President Muhammadu Buhari has boasted about the economic policies of his administration, saying they are meeting the desired target.
The president stated this in Lagos on Saturday in a meeting with the Lagos business community, adding that the impact of the policies can be seen in the gradual growth of the nation’s economy in the last three years
According to President Buhari, he had kept his promise to boost the economy, through blocking leakages in government finances, increasing capital expenditure and inflows, and implementing the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), among others.
‘‘I firmly believe that our economic policies are beginning to make the desired impact. Economic growth has resumed and is continuing to improve.
‘‘Growth was higher in 2017 than in 2016, data even from external sources shows that it will be higher in 2018 than in 2017. I am confident that as we stay the course, it will be better still at the end of 2019.
‘‘Inflation is coming down steadily, there is stability in the exchange rate and foreign exchange is readily available for genuine business. Foreign reserves are adequate and growing; capital inflows have increased and the trade balance is positive.
‘‘We are paying off debts that were not even publicly acknowledged before now, including those owed to States, the electricity sector, oil marketers, exporters, backlog of salaries of workers and pensioners, amongst others.
‘‘I am happy that the results of the priority we have placed on this sector are beginning to show.
‘‘Our commitment is reflected in the resources that we are providing for infrastructure. In 2016 and 2017, capital expenditure was up to N2.7 trillion while over N800m has been released under the current budget.
‘‘This has been complemented by the inception of the $650 million Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund which will focus initially on the Lagos-Ibadan expressway, the Second Niger Bridge, the Abuja-Kano expressway and the Mambilla hydropower plant,’’ he said.
The President also highlighted completed and ongoing projects in the transport and aviation sector, expressing delight that the rail projects are generating excitement across the country because it would help local businesses to grow.
‘‘The Abuja-Kaduna railway is up and running. The Itakpe-Warri line is being test-run before going commercial. The completed portion of the Abuja light rail project is facilitating movement to the airport.
‘‘The Lagos-Ibadan railway is nearing completion with people already taking test rides on the completed portions. We are determined to work at the same pace on the Coastal Railway Line and the line from Port Harcourt to Maiduguri.
‘‘We completed the repairs to the runway in Abuja in record time, and just a few weeks ago, I commissioned the Baro Inland Port. All these achievements will help Nigerian businesses to grow,’’ he said.
“On future plans to sustain the positive economic outlook, the President said the Federal Government would raise more revenue to boost the economic fundamentals and increase the level and quality of government services in support of the private sector.
‘‘I recently inaugurated a Technical Advisory Committee to identify new sources of revenue in this regard. This is also to ensure that Government at all levels have the resources to pay the new national wage, which we are indeed committed to paying.
‘‘Our economic fundamentals are strong and, in the next four years by the grace of God, we are determined to stay the course in terms of partnerships with the private sector; support to the real sector; helping small businesses, providing infrastructure and an enabling business environment,’’ he said.
President Buhari further informed the gathering that his administration has also stimulated growth in the economy by adopting and implementing new strategies to deal with the security situation in the country and tackling rampant corruption.
In what appears as a shake off of tensions around the general election, investors in Nigeria’s stock market on Thursday gained N228.1 billion as market capitalisation of equities rose to N11.722 trillion.
Anaylists had allayed fears that the market might have to wait till May, after the election, before recovering from the presumed political tensions that plunged it into sell-offs in December last year.
The market capitalisation fell below the N11tn mark from N11.72tn on December 31, 2018 but gained 1.98 per cent on Thursday, its best performance in 2019.
The All Share Index increased from 30,821.80 basis points on Wednesday to 31,433.49bps on Thursday.
Banking stocks topped both the traded stocks and value with United Bank for Africa Plc (136.8 million units), Zenith Bank (63.4 million units) and Access Bank Plc (44.4 million units) as top traded stocks by volume.
Zenith Bank (N1.5bn), GTB (N1.2bn) and UBA (N987.1m) were the top traded stocks by value.
Volume and value traded both increased by 21.8 as a total of 436.7 million shares worth N5.88bn exchanged hands in 4,047 deals while banking index, with 5.8 per cent increase on the back of gains in bellwethers, becoming the highest gainer.
Stock prices of Nestlé Nigeria Plc, Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc, Dangote Cement Plc and Lafarge Africa Plc recorded major appreciation as the consumer goods and industrial goods indices increased by 3.4 per cent and 1.5 per cent respectively.
The Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission, NIPC, has said that the country received investment committment worth $90.90 billion for 93 projects between January and December last year.
According to the NIPC, the Nigerian Investment commitment are in various sectors of the economy in 23 states and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT.
Figures from the commission show that the proposed investments for 2018 is a 27 per cent higher than the $66.36 billion figure recorded in 2017.
The NIPC figures also showed that a huge chunk of the investment goes to mining and quarrying, which accounted for 35 per cent of the total value.
This is followed by the manufacturing sector with 24 per cent, while construction with 20 per cent, transportation and storage with 15 per cent followed, respectively, while other sectors accounted for the balance of six percent.
The NIPC also revealed that the investment commitments were made by investors from 20 countries, with domestic investors accounting for a huge chunk of the proposed investments with about 33 per cent of the value.
This is followed by investors from the United Arab Emirates with 20 per cent, France stood at 18 per cent, and the United Kingdom 10 per cent while the balance of 19 per cent were investment commitments made by other investors from other countries.
On the location of the proposed projects, the NIPC said the FCT was the biggest beneficiary as it got about 21 per cent of the total investment pledged during the period, Rivers State accounted for 18 per cent, while Lagos and Bayelsa got 14 per cent and 13 per cent, respectively
It stated that the other states accounted for the balance of 34 per cent.
The Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) has said that for the country to achieve economic and social inclusion, government must first tackle the current sluggish economic growth in the country.
According to NESG, the nation’s economic recovery remained fragile as the Gross Domestic Product growth rate declined from 1.9 per cent in the first quarter of 2018 to 1.5 per cent in the second quarter.
“It improved to 1.8 per cent in the third quarter. On a sectoral level, 12 out of the 46 activity sectors recorded negative growth in Q3, an increase from 10 sectors in Q1.”
The group’s concern was raised in its Macroeconomic Outlook, titled ‘Steering Nigeria through the inclusive growth pathway: What strategy should government adopt?’
NESG Chief Executive Officer, Mr ’Laoye Jaiyeola, noted in the report that 2019 would come with uncertainties, security concerns and new challenges for policymakers being an election year.
“But it also presents an opportunity for the Nigerian government to make the radical changes and reforms that will address the pertinent economic challenges facing the country. In 2019 and beyond, the government of Nigeria at all levels must exercise the political will to drive the country’s development process,” he added.
The group further noted that a critical pillar of inclusive growth is achieving broad-based economic growth that leads to a significant reduction in unemployment, poverty rates and improvement in other social and economic indicators.
“The idea behind the broad-based growth concept is to attain quality economic growth, which is driven by several critical sectors of the economy. Nigeria’s post-recession growth pattern is still skewed towards few sectors, showing the limited capacity of the economy to create jobs and reduce poverty, NESG said.
The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has said it genetated N2.911 billion revenue at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport in the first 10 days of 2019.
This was disclosed In a statement by the Customs Area Controller of the Murtala Airport Command, Shoboiki Jane.
“The Murtala Mohammed Airport Command started the year (2019) with an unprecedented revenue collection of N2,911,374,14 in the first 10 days of January.
“In 2018, the MMAC generated over N50bn. This figure surpassed that of the 2017 with N2,57,144,789.50,” she stated.
According to the Shoboiki, the command has also recorded success in its anti-smuggling efforts, disclosing that the command intercepted and detained smuggled military materials that were imported into the country.
She said: “This year, the command has intercepted and detained two packages of military camouflage uniform imported without end-user certificates. Also, 51 cartons of drones were intercepted and detained without end-user certificates.”
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has directed that loans granted to about 550,000 rice farmers in the country who were affected by the 2018 flooding be structured for another four years as a form of compensation.
This was disclosed by the National President of Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) Aminu Goronyo on Tuesday in Abuja.
Goronyo said: “Instead of paying the loan in three installments within a year, the loan will be restructured to be paid within four years now and be paid by installments.’’
Goronyo further said that only the affected farmers under the RIFAN/CBN/ABP model programme would benefit from the compensation, adding that the resolution was an outcome of a meeting with the Director, Developing Finances of CBN and RIFAN executive.
The RIFAN president, who said his association only championed the case of affected farmers under its care, expressed the hope that all the registered farmers under the Anchor Borrowers Programme that were affected would benefit from it.
The CBN, according to Goroyo, has also directed that a fresh loan should be given to the affected farmers so that they could go back to the field and recover their losses.
“RIFAN is working on the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Presidency and the CBN to compensate the victims as promised by President Mohammadu Buhari.
“RIFAN is also seeking assistance from the CBN to restructure the loans to alleviate the suffering of the affected farmers and make them go back to the field,’’ he said.
The Debt Management Office (DMO) has revealed that Nigeria’s total debt portfolio leaped from N12.12 trillion as of June 30, 2015 to N22.43 trillion as of September 30, 2018.
According to data from the DMO, the total debt of the country rose by 85.07 percent since President Muhammadu Buhari took office on May 29, 2015, representing N10.31 trillion.
Of the total debt, the external component of both the Federal Government and state governments’ debts including that of the Federal Capital Territory stood at $21.59 billion from $10.32 billion as of June 30, 2015, while the domestic debt of both the Federal Government and the state governments stood at N15.81tn.
The data also showed that the domestic debt of the Federal Government stood at N12.29 trillion as of September 30, 2018 from N8.4 billion as of June 30, 2015 while the domestic debts of the state’s and the FCT stood at N1.69 trillion.
The DMO added that the debt statistics as of September 30, 2018, was only slightly different from the statistics as of June 30, 2018.
“External debt declined by 2.02 per cent to $21.59bn due largely to the redemption by Nigeria of a $500m Eurobond which matured on July 12, 2018.
“The Eurobond which was issued for a tenor of five years in 2013 was the first Eurobond maturity for Nigeria and Nigeria’s ability to repay it seamlessly boosted Nigeria’s position as a good credit in the International Capital Market.
“The domestic debt of the FGN, states and the FCT grew by 1.19 per cent from N15.63tn in June 2018 to N15.8tn in September 2018. This increase of N185bn was attributed to the FGN (N135bn) and states and FCT (N50bn).
“The combination of an increase in the level of domestic debt and a decrease in the external debt stock resulted in a slight shift in the portfolio composition.
“As of September 30, 2018, the share of domestic debt was 70.51 per cent compared to 69.83 per cent in June 2018.
“This trend is expected to be reversed in Quarter Four 2018 as the new external borrowing of N849bn (about $2.78bn) provided in the 2018 Appropriation Act is expected to be raised within the quarter”, the DMO said.
The World Bank has predicted that Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Growth, GDP, will expand by 2.2 percent in 2019.
The World Bank made the prediction in its annual Global Economic Prospects published on Wednesday.
The prediction slightly upgraded the country’s projected growth rate from 2.1 per cent in June 2018.
According to the World Bank, growth in sub-Saharan Africa would accelerate to 3.4 per cent in 2019, due to improved investment in large economies together with continued robust growth in non-resource intensive countries.
“Per capita growth is forecast to remain well below the long-term average in many countries, yielding little progress in poverty reduction.
“Growth in Nigeria is expected to rise to 2.2 per cent in 2019, assuming that oil production will recover and a slow improvement in private demand will constrain growth in the non-oil industrial sector.
“Angola is forecast to grow 2.9 per cent in 2019 as the oil sector recovers as new oil fields come on stream and as reforms bolster the business environment.
“South Africa is projected to accelerate modestly to a 1.3 per cent pace, amid constraints on domestic demand and limited government spending,” the bank said.
The World Bank report, while dwelling on the risk to the region’s growth, said escalated trade tensions between the United States and China could impact negatively on the region.
“Faster than expected normalisation of advanced economy monetary policy could result in sharp reductions in capital inflows, higher financing costs and abrupt exchange-rate depreciation.
“Increased reliance on foreign currency borrowing has heightened refinancing and interest rate risk in debtor countries,” the noted.
The report further stated that domestic risks remained elevated and that political uncertainty and a concurrent weakening of economic reforms could continue to weigh on the economic outlook in many countries.
“In countries like Mozambique, Nigeria, and South Africa holding elections in 2019, domestic political considerations could undermine the commitments needed to rein in fiscal deficits, especially where public debt levels are high and rising.
Daily production of crude oil by Nigeria increased by 9 percent in 2018 to 2.09 million barrels compared to the 1.86 million barrels daily production in 2017.
This was disclosed by the Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Maikanti Baru, adding that Nigeria maintained a line of consistent year-on-year improvement in its daily crude oil production.
Baru, according to a statement by the NNPC Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Ndu Ughamadu on Tuesday, stated this in an end-of-year message to members of staff of the corporation, adding that the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company, Nigerian Gas Company, Petroleum Products Marketing Company, Duke Oil, NIDAS and Integrated Data Services Limited, were among the companies that boosted the corporation’s performance in 2018.
Baru however singled out NPDC, the corporation’s upstream company, as the major contributor to the industry’s success story in 2018.
Baru said he was enthusiastic on the 52 per cent daily crude oil production growth by the company when compared with its 2017 performance, explaining that the average crude production from NPDC’s operated assets alone grew from an average of 108,000 barrels of oil per day in 2017 to 165,000bod in 2018.
According to him, NPDC’s equity production share of 172,000bpd, representing about eight per cent of national daily production, was no less impressive, while the 200,000bpd addition which the Egina Floating Production Storage and Offloading vessel completed and sailed away to a location in August last year added to the nation’s daily production.
Baru revealed that the project achieved first oil at 11.20pm on December 29, 2018.
The NNPC GMD also informed staff members the corporation firm made a save of $1.7bn with the corporation’s Joint Venture partners over a five-year tenor repayment plan, adding that already the corporation had defrayed $1.5bn of thearrearss, promising that the NNPC would stick to the repayment agreement with the JV partners while transiting to self-funding IJV modes with the corporation’s partners.