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Lagos to Become Africa’s 3rd Largest Economy by 2020 – Ambode

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  • Lagos to Become Africa’s 3rd Largest Economy by 2020

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, monday disclosed that the prime goal of his administration is to grow the state from fifth to third largest economy in Africa by 2020.

Consequently, the governor added that it had become imperative to also end the operation of yellow commercial buses known as danfo on roads in the Lagos metropolis before the end of this year.

He disclosed this at the 14th annual lecture of Centre for Values in Leadership (CVL) held at MUSON Centre, Onikan, Lagos with a theme: ‘Living Well Together, Tomorrow: The Challenge of Africa’s Future Cities’.

The lecture, which organised by a renowned development expert, Professor Pat Utomi, was chaired by former Governor of Cross River State, Liyel Imoke, and attended by the Director of the Centre for the Study of African Economies, Oxford University, Prof. Paul Collier, among others.

Ambode explained the significance of infrastructure projects his administration had been executing in strategic sectors of Lagos economy, noting that it was directed at up scaling the status of the state.

He explained that the establishment of massive lay-bys, rehabilitation of inner-city roads and the construction of flyovers in different parts of the state were designed to end the challenges of urbanisation.

Specifically, the governor noted that the main objective of his administration remained the growth of Lagos from fifth to third largest economy in Africa, which he said formed the heart of his government.

To realise this prime goal, Ambode insisted that yellow buses would be removed from Lagos roads for a more efficient, well-structured and world class mass transportation system that would facilitate ease of movement within the city.

He said the present connectivity mode in the state was not acceptable and befitting for a mega city, and as such, a well-structured transportation mode would soon be put in place to address the challenge.

Ambode said: “When I wake up in the morning and see all these yellow buses, commercial motorcycles and all kinds of tricycles, and we claim we are a mega city, that is not true. We must first acknowledge that that is a faulty connectivity that we are running.

“We have to look for the solution. That is why we want to banish yellow buses this year. We must address the issue of connectivity that makes people to move around with ease and that is where we are going.

“For instance, people going from Ikorodu to CMS have started leaving their cars at home because the buses are very convenient. So, why can’t we do that for other places?

“Yes, we do not have the money to do everything now but we can go to the capital market and then improve on the technology of collection of fares. That will encourage investors and then the city will change.”

Also, the governor said the state government was also embarking on massive reform in waste management system, expressing optimism that the plan “will be actualised by July this year.

“We are also embarking on massive reform in the waste and sanitation management system. I don’t like the way the city is and the Private Sector Participants (PSP) collectors are not having enough capacity to do it but again should I tax people to death, the answer is no.

“I do not want to tax people, and so we need this partnership with the private sector so that it can invest in the sanitation management of the city and in no time, maybe by July, the city will change forever.”

Also speaking, Utomi said the idea behind the formation of the group was to get young people to begin to appreciate early what leadership is all about, which is service to the people.

Utomi, founder of CVL, said Lagos remained the best governed state in Nigeria in the last 18 years, and a good example of what the country should be beyond and without oil.

He thus commended Ambode on his leadership style, and particularly congratulated Lagos for being named by the Rockefeller Foundation as one of the 100 most resilient cities in the world.

On his part, Director of Centre for African Economies, Oxford University, Collier, said from his over 30 years’ experience of coming to Nigeria, Ambode has proven himself to be the third excellent governor in a row in Lagos.

Collier, who was the keynote speaker, said judging by the population projection of Nigeria by 2050, now is the time for the country to start building its cities to conform to modern trend.

He said Nigeria’s oil had been a curse which messed up the economy, and so there was need to start proper planning for development.

Collier, therefore, suggested alliance between the business community and political actors, saying to build a city that works, attention must be focused on energy and connectivity.

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.

Economy

NNPC To Resume Oil Exploration In Sokoto Basin

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The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation on Thursday announced plans to resume active oil exploration in Sokoto Basin.

A statement issued in Abuja on Thursday by NNPC spokesperson, Kennie Obateru, said the corporation’s Group Managing Director, Mele Kyari, said exploration for crude would resume in the Sokoto Basin.

The statement read in part, “Kyari also hinted of plans for the corporation to resume active exploration activities in the Sokoto Basin.”

The NNPC boss disclosed this while receiving the Governor of Kebbi State, Atiku Bagudu, who paid Kyari a courtesy visit in his office on Thursday.

In October 2019, the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), had during the spud-in ceremony of Kolmani River II Well on the Upper Benue Trough, Gongola Basin, in the North-East, said the government would explore for oil and gas in the frontier basins across the country.

He outlined the basins to include the Benue Trough, Chad Basin, Sokoto and Bida Basins.

Buhari had also stated that attention would be given to the Dahomey and Anambra Basins which had already witnessed oil and gas discoveries.

Kyari restated NNPC’s commitment to the partnership with Kebbi State for the production of biofuels, describing the project as viable and in tandem with the global transition to renewable energy.

He said the rice production programme in the state was a definite boost to the biofuels project.

Kyari said the linkage of the agricultural sector with the energy sector would facilitate economic growth and bring prosperity to the citizens.

He was quoted as saying, “We will go ahead and renew the Memorandum of Understanding and bring in any necessary amendment that is required to make this business run faster.”

The Kebbi State governor expressed appreciation to the NNPC for its cooperation on the biofuel project.

Bagudu said the cassava programme was well on course but the same could not be said of the sugarcane programme as the targeted milestone was yet to be attained.

Kebbi state is one of the states that the NNPC is in partnership with for the development of renewable energy.

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Economy

Nigeria To Benefit As G-20 Approves Extension Of Debt Relief Till December

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Finance ministers of G-20 countries have approved an extension of debt relief for the world’s poorest nations till December 2021.

David Malpass, World Bank president, made the announcement at the virtual spring meeting, on Wednesday.

TheCable had earlier reported that the G-20 countries will meet this week to consider an extension of the debt freeze.

The G-20, is a group of finance ministers and central bank governors from 19 of the world’s largest economies, including those of many developing nations, along with the European Union.

G-20 countries had established a debt service suspension initiative (DSSI) which took effect in May 2020.

Nigeria had benefited from the initiative which delivered about $5 billion in relief to more than 40 eligible countries.

The suspension period which was originally set to end on December 31, 2020 was extended to June 2021.

Malpass said the extension to December 2021 will boost economic recovery and promote job creation in low income countries.

He urged countries to be transparent in their approach to the debt service payment extension.

“On debt, we welcome a decision by the G20 to extend the DSSI through 2021. The World Bank is also working closely with the IMF to support the implementation of the G20 Common Framework,” he said.

“In both these debt efforts, greater transparency is an important element: I urge all G20 countries to disclose the terms of their financing contracts, including rescheduling, and to support the World Bank’s efforts to reconcile borrower’s debt data more fully with that of creditors.

“Participation by commercial creditors and fuller participation by official bilateral creditors will be vital. I urge all G20 countries to instruct and create incentives for all their public bilateral creditors to participate in debt relief efforts, including national policy banks. I also urge G20 countries to act decisively to incentivize the private creditors under their jurisdiction to participate fully in sovereign debt relief efforts for low-income countries.

“Debt relief efforts are providing some welcome fiscal space, but IDA countries need major new resources too, including grants and highly concessional resources. From April to December 2020, the first DSSI period, our net transfers to IDA and LDC countries were close to $17 billion, of which $5.8 billion were on grant terms.

“Our new commitments were almost $30 billion, making IDA19 the single largest source of concessional resources for the poorest countries and the key multilateral platform for support. To recover from COVID, much more is needed, and we welcome the G20’s support for advancing IDA20 by one year.”

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Economy

IMF / Fiscal Monitor Report April 2021 Forecast

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Unprecedented fiscal support by governments during the pandemic has prevented more severe economic contractions and larger job losses, but risks remain of long-term scarring the International Monetary Fund says in its Fiscal Monitor report released on Wednesday (April 7) in Washington, DC.

Meanwhile, such support, along with drops in revenues, has raised government deficits and debt to unprecedented levels across all country income groups, said Vitor Gaspar, Director of the Fiscal Affairs Department at the IMF.

The first lesson one year into COVID-19 is that fiscal policy can act timely and decisively. The fiscal policy response was unprecedented in speed and size looking across countries. We also learned that countries with easier access to finance or stronger buffers were able to give more fiscal support. They’re also projected to recover faster,” said Gaspar.

Average overall deficits as a share of GDP in 2020 reached 11.7 percent for advanced economies, 9.8 percent for emerging market economies, and 5.5 percent for low-income developing countries. Countries’ ability to scale up spending has diverged.

“So, what have we learned? We’ve learned that fiscal policy is powerful and that sound public finances are crucial in order to enable that power to be used to the fullest,” stressed Gaspar.

Gaspar urged policy makers to balance the risks from large and growing public and private debt with the risks from premature withdrawal of fiscal support, which could slow the recovery.

“In the spring 2021, we emphasize differentiation across countries. Moreover, COVID-19 is fast evolving, as are the consequences from COVID-19. The fiscal policy must stay agile and flexible to respond to this fast-evolving situation.” Said Gaspar.

He also warned that the targeting of measures must be improved and tailored to countries’ administrative capacity so that fiscal support can be maintained for the duration of the crisis—considering an uncertain and uneven recovery

“Moreover, countries are very different in their structures, in their institutions, in their financial capacity and much else. Therefore, policies and policy advice have to be tailored to fit.” Said Gaspar

Gaspar concluded his remarks by emphasizing that global vaccination is urgently needed, and that global inoculation would pay for itself with stronger employment and economic activity, leading to increased tax revenues and sizable savings in fiscal support.

“A fair shot, a vaccination for everybody in the world may well be the highest return global investment ever. But the Fiscal Monitor also emphasizes the importance of giving a fair shot at life success for everyone. It documents that preexisting inequalities made COVID-19 worse and that COVID-19 in turn made inequalities worse. There is here a vicious cycle that threatens trust and social cohesion. Therefore, we recommend stronger redistributive policies and universal access to basic public services like health, education, and social security,” said Gaspar.

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