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Coronavirus Threatening Our Debt Servicing Plans – DMO

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The Debt Management Office (DMO) has raised the alarm that the outbreak of coronavirus was threatening the arrangement put in place to service the nation’s debts.
The DMO explained that Nigeria’s total public debt grew from $17.35billion in 2006 to $85.4billion, which is about N26.2trillion, in September 30, 2019.
The Director-General of the DMO, Patience Oniha, stated this at a public lecture, titled, ‘Public debt in Nigeria: Trend, Sustainable and Management,” organised by the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies.
She put the total domestic debts at about N18 trillionn (or $58.4 billion), which is 68.45 per cent of the total public debts.
Oniha explained that the recent approval of the 2016-2018 External Borrowing Plan of $22.7 billion would shoot the total debt stock of Nigeria to about N33 trillion with debt to GDP ratio being 21 per cent.
The DMO boss said the Federal Government had put in place necessary arrangements to service the nation’s debt with about N2.4 trilllion from the N10.59tn passed by the National Assembly as the 2020 budget.
She, however, lamented that the revenue projection of the Federal Government might fail with the dwindling revenue target on the back of the coronavirus outbreak, which has affected oil prices.
She said the only way to effectively manage the debt profile of the country was with an improved revenue drive which the Finance Act, among other sources, was meant to achieve.
She said, “The total public debt has indeed been growing. The debt includes external and domestic debts of the Federal Government, state governments and the FCT; and the debt has accumulated over many years.
”Whilst Nigeria’s debt is sustainable, recent developments in the global environment induced by COVID 19 already suggest a less-than-favourable economic outlook with implications for Nigeria.
“Irrespective of COVID-19, the drive towards revenue generation should remain a priority for Nigeria, to finance development and strengthen development sustainability.”
Oniha also said, “Concerns have been expressed about the growth in Nigeria’s debt stock since the exit from the Paris and London Club of Creditors. It is true that the public debt stock has grown from $17,349.69 million in 2006 to $85,390.82 million as of September 30, 2019.
“However, it must be recognised that the current debt stock is the result of cumulative borrowing by successive governments to finance budget deficits and various infrastructure projects.”
The Vice Chairman,  Senate Committee on Local and Foreign loans, Senator Bima Enagi, said the  focus of the National Assembly was not on whether public expenditure was financed wholly or partially from borrowing or actual revenues earned by the country.
Rather, he said the focus would be on the transparency and the judicious deployment of all public funds, irrespective of their sources to ensure the maximum good for the citizens.

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Imported Goods Killing Local Production – Presidency

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The Presidency has frowned at the rate of consumption of imported goods in the country, and has urged Nigerian consumers to change their mindset and patronise locally-produced goods, especially in the agricultural sector, to boost revenue and job creation.
Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, disclosed this while speaking at a one-day seminar/exhibition with the theme, “Re-orientation towards ensuring preference and consumption of domestic agro-allied products”, which was organised by Zakclair Investment Limited.
Adesina, who was represented by the Special Assistant to the President on New Media, Tolu Ogunlesi, said more Nigerians would be financially empowered when people patronise locally manufactured goods.
He explained that no nation could truly develop its production capacity when its economy was based on imported products.
The presidential spokesperson observed that most developed nations of the world were those whose economies were based on the local production of goods.
He said the unbridled importation of products was weighing heavily on the country’s foreign exchange reserve.
“We must also be willing to innovate with our local products in ways that can get us a wider audience.
“Instead of expending scarce resources and importing goods and services, we can channel them to create jobs for people. We need to believe more in the value of what is indigenous to us, as a people.
“When we consume locally made products, there will be less pressure on our foreign exchange. In the same breath, the value addition that happens locally means jobs.
“The economic value of consuming locally made goods is in all the jobs that will be created.
“I think that with the kind of market that we have in Nigeria, 200 million people, you can see there is a lot that we can do with domestic products”, Adesuna said.
Delivering the keynote address, the Executive Secretary of the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria, Prof. Garba Sharabutu, urged stakeholders to stop paying lip service to the efforts to drive the consumption of made-in-Nigeria products, saying “we need to take it from words to action”.
Earlier, the CEO of Zakclair Investment Ltd, Adelabu Abdulrazak, explained that with the country’s ailing economy, there was a need to direct attention to preference and consumption of locally-made products.
“Consequently, we believe there is a need for a discourse in this aspect of our national life with the aim to infuse patriotism, encourage policies that tackle this lifestyle, reorientate our citizens and massively stimulate the growth of our economy,” he said.

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Commission Extends Deadline For Digital Money Operators’ Registration

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The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) has announced the extension of deadline for registration of online money lenders and operators, otherwise known as Digital Money Lenders (DML).
Making the registration extension known in a statement that was made available to The Tide at the weekend, the FCCPC Chief Executive Officer, Babatunde Irukera, said the process has been extended to March 27, 2023.
The FCCPC boss stated that the extra time was to ensure that the registration of DML whose registration was still in process was adequately achieved, and to also prevent significant market disruptions.
It is the third time the commission has postponed the deadline for registration, since it enforced compulsory registration in August 2022.
“On December 6, 2022, in furtherance of the collaboration of the Inter-Agency Joint Task Force, the FCCPC extended the deadline for the registration of DML to January 31, 2023.
“This was to ensure the registration of DMLs whose registration was still in process and to prevent significant market disruptions.
“The Commission noted, however, that several DMLs have not yet provided all relevant documentation to complete their registration process.
“To this end, the Commission is further extending the registration deadline to Monday, March 27, 2023″, The statement read in part.
The FCCPC recently released a limited interim regulatory and registration framework for digital lending in order to curb unethical interest rates, violation of consumer privacy, and other unethical lending practices perpetrated by unchecked digital lenders in the country.

By: Corlins Walter

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Manager Clarifies PH Airlines Building Occupancy Issues

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The Port Harcourt Airport Manager, Mr Felix Akinbinu, has given reasons for the delay by airlines operating at the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa, in occupying the newly commissioned Airport Building.
Noting that airlines still operate from the Terminal building, he said the nature of business operations of airlines is such that makes them operate from the terminal building in order to meet the boarding requirements for passengers.
Akinbinu, who disclosed this while interacting with aviation correspondents, stated that the newly commissioned airlines building is not just for airlines alone.
He said it’s office space for any group or individuals to use, though it bears the name, “Airline Building”.
According to him, the airlines will still operate from the terminal building because the newly commissioned airlines building is to provide additional office space for airlines to accommodate their other activities and staff.
“To be frank with you, what we have in the new airlines building is just eight office space accommodation, and it is not only for airlines, it is open to everyone or group that need an office space.
“It is not that we are ordering the airlines to leave the terminal building, not at all, because they are to operate at the terminal building for the ease of their business and passengers facilitation.
“It is also not an issue of disobedience on their side for still operating at the terminal building. All they will do is to acquire additional office space for their staff and operations”, Akinbinu said.
The Tide’s check earlier showed that the new airlines building is sited at a distance place from the terminal building, which makes it difficult for airlines to easily access, considering their style of business operations.
Some officials of airlines The Tide interacted with stated that they will not operate from the new airlines building because it was sited across the airport major road, distant from the terminal.
They, therefore, urged the airport management to consider the nature of their operations, and make alternative for them.
It would be recalled that the Managing Director, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Salisu Yadudu, represented by the Director of Operations, Murktar Munye, had at the commissioning ceremony of the airlines building, early December last year, directed the airport manager to ensure that airlines occupy the building immediately.
This, he said, was to decongest the terminal building. But the building is yet to be occupied.

By: Corlins Walter

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