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Nigerian Economy Remains under Great Threat, US Warns

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  • Nigerian Economy Remains under Great Threat, US Warns

The United States military yesterday warned that the Nigerian economy remains under great threat following the surge in criminal activities in the Niger Delta and the threats by militants to resume bombing of oil facilities in the region. The rise in lawless activities around the Gulf of Guinea was also identified as another threat to Nigeria’s economy.

The warning from the Commander of the United States Naval Forces in charge of Europe and Africa, Admiral Michelle Howard, is coming amid a ray of hope by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) that Nigeria was now out of economic recession with a growth rate of 0.55 per cent.

Howard, who was speaking while presenting the US Presidential Medal of Honour to Nigeria’s Deputy Military Attachee to the US, Navy Captain Kolawole Oguntuda, at the Naval Headquarters in Abuja said: “Oil extraction and production accounts for 75% of Nigeria’s revenue with the vast majority of oil infrastructure existing off shore or really close inshore. So terrorism, criminal networks, illegal bunkering with damages of oil pipeline directly threatens Nigeria economy.

“That is where navies come in. I, as the commander, regards the Nigerian Navy as a key regional partner in securing the Gulf of Guinea and I seek to strengthen our relationship by assisting in economic security and enhancing regional stability.”

Speaking, the Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas assured that the Nigerian Navy was ready and capable of containing threats posed by the Niger Delta militants.

“We actually don’t need people from outside to tell us how strategic Nigerian Navy is in securing our environment, maritime space and the Gulf of Guinea.

“The maritime environment has seen a spate of piracy attacks, robbery, especially last year. We also saw some elements of resource theft, including illegal fishing in our waters, human trafficking, arms trafficking as well as drug trafficking, not to mention waste dumbing and environmental concerns.

“The strategic role Nigeria plays is what has brought in America. For the threats you mentioned in the Niger Delta, one thing I want to assure you is that so long as human beings exist, there will always be conflicts, and once there are conflicts, there would always be ways of resolving those conflicts.

“For Nigerian Navy, we will continue to build our capacity and capabilities to enable us contain such threats,” Ibas stated.

On securing Nigeria’s maritime territory, the CNS added: “If Nigeria is the main concern to look at in the sub-region, Nigeria therefore becomes an important country for those who have interest in this region, to come and have conversation to see how they can enhance the maritime law enforcement agencies, in this case, the Nigerian Navy in particular, to see how we can make the maritime environment secured and promote trade and prosperity in the region.

“US government has always been offering us support. The sea do not belong to any particular individual, they are global commons, and transnational crimes that occur, means that from one country to the other, your security can be compromised if the sea space is not properly governed.

“So, for US, wherever they have interest, they are ready to provide the needed support. And I think it stands for Nigeria also, where we have to ensure that the Gulf of Guinea is secured, including the security of neighbouring states.”

Udoma: Steps Taken to Reflate Economy Got Nigeria Out of Recession

In a related development, the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udo Udoma has declared that the steps taken by the federal government to reflate the economy through the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) culminated in the country exiting recession in the second quarter of 2017.

Udoma, who was a guest of Arise TV recalled that earlier in the year, the Buhari administration unveiled its flagship programme – Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) – “that sets out strategy for the next four years on what we intend to do to get the economy firstly out of recession and on to a sustained diversified inclusive growth.”

According to the minister, the target was to achieve a 7 per cent growth by 2020, adding that focusing on the five execution priorities of the ERGP helped in seeing the economy out of contraction.

Udoma added: “The steps that we have been taking to reflate the economy, to make it easier to do business, focused on the five execution priorities – stabilising the macroeconomic framework, agriculture, transportation, power and energy and manufacturing. These are things that have helped to get us out of the recession and those are things that are going to get us into the path of sustaining it.”

The Budget and National Planning Minister said the administration was taking some measures to ensure that the economy takes a firm footing.

He said: “What we are trying to do basically is to diversify the economy. It is true I do agree that at the moment we are dependent on one commodity – crude oil. That is something that we inherited and our plan is to move out of that dependency, but to move out of that dependency, we need the resources from crude oil and that is why we have a lot of initiatives in the Niger Delta to try and get oil production back.

“Yes, we are dependent but our plan is to move out of that dependency and therefore we are putting a lot of resources on agriculture and agriculture has been moving up, production has moved up. We are putting a lot of resources as well as to get manufacturing going, and in the 2017 Budget, we allocated funds for special economic zones in each of the geo-political zones of Nigeria.

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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Economy

Nigeria Aims for N2 Trillion Annual Revenue from Marine and Blue Economy by 2027

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NIMASA

Nigeria has set an ambitious target of generating N2 trillion in annual revenue from this sector by the year 2027.

The revelation came from the Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Adegboyega Oyetola, during an ongoing ministerial briefing in Abuja on Tuesday.

Outlined within a comprehensive strategy, the plan involves a three-pronged approach to significantly increase revenue generation and operational efficiency within the marine sector.

Oyetola highlighted the imperative of automating revenue collection processes to eradicate bottlenecks and enhance transparency and accountability.

By deploying revenue assurance technologies, the aim is to ensure accurate billing aligned with established contracts and services rendered, thereby preventing revenue leakage.

The ministry plans to commission revenue enhancement studies targeting various departments and agencies to identify avenues for maximizing the use of existing assets.

This includes leveraging concessions to the private sector and fostering public-private partnerships to ensure efficient utilization of national assets.

Recognizing the vast potential of the blue economy, Nigeria intends to embark on investment promotion campaigns aimed at both domestic and international investors.

This strategy seeks to unlock new revenue streams within the marine sector, paving the way for sustainable economic growth.

Minister Oyetola emphasized the importance of harnessing Nigeria’s marine and blue economy, noting its significant role in driving economic diversification and reducing dependency on traditional sectors.

He underscored the government’s commitment to fostering an enabling environment for investment and innovation within the sector.

The ambitious revenue target reflects Nigeria’s determination to tap into its vast marine resources, which have long been underutilized.

With strategic planning and concerted efforts, the country aims to position itself as a key player in the global blue economy, unlocking opportunities for sustainable development and prosperity.

As Nigeria charts its course towards achieving this ambitious goal, stakeholders across government, industry, and civil society will play a pivotal role in driving forward the necessary reforms and initiatives to realize the full potential of the marine and blue economy.

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Investor Optimism Dwindles One Year After Tinubu’s Reforms

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Bola Tinubu

One year into President Bola Tinubu’s administration, the initial investor enthusiasm over his ambitious economic reforms is fading.

Despite significant changes aimed at revitalizing Nigeria’s economy, persistent challenges such as currency volatility and high inflation are dampening investor confidence.

Upon assuming office in late May 2023, Tinubu enacted a series of reforms intended to attract foreign investment and boost dollar liquidity.

These included eliminating costly fuel subsidies, appointing ex-Citibank executive Olayemi Cardoso as the new central bank governor, and overhauling the country’s exchange-rate policies, which effectively devalued the naira.

While these steps initially sparked optimism and increased dollar inflows, the momentum has since waned.

Kevin Daly, a portfolio manager at London-based Abrdn Investments Ltd., highlighted the need for further stability in Nigeria’s foreign exchange market before considering additional investments in local currency bonds.

“We are likely to add to local currency bonds once FX volatility declines, but the timing of that remains up in the air,” Daly remarked.

He emphasized that the central bank cannot be the sole provider of FX liquidity for the market, calling for more foreign portfolio flows and a degree of de-dollarization.

Data from Tellimer Ltd. reveals that investor inflows into Nigeria’s foreign-exchange market fell by nearly 20% in April, averaging $200 million daily, and dropped further to $180 million in the first three weeks of May.

Since June, the naira has depreciated by almost 67% against the dollar. Additionally, the reintroduction of fuel subsidies, following public backlash over rising living costs, has further complicated the economic landscape.

Inflation remains a significant hurdle, with rates soaring to approximately 33.7%, far outpacing the central bank’s policy rate of 26.25%.

This has deterred investors like Ayo Salami, chief investment officer at Emerging Markets Investment Management Ltd., from venturing into local currency bonds, deeming them unattractive under current conditions.

Another critical issue is the repatriation of funds. While Nigeria offers higher equity valuations and yields compared to some emerging and frontier markets, peers like South Africa, Egypt, Kenya, Turkey, and Pakistan present lower repatriation risks, more credible policy frameworks, and advanced policy corrections.

Ladi Balogun, CEO of Lagos-based FCMB Group, underscored the importance of consistent and clear policy direction to restore investor confidence.

“I think as long as we can be consistent and clear about policy direction, when it comes to monetary policy and the like, then I think you will see confidence return, then you will see liquidity return,” Balogun stated. “That is when you will see international investors come back.”

As Nigeria navigates these economic challenges, the road to restoring and sustaining investor confidence remains complex and fraught with hurdles. The coming months will be crucial in determining whether Tinubu’s administration can achieve the stability and growth it seeks.

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Economy

IMF Boosts China’s 2024 Growth Forecast to 5% Amid Strong Start

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The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has raised its forecast for China’s economic growth in 2024 to 5%, up from its earlier estimate of 4.6%.

This adjustment reflects a robust expansion at the start of the year and additional government support aimed at stabilizing and invigorating the economy.

The IMF’s latest projection aligns with China’s target growth rate of around 5% for the year.

The upward revision comes on the heels of a better-than-expected 5.3% growth in the first quarter, indicating a strong recovery trajectory despite ongoing challenges in the housing market, which continues to dampen domestic demand.

Gita Gopinath, the IMF’s First Deputy Managing Director, highlighted the dual forces driving this positive outlook.

“We certainly are seeing that consumption is recovering, but it has some ways to go,” Gopinath noted in a recent interview with Bloomberg News.

“The strength we’re seeing in public investment remains. Private investment is still weak, mainly because of the weakness in the property sector.”

The IMF’s statement emphasized the need for Beijing to enhance monetary and fiscal support, particularly addressing the protracted housing crisis.

Gopinath underscored the urgency of protecting buyers of pre-sold unfinished homes and accelerating the completion of these projects to stabilize the sector.

Earlier this month, Chinese authorities unveiled new measures to support the real estate market.

These include easing down-payment requirements for buyers and injecting 300 billion yuan ($42 billion) of central bank funding to assist local governments in purchasing excess inventory from developers. However, Gopinath argued that these steps should be expanded.

“Fiscal policy should prioritize providing one-off central government financial support for the real estate sector,” she stated, adding that the current low inflation environment offers room for further monetary easing.

Beyond the domestic landscape, the IMF is also monitoring the implications of international trade tensions. Gopinath expressed concerns over the rising number of trade restrictions globally, noting that about 3,000 new trade barriers were introduced in 2023 alone, triple the number in 2019.

These developments are contributing to an emerging trend of geopolitical fragmentation in global trade.

“There has been an increase in more restrictive trade policies across countries,” Gopinath said. “Trade across countries that are more geopolitically aligned is holding up better than trade across countries that are less geopolitically aligned.”

The IMF’s revised forecast underscores a cautiously optimistic outlook for China’s economy.

While strong public investment and government support are driving growth, the ongoing weaknesses in the property sector and global trade tensions present challenges that need to be carefully navigated.

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