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Nigeria Plans N4.72 Trillion Stimulus for Troubled Economy

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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.

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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NIMC Announces Launch of Three National ID Cards to Boost Identity Management

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The National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) has unveiled plans to launch three new national identity cards.

These cards are aimed at providing improved access to government services and bolstering identification systems across Nigeria.

The three new national identity cards, as disclosed by Ayodele Babalola, the Technical Adviser, Media, and Communications to the Director-General of NIMC, will include a bank-enabled National ID card, a social intervention card, and an optional ECOWAS National Biometric Identity Card.

Babalola explained that these cards are tailored to meet the diverse needs of Nigerian citizens while fostering greater participation in nation-building initiatives.

In an interview, Babalola outlined the timeline for the rollout of these cards, indicating that Nigerians can expect to start receiving them within one or two months of the launch, pending approval from the Presidency.

The bank-enabled National ID card, designed to cater to the middle and upper segments of the population, will offer seamless access to banking services within the specified timeframe.

Also, the National Safety Net Card will serve as a crucial tool for authentication and secure platform provision for government services such as palliatives, with a focus on the 25 million vulnerable Nigerians supported by current government intervention programs.

This initiative aims to streamline the distribution process and ensure efficient delivery of social services to those in need.

Furthermore, the ECOWAS National Biometric Identity Card will provide an optional identity verification solution, facilitating cross-border interactions and promoting regional integration within the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

The announcement comes on the heels of NIMC’s collaboration with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigeria Inter-bank Settlement System (NIBSS) to develop a multipurpose national identity card equipped with payment capabilities for various social and financial services.

This collaborative effort underscores the commitment of key stakeholders to foster innovation, cost-effectiveness, and competitiveness in service delivery.

Babalola stated that the new identity cards aim to address the need for physical identification, empower citizens, and promote financial inclusion for marginalized populations. With a target of providing these cards to approximately 104 million eligible applicants on the national identification number database by the end of December 2023, NIMC is poised to revolutionize the identity management landscape in Nigeria.

The implementation of these programs aligns with broader efforts to drive digital transformation and improve access to essential services for all Nigerians.

Babalola highlighted the multifaceted benefits of the new identity cards, including their potential to uplift millions out of poverty by facilitating access to government social programs and financial services.

While the launch date is set tentatively for May pending presidential approval, NIMC remains committed to finalizing the necessary details to ensure a smooth rollout of the new identity cards.

The introduction of these cards represents a significant step forward in NIMC’s mission to provide secure and reliable identity solutions that empower individuals and contribute to the socio-economic development of Nigeria.

Efforts to reach Kayode Adegoke, the Head of Corporate Communications at NIMC, for further insights on the initiative were unsuccessful at the time of reporting.

As Nigeria gears up for the launch of these innovative identity cards, stakeholders express optimism about the potential positive impact on identity management, financial inclusion, and socio-economic development across the country.

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Nigeria Launches New National ID Card to Enhance Access to Social and Financial Services

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The Federal Government of Nigeria has announced the launch of a National Identity Card with integrated payment and social service functionalities.

This initiative, spearheaded by the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) in collaboration with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigeria Inter-bank Settlement System (NIBSS), aims to provide Nigerians with a single, multifunctional card that combines identification, payment, and access to various government and private sector services.

The new National ID card backed by the NIMC Act No. 23 of 2007 is poised to become the country’s default identity card, serving as a tangible proof of identity for citizens and legal residents alike.

With features aligned with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards, including a Machine-readable Zone (MRZ) and biometric authentication capabilities, the card offers robust security and verification mechanisms.

One of the most significant aspects of the new ID card is its payment functionality. Cardholders will have the ability to link their cards to bank accounts, enabling them to conduct debit and prepaid transactions seamlessly.

This feature is expected to enhance financial inclusion efforts, particularly for the unbanked and underbanked populations in Nigeria.

Also, the card will grant holders access to a wide range of government interventions programs, including travel, health insurance, microloans, agriculture initiatives, food subsidies, transport benefits, and energy subsidies.

By consolidating these services onto a single platform, the government aims to streamline administrative processes and improve service delivery efficiency.

To ensure widespread accessibility, the NIMC has outlined various channels for obtaining the new ID card, including online applications, commercial banks, participating agencies, and NIMC offices nationwide.

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New York City Hit by 4.8 Magnitude Earthquake

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New York City, famously known as the “city that never sleeps” was hit by a 4.8 magnitude earthquake.

The tremors reverberated through the towering skyscrapers and bustling suburbs as it sent shockwaves across the densely populated metropolitan area and left residents feeling shaken.

The earthquake, with its epicenter approximately 45 miles west of New York City and 50 miles north of Philadelphia, caught many off guard.

Reports indicate that over 42 million people across the Northeast region may have felt the midmorning quake with reports coming in from as far as Baltimore to Boston and beyond.

The impact of the earthquake was not confined to mere tremors; it resulted in significant damage to several multifamily homes in Newark, New Jersey, displacing nearly 30 residents.

Officials immediately sprang into action, conducting checks on bridges and other major infrastructure to assess any potential structural damage.

Flights were diverted or delayed, Amtrak slowed trains throughout the busy Northeast Corridor, and a Philadelphia-area commuter rail line suspended service as a precautionary measure.

The experience was unsettling for many New Yorkers, with some likening it to the sensation of an explosion or construction accident.

Shawn Clark, an attorney working on the 26th floor of a midtown Manhattan office, described it as “pretty weird and scary,” echoing the sentiments of many who felt the earth move beneath them.

Aftershocks were reported hours later in a central New Jersey township, causing additional concern and producing reports of damage and items falling off shelves, according to Hunterdon County Public Safety Director Brayden Fahey.

The disruption caused by the earthquake extended beyond immediate safety concerns. Cellphone circuits were overloaded as people tried to reach loved ones, and phones blared with earthquake-related notifications during the New York Philharmonic’s morning performance, adding an unexpected twist to the day’s events.

Even as the seismic event rattled New York City, residents and officials alike drew comparisons to past earthquakes, particularly the memorable tremor of August 23, 2011. Registering a magnitude of 5.8, it was the strongest quake to hit the East Coast since World War II, leaving lasting impressions on those who experienced it.

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