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FG Advocates Appropriate PPP Framework

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The Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has advocated  appropriate legal framework for Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) that would accommodate risk sharing.
Okonjo-Iweala made the call in Abuja at the PPP Foundational Training organised for stakeholders by the African Development Bank (AfDB).
She said that some of the existing PPP framework and agreements in the country put all the risks involved in transactions on governments alone.
She said that a situation where the private sector always walked away with no risk, while the government bore all the risks involved in the projects was not the best of arrangements.
Okonjo-Iweala said that the right framework would be in terms of financial and economic analysis that allowed participating parties to make a decent rate of returns.
She said that there was the need for the consumers to get a fair deal at the end of every project to save consumers from bearing unnecessary costs.
The minister said that there were many interesting existing PPP projects in the country that were based on well-structured framework.
“We’ve got the second Niger Bridge which I think is going along very well. We’ve got the Lagos –Ibadan road, the Lekki Deep Seaport, the Onne Port and many more.
“There should be the right framework in terms of financial and economic analysis that permits participating parties to make a decent rate of returns to ensure that the consumers get a fair deal.
“I do not want a situation whereby after we finish the project we will be trying to come back and undo it because it was not properly structured,” she said.
Okonjo-Iweala said that one of the major problems confronting the success of PPP arrangement in Africa is its length of time.
She said that statistics had shown that it took an average of seven years to complete a PPP project on the continent.
The minister said that no ministry would hurry into any PPP agreement when the time horizon for delivery was longer, while the time horizon for the policy maker was short.
“If they are going to be in office for four years and the PPP is not going to be realised, it means that they are leaving office without delivering.
“We cannot afford to take that length of time because we have so many projects and this means that we need the financial capacity to understand the types of arrangements needed.
“We need the legal and the regulatory framework within which we are doing this in order to hasten the projects,” Okonjo-Iweala said.
She said that the country needed about 14 billion dollars annually to fund infrastructure development out of which 10 billion dollars would come from the Federal Government.
She said that the country’s spending on infrastructure was about six billion dollars, adding that there was a big gap which could only be filled through PPP.
The AfDBs Nigeria Country Director, Dr Ousmane Dore, said the training was a part of the processes to establish a PPP advisory department in the bank’s office in Nigeria.
Dore said that the programme would also assist the government and other stakeholders in developing capacity to identify, procure and manage PPPs.
He commended the Federal Government’s political support for PPP and its recognition as one of the keys to economic growth and equity.

Special Adviser to the Rivers State Governor on ICT, Engr. Goodliffe Nmekini (right), presenting Ipads to the Head of Department, Paediatrics, BMSH, Dr. Ajibola Alabi (middle), during the inspection of ICT facilities at the hospital recently. With them is Dr. Josephine Aiyafo. Photo: Egberi A. Sampson

Special Adviser to the Rivers State Governor on ICT, Engr. Goodliffe Nmekini (right), presenting Ipads to the Head of Department, Paediatrics, BMSH, Dr. Ajibola Alabi (middle), during the inspection of ICT facilities at the hospital recently. With them is Dr. Josephine Aiyafo. Photo: Egberi A. Sampson

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Inflation Rate Falls To 16.63%  – NBS

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The rate of inflation in Nigeria has declined for the sixth consecutive month to 16.63 per cent in September, which is its lowest level since January this year, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has said.
The Bureau, in its Consumer Price Index released on Friday, said the inflation rate fell by 0.38 per cent from 17.01 per cent in August.
The drop in headline inflation began in April when it fell to18.12 per cent from 18.17 per cent in March.
According to NBC, the urban inflation rate increased by 17.19 per cent (year-on-year) in September 2021 from 17.59 per cent recorded in August 2021, while the rural inflation rate increased by 16.08 per cent in September 2021 from 16.45 per cent in August 2021.
It said farm produce such as bread, cereals, cocoa, meat, coffee, tea and cocoa drove food inflation, fell to 19.57 per cent in September from 20.30 percent in August.
Other items that led to the rise in the composite food index in September included oils and fats, yam and other tubers, fish, potatoes, milk, cheese and egg.
“On month-on-month basis, the food sub-index increased by 1.26 per cent in September 2021, up by 0.20 per cent points from 1.06 per cent recorded in August 2021”, the NBS stated.
 The Statistician-General of the Federation, Simon Harry, said the fall in the inflation rate signalled an improvement in government performance and more favourable economic conditions.
“The inflation rate in Nigeria has maintained a consecutive decline in year-on-year for a period of six consecutive months, starting from March 2021 to August 2021”, he said.

By: Corlins Walter

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5G Now At 97% Completion, As NCC Moves To Auction Spectrum

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The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has said that the plan for deployment of Fifth Generation technology in the country has gotten to 97 per cent. 
Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, disclosed this at the annual African Tech Alliance Forum with the theme ‘Embracing changes and digital transformation in the new normal’.
According to a statement titled ‘NCC update on plans for 5G deployment’ issued  by the NCC’s Deputy Manager, Public Affairs, Kunle Azeez, the commission stated that some spectrum would be auctioned.
“Already, we are set for the auction of some spectrum slots in the 3.5GHz band. The other day, I was at the National Assembly, I informed the Senate that we were 95 per cent ready for 5G.
“Today as we speak, I am delighted to tell you that we are already at 97 per cent completion. 
“The committee set up to auction the spectrum has already developed an information memorandum which is already published for inputs and comments from all industry stakeholders.
“Prior to this, a 5G deployment plan was developed and we have since secured the Federal Government’s approval”, the commission stated.
The commission also explained that because of the Covid-19 pandemic, almost every means of communication became virtual, which led to an increase in network connectivity requirements as a result of unprecedented upsurge in internet traffic.
Danbatta added that even though the network infrastructure in the nation demonstrated some capacity to contain the surge in internet traffic, a lot of work was being done by the commission to boost network capacity, sensitise the public and ensure accessibility to affordable connectivity.
“Emerging technologies such as 5G, which NCC is driving aggressively in Nigeria, Internet of Things; Cloud Computing; Quantum Computing Augmented/Virtual Reality, and similar emerging technologies are playing a critical role in improving remote communication over the internet with great user experience.
“The NCC is committed to promoting this inevitable change and enhancing user experience through effective regulation of the telecoms sector”, he stated.

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Nigeria’s Debt-To-GDP Ratio To Hit 42% By 2026 – IMF

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The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has projected that Nigeria’s Gross Debt-to-Gross Domestic Product ratio will rise from 35.7 per cent in 2021 to 42 per cent by 2026.
The IMF stated this in its October 2021 Fiscal Monitor Report published on its website.
It said the country’s gross debt-to-GDP ratio would increase from 35.7 per cent in 2021 to 36.9 per cent in 2022, 37.7 per cent in 2023, 39.1 per cent in 2024 and 40.6 per cent in 2025.
According to the report, the gross debt includes overdrafts from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and liabilities of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON). 
It added that the general government’s revenue-to-GDP ratio would decrease from 7.2 per cent in 2021 to 6.5 per cent in 2026, while the general government expenditure-to-GDP ratio would decrease from 13.3 per cent in 2021 to 12.6 per cent in 2026.
The global financial institution said that the general government net debt-to-GDP ratio would increase from 35.3 per cent in 2021 to 41.8 per cent in 2026.
“The overdrafts and government deposits at the Central Bank of Nigeria almost cancel each other out, and the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria debt is roughly halved,” it added.
The report said for low-income developing countries like Nigeria, average gross debt in 2021 would likely remain stable at almost 50 per cent in 2020, while debt vulnerabilities “are expected to be high.

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