Reps Task Executive On Proactive Measures To Tackle Recession

Reps, Executive, Recession, House of RepresentativesThe House of Representatives has called on the Executive to take more proactive steps to abate the hardship being experienced by citizens due to Nigeria’s economic recession.

The appeal was made on Thursday following a motion sponsored by a member of the House from Benue State, Representative Emmanuel Orker-Jev.

The motion was supported by the Chief Whip of the House, Representative Alhassan Dogowa, and the Chairman of the House Committee on Banking, Representative Jones Onyereri.

Although the lawmakers acknowledged that the Executive was taking steps to address the situation, they stressed the need to do more.

The House consequently set up an ad-hoc committee to monitor the various steps and policies being taken by the Federal Government to check the situation.

The committee has been given three months to complete its work, while the House revealed its plan to have a sectoral debate on the matter.

The Minority Leader, Representative Leo Ogor, hinted that the focus of the deliberation was on the economy when the House resumed the debate on the 2017 budget for the third day.

While the debate also continued in the Senate, the bill passed through second reading in both chambers.

Nigerians are expecting National Assembly to conclude its debate on the proposal and bring out a “budget of recovery and growth”.

FG Targets Growing Economy Through ICT

ICT in NigeriaThe Minister of Communications, Mr Adebayo Shittu, says the Federal Government will partner with the organised private sector to grow the economy via the use of Information and Communication Technology.

He made the remarks at a forum in Abuja with indigenous ICT professionals who have contributed to the growth of the Information and Communication Technology sector in Nigeria.

According to him, the Federal Government is already reaching out to ICT professionals across the country, considering the huge potentials that the sector possesses.

Meanwhile, other guests in the forum appealed to the government to make internet accessible to all by opening up the broadband.

They believe that availability of internet service would give birth to businesses that will have multiplier effect on the economy.

In another development, a group of professionals in Information and Communication Technology trained youths in a workshop organised to also to explore the opportunities in the ICT sector.

They advocated an education curricular that would encourage vocational studies in ICT.

Information and Communication Technology has become the bedrock of many developed countries of the world and experts at the gathering say Nigeria cannot be left behind, urging leaders to fully explore the ICT sector to grow the nation’s economy that is already in recession.

Nigeria Assures Investors Of Business Environment Improvement

Yemi-Osinbajo
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo

The Nigerian government has reassured local manufacturers, business owners and foreign investors that the present administration remains focused on improving the business environment.

It expresses strong belief that such environment will accelerate Nigeria’s economic growth and job creation through active private sector participation in the economy.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo gave the assurance at a forum on Job Creation, Skills and Employment at the ongoing 22nd Nigerian Economic Summit in Abuja.

Professor Osinbajo said that the present administration was seriously tackling issues relating to local production, employment generation and all that would be needed to re-energise the economy that is in recession.

“We are talking practically to everyone, talking to big investors, talking to big businesses, small businesses, to youth groups that are interested in technology, talking to farmers, talking to market women and men. There is a great deal of enthusiasm. Everybody knows that this country has tremendous potential and there is so much that can be done.

“We are engaging every one of our agencies that are responsible for facilitating trade, facilitating business, they have to be up to scratch, they’ve got to encourage business. It is our business to make sure that we promote enterprise because the way to create employment is not by direct employment by government, it is by private sector being encouraged to create these opportunities, so that is our focus.

“I want to assure everyone that the government is very focused on improving the environment for doing business, increase the opportunities so that we can employ the vast majority of our young people who need employment, encourage big businesses, encourage small businesses, encourage cottage industries, that is our focus and it will remain our focus,” the Vice President stated.

A spokesman for the Vice President, Laolu Akande, said Professor Osinbajo pointed out that though there might be challenges with the present duty waivers and tax regimes, the Federal Government was working hard to correct the wrongs with the view to encouraging the growth of small businesses and attracting foreign investments.

The Vice President said government’s emphasis on agriculture and agro-businesses was premised on its agenda on diversification and self-reliance in food production for domestic consumption.

Professor Osinbajo said the enormity of the challenge with tax holidays and waivers could not be addressed by a ‘one size, fits-all’ tax holidays initiative, stressing that there were areas that the government would revisit and revise.

He said the Presidential Enabling Business Council, a special initiative of the Federal Government established by the President, in collaboration with the private sector, was looking at incentives and issues related to waivers.

The Vice President, who had spoken extensively on the administration’s economic policies on Day 1 of the Nigerian Economic Summit, also emphasised what government was doing to support funding of small businesses.

“There are complications around funding and that is why in the short term, intervention funds are what we think might work.

“We are looking at intervention funds in agriculture. We have the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme. We are resuscitating the Bank of Agriculture, and recapitalising it.

“We expect that the Bank of Agriculture and a few other banks will be able to provide some cheap funds for agriculture, we are already seeing that in the anchor borrowers’ programme.

“We also think that intervention fund in setting up areas like health, before we are able to get the overall monetary environment right, is necessary,” the Vice President told the gathering.

Earlier at the opening of the summit on Monday, President Muhammadu Buhari said Nigeria had no other choice at the moment than to diversify its economy to break its reliance on oil.

He said: “I am so delighted that you have chosen as your theme Made-in-Nigeria, which lies at the heart of so many of the efforts we are making to lead us through these troubled times and to lay a firm foundation for the future.

“We need to diversify the economy so that we never again have to rely on one commodity to survive as a country, so that we can produce the food we eat, make our own textiles, produce most of the things we use and create the right environment for our young people to be able to innovate and create jobs through technology”.

The President added that there was apparently no other way to steer Nigeria out of its present economic predicament without building a strong economic foundation on Made-in-Nigeria goods and services.

Nigerian Lawmakers Seek Sack Of CBN Governor Emefiele

House, CSOs, BillsSome lawmakers in the House of Representatives say the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, should be sacked over his management of the country’s foreign exchange.

This is one position put forward as lawmakers considered the lingering scarcity of foreign exchange.

Addressing the House, a lawmaker said that the scarcity had continued to weaken the Naira against the dollar which now exchanges about 400  Naira to a dollar.

“The continuous weakening of the Naira against the dollar and other foreign currencies has affect the cost of goods and services production and has consequently made life more difficult for most Nigerians,” he said.

After deliberations on the issue, the House, however, resolved to have an ad-hoc committee investigate the Central Bank of Nigeria’s forex policies and recommend measures that would stabilise the Nigerian forex market.

The apex bank had on June 20 introduced interbank trading of foreign exchange to make the exchange market more flexible.

Despite the introduction of the policy, there is relative scarcity of forex, prompting the lawmakers to request that the Governor of the bank should be sacked.

The scarcity is propelled by demand for dollar needed by most importers, as the nation largely depends on imported goods.

It is a trend that the Nigerian government said some of its economic policies would address, reducing the preference of foreign products while patronage for made in Nigeria goods is promoted.

Highlights Of The Policy 

The CBN had released the highlights of the flexible foreign exchange market policy weeks after the Monetary Policy Committee announced its introduction.

After its meeting of May 24, the CBN said the policy would allow the bank retain a small portion of foreign exchange for critical transactions.

Key notes released stated that the market would operate as a single market structure via the interbank market and authorised dealers and that it would be purely an exchange rate market managed via Thompson Reuters platform.

Part of the key notes is that the CBN would participate via periodic intervention and would introduce primary dealers that deal with the CBN on a two way quote basis.

The primary dealers are also expected to deal with other players in the interbank market.

Other aspects of the key notes are that there shall be no pre-determined spreads on forex transactions and all forex purchases shall be transferable while 41 items shall remain inadmissible in the forex market for forex transactions.

The CBN will also offer long term forex futures and sales of forex forwards for end users must be trade-backed.

The non-deliverable OTC forex settled trades will help moderate volatility. The OTC settled forex feature shall be on non-standardised amounts, the apex bank said.

Another aspect of the key notes states that proceeds of forex shall be purchased by authorised dealers at the daily interbank rates.

The new police which the CBN said was a market-driven trading system, is expected to end the central bank’s 16 month fixed exchange rate policy.

After the highlights were released, Nigeria’s capital market made remarkable gains, with most stocks appreciating in price.

No Need To Panic

One of the leading global rating agencies, Fitch Ratings had welcomed the decision of the apex bank, saying that the shift to a more flexible foreign-exchange regime could aid Nigeria to adjust to lower oil prices and support growth.

It however, warned that the implementation of the new forex policy may present challenges if not properly managed.

Fitch explained that establishing the new framework’s credibility would be key to its effectiveness in attracting portfolio flows and Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) to make up for lower oil export receipts.

Meanwhile, the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, has reiterated that there was no need for businesses and investors to panic over the new forex policy, saying it will help address the imbalance in the economy.

Nigerian Air Force Explores Agriculture To Empower Barracks Youths

Air Chief empowers barrack youths through agricultureNigerian military is not left out in the nation’s search for a solution to the economic recession the oil-rich nation slid into few weeks ago, as the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, is exploring agriculture to empower youths in barracks.

He is confident that further involvement of youths in agriculture will deepen the economic diversification drive of the government.

Economy In Recession

Nigeria is battling to get out of its present economic recession made obvious when the National Bureau of Statistics released a second quarter Gross Domestic Product (GDP) report.

The report showed a contract in the GDP by 2.06% in the second quarter of 2016.

According to the report, the decline has caused the Naira to get weaker while lower oil prices dragged the oil sector down.

The output shrunk by 0.36 in the first quarter.

During the quarter, nominal GDP was 2.73% higher at 23.48 million Naira at basic prices.

This growth was lower than the rate recorded in the second quarter of 2015 by 2.44% points.

Empowerment Through Agriculture

While launching a scheme tagged ‘Barracks Youth Empowerment Through Agriculture (BYETA)’ held at the Air Force Base in Kaduna State, Air Marshal Abubakar said the initiative would empower youths and create jobs.

The Air Chief was represented by the Chief of Policy and Plans, Nigerian Air Force headquarters, Air Vice Marshal James Gbum.

He explained that the inauguration of the youth empowerment programme was a testimony and determination of the Nigerian Air Force to key into the Federal Government’s policy on diversification of the economy to other non-oil sectors especially agriculture.

Message Of Self-reliance

The programme, according to the organisers, is designed to engage the youths, particularly those living in the barracks in productive ventures such as poultry, fishery and crops farming that would enable them live meaningful lives independent of their parents or guidance.

While urging the youth to make good use of the opportunity to empower themselves and contribute to the economic development of the nation, the representative of the Chief of Air Staff, enjoined parents and guidance to regularly monitor the progress of their wards in order to achieve the maximum success rate of the programme.

On his part, the Commander, 335 Base Service Group, Air Commodore Bello Garba, said the initiative was launched to further drive home the message of self-reliance and the directive given by the Chief of Air Staff for all secondary schools in the barracks to establish a demonstration farm which he also noted would prepare the youth to be self-reliant.

He told the gathering that in compliance with the directive, the 335 Base Service Group had established a BYETA association with an initial membership of 25 youths at its inception on August 30.

At the moment it has 98 registered members, including 35 engaged in fish farming, 25 in poultry, 26 in livestock and 12 in crop farming.

Some of the beneficiaries said they were pleased with the initiative they believe would empower them, help them feed Nigerians and ensure food security.

The Barrack Youth Empowerment Through Agriculture Programme is open to relatives of Air Force personnel and residents of host communities.

National Economic Council Approves FG’s Strategies To End Recession

Adeosun, GovernorsThe National Economic Council has approved President Muhammadu Buhari’s strategies to pull the economy out of recession.

This was done during its meeting in Abuja, chaired by the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo.

The council of ministers and governors debriefed the Finance Minister, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun and the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Mr Udoma Udo Udoma as well as the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele on the strategies to take the country out of the woods.

Briefing State House correspondents after the closed-door meeting, the Deputy Governor of Ogun State, Yetunde Onanuga, said that the Central Bank would henceforth adopt best options to manage the situation.

Other areas of urgent intervention were also agreed upon by the council to immediately inject larger funds into the economy, including meaningful diversification and more stringent importation cuts.

Intervention of affordable housing was also among urgent issues discussed, which the council said a target of one billion naira fund has been set up to create a blended pool of long term funds for housing development finance and mortgage provision aimed at delivering 500,000 housing units annually.

The council commended members of the National Economic Team for their diligence and hard work.

The council’s declaration comes barely 24 hours after the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, asked President Muhammadu Buhari to reshuffle his cabinet and redeploy the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Budget and National Planning from their present ministries.

Senate-Ike-Ekweremadu
Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu

As the Senate began debate on the state of the economy on Wednesday, Ekweremadu said that he was not impressed with the performance of the two ministers and believes they would perform better in other ministries.

Nigeria’s economy had slipped into recession after a report of the National Bureau of Statistics showed that the nation’s GDP contracted by 2.06% in the second quarter of 2016.

The report came just as militant activities have resurged in the Niger Delta, causing the revenue of the nation which comes largely from crude oil sales to drop.

The price of crude, which had dropped in the international market, already taking its toll on the nation’s economy was compounded by the attacks on oil installations in the Niger Delta.

Negative Growth Since 2012
The Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, had recently said that the country had been in negative growth since 2012 with the hope that it would avoid recession but since the reality of the recession has dawned on the nation, the government was prepared to address it.

Kemi-Adeosun-Minister-of-Finance-Nigeria-on-Economy
Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun

She said that the tactical plan of the Nigerian government to address its economic challenges would not change in spite of the official confirmation that the country had gone into a recession.

Mrs Adeosun was the guest of Channels TV’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily on Tuesday, September 20, where she explained that the solution to Nigeria’s problem remained the same from years past.

“Our plans haven’t changed. We need to stimulate the economy and we are going to do so largely by redirecting expenditure from recurrent into capital because we believe that capital expenditure will create jobs and create more productivity in the economy in the long run and help us to diversify,” she said.

She maintained that getting out of recession remains dependent on how productive the economy becomes as well as how well it can create jobs. “we’ve got to invest in our capital infrastructure,” she said.

Set To Inject Funds
The Minister had few days earlier said that the government was set to inject an additional 350 billion Naira ($1.1 billion) into the economy and raise $1 billion from Euro-bonds by mid-December to ease the recession.

She had told reporters in Abuja that the additional funding, on top of the initial 420 billion Naira released in May, was primarily for capital expenditure projects that would also involve support from local banks and transaction partners.

“We are raising money. As you know the Euro-bond capital raise is on.

Udoma-Udoma
Minister of Budget and National Planning, Mr Udoma Udo Udoma

“We are about to appoint advisers so we we will be raising additional $1 billion.

“Two weeks ago we approved the external borrowing plan and that was very important,” the Minister said.

While local investors feel neglected despite being in greater majority than the foreign investors for which the government is looking to attract back to Nigeria, the Minister for Budget, Senator Udoma Udoma, had reassuring words.

“We are determined to make it easier to do business in Nigeria and we believe that, working together with the private sector, we must surely transform this economy,” he told businessmen during a quarterly business briefing at the Presidential Villa with private sector stakeholders.

Osinbajo Explains How Militants’ Activities Triggered Nigeria’s Economic Recession

Yemi Osinbajo on economic recession Nigeria’s Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, says activities of the Niger Delta militants are the reasons the country is in its current state of recession.

Professor Osinbajo believes that no country can lose one million barrels of oil per day without suffering tremendously.

Nigeria’s economy had slipped into recession after a report of the National Bureau of Statistics showed that the nation’s GDP contracted by 2.06% in the second quarter of 2016.

The report came just as militant activities have resurged in the Niger Delta, causing the revenue of the nation which comes largely from crude oil sales to drop.

The price of crude, which had dropped in the international market, already taking its toll on the nation’s economy was compounded by the attacks on oil installations in the Niger Delta.

Peculiar Circumstances

The Vice President pointed out that Nigeria could only get out of recession by looking at only those solutions that would take full consideration of Nigeria’s peculiar circumstances and composition.

At a quarterly business briefing at the Presidential Villa with private sector stakeholders on Monday, the Vice President said Nigeria could not afford the usual error of generalisation and speculations that would not take the country out of recession.

Kemi-Adeosun-Minister-of-Finance-Nigeria-on-Economy
Finance Minister Mrs Kemi Adeosun
Udoma-Udoma
Minister for Budget Senator Udoma Udoma

The presidential quarterly business forum, which has in attendance the ministers of budget, finance, trade and industry and captains of industries, is part of efforts to tackle headlong, the economic recession.

The Vice President told the gathering that power, security in the Niger Delta region and improved business environment among important things must be addressed in the short term.

Set To Inject Funds

The recession notwithstanding, the Finance Minister, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, said Nigeria would borrow to pump into the economy for capital projects even as she insisted that interest rates must be reduced.

The Minister had few days ago said the government was set to inject an additional 350 billion Naira ($1.1 billion) into the economy and raise $1 billion from Euro-bonds by mid-December to ease the recession.

She had told reporters in Abuja that the additional funding, on top of the initial 420 billion Naira released in May, was primarily for capital expenditure projects that would also involve support from local banks and transaction partners.

“We are raising money. As you know the Euro-bond capital raise is on.

“We are about to appoint advisers so we we will be raising additional $1 billion.

“Two weeks ago we approved the external borrowing plan and that was very important,” the Minister said.

While local investors feel neglected despite being in greater majority than the foreign investors for which the government is looking to attract back to Nigeria, the Minister for Budget, Senator Udoma Udoma, has reassuring words.

“We are determined to make it easier to do business in Nigeria and we believe that, working together with the private sector, we must surely transform this economy,” he told the gathering.

FG Says Nigeria Can Explore Creative Industry To Overcome Recession

Recession, Creative Industry, NigeriaThe Federal Government is exploring the potentials of the creative industry to generate revenue and overcome Nigeria’s economic recession.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed, stated this at a meeting with Commissioners of Culture and Tourism across various states in Nigeria, ahead of the 2016 Abuja Carnival.

Mr Mohammed told the gathering on Saturday that the industry has the potential and does not require huge investments to thrive.

He expressed optimism that the creative industry, if properly harnessed, would rescue Nigeria from its present challenges.

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information and Culture, Ayotunde Adesugba, noted that it was the first time the carnival would be held under the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration.

He said that the government was making every effort to see the festival succeed, even in the face of the present economic crisis.

The carnival is expected to kick off on November 19 while at least one million people are expected at the event.

Kogi Governor To Empower Over 100,000 Youths And Women

Kogi, Yahaya Bello, YouthsKogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, has promised to empower at least 100,000 youths and women through the line-up empowerment programme of the state government.

He said his administration had prioritised the well-being of youths and promised to empower them so as to prevent some politicians from using them to cause crises in the state.

The Governor made the pledge on Tuesday while addressing the multitude of people who paid him a solidarity visit in the spirit of the Sallah celebration at the Government House in Lokoja, Kogi State’s capital.

He urged the people of the state to be patient with President Muhammadu Buhari over Nigeria’s economic recession.

Governor Bello also urged them to uphold peace and unity among themselves, irrespective of their religion and ethnicity.

He promised equity in carrying out his duty as governor and vowed to wipe out corrupt practices in the state in north-central Nigeria.

The traditional ruler of Lokoja, Muhammadu Maikarfi and his subjects were among the multitude at the Government House, to show their support for the administration in power.

The monarch, who is also the state’s Chairman, Traditional Council of Chiefs, thanked the Governor for his patience in leading the people of Kogi State.

He appealed to him to forgive those who threw stones at his convoy and called on Muslim faithful to embrace good conduct which he described as the basis of the Eid-el-Kabir.

Eid-El-Kabir: Pray For Accelerated Economic Recovery, Senate Leadership Tells Nigerians

Bukola Saraki and Ike Ekweremadu on Eid-El-KabirThe leadership of the Nigerian Senate has asked Nigerians to pray for peace and accelerated recovery of the nation’s economic.

Senate President, Bukola Saraki, in a Sallah message, as he felicitates with Muslim faithful on Eid-el-Kabir, asked Nigerians to remain steadfast and committed to the cause of one, united and developed country.

He observed that despite the current economic challenges, the country and its people had all that was required to come out better and stronger.

The Senate President called on all Nigerians to live in harmony with one another irrespective of ethnic or religious affiliation.

“The significance of the Eid-el-Kabir festival is to celebrate the true love and grace of Almighty Allah to mankind through sacrifice, devotion and faith,” he said.

Prayers Not Enough

On his part, the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, also enjoined Muslims to use the occasion of the Eid-el-Kabir to pray for the nation’s quick recovery from her current economic recession, expressing confidence that Nigerians, working together, could heal the nation’s economy.

He, however, stressed that prayers alone were not enough and urged President Muhammadu Buhari to look beyond party affiliation to constitute a Special Economic Squad to rescue the nation from its present economic meltdown.

Senator Ekweremadu is optimistic that the present economic challenges are not beyond redemption, but could actually become the nation’s turning point away from an oil-driven economy to real prosperity if the right policies and structures were put in place.

While messages have continued to pour in from Nigeria’s leaders, Muslims are celebrating the Eid-el-Kabir amidst financial constrains.

A report released barely two weeks ago by the National Bureau of Statistics showed that the nations’ economy had glided into recession.

The cost of goods have gone up by over 80  per cent, since the Naira has continued to drop value against the dollar.

The nation’s economy cracked with the decline in the price of crude, which is the mainstay of the economy and the resurgence of militant activities in the Niger Delta has weakened the revenue drive further, dipping output by 700,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 1.56 million bpd in the last six months.

Muslims who want to celebrate Eid-el-Kabir are lamenting the cost of ram and other items needed to mark the ceremony.

Experts have stressed the need for the nation to invest more in agriculture, with the government promoting youth involvement to reduce unemployment that is also on the increase.

Agriculture was the mainstay of the nation’s economy before the discovery of crude oil and Nigeria has large arable land

while cost of living is soaring, the government has assured Nigerians of its commitment to addressing the economic challenges and bringing the nation back to a track of growth.

In a special message to Nigerians, the President said, “the lessons of the Eid are piety and sacrifice and, my dear brothers and sisters, you have exhibited these in equal measure”.

“The present recession is as a result of cumulative effects of worldwide economic downturn and failure in the past to plan and save for difficult times. It is impossible to separate the present from the past to appreciate the extent to which mistakes of the past are affecting everyday life today.

“I assure you that this administration is working round the clock to remove the hardships the country is going through. Rail and road constructions, projects in the housing sector, support for farmers and for small and medium scale industries, youth and women’s empowerment programmes, support for revival of industries are all designed to reinvigorate the economy and enhance living standards of ordinary people.

“We are getting security right. We are stopping corruption in its tracks and we will get the economy right by the Grace of God.

“I enjoin Muslims to live by the dictates of Islam, to keep good relationships with their Christian brothers and sisters and as patriots to maintain the spirit of the Nigerian nation.

“I wish everyone happy holidays,” the President stated.