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Nigeria, Other African Nations Must Improve Infrastructures, Reduce Unemployment to Boost Growth



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Nigeria’s rising unemployment rate is becoming unbearable with no end in sight despite the nation’s potential and vast natural resources. Battered by the Covid-19 pandemic, weak economic fundamentals and many more, Africa’s largest economy, continues to struggle to address salient issues like infrastructure, rising debt servicing cost, etc.

Nigeria and other African countries have been advised to broaden and improve their infrastructures if they must rein in their unemployment rates and boost economic growth post-pandemic.

According to a report by Bloomberg, the most industrialized African nation, South Africa has the highest unemployment rate on a global list of 82 countries with a jobless rate of 34.4 percent in Q2, 2021, while Namibia trailed South Africa with 33.4 percent and Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy, came third with 33.3 percent unemployment rate.

The global chief economist, Renaissance Capital, Charles Robertson advised the African countries to look deeply into industrialization, their educated population and electricity in a bid to record sustainable growth like their Asian counterpart.

According to him, about five decades ago, the Asian Tigers, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan, were in almost similar conditions as most African countries today, but they leveraged on the impact of industrialization, building major industrial estates, offering tax incentives to foreign investors, and implementing compulsory education for its young population, this was when the global economy was just starting to recover from the traumas of the Second World War.

A professor in the institution of statistical, social, and economic research, University of Ghana, Peter Quartey stated that African countries should look beyond becoming import-dependent with less production, less manufacturing, and more consumption. Quartey explained that the region if continued on the current path, will keep creating jobs for others, who have developed their country.

In a statement by the World Bank, 80 percent of the world’s extremely poor people reside in countries with a human capital index under 0.5, which Nigeria with (0.36), Angola (0.36), Ethiopia (0.38), and Tanzania (0.38) falls into this category compared to the ‘tiger’ nations that have some of the world’s highest human capital index, Singapore (0.88), Hong Kong (0.81) and South Korea (0.80).

The CEO, Alluvial Agriculture, Dimieari Von Kemedi at the business gathering has challenged Africa for underutilizing agriculture given its 60 percent of the world’s uncultivated arable land. He urged the continent to effectively utilize its comparative advantage in agriculture, adding that it will enhance the capacity and productivity of small-scale farmers.

However, the industry experts claimed that the ability to create opportunities for its young talents to acquire skills and reduce brain drain will also play a role in taking Africa to its desired destination.

In recent times, many of Africa’s experts and talented minds had fled the continent to other regions with necessary infrastructures. For example, Nigeria saw 805 medical doctors migrate to the UK between July and December 2021, according to the data by the British General Medical Council.

The managing director of Africa’s largest disposable Syringe Company, Jubilee Syringe, Akin Oyediran said if Africa continent must achieve the much-needed development, it should do well by retaining its health workers in order to boost the health sector, reduce brain drain, and ease medical workers off tax.


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Inflation and Forex Mismanagement Drive Petrol Truck Prices from N7M to N25M



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The Chairman of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria in the Satellite Depot branch, Akin Akinrinade, has raised an alarm over the rising cost of petrol trucks in Nigeria.

According to Akinrinade, the cost of a petrol truck has surged from N7 million in May to an astonishing N25 million at present, attributed to inflation induced by poorly managed foreign exchange rates.

Akinrinade pointed out that the forex mismanagement has significantly impacted the landing cost of premium motor spirit (PMS), commonly known as petrol, consequently leading to a surge in pump prices.

The unstable business environment, coupled with the astronomical rise in expenses, has created challenges for marketers in the downstream oil sector.

Mele Kyari, the Group Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL), highlighted in October 2023 that foreign exchange challenges have hindered private companies from importing petroleum products.

As a result, the NNPCL has become the exclusive importer of petrol.

The decision to limit private entities from importing fuel comes after President Bola Tinubu’s initiatives aimed at deregulating the fuel market.

Initially, the plan was to allow private companies to import fuel starting June 2023, aligning with efforts to balance the market after removing petrol subsidies.

The ripple effects of the soaring petrol costs are already evident, with commercial transporters increasing fares, and private car owners seeking fuel-saving alternatives.

As Christmas approaches, the surge in demand for interstate travel is expected to further elevate costs, posing financial challenges for many Nigerians amidst stagnant income levels.

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Nigeria’s Presidential CNG Initiative Allocates N100bn for CNG Buses and EV Adoption




The Presidential Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) Initiative has allocated N100 billion to expedite the deployment of CNG buses nationwide, according to a statement released on Wednesday.

The initiative, designed to catalyze an Auto-gas and Electric Vehicle (EV) revolution in mass transit and transportation, aims to enhance sustainability and cost-effectiveness.

The statement revealed that the fund would be instrumental in supporting the adoption of auto-gas and electric vehicles, signaling a commitment to a more sustainable and economical future in the transportation sector.

The Presidential CNG Initiative plans to leverage over 11,500 CNG and electric-fueled vehicles, along with the deployment of 55,000 conversion kits.

This strategic approach is intended to reduce transportation costs for Nigerians and mitigate the challenges posed by the rising cost of living.

Under the Renewed Hope Agenda, the Presidential CNG Initiative is dedicated to realizing the President’s vision, guided by its steering committee led by FIRS Chairman Zacch Adedeji.

The statement highlighted recent achievements, including strategic technical partnerships and the ongoing commissioning of CNG Conversion centers in key states such as Lagos, Abuja, Kaduna, Ogun, and Rivers.

Several more centers are slated for commissioning in the coming weeks, reflecting the initiative’s momentum and commitment to achieving its objectives.

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Nigeria’s Power Transformation: 53 Projects Worth N122bn on Track for May 2024 Completion



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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), in collaboration with the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) and power distribution companies, is set to complete 53 power projects by May next year.

Valued at N122 billion, these projects aim to add over 1,000 megawatts to TCN’s wheeling capacity.

During a recent tour of three ongoing projects in Lagos, TCN’s Programme Coordinator, Mathew Ajibade, assured that the projects were not abandoned, refuting speculations.

He confirmed that work is progressing smoothly and is expected to be completed by May 2024, as initially planned.

Assistant Director/Head of Infrastructure Finance Office at the CBN, Tumba Tijani, highlighted the CBN’s support for the power sector, revealing that the bank released a loan at a 9% interest rate in August last year for the projects.

The funding, part of the Nigeria Electricity Market Stabilisation Facility-3, amounts to N122,289,344 and aims to address transmission/distribution bottlenecks, enhance supply to end-users, and unlock unutilized generation capacity.

Tijani disclosed that N85.43 billion has been disbursed into the Advance Payment Guarantee account of the 53 contractors responsible for executing the projects.

The comprehensive project list includes the delivery of power transformers, re-conductoring existing transmission lines, upgrading existing substations, and constructing 33KV line bays.

The initiative reflects a concerted effort to enhance Nigeria’s power infrastructure and meet growing energy demands.

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