The coronavirus-induced recession has seen countries that were already battling a skyrocketing national debt plunge into more crisis.
Data analyzed by Finbold indicates that the top five countries globally with the highest public debt added $9.17 trillion between March 2020 and March 2021. The United States tops with the debt growing by $4.57 trillion from $23.45 trillion to $28.0.2 trillion.
Elsewhere, Japan’s public debt has grown from $11.42 trillion to $14.64 trillion. Cumulatively, the two countries have added $7.79 trillion in debt. Interestingly, the analysis shows that China’s national debt dropped by $0.57 trillion from $8.56 trillion to $7.99 trillion among the selected leading economies.
In terms of the country’s national debt percentage growth, Germany tops with 35.02%, followed by Japan at 28.2%, and the U.S. ranks third at 19.29%. Italy’s debt grew by 10.8%, with the UK standing at 7.19%.
US debt crisis complicated by Covid-19 response
The record surge in national debt for the covered countries is mainly due to the coronavirus pandemic. The health crisis triggered the most profound economic downturn, with millions of people losing jobs and businesses temporarily or permanently closed; hence, revenues shrunk while spending soared.
Even before the pandemic, the United States was already battling a huge national debt crisis. The situation was further complicated after Congress approved several stimulus packages for relief, widening the debt. Furthermore, the low-interest rates meant that the US had to shoulder a heavier debt burden.
Similarly, Japan’s high national debt stems from the country’s response to the health crisis. The stimulus spending also put more pressure on the already dire public debt.
China’s pandemic response helps lower public debt
Despite being the virus epicenter, it was controlled swiftly, with economic activities resuming normally. There was balance between spending and revenue generation, meaning the deficit amount was low over the last 12 months.
China was also able to inject more money into the economy after becoming a key exporter of products needed to fight and curb the coronavirus pandemic. For instance, Asian nations exported a significant amount of face masks and ventilators to countries that lacked the capacity to produce their own.
Away from the pandemic response, China’s declining public debt ties down the policy. In recent years the country has become less reliant on using credit to handle economic slowdowns. Amid the pandemic, policymakers were even reluctant to over-use debt to hit growth targets.
Overall, most countries globally have enacted a massive amount of monetary and fiscal stimulus to prevent a deep and prolonged recession, in return increasing the public debt burden. However, it appears there has been little effort to balance the coronavirus response with solving the national debt crisis.
The surging national debt for countries like the US is worrying since it has since surpassed its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $21.59 trillion, according to the U.S. National Debt Clock. It is an indicator the country might have problems repaying the loans.
With the debt in the unstainable territory for some countries, it might generally impact the government’s ability to tackle future economic downturns.
Remittance to Nigeria, Other African Countries Hits $53bn in 2022
Remittance to Sub-Sahara Africa rose to $53 billion in this year
The World Bank report has indicated that remittance to Nigeria and other countries in Sub-Sahara Africa has reached $53 billion in 2022. This represents an increase of 5.2 percent when compared with 2021.
Investors King understands that remittances into Nigeria and Kenya constitute a significant percentage of all the remittances into the African Sub-Sahara region.
“Remittances to Sub-Saharan Africa, the region most highly exposed to the effects of the global crisis, grew an estimated 5.2 percent to $53 billion in 2022, compared with 16.4 percent last year (due mainly to strong flows to Nigeria and Kenya),” the report stated.
According to the World Bank report on Migration and Development, prepared by the bank’s Migration and Remittances Unit and Development Economy, remittance has constituted an important part of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for a number of African countries.
For example, Remittances as a share of GDP in the Gambia is 28 percent while it stood at 21 percent in Lesotho, the report noted.
The report added that remittances are an important source of household income for most Low and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs). Through remittances, most of the households in the LMICSs have been able to survive harsh economic conditions such as the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Remittances are a vital source of household income for LMICs. They alleviate poverty, improve nutritional outcomes, and are associated with increased birth weight and higher school enrollment rates for children in disadvantaged households”.
The World Bank noted that although the rising price of goods has adversely affected migrant incomes, the reopening of the economy and international borders has led to the increase of remittance inflow into Sub Sahara Africa.
Meanwhile, the global bank acknowledges that countries that witnessed scarcity of foreign exchange rates or multiple exchange rates officially recorded a decline in remittances inflow as migrants shift to alternative channels which promise better rates.
The report noted that sending funds back home from some countries in Europe and America could attract a transaction fee that is as high as 7.8 percent on average.
Insider Dealing: Hafiz Mohammed Bashir Acquires 37 Million Shares in Unity Bank
Alhaji Bashir carried out the acquisition in 32 different transactions at an average price of N0.51 a unit between November 8th and 11th 2022
The management of Unity Bank Plc has announced that a non-Executive Director, Hafiz Mohammed Bashir scooped 37,681,947 shares of the bank.
The transaction was disclosed in a statement signed by the bank’s secretary, Alaba Williams.
Alhaji Bashir carried out the acquisition in 32 different transactions at an average price of N0.51 a unit between November 8th and 11th 2022, according to the disclosure available on the Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX).
Insider dealing is the buying or selling of a company’s shares by someone with a piece of insider information not available to the public. Insider dealing is illegal in the U.S. but not in Nigeria as long as it’s disclosed.
The Nigerian Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) mandated all listed companies to disclose insider trading to enforce transparency across the nation’s Exchange market.
Also, insider dealings can help stakeholders and retail investors assess the confidence of top company executives in a listed company. While Alhaji Bashir’s acquisition could demonstrate his trust in the future of the company, it could also mean positioning ahead of a major company’s event given his position.
Hafiz Mohammed Bashir Profile
In 2017, Hafiz Mohammed Bashir was appointed as a Non-executive Director following the Central Bank of Nigeria’s approval.
Hafiz Mohammed Bashir is an accomplished professional with vast experience in the public and private sectors. He retired at the apex of Local Government Administration in Katsina State in 1992 and has chaired the Board of many companies – including Fiztom International Ltd, HafadGlobal Resources limited and Fiziks Nigeria limited.
Alh. Hafiz who is currently in private business holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Management from Abubakar Tafawa BalewaUniversity, Bauchi, and an Advance Diploma in Public Administration from the University of Jos, a higher Diploma in Local Government Administration- AhmaduBello University. Zaria and Diploma in Insurance from ABU, Zaria He is also currently undergoing a Master’s programme in Business Administration at the Business School of the Netherlands.
See the details of the transactions below.
Lagos Chamber of Commerce Advised FG on Borrowing, Proffer Solutions to Foreign Exchange Crises
LCCI lamented that additional borrowings will further increase Nigeria’s debt-servicing bill
The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry ( LCCI) has advised the Federal Government to explore alternative ways to finance the deficit in the 2023 budget proposal. LCCI lamented that additional borrowings will further increase Nigeria’s debt-servicing bill.
Investors King understands that the 2023 budget proposal as submitted to the National Assembly by the president has a deficit of N10.78 trillion.
Speaking at the organisation’s 134th Annual General Meeting (AGM) held in Lagos, LCCI President, Dr Olawale Cole, stated that although the chamber does not totally frown at the budget deficits, the chamber, however, is not disposed to issuing new commercial loans as well as bilateral and multilateral loans to finance the deficit.
Dr. Olawale added that while President Buhari alongside other African presidents is seeking debt cancelation from international creditors, the presidents across the African continent keep piling up debts.
“The world is a bit confused at our president’s well-publicized call for debt cancellation at the last United Nations General Assembly,” he noted.
Speaking further on the danger of the country’s incessant borrowing, Olawale said “the borrowings are significantly increasing, and Nigeria is struggling to service these debts due to revenue mobilisation challenges and an increased fuel subsidy burden”.
“The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned that debt servicing may gulp 100 percent of the federal government’s revenue by 2026 if the government fails to implement adequate measures to improve revenue generation,” he lamented.
Similarly, the LCCI president also spoke on the foreign exchange challenges in Nigeria. He noted that the major cause of the fall in naira is a result of the drop in oil output and weak production amid increased demand for foreign currency.
“The real solution to our forex scarcity crises is to boost production and expand exports. We must also resolve the crises around oil production, as 80 percent of forex earnings come from oil and gas exports,” he said.
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