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IMF Caution Nigeria on Fiscal Deficit

The International Monetary Fund has raised concern over Nigeria’s growing Fiscal deficit

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IMF global - Investors King

On Wednesday, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) stated that Nigeria has not been able to save enough and continues to carry a huge fiscal deficit despite rallying oil prices.

According to the foremost international financial institution in its latest Fiscal Monitor report, unlike Nigeria, many oil exporters that have taken advantage of the oil boom are now running fiscal surpluses. 

The report however further projected a widened fiscal deficit for Nigeria in 2022 and 2023 as growth slows and inflation remains high.

The IMF nevertheless recommends fiscal tightening to help tackle inflation and address debt vulnerabilities. 

Investors King had earlier reported that the proposed 2023 budget as presented by President Muhammadu Buhari has a deficit of more than N10 trillion. The fiscal deficit keeps widening on the back of oil theft and vandalism, subsidies and tax incentives which is as high as N6 trillion in 2023. 

On this premise, the deputy division chief in the IMF’s Fiscal Affairs Department, Paulo Medas noted that Nigeria’s fiscal troubles have worsened as a result of huge fuel subsidies, low oil production due to crude theft, as well as low oil income mobilisation.

The IMF noted that the biggest fiscal concern at the moment for Nigeria is debt. The financial institution noted that with N42.84 trillion already accumulated in debt, Nigeria still plans to borrow an additional N8.80 trillion to fund the 2023 budget.

IMF chief, Paolo Medas said “In Nigeria, which has benefited from higher record revenue, so far, we haven’t seen any improvement in deficits as we would hope. Part because of the large energy subsidies, but also other issues with the production of oil and other pressures on the budget.”

He further stated that part of the IMF recommendation is that Nigeria should try to save part of its oil revenues to reduce threats. He also advised that Nigeria should increase its tax revenue generation capacity after it has scaled up the standard of living of the people. 

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Economy

Global Growth to Drop Below 2% in 2023, Says Citi

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GDP Growth- Investors King

Citigroup on Wednesday forecast global growth to slow to below 2% next year, echoing similar projections by major financial institutions such as Goldman Sachs, Barclays, and J.P. Morgan.

Strategists at the brokerage cited continued challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war — which skyrocketed inflation to decades-high levels and triggered aggressive policy tightening — as reasons behind the outlook.

“We see global performance as likely (being) plagued by ‘rolling’ country-level recessions through the year ahead,” said Citi strategists, led by Nathan Sheets.

While the Wall-Street investment bank expects the U.S. economy to grow 1.9% this year, it is seen more than halving to 0.7% in 2023.

It expects year-on-year U.S. inflation at 4.8% next year, with the U.S. Federal Reserve’s terminal rate seen between 5.25% and 5.5%.

Among other geographies, Citi sees the UK and euro area falling into recession by the end of this year, as both economies face the heat of energy constraints on supply and demand front, along with tighter monetary and fiscal policies.

For 2023, Citi projects UK and euro area to contract 1.5% and 0.4%, respectively.

In China, the brokerage expects the government to soften its zero-COVID policy, which is seen driving a 5.6% growth in gross domestic product next year.

Emerging markets, meanwhile, are seen growing 3.7%, with India’s 5.7% growth — slower than this year’s 6.7% prediction — seen leading among major economies.

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Economy

Fourth Mainland Bridge: Lagos State Shortlists Three Companies, Budgets $2.5 Billion

The shortlisted bidders are Mota-Engil (Nigeria and Africa) CCCC and CRBC Consort; CGGC-CGC joint venture; and CCECC and CRCCIG Consortium.

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Agege Pen Cinema Bridge

Lagos state government has shortlisted three multinational companies as bidders for the construction of a $2.5 billion fourth mainland bridge.

The shortlisted bidders are Mota-Engil (Nigeria and Africa) CCCC and CRBC Consort; CGGC-CGC joint venture; and CCECC and CRCCIG Consortium.

According to the Special Adviser to the Governor on Public-Private Partnerships (PPP), Ope George, the Fourth Mainland Bridge was a proposed PPP transport infrastructure development that includes the construction and operation of a greenfield tolled road and bridge with a design speed of 120kph, including the development of adjacent real estates.

It could be recalled that Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, earlier announced that construction on the fourth mainland bridge will begin as soon as a preferred bidder is announced.

Investors King understands that the construction of the fourth mainland bridge will be strategic in easing traffic in the most populous state in Nigeria. It is estimated that Lagos state has a population of almost 20 million.

Besides, after completion, the bridge has the potential to open a new phase of investment opportunities to Lagos state. Already, Lagos has the largest economy in Nigeria and one of the largest in Africa.

The idea of a fourth mainland bridge to complement and ease traffic on the third mainland bridge which was built by the former military president, Ibrahim Babangida was conceptualised during the administration of former governor Bola Tinubu. 

Although construction was planned to commence in 2017, nothing significant towards the commencement of the bridge was done until now.

George added that the bridge is expected to become the second longest in Africa featuring three toll plazas, nine interchanges, a 4.5km lagoon bridge, and an eco-friendly environment.

“The fourth mainland bridge which will span about 34 kilometres is projected to start from Abraham Adesanya in Ajah, on the Eti-Osa-Lekki-Epe corridor and transverse the north-west towards the lagoon shoreline of the Lagos-Ibadan expressway via Owutu/Isawo in Ikorodu,” he said.

He concluded that the preferred bidder would be announced before the end of the year.

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Abuja – Kaduna Train Service Postponed by Few Days to Sort Ticketing; Minister for Transportation

Resumption for Abuja to Kaduna train has been postponed due to the need to sort out ticketing

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Lagos-Ibadan Train Services - Investors King

The resumption date of the Abuja to Kaduna train has been postponed due to the need to sort out ticketing, the Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Sambo disclosed this during a visit to the Rigasa train station ahead of the resumption.

According to the minister, the need to ensure that more security measures are put in place and booking tickets are sorted out necessitates the postponement.

The minister added that although he could not give a definite date for the resumption of the rail service, the resumption would however not be more than a week.

He disclosed that the ministry is 90 percent ready to commence operation along the route. 

“The federal government has introduced a new system of purchasing tickets. It is the beginning of security checks that will enable the government to ascertain who boards the train at every point in time.” the minister stated. 

Investors King earlier reported that Abuja to Kaduna train service will resume on Monday. 

The earlier scheduled date for the resumption follows the minister’s statement at the presidential briefing that the train service along the Abuja to Kaduna route will resume operation before the end of this month. 

It would be recalled that Abuja to Kaduna train service was suspended following the attack on the train on 28th March 2022 when terrorists planted explosives that derailed the train.

The attack led to the death of no less than nine passengers while 60 were abducted. 

They were however released in batches after spending several months with the terrorists. 

Muazu had on several occasions disclosed that service along the route will not resume until all those held in captivity have been released and better security measures put in place to prevent a recurrence. 

While fielding questions from journalists yesterday, the minister disclosed that the number of daily trips would be reduced, and the use of National Identity Number would be strictly requested as part of strategies to secure passengers.

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