The world is in a fix. Covid-19, unprecedented as it is, has led to economic shocks owing to severe disruptions in the global supply chain, rising levels of corporate and public debt, rising levels of unemployment, negative shocks to commodity prices, and more. To cushion the negative impacts on economies around the world, global leaders have put policies in place hoping that it will stop or, at least, slow down the negative trajectory of these failing economies. It was in the same light that the Central Bank of Nigeria decided to lower the MPR rate to 12.5% from 13.5%.
How the Decision Came About
In a meeting held by the CBN’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) on Thursday this week, a majority of the members voted to cut the rate from 13.5% to 12.5%. During an earlier meeting held in March, the decision to hold rates had been unanimous. However, given the deepening challenges of the present time, seven out of the 10 members at the MPC meeting voted to cut the rate. Even more interesting is the fact that the rest of the panel opted for a more aggressive easing, with two voting for a 150 basis-point reduction and one for 200 basis points.
Why the Decision Was Made
COVID-19’s adverse effects on the global economy have been unprecedented and severe. During the meeting, which was broadcast live on Thursday 28th May, the MPC had noted key observations in the macroeconomic environment resulting from the adverse impacts of COVID-19 as well as the drop in crude oil prices. Some of the key highlights of the current economic situation include:
- The significant decline in Manufacturing and non-Manufacturing Purchasing Manager’s Indices (PMIs) to 42.4 and 25.3 index points, respectively, in May 2020, compared with 51.1 and 49.2 index points in March 2020.
- The marginal growth in broad money (M3) to 2.66 percent in April 2020 from 2.42 percent in March 2020, largely due to increases in Net Domestic and Foreign Assets.
- The significant growth of aggregate net credit by 8.07 percent in April 2020 compared with 4.90 percent in March 2020 (still below the indicative benchmark of 16.85 percent for the year.
The committee also mentioned the gradual improvement in macroeconomic variables, particularly the improvement in the equities market, the containment measures of the COVID-19 induced health crisis, as well as the impact of the increase in crude oil price on the external reserves. It also noted the stability in the banking system as shown by the increase in total assets by 18.8 percent and total deposits by 25.52 percent (year-on-year).
Given the overall economic situation and its impact on the average Nigerian, the MPC was of the view that any tightening of policy stance is, for now, inappropriate as it will result in further contraction of aggregate demand, thereby leading to a decline in output – which is necessary to sustain the supply chain for growth recovery. For the option of holding previous policy stance, the MPC believed holding may indicate that the monetary authorities are insensitive to prevailing weak economic conditions. Also noteworthy is the fact that this move to cut rates have been carried out by many other central banks across the globe, including Australia, Malaysia, and the U.S. Federal Reserve.
The Impact Of The Decision
The expected outcome of the decision of the CBN is to ensure that the economy reverses from the recession quickly. As such, the decision is geared towards stimulating growth and swift recovery. The cut, being the lowest in four years, rests on the optimism that it will possibly avert a recession. It, however, has its limitations. A clear challenge is the impact the rate cut will have on inflation which has been way above the target range of 6% to 9% for five years. There is also the issue of increasing pressure on the naira.
The rising question is whether the rate cut will do enough to prevent a recession. This is an important question, taking into account the volatility in the crude market – a sector that accounts for about 90% of exports and more than half of government revenue, the fall in private sector credit of 61% from just a year earlier, as well as all of the same challenges that spurred the making of the decision in the first place.
We are on the brink of a recession. Whilst policies like these could offer a buffer, the prolonged existence of the pandemic on the economy is one nail in the coffin that can only be halted by the provision of a vaccine. It is only when life reverts to normalcy that we can begin to undo the damage thus far.
Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala close to being announced as new DG of WTO
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is expected to be announced as the new DG of the World Trade Organisation.
Nigeria’s former Finance Minister, Dr. Ngozi Okonji-Iweala, is close to being appointed as the new Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
According to Reuters, a group of ambassadors also known as “troika” has proposed Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to lead the WTO giving her a clear path to becoming the first woman to head the WTO since it started 25 years ago. The three ambassadors are thought to wield significant powers in determining what is a very “intricate and opaque” process.
Most Nigerian Media houses have already announced NOI as the winner of the process even though this is yet to be made official by the WTO.
The winner for the role of DG of WTO is expected to be announced formally by the WTO later today.
Kano State presents N147.9 billion budget for 2021 fiscal year
Governor Ganduje has presented the total sum of N147.9 billion as Kano State’s proposed budget for 2021 fiscal year.
Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje has presented the total sum of N147.9 billion as its proposed budget for 2021 fiscal year before the Kano State House of Assembly today.
Presenting the budget tagged “Budget for Economic Recovery and Sustainable Development,”Governor Ganduje said the budget is in furtherance of his administration’s vision for diversification of the state sources of revenue which will engineer development in the future.
Backstory: Recall that Nairametrics had earlier reported the drive and optimism by Kano State government to boost its Internally Generated Revenue. This might probably explain why IGR increased by almost 10% between 2020 allocations and proposed estimates for 2021.
What you should know: The breakdown of the budget verified by Nairametrics showed the following key highlights:
- The total budget increased by approximately 7.0% from N138.279 billion in 2020 to N147.935 billion in 2021.
- Capital expenditure for the periods under view increased by 10.93% from N60.485 billion to N67.095 billion.
- Recurrent expenditure also increased from N77.79 billion to N80.839 billion, indicating a 3.92%. increase for the periods under view.
- Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) increased by approximately 10% from N24 billion to N26.395 billion during the period under view.
- A breakdown of the budget showed that the Education sector has over N37 Billion representing 25% of the total budget while the health care delivery service has over N25 Billion representing 17% of the total budget.
Why Okonjo-Iweala should win the WTO DG role – Prof. Moghalu
Professor Kingsley Moghalu has thrown support behind Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to win the World Trade Organization top job.
A former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Professor Kingsley Moghalu, has publicly canvassed support for Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala to win the World Trade Organization (WTO) top job.
The former professor of public policy at Fletcher School, Tufts University, made the disclosure via his official Twitter handle, as seen by Nairametrics
Prof. Moghalu made a strong case for why Africa’s candidate should be considered for the top shot, noting that the need for Africa to get a better deal in the world trading system should be a major criterion in selecting the next WTO DG. He also believed that correcting this negatively skewed trade deal will help tackle poverty and underdevelopment in Africa.
The dynamics of world trade are rigged against Africa, keeping the continent poor and undeveloped. In this piece for Project Syndicate @ProSyn I make a strong case for why Africa’s candidate, @NOIweala, should be selected as the next Director-general of @wto https://t.co/G4Fyxd1z91
— Kingsley Moghalu (@MoghaluKingsley) October 26, 2020
What you should know
Nairametrics had earlier reported that Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and South Korea’s Yoo Myung-hee have emerged as the last two candidates for the top WTO job.
Prof. Moghalu also disclosed that the final selection decision is expected this week or very early next week.
Prof. Moghalu said, “The dynamics of world trade are rigged against Africa, keeping the continent poor and undeveloped. In this piece for Project Syndicate @ProSyn, I make a strong case for why Africa’s candidate, @NOIweala, should be selected as the next Director-General of @wto.
“The final selection decision is expected this week or very early next. Alongside the case for why the African candidate Okonjo-Iweala is best placed to lead WTO, I make the case for the continent more broadly as to how and why it must get a better deal in the world trading system.”
What this means
If finally selected for the top job, the opportunity will present Dr. Okonjo the platform to solve some global trade-related issues, one of which is Africa’s trade position with the rest of the world.