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Capital Importation Rises By 26%, Hits $2.19bn In Q4 -DMO …Says Govt Borrowings Not Bad

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The value of capital importation into Nigeria increased by 26.35per cent to hit $2.19billion in the fourth quarter of 2021, according to new data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
In its ‘Nigerian Capital Importation’ report released, yesterday, the NBS disclosed that capital importation increased from $1.73billion in the third quarter of 2021 to $2.19billion in Q4, 2021.
It said, “The total value of capital importation into Nigeria in the fourth quarter of 2021 stood at $2.19billion from $1.73billion in the preceding quarter showing an increase of 26.35per cent.
“When compared to the corresponding quarter of 2020, capital importation increased by 109.28per cent from $1.05billion. The largest amount of capital importation by type was received through other investment, which accounted for 54.24per cent ($1.19billion).
“This was followed by Portfolio Investment with 29.39per cent ($642.87million) and Foreign Direct Investment amounted to 16.38per cent ($358.23million) of total capital imported in Q4 2021.”
The NBS added that the tanning sector attracted the highest inflow with $645.59million, 29.51per cent of total inflow.
Lagos attracted the most investment, with 90.66per cent ($1.98billion) of total investment flowing to the state.
It said, “Disaggregated by Sectors, capital importation into tanning had the highest inflow of $645.59million amounting to 29.51per cent of total capital imported in the fourth quarter of 2021.
“This was followed by capital imported into the production sector, valued at $360.06million (16.46per cent) and the electrical sector with $325.55million (14.88per cent). Capital Importation by country of origin reveals that Mauritius ranked top as source of capital imported into Nigeria in Q4 of 2021 with a value of $611.45million, accounting for 27.95per cent.
“This was followed by the United States of America and the Republic of South Africa valued at $321.03million (14.67per cent) and $285.83million (13.07per cent) respectively. By destination of investment, Lagos State remained the top destination in Q4 2021 with $1.98billion accounting for 90.66per cent of total capital investment in Nigeria.
“This was followed by investment into Abuja, valued at $170.55million (7.80per cent). Categorisation of total capital investment by the bank shows that Eco Bank Plc ranked highest in Q4 2021 with $708.58million (32.39per cent). This was followed by Stanbic IBTC Bank with $453.82million (20.74per cent) and Union Bank of Nigeria Plc with 284.60million (13.01per cent).”
Similarly, the Director-General of the Debt Management Office, Patience Oniha, has said borrowings by countries to finance budget deficits and critical infrastructure is not necessarily a bad idea.
The DG disclosed this in an interview with newsmen, yesterday, in Lagos, while speaking during an awareness programme on security issuance organised by the Debt Management Office (DMO).
According to her, government borrowings were done by all countries across the world, mostly to finance critical infrastructure, the multiplier effects of which could not be overemphasised.
Oniha reckoned that successive Nigerian governments have had to recourse to borrowing to fund budget deficits, adding that annual budgets would be affected if funds were not raised to support them.
“The issue of debt has become topical in Nigeria that sometimes it almost looks as if borrowing is an offence or a crime. The first thing we must understand is that countries across the world borrow, be it poor countries, advanced countries, developed countries, emerging markets, they all borrow.
“We usually hear complaints that debt levels are rising in Nigeria. Globally, debt levels are rising – not just in Nigeria,” she remarked, stressing that the advent of COVID-19 had also made borrowing imperative for many countries, regardless of size, population, or economic growth.
“What has happened with COVID-19 is that countries needed to spend more, not only on health needs but on social needs as well, because we need to take care of the people who are losing their jobs. We need to create incentives for the private sector to continue operating in order to avoid a big recession because most countries experienced (recession).
“We did as well, but we came out of it after two quarters. Government spending is one of the tools you can use properly to exit a recession,” she affirmed.
The DMO boss clearly made a case for the Federal Republic of Nigeria with regards to financing budget deficits, financing specific projects and services like railways, roads, airports, et al., opining that infrastructural financing is in “itself an economy”, capable of creating enormous jobs across all sectors in the country.
“We also borrow to finance maturing loan obligations like the Federal Government of Nigeria bonds and Nigeria Treasury Bills,” Oniha said, observing, however, certain statutory norms regulating government’s borrowings at various levels and guarding against fiscal impropriety arising from the process.
“The Fiscal Responsibility Act states that borrowing should be for capital purposes and for human capital development.
“The DMO Act is also clear, especially on external borrowings. No arm of government can borrow on its own. It has to conform with those provisions and pass through the Federal Executive Council and the National Assembly,” the DG spotted.
Recently, some stakeholders in Nigeria have raised a stink over the country’s rising debt profile, with some sending strong notes of an ‘impending storm’, as food prices soar even annoyingly higher to the chagrin of the masses, whilst the nation keeps lumbering to meet its local demand for food, staggered by inadequacies, insecurities and most recently the Russia-Ukraine global crisis, which had led to a surge in food prices in most parts of the world.
The DMO had earlier revealed that the country’s total debt stock as of December, 2021, was pegged at a whopping N39.55trillion, ratiocinated to hit N45trillion 2022, just as the government planned to borrow an additional N6.39trillion to finance the 2022 budget deficit.
Oniha had explained that the overall deficit in the 2022 budget was N6.30trillion, representing 3.46per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product.
She observed that the budget deficit was to be financed mainly by borrowings from both domestic and foreign sources including privatisation proceeds.
“About N2.57trillion will come from domestic sources; N2.57trillion from foreign sources; N1.16trillion from multilateral and bilateral loan drawdowns, and N90.7billion from privatisation proceeds,’’ she revealed.

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World Bank To Fund $30bn Projects In Nigeria, Others

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The World Bank has said it is set to disburse a total of $30billion to fund existing and new projects in Nigeria and other countries as part of a global response to combat the ongoing food security crisis.
According to the bank, it is working with countries on a $12billion new projects fund for the next 15 months.
It said the projects are expected to support agriculture, social protection to cushion the effects of higher food prices, and water and irrigation projects.
It added that most of the funds would go to Africa, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and South Asia.
The global bank disclosed this when it announced how it plans to be part of a comprehensive, global response to the ongoing food security crisis.
It stated that it intends to roll out this fund in existing and new projects in agriculture, nutrition, social protection, water, and irrigation.
It said, “This financing will include efforts to encourage food and fertiliser production, enhance food systems, facilitate greater trade, and support vulnerable households and producers.”
World Bank Group President, David Malpass, said, “Food price increases are having devastating effects on the poorest and most vulnerable.
“To inform and stabilise markets, it is critical that countries make clear statements now of future output increases in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Countries should make concerted efforts to increase the supply of energy and fertilizer, help farmers increase plantings and crop yields, and remove policies that block exports and imports, divert food to biofuel, or encourage unnecessary storage.”
The bank added that its current existing portfolio includes balances of $18.7billion in projects with direct links to food and nutrition security issues, covering agriculture and natural resources, nutrition, social protection, and other sectors.
It stated, “Altogether, this would amount to over $30billion available for implementation to address food insecurity over the next 15 months. This response will draw on the full range of Bank financing instruments and be complemented by analytical work.”

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FG Postpones FAAC Meeting Over AGF’s N80bn Probe

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The Federal Government has announced the postponement of May, 2022 Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) meeting.
The sudden postponement may not be unconnected with the ongoing investigation of the suspended Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, over alleged fraud to the tune of N80billion.
The FAAC meeting is a monthly meeting where the federation allocates monthly revenue among the three tiers of government.
The meeting had earlier been scheduled to hold virtually between May 18 and 19, 2022.
The Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, said this in a letter signed by Director, Home Finance,Stephen Okon.
The ministry said the meeting was postponed due to “certain circumstances.
“I am directed to inform you that the Federation Account/Allocation Committee (FAAC) meetings earlier scheduled to hold/virtually on the 18th and 19th May, 2022 have been postponed due to/certain circumstances,” the circular reads.
“In view of the foregoing, I am to further inform you that the new date for the meetings will be forwarded to you in due course.
“While we regret the inconveniences this change might cause you, please accept the assurances of the Minister’s warm regards,” the letter read in part.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had on Monday arrested and detained Idris over an alleged N80billion fraud.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, announced indefinite suspension of Idris, last Wednesday.
Ahmed said the suspension “without pay” was to allow for “proper and unhindered investigation” in line with public service rules.

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Nigerian Out-Of-School Children Hit 18.5m

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Nigeria has 18.5million out-of-school children (OSC), the highest number in the world, and out of the figure, 10million are girls, the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) has said.
The Chief of UNICEF Field Office in Kano, Rahama Farah, stated this at a media dialogue on ‘Girls’ Education under the Girls’ Education Project 3, GEP 3’, funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), and implemented by UNICEF.
“For those lucky to be in school, their condition is also not enviable given the situation of public schools in the country. Only recently, the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), said 50per cent of schools in Nigeria lack basic furniture”Farah said.
The Executive Secretary of the commission, Hamid Bobboyi, said this in Abuja at a one-day civil society organisations’ CSO-Legislative Roundtable Meeting where some National and State Houses of Assembly members were present.
According to him, emerging constraints in basic education delivery in the country may necessitate an increase in the consolidated revenue funds from the current two per cent to four per cent.
He buttressed his position for an increase in funding on the security challenges bedevilling the country, insisting that rising student population also poses urgent need for teaching facilities.
Also speaking, the Chairman of Senate Committee on Basic Education, represented by Senator Frank Ibezim, decried the failure of State Universal Basic Education Boards (SUBEBs), to sustain some UBEC-initiated projects such as classrooms and libraries earlier introduced by the commission in all constituencies in the country.
While commending UBEC over the construction of classrooms in schools across the country, he lamented the poor maintenance culture, noting that there is no school in the country that does not have a dilapidated block.
A representative of MacArthur Foundation, Mr Dayo Olaoye, called on stakeholders to review the impact of the country’s annual budget on education, stressing that it was not enough that the country is increasing its budget to the sector.
“As we think about reforms, let us think beyond buildings that have been delivered, let us start thinking about how many children have been brought to school,” he said.
“If classrooms are dilapidated, and there are not enough furniture, what about teachers and the quality of the ones available? The Registrar, Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN), Prof. Josiah Ajiboye, said there are over 300,000 unqualified teachers in the system.
“Education is very important to be left in the hands of quacks and that is why at TRCN, we are stepping up efforts at ridding the system of unqualified hands. We implore teachers and their employers to take advantage of the various windows TRCN is providing to improve the quality of teachers in the country so as to get better results from our education system,” he said.
For the General Secretary of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), Dr Mike Ene, there is need for better funding of the education sector.
He noted that in many states, teachers are overwhelmed by the number of pupils and students they handle.
“In so many states, there is inadequacy of teachers. Some states have not recruited teachers in the last 10 years and yearly, teachers are leaving the system through retirement, resignation or even death. Worse hit by poor staffing are schools in the rural areas. Such schools are called hard-to-staff schools.”
It is in that regard that the welfare packages announced by the Federal Government are very much necessary,” he said.
Also speaking on the issue, the National President of the National Association of Parent-Teacher Association of Nigeria (NAPTAN), Alhaji Haruna Danjuma, decried the manner some state governments are implementing the Basic Education Policy of the government whereby pupils and students in primary and junior secondary schools are to enjoy free education and are given textbooks in some core subjects.
“Some states are not doing well in that respect. They have abandoned the programme. They are not funding education as it ought to be funded. Even counterpart funds that some states should put down to complement the funds from UBEC are not provided. Some states have even misused UBEC funds and are suspended from getting further grants.
“We are talking now about our tertiary institutions that are grounded by workers’ strikes, the basic education level, which is the foundation, is not faring better too. Something urgent must be done to redress the situation before the sector collapses finally,” he noted.

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