- FG Targets 7% Growth With Economic Recovery Plan
The Federal Government, through the National Economic Recovery Growth Plan, is targeting a growth rate of seven per cent between 2017 and 2020.
The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udo Udoma, disclosed this at a meeting with select joint committees of the National Assembly as part of consultations towards packaging a strategic and all-inclusive economic policy document.
The minister, according to a statement from his Media Adviser, Mr. Akpandem James, pleaded that every effort must be made to ensure that the new plan eventually did not suffer the fate of those before it.
To ensure that the NERGP does not go the way of others, he stated that the government was putting in place a delivery unit that would drive its implementation through effective monitoring and evaluation.
Udoma explained that the plan was structured in such a way that it would be the basis for all subsequent budgets, which was why the contribution and support of the National Assembly was very critical to ensure the effective realisation of its objectives.
The NERGP focuses on five broad areas namely: macroeconomic policy, economic diversification and growth drivers, competitiveness, social inclusion and jobs, and governance and other enablers.
The minister said, “This plan builds on the previous development plans the country has developed, particularly the Vision 20-2020. The development of this plan is part of a process we have been working on since we came into government.
“However, the fact that we are in recession means that the plan is one that must also be designed to get us quickly out of recession. Our goal is to have an economy with low inflation, stable exchange rates and diversified inclusive growth.
“The proposed initiatives prescribed by the plan address the country’s poor competiveness, and are designed to improve the business environment and attract investment in infrastructure. Jobs and social inclusion are also key deliverables of the plan.”
In a related development, Udoma said during a meeting with the United Nations Development Programme Regional Director for Africa, Mr. Abdoulaye Mar Deiye, in Abuja, that although the country was focused on diversification of its economy, it needed oil to get out of the oil-propelled economy.
He said Nigeria’s immediate priority was to get oil production output back to the desired level to secure revenue needed to diversify the economy.
The minister explained that though the global slump in oil prices introduced some shocks that affected the country’s economy, the immediate reason for the slump into recession was the massive reduction in output caused by militancy in the oil-bearing Niger Delta region.
…to capitalise agriculture bank with N1tn
The Federal Government is planning to capitalise the Bank of Agriculture with N1tn and will allow the lender to take deposits as the country seeks to boost farming output and reduce food imports.
“We are looking at 25 million farmers as stakeholders or depositors,” the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, said in an interview held in Abuja.
“We are probably going to take a major step by the end of this year, and by February or March, have a structure in place for the changes we want to carry out,” Ogbeh told Bloomberg.
The Nigerian economy contracted in the first nine months of the year as oil output, the government’s main source of revenue, dropped due to attacks by militant groups on pipelines in the Niger Delta, and prices remained low.
Farming, which mostly consists of crops, including cocoa, accounts for more than 25 per cent of Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product, and has expanded every quarter of 2016, while factory output and mining, which includes the oil industry, shrank, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.
The BoA will start lending for farming projects at an interest rate of less than 10 per cent, or less than half of commercial market rates, Ogbeh said.
The bank, created in 1972 to provide credit and technical support to farming projects, lent at least N41bn to 600 businesses across Nigeria over 10 years, according to information on its website.
“It’s good to invest in the bank, but they should ensure they have proper management to improve its performance and efficiency,” the Division Head for Agriculture at Fidelity Bank Plc, Musa Tarimbuka, said by phone. “They have disbursed a lot of money over the past 40 years, and the non-performing loans are very high,” he added.
The Central Bank of Nigeria kept its benchmark rate unchanged at 14 per cent on November 24 as it seeks to support an economy forecast by the International Monetary Fund to contract by 1.7 per cent this year.
It’s also trying to curb inflation, which quickened to an 11-year high of 18.3 per cent in October. Food prices rose 17.1 per cent from a year earlier, partly due to the high price of imported food after the naira lost almost 40 per cent of its value against the dollar following the abandonment of a currency peg in June.
The government plans to distribute 110 rice mills across the country over the next two months at a subsidy of 40 per cent, Ogbeh said. These measures will help boost production and reduce food imports, which were worth about N1.2tn last year, according to statistics bureau data.
Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority Generates N160.06 Billion in 2020
The Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) generated revenue of N160.06 billion in 2020, according to the latest audited financial reports announced by the Managing Director of NSIA Mr. Uche Orji.
The NSIA income came from devaluation gain of N51 billion, and core income of N109 billion compared to N33.07 billion in 2019.
But Orji lamented: “Covid-19 adversely affected logistics around infrastructure projects, especially the toll road projects and the presidential fertiliser initiative.”
Despite the pandemic, the Authority achieved 33 percent growth in Net Assets to N772.75 billion compared to the previous year’s performance of N579.54 billion.
Orji said the NSIA “received additional contribution of $250 million; and provided first stabilisation support to the Federal Government of $150 million withdrawn from Stabilisation Fund last year.”
The same year, the NSIA received $311 million from funds recovered from the late General Abacha from the United States Department of Justice and Island of Jersey for deployment towards the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF) projects of Abuja-Kaduna-Kano Highway, Lagos Ibadan Expressway and Second Niger Bridge.
In response to COVID-19, Orji said: “NSIA partnered the global Citizen, a not-for profit group, to form the Nigeria Solidarity Support Fund. Separately NSIA acquired and distributed oxygen concentrators to the 21-teaching hospital as part of corporate social responsibility; in addition to staffing support to the Presidential taskforce on COVID-19.”
In 2020, the NSIA “invested additional capital into NG Clearing, the first derivative clearing house in Nigeria to maintain NSIA’s shareholding at 16.5 per cent following the company’s rights issue of 2020″ Orji said.
EFCC Recovers $153m, 80 Assets from Diezani, Says Bawa EFCC Chairman
The Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Abdulrasheed Bawa has said the commission recovered $153 million and 80 properties from the former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke.
Bawa said: “There are several cases surrounding that. As you may have read, I was part of that investigation, and we have done quite a lot. In one of the cases, we recovered $153 million; we have secured the final forfeiture of over 80 properties in Nigeria valued at about $80 million.
“We have done quite a bit on that. The other cases as it relates to the $115 million INEC bribery as the media has sensationalised it, is also ongoing across the federation.”
“We are looking forward to the time when we will, maybe, have her in the country, and of course, review things and see what will happen going forward. The case has certainly not been abandoned.”
Speaking on the trial of former Abia State Governor Orji Uzor Kalu, he said his trial will start soon in Lagos.
Bawa added: “The position is very clear. The EFCC succeeded in 12 years to get him convicted at the Federal High Court. Of course, he went to the Supreme Court, and because the judge that convicted him has been elevated, the ruling was made and the EFCC as a respecter of the rule of law, we have taken it as it is. The Supreme Court has ordered that we should go back to the Federal High Court in Lagos.
“Now, we are at the Federal High Court in Abuja, and we have applied to the court for the case to be transferred to Lagos as ordered by the Supreme Court to enable us start all over again.
“It, however, draws a precedence, and those are the issues; law as the lawyers will say, is a living thing; we had the ACJA in 2015, we have had this problem of elevation of judges from High Court to Court of Appeal, and we pushed that they should be given the opportunity to finish their cases, because some of these cases have taken a very long time.
“We thought we had succeeded in getting this in ACJA, The law was, however, not seen as such. Now, we may have to solve the problem from the constitution, and then, we will be home and dry.”
Nigeria Consumes 93m Litres of Petrol Daily in April 2021
Nigeria’s daily petrol consumption rose to a record-high of 93 million litres in April 2021, according to the latest data from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
The amount represents 77 percent of the 120.80 million litres consumed daily in West Africa despite having just 52 percent of the region’s population.
In previous months, Nigeria consumed 61 million litres on average, therefore, the NNPC stated that the 93 million litres per day consumption is unsustainable.
The sudden surged in petrol consumption was a result of smuggling, according to experts.
“There is no doubt that Nigeria’s present petrol consumption is embarrassing, due to smuggling which is currently a thriving business,” Mike Osatuyi, national operations controller, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria.
On the allegation that marketers illegally export petrol, Osatuyi asked why the five security agencies across the borders are unable to stop it.
Smuggling of petrol across the borders is becoming more intense as Nigeria inches closer to full deregulation, one stakeholder said. Despite over 95 million Nigerians in poverty, the country inadvertently pays for cheap petrol across West Africa.
“It means Nigeria is financing the economies of neighbouring countries,” Osatuyi said. “Nigeria should not be consuming more than 50 million litres per day.”
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