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Nigeria among countries to be worst hit by food crisis globally

Nigeria, others were listed as countries with the worst deteriorations in acute hunger in recent months.

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Nigeria has emerged as one of the countries to be most hit by food crisis across the globe in the face of the coronavirus pandemic which had worsened the already bad situation.

This disclosure is contained in a report by the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

The report from the FAO also shows that the Democratic Republic of Congo is emerging as the country with the world’s largest food crisis in terms of absolute numbers, with Burkina Faso listed as the country with the worst deteriorations in acute hunger in recent months.

The food crisis is made worse in Nigeria by the longstanding religious and ethnic conflicts and even organized crimes by some bandits, which has greatly affected farmers working on their farmlands.

In addition to these, the farmers were already contending with the issue of flooding or drought, which has negatively been impacting on the agricultural sector in a period the country is desperate and very desirous of economic diversification. The coronavirus pandemic has triggered a surge in food prices as can be seen in the reports released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), in a country that imports over 10% of its food supply.

With a population of over 200 million people, Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa, which is regarded as the world’s most food-insecure continent. This is made worse as importers of food items struggle to gain access to dollars for their imports due to scarcity of foreign exchange which is triggered by the crash of oil prices and low foreign inflow.

This is expected to be exacerbated by the recent order by President Muhammadu Buhari to the Central Bank of Nigeria, to stop the allocation of foreign exchange to importers of food items.

The Governor of Niger State, Abubakar Sani Bello, warned in April, “We are heading toward famine and starvation.”

The FAO report which states that Congo has about 21.8 million people that are acutely food insecure, also points out that Burkina Faso has witnessed an almost 300% uptick in the overall number of people experiencing acute hunger since the start of 2020.

 

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Coronavirus

COVID-19: 4 million doses of AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine to arrive in Nigeria soon

The NPHCDA has disclosed that 4 million out of the expected 16million doses of AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine will soon arrive in Nigeria.

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The CEO of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr. Faisal Shuaib has stated that the first batch of the 4 million AstraZeneca vaccines is set to arrive Nigeria.

This was disclosed in a social media statement by the FG on Monday evening.

“As of today, Purchase Orders have been raised by UNICEF Supply Division for the Astrazeneca vaccine. Under normal circumstances, with routine immunization vaccines, it takes 2 weeks from when the Purchase Order is raised to when we receive the vaccine in Nigeria,” Dr. Shuaib said.

He added that the process order would be fastened to ensure availability in a week.

“However, because this is an emergency situation, we have been informed by UNICEF that this process will be fast-tracked to potentially ensure the vaccines arrive Nigeria within 1 week. As soon as we receive confirmation on date of arrival, we’ll inform Nigerians.

“We have also been informed that 4 million out of the 16million doses of AstraZeneca/Oxford COVID-19 vaccine will arrive in the first batch of supplies to the country,” he added.

What you should know 

Recall It was reported earlier this month that the NPHCDA said Nigeria is no longer expecting the 100,000 doses of the Pfizer/BIONtech vaccine through the COVAX facility but has been allocated about 16 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

  • Fayemi had earlier revealed that about 80 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines will soon be made available in the country, to immunize 40% of the Nigerian population this year.
  • The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, had earlier announced that the first batch of 15 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines, which is from AstraZeneca under the COVAX programme, is expected to be available from February.
  • This is coming after the African Union (AU)’s African Vaccines had allocated 42 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines to Nigeria.
  • Also, the Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Faisal Shuaib, said the Nigerian government expected over 41 million vaccines from the African Union before the end of April, as it also expected to source vaccines from India and Russia.
  • The Federal Government had earlier announced that Nigeria was about to receive 1.4 million doses of vaccines donated by MTN.
  • The UK Government has revealed that the Global Vaccine Alliance (GAVI) had announced that Nigeria would be one of the first countries to receive 16 million free doses of Covid-19 vaccines through the COVAX Global Vaccines Facility.
  • BUA Group revealed that it had purchased a million doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines for Nigeria, with delivery to be made soon.
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ECONOMY & POLITICS

Reps say implementation of capital projects must be result-oriented

The House of Reps has called on the FG to ensure the implementation of capital projects contained in the 2020 budget.

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The House of Representatives has called on the Federal Government to ensure that the extension for implementation of capital projects in the 2020 budget is matched by visible and identifiable results.

This was disclosed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, during the visit of the Finance Minister, Zainab Ahmed, to the National Assembly on Monday.

The Speaker described the level of implementation of the 2020 budget as the highest recorded since Nigeria’s return to democracy in 1999.

He said, “The extension for implemntation of capital projects in the 2020 budget must be matched by visible and identifiable results needed to achieve quantifiable development and growth.

“Let me commend the minister and her team for the level of implementation throughout last year. It was really high, probably the highest we have seen in a long time; if not in history, in recent times, but we wanted to achieve a hundred per cent and we are on the same page.”

According to him, “We are basically trying to make sure social development and growth for the country are achieved optimally.

“It’s not a usual thing to extend the life of your budget – a budget is supposed to be for a year. So, if we do that which is not the norm, we expect there’ll be a result, and it will not just be an extension for the sake of it. There’ll be visible, identifiable results,” the Speaker added.

Briefing the lawmakers on the performance of the 2020 budget, the Finance Minister said that the Federal Government retained revenue was N3.94 trillion which represents 73% of the target for the year.

What you should know

  • The Federal Government’s share of the oil revenue was N1.5 trillion which represents 157% performance over and above the prorated target for 2020.
  • This is because the crude oil price performed better than the 28 dollars per barrel that it had projected.
  • The collection was 1.28million barrels per day representing 79 per cent performance of the revised target.
  • Company income tax performed at 82 per cent and 68 per cent respectively of the target for the year.

Customs revenue performance was 79 per cent. Other revenue, which includes Independent Revenue, was budgeted at N993.73 billion. The performance was N519.36 billion.

“Considering the challenges of the year, this is a reasonably good performance, in fact, this performance is higher than several previous years backwards.

“At the close of the year, we had released 89 per cent of the capital budget, and what we rolled over was only the un-utilized portion of the budget and it is that un-utilized portion that we are now tracking the performance and that by the end of January, performance of in-utilized portion is about 30%,” Ahmed stated.

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ECONOMY & POLITICS

2020 budget performance: FG achieves 89% capital release in December 2020

The Minister of Finance has revealed that the FG achieved 89% release of the capital component of the 2020 budget to MDAs as of December 2020.

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The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, has revealed that the Federal Government achieved 89% release of the capital component of the 2020 budget to Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) as of December 2020.

She said that the 89% capital funding for MDAs was achieved with the release of N1.74 trillion.

According to a report by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), this disclosure was made by Ahmed at an interactive session with the leadership of the National Assembly on Monday, February 22, 2021.

She also revealed that the government had disbursed N118.37 billion for Covid-19 capital expenditure from the fund.

What the Minister for Finance is saying

Ahmed said the Nigerian economy faced serious challenges in 2020, with the macroeconomic environment significantly disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

She said this led to a 65% drop in projected net 2020 government revenues from the oil and gas sector, which adversely affected foreign exchange inflows into the economy.

On the delayed release of funds to implement the 2020 capital budget until March 31, the Minister said the complaint had decreased.

She said, “I think the complaint was earlier in the year when we were trying to transfer the balances. As far as I know, in the past three weeks, I haven’t heard any such complaints and we have been able to address them.

“But when we started the transfers, we couldn’t transfer to some agencies because of some limitations in the system, but we have since been able to transfer the capital component that is being utilised by the agencies budget to the system.

While pointing out that the implementation of the MDAs projects was tied to procurement processes and capacity of the MDA, Ahmed also said the extension of the 2020 capital budget implementation to March 31 had recorded 30% performance as at January.

However, Ahmed said that she expected that the extension would record 100% performance in March.

Speaking during the interaction, the Senate’s Chief Whip, Senator Orji-Uzor Kalu, commended the Minister on the capital performance of the 2020 budget.

He said, “I want to commend the minister and her team because this is the first time in the history of Nigeria that by December 31, we are having 89% performance expenditure of the budget. It has never happened before; Last year was the very first.

“The budget had been going 49%, 27%; this means from what the Senate President was asking, it means by March, we should be looking at implementing the budget 100%.’

Earlier, President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan said the meeting was to get an update on the capital implementation of the 2020 budget given its extension for implementation by the national assembly to March 31.

What this means

  • The 89% capital release for the 2020 budget as of December 2020 is quite encouraging as it occurred despite the economic challenges and disruption caused by the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
  • There seems to be an improved effort by the Federal Government at the budgeting process with the early passage of the 2021 budget and the implementation of the capital component of the 2020 budget.
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