Nigeria’s current economic struggles look set to continue if President Muhammadu Buhari wins a second term in office, the multinational banking and financial services company, HSBC, has said.
The company stated this in a report by its Global Research unit, entitled, “Nigeria, Papering Over the Cracks”, obtained by London-based Telegraph, yesterday.
According to the financial institution, although President Buhari’s “approval ratings sit near all-time low a development, it said, “largely reflects the impact of Nigeria’s painful recession in 2016-17 and the sustained economic hardship that has accompanied his presidency, including rapidly rising joblessness, and poverty,” the President will once again lead the APC into the 2019 elections.
It, however, stated: “A second term for Buhari raises the risk of limited economic progress and further fiscal deterioration, prolonging the stagnation of his first term, particularly if there is no move towards completing reform of the exchange rate system or fiscal adjustments that diversify government revenues away from oil.”
The multinational banking group, which is Europe’s largest by total assets, noted that while higher oil prices have brightened Nigeria’s macro outlook, boosting export earnings, improving the supply of foreign exchange, and supporting naira stability, the Buhari administration was yet to address the economy’s structural shortcomings.
Specifically, it said: “Economic growth remains sluggish and reliant on the rebound in oil output while the non-oil economy, which accounts for about 90 per cent of GDP, continues to languish with many service sectors still mired in contraction. Joblessness continues to rise, up almost three-fold in three years to 19 per cent in Q3 2017, pushing the number in poverty to 87million.
“Meanwhile, current account improvements may have pivoted on higher oil prices, but they also derive from on-going import restrictions and limited FX access for many sectors of the economy. All told, we see growth capped at about 2.5 per cent over the next two years – a welcome recovery from the 2016 contraction, but less than half the rate of the previous cycle.”
It further stated that in addition to failing to address the country’s ongoing reliance on oil revenues and the issue of inadequate nonoil tax collection, the administration was also grappling with the challenge of having a large share of its budget directed to debt service.
The company noted that while the Federal Government’s debt management strategy of issuing external debt to redeem more expensive short-term government securities is helping reduce debt service costs in the near term, it “exposes the fiscal position to exchange rate risk in the event of a future decline in oil prices and naira devaluation.”
In addition, it stated that high oil prices has not translated into nonoil growth, adding that: “Nigeria’s reliance on fuel imports means rising international oil prices are pushing up the cost of fuel subsidies, estimated by the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) at USD250m in May alone.”
Besides, HSBC projected: “Oil prices at current levels therefore suggest a fuel subsidy that could total $1.5billion in H2 2018, and about $2.5billion for the year as a whole, which would equate to almost 20 per cent of last year’s gross oil revenue.”
It, however, stated that while the, “polls look set to be a closely contested affair” and the, “political environment favours a return to power for the PDP, yet the opposition remains weak and fragmented, and has yet to declare its presidential candidate.”
The Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the President, Mallam Garba Shehu, declined comments on the report but referred our correspondent to the Chief Economic Adviser to the President.
However, the referral could not be reached as at the time of filing this report.
Meanwhile, former Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Timi Frank, has described the President Muhammadu Buhari’s-led administration of a stinking can of corruption.
Frank was reacting to claims by the Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), Prof. Itse Sagay, in an interview with a national daily, that President Muhammadu Buhari was being soft on corrupt politicians in his cabinet and within the All Progressives Congress (APC) in order to “win the 2019 elections” and to “strengthen democracy.”
In a statement signed, yesterday, Frank insisted that it is fraudulent to cover-up graft and protect accused persons – who occupy enviable positions in this regime – under the guise of ensuring the re-election of Buhari or strengthening democracy.
Frank noted that the recent defection of a former Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Senator Godswill Akpabio, from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) into the APC was one out of the multitude of allegedly corrupt politicians who have taken permanent refuge in the Buhari’s administration in order to escape the lawful prosecution for their nefarious deeds.
The Bayelsa-born politician said: “We know that that the allegations of false NYSC exemption certificate against the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, has since been swept under the carpet. The grass cutting scandal involving the immediate past SGF, Babacheer Lawal, remains a no go area. The bribery allegations against the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari does not warrant investigation and prosecution by a government claiming to fight corruption!
“Need I talk about the large-scale corruption being perpetuated by officials of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) who have elected to operate varied exchange rates regime to defraud the country with the active connivance of their collaborators in the presidency.
“The corruption in the NNPC rightly exposed by the Minister of State (Petroleum), Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, does not warrant investigation because the presidency is involved in it.
“Only recently, N100billion tax evasion scam by Alpha Beta – a tax consulting firm owned by A chieftain of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, was exposed. Yet, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) does not deem it fit to commence investigation into the activities of the company simply because an APC chieftain would be put in the eye of the storm!
“The Governor of Rivers State, Chief Nyesom Wike, has severally petitioned the EFCC with a call on the anti-graft body to investigate corruption allegations against the immediate past governor of the state, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi – the Minister of Transportation under the Buhari’s administration -yet apart from acknowledging that it indeed received the said petitions, the EFCC has since turned a blind eye to the allegations,” he lamented.
He said while the government has been on asset-freezing-and-loot-recovery-spree, especially from the members of the opposition political parties or those considered to be anti-Buhari accused of corruption, the real looters in government and politicians with corruption allegations against them within the ranks of the APC are sitting pretty at ease enjoying underserved amnesty.
He said: “We know several top officials of this government and members of their families who have continued to acquire choice assets and those building mansions in their states of origin and abroad since they joined this government in 2015.
“Those perpetuating corruption under this government whose names have never been mentioned are legion compared to the few names mentioned above and very soon we shall expose them with concrete evidence to prove their corrupt activities.”
He called on the EFCC to immediately recommence the investigation and prosecution of all those with corruption baggage in President Buhari’s administration and the APC or lose its credibility both at home and abroad for ever.
He added that the EFCC and other security agencies will henceforth lack the moral right to prosecute members of the opposition political parties or any Nigerian accused of corruption should they fail to immediately prosecute the identified corrupt elements in this administration and the APC.
He also called on the international community to note clearly that Buhari is not fighting corruption but rather persecuting and repressing members of the opposition to remain in power, should he fail to order the prosecution of his cronies and party faithful with clear corruption allegations against them.
“These corrupt personalities hiding inside the government of Buhari and the APC will remain a test case for the EFCC as their investigation, arrest and prosecution or not will determine whether or not the anti-corruption policy of the Federal Government is genuine or a cheap political tool to retain power and remain relevant beyond 2019,” he declared.
RSG Alerts On Orchestrated Media Campaign
The Rivers State Government has raised alarm over alleged moves by some critics of the government to use selected media houses in the state to denigrate the state government.
A statement signed by the state Commissioner for Information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, yesterday, reads, “The Rivers State Government is aware of clandestine plans by the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State to use selected media houses in the state to denigrate the government of Governor Nyesom Wike.
“This is as a result of the intimidating sterling performance of Governor Wike in infrastructure, healthcare, education, agriculture, rural transformation, housing development, administration of justice, social welfare and sports development.
“This orchestrated campaign spearheaded by a defeated and dumped governorship aspirant of the APC, Dr. Dakuku Peterside is designed to portray the government of Governor Wike as one that is not meeting the developmental aspirations of Rivers people.
“However, the uncommon transformation of the 23 local government areas as witnessed during the last six years of projects commissioning and flag off shows clearly that Governor Wike is actually meeting the yearnings of the people.
“The fact that Rivers people that turn out en mass at the various projects sites to heartily welcome their beloved governor and his guests drawn from all political divides is a clear indication that Rivers people can no longer be swayed by cheap politically induced blackmail.
“The truth of the matter is that the APC government that boasted that Governor Wike will not see money to pay workers’ salaries and execute projects has been humbled by the revolution in governance currently witnessed in the state.
“Instead of people like Dr. Dakuku Peterside and his acolytes to eat the humble pie, they are busy looking for cheap popularity through sponsored appearances in the media.
“No matter how hard these detractors push their propaganda, Governor Wike will never be distracted in executing his social contract with the people of Rivers State.
“In the next few weeks, more projects that have direct bearing to the lives of Rivers people will be unveiled.
“Governor Wike’s promise to continue working as if this is his first tenure and not abandon any project remains sacrosanct.
“Rivers people are watching those whose stock in trade is to dance naked and pray that they continue as merchants of mischief, falsehood and baseless allegations.”
“The people of Rivers State love Governor Wike whose outstanding achievements in salvaging the state from the dearth of basic infrastructural development required for speedy socioeconomic transformation has received national and international applause.
“Therefore, no amount of negative propaganda by the failed APC can diminish the legacy of Governor Wike in Rivers State.
“Rather than launder the thoroughly battered image of the APC, such media appearances by Dr. Dakuku Peterside and his cohorts will further expose APC’s penchant for lies and deception which is now a public knowledge.
“The former governor of Rivers State, Dr. Peter Odili, has confirmed that Governor Wike is the best Rivers State has produced.
“’I have been there. And I make bold to say Governor Nyesom Wike, you are the best,’ Dr. Odili said.
“Odili’s comment serves as an answer to those masquerading as informed commentators with puerile and suffocating commentaries”, the statement added.
Bandits In Trouble As Super Tucano Aircraft Arrives
The first batch of A-29 Super Tucano aircraft has arrived in Kano, yesterday, at about 12.34 pm.
The NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet, confirmed the arrival of the fighter aircraft in a statement.
“On hand to receive the aircraft were the Hon. Minister of Defence, Maj-Gen Bashir Magashi (rtd); Chief of Army Staff, Lt-Gen Farouk Yahaya; and Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Oladayo Amao”, he said.
We’ve No Patience With Failure, Oyedepo Lashes Out At Sacked Pastors
The General Overseer and Founder of The Living Faith Church International also known as Winners’ Chapel, Bishop David Oyedepo, has reacted to the recent sack of over 40 pastors by the church.
One of the affected Pastors, Peter Godwin, took to social media, claiming they were sacked for not generating enough income.
Godwin, who was in one of the church’s branches in Ekiti State, had claimed, “I was told by the management that the church doesn’t operate at a loss.
“They also told me that the total income that is being generated from my station should be able to cater for my welfare and accommodation, so as a result of low income, I’m hereby dismissed.”
Reacting to the allegation in a video posted on the social media, Oyedepo said the sack of the pastors was not about money, adding that the latter were sacked as a result of their failure and the church “has no patience with failure.
“Money? Nonsense! We have never lacked it, and yet, we have never prayed for it.
“We are just simply obeying God, and He is backing up what He is asking us to do. Awesome God,” he noted.
On those criticising the sack, the GO said, “People are confused about our ministry. I learnt some fellows said, you know, they are not bringing income, that is why they asked them to go”.
He added, “We asked you to go because you are unfruitful. Unfruitful! Blatant failure. Doing what there? We have no patience with failure here.
“When we employed 7,000 people at a time, social media was dead.
“We have more employees in this organisation than most of the states. No one is owed a dime salary and we don’t borrow, we don’t beg. Ask our bank whether we take overdraft.
“We are covenant bound, working in the light of God’s word, enjoying an open Heaven.”
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