It’d be Shameful for Nigeria to Witness Another Recession—Reps

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By Modupe Gbadeyanka

The House of Representatives has said it would be a shame for Nigeria to record another economic recession in four years.

In the second quarter of 2016, just over a year into the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, the nation slipped into an economic crisis.

The major driver of this was the incessant attacks on oil installations in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria, which significantly reduced the volume of crude produced by the country.

It took the intervention of the Vice President, Mr Yemi Osinbajo, who held talks with leaders of the region, to bring things back to normal and a year later, Nigeria was out of recession.

In the second quarter of 2020, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which measures economic activities, declined by 6.1 per cent.

One of the major reasons for the loss was due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced the government to shut down the economy. In addition, the decline in the price of crude oil at the international market contributed to the economic crisis, which reduced earnings of the government.

It is already being projected that Nigeria will suffer another decline in GDP and then drag the nation into the second recession under the administration of Mr Buhari.

On Thursday, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) was before the House Committee on Capital Market to defend their budget estimate for the 2021 fiscal year.

During the event, Chairman of the committee, Mr Babangida Ibrahim, stated that more efforts must be put in place to ensure financial projections are realised because according to him, “it would be a shame for the nation to go back to recession.”

While calling for a realistic budget that can be achieved on behalf of Nigerians, the lawmaker assured SEC that the committee was committed to ensuring that it succeeds and that depending on the economic realities of the year 2021, SEC could come back to the committee for an upward review of its estimates if the year turns out more favourable, business-wise.

The committee also called for better government policies to boost market confidence and participation.

In a presentation, the Director-General of SEC, Mr Lamido Yuguda, admitted that the COVID-19 pandemic adversely affected its efforts under the 2020 appropriation as its revenue was directly generated from market participation, not from government coffers.

He said as a direct result of the pandemic, markets had to shut down, a development that caused huge revenue losses for many months.

Mr Yuguda told the committee that as of November 2020, the commission’s 2020 budget revenue achievements stood at 70 per cent of its projection, while securities registration is at 84 per cent achievement for the same period.

He said the 2021 budget proposal was drafted under difficult conditions as a result of the lockdown, which caused serious operational revenue and manpower shortfall.

The DG revealed that SEC has been running on a deficit as a result of the capital market meltdown of 2008/2009 as many companies lost confidence in the capital market. The market had been steadily reviving before the COVID-19 pandemic dealt a huge blow to it, he added.

SEC, he said, has not been able to recruit staff for a long time due to these financial shortfalls and that it is looking for other ways of generating revenue such as the regulation of digital trading, international collaborations, commodities exchanges and the strengthening of its training institute to be of international standard to generate funds, especially continentally.

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