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Fitch Cuts Saudi Arabia Rating to AA-

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Fitch ratings Ltd. downgraded Saudi Arabia from AA to AA- on Tuesday, citing downwardly revised oil prices for 2016 and 2017.

According to the agency press release “the downward revision of our oil price assumptions for 2016 and 2017” to $35 a barrel and $45 a barrel that is obtainable in current situation, “has major negative implications for Saudi Arabia’s fiscal and external balances.”

“The central government deficit widened to 14.8% of GDP in 2015, after a deficit of 2.3% in 2014 and continuous surpluses in previous years since 2010. Fitch forecasts the deficit-to-GDP ratio to narrow only marginally in 2016 and, on the back of a moderate recovery in oil prices, more substantially in 2017”.

“A large share of the government’s financing needs will be funded by disposing of foreign financial assets, but the government has also started raising debt domestically. It is also in negotiations on a syndicated loan of up to USD10bn and is planning a first Eurobond issue later this year. This should push the general government debt-to-GDP ratio to 9.4% of GDP in 2017 from 1.5% in 2014, which will still be low compared with peers (36.9%)”.

This is the third rating agency downgrading the Kingdom’s credit within a year after Standard & Poor  and Moody’s investors Service cut the nation’s rating.

 

 

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

Government

Lawmakers Tensed Over Possible Boko Haram Attack On National Assembly

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Lawmakers have been notified of a possible attack by Boko Haram insurgents on the National Assembly complex and other public buildings in Abuja, The media gathered.

Several members of the House of Representatives, on Wednesday, confirmed to Punch correspondent that they had been notified of the imminent attack by the terrorist group.

One of them, who is from a state in the South-West, said his presence would henceforth be limited on the premises.

“That is the security alert I saw today. I’m already moving out of here. I’ll only be around when there is a major reason to do so. Nowhere is safe in the country anymore,” he said.

Already the notice of the impending attack has been made available to the lawmakers.

The notice, a copy of which our correspondent obtained, was sent to the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, other principal officers and all members of the House.

The ‘security alert’, dated May 4, 2021, was issued by the Chairman of the House Committee on Internal Security, National Assembly, Mr. Usman Shiddi.

It was titled ‘Re: planned insurgent attacks on VIP locations, government facilities and assets in Abuja.’

The alert read, “I refer to the above subject of which a copy of the intelligence report from the Force Intelligence Bureau of the Nigeria Police Force in the National Assembly Complex has been made available to my office.

“The report indicates planned insurgent attacks by some elements of Boko Haram on some VIP locations, government facilities and assets in Abuja, including the National Assembly complex.

“In view of the above intelligence, I have considered it paramount to advise that all members should, henceforth, use the presidential gate for ingress and egress.

“This is to avoid the unforeseen congestions that are sometimes encountered at the main gates since such congestions could easily be the targets for these insurgent elements.

“Security agencies are, however, actively on top of the issue to unravel and to contain the intended menace. Accept the assurances of my highest regards, please.”

Security has been beefed up in and around the complex since Thursday last week.

For the first time, security operatives on that day checked vehicles entering the premises, causing traffic congestion especially at the third (and last) gate, a process that has continued to date.

Before now, the security operatives were only after the identities of drivers and passengers to confirm that they were staff members, legislative aides, journalists, or persons working in private businesses in the complex.

The media correspondent observed that soldiers joined the regular sergeants-at-arms and men of the Nigeria Police Force, Department of State Services, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps and the Federal Road Safety Corps that manned the gates.

Recall that the Governor of Niger State, Sani Bello, had on April 26, 2021, raised the alarm over Boko Haram terrorists taking over a part of the state, hoisting their flag in Kaure village from where they had made incursions into more than 50 villages.

Bello said Abuja was not safe, with Boko Haram’s presence in Kaure – a two-hour journey from the Federal Capital Territory.

He said, “I am confirming that there are Boko Haram elements here in Niger State. Here in Kaure, I am confirming that they have hoisted their flags here.”

The same day, Gbajabiamila had met with the President, Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, in company with the Majority Leader, Alhassan Ado-Doguwa.

On the next day, the House held a long executive (closed-door) session to discuss the rising spate of insecurity across Nigeria, calling on Buhari to declare a state of emergency on security.

At the secret session that lasted over three hours, the lawmakers unanimously adopted a series of resolutions, one of which was that “the Federal Government should ensure the protection of national infrastructure and assets, particularly the Shiroro and Kainji Dams in Niger State.”

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Lagos State Plans To Launch 500 Small New Buses Next Week

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The Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has promised to introduce 500 small new buses to the state by next week Thursday in a bid to provide alternatives to local motorcycles.

The Governor said this in a speech on Wednesday to mark the opening ceremony of the Lagos Architect Forum. The forum themed, ‘The City of Lagos: The Next Twenty Five Years’ was organised by the Nigerian Institute of Architects, Lagos chapter, at the Expo Hall of Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island.

The 4-day forum which will run till Saturday had in attendance other dignitaries including the Oniru of Iru Land, HRM Oba Abdulwasiu Omogbolahan Lawal; the Lagos State Chairman of the NIA, Arc. David Majekodunmi; SA to the Governor on Works and Infrastructure, Engr. Aramide Adeyoye; and the President-elect of the Nigerian Institute of Architects, Arc. Enyi Ben-Eboh.

In his speech, the governor noted the progress made in the T.H.E.M.E.S agenda and his vision for the Lagos master plan to ensure that Lagos becomes ‘Africa’s model megacity’ by 2050. Acknowledging the challenges in the transport sector, the Governor gave assurances on improving the various modes of transport including the roads, waterways and rail lines.

“For the waterways, we’re currently building 16 jetties and terminals. About seven of them should be ready before the end of the year; we have some that are already currently being used.

“All of them will not look as nice as the one at Falomo, but we want all of them to be comfortable. We have a fleet of almost 20 boats now each carrying 50, 60, 40 passengers. We want people to use the waterways which is why we’re investing in them,” Sanwo-Olu said.

On road and rail transport, Sanwo-Olu said the state would soon begin to operate 100 new high-capacity buses, with plans to launch 500 LASTMA small buses by next week Wednesday or Thursday as alternatives to okadas that don’t have enough passenger space. He also promised that one of either the blue or red rail lines will become operational by next year.

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Presidency Warns Over Alleged Plot To Overthrow Buhari’s Administration Through Vote of No Confidence

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Muhammadu Buhari

The Presidency on Tuesday claimed it has evidence that reveals that certain “disruptive elements” are recruiting ethnic groups and politicians with the motive of convening conferences where a vote of no confidence will be passed on the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari.

It said the purpose of the move was to further throw the country into turmoil.

The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, disclosed this in a statement titled ‘Our response to DSS alert, by Presidency.’

Adesina was giving further insights into a recent claim by the Department of State Services that some people were planning to undermine the government and the nation’s sovereignty.

The presidential spokesman however said the present regime would keep the country together, even if some unruly feathers would be ruffled in the process.

He claimed that some disgruntled religious and past political leaders are behind the plans.

The statement read, “The Department of State Services on Sunday alerted on sinister moves by misguided elements to wreak havoc on the government, sovereignty and corporate existence of the country.

“Championed by some disgruntled religious and past political leaders, the intention is to eventually throw the country into a tailspin, which would compel a forceful and undemocratic change of leadership.

“Further unimpeachable evidence shows that these disruptive elements are now recruiting the leadership of some ethnic groups and politicians around the country, with the intention of convening some sort of conference, where a vote of no confidence would be passed on the President, thus throwing the land into further turmoil.

“The caterwauling, in recent times, by these elements, is to prepare the grounds adequately for their ignoble intentions, which are designed to cause further grief for the country.

“The agent provocateurs hope to achieve through artifice and sleight of hands, what they failed to do through the ballot box in the 2019 elections.

“Nigerians have opted for democratic rule, and the only acceptable way to change a democratically elected government is through elections, which hold at prescribed times in the country. Any other way is patently illegal and even treasonable. Of course, such would attract the necessary consequences.

“These discredited individuals and groups are also in cahoots with external forces to cause maximum damage in their own country. But the Presidency, already vested with mandate and authority by Nigerians till 2023, pledges to keep the country together, even if some unruly feathers would be ruffled in the process.”

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