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Nigeria searches for $7 billion to combat COVID-19 issues

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The Nigerian government has drafted several requests to international lenders requesting a total number of $6.9 billion in order to keep their economy afloat as well as continue their battle against the novel Coronavirus.

 

Although the country has not seen too much of the virus, compared to Europe and the United States at least, the government still decided to impose a 2-week shutdown in order to prevent the spread. Currently, the country has 232 confirmed cases and 5 deaths in total, but more cases are expected in the coming weeks.

Who is Nigeria asking for help?

The Nigerian government has addressed multiple international lenders. These include the International Monetary Fund ($3.4 billion), the World Bank ($2.5 billion) and the African Development Bank ($1 billion).

 

All of this was announced by the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed herself.

 

However, considering the serious economic implications of the Coronavirus, many Nigerian politicians believe that asking these organizations for a loan is not the right thing to do at the moment.

Criticism has been heard of the Nigerian government for worrying about the economy much more than the pandemic spreading across the country, and only imposing the shutdown just a couple of days ago.

 

Although it is true that most of the funds requested from these international organizations will be dedicated to keeping the economy alive before the pandemic stops, it needs to be highlighted that Nigeria is still in serious danger of having the virus spread out of control.

 

Although most commercial states are on lockdown, there are some regions in the country where movement is relatively free.

Why is Nigeria asking for so much?

The next big question is finding out why Nigeria needs so much money and where most of it is going to be spent. It’s quite an easy question to answer. Nigeria is the largest oil producer on the African continent, which means that it is going to dedicate these funds to solidifying that position well into the future.

 

You see, the COVID-19 didn’t only topple stock prices of large corporations worldwide, it also seriously impacted oil prices, which were already significantly weakened well before the outbreak.

 

To put this in perspective. The Nigerian government devised a national budget when oil prices were around $59 per barrel. The price is somewhere in the range of $30 per barrel nowadays, and demand keeps on dropping as fewer people drive or use oil-consuming machinery and technology.

 

Due to this massive change in pricing, the Nigerian government had to adjust by cutting costs during 2020, but that is simply not enough. Having your country’s biggest income effectively be cut more than half is a serious hit to all of the plans created not only for that year but for the future.

Criticism floats up once more

Naturally, whenever a government plan has some kind of issues that could have been avoided, there will always be opposition members or just freelance politicians criticizing these policies. In this case, it’s very hard not to agree with what is being said in most of the cases.

 

Most of the politicians were advocating a more diverse economy, investments into different industries rather than re-investment into the oil. Tricks that have worked in the past are not necessarily going to work in the future, and considering oil is a finite resource, Nigeria is seriously advised to look into diversification.

 

And this is not only about Nigeria as well. The largest oil-exporting countries in the world such as Norway, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and even the United States have considered this issue seriously.

But most surprisingly, there are countries that normally don’t have too large of oil production for export that are already deviating away from the commodity, and in that sense, Germany is a perfect example.

What can Nigeria learn from Germany

Naturally, it’s very hard to compare these two economies as Germany is a production powerhouse that has already diversified beyond anything that Nigeria could achieve in the next decade or so, but there are still some nice hints as to what could be changed.

 

Let’s talk about taboo industries as an example. In this sense, both Nigeria and Germany have quite a lot in common. Banning or discrediting taboo industries such as gambling, for example, is present in both countries, but both of them have seen huge demand for these services.

 

The difference is seen when we look at the actions taken by both countries. Germany, for example, does not charge any fines to its citizens playing online roulette or any other game of chance. The only fine goes to the company providing this service. In Nigeria, it’s a bit different as the country has only a few companies operating in the country which tend to be untrustworthy in terms of service and tax.

 

Germany is easily able to pinpoint websites that provide these services and fine them pretty much on a monthly basis. This pretty much acts like a monthly tax which is always fixed. It’s a small loophole, but mutually beneficial nonetheless.

 

In Nigeria though, the trust in government-approved companies is fading as people switch to unlicensed platforms, thus depriving the authorities of tax and information. It would be much better for the local government to either allow commercialization of gambling or introduce a similar system as in Germany.

Back to the topic – will Nigeria get the funds it is requesting?

There is one thing to consider. Nigeria is a country that has the capacity to repay the debt it is asking the IMF and other organizations for, but the question is whether these organizations will be able to deliver.

 

There are quite a lot of middle eastern and central Asian countries that have requested the same organizations for financial assistance, therefore some serious budgeting is to be expected.

 

It’s unlikely for every country to get what they asked for, but some funds could be covered. One real issue that Nigeria could face is a serious deficit in what it asked for. At that point, there will be no other way than asking China for financial assistance, and that is something that Nigeria could simply not afford at this point, considering how much it already owes to China.

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LG Boss Uncovers Bloodstained Army Uniform At ‘Cocaine Village’

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The newly inaugurated Chairman of Eleme Local Government Area, Obarilormate Ollor, has gone to ‘Cocaine village’ at Eleme Trailer Park to execute Governor Nyesom Wike’s quit order on residents of the illegal settlement when he made a shock discovery in one of the rooms.

Ollor had visited the area notorious for drugs and crimes, last Sunday, along with some security personnel to serve the quit notice on residents but met the area deserted—an indication that someone had alerted them about the visit.

Out of curiosity, the chairman opened one of the rooms in the ghetto-like settlement, and found the bloodstained uniform of a soldier, his knife and ATM card.

The chairman and his entourage had expressed suspicion that criminals in the area had killed the owner of the uniform and robbed him.

Ollor said, “Remember that a week ago, His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Rivers State, Chief Nyesom Wike, gave a directive that all illegal structures be removed. As the chief security officer of the local government, I am under that obligation.

 “What we are doing here today is to inform them in advance and to remind them that the ultimatum still holds. So, on or before June 26, they should move out.

“What we have here is a mixed population of criminals, armed robbers, drug dealers, and even those who allegedly trade in human parts. Right now, we just found the uniform of an Army man who probably may have been killed. His blood all over the room and uniform, his knife and ATM card, which we have given to the police.”

The Rivers State Police Command has reportedly swung into action to unravel the perpetrators of the alleged crime.

Spokesman of the police, SP Nnamdi Omoni, said that the command had received reports about criminal activities in the area, including the alleged killing of a soldier.

Omoni said, “We have gotten complaints and reports of drug traffickers, criminal elements, human organ dealers, kidnappers and more from there.

“Though we have been carrying out investigation into all of the reports but thank God, we now have a good lead and evidence.

“We have been mandated by the state government to carry out massive arrest within the environs to ensure we arrest and prosecute all those persons involved.”

Residents said that the ‘Cocaine village’ is a haven for drug dealers and users, adding that security operatives also patronize the area.

An aide of the Eleme LG chairman, who spoke off-the-record said, “The governor received an intelligence report that the slum harbours criminals and drug addicts who carry out series of crimes, human organ trafficking, abductions and many other criminal acts in the LGA and state at large.

“We learnt also that some security men troop in there off and on to buy drugs and indulge in one crime or the other.

 “The military uniform stained with blood, knife and motorcycle discovered were found in one of the rooms we opened.

“The badge of the military uniform was removed and there were heavy blood stains on the uniform.

“We went there with some police men as assigned to us by the Commissioner of Police, Rivers State Command, Eboka Friday”, he added.

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Insecurity Hasn’t Hindered Projects’ Execution In Rivers, Wike Affirms

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The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike says that his administration has fearlessly tackled insecurity headlong and created an enabling climate for smooth delivery of quality development projects.
Wike made the assertion at the inauguration of 16.2-kilometre long Omueze-Umuogba-Umuokpurukpu-Umueke-Umunju-Eberi Road project in Omuma Local Government Area of the state, yesterday.
The governor noted that while other states of the country were still struggling with issues of insecurity, Rivers State was witnessing harvest of development projects with the non-stop inauguration and flag-off ceremonies to their amazement.
“Don’t fight anybody that God has blessed. Don’t fight the state that God has blessed. People are talking about insecurity. We are talking about commissioning and flagging-off of projects. Is it easy? If it is easy, let them try it.”
Wike asserted that it is only states controlled by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) like Rivers that has created a peaceful climate for the citizens while the government delivers democratic dividends.
“Those who say they don’t like what PDP is doing, they have no choice but to like it. You can see what the party (PDP) is doing. We are flagging-off and commissioning projects. Whether they like it or not, we are in charge.”
The governor said it is obvious that Rivers State is no longer on the same level with states that cannot provide dividend of democracy to their people.
Wike said the performance of his administration has restored confidence in Rivers people and they can walk with their heads raised high.
“Rivers people, are you not proud of your state? If you’re a Rivers man, anywhere you go, raise your shoulder high and say that you’re a Rivers man and woman. “They (other parties) can only jealous us, but they cannot do anything. We are of different class. We are not on the same level with them.”
Speaking further, Wike commended the member representing Omuma State Constituency, Hon. KelechiNwogufor his loyalty to PDP.
He also extolled him for his commitment to the welfare of Omuma people and being a trusted ally to him.
At the behest of Nwogu, Wike promised Omuma people that his administration would reconstruct the Umuakali-Eberi Road in appreciation of their support to the PDP.
Inaugurating the project, former President of the Senate, Senator Adolphus Wabara, noted how Wike has redefined governance and broken the jinx of non-performance associated with second tenure governors.
According to him, the approach to development that the governor has adopted stands him out as a much sought-after leader who should be consulted in solving critical national issues related to governance.
“With my experience in elective politics, second terms of most governors are dull; some governors will just go to sleep because they don’t have anything to offer. But you are still commissioning projects, as if you’re not even going to leave.
“Your developmental approach, your developmental plans, and formula should make you an international consultant to the failing government. Because, quite frankly, the magic, I mean, nobody knows except you. You do it with ease, you do it with happiness.”
Providing the description of the project, Rivers State Commissioner for Works, EllokaTasie-Amadi said the Omueze-Umuogba-Umuokpurukpu-Umueke-Umunju-Eberi link road in Omuma Local Government Area was another genuine efforts of the Wike administration to ease the transportation difficulties experienced by rural dwellers in the Omuma.
“Many of these rural projects go unsung probably because the residents are not social media savvy, as in the case of Omuma, who are predominantly farmers, or probably because SM activities are not a part of their past times as it is with city dwellers.
“It may shock you to know that for every kilometre of road we have built in the city we have built 12kms or more in the rural areas. This is a conservative estimate I would like you to ponder upon when you get home.”
He further stated, “This project is a 16.2km long, 10.3m wide road project which has 4.3km of drains. The roads are marked and have a total of 27 road signs to aid driving and enhance public safety.”

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Wike Flags Off Abonnema/ Obonoma Sandfilling Project, Today

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All is now set for the flag-off of the Abonnema/Obonoma Sandfilling project in Akuku-Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State.
A statement signed by the state Commissioner for Information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, yesterday, said that, “the project will sandfill 42 hectares of land that will help expand Abonnema and Obonoma Towns.
“It is in fulfilment of the promise made by Governor Nyesom Wike during the commissioning of the Abonnema Ring Road”.
The statement further added that, “The rich culture and tradition of the Kalabaris will be fully on display at the event.
“Please, note that all Covid-19 protocols will be observed at the event”, it stressed.

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