The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) has stated that Nigeria and a few African countries have current account surpluses, indicating that their economies have lesser risk of suffering when imports become more expensive in the face of a stronger dollar.
ICAEW made this known in its latest Economic Insight: Africa Q4 2015, which examined the impact of key economic events of 2015 on the future outlook of African development.
ICAEW in the report determined the risk levels of various economies within the continent in relation to the rise in United States Federal Reserve rate.
“In order to do so, a ‘vulnerability index’ was constructed which focuses on three measures, namely; a country’s current account balance, its growth in private sector credit, as well as its ratio of foreign debt to reserves. These indicators are scaled, harmonised and added together to provide an overall vulnerability score for each economy. The higher the score, the more vulnerable an economy to the rise in the US Federal Reserve rate, ”it stated.
According to the report, Ghana emerges as the weakest economy with a score of 273 out of 300, explaining that is due to a very high current account deficit as well as a history of rapid credit growth.
“Seychelles came in at a close second place followed by Guinea, Tanzania and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Kenya ranked 6th in terms of vulnerability scoring just under 250 points out of 300.
“This can be attributed to the nation’s current account deficit which stands at 10.4 per cent,” ICAEW added.
Countries according to the report were assessed on three variables: the current account/GDP ratio, the growth of private sector credit and the foreign debt/reserves ratio.
Nigeria’s weak point among the variables is credit growth, which expanded by 24.8 per cent year/year in June 2015 according the CBN data.
The series covers the lending by deposit money banks, and includes loans to state and local governments, which represent a little over five per cent of the total.
Growth in private sector credit, it added, also presents a risk, as it indicates a dependence on debt to drive growth.
“Within the major African economies, Ghana tops the list, with a private sector credit growth rate of 18.4 per cent followed closely by Kenya with a rate of 17.8 per cent since 2013. Botswana and Mauritius have seen a growth of under 10 per cent while other economies such as Zimbabwe have seen credit decline by 24 per cent over the same period. While the index provides insights into the vulnerability of emerging markets in relation to a US Federal Reserve rate hike, it is not exhaustive.”
Regional Director, ICAEW Middle East, Africa and South Asia, Michael Armstrong, said: “Of course, there are many factors to consider, like financial openness and the level of integration into the world economy, which all affect the level of vulnerability to global economic shocks. Clearly, if policy conclusions are going to be drawn, they should be done following a country-by-country analysis. However, this index does show a snapshot of how resilient the various African economies are on some important metrics. All countries would be well placed to anticipate the possible effects of US monetary policy when planning for economic growth.”
Finance Minister Accused Budget Office of Padding
The budget office added N206 billion to the budget of Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and the Nigerian and the National University of Commission (NUC)
The Budget Office of the Federation (BOF) has been alleged of being behind the recent budget padding totalling about N206 billion.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed disclosed in a statement issued by the ministry.
Investors King had earlier reported that some ministries and government agencies including the Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and the Nigerian and the National University of Commission (NUC) had raised alarm about padding in their respective budget proposal.
Reacting to the development, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management wrote a letter to the Ministry of Finance, seeking clarification.
Therefore, when appeared before the House Committee on Appropriations, the Minister of Finance noted that the error emanated from the Budget Office of the Federation.
According to the statement released by the Ministry of Finance, the Minister told the legislators that “there was an error in the budget of the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs as the N206 billion captured in the budget proposal of the ministry was wrongly coded by the Budget Office”.
She added that “the N206 billion alleged insertion, which had generated serious reaction within the week, was for the national social safety nets project funded by the World Bank and domiciled in the Humanitarian Ministry,” the statement read.
Zainab further clarified that the figure in question was not a deliberate act of budget passing but an oversight.
“The wrong coding resulted in the item being wrongly captured as ‘purchase of security equipment but that it had nothing to do with Budget padding, but an oversight,” she said.
Meanwhile, the House of Committee has berated the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs for her failure to appear before various committees of the House to defend the ministry’s 2023 budget proposal.
The committee thereafter advised her to resign if she was not capable to do her job.
“Most times the committee calls the minister, she refuses to come. If she is not ready for the job, she should quit,” the committee chairman stated.
No Plan to Print N5000 Note; Says CBN
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has denied plans to print N5,000 denominations
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has denied plans to print N5,000 denominations, the clarification was made by the Director of Currency Operations, Ahmed Umar during an event in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
Umar, who was represented by Amina Halidu-Giwa, Head of Policy Development at CBN Currency Operations Department was quoted to have said “We are not introducing any new note. Some people have seen one N5000 note that we don’t know about”.
Investors King learnt that various mock-up designs of N5000 notes have surfaced on the internet amid the anticipation of the CBN naira redesign policy.
It could be recalled that the apex bank had introduced newly redesigned notes which the bank claimed will help to address currency circulation, counterfeiting, and terrorism. The affected denominations include N200, N500, and N1000 notes.
Speaking on the development, Umaru noted that the central bank will be printing a significantly limited amount of the redesigned currency to promote cashless policy.
“What we are printing is going to be very limited because we want other means of settling transactions to be used,” he noted.
It is understood that the apex bank has often encouraged Nigerians to embrace cashless policy as a way of promoting financial inclusion and to prevent currency mutilation.
In this direction, the CBN also launched the e-Naira, a form of digital naira which has the value as the naira notes.
Meanwhile, Cable news has also reported that the viral video of the N5000 denomination is fake.
Cable news stated that the video has been on Facebook and Youtube since 2020.
While acknowledging the video in 2020, the CBN also released a statement to dispel the unfounded rumor.
A statement which was released by the apex bank in May 2020 partly read, “Videos and pictures of purported circulation of N2,000:00 and N5,000:00 banknotes are false and fake”.
“Members of the public are advised to disregard such falsehood and to report anyone found in possession of such banknotes to the law enforcement agencies”.
Private Jet Owners Refused to Pay N30bn Tax; Drags FG to Court
These jet owners, including business moguls and leading commercial banks, have dragged the federal government to court to seek judicial review to ascertain if they are liable by law to pay the import duty imposed on them.
A number of wealthy Nigerians who own private jets have refused to pay more than N30 billion in import duty tax, the Nigeria Customs Service.
The owners, including business moguls and leading commercial banks, have dragged the federal government to court to seek judicial review to ascertain if they are liable by law to pay the import duty imposed on them.
Investors King could recall that the Federal Government had approved the decision of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) to ground 91 private jets belonging to some wealthy Nigerians over their alleged refusal to pay import duties running to over N30 billion.
The Nigeria Customs Service claimed that the owners are liable to import duties since the private jets are foreign-registered.
Subsequently, acting upon the presidential approval, the Customs Service directed the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), and the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), to ground the affected private jets with immediate effect.
Meanwhile, owners of the private jets have filed a court case to stop the import duty imposed on them by NCS.
The owners who have approached the Federal High Court in Abuja are seeking the court to determine, among other things, if they were liable to pay import duty.
Investors King learnt that the owners filed their cases using their trustee companies to hide their identities.
Some of these trustee companies most of which are foreign firms include, Aircraft Trust and Financing Corp Trustee, UAML Corp, Bank of Utah Trustee, Masterjet AVIACAO Executive SA, Empire Aviation Group, and Osa Aviation Limited and Cloud Services Limited.
According to the court document, at least 17 applicants have filed cases against the import duty.
While speaking on the development, the President, Association of Private Aircraft Owners, Mr. Alex Nwuba noted that the government needs to show a higher degree of transparency in the process of registering private jets.
He concluded that while the government is aiming to generate revenue from all means possible, the import duty imposed on the private jet owners might be too much.
“If you buy a private jet for $80m, you may need to pay a duty of over $10m; that may be high to some people,” he said.
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