The National Leader of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) and the former Governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has urged the Federal Government to print more naira notes to save the economy from total collapse due to the adverse effect of the coronavirus pandemic and crash in crude oil prices globally.
This advice is part of a special message which was issued by the former Governor to President Muhammadu Buhari, a day before his 68th birthday.
In his special message which was monitored by Nairametrics and titled: A message on the coronavirus; A time for unity, a time for thought, a time for action, Tinubu, outlined ideas and measures that the president and members of his team can take in order to navigate Nigeria out of a possible recession that will arise from the coronavirus pandemic as oil prices fall and government revenue shrinks.
He admitted that we as Nigerians are facing challenges that we cannot see, but can find us too easily. That the coronavirus disease is here and cannot be paid off and bargained with by the rich, read their bank statements or intimidated by them. The disease as well does not care or have mercy for the poor, recognize religion or geographical location.
He admonished Nigerians that the present crisis is a wakeup call to unite and act as one blood.
Asiwaju Tinubu, asked Nigeria to emulate China and other Asian countries, who took very drastic actions like lockdown of cities and closure of key segments of their economies in order to confront the spread of the coronavirus.
Read Also: Another crushing recession ‘is coming’
On the economic front, he said that economic activity is a fraction of what it was just a month ago and as such, deep recessions are forecasted.
In his statement, he said, ‘Economic activity is a fraction of what it was just a month ago. Deep recessions are forecasted.
‘Some experts fear depression now tracks the world down. Governments worldwide are responding by embarking on unprecedented stimulus packages to keep their economies afloat’.
The APC National Leader listed some of the stimulus package announced by some major economies around the world to include; the pumping of trillions into their financial markets by the Chinese, launching of an unprecedented fiscal stimulus package in the United Kingdom, the Germans putting aside its constitutional prohibition on deficit spending to formulate a historic and an unprecedented fiscal stimulus package, the $2 trillion fiscal stimulus by Trump administration in the US.
Tinubu believes that Nigeria should take lessons from some of these countries in the implementation of some of those strong economic measures. He said that the crash of oil prices to less than $30 dollar per barrel will lead to a massive reduction in government revenue and foreign exchange earnings.
As a result of this, he advised the Federal Government to print more Naira, just as the US has used its sovereign right to issue its own currency, the dollar to stave off economic disaster. He said, while individuals, companies and state governments can go bankrupt during hard times, the federal government cannot be naira insolvent because it has the ability to issue our national currency.
However, in doing this, together with increased spending, the government needs to monitor the inflation rate and ensure that it doesn’t go too high.
Other economic measures to help manage the coronavirus threat to the economy includes:
• Suspension of VAT for the next 2-4 months and tax credits of partial tax reductions for companies. This is to help lower import costs and guard against shortages.
• Lower interest rates in order to encourage borrowing and private sector activity.
• Maintaining of government expenditure rather than reduce spending at this critical period. In fact, he encouraged an increase of at least 10%-15% during this kind of emergency.
• Ensuring food security by protecting citizens from food shortages and high prices.
• Increase of stipends to the poor. This can be done by widening the net and substantially increasing the number of recipients of this programme.
• As for the exchange rate, he advised CBN to allow some downward pressure on the naira and should only intervene when it looks like the rate will come down. He said government should revisit the ban on non-institutional Nigerian dollar holders from taking part in open market operations.
• The enactment of extraordinary measures by CBN to forestall stress in the financial sector. They should ensure liquidity in the financial system by expanding its balance sheet and buying of government bonds and other instruments held by banks and other institutions.
Covid-19: African Union in talks with China and Russia over vaccine
The AU and Africa CDC have revealed that they have reached out to both China and Russia over the possibility of vaccine partnerships.
The Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention and the African Union announced they have been in talks with China and Russia over the possibility of vaccine partnerships to ensure that Africa is not left behind when vaccines become available.
This was disclosed by John Nkengasong, Africa CDC Chief, at the Bloomberg Invest Africa online conference.
“We are not limiting ourselves to any particular partner. As a continent of 1.2 billion people, we are willing to work with any partner who adheres to our strategic plan for vaccine development and access in Africa.
He said that the WHO Covax programme only covers 20% of the population, but Africa will need 60% of its population vaccinated to achieve herd immunity.
“There are multiple avenues being explored now to make sure Africa has the appropriate doses of vaccines and also that we have that in a timely fashion, not in a delayed manner,” Nkengasong said.
He revealed that the AFREXIM Bank agreed to finance vaccine procurement with $5 billion and is waiting to see how much it will receive from World Bank’s $12 billion vaccine procurement fund for developing nations.
What you should know
Nairametrics reported earlier this month that Pfizer Inc. disclosed that its experimental vaccine, which is jointly developed with BioNTech, was more than 90% effective in preventing COVID-19, based on initial data from a large study in the ongoing phase 3 trials.
Last week, a pharmaceutical company, Moderna Inc., stated that its COVID-19 vaccine was 94.5% effective in treating coronavirus, after preliminary analysis of a large late-stage clinical trial.
The G-20 nations also announced a pledge to pay for vaccine distribution to developing nations that could not afford it. The leaders also unveiled a debt extension programme to developing nations during the weekend’s G-20 summit.
The Federal Government of Nigeria also announced through the Ministry of Health, that it would inaugurate an 18-man Covid-19 Vaccine Task Team, in a bid to ensure vaccine security In Nigeria.
Covid-19: EU considers skipping vaccine patents to boost vaccine access
The EU has disclosed plans to increase its access to Covid-19 vaccines by offering financial incentives to vaccine production companies.
The European Union (EU) says its planning emergency measures to increase its access to Covid-19 vaccines including sidestepping patent rights and offering financial incentives to vaccine production companies to move production to Europe.
This was revealed in an EU document on Wednesday and reported by Reuters. The Document says the EU may create an emergency coordination mechanism to be issued at short notice when the EU needs a vaccine license, which is different from fully patent waivers, discussed in the WTO last week.
The EU says the new move will ensure faster procedures during a pandemic, which will enable generic production in the EU without the consent of patent holders.
“The Commission sees the need to ensure that effective systems for issuing compulsory licenses are in place, to be used as a means of last resort and a safety net, when all other efforts to make IP (intellectual property) available have failed,” the EU’s document said.
The EU’s actions may be triggered by its inability to access the antiviral drug, remdesivir, during the pandemic, as the United States ordered most of the stock.
The EU also disclosed that it will begin a consultation process with pharmaceutical companies next year to address issues in its pharmaceutical value chains. They added that measures could be imposed to encourage manufacturers to move pharmaceutical production to Europe from China and India.
“The Commission calls on member states to ensure that the tools they have are as effective as possible; for instance, by putting in place fast-track procedures for issuing compulsory licenses in emergency situations,” the EU said.
They added that it is urgent “to assess whether manufacturing capacity for certain critical medicines may be required in the EU.”
“We need to be able to rely on ourselves, not on others,” the Commission’s Vice President, Margaritis Schinas said. He disclosed that the EU is working on more compliance with drug supply need and increased stock levels by 2022.
What you should know
This comes as surprise considering the EU rejected a World Trade Organization (WTO) proposal last week to waive the intellectual property rights needed for the manufacturing of Covid-19 vaccines. The waiver would have made the vaccine access cheaper for developing nations.
COVID-19 Update in Nigeria
On the 25th of November 2020, 198 new confirmed cases were recorded in Nigeria
The spread of novel Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) in Nigeria continues to record significant increases as the latest statistics provided by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control reveal Nigeria now has 66,805 confirmed cases.
On the 25th of November 2020, 198 new confirmed cases were recorded in Nigeria, having carried out a total daily test of 5,838 samples across the country.
To date, 66,805 cases have been confirmed, 62,493 cases have been discharged and 1,169 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. A total of 749,136 tests have been carried out as of November 25th, 2020 compared to 743,298 tests a day earlier.
COVID-19 Case Updates- 25th November 2020,
- Total Number of Cases – 66,805
- Total Number Discharged – 62,493
- Total Deaths – 1,169
- Total Tests Carried out – 749,136
According to the NCDC, the 198 new cases were reported from 13 states- FCT (53), Lagos (48), Ogun (40), Akwa Ibom (20), Bauchi (9), Plateau (8), Kaduna (5), Kano (4), Benue (3), Jigawa (3), Nasarawa(3), Edo (1), Kwara (1)
Meanwhile, the latest numbers bring Lagos state total confirmed cases to 23,066, followed by Abuja (6,629), Plateau (3,813), Oyo (3,715), Rivers (2,963), Kaduna (2,945), Edo (2,696), Ogun (2,196), Delta (1,823), Kano (1,781), Ondo (1,727), Enugu (1,332), Kwara (1,096), Ebonyi (1,055), Katsina (1,012), Osun (945), Gombe (938). Abia (926), Bauchi (762), and Borno (745).
Imo State has recorded 662 cases, Benue (496), Nasarawa (488), Bayelsa (445), Ekiti (354), Akwa Ibom (339), Jigawa (331), Niger (296), Anambra (285), Adamawa (261), Sokoto (165), Taraba (157), Yobe (94), Kebbi (93), Cross River (90), Zamfara (79), while Kogi state has recorded 5 cases only.
Lock Down and Curfew
In a move to combat the spread of the pandemic disease, President Muhammadu Buhari directed the cessation of all movements in Lagos and the FCT for an initial period of 14 days, which took effect from 11 pm on Monday, 30th March 2020.
The movement restriction, which was extended by another two-weeks period, has been partially put on hold with some businesses commencing operations from May 4. On April 27th, 2020, Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari declared an overnight curfew from 8 pm to 6 am across the country, as part of new measures to contain the spread of the COVID-19. This comes along with the phased and gradual easing of lockdown measures in FCT, Lagos, and Ogun States, which took effect from Saturday, 2nd May 2020, at 9 am.
On Monday, 29th June 2020 the federal government extended the second phase of the eased lockdown by 4 weeks and approved interstate movement outside curfew hours with effect from July 1, 2020. Also, on Monday 27th July 2020, the federal government extended the second phase of eased lockdown by an additional one week.
On Thursday, 6th August 2020 the federal government through the secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 announced the extension of the second phase of eased lockdown by another four (4) weeks.