Lucy Eze, Vincent Clement, Vivian Udeh & Onyekachi Ucheonye
Only few people will believe that the oil rich Niger Delta region that was thrown into immeasurable state of terrorism, kidnapping, killing and insecurity will once again experience peace it was not a period anybody would wish to identify with it was an era people will sleep with one eye open. Development activities were stalled.
Construction works in parts of the region stopped as militants kidnapped construction workers for ransome.
The Niger Delta crisis also affected oil production in the country and this affected national economy.
The unrest cut Nigeria’s oil production by a million barrels a day, allowing Angola to overtake it as Africa’s top oil producer.
In a bid to stem the Niger Delta crisis, and its attendant economic consequence on the nation. The federal government on August 11, 2009 declared amnesty for all the militants. The 60 day amnesty expired on October 6, 2009 and since then, peace has returned to the oil rich region.
What is the economic implication the return of peace in the region? Here are the views of Nigerians on the subject matter.
Isaac Godwin, transport officer at UNAG servicising Nigeria company said: Nigeria has been in a 2008 state and its economic strength over the years could not be stable, especially with the return of democracy since 1999 till date.
The unrest in the Niger Delta has only cut Nigeria’s oil production by a million barrels a day, allowing Angola to overtake it as Africa’s top oil producers.
“Now that militants have accepted the offer of amnesty and have surrendered their arms, oil production will increase and this will impact on Nigeria’s income. But there maybe no economic strength both in the region and the nation at large.
Sounding optimistic, he said there would be a change because the process of the amnesty is an eye opener to the nation’s leaders. The intensity of the unrest in Niger Delta has over the years drawn the attention of international communities and I believe there will be no child’s play.
He, however ,advised the federal government not only to initiate post amnesty policies but try as much as possible to implement them to the letter to make Nigeria a proud place to live like Ghana, South Africa etc.
But he regretted that Nigerian Government anchors its economic strength on oil production which, according to him, will sometime cease to flow and other countries that have their mainstay, on agriculture will leave Nigeria behind because these might be no enough money to invest more on agriculture.
Mr Martins Okonkwo, CEO of Equipment Leasing Firm believes that the amnesty is a good omen for the nation especially the Niger Delta region as government will now concentrate on the economic development of the state and Nigeria.
Again, he said the companies and industries that close their shops in the wake of insecurity in the state will bounce back to life, and the move will give the citizens an opportunity to be employed.
The divisional police in-charge Abali Park Station, Sheman Gana says the return of peace in the oil-rich Niger Delta region will improve Nigeria’s external reserves as the nation will witness improved production of crude oil which will fetch huge revenue for the nation.
According to him, the peace will pave way for development in all sectors of the economy.
Miss Ogechukwu Obika, a student of University of Port Harcourt commended Yar’Adua administration in its efforts to bring back peace, but advised not to relent in meeting the government up with the youths demand so that “we will not return to the status quo”.
She predicted a situation in which the state of Nigerian economy will experience great feature with the return of peace in the oil and gas region of Niger Delta even as it will enable government to invest more on employment generation rather on security.
Mr Tunde Oyewole, Sports Consultants says “though it is not the end yet, the government must come out to fulfil its promises. Government must be prepared more than ever before to address the problem of the region. Then and only then can we begin to see the countries economy grow. We just hope and believe this amnesty programme works effectively once the boys are convinced and they come out, it will be a good start.
Mr Ben Okoronkwo, an Estate Surveyor noted that the amnesty would return confidence to investors and businesses that left the city as a result of insecurity.
According to him, most of the vacated properties would be re-occupied and this is a boom for rental and commercial properties while unveiling CARNIRIV 2009, Hon Marcus Nle-Ejii, the Rivers State Commissioner for Culture and Tourism said amnesty will open tourism window with import on security as tourist and investors would exploit the state.
Mr Oseni Olasumbo, businessman agrees that if the federal government is sincere with its promises and the Niger Delta region and indeed the nation are in for good times.
Though he noted that “our leaders have not shown enough commitment in moving the nation forward, expressed happiness on how the amnesty programme is unfolding so far.
A lecturer in the University of Science and Technology, Nkpolu, Port Harcourt, who pleaded anonymity says the amnesty has a negative effect on economy. There will be high inflation rate as the prices of goods and services will fluctuate, there will be corruption in the society as most of these boys will join the ‘419’ business, the lecturer declared, adding that government would embark on redundancy in most of the federal parastatals or agency so as to meet up with the settlement.
A businessman who would not give out his details disagreed with the lecturers. He said the amnesty would have positive effect on the economy as the output of crude oil has increased considerably from 1.1 million barrel per day to 2 million barrel. He said also that in the general sense of security in the Niger Delta, “oil companies” in the Niger Delta will boom back to work unlike before.
And NYSC member who gave his name as Michael said “with the militant accepting the amnesty, there will be crude oil will increase”. This, he added bring more development in the country as 80% derivation comes from oil. He also says that this will curb unemployment as most of the boys in the creek will be gainfully engaged in various skills that will keep them busy.
He also said that as peace returns to the Niger Delta region, foreign investor will return and invest and poverty will be alleviated.
A civil servant who simply identified himself as Patrick saw the amnesty as era of new peace that will usher in much money in circulation as most companies will come back to life.
Anayo Attah, a trader says” amnesty can’t have any effect if the federal government can not fulfil the promises made to the militants. They can still go back to the creek at anytime.
Nigerians Spend N2.6trn On Data, Airtime In Nine Months
MTN Nigeria and Airtel Africa have revealed that the amount spent on airtime and data by Nigerian telecom subscribers rose to at least N2.59 trillion in the first nine months of 2023.
According to the financial statements of the two telecommunication companies, this amounts to a 32.57 per cent increase from the N1.95 trillion both telcos recorded from both income sources in the corresponding period of 2022.
The increase in voice and data venue was partially driven by rising data subscriptions and the devaluation of the naira on Airtel’s part.
In the first nine months of 2022, Airtel made $1.41bn from airtime and data. When converted at the exchange rate of N461/$ which was obtained at the time, it amounted to N647.71billion.
In the same period of 2023, the company’s income from these two revenue sources amounted to $1.29 billion.
When converted at the exchange rate of N777/$ at the time, it amounted to N1.003 trillion.
On MTN’s part, increasing data revenues continue to fuel the company’s overall revenue growth. Data revenues grew by 36.36 per cent year-on-year, while voice revenues only grew by 10.64 per cent, indicating a rise in the usage of the Internet in the country.
Commenting on this growth, MTN said, “Data revenue grew by 36.4 per cent on increased usage and data conversion in new and existing base”.
The firm stated that data usage on its network grew by 29.1 per cent in the period under review.
It noted that “Data usage (GB per user) grew by 29.1 per cent to 8.6GB, and the number of smartphones on our network increased by 7.6 per cent, bringing smartphone penetration to 53.4 per cent, up 1.4pp YoY.
“Consequently, we recorded a 46.3 per cent growth in data traffic, with the 4G network accounting for 83.7 per cent of the total traffic (up 5.2pp YoY)”.
On its part, Airtel recorded an increase in data usage per customer to 5.9 GB per month. The firm highlighted, “Data revenue grew by 29.3 per cent in constant currency, driven by data customer base growth of 17.4 per cent and data ARPU growth of 12.3 per cent.
“Data usage per customer increased by 23.8 per cent to 5.9 GB per month (from 4.8 GB in the prior period). Our continued 4G network rollout has resulted in nearly 100 per cent of all our sites delivering 4G services”, it stated.
Increased Internet usage because of a rise in video streaming pushed the amount telecom consumers spent on telecom services to N3.86 trillion in 2022.
LCCI Faults FG’s $1trn GDP Projections
The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has said the macro-economic projections in the Federal Government’s Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) are not sufficient to achieve the $1 trillion economy target it set to achieve by 2029.
Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Yemi Cardoso, had last weekend restated the commitment of the government to realising the GDP target.
Reviewing Cardoso’s statement, the Director General, LCCI, Dr Chinyere Almona, explained that the basis for government’s projection contains some inconsistencies that will make it unachievable.
She said, “LCCI is aware of the enormous challenges and the uphill task before the CBN in ensuring macro-economic stability and restoring investors’ confidence.
“However, we note the inconsistencies between the Federal Government’s vision of achieving a $1 trillion economy in the next six years and the MTEF.
“The macro-economic projections in the MTEF state that the economy will grow by 3.76 percent 4.22 percent, and 4.78 percent in 2024, 2025, and 2026, respectively. We note that the projected growths are sub-optimal to achieve a $1trillion GDP by 2029, which implies an average growth of 21 percent over the next six years”.
Almona commended the CBN’s plan to review the minimum capital base of banks, but cautioned the apex bank to strengthen its banking supervision to avoid “too big to fail” banks.
She, however, said, “The Chamber appreciates the intellectual humility of the Governor in admitting the errors or mistakes of the past, particularly in the areas of corporate governance failures, diminished institutional autonomy of CBN, deviation from the core mandate of the bank, and unorthodox use of monetary tools and foray into fiscal activities under the cover of development finance activities.
“As we advance, we challenge the current CBN team to ensure professionalism and integrity and rebuild the trust of the general public.
“On recapitalization of banks, we commend the plan of CBN to review the minimum capital base of banks due to consistent devaluation of the Naira, which has eroded the capital base of banks, attracted significant investment into banks, as well as increased the capacity of banks to provide the required support for the economy.
“However, we caution the CBN to strengthen its banking supervision to avoid “too big to fail” banks.
“Given the sensitivity of monetary policy and price stability, we urge the CBN to ensure transparency and synergy between monetary and fiscal authorities and effectively communicate significant changes in policy direction”.
By: Corlins Walter
Firm Urges FG To Attract Foreign Investment
Multinational professional services firm, EY has advised the Federal Government to improve on its investment attractiveness as a way of building on previous year’s fortunes.
Senior Partner and Head of Markets, EY West Africa, Ashish Bakhshi, while sharing insights on a newly released report on Foreign Direct Investments for 2022, said Nigeria needed to improve on FDIs to achieve the ambitious targets it had set for itself to reduce poverty and build a sizeable middle class by 2030.
“Africa’s leaders will need to adopt pragmatism as they respond to a new geopolitical world order so that its member states can optimize the full spectrum of inbound investment opportunities, which will be essential in meeting Africa’s aspirations for a more equitable, wealthier and urbanised middle-class society”, the report read in part.
It stated further that “Last year saw Africa’s return as a top investment destination hub for global investors. The continent had struggled to attract investment since the onset of COVID-19 and took longer than other regions to recover, as a result of its delayed vaccine rollout and therefore its ability to reopen its 54 national economies.
“To this, its growth lagged pre-pandemic levels for longer than it did in mature markets, setting back the ambitious targets it had set for itself to reduce poverty and build a sizeable middle class by 2030.
“The new report, released by EY, a global multinational professional services firm, uncovered that FDI attracted more than 730 projects across the continent in 2022, injecting $194 billion in capital and creating 154,000 jobs.
“Significantly, Egypt saw a record of $ 107 billion in capital for its 149 FDI projects. In East Africa, Kenya dominated the FDI landscape while Nigeria was the leading country in West Africa.
“The countries came in third and fourth respectively for the largest FDI regions on the continent”.
The EY’s 13th Africa Attractiveness report tagged “A Pivot to Growth”, provides insights into the continent FDI, exposing that the 2022 calendar year saw a strong FDI rebound, led by Renewables inflows, with the West being the largest investor, while the North and Southern hubs of Africa were key beneficiaries.
A notable highlight of the report shows that CleanTech became the largest FDI recipient sector in 2022, leading Africa’s FDI for the first time.
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