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Economic Council Moves To Endorse New Petrol Price, Complete Deregulation

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Economic Council Moves To Endorse New Petrol Price, Complete Deregulation
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Economic Council Moves To Endorse New Petrol Price, Complete Deregulation

The National Economic Council (NEC) Thursday received and discussed the initial report of its Ad-Hoc Committee interfacing with the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC)…
By Muideen Olaniyi
The National Economic Council (NEC) Thursday received and discussed the initial report of its Ad-Hoc Committee interfacing with the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) on the complete deregulation of the downstream sub-sector of the industry, and appropriate pricing of petrol.

Laolu Akande, the spokesman of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, in a statement issued after the meeting presided over by his principal, said observations and comments were made and it was resolved that an updated version would be submitted by the Committee inclusive of observations raised and an updated report be made to the National Economic Council for further action.

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Akande said the Council also noted that the Federal Government was working out modalities of providing Autogas conversion kits, and Compressed Natural Gas (CNG)/ Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), mass transit buses to major cities nationwide as cheaper alternatives to PMS/petrol for transportation and fuel.

He said the council received updates on the FG Budget Support Facility to States as the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning informed the Council that with the agreement reached on the matter with the CBN providing a bridge financing facility to the States, deductions from State Governments will now commence from July.

The presidential aide said NEC urged State Governments to take proactive and necessary mitigative measures in addressing the envisaged 2021 flood disaster in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic while encouraging relevant Federal ministries, departments, and agencies (MDAs) to take necessary actions.

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Economic Council Moves To Endorse New Petrol Price, Complete Deregulation

Ahead of next week’s Sallah festivities, the council urged strict adherence to the COVID-19 response guidelines across the country, after receiving a regular state performance report from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

According to the report, the Coronavirus positivity rate has gone up in the country just as 3 cases of the Delta variant have now been detected.

The NCDC, therefore, urged the Council to ensure the sustenance of effective COVID-19 response nationwide, while improving public health awareness, adherence to public health, and social measures.

The NEC Ad-hoc Committee interfacing with the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 led by Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, Delta State Governor, while briefing the meeting, said State Governors will continue to monitor the situation for the next one week to see if there will be need for an emergency Ad-hoc committee meeting on the situation.

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The Council also received an update on cholera cases in some parts of the country.

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Why We Place Job Creation Ahead Of Others – Osinbajo

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Why We Place Job Creation Ahead Of Others - Osinbajo
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Why We Place Job Creation Ahead Of Others – Osinbajo

STATE HOUSE PRESS RELEASE

…Receives NDC Course 29 research report

…VP commends restructuring of Nigeria’s stock exchange

Determined to create more opportunities for Nigerians and close the unemployment gap in the country, the Buhari administration has over the years, prioritized employment generation by integrating job creation in all its major policies, projects and programmes, according to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN.

Prof. Osinbajo disclosed this on Monday at the formal presentation of the Research Report of Course 29 of the National Defence College, titled “Creating Jobs & Opportunities for Africa’s Largest Youth Population”, at the Presidential Villa.

According to him, “If you recall, when the President was speaking concerning the budget in 2019, he mentioned that one of the critical things to do, concerning every Minister, is that, with every policy, we must state how many jobs to create.

“So, the key question that we ask regarding any government policy is how many jobs will this bring about, how many jobs it will create. And aside from that, there have also been several engagements with different policy bodies and ideas concerning job creation.”

Continuing, the VP said, “the whole idea of creating jobs and opportunities especially in an economy this size, is that government’s involvement must be in creating the enabling environment.”

Speaking on some of the programmes specifically designed to create jobs, Prof. Osinbajo noted that “you are probably aware of the current effort of the Presidential Economic Advisory Council which was launched recently – the National Poverty Reduction with Growth Strategy, which I have the privilege of chairing its Steering Committee. This is another of the very broad plans of creating opportunities and more jobs.”

The VP noted that “there are also other several job initiatives. The Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP) is a major plan of job creation, as a matter of fact, the major focus of our ESP is job creation – sustaining existing jobs and then being able to create other jobs.”

“The Food for Jobs programme which is an agricultural programme is a major initiative that has led to the identification of 5 million farmers, and these farmers are geo-tagged to their farmlands which is the first time that this has been done in the history of the country.

“They now have BVN numbers so that loans can be given to them and farm inputs as well. So, the Food for Jobs Programme is a major agricultural plan” Prof. Osinbajo added.

The Vice President also spoke about the social housing and solar connections being components of the ESP which have been prioritized by the Buhari administration to create jobs directly and indirectly for thousands of Nigerians, especially youths across the country.

Commending the management of the College, the VP said the NDC research initiative has been “extremely useful in agitating the ideas, thoughts and policies that could influence the direction of government.”

His words: “I really want to commend the resourceful and insightful work that has been done especially with this issue of job creation, as you can imagine, this is obviously one of the critical problems that we have as an economy and a nation.”

Earlier in his remarks, the Commandant of the National Defence College, Rear Admiral Oladele Daji, said the presentation of the research report was in response to the request by the Vice President to look into job creation scenarios and strategy.

He noted that Course 29 of the College which comprised 96 participants across services within and outside the country, was presenting the report in fulfillment of the Higher Defence Management and Strategic Research.

The research report was presented on behalf of the Course 29 participants by Navy Capt TS Ngada. In 2019, the Vice President received a report from Course 27 on “Water Resource Management and Regional Security: Lake Chad in perspective”, and in 2020, Course 28 participants made a virtual presentation to the VP on “Border Management & National Development”.

Why We Place Job Creation Ahead Of Others – Osinbajo

In another development, Prof. Osinbajo has commended the completion of the demutualization of the stock exchange, noting that “it is a welcome development and fantastic that the process is now complete.”

The Vice President stated this when he received, on a courtesy visit to the Presidential Villa, the management of the Nigerian Exchange Limited led by its Chief Executive Officer, Mr Temi Popoola. The delegation made a presentation on the post-demutualization activities of the Nigerian Exchange Group to the VP, who urged the management of the company to explore areas of growing the stock market by venturing into emerging frontiers.

He assured the management of government’s support by way of policy to enable the company and the stock market reach greater heights.

Earlier in his presentation, the CEO of the Nigerian Exchange Ltd, Mr Popoola said the organisation has been repositioned for profit and to align to the tastes and preferences of the market.

He said under the new arrangement, the market will be opened up for more companies to be listed, resulting in more revenues for government as listed companies pay more taxes and are more responsible to the environment they operate in.

He appealed to the Federal Government to support the rejuvenation of the stock exchange, assuring of better times ahead both for the public and corporate.

Laolu Akande
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity
Office of the Vice President
2nd August 2021

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Nigeria’s Loans From World Bank, AfDB Rise To $14.25 Billion Under Buhari

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Nigeria’s Loans From World Bank, AfDB Rise To $14.25 Billion Under Buhari
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Nigeria’s Loans From World Bank, AfDB Rise To $14.25 Billion Under Buhari

Nigeria’s liabilities to the World Bank and the African Development Bank rose from $7.14bn to $14.25bn between June 30, 2015 and March 31, 2021, data obtained from the Debt Management Office have shown.

This means that the commitment of the banks to the country rose by $7.11bn within the period under review. This represents an increase of 98.48 per cent.

As of June 30, 2015, the Federal Government had borrowed a total sum of $6.19bn from the World Bank.

A breakdown of the group’s portfolio in the country shows that a greater part of the loans was obtained from the International Development Association, an arm of the World Bank that specialises in giving concessional loans to poor and fragile countries.

The IDA commitment to Nigeria amounted to $6.09bn.

Another member of the group, the International Fund for Agricultural Development, had a commitment of $94.80m in the country.

Similarly, at the same time, the AfDB commitment to the country stood at $946.52m, comprising loans from various internal bodies such as the African Development Bank ($350m) and African Development Fund ($596.53m).

By March 31, 2021, the Federal Government’s debt to the World Bank had risen to $11.51bn, reflecting a $5.32bn or 86 per cent increase.

This debt portfolio included loans of $11.10bn and $410.23m from the International Development Association and International Bank for Reconstruction and Development respectively.

With a commitment of $11.51bn, the World Bank is responsible for 35.02 per cent of Nigeria’s foreign portfolio of $32.86bn as of March 31.

Nigeria’s Loans From World Bank, AfDB Rise To $14.25 Billion Under Buhari

At the same period, the Federal Government acquired $1.59bn from the AfDB, $0.21m from Africa Growing Together Fund and $942.51m from ADF.

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This brought the AfDB’s commitment to the country to $2.74bn, representing 8.3 per cent of the country’s total external debt.

Most of the loans from the World Bank and the AfDB were tied to a programme or infrastructure project.

On December 14 2020, for instance, the World Bank approved a $1.5bn loan to Nigeria, earmarked for two projects: Nigeria COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus Programme and The State Fiscal Transparency, Accountability, and Sustainability Programme.

On June 27, 2018, the bank approved a loan of $775m for the following projects: Fiscal Governance and Institutions Project, Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project – Additional Financing, Nigeria Polio Eradication Support Project Additional Financing, Nigeria Electrification Project and the State Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability scheme.

On March 23, 2017, the bank approved a $200m credit for the implementation of the Agro-Processing, Agricultural Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support Project and Nigeria, while $150m credit was offered for Mineral Sector Support for Economic Diversification Project on April 14 same year.

On June 7, 2016, the bank approved a $1.1bn credit as additional finance to fund the following projects: State Education Program Investment Project, Community and Social Development, Nigeria Youth Employment and Social Support, State Health Investment Project, Third National Fadama Development Project, NG-Polio Eradication Support Project and the National Social Safety Nets Project.

One of the loans approved by the Board of Directors of the AfDB to the Nigerian government is a financing package comprising $150m ADB loan, $100m ADF loan and the £5m RWSSI Grant Facility, to finance the Inclusive Basic Service Delivery and Livelihood Empowerment Integrated Programme on December 14, 2016.

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Also in 2016 but on December 16, another loan was approved, which was a financing package of $100m, comprising $80m loan and $20m equity for the rehabilitation of the Kainji and Jebba hydro plants.

On December 3, 2018, the Board of Directors of the AfDB approved a $150m sovereign loan to finance the Nigeria Electrification Project.

Another loan was approved on April 24, 2019, which was a $70m loan for a road project in Nigeria’s Southeastern Ebonyi State with the bank providing $40m and its co-financier, AGTF, contributing $30m.

On June 5, 2020, a $288.5m loan was approved to help Nigeria tackle the COVID-19 pandemic and mitigate its impact on people and businesses.

As of March 31 2021, 54.26 per cent of the country’s external debt portfolio belonged to multilateral organisations including the International Monetary Fund ($3.48bn), Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa ($5.88m), European Development Fund ($51.33m) and Islamic Development Bank ($29.72m) and $223.28m from International Fund for Agricultural Development.

Bilateral debts make up $4.18bn or 12.73 per cent of the country’s external debt exposure.

Nigeria’s is currently indebted to the following bilateral agencies: Export Import Bank of China, with a portfolio of $3.40bn; the Exim Bank of India, with a portfolio of $34.95m; the Agence Française de Développement, with a portfolio of $486.6m; the Japan International Cooperation Agency, with a portfolio of $74.6m; and Germany, with a portfolio of $183.7m.

Commercial loans now comprise 32.47 per cent of the country’s external debt exposure, with a value of $10.67bn.

These loans include $10.36bn Eurobonds, and $300bn Diaspora Bond, through which the Federal Government borrowed from Nigerians living abroad.

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On the other hand, as of June 30 2015, Eurobond was the only commercial loan available and it constituted 14.54 per cent of the country’s external debt exposure with a value of $1.5bn.

Meanwhile, multilateral sources constituted 70.11 per cent of the country’s external debt exposure at the stated period while bilateral sources made up 15.35 per cent of the country’s total foreign debt exposure of $10.32bn.

Financial experts have continually condemned the huge borrowings of the Federal Government, noting that the country’s rapidly growing debt profile is detrimental to the economy.

The President of the AfDB, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, had during the virtual launch of the African Economic Outlook 2021 described debts owed by African countries including Nigeria as unsustainable.

Adesina had said, “The issue of debt is so fundamental because it’s like you are running up a hill but you have a bag full of sand on your back; you can’t go far. The amount of debt that we have is not sustainable.

“The amount of debt that we have right now is about 70 to 75 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product. It used to be sustainable, but what is even more alarming is the structure of the debt, where the debt right now is largely in the hands of commercial creditors, almost $337bn in terms of high creditors and those that are the private creditors without any type of securitisation for it.”

He added that this was very worrying.

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CBN To Refund ₦35 Million Capital Deposits To BDC Applicants

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CBN To Refund ₦35 Million Capital Deposits To BDC Applicants
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CBN To Refund ₦35 Million Capital Deposits To BDC Applicants

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Thursday says it will start immediate refund of capital deposit to Bureaux de Change (BDC) promoters with pending applications.

According to a circular signed by Ibrahim Tukur for the Director, Financial Policy and Regulation Department of the apex bank, this is in furtherance of the decision to discontinue allocation of Foreign Exchange (FX) to BDC operators.

Tukur urged eligible promoters of BDCs to forward their application for refund in writing to the Director, Financial
Policy and Regulation Department of the CBN.

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CBN To Refund ₦35 Million Capital Deposits To BDC Applicants

“The requests should be accompanied with the following documents: “Telex copy of the capital deposit of N35 million; account details for the refund, which should be the same as the account from which the capital deposit originated, including the Bank name, account name and account number.

“Copy of the bank draft/telex for payment of licensing fee of NI million (if any),” he said.

He advised eligible applicants to submit hardcopies of their requests to CBN Head Office, Central in Abuja or the Annex in Lagos, while urging commercial banks to stop processing payments for their customers.

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“Softcopy of the request in above may be sent in advance of the hard copy to fprdlicensinq@cbn.gov.ng.

“In addition, all Deposit Money Banks are hereby directed to henceforth stop accepting instructions from customers to transfer capital deposit of N35 million to the designated CBN account for the purpose of applying for BDC licences,” he said.

(NAN)

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