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Rewane foresees structural reforms, drop in unemployment this year



Chief Executive Officer, Financial Derivatives Company (FDC), Mr Bismarck Rewane, says Nigeria is likely to implement structural reforms this year as it gears up to raise $3bn through loans in order to meet its infrastructure deficit.

He however said the informal sector would spur projected recovery, predicting that unemployment in the formal economy would decline slowly.

He stated this in his latest Lagos Business School’s executive breakfast meeting presentation.

The April 2021 edition of the monthly report, entitled “Oil Illusion and Financial Delusion,” was a review of the economic performance of the country in the just ended first quarter of 2021 and a peep into the second quarter performance.

Rewane said the depth of recession experienced in 2020 would leave a large fiscal and debt hangover for most African countries and would reduce the scope for policymakers to respond with stimulatory measures, citing Zambia as the first country in the region to default in its Eurobond repayment.

The report stated that several African countries, including Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa were planning to borrow from the international capital markets. Ghana recently successfully issued $3 billion Eurobond.

“Nigeria will raise $3 billion in 2021. Increased borrowing to meet infrastructure need will force Nigerian policymakers to implement structural reforms,” Rewane wrote in the report.

For Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), the FDC CEO said pro-business policies and structural reforms would help bolster economic activity over the longer term, stressing that policy initiatives to address lagging productivity, skills and infrastructure would progress slowly.

He predicted an inverted V-shaped recovery for the SSA, noting that recoveries were diverging across and within countries.

He projected that the SSA economy would expand by 3.4 per cent in 2021 and four per cent in 2022, while Inverted V-shaped recovery was expected to occur in Nigeria and South Africa.

He added that while jobs in the informal sector would rebound faster as restrictions eased, inflation was projected to average 8.1 per cent in 2021, before edging down to eight per cent in 2022.

“From our perspective, we can say that Nigeria will experience an inverted V-shaped recovery while battling persistent inflation.

“Institutional and domestic investors are jittery as they attempt to make sense of ambiguous pronouncements and conflicting data,” he stated in the report.

Noting that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank, at their spring meetings in Washington, expressed optimism about Nigeria’s economic recovery, he argued that the upward review of their projections on the West African country, rests heavily on optimal vaccine rollouts and stronger oil prices.

The IMF last week revised its 2021 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth projection for Nigeria to 2.5 per cent from one per cent, this, Rewane said was “a confidence boost for the much needed investment inflows.”

He warned, however, that the snares of insecurity, hyperinflation and policy uncertainty in the country could force investors to take their funds elsewhere.

Rewane also commented on the exchange rate policy, noting that the nuanced interpretation of flexible or floating exchange rates by policymakers made investors wary and was seen as a missed opportunity to embark on a unified exchange rate system.

He added that exchange rate convergence remained the sole objective of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

He, however, said the forex rationing had continued and that the I&E window was still controlled, pointing out that limited forex supply had forced manufacturers to source over 90 per cent of forex from the parallel market.

The FDC boss stated that forex intervention in the I&E window fell throughout March to an average of $66.63 million, indicating a preference for reserves accretion at the expense of exchange rate alignment.

“In all of this, the Nigerian consumer remains financially embattled. Disposable income is flat but discretionary income is sharply lower due to rising food prices, transport costs and electricity bills. Many state governments owe salary arrears and labour is on a warpath,” he stated.



I don’t need your cheques, Buhari tells contractor



President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday charged contractors who have enjoyed government patronage as well as other privileged citizens to use their resources to support less privileged members of society.


President Buhari gave the charge when he paid a visit to the Emir of Daura, Dr Umar Faruk Umar.


He said passing gifts and ‘cheques’ to people in authority or already comfortable to buy favour is not the right approach.


According to a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, President Buhari challenged beneficiaries of government patronage to go to their respective communities and engage in corporate social responsibilities.


The President said: “I don’t want your cheque. Go and assist our communities” instead of trying to return kickbacks to public officers, including his office.


“We don’t want cheques from anyone or organisation as returns or influence of any kind. Let them remember their Corporate Social Responsibilities,” he said.


The President noted he would love to visit Daura more frequently but for the high cost of presidential movements and exposing security personnel to the weather, assuring his heart remains with the people.

“We are known for farming and I have my farm here. I could come every two weeks and no one can stop me.

“But the cost to the movement is high. I would rather that it be used to better our schools, clinics and hospitals,” said the President.

The President said the grace of God had kept Nigeria together as a country in spite of differences that led to a 30-month civil war


“We want to thank God always for keeping us together as a country. From January 15, 1966, the country was thrown into political crisis. We had a 30 months civil war that resulted in the loss of about a million lives.


“We still thank God for keeping us together. We remain grateful to all those who showed interest in our unity and progress. May God continue to bless them,” he added.


The President, who recalled fond memories of visiting the Palace as a military Head of State, expressed happiness that the warmth and hospitality of the traditional institution had been sustained over the years.


At the meeting, the Emir publicly announced conferment of the title of Talban Daura on Yusuf Buhari, son of President Buhari.


He said a date would be announced for the turbaning ceremony of the President’s son, which might likely be before his marriage.


The Emir also announced creation of a District in the community of the President, with headquarters in Dimurkol.

He said the turbaning of younger Buhari and creation of the District was to further extend and deepen the long relationship between the Palace and the family.


He said the decision was in agreement with the kingmakers in Daura Emirate Council.


During the visit, the Palace used the opportunity to clarify the difference between two titles, Talban Hausa, given to Alpha Conde, the President of Guinea and Talban Daura designated for Yusuf, the President’s son.


The Palace explained that Daura, as the linchpin of the Hausa society had conferred titles that have bearing on the Hausa Kingdom and those that are specific to the Emirate.

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World Bank: Nigeria’s unemployment rate rose five-fold in 10 years



The World Bank says the unemployment rate in Nigeria rose five-fold in the last 10 years.

From 6.4 percent in 2010 to 33.3 percent at the end of 2020, the Bank said the significant increase affected Nigerian youth in their quest to find gainful employment opportunities.


In March, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) reported that Nigeria’s unemployment rate climbed to 33.3 percent in the fourth quarter (Q4) 2020 from 27.1 recorded in the second quarter (Q2) 2020.


The NBS had said a total of 23.18 million persons in Nigeria either did nothing or worked for less than 20 hours a week, making them unemployed during the fourth quarter (Q4) 2020.

According to StatiSense, a data technology company, with 33.7 percent, Nigeria ranked top among the list of countries with the highest unemployment rate globally.


In its recent report, titled, ‘Of Roads Less Travelled: Assessing the Potential for Migration to Provide Overseas Jobs for Nigeria’s Youth’, the World Bank said the labour market has significantly worsened following the 2016 recession and COVID-19.


The Bank said the acute jobless crises caused socio-economic challenges for the rising working-age population resulting in an increase in the number of citizens seeking asylum and refugee status in other countries.

“The expanding working-age population combined with scarce domestic employment opportunities is creating high rates of unemployment, particularly for Nigeria’s youth,” the report added.


“Since 2018, the active labour force population has dramatically decreased to around 70 million—lower than the level in 2014— while the number of Nigerians in the working-age population but not active in the labour force has increased from 29 million to 52 million between 2014 and 2020.


“Similarly, Nigeria’s active labour force population, that is, those willing and able to work among the working-age population, grew from 73 million in 2014 to 90 million in 2018, adding 17.5 million new entrants to Nigeria’s active labour force.”


The Bank advised Nigerian institutions to promote managed migration approaches that help create opportunities for prospective job seekers to find employment internationally.

It also added that Nigeria to implement and support schemes that increase the returns to human capital investments for youth.

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UK plans new scheme to drive trade with Nigeria



The United Kingdom government has proposed a new scheme to help Nigeria and other developing countries to drive ‘free and fair’ trade in the post-Brexit.
In 2018, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Theresa May, had hinted about a new trade deal and economic partnership during her visit to Nigeria.
In a statement on Thursday, United Kingdom Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) said the new plan will replace the UK’s generalised scheme of preferences (GSP) in 2022.
The statement added that the new scheme, Developing Countries Trading Scheme (DCTS), will be an opportunity for the UK to grow free and fair trade with developing countries, boost the economy and support jobs in these countries as well as for British citizens.
The scheme aims to contribute to developing countries’ integration into the global economy, creating stronger trade and investment partners for the future and strengthening supply chains.
“The UK currently operates a similar scheme rolled over from the EU, but as an independent trading nation we can now take a simpler, more generous, pro-growth approach to trade with developing countries,” it stated.
“The UK Developing Countries Trading Scheme will apply to 47 countries in the Least Developed Country Framework (LDCF) and 23 additional countries classified by the World Bank as low-income and lower-middle-income countries.
“The proposed new UK scheme will mean more opportunity and less bureaucracy for developing countries, for example by simplifying rules of origin requirements or reducing tariffs on imports. For instance, this could mean lowering tariffs on products including rice from Pakistan and raw materials from Nigeria.”
Dominic Raab, UK foreign secretary, said cutting tariffs for poorer countries enabled them to trade their way to genuine independence.
International trade secretary, Liz Truss, said trade fundamentally empowers people and has “done more than any single policy in history to lift millions of people around the world out of poverty.”
“Now the UK is an independent trading nation we have a huge opportunity do things differently, taking a more liberal, pro-trade approach that leads to growth and opportunity.
“Countries like Bangladesh and Vietnam have proven it’s possible to trade your way to better living standards, and our new Developing Countries Trading Scheme will help others do the same.”
Emma Wade-Smith OBE, Her Majesty’s Trade Commissioner (HMTC) for Africa, said: “The DCTS scheme signals the UK’s strong appetite to promote free and fair trade.
“It is a demonstration of our commitment to help boost economic growth and prosperity in Africa, by enabling businesses there to access the UK market more easily.
“The UK is committed to strengthening our commercial relationship with African partners.
“The new DCTS scheme will create a smoother path for companies to export to the UK. I encourage the African business community to contribute to this important consultation.
“We want to hear a range of views and perspectives, to ensure the scheme targets those areas that will have the greatest positive impact on growing our bilateral trade”.
In line with the development, the British government launched an eight-week public consultation on the UK future tariff schedule and policies in relation to the GPS that began on July 19 and will close on September 12, 2021.
It also invites views from Nigerian businesses and stakeholders with interest across the globe to send responses to the consultation via this link until September 12 closing date.
The scheme is targeted at 47 least developed countries and 23 low income and lower-middle-income countrie

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