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Poverty, Inequality Too High in Nigeria – IMF boss

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IMF

The Managing Director, International Monetary Fund, Ms Christine Lagarde, on Thursday concluded her four-day visit to Nigeria with a statement that poverty, inequality and unemployment remained too high in the country.

Lagarde said this in a statement posted on the IMF website on Thursday night.

The IMF boss was quoted as commending the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari for the steps so far taken in repositioning the economy, noting that while these were being taken, more attention should be paid to dealing with the difficulties presented by falling crude oil prices.

She said while the Nigerian economy had been well diversified away from agriculture and oil, the reduced emerging market demand and tightening of global financial conditions had led to sharply lower export earnings and government revenues.

This, according to her, has made it difficult to get financing for investment in the non-oil sector.

She said, “In my meetings with the authorities, we discussed how to maintain economic progress while making the transition towards more inclusive and sustainable growth. Poverty, inequality, and unemployment levels remain too high, in addition to the challenge of the Boko Haram insurgency.

“Nigeria also has to deal with the difficulties presented by falling oil prices, reduced emerging market demand, and tightening global financial conditions. This has led to sharply lower export earnings and government revenues. The non-oil sector has also been affected and financing for investment is hard to come by.”

Against this background, the IMF boss said a range of policy recommendations related to improving the competitiveness of the Nigerian economy were made to the government.

Some of these are the need to focus on the critical area of infrastructure, where power, transport and housing are especially key; identifying ways to broaden the revenue base, particularly to create additional fiscal space to offset the impact of lower oil prices; and the need for careful decisions on borrowing, public spending and managing the cost of fuel subsidies.

Lagarde added that there was a need to safeguard priority social sectors and the most vulnerable groups.

This, she noted, would require a package of measures involving business-friendly monetary policy, flexible exchange rate policy and disciplined fiscal policy, as well as the implementation of structural reforms.

Lagarde said, “Nigeria is the largest economy in sub-Saharan Africa, with the largest population, and its important role at the regional level has become increasingly recognised.

“The economy is well diversified, no longer dominated by agriculture and oil, with services accounting for almost half of the GDP, including a significant home-grown film industry and innovative start-ups from fashion to software development.

“Nigeria has also experienced a decade of strong growth, averaging 6.8 per cent a year. In 2015, however, growth is expected to slow to about 3 ¼ percent, with a slight recovery in 2016.

“I complimented the authorities on their efforts to address corruption, particularly the decision to publish monthly data on the finances and operations of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.

“Transparency and the rule of law will be crucial in reducing constraints to the country’s growth.”

While thanking the government and people of Nigeria for their welcome and warm hospitality, Lagarde said the IMF remained the country’s committed partner as it moves forward to face the challenges of the future.

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.

Government

Sanwo-Olu Orders Full Reopening of Markets

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Coronavirus

Governor of Lagos State Orders Full Reopening of All Markets

Governor Sanwo-Olu of Lagos has ordered the full reopening of markets in the state after a report showed new cases of COVID-19 have subsided.

The governor ordered the full reopening of both the food markets and non-food markets across the metropolis.

Dr. Wale Ahmed, the Commissioner for Local Government and Community Affairs, disclosed this in a statement issued on Tuesday.

He said the governor took the decision to further deepen trade and commerce and ease the hardship of recent happenings.

It should be recalled that the markets were shut due to the outbreak of ravaging COVID-19 pandemic in March before they were partially reopened for activities in May.

The governor, however, urged all traders to observe all safety protocols in order to prevent a possible resurgence of COVID-19 in the state.

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Private Sector Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) Speaks on Looted Palliatives, Explains Delay

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looted palliatives

Looted Palliatives: Private Sector Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) Speaks

Private Sector Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) has spoken on the recent actions of criminals and thugs who hijacked the #EndSARS protest and looted warehouses where COVID-19 palliatives were kept for distributions.

The group refuted claims that the stolen items were hoarded for certain people instead of distribution to the vulnerable they were meant for. This is despite the fact that some of the palliatives were already rotten by the time criminals broke into the warehouses.

Some of the looters, who spoke with the press, said a sizeable number of the items were already rotten and destroyed by rodents, while one of the lawmakers tasked with distribution claimed he planned to distribute the items on his birthday. A statement that angered many Nigerians.

However, in a statement issued on behalf of the group by Osita Nwanisobi, the Acting Director of Corporate Communications, CBN, on Monday, CACOVID said due to the huge size of the items meant to be distributed, the complex process involved in manufacturing, packaging and the eventual distribution to 2 million most vulnerable families across the 774 local government in the country, the group agreed to conduct the supply in stages, especially given locked down imposed by the Federal Government during the period.

The statement reads, “Members of the Private Sector-led Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) wish to call for calm, amidst the looting of COVID-19 palliatives meant for distribution in various State Government warehouses across the country.

“The Coalition is deeply concerned by the recent events and is urging those involved in the wanton destruction of public and private property to immediately desist from these raids, in order to allow the States to proceed with a peaceful and fair distribution of these palliatives to the neediest and most vulnerable in our society.

“Over the past few months, the private sector, through CACOVID has been working with governors, the FCT Minister, and the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) to procure, deliver, and distribute these food relief items to almost 2 million most vulnerable families (over 10 million Nigerians) across the 774 local government areas of the country, as part of the private sector’s support towards the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The sheer scale of this nationwide food programme and the timing of the orders and deliveries, which coincided with the lockdowns and reduced movement across the country, compelled CACOVID to roll out distribution in a staggered manner.

“The very large size of the order and the production cycle required to meet the demand caused delays in delivering the food items to the states in an expeditious manner; hence, the resultant delay in delivery of the food palliatives by the state governors.”

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Makinde Directs Schools to Reopen After #EndSARS Protest

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education

Schools to Reopen After #EndSARS Protest, Says Governor Makinde

The Executive Governor of Oyo State, Seyi Makinde, has directed schools across the Ibadan metropolis to resume normal activities immediately after the #EndSARS protest.

Mr Olasunkanmi Olaleye, the commissioner for education, Oyo State, disclosed this in a statement issued on Sunday in Ibadan.

According to Olaleye, the directive was after a careful review of the situation in the Ibadan metropolis as promised by Governor Makinde in a state broadcast on October 20.

This was after the governor ordered the closure of all schools, private and public, in the Ibadan metropolis for three days and promised to review the situation on October 23.

Olaleye said the governor thanks the youths who have been cooperating with security operatives in the state to ensure peace and order.

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