The World Trade Organization (WTO) has acknowledged the nomination of Nigeria’s former Finance Minister and former Managing Director of World Bank, Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, as one of the candidates for the position of the Director-General of the organization.
The WTO has opened nominations for a successful candidate that will succeed the current Director-General, Mr Roberto Azevedo, who will be stepping down on August 31, 2020, one year ahead of time.
This was seen in the tweet post of the World Trade Organization on their official Twitter handle on Tuesday evening June 9, 2020.
The tweet post from WTO states, “Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Chair of the Board of Gavi and Nigeria’s former Finance Minister, has been nominated by Nigeria as a candidate for the post of WTO Director-General.”
Nairametrics had earlier reported the nomination of Okonjo-Iweala by President Muhammadu Buhari and the subsequent protest against it by Egypt on grounds that the period of nominations had elapsed.
Egypt claimed that the African Union executive had set November 30, 2019 as the deadline for submission of nominees for African countries, therefore, Nigeria’s nomination violated that.
However, the WTO has come out to say that the nomination process actually opened on June 8, 2020 and ends on July 8, contrary to the allusion from Egypt.
The statement from WTO says, “The nomination period ends on 8 July. Learn more about the process to select the next Director-General of WTO.”
The WTO says that after the nomination period is closed, the candidates will be invited to meet with members at a special general council meeting, present their views and take questions from the membership.
Other nominees for the post so far, include Mr. Jesús Seade Kuri of Mexico, and Mr. Abdel-Hamid Mamdouh of Egypt.
Dr. Okonjo-Iweala, a world-renowned economist and international development expert, currently sits on the boards of Standard Chartered Bank, Twitter, Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, and the African Risk Capacity.
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Chair of the Board of Gavi and Nigeria’s former Finance Minister, has been nominated by #Nigeria as a candidate for the post of WTO Director-General. https://t.co/mGZoU1A2pS@NOIweala @TradeInvestNG @NigeriaMFA #WTODG pic.twitter.com/GakWkAIqCf
— WTO (@wto) June 9, 2020
— WTO (@wto) June 9, 2020
Rivers State unemployment figures by NBS are fake – Wike
Governor Wike has dismissed the figures provided by the NBS concerning the rate of unemployment in his state.
The Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike says that the National Bureau of Statistics’ data on unemployment in Rivers State is fake and politically motivated.
The Governor disclosed this during an interview with Channels TV on Friday morning. He said the figures are fake and political.
“It is fake; it is political. The rate (unemployment) is high, but I don’t believe in their statistics,” he said.
Nairametrics earlier reported in August that the South-South geopolitical zone is the most affected region with a 37.0% unemployment rate, followed by South East (29.1%), North Central (27.9%), Northeast (27.9%), North West (26.3%), and South West (18.0%).
Rivers State is ranked second place, with unemployment in the region at 43.7%, and underemployment at 19.8%. 1,714,189 residents were recorded as unemployed, with a total labour force of 3,921,860.
“If you have a lot of construction jobs going on, for example, does that not create employment? In Rivers State today, nobody can tell me that we have not tried in terms of employment; to reduce the level of unemployment,” Wike said.
The Governor cited formal and informal infrastructural projects across the state, which offers a means of livelihood to labourers. He went further to call on the NBS to be more deligent in their research.
“NBS should come to the state and see for themselves and see what we are doing to create jobs. Not just sitting in their offices. They never deployed anybody to come here,” Wike said.
FAAC disburses N696.2 billion in July 2020, as Lagos State parts with N1.46 billion
The sum of N696.18 billion to the Federal, State, and Local governments in July 2020 from the FAAC account.
The Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC), disbursed the sum of N696.18 billion to the Federal, State, and Local governments in July 2020, from the revenue generated in the month of June 2020. This was stated in the latest FAAC report, released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
According to the report, the monthly disbursement increased by 27.2% compared to N547.3 billion shared in June, and 14.8% increase compared to N606.2 billion disbursed in May 2020.
Checks by Nairametrics research, shows that a total of N4.58 trillion has been shared to the three tiers of government, between January and July 2020. Highest disbursement was recorded in April (N780.9 billion), followed by N716.3 billion in January 2020.
Meanwhile, Lagos State – the economic hub of Nigeria, parted with N1.46 billion as external debt deductions in the month, indicating a total of N9.74 billion deductions between January and July 2020.
Explore the Nairametrics Research Website for Economic and Financial Data
- The amount disbursed in July comprised of N474.53 billion from the Statutory Account, N128.83 billion from Valued Added Tax (VAT), N42.83 billion from Exchange Gain Differences, and Distribution of N50 billion from Non-Oil Revenue for the Month.
- Federal Government received a total of N266.13 billion from the total disbursement. States received a total of N185.77 billion, and Local Governments received N138.97 billion.
- The sum of N28.50 billion was shared among the oil producing states as 13% derivation fund.
- Revenue generating agencies such as Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), and Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) received N6.32 billion, N15.05 billion, and N2.68 billion respectively as cost of revenue collections.
South-South scoops highest share
The South-South region, also known as the Niger Delta region, received the highest share of the disbursement in the month of July. The region received a sum of N49.44 billion, representing 25.4% of the total net allocation for states.
This is largely because the region contributes mostly to crude oil production in Nigeria, which is a significant source of revenue for the federation. Out of the six states in the region, only Cross River State is not an oil producing state. Hence, Rivers, Edo, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, and Delta States received a total of N24.28 billion as part of 13% oil derivation fund.
North-West region received N36.83 billion (18.9%); followed by North-Central region, which received a net total of N30.69 billion (15.8%). Others include South-West (N29.55 billion), North-East (N26.32 billion), and South-East (N21.97 billion).
External debt deductions
A total of N4.47 billion was deducted from the state’s allocation, as external debt deductions for the month of July. Lagos State parted with the highest amount of N1.46 billion, representing 32.6% of the total debt deductions in the month. A sum of N9.74 billion has been deducted as a result of external debt obligations between January and July 2020.
It is worth noting that, the State’s external debt has declined by 9.67%, from $1.39 billion recorded as at the end of December 2019 to $1.26 billion in June 2020.
Others on the list of top 5 deductions are, Kaduna (N414.6 million), Oyo (N305.4 million), Rivers (N280.3 million), and Cross River (N222 million). On the flip side, Ogun State parted with the lowest, as N9.1 million was deducted, followed by Borno (N21.6 million), and Taraba (N24.5 million).
- With dwindling federally collected revenue, caused by volatility in global crude oil price and economic downtrend caused by COVID-19 pandemic, it is evident that federal allocations will likely face drastic decline, which is a cue for the State governments to strategize on more creative ways of generating revenue internally.
- A quick check at the states’ IGR numbers, shows that 91.9% of the states in Nigeria with the exception of Abuja, Ogun, and Lagos States rely more on federal allocation, as against internally generated revenue.
- This implies that several states in Nigeria are technically bankrupt without debt financing, and Federal Government monthly allocation.
Buhari to finally send Petroleum Industry Bill to National Assembly next week
Sources in the Presidency have disclosed that the President may be presenting the bill to the National Assembly.
President Muhammadu Buhari is expected to present the long-awaited Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) to the Senate as early as next week.
According to Reuters, who were quoting 4 sources familiar with the development, the presentation of the bill to the National Assembly, follows its official approval by the president late last week. This is as the National Assembly has already formed teams of members that will work most closely on the individual portions of the bill.
Both chambers of the National Assembly must have to pass the bill after deliberating on it before it can then be passed on to the president for his final signature.
The PIB which is an oil reform bill has been in the works for about 20 years, is key to the repositioning of Nigeria’s Oil and Gas Industry under its post-COVID-19 agenda as the main laws governing oil and gas exploration have not been fully updated since the 1960s due to some contentious issues like taxes, payments to local communities, terms and revenue sharing within Nigeria.
The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), had disclosed that the delay and non-passage of the bill has made international investors to start losing confidence in the country’s oil and gas industry.
While revealing last month that the PIB will be presented to the National Assembly in the next few weeks, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, also said that the executive arm will be requesting the lawmakers to specially reconvene to receive and start deliberations on the bill.
These oil reforms and regulatory certainty became more pressing this year as low oil prices and a shift towards renewable energy made competition for investment from oil majors tougher.
The draft copy of the bill which was prepared by the Petroleum Ministry is a product of series of consultation between the federal government, oil and gas companies and other industry stakeholders.
Excerpts from the bill reported by Reuters include provisions that would streamline and reduce some oil and gas royalties, increase the amount of money companies pay to local communities and for environmental clean-ups alter the dispute resolution process between companies and the government.
It also included measures to push companies to develop gas discoveries and a framework for gas tariffs and delivery. Commercializing gas, particularly for use in local power generation, is a core government priority.