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Economy on backburner in President Buhari’s new year message

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Buhari and the Banks

Forthcoming elections seem to be uppermost in the mind of President Muhammadu Buhari, going by his 2019 New Year message. The President, made no mention of his plans for the economy in the new year, referring vaguely twice to progress made twice in the 586 word speech.

“Nigerians desire peace, security, prosperity, inclusiveness and infrastructural development, a nation they can be proud of, a country that can hold its own among the nations.That is the journey we have embarked on since we came onboard in 2015, and we are not distracted as we move on.”

Towards the end of the speech, he again reiterated this point.

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“I can assure you all that we are making steady and sustainable progress in all areas of national life. Those who are unbiased can see and appreciate the progress the country has made since 2015.”

The numbers tell a different story

While the President maintained his administration had made rapid progress, the figures pertaining to the economy tell a different story.

Unemployment

Unemployment spiked from 8.19% in the second quarter of 2015 when his administration was sworn in, to 23.13% as at the third quarter of 2018 with 20.9 million people unemployed.

While the economy slipped and recovered from a recession within this period, the high figures are an indication growth remains quite weak.

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Growth remains weak

Though the economy is forecast to have a full year GDP growth rate of between 1.7% to 1.8% in 2018, this is far below the country’s high in recent past as well as  population growth rate of 2.6%.

GDP figures for Q1 2018 stood at 1.95%, dropped to 1.50% in the second quarter before rebounding to 1.81 in the third quarter of 2018.

 Poverty remains high 

The Bill and Melinda Foundation in its goalkeepers report released last year predicted that by 2050, about 152 million Nigerians will be extremely poor out of her projected population of 429 million people.

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 Markets take the same view 

While the President may be optimistic about progress made so far, foreign investors have an alternate view. The Nigerian Stock Exchange closed 2018 on a negative note, down 17.81%. In 2017, the markets had closed up by over 40%, following stability in the foreign exchange markets, which drew back foreign investors.

A combination of rising US interest rates, a potential trade war between the United States and China, as well as concerns over the forthcoming elections have led to foreign investors staying on the sidelines.  Foreign investors account for roughly 50% of market activity on the NSE.

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Patricia

Onome Ohwovoriole has a degree in Economics and Statistics from the University of Benin and prior to joining Nairametrics in December 2016 as Lead Analyst had stints in Publishing, Automobile Services, Entertainment and Leadership Training. He covers companies in the Nigerian corporate space, especially those listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE). He also has a keen interest in new frontiers like Cryptocurrencies and Fintech. In his spare time, he loves to read books on finance, fiction as well as keep up with happenings in the world of international diplomacy. You can contact him via [email protected]

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Coronavirus

Evacuation: 247 Nigerians arrive home from Malaysia, Thailand 

The returnees were evacuated with a chartered Air Peace flight APK-7813.

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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. 

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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 

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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.  

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Macro-Economic News

Katsina State records fastest growth in mobile internet subscribers in Nigeria

Nigeria has a total of 136.2 million mobile internet subscribers as at 2020 Q1.

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Katsina State recorded a massive 41.46% jump in the number of mobile internet subscribers the fastest growth by any state in the country. This is according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics. The data focus on mobile internet subscribers via GSM phones.

Katsina state recorded 3.679 million internet subscribers in the first quarter of 2020 compared to 3.17 million and 2.6 million subscribers in the 4th quarter and 1st quarter of 2019 respectively. This represents a 15.8% jump quarter on quarter and 41.5% jump year on year. No other state comes close.

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Edo State was however second year on year recording a growth of 36.8% to 4.3 million internet subscribers. Katsina was also recorded the fastest growth quarter on quarter followed by Sokoto State.

Nigeria’s Mobile Internet Subscribers Data

According to the data from the NBS, the total number of internet subscribers in Nigeria as at the first quarter of 2020 is 136, 203, 231. This compares to 126, 078, 999 in the 4th quarter of 2019 and 116, 310, 154 in the first quarter of 2019. This represents a QoQ growth of 8.03% and year on year growth of 17.1%.

Nigeria’s commercial cities of Lagos, Rivers State, FCT and Kano also recorded growth in internet subscribers year on year.

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Lagos State 

Subscribers – 17.02 million

YoY Growth – 7.16%

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Rivers State

Subscribers – 5.12 million

YoY Growth – 9.77%

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Kano

Subscribers – 8.33 million

YoY Growth – 33.19%

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FCT

Subscribers – 6.13 million

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YoY Growth – 13.3%

Growth by Geopolitical Zones

We also observed the North West still retains the number one position in terms of internet subscribers per geopolitical zone with 46.9 million subscribers out of a total of 136.2 million in the country. The North-Eastern part of the country recorded the fastest growth of 23.3%. See below;

Internet Subscribers by Geo-Political Zones. Source: NBS/Nairametrics

 

Internat Subscribers by GSM Companies

MTN continues to lead with 57.2 million subscribers. They also grew the fastest YoY by 23%

MTN – 57,282,123
GLO – 33,871,456
AIRTEL – 36,827,677
9MOBILE – 7,762,068
Others – 459,907
Total – 136,203,231

Upshots: Internet subscriber’s growth in Nigeria continues to record double-digit growth and one of the fastest in the world. The competition for mobile data subscription is intense and could end up being a winner take all activity. As GSM companies move in search of growth, the North seems the area with the most potential for double-digit subscriber growth.

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Energy

COVID-19: Minister of Power instructs contractors back to site as lockdown eases

The power minister gave the directive during an inspection visit to the new Gagarawa 2.

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Second largest hydropower project in Africa to finally take off after settlement of legal dispute

The Minister of Power, Sale Mamman, has asked all contractors handling power projects across the country to return back to project sites following the gradual relaxation of the lockdown by the Federal Government, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The directive from the minister was contained in a press statement by the Special Adviser to the Minister on Media and Communications, Aaron Artimas, on Sunday, July 12, 2020, in Abuja.

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The power minister gave the directive during an inspection visit to the new Gagarawa 2 by 60 Mega Volt Amp (MVA) 132/33 Kilo Volt Sub-station being constructed by the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) in Jigawa.

Mamman, lamented the negative impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the power sector, pointing out that the sector was among the worst affected with the entire value chain directly or indirectly counting losses.

The Minister in the statement said, ‘’I can tell you that the impact of the pandemic is huge in the power sector as a real service provider. We, however, have joined the government effort to restart the economy with the easing of the lockdown and opening of the interstate road.’’

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“I direct all contractors handling power projects to return to sites and work assiduously to recover from the losses recorded during this lockdown,” he said.

Mamman said the Gagarawa Sub-station project would boost power supply in over 7 local government areas including an industrial area.

On his part, the Jigawa State Governor, Abubakar Badaru, who was part of the inspection team, commended the power minister’s effort at ensuring completion of these projects that have been on for over 20 years.

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The News agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that the sub-station is 99% completed and has been energized.

The acting Managing Director of TCN, Suleiman Abdulaziz, who was also part of the inspection asked for speedy completion of similar sub-station across the country.

 

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