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IMF PREDICTS NIGERIA’S ECONOMY WILL CONTRAST BY 4.3%

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The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has revised its 2020 gross domestic growth projections for the Nigerian economy.

In its October World Economic Outlook report released in Washington on Tuesday, the IMF projected that Nigeria’s economy would contract by 4.3 per cent in 2020 in real terms.

This is a 1.1 per cent improvement from the 5.4 per cent that was projected in June and deeper than the 3.4 per cent projected in April.

The Washington-based institution projected that the economy would recover in 2021 by 1.7 per cent.

Gita Gopinath (pictured), IMF chief economist and director of the research department, said oil-exporting countries are battling the health and economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact of low oil prices.

“They have been hit by the health crisis and they have been hit because they are oil exporters which had a collapse and more importantly, they just don’t have the resources that advanced economies have to deal with this crisis,” Gopinath said.

“Because we don’t have a financial crisis at this point, many emerging markets are able to borrow at record levels in foreign currency this year relative to previous years.”

The IMF chief economist said the foreign debts been acquired by emerging market economies will not be enough and advised that there is a need for continued international support.

This support, Gopinath explained, could be in terms of concessionary financing, aid and debt relief and restructuring.

“There are going to be developing and low-income economies that would need debt relief and, in some cases, restructuring of debt to make sure they have the space to do the spending that they need,” she said.

This contraction will be the worst recession in 37 years, and the second recession in five years, following closely after a negative economic growth of 1.58 per cent in 2016.

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Just in: CBN bows to pressure, extends old naira notes deadline to Feb 10

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  • N1.7 trillion old notes collected so far

The Central Bank of Nigeria has bowed to pressure announcing the extension of the deadline for the exchange of old naira notes by 10 days.

In a press statement issued on Sunday, Godwin Emefiele, the CBN governor, said the new deadline is February 10, 2023.

He also said N1.7 trillion worth of naira notes had been returned to banks so far — with N500 billion more to go.

Those who still have the old notes after February 10 will enjoy a seven-day “grace period” to deposit them directly with the CBN.

After February 17, the old notes will cease to be legal tender, the governor said.

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Lagos buys 100 new vehicles for state civil servants

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Lagos State Government has purchased 100 new cars for senior civil servants in the state on Grade 17 level.

The beneficiaries mainly directors in the teaching and health sectors were randomly selected through e-balot system, according to the state governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

He added that the beneficiaries had taken possession of the 100 vehicles.

Posting pictures of the cars on his social media pages on Saturday night, the governor said the purchase was done to keep his promise that Lagos State would always prioritise the welfare of workers in its civil service.

Sanwo-Olu, the Lagos flag bearer of the All Progressives Congress in the forthcoming governorship election is seeking a second term as governor.

Sanwo-Olu wrote, “In keeping to our promise of prioritising the welfare of our staff in the Lagos State civil service, we gave out 100 vehicles to Directors on grade level 17 through an e-ballot system.

“While 40 of the vehicles were given to Grade Level 17 Directors in the teaching sector, 30 vehicles each were allocated to the health and mainstream sectors of the public service respectively.”

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Jan 31 remains deadline for old naira notes, says CBN

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Saturday said the deadline to phase out the old naira notes remained January 31.

The CBN said this in a post on its social media pages.

“Deadline for the return of old series of 200, 500 and 1000 naira notes remains January 31 2023,” the post read.

This came as more prominent individuals including Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, have called for the extension of the deadline.

The CBN post was accompanied by a video of Godwin Emefiele, governor of the CBN, in which he said there are no plans to shift the deadline.

The video was from a media briefing held on January 24, after the bank’s monetary policy committee (MPC) meeting in Abuja.

Emefiele had said, “I must say here that unfortunately, I don’t have good news for those who feel that we should shift the deadline.

My apologies. The reason is because just as the president has said on more than two occasions, and even to people privately, that for us, 90 days — in fact, we feel it’s 100 days — is enough for anybody who has the old currency to deposit the money in the banks.

“And we took every measure to ensure that all the banks were open or remain still open to receive all old currencies; 100 days, we believe is more than adequate.

“We called on the banks and said ‘not only are we requesting you to increase your banking hours so you can receive old currency, but we are also asking you to keep your doors open on Saturdays.

“The banks did not have any reason to even keep their banking halls open on Saturdays, neither did they see the kind of rush that they anticipated. There were normal people who came to deposit money into the banks.

“We do not see any reason to begin to talk about a shift because people could not deposit their old monies into their banks.”

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