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20m More Nigerians Will Be Poor By 2022 -World Bank

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The World Bank dropped a bombshell, yesterday, reporting that an additional 20 million Nigerians are likely to join the ranks of the poor in 2022, with the absence of measures to mitigate the twin impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic and the drop in crude oil prices.
The global bank added that the pandemic was disproportionately affecting the poor and most vulnerable, particularly women, and called for pragmatic measures to stem the tide.
The World Bank, in its Nigeria Development Update (NDU), noted that food insecurity has increased substantially, adding that economic precariousness was on the rise because unemployed workers have migrated to the low-productivity agricultural sector.
According to the bank, an average Nigerian will in the next three years see a reversal of decades of economic growth and the country could enter its deepest recession since the 1980s.
The report argues that this path could be avoided if progress in the current reforms was sustained and the right mix of policy measures quickly implemented
While acknowledging measures taken by the government since April, including the efforts to harmonise exchange rates, introduce a market-based pricing mechanism for gasoline, adjust electricity tariffs to more cost-reflective levels, and reduce non-essential expenditures and redirect resources towards the Covid-19 response, it said there is need for a greater policy response to the economic crisis.
It also highlights the greater transparency in the oil and gas sector and public debt as essential steps for a resilient recovery.
The World Bank’s Lead Economist for Nigeria and co-author of the report, Marco Hernandez, said: ‘Nigeria can build on its reform momentum to contain the spread of Covid-19, stimulate the economy, and enable the private sector to be the engine of growth and job creation.
‘It can also redirect public spending from subsidies that benefit the rich towards investments in Nigeria’s people and youth in particular, and lay foundations for a strong recovery to help make progress towards lifting 100 million people out of poverty.’
The report titled, “Rising to the Challenge: Nigeria’s Covid-19 response”, takes stock on the recently implemented reforms and proposes policy options to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 and foster a resilient, sustainable, and inclusive recovery.
The World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, Shubham Chaudhuri, while speaking on the report, said Nigeria is at a critical historical juncture, with a choice to make.
He added that “Nigeria can choose to break decisively from business-as-usual, and rise to its considerable potential by sustaining the bold reforms that have been taken thus far and going even further and with an even greater sense of urgency to promote faster and more inclusive economic growth.”
The latest World Bank NDU projects that the economy could shrink up to four per cent in 2020 following the twin shocks of Covid-19 and low oil prices.
It said the pace of recovery in 2021 and beyond remains highly uncertain and subject to the pace of reforms.
Looking ahead, the Bank, in the report, discusses policy options in five areas that would help mitigate the effects of the crisis and support Nigeria’s recovery.
The areas are managing the domestic spread of Covid-19 until a vaccine is available for distribution; enhancing macroeconomic management to boost investor confidence; safeguarding and mobilizing revenues; reprioritizing public spending to protect critical development expenditures, and supporting economic activity and access to basic services and providing relief for poor and vulnerable communities.
However, Nigeria’s $1.5billion facility would be placed before the World Bank Board for approval, next week, the Country Director (CD) for Nigeria, Mr. Shubham Chaudhuri, revealed, yesterday.
He said during a webinar on the latest Nigeria Development Update (NDU) that the facility was prepared to assist states in the tackling Covid-19 and to address governance issues.
According to the CD, Nigeria was on a fiscal cliff requiring courageous and urgent policy measures by the leaders to avoid the nation from falling so badly as to equal the 1980s’ experience, by 2022.
The World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, Said Chaudhuri, “Nigeria is at a critical historical juncture, with a choice to make.
“Nigeria can choose to break decisively from business-as-usual, and rise to its considerable potential by sustaining the bold reforms that have been taken thus far and going even further and with an even greater sense of urgency to promote faster and more inclusive economic growth.”

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15 States Risk Severe Flooding This Month -FG

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The Federal Government has issued a warning about potential severe flooding in 15 States due to heavy rains expected later this month.
The Federal Ministry of Environment, through its spokesperson, Haruna Ibrahim, announced that these States should brace for significant rainfall from July 21 to July 25, 2024, which could lead to widespread flooding.
According to the release, the states are, Adamawa State, Benue State, Jigawa State, Borno State, Kebbi State, Kano State, Kaduna State, Katsina State, Kogi State, Nassarawa State, Niger State, Plateau State, Sokoto State, Taraba State, Zamfara State
Steps for Effective Flood Preparedness
1. Stay Informed: Monitor weather forecasts and heed local alerts. Use trusted sources like government websites, local news stations, or radio for real-time updates.
2. Emergency Kit: Assemble an emergency kit that includes non-perishable food, water, medications, flashlights, extra batteries, and crucial documents. Keep it in a place that’s easy to access.
3. Elevate Electrical Units: Lift electrical systems and appliances above expected flood levels. Disconnect them during heavy flooding to avoid electrical hazards.
4. Use Sandbags: Deploy sandbags to shield your home. Arrange them effectively to redirect water away from critical areas.
5. Secure Loose Items: Fasten down outdoor items such as patio furniture and garbage bins to prevent them from becoming hazardous in strong winds.
6. Evacuation Plan: Familiarize yourself with local evacuation routes and plan accordingly. Determine safe locations or higher grounds for refuge.
7. Flood Insurance: If you reside in a flood-prone zone, consider getting flood insurance since typical homeowner’s policies do not cover flood damage.
8. Communication Plan: Set up a reliable way to stay in contact with family during a crisis. Make sure everyone knows the emergency plan.
9. First Aid Skills: Acquire basic first aid knowledge to help yourself and others in emergencies.
10. Avoid Floodwaters: Never attempt to walk or drive through floodwaters. They can be unexpectedly deep and forceful, presenting severe dangers.

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Jonathan Urges NDDC To Complete Abandoned Projects In N’Delta 

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Former President Goodluck Jonathan has urged the Ministry of Niger Delta Development and the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to prioritize the completion of abandoned projects in the region.

He also encouraged state governments within the Niger Delta to collaborate closely with the NDDC, so as to foster efficient synergy to achieve legacy goals.

This is as the Minister of Niger Delta Development, Engr. Abubakar Momoh, has emphasized the urgent need to address environmental sustainability and economic diversification in the Niger Delta.

Speaking at the Niger Delta Stakeholders Forum 2024, at the Obi Wali International Conference Center, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, the former President commended the Minister and the NDDC board and its management for their effective performance so far and advised them to complete all abandoned projects.

On his part, the Minister of the Niger Delta Development and Chief host, Engr. Momoh, while speaking on the theme, “Renewed Hope for Sustainable Development of the Niger Delta Region,” emphasized the urgent need to address environmental sustainability and economic diversification in the region.

The Minister in a statement by his Special Assistant on Media, Osigwe Omo-Ikirodah, highlighted efforts like the Ogoni Clean-up Project and initiatives for cleaner energy such as Compressed Natural Gas (CNG).

Momoh stressed the importance of diversifying the Niger Delta’s economy by investing in various sectors and pointed out the region’s untapped potential in tourism and the blue economy.

He assured the audience of the government’s commitment to infrastructure development, citing recent projects like the 25.7km Ogbia-Nembe Road in Bayelsa State.

He said that the summit’s theme was a call to action, aligning it with the ‘Renewed Hope Agenda’ of President Bola Tinubu’s administration and emphasizing the need for collective effort to harness the region’s resources and cultural heritage for sustainable development.

He also emphasized the need for peace and security in the Niger Delta, urging all stakeholders to address the root causes of unrest and conflict.

Momoh advocated for inclusive development that reaches every community, prioritizing the empowerment of women and youth.

In his remarks, President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio commended the Ministry of Niger Delta Development and the NDDC’s board and management for their commendable work.

He highlighted the stalled East-West Road project, emphasizing the need for strategic project management and continuity.

A former Governor of Cross River State, Mr. Donald Duke called for investments in agriculture, tourism, manufacturing, and technology to ensure the region’s long-term prosperity.

The event, co-hosted by NDDC Managing Director Samuel Ogbuku and Board Chairman Chiedu Ebie, was graced by former President Goodluck Jonathan; Senate President Godswill Akpabio, who represented President Tinubu; Senator Adams Oshiomhole; former Cross Rivers Governor Donald Duke; former Bayelsa State Governor Seriake Dickson; and traditional rulers from across the Niger Delta.

Other attendees included Senator Asuquo Ekpenyong, HM Ekperikpe Ekpo, Ondo State Governor, Lucky Aiyedatiwa, the Abia State Deputy Governor, Senator Monday Okpebholo, and Minister of Interior Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo.

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Expedite action on minimum wage – NAAT tells Tinubu

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The leadership of the National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT) has called on President Bola Tinubu to expedite action on the new national minimum wage for workers.

Mr Ibeji Nwokoma, NAAT President said this in a statement on Sunday in Abuja.

Nwokoma said the union was worried over the continuous delay by the President in transmitting the new National Minimum Wage Bill to the National Assembly.

“NAAT, as an affiliate of Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), stands by the position of the organised labour and call on the federal government to expedite action on the matter to avoid industrial action,” he said.

He said the union condemned in strong terms, the unpatriotic position of State Governors claiming inability to pay even the N62, 000 proposed by federal government, though, rejected by the organised labour.

“The refusal of the Governors Forum to recognise the efforts of workers in creating wealth and prosperity in the states and the country in general, is most unfortunate.

“This undermines the essence and model adopted for national minimum wage. We therefore, demand that the Governors Forum should reconsider the position and toe the path of honour.

“The proposal by the governors to pay minimum wage based on their peculiarities is condemnable and rejected in its entirety,” he said.

He stressed that the constitutional provisions, on issues of minimum wage is contained in the exclusive legislative list.

The NAAT president also called on the federal government, to immediately implement the payment of the withheld salaries of its members and the resolutions of all other outstanding issues.

“NAAT is compelled to issue this press statement as a response to the non-payment of five and half months withheld salaries, non-payment of 25 per cent and 35 per cent salary increment arrears.

“Others issues are, the non-payment of Occupational Hazard and Responsibility Allowance arrears, release of enabling circular for CONTISS 14 and 15.

“Also, the non release of arrears of Earned Allowances as contained in Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) of 2020, 2021 and 2022,” he said.

Nwokoma recalled that the union embarked on a three-day warning strike in March, 2024 and had also met with the Minister of Education, Prof.Tahir Mamman and the
the House Committee on University Education and yet nothing came out of the steps taken

He added that in all the meetings, assurances were given, especially the withheld salaries, but, unfortunately, nothing had been done in that respect by the federal government.

“Having waited this far, the National EXCO at the end of its emergency meeting held at the National Secretariat, University of Abuja, resolved to toe the path of diplomacy and advocacy in actualising its demands.

“However, if this fails, the issue will be referred to the National Executive Council (NEC) at her regular meeting scheduled to hold this July 2024 for next line of actions,” he said.

Nwokoma, therefore, called on well-meaning Nigerians, religious leaders, traditional rulers, National Assembly, among others to prevail on government and ensure implementation of all the outstanding issues for a sustainable industrial harmony.

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