Nigeria’s Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has argued that the probe into Nigeria’s use of foreign loans to finance infrastructure projects could negatively affect how foreign lenders perceive the country. And by extension, this could affect infrastructure projects in Nigeria, should such lenders choose to withdraw their loan offers.
The Minister stated this at a hearing with the House of Representatives Committee on Treaties, Protocols, and Agreements in Abuja. He was invited to the hearing by the legislators to offer more clarity on the $500 million loans from China’s Export-Import Bank which Nigeria is seeking for railway construction and other projects.
While responding to the lawmakers, Amaechi asked that the probe be postponed until December after the loan must have been received. However, the House Committee made it clear that it can conduct probes/reviews on Nigeria’s bilateral loan agreements anytime.
The backstory: Recall that the Senate had also invited the Minister of Works, Babatunde Fashola and the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed to explain the details of the contracts for the Lagos-Ibadan expressway, the Abuja-Kano road, and the Second Niger bridge.
Governors to meet on Wednesday over rising insecurity
The governors of the 36 States of the federation will hold an emergency virtual meeting to discuss growing insecurity in the country.
The Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) has announced that the Governors of the 36 States will hold an emergency virtual meeting to discuss the recent killings and kidnappings by terrorist groups, and agree on a new national security plan to secure the lives of citizens.
This was disclosed in a statement by Head, Media and Public Affairs of the NGF, Mr Abdulrazaque Bello-Barkindo, on Monday in Abuja.
The NGF disclosed in its statement that the Governors would also receive updates on the events following the disbandment of the SARS alongside the rising insecurity.
Other issues that will be discussed by the Governors include:
- CACOVID funding palliatives and updates across the states.
- Joint meetings between the CBN and Kaduna State Governor, Nasir el-Rufai, on accessing pension funds to finance infrastructure development.
- Updates on the ASUU strike. Issues related to Stamp Duty and the Water Resources Bill will also be discussed at the meeting.
What you should know
There has been a rise in reported cases of kidnappings and killings by terrorists groups and bandits, especially in Northern Nigeria.
Nairametrics reported earlier that President Muhammadu Buhari had condemned the killing of farmers by Boko Haram on Saturday. The President added that the Federal Government had given the armed forces support to tackle insecurity in the country.
Emefiele tells economists to stop “overdramatizing” analysis that can create Panic
CBN has assured that the nation’s economy will emerge out of recession in the first quarter of 2021.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has assured that the nation’s economy will grow by 2% in 2021. The apex bank is optimistic that its various intervention will make Nigeria emerge out of recession in the first quarter of 2021.
This was disclosed by the Governor, CBN, Godwin Emefiele while delivering his keynote address at the 55th Annual Bankers Dinner of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) in Lagos on Friday.
What he is saying
He said, “We expect that growth in 2021 would attain 2.0 percent. It is important to insulate the economy from shocks that may undermine the attainment of the projected 2.0 percent economic growth.
“However, downside risks remain, as restoration of full economic activities, particularly in service-related sectors, remains uncertain until a COVID vaccine is produced and made available to millions of people across the world.
“Second, with the significant rise in cases in advanced markets and the imposition of lockdowns in parts of Europe, concerns remain on the impact this could have on growth in advanced economies, commodity prices and the financial markets.”
He emphasized on the need to find ways to insulate the economy from the impact of these shocks through diversification efforts, while also working to ensure that the nation adheres to safety protocols in order to prevent a surge in COVID-19 related cases, as this could further cripple economic activities.
Stop overdramatizing analysis
Emefiele appealed to economic analysts to stay clear from analysis that can create panic and thus hamper the economic recovery process. “When you overdramatized you create panic in the system and that slows down the process of recovery.
“Our actions in 2021 would be guided by the considerations that emerged from the Monetary Policy Committee meeting of November 23 & 24, 2020, which sought to address the major headwinds exerting downward pressure on output growth and upward pressure on domestic prices,” he added.
Mr. Emefiele has often accused “armchair” economists of making exaggerated comments when expressing their views on the economy.
Explore Data on the Nairametrics Research Website
55th Annual Bankers Dinner https://t.co/WROvaYq8Cg
— Central Bank of Nigeria (@cenbank) November 27, 2020
What you need to know
On November 23, 2020, Nairametrics reported that the Minister for Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, said the country will exit recession by the first quarter of 2021 as the government is working towards reversing the declining economic trend in the country.
- The Finance Minister said the COVID-19-induced recession followed the pattern across the world, where many countries had entered an economic recession.
Nigeria edges closer to getting World Bank loan, in the final stages of talk
The Finance Minister has disclosed that Nigeria has fulfilled the conditions and is in the last stages of securing a World Bank loan.
Nigeria is set to achieve its plans of getting the $1.5 billion World Bank loan package as it is in the closing stages of the deal following its fulfilment of the conditions set by the international multilateral organization.
This disclosure was made by the Minister for Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, during an interview on Friday, November 27, 2020, with Bloomberg Television.
While pointing out that Nigeria’s senate approved the borrowing plan from the World Bank in June, Ahmed said the board of the multilateral institution will discuss the loan package at their next meeting.
What you should know
It can be recalled that the World Bank loan which had been sought by Nigeria in the wake of the devastating impact of the coronavirus pandemic, was being delayed by the Brettonwood institution due to concerns over reforms as it feels that Nigeria has not shown enough commitment towards achieving them.
Some of the reforms include the unification and flexibility of the exchange rate, removal of fuel subsidy, increase in electricity tariffs amongst others.
However, it seems that with the recent deregulation of the downstream sector of the oil industry with the attendant removal of fuel subsidy and increase in electricity tariff, some of those concerns of the World Bank are gradually being sorted out.
Ahmed also said that Nigeria is considering joining the G-20 debt-relief initiative and is talking to commercial lenders to secure their backing.
She said, “We will consider joining as long as it is safe for us to do so. Nigeria couldn’t participate initially because some of the conditions were unfavourable for existing loan commitments with bilateral lenders and other international borrowings.”
On the increased gap between the official rate and parallel market rate, the minister said the government is concerned about the widening gap in the naira’s exchange rate on the official and parallel markets.
She said, “We have been taking measures to close the gap. We hope to get to an even level very soon so the impact of the exchange rate will become moderated.”