World Bank has told Nigeria to do everything in its power to lift several people out of extreme poverty in the country by investing in social investment programmes.
This call was made by the Rachid Benmessaoud, World Bank Country Director who said this at the launch of the Africa Social Safety Nets Report by the National Social Safety Nets Coordinating Office (NASSCO) and World Bank.
The Details: Nigeria has not been doing enough to fight poverty from its shores. In fact, Nigeria has only spent less than 3% of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on social investments. This development has been mind-boggling to Benmessaoud who emphasized the need for the Federal Government to not only fight poverty but also improve economic growth and raise human capital.
Benmessaoud said the World Bank was caring enough to support Nigeria’s social investments and even went ahead to create a Social Registry, containing legitimate names of poor households in parts of the country. This resource built by the World Bank has helped Nigeria in reaching vulnerable people through targeted intervention programmes like conditional cash transfers.
Opposing voices: Unwilling to go down without a fight, Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed disputed the World Bank claims as well as the Social Safety Nets report, saying that Nigeria spends more than 3% of GDP on social investments.
Ahmed argued that the report failed to acknowledge other social protection programmes like pensions, health insurance and interventions that targets people living with disabilities.
However, the National Coordinator of the National Social Safety-Nets Coordinating Office (NASSCO), Mr Iorwa Apera, promised to work on the next report of social safety nets. He also promised to give a more holistic picture of government’s spending on pro-poor programmes.
What you should know: The Federal Government of Nigeria established the National Social Investments Programmes in 2016, to tackle poverty and hunger across the country.
- The N-power programme is designed to assist the unemployed between the ages of 18 to 35 to acquire and develop life-long skills and are given a stipend of N30,000 monthly.
- The Conditional Cash Transfer programme directly supports those within the lowest poverty bracket by giving them monthly stipends of N5,000.
- The Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme is a micro-lending intervention that provides loans between 10,000 and 100,000 to petty traders, artisans, enterprising youth, farmers and women.
- The Home-Grown School Feeding Programme focuses on increasing school enrollment by feeding children in public schools from class one to three while simultaneously empowering community women and small farmers.
Central banks digital currencies pose a threat against the U.S dollar
In general, digital currencies could weaken the power of U.S. sanctions and the ability of the U.S. Treasury to watch illicit financial flows.
A new report by America’s biggest bank, JP Morgan Chase, said the U.S dollar is being faced with a major threat as many central banks’ digital currencies continue to gain traction.
Analysts, including Josh Younger, the head of U.S. interest-rate derivatives strategy and Michael Feroli, the chief U.S. economist, wrote in a report saying this:
“There is no country with more to lose from the disruptive potential of digital currency than the United States.
“This revolves primarily around U.S. dollar hegemony. Issuing the global reserve currency and the medium of exchange for international trade in commodities, goods, and services convey immense advantages.”
Aditi Kumar and Eric Rosenbach also recently penned an opinion piece for Foreign Affairs in which they noted that “Just recently, America’s arch-rival China became the first major economy to carry a real test of a national digital currency.”
In general, electronic currencies could weaken the power of U.S. sanctions and the ability of the U.S. Treasury to watch illicit financial flows. A digital Chinese currency (yuan) combined with China’s developed electronic payment systems may give China more future influence than it ever bargained for.
What Nigerians should know about Digital currencies
A digital currency is a cash balance recorded electronically on a store value card or other physical devices, which could someday replace the physical notes of the naira, for instance.
Digital currencies can be decentralized, that is where the control over the cash supply can come from diverse sources. Digital currencies can also be centralized, where there is a midway point of control over cash supply, just like the way central banks work.
Although JP Morgan does not see the U.S dollar being overthrown as the world’s reserve currency anytime soon, experts warned that the U.S dollar dominance could weaken. This is because its processing trade settlement and the SWIFT system could make it more vulnerable.
The American bank continued by saying:
“Offering a cross-border payment solution built on top of a digital dollar would, particularly if designed to be minimally disruptive to the structure of the domestic financial system, be a very modest investment to protect a key means to project power in the global economy,
“For high-income countries and the U.S. in particular, digital currency is an exercise in geopolitical risk management.”
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said months ago that the Federal Reserve was taking a critical view on the issues regarding a digital currency.
Dollar gains against major currencies
U.S dollar stood firm against major currencies on Monday as fears over rising tensions between America and China over Beijing’s plans to begin
The U.S dollar was up on Monday morning during London’s trading session after protests in Hong Kong yesterday escalated U.S-China tensions.
US dollar stood firm against major currencies on Monday as fears over rising tensions between America and China heightened.
The American Dollar Index that monitors the U.S dollar against a basket of other major currencies was slightly up 0.02% to 99.945 by 11.10 am Nigerian local time.
What it means: Nigerians hoping to meet a foreign exchange payment obligation, transactions via the dollar to countries like Europe, Japan, would have the need to pay fewer dollars to fulfill such transactions.
Meanwhile, the friendship between the Americans and Chinese has soured lately since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. US President Trump and President Jinping of China have traded words against each other issues surrounding COVID-19, including accusations of lack of transparency and cover-ups.
Consequently, the U.S. Commerce Department added 33 Chinese businesses to a blacklist on Friday, and some U.S. Senators proposed sanctions on those businesses.
“The biggest concern is the tension between the United States and China, things were already bad, and it is likely to get worse because of the Hong Kong security law. This supports risk-off trades, which is positive for the dollar and the yen,” Tekuya Kanda, the general manager of research at Gaitame.com Research Institute, told Reuters.
Air Peace to evacuate stranded Indians from Lagos to Kerala
A list of the passengers to be attended to has already been given and the flight shall depart Lagos on May 30, 2020, to Cochin Airport, Kerala.
The management of Air Peace Nigeria has been contacted by the Indian High Commission in Nigeria to undertake the evacuation of stranded Indian nationals to Kerala, India. This was disclosed by the airline via its Twitter handle.
The airline explained that a list of passengers that would be attended to have been released and it has started reaching out to the Indians on Saturday.
It stated, “A list of the passengers to be attended to has already been given to us and we have commenced reaching out to them. The flight shall depart Lagos on May 30, 2020, to Cochin Airport, Kerala.”
The flight is not free anyway. According to the airline, payments are expected immediately and they are Economy is $1.300 and Business class is tag $1,700. “You are equally allowed to pay in Naira at N460/$,” it added.
PUBLIC NOTICE (23-05-2020) pic.twitter.com/bn0xNxnRmO
— Air Peace (@flyairpeace) May 23, 2020
However, some Indians in Nigeria has reacted with mixed feelings to the development on Twitter. While some were ready to join the flight back home, others called for the refund of ticket fare booked a week ago.
For instance, Jayant Khamesra requested for the refund ticket fare of N568, 100, which he paid for a flight from Lagos to Delhi.
He said, “Please refund ticket fare P47812 LAGOS to DELHI. No show by Air Peace and it is been 1 week now, there has been no refund or confirmation of the same. Reference ALHN79 amount N568,100. I am sure a good world-class carrier like Air Peace won’t delay refunds purposely. Please act fast.
Pls refund ticket fare P47812 LAGOS to DELHI – NO SHOW by AirPeace and it’s been 1 week now —- there has been no refund or confirmation of the same. Reference ALHN79 Amount 568100 NGN. Am sure a good world class carrier like AIRPEACE won’t delay refunds purposely. Pls act fast
— Jayant Khamesra (@JKhamesra) May 23, 2020