Experts Proffer Solutions As Nigeria Slides Into Recession [LEADERSHIP]

Following statistics by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) suggesting that Nigeria’s economy has plunged into its worst recession in 33 years, experts have proffered solutions to quick economic recovery.

According to data released by the NBS yesterday, the economy recorded a gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate of –3.62 per cent, year-on-year, in real terms in the third quarter of 2020.

Cumulatively, NBS said the economy contracted by -2.48 per cent in the third quarter of 2020, making the second consecutive time after contracting for the second quarter of 2020.

The Q3 figure however represents an improvement of 2.48 per cent points over the –6.10 per cent growth rate recorded in the preceding quarter (Q2 2020). It also indicates that two consecutive quarters of negative growth have been recorded in 2020.

The NBS figure showed that growth in Q3 2020 was slower by 5.90 per cent points when compared to the third quarter of 2019 which recorded a real growth rate of 2.28 per cent year on year.

“The performance of the economy in Q3 2020 reflected residual effects of the restrictions to movement and economic activity implemented across the country in early Q2 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” the NBS said in the 96 pages report on the nation’s economic growth yesterday.

Nigeria Officially Slides Into Worst Recession Since 1987

The statistics office said a total of 18 economic activities recorded positive growth in Q3 2020, compared to 13 activities in Q2 2020, pointing to a positive response to the unlocking of the economy by the authorities.

It said during the quarter under review, aggregate GDP stood at N39,089,460.61 million in nominal terms.

This performance was 3.39% higher when compared to the third quarter of 2019 which recorded an aggregate of N37,806,924.41 million, based on the latest GDP figures. This rate was, however, lower relative to growth recorded in the third quarter of 2019 by –9.91% points but higher than the preceding quarter by 6.19% points. For clarity, the Nigerian economy has been broadly classified into the oil and non-oil sectors.

The average daily oil production recorded in the third quarter of 2020 stood at 1.67 million barrels per day (mbpd), or 0.37mbpd lower than the average production recorded in the same quarter of 2019 and 0.14mbpd lower than production volume recorded in the second quarter of 2020.

Real growth for the oil sector was –13.89% (year-on-year) in Q3 2020, indicating a sharp contraction of –20.38% points relative to the rate recorded in the corresponding quarter of 2019. Furthermore, real oil growth decreased by –7.26% points when compared with oil sector growth recorded in Q2 2020 (6.63%). Quarter on quarter however, the oil sector recorded a growth rate of 9.64% in Q3 2020. The sector contributed 8.73% to total real GDP in Q3 2020, down from 9.77% and 8.93% respectively recorded in the corresponding period of 2019 and the preceding quarter, Q2 2020.

The non-oil sector grew by –2.51% in real terms during the reference quarter, which is –4.36% points lower than the rate recorded in Q3 2019 but 3.54% points higher than in the second quarter of 2020.

The non-oil sector was driven mainly by Information and Communication (Telecommunications), with other drivers being Agriculture (Crop Production), construction, financial and insurance (Financial Institutions), and Public Administration.

In real terms, the non-oil sector contributed 91.27% to the nation’s GDP in the third quarter of 2020, higher than its share in the third quarter of 2019 (90.23%) and the second quarter of 2020 (91.07%).

Meanwhile, proffering solutions to the economic downturn, economic experts said they were optimistic that the economy will soon recover from the recession.

They also expressed hope that the early passage of the 2021 appropriation Bill will also go a long way in supporting economic recovery for Nigeria.

“I see a quick V-shaped recovery as the effect of COVID’19 recedes and the impact of the interventions by the government and CBN begin to manifest including the implementation of the Economic Sustainability Plan,” Nigeria’s first professor of Capital Markets, Uche Uwaleke  Uwaleke of the Nasarawa State University stated.

Prof Uwaleke said the NBS Q3 real GDP number was a confirmation of the fact that in terms of economic contraction occasioned by COVID’19, Q2 2020 represents the worst experience for Nigeria.

Compared to a contraction of 6.10% in Q2 of this year, he said the Q3 figure is actually an improvement reflective of the ease in lockdowns and movement restrictions, the reduction in the cases of COVID’19 and the gradual return of investors’ confidence in the economy.

He noted that the improved confidence has also manifested in PMI readings and stock market performance.

 

Abuja-Kaduna Road Not Abandoned By Motorists – Military [LEADERSHIP]

The military has refuted reports making the rounds that motorists have abandoned the Abuja-Kaduna highway following the growing spate of insecurity.

Specifically, the Defence Headquarters (DHQ) described the said report as misleading.

When the DHQ yesterday led journalists on a tour of Abuja-Kaduna road to ascertain the validity of the claim, there was normal movement of various types of vehicles on the road from Zuba to Kaduna.

The coordinator, Defence Media Operations, Maj-Gen John Enenche said the tour was to enable the journalists have firsthand information on the security situation on the road.

Enenche said the tour was to also correct the news of purported desertion of the road and assure motorists of their safety.

He noted: “People are being misinformed and there is no truth whatsoever that the road is deserted. We are telling the general public that they should have confidence in the armed forces and the operation that is going on here and go about their normal business.

“We are there to protect you and to continue to take the criminals out of their enclaves and just be waiting for them on the road”.

Also, the General Officer Commanding 1 Division, Nigerian Army, Kaduna, Maj-Gen Usman Mohammed, said that the troops of Operation Thunder Strike had continued to provide security on the highway.

Mohammed, who also doubled as the Commander of the Defence Headquarters-led Operation Thunder Strike, said that successes had been recorded in the fight against kidnapping in spite of the recent incident.

“Quite alright there is a threat on this road sometimes as you are aware of the incident that happened here last Sunday. Even though some people were kidnapped, some were rescued while efforts are on to rescue the remaining ones,” he said.

The GOC explained that the operation was organised into six sectors covering the entire stretch of the road from Zuba to Kaduna to carry out mobile patrol and respond to security threats on the road.

He said the troops also carry out clearance operations to identified hideouts of the criminals with minimal presence of the troops on the highway.

He added that the strategy was for the troops to go after the criminals in their enclaves so as not to allow them have an opportunity of coming out to the road in the first place.

Mohammed said the military had put in place adequate measures to keep the road safe and free for traffic flow.

He continued: “After the last incidence, we have increased the number of troops on this road and we have added additional logistics so that people can be seeing their presence on the road.

 

We Didn’t Exempt ASUU From IPPIS – FG [LEADERSHIP]

The federal government yesterday, denied reports that it has exempted members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), from the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) platform.

Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige told journalists that the government was quoted out of context on the matter, saying there was no meeting where it was agreed that ASUU would be exempted from the IPPIS payment platform.

The minister explained that at the meeting with the leadership of the university teachers, the government agreed that ASUU members that were yet to enroll on IPPIS will be paid through the platform with which they were paid the President Muhammadu Buhari’s compassionate COVID-19 fund in the months of February and June.

He further said that the platform was a hybrid platform between IPPIS and the Government Integrated Financial Management and Information System (GIFMIS) platform which is for the transition period, adding that no government payment will be done without IPPIS knowing.

He said that IPPIS and GIFMIS would be used in paying the university teachers for the transition period, while the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) continues to undergo all the integrity test and cyber security test for confirmation before use.

“What we said in the meeting and what we agreed was that in the interim and for the transition period, that UTAS is being tested by NITDA and the Office of National Security Adviser for cyber security.”

 

Losing three brothers same day my worst experience –Gombe commissioner [PUNCH]

Gombe State Commissioner for Science, Technology and Innovation, Dr Aishatu Maigari, tells CHIMA AZUBUIKE how her family has been coping with the death of three of their loved ones who died in an auto crash on October 31, 2020

This period must be really difficult for you. How are you coping?

Alhamdulillah. I’m trying my best and with God on my side, I know I can overcome it.

How did you hear about the death of your three relations?

We tried reaching them on the phone but to no avail until we were able to connect with one of their phones and we were told that they had an accident. My dad called me to inform me that we lost them all.

How did it happen?

Nobody told us because none of them survived. And by time we got to the scene, no one was there to tell the story.

What was your first reaction and where were you?

The reaction was to leave everything in the hands of Allah. I just said Innalilahi wa inna illaihir rajiuuun (to Allah, we come from and to him we would return), and that is what any good Muslim is supposed to do in times of calamity. So, we leave everything in the hands of the Almighty. He is the one that blessed us with these boys and he is the one that has taken them at the time he felt it was the right time for them to go.

As a serving commissioner, how have you managed to stay focused?

When you leave everything in the hands of the Almighty, he finds a way for you beyond your own strength. People have been very supportive to our immediate family, everybody you can think of, all over the country and in Gombe State. The people, the government and everybody that heard about that incident were really sympathetic. Even people that never knew us have been very sympathetic and then a lot of testimonies coming from their friends and from neighbours show that they (deceased brothers) have lived a very good life, especially in these hard times when youths are draining and are not finding jobs. But these guys had good jobs and the one that was unemployed was on his own and he was making it. So, a lot of people prayed with us, stood with us and gave us the strength to carry on.

When was the last time you saw them alive?

It was a day before they had the accident.

Can you remember the last conversations you had with them?

We had a very good conversation on that Friday (October 30, 2020) after the Jumaat prayer. we discussed a lot of things but there was no sign that that was supposed to be our last conversation. But, as usual, they were very good and very obedient. They came to bid me farewell as their eldest sister in Gombe and they asked me whether I had any message for them to take home. I said I had nothing but I just prayed for them to have a good and safe transit back home. I prayed essentially for their safety back home. My brother and cousin were working in Kano while the other one was going on holiday. So, it was a usual goodbye and safe journey and prayers for them.

They were said to be master’s degree holders. Can you talk about that?

They all had their master’s degrees in different fields. Usman was a chemist. We had thought  of a fellowship of the Chemical Society of Nigeria; we had talked about him joining the society and the Institute of Chartered Chemists. We had talked about going for my fellowship later in the month to Abuja. He promised he was going to be there by God’s grace. And then for Abdulkadir, he was going home on holiday so I told him I had some messages that he was going to come back with them for me when his holidays were over in two weeks or three weeks time. So, you see, it was a bright future ahead of all of them. Usman was 30 and Abdulkadiri was 28.

 

CCB set to charge Magu for failing to declare accounts [PUNCH]

The Code of Conduct Bureau is set to charge the suspended acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for failing to declare some accounts on his Asset Declaration form, Sunday PUNCH has learnt.

The CCB had invited Magu via a letter with reference number CCB/HQ/II&M/007/2093 dated November 2, 2020. He was asked to appear before the anti-corruption agency on November 17, 2020.

The suspended EFCC boss was asked to come along with acknowledgment copies of all asset declaration forms since joining the public service as well as his payslips and land documents.

It was, however, learnt that Magu failed to honour the request of the CCB but wrote a letter instead, explaining that he would not be able to do so.

In the letter, the suspended EFCC boss said all the necessary documents were in his office at the EFCC headquarters and he had been denied access to the office due to his suspension.

He subsequently informed the CCB that he would not be able to honour its invitation.

Magu also wrote a letter to the Chairman of the defunct Presidential panel, Justice Ayo Salami, who investigated him, and informed him of his CCB probe and his inability to access the documents.

A top source, however, told this newspaper that the CCB expected Magu to have at least honoured the invitation first and then explained his challenges in person.

The source said the CCB already had enough information to show that Magu did not declare some assets but only wanted to give him a chance to explain himself.

He said, “There are some accounts which we discovered that Magu did not declare. In this age of BVN, there are things that you cannot hide. Also, the CCB has copies of his asset declaration forms which have been matched with the discovered accounts.

“It is obvious that Magu did not declare them but rather than explain himself in person, he is making excuses. Magu will be arrested if he fails to show up and he will be charged. That is a done deal.”

However, a lawyer to Magu, Mr. Tosin Ojaomo, told Sunday PUNCH that Magu had done well by writing the CCB that he would not be able to come.

 

Soldiers went to Lekki tollgate with live bullets –General [PUNCH]

The Commander of 81 Military Intelligence Brigade, Victoria Island, Lagos, Brigadier General Ahmed Taiwo, has explained that Phase Four of military internal security operation, which was deployed at the Lekki tollgate on the night October 20, involved the use of both live and blank ammunition.

He said the soldiers took live bullets to the scene for the purpose of self defence

Taiwo said a portion of the troops that operated at the tollgate on that night were indeed armed with live bullets.

He, however, maintained that only soldiers with blank bullets fired shots into the air.

The general stated this on Saturday at the resumed proceedings of the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry probing the alleged killing of #EndSARS protesters at the Lekki tollgate on the night of October 20 by soldiers.

Taiwo, who had earlier made a presentation before the panel in defence of the Nigerian Army on November 14, returned on Saturday for cross-examination by two counsel for #EndSARS protesters, Messrs Adeyinka Olumide-Fusika (SAN) and Mr Adesina Ogunlana.

When Olumide-Fusika asked Taiwo if soldiers who went to the tollgate carried guns, Taiwo said, “When you are talking of guns, you are talking about high-calibre guns. They were carrying rifles; not guns.”

On further pressing by Olumide-Fusika, Taiwo added, “Definitely, a portion of the Force will carry live bullets, in case they are attacked. But the soldiers that formed the firing team, who fired, used blank bullets. And that is why you watched the video and saw exactly what happened.”

Also, under cross-examination by Ogunlana, Taiwo explained that in Phase Four military internal security operation “soldiers would be given both live and blank bullets.”

He said, “In this particular case, we saw that the peaceful protest had been infiltrated by hoodlums. They were peaceful protesters, no doubt, but there were also hoodlums who sought to take advantage, that was why they were armed with blank bullets in addition with live bullets.”

Seven military trucks deployed at tollgate, CCTV reveals

Meanwhile, the panel concluded the viewing of the CCTV footage submitted by the Lekki Concession Company, operator of the Lekki tollgate.

The CCTV footage showed that the Nigerian Army deployed no fewer than seven vehicles to the tollgate in the evening of October 20.

The footage showed that the scene was calm until about 6.43pm when people could be seen running towards the tollgate from the Oriental Hotel end. Two minutes later, at 6.45pm, military vehicles, with flashing headlights, arrived on the scene. The some of the military trucks were white coloured, while the others were black.

At 6.53pm, about eight minutes after the arrival of the military vehicles, the tollgate went into a blackout. Two minutes later, at 6.55pm, one of the military vehicles drove through the tollgate to the other end where the crowd of protesters was gathered.

Soldiers started shooting at 6.43, says general

When asked by Olumide-Fusika when the soldiers began shooting, Taiwo said, “From the video we watched, I reckon by 6.43pm.”

Olumide-Fusika pointed out that the soldiers did not start shooting immediately they arrived at the tollgate, suggesting that they were waiting for the light to go off, so they could operate under the cover of darkness, but Taiwo responded, “It is absolutely untrue.”

 

Nigeria suffers worst economic recession in 36 years – World Bank data [PUNCH]

…as NBS report says economy shrank by 3.62% in Q3

  • Rising debt profile, inflation, unemployment worsen economic woes
  • Experts blame COVID-19, #EndSARS violence, others for crisis

Okechukwu Nnodim, Nike Popoola, ’Femi Asu and Tunde Ajaja

Amid rising debt profile, inflation and unemployment, Nigeria, Africa’s biggest economy, has entered its second recession in five years as official figures published on Saturday showed that the economy shrank again in the third quarter of this year.

This year’s recession is the worst in 36 years as data obtained from the World Bank showed that the country’s GDP dropped by 10.92 per cent in 1983 and 1.2 per cent in 1984.

The World Bank said in June that the collapse in crude oil prices, coupled with the COVID-19 pandemic was expected to “plunge the Nigerian economy into a severe recession, the worst since the 1980s”.

The NBS, in its Gross Domestic Product report for Q3, said the GDP, the broadest measure of economic prosperity, fell by 3.62 per cent in the three months up till September.

For the first time in more than three years, the Nigerian economy shrank in Q2 as the GDP fell by 6.10 per cent, compared with a growth of 1.87 per cent in Q1.

Economists consider two consecutive quarters of shrinking GDP as the technical definition of a recession.

“The performance of the economy in Q3 2020 reflected residual effects of the restrictions to movement and economic activity implemented across the country in early Q2 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” the NBS said.

It said as the restrictions were lifted, businesses reopened and international travel and trading activities resumed, some economic activities had returned to positive growth.

“A total of 18 economic activities recorded positive growth in Q3 2020, compared to 13 activities in Q2 2020,” it added.

The statistics office said aggregate GDP stood at N39.09tn in nominal terms and N17.82tn in real terms in the period under review.

It said the average daily oil production recorded in Q3 dropped to 1.67 million barrels per day from 2.04 million bpd in the same quarter of 2019 and 1.81 million bpd in Q2 2020.

The oil sector contributed 8.73 per cent to total real GDP in Q3, down from 9.77 per cent and 8.93 per cent respectively recorded in Q3 2019 and Q2 2020.

The contribution of the non-oil sector to the GDP, however, increased to 91.27 in Q3 from 90.23 per cent in Q3 2019 and 91.07 per cent in Q2 2020.

The NBS said in August that the economic decline in Q2 was largely attributable to significantly lower levels of both domestic and international economic activities resulting from nationwide shutdown efforts aimed at containing the COVID-19 pandemic.

It said the contraction in Q2 brought to an end the three-year trend of low but positive real growth rates recorded since the 2016/17 recession.

The country has seen its debt, inflation and unemployment levels rise this year – a development many experts have described as worrisome.

Total public debt, constituting both the federal and state governments’ external and domestic debt, in the first half of 2020 stood at N31.01tn or 22.3 per cent of GDP, a sizeable increase of 20.6 per cent over its level at the end of June 2019, according to the Central Bank of Nigeria.

The CBN, in its half-year 2020 economic report, said total public debt outstanding was driven by rising fiscal deficits and associated borrowings, induced by low revenue inflow in the face of relatively high expenditure.

It said 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”.

Inflation rate in the country jumped to 14.23 per cent in October from 13.71 per cent in September, according to the NBS.

Analysts at Financial Derivatives Company Limited, led by Mr Bismarck Rewane, said the policy of restricting imports despite numerous impediments to local supply would remain a major driving factor for rising inflation in the coming months.

“The unrelenting rise in inflation coupled with a deeper contraction in Q3 GDP will make the outcome of the MPC (Monetary Policy Committee) meeting a tough call,” they said in their latest monthly economic update.

The MPC of the CBN will hold its next meeting on Monday and Tuesday.

The bureau said in August that unemployment rate rose to 27.1 per cent in Q2 2020 from the 23.1 per cent recorded in Q3 2018, while underemployment rate increased to 28.6 per cent from 20.1 per cent.

Last week, the Chairman of the Presidential Economic Advisory Council, Prof Doyin Salami, described the country’s economic challenge as “a very significant and potentially severe one, saying 19 million jobs needed to be created yearly to solve the unemployment problem.”

The Nigerian economy, which emerged from its first recession in 25 years in Q2 2017 when it posted a 0.7 per cent growth, had continued its slow recovery since then but the COVID-19 crisis made things worse.

 

Plot to pull down Tinubu will fail, says Fayose [THE NATION]

Former Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose, has said the many  subterranean plots to pull down the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, by some politicians in the southwest, will fail. He said this while also urging the Ondo State Deputy Governor, Agboola Ajayi, to return to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) with his supporters.

Fayose said he would never associate nor join the group of rebels to destroy Tinubu because the APC leader laboured for the country through his focused leadership which stimulated the growth of Yoruba socio-political space with some southwest politicians now occupying vantage leadership positions across the country. The PDP chieftain who spoke at his Afao-Ekiti countryhome in Ekiti State, noted that some politicians nurtured to political stardom by Tinubu are behind his travails on account of personal interest.

He noted that Southwest people would resist any attempts to ridicule Tinubu, whom he described as image of Yoruba nation, noting that any attack against the former Lagos State Governor is an attack on the entire Yoruba people. He stated that APC stalwart does not deserves to be crucified by his political mentees, saying he had sacrificed enormously to groom and raise them from political obscurity to limelight. Fayose said the conspiracy against the ex-governor which was part of strategies to divide and create confusion among the Yoruba people would fail, urging Yoruba sons and daughters to support and accord him the necessary regards.

“I am not championing the course of Tinubu. I am not in the position to do that, but there is no denying the fact that Tinubu is a prominent Yoruba leader, whether in APC or in PDP. Fayose is a prominent son of Yoruba nation. For me, Tinubu, has paid his dues, I stand by that. I have not seen Tinubu after the Ekiti election by any means. We haven’t even met at a function or see him passed. I will not sit down in any corner to shoot down Tinubu. I am not a member of APC and I will never be. But I supported Governor Fayemi to be governor by Tinubu’s influence at a time,” he said.

 

 

 

 

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