The World Bank is reportedly toying with Nigeria over the proposed $1.5 billion dollars put forward since February 2020 but yet to be disbursed 6 months after.
Information from Fayer and Fraser an exclusive newsletter edited by Feyi Fawehinmi, a respected Financial analyst, indicates the loan from the World Bank has remained elusive as the multilateral institution has continued to move the “goalposts” through stringent conditions that are unprecedented.
According to Feyi, It is difficult to understand why the World Bank appears to be leading Nigeria on a merry dance over a relatively small loan amount that is less than half of what the IMF already approved and disbursed. One can consider a scenario where the funds were actually to help with Nigeria’s response to the pandemic and it had not yet been released by the end of August.
The World Bank approached Nigeria in February 2020 for a possible loan disbursement as the world envisioned the economic impact of COVID-19 on the global economy particularly emerging markets in sub-Saharan Africa like Nigeria. Yet after several presentations that lasted between March and April, the loan remains un-disbursed. The loan was meant to be disbursed in June 2020.
Several reports at the time indicated that the World Bank had laid out conditions upon which the Apex bank was to lend money to Nigeria among which are a unification of the exchange rate, removal of fuel subsidy, and introduction of a cost-reflective tariff. This is despite being a loan tied to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Rather than approve the loan, the World Bank then came up with a new demand – the CBN had to clear the backlog of foreign exchange demand which it calculated at US$6 billion. The CBN’s own calculations put the backlog at US$2 billion while in a separate calculation, the IMF put the figure at US$2.5 billion. To be clear, the backlog from foreign dividends, such as the one that recently embarrassed Nigeria’s largest bank, as well as those from correspondent banks is not included in CBN’s calculations. Still, it will be a stretch to imagine that even with those numbers included the number would reach the World Bank’s US$6 billion figure.” Faye and Fraser
What is the World Bank’s intention?
According to Faye and Fraser “One speculation is that the World Bank is unhappy that foreign portfolio investors are now stuck in the country unable to get the dollars they need to exit their positions and leave the country.”
As Nairametrics has often reported, Nigeria has a foreign exchange pent-up demand between $2-3 billion from both foreign and local portfolio investors. Nevertheless, Faye and Fraser wonders why this is a condition precedent to disbursement of the loan
“But this is also not the first time the World Bank will lead Nigeria on such a dance that ultimately ends in disappointment. In 2016 there were extensive talks about a loan which went on and on and ended with no funds being disbursed. Most disturbing is that the World Bank now seems to be using the media to selectively leak information to the public designed to paint a picture of the country’s resistance to reforms as the sole reason for the delay,” Fayer and Fraser stated.
A top-level government official who spoke to Nairametrics on condition of anonymity also wondered why the World Bank was placing so much emphasis on conditionalities that do not relate to the essence of the loan. “They have not asked for things like how many COVID-19 centers have we built? How well are we containing the spread of the virus and what palliatives has the government put in place to alleviate the poor? Have we properly deployed some of the funds and grants already raised by the government” the source asks?
Why this matters: The government, particularly the central bank has been chastised for months for taking too long to meet the conditions of the World Bank. However, with the prolonged delays to disbursement and spurious conditions, it appears there is more than meets the eye. Nigeria is significantly under pressure for a loan and has ruled out on any Eurobond this year. It could reconsider this move if the World Bank continues to delay.
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Article contribution: Abiola Odutola, Chike Olisah
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.
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- 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.
Despite billions on agriculture, food inflation up by 108% since 2015
About N2 trillion spent in the last 5 years to achieve food self-sufficiency.
Nigeria’s food inflation has more than doubled since August 2015, exactly 5 years after the Buhari Administration took charge of the Nigerian economy.
This was determined by comparing the composite index for food inflation rate in August 2020 versus same period in 2015. The difference is a whopping 108% increase in inflation rate, in just 5 years. Within this period, Nigeria’s exchange rate has been devalued by 49%.
Whilst the Nigerian economy has been ravaged by a very low oil price environment, since it fell from over $100 per barrel in 2014, most of the reasons for the increase in cost of living are partly attributed to some of the policies of the government.
Since 2015, the government has focused on a ‘grow-what-you-can-eat’ policy, pouring billions of naira into the agricultural sector. Since its inception in 2015, the Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP), has received about N190billion disbursement from the CBN.
Another N622billion was lent through banks under the Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme. Add the various grants, tax incentives, and concessions, that’s almost N2 trillion spent in the last 5 years on helping Nigeria to achieve food self-sufficiency.
Whilst modest successes have been recorded, the cost of staple food items remain high – galloping in each passing month. Since the border closure was announced in August 2019, the food inflation rate has risen every month, from 13.17% in August of 2019 to 16% last month. It is projected to hit 20% by the first quarter of 2021, when the effects of the increase in petrol and electricity prices are accounted for.
Nigerians have never had it this bad. Despite the good intentions of the government, things have not particularly turned out well. A common challenge in trying to solve a problem is not being able to manage what is outside of your control. In agriculture, a lot seem to be outside of the control of this government.
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Yield per hectare for most farming is well below global standards, driving up the cost of whatever is left to be sold to Nigerians. Farmers also face insecurity, flooding, and sometimes famine affecting their ability to plant and harvest. Even after harvesting, supply chain challenges still persist, leaving farmers to contend with middlemen, transportation, and storage. The result is far less farm produce reaching the final consumer.
For items under its control, it still cannot determine the outcomes, and the causes and effects. Just last week, it announced the banning of maize, only to flip-flop after learning that poultry farmers lacked maize feeds to grow their chickens. It quickly granted licenses to four companies to import maize.
Thus, while the government attempts to manage what it can control such as banning of imports, denying access to forex, and of course border closure, it cannot solve all these problems with CBN funding and banning. They are structural, and require a better approach that is private sector driven, yet pragmatic. The government also needs to tell itself the truth; Nigeria cannot be self-sufficient by banning.
So long as we continue to avoid relying on data and objective reasoning, to balance the need for local agro-processing and imports to meet demand, food inflation will remain high and galloping. Who knows, by the time this administration’s tenure is up, we could be looking at a state of emergency driven by a full blown food crisis.
Nigeria’s inflation rate hits 13.22% in August 2020, highest in 29 months
Highest increases were recorded in prices of Passenger transport by air, Hospital services, Medical services, Pharmaceutical products and others.
Nigeria’s inflation rate rose to 13.22% in August 2020, highest recorded in 29 months, since March 2018 (13.24%). This was contained in the recent Consumer Price Index (CPI) report, released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
The latest figure is 0.40% points higher than the rate recorded in July 2020 (12.82%). while on a month-on-month basis, the Headline index increased by 1.34% in August 2020.
Food inflation: A closely watched component of the inflation index, stood at 16% in August compared to 15.48% recorded in July 2020. On month-on-month basis, the food sub-index increased by 1.67% in August 2020, up by 0.15% points from 1.52% recorded in July 2020.
This rise in the food index was attributed to increases in prices of Bread and cereals, Potatoes, Yam and other tubers, Meat, Fish, Fruits, Oils and fats, and Vegetables.
Core inflation: This excludes the prices of volatile agricultural produce, also rose to 10.52% in August 2020. It is up by 0.42% points when compared with 10.1% recorded in July 2020. On month-on-month basis, the core sub-index increased by 1.05% in August 2020. This was up by 0.30% points when compared with 0.75% recorded in July 2020.
What drove inflation: Inflation for the month of August was driven by recorded increase in prices of Passenger transport by air, Hospital services, Medical services, Pharmaceutical products, Maintenance, and Repair of personal transport equipment.
Others are Vehicle spare parts, Motor cars, Passenger transport by road, Repair of furniture, and Paramedical services.
Upshot: As Nigerians continue to grapple with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the reopening of the economy, prices of commodities such as air transport, and medical services seems to have been affected due to policies implemented, with the aim of curbing the spread of COVID-19 in the country.
It is therefore evident that Nigerians are spending more, despite fixed income, contraction of economic activities, and dwindling rate of investment returns.