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Nigeria Spends N993.5bn On Debt Servicing In Three Months

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Nigeria spent almost N1trillion on debt servicing payments in the first quarter of this year, the latest data obtained from the Debt Management Office (DMO), have shown.
The DMO had, last Wednesday, disclosed that the country’s total public debt increased to N33.11trillion at the end of Q1 2021 from N32.92trillion in December.
It said the domestic debt rose to N20.64trillion as of March 31, 2021 from N20.21trillion on December 31, 2020 while the external debt fell to N12.47trillion ($32.86billion) from N12.71trillion ($33.348billion) in December.
The total debt stock is made up of the domestic and external debt stocks of the Federal Government of Nigeria, the 36 state governments and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
DMO’s data collated by our correspondent showed that the cost of servicing the country’s debt from January to March this year stood at N993.5billion.
A total of N612,712,626,144.40 was spent on domestic debt service while $1,003,409,940 (N380.79billion) was spent on external debt service payments.
An exchange rate of N379.50 to $1 was used by the DMO in converting the external debt service payments to naira.
PwC Nigeria said in a recent report that the increasing cost of servicing debt continued to weigh on the Federal Government’s revenue profile.
It said, “Actual debt servicing cost in 2020 stood at N3.27trillion and represented about 10 per cent over the budgeted amount of N2.95trillion. This puts the debt-to-revenue ratio at approximately 83 per cent, nearly double the 46 per cent that was budgeted.
“This implies that about N83 out of every N100 the Federal Government earned was used to settle interest payments for outstanding domestic and foreign debts within the reference period. In 2021, the Federal Government plans to spend N3.32trillion to service its outstanding debt. This is slightly higher than the N2.95trillion budgeted in 2020.”
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said last year that the rising cost of debt service underscored a precarious liquidity position that could impair the government’s fiscal space, as well as its growth objectives.
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) had in March described the increasing debt service as a threat to the country.
“Total public debt has increased from N5.24trillion in 2010 to over N32trillion in 2020; still fine at around 20 per cent of GDP (Gross Domestic Product). But rising debt service is a threat. Also, shocks to commodities price (are) affecting revenue. And low tax to GDP ratio,” the Head, Economic Research and Policy Management Division, Office of the Chief Economist, SEC, Afolabi Olowookere said.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) had said in December that Nigeria needed significant revenue mobilisation — including through tax policy and administration improvements — to create space for higher social spending and reduce fiscal risks and debt vulnerabilities.
It said with high poverty rates and only a gradual recovery in prospect, revenue mobilisation would need to rely initially on progressive and efficiency-enhancing measures, with higher Value Added Tax and excise rates waiting until stronger economic recovery takes root.

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Enugu To Resume Coal Mining Operations December

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In a bid to restore its prominence as the leading coal mining state in the former Eastern Region of Nigeria, the Enugu State Government has issued December as deadline for the commencement of mining operations.
The decision came after the meeting of the government representatives and other mining stakeholders in the state, over the weekend.
In a communique issued at the end of a meeting between the state’s Mineral Resources and Environmental Management Committee (MIREMCO) and mineral title holders in the state, the parties resolved to initiate further stakeholders engagement to identify additional challenges in the sector and recommend solutions which would help foster more inclusive and effective mining in the state.
The Chairman of MIREMCO and Special Adviser to the Enugu State Governor on Solid Minerals, Engr. Samuel Okoro, said the communique  emphasised the need to sensitise host communities on the objectives of MIREMCO and how they could assist in ensuring smooth business operations through cooperation between them and the miners, thereby reducing disruptions.
“To uphold transparency and  accountability and also ensure that all mineral title holders in the state comply with the regulatory requirements, it was agreed that the committee would make a demand through the Mining Cadastre Office (MCO) for the directories of all mineral titles in Enugu State.
“In its efforts to eradicate mineral titles in activeness and stimulate economic growth in the sector, the committee reiterated its commitment to ensuring that all the titles became operational before the end of 2024.
“The tilte holders are urged to commence operations promptly, with MIREMCO pledging to providing support and addressing any challenges that may arise to facilitate this process.
“The tilte holders are urged to commence operations promptly, with MIREMCO pledging to providing support and addressing any challenges that may arise to facilitate this process”, Okoro said.
He  thanked the Governor of the state, Dr.  Peter Mbah, and the Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr. Dele Alake, for giving them the opportunity to make their impact in the sector, promising to ensure full compliance with all relevant regulations and standards.
“We are grateful to the Governor of Enugu State, Dr. Peter Mbah, and the leadership of the Ministry of Solid Minerals Development, headed by the Honourable Minister, Dr. Dele Alake.
“We commend his visionary leadership and dedication to the ministry, and we pledge our commitment to ensuring that his leadership leaves an excellent legacy for the sector”, Okoro said.
He also urged the mineral title holders to do their best and make a difference, stressing that the committee stands ready to collaborate closely with them to achieve maximum results.
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Africa To Empower Marginalised Communities Through Natural Resources

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The Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr. Dele Alake, says the African is determined to empower its marginalised communities through its natural resources.
Alake described Africa as endowed with natural resources, capable of driving its sustainable economic growth, particularly with the critical minerals needed for the global energy transition.
He stated this yesterday in Abuja at a press briefing against the backdrop of the forthcoming 2024 African Natural Resources & Energy Investment Summit (AFNIS).
He said equitable distribution of resources and targeted investments in local communities were key to empowering those historically underserved.
Alake said the move would reduce inequality, promote social stability, and ensure inclusive growth across the continent.
“By channeling investments into rural areas and marginalised communities, we can create opportunities for sustainable livelihoods, improve access to essential services, and foster an environment, where every individual has the chance to thrive”, he stated.
According to him, the three-day summit,  being hosted by Nigeria from July 16th would be ending on Thursday, July 18th and is aimed at exploring strategies for utilising fossil fuel revenues to fund Africa’s transition to a greener future.
“AFNIS 2024 is not merely a gathering of minds, but a convergence of visionaries committed to transforming Africa’s natural resource landscape.
“Our discussions and decisions will resonate across the continent, influencing policies, shaping industries, and setting the course for a sustainable future”,  he said.
The Minister said the summit was also aimed at bolstering the continent’s efforts toward achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), while fostering the development of cleaner, more accessible, and reliable energy sources.
He stated that the summit will provide a platform for government officials, the private sector and industry experts from across the continent to chart ways for the sustainable development of its natural resources.
He further said the 2024 theme, “Natural Resources for Economic Development”, underscored the significant role that Africa’s natural resources play in driving economic prosperity.
Alake continued that the economic growth of the region would have multiplier effects, including alleviating poverty and creating job opportunities for its people.
“By fostering economic growth, we can alleviate poverty, create job opportunities and ensure prosperity for small businesses and all .
“The responsible exploitation of our resources will generate revenues that can be reinvested into our economies, enhancing infrastructure, healthcare, and education.
“This cycle of growth will elevate the living standards of our people and position Africa as a formidable player in the global economy”, he said.
The Minister also said the summit would deliberate on leveraging Africa’s natural resources to address crucial issues such as quality education, gender equality, clean water and sanitation.
He added that other issues to tackle also include provision of affordable and clean energy, and proactive climate action.
Alake explained that the summit would be the third edition and would be hosted in partnership with Core International Mining Company.
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SMEs, Major Player In Most Economies – Traditional Ruler 

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The Eze Oha Evo III of Evo Kingdom, HM King Leslie N. Eke, has said Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are major players in most economies, particularly in developing countries.
King Eke, who is the Eze Gbakagbaka of Evo Kingdom, said this while chatting  with newsmen at his palace in Woji in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State.
Eke recalled that SMEs account for the majority of businesses worldwide and are important contributors to job creation and global economic development.
According to him, SMEs represent about 90 percent of businesses and more than 50 percent of employment worldwide, which, he said, should form part of the reasons government at all levels are meant to give it the required attention.
“SMEs contribute up to 40 percent of national income in emerging economies. These numbers are significantly higher when informal SMEs are included”, he said.
He noted that access to finance has been a key constraint to SMEs growth,  hence the need by concerned authorities to up their games.
In his words, “access to finance should rank  the second most cited obstacle facing SMEs growth .
“SMEs are less likely to be able to obtain bank loans than large firms. They rely on internal funds, or cash from friends and family, to launch and initially run their enterprises”, he said.
He also revealed that SMEs growth will go a long way in reviving the ailing economic sector, if all players play in accordance with the rule, doing the needful to support the enterprises.
King Onunwor
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