020), which is expected to drive Nigeria to a minimum growth rate of 7% within the plan period.

“However, the fact that we are in recession means that the plan is one that must also be designed to get us quickly out of recession. The NERGP therefore fulfills the dual goal of identifying short-term recovery initiatives to get us quickly out of recession, as well as presenting a medium-term growth plan.

“Our goal is to have an economy with low inflation, stable exchange rates, and a diversified inclusive growth. The proposed initiatives prescribed by the plan address the country’s poor competiveness, and are designed to improve the business environment and attract investment in infrastructure. Jobs and social inclusion are also key deliverables of the plan.”

Gershom Bassey, the chairman of the session, who is also the vice chairman of the senate committee on petroleum upstream, spoke on the need to focus on some very strong points of the economy, as trying to address all the economic challenges at once may be counter-productive.

Recession: Tougher Times Ahead- Oyedepo

Founder of the Living Faith Church Worldwide, Bishop David Oyedepo, has said that Nigerians will experience harsher economic challenges.

He, thereby, enjoined them to draw closer to God in order to survive the impending tough economic climate.

Oyedepo said this on Tuesday during the opening session of the annual Shiloh programme of the church in Ota, Ogun State.

According to a statement from the church, the opening session was witnessed by over 2,000 delegates from 41 countries.

“It looks tough presently but it’s going to get tougher in the days to come. Obedience to the terms of covenant will put you in total command. When all your obedience is fulfilled, all opposition is brought down,” he said.

Alluding to the Bible, the clergy said that recession was not a new phenomenon, urging the audience to be committed to God to have exemptions.

“However, from scriptures, all the children of the covenant, who walk according to biblical truth will always enjoy exemptions from the gross darkness and evils plaguing the world,” he said.

Credit: punchng

Time To End The Fake Recession And Change The System By Ola’ Idowu

I would like to apologise beforehand to law-abiding Nigerians going through the pangs of what we’ve termed an economic recession with my cast headline for this article, but the truth needs telling. There is no genuine recession in our land; what we’ve been experiencing is a contrived recession by forces who do not desire a change in the system and would rather want President Muhammadu Buhari (PMB) to carry on with the corrupt practices that have bedeviled the nation for several years.

 

Repeatedly since February of this year, I’ve written articles to alert Nigerians of the likely slow-down or measure we would experience through the course of the year, due to the activities of these dark forces who want to weaken PMB’s drive against corruption and force him to drop his tough hands against their most profitable industry for years. Thus they starved the economy of dollars (knowing the economic system they have created in the last 30 years depends solely on dollars as oxygen) and also engineered a crisis in the Southern oil producing states through so-called Niger Delta Avengers and numerous other splinter groups, to keep damaging oil production facilities so as to reduce government’s earnings from oil exports (which accounts for 90% of government yearly revenue).

 

Thus its clear to anyone who has an iota of thinking cells in their brain that our kind of economic recession is contrived and has nothing to do with, say, a financial crisis in the banking industry, a collapse of the housing industry through mortgage debts, a massive stock market crash etc. – factors that in most economies are the real triggers for economic recession (negative growth and being financially skint). If I want to be spiritual, I did say the reason God has allowed this plumb-line measure over the nation is due to many years of our acquiescing to corruption and hailing corrupt men as good people. We’ve thrown away our values and joined the bandwagon, amassing ill-gotten wealth and failing to help our fellow citizens in any way. Thus, it might be the reason why we’ve gone through this measure for this long, but it is time to bring it to an end. To be clear, all the compromised voices and economists presented to the President as having a solution are just simply what they are – compromised. The solution to this contrived recession does not lie in printing more naira (Quantitative Easing), as that is simply confetti to be thrown at the rich one percent that would fuel inflation; neither does it lie in spending our way through it.

 

The problem we have is not a shortage of Naira, but an economic system that has been created in the last 30 years that is dependent on dollars. Either through importation of essential products like food and oil, or through corruption and looting that makes the corrupt ones prefer to store their value of wealth in dollars and hide it abroad, or through currency speculators who prefer to make a run on the naira and also store their value of wealth in dollars. Add to that the CBN’s style since 1985 under IBB of auctioning scarce dollar earnings against the naira either by selling it to banks or the parallel market who then round-trip on it to make profit, thereby creating an illegal industry that has seen the rise of Bureau De Changes (BDCs) to a staggering number of over 2,800 BDCs. Also, the CBN constant substitution of earned oil exports in dollars with naira equivalent before distribution to the three tiers creates a system of excess liquidity (Naira supply) which they then buy back with Treasury bills, bonds and different Open Market Operation (OMO) instruments they have created at rates as much as 15% in a ponzi pyramid scam not different from the popular MMM.

 

This ponzi scam built into our monetary system since the 1980s, especially under IBB, has ensured only banks (with corrupt individuals as their main shareholders), super rich elites, CBN directors, portfolio investors, and Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs) are the main beneficiaries, leaving millions of Nigerians in stark neglect and stifling the development of our nation. Our monetary policy system has been developed since 1985 to strictly cater for corruption and treasury looters; if you want to fight corruption, deliver long abandoned Nigerians and lay a foundation for the nation’s long-term economic prosperity.

 

The foundation we have at the moment is only good enough to build an underdeveloped bungalow, which is what Nigeria has looked like since independence. The best way to lay a long-term economic security and prosperity plan for the nation is by remaking this foundation. We cannot build a superstructure on the present foundation we have, as it wouldn’t support it. The foundation we have in the country at the moment was built since 1985 to support corruption and at best in terms of development build a slanting bungalow. The way out is to change our monetary policy completely, and add to it fiscal policy changes (which is a continuous process to stop corruption and block leakages). But without changing our monetary system we cannot truly fight corruption, neither can we lay a solid foundation for long-term economic prosperity in Nigeria.

 

As a change scholar and manager, I’ve looked at different change models and frameworks that can work in government, particularly the Kurt Lewin (Unfreeze, Change and Freeze) model, but realized that would have been more suitable for a military era like when we had the Buhari/Idiagbon regime, as it would involve suspending the constitution (the unfreezing stage if we were to apply it to governance in Nigeria). I thus settled for a more suitable one in the McKinsey 7S Framework. Developed in the early 1980s by Tom Peters and Robert Waterman, two consultants working at the McKinsey & Company consulting firm, the basic premise of the model is that there are seven internal aspects of an organization that need to be aligned if it is to be successful. It talks about the Hard S’s like Strategy, Structure and Systems and Soft S’s like Shared values, Style, Staff and Skills. While these might sound like management tools used for organizational change, some of it if not all can be adapted for the kind of change needed at this point in time to end this contrived recession, lay the right foundation for our long-term economic security and move the nation forward in the right direction.

 

If adapted, we can, for instance, look at the main systems that run any nation’s economy and no doubt the first thing you look at is its monetary system. I’ve mentioned some of the issues wrong with our present monetary system, which has kept Nigerians in poverty. Make no mistake about it, Godwin Emefiele, the present CBN Governor, did not create the system. In fact, he met it in place since 1985. But if we carry on with it, there is no getting out of this fake recession unless PMB stops his anti-corruption drive, which is what the forces behind the contrived recession have been calling for either directly or indirectly through Niger Delta Avengers. Thus, to get out of this mess, we would need to change our monetary policies. The first start to that is to redenominate or redecimalise (whichever one you call it) the Naira by moving two places to the left. An announcement of this monetary policy would cause Nigerians who have been storing their wealth in dollars to change it into naira and use our legal tender as their store value of wealth thereby massively bringing down the price of the dollar against the naira and stop these fake recession.

 

Also, we would have to change the way we distribute foreign earnings from oil exports to the three tiers of government. Rather than change it into naira equivalent, all the tiers of government can have domiciliary accounts opened for them at the CBN (we have a law in place that supports that) and then issue electronic dollar certificates that show the amount each tier of government is entitled to from foreign earnings. They then exchange it at agreed or prevailing rates at their banks (for States and LGs). Their banks give them naira and get dollars from the CBN, while the CBN exchanges that of the FG. When any arm of government needs to make a foreign payment, they inform the CBN who pays their suppliers or creditors directly from the dollars in their domiciliary account. This would save state governments or any arm of government from having to exchange distributed naira back into dollars, thereby putting pressure on the naira. It would also put a lot of check on corruption and treasury looters. Side by side with these changes would be the closing down of over 2,800 BDCs, which serve no economic function other than to depress the naira and aid round tripping.

 

In their place, genuine well recognized BDCs like Travelex (who have the capacity to bring in their own investments, financial technology, etc.) and other BDCs with large branch networks and capacities can be retained. In the end, not more than 5-10 BDCs with large branch networks, financial technology and capacity would be retained. Their role is to sell dollars to Nigerians for genuine economic activities like travels, low-level importations, etc. They would not be allowed to sell more than $10,000 to any single individual and would have enough automated capacity to be monitored and evaluated by the CBN. Any Nigerian who wants to buy more than $10,000 would do so through their respective banks, thereby putting an end to these illegal and inefficient parallel markets that have existed for too long with no benefit to the nation. There would be silly talk about making people jobless by the cancellation of these BDCs, but there is a more formal and better way to absorb them. Some of them can merge or be acquired by the genuine and well recognized BDC’s like Travelex following well laid down guidelines, including human capacity and financial technology to monitor their transactions. But most importantly the FG can cash in on the market by licensing NIPOST to start a travel exchange and savings business for Nigerians. NIPOST Travel exchange would be a money transfer operator (MTO), a BDC for exchanging travel money, as well as a limited savings and loans bank. It would also serve as a means of paying retired pensioners in rural areas who have accounts with them. They could also go into mobile money for people in non-urban areas. I believe they have the facility rotting away across the country they can use with adequate technology invested in it. They can also have franchises with former BDC operators ready to provide agreed facilities for the travel exchange as well as other NIPOST/EMS services.

 

This would create a lot of jobs as we can use the Post Office to not only serve as a travel exchange but also deliver parcels, letters and online goods to Nigerians across the country. It would take some planning and that calls into question another of the McKinsey 7S model, which is Strategy. President Buhari would not only have to listen to voices like mine (if he gets to read this) but also involve non-compromised people to help plan the strategies that would make all of these work towards changing the system and getting us out of this recession. The current crop of hands at the CBN would no doubt be unable to make this kind of change.

 

There are voices like mine in this country that have been calling for similar kind of change in our system like these. It would also involve a lot of changes on the fiscal policy side. For example, it is an accursed thing for a senator, representative, permanent-secretary, etc. to receive such high salaries and still be paid newspaper and wardrobe allowances. Many Nigerians, including low-income earners and roadside sellers, buy newspapers themselves. Why would you be so cursed to earn N1million a month and the nation still has to buy you newspapers? These kinds of crazy allowances have to be weeded out of the system, and I must say it is not only in the National Assembly, it is everywhere in government where since 1985 under IBB our nation has had a culture of entitlement where we award ourselves all sorts of allowances that make us look the other way when the bigger looters steal from the treasury. It needs to stop forthwith.

 

The change in our monetary system would also include putting a tax on domiciliary accounts of Nigerians. In February of last year the CBN mentioned domiciliary accounts in the country having just over $1b in them, by April of this year the figure now sits at $20b. This is wrong and shows Nigerians have stored up dollars as their store value of wealth either to escape the prying eyes of the EFCC, or deliberate hoarding. With the announcement of the redenomination of the naira by moving two decimal places to the left, and imposing a monthly 3% tax on domiciliary accounts, individuals hoarding dollars would have to convert it to naira and that would crash the price of the dollar against the naira and end this fake recession.

 

The FG would also set up an overseas infrastructure bond of about $25b that can be floated on the stock exchange of foreign countries like the Irish or Australian exchanges, that Nigerians in the diaspora or those with dollars in the country can buy offering them about 4-5% interest on it. These infrastructure bonds would be used to develop the Niger Delta, build new cities across that part of the country, invest in passenger and freight rails across the country, complete the second Niger Bridge and build new roads, invest in power and energy as well as manufacturing, etc. They must be projects that are feasible and economically viable that would make returns and pay off the bonds in future. It would also include getting people in the Niger Delta to form cooperatives to build new modular refineries.

 

The model I’ve mentioned in this article would also look at our structure and rather than the restructuring noise being made by politicians looking to set a trap for the president. The main structure that needs changing in the country is our local councils and administration at that level. Our local councils need to be removed from the apron strings of the state and the FG needs to work directly with many of them to develop the grassroots and bring development to Nigerians. That is the structural change we need the most, but there is still more. We need an industrial strategy that would be aligned with our educational system. Once we know the kind of industries we need and want in the country, then we would have to revamp our curriculum from the high schools all the way to tertiary schools. We also have to change our educational structure, and stop the idea that the only way to develop and be prosperous is through Higher Education alone. There must be room for further education like adult education, national numeracy and comprehension skills improvement for Nigerians who would work in low-skilled jobs, technical education for electricians, plumbers, builders, etc. who would be certified, make provisions for experienced technical people and technicians like radionics, mechanics, refrigerator repairers to be able to have certified further education and progress on to Higher education without having to sit for JAMB or going to through the rigors of admission like younger students.

 

Most of these changes, like the change in our monetary system, which would also include breaking down the banking and financial services supervision into two or three regulators, especially an Ombudsman that deals with financial complaints and poor services from banks, would deal a massive blow to corruption, end this contrived and fake recession, as well as get the nation moving. There is plenty of work to be done and the earlier we start radically, the better. I hope the president listens and gets enthusiastic hands in and around his cabinet so as to make these changes. Seriously, I wish I could get the president’s ears directly and spill out a thousand and one ideas in a strategic, intellectual and philosophical way that would get the nation moving quicker and end this fake recession. There is no time to stand and stare!

African Muslims gather in Nigeria for prayers against Boko Haram, recession.

Over 1 million adherents of Tijjaniya from many African countries have converged on Yola, the Adamawa State capital, for three days to offer special prayers to free Nigeria from insurgency and recession .

 

During the three-day event, scholars within and outside the country including Dahiru Bauchi and the Deputy Chief Imam of Abuja Central Mosque, Ibrahim Makari, were led by a Moroccan scholar and the world leader of Tijjaniyya Islamic Movement, Muhammad Kabir, in prayers for peace in Nigeria.

 

Mr. Bauchi who spoke at the annual remembrance day of the founder of the Tijjaniyya movement, Ahmadu Tijjany, expressed optimism that the current insecurity situation would soon end.

 

“I am so optimistic that the attendance of these revered disciples and progeny of Maulana Sheikh Ahmadu Tijjani is a blessing to us and entire Nigeria.

 

“As they offer special prayers, almighty Allah will surely answer our prayers and bring to an end the insurgency as well as the economic hardship that plagued the country. ”

 

In his remark, Governor Muhammadu Jibrilla commended the scholars for their contribution to the maintenance of peace in the North East sub region and Nigeria in general.

 

He also appreciated the determination of the federal government in tackling security challenges in the area, calling for public support for the Buhari administration.

 

Hundreds of soldiers and police men were assisted by vigilantes and first aid groups to maintain security in Yola metropolis as mammoth crowd filled the town.

What has recession taught us? – Tijani Sheriffdeen

Every condition, incidence or contingency has a lesson to teach, even though many don’t understand this, it’s exactly so. A whole lot has happened in our country in the last 6 months, one would think this should have thought us lessons we wouldn’t ever forget, but unfortunately, we have learnt a whole lot of nothing out of the recent happenings. One reason Nigeria would continue to grow in leaps and bounds.

 

Hardly would you see a forth thinking Nigeria who wouldn’t accede and acquiesce to the fact that we are fast to forget our worries. When the sun refuses to shine, we would all find our hands around our cheek, expecting the light to our day; the sign of the sun finding its way out lightens us up forthwith. We wouldn’t ruminate on the reason why the sun refused to shine at first, and even when those who care talk, it is welcomed only in a dustbin.

 

What a country! Some months back, we were all complaining and expressing our dissatisfaction at the style our currency adopted in sinking. Things were not only hard; the situation we found ourselves was so disturbing that no morning would brighten up without complaints. But now that things are starting to take shape again, we have started consigning to oblivion the lessons this unwelcomed period has brought.

 

Analytic and critical thinking Nigerians feel buying “naija products” would help us grow our dying currency and help resuscitate our low and stygian looking economy. The government in town saw it the way to thread and showed support by being a part of a fair that exhibited Nigerian products.

 

Yes, our products were flaunted to the public, but what do we have today? What policy has been put in place to sustain this move? Or better still, how has the government ensured the economic safety of the companies producing goods and offering services in our dear country? All we are good at is making deafening and sonorous noise about things which would only get people’s attention for weeks. Oops! I said weeks?

 

Agriculture is the way out; it would help our country stand tall again. This among other numerous statements was seen flying around in voices and prints during the deepest part of the unwelcomed friend- recession. It then dawned on us to look that part after long years of abandonment for the oil sector.

 

Recession brought with herself a whole lot of lessons, but we haven’t learnt anything, or maybe those who have learnt something are the no body in Nigeria. The “let us return back to agriculture” made us understand agriculture of this time goes hand in hand with the industry sector. Africans are hardworking, energetic and industrious, but then our myopic thinking only helps us get a little of our endless toils and labours.

 

Taking Cote d’Ivoire has a case study; this country produces 33% of world’s cocoa and exports to manufacturers like Hershey’s, Nestle, Mars Inc. among other manufacturing firms. Unfortunately, this country earns $2.5 billion early, while the companies they sell out their products to make more than seven folds of the money they earn. Why? This is not unconnected to the fact that they are leveraging the sweats of Africans for their own unflinching success. Don’t you take beverages? And if you don’t, are you children incognizant of chocolates? Now you see!

 

We would only continue to deceive ourselves by wanting to improve the agricultural sector and neglecting the industrial sector, nobody is saying it wouldn’t work; it would, as we would all have to share a loaf of bread together, trust me, after deriving maximum satisfaction, we would still have more to keep.

 

The Senior Special Assistant to the President of Nigeria on Media and publicity, Garba Sheu in an interview with Pyramid Radio in Kano said that aggressive exportation of grains may lead to famine in the country starting from January 2017. He said that no fewer than 500 trucks of grains depart the country every week, following a huge demand in the global market that is targeting the country’s surplus production. And now, we are talking of famine too!

 

Do you want to blame farmers who have no markets where their goods can be sold for churning out their harvests to countries where they would make money to sustain theirselves and family?  Or you want to wail at poor farmers who would have a huge part of their sweat waste on their own farms before they harvest the little they can and sell out to get something to put on their table?

 

The government is not taking responsibility for protecting these farmers by providing the required for them; all they can come out to do is force another set of bitter pills down our throats. When the right things are in place, the right things would be done.

 

Tijani Sheriffdeen is an undergraduate of the University of Ilorin.

FEC Approves N464m Vehicles For FRSC Amid Recession

The Federal Government, yesterday, blamed the nation’s economic recession on the downturn in the oil and gas sector, even as it expressed optimism in the improvement the non-oil sector is making. The government had however expressed hope that the fourth quarter figures would be better.

The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udo Udoma, who stated this while briefing State House correspondents on the outcome of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, said the council observed that the nation’s economy was still in recession, with the third quarter turning worse than the second quarter.

Udoma, who briefed alongside the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Muhammed, and the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, said the council reviewed the figures released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on Monday.

Udoma said, “we looked at the recent numbers released on Monday by the NBS. As you know, from these numbers, the economy is still in recession. The performance in the third quarter is slightly worse than the second quarter and this was attributable to the performance of the oil sector, which performed worse in the third quarter than the second quarter and that was for reasons you all know.

“However, the good news is that the non-oil sector is improving in the direction that is most encouraging to the government. Agriculture continues to grow at 12.5 per cent, solid minerals continue to grow at seven per cent. We are encouraged by the direction the non-oil sector is moving.

“With regards to the fourth quarter, we believe it will be better than the third quarter even for the oil sector because oil production has started moving up as a result of a lot of initiatives this government has been taking. We are looking forward to a fourth quarter that is much better than the third quarter. We are encouraged by that.”

Ngige said the council approved the purchase of vehicles worth N464 million for the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC).

The vehicles include 50 Pick-up vans to be purchased from Innoson Motors, Nnewi, and 27 Peugeot 301 cars to be procured from Peugeot Automobile Nigeria, Kaduna.

The Labour Minister said the decisions to patronise indigenous companies was in line with the government’s local content policy.

Ngige said, “the council approved the purchase of some vehicles to strengthen the capacity of the FRSC. It approved that 40 Pick-up vehicles be added to the commission’s fleet. Another 27 Peugeot 301 cars were also approved for the commission. This is in line with our Local Content and Procurement Act. The total purchase is N464 million. Innoson vehicles will cost N299 million while the Peugeot cars will cost N164 million.”

Credit:

http://sunnewsonline.com/recession-fec-approves-n464m-vehicles-for-frsc/

Despite worsening recession, Nigeria’s Central Bank keeps fiscal policy rates unchanged

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), on Tuesday opted to retain all monetary policy instruments, despite the report by the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, on Monday that the country’s economy sunk deeper into recession.

 

The Monetary Policy Rate (MPR), which sets the lending rate for banks and businesses for a period, was left at 14 per cent, while the Cash Reserve Ratio, CRR, was retained at 22.5 per cent.

 

The CRR sets the specified minimum fraction of customers’ total deposits commercial banks could hold as reserves either in cash or deposits with the CBN.

 

The Central Bank governor, Godwin Emefiele, said at the end of the two-day Monetary Policy Committee, MPC, meeting in Abuja that the liquidity ratio was left by the MPC at 30 per cent, with the symmetric window kept at +200 and -500 basis points around the MPR.

 

The NBS in its gross domestic product (GDP) report for the third quarter said the country’s recession deepened, with the economy contracting further by 2.24 percent year-on-year basis, from 2.06 slump in the second quarter.

 

Last week, the NBS said that inflation for October 2016 rose by 18.3 per cent (year-on-year) from 17.9 per cent recorded in September.

 

The CBN appears to be fighting on several fronts at the same time, with dollar scarcity as a result of the currency restriction policies of the bank driving the exchange rate of the Naira to soar against other international currencies like the dollar.

 

Details later…

Nigeria’s economy slips further into recession. – Report

Nigeria’s economy further receded in the third quarter, with a 2.24 per cent contraction in Gross Domestic Product (GDP), while real GDP expanded for the second consecutive quarter, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said yesterday.

According to latest data, real GDP, unadjusted for seasonality increased by 8.99 percent quarter on quarter, which was an improvement compared with 0.89 per cent expansion in real GDP in the second quarter of the year. Real GDP had slowed by 13.71 per cent in the first quarter of the year.

The Nigerian economy slid into recession for the first time in 25 years in the second quarter, when a slump in crude prices which is a major contributor to government revenue brought about a 2.06 per cent contraction in the economy.

NBS noted that during the three month period, Nigeria’s oil production as reported by the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) averaged at 1.63million barrels per day (mbpd), lower from production in second quarter of 2016. Oil production was also lower relative to the corresponding quarter in 2015 by 0.54million barrels per day when output was recorded at 2.17mbpd

As a result, real growth of the oil sector slowed by 22.01 per cent (year-on-year) in third quarter of 2016, representing a decline relative to growth recorded in same quarter of 2015 at 1.06 per cent. Growth declined by 23.07 per cent points and 4.54 percentage points relative to growth in third quarter of 2015 and second quarter of 2016 respectively. Quarter-on-Quarter, growth was 8.07 per cent.

A senior Moody’s analyst told Reuters that Nigeria’s economy could expand by 2.5 percent next year as long it can produce 2.2 million barrels per day – the level at which the government made its budget calculations.

The 2.24 per cent GDP recorded in the third quarter was lower by 0.18 per cent points from growth recorded in the preceding quarter and also lower by 5.08 per cent points from growth recorded in the corresponding quarter of 2015.

With the latest GDP contraction, analysts say it would be difficult for the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) which is holding its meeting to justify an increase in interest rate. They noted that the rising inflation rate will also make interest rate cut a difficult policy option. Inflation had risen from 17.9 per cent in September to 18.3 per cent in October and is expected to continue to rise.

Government revenue has plunged with the decline of oil prices, the country’s main export, since mid-2014, and production fell as militants in the Niger River delta blew up pipelines. The authorities have struggled to manage the economic fallout, at one point pegging the exchange rate against the dollar for more than a year and more recently using law enforcement to bring down the street price of foreign currency.

To Michael Famoroti, an economist at Vetiva Capital Management, the third-quarter data is worrisome because “it was expected that the liberalization of the petroleum sector and foreign-exchange market would have helped. We didn’t see that. It means the monetary and fiscal authorities will have to step up their efforts to address the output decline.”

How CBN Plunged Nigerian Economy Into Recession – Anthony Weli

I will try my best to make this article as accessible as possible so I can reach a wider audience in hopes that we can collectively persuade the government to repeal the porous, reckless and fraudulent Foreign Exchange (Monitoring and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act of 1995, and for the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to change its cash policies on foreign exchange. These two forces have together dragged this nation into recession with no hope of getting out.

I have looked at the data from CBN, NBS and World Bank. From these data, I have come to strongly believe that the fall in oil price is not the cause of Nigeria’s recession. We have actually sustained the economy in the past with lower prices than what we have now. Rather, our recession is a result of the diversion of the forex needed to settle import bills to the feeding of our domiciliary accounts, black markets and the creation of the avenues through which corrupt officials convert stolen public funds, which are then subsequently hoarded.

There are two things that have made it possible for our government to successfully divert the fore: 1) a law that legalizes domiciliary account ownership and 2) a foreign exchange policy of cash dealership.

The first is a law that deliberately created the avenues to hoard and enlarge the demand base for foreign currencies through personal domiciliary account ownership.

The second is the CBN’s foreign exchange management through cash forex dealership and the sales of cash forex to banks and the Bureau de Change that feeds domiciliary accounts, which starves the economy of forex.

The above two work hand in hand in plunging the Nigerian economy into recession. Of these two, the major player responsible for our recession is the CBN’s willingness and role in doling out cash forex inside Nigeria. This is because without cash forex, domiciliary account ownership will be useless.

Our reserves are now being used to service domiciliary accounts, sustain the forex black market and provides avenues through which stolen money is laundered out of the country. It is unfortunate that the laws surrounding foreign exchange are such that stifle our import industries that import raw materials to feed local production but make it easier for corrupt individuals to acquire.

While Nigerians might be happy that we as individuals have the rights to domiciliary account and forexes, corrupted individuals, government workers and politicians are using the back door of domiciliary account ownership, which they have created, to siphon and launder stolen funds out of the country and/or store the funds in their private homes.

CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele, when asked in an interview with ThisDay news about how much money is in private individuals’ domiciliary accounts, he said about $1billion. That was in April last year. By March this year it grew to over $20billion. Remember, this is not electronic money, but cash dollars.

And where did individuals get these dollars? Of course, from the same dollars the CBN has been injecting into the economy in an effort to stabilize the naira. You can clearly see that our reserves are not being used to fund economic activities, as they should. While the CBN is busy doling out forex to supposedly help the economy, stolen funds could, and are, be used to acquire these forexes and stash them away in domiciliary accounts and in places beyond the reach of the CBN, thereby reducing its ability to properly affect variables targeted in its policies.

On the one hand, I laud and applaud the bank and its MPC (Monetary policy committee) encouraging Nigerians to go cashless, but I am utterly confused on the forex front where the bank is busy doling out forexes in cash to dealers and BDCs.

On the ownership of domiciliary accounts, in 1995 the judiciary made it a law that allowed individuals access to domiciliary accounts and this law amazingly protects account owners from disclosing their source of funds (forex). This law is found in the Foreign Exchange (Monitoring and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1995.

The CBN foreign exchange management and this Foreign Exchange (Monitoring and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1995 has plunged the economy into recession by not only creating and enlarging the demand base of forex through personal domiciliary account ownership but also by indirectly diverting forex meant for economic intervention through the direct sale of forexes to dealers/BDCs (Bureaus de Change).

All Nigerians are entitled to know the implications of laws made in Nigeria, especially laws that authorized banks to open domiciliary account for individuals, companies and organizations. According to chapter f34, paragraph 17, section 1 of the Foreign Exchange (Monitoring and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1995, individuals are not only permitted to open domiciliary accounts but also allowed to buy their forex as they wish in cash and, amazingly, are by law not required to disclose their sources of forexes.

I honestly could not believe my eyes when I was reading the provisions of this law. This is not leadership, this is carelessness, and a blatant show of irresponsibility and the subjection of Nigerians to a great unnecessary pain and suffering. A careful look at the CBN’s Foreign Exchange management and this 1995 act reveals how porous and reckless the system is. It seems it’s a deliberate set up to encourage corruption and acts as an avenue to siphon public funds in hard currency and depress the economy.

I have contemplated on why the government (judiciary) would want ordinary Nigerians to own domiciliary accounts in the first place but could not see any tangible reason. It is not a fundamental human right. The only good thing about private domiciliary accounts ownership in Nigeria is that the CBN is totally removed from participating in the corruption that accompanied such laws by transferring it to the commercial banks.

The Central Bank of Nigeria, through commercial banks, could easily provide the services a domiciliary account provides with a naira accounts and as a result eliminating all the corruption, inefficiency, hoarding of dollars, and not to mention the negative impact of forex speculations by domiciliary accounts holder which is a major headache to CBN because of the pressures it also exerts on naira.

This system the CBN is using to manage foreign exchange and economy is synonymous to feeding a dog in the midst of wolves. Of course the wolves will feed on the dog and its meal. Just throwing cash forex into the economy is the most reckless policy I have ever seen. That’s why our foreign reserve is depleting so fast. Nigerians are now storing value in our local banks using foreign currencies to the point that our banks are saturated with forexes. We can all remember that some time last year the banks refusde forex deposits by domiciliary account holders because their vaults were filled with forexes.

This system does not only lead to corruption, it aids and abets corruption. It also leads to unaccountability, depreciation of our currency, dollarization of our economy in the long run, unsustainable intervention, unhealthy speculation, indirect funding of the parallel forex market (i.e., black market), recklessness and depletion of our foreign reserve which has subsequently lead to our recession. I am never surprised that we are in recession because if a country wants to get itself into recession those are the steps to be taken.

The most astonishing thing is that no one has ever seen a situation where a country’s reserves falls concurrently with surplus trade balances. Nigeria’s trade balances have always been in surplus. According to data from National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) between 2008 and 2015, Nigeria had trade surpluses consistently. Adding theses surpluses together came up to #61 trillion. Using the CBN’s wDAS/rDAS average exchange rate (2008-2015) of  $155, #61 trillion will give us $393.5billion worth of surpluses. The question now is where has all the surpluses gone?  According to the data from the CBN database, in 2008 our reserves stood at about $64.2billion. In November 2016, it came down to
$23billion.

Given the above data, our reserves should be on the increase. To put this in perspective, think of a family that earns more than it spends, and yet its savings keep depleting. Given our trade surpluses, we should expect to see a positive linear progression in reserves acquisition accompanying consistent trade surpluses. But it is a paradox that regardless our reserves keep falling.

Dealership in cash forex gives incentive to launder stolen public funds by making forexes readily available. We are already inundated by recent unending arrests made by the EFCC and SSS and the amount of recovered “Cash” forexes stashed away in private homes running into several hundreds of millions. Even the state governments seem to be hoarding forexes. The most recent case points to invasion of the government house in Akwa Ibom, where stockpiles of dollars were found locked away in a room. These are the ones we know about, we don’t know about the ones we don’t know about. If foreign exchange is meant to facilitate economic transactions, what are they doing in private homes?

The ultimate questions are: Why would the CBN sell forex to the banks and BDC at an extremely low price and expect Nigerians to buy it a much higher price from them? Why does the bank and government allow cash forex to be traded like a commodity inside Nigeria knowing fully well the
corruption that comes with it, that we don’t have the institutional capacity to enforce the rules and regulations of such systems, and that we will never be able to adequately supply it? This is bad economics.

Just take a walk to every major hotel in the city center of most states you will see hundreds, if not thousands, of Nigerians trading cash forex. We should remember that in other to stabilize the naira, we should not create demand for forex more than is needed. But by allowing all Nigerians access to
domiciliary accounts and dealers the rights to buy forexes in cash from the bank, the bank has broadened the demand base of forex, which will add to the pressure and further depreciate the naira, which is not good for the economy. Also remember that the main and only objective of foreign exchange is to provide forex for economic activities only, but creating demands for forex beyond what is required for Nigerians to pursue economic activities depreciates the naira and has propelled the economy into recession.

Our current problem now is that the naira is depreciating and losing value so fast that it makes the heads of Nigerians spin uncontrollably. And as a result, prices on the local market are spiraling out of control on a daily basis. Especially food prices, because most of the things we consume are
imported. We are currently in recession, as it seems everything in our markets is tied and affected by forex. And given the long time this situation has lasted, I can tell that the CBN is hopeless and out of ideas on how to tackle this menacing problem.

I wish to remind everyone that according to CBN, its objective of foreign exchange rate management in Nigeria is to ensure price stability, the preservation of external reserves so as to defend the external value of the naira, the diversification of the economy, by encouraging non-oil exports, and narrowing the premium between the official and parallel BDC rates. In all these, the bank has failed. I believe that if I show Nigerians the problem and also show them the solution, we will be moved to act. That is why I have suggested the way out in a separate article published a few days back by Vanguard.

To recap the salient point of the above articles:

To solve Nigeria’s economic recession starts with repealing those laws, going cashless with forexes, and closing all domiciliary accounts in the country. After repealing these laws, the apex bank can and should start using naira accounts to make international transactions so Nigerians would have no
need for a domiciliary account in the first place. In other words, all international payments must go through it.  This is the most efficient and responsible way forward.

There will be no need to inject all those billions of dollars it has been injecting into the economy to stabilize the naira. The bank can use this forex to settle bills on the international front from naira transactions by Nigerians. In other words, Nigerians should be able to walk into commercial banks and conduct international transactions using their naira accounts. I suppose we are all aware that the black market only thrives with cash forexes, therefore going cashless with forexes will not only render the parallel market redundant, it will reduce all the inefficient bureaucracy associated with making transaction in foreign currency, it will take speculators out of business, and block the avenues in commercial banks through which stolen funds are laundered out of the country.

This is the most responsible and civilized way to improve the Nigerian economy. This will improve accountability and transparency and provide the apex bank with more information to adequately clamp down on illicit transactions because with time, the CBN will have enough data to form a trajectory of foreign expenditures. And a deviation from usual transactions could easily be detected and identified. This will put the CBN on the forefront for the fight against money laundering and corruption it has always preached.

“The devil of economy recession pushed me into the crime” – Cleaner who stole N5.675m

A cleaner, Peter Oko, has narrated how he stole N5.675 million from the New Nyanya branch of Diamond Bank, where he worked.

 

The 29 year-old stated that he took the keys to the vault, stole the money and hid it in a carton, which he took home after the close of work.

 

The money was however recovered by the police, which said that the suspect had been charged to court.

 

Oko said at the Nasarawa State Criminal Intelligence and Investigation Department in Lafia that he carried out the theft alone, saying, “As a cleaner, I knew where all the keys were kept.”

 

He added, “I single-handedly carried out the operation because I have been working as a cleaner in the bank for the past 10 years and my eyes had been on one of the keys to the vault, where the bank used to keep all its money.

 

“As a cleaner, my attention was not only on the keys, but on how I will carry out the operation successfully without being caught by either the security or any staff of the bank.”

 

The suspect said he stole the money without the knowledge of the bank workers, adding that he had access to all the foreign currencies in the bank as he knew where they were kept.

 

“As a cleaner, I knew where all the secret files were kept and where the bank kept its keys where you can have access to dollars, Nigerian currency and all other currencies.”

 

Oko blamed the economic situation for his action, stating that he had never been involved in a criminal act before now.

 

“The devil of economy recession pushed me into the crime; I have never committed a criminal act before, luck ran out on me and I was caught in the process,” he stated.

 

The state Commissioner of Police, Abubakar Bello, said the crime was reported to the police in October, 2016, by the bank, adding that the matter was then transferred from Karu Divisional Police Headquarters to the SCIID for investigations.

Why we bought N3.6bn exotic cars during recession – Reps

The House of Representatives on Thursday defended its decision to buy exotic cars for its 360 members at a period the country’s economy is in recession.

It said lawmakers must have a means of mobility while carrying out oversight duties over Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the Federal Government.

The House will spend at least N3.6bn across 24 months to complete payment for the luxury vehicles supplied by the Kaduna-based Peugeot Automobile Nigeria Limited.

The PUNCH had reported exclusively on Monday that the firm had already delivered 28 units of Peugeot 508 series to members in the first batch of 50 cars.

A total of 360 units of the exotic automobile would have been delivered by January 2017.

The Deputy Chairman, Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Mr. Jonathan Gaza, while defending the procurement of the cars on Thursday, said that recession would not stop lawmakers from performing their legislative duties.

He argued that in a recession, both the executive and legislative arms of government were expected to work even harder to find urgent solutions to challenges facing the country.

Gaza noted that while working during recession, members were not expected to trek to the premises of the MDAs for oversight duties.

He added, “In a recession, we will all put on our thinking caps. We are working; these are committees’ cars and they are not the personal property of members.

“When you came here today, how did you come? Did you walk down to this place (National Assembly) from your house?

“If a member is going to visit an agency, will he trek there?

“We need materials, computers, stationery, cars; these are all for work.”

Asked to comment on whether the National Assembly would approve Buhari’s bid to take a loan of $29.96bn, Gaza replied that discussions were ongoing between the two sides.

The lawmaker said no conclusions had been reached.

He also declined to speak categorically on whether the government had begun making releases for the constituency projects of lawmakers.

The constituency projects of senators and members are worth N100bn in the 2016 budget of N6.06tn.

The refusal of the government to fund the projects is reported to be one of the sore points in the relationship between Buhari and the National Assembly.

But, when asked a direct question on the issue, Gaza parried it.

“We don’t release money for constituency projects. Our work is to pass the budget and we passed the 2016 budget. It is the responsibility of the executive to release funds for projects.

“Also, the money is not paid into our pockets, we don’t touch it,” he replied.

Greece Out of Economic Recession

The Greek economy emerged from recession for the first time since 2014, managing two straight quarters of GDP growth, figures released Monday showed.

Greece’s gross domestic product (GDP) increased by 0.5 percent in the three months to September from the previous quarter, and by 1.5 percent from the third quarter of 2015, statistics bureau Elstat said.

It had already nudged 0.2 percent higher in the second quarter from the first. Two consecutive quarters of growth officially mark the end of a recession.

The Greek government expects the Greek economy to contract by 0.3 percent in the full-year 2016, before returning to growth next year when it predicts GDP to surge by 2.7 percent.

On Thursday it said the growth dynamic was now in better shape than at any point since the financial crisis.

“The Greek economy has not known a comparable growth rhythm since the first quarter of 2008,” government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos said.

He said Greece was counting on debt relief to support growth, as well as on Athens gaining access to the European Central Bank’s quantitative easing programme which involves purchases of sovereign bonds.

Apart from a brief respite in 2014, the Greek economy has been steadily contracting since 2008 as the country’s creditors as well as the European Union and the IMF imposed harsh austerity measures accompanying successive bailouts.

Falling salaries and pensions combined with tax hikes have had a devastating impact on demand, particularly consumer spending.

In May, Greece’s eurozone partners and the IMF agreed in principle to debt relief as well as series of short-term measures to be finalised in December.

They have not, however, been able to agree on the pace or the scope of long-term debt restructuring. European Union heavyweight Germany has pushed back any such deal to end-2018.

AFP

Despite recession, Reps take delivery of N3.6 Billion exotic cars.

The delivery of 360 exotic cars to members of the House of Representatives has begun amid the economic downturn in the country.

Investigations by The PUNCH revealed on Sunday that 28 units of the Peugeot 508 series had already been delivered to lawmakers in Abuja.

The 28 were among the first batch of 50 cars supplied by the Kaduna-based Peugeot Automobile Nigeria Limited.

The House allocated a princely N3.6bn for the cars in the 2016 budget at a unit price of N10m.

A National Assembly top aide told The PUNCH on Sunday that the arrangement with Peugeot was that the company would supply the vehicles in batches because of the huge number of members involved.

“Fifty cars will be supplied in the first batch; 28 have already been delivered. That was last week.

“Twenty-two more in the first batch are expected to be delivered this week,” the source stated.

Findings indicated that the luxury cars would arrive in Abuja in batches till January, 2017 when all 360 members would have picked a unit.

About 223 of the members of the House are new, having come to the National Assembly for the first time in 2015.

But all 360 members will still benefit from the luxury cars, officially known as ‘utility’ or ‘committee’ vehicles.

Investigations showed that owing to paucity of funds, the lawmakers agreed with Peugeot to spread the payment of the N3.6bn across 24 months or “two years’ budget.”

The PUNCH gathered that the original plan was to start the delivery of the cars last June, but the delay in the passage of the 2016 budget stalled it.

“The House was not sure of the provisions in the budget owing to the general drop in the revenue available to the Federal Government this year.

“So, they delayed it till the budget was passed before they continued with the procurement processing.”

It was learnt that a lengthy disagreement among lawmakers preceded the choice of the Peugeot 508 series.

Investigations revealed that while the majority of the new members preferred the 2016 Toyota Camry, others argued in favour of Peugeot 508 on the grounds of patronising ‘Made-in-Nigeria products’.

“Eventually, the argument was sustained that Peugeot should be the choice to encourage local automotive industry; though it would also appear that there was a comparative cost analysis,” another legislative source added.

The Chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Mr. Abdulrazak Namdas, confirmed that members had started taking delivery of the vehicles.

Speaking with our correspondent on Sunday, Namdas stated that female lawmakers were the first in line to pick up their units, while the males would take their turn in subsequent batches.

Asked why the House would splash money on 360 exotic cars at a time the country was in recession, Namdas played down any reference to the cars as being “luxury.”

He said, “This issue of cars is long overdue. They are not for luxury but for committee and oversight duties.

“The 8th Assembly is nearing two years, yet members have no cars to carry out their duties.

“Ministers and other officials in the executive have long bought vehicles for official duties.

“At the state level, members of House of Assembly have cars to carry out basic functions.

“I think it is only fair that members of the National Assembly will have utility vehicles for their assignments.”

Namdas also told The PUNCH that the choice of Peugeot 508 was to “look inward such that Peugeot, which is locally-assembled, will benefit and grow.”

On paper, the cars are the property of the National Assembly, but the tradition over time is that lawmakers take them along with them on completion of their tenure after paying a fraction of the unit cost.

It was learnt that the management of the National Assembly would evaluate the cars after four years and deduct an agreed sum from the severance package of members.

Besides the utility vehicles, members also get a repayable loan to buy personal cars.

NEITI: We made N70tr from oil in 15 years. How did we end in recession?

Waziri Adio, executive secretary of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), says the country had no business going into recession with the huge revenue from oil from 1999 to 2014.

 

He said while the three tiers of government earned and shared N70 trillion oil and gas revenue during the period, there was no provision for savings.

 

He was speaking on Monday when he played host to members of the senate committee on federal character and inter-governmental affairs who were on an oversight visit to his office in Abuja.

 

Adio said it would be necessary for Nigeria to develop prudent spending to avoid lapsing into recession again.

 

Year Oil Revenue
1999 N724.42 billion
2000 1,591.68 trillion
2001 N1,707.56 trillion
2002 N1,230.85 trillion
2003 N2,074.28 trillion
2004 N3,354.80 trillion
2005 N4,762.40 trillion
2006 N5,287.57 trillion
2007 N4,462.91 trillion
2008 N6,530.60 trillion
2009 N3,191.94 trillion
2010 N5,396.09 trillion
2011 N8,878.97 trillion
2012 N8,025.97 trillion
2013 N6,809.23 trillion
2014 N6,793.72 trillion

 

Adio said: “Let me inform the committee that we discovered that between 1999 and 2014, the country spent over N70 trillion it received from oil and gas alone. That is a whole lot of money. What is sad is that it was spent without the country being able to show anything for it. I think it is quite unfortunate.

 

For the sake of emphasis, however, I think if previous administrations had developed a culture for prudent management of resources, Nigeria ought to have over $100 billion saved in the excess crude account. So, going forward, it is necessary for government to think about saving a lot more, and do all it can as well to cut down on wasteful spending if the nation must make progress.”

Economic recession: We will emerge stronger – Buhari assures

President Muhammadu Buhari, on Thursday assured Nigerians that the country will emerge stronger, better and prosperous from the current economic challenges.

The President gave the assurance in a message to the 7th National Prayer Breakfast meeting, titled; “A tree and it’s fruits, is yours a blessing or a curse”.

Represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal, Buhari said leaders in the country must strive to be a light to the people they lead.

He said, “As leaders we must strive to be the light of the world, we must resist to talk about our current socioeconomic situation with despondency.

“As for me, I have complete faith that Nigeria will emerge from this crisis strong, united, prosperous and secured.

“I believe that all these will come to fruition in the life time of this government, the life time of this executives, legislature and the judiciary.”

This is coming at a time when the Federal Government directed the immediate release of N65 billion for the take-off of its National Social Investment Programme.

Nigeria Will Emerge Stronger From Recession- Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday in Abuja said that Nigeria will emerge better and stronger from it’s current socio-economic situation.

Buhari stated this in a message to the 7th National Prayer Breakfast titled; “A tree and it’s fruits, is yours a blessing or a curse”.

The President, who was represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Babachir Lawal, said leaders in the country must strive to be a light to the people they lead.

“As leaders we must strive to be the light of the world, we must resist to talk about our current socio-economic situation with despondency.

“As for me, I have complete faith that Nigeria will emerge from this crisis strong, united, prosperous and secured.

“I believe that all these will come to fruition in the life time of this government, the life time of this executives, legislature and the judiciary,” Buhari said.

In a sermon, Rev. Abu Banko defined a politician as a model for all citizens, adding that a politician must be ready to give not steal from the nation.

According to him, a politician should also be ready to promote the general welfare of the people, and help raise their standard of living.

Banko, therefore, urged all public office holders, including civil servants, lawmakers and those in the executive, to lead Nigeria to its destiny.

He prayed God to guide them steer the affairs of the nation with love, humility and sacrifice.

Banko urged all Nigerians to be humble, turn away from sins and seek the face of God, so as to end current problems in the country.

Credit: dailytrust

Aregbesola tells Nigerians to practice birth control, shun foreign goods.

The Governor of Osun state, Rauf Aregbesola has urged Nigerians to practice birth control and curb excessive desire for foreign food items in order to survive recession.

The governor said this on Thursday in Osogbo while hosting some youth who just returned from a training sponsored by the state government in modern agricultural technique at Germany.

He explained that his government’s decision to send the youths for the agriculture programme is to boost food production in the state, adding that this will bring about a positive boost in food production.

The governor advised the youths not to be idle as they wait on the government to fulfill its promise to offer financial support.

According to him, “Nigeria is in economic crisis especially as the nation’s economic mainstay, oil, was cheap on the international market.

“The production capacity had reduced significantly due to the activities of the Niger Delta Avengers.

“Besides, we also face food crisis and if we are unable to feed ourselves, then there is problem. We believe, as a government, that we must produce what we consume.

“The first panacea out of the food crisis is for us as a people to drastically curb our excessive taste for foreign foods.

“We should patronise our local foods rather than spend huge but scarce foreign exchange on importation of rice.”

Aregbesola stressed that this would help in reducing the rate of poverty in the state, adding that “now is also the time for our people to practice birth control and control our population”.

Recession: Women, youths demand Emefiele’s resignation.

Hundreds of women and youths took part in a protest in Abuja yesterday to demand the resignation of the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, over the hardship caused by economic recession.They insisted that Emefiele’s ouster would save the country from further crisis.

 

The protesters converged on the headquarters of the National Council of Women’s Society (NCWS) before moving to the CBN office with placards.

Patricia Orukare, who led the protesters to the CBN headquaters told officials of the apex bank who came to receive their protest letter that: “We are law-abiding and responsible citizens of this country who are bothered about the present state of the economy, particularly the continued monetary policy crisis that is causing Nigerians severe hardship. We are aware that this situation is due to the many ill-conceived and inconsistent policies of the CBN under your control as governor.

 

We are here to register our loss of confidence in you. The CBN under your direction has lost focus as its policies since you took over have all been unfriendly and counter-productive. We therefore demand that you immediately resign from office to enable Mr. President to appoint a more competent hand. We give you one week to resign, failure of which we shall start to occupy the front of the bank until you do so.”

Baby Traffickers Thriving In Nigeria As Recession Bites- Report

As 16-year-old Maria strained under the anguish of labor in southeastern Nigeria, a midwife repeatedly slapped her across the face – but the real ordeal began minutes after birth.

“The nurse took my child away to be washed. She never brought her back,” the teenager said, gazing down at her feet.

Maria said she learned her newborn daughter had been given up for adoption for which she received 20,000 naira ($65.79) – the same price as a 50 kilogram bag of rice.

And Maria is far from alone.

A Thomson Reuters Foundation investigative team spoke to more than 10 Nigerian women duped into giving up their newborns to strangers in houses known as “baby factories” in the past two years or offered babies whose origins were unknown.

Five women did not want to be interviewed, despite the guarantee of anonymity, fearing for their own safety with criminal gangs involved in the baby trade, while two men spoke of being paid to act as “studs” to get women pregnant.

Although statistics are hard to come by, campaigners say the sale of newborns is widespread – and they fear the illegal trade is becoming more prevalent with Nigeria heading into recession this year amid ongoing political turbulence.

“The government is too overstretched by other issues to focus on baby trafficking,” said Arinze Orakwue, head of public enlightenment at the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP).

Record numbers of baby factories were raided or closed down in the southeastern states of Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo this year, NAPTIP said.

A total of 14 were discovered in the first nine months of 2016, up from six in 2015 and 10 in 2014, the data showed.

But despite the growing number of raids, the scam exploiting couples desperate for a baby and young, pregnant, single women continues with newborns sold for up to $5,000 in Africa’s most populous nation where most people live on less than $2 a day.

Cultural barriers are also a factor in the West African nation, with teenage girls fearing they will be publicly shamed by strict fathers or partners over unwanted pregnancies if they do not give up their children, experts say.

“In southeastern Nigeria a woman is deemed a failure if she fails to conceive. But it is also taboo for a teenager to fall pregnant out of wedlock,” said Orakwue.

Maria said in the home in Imo state where she gave birth pregnant teenagers were welcomed by a maternal nurse who liked to be called “mama” but went on to sell the babies they delivered.

“(After I gave birth) somebody told me that mama collected big money from people before giving them other people’s babies,” Maria told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in the grounds of a school compound in her village.

“I do not know where my baby is now,” said Maria, using a false name for her own protection.

A lot of the trade is carried out in Nigeria but authorities suspect babies are also sold to people from Europe and the United States because many foreigners continue to seek infants there despite the controversy around Nigerian adoptions.

Read More: reuters

Recession: Lagos To Introduce Monthly Payment On Housing

In a bid to cushion the effects of economic recession in the country, the Lagos State Government has perfected plans to introduce monthly payment plan on its Home Ownership Mortgage Schemes popularly called Lagos HOMS across the State.

The State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, who stated this after embarking on an extensive inspection tour of projects across the State, said his administration has decided to scale up the rent-to-own policy by introducing monthly payment plan whereby people can pay monthly instead of being compelled to make a down payment of 30 percent of the total cost or pay for one year.

He said: “We believe strongly that people should be able to pay one month rent and live in our housing schemes. We don’t think in a recession, we should be having a situation where we allow people to come and buy when they don’t have money or to come and pay one year rent. We think the way to move forward is to allow these our younger ones to just pay one month deposit and pay one month rent and move into the houses and then more or less play up our rent-to-own scheme,” Governor Ambode said.

While speaking on the pocket-friendly initiatives of his administration on housing, Governor Ambode said the State Government has taken time to review its mortgage schemes vis-à-vis its financial flow, adding that many ongoing housing schemes have reached advanced stages of completion and that they would be rolled out in a matter of months.

The Governor, who inspected the Illubirin Housing Scheme in Lagos Island, said government, in partnership with private sector, is making arrangement to transform the scheme into a live, work and play environment.

“In addition to that, the other housing projects that we are doing are on course and I want to assure Lagosians that in the next few months, we will be seeing a whole lot of housing units being rolled out,” the Governor said.

On his part, the State’s Commissioner for Housing, Mr. Gbolahan Lawal, debunked insinuation that the Illubirin Housing Scheme had been abandoned, saying that government was rather working to improve on the project which is sitting on 28 hectares.

He recalled how the project started under the administration of former Lagos State Governor, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu with sand filling, while his predecessor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola carried on with the project.

He said: “Now, under the administration of Governor Ambode, we want to scale it up and the idea is to make this place a live, play and work environment and so we are projecting 500 units instead of the 1,260 that the scheme was formerly designed for. We believe government funds should be deployed to some other sites that we are working on and to also come up with new designs and new buildings and so instead of government to recapitalize this project, we are working with the private sector and the investor that has come up is investing about $500 million.”

According to Lawal, about five hectares of the Illubirin scheme would be dedicated to leisure, while there would also be commercial activities, as well as flyover which would be constructed.
He said the State Government is already working with the Federal Ministry of Works and the Ministry of Waterfront in that regard, adding that the flyover would be on another phase.

He also said that all the phases of the scheme are expected to span between five to seven years, but that there would be a lot of improvement on the project before May 2019.
Governor Ambode also inspected the ongoing construction of a lay-by and slip road into Isheri Olowora at Berger bus-stop.

Recession: Dangote threatens to stop tomato paste production

Few days after Erisco Foods Limited threatened to shut down its tomato factory, Dangote Industries Limited yesterday disclosed plans to stop tomato paste production because of the harsh operating environment that gives advantage to imported production.

Group Vice President of Dangote Industries Limited, Alhaji Sani Dangote, disclosed that the group recently stopped tomato paste production because of the harsh operating environment that gives advantage to imported products.

He also said the company would not be able to pay farmers from whom they get the raw materials unless government did something urgently.

Although, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said it would not give dollars, Dangote noted that countries like China give their people huge support and waivers that allow them access to finance that they do not really feel the forex crunch being faced by their Nigerian competitors.

Dangote who spoke at the 2nd group meeting of the Zero Hunger Committee in Abuja, expressed dissatisfaction over the delay on the part of the ministries and agencies involved to address the issue of tomato importation.

The Chairman of Nigerian AgricBusiness Group (NABG) insisted that the only way out was for government to put in place a clear cut policy on tomato importation and local production, stressing: “We have bee n talking for the past one year and up till now there is no clear cut direction where the government is heading.”

He further said that the forex policy being implemented by the CBN has not stopped importers from making profit from importation instead it is the local industries that are recording losses.

According to him, forex was not the problem but establishing a policy that would restrict the importation of tomato.

“We are not looking for forex. We are only saying that government should put up a policy where we are producing tomato concentrate to those industries that are into packaging; we are not into retail packaging,” he said.

So, that about 30 of those retail companies in Nigeria that are importing would stop and buy from us and repackage into smaller sachets, tins and so on.

“If we are talking about importers and we are talking about local producers; there is no way we can have a common ground because they are looking at 100 per cent import and we are looking at 100 per cent local production.

Dangote, who stated that “some companies have opened industries in Ghana and other free zones under the disguise of ECOWAS and are importing”, was however, optimistic that President Muhammadu Buhari would key into the issue and find a lasting solution.

Recall that Erisco Foods Limited had indicated plans to shut down its tomato paste processing business in Nigeria owing to unfavourable operating climate which will lead to loss of about 1,500 jobs.

NESH to mobilise for Nigeria’s exit from recession

The Nigerian Entrepreneurship Summit and Honours (NESH) has designed a tool to mobilise entrepreneurs to lead the country out of the current economic recession.

The maiden edition of NESH is scheduled to hold on November 16 and 17 at Ballroom and Grand Ballroom of Lagos Oriental Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos.

The Founder of the summit, Emeka Ugwu-Oju, said at the pre-event briefing in Lagos that the project is targeted at making Nigeria a haven for entrepreneurs to become the major drivers of the nation’s economic development.

He said it was time for both young and aspiring entrepreneurs to see the need to promote made in Nigeria product in order to help bring the country out of recession.

“NESH will be at the forefront of promoting the patronage of Nigeria made goods and services for the world and not for Nigerians alone,” he said.

He added that this year’s edition would provide an avenue for thought leadership and engagement, knowledge exchange, networking, benchmarking and appreciation of the contribution of entrepreneurs to national development. NESH will offer not only a live hub but also build out an online platform (NESH TV) for and about entrepreneurs, offering advice, case studies, news and analysis.

There will also be a NESH for young entrepreneurs from age 18 to 35 years named NESH-NXT, and some of the NESH-NXT attendees will also participate in the NESH to gain further insight and network with more experienced entrepreneurs.

“It is fortuitous that NESH will be commencing when Nigeria is in an economic recession. NESH as a platform will be at the vanguard of mobilising Nigerian entrepreneurs to lead the country out of the current recession.”

“Expected to be in attendance at the NESH are leading lights of Nigerian entrepreneurship and the public sector, led by the grand patron of NESH, Prof. Yemi Oshibajo, SAN, Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” he said.

The Chairman, Board and President, Africa Import and Export Bank, Dr Benedict Oramah, would deliver the inaugural keynote speech.

Ugwu-Oju added the NESH, will honour and recognise comprise of NESH Titan; NESH entrepreneur of the year; NESH 100; NESH 500; NESH award to state governments.

The NESH Titans is the equivalent of Hall of Fame in some jurisdictions. These are entrepreneurs dead or alive, who were giant entrepreneurs in their various fields at one point or another.

Nigeria Will Be Out Of Recession Soon- British Envoy

The British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Paul Thomas Arkwright has assured that the country will be out of the recession soon.

The High Commissioner said the United Kingdom would sent its expertise to Nigeria to fast-track the nation’s rebound.

Speaking during the Closing Gong Ceremony, at the Nigerian Stock Exchange in Lagos yesterday, Thomas Arkwright said part of his duty in the country was to ensure that more British companies are encouraged to list on the stock market as well as help build a stable economy.

Thomas Arkwrite who described the Nigeria Stock Market as a vibrant one, notwithstanding the economic downturn, explained that the market mirrors the entire economy, adding the stock market remains the only channel through which both local and international companies can raise capital to finance huge projects.

“There is a strong partnership between the Nigerian Stock Exchange and the London Stock Exchange. Part of my duty here is to encourage British companies to come and list their shares.

“I know we are looking at the time of economic difficulty in Nigeria. I know the market reflect the economic situation here. But I am confident that in the immediate to medium term, perhaps in the short-term, Nigeria will turn the corner, and the economy will pick-up, employment will pick-up and inflation will come down.

“The United Kingdom is a willing partner to Nigeria. We have a strong and healthy Stock Exchange in London, and there is the expertise that can be shared here with the Nigerian Stock Exchange. That is part of the job to find how we can corporate economically”, he added.

Speaking on how soon British companies would approach the nation’s market for listing, he said; “Nigeria has a way to go, you know Nigeria is still low on the index in doing business.

Read More:

http://guardian.ng/news/nigeria-will-be-out-of-recession-soon-says-british-envoy/

Industrialization is key to exit from recession – BoI

The Acting Managing Director, Bank of Industry, Waheed Olagunju, has said that industrialisation is the best way to diversify the economy.

Speaking at the 32nd Omolayole Management Lecture in Lagos, he emphasised that industrialisation, value-addition and processing will foster a higher quality of life for Nigerians.

Giving an analysis of the economy in the past 56 years, he said Nigeria is not occupying its rightful position compared with other countries with fewer natural resources.

Comparing the economy of Mexico with the Nigerian economy, he said that between the mid-70s and 2014, Mexico had diversified its economy away from oil with 80 per cent of its revenue coming from the manufacturing sector in 2014, against 20 per cent it generated from the sector in the mid-70s.

For Nigeria, he stated that its dependence on crude oil exported which accounted for 90 per cent of it revenue in the mid- 70s had remained the same till 2014.

“But we have continued to be dependent on oil. Mexico has been able to diversify its economy successfully. Manufacturing must account for a larger proportion of our GDP, ” Olagunju added.

Speaking on the theme:”Made-in-Nigeria: Vehicle for the diversification to the economy,” he emphasised the possibility of boost the country’s GDP with infrastructural development and investment in the manufacturing sector.

Dr. Michael Omolayole, in whom the lecture was done in his honour, stressed that production and consumption of indigenous products are the solutions to Nigeria’s economic recession.

He said: “We must consume what we make and stop importing food. It is a shame that we still import so much food and yet we can grow practically everything. Manufacturing is going to be the saviour of this country at the end of the day. The only reason why we are not industrialised till today is because we have never got electricity right.”

The President, Chartered Institute of Personnel Management, Mr. Anthony Arabome, called for increased advocacy to reduce the country’s dependence on oil and encourage locally produced goods.

Recession: London Companies Will Continue To Do Business In Nigeria

Mr Carl Woolf, International Trade Adviser at the United Kingdom(UK) Department for International Trade on Tuesday said that London companies would not be discouraged by Nigeria’s current economic recession.

Woolf told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on the sidelines of a ‘Market to Nigeria’ trade mission to Lagos that London companies would continue do business in Nigeria.

“London companies will continue to see Nigeria as a country with 180 million population with future huge opportunities.“Economic recession or not, London companies strongly believe in the huge investment opportunities in this country, Nigeria.

“It is even better for us to be here during this current Nigeria’s economic recession for us to really know what the future holds for our companies here,’’ he said.

Woolf, who led a mission of London companies to Lagos, said that the companies were visiting Nigeria to establish long-term business relations with Nigeria.

He said that the mission was being part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) to enhance the competitiveness of London SMEs in international markets.

The UK International Trade Adviser said that the companies were interested and would be providing a wide range of products, services and expertise to Nigeria’s energy, infrastructure, agriculture and education sectors.

Woolf, however, said that it was imperative for Nigeria to examine her recent World Bank’s low ranking in Ease-of- Doing Business.

Read More:

http://guardian.ng/news/recession-london-companies-will-continue-to-do-business-in-nigeria/

Recession: FG Recants, To Dump Assets Sale Proposal

The federal government has made a U-turn in its proposed bid to dispose national assets to raise money in order to reflate the economy, describing it as mere speculation.

This position was made known by the minister of information, Lai Mohammed, after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday, at the Presidential Villa.

This comes barely one week after the National Economic Council (NEC) meeting, presided over by the vice president, Yemi Osinbajo, with 23 state governors in attendance, backed the sale of national assets as one of the ways to raise cash to reflate the economy.

The NEC, which is the highest economic decision making body, also canvassed advance payment of licence renewals, infrastructure concessioning and implementation of fiscal stimulus.

LEADERSHIP recalls that the governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, had penultimate while confirming government’s plans to sell about 15 per cent of its oil assets held by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), which is expected to yield an inflow of $10 billion to the country.

He had said in an interview with top media managers in Lagos that the sale would commence soon. He said the expected income would have been up to $15 billion if the assets were sold earlier in the year and added that a team of consultants had been commissioned to carry out a study on the proposed sale.

Finance minister, Mrs Kemi Adeosun had also told business editors in an interview this week that sale of assets would reduce government borrowing.

Recall also that business mogul, Aliko Dangote, was the first to fly the kite about a fortnight night ago when he advised the federal government to sell some national assets, saying it was a better option for the country than borrowing from the World Bank or IMF. According to him, what the nation needs now is to beef up its reserves. He particularly advised the government to sell the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Ltd.

The Senate, on Tuesday, however rejected the proposal, saying the country was not bankrupt, and wondered why the federal government would consider the sale of national assets as an option.

However, speaking to State House correspondents, the minister of information said that, so far, all the reports were still in the realm of speculation as the federal government had not officially made its decision known on the matter.

According to him, government is still working on how to reflate the economy in the most comprehensive manner and will make its position known very soon.

Mohammed said: “What the government will do is to reflate the economy; everything you have heard so far is just suggestion, until the government makes its position known.

“All these assets sale, assets leasing, whatever is being bandied about, they are nothing but speculations. The government is yet to come out with its position on how to bail out the economy.

“NEC will recommend but it is the Federal Executive Council that will decide, and what we decide will be the position of government,” he added.

How State Governors Can Survive Recession- el-Rufai

Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, has listed various ways state governors can both survive the economic recession and become less dependent on Federal Government.
Speaking with Daily Sun at the opening of the World Pension Summit (WPS) summit in Abuja Tuesday, el-Rufai advised his counterparts to immediately flush out ghost workers and ghost pensioners using the biometric verification method.
He also asked them to reduce their aides and other personal staff; improve their tax collection machinery while investing in healthcare and agriculture.
“As governors, we need to focus on cutting costs, reducing the machinery of government and the size so that we can live within our means. We also need to look at our state economies and find a way of not relying heavily on federation account. That means developing agriculture, developing mining, improving our tax collection mechanism so that we generate more revenue from taxes. “We also have to focus on education and healthcare because we’ve a growing population. Nigeria is forecast to be the third most populous country in the world by 2050 with a population of about 450 million people. That is not a bad thing if that population is educated. The challenge is for the state governments that are directly responsible for the provision of social services. So, they need to spend a large part of their annual budget on education and healthcare. That’s what we’re trying to do in Kaduna State”, he stated.
El’Rufai said: “Most state governors have inherited huge bureaucracy, a large number of employees they may not need and all that. Most of these Ministries and Agencies were created when the price of oil was over N100 per barrel. Today, it’s down to N40. So, it’s no longer sustainable to keep that size and number of employees. And they have to start by reducing the number of political appointees, reducing number of ministries by merging some of them, looking at the nominal role and ensure ghost workers are eliminated, etc.
“So, you ask whether you need the number of employees you have and if you don’t, get some to exit and then give them a good package so that they can start their own businesses. Then, you’ll have a size of government you can afford.
“Then, you look at the overhead cost, which is the cost of running the government. Look at travelling, the tea and coffee, the estacode, money spent on conferences, workshops, and see ways of cutting them down. I don’t think Nigeria needs a lot of conferences and the problems we have have been debated and solved.”

Credit: sunnewsonline

Nigeria Already Getting Out Of Recession– Minister

Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, the Minister of Finance, on Wednesday said that the nation was already getting out of recession, saying the Federal Government had taken steps that were in the best interest of the citizens.

Adeosun disclosed this in her closing remarks at a two-day conference of National Council of Finance and Economic Development (NACOFED) in Abeokuta.

“We are already getting out of recession because of the actions the Federal Government is taking, if you are in a problem, the day you start to step towards progression, you are already getting out of it.

“The government is investing more in capital than we have ever invested, we are sorting out infrastructures, we are stopping wastage and so the sign of recovery is already there.

“Agriculture and solid mineral are already starting to grow and so they are responding to our policy initiative and we are expected to continue in that direction.

“Nigeria is getting out of the trouble that we have found ourselves, we are turning things around and I believe everybody is united and everybody that were here represented the 36 states, “she said.

Read More:

Nigeria is already getting out of recession – Minister

FG needs to spend less, earn more, borrow way out of recession – Obasanjo

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Tuesday made a number of recommendations to the federal government as the surest way of getting out of the current economic downturn, saying that the government needs to spend less, earn more, and borrow its way out of the recession.

Obasanjo spoke in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, yesterday at the National Council on Finance and Economic Development (NACOFED) conference with the theme: “Enhancing Revenue Generation and Obtaining Best Value for Money in Expenditure”.

The former president said: “We are spending more than what we earn, so we must borrow as quickly as possible. Let us meet with those who can lend us under reasonable interests rates.”

He said that what the country was witnessing was not unexpected, adding: “I foresaw it two years go. So let us find out the things we can do without, we should instill discipline to cut spending. Also, when we have inflation, it affects everything including local production.”

He observed that the major problem with Nigeria stemmed from the fact that the country spends more than it earns and had not been able to save for the “rainy day”.
He, however, pointed out that funds could be sourced from outside the country and advised Nigeria to approach its allies that could lend to the country under reasonable terms.

He warned, however, that no nation would part with its funds without observing that the federal government was taking practical steps to institute critical reforms, saying that Nigeria must encourage production to earn more and broaden its revenue base.
He said since the nation was not in control of oil prices, it needed to diversify the economy and concentrate on the things it could control.

Obasanjo, who also spoke on the need to develop agriculture, frowned at policies which had turned the nation into a dumping ground for other countries’ products.

The former president, however, endorsed the proposal on the sale of Nigeria’s strategic national assets in order to get out of the current economic hardship.

According to him, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) was run as a personal fiefdom and even the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) was run in the same manner, saying: “They (government officials) write notes to the central bank to release funds anytime they need it. But we cannot run the country this way.

“We started NNPC about the same time Norway started Statoil and look at where we are. I said it this morning, two institutions that were not tampered with badly or not tampered with at all in the last six years, is the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) company.

“The second one are the pension funds which is going to hit N6 trillion and has captured only 7 million people out of over 20 million wage earners, if we can even double that, you imagine what that can be.”

Continuing, he added: “I see no reason why 49% of NNPC cannot be privatised; don’t give it out to cabals, friends, relations or kith and kin, let it go public so that even my driver can buy 10% of NNPC and if there is a limit to the shares any individual or any corporate organisation can buy, there is nothing wrong with that.

“If this happens, NNPC will then be run like NLNG. NLNG is doing wonderfully well and NNPC was doing very well until we started running it not the way it should be run and if it was run properly in the past, who says it cannot be run that same way in future, so we must prevent recurrence.

“Many people think selling is a bad thing. But I disagree, as you will be restructuring the sector, that is all it is, you’re reorganising the sector.
“You talk of assets that are not doing well, no, if you have to earn money to get yourself out of the situation you are in, you can even sell good assets. So the only thing to sort out is how to go about selling them?

“What worries many Nigerians is their focus on what happened in the past. I wouldn’t be particular, but there are concerns that we sold things before and after that we got ‘K’ leg (local parlance for complications).

“But this one should not have ‘K’ leg because it will be on the stock exchange, you will buy and they will assess how much should be sold.

“May be they want to privatise the ports, I don’t know, but these are things we can look at and get people. The only fear the people would entertain is the ‘mago mago’ (local parlance for fraud), but if there is no mago mago and it is transparent, then there are some advantages to this.”

Obasanjo, however, cautioned that when funds are raised from the asset sales, the manner they are spent and managed by government is just as important.

Obasanjo Blames Jonathan For Recession

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo yesterday took a swipe at the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan, declaring that his advice on the prevailing economic crisis was ignored two years ago.

 

Obasanjo also blamed Jonathan for lifting the ban on importation of products like toothpick, which he said could have been taken over by local industries without encumbrances.

At the official opening of the National Council on Finance and Economic Development (NACOFED) in Abeokuta yesterday, Obasanjo said the only way Nigeria could urgently step out of the current economic recession is for it to seek foreign loan.
Obasanjo, who was the Father of the Day at the opening session, said he had warned the former President on the impending recession in November 26, 2014 When he joined others to celebrate the birthday of retired Justice Akanbi.
I reminded the government that we were spending more than we were earning. that very soon, the country would not be able to fund the budget. Unfortunately, the government then refused to listen to my advice,” he told the gathering.
Obasanjo shocked the gathering when he recalled how it was discovered that the ban on the importation of toothpick was reversed by the Jonathan administration, saying he had visited Jonathan in Abuja to ask why he lifted the ban on toothpick and Jonathan said he did not read before he approved.
Speaking further on the way out for Nigeria, Obasanjo said there were three options, explaining,
“The three options are we have to spend less, we must endeavor to earn and then the last one is to borrow, and this if we must, we do it fast and now. “

 

He however cautioned against doing the bidding of the World Bank and Inernational Monetary Fund (IMF).

ECOWAS Parliament Advises Against Panic Measures To Address Recession

The ECOWAS Parliament has advised Nigeria to avoid using “panic measures” to address the country’s current economic situation.
The call was made at the presentation of Nigeria’s Report at the ongoing second Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Parliament in Abuja yesterday.

Members of parliament raised concerns over Nigeria’s current economic situation and advised that the country use a more inclusive approach to address the recession.
They commended efforts taken by the federal government to tackle the situation but raised concerns that it was not doing enough. Mr Dominic Azumah, representing Ghana, said Nigeria needed to include its citizens in the process of resolving the country’s economic situation.
“Using panic measures is not necessary; Nigeria needs to be calm, move with and consult the people on the way out of the economic recession.
Mr Alfred Agbeshie, also representing Ghana, raised, concerns about the vandalism of oil pipelines in the country.
“Is the release of money by the government going to solve the Nigerian economic situation?” he asked.
Ms Aïssata Daffe, representing Guinea, noted that despite the measures Nigeria had taken to contain corruption and improve the economy “the naira continues to depreciate”.
In her response, Mrs Lynda Ikpeazu, representing Nigeria, agreed that Nigeria was not doing enough to address the recession, but stressed that efforts were being made to revive the economy.
Ikpeazu reiterated that the federal government was engaging perpetrators of oil pipeline vandalism, which she said, had contributed to the current economic situation.
She also said the government would look into complaints made by some representatives on citizens of member countries facing difficulties in obtaining Right of Residence permits to live and work in the country.
Read More: dailytrust

Despite recession, Dangote vows to scale up investments in Nigeria, Africa

In recognition of his immense contribution to human capital development in Africa through the establishment of businesses across the African continent, a United States of America-based Organization, Africa-America Institute (AAI) has honoured the President of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, with the “2016 African Business Leader Award.”

The business guru was named and presented the award at a colourful ceremony held on the side-line of the United Nations Congress held in New York city, United States alongside other prominent Africans like Stephen Hayes, President and CEO of the Corporate Council on Africa (CCA), who won the AAI ‘2016 U.S. Business Leader Award’; and Sunil Benimadhu, Executive Director of the Stock Exchange of Mauritius (SEM), who won the AAI ‘2016 Distinguished Alumnus Award.’

Dangote said he was humbled by the award considering the pedigree of the award which celebrates African achievement at the global stage and promised that he would not be deterred by the current economic challenges in Nigeria but would intensify the expansion of his businesses across Africa.

At the award Gala themed “Education: The Key to Africa’s Economic Growth,”, Dangote expressed delight that the Institute brought education in Africa to the front burner., noting “I have always been passionate about education because I believe it is a weapon of liberation.

Drawing a reference from a Nelson Mandela quote that: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”, the Chairman of Dangote Cement, global, said he identified himself with laudable initiatives that seek to promote educational growth and development, particularly in Africa.

“As a matter of fact, I am a founding member of the Gordon Brown-led Global Business Coalition for Education. Education is also one of the cardinal areas that the Aliko Dangote Foundation focuses on.

“I believe quality and affordable education will address the immense social and economic inequalities that often breed discontent in many parts of Africa. I also believe education will strengthen the human capital that will drive Africa’s development in the 21st Century.

“I am happy to note that AAI has been contributing to Africa’s development, through training and education, since it was founded 63 years ago. This award is coming at a time the Dangote Group is rapidly expanding its footprints across Africa, and into new sectors.

“Last year alone, we commenced cement operations in Ethiopia, Zambia, Cameroon, South Africa, Senegal and Tanzania. By 2019, we will have operations in 18 countries with a total capacity of nearly 80MMTPA, thus making us the largest cement producer in Africa and the 6th largest in the world.

“Over the next few years, we will be investing nearly $20billion in projects ranging from a petroleum refinery, petrochemicals, fertiliser, gas pipeline, and backward integration in sugar and rice production.

“These projects will create over 250,000 jobs and provide foreign exchange earnings and savings of $16 billion for the country and help diversify our economy. Central to this developmental trajectory is the need for capacity building and ramping up of the quality of skills of a fast growing African workforce.

“Despite the current economic challenges, we will continue to scale up the value of our investments not only in Nigeria but also across the entire continent, because we believe in Nigeria’s and Africa’s potential. We believe that it is only by sustained massive investments in infrastructure across the continent, supported with access to education, that Africa can reach its full potential.

“This award will further encourage us to redouble our efforts as we work towards promoting Africa’s economic renaissance. We are grateful to the organisers for recognising our modest efforts to transform Africa”, he stated.

Founded in 1953, The Africa-America Institute (AAI) is a premier U.S.-based international organization dedicated to strengthening human capacity of Africans and promoting the continent’s development through higher education and skills training, convening activities, program implementation and management.

Its primary model is to identify capacity-building projects and coordinate the programmatic, financial administration and evaluation necessary to deliver high-impact results.

I Can’t Predict When Recession’ll End – Finance Minister, Kemi Adeosun

The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, has said that she cannot predict when the nation will get out of the current economic recession.

She, however, said that some of the efforts of the government to reflate the economy had started yielding results.

The minister, who spoke in an interview in Abuja, stated, “I don’t want to predict when we will get out of recession. Let me tell you that we will get into growth and that’s how you get out of recession, because of the stimulus that we are providing.

“And it may take longer than we would like, but we will definitely get out of it. We are already seeing some positive signs in agriculture and solid minerals;and with what we are trying to do with other sectors, I am very sure we will get out of it soon.”

Recession: Senate Tables 14-Point Roadmap to Turn Around Economy

In a bid to find quick solutions to the economic recession in the country, the Senate yesterday commenced debate on the issue, with Senate President Bukola Saraki presenting a 14-point plan to the federal government on how to make the crisis the shortest ever in history.

The Senate’s roadmap out of the recession was contained in Saraki’s speech to welcome his colleagues back from their annual vacation.
Going by the importance attached to finding urgent solutions to the recession, the Senate plenary commenced at 10.10 a.m. after the presiding and principal officers of the Senate filed into the chamber.

The recommendations by Saraki, which will form the basis for an elaborate debate today by his colleagues include:
• The executive must immediately put in place leadership-level engagement platform with the private sector.
• Government must raise capital from asset sales and other sources to shore up foreign reserves.

• Consider tweaking the pension funds policy within international best practice safeguards to accommodate investment in infrastructure and mortgages.
• The federal government and Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) must agree on a policy of monetary easing to stimulate the economy and harmonise monetary and fiscal policies until economic recovery is attained.

• Re-tool its export promotion policy scheme with incentives such as the resumption of the Export Expansion Grant (EEG), and introduce export-financing initiatives.
• Engage in meaningful dialogue with those aggrieved in the Niger Delta and avoid an escalation of the conflict in the region.

• Consider the immediate release of funds to ensure the implementation of the budget for the near short term to inject money into the economy.
• Similarly, the agricultural sector and agro-allied businesses should be directly supported to boost value addition and jobs creation.

• While government works on the medium to long-term plans, immediate strategies must be devised that would ease the suffering of the ordinary people across the country.
• The legislature and executive must co-operate to ensure the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) into law as soon as possible to stimulate new investment and boost oil revenue.

Saraki added that while the executive is working on the recommendations enumerated above, the National Assembly should support it with the necessary legislations and oversight activities such as:

• Accelerate bills aimed at reforming the mortgage sub-sector for growth and accessibility in a manner that deepens people’s access to housing, jobs and economic activities.
• Work on the National Development Bank of Nigeria (Establishment) Bill 2015 which will provide long term cheaper source of funds to the private sector.

• Quickly commence work on the amendment of the Nigerian Ports and Harbours Authority Act (Amendment) Bill 2016; National Road Fund (Establishment, etc); National Transport Commission Act 2001; Warehouse Receipts Act Bill 2016; Review of the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA), Investment and Securities Act (ISA) and Customs and Excise Management Act; Federal Competition Bill 2016; and the National Road Authority. These bills and some of the other economic reform bills will be considered in the coming days.

• Explore the possibility of backing certain key government policies with legislations that have time limitations. This will help give confidence to investors to go into certain areas of the economy and invest without the fear that such policies will suffer reversals and loss of investment.

Read More: thisdaylive

We Must Fight Corruption For Its Damage On Nigerian Economy – VP Osinbajo

It is important that Nigerians insist that the problem of corruption must be dealt with considering the extent of the damage it has caused the country’s economy.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, made the assertion today while receiving a delegation of the University of Lagos Alumni Association that paid him a courtesy call at the Presidential Villa.

“We’ve watched corruption fighting back, some people even said bring back corruption, but not the man on the street,” according to Prof. Osinbajo who added that the nation has witnessed excessive corruption.

Said he : “no economy can tolerate the level of corruption seen in Nigeria without consequences. Look at the Northeast, while a war is going, Nigerian lives being lost, some local governments had been taken over, and yet people cannot account for $15B meant for security equipment purchases.”

“The corruption has been so much. Look at the sheer amount of money stolen and decisions taken that fuels corruption, decisions taken just with the sole aim of cornering national resources,” the Vice President lamented.

While explaining the Buhari administration’s approach to the fight against corruption, the Vice President noted that “we are not sitting down focussing on it, all we do is to empower the relevant agencies EFCC and co to do their jobs. Our main focus is the national economy.”

Continuing he said “what catches our attention is the kind of discoveries we get and hear of daily.” But he observed that Nigeria is still blessed with honest people, adding that as a nation it is important to pay serious attention to issues of integrity.

According to him, regarding the current government, “I can say is one that is completely focussed on dealing with issues that concerns this country. I work everyday with the President so I can say so. He is totally focussed on how to make this country a better place to live.”

The UNILAG Alumni Association was led by Dr. Sunny Kuku who noted the group’s support for the Buhari administration, expressing readiness to assist in any way necessary. He said the members of the Alumni Association were proud that one of them rose to the high office of the Vice President. Prof. Osinbajo said he was glad to receive the group in his office and grateful to be honored with the Distinguished Alumni Award.

Laolu Akande
Senior Special Assistant-Media & Publicity
In the Office of the Vice President
Sept 20, 2016

Banks To Close Branches As Recession Bites Hard.

A number of Deposit Money Banks in the country will close many of what they described as unprofitable branches as the economic recession continues to bite harder, investigation by our correspondent has shown.

It was similarly gathered that most of the banks would lay off hundreds of workers between now and December.

The revelation came barely 24 hours after Unity Bank Plc laid off about 300 workers, more than the 220 that was mentioned last week.

Diamond Bank Plc, Ecobank and Skye Bank Plc had earlier in the year sacked over 3,000 members of their workforce.

It was learnt that following the economic downturn in the country, a number of bank branches could no longer justify their existence as cost analysis had shown that the financial institutions were spending more on salaries and overheads than the income from the branches.

Some top bank executives, who confirmed the development to our correspondent under the condition of anonymity on Monday, said some lenders might be forced to relieve more workers of their duties before the end of this year.

An executive director in one of the banks that recently asked some of its workers to go said, “We have laid off some of our staff members but that it still not enough. Many branches are just existing for the sake of being there. They are not generating enough income. What they are bringing in is far less than what the bank is incurring as costs on them.

“We may have to close such branches before the year ends. I know a number of other banks that are planning something similar.”

Commenting on the development, an ex-banker and Chief Executive Officer, Cowry Asset Management Limited, Mr. Johnson Chukwu, described branch closure as an ongoing action in the banking sector, especially in times of economic downturn.

He, however, noted that banks were required to notify the Central Bank of Nigeria before closing any branch.

“It is an ongoing administrative thing in the banking industry. Banks will want to rationalise branches, especially in a difficult economy. Banks are planning to cut costs. Branch rationalisation is normal but the CBN has to be notified,” Chukwu explained.

The banking sector has been facing a number of challenges following the downturn in economic activities.

The slowdown in the economy, which has led to a high rate of non-performing loans in the banking system, made four lenders to lose at least N17bn in profits in the first quarter of this year.

Specifically, Ecobank Transnational Incorporated, Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, Unity Bank Plc and Diamond Bank Plc recorded a combined decline of N17bn in their profits before tax for the three months ended March 31, 2016, when compared with the corresponding period of 2015, according to the results of the financial institutions posted on the website of the Nigerian Stock Exchange.

When compared with the PBT of N30.52bn, N32.65bn, N4.26bn and N7.94bn recorded by the banks in the first quarter of 2015, the combined PBT of the four banks dropped by N17bn from N75.4bn in the first quarter of last year to N58.4bn in the same period of this year.

While Ecobank’s PBT fell from N30.52bn in the first quarter of 2015 to N20.63bn in a similar period of this year, GTBank’s dropped from N32.65bn to N30.68bn. That of Unity Bank dropped from N4.26bn to N1.05bn, while Diamond Bank’s came down from N7.94bn to N6.04bn.

In terms of their profit after tax, the four banks recorded a decline of N14bn.

Banks in the country had been posting sharp increases in profits before tax and profits after tax since 2011 after the establishment of the Asset Management of Corporation of Nigeria in 2010 following the banking sector crisis in 2009.

However, consistent drop in the global prices of crude oil, Nigeria’s main foreign exchange earner, since June 2014, caused banks’ profits to start declining at the end of 2015.

Majority of the 15 banks listed on the NSE recorded declines in their full-year profits in the 2015 financial year. However, a few ones such as Access Bank Plc, Zenith Bank Plc, United Bank for Africa Plc and GTBank outperformed the market despite sizeable volume of bad loans.

In the first quarter of 2016, 13 out of the 15 banks posted a combined PBT of N135.36bn, compared to N148bn in the corresponding period of last year.

Similarly, the 13 banks posted profits after tax of N116.6bn in the first quarter of 2016, compared to N126.4bn in the first quarter of 2015.

The 13 banks are Access Bank Plc, Diamond Bank Plc, Ecobank Transnational Incorporated, First Bank of Nigeria Limited, GTBank, FCMB Limited, Sterling Bank Plc, Fidelity Bank Plc, UBA Plc, Unity Bank, Wema Bank Plc, Union Bank Plc and Zenith Bank Plc.

Skye Bank Plc and Stanbic IBTC Bank have yet to release their full-year 2015 and first-quarter 2016 financial results.

An economic analyst and Head, Investment Advisory, Afrinvest West Africa Limited, Mr. Ayodeji Ebo, said the declining profit in the financial services sector was a reflection of the challenges facing the Nigerian economy.

Banks To Close Branches As Recession Bites Hard

A number of Deposit Money Banks in the country will close many of what they described as unprofitable branches as the economic recession continues to bite harder, investigation by our correspondent has shown.

It was similarly gathered that most of the banks would lay off hundreds of workers between now and December.

The revelation came barely 24 hours after Unity Bank Plc laid off about 300 workers, more than the 220 that was mentioned last week.

Diamond Bank Plc, Ecobank and Skye Bank Plc had earlier in the year sacked over 3,000 members of their workforce.

It was learnt that following the economic downturn in the country, a number of bank branches could no longer justify their existence as cost analysis had shown that the financial institutions were spending more on salaries and overheads than the income from the branches.

Some top bank executives, who confirmed the development to our correspondent under the condition of anonymity on Monday, said some lenders might be forced to relieve more workers of their duties before the end of this year.

An executive director in one of the banks that recently asked some of its workers to go said, “We have laid off some of our staff members but that it still not enough. Many branches are just existing for the sake of being there. They are not generating enough income. What they are bringing in is far less than what the bank is incurring as costs on them.

Read More:

http://punchng.com/banks-close-branches-recession-bites-hard/

Recession: Masari warns against school fees hike

Governor Aminu Bello Masari of Katsina State has warned proprietors of private schools in the country against using the current economic recession as an excuse to deny children of the less privileged, admission through hike in fees.

He gave the warning when he received the President of National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools (NAPPS) North West Zone, Hajiya Maryam Magaji, in Katsina.

The governor, who urged members of the association to be innovative and prudent in the management of their institutions to ensure affordable school fees, revealed that less than 20 percent of private schools in the state would have been closed down if the government applied strictly, the rules and regulations guiding them.

He, however, cautioned that the present administration would not allow some substandard schools, he described as “Room and Parlour School” to continue to operate in the state.

He also warned the private schools’ proprietors against cheating during examination in their institutions to bring to an end, the disturbing growth of “Wonder or Miracle Centres” across the country.

The governor stressed that examination malpractices had destroyed the image of the nation’s education sector and the future of many schools and the children of the elite who were the major culprits. Earlier, Hajiya Maryam Magagi, said the association was determined to build a closer cooperation between government and its members to fulfill their obligations.

She lauded the commitment of the Masari administration to all sectors of the economy and the giant strides it had recorded in the education sector.

Governor Fayose thinks President Buhari is responsible for economic recession

Ekiti State Governor Ayodele Fayose said yesterday that President Mohammadu Buhari is responsible for the country’s economic recession.

Fayose added that president Buhari is the major problem of the country that Nigerians must solve.

“Our president, through his actions and inactions is destroying everything that makes Nigeria a country and well-meaning Nigerians must stand-up to be counted in the crusade to save the country from going under.”

The governor alleged that president Buhari went to foreign countries to demarket Nigeria by calling all Nigerians thieves and dishonest people.

“Which foreign investor will put money in a country of dishonest people? Who made investors to leave Nigeria if not president Buhari?

“Who created (an) atmosphere of economic and political instability in the country by his acts of nepotism and vindictiveness?”

The governor lamented that “president Buhari has not only taken Nigeria to economic recession, he has also moved the country to economic depression and nepotism has prevented him from engaging even the best hands in his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC).”

In a statement issued in Ado-Ekiti, yesterday, by his Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, the governor said president Buhari should realise that “Nigerians will not measure his government on the basis of what his predecessors failed to do, but, on what he does or neglected to do between May 29, 2016 and May 29, 2019.”

He said with the level of hunger in the country, Buhari should rather get serious and be innovative with governance and stop his blame game.

“No nation has ever attained greatness by its leaders engaging in blame game, nepotism and vengeance as being done by President Buhari and his APC government,” Fayose noted.

The governor added that “Nigerians must begin to speak out now before the country is totally destroyed by this one-man government which does not welcome any idea coming from those perceived as opposed to his government.

“As I said earlier, the main issue confronting Nigerians now is hunger and it does not speak the language of politics.

“It is, therefore, no longer about politics; it is about preventing hunger from killing Nigerians.”

Fayose, who said the Federal Government should stop deceiving Nigerians with stories of injecting funds into the economy, added that the economic problems facing the country have gone beyond talks of injecting N350 billion into the economy through execution of capital projects.

“Even if they inject N500 billion into the economy by paying contractors for capital projects, how does that affect the price of rice and other food items?

“How does it affect the price of basic drugs?

“Instead of unsustainable measures, what president Buhari should do is to bring economic experts in the country together, not minding their political and ethnic affiliations, so they can proffer lasting solutions to the country’s economic problems.”

How Nigeria was plunged into recession – CBN

A failure to save for the rainy day as well as poor monetary and fiscal policies were partly responsible for the country’s current recession, according to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

The CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele who disclosed this at an interactive session with media managers in Lagos at the weekend noted that a number of external factors, particularly the crash in global oil prices, also contributed to the nation’s economic woes.

“I must confess that what is happening today is a result of a global crisis in the sense that we’ve seen commodity prices dropping, we’ve seen geopolitical tensions all around the world,” he said.

Emefiele recalled that when it was very buoyant, Nigeria frittered away about $66billion or an average of $6billion per annum funding Bureau de Change (BDCs) operations over 11 years period, beginning from 2008, when the country’s foreign reserves stood at $62billion, and oil price about $120/barrel. He said such funds could have been kept for the rainy day or invested in infrastructure development that would have buoyed economic activities.

Emefiele said if the government heeded his advice to sell off some of its equities in oil and gas assets, Nigeria could make up to $20billion that could stimulate the economy and boost spending.

According to the CBN boss, efforts at jump-staring the economy are being circumvented by the banks that are flouting the policy on lending to the real sector by diverting CBN proceeds into buying treasury bills and bonds for higher yields instead of lending to businesses.

Explaining how Nigeria got into such a dire situation, the worst in 29 years, Emefiele recalled that not only did the country indulge in frivolities, including high taste for imported products, the waste in the system began much earlier dating back to the discovery of oil in commercial quantities in the mid-1950s.

“If we had held strongly to our potential in agricultural sector and in the same vein held strongly to the potential that we have because we found oil in Nigeria, our story would have been different today,” he argued.

Apart from abandoning agriculture revenues for petro-dollars, he said, successive government failed to plan with the proceeds from export sales, which compounded issues for Nigeria, unlike Norway, which invested its fishery and oil proceeds in a Sovereign Wealth Fund now worth about $873 billion.

The CBN governor said: “Unfortunately, we didn’t plan this way for our people, and that is why we are where we are today. I will give you a few examples .In September 2008, Nigeria’s FX reserves stood at $62billion. What did we do with $62billion at a time crude price was almost $120 per barrel?

“What we could have done was to save the money, if we couldn’t save the money, invest it in infrastructure and in industry that will grow productivity and wealth of our people.

“At that time, the Central Bank went about licensing Class A, Class B and Class C Bureau de Change. In 2005 the CBN was amongst a few central banks in the world allocating dollar cash for bureau de change operations, and by the time it was stopped in January 2016, the CBN had disbursed $66billion to fund cash operations of BDC in Nigeria. What that meant in 11 years is that we spent $66billion funding operations of BDC, which came to an average of $6billion in a year.

“If we had thought of other ways to utilise our reserves in 2008, when it was as high as $62billion, certainly we will not be where we are today.”

Emefiele also noted that the continued fall in the price of oil at the international market is not helping matters, with reserves on a free fall.

“Between August and September 2014 up till this moment, which is about two years, we have seen a consistent drop in prices of crude to the extent that by March 2015 precisely, our reserve had dropped to $31billion, at that time crude price had dropped to $48 per barrel. At that time too, the country’s receipt from export of crude dropped to $1.3billion. At the same time, the demand for forex, the demand for import had remained high.”

On taking proactive measures that could have checked the recession, the CBN governor hinted that Nigeria may have been misled by its foreign allies when it adjusted its currency.

The currency adjustment hiccups notwithstanding, Emefiele disclosed that the flexible exchange rate policy is yielding fruits by fetching $1billion in the last three months.

“I feel confident that if we continue the way we are going, managing the situation in a way that encourages foreign investors and all those who have foreign currencies to bring them in to support our economy, there will be more inflows of foreign exchange into the system,” he said

Nigeria will get out of recession soon – Adeosun

The Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, has assured Nigerians that the current economic recession the nation was experiencing will not be prolonged.

She gave the assurance on Friday in Abuja while addressing a news conference.

She said that there was a strategic plan by the administration to see that the recession ended soon and also ensure that the economy recovered fully.

She said, “We have a strategic plan that will take us out of the recession we have found ourselves in; we want to make sure the recession is as short as possible because we do not want a prolonged recession.

“From what we are looking at we do not think that it will be a prolonged recession; we think that some of the initiatives that we are working on will now begin to bear fruits.

“We are on course and are confident that the plan we have put together will work and put the economy back on track.

“It is a long term plan that would reposition the economy so that we do not go into this boom and burst circles that are driven by the oil price.

“The economy has to be more resilient than that so that we do not find ourselves back where we are.’’

She said that measures put in place by the FG showed was that the end of the recession had begun and Nigeria would come out stronger.

Listing some of the measures the administration had taken to address the situation, she said that since the budget was released in May, over N420 billion had been released and cash backed for capital projects.

She said that the largest sector that the money was spent on was Power, Works and Housing.

She also said that a lot had been done in the defence sector to rebuild the capability of the army, especially on efforts in the North East.

She said, “Agriculture has received significant funding because of the time sensitivity of agriculture and because of the fact that food prices were rising, we needed to intervene so that we could get food prices down.

“There is activity resuming on roads, power projects and health projects and we have released money to water resources and solid minerals.’’

Adeosun also said that there was a cash plan to release another N350 billion which would go into the various MDAs.

“The focus is going to be similar, however, there would also be funding of about N60 billion for the Special Intervention Programme and that is very important in putting money into people’s pockets.

“The school feeding programme and the N-Power teachers corps we will cash back today as part of the N350 billion additional release which would take our total capital spending to about N700 billion.”

She also said that N50 billion was set monthly as budget support plan for some state governments from the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee to support them with additional money to enable them to pay salaries.

She said that the loan had been on for three months for the interested states because some states which were buoyant decided not to participate.

On recovery of assets, Adeosun said that the committee was in the process of collating with the non-cash assets like farmlands, vehicles and houses and that a fixed asset register would soon be opened to determine their value.

She said that the jewelries were from different locations and were being brought together to determine the market value and that the next line of action would be decided by the committee.

Adeosun explained that the present recruitment by the police and some other government agencies were made possible by the reduction of ghost workers.

She added that the savings that were made from the exercise would enable funding for the new recruitment.

“Sometime in January, personnel cost was N165 billion along with pension cost, but so far so good; we have reduced, through the removal of about 40,000 ghost workers, the personnel cost by around N10 billion per month.

“Now we have saved about N100 billion this year.’’

She said that though the times were tough, there was hope for Nigerians, adding that issues around infrastructure were the biggest problems of Nigeria which resulted in high cost of living.

“The biggest problem we have is not wages but the cost of living which is too high so it is not how much money you have but it is what it costs you to live.

“The problem we have is that many of the things that people are spending money on are the things government should be doing like roads, power and so on.

“So we have to address these things because that is what will really make impact for the average working Nigerian and so when you address the infrastructure you address the cost of living and that is what this government is working on.’’

Recession: Maritime Can Reflate Nigeria’s Economy – Expert

Group Executive Vice Chairman, SIFAX Group, Dr. Taiwo Afolabi, has urged the Federal Government to focus its attention on the maritime industry as it has the potential to reflate Nigeria’s economy in recession.

Speaking at the maiden edition of the Taiwo Afolabi Annual Maritime Conference in Lagos with the theme, “Africa’s Maritime Capital: Nigeria and Her Potential”, Afolabi said the maritime industry possessed the potential to rescue the country from the current economic troubles by becoming the primary source of revenue for the government.

“The current economic situation has increased the need for an inclusive search for an alternative route to national revival and rebirth, forcing upon us a movement away from decades of fixation on the traditional black gold to the maritime – the emerging glittering ‘blue gold’. Diligent and sustained exploitation of the vast maritime resource endowments of this sector may prove to be that very ‘low-hanging fruit’ that Nigeria needs at a time such as we are in today,” he said.

To turn the potential in the industry to tangible economic benefits, Afolabi advised the government to provide the conducive environment, propound the right legislation and provide massive infrastructural renewal, among others.

Also, the Managing Director of Lagos Deep Offshore Logistics Base (LADOL), Dr. Amy Jadesimi, said operators in the maritime industry have to show tenacity in making a difference in view of the mounting challenges they face. She said massive investment in the industry by private operators is one of the key game-changing strategies to take full advantage of the industry’s abundant opportunities.

Using her company as a case study, Jadesimi said over $500 million investments have been made in both the first and second phases of its operations despite the plethora of obstacles that have been erected on its path.

She said it was almost unbelievable some years back that a company of LADOL’s status could be established in Nigeria, adding that its tenacity and faith in the country and the maritime industry have aided it in providing support for ship building and large engineering structures.

She noted that with such deep investments LADOL has made, Nigeria can begin to change the world’s business model in favour of Nigeria and thereby grow the country to become a giant in the maritime world.

The Taiwo Afolabi Annual Maritime Conference is an initiative of the Maritime Forum in the Law Faculty of University of Lagos designed to be an avenue to stimulate intellectual discussions between maritime experts and the university community, especially students with interest in the maritime industry, on contemporary issues in the industry, both locally and internationally.

Over 1,000 students drawn from various departments of the university and other higher institutions across the country attended the event that was also graced by seasoned maritime experts like Greg Ogbeifun, CEO, Stratz Group, Mrs. Margaret Orakwusi, Major Henry Ajetunmobi, Executive Director, SIFAX Group, among others.

What Buhari told his ministers, experts at economic retreat

I am delighted to be here with you at this Ministerial Retreat on the Economy and the Budget. The theme of the Retreat which is “Building Inter-ministerial Synergy for Effective Planning and Budgeting in Nigeria” is very apt and timely, especially as we are in the process of developing the 2017 Budget.

Over the years, there has been a mismatch between planned targets and budgetary outcomes at the National and sectorial levels. The Federal MDAs have not also benefited significantly from working together and building consensus around common national objectives. This has impeded growth and development of the country.

It is in this context that this Retreat has been designed to discuss issues around the State of the Economy and build consensus amongst Cabinet Members and top Government officials. The Retreat will also serve as an opportunity to have a general overview of the economy and discuss the framework for the 2017 Budget, its key priorities and deliverables.

This Retreat is coming at a critical time in our economic history, when the Nigerian economy is in a recession, with significant downturn in performance in various sectors. It is with regard to the importance of this Retreat that I decided to sit through the first part of the session to listen to the views from experienced economists and development experts on how best to implement our plans to rid the country of its oil dependence and to diversify the economy and bring the country out of the current economic recession.

This is in line with our Administration’s determination to lay a solid foundation for growth and development as outlined in the Strategic Implementation Plan (SIP) of our Change Agenda.

Given that this Retreat is a lead-up to the 2017 Budget, my expectation is that we will come out of the these sessions with a determination and common position on how to have improved synergy amongst the various Ministries and Departments for the effective formulation and implementation of the 2017 Budget.

I also trust that the breakout sessions will enable you to discuss extensively amongst yourselves, the details of the four sub-themes and come up with practical solutions on the way forward in order to come out with a set of prioritized projects and programmes that will fit into the 2017 Budget.

In this regard, let me inform you that because of the need to focus on our key priorities, some Ministries may get significantly less capital allocation than they received in 2016, while others may get significantly more.

You may notice that some key non-spending agencies, such as the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), the National Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) and the National Pension Commission (PENCOM), are participants at this Retreat.

This deliberate inclusion underscores the commitment of this Administration to leverage on private sector resources, through Public Private Partnerships (PPP) and other arrangements, in order to augment the scarce budgetary resources at our disposal and to accelerate investments in building critical infrastructure.

Indeed, the challenges we face in the current recession require ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking, to deploy strategies that involve engaging meaningfully with the private sector, to raise the level of private sector investment in the economy as a whole.

We are confident that the level of private investment will grow as we are determined to make it easier to do business in Nigeria by the reforms we are introducing under the auspices of the Presidential Committee on Ease of Doing Business.

Let me reiterate that this Government will continue to strategize on how we can turn the current challenges into opportunities for our nation and especially for our vibrant youth on whose shoulders lies the future of this nation. This is why we have embarked on measures and actions that will open up the opportunities we have seen in the Power, Housing, Agriculture, Mining, Trade and Investment, Information Communication Technology (ICT) Sectors, Tourism, Transport and other sectors.

I wish to reassure its teeming youth that this Government would remain steadfast in its effort to ensure greater progress and prosperity for you.

While Government is taking the lead in the task of repositioning our economy for Change, we cannot achieve this completely by ourselves. We will need, and we ask for the support and cooperation of the private sector’s domestic and foreign investors, the States and Local Governments, the National Assembly and the Judiciary as well as all well-meaning Nigerians in this important task. We are confident that working together, we shall succeed.

Finally, I trust that the cabinet members will learn from the experiences of the Resource persons and facilitators to prioritise their sector programmes and projects to bring the country out of the current economic recession and place it on the path of growth and development.

I therefore urge the Honourable Ministers and other senior government officials here present, to actively participate in the Second Technical Session, which I believe will provide you with deeper insight into the complex issues that will open opportunities for you to identify critical priority projects and programmes for the 2017 Budget.

At this juncture, may I formally recognize and acknowledge the presence of the array of experts invited to serve as resource persons and facilitators at this Retreat. I am confident that Ministers and Senior Government officials will benefit immensely from your expertise and wealth of experience.

I wish you all fruitful deliberations and look forward to receiving the report of the Retreat.

Thank you.

Recession: 19,000 Public Sector Jobs Lost In 6 Months- NBS

No fewer than 18,919 Nigerians lost their jobs in the  nation’s public sector between October 2015 and March 2016, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said.
Although about 5,867 new public sector jobs were generated between October and December 2015, the bureau said about 10,155 jobs were lost during the period in the public sector of the federal, state and local governments.
This translates to a negative employment generation figure of -4,288.
Also, while about 5,726 jobs were created between January and March 2016 in the public sector, the bureau said about 8,764 jobs were lost during the period, with a negative employment generation figure of -3.038 for the period.
The bureau, which reported a sharp decline of 84.1 per cent in total employment against the figure in the last quarter of 2015, said only about 79,469 jobs were generated in the economy in the first three months of 2016, against about 499,521 jobs created during the corresponding period of 2015.
The agency said in its quarterly job creation survey in collaboration with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), that the figure was 83.1 per cent lower than the 389,605 jobs created in the corresponding period last year.
“This sharp decline in employment generation in the first quarter of 2016 is strongly correlated to the weakening economic output within the period, where the Nigerian economy recorded a negative growth of -0.36 per cent,” the statistics agency said.
An analysis of the jobs created for the quarter showed that 21,477 came from the formal sector, consisting formal professional services with less than 10 employees.
About 61,026 jobs came from the informal sector in the first quarter, made up of mainly low skill, low paying blue collar jobs in agriculture, light manufacturing, wholesale and retail trade businesses.
The NBS said the drop by 27,246 in formal employment in the last quarter of last year and 21,477 in the first quarter of 2016 across all the economic activities was as a result of the slowing down of economic activities in the wake of the economic recession.
With the economy fully in recession a following recent formal confirmation by the NBS, analysts say the employment situation would likely worsen, except government took steps to spend on strategic capital infrastructure to reflate the economy.
The Lead Director, Centre for Social Justice (CENSOJ), Eze Onyekpere, said declining employment figures in an economy in recession was not surprising, as firms are closing up and reducing their workforce in the face of declining Gross Domestic Products (GDP) and high inflation.

Read More:

http://sunnewsonline.com/recession-19000-public-sector-jobs-lost-in-6-months/

Private Sector key to Addressing Recession, Unemployment – Ahmed

The Kwara State Governor, AbdulFatah Ahmed, and other stakeholders have identified the private sector as being strategic to ending the national economic recession.

They also said it was key to human capital development, capacity building, employment generation and wealth creation.

They spoke in Ilorin on Tuesday during a human capital development summit of the Third Estate.

The other stakeholders included a banker, Tunde Salami; an expert in agriculture, Tunde Yusuf, and Ibrahim Adebayo of the Federal Ministry of Environment.

Ahmed said the state government recognised the importance of human capital development and capacity building.

He stated that the government had consequently maintained its workforce and had not downsized even with the recession.

He added that the government had continued to place priority on the payment of workers’ salaries and welfare.

According to him, the state government increased its internally generated revenue from N500m monthly to N1.5bn and provided 10,000 hectares of land for agriculture.

The President of Third-Estate, Yusuf Lawal, said provision of an enabling environment would help businesses, including small and medium enterprises, grow.

He stated that to improve businesses and human capital, the group had provided boreholes in selected communities and scholarships to indigent students from Ilorin Emirate.

He added that it was working towards encouraging first class graduates of the Emirate to pursue postgraduate programmes immediately after graduation.

Yusuf said agriculture would provide massive employment for jobless people as well as stimulate industrialisation.

He canvassed the full maximisation of the potential of farming and ‘Aso-Ofi’ in Ilorin Emirate for employment generation and wealth creation.

Salami said fish farming was another good platform for entrepreneurs.

Adebayo said billions of foreign exchange would be earned and massive jobs and businesses created from the utilisation and maximisation of the potential of bamboo

Senate To Investigate Recession As Saraki Calls For Collaboration On Economy

Concerned by the worsening conditions of Nigerians as a result of the economic recession, the President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki, said tuesday in Ilorin that the Senate upon resumption next week, would probe the cause of the recession, stating that it was necessary to know why in spite of budgetary provisions, many more citizens have receded below poverty line.

“The Senate on resumption will respond to the economic crisis with a number of measures including getting managers of the economy to give account to the people, making tough recommendations to the president on needed changes, formulating necessary legislative framework for economic recovery and undertaking wide consultations across the private sector,” he told journalists at his residence during the Eid-el-Kabir celebrations.

Worries about the ailing economy were shared also by a former Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who offered some tips on the way out of the woods, saying effective handling of spiralling inflation, foreign exchange problem, fiscal deficit and debts control were key to resolving the current economic crisis.

Okonjo-Iweala who spoke on Aljazeera TV programme, The Stream, said focusing on the basic issues of macroeconomic stability was crucial to fixing the country’s economic challenges.

Saraki, in his intervention, explained why the legislative interrogation of the executive management of the economy had become necessary: “We need to know why the promises of external borrowing have not materialised, why devaluation has not helped to strengthen the naira, why inflow of foreign currency has continued to dry up and interest rate is still very high? Doing this will help us to understand where we are, so that we can determine where exactly we want to go from here.”

Read More: thisdaylive

How Buhari can fix Nigeria’s economic crisis – Okonjo-Iweala

The immediate past Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, said on Monday that having a handle on Nigeria’s spiralling inflation, foreign exchange problem, fiscal deficit and debts control were key to resolving the country’s current economic crisis.

Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala, who spoke on Aljazeera TV programme, The Stream, said focusing on the basic issues of macroeconomic stability was crucial to fixing the country’s economic challenges.

“If you don’t pay attention to the fundamentals of having a stable and good exchange rate policy, inflation under control, manageable fiscal deficit and debts, there will continue to be trouble in the economy,” she said.

Nigeria is facing its worst economic crisis in decades. The economy slipped into recession after contracting in the first two quarters of 2016.

Inflation jumped from 16.2 per cent in July to 17.1 per cent in August 2016, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

Since the introduction of the floating foreign exchange policy by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), which freed the Naira from a band of N197-N199 to the dollar, the currency has been in a free fall against other international currencies.

From about N281 to the dollar at the beginning of the policy in June, Naira crashed to about N420 to the dollar shortly before the Sallah holidays on Friday.

Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala, a former World Bank Managing Director, told Al Jazeera that she remained optimistic that solutions to the country’s economic decline could still be found.

Asked what would be her top three priorities to resolve the country’s current economic crisis if she had remained the finance minister, Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala said she would prefer the current managers of the economy talk about it.

“I have contributed the best I could to the country. It is still the most interesting country in the world. It is better to leave those who are managing now to say what they would do.

“All I can say is that there are solutions. Nigeria is a vibrant country. I love it so much. I know it is going to come out of this one way or another,” she said.

On if President Muhammadu Buhari were to ask her to come and help in resolving the country’s economic crisis, Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala said: “One of the things you learn as you get wiser is to talk less as you grow older.

“I have spent my time contributing to the country. It will be better to leave those managing the economy to do what they know how to do.

“I served my country for seven years and it was a great honour. The second time was very tough, but it was still an honour. I am not the only person who is a repository of knowledge. There are other people who can equally try their hands in running the economy.”

On the continental scale, Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala, expressed regrets the economic gains recorded in Africa have started being eroded in the last two to three years.

“On the continent, we have seen a period when the economy was doing relatively well. It’s only in the last two to three years that things have started to go a bit south.”

She spoke about the job initiative of the Goodluck Jonathan government, YOU-WIN.

“The whole idea was to have a business plan competition. Beneficiaries were expected to create jobs to employ six people or more.

“Each created 9-10 jobs. The World Bank did an evaluation of it and found it good. I do believe the government should come in. We started a peer to peer mentoring. Now, one of the things I want to say is that creating employment is not only about struggles, it is about managing success,” she said.

On how the anti-corruption war was fought during her time in government, Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala described it as “a very tough fight”.

“It was tough. I must thank my team. You don’t do it alone. I had the support of an economic team in the Ministry of Finance. At the end of the day, you need to have some principles,” she said.

Recession: Nigeria at Economic Crossroads

To say that Nigerians are economically hurting at this moment is no exaggeration; to state that most Nigerians have never had it this economically difficult in their lifetime is not an overstatement; the fact that most Nigerians are out of work and go to bed hungry now is no longer news. The pains are palpable in the voices and faces of everyday Nigerians on the streets and in the work and market places across the land – driven by the current economic recession. And while it’s luring to heap the blame squarely at the doorsteps of fallen crude oil prices, it would be best to put the blame to where it rightly belongs – on our visionless and prodigal leadership class, who instead of building the nation’s future by responsibly planning ahead for times like these, irresponsibly chose to build and nurture an unprecedented corruption industrial complex.

 

What we are experiencing right now in the country is a practical realisation of the age-long saying that “he who fails to plan, plans to fail”. For decades, the leadership class rather than engaging in the patriotic act of nation-building, has spent most of their time perfecting the shameful act of betrayal of public trust by repeatedly engaging in massive looting of our “easy-to-come” petro dollars, at the callous expense of everyday Nigerians. Stories abound of looting in the billions of dollars of monies earmarked for road construction, Niger Delta development, power rehabilitation, refineries turn-around maintenance, and fight against Boko Haram even as innocent Nigerians, women and children were being raped, abducted and killed by the Boko Haram renegades, etcetera. As such, in the light of the above and other several well-documented gross mismanagement of our national wealth by an irresponsible, greedy and visionless political class, it’s unfortunately, fair to conclude that the current economic recession has been a long time coming.

 

It’s also fair to acknowledge that all of these frustrations led to the CHANGE vote by the Nigerian people in the last election. The election was simply aimed at making a statement against impunity and business as-usual.

 

While the current administration has recorded some success in the areas of reducing corruption in public service and curbing the free reign of Boko Haram in the Northeastern part of the country, it’s clear to any objective observer that not much has been done to instill needed confidence in the economy, especially by way of sound fiscal and monetary policies. There doesn’t seem to be a steady hand in-charge of the economy at this time and this doesn’t bode well for the administration after 15 months of coming to power.

 

All one hears most of the times on the pages of newspapers are platitudes and pockets of incoherent and reactionary interventions by the apex bank. It is well known that nothing hurts an economy and scares investors and the business community during an economic recession more than equivocation and non-steady economic steering hands. Considering that recessions are not uncommon in nations’ economic lives, one tends to believe that what our economy is suffering more from right now is not simply the recession, but the feeling of hopelessness in the recession. A time as serious as this calls for decisive economic leadership and clarity of direction.

Mr. President, if I were you, I’ll be on national television engaging in question and answer sessions as often as possible, explaining the present economic problem and possible solutions in very simple and clear terms to the Nigerian people. You owe it to them and they rightfully deserve it. The Nigerian people are hurting so much right now and they don’t seem to get the sense that someone is caring, listening and doing something to alleviate their sufferings.

 

The Nigerian people are a smart people; they get the fact that the problem did not emanate with this administration, but they also understand that things could really get worse if nothing urgent and serious is done right now by the administration to stem thisugly tide.

 

Mr. President, there has to be that sense of the fierce urgency of now on the economy, just like you’ve demonstrated in the fight against Boko Haram and corruption.

 

This time calls for you to seek help from the best Nigerian economic experts wherever you can find them.

 

Mr. President, now is the time for you to talk to the Nigerian people directly and not via tweets by some aide; you have to be seen instilling hope by directly engaging the Nigerian people on your policy solutions to this very serious economic problem. Now is not the time for you to just listen to one “trusted” aide and sublet decision making to him or her; this time you must listen to all aides and then make decisions in the best interest of the country, bearing in mind that this is your administration and only your name gets attached to any successes or failures of the administration. Now is the time for our time-wasting and financially-draining federal legislature to earn their bloated salaries and allowances by rolling up their sleeves and getting to work for the suffering Nigerian people.

 

Now is the time for the president to step into the communities and engage with parents who have been left behind by the Nigerian economy even before the recession, and who are now forced to watch their children go to bed hungry and in some cases, die because of skyrocketing costs of food and healthcare. They need to hear directly from the president that things will get better at some point. Now is the time for the president to engage directly with our unemployed graduates.

 

Now is the time for the president to step out and speak directly to our senior citizens, who after giving decades of their lives in service of country still regularly collapse and die in long queues in an endless wait for pensions and gratuity that never come, simply because their fellow citizens in power conspired and decided to embezzle funds that were budgeted for paying them.

 

Mr.President, while this is an undoubtedly difficult time for your administration, our country and its citizens, it also provides a golden opportunity for you to separate yourself from the pack of presidents; this time provides a rare opportunity for you to leave your name in the sands of our nation’s annals as the president who led us out of a serious recession andspread economic prosperity across the land. This time provides a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for you to re-shape and irreversibly position Nigeria on a path of economic progress so that when historians, our children and our children’s children look back at this moment 50 years from now, it will be told that you were the president that beat back the worst economic recession of our life time,the worst national security threat of our life time – Boko Haram – and an all-time high corruption in our nation’s public service.

Reuben Abati: The True Meaning of Recession

There have been interesting arguments over Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun’s observation that “recession is just a word,” and NAN MD, Bayo Onanuga claiming that reports of hardship in the land is exaggerated propaganda.
I think we need to break down the subject further from a layman’s perspective. Recession is a word, no doubt, but it is more than a word, it is an experience: the experience that the majority of Nigerians is going through. If you are at a significant remove from that experience, it may be difficult to know how it feels, and if you are an economist, you are likely to be conveniently obsessed with textbook ideas.Recession is when Nigerians begin to shift the traditional dates for social parties. You know we love parties a lot. Virtually every weekend, there is one party or the other, very loud celebrations where people wear the famous aso ebi, and the Naira becomes a flying object, being thrown all over the place, at the musician, the celebrant, and her friends and family, with so much joy floating in the air, and plates of jolloff rice, eaten half way and left to waste, area boys having their own share of the fun, and Nigerians showing the world that life is indeed for the living.

Sometimes, these parties make no sense: imagine a man throwing a big party to “turn the back” of his great grandfather who died 50 years ago (!) – a great grandfather he never knew, or a lavish party to celebrate the purchase of a second-hand car. Those things are very rare these days. And when some parties are held, the date on the invitation card is during the week: can you imagine being invited to a wedding on a Monday? I have seen that happen. The event was over and done with before 5 p.m. Smart way to save money in a season of recession. There were guests of course, but not the kind of crowd you’d get at a typical Nigerian party on a Friday or Saturday. The celebrants actually confessed they didn’t have the means to feed too many people. That is what recession has done. Nobody boasts anymore about “declaring surplus” – a once-upon-a-time very famous phrase in this country!

When I was much younger, my friends and I used to gate-crash parties. Bored, with not much to do, we would dress up and go from one party to the other. It was called “mo gbo mo ya” – I heard and I came. In those days, all you needed was to go to a party to which you had not been invited, and without knowing anybody, you took a seat and before long, someone would come along and ask if you had eaten. In a matter of minutes, whatever you wanted would be placed before you. Drinks? Some friends used to boast about “finishing” a carton of beer, and they would have their fill and quietly sneak away. Try that these days and you would know that recession is more than a word. Virtually every party is now strictly by invitation. Even when it is not boldly stated on the invitation card, you’d get to know the truth when you attempt to gate-crash.Parties are now organised with such strict protocols, it is like trying to access Aso Villa. You would be screened, your bag will be checked, and don’t think it is Boko Haram attack they are afraid of, they just want to be sure you are not gate-crashing, and if you don’t have an invitation card, you would of course be turned back. There are some exceptions of course, where the protocol is a matter of security: particularly at those parties where there would be many VIPs. Nigerian VIPs don’t like to mix with just anybody.

Even if you manage to gatecrash, nobody will attend to you. What operates at parties these days, is a KYG (Know-Your-Guest) system. After sitting down, someone has to identify you as his or her guest. You don’t get served food, unless your host or hostess gives specific instructions. And you can’t drink a carton of beer anymore at your host’s expense! I certainly can’t remember when last I saw anyone getting drunk at other people’s expense at a party. Even close friends of celebrants, the ones who are a bit comfortable, go to parties these days with their own small cooler of drinks. The celebrant will offer you one or two bottles. If you want more than that, the ushers could become hostile or they could tell you pointedly: “drinks have finished.” I have had on one occasion to give the ushers, money to go and get me the drink of my choice. But once upon a time in this country, drinks don’t stop flowing at parties. The host will be so ashamed he or she would order more drinks and apologize to no end.

Where I come from, local women used to go to parties with cellophane bags, hidden away somewhere, and when they are served food, they would pull out the cellophane bag and pour food into it, all of that is done under the table. Next thing: they will start harassing the ushers: “we have not eaten here oh. Nobody has given us drinks: drinks they have moved to their collection cellophane bags! But party organisers have also learnt to be vigilant: they serve table to table; map out the space carefully and monitor the tables. Before 2019, perhaps a time will come when ushers will take your photograph, or there will be CCTV monitors at social events, just so you don’t come back and say you have not been served. That is change. That is recession. If you are a man-about-town, you can’t fail to notice this: that something has indeed changed in the social circuit. But there is that one per cent crowd, whose pockets are still so deep, if you get invited to their parties, it is like going to a surplus declaration event, what Nigerians call “too much money.” Even that is changing though, people are learning to be careful, so they don’t get invited to come and explain how they came about so much money.Recession is when you now read in the newspapers virtually every week about people committing suicide. Nigerians are so fun-loving we were once described as the happiest people on earth. Right now, we will fail the test. Suicide used to be so rare in this country. It was considered impossible. Why would anyone want to kill himself? I used to hear people say: “eba is sweet oh, I can’t come and die” or “life is for the living” or “e go better.” People are not so sure anymore. In the past month, there have been reports about two foreigners doing business in Nigeria who have also committed suicide. Every reported suicide in recent times, has been tied, one way or the other, to the recession in the country. One man had an argument with his wife over school fees and housekeeping money and he went and ended it all. Another man actually left a note saying he had to kill himself because there is too much hardship in the country. Marriages are collapsing. Domestic violence is on the rise.
Husbands that are out of work can no longer maintain their families, they can’t pay school fees, they have become useless in their own homes, they are helpless. Their wives want to leave, even when they are not too sure of the next destination. There are at least two celebrated cases of women who have either slain their husbands or wounded them badly. In both cases, there was that notorious thing about a second woman in the background. Sharing what is not enough for one person with another woman, in a season of recession, could be a crime, but the biggest dysfunction is that of the pocket. One woman, a lawyer oh (!) stabbed her husband in the neck. Another after having sex with her husband, and putting him to sleep, got a machete and butchered him. The man is presently in what Yorubas call, “boya o ma ku, boya o maa ye” condition. Whether he would live or die is uncertain.Recession is when companies are retrenching everyday or closing shop and SMEs are dying. In the last one year, high unemployment figures have been announced. Banks have had to shed weight; the foreign exchange crisis has forced many companies to downsize or abandon Nigeria, investors are taking their funds out of the country, many states of the Federation are so much in distress, they have stopped paying salaries.
Civil servants cannot even afford a bag of rice, because their minimum wage is N18, 000 and a bag of rice is N22, 000 or higher in some places. Recession is when Nigerians now steal pots of soup and basic food items, and they can’t buy rams for Sallah, and they are told “don’t worry, change begins with you!” Every worker who has lost his or her job in the last one year is not the only one affected, the knock-on effect has brought anguish to other dependants, who now have a bread-winner behaving like a bread seeker. That is recession. That is hardship.Recession is when enjoyment spots that used to be filled up every Friday evening are now empty. Nigerians used to celebrate what they call “Thank God it is Friday.” In Lagos, Friday evenings used to be the boys’ night. Husbands didn’t go home early. These days, husbands go home early and Fridays have become slightly boring. Recession is when prostitutes reduce their charges. I have it on good authority, from those who know, that even prostitutes have had to embrace change. And old girlfriends now demand pension benefits. Recession is when families which used to run the generator 24 hours and boast that their children can’t stand heat, have had to adjust, and run the generator only from 12 midnight, or before.
Recession is when men come out and complain that their wives no longer allow them to touch them: “Are you mad? With the way things are, all you think of is sex?” Kama Sutra rites are best enjoyed only in happy lands. Recession is when in spite of all this, the breweries in Nigeria are posting unbelievable record profits and smiling to the banks. The men go home and privately drown their sorrow in bottles. Mrs. Adeosun, this is the true meaning of recession.

Nigeria: We’re in a recession, what next?

The United Nations recently released a report pointing to the divided nature of the Nigerian society while also commenting on the alarmingly low social and developmental indices recorded. Anyone unfamiliar with the way things are done in Nigeria, where incompetence, or failure, are either brushed away or rewarded, might be wondering why the same people who were not able to help us meet the UN prescribed targets for development under other administrations, find themselves, yet again, in similar roles.

 

It is this repetition of the same, old, familiar faces which has accounted for our lack of real progress over the years. Parties recycle aides and candidates, enabling ‘group-think’, archaic ways and policies, rather than new ideas from fresh minds. Beyond pushing paper, wearing agbadas, looking important or ceremonial, state and federal appointees in Nigeria have failed to deliver: this is the unspoken, undiplomatic truth behind the UN report. Every issue recorded in this country periodically repeats itself, bolstering a feeling of hopelessness which the current economic recession fuels.

 

The report features these words which read almost like a warning: “Nigeria’s population will be approximately 200 million by 2019 and over 400 million by 2050, becoming one of the top five most populous countries in the world”. What will we do with all these people? How are we preparing for them? Is our educational system ready? Are our health services ready? Or have we accepted, that even before they are born, most will grow up poor and disenfranchised, becoming unproductive burdens rather than potential assets?

 

The report couldn’t have said a lot more than what is already known across diplomatic and charitable circles, within our government and amongst some of our own people. In a nation where everything is imported, where we never capitalise on opportunities for real growth, our current economic situation is hardly surprising: when the United Arab Emirates used oil rents to build infrastructure and social services which provided the foundation they continue to build on today, we held parties, sprayed money and flew wives and girlfriends to London.

 

We delight in buying “aso ebi” which enriches the economies of Austria and Switzerland, etc(we don’t even produce the fabrics we wear yet we call these fabrics, prints or styles African!); spending billions each year on items whose profits pay the mortgages and school fees of foreign nationals—I won’t bore you with more examples of our collective small mindedness.

 

Or perhaps we should discuss just one more example: Our rich and famous finance their lifestyles through bank debts, running from one bank to the other to get loans to buy houses, buy private jets rather than start businesses to employ Nigerians and grow our economy. They are rich on paper alone. Eventually, when the Ponzi scheme collapses like the house of cards it was, the debt is written off, they are free to further offend by giving business tips on the pages of magazines, or to run for governor, clearly or dare I say, curiously, because in Nigeria, mismanaging a personal fortune is a pre-requisite to gaining notoriety and of course, to public office.

I’m surprised no one has trademarked or gone into manufacturing using the phrase “only in Nigeria”—it could be our own catch phrase appearing on T-shirts, mugs, etc. like the British: “keep calm”. At the same time, we should be fed up of making fun of our country’s sad penchant for disorganisation, wastefulness and lack of planning.

So, we’re in a recession, what next? It would be great if every ministry could share its strategic plans. I don’t mean in a lecture attended only by political insiders, sycophants and their public mouthpieces. Rather, on websites and in the media (both new and traditional). We need to know where we are going: not to criticise government plans but simply because it is our right to know and a plan is more easily implemented when people buy into it; and anyway, the only reason one would have to worry about a plan is if it isn’t a priority, or a good one. Indeed, some Nigerians are professional critics. AGIP—Any Government In Power—has a wing of critics which belongs to everyone and to no one, hates all Nigerians and secretly wishes they’d checked out before the British government stopped handing out passports or work visas to immigrants.

 

What is our plan for Nigerian technology? Information Technology, IT, is a global force which employs millions of young people. Nigeria is yet to harness its inherent possibilities. I would have loved to be a fly on the wall during the President’s meeting with Facebook’s founder, Mark Zuckerberg. Our professional celebrities, who love nothing more than photo-ops, contribute little else and seem almost paidto sell to Nigerians the same fake lifestyle which contributes to us accepting deception and delusion, must have confused Mr Zuckerberg, whose simplicity stunned Nigerians, so used to “big men” demeaning them, giving them a complex and encouraging them by their example, to seek wealth through illegal ways.

 

Zuckerberg started out as an ordinary young man—he had shoes but those were not his true wealth—ideas were his main currency. A young man with ideas in Nigeria is as good as dead in a country where policymakers themselves, despite decades of speeches claiming the contrary, care very little for young people or any ideas that don’t involve their own fortunes.

 

Speaking of our members of state and federal assemblies who should be creating the laws which facilitate everything from business to our most basic comfort—reports about their huge salaries and entitlements have once again surfaced. If every one of them relinquished just 10% of their state sponsored income, Nigeria might afford to recruit graduates into the police system, making them detectives or agents entrusted with special, more sophisticated duties than the very many unqualified individuals wielding guns.

 

Gradually, the later could be weeded out of the system. We can’t afford to keep employing mediocre people, be it in public office or any related government service. What’ll happen to those who’ll be rendered irrelevant by the changing times is the crux of our inability to reform. Politicians are afraid of “new blood” because of its game-changing potential. If from a rent-seeking society we progress to a productive society, virtually half of our business and political elite would disappear. But “every dog has its day”: it is the very nature of the universe to have a season for everything; so Nigeria’s Zuckerbergs, etc. will undoubtedly rise no matter what is done to stop them.

Fake Products Contribute to Economic Recession – SON

The Director-General, Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Dr. Paul Angya, has disclosed that the unbridled influx of substandard products into Nigeria contributed to the current economic recession in the country.

While addressing journalists and other stakeholders during a-two day Capacity Development Retreat for media executives in Lagos, Dr Angya said the country was facing the most supreme challenge of economic downturn, facilitated by continual spread of substandard goods across the Nigerian market.

He said: “These substandard products are like weeds growing up among a farmer’s crop. It has been a major challenge for us at SON even though we have a lot of initiatives to get to the heart of these imported products. 90% per cent of them come in mainly through the seaports of this country. We are not allowed to operate at that port and by the conspiracy of a segment of our society; who are benefiting from the importation and circulation of these substandard products. They even mount a campaign against SON. So any attempt to communicate with the appropriate quarters on the need for SON to be repositioned to deliver on its mandate is resisted vehemently by the community that is controlling especially importation of sub-standard products.

“The resistance sometimes is violent. I personally and a lot of my staff have been subjected to intimidations, blackmail and outright open threat. This community of people we are talking about form less than 1% of the population, these people who have destroyed the economy control the importation of substandard products. They determine whether our economy can grow or not.”

The challenge, he said, does not stop at illegal ease of entry in that it contributes to the repression of mainstream sectors of the economy including manufacturing, agricultural among others.

Since the substandard products appear cheap to obtain, local producers with quality injected goods are relegated in competition with such goods, thereby leading to the closure of firms unable to cope with the overwhelming pressure of fake products.

“If they were able to do to our thriving manufacturing sector, enterprising climate what they have done to cripple it, they can still do the same for any initiative and investment that we can attract in Nigeria,” DG said noting that Nigeria’s current situation as a less producing economy is more endangered. But to stem it, revamp the economy and establish an atmosphere to safeguard investments of genuine manufacturers, the government needs to approve SON’s operation at the port,’’ he said.

It was however revealed that the thorns in the flesh of SON were numerous as the war against circulation of substandard goods cannot be treated in isolation of other accompanying bottlenecks. In as much the restriction of operating at seaports remains, the resolve to deploy means of checking the movement of the goods from the seaport.

According to the DG, rather than verify the authenticity of these products right at the seaports, the organization is compelled to hunt the innumerable spread of illegal operatives with a limited staff base of 1,500.

He said: “The whole of SON has a population of 1,500 country wide and we have offices in the 36 states of the federation. We are supposed to be manning all the border post which are about 400; we are supposed to operate laboratories in all the critical zones of the country; we have inspector who are going through the factory as a routine. On a daily basis we inspect production, audit management processes, and we have the administrators. If we only post like 4 or 5 people to each of the border post which are about 400; when you multiply four by 400, we don’t have anybody to work with.”

Diversification Does Not Reverse Recession – PDP Tells Buhari

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has said President Muhammadu Buhari administration is doing significant harm to the economy and that he cannot rescue Nigeria from economic recession.

 

This was made known in a statement on Friday, signed by PDP media director, Deji Adeyanju. The statement said the government was not taking the right steps to save the economy. He described the statement of Kemi Adeosun, finance minister, that the government would bring Nigeria out of recession through fiscal discipline and diversification as ’empty rhetoric’.

 

Yesterday, the minister of finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, stated that the Muhammadu Buhari administration will focus on two policies to remove Nigeria from recession (fiscal discipline and diversification),” Adeyanju said.

 

Firstly, we believe a recession is not reversed by diversification. A recession is reversed by implementing a stimulus package designed to cut taxes, reduce the cost of doing business and boost spending on infrastructure & other critical sectors of the economy.

Available data shows that the Buhari administration has spent a meagre 19 percent of the allocation for CAPEX in budget 2016. This sort of spending will not make any sort of impact on the economy.

 

Assuming, but not conceding that Mrs Adeosun is right, the challenge is the past 15 months show that despite the glib talk the Buhari administration is doing neither.

 

For instance, despite claims of weeding out ghost workers from the payroll and reducing the civil service wage bill, Nigeria’s wage bill increased from N1.65tr in 2014 to N1.83tr and N1.71tr in 2015 and 2016 respectively.

 

These figures represent a combined total increase of N240bn from the wage bill in 2014.

 

Two days ago, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) released its economic report for Q2 2016 which showed that the FG incurred a N1.09tr deficit for the quarter. This deficit was 96 percent higher than the N555.49b allowed.

 

Adeyanju said that the figures showed ‘an abject lack’ of fiscal discipline in the management of the nation’s finances by the Buhari administration.

Recession: We’re Open To New Ideas — Adebayo Shittu

Adebayo Shittu, Minister of Communications, has said the present administration is open to ideas that would move the nation forward and enhance the living conditions of the citizenry.

 

Shittu stated this in Abuja when the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), South-West zone, led by its President, Okikiola Ogunsola, paid him a courtesy visit in Abuja.

 

He told the youth that old age of Biblical Methusella has nothing to do with the wisdom of Solomon, adding that the Nigerian youth have much to contribute to the development of the country.

 

He said if talents and ideas of the youth are harnessed, it would take the nation to the mountain top.

He also pointed out that the experience of the old, which cannot be quantified, could also serve as foundation and bedrock for the youth.

 

According to him, “Nigerian Youth are going through the worst times especially in areas of job creation.

 

This has prompted the Federal Government to establish www.npower.gov.ng, a project meant for job creation for Nigerian youths, as graduates are also being encouraged to go into farming. Four new ICT innovation hubs had been opened to provide job opportunities to youths.”

 

He explained that leadership is about service, adding that where there is no service, there is no leadership.

Recession: We’re Open To New Ideas — Shittu

Adebayo Shittu, Minister of Communications, has said the present administration is open to ideas that would move the nation forward and enhance the living conditions of the citizenry.

Shittu stated this in Abuja when the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), South-West zone, led by its President, Okikiola Ogunsola, paid him a courtesy visit in Abuja.

He told the youth that old age of Biblical Methusella has nothing to do with the wisdom of Solomon, adding that the Nigerian youth have much to contribute to the development of the country.

He said if talents and ideas of the youth are harnessed, it would take the nation to the mountain top.

He also pointed out that the experience of the old, which cannot be quantified, could also serve as foundation and bedrock for the youth.

According to him, “Nigerian Youth are going through the worst times especially in areas of job creation.

“This has prompted the Federal Government to establish www.npower.gov.ng, a project meant for job creation for Nigerian youths, as graduates are also being encouraged to go into farming. Four new ICT innovation hubs had been opened to provide job opportunities to youths.”

He explained that leadership is about service, adding that where there is no service, there is no leadership.

Obasanjo, Yar’Adua, Jonathan’s Reckless Decisions, Cause Of Recession; APC Tells PDP

The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) on Thursday hit back at the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), accusing the party and Nigeria’s past presidents produced under its platform of bringing the current economic recession upon the nation.
Faulting PDP’s call for Present’s resignation, the APC said the 16 years misrule of the PDP plunged Nigeria into the current economic chaos. PDP’s several years in power produced ex-presidents Olusegun Obasanjo, Umar Musa Yar’Adua and Goodluck Jonathan.
It said, the statement by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Wednesday “is the latest in the party’s insensitive plot to deflect attention from the voodoo economics and reckless fiscal policies the country was subjected to during its 16-year rule.
“The warning signs were glaring to the immediate-past administration but it choose the path of economic sabotage by looking the other way and squandering the country’s commonwealth – a reckless decision that has brought the country to its knees”, APC stated.
The party in the statement signed by its national scribe, Mai Mala Buni was formally reacting to attacks by the PDP on the President Muhammadu Buhari’s lack of capacity to steer the economy.
Following the official declaration by the National Bureau of Statistics NBS that Nigeria’s economy was in a recession, the PDP had taken APC to the cleaners, saying the ruling party is confused as to how best to manage the economy and reverse its dwindling fortunes.
Two former governors of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Prof. Charles Soludo and Emir of Kano, Muhammad Sanusi II had recently taken a swipe at the economic trajectory of the APC-led administration, describing it as archaic, indefinite and rudderless. ‘President Buhari Committed To Resuscitating Economy’ However, the APC assured Nigerians that the President Muhammadu Buhari APC-led administration remains solidly committed to resuscitating the economy in the quickest possible time and in the best interest of the people.
“For the umpteenth time, the PDP lacks the moral basis and credibility to comment or condemn the government on the economy after the mess it left behind. Instead, the PDP must apologize to Nigerians.
“Nigerians will recall that even the immediate-past finance minister and coordinating minister of the economy, confessed that the zero political will to save under the immediate-past administration is responsible for the challenges facing the country”.
APC listed several achievements of the Buhari administration, saying the nation was well on the path to quick economic recovery.
It added, “Happily, the President Muhammadu Buhari administration has embarked on well- thought economic agendas, policy actions, appropriate fiscal, governance, and socio-political reforms to revamp the economy and tackle the nation’s current challenges in the short to long term.
“Under the new flexible foreign exchange policy introduced by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in June 2016, we now have a single market-determined exchange rate which enables suppliers of foreign currencies to bring in their money and take the same out at market-determined rates. The new foreign exchange policy being implemented will ensure our economy recovers in the medium to long term.
“As contained in the assented 2016 National Budget, the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari is aggressively formulating and implementing policies aimed at diversifying Nigeria’s economy from oil to other sectors such as agriculture, mining and manufacturing.
“The administration is also proactively tackling increased attacks on oil facilities in the Niger Delta region which has led to disruptions in crude production.
“The President’s shuttle diplomacy has yielded positive effects on the country’s economic policies. As a result, several agreements concluded during the visits are positively impacting on key sectors of the Nigerian economy including power, solid minerals, agriculture, housing and rail transportation.
“The fight against corruption remains a top priority for the President Buhari APC-led administration. In spite of desperate attempts by some partisans to discredit anti-corruption efforts in some quarters, the war against corruption is being won and has been well-received and supported. The generality of Nigerians agree that the days of impunity are over.
“Through the full implementation of the Treasury Single Account (TSA) by the President Muhammadu Buhari APC-led administration, revenue leakages have been greatly plugged.
“The new petroleum products supply and pricing framework which eliminated corruption-tainted subsidy payments has among others greatly solved fuel scarcities by ensuring availability of products at all locations in the country; reduced hoarding, smuggling and diversion substantially and stabilise price at the actual product price; encouraged investments in both Refineries and Retails; provided Government more revenue to address social and infrastructural needs of the country.
“In line with the critical infrastructural focus of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration, an unprecedented 30 per cent of 2016 budgetary provision has been committed to capital projects.
“As the administration works assiduously to build a new solid foundation, credible image and pull the country out of the present hardships, the APC appeals for patience and cooperation from Nigerians”, APC pleaded.

Nigeria Officially In Recession, GDP Growth Drops To -2.06%

The National Bureau of Statistics on Wednesday released the much-awaited Gross Domestic Product figures for the second quarter of 2016 with the GDP growth rate sliding further from -0.36 per cent in the first quarter to -2.06 per cent year-on-year.

The negative growth rate recorded in the second quarter of this year is a confirmation of the predictions by the Federal Government and economists that the country was heading into recession.

A recession is defined as a significant decline in activities across the economy, lasting longer than a few months. It is visible in industrial production, employment, real income and wholesale retail trade.

The technical indicator of a recession is two consecutive quarters of negative economic growth as measured by a country’s GDP.

In the GDP report released by the NBS, the bureau said, “In the second quarter of 2016, the nation’s Gross Domestic Product declined by -2.06 per cent (year-on- year) in real terms.

“This was lower by 1.70 per cent points from the growth rate of –0.36 per cent recorded in the preceding quarter, and also lower by 4.41 per cent points from the growth rate of 2.35 per cent recorded in the corresponding quarter of 2015. Quarter on quarter, real GDP increased by 0.82 per cent.”

Credit: punchng

Nigeria’s Recession Pushes Bonds To Lowest Point In More Than Two Weeks

Nigeria’s dollar bonds have fallen to their lowest point in more than two weeks after official statistics  showed that the  economy had entered its first recession in 25 years.

  The official data showed that the economy contracted by 2.06 percent in the second quarter.

 According to a Reuters report “The 2023 issue chalked up the biggest losses, down 0.728 cents to trade at 99.417 cents in the dollar – its lowest since Aug. 15, according to Tradeweb data. The 2021 bond slipped by 0.489 cents to 102.156 cents while the 2018 issue lost 0.603 cents to trade at 101.167 cents.”

 The report further showed that “data from the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed the non-oil sector declined due to a weaker currency while lower oil prices dragged the oil sector down.

Credit: dailytrust

FG Seeks Help, Consults Financial Experts Over Recession

President Muhammadu Buhari’s Economic Management Team met with top economists and financial experts in Abuja on Tuesday in continuation of its consultations towards tackling the country’s economic recession.

The meeting, presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, had in attendance Bismarck Rewane, Akpan Ekpo, Ayo Teriba, Badeye Sani and Bode Augusto.

The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udoma Udo Udoma, told State House Correspondents after the meeting that the economic team was in the middle of consultations to develop a mid-term economic framework.

He said the experts made presentations to the Economic Management Team on their response to the draft Medium Term Economic Framework (MTEF), which was still a consultative document.

“It is part of a comprehensive consultation process that we are embarking on to make sure that we reach out to a wide spectrum of Nigerians to get a feed back in terms of how best to make sure that we come out of this recession.

“That we get the best possible MTEF (Medium Term Economic Framework).

“The Fiscal Responsibility Act requires us to do so.

“On Thursday, we will be meeting in Lagos with private sector to continue with the consultations,’’ Mr. Udoma said.

He acknowledged that the Economic Team had met with some Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) last week and would hold similar consultations with members of the organised private sector.

The Minister said that at the end of the consultations the Federal Government would come out with a programme which had received the “buy-in’’ of many Nigerians.

“That was what this process was about,’’ he added.

Credit: NAN

Learn Your Way Out of Recession – The iCadamy Has Working Solutions For You

The economy is “technically” in recession – Honourable Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun.

These are obviously not the best of times, economically. Companies are downsizing and people are losing jobs. This present situation, though very challenging presents plenty opportunities. Tough times definitely require tough thinking, strategy and innovations

However, it is not all bad news, there is a silver lining in every dark cloud. There is a solution and it is quite simple, we need to “learn our way out of the present situation.” 

It is time to go lean to be more efficient. It is time to build capacities to deliver values to clients. It is time to projectise business delivery to achieve better results. And here are some of the recommended lessons and their relevance to your business and career:

  1. To stay ahead of competition, you need to learn to be more strategic and lead innovation within your organization, so we recommend Business Innovation and Strategy
  2. To sustain your market, you need to learn build and lead a winning team, use business skills of marketing, communication, and negotiation through Essential Business Skills
  3. To achieve better business and predictable results, you need to learn the art effective planning and implementation, so we recommend Project Management Fundamentals
  4. To stand out among your contemporary you need to earn the most respected global credential, so we recommend – Project Management Professionals

Visit our website today at www.theicademy.icentra.com to explore and register for any of our training offerings that meet your business and personal development needs.

http://theicademy.icentra.com/index.php/2016/07/28/learn-way-recession/

Bear With Us, Saraki Pleads With Nigerians Over Recession

The President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki has lamented the current economic hardship being experienced by Nigerians, assuring that the Senate will collaborate with the presidency to find a quick and lasting solution to the economic crisis even as he pleaded with Nigerians to bear with the government.

Saraki also identified dialogue as a solution to the vandalization of oil and gas installations by Niger Delta militants. He emphasised the need for government to engage the militia in a dialogue to halt the incessant attack on oil facilities .

The Senate President spoke with newsmen in Ilorin, Kwara state Monday during his visit to the site of the proposed Sheik Muhammad Kamal deen University, Ogidi, Ilorin.

According to him,”I am confident that almost all local governments should be able to pay full salaries to their workers in the country. The message is to ensure through oversight that we ensure the executive gets all revenue due to it.”

Credit: Vanguard

FG To Create $25bn Fund To Avoid Recession – Osinbajo

The federal government is planning to create a $25 billion fund through public and private sector financing with the aim of modernizing infrastructure and avoiding a recession, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo revealed yesterday.

The halving of oil prices since last year has forced Nigeria, Africa’s largest producer of crude, to slash its budget and led to a weakening of its currency, the Naira.

Standard & Poor’s has also downgraded the country’s credit rating, while JP Morgan Chase & Co. removed Nigeria from its local currency emerging market indexes.

“We think that the way out of this, what some have described as an impending recession, is actually to spend rather than to cut back in any way,” Osinbajo, said in an interview in Abuja.

Credit: Leadership

Nigeria May Slide Into Recession, Experts Warn

Experts yesterday warned that if urgent and strategic steps are not taken to revive the current economic slowdown, Nigeria may slide into recession.

Speakers painted a gloomy picture of the economy at the 21st Nigerian Economic Summit, NES, warning that if the country is allowed to slide into recession, it might be very difficult to come out of the situation as a developing nation.

In his country scenario presentation at the summit with the theme: ‘Tough Choices: Achieving Competitive, Inclusive Growth and Sustainability’, Partner/Head, Advisory Services, KPMG, Kunle Elebute, stated that if not careful, Nigeria might slide into recession, a position he said is difficult to come out of, especially for developing countries.

He stressed the need for government to, as a matter of urgency, begin to make inputs that drive revenue such as providing credit guarantee on long term to investors on infrastructure, increase power generation as well as education and investing in research.

He also emphasised on the need to reform the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, and other revenue collecting agencies, improve collection administration and expand the tax base, total reform of petroleum subsidy scheme, reduction of Joint Venture, JV, funding by 50 per cent and seek alternative financing.

Read Morenationalmirroronline

Nigeria’s Economy May Slip Into Recession, CBN Warns

From the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) yesterday came a warning shot on the economy: Nigeria risks sliding into recession next year.

The apex bank also hinted that the implementation of the Treasury Single Account (TSA) might affect the country’s economic growth.

Speaking yesterday at the end of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting in Abuja , CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele lamented that with “two consecutive quarters of slow growth, the economy could slip into recession in 2016 if proactive steps are not taken to revive growth in key sectors of the economy.”

Emefiele added: “The overall economic environment remains fragile. The economy further slowed in the second quarter of the year, making it the second consecutive quarterly less-than-expected performance.”

In the face of the prevailing circumstances, the MPC advocated that a “synergy between monetary and fiscal policies remains the most potent option to sustainable growth.”

Read More: thenationonlineng