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ECOWAS ministers recommend gradual re-opening of borders 

ECOWAS has recommended the gradual re-opening of the borders of member states.

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ECOWAS ministers recommend gradual re-opening of borders 

Ministers from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) sub-region have recommended the gradual re-opening of the borders of member states in the first half of July. This is to allow travelers from countries with low or controlled levels of coronavirus cases by the end of July.

This new recommendation was contained in a communique from a virtual meeting that was held last week by Foreign Affairs and Trade Ministers from the West African countries. They called for coordinated efforts to re-open cross border trade that has been seriously hampered by the lockdowns and restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Ministers had recommended a gradual and phased opening of the borders.

The first phase involves the opening up of domestic air and land transport in the month of June which many governments within the region have started to do.

The second phase of the recommendation involves the opening of land, air and sea borders within the region by middle of July.

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The third phase involves the opening of air and land borders to countries with low and controlled levels of coronavirus cases by July 31. However, this will depend on the evolution of the pandemic.

READ MORE: FG calls for ECOWAS single currency extension

These recommendations by the ministers are expected to be presented to the ECOWAS heads of state at a forthcoming summit.

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It can be recalled that countries across the ECOWAS trade bloc had imposed different levels of travel restrictions through the land, air, and sea borders as part of the measures to contain the dangerous spread of the coronavirus disease.

This has delayed the take-off of the African Free Trade Zone (AFCFTA), which has been referred to as the world’s largest free-trade zone. The implementation of the trade agreement which was to take off on July 1, 2020, had been postponed to January 1, 2021.

The border closure had negatively impacted on the cost of goods especially food prices. It has also affected exports among member states.

However, it remains to be seen, whether the recommendations will be approved by the heads of states of member countries as there has been reported spike in confirmed cases within the last week especially in a country like Nigeria, which is the largest country in the sub-region.

 

 

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Chike Olisah is a graduate of accountancy with over 15 years working experience in the financial service sector. He has worked in research and marketing departments of three top commercial banks. Chike is a senior member of the Nairametrics Editorial Team. You may contact him via his email- [email protected]

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Obibi Efe Abel

    June 26, 2020 at 3:20 pm

    Thanks for the information, when is the final meeting on land border going to take place or are we expecting the boarders to be in operation this coming July 2020.many of us are stranded in adbijan we need to go home please. We need your authentic information regarding early boarder opening.

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Economy & Politics

Lagos revisits Ehingbeti Economic Summit, to hold first virtual edition

The Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget said the State will again host the Ehingbeti Summit.

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Lagos, Sanwo-Olu, Businesses that must remain closed after May 4

Lagos State government has decided to resuscitate its annual Ehingbeti Summit after it held the last one in 2014.

The 2020 edition, which is to hold virtually between November 10-12, is themed ‘For greater Lagos: Setting the tone for the next decade.’

This was disclosed by the Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Samuel Egube on Sunday during an interactive session with journalists, which was attended by Nairametrics.

Egube explained that most of the developments recorded in the states over the years were from ideas and recommendations gathered from the previous editions of the summit.

According to him, the summit, which is a collaboration between the state and private sector operators, has seen the government implement 109 out of 119 resolutions suggested to the state government in past editions.

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He said, “The rail line projects, the Lekki toll gate, among others are ideas generated from the economic summit. The summit has a rich history and is firmly established as a credible forum for stimulating economic growth for Lagos state. It is our belief that you cannot lead a place like Lagos with one mind you have to bring together all the minds. The first one was hosted in 2000 making this the 20th year since the first summit was held. The first three editions were deliberately diagnostic but by the fourth one, we had started to create a blueprint and have started to implement it from the early decisions that had been made.”

He added that the good thing about the summit is that the government is responsible for the decisions taken and that they are obliged to report back to the next Ehingbeti what it has done with the decision taken and if there are challenges.

We highlight what those challenges were and take other decisions on how to repair those challenges. To some it appears the ambitions are too high, because how do you put the private sector in the lead and collaborate in that manner. They have wondered whether the government can be trusted to follow through with this idea of collaboration, but the performance shows that yes, we follow through,” he stated.

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According to him, with the summit, what the Lagos state government is trying to do is stimulate contribution from the private sector, get them interested in the governance of the state and lead the way in terms of the outcomes.

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Economy & Politics

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.

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Kaduna and Rivers States in partial lockdown

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.

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“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.

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Economy & Politics

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.

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States lose N35.51 billion to bail-out , FAAC disburses N650.8 billion as South-South states receive highest share

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. 

READ: Nigeria total public debt hits N31 trillion as debt service gulp over N1.2 trillion in H1 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. 

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Explore the Nairametrics Research Website for Economic and Financial Data

Breakdown 

  • 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. 

READ: Nigeria considers request for debt relief as debt stock climbs

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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). 

READ: Fidelity Bank to raise N50 billion in bonds in Q4 to refinance existing debts

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. 

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READ: Investors flee Nigerian Stocks as FDI and FPI dips

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). 

READ: Nigeria’s manufacturing sector contracts for 5th consecutive month – CBN 

Upshot 

  • 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. 

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