In an economy as vibrant and fragile as Nigeria, financial team is pivotal to how the nation strike a balance between global and national economics, and use that as the basis for formulating both monetary and fiscal policies. This is something Nigeria’s financial team has failed to do since the global oil glut started.
When global oil prices plunged and erased over 70 percent of Nigeria’s foreign revenue. Instead of the central bank to allay national fear by formulating monetary policy to stimulate the economy from within and assure the nation of its readiness to do whatever it takes to ensure things does not deteriorate further like the Bank of England governor Mark Carney did immediately the Britons voted to leave the European Union on June 23, the institution spent the first two months of this administration denying the impact of the shortfall on the economy, only to banned manufacturers of 40-items from accessing forex at official rate on June 23, 2015 as a measure to rescue itself from lack of forex, but end up weakening the manufacturing sector as most manufacturers had to lay off when they couldn’t source for raw materials, leading to high unemployment rate and even higher foreign exchange rates.
Subsequently, this created unnecessary fear and alerted foreign investors to the level of their technical know-how, hence the capital flights that follows and the persistent pressure from both the International Monetary Fund and analysts to devalue the Naira so as to accommodate the difference created by a drop in global oil prices. Again, the federal government, central bank, ministry of finance and monetary policy committee (financial team) refuted all plead to devalue the Nigerian Naira and instead increased interest rates by 100 basis points to 12 percent to boost capital importation, ease the liquidity issue unfolding at the interbank market as at the time and reduce capital flight simultaneously. Not only does this monetary policy fail, but it further exposed their lack of experience in managing financial crisis.
However, one would think the Nigerian Monetary Policy Committee that had voted severally on rates since then would thought it necessary to lower interest rates and allow real investors access to cheaper loans to create jobs needed to attack high unemployment rate, increase consumer spending and fight economic gridlock, while the CBN concentrate on how to increase forex into the country by going after institutions like PayPal Inc., that bar Nigerians from withdrawing funds yet declared Nigeria as the third highest mobile shopper in the world. But no, the Monetary Policy Committee led by the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria Godwin Emefiele left rates unchanged.
Again, on June 20 when the institution exhausted its external reserves and was forced to introduce forex flexibility policy, the institution failed to take into consideration global economics “the U.K. and the European Union referendum of June 23”. Even though, Nigeria is a petrol-dollar economy and grossly depend on the outcome of the referendum like every crude oil dependent economies, the CBN neglected the obvious and roll out forex policy three days to the referendum to attract global investors that were perturbed by the high global uncertainty created by the referendum, and in fact forced the “BIG” US Federal Reserve to rescind on its rate decision pending the outcome of the vote.
As expected that too failed, with nothing left in its arsenal to attack the situation, the CBN resolved to a more radical move by increasing interest rates by 200 basis points to 14 percent in an economy with pervasive layoff, low consumer spending and weak manufacturing sector — all in an effort to lure same global investors that have refused to invest in Naira’s risky assets, especially when global risks and uncertainty heightened by Brexit jumped to the level last seen in 2009. This was even made worse in Nigeria with the recurrent militant attacks that has reduced oil production by more than 600,000 barrels per day, high unemployment rate (13.3%), high inflation rate (17.1) and negative economic growth rate (-2.06).
The question is why chasing foreign investors? Why not stimulate the economy domestically by lowering interest rates and ensure commercial banks pass the difference to customers, then go after corporations like PayPal Inc., to complement the 11 newly licensed international money transfer operators? Here is the logic, if the lack of liquidity in the forex market is as a result of low business confidence and high uncertainty associated with Naira assets, why not restore business confidence by addressing the nation and the world on the situation of things and the steps the central bank planned to take to resolve these issues going forward? This does not merely work for the U.K after Brexit but it has restored the economy to almost normalcy barely two months after the referendum. Both global and local investors need a clear cut policy to make informed investment decisions. The CBN will not lure investors without a blueprint. If this is done, it will not only boost business confidence but also help lower high foreign exchange rates and revamp the manufacturing sector.
FG Has Paid Fuel marketers N74B in Seven Months — NMDPRA
The Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) on Wednesday disclosed that the federal government has paid oil marketers N74 billion as bridging claims in last seven months..
The agency said it was reacting to claims by the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association Nigeria (IPMAN), Suleja branch, that continuing fuel scarcity was caused by non-payment of bridging claims.
The agency said it paid N71.2 billion bridging claims and another N2.7 billion freight differentials to the marketers as of June 6.
In May, IPMAN said the government owed its members half a trillion naira being the cost of transporting petrol across the country.
However, at the time NMDPRA had claimed to have paid oil marketers bridging claims of about N59 billion in five months.
In recent months, fuel scarcity has worsened in Abuja and several other cities across the country.
Marketers had listed the high cost of buying petrol at the depots and the high cost of diesel to truck them as the major factors responsible for the recent queue.
On Monday, the government announced that the nation’s capital petroleum deliveries were up nearly 100 per cent after the government offered additional N10 freight reimbursements to marketers.
The statement by the NMDPRA reads: “The attention of the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) has been drawn to allegations made by the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association Nigeria (IPMAN Suleja Branch) on product scarcity as a result of non-payment of bridging claims.
“The authority chief executive of the NMDPRA, at a meeting held on 17th May 2022 with IPMAN bridging payment was discussed extensively and the processes were explained and agreed upon by IPMAN.
“He assured IPMAN of NMDPRA’s willingness to continue making payments of outstanding claims to promote seamless operations.
“Pursuant to the meeting, the NMDPRA went ahead to make an additional payment of N10 billion in June and sought for an upward review of the freight rate which was approved by President Muhammadu Buhari and is currently being implemented.
“The Authority wishes to reiterate that bridging payment is an ongoing process which is carried out after due verification exercise by the Authority and Marketers.
“So far, the Authority paid N71,233,712,991 bridging claims and another N2,736,179,950.84 freight differentials to the Marketers as at 6th June 2022.
“A breakdown of payment made to Marketers is as follows: Major Marketers (MOMAN) received N9,958,777,487.24, IPMAN members were paid N42,301,923,616.96, NNPC Retails N6,661,459,118.61 while DAPPMAN members were paid N12,303,195,651.57, these translate to a total of N73,969,892,941.84.
“It is disheartening that despite these payments and increase of N10 bridging cost, which was approved by President Muhammadu Buhari two weeks ago, IPMAN could turn around to accuse the NMDPRA of insensitivity,” the statement said.
It said NMDPRA remains committed to ensuring a safe, efficient, and effective conduct of midstream and downstream petroleum operations.
Nigeria-Cameroon Link Bridge up for Inauguration this June – Fashola
The Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola (SAN), has stated that the Nigeria-Cameroon link bridge will be inaugurated this June.
Speaking at the 16th inter-ministerial meeting of the group in Abuja, Fashola who doubles as the Chairman of the five regional ministerial steering committees, explained that the largely funded bridge by the African Development Bank (AfDB) is completed and in hopes that ECOWAS would deliver support for the inauguration.
“We have completed a new link bridge that links Nigeria to Cameroon, and it was funded largely by the AfDB and we are hoping that the ECOWAS commission will give us the necessary support to ensure the formal opening of that bridge sometime in the month of June,” he said.
The commitment to the piece of infrastructure, according to the minister, is to transform the road network into a first-class six-lane motorway, emphasizing that while speed is important, quality must not be lost.
“We’re trying to deliver a better life for five countries and over 40 million people who use that corridor, almost on a daily basis.
“The future is bright, this is an important investment for the people of Africa to achieve the objective of the Africa Union (AU) to create a trans-African highway,” he stated.
Lydie Ehouman, AfDB’s Chief Transport Economist and Project Task Manager, also spoke at the event, stating that the bank had been able to acquire an additional €3.5 million for the road project.
Investors King gathered that the total sum available for the initial financing of the project’s strategic research has increased to $41 million.
“The agreement for the on-lending of this additional grant by the bank to ECOWAS is currently being finalised. Thus, in addition to its substantial contribution of $25 million, the bank will have mobilised €12.63 million in the form of a grant from the European Union.
“This brings the total amount available for the financing of this highly strategic study to the equivalent of about US$ 41 million,” she stated.
She did, however, point out that specialists in member countries’ claims of delays were untrue, because the arrangement was that labor should persist while any differences were aired and rectified.
UNDP, DPGA to Promote Global Digital Goods
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Digital Public Goods Alliance (DPGA), the government of Norway, and Sierra Leone have agreed to promote inclusive digital public infrastructure in countries across the world.
On Wednesday, Investors King gathered that world leaders, development organisations and philanthropic funders are set to invest in a “large-scale technology sharing, funding, and commitment to supporting the international cooperation agenda.”
In its published statement, UNDP stated that the agreement is to improve governance frameworks, which are critical to building a resilient future for countries.
At the event, global leaders committed their efforts to funding and the implementation of digital public infrastructure through a newly established Digital Public Goods Charter (DPG), which serves as a framework to increase international cooperation on this plan.
With its DPG Charter, co-led by the DPGA and the Digital Impact Alliance (DIAL), the UNDP outlines a clear vision for a coordinated global approach to building a safe, trusted, and inclusive digital public infrastructure using DPGs.
“Doing so can enable countries – regardless of income levels – to transform services and service delivery for people and communities everywhere,” the statement read.
The DPG Charter, and the commitments made by global leaders, are especially relevant given the devastating socio-economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and mounting climate disruption.
These challenges, compounded with the unprecedented food, energy, and financial crisis added by the war in Ukraine, are creating an urgent need for global action.
Digital Public Goods are open-source solutions used to build digital public infrastructure (DPI), enabling countries to provide better services and foster inclusive economic growth.
While the Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI) involves digital systems like cash transfers, digital identification, and data exchange that enable the adequate provision of essential society-wide functions. It also allows the building of resilient crisis recovery.
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