Exit From Recession: Matters Arising

Although President Muhammadu Buhari expressed happiness over the positive GDP growth rate of 0.55 per cent recorded in the second quarter of 2017 after negative growth rates in the preceding five quarters, he yearned for a meaningful economic improvement in the lives of Nigerians. Notwithstanding the fact that the President’s wrongheaded tangle with the Niger Delta militants helped precipitate the economic recession, the culpability of his economic managers for the lackluster performance does not lessen.

The people’s economic travails have been long-drawn-out just as Buhari’s quest for power since his ouster in 1985 should have provided more than enough time for his associates and economic managers to understand the challenges arising and be prepared to remove them.

Economic outcomes are responses to policy measures being implemented. Since Buhari reportedly works largely by “body language,” his additional open expression of dissatisfaction with his associates for failing to improve the lives of Nigerians represents implicit directive for a change of the self-serving mindset and wrong methods that led to the unsatisfactory results. On the other hand, since they are wont to work based on clear directives, patriotic policy implementers (these are the knowledgeable and wise public servants to whom a word is enough) should seize Buhari’s position to promptly articulate and package the appropriate methods and policies (these are already known) for achieving the desired people-imbued objectives for Mr. President to endorse and so transform his body language into policy directive.

 

What has become of the economic status of Nigerians under the Buhari administration? The president took office at the end of the second quarter of 2015. According to the Nigerian Gross Domestic Product Report, GDP at 2010 constant price stood at N16.5 trillion in the second quarter of 2015 and N16.3 trillion in the second quarter of 2017.

The real growth rate at the basic price was 2.35 per cent and 0.55 per cent respectively. During the intervening two years, there was an increase of 5.5 per cent in the population. Clearly, the corresponding quarterly GDP per capita was much higher in the second quarter of 2015 than in the second quarter of 2017. Also, we are living witnesses to the fact that income distribution skewed precipitously in favour of the few parasitic and non-productive currency traders and holders of dollar domiciliary accounts who (as if living in a foreign jurisdiction) were made exempt and stupendously rich upon devaluation of the naira that occurred before the latter quarter thereby excruciatingly swelling the ranks of the abject poor.

Without doubt (any doubting Thomases may easily access the statistical figures), similarly taking a turn for the worse during the period were the various kinds of infrastructure, the inflation rate, the unemployment rate, the absolute poverty level and the ballooning fake national domestic debt (NDD) among others. The NDD, which currently gulps 40 per cent of the federal budget, attracts double-digit interest cost. The FG owes over N2 trillion in arrears of pensions and contractors’ verified debts. In sum, the vast majority of Nigerians are extremely worse off today than before Buhari’s coming. So cheerless has been the report card of the president’s economic managers.

 

Besides, amidst the widespread groans of the people, it is disappointing for both chambers of the legislature to join the bandwagon of the celebration of the exit from recession whereas the federal lawmakers have actually been aiding and abetting the executive arm in hamstringing the economy. For example, the Senate, acting like the outpost of foreign powers, has since the second half of 2016 refused to pass the draft law forwarded by an agency as empowered and authoritative as the Nigerian Law Reform Commission seeking to set a time limit on maintaining forex in domiciliary accounts with a view to checkmating freewheeling multiple currency practices, duly restoring the status of the naira as the national currency and so enhancing effective management of the economy.

Furthermore, the CBN governor frequently appears before the National Assembly committees, which do not deem it fit to seek an explanation for CBN’s failure to abide by Sections 15, 16 and 38 of the CBN Act 2007 in order to end the persistent excess liquidity in the system. A small fraction of the excess liquidity metamorphoses into the NDD noted earlier while the remainder fuels inflation with its harmful accompaniments. It is hard to believe that the legislative committees are genuinely unaware that the set fiscal deficit limit of 3

A small fraction of the excess liquidity metamorphoses into the NDD noted earlier while the remainder fuels inflation with its harmful accompaniments. It is hard to believe that the legislative committees are genuinely unaware that the set fiscal deficit limit of 3 per cent of GDP contained in the yearly Appropriation Act (AA) and the fixed AA exchange rate are intended for and should keep the naira exchange rate stable and realistic thereby not only engendering inflation range of 0-3 per cent but also guaranteeing 5-7 per cent internationally competitive lending rates (the absence of which is shamelessly cited by the executive and legislative arms for plunging the country into avoidable external debt) for the purpose of attaining the principal objects of the apex bank and enthroning conducive business environment for investors to grow the economy for the national good. It is unacceptable for the NASS to pretend not to know the import of the country’s laws pertaining to the economy.

Wonder of wonders! It took the worse than mediocre economic standing reflected in the second Quarter 2017 GDP signifying exit from recession for the media to put a face to the Economic Adviser to the President in the person of Dr. Yemi Dipeolu.

The Economic Adviser cautioned against “exogenous shocks and policy slippages.” What has he done to right the endogenous anti-economic best practice issues of multiple currency practices and the withholding of Federation Account dollar allocations only to finance the budgets of the tiers of government with substituted CBN deficit funds? Are these not the direct and remote causes of high inflation, unemployment and failure to (in his words) “achieve desired outcomes including sustained inclusive growth, further diversification of the economy, the creation of jobs and improved business conditions?” Dipeolu even sang praises of portfolio capital inflows, which according to the World Bank, do not qualify for investment qua investment. Portfolio “investors” are drainers of Nigeria’s hard earned forex (who are attracted by CBN’s baseless

Portfolio “investors” are drainers of Nigeria’s hard earned forex (who are attracted by CBN’s baseless high interest rates paid on treasury bills and the NDD) because they earn, nay, suck in three months more interest income than is obtainable in one year in their home countries. Given proper management of the country’s forex accruals, portfolio investors will find no berth in the country.

Nigeria inherited from the military era wrong fiscal and monetary policies that undermine economic prosperity just as the military’s legacy of the unitary federal system is proving increasingly unworkable. In this regard, it is pertinent to draw attention to the fact that at the height of the economic recession in September 2016, a kite was flown on the Internet under the title of “Recession: Buhari’s New Thinking.” It concluded as follows, “Economic theories and advocacy are clearly different from production and selling of goods to earn cash and provide jobs.”

With the confirmation of the end of recession 28 months into a tenure of 48 months certain, is Buhari rearing to replace the 46-year long failed military fiscal and monetary policies by hatching a post-recession agenda of teaching the world his own brand of economics while using Nigeria as his testing field? Perish such thinking. The way forward for Nigeria is to discard the inherited inappropriate procedures by embracing tested and best practice economic methods responsible for the outstanding successes achieved in focused economies as this newspaper has repeatedly canvassed for more than a decade.

 

 

 

Source: The Guardian

Nigeria – Now That The Recession Is Over, What Next? By Bukola Ogunyemi

On Tuesday, the National Bureau of Statistics gave a lot of Nigerians the news they desperately wished to hear – Nigeria is out of recession. After five consecutive quarters of negative GDP growth that started in Q1 2016, Nigeria’s economy grew by 0.55% in Q2 2017. Predictably, data once again became the hero and villain in a long-running social media battle of bias between the supporters of Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, and his critics.

The optics of sneaking out of a 15-month recession apart, a 0.55% year-on-year GDP growth is hardly anything to cheer for Africa’s biggest economy. But as the NBS data reveals, the Q2 2017 growth is an improvement, even if marginal, on the GDP performance recorded in the preceding quarter (-0.91%) and the corresponding quarter of 2016 (-1.49%). Beyond the numbers, however, questions persist about the long-term economic recovery prospects of the nation. Questions that demand that all post-recession celebrations be suspended until further notice.

27 months into the Buhari administration, the patience of the Nigerian masses on the state of the economy and general standard of living is wearing thin, and understandably so. Inflation rate dropped for the fifth consecutive month in July, but the prices of goods and consumables which skyrocketed during the recession remain exorbitantly high. In reality, the recession persists for the economically dis-advantaged demographic of Nigeria’s 170 million population.

Nigeria’s path out of recession is lined with commendable efforts in improving the ease of doing business through the Presidential Enabling Business Council (PEBEC). Chaired by the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo. the Council implemented a 60-day National Action Plan on Ease of Doing Business and was able to tackle some of the critical bottlenecks and bureaucratic constraints that had hitherto defined the ordeal of doing business in Nigeria.

Osinbajo, who assumed the role of Acting President while President Buhari was away in the United Kingdom on medical leave, issued executive orders on port operations heralding a much-needed improvement in the operational efficiency of the nation’s airports and seaports. He also signed two critical bills on improving access to credit, a major stumbling block for businesses in Nigeria. As the NBS data released yesterday show, Nigeria came out of recession the same quarter the implementation of these reforms started.

The recession has also proved pivotal to Nigeria’s drive for revenue diversification and a rebalancing of the economy’s over-reliance on the oil sector. The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) for example recently revealed it generated N2.11 trillion as revenue in the first six months of 2017 and is on course to meet the N4.94 trillion revenue projection for the year. Similarly, the Nigerian Customs Service generated N486 billion as revenue in the first half of the year, surpassing the N385 billion generated for the same period in 2016.

On the part of the Nigerian Ports Authority, reforms like the implementation of a Revenue and Invoice Management System has gone a long way in blocking revenue leakages and improving ports operations through the exclusion of unnecessary human interface in doing business at the ports. As a result of this and other reforms, the agency was able to surpass the N16 billion revenue projection for the first quarter of 2017, raking in N118 billion.

Progressive reforms in the monetary policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria, notably the introduction in April of a special foreign exchange window for investors and exporters have been instrumental in the journey out of recession and its sustenance is important for further economic recovery. The special forex window grossed about $2.2 billion of trade in the first six weeks of its introduction and its impact on the market capitalization of Nigerian Stock Exchange – which jumped from N8.748 trillion in April to N11.463 trillion in July – is undeniable.

All these notwithstanding, the perennial issues of corruption, public sector bureaucracy and the high cost of running government remains. The duplicitous arrangement of line items in Nigeria’s 2017 budget berates hope of its ability to shape any lasting change in the life of the common man. Businesses still face the hurdle of multiple taxations coupled with the obdurate challenges of power and bad roads.

A good number of Nigeria’s 36 states are broke, largely dependent on monthly revenue hand-outs from the federal government. The bulk of these monthly federal allocations, in turn, go into servicing the salaries of civil servants with little or nothing left for the execution of capital projects and provision of social amenities. Yet some of these states offered subsidies for religious pilgrimages this year alone up to the tune of N50 billion.

President Muhammadu Buhari, whose campaign was built around his anti-corruption stance, has set about recovering funds looted under past administrations with resounding success. Critics, however, berate the former dictator for unlooking the corruption going on within his own administration. It took some weeks longer than necessary for President Buhari to suspend a high-ranking member of his government after he had been indicted for tampering with funds allotted for the care of those displaced by Boko Haram insurgency.

With the negative impression of an economy in a recession now dispensed with, the Nigerian government must keep its focus on providing an enabling environment to attract more investment and for businesses to thrive. Talks, for example, of reviving the defunct national airline, should take into consideration the huge drain on public revenue that South Africa’s romance with the same venture has been.

Abundance About to Replace Recession, By Yemi Osinbajo

A few minutes ago, I signed the 2017 Appropriations Bill into law. This is an important milestone in our economic recovery and Growth plan laid in April by President Muhammadu Buhari.

I would like to express my appreciation to the Senate President, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, as well as the entire leadership and members of the National Assembly for completing work on the 2017 Appropriation Bill. And I will return to this point presently.

The process of preparing and processing this Bill was much smoother than the 2016 Appropriations Bill. On the executive side, there were no allegations of errors, or mistakes, and there was a significant improvement in the quality of the preparation, as well as the presentation.

I wish to commend the Ministry of Budget and Planning for such a remarkable improvement over a single budget cycle.

On the side of the National Assembly, I wish to commend the collaborative spirit of the engagements our MDAs had with their various committees, and with the leadership, during the budget defence sessions. There were far fewer reported cases of acrimony, or hostile wrangling this year, than in the past.

From the reports we received, the sessions were generally conducted in a friendly atmosphere. There is no doubt that our democracy is maturing.

However, the final presentation and the signing of the budget has been considerably delayed. This was largely due to disagreements we had about the changes introduced to our 2017 Budget proposals by the National Assembly.

The executive took the view that the changes fundamentally affected some of our priority programmes and would make implementation extremely difficult and in some cases impossible.

I must say that the entire leadership of the National Assembly led by the Senate President and the Speaker, adopted a commendably patriotic and statesmanlike approach to our engagements on resolving these critical issues.

In sum, the engagements yielded acceptable results . The most important being that the leadership of the National Assembly has given us a commitment that the National Assembly will re-instate the budgetary allocations for all the important executive projects, such as the railway standard gauge projects, the Mambilla Power Project, the Second Niger Bridge, the Lagos – Ibadan Expressway etc. which they had reduced to fund some of the new projects they introduced.

This re-instatement will be by way of an application for virement by the Executive which they have agreed will be expeditiously considered and approved by the National Assembly.

The leadership of the National Assembly has given us a commitment that the National Assembly will re-instate the budgetary allocations for all the important executive projects, such as the railway standard gauge projects, the Mambilla Power Project, the Second Niger Bridge, the Lagos – Ibadan Expressway etc. which they had reduced to fund some of the new projects they introduced.

It is as a result of that understanding and the outcome of our detailed engagements that we feel able to sign the 2017 Appropriations Bill into law today.

I am also pleased to mention that, in our discussions with the leadership of the National Assembly, we have jointly resolved to return to a predictable January to December fiscal year.

It is a particularly important development because this accords with the financial year of most private sector companies, underscoring the crucial relationship between government and the private sector.

Therefore, on the understanding that we will be submitting the 2018 Budget to the National Assembly by October 2017, the leadership of the National Assembly has committed to working towards the passage of the 2018 Budget into law before the end of 2017. I must, once more, express my appreciation to the leadership of the National Assembly, for the collaborative spirit in which these discussions were conducted.

The 2017 Budget, which I have signed into law today, is christened “Budget of Economic Recovery and Growth” and reflects our commitment to ensure strong linkage between the medium-term Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) recently launched by His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari and the annual budgets.

It is designed to bring the Nigerian economy out of recession unto a path of sustainable and inclusive growth. The budget has a revenue projection of N5.08 trillion and an aggregate expenditure of N7.44 trillion. The projected fiscal deficit of N2.36 trillion is to be financed largely by borrowing.

Let me assure those who have expressed concern about the growing public debt that we are taking several actions to grow government revenues as well as plug revenue leakages. This is because, notwithstanding the fact that our borrowings are still within sustainability limits, we are determined, in the medium term, to reduce our reliance on borrowings to finance our expenditures.

Details of the budget, as approved by the National Assembly, will be made available by the Honourable Minister of Budget and National Planning.

As you are all aware, our economy is already signaling a gradual recovery as growth is headed towards positive territory. First quarter GDP, at -0.52% compares favourably with -2.06% in the first quarter of 2016.

Inflation is declining – down to 17.24% from 18.74% as at May 2016. Our external reserves are now US$30.28 billion as at June 8, 2017 up from US$26.59 billion as at May 31, 2016.

We are also gradually instilling confidence in our exchange rate regime. This improvement in GDP growth and other macro-economic indicators is largely attributable to our strategic implementation of the 2016 Budget as well as stronger macroeconomic management and policy coordination.

I am confident that the 2017 Budget will deliver positive economic growth and prosperity – one that is self-sustaining and inclusive. In this regard, the 2017 budget will be implemented in line with our Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.

Over the 2017-2020 plan period, we are focusing on five (5) key execution priorities, namely:

*Stabilizing the macroeconomic environment;

*Agriculture and Food security;

*Energy sufficiency in power and petroleum products;

*Improved transportation infrastructure; and

*Industrialization through support for micro, small and medium-scale enterprises (MSMEs).

The 2017 budget includes provisions that reflect these priorities.

To demonstrate our commitment to following through our Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, the 2017 budget allocates over N2 trillion to capital expenditure, principally infrastructure.

For instance, we are committing over N200 billion to improve transport infrastructure such as roads and rail; over N500 billion for investments in works, power, and housing; and N46 billion for Special Economic Zone Projects to be set up in each geopolitical zone.

The signing of the budget today will trigger activities in the domestic economy which will lead to job creation and more opportunities for employment, especially for our youth. And, as I indicated earlier, we will be returning to the National Assembly to seek upward adjustments by way of virements in relation to a number of critical projects which have received inadequate provision in the budget just passed by the National Assembly.

We acknowledge that government alone cannot achieve the overarching goal of delivering inclusive growth; that is why the 2017 budget provides a lot of opportunities for partnerships with the private sector.

To help the private sector thrive, we are determined to create an enabling business environment. We are already recording verifiable progress across several areas ranging from a new Visa-on-Arrival scheme to reforms at our ports and regulatory agencies.

The Online business registration process has reduced time required for business registration from 10 to 2 days. It is expected that the Executive Order on transparency and efficiency in the business environment will make it even easier for investors to get the permits and licenses they require for their businesses.

Pursuant to our commitments to the Open Government Partnership, we recently issued an Executive Order that will promote budget transparency, accountability and efficiency. We want to make the Federal budget work more efficiently for the people.

Thus, beyond the huge provisions for investments in critical infrastructure, we have mandated Government agencies to spend more of their budgets on locally produced goods. This will open more opportunities for job creation with benefits for government in form of tax revenues.

We are also working hard to improve our revenue collection efficiency so that we can achieve our revenue projections. While we are deploying technological tools to enhance collections, the implementation of the Treasury Single Account (TSA) will continue to contribute significantly to improving transparency and accountability over government revenues.

Our fight against corruption is yielding positive results. Some of the recoveries are included in the 2017 Budget which will be expended on identifiable capital projects.

Already, we are beginning to see some improvement in the quality of public expenditure. This is great motivation for us to remain resolute in our fight against corruption so that economic prosperity is enjoyed by all Nigerians.

Let me reiterate that the implementation of our 2017 Budget will bring added impetus to our ongoing economic recovery. We will intensify our economic diversification efforts in our bid to expand opportunities for wealth creation and employment, thereby creating inclusive and sustainable growth.

Our path to progress and abundance is clear. The tools are in place and the resilient, resourceful and hardworking Nigerian people are set to go. I have no doubt that by the grace of God, the bleakness of recession is about to witness the uplifting dawn of abundance.

God bless Federal Republic of Nigeria.

REMARKS BY AG. PRESIDENT YEMI OSINBAJO, SAN, AT THE SIGNING OF THE 2017 APPROPRIATION BILL INTO LAW ON MONDAY 12TH JUNE 2017 AT THE PRESIDENTIAL VILLA, ABUJA.

South Africa Falls into Second Recession in 10 Years

South Africa has fallen into recession for the first time in eight years after economic growth shrank by 0.7% between January and March.

The downturn, due to weak manufacturing and trade, follows a 0.3% fall in GDP in the final quarter last year.

It is the first time that economic has slowed for two consecutive quarters – the technical definition of a recession – since 2009.

The value of the rand fell by 1% on the currency markets. Analysts had expected GDP to grow by 0.9% during the first quarter. However, Joe de Beer, deputy director general of Statistics South Africa, said: “We can now pronounce that the economy is in recession.”

He added: “The major industries that contracted in the economy were the trade and manufacturing sectors.”
Junk status
Africa’s third-largest economy is under pressure after President Jacob Zuma fired its respected finance minister, Pravin Gordhan, earlier this year.

It prompted two credit rating agencies, Standard and Poor’s and Fitch, to downgrade South Africa’s credit worthiness to junk.

This means it is more expensive for South Africa to borrow money, because it is seen as having a higher risk defaulting on its debts.

Last week, S&P and Fitch pointed to further concerns about the South African economy, including uncertainty over who will succeed President Zuma as leader of the ruling African National Congress.
A successor is expected to be chosen in December, but Mr Zuma can remain as head of state until an election in 2019.

BBC Africa

Brazil Emerges From Recession as GDP Grows 1%

Brazil’s economy has grown 1% in the first three months of 2017, putting an end to the country’s longest recession in history, officials have announced.

The GDP increase came after two consecutive years of negative growth, during which the Brazilian economy shrank by almost 8%.

A record harvest of soybeans, one of Brazil’s main exports, gave the economy a boost.

But analysts warned Brazil could go back into recession in the near future.

A record 14 million people are unemployed according to official figures released earlier this week.

Uncertainty over the future of President Michel Temer has also rattled the markets.

Stock markets plummeted last month after a taped conversation was leaked in which the president seemed to discuss the payment of hush money to a jailed politician.

Mr Temer has denied the allegations, saying the tape had been “manipulated” but there have been growing calls for his resignation.

The ongoing corruption scandal has also thrown Mr Temer’s planned economic reforms into doubt.

The president wants to push austerity reforms through Congress to restore fiscal discipline but his plans have been met with street protests.

There has been particularly strong opposition to his proposal to overhaul the pension system and raise the retirement age to 62 for women and 65 for men.

The plan triggered Brazil’s first general strike in two decades.

Thursday’s GDP growth announcement is expected to bolster the president’s chances of staying in office and pushing through his reforms.

Economy Slowly Merging From Recession ―Presidency

THE Presidency on Tuesday said following the release by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) of the Quarter 1 Gross Domestic Products (GDP) 2017 figures, there were indications that the country’s economy was slowly moving out of recession.

According to a statement issued by the Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President on media and publicity, Laolu Akande, in Abuja, growth has been recorded in agricultural and manufacturing.

He said: “In an encouraging indication of a steady, even if slow progressive pace, the Nigerian economy is emerging out of recession.

“For instance, growth has continued in agriculture and a notable positive turnaround has now been recorded in manufacturing and non-oil sectors, while a slowdown in negative growth rates is noticed in several more sector.

He quoted a statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Economic Matters, Dr. Adeyemi Dipeolu, which showed that the economy shrank by 0.52% in the first quarter of 2017.

The statement added: “Although the economy remains in recession this is the strongest performance in five quarters and shows a significant turnaround from the low of -2.34% reached in the third quarter of 2016 (Q3 2016).

“This is nearly two percentage point improvement and also reflects the fact that the number of sub-sectors that experienced negative growth has almost halved falling from 29 sub-sectors for the whole of 2016 to 16 sub-sectors in Q1 2017.

“Agricultural growth remained in positive territory albeit growing at a slower rate of about 3.4%, no doubt due to seasonal factors.”

“Growth in manufacturing, on the other hand, returned to positive territory after five quarters of negative growth.  It grew by 1.36% in Q1 2017 after falling to a nadir of -7.0% in Q1 2016.”

“The solid mineral sector continued to justify the priority given to it by the Federal Government with high double-digit growth for metal ores and quarrying at 40.79% and 52.54% respectively.”

“Growth in the oil sector remained negative at -11.64% although there was an over six percentage point improvement in its fortunes from the previous quarter.”

“More significantly, the non-oil sector which accounts for about 90% of GDP returned to positive growth although at a marginal level of 0.72% in Q1 2017.  This is the first positive growth in the non-oil sector since the last quarter of 2015.”

“Headline inflation fell for the third month in a row to 17.24%, with core inflation also declining quite rapidly.”

Nigeria Almost Out Of Worst Recession In 29 Years

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), on Tuesday released the Gross Domestic Prodcut (GDP) report for the first quarter of 2017, which shows that Nigeria’s economy contracted by 0.52% year-on-year.

Last August, the NBS noted that the country’s first recession since the return of democracy in 1999, was the worst in nearly three decades.

The economy shrank by 2.06% in the second quarter of 2016, to hit its lowest point in nearly three decades.

According to World Bank data, the last time Nigeria had this magnitude of economic decline, was when Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida (IBB) was the Military Head of State.

At the time, the economy recorded consecutive decline of 0.51% and 0.82% in first and second quarters of 1987.

Recession is a Wake Up Call- Ambode

The economic recession which experts say Nigeria is climbing out of has been described as a wake-up call to rearrange recurrent expenditure and focus more on capital spending.

This was the position of the Lagos State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode at the 2017 Biennial Convention of the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) that was held in Ikeja.

The theme of the convention is “A Nation in Recession: Whither the Nigerian Media?”

According to Governor Ambode, contrary to the views held by most people, recession is not a crime but a period that calls for government at all levels to readjust.

The Governor sighted an example of the former U.S. President, Barak Obama who took steps a few years ago to save the ailing American economy by providing funds to assist businesses, saying that Nigeria must be ready to take cues from such.

“Recession is not a crime; it’s just a notice to say that you rearrange the way you do your public expenditure. That’s what President Obama did, there was a boom in 2008 and 2009 but he was very bold enough to put public money into General Motors and even the airlines, and that is what is missing in this country.”

“You need to increase the capital expenditure to help companies, to help other people and even help the government to get the system out of recession, that’s the only template that works,” Governor Ambode explained.

Lagos stood for Nigeria
Governor Ambode said the State stood in the gap for Nigeria in the heat of the economic recession, assuring that his administration would continue to show leadership, demonstrate capacity and be relentless in its pursuit of excellence despite the daunting challenges.

He said the current recessionary climate not only taught some hard lessons but presented a new challenge as well as an opportunity to think outside the box to change Nigeria’s story from “business as usual” to “business unusual.”

“The rate of unemployment soared as a result of the economic outlook, lay-offs and shut-down of businesses. The national unemployment rate rose to 13.9 percent in 2016 from 10.4 percent in 2015; while the unemployment rate in Lagos State increased from 18 percent in 2015 to 27 percent in 2016,” he reiterated.

Governor Ambode said what his administration did in the last two years was to commit huge resources to capital projects, premised on the fact that the nation had no choice but to spend its way out of recession and create platforms that would stimulate job creation.

Today, with our GDP at 136 billion US dollars, Lagos is Africa’s fifth largest economy just because we have been prudent and resilient as well as taking on board the useful opinions and analyses that the vibrant media have ceaselessly provided,” the Governor said.

VON

Nigeria’ll be out of recession by third quarter – Emefiele

The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, has said that with the current efforts by the Federal Government to revive the country’s economy, the country should be out of recession by the third quarter of this year.

Emefiele also said the CBN would continue with its intervention in the foreign exchange market, adding that efforts by the apex bank so far had been yielding positive results.

He added that the country had started to see a downward trend in the prices of commodities, indicating a reduction in the rate of inflation.

“We are very much optimistic that by the end of the second quarter, or latest the third quarter, we should be out of recession that we are in right now,” he said.

The CBN governor said these after meeting with the leadership of the Senate in Abuja on Tuesday.

In attendance at the closed door meeting were the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki; and Chairman, Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions, Rafiu Ibrahim.

Emefiele, while briefing journalists after the meeting, said discussions were held between the apex bank and the legislature on the current state of the economy.

The Punch

President Buhari Assures Nigerians of Better Days Ahead

Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari says the change agenda of the All Progressive Congress (APC) led government is working hard to better the lives of citizens contrary to insinuation from some quarters.

The President stated this in his message at the launching of the North West National Committee of Buhari Support Groups, (NCBSG) in Kano state north western Nigeria.

President Buhari gave the assurance that the effort and dedication of Nigerians will in no distant future change our country for the better.

“Your effort and dedication are very well known to me. We must work together to change our country for the better.”

“We must stand by regarding ourselves as examples; change begins with you and I and then all of us in Nigeria. You should carry this message to all corners of our country. It is a bottom up operation in our country. Successes at your level is success for all of us and our dear country.”

“I wish you a very successful launching and I looking forward to getting up to date reports of your activities”, stressed the President

The President’s message was read by Senator Ahmed Lawan who is the majority leader from Yobe state and North East coordinator of the group

New Hope

Senator Abu Ibrahim representing Katsina South Senatorial district who is also the interim Chairman Board of Trustees of NCBSG said that President Buhari’s policies and governance style is creating a new direction and hope for Nigerians for which he is committed and determined to achieve.

He said when President Muhammadu Buhari was elected into office, Nigerians did so with the conviction that our dear nation needed to be put on a new pedestal, for the dreams of our founding fathers to be realised.

He said “the president is creating the new hope through his anti-corruption war, rule of law for respect for everyone no matter who you are, winning the war against insurgency for peaceful co-existence of the nation and saving financial resources of the nation for the rainy day and more importantly for taking Nigeria out of economic recession within the shortest possible time as was announced at the recent world economic forum held in Washington”.

He said the appetite for corruption by some Nigerians is appalling as such citizens must stand up to fight the dreaded cankerworm that is eating deep into the fabrics of the nation.

“Recent gory news of the recoveries of stolen cash provides proof that some individuals behaved like delinquent juveniles, to paraphrase Mr. President, when they had the opportunity to lead this great nation.”

“We must stand firm and resolute to say NEVER AGAIN shall we allow the destiny of Nigeria in the hands of unscrupulous abusers of public trust, wanton riggers of elections and peddlers of thuggery. They should never be allowed to tie down the destiny of this land of inestimable potential, to their whims and caprices”, admonished Senator Abu.

He said those who mismanaged the economy will always fight back as such a common front of resistance must be formed.

“This land belongs to all of us and we must be proud to work tirelessly to make it better for our children and our children’s children. Let the naysayers know that we shall never give up this God-given right.

“We were convinced of the need to establish a firm foundation upon which a united, peaceful and prosperous nation can be built by, and for, this and succeeding generations of Nigerians”, said the interim chairman BOT NCBSG

According to him, “the group was formed with the mandate to coordinate and organise the affairs of the various Buhari Support Groups that participated in the enthronement and ascension to office of President Muhammadu Buhari through the 2015 election.”

The Senator commended and told the group from the north west zone that these pre-existing support groups piloted the grassroots initiatives via which our Dear President’s message of hope was delivered to all the nooks and crannies of the country and we intend to keep them as channels of outreach and feedback between the government and the citizenry.

Senators from Katsina, Yobe, Ondo as well as house of representative members and some top government dignitaries and politicians graced the launching.

Silent Revolution

Also speaking at the event, the Director General of Voice of Nigeria, VON, Osita Okechukwu said that the President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari is carrying out of silent revolution in Nigeria, especially in the South East to enhance the socio-economic status of the people.

He said “the president recently ordered that all abandoned projects in the country including that of the south east be completed promptly.”

He said the development is attracting political big wigs in the south east to the All Progressive congress.

“If you ask yourself, why these people are coming to APC, the simple answer is that they are coming to the APC because of the silent revolution of President Buhari, especially in the south east. For example, all the federal roads abandoned; Enugu –Onitsha, Port Harcourt – Enugu, the second Niger Bridge among others, Mr. President has started work on them which has never happened in a long time”, stressed Dg VON

He said the South East people are excited with the anti-corruption war of the president.

“Today my people are happy with President Buhari’s ant-corruption war because if you see government today money, you cannot touch it freely like before. It has to be spent on what it is meant for. All the Barawos (thieves) are going to jail. Even those of us appointed, we now know that we have nowhere to keep government money that is stolen”, explained Mr.Osita.

He said in previous elections where Buhari contested for Presidency, the Ibos did not vote for him, but all that have changed now as they are ready to back him overwhelmingly in 2019, because of his good work.

He said “in 2003, 2007, 2011 and 2016 when Buhari contested for the presidential elections, the Ibos did not vote for him but what is happening now is that those people who said they will not vote for Buhari have all changed their mind.”

“Starting from Ebony state, the current governor has said whatever PDP does he will never vote for their presidential candidate, the former governor Elechi is now with APC. In Enugu state, the former governor Sulivan Chime is with APC, the governor of old Anambra state, Senator Jim Nwobodo is now with APC. In Abia state, all the senators, former governor and the present governor are all coming to APC. Already we have Imo state,” re-emphasised Osita, the South East Coordinator of NCBSG

Senator, Robert Boroface of Ondo state representing South West as the Coordinator NCBSG said Buhari is a gift to the country Nigeria as such everything will be done to make him succeed and continue with the good leadership.

VON

Nigeria’s Economic Recovery Plan Gets IMF Endorsement

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) wednesday endorsed the Economic Recovery Growth Plan (ERGP) 2017- 2020, launched recently by the federal government applauding it as “how fiscal policy should be thought in developing countries.”

The Fund’s Director, Fiscal Affairs Department, Mr. Vitor Gaspar, conveyed its position on the plan while responding to a question from THISDAY, during a media briefing on the IMF Fiscal Monitor press conference at the ongoing IMF/World Bank Spring meetings in Washington DC.

The IMF official said he had the privilege of visiting Nigeria some months ago and was very happy to understand that for the Nigerian government, fiscal policies in general and tax policy in particular were part of the strategy for development.

Also, IMF’s Assistant Director/Head, Fiscal Policy and Surveillance, Catherine Pattillo, welcomed the country’s ERGP, saying its focus on diversification and attention to some of the problems facing the economy were steps in the right direction.

According to Pattillo: “We very much welcome the ERGP. As you are aware, Nigeria went into recession last year, there have been forecasted recovery, but still very fragile this year and the need to address the fiscal situation is urgent. Our recommendation is for the continued fiscal consolidation.

“One striking statistics I think is the fact that over the past years, the ratio of interest payment to tax revenue has doubled to 66 per cent in Nigeria. So, two-thirds of all tax revenue is going into interest payment, illustrating the need to raise tax revenue. That would allow the government to implement the social and growth-friendly policies that are part of the objectives of the ERGP.”

A fortnight ago, President Muhammadu Buhari launched the ERGP 2017-2020. The Medium-Term plan has among its broad strategic objectives, the restoration of sustainable, accelerated and inclusive growth and development; investing in the people and building a globally competitive economy.

Meanwhile, the economic growth in Sub-Saharan Africa has been projected to rebound in 2017 after registering the worst decline in more than two decades in 2016, according to the new Africa’s Pulse, a bi-annual analysis of the state of African economies conducted by the World Bank.

The region is showing signs of recovery, and regional growth is projected to reach 2.6 per cent in 2017, the report released on the side-lines of the ongoing meetings in Washington stated.

However, it anticipated that the recovery will remain weak, with growth expected to rise only slightly above population growth, a pace that hampers efforts to boost employment and reduce poverty.

“Nigeria, South Africa, and Angola, the continent’s largest economies, are seeing a rebound from the sharp slowdown in 2016, but the recovery has been slow due to insufficient adjustment to low commodity prices and policy uncertainty. Furthermore, several oil exporters in the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC) are facing economic difficulties,” the journal said.

The latest data revealed that seven countries (Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, Rwanda, Senegal, and Tanzania) continued to exhibit economic resilience, supported by domestic demand, posting annual growth rates above 5.4 per cent in 2015-2017. These countries house nearly 27 per cent of the region’s population and account for 13 per cent of the region’s total GDP.

According to the journal: “The global economic outlook is improving and should support the recovery in the region. Africa’s Pulse notes that the continent’s aggregate growth is expected to rise to 3.2 per cent in 2018 and 3.5 per cent in 2019, reflecting a recovery in the largest economies.

“It will remain subdued for oil exporters, while metal exporters are projected to see a moderate uptick. GDP growth in countries whose economies depend less on extractive commodities should remain robust, underpinned by infrastructure investments, resilient services sectors, and the recovery of agricultural production. This is especially the case for Ethiopia, Senegal, and Tanzania.

Quoting World Bank Chief Economist for the Africa Region, Albert G. Zeufack, it said: “A stronger-than-expected tightening of global financing conditions, weaker improvements in commodity prices, and a rise in protectionist sentiment represent downside external risks to the outlook. On the domestic front, risks to the current recovery stem from an inadequate pace of reforms, rising security threats, and political volatility ahead of elections in some countries.

The report which was written by World Bank Lead Economist, Punam Chuhan-Pole, explained that as countries moved towards fiscal adjustment, there was need to protect the right conditions for investment so that Sub-Saharan African countries achieve a more robust recovery.

“With poverty rates still high, regaining the growth momentum is imperative. Growth needs to be more inclusive and will involve tackling the slowdown in investment and the high trade logistics that stand in the way of competitiveness,” it said.

 

Source : THISDAY