- Economic Growth May Hit 2.2% This Year, Rewane Predicts
The Chief Executive Officer of Financial Derivatives Company Limited, Mr. Bismark Rewane, says economic growth in Nigeria may hit 2.2 per cent this year, notwithstanding the upcoming general elections.
He posited that the economic growth would be positive this year but added that this might not make a difference in the life of the average Nigerian.
Rewane, who spoke at the 2018 Standard Bank Group West Africa Investors’ conference held in Lagos, stated that the nation’s trade balance would rise to $9bn this year from the $7bn recorded in 2017.
The economic expert also noted that non-performing loans were going to be on the decline this year.
The theme of the conference was, “The pathway toward inclusive economic growth.”
He said, “This year, we should think of the impact of the economy and not the economy. We are happy that some international investors are in the summit and they are looking at Nigeria this time. Nigeria just successfully raised $2.5bn in addition to the previous Eurobond issues.
“This means that at a time like this, 12 months from the elections, we are still able to raise money at favourable rates. Then that’s credit to the Federal Ministry of Finance for its revenue raising strategy, but the important thing now is how to apply these revenues and invest it rather than consume it.”
Bismarck stressed the need to invest the funds in a manner that would impact the ordinary citizens, noting that the gap between citizens in the urban and rural parts of the country was becoming bigger.
He said, “Generally speaking, the economy is beginning to limp out of recession. It’s not fully back on the track which means that there is work to be done to sustain this.
“There is a need for the National Assembly to compromise quickly so that the budget can be passed and the government can get to work and everybody can be on board to ensure that this economy sustains its returns. If not, it’s going to be very difficult as urban unemployment is at 45 per cent.”
He added, “Oil revenue will hit $44bn this year and oil price will fluctuate between $60 and $65 per barrel. There will be money supply growth at 7.2 per cent, though government revenue will be slow but collection will improve through the Voluntary Asset and Income Declaration Scheme.”
The FDC boss predicted that the exchange rate would be stable within N360 and N370 band, while noting that interest would fall as the nation approached the general election.
“The exchange rate at N396/dollar can be the worst-case scenario but because all our revenues are strong and productions are going to be sustained, I doubt that we are going to face that headwind at this time though policies and the economy will be driven by political considerations,” he said.
The Chief Executive Officer, Stanbic IBTC Bank, Mr. Yinka Sanni, praised the participating investors for choosing to invest in the Nigerian economy.
“For those that have already invested in Nigeria, I have no doubt that you are very happy with your decisions and that you have outperformed, depending on what you invest in,” he said.
FG Launches New N25bn Youth Fund to Address Some of the Concerns Raised by #EndSARS Protesters
FG Introduces N25 Billion Youth Fund
The Federal Government has introduced a new N25 billion youth fund to address some of the issues raised by the Nigerian youths who took to the street to demand good governance, among others.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, disclosed this at a stakeholder meeting held with the Deputy Governor of Kaduna State, Dr. Hadiza Balarabe, in Kaduna.
Ahmed said the fund would be increased from N25 billion to N75 billion within three years to ensure new job creation for the youths.
The meeting was constituted as part of the directive of President Muhammadu Buhari to ministers and governors to dialogue with stakeholders on some of the concerns raised by #EndSARS protesters.
The finance minister said the aim was to support the Nigerian youths to actualise their innovative and entrepreneurial minds in business and general development of the nation.
On her part, Balarabe said the essence of the meeting was to brainstorm on how to tackle security challenges faced during the #EndSARS protests.
Dr Mohammad Abubakar, the Minister of Environment, who was also at the meeting, reiterated Federal Government’s commitment to people-friendly policies and reforms.
Kwara to Support Looted Businesses With N500 Million
Kwara State to Fund Looted Businesses With N500 Million
Kwara State has joined the list of states supporting businesses that were looted and vandalised by hoodlums masquerading as #EndSARS protesters.
Mr. AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, the Governor of Kwara State, during a visit to the Kwara Mall and Agro Mall on Saturday said the state will support affected businesses with N500 million, adding that the funding is to reduce the negative impact of the looting on the state economy.
On Sunday, in a statement issued by the governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Rafiu Ajakaye, the Governor said the vandalism and looting may bring several businesses to their knees and lead to massive job loss with an increase in poverty rate.
He said, in order to avoid this, “We are setting up a N500 million fund for those that were affected to access.”
“The application form is live and active on the state government’s website and can now be filled by interested parties. We are going to get them back as soon as possible,” he assured.
The governor, who described the situation as a mindless looting of people’s businesses, said there can be no justification for such criminal behavour in our society and commiserated with affected owners.
Speaking on accusation of hoarding of palliatives, the Governor said the palliatives were donated by Private sector led CACOVID to specific vulnerable households and were being distributed gradually across the state.
“What happened was bareface stealing and some people are playing politics with it. This is not the time to play politics. It is a time for all hands to be on deck. It is not just Kwara they wanted to burn down. They wanted to burn the whole country down. I urge all of us to stand up and resist that,” he said.
“We engaged the #EndSARS youth in Kwara and it worked out for us. They were not violent. They had a five-point agenda which the federal government has agreed to and has started implementing. In Kwara State, we have also set up a judicial panel of inquiry to look into the allegation of Police abuse. I also visited Police barracks to see how we can improve the welfare of the Police in the state.
“While the hoodlums were looting (on Friday), I was holding a meeting with executives and members of the National Association of Kwara State Students and National Association of Nigeria Students, Kwara axis. It shows students and youths were not part of the looting. Those involved were just hoodlums and thieves,” he said.
IMF to Review Nigeria’s Growth Forecast Amid Destruction of Businesses, Properties
IMF Says it May Review Nigeria’s Growth Amid Recent Development in the Country
Following the destruction of businesses and properties that trailed the #EndSARS protest, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has said it may review the nation’s growth forecast in view of the new development in the country.
Abebe Selassie, the Director, African Department, International Monetary Fund, made the statement while responding to questions during a virtual IMF press conference on the economic outlook of Sub-Saharan Africa on Thursday.
According to him, the protest is difficult given that Lagos is a very important economic hub and contributes to the overall Nigeria activities.
Selassie said, “On the growth projections in Nigeria, I mean, these protests happened of course, after we had closed, after the period where the data we looked at in making the growth projections for this economic outlook.
“And much will depend really on how these protests evolve.
“Lagos of course, is a very important economic hub and contributes quite a bit of economic activity to overall Nigeria activities.
“So, if these persist and are showing significant effects on economic data, we will internalise them in due course.”
He further explained that the nation’s economy had been a difficult one in the last four years ever since oil prices plunged in 2015-16.
He said, “I think this is exactly why we have been on the record in Nigeria about how really critical it is to get all of the policy induced barriers out of the way to facilitate stronger economic growth.
“For the government to do more to raise revenues through the area of non-oil resources to be able to invest in health education which would, you know, allow people to be more successful at getting jobs but also improve the economy’s potential.
“So, I think that development agenda that Nigeria has, I think, has to be tackled with gusto and vigor so that the millions of jobs that the country needs can be created.”
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