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Some Public Commentators Make Baseless Assertions – Osinbajo

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images 18 2 Some Public Commentators Make Baseless Assertions - Osinbajo

Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo on Friday regretted that some public commentators make baseless assertions on the economy.
He, therefore, stressed the need for academics to be more involved in conversations that would deepen public knowledge and understanding of the economy.
According to a statement by his spokesman, Laolu Akande, the Vice President spoke in his keynote at the 61st annual conference of the Nigerian Economic Society with the theme, ‘African Continental Free Trade Area in post COVID-19 era: What next for Nigeria?’
Akande’s statement was titled, ‘Africa should use AfCFTA as template for trade negotiations with rest of the world, says Osinbajo.’
He quoted Osinbajo as calling on members of NES to be more engaged in public policy debates.
He said, “I find it every often that some public commentators make assertions that have no basis in economic theory or practice, and because they dominate the public space, they contribute to public misunderstanding of economic principles and their application to public policy.
“Some of you should take up the gauntlet and help to shape an informed and reasoned national discourse on the economy.”
Osinbajo noted that as African countries brace up for the implementation of AfCFTA agreement, efforts must be made to ensure that trade negotiations with the rest of the world are based on the free trade agreement rather than deals separately endorsed by regional economic blocs.
This, he said, was one of the ways by which the continent could maximise the benefits of the agreement.
He said, “One important objective of the AfCFTA is to overcome the economic fragmentation of the continent by bringing the regional economic blocs together in a common arrangement.
“This being the case, African countries should look to negotiating trade treaties with other parts of the world on the basis of AfCFTA rather than through arbitrarily designed regional blocs.
“African countries should not allow themselves to be lured into arrangements which do not serve their long-term development objectives.
“We must, of course, continue to bear in mind, especially here in Nigeria that the AfCFTA is not a magic wand that automatically brings about growth and prosperity.
“The reality is that if care is not taken, trade liberalisation can expose the Nigerian economy to unfair competition and sharp trade practices, with adverse consequences for our producers who might have to close down their businesses, and for our workers who would then lose their jobs.”
Osinbajo said the successful implementation of the AfCFTA required financing to address various implementation challenges and to promote arrangements in support of integration.

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We’ll pursue expansion policies to fight recession – CBN

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images 2020 09 28T102905.858 We’ll pursue expansion policies to fight recession – CBN

The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria , Mr Godwin Emefiele, has said the bank will pursue expansionary monetary policies to fight recession because the fiscal policy was already constrained .
Emefiele said this was necessary to curb the rising inflation and address recession in the economy .
He said this was part of the resolutions of the Monetary Policy Committee meeting held last week.
He said , “ The committee was therefore of the view that to abate the pressure, it had no choice but to pursue an expansionary monetary policy using development finance policy tools , targeted at raising output and aggregate supply to moderate the rate of inflation .
“ At present , fiscal policy is constrained and so cannot , on its own, lift the economy out of contraction or recession, given the paucity of funds arising from weak revenue base , current low crude oil prices , lack of fiscal buffers and high burden of debt services .
“ Therefore , monetary policy must continue to provide massive support through its development finance activities to achieve growth in the Nigerian economy . ”
He said the MPC was confronted by policy dilemma .
He said though the MPC felt the primacy of its price and monetary stability mandate , it nevertheless was confronted with what policy direction to focus on, given the contraction in output growth during the second quarter of 2020.
According to Emefiele, the Q 2 contraction may lead to a recession, if the third quarter of 2020 output growth numbers further show a contraction .
“ It is , therefore , of the view that , if a recession occurs in Q3 , the committee would be confronted with proposing policy options in a period of stagflation , ” he said .
The CBN governor said this was because with the recent removal of subsidy on fuel price , the increase in energy prices , and the adjustment of the exchange rate, inflationary pressure would no doubt persist unless MPC considers options that would deal with the pressure aggressively .
He said this was the reason the MPC would continue to play a dominant role in the achievement of the goals of the Economic Sustainability Programme through its interventionist role to navigate the country towards a direction that would boost output growth and moderate the level of inflation .
Emefiele said given that the currency adjustment was a causal factor in determining the price of petroleum products and energy prices, the MPC believed that the CBN management must take bold actions to stabilise the exchange rate.
He said the CBN was further enjoined by the MPC to continue to provide funding to sectors that would resolve the supply constraints in petrol pricing , energy pricing and food availability.

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Sokoto State Government Disbands State Sharia Court

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images 2020 09 28T102117.245 Sokoto State Government Disbands State Sharia Court

Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal has disbanded the Sokoto State Hisbah police and halted all its activities over alleged power tuzzle and factionalization.
The Hisbah board in the state has been rocked by crisis for so many years as three persons have been simultaneously claiming to be leaders of the committee without the government’s approval.
A statement issued on Saturday, September 26, by the Special Adviser to the Governor on Media and Publicity, Muhammad Bello, said a 36-men committee was inaugurated by the Governor to re-organize and harmonize the activities of Hisbah in the state.
The committee is led by the Wazirin Sokoto, Prof. Sambo Wali Junaid, Secretary the Permanent Secretary in the state’s Cabinet Affairs office, Alhaji Bande Rikina as the secretary.
Other members comprise of Islamic scholars, security agents, representatives of the Sultanate Council, civil society groups, the Ministry of Religious Affairs, the Ministry for Justice, Women in Daawa, the Federation of Muslim Women Associations of Nigeria (FOMWAN), the Muslim Students Society (MSS) among others.
Speaking at the event, Governor Tambuwal said the inauguration of the committee became necessary because of the need to have a legitimate structure that will perform the activities of the Hisba according to law.
He charged the committee to look at the law establishing the Hisbah in the state in order to come out with a comprehensive report on what its statutory roles are.
In his acceptance speech, the Chairman of the committee, Prof. Junaid thanked the government for finding them worthy to serve it.
He said they will do everything humanly possible to carry out their assignment effectively .
Waziri added that in the course of their assignment they will consult the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar and other stakeholders for further advise and inputs.

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Orji: Second Niger Bridge Has Achieved 57% Completion Rate

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images 2020 09 28T101148.628 Orji: Second Niger Bridge Has Achieved 57% Completion Rate

The Managing Director of the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA), Mr. Uche Orji has disclosed that the ongoing construction of the Second Niger Bridge has achieved a completion rate of 57 per cent.

Speaking during an interview at the weekend, he expressed optimism that the project would be completed in 2022.

“Work is going on at the second Niger Bridge and it is over 57 per cent completed. It is a public-private partnership. The Ministry of Works awarded that contract, but the full concession agreement would be signed very soon that would hand it over to the NSIA,” he explained.

According to him, the NSIA would also be fully involved in the proposed InfraCo by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), which also would involve the Africa Finance Corporation.

Orji said the proposed infrastructure company which has been approved by the President, would be a vehicle to support the development of infrastructure in the country.

Commenting on how the pandemic affected the operations of the NSIA, Orji said: “Year-to-date, many things have affected our programmes and our plans. I don’t think anybody I know has executed the plan they had. Whatever they planned to do in terms of project in February or March, has not happened and if they have done, it would have been different from whatever the intention was.

“On the Infrastructure Fund, we have executed a lot of projects and we have done very well. In our healthcare projects, we have commissioned two diagnostic centres, one in Kano and another in Umuahia. We have many more projects in the pipeline and over the next 12 months we expect to execute three more of such projects – one in Abuja and we are yet to decide on the centre for the other two.

“In terms of healthcare, we have 14 projects. Along with The Global Citizen, we have created the Nigeria Solidarity Support Fund, which is a fund that is going to be used in developing the healthcare centre. This is a fund owned by Global Citizen and the NSIA is the fund manager.

“In agriculture, we have a number of interventions and we are the manager of the Presidential Fertiliser Initiative (PFI). We also have a demonstration farm in Nassarawa State and a couple of others. Our PFI suffered the full impact of Covid-19, such that transportation was affected. Things are back to normalcy now, but it affected during that period.”

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