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Economy

African Countries Seek Debt Relief from IMF, World Bank

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Zainab Ahmed
  • African Countries Seek Debt Relief from IMF, World Bank

In an effort to reduce the impact of coronavirus on African nations, the continent finance ministers have called for debt relief from bilateral, multilateral and commercial partners.

The finance ministers said the debt relief should be done with the support of multilateral and bilateral financial institutions such as the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank Group, and the European Union, among others.

In the second virtual meeting hosted by the Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa, Vera Songwe; and co-chaired by Minister of Finance of South Africa, Tito Mboweni, and that of Ghana Ken Ofori-Atta, the finance ministers said the move would ensure that African nations have enough fiscal space to deal with the negative impact of COVID-19.

The finance ministers said African nations partners should consider debt relief and forbearance of interest payments for a period of two to three years.

They also emphasised the urgent need for at least $100 billion emergence financing to curb the effect of COVID-19 on the continent.

In the statement issued by the ECA, the ministers “called for debt relief from bilateral, multilateral and commercial partners with the support of the multilateral and bilateral financial institutions such as the IMF, WBG, EU to ensure that African countries get fiscal space required to deal with the COVID-19 crisis.

“They called for a special purpose vehicle to be created to deal with all sovereign debt obligations. Substantial drops in revenue from commodity price drops coupled with increasing costs of imports is putting pressures on both inflation and the exchange rate.

“Given that the global economy has entered a period of a synchronised slowdown, with recovery only expected after about 24 to 36 months, development partners should consider debt relief and forbearance of interest payments over a two to three-year period for all African countries.”

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

Prepaid Meter is Free, Buhari Warns DisCos, Agents

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prepaid meter

President Muhammadu Buhari once again warned Power Distributing Companies (DisCos) and their agents selling prepaid meters to electricity customers against the Federal Government directive that meter is free.

Ahmed Rufai Zakar, the Special Adviser to the President on Infrastructure, who represented Buhari at the FGN/NLC-TUC ad-hoc committee on electricity tariff stakeholders held in Ibadan, Oyo State on Wednesday, said President Buhari understood people’s concerns on issues surrounding electricity and was determined to curb and deal with unscrupulous individuals in the power sector.

He said, “We have made it very clear through the regulators direct order as well as intervention from the Ministry of Power that the meters are to be provided to Nigerians at no cost.

“Even for meters that were paid for, there is the directive from the regulator to the discos that they would need to find a way to reimburse those citizens over time.

“In cases where we find any disco or disco representative selling the meters or exploiting Nigerians to be able to get meters by paying, we would take the full measures of the law.

“The President has mandated that these meters must be free. We have also said that they must come from local manufacturers.

“This would create jobs and revive our industry.”

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Economy

Nigeria’s Real Estate Sector Shrinks by 8.06% in the Third Quarter -NBS

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Economic uncertainty plunged Nigeria’s real estate sector by 8.06 percent in the third quarter of the year, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

Nigeria’s statistics office said “In nominal terms, real estate services recorded a growth rate of –8.06 per cent in the third quarter of 2020, indicating a decline of –11.78 per cent points compared to the growth rate at the same period in 2019, and by 9.12 per cent points when compared to the preceding quarter.

“Quarter-on-quarter, the sector growth rate was 18.92 per cent.

“Real GDP growth recorded in the sector in Q3 2020 stood at -13.40 per cent, lower than the growth recorded in third quarter of 2019 by –11.09 per cent points, but higher relative to Q2 2020 by 8.59 per cent points.

“Quarter-on-quarter, the sector grew by 17.15 per cent in the third quarter of 2020.

“It contributed 5.58 per cent to real GDP in Q3, 2020, lower than the 6.21 per cent it recorded in the corresponding quarter of 2019.”

Nigeria’s economy contracted by 2.48 percent in the first nine months following a 6.10 percent and 3.62 percent contraction in the second and third quarters respectively.

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Economy

Nigeria Requires N400 Billion Annually to Maintain Federal Roads -Senator Bassey

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lekki

The Chairman of the Senate Committee on road maintenance, Senator Gersome Bassey, on Friday said Nigeria requires about N400 billion annually to maintain federal roads across the country.

The Senator, therefore, described the N38 billion budgeted for road repairs in the 2021 proposed Budget as grossly inadequate. According to him, nothing meaningful could be achieved by the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) with such an amount.

He said, “For the 35 kilometres federal roads in the country to be motorable at all times, the sum of N400bn is required on yearly basis for maintenance.”

Bassey “What the committee submitted to the Appropriation Committee in the 2021 fiscal year is the N38bn proposed for it by the executive which cannot cover up to one quarter of the entire length of deplorable roads in the country.

“Unfortunately, despite having the power of appropriation, we cannot as a committee jerk up the sum since we are not in a position to carry out the estimation of work to be done on each of the specific portion of the road.

“Doing that without proposals to that effect from the executive, may lead to project insertion or padding as often alleged in the media.”

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