Category Archives: Economic news

COVID-19: 14% of recovered patients in China test positive again.

Up to 14% of recovered coronavirus patients in China have reportedly tested positive again after being discharged from the hospital.

Doctors at a hospital in Wuhan, China, where the virus emerged reported that between 3 and 14% of cured patients became reinfected with the illness, though it’s unclear whether they were contagious the second time, the South China Morning Post reported.

The news comes as experts raised an alarm that China is facing a second outbreak due to the increasing number of imported cases as well as the ‘silent carriers’ who show no symptoms.

Tongji Hospital, which identified the first COVID-19 case, confirmed that five of 145 patients, a little over 3% tested positive again in nucleic acid tests, according to state broadcaster CCTV.

“So far there is no evidence to suggest that they are infectious,” said Wang Wei, the hospital’s president.

According to him, five patients who tested positive again did not have any symptoms and none of their close contacts had been infected.

He added that surveillance of similar patients showed that 80 to 90% had no trace of the virus in their system one month after being discharged from the hospital, according to the report.

But he said: ‘these are just “small samples” and “not enough to assure us of the validity of our initial findings. We need a large-scale epidemiological study to guide our disease surveillance and prevention works.”

Health news outlet Life Times, which is affiliated with state-run newspaper People’s Daily also reported that other quarantine facilities in Wuhan have seen about 5 to 10% of their recovered patients test positive again.


Nothing has changed in the budgeting circles – SIPs.

The federal government at the weekend hailed its array of Social Investment Programmes (SIPs), disclosing that 620,947 620,947 poor and vulnerable Nigerians are currently benefiting from the national cash transfer programme.

Speaking on a television show, the Special Assistant to the President on SIPs, Mrs Maryam Uwais said although 1,491,296 households comprising (m6,056,872 individuals have been captured on the National Social Register (NSR), 620 947 of them are currently receiving monthly payments and being supported by trained community facilitators.

The Presidential aide also clarified that N400 billion was budgeted for SIPs in the 2020 budget as has been the tradition since 2016; and not N30 billion being quoted in some quarters.

She said: “Nothing has changed in the budgeting cycle as relates to the SIPs. It has always been pegged at N400 billion, while another hundred billion naira has been domiciled in the Federal Ministry of Finance as counterpart of the Social Housing Fund.

Uwais expressed the hope that shortfalls in budgetary releases in the last three years would be urgently addressed to immediately improve the living standards of poor citizens.

“In 2016, we got 16% of our budget, 36% in 2017 and 53% in 2018”, she said.

The Presidential aide, however, noted that despite the shortfalls in releases, the National Social Investment Programme has been very successful with over 13 million people across the country directly impacted and over 44 million as secondary beneficiaries comprising families, agents, farmers and others in the value chain.

On her recent award by Schwab Foundation, a sister organization of the World Economic Forum WEF, Mrs Uwais said she was overwhelmed by the international honour, saying it underscores the efforts of the Buhari administration to improve the lot of economically-disadvantaged citizens through its social protection schemes.

Kwara: We intend to build on late Gen. David Bamigboye’s Legacy – Gov, Abdulrahman.

Gov. Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq of Kwara on Saturday said his administration would build upon the legacies and achievements recorded by the first governor of the state, late Gen. David Bamigboye.

Abdulrazaq made the assertion during the 4th Omu-Aran Day Celebration and Launching of a N500 million Appeal Fund in Omu-Aran, Irepodun Local Government Area of the state.

Abdulrazaq said the late Bamigboye’s administration was reputed for laying the solid foundation for the state at inception.

According to him, most notable landmarks and institutions in the state today are products of the administration of Late Bamigboye, a community leader and illustrious son of Omu Aran.

Abdulrazaq pledged to complete the rehabilitation of Taiwo Road and the state water project in the community to better the lot of the residents.

“We all know the roles the late Asiwaju Bamigboye played in the development of Kwara State.

“We can attest that the major development we had in the state, in terms of infrastructure development, was laid by him.

“That is exactly what we intend to build on,” he said.

Sen. Lola Ashiru, Senator, Representing Kwara South Senatorial District in the National Assembly, in his remarks, promised to ensure even distribution of dividends of democracy across the constituency.

Sen. Bola Tinubu, National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), on his part, thanked the people of the community for giving adequate support to the party during the last general elections.

Tinubu, represented by Alhaji Mohammed Abioye, an APC Stalwart in Irepodun Local Government Area, urged the people of the community to continue to support the administration in the state and at the federal level.

Hon. Raheem Olawuyi, Member of House of Representatives, representing Ekiti/Irepodun/Isin/Oke-Ero Federal Constituency, in his remarks, said major projects and initiatives aimed at impacting on the people of the constituency were in the pipeline.

Also speaking, Oba Abdulraheem Adeoti, the Olomu of Omu-Aran, appealed for more developmental projects in the community, saying Omu-Aran had assumed an urban status due to its rapid expansion.

Oba Adeoti urged well meaning individuals and groups in the community not to relent in contributing to its development, saying that goverment alone cannot provide all needed basic ammenities.

Chief Bisi Adeyemi, President, Omu-Aran Development Association, (ODA), thanked all those who contributed morraly and financially toward the successful hosting of the event. (NAN)

[Video..] Until We Are Safe, We Will Not Rest – Chief Of Defence, Nigeria.

The Chief of Defence Staff, General Abayomi Olonisakin, has given assurance that the Nigerian Armed Forces will not rest until the lives and properties of the citizens are secured.

He stated this on Saturday in his speech as the Special Guest of Honour at the Passing Out Parade of the 78 Regular Recruits Intake of the Nigerian Army.

General Olonisakin said, “Nigeria is currently facing numerous security challenges occasioned by the activities of Boko Haram terrorists, armed bandits, kidnappers and other criminal elements.

“I wish to state that these security challenges will soon come to an end as we will not rest on our oars until the country is safe for all of us.”

The Chief of Defence Staff was pleased that the recruitment of 5,000 personnel into the Nigerian Army would go a long way to tackle the security challenges in the country.

He asked the newly recruited soldiers to be good ambassadors of the army, the military and Nigeria in general.

General Olonisakin noted, “Today marks yet another chapter in the history of this great institution (the Depot) and the country in general.

“I am glad that Depot Nigerian Army has continued to evolve innovative ways of improving the standard in the training of personnel for the Nigerian Army.”

“This realistic and result oriented training that is being imparted in young recruits here has been yielding positive results.

“This is evident by the robust fighting spirit displayed by our soldiers in various theatres of operations,” he stressed.

The Chief of Defence Staff, General Abayomi Olonisakin, giving a speech at a Passing Out Parade ceremony in Kaduna State on October 19, 2019.

The defence chief congratulated the new soldiers and challenged them that upon concluding their training at the Depot, much was expected from them in terms of contributing to the efforts to tackle the nation’s security challenges.

Watch Video

He also advised them not to relent but improve their competencies individually and collectively by undergoing various training and courses.

General Olonisakin commended the Federal Government and others who have been supporting the military one way or the other in the fight against insurgency and other forms of crimes in the country.

The event which held at the Depot Nigerian Army in Kaduna State was attended by top military officers and government officials among others.

Illegal Minings Are Caused By Leaders In Nigeria – Mining Minister. (Check..)

Minister of Mines and Solid Minerals Development, Olamilekan Adegbite on Friday October 18, disclosed that some Governors are behind theft of national resources through illegal mining.

The Minister was backed on the allegation by Senator Tanko Almakura, the Chairman of the senate committee on Solid Minerals, Mines, Steel Development and Metallurgy during an interactive session yesterday.

Adegbite further stated that the Governors behind the illegal mining also provide escorts for the illegal miners to access where they are raping solid minerals in their domain.

“When they (governors) send the people to go and do this, yes, they need the police. What do you expect a mining officer to do when the state government is backing this illegal mining?” Adegbite asked.

Daily Trust reported that he also said that the Nigerian government has gotten the assurance of a Russian firm that will be fixing the Ajaokuta Steel Rolling Complex to diversify the economy. The Russian firm reportedly assured the Nigerian government of completing the project at their own cost to revive the steel complex.

IMF Supports PMB’s Border Closure. (Check..)

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has backed Nigeria’s closure of its borders with some neighbouring countries over issues bordering on illegal trade.

Mr Abebe Selassie, the Director of the African Department at the IMF, gave the position at a media briefing on the sidelines of the World Bank/IMF Annual Meetings in Washington.

He was responding to a question on weather the closure negates the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).

Selassie said although free trade was critical to economic growth of the continent, it must be legal and in line with agreements.

`On the border closure in Nigeria which has been impacting Benin and Niger, our understanding is that the action reflects concerns about smuggling that has been taking place.

“It is about illegal trade, which is not what you want to facilitate,’’ Selassie said.

He said the IMF was hoping for a speedy resolution of the issues as the action was already taking a toll on the economies of the country’s neighbours.

“We are very hopeful that discussions will resolve the challenges that this illegal trade is posing.

“If the border closure is to be sustained for a long time, it will definitely have an impact on Benin and Niger which, of course, rely quite extensively on the big brother next door,’’ he said.

On Wednesday, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, said the borders were closed to curb illegal trading activities by Nigeria’s neighbours.

Ahmed said the closure would remain in force until the country secured the commitment of its neighbours to trade agreements and treaties signed with them.

Meanwhile, the IMF director said the AfCFTA was one of the most exciting policy developments in the region in recent months.

Selassie said analyses by the Fund showed that the initiative had a “tremendous potential to facilitate higher economic growth’’.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the IMF projected a region wide economic growth of 3.2 per cent in 2019.

Selassie said the “hard task’’ before African nations was making sure the AfCFTA was fully implemented “to facilitate the trade that we need to see between countries in the region’’.

The IMF director also commented on the continent’s high debt burden, especially from China, resulting largely from borrowing to balance budget deficits.

He explained that the Fund was not particularly wary of China, which he said “has been a very important development partner for many countries in sub-Saharan Africa’’.

“There are some counties that have borrowed extensively, and this is not just from China but from all other sources of financing either through Euro bond, domestic markets or other sources of capital.

“ Yes, there are countries that have borrowed beyond what they can quickly pay, but it is important that we get this story straight.

“China has been a very important partner for many countries and remains so.

“Our concern really is more about overall debt level, not just about debt but some other things.

“One is, once you have borrowed money to invest in infrastructure, health and education, it is important you are able to capture the rate of return on that investment so that the debt can be serviced.

“What you put the debt to and how effective the investment projects that you are undertaking is really the important part of the equation,’’ Selassie said.

He added that it was also important for countries to address their “tremendous development needs avoiding debts becoming unsustainable’’.(NAN)

Update: NSE moves 310.56m shares worth N4.99bn.

The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) on Friday moved 310.56 million shares worth N4.99 billion in 2,825 deals.

News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that this was against 147.09 million shares valued at N2.89 billion traded in 2,347 deals on Thursday.

Guaranty Trust Bank dominated trading activities with 75.22 million shares worth N1.98 billion.

It was trailed by Flour Mills with an account of 69.07 million shares valued at N1.04 billion, while Fidelity Bank sold 25.49 million shares worth N42.77 million.

United Bank for Africa accounted for 20.57 million shares valued at N119.06 million.

However, the crucial market indicators recorded marginal loss, dropping by 0.03 per cent.

Specifically, the All-Share Index which opened at 26,456.29 dipped 7.67 points or 0.03 per cent to close at 26,448.62.

Similarly, the market capitlaisation lost three billion to close at N12.875 trillion compared with N12.878 trillion.

PZ recorded the highest loss, dropping by 60k to N5.55 per share.

Vitafoam trailed with a loss of 38k to close at N3.52, while Guaranty Trust Bank was down by 35k to close at N26.30 per share.

UACN lost 30k to close at N6.40, while Zenith Bank declined by 25k to close at N17.45 per share.

Conversely, MTN led the gainers’ table, gaining N1 to close at N130 per share.

Custodian and Allied Investment followed with a gain of 55k to close at N6.20, while Oando garnered 9k to close at 3.50 per share.

Consolidated Hallmark Insurance appreciated by 3k to close at 33k, while AIICO added 2k to close at 66k per share. (NAN)

Ibadan: Oyo, Iwo Road Repairs Project Equals N8bn. (Check..)

Gov. Seyi Makinde of Oyo State has disclosed that about N8 billion will be spent on the expansion of the popular Iwo-Road interchange in Ibadan, the state capital.

Makinde, who made this known on Friday, when he visited Adogba Central Mosque at Iwo-Road, said that the project would be completed between nine and 11months.

The News Agency of Nigeria, (NAN) reports that the governor was accompanied by his deputy, Alhaji Rauf Olaniyan, to the Jumat service, said he was there to solicit support from the congregation over government’s decision to demolish the mosque.

He said the decision to demolish the mosque to pave way for the construction of an interchange was part of his administration’s plan to make Ibadan a befitting state capital, adding that a church around the interchange area would also be demolished.

He dismissed the insinuations that the demolition had religion undertone, saying four out of the first six persons in government hierarchy in the state are Muslims.

He said his administration was committed to the infrastructural development of the state, especially the state capital, so as to restore the old glory when Ibadan was the capital of the old Western Region.

Makinde said government had provided another land for the building of a befitting mosque for the congregation and promised to personally spearhead the construction of the new mosque.

He appealed to the Muslim faithful to support the decision for the overall development of the state. (NAN)

NDDC: IYC Reacts to PMB’s Forensic Request.

The Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) Worldwide has commended President Muhammadu Buhari over his directive that a forensic audit should be carried out on the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) from inception till date.

The organisation also pleaded that the same forensic report should be extended to the Presidential Amnesty Programme.

In a statement signed in Yenagoa by its Secretary General, Mr. Alfred Kemepado, the group states that the audit and its final report if carried out sincerely would hopefully show the rot and shame that the organisation represents in recent years.

Kemepado stated that the NDDC and the Amnesty programme have been more of a problem to the youths and people of the Niger Delta rather than the solution it was set up to be.

He called on President Buhari to please make out sufficient time to fund the audit committee that would be set up to audit the NDDC and make enough money available to them so as to ensure they are not influenced by the NDDC actors

The IYC scribe also called on the President to forensically audit the Presidential Amnesty Programme to ensure the productivity of that programme for the people of the Niger Delta.

Kemepado further requested that the President should also look into the over politicization of the commission and ensure political consideration does not affect its operations.

Read also;

PMB Request Forensic Auditing On NDDC. They Must Prove That They Are Competent – Buhari.

The statement read in part: “The commission seems to have lost its vision and mission to funding of political activities instead of the development of the region. A focused NDDC is capable of bringing massive development and total closure to the issues affecting the Niger Delta, especially the security issues. Instead the NDDC is known for issuing bogus contracts to enrich their cronies who are most times not people from the Niger Delta region. We urged President Buhari not to fail to expose culprits no matter how highly placed or which political party they belong. We plead with President Buhari to place competence, experience and sufficient knowledge of the ethos, logos and pathos of the region ahead of political patronage in appointing members of the Board, as well as the details of the law establishing the NDDC board. The members appointed or that would be appointed must prove capacity to deliver on the original mandate of the commission before they are considered for such sensitive assignments.”

Capitalisation: Stock Exchange Drags To N8Billion.

For the third consecutive trading session, Nigeria’s stock market continued its bearish run as price losses in the shares of heavyweight banking stocks left the market’s year-to-date(YTD) loss at -15.8 per cent.

At the close of transactions yesterday, the All Share Index (ASI) dipped by 0.06 per cent to close at 26,456.29 points while investors lost about N8 billion, dragging down market capitalisation to N12.878 trillion.

GT Bank was top on volume charts with the sale of 35.21 million shares worth N946.73 million. FBN Holdings traded about 24.33 million shares valued at N130.78 million while Fidelity Bank sold 13.96 million shares valued at N23.69 million. According to Analysts at Afrinvest, “we expect investors’ risk-off approach to persist, although there are opportunities for bargain hunting”.

Market breadth remained positive as 11 stocks appreciated in value while eight others depreciated. Wapic was top on the gainers’ chart with 9.38 per cent to close at 35 kobo, Chams followed with 9.09 per cent to close at 24 kobo, FCMB increased by 6.92 per cent to close at N1.70, Flourmill rose by 2.37 per cent to close at N15.10. while Law Union garnered 2.08 per cent to close at 0.49 kobo per share.

36 states, FG shares N693.529bn in September. (Details).

The Federal Government, 36 states, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and 774 Local Government Areas shared N693.529 billion as September allocation disbursed by the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC).

The Accountant-General of the Federation (AGF), Ahmed Idris, who chaired the FAAC meeting, said the figure comprised revenue from Value Added Tax (VAT), exchange gain and gross statutory revenue.

He revealed that the balance in the Excess Crude Account (ECA) was $323.692 million.

A breakdown of the shared revenue shows that the Federal Government received N293.801 billion, while the states got N186.816 billion, and the local government councils received N140.864 billion. The oil producing states got N51.532 billion as 13 per cent derivation revenue, while the revenue generating agencies received N20.517 billion as cost of revenue collection.

The gross statutory revenue for September was N599.701billion. It was less than the N631.796billion received in the previous month by N32.095 billion. For September, gross revenue of N92.874 billion was available from the VAT as against N88.082 billion distributed in the preceding month, resulting in an increase of N4.792 billion. Exchange gain yielded total revenue of N0.954 billion.

A further breakdown of the distribution showed that, from the gross statutory revenue of N599.701 billion, the Federal Government received N279.985 billion, the states received N142.012 billion, while the local government councils received N109.485 billion. The oil producing states received N51.417 billion as 13 per cent derivation revenue and the revenue collecting agencies got N16.802 billion as cost of collection.

The N92.874 billion gotten from Value Added Tax (VAT) revenue was shared accordingly in which the Federal Government received N13.374billion, the states received N44.58 billion, and local government councils received N31.206 billion and the revenue generating agencies received N3.715 billion.

The communique also stated that in September 2019, revenue from Petroleum Profit Tax (PPT) and Company Income Tax (CIT) decreased while Royalties, Import and excise duties and VAT increased considerably.

Plateau: Declare Health Data Emergency – UNICEF Urges Lalong.

The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) has urged Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State to declare an health data emergency given the challenges to healthcare delivery.

UNICEF Chief of Field Office, Mr. Bhanu Pathak made the appeal during a visit to the Government House, Rayfield, Jos.

He said there were numerous challenges facing the health sector and that access to data was a militating factor.

“There is weak data management with more than 10 per cent of the health facilities gross under reporting to the National DHIS2 platform and using data for results. So, there is need to declare a health data emergency, as well as direct the the development of the human resource for health plan with its immediate implementation to address the maldistribution of human resource for health across the state.”

The UNICEF Chief said his visit was meant to build on the strong partnership between the organisation and the state. He said a lot needed to be done to enable achieve the goal of realizing the rights of children under the Sustainable Development Goals.

Governor Lalong, who was represented by his deputy, Prof. Sonni Tyoden, assured of the state’s support to UNICEF programs, especially where the lives and health of children are involved.

Tyoden said government would also release its counterpart funds to enable UNICEF continue with their projects in the state.

Delta: NLC Suspends Old Days Stike. (Minimum Wage).

The strike embarked on by workers in Delta State over nonimplementation of the new minimum wage by the federal government has been suspended.The state chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) had on Wednesday enforced the strike by shutting public offices including the federal secretariat and state institutions, while sending students back home from schools.Confirming the suspension of the day old strike on Thursday in Asaba, the state chairman of NLC, Goodluck Ofobruku said the latest action was a directive from the national leadership of the NLC.Ofobruku spoke to Daily Sun on the sidelines of the 5th Quadrennial State Delegates’ Conference of the Medical and Health Workers’ Union of Nigeria (MHWUN).According to him, “the strike has been suspended in Delta State following the intervention and directive from the national headquarter of NLC that we should suspend it.“The initial directive we got was that if negotiation is not concluded by Tuesday, we should commence strike by Wednesday which we complied with.“That is why you saw that we went out yesterday (Wednesday) to enforce the strike. Based on the directive from the national headquarter, we have equally advised workers to go back to work.”Ofobruku denied insinuations that Governor Ifeanyi Okowa prevailed on the union in the state to suspend the strike, insisting that “we are in contact with other states and the national leadership. We were told that significant progress has been made in negotiation, and that we should soft pedal for now.”The labour leader stated that he has no regret enforcing the strike action as earlier directed, adding that they have been placed on red alert while awaiting the outcome of the negotiations.

FG to Ghana: The Border Closure Wasn’t Because Of Any Country.

The Nigerian Government says there is no ulterior motive in its decision to close the nation’s borders.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, stated this during a meeting with two Ghanaian ministers on Thursday in Abuja.

He told Ghana’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Integration, Shirley Botchwey, and the country’s Minister of Trade and Industry, Alan Kyerematen, that no country was targeted in the border closure.

According to the minister, Nigeria, as a member of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), respects the rules of the regional body.

He gave assurance that free movement of persons and goods would continue, stressing that the border closure was targeted at criminal activities and not countries.

Onyeama also informed the Ghanaian ministers that the Nigerian government would ensure that issues raised by their country would be looked into and addressed as soon as possible.

Read the tweets by the minister below:

Met with H.E. Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, Ghanaian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Integration and H.E. @Alankyerematen, Ghanaian Minister of Trade and Industry. I assured that after the meeting between the Ministers and relevant stakeholders, the challenge of ease of trade…

— Geoffrey Onyeama (@GeoffreyOnyeama) October 17, 2019
…not countries. So, in addressing a particular country’s issues, it would not be a disadvantage to another country because for us, it is a measure to address a particular issue. #BorderClosure 🇳🇬🇬🇭 @NigeriaGov @DigiCommsNG @GhanaMFA @ecowas_cedeao

— Geoffrey Onyeama (@GeoffreyOnyeama) October 17, 2019

We Need Prayers In Nigeria To Overcome Challenges – Senate, Ahmed Lawan.

The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, says Nigeria needs prayers to overcome its challenges.

Lawan was quoted to have this in a statement signed by the Special Adviser (Media) to President of the Senate, Ola Awoniyi, on Wednesday.

“Given the situation we are in today, the various challenges that Nigeria and its people face, we even need to pray more,” he said while receiving a delegation of the Christian Legislators’ Fellowship of the National Assembly.

The delegation was led by the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege and the Senate Chief Whip, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, was also in attendance at the meeting.

The objective of the meeting was to invite the Senate President to the 10th National Prayer Breakfast scheduled to hold on October 31, 2019 at the International Conference Center, Abuja.

Speaking further, Lawan noted that the Prayer Breakfast was timely and therefore, urged everyone to seek the face of God for answered prayers ahead of the programme.

“Today, we face serious security challenges. Where we have security agencies which are mandated to ensure that we are secured and protected, if nothing, we should pray for them that they are able to perform well.

“It is not only in empowering them with weapons; the power of God is beyond weapons. I’m sure that all people of faith will continue to pray for our security agencies to protect us,” Lawan said.

The Senate President, who also mentioned challenges in the economy, said as leaders, “we have the responsibility to ensure that we continue to provide leadership, to continue to seek the intervention of God in the way and manner that we lead our people.

“We have to do whatever we can to be as truthful, transparent and accountable to our people,” he added.

“I believe that this country needs prayers, and that this country needs unity amongst all faith. We all worship one God, and he is the only way through which we can have our country led properly”.

IMF Advise Equal Exchange Rate For Nigeria, CBN. (Details).

The International Monetary Fund has advised the Central Bank of Nigeria to unify the country’s exchange rate system in order to avoid situations where public and private sector decisions are distorted due to uncertainties.

It also said there was a need for the government to come up with measures to boost the non-oil revenue in order to spend more on social safety programmes.

The global body gave these pieces of advice on Tuesday during the unveiling of the World Economic Outlook report released in Washington DC.

The report titled, ‘Global manufacturing downturn, rising trade barriers’, was unveiled by the IMF Economic Counsellor, Gita Gopinath, and the Chief of the World Economic Studies Division of the IMF’s Research Department, Oya Celasun.

It also called on the Federal Government to implement stronger reforms to boost the current level of infrastructure in the country.

Specifically, Gopinath described per capital growth in Nigeria as weak, adding that strong measures were needed to lift the growth into positive territory.

According to her, there is a need for structural reforms to address the weak per capital growth.

When asked on some of the measures to address the imbalance, Celasun said foreign exchange restrictions had been distorting private and public sector decisions as well as holding back investments.

Under the exchange rate system, the CBN has Investors and Exporters Forex Window; the CBN official rate; the parallel market rate; the Retail Secondary Market Intervention Sales and the wholesale SMIS.

Celasun said there was a need for the monetary authorities to strengthen the banking sector resilience, while the fiscal authority should implement stronger structural reforms.

The structural reforms, according to her, should focus on infrastructure, power and broader governance.

She said, “Nigeria has one of the lowest rates of revenue in the world and this is hit hard by drop in oil prices. That is essential for the country to spend more on priorities, such as social safety and infrastructure.

“Other areas are the need for a tight monetary policy and a simpler unified exchange rate system. Foreign exchange restrictions have also been distorting public private and public sector decisions and holding back investments.”

In terms of world economic outlook, the Fund projected that the global economy would grow by its slowest pace since the global financial crisis of 2008.

President Buhari Commiserate With Victims Of Flood Disaster.

President Muhammadu Buhari commiserates with victims of natural disasters especially floods which have ravaged some states of the Federation recently. Particularly, there have been more occurrences in the Southwest and Southeastern parts of the country.

While the President notes that this phenomenon is not peculiar to Nigeria as is evident in other parts of the world, he assures that the occurrence, attributable in part to climate change, is attracting his attention and those of other world leaders, as evidenced by series of meetings and conferences on the phenomenon, the latest of which happened on the margins of the recent United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York.

Commending the efforts of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) for its intervention activities so far, bringing succour to victims in different parts of the country, President Buhari expresses concern that there is an overwhelming recourse to the federal body to come to the aid of the distressed whenever disasters occur, which should normally not be the case.

The President reminds other stakeholders of their roles as spelt out in the policy document on disaster management in the country, specifically calling on local and state governments to live up to their responsibilities by coming to the assistance of victims that fall within their purview.

President Buhari assures all Nigerians of his steadfast commitment to issues bordering on their welfare, promising that his administration is determined to inculcate better coordination of the plight of the citizenry through the newly created Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development.

Watch Actions That Could Expose The Country’s Differences – President Buhari.

President Muhammadu Buhari has charged Nigerians on the need to avoid actions that emphasizes the country’s differences but instead work together for a united nation.

He also called on citizens to be security conscious while restating his government’s commitment to secure lives and property.

President Buhari made the call during the emblem appeal launch for the 2020 Armed Forces Remembrance Day which at the council chamber of the Aso Rock Villa.

Highlight of the event was the decoration of the President, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and Senate President Ahmed Lawan, with the emblem.

A sum of ten million Naira was also donated by the Federal Government to support the work of the Nigerian legion.

The Chief of Defense Staff, the Service Chiefs, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and members of the Federal Executive Council were present at the ceremony.


All of you are very concerned about the level of security in FCT – Ahmed Lawan.

The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, on Tuesday held a crucial security meeting with top officials who are directly charged with the security of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

The meeting, which held at the Senate President’s office, was also attended by key officers of the Senate.

“We are very concerned, like all of you are, about the level of security challenges in the FCT,” Lawan said in his remarks before the meeting went into a closed door session

The Senate President said the meeting was to address the current security challenges in the FCT and chart the way forward.

Lawan said the meeting was a follow-up to an earlier meeting held last week, adding that the idea was to engage those who are directly dealing with the security issues within the FCT

In attendance at the meeting were the National Security Adviser, Major General Babagana Monguno; FCT Minister, Mohammed Bello, and Director General of Department of State Service, Yusuf Magaji Bichi.

Others are the Assistant Inspector General of Police, Peter Ogunyanwo, who represented the Inspector General of Police; FCT Commissioner of Police, Bala Ciroma and Permanent Secretary in the FCT Administration, Chinyeaka Ohaa.

Senators in attendance: Senate Leader, Senator Yahaya Abdullahi; Dep. Senate Leader, Senator Robert Boroffice; Chief Whip, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu; Dep. Chief Whip, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi; Dep. Minority Leader, Senator Emmanuel Bwacha, and Minority Whip, Senator Philip Aduda

Others are: the Chairman of Senate Committee on National Security and Intelligence, Senator Abdullahi Gobir; Chairman, Senate Committee on FCT, Senator Abubakar Kyari; Chairman, Senate Committee on Police Affairs,

Senator Haliru Jika; Chairman, Senate Committee on Airforce, Bala Ibn Na’allah, and Vice chairman, Senate Committee on Petroleum (Downstream), Senator Ifeanyi Ubah.

NBS – Border Closure Moved Inflation To 11.24%.

The Consumer Price Index released by the National Bureau of Statistics on Tuesday showed inflation index rose to 11.24 per cent in September, barely a month after the border closure.

The 11.24 per cent represents an increase of 0.22 per cent when compared to the 11.02 per cent recorded in August.

The prices of food items have been on a steady increase since August when the Federal Government closed Nigeria’s borders to the neighbouring countries.

The NBS report stated that increases were recorded in all the divisions that determined the index. It said the food index rose by 13.51 per cent in September compared to 13.17 per cent in August. It said the rise in the food index was caused by increases in prices of bread and cereals, oils and fats, meat, potatoes, yam and other tubers, fish and vegetables.

The NBS report read in part, “The consumer price index, which measures inflation increased by 11.24 per cent year-on-year in September 2019.

“This is 0.22 per cent points higher than the rate recorded in August 2019 (11.02) per cent.On month-on-month basis, the headline index increased by 1.04 per cent in September 2019; this is 0.05 per cent rate higher than the rate recorded in August 2019 (0.99) per cent.”

In the same vein, the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry noted that the border closure could have recorded a drastic reduction in smuggling of rice, and petroleum products among others. It, however, lamented that genuine businessmen who transacted legal business in the sub-region were victims of the border closure.

The LCCI who spoke through its Director-General, Muda Yusuf, in a statement noted that the government might mean well, but there were many businesses in the informal sector that had been adversely affected.

It read in part, “The closure of Nigerian land borders for close to two months now has come with benefits and costs. There are upsides and downsides. Reports indicate a drastic reduction in smuggling of rice, poultry products and sugar. The smuggling of petroleum products outside the country to neighboring countries has also declined considerably. We note and appreciate these outcomes.

“But it is important to reckon with the costs, supply chain disruptions and losses that businesses and individuals have suffered as a result of the closure. “Corporates, large number of informal sector players and individuals doing legitimate businesses across the borders have become victims of the border closure.

“This poses a dilemma. The government means well, but there are many innocent casualties.

“As we celebrate the benefits, we should also count the costs. Jobs have been lost; prices have skyrocketed; legitimate exports to the sub-region have been halted; intermediate products for some manufacturers have been cut off and some multinationals companies have been de-linked from their sister companies in the sub-region.”

It added that the economies of border communities had been paralysed with consequences for unemployment and poverty, stating that over 90 per cent of Nigeria’s trade with the West African sub- region was by road.

ICC should investigate security, insurgency in Nigeria – A.I

Amnesty International has again asked the International Criminal Court to open investigations into alleged atrocities committed by the Nigerian security forces and Boko Haram in North East.

It accused the Federal Government of frustrating the probe by “dumping information on the ICC in an attempt to delay the inevitable investigation.”

Responding to the statement by the ICC Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda about the conclusion of her fourth visit to Nigeria on Tuesday, Amnesty International’s Advocacy and Research Director, Netsanet Belay said, “There is mounting evidence that the government of Nigeria is willingly unable to bring perpetrators to justice and it is past time that the OTP proceeds with an investigation into crimes committed by both Boko Haram and the Nigerian military.”

The director added, “The delay has gone on for far too long and the OTP needs to do what is right for victims of these horrific crimes who have been waiting for justice for more than a decade. The ICC should proceed to open an investigation into atrocities committed in the North-East of Nigeria.”

AI said since the beginning of the conflict, the Boko Haram insurgents and the Nigerian security forces have committed serious violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law.

It said Boko Haram had killed thousands of civilians, abducted thousands of women, girls and boys, many of whom were forcibly recruited as child soldiers or subjected to forced marriages and sexual slavery.

” On the other hand, Nigerian security forces have committed extrajudicial killings, mass arbitrary arrests and detentions, torture and other ill-treatment, leading to thousands of deaths in custody, enforced disappearances, and other crimes including rape and sexual violence,” the human rights group noted.

The ICC Office of the Prosecutor had opened a preliminary examination into the situation in Nigeria since 2010.

In December 2018, Amnesty International published its report ‘Willingly Unable: ICC Preliminary Examination And Nigeria’s Failure To Address Impunity For International Crimes’ which assessed the ICC-OTP’s preliminary examination in Nigeria, and the ability and willingness of the government to ensure accountability for crimes allegedly committed by Boko Haram and Nigerian security forces.

Affirmed! FG Doesn’t Play Politics In Terms Of Security – Lai Mohammed.

The Federal Government affirmed the commitment of the Muhammadu Buhari administration to tackling security challenges in the country without bias.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed, stated this on Tuesday at a special town hall meeting on security in Katsina State.

According to him, the event is unique because it is the first time governors from the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) will be panellists at such meeting since its commencement in 2016.

“This is first, a testimony to the fact that this Federal Government does not play politics with the security and welfare of citizens,” the minister said.

He added, “Secondly, (it is) a reflection of the patriotism, commitment, and nationalism of the governors, irrespective of their party affiliations. I congratulate all of us for being part of this historic outing.”

No Peace, No Development
Mr Mohammed noted that the government was not unaware of the recent criminal attacks on communities in the North-West.

According to him, cases of banditry, kidnapping and cattle rustling seem to have worsened in the region until recently.

He reminded the meeting that one of the cardinal programmes of the present administration was to tackle insecurity across the country.

The minister said, “Whether it is Boko Haram, banditry, kidnapping, cattle rustling or armed robbery, the administration has faced the challenges posed by insecurity with grit and determination.

“The Federal Government is unrelenting in tackling these challenges because without peace and security, there can be no development.”

“Here in the North-West, the security challenges – banditry, cattle rustling, and kidnapping – have been unique and daunting.

“The deadly attacks that claimed lives and destroyed property were daily making headline news all over the country,” he lamented.

Mr Mohammed decried that the situation became so bad in some of the states in the region that many felt they were intractable.

He was, however, thankful that the efforts of the Federal Government, as well as the determination and innovative efforts of the governments of the affected states, have been a remarkable improvement.

The minister said peace and security were gradually returning to the worst-hit states while progress that has been made in combating banditry, cattle rustling, and kidnapping.

He explained that it has become imperative for the government at the federal and state levels to provide a platform for the governors of the front-line states to highlight the successes they have achieved in their various states in tackling cases of insecurity.

Mr Mohammed was hopeful that at the end of the meeting, the efforts of the governors of the affected states of Katsina, Sokoto, and Zamfara, as well as the contributions of the Federal Government would be well-documented.

Those present included Governors Aminu Masari (Katsina), Aminu Tambuwal (Sokoto), and Bello Matawalle (Zamfara), as well as the Ministers of Defence and Interior, Major General Bashir Magashi and Mr Rauf Aregbesola, respectively.

Lagos: We are ready to pay more than 30,000 naira minimum wage – Babjide Sanwo Olu.

Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has said the state is ready to pay more than the N30,000 benchmark National Minimum Wage to its workers.

Sanwo-Olu on Tuesday said the implementation of the new minimum wage payment would take off when the Federal Government and labour unions conclude their negotiations.

According to him, the state is drawing up its finances and creating additional revenue sources that will enable it to sustain the new minimum wage payment.

The Governor made these disclosures during a meeting with Organised Labour Unions held at the State House in Alausa.

Sanwo-Olu said his Government understood the day-by-day challenges being faced by workers in the State to do their tasks, which informed the decision by his administration to pay more than the N30,000 minimum wage benchmark.

The addition, the Governor pointed out, was to motivate workers and encourage them to cope with challenges that may hinder their productivity.

He said: “As a government, we take the issue of minimum wage very seriously. We know how important and germane it is to the wellbeing of our people. We are technically ready to implement the new minimum wage. I made a commitment during my previous interactions with the labour unions before my assumption of office and I am still keeping to the promise made. However little it is, we will certainly pay more than N30,000 minimum wage.

“We understand the position Lagos occupies and we understand the challenges workers are facing in Lagos. If other states can raise up to that amount, I believe Lagos needs to show a bit more to appreciate workers’ contribution to the growth of our State.”

During interaction with the labour unions’ leaders, Sanwo-Olu listened to various demands of the workers, which included arrears of workers’ medical allowance, introduction of premium insurance for the workforce, timely pension payment for retired workers, mortgage scheme for housing, befitting labour secretariat and representation of workers’ unions in MDA boards’ appointments.

Sanwo-Olu said he had directed the Commissioner for Finance to look into the unpaid arrears of workers’ medical allowance, with a charge to clear the backlog and make payment to the affected workers. The Governor added that the State was planning to absorb its entire workforce in the recently introduced health insurance scheme, observing that the Ministry of Health was harmonising the modality to ensure all workers were covered in the scheme.

The Government, Sanwo-Olu said, will collaborate with the Organised Labour Unions to float a post-retirement housing scheme that would enable workers of all cadres to apply and acquire permanent homes after leaving the service. Lagos, the Governor promised, would be donating land for the purpose, while the labour unions would source for finance to develop the scheme.

In addition, Sanwo-Olu said his government had approved discounted rent for the workers occupying State-owned apartments. This, he said, is part of the welfare programmes introduced by his Government to improve workers’ productivity.

The Governor said his administration had started to tackle challenges limiting the workers’ productivity, including massive rehabilitation of critical highways across the state to reduce travel time and diffuse road congestion.

It was a moment of excitement for the union leaders, following the Governor’s pronouncement to pay above the minimum wage. They described Sanwo-Olu as “a listening leader” and observed that the Governor had started to fulfil promises made to the unions in the build-up to the 2019 elections.

Chairman of Lagos Council of Trade Union Congress (TUC), Comrade Gbenga Ekundayo, listed re-introduction of Town Hall meeting with labour unions and appointment of more women into the State’s cabinet as part of the promises fulfilled by the Governor.

Ekundayo informed the Governor that the labour unions had been meeting to develop a framework that would make the Government capture traders in the informal sector in the tax net. He assured that the labour unions’ recommendations would be submitted to the Head of Service (HOS), Mr Hakeem Muri-Okunola, in the coming weeks.

Chairperson of the Lagos chapter of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Funmi Sessi, described workers as government’s partners in progress while appreciating Sanwo-Olu for keeping some of his promises with the workers’ unions.

She promised that the Organised Labour would continue to support the Government’s efforts towards improving the wellbeing of the residents and workers in the State.

Sanwo-Olu also met with members of Lagos State Public Service Joint Negotiating Council (JNC) led by Comrade Rasak Falade at the State House.

Top government officials who joined Gov. Sanwo-Olu at both meetings with Organised Labour Unions’ leaders included the Commissioner for Establishment, Training and Pension, Mrs Ajibola Ponnle, and HOS, Mr Muri-Okunola, among others.