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Buhari Asked us to Focus on Northern Nigeria — W/Bank

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World Bank
  • Buhari Asked us to Focus on Northern Nigeria — W/Bank

The President of the World Bank Group, Jim Yong Kim, said on Thursday that the bank had concentrated on the northern region of Nigeria in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s request.

Kim and the Managing Director, International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, who spoke at separate press conferences in Washington DC, United States, also advised Buhari to invest in things that would enhance economic growth.

Kim said, “You know, in my very first meeting with President Buhari he said specifically that he would like us to shift our focus to the northern region of Nigeria and we’ve done that. Now, it has been very difficult. The work there has been very difficult.

“I think Nigeria, of course, has suffered from the dropping oil prices. I think things are just now getting better. But the conversation we need to have with Nigeria, I think, is in many ways related to the theme that I brought to the table just this past week, which is investment in human capital. The percentage of the Gross Domestic Product that Nigeria spends on healthcare is less than one percent.”

He added, “Despite that, there is so much turbulence in the northern part of the country, and there is the hit that was taken from the drop in the oil prices. Nigeria has to think ahead and invest in its people. Investing in the things that will allow Nigeria to be a thriving, rapidly growing economy in the future is what the country has to focus on right now.”

Kim also said, “Focusing on the northern part of Nigeria, we hope that as commodity prices stabilise and oil prices come back up, the economy will grow a bit more. But very, very much important is the need to focus on what the drivers of growth in the future will be.”

According to the World Bank boss, the bank will invest in human capital in other parts of Africa in order to prepare the continent for the next phase of growth.

Lagarde, in her remarks, said Sub-Saharan African countries, including Nigeria, had posted suboptimal growth in recent times.

The growth figures, she said, were far too small considering the huge demographic potential of Nigeria and other countries in the region.

As a result, she said the IMF would be engaging ministers of finance and central bank governors from the region attending the annual World Bank and IMF meetings on how they could boost and stabilise economic growth.

Lagarde said, “The Sub-Saharan Africa is one region of the world where growth is suboptimal. Those countries grow at an average growth of 2.5 per cent. That is too low for the demographic expansion of the region.”

The IMF managing director said emerging and developing economies must invest more in their economies through infrastructural spending, strengthening safety nets, allowing women more access to the labour market and carrying structural reforms.

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

FG Plans to Build 10 New Airports in Anambra, Benue, Others – Aviation Minister

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Buhari in Port Harcourt

Aviation Minister Says FG Working on Building 10 New Airports

The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, on Tuesday, said the Federal Government plans to build 10 airports across the country to improve civil aviation.

The minister made the statement while defending his ministry’s 2021 budget proposals.

Sirika said President Muhammadu Buhari has done justice to the aviation ministry through the ongoing framework and implementation.

He said the administration would construct new airports in Anambra, Benue, Ekiti, Nasarawa, Ebonyi and Gombe States.

He further stated that airports in Kebbi, Osubi and Dutse have been taken over for redevelopment by the Federal Government.

Sirika said, “Consequent upon that roadmap, we have seen aviation grow in 2018 to become the second-fastest-growing sector of the economy.

“Also and by 2019, it became the fastest-growing sector of the economy and increased its GDP contribution.

“From 2015 till now, we’ve seen a lot of growth in civil aviation, the number of airports is increasing.

“So far, about seven airports have been added to the map, some of them completed, some of them under construction.

“There are airports coming up in Benue, Ebonyi, Ekiti, Lafia, Damaturu, Anambra and so on.

“All these show that civil aviation is growing during this administration.

“So, we have about 10 new airports coming up, that is almost half the number of airports we used to have in Nigeria.

“We are adding 50 per cent of the number of airports,” the minister added.

Sirika noted that Nigeria Air, the proposed national carrier, was part of the new roadmap and could be delivered before 2023.

He said, “We are on it. The transaction adviser has brought in the outline business case.

“It is being reviewed by Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission, Soon after it finishes, it will go to the Federal Executive Council and it will be approved.

“We will not leave this government without having it in place.”

He defended why Lokoja, Kogi State needs another airport, saying it is an alternative to the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja.

He said, “Lokoja is an important northern town. It is a cosmopolitan town, it’s a mini Nigeria and it is extremely very important in growth and development of our country.

“We have a lot of agricultural activities there. There is fishery, there is perishable item production and so on.

“So, establishing an airport there is quite apt. For me, it is something we should have done long ago for its importance.”

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Economy

FG Says Over N6 Billion Disbursed to Poor Households in Zamfara

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Over N6 Billion Disbursed to Poor Households in Zamfara

The Federal Government said it has disbursed over N6 billion under the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) scheme to poor households in six out of the 14 local governments in Zamfara in 2020.

The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Umar-Farouk disclosed this on Tuesday during the flag off of Grant for Rural Women Project in Gusau.

The minister said the CCT program was created in 2016 to address the deficiencies in capacity and lack of investment in human capital of poor and vulnerable households.

The programme is designed to deliver timely and accessible cash transfers to beneficiary households.

“And sets to support development objectives and priorities, to achieve improvement in health and nutrition, school enrolment and retention, environmental sanitation and empowerment among others,” she explained.

Umar-Faruk said a total of 130,000 beneficiaries from Anka, Bungudu, Birnin Magaji, Kaura Namoda, Tsafe, and Talata Mafara local government areas received between N30,000 to N80,000, depending on the dates the beneficiary enrolled in the programme.

Speaking on the grant for Rural Women, the minister said the programme was introduced to deepen the social inclusion agenda of President Buhari administration that includes lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years.

It is designed to provide a one-off grant to some of the poorest and most vulnerable women in rural Nigeria.

“A grant of N20,000 will be disbursed to over 150,000 poor rural women across the 36 states of the federation,” she said.

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Economy

Delta State Gov Okowa Presents N378.48 Billion Budget for 2021

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Ifeanyi Okowa Presents N378.48 Billion Proposed Budget for 2021

The Executive Governor of Delta State, Senator (Dr) Ifeanyi Okowa, on Tuesday presented a N378.48 billion budget to the state’s House of Assembly for consideration for the 2021 fiscal year.

The budget christened “Budget of Recovery” appropriated N207.52 billion for Capital Expenditure while Recurrent Expenditure was allocated N171.32 billion.

According to the Governor, capital expenditure accounted for 54.76 percent of the budget while 45.24 percent represented recurrent expenditure.

He explained that the allocations were in line with his administration’s agenda of spending more on projects and programmes that would impact positively on the socio-economic well-being of the people of Delta.

The proposed budget for 2021 is N96.2 billion or 34.05 per cent more than the N282 billion approved for 2020.

The governor said that the 2021 budget proposals reinforced the state government’s commitment to road infrastructure, education, health, job and wealth creation programmes as the principal-drivers of the Stronger Delta agenda.

According to him, N113 billion, representing 89.94 per cent of the capital budget is allocated to the economic sector while N35 billion is allocated to the social sector; the administration sector got 10.93 billion and the regional sector, N42 billion.

“In 2021, we propose to spend N66.66 billion on Road Infrastructure; N6.79 billion on Health; Education will gulp N23.55 billion; Agriculture, N2.04 billion and Water Sector, N1.83 billion.

“Job and Wealth Creation Bureau will gulp N1 Billion and Youth Development, N1.25 billion. These key sectors are very essential in our 2021 budget,” Okowa said.

Okowa also explained that due to the negative impact of COVID-19 on the economy and the world at large, government spending was significantly affected by the global pandemic and that Delta was no exception.

The governor, therefore, stated that “the proposed 2021 Budget for Delta is primarily focused on protecting and supporting our people in a COVID-19 environment, accelerating infrastructural renewal, incentivizing growth, enhancing job creation, engendering social inclusion and developing sustainably.

“Overall, the proposed 2021 Budget is predicated on inclusive economic growth that is sustainable and people-centred, with strengthening fiscal sustainability through increased efficiency in spending, improved revenue mobilization and debt sustainability.

“It also entails improving processes and systems in Public Financial Management, and Monitoring and Evaluation, to bolster better public sector service delivery.”

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