COVID-19 Death Toll In Latin America, Caribbean Exceeds 200,000

Doctor Moyra Lopez holds an iPad for a terminal patient to listen to a farewell message from his relatives, at the so-called ‘humanized farewell’ room at the Barros Luco Hospital, in Santiago, July 22, 2020.  Martin BERNETTI / AFP

 

More than 200,000 people have died from coronavirus in Latin America and the Caribbean, with Brazil and Mexico accounting for nearly three-quarters of those deaths, according to an AFP tally compiled from official sources at 0830 GMT on Sunday.

The number of fatalities stood at 200,212 in Latin America and the Caribbean, out of a total 4,919,054 reported cases. The death total doubled in just over a single month.

Latin America is the second hardest-hit region in the world after Europe, which has recorded 210,425 deaths and 3,189,322 infections.

The United States and Canada are third.

Doctor Moyra Lopez comforts a terminal patient at the so-called ‘humanized farewell’ room, where patients received messages from their relatives through technological devices, at the Barros Luco Hospital, in Santiago, on July 22, 2020.  AFP

 

After Brazil and Mexico, the worst-affected countries in Latin America are Peru, Colombia and Chile.

According to virus infection numbers as a proportion of the population, Peru tops the region’s list, followed by Chile, Brazil, Mexico and Panama.

The tallies, using data collected by AFP from national authorities and information from the World Health Organization (WHO), probably reflect only a fraction of the actual number of infections.

Many countries are testing only symptomatic or the most serious cases.

AFP

Peru Says Over 900 Girls, Women Feared Dead Since Pandemic Began

A patient infected with COVID-19 waits for assistance outside the regional Honorio Delgado Hospital, in the Andean city of Arequipa, south of Peru on July 23, 2020. – The government issued an emergency decree allowing the Ministry of Health to intervene to mitigate the crisis situation caused by the increase in COVID-19 infections and victims. Peru exceeded 17,000 deaths from the coronavirus on Wednesday, adding 188 new cases and adding 3,688 deaths between March and June that had not been officially counted by health authorities, the government reported. (Photo by Diego RAMOS / AFP)

 

 

 

A staggering 900-plus girls and women are missing and feared dead in Peru since COVID-19 confinement began, authorities said Monday.

The Andean nation home to 33 million people long has had a horrific domestic violence problem.

But COVID-19, which has compounded home confinement combined with job losses and a health crisis, has seen an already scary situation grow worse in just 3-1/2 months, according to Eliana Revollar, who leads the women’s rights office of the National Ombudsman’s office.

Seventy percent of that figure are minors, she added.

“During the quarantine, from March 16 to June 30, 915 women in Peru were reported missing,” and feared dead, said Revollar.

Before COVID-19, five women were reported missing in Peru every single day; since the lockdown, the number has surged to eight per day.

Revollar said Peru’s situation was grim because the lack of a national missing persons registry made it hard for authorities to keep track of the crisis.

Walter Gutierrez, the ombudsman, told RPS Radio: “We need to know what has happened to them.”

Revollar said she would push for the creation of a missing persons registry.

Women’s rights groups and NGOs however say that very often police refuse to investigate domestic violence, make fun of victims, or claim that the missing have left their homes willingly.

But that doesn’t address the fact that Peru has a problem with domestic violence and other violence against women, as well as human trafficking and forced prostitution.

In January, the case of a university student and activist for women’s rights and safety, Solsiret Rodriguez, was in the headlines here — but only when her body was found three years after she went missing.

Last year there were 166 killings of women in Peru; just a tenth of those were cases of a person first being reported missing. And there were just under 30,000 calls to report domestic violence, according to the Women’s Ministry.

And coronavirus hasn’t spared Peru: it has had more than 384,000 coronavirus cases and 18,229 deaths. It is the third-hardest hit country in Latin America behind Brazil and Mexico.

 

 

 

-AFP

COVID-19 May Push 45m People In Latin America Into Poverty – UN

A photo of the United Nations emblem
A file photo of the United Nations emblem

 

 

The COVID-19 pandemic could push 45 million people from the middle classes into poverty in already economically troubled Latin America and the Caribbean, the United Nations said on Thursday.

“In a context of already gaping inequalities, high levels of informal labor and fragmented health services, the most vulnerable populations and individuals are once again being hit the hardest,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a statement.

The hard-hit region has registered more than three million cases of the novel coronavirus, more than half of them in Brazil, according to an AFP tally based on official sources.

Mexico, Peru and Chile have also been hard-hit.

Guterres said the region could see a stunning 9.1 percent drop in GDP, the worst in a century.

The devastating impact is being magnified, the UN said, because it follows seven years of weak growth and hits countries where millions lack adequate healthcare or easy access to potable water.

The world organization foresees a seven percent rise in the poverty rate this year, adding 45 million to the ranks of the poor, for a regionwide total of 230 million, more than one-third the total population there.

The UN also predicted a 4.5 percent rise in extreme poverty, those threatened with hunger.

The UN urged countries to provide an emergency basic income — averaging $140 a month per person — plus food subsidies for those in need.

Guterres also called on the international community to provide financial aid, help ensure the region’s liquidity and provide debt relief.

AFP

EU Proposes Huge Aid Plan As COVID-19 Hammers Latin America

European Union, Ogbonnaya Onu, Science and technology

 

The EU unveiled a proposed 750-billion-euro recovery plan Wednesday to get the continent back on its feet after the devastation wreaked by the coronavirus pandemic, as Latin America outpaced Europe and the US in the number of daily infections.

The massive European plan follows other unprecedented emergency measures introduced around the world to rescue economies shattered by the disease, which has claimed more than 350,000 lives with infections rapidly approaching 5.6 million.

While the virus continues to cause havoc in Latin America, Europe has slowly started reopening businesses as outbreaks on the continent slow, but Italy and Spain lack the firepower of richer European nations to rebuild their economies.

The European Commission put forward a 750 billion euro ($825 billion) proposal to the European Parliament and member states on Wednesday, aiming to help the worst-affected countries with a mix of grants and loans.

Economic Affairs Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni hailed the proposal as a “European breakthrough” that would “tackle an unprecedented crisis”.

Last week EU officials said the recovery package could be as much as one trillion euros, but the amount was announced Wednesday as 750 billion euros — a mixture of grants a loan credits.

READ ALSO: EU Agency To Set Up ‘Independent’ Research On COVID-19 Vaccine

Heavily indebted Italy and Spain are slated to be the biggest beneficiaries, according to a document seen by AFP. Italy would receive up to 81.8 billion in direct aid and 90.9 billion in loans, while Spain would receive 77.3 billion in aid and 63.1 billion in credits, the document said.

The proposed package is expected to kick off tough negotiations, as backers try to win the support of some northern EU states that oppose paying out aid in grants to nations already under mountains of debt — such as Italy and Spain.

The proposal comes as the continent — which has lost at least 173,000 people to COVID-19 — grapples with the human tragedy and economic destruction.

Spain on Wednesday will begin 10 days of official mourning for the more than 27,000 people who died in the country, with all flags on public buildings at half-mast.

The Iberian nation and others hit particularly hard, such as Italy, Germany, France and Britain, have all started easing their lockdowns, as people head to shops, sunbathe at beaches and run in parks after months of confinement.

Russia, meanwhile, said it had passed its peak of infections, promising to hold postponed World War II victory celebrations next month.

While desperate to kickstart their economies, especially the tourism sector, most governments in Europe are also trying to move cautiously, afraid of a second wave of infections.

That fear has meant some activities have been allowed again, while others must wait — including choir singing.

After horror stories emerged from choirs around the world of mass infections among singers, the activity is now considered dangerous by German authorities.

At the Church of the Twelve Apostles in Berlin’s Schoeneberg district, there have been no choir rehearsals since early March.

“I do miss it,” said soprano Heike Benda-Blanck. “You can still sing in the shower but it’s not the same.”

– ‘Still accelerating’ –

But while many Western nations are inching back towards some form of normality, the virus has continued its march in Latin America, which has outpaced Europe and the United States in the number of daily infections.

“We are particularly concerned that the number of new cases reported last week in Brazil was the highest for a seven-day period, since the outbreak began,” said Carissa Etienne, director of the Washington-based Pan American Health Organization.

“Both Peru and Chile are also reporting a high incidence, a sign that transmission is still accelerating in these countries.”

Brazil reported the highest daily death toll in the world for the fifth straight day, pushing its total to 24,512 with infections soaring to more than 390,000.

The virus is also fuelling a political crisis in Brazil, where right-wing president Jair Bolsonaro has downplayed the COVID-19 threat and lashed out at state governors who have asked people to stay at home.

Police on Tuesday raided the official residence of one of Bolsonaro’s leading critics over the response, Rio de Janeiro Governor Wilson Witzel, alleging he embezzled public funds for the virus.

Witzel called the raid “political persecution” and warned: “What happened to me is going to happen to other governors who are considered enemies.”

– ‘Absolute fool’ –

The United States remains the hardest-hit nation in the world and with a death toll approaching 100,000, President Donald Trump has weathered a torrent of criticism for his handling of the crisis — and for not wearing a mask in public despite recommendations from his own administration’s experts.

The right-wing leader, battling to get re-elected this year, kicked off another storm by retweeting criticism of his presumptive election rival, Joe Biden, for following guidelines by wearing a mask during Memorial Day commemorations.

Biden hit back, blasting Trump as an “absolute fool”.

But Trump’s principal preoccupation has been for a quick turnaround for the badly battered US economy, and has pressured local and state leaders to ease lockdowns.

The US leader kicked up a fresh cloud of controversy this month when he said he was taking the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine as a preventative measure against coronavirus.

France said Wednesday it was banning the drug as a COVID-19 treatment, following a similar decision by the World Health Organization over fears of the drug’s dangerous side effects.

Across the Pacific, Japan — the world’s third-largest economy — has already started a cautious rollback of virus restrictions, ending a state of emergency on Monday.

And as Japan’s funfairs slowly open, a group of park operators released joint guidelines on virus safety, including visitors wearing masks at all times.

They recommended that thrill-seekers on rollercoasters and other rides refrain from screaming, and park staff dressed as superheroes and stuffed animal mascots not shake hands with or high-five fans.

The guidelines also include appropriate social distancing between ghosts and victims in haunted houses.

AFP

Latin America Now COVID-19 Epicenter – WHO

A woman wearing a face mask walks in a street of Havana, Cuba, on May 19, 2020, amid the new coronavirus pandemic. YAMIL LAGE / AFP
A woman wearing a face mask walks in a street of Havana, Cuba, on May 19, 2020, amid the new coronavirus pandemic. YAMIL LAGE / AFP

 

The World Health Organization on Friday declared Latin America “a new epicenter” of the coronavirus pandemic as President Donald Trump ramped up pressure on state and local governments to speed up the reopening of the reeling American economy.

Surges in infections across much of Central and South America have driven the global case count to nearly 5.2 million, with more than 337,000 deaths, even as hard-hit Europe and the United States cautiously move into a recovery phase.

The death toll in Brazil has soared past 20,000, and with 310,000 reported cases, it has the third-biggest caseload in the world behind the United States and Russia.

“In a sense, South America has become a new epicenter for the disease,” WHO emergencies director Mike Ryan said on Friday.

“We’ve seen many South American countries with increasing numbers of cases… but certainly the most affected is Brazil at this point.”

Unlike in Europe and the United States, where the elderly were hardest-hit, a significant number of deaths in Brazil have been younger people, who are often driven by poverty to work despite the threat of infection.

“Since Brazil has a younger population, it’s normal for the number of cases to be higher among under-60s,” said Mauro Sanchez, an epidemiologist at the University of Brasilia.

“What’s perverse is that a lot of the people who are exposing themselves to the virus are doing it because they don’t have a choice.”

As the toll mounted, grave-diggers at a cemetery outside Sao Paulo scrambled to keep up.

“We’ve been working 12-hour days, burying them one after the other,” said one worker at Vila Formosa, wearing a white protective suit, mask and face shield.

“It doesn’t stop.”

‘We need more prayer’

In Washington, President Trump, keen to find a way out of the crisis and facing an uphill re-election battle, ramped up pressure on state and local governments to ease lockdown measures.

The pandemic has hammered the American economy and led to calls for an end to virus restrictions, despite the COVID-19 numbers still rising in the United States — the worst-hit country in the world with 1.6 million infections and 96,000 deaths.

Trump demanded state governors classify churches, synagogues and mosques as “essential services” on the same level as food and drug stores, and immediately allow them to hold services despite curbs on public gatherings.

“The governors need to do the right thing and allow these very important essential places of faith to open right now, for this weekend,” said the president, who counts religious conservatives as a core of his electoral base.

“If they don’t do it, I will override the governors. In America, we need more prayer, not less,” added Trump, who has previously expressed support for street protests against lockdowns.

It was not clear whether he had any authority to override the governors.

There was pushback from the mayor of Los Angeles after the Trump administration warned that the continued lockdown in the city could be illegal.

“We are not guided by politics in this — we are guided by science, we are guided by collaboration,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti.

In the latest step to restart the economy, the Trump administration said Friday it would exempt from entry bans foreign professional athletes competing in the top leagues for several sports, including basketball, tennis and golf.

“In today’s environment, Americans need their sports,” Chad Wolf, acting secretary of the Homeland Security department, said in a statement announcing the order.

“It’s time to reopen the economy and it’s time we get our professional athletes back to work.”

‘Not possible to save them all’

Experts have warned that until a vaccine or treatment is developed for the virus, lockdown measures will persist in some form to prevent new waves of infections, a factor that has put immense pressure on economies.

The airline, travel and hospitality sectors have been hit particularly hard by the pandemic, and car rental giant Hertz became the latest high-profile victim, announcing Friday that it was filing for bankruptcy in the United States and Canada.

It added that the bankruptcy filing excludes its main international operations, including Europe, where many nations are opening up their economies cautiously after slowing the spread of the virus.

France decided that it was safe to hold a delayed second round of municipal elections on June 28, and the Czech Republic said the epidemic remains contained there, two weeks after shopping malls, cinemas and restaurant terraces reopened.

Serbia said, meanwhile, that the Exit Festival in Novi Sad — one of Europe’s biggest music events —  could go ahead in August as planned, and in Italy Florence’s famous Duomo cathedral reopened to the public.

But authorities are still keen to avoid opening up too fast, with a surge in Russia illustrating how quickly the deadly disease can spread.

Russia has so far recorded 3,249 deaths — with a caseload of more 325,000 infections, second only to the United States.

“The seriously ill are building up. Doctors try to save each one who lies there for two, three or more weeks,” said Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin.

“Unfortunately, it’s not possible to save them all.”

Netflix Seeing Strong Subscriber Growth In Asia, Latin America

Chris Delmas / AFP

 

Netflix is seeing rapid subscriber growth in regions including Asia and Latin America as it girds for tougher competition in the streaming market, newly detailed figures show.

In a regulatory filing this week, Netflix offered the first detailed look at its finances from various regions around the world,

The figures showed nearly 14.5 million subscribers in the Asia-Pacific region at the end of September, representing growth of more than 50 percent over the previous 12 months.

The region including Europe, the Middle East and Africa had some 47 million paid subscribers, up 40 percent year-over-year, in the largest segment outside North America.

Latin America included some 29 million subscribers, a rise of 22 per cent over the past year, Netflix said in the filing.

North America is the largest market for Netflix with some 67 million subscribers but growth over the past year was just 6.5 percent.

Netflix is the leader in streaming television, operating in some 190 countries, but it is facing new offerings from deep-pocketed rivals including Disney, Apple, Comcast’s NBCUniversal and AT&T’s WarnerMedia.

Facebook To Broadcast Champions League In Latin America

Facebook Faces 'Oppenheimer Moment' Over Trump Scandal

 

Facebook will broadcast Champions League matches in Latin America through 2021, UEFA announced Wednesday, in the latest bid by online platforms to tap into the lucrative live sports market.

The deal will make Facebook “the exclusive free-to-air home for certain UEFA Champions League live matches across Spanish-speaking territories during the 2018-21 cycle,” UEFA said in a statement.

The social network giant will show 32 matches per year, including the final, on UEFA’s Champions League Facebook page.

The first match featured in the pact is Wednesday’s UEFA Super Cup, which sees Real Madrid face rivals Atletico Madrid.

“We look forward to the launch of this new partnership that will ensure the large community of local football fans is reached in a highly innovative and accessible manner,” UEFA marketing director Guy-Laurent Epstein said.

The head of Facebook’s live sports programming, Peter Hutton, said the company was looking “forward to helping fans watch these live matches together,” and would work “to deliver an innovative viewing experience.”

Financial terms were not disclosed.

The deal is part of a growing effort by web-only platforms to grab a piece of increasingly sought-after sports programming.

On Tuesday, Spain’s La Liga announced that its 2018-2019 season would be beamed for free in the Indian sub-continent in a landmark deal with Facebook.

And earlier this month, Facebook agreed to a deal with UK broadcaster Eleven Sports to show one La Liga and one Serie A game per week on its platform.

Meanwhile, Amazon has secured the rights to show 20 Premier League matches a season for three years in the UK, starting from the 2019/20 season.

The e-commerce behemoth also has a multi-year pact with the NFL reportedly worth tens of millions of dollars to be the exclusive streamer of Thursday Night Football, a deal set to continue through the upcoming American football season which opens next month.

Major League Baseball also reached an agreement with Facebook in 2017 to stream 20 games per season.

AFP

Pope Francis Names 17 New Cardinals

Pope Francis, New CardinalsPope Francis has named 17 new cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church from around the world, many of whom will help choose his successor.

The new cardinals come from five continents, and include the Vatican’s envoy to Syria.

The range of backgrounds “represents a break with custom”, said the BBC’s David Willey in Rome.

Pope Francis has now chosen close to a third of the College of Cardinals who will ultimately pick who succeeds him.

The new cardinals come from countries including the Central African Republic, Bangladesh, Papua New Guinea and Mauritius, among others.

During the ceremony, Pope Francis decried what he said was a “growing animosity” between people, and raised concern over those who “raise walls, build barriers and label people”.

“We live at a time in which polarisation and exclusion are burgeoning and considered the only way to resolve conflicts,” he said.

13 People Killed in California Tour Bus Crash

Accident, Palm Springs, Los AngelesOfficial reports say 13 people were killed in southern California, US after a tour bus ran into the back of a lorry.  

The crash which occurred on Interstate 10, near Palm Springs on Sunday, also left 30 people with various degrees of injury. Five of the injured passengers are reportedly in critical condition.

Most of the passengers are believed to be from Latin America and were on their way to Los Angeles.

Officials say they are investigating what may have caused the crash. One of the theories they are working with is whether the truck driver had fallen asleep or had a heart attack before the bus veered into the rear of the lorry.

They are also looking to see if it could have been caused by some sort of mechanical failure.

The lorry involved in the accident damaged extensively and clear-up operations have started at the crash site.

The crash has been called the ‘deadliest’ in California for many decades as officials say identifying victims of the accident could take a couple of days.

Pope Francis Names 17 New Cardinals

Pope Francis, New CardinalsPope Francis has named 17 new cardinals of the Catholic Church. Those appointed include 13 cardinal who are eligible to vote to elect his successor when he resigns or dies.

The new cardinals are mainly from developing countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

The appointments emphasize the growing influence at the Vatican of clerics from the developing world. Only one of the new cardinals is from Italy, the nation that has dominated church politics for centuries.

Pope Francis, who celebrates his 80th birthday in December, appears to be putting down important markers for the future of the Catholic Church.

Cardinals are the most senior members of the Roman Catholic hierarchy after the Pope.

Customs Allege Plot To Massively Smuggle Rice Into Nigeria

Hameed Ali, Customs, RiceThe Nigeria Customs Service has raised alarm over a plot to illegally import 1.5 million metric tonnes of rice.

The Comptroller General of Customs, Colonel Hameed Ali (rtd), made the allegation during a media briefing on Wednesday in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

He revealed that at least 117,000 bags of illegally imported rice have been seized by the Customs since January 2016.

Reps summon finance and agric ministers
Impounded bags of rice

The Acting Director-General of the National Agency for Food, Drugs Administration and Control, Mrs Yetunde Oni, also corroborated the claims.

She said that the activities of smugglers were affecting Nigeria’s revenue generation, despite its economic recession.

Prior to the development, Customs authority in Ogun State Command decried the increase in the activities of smugglers.

Addressing reporters after vehicles loaded with bags of rice were seized at Idiroko border, the Ogun State Area Comptroller of Customs, Mr Multafu Waindu, paraded 18 vehicles loaded with bags of rice which were being smuggled into Nigeria from the Republic of Benin.

According to him, the vehicles and the grains were impounded around 3:00am at the porous Alari and Ifoyintedo bush paths, in Ipokia Local Government Area of the state where the smuggled bags of rice and the vehicles were abandoned by the smugglers.

Economy In Recession

Meanwhile, Nigerians have lamented the upsurge in the cost of rice from 12,000 Naira to over 20,000 Naira in some parts of the country, a fall out of the economic recession.

Economic analysts have said that more persons could go into smuggling of rice due to the increase in price, with most of them opting for Benin Republic where they could get rice for as low as 12,000 Naira.

While the government is making effort to address the economic challenges, a World Economic Outlook report released by the International Monetary Fund had predicted that the Nigerian economy would grow by 0.6% in 2017.

The report revealed that Nigeria’s real Gross Domestic Product was expected to increase marginally by 0.6% with Consumer Prices rising by 17.1%, effectively lifting the country out of an officially declared recession.

Attacks On Oil Facilities

The recession was a result of the drop in the price of crude oil and the attacks on the nation’s oil facilities by some militant groups in the Niger Delta region.gas-pipeline-vandalisation

Some militants under the umbrella of the Niger Delta Avengers have claimed responsibility for most of the attacks which have drawn the attention of the Nigerian Government and some other foreign governments.

Disturbed by the spate of the militants’ activities, the Nigerian Army launched a special team code named “Operation Crocodile Smile”, as the government agreed to dialogue with the militants after a ceasefire agreement from both sides.

In spite of the development, both military and militants have continued to point accusing fingers, alleging a breach of agreements as the military said it would not hesitate to repel militants’ attack in the region.

 

IMF Predicts Nigeria Will Be Out of Recession By 2017

IMF, Nigeria, Recession, 2017The International Monetary Fund has predicted that the Nigerian economy will grow by 0.6% in 2017, effectively lifting the country out of an officially declared recession.

In the IMF’s World Economic Outlook report released on Tuesday, Nigeria’s real Gross Domestic Product is expected to increase marginally by 0.6% with Consumer Prices rising by 17.1%.

Nigeria’s Current Account Balance is however forecast to slump further by 0.4% next year.

According to the Bretton Woods institution, the projected increase in global growth in 2017 to 3.4% hinges crucially on rising growth in emerging market and developing economies.

IMF, Nigeria, Recession, 2017Beyond 2017, IMF expects global growth to gradually increase by 3.8% in 2021.

This recovery in global activity, which is expected to be driven entirely by emerging market and developing economies, is premised on the normalization of growth rates in countries like Nigeria, Russia, South Africa, Latin America, and parts of the Middle East.

Sub-Saharan economies

In its spot assessment of sub-Saharan Africa, IMF sees increasing multi-speed growth.

IMF, Nigeria, Recession, 2017
IMF’s latest forecasts on fiscal balance and Gross Public Debt [Click here to view full image]
The institution however revised down growth projections for the last quarter of 2016 in the region to reflect the challenging macroeconomic conditions in economies like Nigeria.

In Nigeria for example, this revision was based on the contracted economic activity followed by disruptions to oil production, foreign currency shortages resulting from lower oil receipts, lower power generation, and weak investor confidence.

It says GDP projections in South Africa remains flat.

The report added that policy uncertainty in the country is making the adjustment to weaker terms of trade more difficult and that South Africa won’t see any modest recovery till next year as the commodity and drought shocks dissipate and power supply improves.

Angola is similarly adjusting to a sharp drop in oil export receipts. It is not expected to grow this year and will experience only feeble growth next year.

By contrast, several of the region’s non-resource exporters, including Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Senegal, are expected to continue to expand very robustly at more than 5% in 2016, benefiting from low oil prices and enjoying healthy private consumption and investment growth rates.

Off the mark?

For Nigeria, there have been several predictions about when the country’s economy will turn the corner.

Global credit rating agency, Moody’s, also predicts that Nigeria will be out of recession in 2017.

A Senior Vice President at Moody’s, Aurelien Mali said they expect Nigeria to contain pressures on its public finances in the short term.

IMF, Nigeria, Recession, 2017The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele a few weeks ago however projected that the nation’s economy will exit the recession by the end of this year.

He says this follows the various measures put in place by the Federal Government and monetary authorities becomes manifest.

One of such measures he listed includes the establishment of a bridge fund to stimulate the economy.

In his words, “The worst is over…”