President Muhammadu Buhari has blamed the citizens for Nigeria’s rising unemployment and economic problems. The President passed the blame while featuring in a special interview, yesterday, on the NTA Network Service.
According to President Buhari, Nigerians are the ones habouring the criminals who kidnap expatriates. Therefore, they should blame themselves for the spike in rising unemployment. Speaking further, President Buhari stressed that incidents of Kidnapping, especially when they involve management staff of foreign multinationals, send bad signals to investors who are meant to build factories and employ millions of Nigerians.
“We’re making noise that we want people to come and invest their money. Who’ll bring his money when his general manager will be abducted?
“So, all those screaming for local jobs and so on because we’re not attracting capital investment, they should blame them for not cooperating with law enforcement agencies to get the criminals among us – the abductors, you know, and the 419ners.
“They live with them, they know them. They can’t accommodate them and then blame government for not rebuilding factories. The government cannot build all the factories required, and employ all the people and produce all the goods and services.
“What the government should do is to provide security and convince entrepreneurs to invest, to employ people to produce goods and services. And what ordinary Nigerians should do is expose the kidnappers and the thieves.”
Biggest frustration: While reacting to question about the regrets and frustration his administration has faced in the last four years, President Buhari noted despite recovering several assets, the delay in prosecuting and punishing money launderers and corrupt individuals have been biggest frustration of his administration.
“Under this system, you cannot be in a hurry, even if you use whistleblower, you have to report to the Police, to go through the rigmarole of full investigation before prosecution. The prosecutuion is taking too long by my own hope to see people are punished.”
His thoughts on the Nigerian elites: In another light, the President was questioned on why the Nigerian elites vigorously campaigned against his re-election. In response, he was quick to react, claiming that the Nigerian elites only care about themselves.
“I have found out the Nigerian elites are just for themselves, I don’t bother what they feel and what they threatened they could do. Am very pleased I proved myself right.”
His Four years Outlook: On the administration’s achievement in the last four years, the President noted that the relief in North-East Nigeria as it relates to the degrading of the Boko-Haram insurgents, is the happiest moment for his administration. He noted that since his administration began, Boko-Horom insurgents have resorted to holding some Islands on the Lakechad, indoctrinating young people and attacking softs targets.
Meanwhile, when asked what Nigerians should expect differently, the President noted that a more efficient Police and Judiciary system will be provided to make the country safe for foreign investors.
“I will make the police and Judiciary more efficient to uphold law and order, and Nigeria should expose criminals in their NEIGBHOURHOOD to help the government clear the country and attract foreign investors.”
Hotels in Nigeria are on the verge of collapse
Hotels in Nigeria are on the verge of collapsing following rising operating costs
Big hotels in Nigeria are facing an existential crisis that could force some of them to collapse on the weight of rising operating expenses, without any revenue to absorb.
Reports from four of the major listed hotels on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, reveals a revenue decline of nearly 90%, due to a fall out of the COVID-19 induced lockdowns. The dire state of their financials has forced some of the hotels to consider massive job cuts, and cost reduction measures in a bid to survive. For most of them, it is either they take drastic actions, or face the consequences associated with piling losses and unpaid debts.
Since the breakout of COVID-19 in March 2020; the FG approved locked down in Abuja and Lagos State, forced all the major hotels to shut down, a bitter sacrifice by the hospitality sector, as the government sought to contain the spread of the virus.
The lockdown effect on the results of these companies is reflective in the Q2 results of the main listed companies. According to the data, Ikeja Hotels (Sheraton), Tourist Company of Nigeria (Federal Palace), Capital Hotels (Abuja Sheraton), and Transcorp Hilton Hotel Plc have all lost 90% of their revenue in the three months preceding June 2020.
The hotels earned a combined revenue of N1 billion in the quarter, compared to N10.2 billion in the corresponding period of 2019. They are all wallowing in losses of over N4.7 billion for the quarter alone. Combined, they have about 3,502 employees as of 2019.
The situation in the hospitality sector is not only restricted to these four hotels. The same can be said for tens of other major hotels in Nigeria. In the latest Q2 GDP report published by the Bureau of Statistics; the Accommodation and food services business, which hotels belong to, recorded a GDP contraction of over 40%. Except for transportation and storage, which posted a 49% contraction, it is by far the worst in the country.
The Managing Director, Transcorp Hotels Plc, Mrs. Dupe Olusola, disclosed this during a Press Conference on Thursday, “The impact of COVID-19 on the business is like nothing the company has ever witnessed. The hotel and hospitality industry in Nigeria has never faced a crisis that brought travel to a standstill, including the Ebola Virus outbreak of 2014 or the recession of 2016. The slow pick up of international travel, restriction on large gatherings, the switch to virtual meetings, and fear of the virus, has drastically reduced demand for our hotels and occupancy levels to its lowest – less than 5%.”
Hotels across Africa also face a similar fate, but could likely fair better when the dust settles. Unlike in Nigeria, hotels in Kenya, Egypt, and even South Africa can rely on local tourism to drive occupancy rates. But in Nigeria, locals prefer smaller mushrooms hotels that are cheaper, and often well-furnished to meet their needs. Nigerian hotels on the other hand rely on commercial room sales, driven by the influx of business and leisure travels into the country.
With several airlines yet to fully operate due to reciprocal bans, it is highly unlikely that things will improve anytime soon.
How to avoid a collapse
To avoid an imminent collapse, the hotels need to do what is required in times like these. Explore new sources of revenues, and drastically reduce overheads. For starters, furloughing headcount will be top on the table, as services of employees who have no one to serve won’t be currently required.
It is a tough decision to make for these hotels, considering that the employees that will be affected, face an even worse outlook due to the economic crunch, which is likely to remain for years to come. Mrs. Olusola of Transcorp provides a first-hand insight,
“Despite the losses incurred, we have fulfilled our obligations to staff. At the inception of the pandemic, we maintained a 100% salary payment to our over 900 employees in March and April. We also activated various cost-saving initiatives, such as renegotiations of service contracts and restructuring of our loans. We suspended further commitment to buy fixed assets and operating equipment, as well as reduced our energy consumption and maintenance costs. Despite undertaking these, it has become apparent that more fundamental changes need to be made, for the business to survive. To this end, our workforce headcount will be reduced by at least 40%, and our reward system will be optimized.”
Hotels also need to cut down on other overheads. Food costs would have to be reined in, while also renegotiating inefficient pricing on purchase orders. Hotels will also have to renegotiate bank loans and explore capital raising efforts, to avoid further damage to their balance sheets. Lobbying a cash strapped government may seem futile, but hotel owners should push for intervention loans from the central bank, giving them enough buffer and financial stability to weather the storm.
With hotels reopening gradually, there is likely going to be stiff competition among the big brands, tempting them to undercut each other through pricing. Rather than cut prices, the prices should be adjusted on the naira side, to cater to the effect of the recent devaluation. This means foreign visitors will not witness a dollar increase in room rates, whilst the hotels will earn more on the naira side to deal with inflation.
These are the plausible and painful options available to branded hotel operators, if they are to avoid a collapse. Without bailouts and government support, management of these hotels needs to take urgent action, to reduce the impairments of shareholder valuations.
FEC approves $1.96 billion for Kano-Niger Republic railway
The Federal Government has approved the sum of $1.96billion for the construction of Kano-Maradi railway.
The Federal Executive Council has approved the disbursement of $1.96 billion, for the railway line from Kano in Nigeria to Maradi in Niger Republic. The President will also commission the Warri-Itakpe standard gauge rail line, running through Kogi, Edo and Delta States.
This was announced by the Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi, on Wednesday evening.
Explore the Nairametrics Research Website for Economic and Financial Data
@NGRPresident @Mbuhari will on Tuesday commission the Warri-Itakpe rail line which runs through Kogi, Edo and Delta States. This will set the stage for commencement of operations on that route.
Also, we've gotten approval for the construction of the Kano-Maradi & Dutse rail line.
— Chibuike.R. Amaechi (@ChibuikeAmaechi) September 23, 2020
Media aide to the President, Ajuri Ngelale, said, “The rail line will connect 3 states: Kano, Katsina & Jigawa. It moves from Kano to Dambatta, Kazaure, Daura, Mashi, Katsina, terminating in Maradi, Niger Republic. This financially empowers Nigeria as the import/export hub for Niger.”
FEC Approves $1.96bn Kano-Maradi Railway:
"The rail line will connect 3 states: Kano, Katsina & Jigawa. It moves from Kano to Dambatta, Kazaure, Daura, Mashi, Katsina, terminating in Maradi, Niger Republic. This financially empowers Nigeria as the import/export hub for Niger." pic.twitter.com/aZVMoab95z
— Ajuri Ngelale (@AjuriNgelale) September 23, 2020
Nairametrics reported in June, that China is set to approve the sum of $5.3 billion for the construction of the Ibadan-Kano rail line.
“The Chinese government and people have been very helpful to Nigeria. They have released $1.6 billion for Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge railway (SGR). They’ve agreed to approve and we hope that by October, they should be able to approve the $5.3 billion for the Federal Government so that we can commence and complete construction of Ibadan-Kano railway,” Rotimi Amaechi said.
FAAC disburses N696.2 billion in July 2020, as Lagos State parts with N1.46 billion
The sum of N696.18 billion to the Federal, State, and Local governments in July 2020 from the FAAC account.
The Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC), disbursed the sum of N696.18 billion to the Federal, State, and Local governments in July 2020, from the revenue generated in the month of June 2020. This was stated in the latest FAAC report, released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
According to the report, the monthly disbursement increased by 27.2% compared to N547.3 billion shared in June, and 14.8% increase compared to N606.2 billion disbursed in May 2020.
Checks by Nairametrics research, shows that a total of N4.58 trillion has been shared to the three tiers of government, between January and July 2020. Highest disbursement was recorded in April (N780.9 billion), followed by N716.3 billion in January 2020.
Meanwhile, Lagos State – the economic hub of Nigeria, parted with N1.46 billion as external debt deductions in the month, indicating a total of N9.74 billion deductions between January and July 2020.
Explore the Nairametrics Research Website for Economic and Financial Data
- The amount disbursed in July comprised of N474.53 billion from the Statutory Account, N128.83 billion from Valued Added Tax (VAT), N42.83 billion from Exchange Gain Differences, and Distribution of N50 billion from Non-Oil Revenue for the Month.
- Federal Government received a total of N266.13 billion from the total disbursement. States received a total of N185.77 billion, and Local Governments received N138.97 billion.
- The sum of N28.50 billion was shared among the oil producing states as 13% derivation fund.
- Revenue generating agencies such as Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), and Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) received N6.32 billion, N15.05 billion, and N2.68 billion respectively as cost of revenue collections.
South-South scoops highest share
The South-South region, also known as the Niger Delta region, received the highest share of the disbursement in the month of July. The region received a sum of N49.44 billion, representing 25.4% of the total net allocation for states.
This is largely because the region contributes mostly to crude oil production in Nigeria, which is a significant source of revenue for the federation. Out of the six states in the region, only Cross River State is not an oil producing state. Hence, Rivers, Edo, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, and Delta States received a total of N24.28 billion as part of 13% oil derivation fund.
North-West region received N36.83 billion (18.9%); followed by North-Central region, which received a net total of N30.69 billion (15.8%). Others include South-West (N29.55 billion), North-East (N26.32 billion), and South-East (N21.97 billion).
External debt deductions
A total of N4.47 billion was deducted from the state’s allocation, as external debt deductions for the month of July. Lagos State parted with the highest amount of N1.46 billion, representing 32.6% of the total debt deductions in the month. A sum of N9.74 billion has been deducted as a result of external debt obligations between January and July 2020.
It is worth noting that, the State’s external debt has declined by 9.67%, from $1.39 billion recorded as at the end of December 2019 to $1.26 billion in June 2020.
Others on the list of top 5 deductions are, Kaduna (N414.6 million), Oyo (N305.4 million), Rivers (N280.3 million), and Cross River (N222 million). On the flip side, Ogun State parted with the lowest, as N9.1 million was deducted, followed by Borno (N21.6 million), and Taraba (N24.5 million).
- With dwindling federally collected revenue, caused by volatility in global crude oil price and economic downtrend caused by COVID-19 pandemic, it is evident that federal allocations will likely face drastic decline, which is a cue for the State governments to strategize on more creative ways of generating revenue internally.
- A quick check at the states’ IGR numbers, shows that 91.9% of the states in Nigeria with the exception of Abuja, Ogun, and Lagos States rely more on federal allocation, as against internally generated revenue.
- This implies that several states in Nigeria are technically bankrupt without debt financing, and Federal Government monthly allocation.