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Tumbling Oil Prices: NECA Calls For Urgent Action To Prevent Recession

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The Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) has expressed concern over the tumbling global oil price below the $57 on which the 2020 national budget was premised.
Its Director-General, Mr Timothy Olawale, who raised the concern, yesterday called on the federal government to ensure that the economy did not recede back into recession.
According to him, if the price stays this low for a long while, it can plunge the economy into a negative growth rate, which when sustained for three consecutive quarters, pushes us into a recession.
“The fluctuation of the oil price is already threatening the national budget benchmark and overall revenue of the government for 2020, with consequential negative implication for the proposed capital projects and other critical expense heads.
“Further concern is the implication for the naira, because oil revenue is the major source of our foreign currency earning.
“The implication is that a lower oil price will affect the FOREX supply to the country and stability of the naira.
“That also has implications for the ability of the Central Bank to meet FX demands in the long term, “ he said.
The director-general, in a statement, called on government to deliberately create a roadmap for a rapid diversification of the economy away from oil.
According to him, the government needs to create avenues for more economic activities to happen like diversifying the tax revenue of the government beyond oil.
“The government should show clear fiscal discipline by cutting down costs and executing projects that will impact the economy positively as a result of plunging oil price in the international market.
“The shortfall in oil prices should not be a licence to further mortgage the future of the nation with borrowing as the budget is already struggling under the weight of debt service.
“Government should resist the temptation to further tax the already over-taxed private sector.
“This will only further incapacitate the Organised Private Sector and worsen the already precarious unemployment situation in the country.
“Deliberate efforts should be made by government to seek ways to finance some of its infrastructure projects through private sector investments through Public Private Partnerships (PPP), “ Olawale said.
The Tide reports that global oil prices plummeted to levels not seen since mid-2017 on March 6.
This was after the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) oil cartel failed to strike a deal to steady the market against the impact of the coronavirus by reining in production.
In 2020 alone, the oil price has collapsed by a third. It reached almost $69 per barrel in January, before the COVID-19 outbreak, before plummeting to one-year lows around $50 a barrel and just over $46 on March 6.

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Karu Market Inferno: Re-Allocate Shops To Original Owners, Senate Tells FCDA , AMAC

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The Senate yesterday expressed concern over recent spate of fire outbreak in markets while commiserating with traders in Karu Main Market over the huge losses.
Considering the plight of the traders, the Senate urged the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) and Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC), to re – allocate shops affected by fire outbreak at Karu Main Market to original owners after reconstruction.
The upper chamber also urged the federal government through its Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, Social Development and National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), to urgently make emergency palliative and relief provisions to cushion the effect of fire disaster on the victims.
The Senate consequently mandated its committees on Environment and Legislative compliance, to ensure strict compliance with the resolutions and report back within four weeks.
The resolutions were sequel to a motion sponsored to that effect by Senator IretiKingibe( Labour Party FCT) .
Senator Kingibe in the motion titled : “ The Karu Fire Outbreak and the Need for Safer Public Places “ , informed the Senate that the fire outbreak that occurred at Karu Main Market on June 27, 2024, left scores of traders in tears after goods worth billions of Naira were destroyed .
She specifically lamented that as disclosed by eye witness accounts, the inferno razed almost all the shops and destroyed food stuff, electronics, cosmetics, clothes among other consumables and non-consumable items worth billions of Naira.
‘ These fire outbreaks have become one too many already; with attendant losses running to billions of Naira. In the last six months, there have been several incidents of this nature. From Idumota Market Area in Lagos; to the Police Shopping Complex, Mararaba, Nasarawa State; to the Yan Katako Market, Rijiyar Lemu Area of Fagge LGA, Kano State, just to mention a few.
“ These fire outbreaks all had the same causative factors which hinged on basic building safety regulations that were either inadequate or not adhered to or out rightly not in place.
“This state of unpreparedness in safety management cuts across private homes, government buildings, open parks and gardens, markets, shopping malls, warehouses, sawmills, fuel tankers, gas and fuel stations, educational establishments, shops, clubs, hospitals, hotels, and restaurants: thereby exposing ourselves to avoidable mishaps”, she said .

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Support Nigeria’s Economic Reforms, Minister Urges UN

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Minister of Budget and Economic Planning, Senator Abubakar Bagudu, has called on the United Nations (UN) to show more deliberate support for Nigeria’s economic reforms.
He said such support would encourage other nations to make similar adjustments necessary for sustainable growth and development.
Bagudu made this appeal during a courtesy visit by the Deputy Director-General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), Ms. Fatou Haidara, in Abuja.
Despite the substantial economic reforms introduced by President Bola Tinubu’s administration aimed at revitalising Nigeria’s economy, Bagudu expressed disappointment over the UN’s slow response in backing these initiatives.
“Over the past year, Nigeria has undertaken what we consider very bold and courageous reforms, almost at risk to our leadership. But we don’t think the system, particularly the United Nations system, has responded fast enough.
“We feel that we are missing maybe an element which will encourage other countries to embark on reforms if they don’t see the support”.
The Minister told Haidara that many developing countries believe the UN has not been meeting their expectations. She urged the UNIDO deputy director-general to relay this message to the UN system for corrective measures.
“This issue was discussed at the Non-Aligned Movement Summit in Uganda. Many countries thought the United Nations system was deviating from the ideals of its founding fathers. We are telling you this, so you can find a way of communicating the challenge or doing something about it”, he stated.
Despite these concerns, Bagudu expressed gratitude for UNIDO’s support for Nigeria’s industrial sector over the past 40 years, particularly highlighting the establishment of one of its investment and technology promotion centres in the country.
In her response, Haidara acknowledged Nigeria as a significant founding partner of UNIDO and noted the rewarding cooperation between the two entities over the years.

Her visit is intended to provide a status report on the ongoing cooperation and seek further guidance to enhance their partnership.

“My colleagues told me that all the meetings to design the Programme for Country Partnership (PCP) were held with your ministry and here.

“We are very honoured to be able to talk today about what we will be doing under this Programme for Country Partnership”, she said.

Haidara revealed that UNIDO had developed ‘Agenda 2063,’ a strategic framework aligning with the developmental priorities of African leaders, to support the continent’s growth and development.

The meeting underscored the importance of mutual support and collaboration in achieving sustainable economic growth, with Nigeria urging for more proactive engagement from the UN system to bolster its ambitious reform agenda.

Nneka Amaechi -Nnadi, Abuja

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FG Threatens To Revoke Sold Ikoyi Liaison Quarters

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The Minister of Interior, Mr. Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, has expressed the Ministry’s determination to recover its liaison residential quarters allegedly sold by an undisclosed Director of the Ministry.
He gave the hint in Lagos on Monday while on tour of some facilities in the Federal Marriage Registry, Immigration Service, and Ikoyi Correctional Centre, all in Lagos, to be abreast with their operations.
The Minister said the sales of the properties will be revoked, not minding who is involved, because “we can not mortgage our future”.
According to him, “the government of President Ahmed Bola Tinubu’s Renewed Hope agenda would not let go of those involved in the illegally acquired government properties”.
In the same vein, while addressing journalists after the facilities tour at the correctional center, Ikoyi, he stated that “President Tinubu’s Renewed Hope agenda will continue to tackle and address all inherited jumble of problems of the past administration”.
He further explained that Mr. President as a patriot is braced up to address all inherited problems since assumption of office, adding that as a listener, he has showed concern about the inherited problems and never rested on his oars.
On Correctional Centre, Tunji-Ojo said, “I have always said, that urbanisation is real. So far, we have looked at some of these correctional centres across the country and we have been very keen on repositioning them.
“We want a real correctional centre in actual deed, not a place that will be psychologically damaging. We want offenders to come to correctional centres and be reformed.
“We think that the change of name from Prisons, which is a place of incarceration, to correction, simply means a place of transformation, and should take effect really.
“We want a change of ideology, a change in orientation, and change in our approach of methodology of formation so that people will see this place as a place of hope, and leave with the renewed hope”.
He further assured that the Ikoyi Correctional Centre will soon be relocated to a designated area properly deemed fit by the Federal Government.
Industry watchers commended the minister for making time to assess some of the dilapidated buildings and offices  warehousing his officials.
A senior officer of Immigration Service who did not want his name in print, said the Minister’s visit was not a witch hunting exercise but an assessment of performance of the ministries under his watch to enable him assess the problems inherited, adding that the Minister had an ample opportunity of critically observing activities on facilities visited and even said officialdom would not permit him to see.
The Minister was accompanied on the tours by the Director, Citizenship and Business, Mr. John Adinoron; Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Interior, Dr. Aishatu Gogo Naayako; and the Comptroller-General of Immigration Service, amongst others.

Nkemenyie Mcdonminic, Lagos

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