In order to fund the 2017 budget – its largest budget ever, Nigeria has borrowed extensively from foreign development institutions and the international capital market. This morning on CNBC Africa, we caught up with Nigeria’s Finance Minister, Kemi Adeosun from the sidelines of the IMF/World Bank spring meetings. In this interview, she addresses the concerns that many have over Nigeria’s foreign debt, the country’s need to generate more revenue from taxes, as well as the future of Nigeria’s economy.
Here are some quotes:
On the improvements in the oil price and OPEC
“We’re very much benefitting from the improved oil price, it went as low as $28, where it is at the moment gives us a little bit more of an ability to plan.”
“The real impact for us hasn’t been in price it’s been in quantity. As you know we had real challenges in the Niger Delta which almost halved our production. So we’re getting our production back up and that’s giving us a little bit more fiscal space to do the things that we need.”
“I’m confident that all the players involved know that we need stability around price.”
“I’m not sure that I agree that OPEC is the reason that we will get out of recession. We will get out of recession because we’re following the right types of policies.”
On Nigeria’s borrowing
“We are borrowing to fund infrastructure projects.”
“Our debt to GDP ratio is actually quite low. We are at 13%. Even with adjustments and rounding errors and with the new borrowings we’ve done, we are maybe 15%”
“Our problem is debt service takes up so much of our revenue. The problem is not that the debt is too high, it is that the revenue is too low and that’s what we’re trying to correct.”
On reducing Nigeria’s dependence on Oil
“Nigeria, despite being a very big oil producer, oil is only 10% of our GDP, so one of our challenges and one of the things we’re trying to correct is the other 90% of the economy, getting it to contribute more to government revenues.”
“We have a tax to GDP ratio of 6% one of the lowest in the world.”
“Our focus has to be on getting revenue higher. That is the challenge.”
“Getting more people into the tax net is the longer term solution.”
“We cannot sustainably grow the economy if we continue to have a very low tax to GDP ratio.”
“We have already registered over 125,000 companies that had never paid any tax.”
On getting Nigeria out of recession
“Our objective is not just to get out of recession it is to grow and grow sustainably”
“The pace might seem for some slow, but what I will say is this is a reset. This isn’t a sort of, little bit of adjustment here and there to a strategy that was generally working. This is a complete reset and step change in terms of how we’re managing the economy and therefore you might not see the sort of sign posts you expect to see if there was just a little bit of adjustment. These are fundamental things.”
It will take a little bit more time to begin to see the benefits, but the benefits will come.
On the recent peace in the Niger Delta
“The work that the Vice President and his team have done in the Niger Delta has been first rate”
“It started as a fragile peace, but it now seems to be a sustainable and lasting peace.
On her big goal for the year
“Improving non-oil revenues. That’s an objective that we’ve set. It’s something that we are working very hard on.”
On Donald Trump’s Africa Policy
The American Government recognises the importance of Africa, and I think we’ll just have to see what policies they come up with. But I mean we’re focused on our own challenges and our own agenda.”
On Africa as an investment destination
“African has always been this sort of very compelling investment destination.”
“Everybody that is looking for growth, looking for yield, is looking at Africa and it is for us making sure that that delivers sustainable growth for the African people, for the Nigerian people specifically, but the African people in general.”
Nigeria’s unemployment rate jumps to 27.1% as at 2020 Q2
Nigeria’s unemployment rate as at the second quarter of 2020 is 27.1% meaning about 21.7 million Nigerians remain unemployed.
Nigeria’s unemployment rate as at the second quarter of 2020 is 27.1% indicating that about 21,764,614 (21.7 million) Nigerians remain unemployed.
Nigeria’s unemployment and underemployment rate (28.6%) is a combined 55.7%. This means the total number of Nigerians who are unemployed or underemployed as at 2020 Q2.
This is contained in a recently released unemployment data report published by the National Bureau of Statistics. Nigeria’s unemployment rate was 23.1% in Q3 2018 confirming it increased by 4% points between then and the second quarter of 2020.
- The number of persons in the economically active or working-age population (15 – 64 years of age) during the reference period of the survey, Q2, 2020 was 116,871,186.
- The number of persons in the labour force (i.e. people within ages 15 -64, who are able and willing to work) was estimated to be 80,291,894. This was 11.3% less than the number persons in Q3, 2018. Of this number, those within the age bracket of 25-34 were highest, with 23,328,460 or 29.1% of the labour force.
- The total number of people in employment (i.e. people with jobs) during the reference period was dwellers, it rose to 31.5% from 22.8%, while the rate among urban dwellers rose to 23.2% from 58,527,276.
- Of this number, 35,585,274 were full-time employed (i.e. worked 40+ hours per week), while 22,942,003 were under-employed (i.e. working between 20-29 hours per week). This figure is 15.8% less than the people in employment in Q3, 2020
- The unemployment rate during the reference period, Q2, 2020 was 27.1%, up from the 23.1% recorded in Q3, 2018. The underemployment rate increased from 20.1% in Q3, 2018 to 28.6%.
- For the period under review, Q2, 2020, the unemployment rate among young people (15-34years) was 34.9%, up from 29.7%, while the rate of underemployment for the same age group rose to 28.2% from 25.7% in Q3, 2018. These rates were the highest when compared to other age groupings.
The data is coming after nearly two years when the last data was published. The bureau last published jobs data in the third quarter of 2018 citing funding as a major challenge.
- Nigeria’s youth remain the hardest hit by unemployment with over 13.9 million people aged between 15 and 34 years unemployed.
- The data also shows 7.6 million of this subset did nothing.
- Women also continue to bear the brunch of bad economy with about 12.2 million out of jobs from the 27 million currently unemployed.
- Graduates and post graduates combined made up about 2.9 million of the total Nigerians that are unemployed.
- In a surpising data, out of the 35.5 million Nigerians that are fully employed, 28.8 million of them never attended school (6.29 million) or did not have a tertiary education (22.5).
- In fact, most fully employed people in Nigeria with SSS (Senior Secondary School certificates) are a whopping 13.2 million.
NBC slams N5 million fine on Nigeria Info over Mailafia’s inciting comments
This was contained in a press statement which was issued by NBC on Thursday.
The Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has slammed a fine of N5m on a radio station, Nigeria Info, over the recent claim by a former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Dr Obadiah Mailafia.
Mailafia, in an interview in one of the radio station’s programmes, claimed that some of the repentant Boko Haram militants confessed that one of the northern governors is the commander of Boko Haram in Nigeria.
This was contained in a press statement which was issued by NBC on Thursday, August 13, 2020, titled, ‘’The National Broadcasting Commission fines Nigeria Info 99.3 for Unprofessional Broadcast’’.
The NBC expressed its displeasure at the radio station for providing its platform to be used to promote unverifiable and inciting views that can lead to crime and public disorder.
The NBC’s statement reads, ”The National Broadcasting Commission has noted with grave concern, the unprofessional conduct of Nigeria Info 99.3FM, Lagos, in the handling of the Programme, “Morning Cross Fire”, aired on August 10, 2020, between 8.30 am and 9.00 am. The station provided its platform for the guest, Dr Mailafia Obadiah, to promote unverifiable and inciting views that could encourage or incite to crime and lead to public disorder.”
”The Commission, again, wishes to reiterate that Broadcasters hold Licenses in trust for the people. Therefore, no Broadcast Station should be used, to promote personal or sectional interests at the expense of the people.”
NBC noted that Dr Obadiah’s comments on the Southern Kaduna crisis, were devoid of facts and the broadcast of such by Nigeria Info 99.3 violates some sections of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code which include;
- No broadcast shall encourage or incite to crime, lead to public disorder or hate, be repugnant to public feelings or contain an offensive reference to any person or organisation, alive or dead or generally be disrespectful to human dignity;
- Broadcasting shall promote human dignity, therefore, hate speech is prohibited;
- The broadcaster shall ensure that any information given in a programme, in whatever form, is accurate;
- The Broadcaster shall ensure that all sides to any issue of public interest are equitably presented for fairness and balance;
- The broadcaster shall ensure that language or scene likely to encourage or incite to crime, or lead to disorder, is not broadcast;
- No programme contains anything which amounts to subversion of constituted authority or compromises the unity or corporate existence of Nigeria as a sovereign state;
- The Broadcaster shall not transmit divisive materials that may threaten or compromise the indivisibility and indissolubility of Nigeria as a sovereign state.
The NBC further states, ”Consequent on these provisions and in line with the amendment of the 6th edition of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code, Nigeria Info 99.3FM Lagos, has been fined the sum of N5,000,000.00 (Five Million Naira), only. This is expected to serve as a deterrent to all other broadcast stations in Nigeria who are quick to provide a platform for subversive rhetorics and the expositions of spurious and unverifiable claims, to desist from such.”
The NBC also stated that it will not hesitate to suspend the license of broadcast stations that continue to breach to breach the broadcast code.
FG completes 11 projects to drive Digital Economy
The government has been pushing the Digital Economy in a bid to diversify economic productivity.
The Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy announced that it has completed 11 projects to drive its Digital Economy programme.
This was announced by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami, during the phase 2 commissioning of Nigeria’s Digital Economy drive.
The Nigerian Government has been pushing the Digital Economy in a bid to create growth and diversify economic productivity in the nation, starting with the Digital Economy drive which was added to the portfolio of the Ministry of Communications.
Nairametrics reported last month that the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) also approved the creation of a Digital Economy Department, which will be responsible for promoting the digital economic agenda of the federal government. The department will renew the commission’s strategy for delivering its programmes and policies, and give the necessary push to promote the national digital economy.
The projects were launched with the supervision of the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy and would be operated by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), National Information Technology Development Agency, (NITDA) Nigerian Postal Services (NIPOST ) and The Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF) and would be located nationwide.
The 11 projects are:
- Emergency Communications Centre (ECC) llorin, Kwara State.
- Emergency Communications Centre (ECC) Calabar, Cross River State.
- School Knowledge Centre (SKC), Gombe State.
- Information Technology Innovation Centre, Kogi State.
- Tertiary Institution Knowledge Centre (TIKC), Delta State.
- New Neighborhood Post Office, Delta State.
- Remodelled National Mail Exchange Centre, Bayelsa State.
- e-Health/Data Sharing Centre, Bauchi State.
- Virtual Examination Centre, Borno State.
- Information Technology Capacity Building Centre, Jigawa State.
- Information Technology Capacity Building Centre, Imo State.