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2018 Budget Funding: FG to advance sale of more assets

FG to sell Ajaokuta Steel Company of Nigeria

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CBN Gov Godiwn Emefiele, CBN

Barely a month after the Federal Government sold its shares in the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Company (NSPM) to the Central Bank of Nigeria, the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration is ready to offer more of its assets for sale.

The Federal Government is selling its assets using the ongoing privatisation programme. The assets being sold is aimed at raising more money to implement the country’s 2018 deficit-based budget.

Governor Godwin Emefiele of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), while revealing this, said he’s aware of the situation of Ajaokuta Steel Company of Nigeria that is ready for sale.

The CBN boss said that as a member of the National Council on Privatisation, more assets are to be sold.

“I believe in due course that the Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE) will make this available for us.” Emefiele added.

Nairametrics had reported that the Federal Government’s plan to commence the sell-off of several state-owned assets is geared at raising funds that will go towards financing the country’s expensive 2018 budget.

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Come early October 2018, the Government will commence the sale of assets in ten state-owned corporations, a move that is expected to generate some ₦289 billion; about $797 million.

Why FG is selling its assets

The poor implementation of the 2018 budget has not augured well for the Nigerian economy which recently emerged from a debilitating economic recession. To worsen this situation, a recent analysis by Nairametrics shows that the country has continued to gradually slip back into recession since Q1 2018 when the GDP declined by 1.95%.

Now as the Nigerian election season continues to approach fast, there are growing concerns that the present economic situation may become exacerbated due to huge spendings which may ultimately drive up inflation.

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Meanwhile, the Government had in the past hinted at plans to fund the budget with money from other sources other than oil which is the country’s economic mainstay. To this effect, the Bureau of Public Enterprise made a commitment to the tune of ₦306 billion, most of which it is now trying to raise through the planned privatisations.

Famuyiwa Damilare is a trained journalist. He holds a Higher National Diploma (HND) in Mass Communication at the prestigious Nigerian Institute of Journalism (NIJ). Damilare is an innovative and transformational leader with broad-based expertise in journalism and media practice at large. He has explored his proven ability in the areas of reporting, curating and generating contents, creatively establishing social media engagements, and mobile editing of videos. It is safe to say he’s a multimedia journalist.

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Coronavirus

ECOWAS COVID-19: Nigeria drops to 7th position in recovery rate

According to data from ECOWAS Centre for Surveillance and Disease Control, Nigeria has dropped to 7th position in recovery rate.

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The ECOWAS COVID-19 daily update report, as of November 22nd, 2020, shows that Nigeria is ranked 7th on recovery rate (93.5%), 10th on death rate (CFR – case fatality ratio) at 1.76%, and 9th on active cases (4.7%) amongst the 15 member countries of the ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States).

This data can be seen on the Twitter handle of the ECOWAS Centre for Surveillance and Disease Control.

A week ago, as of 15th November 2020, Nigeria occupied the 6th position in recovery rate (93.7%), 9th position in CFR (1.79%) and 11th position in active cases (4.5%).

According to the report, there are 209,614 confirmed cases, 2,842 deaths, 189,917 recoveries, and 8,849 active cases in ECOWAS countries. This data represents in Africa, 9.8% of the confirmed cases, 5.7% deaths, 10.9% recovery rate and 3.3% active cases.

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As regards the death rate (CFR), Liberia tops the list with 5.29%, followed by Niger 5.12% and Mali 3.41% while Guinea is the least with 0.58%.

On recovery rate, Cote D”Ivoire tops the list with 98.3%, followed by Senegal 97.5% and Ghana 97.1%, with the least coming from Mali with 71.1%.

Mali has more active COVID 19 cases with 25.5%, followed by Sierra Leone 20.9% and Togo 20.9% and with Senegal contributing the least with 0.4%.

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What you should know

  • As at November 22 2020, worldwide, there are 58,649,324 confirmed cases, 1,388,068 deaths and CFR of 2.3%
  • In Africa, there are 2,057,029 confirmed cases, 49,412 deaths and CFR of 2.4%
  • In West Africa, there are 201,614 confirmed cases, 2,842 deaths and CFR of 1.41%, with a recovery rate of 94.2%.

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Companies

Naira devaluation, FX scarcity caused increase in cost of goods – Nigerian Breweries

Nigerian Breweries has revealed that Naira devaluation, FX scarcity caused increase in the cost of its goods in 2020.

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Jordi Borrut Bel, Nigerian Breweries Plc

The Finance Director of Nigerian Breweries Plc, Rob Kleinjan, has revealed that the increase in the brewer’s costs of goods was due to the devaluation in naira and FX scarcity, which led to the increase in the cost of inputs such as sorghum and sugar, as they are not fully produced locally.

This disclosure was made during the Nigerian Breweries’ Fact Behind Figures results presentation today.

However, Kleinjan explained that the increase in cost could not be fully attributed to currency devaluation and foreign exchange scarcity, which exerts pressure on imported input materials.

He said the increase in Nigerian Breweries’ costs of goods sold, as reported in its unaudited financial results, could also be linked to the volume of goods sold, as the company’s sales volume in Q3 increased by almost the same percentage as the cost of goods sold.

However, Mr. Kleinijan reiterated that to mitigate further losses, it was important for the company to focus on the supply chain and seek ways to mitigate price increases.

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What they are saying

The Managing Director of Nigerian Breweries, Mr. Jordi Borrut, while speaking at the virtual event said:

In 2020, the results of Nigerian Breweries were adversely impacted by COVID, VAT increase, FX devaluation and scarcity of foreign exchange. The year started with a promising 1st quarter, which was heavily impacted in Q2. The Nigerian market, however, rebounded in Q3.”

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Mr. Rob Kleinjan, while explaining the factors behind the increase in Nigerian Breweries’ cost of goods sold in the first nine months of 2020, said:

It is also clear that the increase in cost is due to the devaluation and the FX scarcity which has put pressure on our input cost. If you look into the main elements we use, which are sorghum and sugar – they are not fully produced locally, so when the currency is devalued, the prices of these inputs will soar.

That’s why it’s important that we are focused on the supply chain, and seek for ways we can mitigate any of the price increases, because the increase in cost comes from the input prices, which come from FX scarcity.”

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ENDSARS

FG petitions CNN over investigative report on Lekki shooting, threatens action

The Federal Government has petitioned CNN over its alleged bias report on the Lekki Tollgate shooting.

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The Federal Government has written a petition to the US-based Cable News Network (CNN), demanding an immediate and exhaustive investigation into its report on the Lekki Tollgate shooting, to determine its authenticity and conformity to basic standards of journalism.

The government berated CNN for its investigative report on the #EndSARS protest in Lekki area of Lagos, pointing out that the media outfit breached the most basic of the core principles of journalism – balance and fairness.

In the petition written by the Minister for Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, to Jonathan Hawkins, VP (Communications) in CNN Centre Atlanta, Georgia; the government said that if the international media organization does not carry out its demand, it will take any action within its laws to prevent CNN from making the #EndSARS crisis worse.

According to a report from Punch, the government’s letter dated November 23, 2020, is titled “Re: How a bloody night of bullets quashed a young protest movement”.

The letter reads: “Our attention has been drawn to an ‘investigation’ by CNN, entitled ‘How a Bloody Night of Bullets Quashed a Young Protest Movement’ and aired on 18 Nov. 2020, in which the international news organization said it uncovered that Nigerian security forces opened fire on unarmed protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos, Nigeria, during the #EndSARS protest.”

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“We write to put on record that the report did not just fall short of journalistic standards, it reinforces the disinformation that is going around on the issue. It is blatantly irresponsible and it is a poor piece of journalistic work by a reputable international news organization.

“In the first instance, the report did not live up to the most basic of the core principles of journalism – balance and fairness. According to the website www.ethics.journalists.org, balance and fairness are classic buzzwords of journalism ethics: In objective journalism, stories must be balanced in the sense of attempting to present all sides of a story. Fairness means that a journalist should strive for accuracy and truth in reporting, and not slant a story that makes a reader draw the reporter’s desired conclusion.”

What you should know

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It can be recalled that CNN in its investigative report broadcasted on November 18, disclosed that the Nigerian army allegedly fired live ammunition directly at unarmed protesters, who peacefully assembled at the Lekki Tollgate during the #EndSARS protests. While confirming some deaths, CNN said it spoke with over 100 protesters and family members, but didn’t speak to any government official.

In response to the Federal Government’s criticism of the report, which it described as a blatantly irresponsible and a poor piece of journalistic work, CNN insisted that it was standing by its report.

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