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IMF predicts 2.5% economic growth for Nigeria

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The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has projected growth of 2.5 per cent for Nigeria in 2021, which is one per cent higher than it predicted in January this year.

The IMF announced the new projection in its World Economic Outlook update released on Tuesday.

January’s forecast was a downward review from the forecast it shared in October 2020.

The Nigerian economy exited recession in the fourth quarter of 2020 with a modest 0.11 per cent growth.

The IMF also projected that in sub-Saharan Africa, growth will strengthen to 3.4 per cent in 2021, 0.2 per cent higher than the previous forecast.

The IMF expects the world economy to grow by six per cent in 2021, up from its 5.5 per cent forecast in January, a stronger economic recovery in 2021.

It, however, warns of “daunting challenges” given the different rates of administering shots across the globe.

“Global prospects remain highly uncertain one year into the pandemic. New virus mutations and the accumulating human toll raise concerns, even as growing vaccine coverage lifts sentiment.

“Economic recoveries are diverging across countries and sectors, reflecting variation in pandemic-induced disruptions and the extent of policy support.

“The outlook depends not just on the outcome of the battle between the virus and vaccines—it also hinges on how effectively economic policies deployed under high uncertainty can limit lasting damage from this unprecedented crisis,” the IMF said in a statement,” it stated.

The multilateral institution also said global growth is projected at 6 per cent in 2021, moderating to 4.4 per cent in 2022. The projections for 2021 and 2022 are stronger than in the October 2020 WEO.

“The upward revision reflects additional fiscal support in a few large economies, the anticipated vaccine-powered recovery in the second half of 2021, and continued adaptation of economic activity to subdued mobility. High uncertainty surrounds this outlook, related to the path of the pandemic, the effectiveness of policy support to provide a bridge to vaccine-powered normalization, and the evolution of financial conditions,” it stated.

In its new report, the IMF said about 95 million people are likely to fall below the extreme poverty threshold during 2020–21.

It also stated, “Higher debt service costs are also expected to constrain their ability to address social needs, including rising poverty and growing inequality, or to correct the setback in human capital accumulation during the crisis.”

 

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N5bn Debt: AMCON Takes Over Mansions Of Ex-Gov Abdulfatah Ahmed

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The Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) has taken over some houses belonging to former Governor Abdulfattah Ahmed of Kwara State over a N5 billion debt.

The property is located at No. 9A Abdulrazaq Street, GRA, Ilorin.

Jude Nwazor, spokesman of AMCON, confirmed this to Daily Trust in a telephone chat.

He, however, said the debt was a personal one by the former governor.

Nwazor said all efforts to peacefully resolve the loan had been frustrated by the former governor which left AMCON no other choice than to seek justice in court.

In a statement, he later issued, Nwazor said, “AMCON had taken over the Non-Performing Loans of the former governor and his companies… from the former Intercontinental Bank, FinBank and Bank PHB during the first phase of EBA purchases, in line with its mandate under the AMCON Act.
“All efforts to peacefully resolve the loan had been frustrated by the former Governor who remained recalcitrant, which left AMCON no other choice than to seek justice in court.”

Ahmed, who succeeded former Senate President Bukola Saraki, governed Kwara between 2011 and 2019.

Currently, he is not holding any political office.

But some hours ago, he joined forces with some prominent Nigerians to establish a Third Force known as the Rescue Nigeria Project (RNP).

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Buhari Orders FIRS To Tax Digital Transactions

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President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the deployment of technology to tax all digital transactions carried out across the country.

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha disclosed this at the 17th General Assembly and 10th anniversary of the West Africa Tax Administration Forum (WATAF) in Abuja Tuesday.

The assembly is a high-level policy dialogue on taxation of the digital economy, organised by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).

The SGF  said the President gave the order to tax authority to ensure digital transactions were taxed digitally,  and the goal of their efforts was to achieve seamless digital collection and remittance of tax revenue accrued from the digital economy.

He said the President had directed the deployment of technology to good effect in revenue collection and remittance as a matter of government policy.

The SGF said this is supported by the amendment to the tax laws and empowering the tax authority to deploy technology in tax.

Mustapha said: “Our definition of what to collect- whether we call it income tax, Digital Service Tax or Value Added Tax, must address the issue of redefining who a taxable person or entity is, to accommodate the fact that digital transactions side-track the ordinary and traditional understanding of jurisdiction.”

In his remarks, the Chairman of FIRS, Mr Mohammed Nami called for collaborative efforts among African states to generate income from digital-oriented businesses.

He said: “Tax regulators and other industry stakeholders must therefore rise up to the challenge of being in a position to tap into the stream of opportunity that advancements in science and technology afford us. Science and Technology is not only about rockets going to space, it is also about effective tax collection and we must maximize it in every possible way we can.”

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Buhari wants petroleum, finance ministers removed from NNPC board

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President Muhammadu Buhari has asked the National Assembly to remove the  ministers of Finance and Petroleum from the board of the soon-to-be incorporated board of the Nigerian  National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC Ltd.)

The request is contained in his letter seeking an amendment to the recently enacted Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) by the Senate and the House of Representatives.

He also asked the Senate to confirm appointments made for the boards of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and two other federal agencies.

These are the Upstream Regulatory Commission and the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority..

The President on Sunday named a nine-member board for the NNPC Ltd headed by Senator Ifeanyi Araraume.

The President’s letter titled  “Forwarding administrative structure amendments to the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) 2021 was read to   Senators by Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, during yesterday’s plenary.

He listed three sections of the PIA that he wants to be amended as 11(2)(b) and 34(2)(b);  11(2)(f-g) and 34(2)(f-g);  as well as   11(3).

The President explained in the letter that amendments to the sections were needed to make for seamless administrative structure in the Act.

He also cited unbalanced geo-political representation as a reason for his request to remove the ministers of Finance and Petroleum from the NNPC Ltd. board.

A part of the letter reads, “I wish to forward to the Senate the attached Administrative Structure Amendments of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) 2021 for your kind consideration and approval.

“Having carefully reviewed the administrative structure of both the Commission and the Authority; I would like to propose the following amendments to the PIA 2021:

“Appointment of non-executive board members: The Petroleum Industry Act 2021 provided for the appointment of two non-executive members for the board of the two regulatory institutions.

“I am of the view that this membership limitation has not addressed the principle of balanced geopolitical representation of the country, therefore, I pray for the intervention of the 9th Assembly to correct this oversight in the interest of our national unity.

“Needless to add that this amendment will provide a sense of participation and inclusion to almost every section of the country in the decision-making of strategic institutions such as the oil industry.

“If this amendment is approved, it will now increase the number of the non-executive members from two to six that is one person from each of the six geopolitical zones of the country.

“Removal of the Ministries of Petroleum and Finance from the board of the two institutions:

The proposed amendment will increase the membership of the board from nine to 13 that is representing a 44 percent expansion of the board site.

“This composition would strengthen the institutions and guarantee national spread and also achieve he expected policy contributions.

“The two ministries already have constitutional responsibilities of either supervision or inter-governmental relations. They can continue to perform such roles without being on the board.

“It is also important to note that administratively, the representatives of the ministries in the board will be Directors – being the same rank with the Directors in the institution. This may bring some complications in some decision making especially on issues of staff-related matters.

“Appointment of Executive Directors: The Act has made provision for seven Departmental Heads in the Authority to be known as Executive Directors. Their appointment will also be subject to Senate confirmation. This category of officers is civil servants and not political appointees.

“The Senate is invited to note the need to exempt serving public officers from the established confirmation process for political appointments.

“This will ensure effective management of the regulatory Institutions through the uniform implementation of public service rules for employees of the Authority. In the future, these positions will obviously be filled by the workers in the authority.”

Also yesterday, the President’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, said in a statement  that the names of the EFCC, the  Upstream Regulatory Commission, and the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority board members were contained in another letter to the Senate

Adesina’s statement partly read,  “Nominees for the EFCC board are George Abang Ekpungu from Cross River State (secretary);  Lukman Muhammed, (Edo);  Anumba Adaeze (Enugu);  Alhaji Kola Adesina (Kwara);  and Alhaji Yahaya Muhammad (Yobe).

“For the upstream Regulatory Commission, Isa Ibrahim Modibbo is nominated as chairman; Gbenga Komolafe, chief executive; Hassan Gambo, executive commissioner in charge of  Finance and Accounts; and  Rose C. Ndong, executive commissioner, Exploration and Acreage Management.

“Chairman nominee of the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority is Idaere Gogo Ogan;  Sarki Auwalu, chief executive; Abiodun  Adeniji, executive director in charge of  Finance and Accounts; and Ogbugo Ukoha, executive director, Distributions Systems, Storage and Retail Infrastructure.”

The Nation

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