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Experts Worry as Debt Profile Rises by 127% Under Buhari

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President Muhammadu Buhari

Experts Worry as Nigeria’s Debt Rose by 127% Under Buhari

Rising debt profile remains an issue in Nigeria, an economy with one of the world’s lowest revenue generation and that depends largely on crude oil.

Experts have said Nigeria’s rising debt profile will continue to weigh on the nation’s growth and ability to improve economic productivity, especially with debt service to revenue ratio presently at 99 percent.

In a recent interview, Dr. Muda Yusuf, the Director-General of Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the rising national debt was a cause for concern.

Debt profile rose by 127 percent from to N28.6 trillion in March 2020, up from N12.6 trillion in 2015 when President Muhammadu Buhari became president.

Yusuf said, “The capacity to service the current stock of debt raises serious sustainability concerns.

“For instance, the debt service provision in the 2019 budget was a whooping N2tn whereas the total capital budget was N2.9tn. This implies that the debt service commitment was 70 per cent of capital budget allocation.

“Only recently, the National Assembly approved the revised 2020 budget of N10.8tn.

“The recurrent component was N4.9tn, which is 45.4 per cent. The capital component was N2.49tn, which is 23 per cent of the budget.”

“The debt service component is N2.95tn, which is 27.3 per cent.

“It follows that the sum of the recurrent provision and the debt service provision represent 73 per cent of the budget.

“It also implies that the debt service is 118 per cent of the capital budget provision.

“This percentage would be higher if we reckon with actual figures at the close of the budget year.”

Another expert, Dr. Sam Nzekwe, a former President, Association of National Accountants of Nigeria, explained that around a quarter of Nigeria’s yearly budget goes to debt servicing.

He further stated that while borrowing is not bad, it is important to deploy the fund judiciously.

He said, “Borrowing is not bad in the real sense of it, but what have you done with the money?

“Have you borrowed for recurrent expenditure or to finance capital project? If they are borrowing to finance recurrent expenditure, it is bad.”

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

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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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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Economy

Scarcity of Day-Old-Chicks Cripple Poultry Farmers in Akwa Ibom

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Despite billions of Naira spent on Akwa Prime Hatchery and Poultry Limited by the Executive Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Udom Emmanuel, poultry farmers in the state said they had to order day-old-chicks from outside the state as the 200,000 capacity poultry farm developed specifically to make day-old-chicks and other poultry products available at affordable prices is almost empty at the moment.

The farmers expressed frustration over many challenges they face in the course of bringing day-old-chicks from outside the state. Usually, Ibadan, Enugu and sometimes as far as Kaduna, while the hatchery built and inaugurated in 2016 remains idle.

Mr Ekot Akpan, one of the poultry farmers who spoke with the pressmen said the state had not had it this bad.

Akpan said: “For the 12 years that I have been in poultry farming, this is the first time that poultry farmers have been so harshly affected by both economic and non-economic factors. And, quite unfortunately, nobody is available to offer any explanation.

“Farmers have been left at the whims and caprice of owners of the means of production.

“There seems to be no government regulation of the poultry industry. How, do you explain a situation where you wake up suddenly and the price of a day old chick is selling for N600, a bag of feed goes as high as N6,000.

“And, in a state that government claims to be pursuing agriculture as one of his cardinal programmes.

“For instance, in 2016, the state government said it has constructed an hatchery, and the intention according the government was to ensure availability of day old chicks at affordable price to farmers, but, quite, unfortunately, that effort has not yielded any tangible result.

“Farmers are still getting their day old chicks from Ibadan, Kaduna, and Enugu. So, the question now is where is the hatchery?

“One would have expected that farmers would be buying old chicks at humane prices, but, from all indications they acclaimed hatchery is a ruse. So, which one is the Akwa Prime Hatchery producing,” he said.

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