The President of Africa Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), Prof Benedict Oramah has said that Nigeria needs to start using technology to control smuggling rather than closing its borders.
Oramah said this while speaking at a press conference on the sideline of the ongoing Africa Investment Forum in Johannesburg, South Africa.
He said that if the Nigeria Customs Service had been using the modern technology used by other countries, smuggling would have reduced. Therefore, he urged the Customs to be proactive.
Oramah emphasized the need for Customs to use blockchain technology to fix the issues that led to the border closure. He said that technology should be used to monitor goods that come in and out of the country.
‘’The border closure has raised a number of issues around West Africa and if I heard the government well, they said there were some challenges and they wanted to resolve them. I think the borders will be reopened when the challenges of smuggling have been resolved.
“But beyond that, I believe we must begin to use technology to deal with those issues that lead to these temporary measures that led to border closure. Blockchain should be used by Customs to monitor goods that should come in and ones that shouldn’t,” Oramah said.
When asked if the border closure would affect the Africa Free Trade Agreement, the Afreximbank President said it would not, as the Nigerian borders would be opened before the agreement becomes effective by July 1, 2020.
Meanwhile, the President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr Akinwumi Adesina, has called on Nigeria to ensure that there is transparency and zero tolerance for corruption in the operations of the customs in order to stem smuggling at its borders.
About Afreximbank: Afreximbank is the foremost pan-African multilateral financial institution devoted to financing and promoting intra and inter African trade. The bank was established in October 1993 by African governments, African private and institutional investors and non-African investors. The bank has its headquarters in Cairo.
Nigeria only hit 56% of its target revenue in first five of months of 2020
Nigeria’s earnings in the period were N1.48 trillion which is 56% off its main target.
Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed revealed that Nigeria was only able to meet 56% of its target revenue from January to May as the global oil price crash affected government revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nigeria’s earnings in the period were N1.48 trillion which is 56% off its main target, crude oil revenues accounted for half of Nigeria’s revenues, while non-oil revenues made up the rest in the first 5 months of the year.
On Friday, President Muhammadu Buhari signed the new 2020 revised budget of N10.8 trillion with the crude oil benchmark reduced from $57 per barrels in the earlier budget to $25 in the new budget.
The Minister said the budget had to be revised because of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on Nigeria’s economy. She added that Nigeria’s crude oil production would be an average of 1.86 million barrels per day next year and rise to 2.09 million the following year.
“Although Nigeria’s total production capacity is 2.5 million barrels per day, current crude production is about 1.4 million barrels per day — in compliance with the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries’ production quota – and an additional 300,000 barrels per day of condensates, totaling about 1.7 million barrels per day,” she said.
African Union begins COVID-19 vaccine trial group
CONCVACT plans to capture more than ten late-stage vaccine trials at the earliest.
The African Union Commission just recently facilitated a program called the new Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) Consortium for COVID-19 Vaccine Clinical Trial (CONCVACT).
The program is part of the Africa Joint Continental Strategy for stopping the deadly COVID-19 onslaught that has disrupted human activities. The goal is to prevent severe COVID-19 infections and deaths in African countries, reduce the economic damage caused by the pandemic, and help minimize the general disruption to everyday life.
Quick fact about COVID-19: Although for some individuals, the COVID-19 virus causes only mild illness, it can make other individuals seriously ill. The disease can be very fatal, especially among older individuals, and those with compromised immunities (such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or heart problems) appear to be more susceptible.
South Africa’s leader, Cyril Ramaphosa, said, “Success in developing and providing access to a safe vaccine requires an innovative and collaborative approach, with significant local manufacturing in Africa.
“We need to support the contribution of African scientists and healthcare professionals. We need to act with urgency.”
CONCVACT plans to capture more than ten late-stage vaccine trials at the earliest, via collaborations with global vaccine developers, sponsors, and African businesses that enable clinical studies.
The African group also hopes to secure the safety and efficacy data of promising vaccine candidates for the African population in order to validate their launch after approval.
2021 Budget: FG projects spending plan of N11.86 trillion and deficit of N5.16 trillion
This tops 2020 budgeted expenditure of N10.8 trillion.
The Federal Government is projecting to spend N11.86 trillion for 2021. This was disclosed by the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed at a virtual presentation of the 2021-2023 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper (MTEF/FSP) held on Friday.
According to the finance minister, the government is planning to spend N11.86 trillion against revenue of N6.98 trillion meaning the government will have to grapple with a fiscal deficit of N5.16 trillion.
“The 2021-2023 MTEF&FSP is the pre-budget statement that provides the framework for the development of the 2021 budget. It is being framed against the backdrop of challenging global macroeconomic environment as well as domestic factors.
“We aim to keep the deficit within the three percent ceiling over the medium term and are therefore working on identifying new revenue sources and or cost of reduction.”
The minister noted that the 2021-2023 draft had been prepared against the backdrop of heightened global economic uncertainty.
Earlier today President Buhari signed the revised 2020 national budget of N10.8 trillion, which was passed by the National Assembly in June. The National Assembly passed a revised budget of N10.8 trillion on the 11th of June after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved a revised budget of N10.523trillion in May. 2020 Budget is based on a revised oil benchmark of $25 per barrel as against $57 while crude production was reduced from 2.18 million to 1.94 million barrels per day Budget deficit for 2020 is estimated at N5.365 trillion.
As of March 2020, the FG was running a 52% shortfall in the first quarter of the year with actual revenue collected of N950 trillion compared to budgeted revenue N1.96 trillion.
What this means: Nigeria is facing an unprecedented revenue crisis exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic and the crash in oil prices. At N5.16 trillion, Nigeria’s projected budget deficit will be 43% of spending and about 3.6% of GDP if the budget is passed. A budget deficit means the government will have to borrow heavily next year to fund its expenditure programs.
The government received a $3.4 billion funding from the IMF in April and expects another $3.5 billion from the World Bank in August 2020. The government also revealed it has no plans to access the commercial market for foreign debts as it takes advantage of lower interest rates in the domestic market.