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IMF Expresses Confidence In Nigeria’s Economy, …Welcomes Ongoing Economic Recovery

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The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has expressed a renewed confidence in the Nigerian economy, as its Executive Directors welcomed Nigeria’s ongoing economic recovery, accompanied by reduced inflation and strengthened reserve buffers.
According to its Media Chief for Africa, Lucie Mboto Fouda, in a statement last Wednesday, IMF noted Nigeria’s real GDP increased by 1.9 per cent in 2018, up from 0.8 per cent in 2017.
“This is on the back of improvements in manufacturing and services, supported by spillovers from higher oil prices, ongoing convergence in exchange rates and strides to improve the business environment,” IMF said.
It said the headline inflation fell to 11.4 per cent at end of 2018, reflecting declining food price inflation and weak consumer demand.
The Fund also reflects a relatively stable exchange rate and tight monetary policy during most of 2018, but remains outside of the central bank’s target range of 6-9 per cent.
IMF also noted that record holdings of mostly short-term local debt and equity and a current account surplus lifted gross international reserves to a peak in April 2018.
The Fund pointed out that persisting structural and policy challenges continue to constrain growth to levels below those needed to reduce vulnerabilities, lessen poverty and improve weak human development outcomes, such as in health and education.
Also, in the statement, the Executive Directors of the Fund welcomed Nigeria’s ongoing economic recovery, accompanied by reduced inflation and strengthened reserve buffers.
They, however, noted that the medium-term outlook remains muted, with risks tilted to the downside.
“In addition, long standing structural and policy challenges need to be tackled more decisively to reduce vulnerabilities, raise per capita growth, and bring down poverty,’’ the
executive directors said.
They urged Nigeria to redouble its reform efforts and supported the country’s intention to accelerate implementation of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.
The executive directors stressed the need for revenue-based consolidation to lower the ratio of interest payments to revenue and make room for priority expenditure.
They welcomed the authorities’ tax reform plan to increase non-oil revenue, including through tax policy and administration measures.
In statement, the executive director stressed on the importance of strengthening domestic revenue mobilisation, including through additional excises, a comprehensive VAT reform, and elimination of tax incentives.
They said that securing oil revenues through reforms of state owned enterprises and measures to improve the governance of the oil sector would also be crucial.

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Nigerians Spent N2.37trn On Petrol In 13 Months – NNPC

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The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has said that, in 13 months, Nigerians spent N2.37 trillion on petrol imported into the country.
According to the data released by the corporation last Wednesday, its total revenue generated from the sales of white products for the period May 2019 to May 2020 stood at N2.39 trillion.
It disclosed that petrol contributed about 98.84 per cent of the total sales with a value of N2.37tn.
The corporation said it made N92.58bn through the sale of petrol in May 2020.
It said the revenue from petrol sale was generated through its subsidiary, the Petroleum Products Marketing Company, as the oil firm also announced a 43 per cent decrease in oil pipeline vandalism in May.
NNPC’s Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Kennie Obateru, explained that these were contained in the May 2020 version of the corporation’s Monthly Financial and Operations Report.
The report stated that the N92.58bn was made on the sale of white products (only petrol this time) by PPMC during the review period.
The oil firm said 950.67 million litres of white products were sold and distributed by the corporation’s downstream subsidiary, PPMC.
This comprised 950.67 million litres of Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol, only, with no Automotive Gas Oil or Dual Purpose Kerosene.
There was also no sale of special product in the month.

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NCC Revises USSD Pricing, As 20 Seconds Cost N1.63

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The Nigerian Communications Commission, has revised the Unstructured Supplementary Service Data pricing to allow mobile network operators and financial institutions negotiate mutually beneficial rates.
The Executive Vice Chairman, NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, said the commission amended the determination earlier issued in July 2019 by removing the price floor and the cap.
According to him, each USSD session is 20 seconds and costs N1.63 per session on the MNO network.
He said the cost should form the basis of negotiations between MNOs and other related service providers using USSD channels.
The amendment was carried out after a dispute between MNOs and financial institutions on the applicable charges for USSD services and the method of billing.
The NCC, in the amended determination which took effect from August 1, said that if MNOs and financial service providers were unable to agree on rates, it would intervene and the commission’s decision would be final and binding.
The telecoms regulators said refusal to pay for services provided or to negotiate in good faith would lead to discontinuation of provision of the service, the possible withdrawal of the USSD short code and/ or imposition of regulatory sanctions.

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NIESV Laments Dilapidation Of RSHA Quarters

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The Nigerian Institution for Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV) has described the Rivers State House of Assembly Quarters as being in bad shape and no longer befitting as a dwelling place for the legislators.
The president of the institution, Mr. Emma Okahs-Wike lamented that the Assembly Quarters could not have dilapidated to the extent of being marked for demolition if the property was maintained.
He noted that a facility of such nature should not have been left in the hands of the occupants, adding that the Rivers State government ought to have employed facility managers to take care of the quarters, noting that facility managers be engaged when the new proposed assembly quarters are completed.
According to him, if we had professionals who are managing the place, I can tell you that it would not have dilapidated to the point we are.
“I want to advise that the Speaker or the house officers should appoint facility managers that would be able to manage those properties. Now that the government is thinking about reconstructing, they should be able to bring out professionals, seek professional advice so that at the end of the day when they finish this kind of structure it would be properly cared for,” he continued.
Okahs-Wike reasoned that professional facility managers would be able to care for and maintain the facility, “let them not just leave it in the hands of the occupants, they should be able to have one stop facility manager that would look after the environment and make sure that the property is well maintained and well structured”.
While enjoining the state government to have the project reevaluated and get the public notified on the reason for demolition and rebuilding of the assembly quarters, the NIESV’s president pointed out that it would cost more to renovate the facility.
He explained: “the buildings, some of them are dilapidated. What I will advise the government to do is to carry out feasibility and viability study of that project. The feasibility is that demolishing and reconstructing, ‘which one would be better for us?’ Then you go to viability, which one would be more costly, which one would be more beneficial to the people? If the viability study says it’s good to renovate, you renovate, if they say no, you reconstruct. Now if the government has done that and they have found out that it would be more cost effective to reconstruct, it’s a better deal… and bring in current and modern building materials”.

 

 

Tonye Nria-Dappa

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