Nigeria Plans N4.72 Trillion Stimulus for Troubled Economy
The Federal Government is considering an ambitious $15 billion (N4.72 trillion) fiscal stimulus plan to reflate and pull the economy from the current recession.
Following the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) recent official confirmation that Nigeria economy had slipped into one of the worst recessions in its history, the government convened a ministerial retreat last week to rally economists’ opinions on possible way out of the doldrums.
One of the key resolutions at the retreat was a four- pronged funding plan to generate and inject massive foreign capital, estimated at between $10 and $15 billion (about N4.72 trillion – at N320 to the dollar) into the economy.
The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udoma Udoma, said the stimulus plan would be funded majorly through sale of some national assets, advance payment by joint venture operators for license renewals, infrastructure concessions, use of recovered funds etc, and long term, low interest loans to bridge funding gap.
In line with the external borrowing plan approved recently to enable government borrow cheapest available monies to fund key ongoing projects, the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, said on Friday plans had been concluded to raise additional $1billion through Euro bond capital raise.
Besides, Mrs. Adeosun said the World Bank, African Development Bank (ADB), and other multilateral and international lending institutions, have already approved plans for loans at interest rates of 1.5 per cent, and repayment tenors as long as 40 years.
She said the facilities would help the government intervene in some key areas, like agriculture, education, health, rebuilding of transportation facilities, railway and other projects considered vital to government effort to revamp the economy.
The minister, who justified the request for emergency economic powers for government, said in view of the “unusual times” the country found itself, “unusual measures were required to navigate the economy out of recession waters.”
One of the areas for which she said the intervention was necessary was in pruning the procurement processes to speed up contract awards, to execute key infrastructure needed to drive quick economic recovery.
Mr. Udoma said the government was equally giving a thought to measures to fast-track procedures to speedily inject the funds into the economy.
Some of these measures include Presidential Orders and Directives, to be facilitated by emergency powers, to be enabled by the Emergency Economic Recovery Bill currently pending submission to the National Assembly for approval.
Other components of the plan, which have already been approved by the Executive Council of the Federation include total restructuring of the country towards sustainable growth, by weaning the economy from dependence on crude oil revenue.
Resolutions at the retreat include the need for government to work closely with the private sector to bridge the N3 to N5 trillion funding gap per annum in infrastructural development; need for the government to signpost the future of the country’s economy to the world and open up infrastructure investment opportunities.
The retreat also emphasized the breaking of government monopoly in all areas of the economy, while taking steps to improve the communication of government initiatives, to reassure the public and stimulate private sector investment.
To ensure quick injection of fresh capital to the economy, the retreat proposed the immediate implementation of the social intervention programmes, namely the school feeding, the teachers’ assistance scheme, and local debt repayment, particularly to states and contractors.
In addition, priority attention must be given to infrastructure, including power, rail and public works; agriculture and agro processing; mining and solid Minerals; social intervention schemes/ public works; human capital development; and population census to facilitate accurate data for planning.
University Of Ibadan (UI) Goes Digital, Releases Timetable for Virtual Academic Session
University of Ibadan (UI) on Friday announced it is going ahead with resumption on February 20 despite the second wave of COVID-19.
In a statement released by the school, the First Semester of the 2020/2021 academic session will commence virtually on February 20, 2021.
The virtual academic session will last for 13 straight weeks and end on Friday May 12, 2021, while the matriculation ceremony will hold on Tuesday March 16, 2021.
The University of Ibadan also scheduled one week for the Finalization of Continuous Assessment, to begin from Mon. 17 May and ends Friday 21 May.
The rising number of COVID-19 cases has compelled the Senate to approve the virtual academic session in an effort to ensure the tertiary institution abides by the protocols established by the Federal Government to curb the spread of the pandemic.
“It, therefore, agreed that the 2020/2021 First Semester lectures will be delivered online. In this regard, students will not be accommodated on campus,” a statement from the school said.
“Senate also approved the cancellation of the 2019/2020 session. The next session is, therefore, renamed 2020/2021 Academic Session. Consequently, students who have been admitted for the 2019/2020 session will now be regarded as the 2020/2021 intakes.
“Kindly note that online opening of Registration Portal and Orientation Programme for the 2020/2021 intakes may commence ahead of the Sat 20/02/21 date indicated above,” the statement said.
House of Representatives Impeached Trump Over Capitol Invasion
The United States House of Representatives on Wednesday impeached President Trump for the second time after instigating the US Capitol invasion.
Led by Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, 232 representatives, including 10 Republicans, voted to impeach the outgoing president against 197 that voted for him to remain in the office for the next six days when he would handover to the president-elect, Joe Biden.
The ten Republicans were Representatives Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the party’s No. 3 leader in the House; Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington; John Katko of New York; Adam Kinzinger of Illinois; Fred Upton of Michigan; Dan Newhouse of Washington; Peter Meijer of Michigan; Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio; David Valadao of California; and Tom Rice of South Carolina.
Speaking before the vote, Pelosi said “a constitutional remedy that will ensure that the Republic will be safe from this man who is so resolutely determined to tear down the things that we hold dear and that hold us together.”
“He must go. He is a clear and present danger to the nation that we all love,” she said, adding later, “It gives me no pleasure to say this — it breaks my heart.”
Republicans, who unanimously stood behind president Trump in 2019 during his first impeachment, were divided this time over the attack on Capitol.
A Republican representative from California, Kevin McCarthy, said “The president bears responsibility for Wednesday’s attack on Congress by mob rioters,” Mr. McCarthy said. “He should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding.”
US Congress Declares Joe Biden as The 46th President of The United States After Trump Mob Left
The joint congress of the United States on Thursday, January 7, 2021 certified Joe Biden as the 46th President of the United States following President Trump’s mob action that disrupted the congress joint proceeding on Wednesday.
After ordering his followers to disrupt proceedings on Wednesday, President Trump later announced that there will be an orderly transition on January 20.
“Even though I totally disagree with the outcome of the election, and the facts bear me out, nevertheless there will be an orderly transition on January 20th,” Trump said in a statement issued by White House Deputy Chief of Staff Dan Scavino.
“I have always said we would continue our fight to ensure that only legal votes were counted. While this represents the end of the greatest first term in presidential history, it’s only the beginning of our fight to Make America Great Again!” Trump added.
While the certification was just a mere formality as Biden had secured enough electoral college votes (270) required to clinch the world’s most powerful seat, the refusal of Donald Trump to accept the results of the November 2020 election made the session a keenly watched, especially after Trump mob disrupted a joint session of the Senate.
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