The Executive Board of International Monetary Fund IMF has released its Article IV consultation document on Nigeria.
The document is usually prepared under Article IV of the IMF’s Articles of Agreement, where the IMF holds bilateral discussions with members, usually every year.
A staff team visits the country, collects economic and financial information, and discusses with officials the country’s economic developments and policies. On return to headquarters, the staff prepares a report, which forms the basis for discussion by the Executive Board.
The Washington-based bank welcomed Nigeria’s exit from recession and the strong recovery in foreign exchange reserves, helped by rising oil prices and new foreign exchange measures.
It also commended the progress in implementing the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, including the start of a convergence in foreign exchange windows, tight monetary policy, improvements in tax administration, and significant strides in improving the business environment.
Directors of the bank noted, that important challenges remain, as growth in the non‑oil non‑agricultural sector has not picked up inflation remains high and sticky; unemployment is rising, and poverty is high. To address these vulnerabilities, they stressed that comprehensive and coherent policy actions remain urgent.
The bank emphasized the need for a growth‑friendly fiscal adjustment, which frontloads non‑oil revenue mobilization and rationalizes current expenditure to reduce the ratio of interest payments to revenue to a more sustainable level and create space for priority social and infrastructure spending.
In addition to ongoing efforts to improve tax administration, Directors of the bank underlined the need for more ambitious tax policy measures, including through reforming the value‑added tax, increasing excises, and rationalizing tax incentives.
Directors commended the central bank’s tightening bias in 2017, which should continue until inflation is within the single-digit target range.
They recommended the continued strengthening of the monetary policy framework and its transparency, a higher monetary policy rate, a symmetric application of reserve requirements, and no direct central bank financing of the economy.
A few Directors urged confirmation of the appointments of the central bank’s board of directors and members of the monetary policy committee.
They also commended the recent foreign exchange measures and recent efforts to strengthen external buffers to mitigate risks from capital flow reversals.
They welcomed the country’s commitment to unify the exchange rate and urged additional actions to remove remaining restrictions and multiple exchange rate practices.
Directors stressed that rising banking sector risks should be contained. They welcomed the central bank’s commitment to help increase capital buffers by stopping dividend payments by weak banks.
Directors emphasized that structural reform implementation should continue to lay the foundation for a diversified private‑sector‑led economy.
They noted that building on recent improvements in the business environment, implementing the power sector recovery plan, investing in infrastructure, accelerating efforts to strengthen anti‑corruption and transparency initiatives, and updating and implementing the financial inclusion and gender strategies remain essential.
FG hands over National Theatre to CBN, Bankers Committee, to create 1 million jobs
The Federal Government has announced the official hand over of the National Arts Theatre Complex at Iganmu Lagos, to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Banks under the aegis of the Bankers’ Committee, in order to commence the renovation of the facility.
This was contained in a tweet post by the Presidential Aide to President Muhammadu Buhari on New Media, Tolu Ogunlesi, on his official Twitter handle on Sunday, July 12, 2020.
UPDATE: The event has taken place.
“@NigeriaGov on Sunday officially handed over the National Theatre complex in Lagos to @cenbank and Banks under the aegis of the Bankers’ Committee, to commence the RENOVATION of the facility.” https://t.co/h2aWfuHyF8
— tolu ogunlesi (@toluogunlesi) July 12, 2020
During the event which was attended by the Minister for Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed and the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, said the bankers were targeting 1 million jobs from this project in the next 5 years.
FG disburses N349.5m in Conditional Cash transfer to poor households in Kaduna
The disbursement was done under the federal government’s Conditional Cash Transfer.
The Federal Government has successfully disbursed a total of N349.5 million to 34,946 poor and vulnerable households in Kaduna State, under the conditional cash transfer programme.
According to the Head of Cash Transfer Unit in the State, Hajiya Hauwa Abdulrazaq, the disbursement lasted a period of 10 days, from July 1 to July 10.
Speaking in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday, Abdulrazaq explained that the benefiting households were drawn from 9 local government areas in the state – 4,470 from Kajuru; 8,032 in Birnin Gwari; 1,963 in Kauru; 1,406 in Sanga, 4,380 in Lere, 2,021 in Kachia; 5,478 in Ikara; 2,784 in Chikun, and 4,412 in Kubau LGAs.
She noted that the disbursement was done under the federal government’s Conditional Cash Transfer, a Households Uplifting Programme targeting poorest of the poor households in the country, and that each of the households received N10,000 each, being payment for the months of May and June at N5,000 per month.
“The households uplifting programme is one of the national social investment programmes which implementation began in September 2016,” she said.
NAN reports that the programme began in 2017 in Kaduna state with about 10,000 beneficiaries, but expanded to 22,380 in April 2020.
In May, a total of 12,566 new beneficiaries were added summing the figures to 34,956 beneficiaries in the state.
The state government had also commenced the process of capturing poor and vulnerable households into the social register in the remaining 14 LGAs, from which beneficiaries of the cash transfer would be extracted in subsequent months.
Evacuation: 247 Nigerians arrive home from Malaysia, Thailand
The returnees were evacuated with a chartered Air Peace flight APK-7813.
The Federal Government of Nigeria has safely evacuated and returned home, two hundred and forty-seven Nigerians who were stranded in Malaysia and Thailand.
The returnees were evacuated with a chartered Air Peace flight APK-7813 which arrived the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja at about 11p.m. on Saturday.
Chartered @airpeace flight APK-7813 conveying 247 stranded Nigerians from Malaysia and Thailand arrived Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja at exactly 2300HRS, 11th of July 2020.
Some passengers disembarked in Abuja..
— Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (@nidcom_gov) July 12, 2020
According to Mr Gabriel Odu, the Head of Media and Public Relations Unit of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM) who spoke to NAN, some of the returnees disembarked in Abuja, while the others proceeded to Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos.
In line with the protocols announced by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, all of the returnees presented a negative COVID-19 test result before boarding the evacuation flight, and upon arriving Nigeria, are expected to proceed on a 14-day self-isolation.
Since four weeks ago, from the federal government, through the ministry of Foreign Affairs announced the resumption of evacuation flights, hundreds of stranded Nigerians have been returned home to their families from different countries including the United States of America, United Kingdom, Egypt, Malaysia and Thailand.
The returnees bear the cost of their flight tickets and are expected to self-isolate for four weeks, upon their return to Nigeria. Returnees who receive a clean bill of health after the isolation, are given their passports and allowed to go home.