- FG Optimistic Nigeria Will Exit Recession This Year
The federal government on Wednesday expressed optimism that the Nigerian economy was on the path of recovery, assuring the public that the country would crawl out of recession before the end of the year.
Making this disclosure while briefing journalists at the end of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) in Abuja, the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, said available indices had shown that the economy was recovering faster than it was envisaged.
According to him, whereas the International Monetary Fund (IMF) had forecast a contraction in Nigeria’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate by 1.8 per cent in 2016, the economy contracted by 1.5 per cent last year.
He said this was highly encouraging, but admitted that the recession was not over, adding that with more efforts put into the economic recovery agenda, Nigeria would definitely exit the recession before the end of the year.
He added that the report of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), which indicated that the economy recorded a contraction of 1.3 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2016, was another attestation that the economy was on a recovery path.
“With regards to the NBS report, as you are aware, in the fourth quarter of 2016, the economy contracted by 1.3 per cent which was a lower degree of contraction than the previous quarter and indicative that we are already turning around and beginning to recover, even though we are still in a recession. So the overall result was better than many people projected.
“The IMF report had forecast a GDP growth rate of -1.8 per cent for 2016 but it turned out to be -1.5 per cent. So, that’s better than expected but we are not out of the woods.
“It is encouraging, but we have to do more to make sure that we get the economy out of the recession this year.
“With regards to the things we plan to do in the next three to four years, they are spelt out in details in the Economic Recovery Growth Plan (ERGP).
“It involves a number of things but the key is to make this economy competitive so that we diversify. We want to do two broad things: one is to restore oil production and harvest what we can get from that sector, but also diversify by making the economy competitive so we would grow our agriculture and manufacturing.
“We will have value added in Nigeria and move from a consuming to a producing nation. That is the thrust of the plan. We believe we have the will and determination to achieve it,” Udoma stated.
The minister said the government was determined to get the economy out of recession before the end of the year, pointing out that the 2017 budget was structured to do just that.
“That is why we are anxious to get the budget passed, so that we can begin implementation and begin to take all the steps we need to get the economy out of recession,” he added.
Udoma, who said he briefed FEC on the ERGP that was released by his ministry on Tuesday, emphasised that the federal government was looking forward to the early passage of the budget, adding that doing so would fast-track the implementation of the recovery agenda.
He said a number of the recovery initiatives had already been incorporated into the budget.
He also said signs of economic recovery had been showing and encouraged the government to concentrate on solid minerals investment and simultaneously ensure that Nigeria’s infrastructure is revamped.
He also enumerated the five planks of the ERGP to include: human capital development, macroeconomic stability, agricultural revolution and food security, improved transportation, energy sufficiency and industrial growth.
“So we are encouraged but we are even more energised to put in more efforts in agriculture which is doing very well to do even better. To put in more efforts in the solid minerals sector, to make sure that our infrastructure is revamped because that is what will stimulate our economy if we continue in this way.
“You saw yesterday that the acting president went to break grounds for the railway project from Lagos to Ibadan all the way to Kano. As you know, the economic recovery and growth plan focuses on three objectives.
“One is restoring growth and that is what we are determined to do. Two is involving our people; our people are our greatest resource, and three is building a competitive economy because ultimately, the economy cannot do well unless it is competitive.
“So we are determined with this plan to make this economy great again. We are determined to move from the negative growth that we experienced in 2016 to a growth rate of 7 per cent by 2020,” Udoma submitted.
Also briefing newsmen, the Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mohammed Bello, said the council approved the construction of the Greater Abuja water supply project at the cost of $470 million to provide “potable water to the greater part of the city and it intends to leverage on the facility that we have in the city”.
According to Bello, the project will be funded by the China Exim Bank, and listed the phases of water supply to various parts of the FCT.
Egypt Leads Nigeria, South Africa in Foreign Direct Investment
The United Nations Trade Association has Nigeria recorded a total of $2.6 billion in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in 2020, below the $3.3 billion posted in the preceeding year.
South Africa, Africa’s most industrialised nation, reported $2.5 billion during the same year, slightly below Africa’s largest economy and 50 percent below the $4.6 billion attracted a year earlier.
The report also noted that Africa recorded a total of $38 billion FDI in the same year, representing a 18 percent decline from the $46 billion posted in the corresponding year of 2019.
However, Egypt led Nigeria and South Africa with $5.5 billion FDI, an increase of 38 percent from the preceeding year.
The report read in part, “FDI flows to Africa declined by 18% to an estimated $38 billion, from $46 billion in 2019. Greenfield project announcements, an indication of future FDI trends, fell 63% to $28 billion, from $77 billion in 2019. The pandemic’s negative impact on FDI was amplified by low prices of and low demand for commodities.”
UNCTAD also noted that global foreign direct investment declined by 42 percent to an estimated $859 billion, down from $1.5 trillion in 2019.
“The decline was concentrated in developed countries, where FDI flows fell by 69 percent to an estimated $229 billion. Flows to Europe dried up completely to -4 billion (including large negative flows in several countries). A sharp decrease was also recorded in the United States (-49%) to $134 billion.”
FG to Partly Fund Six Rail Projects Connecting All Regions
The Federal Government will pay a total sum of N71 billion to partly fund six rail projects connecting all regions of the country.
In the report obtained from the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, the six rail projects marked for development this year are Lagos-Kano rail line (ongoing), Calabar-Lagos (ongoing), and Ajaokuta-Itakpe-Aladja (Warri).
Others are the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri railway, the new Kano-Katsina-Jibiya-Maradi line in Niger Republic and the Abuja-Itakpe and Aladja-Warri Port and refinery/Warri new harbour.
The Buhari administration will also spend N15.1 billion on the development of safety and security of critical projects, airport certification, runway construction, terminal building, among others in the aviation sector in 2021.
Last week, Rotimi Amaechi, Minister of Transportation, said the Lagos-Kano line would be connected from the Ibadan end of the Lagos-Ibadan railway and would cost $5.3 billion.
“We are waiting for the Chinese government and bank to approve the $5.3bn to construct the Ibadan-Kano. What was approved a year ago was the contract,” the minister said.
He added, “The moment I announced that the Federal Government had awarded a contract of $5.3bn to CCECC (China Civil Engineering and Construction Corporation) to construct Ibadan-Kano, people assumed the money had come in; no.
“We have not got the money, which is a year after we applied for the loan. We have almost finished the one of Lagos-Ibadan. If we don’t get the loan now, we can’t commence.”
FG Launches E-ticketing Platform to Deepen Train Usage and Convenience
In a bid to improve the usage and enhance the convenience of train transport in Nigeria, the Federal Government on Thursday announced the launching of the Electronic Ticketing platform for the Kaduna-Abuja rail services.
The N900 million E-ticketing platform was introduced by the Minister of Transportation, Chibuike R. Amaechi, and the Nigerian Railway Corporation.
Amaechi said the new platform would improve efficiency, promote accountability, reduce leakage and enhance economic growth, as well as save time.
The E-ticketing platform was a Public-Private Partnership project done in conjunction with Secure ID Solutions, who provide and would manage the system for 10 years in an effort to recoup its investment before the Nigerian Railway Corporation take charge.
Kofo Akinkugbe, the Chief Executive Officer, Secure ID Solutions, said as the new E-platform issued 25,000 tickets after a successful pilot test on Thursday.
Potential Travelers can book via three ways:
1. Mobile app
3. POS or Cash at the station
A validator would be used to scan the ticket barcode to ascertain its authenticity before boarding.
Amaechi further announced that self-service ticket vending machines at various train stations would be introduced soon.
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