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Nigerian Oil: A Blessing or Curse?

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The Nigerian economic crisis is getting deeper and there seems to be no succinct plans in sight to curb the continuous degradation of the economy. Nigeria is one of the largest crude oil producing nations and 90 percent of its foreign exchange earnings are generated from crude oil sales.

In June 2008, crude oil peaked at $147.42 a barrel, the highest in the history of the world. Nigerian foreign reserve likewise grew from $45 billion to $63 billion in September 2008 before the global economic situation hit the embattled nation in November 2008, when oil price dropped to $32.40 a barrel.

The problems of Nigeria’s economy was further compounded when U.S oil production increased, and therefore stopped importation from Nigeria in 2014. In December 2014, India (who had replaced the U.S) also reduced its importation by 38 percent to 5.3 million barrels — from 13.7 million in October and 12.4 million in November. China did not import a single barrel for the said month after initially reducing its importation by 50.3 percent.

There were several effects on the economy of Nigeria (home to over 170 million people) for two reasons: firstly, Nigeria only had contractual agreements with a few countries and as such sell on “spot”, two, the country overly depends on crude oil to finance capital expenditures and with crude oil price currently $48.08 a barrel from last year’s peak of $107.64 on June 13th.  The question is how would Nigeria avert her economy rout with falling oil price?

Since the drop in oil price globally, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has adjusted its exchange rate five times, even after the introduction of tight forex controls in February; the latest was on Thursday July 23rd, ahead of Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting. The currency exchange rate is presently 197 to the United States dollar and CBN promised it would be sold to customers through interbank at 198. It’s a different story at the parallel market where Naira is 244 to a U.S dollar.

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Data partly gotten from National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) Economic Review and Outlook Report.

In the past months, over 20 states has reportedly  failed to pay their worker’s salary, a situation termed a disgrace by the president Muhammadu Buhari who was forced to devise a bailout of $3.4 billion to offset the deficit of the affected states — in an effort to curtail further civil actions from civil servants.

The Nigeria GDP rose to $594.3 billion for the first time in 2014 and became the biggest economy in the whole of Africa.  According to report from National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the service sector contributed the most, 42.6 percent to the total GDP, while industry was 25.6 percent, agriculture and oil sectors made up 20.6 and 11.2 percent respectively. The report shows that service is the fastest growing sector followed by industrial sector. The agricultural sector growth rate has been hindered by lack of finance and limited skilled labour — many preferring to work in the lucrative oil sector of the country.

The economy has been impeded by lack of a diversification strategy that could leverage its vast resources and man-power for growth. Excessive focus on crude oil has created a one way foreign revenue channel, that any slight fluctuation in global oil price (beyond Nigeria’s control) impacts the entire nation. It is obvious that Nigeria cannot continue to depend on oil for growth. The NBS report has shown that oil growth was only 6.3 percent and contributed only 11.2 percent to the entire GDP —the lowest among the sectors. The truth is Nigeria is currently surviving on sectors with less focused attention, but one wonder why due diligence is not done to elevate those sectors in order to create a permanent solution to oil’s unpredictable nature?

 

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.

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FG to Absorb Exited N-power Beneficiaries into New Program

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Exited N-power Beneficiaries to Be Absorbed into Another Program

The Federal Government has commenced plans to absorb exited N-power beneficiaries into a new program in an effort to help them eke a living.

Sadiya Umar Farouq, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, made the statement at an interactive forum with state focal persons of the National Social Investment Programmes in Abuja.

She said: “As we renew our commitment to the service of humanity, I will like to cease this opportunity to once again state that we have successfully exited Batch A and B of the N-Power beneficiaries in June and July respectively and we are still working towards ensuring a transition plan that will further engage or absorb them into other programmes.

Sadiya also stated that the selection process of the Batch C N-power application will be thorough and base on merit.

We have also received over 5 million applications from proposed N-Power Batch C and we are currently in the process of selecting the qualified beneficiaries coming into the programme.

“I assure all the applicants and Nigerians that the selection process will be transparent,” she said.

She added that, “I wish to reiterate that I have given approval for the payment of stipends for the exited beneficiaries of batches A and B up to the month of June 2020 including that of the independent monitors. Also, the final payment of stipend for Batch B is almost ready for transmission to the office of the Accountant General of the Federation for final checks and payment.

The minister urged state coordinators to discharge their duties diligently and not let her down.

It is against this background that I urge everyone of you to continue to give in your best to ensure the lives of those we are called to serve are made better.

“We must not lose sight of the fact that each one of the vulnerable persons are not mere numbers or statistics but real people with dreams, hopes, aspirations and a desire to live decent lives in peace and safety,” he submitted.

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FG Says All Airports Are Now Open for Domestic Flight Operations

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All Airports Are Now Open for Domestic Flight Operations Says FG

The Federal Government on Monday said all airports in the country are officially open for domestic flight operations.

This was disclosed by the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, during the briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 on Monday in Abuja.

Hadi, however, noted that operators flying into private-owned airports must know the status of such airports.

Speaking at the PTF Briefing, the minister said there is no need for flight approval within Nigeria again as all airports are now opened for domestic operations.

He said, “All airports in Nigeria are now open for domestic flights, including those that are for private charter operations.

“They (operators) will no longer need approvals from us to operate domestically within government-owned airports. However, for the private airports, operators should check their safety status with the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority.

“Such airports are Jalingo, Uyo, Asaba, Gombe, Nasarawa, Damaturu, Osubi, etc. So you don’t need any approval from the minister, but you should check the status of these airports with the NCAA.”

Commenting on international chartered flights, the minister said they need approvals to flight out of the country.

He said, “All flights out of the country that are private charter will still need approvals for those kind of flights, including technical stops.

“So with this, it means that the approvals that are sent via the NCAA, NAMA and myself will cease and if there is any change, it will be so advised accordingly.”

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Afreximbank, ITFC Partner With ARSO to Facilitate Intra-African Trade

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AFREXIMBANK and International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) Partner With ARSO to Facilitate Intra-African Trade in Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices, under the Umbrella of the AATB Program

The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) and the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC), have partnered with the African Organisation for Standardisation (ARSO), to launch a new Arab-Africa Trade Bridges Program (AATB) initiative called the Harmonisation of Standards for Pharmaceutical and Medical Devices in Africa, aimed at promoting the quality and safety of medicines and medical devices imported or produced on the continent.

Harmonized product standards are critical to the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), ensuring that producers of goods on the continent comply with one shared set of minimum regulatory and customer quality requirements, in turn allowing them to supply the continental market and beyond with goods that meet those standards. The harmonisation of standards also serves to enhance the quality of African manufacturing and boost intra-African and Arab-African trade and investment – one of the AATB’s key objectives.

The initiative, which will be implemented in a phased manner over three years, begins immediately with the harmonisation of standards for pharmaceutical products and medical devices for use in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The second phase will analyse and assess existing international, regional, and national standards for their suitability in meeting the unique challenges faced by African healthcare industries before achieving the 3rd phase, which is the harmonization of the related African Standards and their adoption on the continent.

Commenting on the initiative, ITFC CEO, Eng. Hani Salem Sonbol said, “From a trade development standpoint, harmonizing the standards of pharmaceutical products and medical devices in Africa is a crucial first step in facilitating local production and trade within sector. Such standards provide a necessary baseline from which to regulate the sector more effectively, raising the quality of locally produced life-saving drugs and related products, and ensuring timely access to appropriate and affordable medicines, vaccines, and other health services for those who need them most. It will also act as a catalyst for Africa to benefit from a burgeoning pharmaceutical sector, expanding trade opportunities locally and beyond borders thus creating long term sustainable socio-economic impact on the continent”.

The initiative will also serve to enhance trade and investment within Africa’s healthcare industry by boosting the manufacture of high-quality homegrown products and services – objectives laid out within the AfCFTA.

Welcoming the initiative, Mrs. Kanayo Awani, Afreximbank’s Managing Director of the Intra-African Trade Initiative said, “At a time when the demand for quality medicines and medical devices is increasing, Africa needs to reinforce regional value chains to scale-up the supply of quality medical products. This would also contribute to building the continent’s resilience against pandemics like COVID-19 in the future. Furthermore, leveraging on the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, this joint initiative will also facilitate increased intra-African trade in pharmaceuticals and medical consumables.”

As part of a COVID-19 response, the harmonization of standards will facilitate the development of equivalent technical regulations among African countries. Therefore, distribution of medical supplies and equipment from one country to another can be fast-tracked.

A long-term outcome of the initiative will be the emergence of regional supply chains for pharmaceutical and medical devices, which will foster an ecosystem of innovation, local production and the development of medical products for diseases that are currently neglected.

Commenting on the initiative, ARSO’s Secretary General, Dr Hermogene Nsengimana, said “While on one hand COVID-19 has created social distancing as a new norm, on another hand it has brought Africa together by opening our eyes to the need for industrialisation. Standards circulated by ARSO and other standards organisations related to face masks, and hand sanitizers have been used widely by African SMEs to develop locally made personal protective equipment thereby shedding light on the role of standards in industrialization, safety, and trade. This Initiative with Afreximbank and ITFC, will not only help in increasing local production but will also create trust and enable cross border trade and investment for pharmaceutical products and medical devices.”

The African Organisation for Standardisation (ARSO) will play a key role in the development of standardization policies, applying existing principles and procedures that are already set out in the African Standards Harmonisation Model (ASHAM). ARSO’s involvement will be supported by its Council, in addition to a Joint Advisory Group comprised of Regional Economic Communities, and a series of technical committees, which will carry out the harmonisation work with the resources provided under this grant from AFREXIMBANK and ITFC.

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