The Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, said on Tuesday that Nigeria was under severe economic stress.
Lagarde, who was on a four-day visit to Nigeria last week, stated this at a farewell symposium for the Governor of the Central Bank of France, Christian Noyer, in Paris.
According to the IMF boss, Nigeria and Cameroon are among countries in the world that are battling with poor economy and slump in oil prices.
She said, “So, why focus on emerging and developing economies? It is worth remembering that these countries are home to 85 per cent of the world’s population. Today, emerging and developing economies account for almost 60 per cent of the global GDP, up from just under half only a decade ago.
“On current forecasts, the emerging world will converge on advanced economy income levels at less than two-thirds the pace we had predicted just a decade ago. This is cause for concern. Clearly, the 85 per cent matter for the global economy.”
Lagarde added, “Many commodity-exporting emerging and developing economies are under severe stress, and some currencies have already experienced very large depreciations. We have all seen it in Latin America, and I saw it first-hand last week in Nigeria and Cameroon – two countries that are hit hard by lower oil prices and domestic fragilities.
“So, where does this leave economic policy? And what can the other 15 per cent of the global population do for global growth and to help emerging and developing countries adjust to the new global environment?”
The IMF boss called for stronger global financial safety net and a framework for safer capital flows.
Lagarde stated, “I have many times called for economic policy upgrades in our member countries. But beyond putting individual countries’ houses in order, there is more that needs to be done. We need a policy upgrade at the global level.”
World Bank Rates Nigeria Low on Infrastructure
Despite the huge borrowing, the World Bank has rated Nigeria low on infrastructure. While asserting that the country’s infrastructural deficit would likely reach $3 trillion in the next 30 years, the bank noted that Nigeria’s development index is among the lowest in the world.
According to the public finance review report prepared by the world bank, Nigeria was ranked 132 out of 137 countries on infrastructure. Going by the current rate of expenditure allocation for infrastructure, the Washington Based bank noted that “it would take 300 years to close the country’s current infrastructure gap”.
“Closing Nigeria’s infrastructure gap would cost at least four percent of GDP growth per year.” the report added.
Investors King understands that infrastructure deficit and lack of basic amenities are some prevailing problems facing the country. These problems among others have created a negative impact on the economy.
In November 2022, the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) also noted that the lack of key infrastructure development has impeded the country’s growth potential over the years.
The CIBN’s chairman, Ken Opara stated that “Over the years, the public infrastructure deficit in Nigeria has become an issue of major concern. Generally, infrastructure is the foundation on which economic activities thrive. According to the Africa Infrastructure Country Diagnostic Report released in 2011 titled “Nigeria Infrastructure: A Continental Perspective”, about 40 percent of the productivity are caused by infrastructure constraints”.
Similarly, the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo while seeking the collaboration of the private sector disclosed that Nigeria will need $2.3 trillion to bridge the country’s infrastructural deficit.
Osinbajo who spoke in August 2022 during the inauguration of the National Council on Infrastructure stated that only an effective collaboration with the private sector and key development stakeholders can help to beat the gap.
The Vice President thereafter used the event to highlight some of the infrastructural achievements of the present administration which include the second Niger bridge, the Lagos-Ibadan expressway, and the Abuja-Kaduna-Kano Road.
Access Bank Unveils New Debit Card For Women
Access Bank created a new type of card for women in business
One of the leading commercial banks in Nigeria, Access Bank has unveiled a new debit card specifically designed for women entrepreneurs to celebrate their uniqueness and speciality.
The unveiling took place at the Grand Finale of “W’’ Initiative’s Womenpreneur Season 4 in Lagos yesterday, Investors King learnt.
Speaking at the sideline of the event, Access Bank Chairman, Dr. Ajoritsedere Awosika noted that the new debit card is an innovation to identify with women particularly, women entrepreneurs.
“Everyone globally likes to have an identity. Not just an ordinary identity but an identity that makes you unique and gives you an opportunity to spend in a unique way and have an assurance that you are recognised,” she noted.
“With the WCard, a card meant for women , women of integrity, women who can go out there and stand on their own in the business world and for women who are able to walk in the lanes of integrity like access bank believes.’’ she added.
While introducing the W Branded Debit Card, Access Bank Head of Marketing and Communication, Chioma Afe stated that a survey was conducted to identify his women want to be differentiated. This survey was what led to the new debit card purposefully designed for women.
Chioma further noted that Access Bank values its female customers and a dedicated card is the least the bank can do to identify with them.
“At Access bank, we already had unique offerings for our female customers, so why not a debit card? when you hold it, it is not just Access, it says you are female, you are strong, you are impactful, you are innovative and you are inspiring and inspirational,” she stated.
Speaking at the event “W” Initiative and Womenpreneur Pitch-a-Ton, the Managing Director of Access Bank, Roosevelt Ogbonna noted that the pitch programme which is now in its Season 4 has recorded tremendous success since its inception.
According to Roosevelt, the programme “(is) a vision to support women-owned businesses to catalyse growth for the economy and make Nigeria a better place”.
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.
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