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Nigeria’s Exit from Recession Sweetens Presidency

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Nigeria’s Exit from Recession Sweetens Presidency

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

The announcement today by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) that Nigeria has officially exited recession has gladdened the Presidency.

A statement issued today by Mr Laolu Akande, spokesperson to Vice President, Mr Yemi Osinbajo, said the Buhari administration welcomes news with cautious optimism.

Mr Akande promised that the present administration will continue to drive Nigeria’s economic growth by vigorously implementing the Economic Recovery & Growth Plan (ERGP) launched earlier this year by President Muhammadu Buhari.

He further said the overall economic plan and direction of the administration has resulted, among others, in sustained restoration of oil production levels, (occasioned by the enhanced security and stability in the Niger Delta) sustained growth in agriculture, mining and the first growth recorded in industry as a whole in the last nine quarters since fourth quarter of 2014.

Quoting the Special Adviser on Economic Affairs to the President, Mr Adeyemi Dipeolu, the statement noted that the GDP figures give grounds for cautious optimism especially as inflation has continued to fall from 18.72 percent in January 2017 to 16.05 percent in July 2017.

Mr Dipeolu added that, “Foreign exchange reserves have similarly improved from a low of $24.53 billion in September 2016 to about $31 billion in August 2017.

“In the same vein capital importation grew by 95 percent year-on-year driven by portfolio and other investments but also notably by foreign direct investment which increased by almost 30 percent over the previous quarter.

According to the President’s aide, “Overall, the end of the recession is welcome but economic growth remains fragile and vulnerable to exogenous shocks or policy slippages.

“Accordingly, it remains essential to intensify efforts going forward on the implementation of the ERGP to achieve desired outcomes including sustained inclusive growth, further diversification of the economy, creation of jobs and improved business conditions.”

Today, the stats office said in the second quarter of this year (Q2 2017), the economy grew in by 0.55 percent from -0.91 percent in Q1 2017 and -1.49 percent in Q2 2016.

This in effect means that the Nigerian economy has exited recession after five successive quarters of contraction.

Below is the full statement released by the Presidency on Tuesday in reaction to the news of the exit from recession.

The Buhari administration welcomes news of Nigeria’s exit from recession with cautious optimism and will continue to drive Nigeria’s economic growth by vigorously implementing the Economic Recovery & Growth Plan launched earlier this year by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The overall economic plan and direction of the administration has resulted, among others, in sustained restoration of oil production levels, (occasioned by the enhanced security and stability in the Niger Delta) sustained growth in agriculture, mining and the first growth recorded in industry as a whole in the last nine quarters since Q4 2014.

Below Is A Statement By Special Adviser On Economic Adviser To The President, Dr. Adeyemi Dipeolu On The 2nd Quarter 2017 Figures Just Released By The National Bureau Of Statistics

The figures released by the National Bureau of Statistics for the second quarter of this year (Q2 2017) show that the economy grew in Q2 2017 by 0.55% from -0.91% in Q1 2017 and -1.49% in Q2 2016. This in effect means that the Nigerian economy has exited recession after five successive quarters of contraction.

This positive growth is attributable to both the oil and non-oil sectors of the economy. Growth in the oil sector which has been negative since Q4 2015 was positive in Q2 2017. It rose by 1.64% as compared to -15.60 in Q1 2017, an increase of up to 17 percentage points. This improvement is partly due to the fact that oil prices which have improved slightly from the lows of last year have been relatively steady as well as the fact that production levels were being restored.

The non-oil sector grew by 0.45% in Q2 2017, a second successive quarterly growth after growing 0.72% in Q1 2017. This increase which was not quite as strong as it was in Q2 2016 reflects continuing fragility of economic conditions. However, given that nearly 60% of the non-oil sectors contribution to GDP is influenced by the oil sector, growth in the oil sector will help boost the rest of the economy.

The positive growth seen in agriculture when the rest of the economy was contracting was maintained at 3.01% which is encouraging especially if seasonal factors are taken into account. Manufacturing growth was also positive at 0.64% and although lower than the previous quarter’s growth of 1.36%, it was an a noticeable improvement over the -3.36% experienced in Q2 2016 and a continuation of the turnaround of the sector. Solid minerals which remain a priority of the Administration also continued to grow and in Q2 2016 by 2.24%.

Overall, industry as a whole grew by 1.45% in Q2 2017 after nine successive quarters of contraction starting in Q4 2014. This positive development was somewhat overshadowed by the continued decline in the services sector which accounts for 53.7% of GDP. Nevertheless, electricity and gas as well as financial institutions grew by 35.5% and 11.78% respectively in Q2 2017.

The GDP figures give grounds for cautious optimism especially as inflation has continued to fall from 18.72% in January 2017 to 16.05% in July 2017. Foreign exchange reserves have similarly improved from a low of $24.53 in September 2016 to about $31 billion in August 2017. In the same vein capital importation grew by 95% year-on-year driven by portfolio and other investments but also notably by foreign direct investment which increased by almost 30% over the previous quarter.

Foreign trade has also contributed to improving economic conditions with exports amounting to N3.1 trillion in Q2 2017 while imports which increased by 13.5% amounted to N2.5 trillion in the same period. The overall trade balance thus remained positive at N0.60 trillion.

Unemployment however remains relatively high but job creation is expected to improve as businesses and employers increasingly respond more positively to the significantly improving business environment and favorable economic outlook.

Besides, as key sectoral reforms in both oil and non-oil sectors gain traction, the successful implementation of ERGP initiatives such as N-Power and the social housing scheme will boost job creation.

Food inflation also bears watching as it has remained quite high and volatile due mostly to high transport costs and seasonal factors such as the planting season. Investments in road and rail infrastructures, increased supply and availability of fertilizers and improvements in the business environment should contribute to the easing of food prices.

Overall, the end of the recession is welcome but economic growth remains fragile and vulnerable to exogenous shocks or policy slippages. Accordingly, it remains essential to intensify efforts going forward on the implementation of the ERGP to achieve desired outcomes including sustained inclusive growth, further diversification of the economy, creation of jobs and improved business conditions.”

Modupe Gbadeyanka is a fast-rising journalist with Business Post Nigeria. Her passion for journalism is amazing. She is willing to learn more with a view to becoming one of the best pen-pushers in Nigeria. Her role models are the duo of CNN's Richard Quest and Christiane Amanpour.

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Economy

Investors Trapped as Standard Alliance, Niger Insurance Lose Operating Licences

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Standard Alliance Niger Insurance

By Dipo Olowookere

The operating licences of Standard Alliance Insurance Plc and Niger Insurance Plc have been revoked by the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM).

Although no specific reason was given for the withdrawal of the licences of the underwriting firms, the regulatory agency for the insurance sector in Nigeria disclosed that the revocation became effective Tuesday, June 21, 2022.

“This is to notify all insurance stakeholders and members of the public that the National Insurance Commission has cancelled the certificates of registration of Standard Alliance Insurance Plc, RIC – 091 and Niger Insurance Plc, RIC – 029 with effect from the 21st day of June 2022,” a statement issued on Tuesday, June 28, 2022, by the Head of Corporate Communications and Market Development at NAICOM, Mr Rasaaq Salami, stated.

In the meantime, the two insurance companies would be run by receivers/liquidators announced by the agency.

“The commission has appointed Sanya Ogunkuade Esq of Plot 217, Upper Grace Plaza, 3rd Floor (Left Wing), Shetima Munguno Crescent, Behind Julius Berger Equipment Yard, Utako, Abuja as the receiver/liquidator for Niger Insurance Plc, while Kehinde Aina Esq of Aina Blankson LP, 5/7, Ademola Street, SW Ikoyi, Lagos has been appointed the receiver/liquidator for Standard Alliance Insurance Plc,” the statement further said.

Concluding, NAICOM advised all stakeholders “to forward their enquiries to the respective receiver/liquidator for each company for their necessary action,” assuring them “of the safety and protection of their interests.”

Business Post reports that Standard Alliance and Niger Insurance are both listed on the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited and with this action of NAICOM, shareholders of the firms are trapped as they may not be able to recoup their investments in the companies.

Shares of the insurance companies closed flat at 20 kobo each today, with investors trading 1,530 units of Niger Insurance shares on Monday and no trade recorded for Standard Alliance Insurance as it has been on suspension since July 2019, according to data obtained by this newspaper from the exchange on Tuesday.

Niger Insurance has shares outstanding of 7,739,479,368 units and a market capitalisation of N1.6 billion, while Standard Alliance Insurance has 12,911,030,586 units valued at N2.6 billion.

Both companies will have their stocks delisted from the bourse in the coming days.

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Economy

Nigeria Must Adopt Dual Circulation Economy to Prosper—Sekibo

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Ifie Sekibo dual circulation economy

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

The Managing Director of Heritage Bank Plc, Mr Ifie Sekibo, has advised the federal government to adopt a dual circulation economic strategy like China to attain prosperity.

A dual circulation economy involves growing exports and expanding domestic demands from locally produced items by building higher consumption almost at the same time.

For Mr Sekibo, this strategy will work well in Nigeria because the country has the population to soak the pressure.

Speaking at an event organised by The Men’s League of Christ Church Port Harcourt, Rivers State, he also stressed that the government must address security challenges and leadership issues as they remain very critical for the success of the economic model.

At the programme themed What do Nigerians Want,? Mr Sekibo said, “On a higher note, I think one of the things that we need to achieve as a country is the issue of functional and value-adding identity management, which is still far away from us, although, some people know that we have BVN, NIMC and a few other identity capture systems they have not been as functional and value-adding, like the social security number that most people in advanced economies carry.”

The Heritage Bank chief, who was represented by the Divisional Head of Strategy and Business Solutions of the bank, Mr Segun Akanji, further explained that to achieve a prosperous economy, Nigeria needs to find ways and means by policies to build a dual circulation economy which thrives on three pillars.

According to him, the country needs to focus on building a dual circulation economy where it can expand domestic production and demand by making sure that the masses are employed.

“We need to make our people productive and stop putting subsidies in unproductive zones. When you give subsidies to people with inadequate or no income, they really cannot add value to the economy, and money has a way of flowing away due to the import of consumables from other countries and because of this, a larger portion of every consumption or cash given as subsidy gets out of the country,” Mr Sekibo stated while delivering a paper titled The Economy Nigeria Needs to Break Forth.

The bank’s helmsman further explained that to expand the domestic production, the government must give the private sector support to drive employment creation, technology, which is riding on innovation and manufacturing must be in place and, the population which is an added advantage must be well educated.

He highlighted the need to examine how the country could add value to primary production for global export, emphasizing on reduction of over-dependence on foreign markets but rather increasing local production for export, whilst also increasing demand for local products.

Mr Sekibo further affirmed that if states could function as proper federating units and take the lead of the competitive comparative advantages therein, wealth creation would be achieved that would bring about the desired changes.

Also speaking at the event, the former Governor of Anambra State and presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP) in the 2023 general elections, Mr Peter Obi, agreed with Mr Sekibo that the country must address the issues of insecurity and leadership deficiency in order to prosper.

He lamented the huge indebtedness of the country, which he blamed on unproductivity due to the inimical situation of a high unemployment rate resulting in over 80 million Nigerians being jobless.

According to him, cumulative failure of the government over the years plunged Nigeria into insecurity, noting that other factors include the failure to migrate from sharing formula to production formula and lack of will to transform the power sector and the need to focus and support the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

On his part, a clergyman, Pastor Ituah Ighodalo, harped on the need for leadership change, arguing that what the country needs now are leaders who have a vision and are ready to sacrifice for the common man, stating, “things must be done differently”.

Also speaking, Prof. Oyelowo Oyewo submitted that the police, power provision and railway must be decentralised as this will make states to be less dependence on the centre.

He maintained that regions are closer to the people and will boost security, the economy and the sense of belonging by the populace. He also identified data and planning as key factors in ensuring that programmes are tailored towards the people.

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Economy

$13bn Trans-Saharan Gas Pipeline to Boost Nigeria’s Gas Exports

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Trans-Saharan Gas Pipeline

By Adedapo Adesanya

Nigeria is set to boost its gas development initiative through exports to Europe after reaching a new milestone in further opening the domestic and regional gas market via the construction of the multi-billion Trans-Saharan Gas Pipeline (TSGP) alongside Algeria and Niger.

The oil ministers of the three countries — Mr Mahamane Sani Mahamadou, Minister of Petroleum for the Republic of Niger, Mr Mohamed Arkab, Minister of Energy and Mines, Algeria, and Mr Timipre Sylva, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources of Nigeria as well as the Director Generals of national oil companies (NOCs) of the three African countries met to discuss the implementation of the TSGP on June 20, 2022, in Abuja.

During the meeting, which follows the signing of the Niamey Declaration during the 3rd Forum of the Economic Community of West African States in February 2022, parties established a task force and roadmap for the development of the TSGP.

It was disclosed that the TSGP project will mark a new era of improved regional cooperation in Africa, enhancing gas monetization and exports while scaling up exports to Europe via Algeria.

Not only will the $13 billion project drive socioeconomic growth by unlocking massive investments across the energy sector, but it will also help create jobs in various industries including energy, petrochemicals and manufacturing whilst optimizing energy production and positioning Africa as a global energy hub.

A steering committee made up of the three Ministers and Director Generals of the NOCs, established during the two-day meeting, will be responsible for updating the feasibility study for TSGP and will meet at the end of July 2022 in Algiers to discuss how to progress with the TSGP project.

With energy poverty increasing across the African continent due to limited investments in energy projects, delays in exploration, production and infrastructure rollout, the COVID-19 pandemic, and global energy transition-related policies, the TSGP project will bring in a new era of energy reliability for Africa.

With the 4,128 km pipeline running from Warri in Nigeria to Hassi R’Mel in Algeria via Niger, the pipeline will not only create a direct connection between Nigeria and Algeria’s gas fields to European markets but will bring significant benefits to Nigeria.

The pipeline will enable up to 30 billion cubic meters of natural gas to be traded yearly enhancing regional and international energy trade.

With gas emerging as the energy of the future, the TSGP project will play a critical role in positioning Nigeria, alongside Algeria and Niger, at the forefront of the energy transition.

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