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IMF urges Nigeria to increase monetary reforms to boost balance of payments

The IMF has urged Nigeria to increase monetary reforms to boost balance of payment pressures.

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The International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission to Nigeria has advised that the country needs to embrace the broad market and exchange rate reforms to address recurrent Balance of Payment (BOP) pressures and raise the medium-term growth path.

The IMF mission stated this on Friday in a statement issued by Ms Jesmin Rahman, in Washington D.C at the conclusion of the virtual mission, which had been conducted from October 30 to November 17, in preparation of the 2020 Article IV Consultation with Nigeria.

Ms. Rahman disclosed that low crude oil prices this year, due to the covid-19 pandemic, had negatively affected Balance Of Payments (BOP) pressures, citing the lockdown measures which caused economic hardships in Nigeria.

She added that the IMF projected that Nigeria’s economy would shrink by 3.4% in 2020.

The recovery is projected to start in 2021, with subdued growth of 1.2 per cent and output recovering to its pre-pandemic level only in 2022,”she said.

“In spite of an expected easing of food prices, inflation is projected to remain in double-digits and above the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) target range and absent monetary policy reforms.”

She urged that the FG needed to do more in the area of monetary reforms to address BOP issues and improve short term growth.

“However, more needs to be done. Major policy adjustments embracing broad market and exchange rate reforms are needed to address recurrent BOP pressures and raise the medium-term growth path.

“A durable solution to Nigeria’s recurrent BOP problems requires recalibrating exchange rate policies to reduce it risks, instill market confidence and facilitate private sector planning.

“The adjustments in the official exchange rate made earlier this year are steps in the right direction and the mission recommended a multi-step transition to a more unified exchange rate regime, with a market-based, flexible exchange rate,” Rahman said.

She further said that significant revenue mobilisation, through tax policy and administration improvements, was required to create space for higher social spending and reduce fiscal risks and debt vulnerabilities.

She added that revenue mobilization through improved tax and administrative governance would be required to improve the Nigerian government’s revenues and reduce fiscal risks

“The mission also welcomed fiscal transparency measures introduced to facilitate tracking and reporting of budget emergency funding,” she said.

“The mission welcomed the recent submission of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) to the Parliament.

The Fiscal Framework chapter of the bill appropriately rebalances the government take in onshore and offshore production, with the aim of providing a fair share to the government while remaining attractive to investors,” she said.

What you should know 

  • It was reported in June that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) had announced that the Nigerian economy would witness a deeper contraction of 5.4% and not the 3.4% it projected in April 2020. But the global lender expected Nigeria’s economy to rebound by 2.6% in 2021. 
  • The World Bank also stated this week that the $1.5 billion loan to Nigeria was still in the works, and called for more monetary reforms going forward.
  • “That is why our shareholders and our management are still saying we recognise how much Nigeria has done, but for this $1.5 billion to really be a part of the larger effort to put Nigeria on a sound macro-fiscal footing going forward, there needs to be a little bit more” Shubham Chaudhuri, World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, said.
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VP Osinbajo calls for provision of capital to grow businesses for long term

The Vice President has stated that the banking sector plays a crucial role in promoting increased & inclusive growth in Nigeria.

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There is need to further deepen the provision of capital that will allow businesses to grow over the long term. This was disclosed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo during the Bankers Committee on Friday.

He commended the DMBs for their patriotic contributions to sustain growth but called for the need to further deepen the provision of capital that would allow businesses to grow over the long term.

“The banking sector plays a crucial role in promoting increased & inclusive growth in Nigeria. I commend #CBN for the forward-looking support for growth-related initiatives, especially under the economic sustainability plan,” he said.

What you should know

  • On Friday, VP Osinbajo had called for crypto regulation, knowing fully well the role crypto plays in the global financial ecosystem, as he opined that such disruption often made room for progress, according to Nairametrics.
  • Osinbajo also advised the SEC, and Central Bank of Nigeria to create a regulatory road map, while fully appreciating the stance of the CBN, Nigerian SEC, and law enforcement agencies on the possible abuses of crypto assets.
  • The vice president further stressed the important role cryptocurrencies would play in the coming years as they would most likely challenge traditional banking, including reserve banking, in ways the world hadn’t yet imagined. He thus stressed the need for Nigeria to be prepared for such a seismic shift.

 

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Sanwo-Olu says construction work on Fourth Mainland Bridge to start end of 2021

Governor Sanwo-Olu has disclosed that the foundation for the proposed 4th Mainland Bridge would be laid before the end of 2021.

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The Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has revealed that the foundation for the proposed Fourth Mainland Bridge would be laid before the end of the year 2021.

The execution of the bridge is geared towards improving the transport infrastructure and movement across the state.

According to a report from the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), this disclosure was made by Sanwo-Olu during the 16th Executive/Legislative Parley, with the theme: ”A Consensus Agenda for Rebuilding Lagos”, organised by the Office of Civic Engagement.

He pointed out that the promise to construct the Fourth Mainland Bridge is not a political one.

What the Lagos State Governor is saying

Sanwo-Olu during the interactive session said, ”We did not politically promise Fourth Mainland Bridge but we are going to do Fourth Mainland Bridge.

”With your prayers and by the grace of Almighty God, we shall turn the sod and lay the foundation for the building and construction of that Fourth Mainland Bridge before the end of this year.

”We are on course and I am sure that the 37km ring road is on track, which will change the face of transportation and movement in Lagos,” the governor said.

The governor also disclosed that his administration was on course to complete the Blue Line and Red Line rail projects which were started several years back, saying the project will be completed and trains will move on the two rail lines before the end of his administration.

He said, ”It is a commitment that we have given to Lagosians and it is a commitment that we will see will come to fruition because we have finished the financial closure and we are excited about that project.’

Speaking at the event, the Special Adviser, Office Of Civic Engagement, Princess Aderemi Adebowale, said that the executive and legislature would discuss extensively the theme of the retreat, “A Consensus Agenda for Rebuilding Lagos”.

While saying that the discussion in the next 48 hours would help to fast track the rebuilding of the state, Adebowale said that they would delve deeply into issues such as Youth Leadership Role, Grassroots Development: a catalyst for growth, and Role of Social Media in Nation Building, among others.

What you should know

  • It can be recalled that the Lagos State Government has shortlisted 6 companies for the design, development, construction, operation, and maintenance of the Fourth Mainland Bridge.
  • This followed the government’s issuance of a Request for Qualification (RFQ) in February this year. The 6 companies were said to have completed the technical and financial capacity requirements.
  • Lagos State said it will announce the selection of the next stage in due course, even as the RFQ will be given to the pre-qualified bidders.
  • The Fourth Mainland Bridge is a 37.4km freeway subdivided into three sections namely Island Section, Lagoon Section and Mainland Section. It will commence from Abraham Adesanya Roundabout in Lekki through Ajah and Langbasa areas, crossing the Ado Badore Road before arriving at the Lagoon shoreline.
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Lagos to totally close Third Mainland Bridge again ahead of full reopening

Lagos State Government has announced a 24hour closure of the Third Mainland Bridge from midnight Friday, February 26.

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The Lagos State Government has announced that it will shut down the Third Mainland Bridge for 24 hours from midnight Friday, February 26 to midnight Saturday, February 27.

The expected total closure of the bridge is to enable the contractors to move the equipment used for its rehabilitation and maintenance ahead of the full reopening of both the Oworonshoki and Adeniji bound lanes open to traffic.

The disclosure is contained in a statement issued by the Lagos State Commissioner for Transportation on Wednesday, February 24, 2021.

Oladeinde, therefore, advised motorists approaching the Third Mainland bridge from Ogudu, Alapere and Gbagada to use Ikorodu Road, Jibowu and Yaba, as alternative routes, while Iyana Oworoshoki-bound traffic from Lagos-Island, Iddo, Oyingbo, Adekunle and Yaba are to use Herbert Macaulay Way, Jibowu and Ikorodu Road as alternative routes.

The Commissioner assured that traffic management personnel would be deployed along the affected routes to minimize the impact of the shutdown and address any traffic impediments during the closure.

He was also full of commendation for Lagosians for their cooperation during the prolonged repair works of the bridge and assured that the bridge is now safe for use by everybody.

What you should know

  • The Federal Government had on July 24, 2020, announced the partial shutdown of the Third Mainland Bridge for a period of 6 months for another round of rehabilitation works.
  • This was extended by an extra one month due to disruption caused by the #EndSARS protests last year, when the re-opening date moved to February 15, 2021.
  • The Federal Government later announced that the bridge, which was to reopen on February 15 will no longer be opened as work was expected to commence on the casting of the last expansion joint on the bridge before it will be finally reopened.
  • The 11.8km bridge, which was commissioned in 1990 by the then Military President, Ibrahim Babangida, is the longest of the 3 bridges connecting Lagos Island to the Mainland.
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