Nigeria’s Economy Must Be Our Central Focus, Dogara Tells Lawmakers

house-of-representativesThe Speaker of the House of Representatives in Nigeria, Honourable Yakubu Dogara, has stressed the need for lawmakers to see the nation’s economy as a critical and urgent task before the legislature that must be addressed.

His demand is coming at a time the nation’s economy is in recession, with the Naira losing value against the Nigeria, but the Executive Arm of government, submitting this year’s budget in December, said reflating the economy wat its focus.

Honourable Dogara made the remark on Tuesday in a speech at the resumption of plenary after the yuletide break.

Our Central Focus

The lawmaker told the House that “as 2017 rolls by, we should expect great challenges once again but with renewed determination and faith that things shall surely get better with God on our side”.

He called the attention of the House to what he called the most critical and urgent task before them, saying “it is the pending 2017 Appropriation Bill”.

“My Honourable colleagues, the economy must be our central focus in 2017.

“Measures to exit Nigeria out of recession must be the critical aspect of our legislative activities.

“The 2017 Budget remains the major tool to rejig our economy. This is in addition to other fiscal and monetary policies.

“The recent fiscal measures including import prohibition of certain items and the increase or decrease of tariff on some items should receive appropriate legislative scrutiny to ensure that the economy and the interests of our people are protected.

“We must ensure that we take no prisoners in accomplishing this task,” he stressed.

Grievous Social Stress

Honourable Dogara stated that the year 2016 presented Nigeria with its peculiar challenges especially in the area of security and the economy.

Nigeria’s economy had slipped into recession in the second quarter of 2016, a situation that the Speaker described as a period of grievous social stress for the citizenry.

He said: “It was also the year in which terrorism in the North East, militancy in the South-South, the despicable phenomenon of kidnapping as well as the flash of agitations bared their murderous fangs – visiting death, pain and anguish on the populace.

“In all these, it is gratifying to note that the fundamentals of nationhood remain strong, robust and promising.

“We commend the gallantry, ingenuity and professionalism of our armed forces and security agencies, the political will of the Buhari-led government and the unbending resilience of the Nigerian people.

“Many developments in the polity require legislative and executive responses.

“It was during this break that our citizens woke up to heart-warming and cheering news when the military authorities declared they had captured the most strategic major stronghold held by Boko Haram terrorists”.

While commending the military for their sacrifices and commitment that resulted in the triumph, Honourable Dogara pointed out that the war against terrorism was still on and urged Nigerians to remain vigilant against targeting of soft targets by fleeing terrorists, as they attempt to terrorise the populace.

The lawmaker also touched issues of herdsmen attack in some states, highlighting the outbreak of violence resulting in wanton killings and destruction of property in Southern Kaduna, Birnin Gwani, parts of Zamfara State.

Situation In Gambia

On the external front, particularly within the ECOWAS sub-region, the lawmaker stated that recent events call for both joy and concern.

“There have been peaceful elections and transition of power in Ghana to the delight and pride of all Africans.

“However, in Gambia, even though peaceful elections took place, the outgoing President Yahya Jammeh, has recanted his pledge to hand over power peacefully after losing the elections. The situation in Gambia constitutes a serious dent on the rising profile of the development of democracy on the African continent,” he added.

Nigeria Slashes Import Duties On 115 Items

Nigeria, Import Duties, Kemi AdeosunThe Federal Government has approved a reduction in the import duties of 115 items in different sectors of Nigeria’s economy.

The Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, said that the reduction was approved by President Muhammadu Buhari as part of dovish fiscal policy measures.

Mrs Adeosun revealed in a statement on Wednesday that the move was in line with the provisions of the Economic Community of West African States’ Common External Tariff (ECOWAS CET).

“This is to confirm that His Excellency, Mr President, has approved the 2016 fiscal policy measures made up of the supplementary protection measures for implementation together with the ECOWAS CET 2015-2019, with effect from 17th of October, 2016.

“Consequently, all transactions prior to the effective date of this circular shall be subjected to the tariff rates applicable before the coming into effect of this 2016 fiscal policy measures,” she said.

A breakdown of the import adjustment list of 173 items showed that the government approved the reduction of 26 items from 10% to 5%.

Similarly, the import duties of 89 items were reviewed downwards to 5% from a national list of 91 products.

The government, however, reinforced the ban placed on the importation of some items including refined vegetable oil, cocoa butter, and fruit juice in retail packs among others.

Nigeria’s Economy In Recession In Q4

Nigeria's Economy In Recession In Q4; IMF, Nigeria, Recession, 2017Overall, conditions in Nigeria remain challenging with little sign that the economy will exit recession over the coming months, that is according to London-based World Economics.

The new report released states that Africa’s largest economy sees its business confidence fall to lowest levels on record, in the fourth quarter of October to December.

Nigeria’s December Sales-Managers’ Index – measuring growth across the country, reveals a continuation of the recession gripping the economy since the new year started.

World Economics says business confidence reduces steadily for four years, and is now at the lowest level recorded in the survey’s history.

Fashola Gives First Year In Office Report

babatunde-fasholaThe Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola,  says his ministry had fared well in 2016 than the previous year based on the budgetary provision and due process in the award of contracts.

He made the remark while delivering a report of his first year performance in office in Lagos.

Mr Fashola also said a lot was being done to improve on power generation and transmission as well as the state of federal roads.

With a budget size of 260 billion Naira against 18 billion Naira set for works in the previous year, over 200 road projects have already been contracted out, with an outstanding completion cost of about 1.5 trillion Naira.

The minister, who first gave an insight into the first challenge he had to grapple with, said there were liabilities ranging from outstanding payment to contractors.

Faced with the task of limited resources in the light of huge liabilities, it became paramount to prioritise projects effectively and efficiently.

Road projects cut across the six geopolitical zones, including the Tambuwal-Mekera Kontagora road, Ilorin-Jebba, Lagos-Shagamu and aba Port Harcourt roads.

power-plant
Nigeria, with its over 160 million population, is rationing a little above 5,000 megawatts

On power, the minister said 24 billion Naira was approved for the year and that expansion work had started at different parts of the country in order to improve wheeling and transmission capacity.

“The maximum power we have generated this year is 5,000 plus. The current transmission capacity is about 5,900 (megawatts) and it is growing progressively.

“What it must do is that it must stay marginally ahead of the generation capacity,” he told reporters.

After his comments on efforts to improve power supply in Nigeria, questions on tariff and low cost housing were raised.

The housing sector appears not to have seen much action. However, tenders have been considered and over 500 contracts are set to be awarded with 27 states already keyed into the projects.

He gave a breakdown of the items needed for the housing facility.

With the rural electrification implementation programme set for roll out, over 42 bridges getting attention and much more happening in 2017, the nation’s economy that is in recession may just be getting repositioned for a bounce back.

IMF Affirms Nigeria As Africa’s Biggest Economy

Ahead of South Africa and Egypt, the IMF, Nigeria, EconomyInternational Monetary Fund has affirmed Nigeria as the biggest economy in Africa.

Nigeria was reported to have lost its spot as Africa’s biggest economy to South Africa in August 2016, following the recalculation of the country’s Gross Domestic Product.

However, the IMF’s World Economic Outlook for October 2016, puts South Africa’s GDP at 280.36 billion Dollars, from 314.73 billion Dollars in 2015.

Meanwhile, latest estimates from the IMF put Nigeria’s GDP at 415.08 billion Dollars, from 493.83 billion Dollars at the end of 2015.

Although Egypt’s 2016 data was reported as unavailable, its 2015 size remained at 330.15 billion Dollars while that of Algeria, one of the largest economies on the continent, was put at 168.31 billion Dollars.

Global growth is projected to slow to 3.1 percent in 2016 before recovering to 3.4 percent in 2017.

The forecast, revised down by 0.1% point for 2016 and 2017 relative to April, reflects a more subdued outlook for advanced economies following the June U.K. vote in favor of leaving the European Union (Brexit) and weaker-than-expected growth in the United States.

Growth In 2017

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

IMF, Nigeria, Recession, 2017
According to the Bretton Woods institution, Nigeria has a marginal lead over South Africa and Egypt in terms of GDP

In the IMF’s WEC report released on October 5, Nigeria’s real GDP is expected to increase marginally by 0.6% with Consumer Prices rising by 17.1% also, Fitch ratings on the other hand, also projected a 2.6% growth in Nigeria’s GDP for 2017.

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

Beyond 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.

Although the global rating agency had reduced its forecast for the country’s 2016 GDP growth to 1% from 1.5% due to weak performance in the first half of the year, Fitch believes the economy will bounce back in 2017 but with downside risks if dollar liquidity remains tight.

Furthermore, Fitch believes that dollar liquidity will not significantly improve until market participants become more comfortable with the sustainability of the exchange-rate level, which is likely to require further narrowing of the spread between the official and parallel market rates.

The rating agency also increased Nigeria’s average CPI forecast for 2016 to 14% from 11% and expects the government to secure financing from multilateral development banks and bilateral sources.

 

N-Power Jobs Scheme For Unemployed Graduates, Others Enter Assessment Phase

N-power, Job PortalAbout a million Nigerian undergraduates, who have applied online for the N-Power programme of the Buhari presidency, would now be assessed in order to pick the final 500,000 for the two-year volunteer positions, a government official said on Monday.

The Federal Government had earlier released a schedule for the next phase of the N-Power Programme, which is the job creation and empowerment initiative of its Social Investment Programme.

Under the next phase of the programme, candidates will be assessed in phases based on their specific chosen programmes before the final selection.

Applicants are to log in and fill in their phone numbers and surnames as contained in their original application, using their personal profile, which the government said had been created for every applicant.

The government said all candidates would be notified by SMS of their assessment the day before.

A statement by a spokesman for the Vice President, Laolu Akande, said all assessments would include some personal questions and other questions testing basic knowledge of English, General Knowledge and Quantitative Reasoning.

“Applicants should also note that they will be tested on other programme-specific questions depending on the programme they applied for.

“Applicants are to note also that they can take their tests on a smart-phone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer provided that the devices have internet connection.

“Successful applicants will be selected to participate in the N-Power programme,” the statement read.

Mr Akande pointed out that applicants could only gain access to their profile for assessment as represented in the schedule which breaks down applicants in batches by the first letter in their surnames.

Based on the schedule, applicants for the N-Power Teach programme would be first in line, starting on Tuesday September 20, 2016 and applicants whose surnames fall between the alphabets V-Z are expected to log in and take their assessments on the stipulated date.

A schedule for each programme’s assessment released by the government is represented below.

Programme Test Days
N-Power Teach 20th September – 28th September 2016
N-Power Agro 29th September – 1st October 2016
N-Power Health 2nd October – 3rd October 2016
N-Power Community Education 4th October – 6th October 2016
N-Power Creative 7th October – 9th October 2016
N-Power Tech (Software) 10th October – 12th October 2016
N-Power Tech (Hardware) 13th October 2016 – 14th October 2016
N-Power Build 15th October – 18th October 2016

N-POWER TEACH PROGRAMME
DATES SURNAME BY ALPHABETS
20th September 2016 V, W, X, Y, Z
21st September 2016 P, Q, R, T, U
22nd September 2016 Aa – Al
23rd September 2016 Am – Az, B
24th September 2016 O
25th September 2016 M,N
26th September 2016 F, G, H, I
27th September 2016 C, D, E
28th September 2016 J, K, L, S

N-POWER AGRO PROGRAMME
DATES SURNAME BY ALPHABETS
29th September 2016 A, B, C, D, F, G
30th September 2016 E, H, I, J, K, L, M, N
1st October 2016 O – Z

N-POWER HEALTH PROGRAMME
DATES SURNAME BY ALPHABETS
2nd October 2016 A – I
3rd October 2016 J – Z

N-POWER COMMUNITY EDUCATION PROGRAMME
DATES SURNAME BY ALPHABETS
4th October 2016 A – G
5th October 2016 H – N, P – T
6th October 2016 O, U, Z

N-POWER CREATIVE PROGRAMME
DATES SURNAME BY ALPHABETS
7th October 2016 A – E
8th October 2016 F – N
9th October 2016 O – Z

N-POWER TECH (SOFTWARE) PROGRAMME
DATES SURNAME BY ALPHABETS
10th October 2016 A – H
11th October 2016 I – R
12th October 2016 S – Z

N-POWER TECH (HARDWARE) PROGRAMME
DATES SURNAME BY ALPHABETS
13th October 2016 A – J
14th October 2016 K – Z

N-POWER BUILD PROGRAMME
DATES SURNAME BY ALPHABETS
15th October 2016 A – B
16th October 2016 C – I
17th October 2016 J – S
18th October 2016 T – Z

Uzor Kalu Lauds Government’s Strategy To Check Economic Recession

Orji Kalu on Nigeria's EconomyA former governor of Abia State, Orji Uzor Kalu, has hailed the move by the Federal Government to gather more brains and put policy in place to address the economic recession.

He made his opinion known in Umuahia on Friday while addressing reporters.

Mr Kalu also told reporters that the economic recession started in 2014 but was surprised that Nigerians were not keen to comprehend that it was time to diversify the economy.

According to him, no economy could survive by borrowing to offset its demand without a requisite balance to inject into the economy.

The former Abia State governor further called for policy on the manufacturing sector that would enable Nigeria produce more for export.

Mr Kalu also hinted that more money was needed to bring the nation out of its predicament, stressing the need for Nigerians to tighten their belts, since stabilising the economy would involve a gradual process.

Nigeria’s economic recession became official after a report of the National Bureau of Statistics showed that the nation’s Gross Domestic Product contracted 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.

Economic Recession: Buhari Pledges To Make Wrong Things Right

Muhammadu Buhari on Nigeria's economy President Muhammadu Buhari has promised Nigerians again that his administration would correct the maladministration of past government.

Addressing reporters in his home town, Duara in Katsina State after Eid-el-Kabir prayers on Monday, President Buhari decried what he inherited from past administrations, pledging to correct them with the support of Nigerians.

“I want Nigerians to realise what this government inherited after 16 years of PDP [Peoples Democratic party] and eight consecutive government.

“There was no savings, no infrastructure was done, no power, no rail, no road and security. This is what the other party left for Nigerians.

“Now they have seen what we have done from Boko Haram to what we are trying to do now with the militants.

“We have identified these problems, three of them – security, economy and fighting corruption.

“You have to secure our country to efficiently manage it. You have to create jobs for our youths and then we are fighting corruption which is continuous,” President Buhari said.

On what the government is doing to address the economic recession and provide job for the unemployed Nigerians, President Buhari highlighted that the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Ministry of Agriculture had established a scheme that would support farmers and ensure that young Nigerians were involved in the diversification of the economy through increase in agricultural produce.

“Now, the youths that have land, the Central Bank and the Ministry of Agriculture have done something about it.

“Those that do not have land that are graduates there is an arrangement made by a committee under the vice president.

“Really, we have plans, we know what to do and we want Nigerians to do their best too,” he stressed.

Citizens of Daura had lined up to behold the president’s convoy, as it meanders its way to the prayer ground.

The President joined other Muslim faithful at the Eid prayer ground for the day’s prayers.

Eid-el-Kabir-celebration-prayers
A day of prayer and supplication for the nation in a period of recession

Prayers were followed by the major event of the day – the slaughtering of the sacrificial ram.

President Buhari’s appearance in his country home no doubt is a thing of joy to his kinsmen and they could not hide it.

He had in an Eid-el-Kabir message congratulated Nigerians, particularly Muslims on the occasion of the Eid-El-Kabir, saluting their steadfastness in spite of the difficult economic times Nigeria is going through.

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.

Ayade Sees Brighter Future Despite Economic Recession

Cross River, Ben Ayade on Economic recession The Cross River State Governor, Ben Ayade, says he sees a brighter future for Nigeria despite the current recession.

Making comments about the present economic situation, Governor Ayade stressed that this it was a time for Nigerians to think and go beyond the scope of their normal lifestyle.

He urged Nigerians to focus on reconstructing a new economy, new lifestyle, new consumption pattern that could take Nigeria out of the woods.

The Governor added that, “at a time such as this, only quality ideas can survive a society that is challenged and threatened by economic downturn”.

Nigeria’s economy had glided into recession, with a report of the the National Bureau of Statistics showing that Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has contracted by 2.06% in the second quarter of 2016

According to the report by the agency, 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.

 

Lack of Sound Economic Policy Responsible for Nigeria’s Economic Woes – Balarabe Musa

Balarabe Musa, Immunity ClauseFormer Kaduna State Governor, Balarabe Musa, says the Nigerian government’s lack of sound economic policy and the leading role of the private sector in controlling the economy are largely responsible for the nation’s economy sliding into recession.

Musa stated this in an interview with Channels Television on Monday.

He argued that the policies of the federal government, instead of ameliorating the sufferings of the people, have further impoverished and inflicted more pains on the masses.

He expressed fear that the recession could lead to a mass uprising across the country if not quickly addressed by government.

Musa, who is also the National Chairman of Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP), stressed that for Nigeria to come out of the current situation, the federal government must allow the public sector to play the leading role in the economy.

He equally advised the federal government to place a stiff restriction on importation of goods that ordinarily could be manufactured locally and to also put the enabling environment for the local industries to grow.

While stating that the fight against corruption under the present administration has not made any significant impact, Balarabe Musa challenged the government to make the amount of stolen funds recovered so far from corrupt officials public, and to state what it intends to do with such funds.

UN Picks Holes In Nigeria’s Economy

united nations, Nigeria's economyThe United Nations is painting a gloomy picture of Nigeria’s economy, calling it the poorest and most unequal among countries of the world with 64% of her population living below poverty line.

This was in a report read during a consultative meeting on the formulation of the UN Development Assistance Framework IV (UNDAF IV) for the South East geo-political zone in Awka.

The UN says: “Poverty and hunger have remained high in rural areas, remote communities and among female – headed households and these cut across the six geo-political zones, with prevalence ranging from approximately 46.9 percent in the South West to 74.3 percent in North West and North East.”

On unemployment, the report notes that Youth unemployment which is 42% in 2016 has continued to create helplessness and despair resulting into upsurge in crime and terrorism.

It says that over 10 million Nigerian children of school age are out of school with no knowledge or skills.

It estimates Nigeria’s revenue to have fallen as much as 33%, which it says resulted in the contraction of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the first three months of 2016.

The report concludes by saying that the country’s economic problems is as a result of lack of good governance, while also condemning what it calls the division of Nigeria along ethnic lines.

The report recommended that Nigeria should adopt a radical and new approach to achieve a transformation, by investing in people and in a more dynamic and inclusive productive informal sector.

It also recommended the development of programmes that would address good governance, peace and security.

67% Increase In Cement Price Causes Scare For Builders

cementThe over 60 per cent hike in the price of cement is causing huge scare for builders in Nigeria, as recession bites hard.

In the last few weeks, the price of the product has increased from 1,500 Naira to as high as 2,500 Naira.

The unexpected increase in price has been generating reactions from citizens of the nation that has huge housing deficit.

In Ilorin, in the South-west Region, people who need cement for different purposes are asking the Nigerian government to set up a cement factory to check the incessant increase due to monopoly.

An architect at the site of a shopping complex construction, Christopher Okebuko, lamented that the increase from 1,500 Naira last two weeks to 2,500 Naira has affected the cost of the project.

“I cannot go back for project variation now,” he said.

Slid Into Recession

Other people also lamented how the new price has affected them.

A civil servant, Olanrewaju Ahmed, said he had borrowed money to buy the building materials in order to complete his personal house.

He asked the government to intervene in the situation triggered by the nation’s economy that has slid into recession.

Mr Ahmed believes such intervention would reduce the sufferings of the masses.

In another part of the nation, Asaba, the capital of Delta State, sales persons at Chinedu Oko Building Materials Plaza along the Asaba-Onitsha expressway, lamented drastic reduction in sales and income.

Construction workers, however, believes that industrialisation and patronage of made in Nigeria goods would help reduce the pressure on the Naira which would in turn revamp the economy.

Figures released by the National Bureau of Statistics on August 31 showed that Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) contracted 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.