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The signed 2019 Budget is a Democracy Day gift, but there’s trouble ahead

President Muhammadu Buhari gave Nigerians the perfect gift when he appended his signature to the 2019 appropriation bill.

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Nigeria's recession period, Buhari Ministerial list, Buhari ask for more time, Nigeria's economy - growth, Buhari food forex, CBN Policies

Ahead of the official swearing-in ceremonies for the newly-elected political office holders as well as the celebration of the new Democracy Day on June 12, President Muhammadu Buhari gave Nigerians the perfect gift when he appended his signature to the 2019 appropriation bill.

The President signed the N8.91 trillion Budget into law in the early hours on Monday, at a ceremony held at the Presidential Villa in Abuja. Note that the signing of the budget comes just less than two weeks after the Nigerian Senate passed the Public Holiday Act Amendment Bill to recognise June 12 as the new Democracy Day.

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2019 Budget by Numbers: Yesterday’s signing of the 2019 budget makes it about five months since the President first presented it before a joint session of the National Assembly.

Earlier, the President presented N8.906 trillion budget for the 2019 fiscal year. The budget was predicated on $60 per barrel of oil benchmark at 2.3m litres per day, exchange rate of N305 to $1, a GDP growth rate of 3.01 percent, and an inflation rate of 9.98 percent. However, when the appropriation bill got to the floor of the National Assembly last month, the budget was raised from N8.906 trillion to N8.916 ‎trillion.

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  • The sum of N2.094 trillion was allocated to capital expenditure,
  • Recurrent expenditure got N4.055 trillion
  • Statutory transfers N502 billion
  • Fiscal deficit was raised to N1.908 trillion
  • Special intervention fund N500 billion

An upturn in the economy: The signing of the 2019 budget must mean a lot to Nigerians. Despite the Presidency’s earlier dismissal of reports that many projects have been halted due to delay in the signing of the 2019 budget, the approval of the budget is expected to send some excitements to both local and foreign investors, thereby catalysing economic activities.

Below are some highlights of the trickle-down effects of the budget:

  • The approval budget implementation would ease up the economy, by clearing policy uncertainties repelling investors
  • Capital expenditure on infrastructures will move into full swings following the implementation
  • Lastly, this will trickle down on business activities, as more funds enter into the circulation for use by economic agents, which will spur productivity.

Some critical downside: Prior to signing the budget, President Buhari expressed some concerns when he noted that the N90 billion adjustment to the budget by the National Assembly could affect its smooth implementation.

“Of course, some of these changes will adversely impact our programmes, making it difficult for us to achieve the objectives of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.

“Although I will be signing this bill, it is my intention to engage the National Assembly to ensure we deliver on our promises.” -Buhari

More troubles ahead: Workers, particularly, the civil servants, must have greeted the development with a great sigh of relief, as the new N30,000 minimum wage is now expected to go into full swing.  However, the same cannot be said for State Governors who must be having difficult times trying to figure out how to implement the new national minimum wage.

Recall that the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, stated on Sunday that the signing of the budget is what stands between new minimum wage and its implementation.

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According to Ngige, state Governors may get into serious trade disputes if the new wage implementation is not strategically handled. He further stated that Governors must pay salary arrears because the new wage already started on April 18th.

In conclusion, it should be noted that even though the President’s signing of the 2019 appropriation bill is a positive development, trouble looms as State Governors and the organised labour could clash over the implementation of the new minimum wage.

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Patricia

Samuel is an Analyst with over 5 years experience. Connect with him via his twitter handle

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Shoprite to leave Nigeria After 15 years

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Shoprite’s sales drop by 8.1% in Nigeria in H2 2019 over Xenophobic attacks

South African retailer, Shoprite International Limited says it will consider the potential sale of the majority stake of its Nigerian holdings, Retail Supermarkets Nigeria Limited.

This was disclosed in the company’s operational and voluntary trading update that was published this morning.

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more details later

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Gold prices soars following resurging COVID-19 caseloads

Gold futures gained 0.46% to trade at $1983 at about 6.41 am GMT.

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Gold Up as U.S. hits Record Number of COVID-19 Cases, Gold stands firm above $1,800 over increasing virus fears and weaker dollar , Gold stands firm above $1,800 over increasing virus fears and weaker dollar

Gold started the first trading week on a bullish note at London’s trading session. This is coming on the heels of growing concerns about the ravaging Coronavirus pandemic, triggering gold traders to increase their bullish bet.

Gold futures gained 0.46% to trade at $1983 at about 6.41 am GMT

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Spot bullion surged 11% in July, the biggest monthly gain since 2012, as investors weighed a weaker dollar and record low U.S. real yields.

READ MORE: Exxon Mobil, Chevron record their worst losses in history

Why the sudden rush for gold?                                                     

The current global health crisis has prompted unprecedented amounts of stimulus being unleashed by the central banks in most emerged markets. There have also been other dovish monetary policies, including lower rates. All of these have combined to boost gold bulls in solidifying their bullish position on the short term.

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In addition, Stephen Innes, the Chief Global Market Strategist at AxiCorp in a note to Nairametrics buttressed the macros supporting the yellow metal’s bullish run he said

READ MORE: How the Coronavirus has impacted Forex trading

“Investors will continue to have a favorable view of gold partly on ongoing Covid-19 concerns.

“While gold demand shows few signs of retracing, the yellow metal could face fierce short-term resistance at $2000 given the growing view we could be at the end of the runway for the US yields to fall further. And the US Treasury is running out of the exorbitant privilege of the stronger dollar and safe haven flow.”

READ MORE: Naira: Analysts expect rate to hover around N440

Gold has moved through its all-time highs as the story continues to be the Federal Reserve’s money-printing coupled with the potential USD1 trillion fiscal stimulus packages for pandemic relief. Real rates continue to trend lower, and the dollar continues to weaken. Therefore, the environment should remain supportive of gold.

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Data war: MTN takes over, gains 1.7 million subscribers, as Glo outshines Airtel in June

MTN gained 1.74 million data subscribers in June against the 882,458 it recorded in May 2020.

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Data War: MTN edges our Airtel for first time in 5 months as 493,556 subscribers dump Glo, 9mobile , MTN is winning the data war, as 1.88 million subscribers dump Glo, 9mobile, Data War: MTN gains 8.18 million subscribers in 2019, as Airtel edges Glo, 9mobile

Although competition in the Nigerian telecommunication space has always been stiff, latest data seen by Nairametrics indicated that the competition is getting stiffer.

Telecommunications operators, especially in the data section, are giving each other a hot chase. Gone are the days when the biggest telecommunication firm automatically retains the top position. Recently, companies that were once described as fringe players are catching up really fast in terms of attracting new subscribers every month.

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For instance, in May 2020, Glo took other operators by surprise, dwarfing them to lead the chart as the telco with the highest number of subscribers in a month when it gained 8.302 million data subscribers. The indigenous telco grew from 28.934 million in December 2019 to 37.236 million by the end of May 2020, while MTN gained 4.75 million data subscribers. Airtel, which used to be the second-highest in subscriber growth after MTN, recorded 2.795 million. Unfortunately, 9mobile lost 812,827 subscribers within the same period.

READ MORE: Airtel loses over 100,000 subscribers in one month, as Glo chases MTN’s market share

MTN regains top position

According to data released by the Nigerian Communication Commission for the period ending June 2020, Nigeria’s largest mobile telecommunication company, MTN, gained 1.74 million data subscribers against the 882,458 it recorded in May 2020.

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Also, at the end of June 2020, the total number of data subscribers on MTN data network rose to 60.60 million from the 58.86 million it recorded in May. This means the telco added 1.74 million data subscribers.

READ MORE: Non-Performing loans hit 4-year low as Banks recover N496 billion

Glo attracted more subscribers, outshining Airtel (subscribers base) for the first time in years

Despite a challenging year for Globacom in terms of its data subscriber base, the telco took industry watchers by surprise, as its subscriber base chased, met and overtook Airtel’s In June 2020.

For the first time in years, the once second largest telco (subscribers base) lost its position to the indigenous company as the latter increased its base from 34.24 million in May to 37.97 by the end of June 2020. The Indian-owned telco only managed to increase its base from 37.32 million to 37.57 million within the same period.

On the other hand, 9mobile ended the month without attracting any data subscriber. According to the NCC data, 9mobile continues its steady decline, as a total of 16,000 subscribers dumped the network for others when it fell from 7.26 million subscribers to 7.10 million within the same period.

 [READ MORE: MTN wins data war, as 1.88 million subscribers dump Glo, 9mobile)

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In terms of market share, Glo is now trailing behind MTN, as the latter expanded its overall market share in June.

At the end of June 2020, MTN’s total data market share rose further to 60.60 million subscribers. On the other hand, Glo had 37.97 million, followed by Airtel’s 37.57 million and 9mobile’s 7.10 million.

Internet remains slow in Nigeria despite the advent of 4G network

The advent of 4G/LTE in the global telecom industry was accompanied by the expectation of fast internet speed. The 4G is the fourth generation of wireless mobile telecommunications technology, succeeding 3G. Potential and current applications include amended mobile web access, IP telephony, gaming services, high-definition mobile TV, video conferencing, and 3D television.

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READ MORE: Exxon Mobil, Chevron record their worst losses in history

While GSM companies continue to jostle for market share, it has often come at the expense of poor service and lack of accountability. Quite frankly, as an average internet user in Nigeria, one is usually left at the mercy of poor mobile internet services which frustrate one to seek limited alternatives.

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Nigeria’s internet download speed remains among the slowest in the world, and while the telcos continue to rake in heavy gains from data sales, consumers continue to groan for lack of fast and affordable internet services.

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