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Economy & Politics

We are looking into reopening the borders soon – President Buhari

President Buhari has stated that the government is considering reopening the land borders as soon as possible.

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President Buhari, AutoGas, #EndSARS: Presidency to ensure that a repeat of protests does not happen, How Federal Government plans to increase VAT to 7.2% affects you

President Muhammadu Buhari has announced that the Nigerian Government is looking into reopening the land borders as soon as possible.

The President disclosed this in a social media statement after a meeting with the 36 State Governors. He said that the reason for closing the borders was to control the smuggling of weapons and drugs.

READ: Lagos says 2020 land use charge law is people friendly, introduces self-billing method

On Tuesday, Buhari said, “In my meeting with State Governors today I explained that the closure of Nigeria’s land borders was partly an attempt to control the smuggling in of weapons & drugs. Now that the message has sunk in with our neighbours, we’re looking into reopening the borders as soon as possible.” 

READ: Buhari to commission phase 1 of brand new refinery this week

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READ: Amaechi proposes a capital budget of N205 billion for Ministry of Transportation in 2021

READ: State governors finally agree to reduce RoW Charges for Telcos 

What you should know 

  • The country’s land borders were closed since August 2019 to curtail the smuggling of illegal drugs, small arms, food and agricultural products into the country.
  • Since Nigeria agreed to ratify the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), there have been talks of reopening the borders to commence trade with the continent.
  • The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, revealed last month that the presidential committee set up to look into the matter had completed its assignment and recommended the reopening of the borders. She said the committee would soon submit its report to President Muhammadu Buhari after which a formal pronouncement would be made on the matter.
  • The announcement has been received with scepticism in some quarters. Cheta Nwanze, Senior Partner at SBM Intelligence told Nairametrics that the FG has taken the right step with the planned reopening of the border. However, he believes that the borders will not be opened, with the perceived contradiction that exists amongst government agencies on the border closure issue.

READ: FG moves to reduce allowances of all political office holders

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Economy & Politics

FG says Excess Crude Account balance now stands at $72.4 million

The Federal Ministry of Finance has told the NEC that the Excess Crude Account (ECA) now stands at $72.4 million as at January 20, 2021.

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The Federal Government has announced that Nigeria’s Excess Crude Account (ECA) balance as at 20th January 2021 is $72,411,197.80.

This was disclosed by the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed at the first National Economic Council meeting of the year presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, with State Governors, Federal Capital Territory Minister, Central Bank Governor and other senior government officials in attendance.

READ: Nigeria’s growing current account deficit fans devaluation flames 

The FG said, “the ECA balance as at 20th January, 2021, $72,411,197.80; Stabilization Account, balance as at 19th January, 2021, N28, 800, 711,295.37; Natural Resources Development Fund Account, balance as at 19th January 2021, N95, 830,729,470.82.”

READ: Nigerians spend $9.01 billion on foreign travels in 2019 

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What you should know

  • In August 2015, during the early days of the Buhari administration, the ECA stood at $2.2 billion. It was $3.6 billion in February 2014, one of the highest balances on record.
  • According to the Central Bank of Nigeria’s annual report for 2018, Nigeria’s excess crude account fell from $2.45 billion in 2017 to $480 million as of December 2018.
  • In 2019, Nairametrics reported Nigeria’s Excess Crude Account had dropped to $480 million. This is as controversy continued to trail the $1 billion military spendings which was withdrawn from Nigeria’s Excess Crude Account.
  • Nairametrics reported in July 2020 that the  ECA had fallen by about 98% within the last 5 years to $72 million.
  • Nigeria has two Sovereign Wealth Funds: the Excess Crude Account and the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA). Note that these two are funded by the savings earned when oil prices are at their peak.

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Economy & Politics

We look forward to a Biden presidency with great hope and optimism – Buhari

President Buhari has expressed optimism in Nigeria’s relations with a Joe Biden administration.

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Biden's election is a reminder that democracy is the best form of government - Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari announced that Nigeria looks forward to the Presidency of Joe Biden with great hope and optimism for the strengthening of existing cordial relationships.

This was disclosed by an aide to the President, Garba Shehu after Joe Biden was inaugurated as the 46th president of the United States on Wednesday.

President Muhammadu Buhari warmly welcomes the inauguration of Vice President Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as President and Vice President of the United States of America on Wednesday, expressing hope that their presidency will mark a strong point of cooperation and support for Nigeria as well as the African continent,” Shehu said.

President Buhari congratulated the United States on a successful transition, citing it as an important historical inflection point for democracy as a system of government and for the global community as a whole.

Buhari added that Nigeria looks forward to working with Biden in areas of terrorism, poverty, climate change, and others.

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“We look forward to the Biden presidency with great hope and optimism for the strengthening of existing cordial relationships, working together to tackle global terrorism, climate change, poverty and improvement of economic ties and expansion of trade,” he said.

What you should know 

  • After the election results were released in November 2018, Buhari said Biden’s election is a reminder that democracy is the best form of government.
  • “In a democracy, the most powerful group are not the politicians, but voters who can decide the fate of the politicians at the polling booth. The main fascination of democracy is the freedom of choice and the supremacy of the will of the people,” Buhari said.
  • Nairametrics reported yesterday that Joe Biden had been sworn in as the 46th President of the United States.
  • Dapo-Thomas Opeoluwa, a Global Markets analyst and an Energy trader said Nigeria’s Oil, would be dependent on the future outlook of the oil market and Biden’s policies, as it would be interesting to see if Biden would allow OPEC to seize market share from American oil.

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Economy & Politics

Productivity-enhancing reforms are required for quick economic recovery – World Bank

Productivity-enhancing structural reforms key to quick economic recovery.

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The World Bank has revealed that a slow recovery of the global economy is not an inevitability and can be avoided through productivity-enhancing structural reforms.

This is contained in the Bank’s flagship report – Global Economic Prospects.

The Bank believes structural reforms are capable of offsetting the pandemic’s scarring effects and lay the foundations for higher long-run growth. It agrees that the global economy appears to be emerging from one of its deepest recessions and beginning a subdued recovery, beyond the short term economic outlook, following the devastating health and economic crisis caused by COVID-19.

According to the report, policymakers face formidable challenges — in public health, debt management, budget policies, central banking, and structural reforms, as they try to ensure that this still-fragile global recovery gains traction and sets a foundation for robust growth and development.

Highlights

  • Growth in Nigeria is expected to resume at 1.1% in 2021 – markedly weaker than previous projections – and edge up to 1.8% in 2022, as the economy faces severe challenges.
  • Investment is projected to shrink again this year in more than a quarter of economies – primarily in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), where investment gaps were already large prior to the pandemic.
  • Growth in Sub-Saharan Africa is expected to rebound only moderately to 2.7% in 2021 – 0.4% point weaker than previously projected, before firming to 3.3% in 2022.
  • Relative to advanced economies, disruptions to schooling have, on average, been more prolonged in emerging market and developing economies (EMDEs), including in low-income countries.

What the World Bank is saying

  • “In the longer run, a concerted push toward productivity-enhancing structural reforms will be required to offset the pandemic’s scarring effects.
  • “The intended productivity-enhancing structural reforms encompass promoting education, effective public investment, sectoral reallocation, and improved governance. Investment in green infrastructure projects can provide further support to sustainable long-run growth while also contributing to climate change mitigation.”

Are we ready to adjust structurally?

The World Bank has identified key areas that could trigger quick economic recovery. A close look at events in the country appears to suggest that we may be far from ready in terms of adjusting structurally.

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A cursory look at the structural adjustment areas suggested by the Bank indicates that in Nigeria, for example, and maybe elsewhere, the single most important factor is improved governance.

All other factors appear to be contingent on this, as the Bank admits that improved governance and reduced corruption can lay the foundations for higher long-run growth. Policymakers and politicians in the country are therefore advised to pay close attention to activities geared towards reduced corruption and improved governance.

Another key area is public investment. Even though most public enterprises and related establishments are usually plagued with corporate governance problems, there are several ways by which the problems could be curtailed.

The issue of education, especially tertiary education, has been problematic with governments failing to meet the demands of university unions, resulting in strikes, almost on a yearly basis. It is hoped that a lasting solution to this springs forth soon.

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