The Federal Government has promised to implement daring reforms that would revive and sustain economic growth and development in the country.
The Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, made the promise in Abuja yesterday at the launch of the International Monetary Fund’s Regional Economic Outlook report on Sub-Saharan Africa.
According to IMF report, Nigeria’s real GDP is expected to grow at 0.8 per cent in 2017 and 1.9 per cent by 2018.
The reports further said inflation would remain elevated at 17.5 per cent and fiscal deficit to deteriorate to 5 per cent of GDP in 2017.
It also said GDP was projected to go from 19 per cent in 2016 to 20.1 per cent in 2017 and 20.4 per cent in 2018.
According to it, imports is expected to reduce from 13.8 per cent of GDP in 2017 to 12.4 per cent in 2018 and trade balance to improve by 1.5 per cent of GDP.
IMF, however, said the growth projection was hinged on adequate implementation of policy actions such as the Federal Government’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).
Adeosun said that government was pursuing necessary reforms in areas of economic diversification, structural transformation, fiscal consolidation, public finance management and macro stability.
“Nigeria was one of the countries hardest hit by the commodity price decline.
“We have tried to mitigate these pressures through series of interventions, such as growing of the non-oil sector base through increased efficiency of tax and customs collections.
“We have also reduced cost of doing business, increased support for agriculture, infrastructure and manufacturing as well as reflating the economy through fiscal support to sub-nationals among several other measures.
“The security situation has improved considerably and investors’ confidence is on the increase. It is heartwarming to say that Nigeria will be out of recession soon,’’ she said.
Adeosun further said that the lessons derivable from the report was that, it was time sub-saharan countries take seriously the issue of exporting raw commodities with little or no value added.
She tasked all 45 sub-saharan countries to implement reforms that would boost local production, help create jobs and achieve sustainable growth.
Also, the Director, Monetary Policy Department, Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr Moses Tule, said a comprehensive and coordinated implementation of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan were vital to the growth of the economy.
He, however advised against delayed policy response, uncoordinated implementation of ERGP and other economic reforms, in order not to hurt the growth projected for Nigeria in the Regional Economic Outlook report.
“Resolution of the Niger Delta crisis is expected to make headroom for higher oil exports, thus improving the fiscal space.
Also, the current forex reforms are expected to further improve, following improved terms of trade with higher oil exports and increased substitution with local production.
“The successful issuance of the last Eurobond is fast restoring confidence in our economy as evident in the recent Sovereign Bond Issuance offshore,’’ he said.
Also, the Director of the IMF’s African Department, Mr Abebe Selassie, said the delay in implementing much needed adjustment policies was responsible for creating uncertainty in economies.
He also said the overall weak outlook for the region partly reflected insufficient policy adjustment, holding back investments and generating risks, particularly in oil exporting countries like Angola and Nigeria.
Selassie, who cited the region’s modest growth recovery from 1.4 percent in 2016 to 2.6 percent in 2017, noted that this would barely put sub-Saharan Africa back on a path of rising per capita income.
“The uptick will be largely driven by one-off factor in the three largest countries; that is a recovery in oil production in Nigeria, higher public spending in Angola and fading of drought effects in South Africa.
“ But for other countries, the outlook remains shrouded in substantial uncertainties, including possible further appreciation of the U.S. dollar and tightening of global financing conditions, especially for countries where fundamentals have deteriorated.
“ On top of that, the outlook is further clouded by security issues that have contributed to an increase in food insecurity and even famine in parts of sub-Saharan Africa.
Selassie stressed the urgent need to ensure macroeconomic stability, complemented with structural reforms to support rebalancing and policies to strengthen social protection for the most vulnerable in the region.
He, however, reiterated that sub-Saharan Africa remained a region with tremendous potential for growth in the medium term, provided strong domestic policy measures were implemented.
CAC Registers 245,000 SMEs Free Of Charge
The Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) says it has registered more than 245,000 Small and Medium Enterp-rises free of charge.
The Registrar-General, Alhaji Garba Abubakar, said in Abuja on Wednesday that it did this with the approval of the Federal Government.
The Federal Government, he said, approved the free registration of 250,000 business names as part of its intervention to assuage the economic effect of Covid-19.
He said the Federal Government paid 50 per cent of the cost of registration to CAC and more than 245,000 business names were consequently registered.
Abubakar explained that the process was electronic and applicants also got their certificates electronically.
He added that the numbers were divided between the 36 states of the federation and the FCT noting that Lagos, Abia and Kano States had the largest numbers.
He said free registration of 6, 606 business names was approved for 33 states while Abia, Lagos and Kano States would have 7, 906, 9,084 and 8,406 respectively.
Abubakar noted that aggregators were appointed and paid to collect SMEs information and submit same to CAC.
He explained that the commission provided special access for the aggregators for effective service delivery since they were responsible for scanning and uploading of documents.
He added that CAC had to take over from one of the aggregators appointed for two states but failed to deliver.
Abubakar said also that the intervention of CAC and appointment of substitute aggregators to take over in the two states sped up the process, already nearing completion.
“We are hoping that by end of September the exercise will come to an end,’’ he said.
IPMAN Seeks Foreign Partnership For Robust Refinery Deal
The Chairman, Rivers State Chapter of Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), Mr King Eppie, has said that he would be seeking the partnership of foreign bodies as part of his plans to strengthen the association.
Eppie said this when he spoke in a chat with newsmen in his office in Eleme, Eleme Local Government Area, Rivers State, Wednesday.
He pointed out that such plans would also encourage business growth especially to some of his members whom he said are experiencing stormy business weather.
According to him, the challenging business condition was as a result of non functional refineries in the country, stressing the need to seek for partnership.
He said that since its core business area was petroleum products, that his leadership would do all within its reach to improve the system.
The Rivers IPMAN boss, expressed hope that the ailing refineries in the country would bounce back to life.
“ I will be happy to see the refineries working again. Most of our members are suffering and business is no longer what it used to be, that’s why I want the refineries to come back to operation”, he said.
About the issue of legal battle in the association, he said that his team has been vindicated by the Apex court by declaring him the authentic chairman of IPMAN in Rivers State.
He recalled that the association was in a legal battle for about eight years, but expressed joy over its victorious end.
To those who were on the other side of the divide, he said that he has extended an olive branch to them as part of his plans to run an all inclusive government.
“ The platform for those who went to court against us has been created for them to come back to the fold. IPMAN is one in the state and we are open to all, that is why we want everyone to come back”, he said.
The Tide learnt that the IPMAN chairman is barely one week in office after years of legal battle that greeted the association as a result of leadership tussle.
1,818 MSMEs Benefit From Covid-19 Recovery Package In Delta
No fewer than 1,818 Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) have benefited from Federal Government and the World Bank Covid-19 Action Recovery Economic Stimulus (NG-CARES) in Delta.
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa addressed the beneficiaries at the launch of funds disbursement in Asaba on Wednesday.
He commended the Federal Government and the World Bank for the partnership to provide succour for those affected by the pandemic in the country.
He said that now that the scheme had been domesticated in the state, the beneficiaries were in the first phase of the programme.
Okowa also lauded the Nigeria Governor’s Forum (NGF) for supporting the federal government to ensure that the programme was approved by the World Bank for implementation in Nigeria.
He also thanked the World Bank for the intervention and for working with state governments in the country towards cushioning the socio-economic effects of Covid-19 pandemic on the people, particularly the poor and vulnerable.
According to Okowa, today’s ceremony is a major step at putting MSMEs that are badly hurt by the pandemic on the path of recovery and growth.
He said this was “more so, with the disbursement of funds to the first set of 1,818 beneficiaries who have met the World Bank stipulated eligibility criteria within the initial six months.
“A total of 2,529 MSMEs are expected to receive grants to support post-covid-19 loans, operational costs and to enhance their IT capabilities.
“Indeed, we are glad to be part of the CARES programme of the Federal Government.
“The focus of intervention clearly aligns with the priority of the state government to give relief to those whose lives, businesses, jobs and means of livelihood have been distorted by the pandemic.
“The programme, which we have domesticated as the Delta CARES, is a two-year emergency recovery programme.
“It is aimed at supporting state governments’ budgeted programme of expenditures and interventions.
“It is to enable them to expand access to livelihood support, food security services, and grants for poor and vulnerable households and firms,” he said.
He said that the programme would also directly support 25,269 poor and vulnerable households with social transfers, basic services and livelihood grants.
The governor said it would as well support 13,976 farmers to boost food production and ensure smooth functioning of the food supply chain.
“The outlined figures are the targets stipulated by the World Bank, but do not preclude the State Government from scaling up if the need arises.
“It is my expectation that those charged with the implementation of Delta-CARES will be faithful in executing the mandate so that the desired results are achieved, bearing in mind that it is a Programme for Result (PforR),” Okowa said.
On his part, Dr Barry Pere-Gbe, Chairman, Steering Committee for Delta-CARES and State Commissioner for Economic Planning, commended Okowa for providing the funds for the programme.
Pere-Gbe was represented by the Commissioner for Youths Development, Mr Ifeanyi Egwunyenga.
He said that the main focus of the programme was to bring succour to residents whose means of livelihood had been disrupted by the impacts of Covid-19.
He said that the programme was hinged on three thematic area.
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