The latest data released by the Debt Management Office (DMO) shows that Nigeria’s total debt stock as of December 2019 stood at N27.4 trillion. This includes N21.7 trillion owed by the Federal Government and N5.6 trillion owed by the state governments.
- The Federal Government’s debts, therefore, make up 79.59% of the country’s total debt, while the states and the FCT government debt accounted for the remaining 20.41%.
- Foreign debts account for 32.93% of the total debt at N9.02 trillion, with the Federal Government owing N7.53 trillion and the state governments owing N1.48 trillion.
- Domestic debts made up the remaining 67.07%. The Federal Government had a domestic debt portfolio of N14.2 trillion, accounting for 52.09% of total debt stock, while the states owed N4.1 trillion, 14.99% of the total debt stock.
What this means: These figures show a substantial increase in Nigeria’s public debt portfolio from N26.22 trillion in September 2019, to N27.4 trillion by the end of the next quarter.
According to the DMO, “The CBN Official Exchange Rate of US$1 to NGN326 as of December 31, 2019, was used in converting the Domestic Debts to USD.” This is in contrast to the previous report where the agency used an exchange rate of N307 to the dollar to convert the country’s domestic debts stock to US dollars as of September 2019.
By implication, the mere adjusting of the exchange rate increased the country’s debt profile by N1.5 trillion. As the country’s official exchange rate continues to climb due to the pressure on the naira, the debt figures as of March 2020 may turn out significantly higher than any of the previous quarters.
What to expect: Experts believe things could get worse especially due to coronavirus-induced spluttering of the global economy and the crash in global oil prices.
Clement Ofuani, a one-time Senior Special Assistant to late former President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua on Policy, stated that the reduction of economic activities in countries like China where Nigeria’s crude is bought might have compromised the government’s ability to service foreign debts this year.
[READ ALSO: Nigeria’s total debt rises to N26.14 trillion)
“The implications of these are that the government’s fiscal receipts are imperiled and foreign exchange inflow compromised.
“Our ability to service foreign debt is in jeopardy, meaning that the ability to borrow more is practically impossible,” he said.
Ofuani, who is also a Chartered Accountant, noted that the situation puts the country’s fiscal health in peril.
According to him, the ability of the government to even pay salaries is questionable now, as the exchange rate of the naira has continued a downward slide against the dollar and will continue into the foreseeable future.
Skills Africa needs for sustainable development
Over a billion people with 5 official working languages – Arabic, English, French, Portuguese and Swahili , will again celebrate Africa Day this year.
From Addis Ababa to Durban, Lagos to Cairo, from the Sahara Dessert to the Nile River, over a billion people with 5 official working languages – Arabic, English, French, Portuguese and Swahili – will again celebrate Africa Day this year.
A day to remember, reminisce and celebrate successes recorded against the struggles for independence, freedom from apartheid and colonization. Although, with the new normal brought about by Coronavirus, the 2020 celebrations would be quite unlike previous years.
The Africa Union (Formerly OAU) has recorded good milestones in terms of political independence and self-governance. So now is a good time for Africa to reflect on our independence.
On reading the objectives of the Africa Union (AU), words like independence, territorial integrity, human rights, security, cooperation are splattered across the pages. Significantly, none of the AU objectives seeks economic autonomy for Africa or her member states. This is a fundamental flaw which speaks directly to Africa’s issue of having a large population without the requisite skills for growth.
Our education is largely dependent on the western curriculum and narrative. There is hardly any major infrastructure, industrial or development project in Africa with 100% African content in manpower, materials or capital.
It is now well established and more evident that political independence without economic independence is like a car without an engine. Economic empowerment is the nucleus of national development. No fewer than 14 West African countries currently use CFA Franc, with some having used the currency for at least 75 years. This goes beyond nameplate as the Bank of France holds half of those countries’ currency reserves. This is effectively cutting their growth capacity by 50%.
8 of those 14 countries will relinquish the CFA franc for the new ECOWAS currency, ECO (to be launched in July 2020). However, there is no indication that the affected African leaders would ask France for compensation for the years of economic sabotage to their countries. The introduction of the ECO was to bring a ray of hope, but we hope the real difference would not just be in the colour of the currency. This is because the ECO will not be autonomous but would be pegged against the Euro.
France is not alone in the economic sabotage of Africa, they are in the good company of the United Kingdom, the US and Belgium, to mention a few. However, are these foreign countries to blame? Africa got her independence, but African leaders refuse to be independent and the dependent mentality is also enshrined in the AU objectives.
One of the AU objectives states “to work with relevant international partners in the eradication of preventable diseases and the promotion of good health on the continent.” The statement looks good superficially, but it is enlaced with aid orientation, the lack of drive for self-reliance, and a beggarly mindset.
Let us educate Africa to pursue the development of its people, with core skills that are necessary to deliver the quality of the progress and growth that Africans desire. African construction companies should make African infrastructure and 100% African content should be the target in automobile engineering, healthcare, information technology,
Necessity is said to be the mother of invention. The need for Africans to lead Africa out of poverty, tyranny and underdevelopment is a matter of great importance, far beyond just necessity. Every African must desire to get skilled, and not just education, as we currently have it. We must have the competence to develop our agriculture system, mine Africa’s natural resources and add value by processing them locally.
Africa Day would only be truly worthy of celebration when African people and countries are skilled enough to accomplish our dreams of self-reliance and economic independence.
Article written by Olatunde Akintola. Olatunde is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountant of Nigeria and alumni of Manchester Business School. He writes from Lagos.
Sanwo-Olu to virtually inaugurate projects as he presents scorecard of first year in office
Some of the projects to be commissioned will be done virtually, while a few will be done on-site.
Lagos state governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, will virtually inaugurate housing, education, and road projects on May 29, as part of activities to mark his first year in office.
According to a report by NAN, the projects are part of the government’s efforts to renew infrastructure in critical sectors and to make the commercial centre a smart city.
Some of the projects to be commissioned will be done virtually, while a few will be done on-site.
Lagos state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Gbenga Omotoso, listed some of the projects in an official statement. He said:
”In the education sector, Sanwo-Olu will conduct virtual inauguration of completed classroom blocks in Maya Secondary School, Ikorodu; Eva Adelaja Junior School, Bariga; and Saviour Primary School, Ifako-Ijaiye, among others.
“Virtual inauguration of completed works such as the Concrete Jetty in Baiyeku, Ikorodu, Aradagun-Ajido- Epeme Road in Badagry, and the Maryland Signalisation project also form part of the itinerary to commemorate the anniversary.”
Omotoso also stated that the Governor would inaugurate the 360-unit Lagos Homes in Ikorodu, and then visit Igbogbo Baiyeku IIB Estate, Lekki, and the Courtland Villas on Femi Okunnu Estate during the week.
Plans for celebrating Children’s Day
In a related development, Governor Sanwo-Olu will deliver an address on Wednesday May 27 to mark the children’s day celebration, and the 53rd anniversary of Lagos state.
Omotoso, however, noted that all celebrations would be kept on the low in reflection of the current challenges and realities of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Presenting one-year scorecards
The activities for the week are expected to begin with press briefings at J.J.T Park in Alausa on May 27, where members of the State Executive Council will present their scorecards in line with the six pillars of the state’s T.H.E.M.E.S Agenda.
According to the information commissioner, there will be two sessions of press briefings daily from May 27 to June 3, as the Governor considers it expedient to render a stewardship account of the last one year.
“Three special publications highlighting the achievements of the Babajide Sanwo-Olu administration and testimonies of beneficiaries of various initiatives of the government are slated for presentation to the public by the governor and his Deputy, Dr Obafemi Hamzat,” he added.
NNPC discloses basis for employment and managerial progression in the oil firm
NNPC disclosed that academic competence, application of federal character amongst others are part of key consideration in its recruitment process.
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has explained the basis for employment as well as career progression in the state-owned oil firm, using a recent Graduate Trainee employment process and top management promotion exercise as an illustration.
This is coming against the backdrop of criticism in recent times over management appointments and postings, with claims of nepotism, favoritism, and lack of federal character.
In a press statement signed by NNPC’s Group General Manager Public Affairs, Dr. Kennie Obateru, the state NNPC disclosed that academic competence, and application of federal character, amongst others are part of key considerations in employment and managerial progression. The statement said in parts:
“Unblemished academic competence, logical thinking, ability to engage meaningfully in problem-solving in addition to the federal character are key to becoming an employee of the corporation.
“To progress in the Management cadre, professional competence, accountability, and transparency as well as ensuring national spread in top management positions are critical factors that are not negotiable.”
Explaining the parameters, Dr. Kennie Obateru stated that the basic academic requirement for newly employed Graduate Trainees in the corporation is a minimum of a Second-Class Upper Division or an Upper Credit for Higher National Diploma (HND) certificate holders. Alternatively, a candidate holding a Second Class Lower Division degree or an HND Lower Credit Diploma holder, must in addition have acquired a Master’s degree in a relevant field.
He pointed out that this was applicable in the last recruitment exercise where qualified applicants undertook a computer-based test conducted by a neutral national examination body, following which the best performers were further taken through a formal interview session to ensure their suitability.
Obateru stated that the end product of the rigorous exercise was the new set of employees who have shown a lot of promise since the beginning of the onboarding programme which started earlier this month; including engagements with the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Mallam Mele Kyari, and some members of top management of the corporation.
PRESS RELEASE:@NNPCgroup Says Professional Competence, Transparency, Accountability, National Spread are Bases for Employment, Management Progression in Corporation
The Nigerian National Corporation (NNPC) has explained the parametres..
— NNPC Group (@NNPCgroup) May 24, 2020
The NNPC spokesperson said the fairness in the appointment of the new employees was such that many of the new employees expressed astonishment at securing employment in the National Oil Company without any godfather.
It should be recalled that 1,050 graduate trainees were recently recruited by NNPC and assumed duty virtually on Monday May 4, 2020 due to the lockdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Also, some top management appointments and postings were done in the first week of March this year.