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FG Committed to Poverty Eradication – SGF

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Minimum wage: FG inaugurates committee to adjust workers’ salaries
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Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha has reiterated Federal Government’s determination to eradicate poverty by creating enabling environment for businesses to strive.

He said this at the investiture of Obadiah Nkom, the newly elected president of the Nigeria Mining and Geosciences Society (NMGS) on Saturday in Abuja.

Nkom, also the Director-General of the Nigeria Mining Cadastre Office (MCO), was elected as the 30th President of NMGS in March, at its 55th Annal International Conference in Enugu.

The SGF, represented by Jumai Idakwo, however, added that the Federal Government would need the society to guide it on how best to utilise the country’s solid mineral deposits.

“We are of the view that the NMGS under the president and council will continue to suggest to government various ways and means to improve the current measures geared toward achieving this,” he said.

According to the SGF, this has become imperative, especially in the solid minerals, oil and gas, water and all allied sectors where the professionals in the society are major stakeholders.

He said that government on its part would continue to listen and engage the society at all times as partners in progress in the development of the various sectors of the country’s economy.

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Mustapha congratulated Nkom for emerging as the society’s president and wished him a successful tenure.

He noted that his election was a demonstration that the Federal Government was on point in selecting a professional that enjoyed the support and confidence of his professional colleagues as Director-General of the MCO.

“It is the hope and aspirations of government that all professionals in government would also enjoy this level of support and confidence from their colleagues in other sectors.

He expressed optimism that Nkom as president of the society, would engender the right synergy between those in government and those in the private sector.

This, he said, would ensure that whatever policy or programme that emanated from government was with the input of various sectors of the society.

The SGF acknowledged the collaborative reports received from the NMGS since the inception of President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration.

He added that members of the society had participated actively in developing the drafting of various policy documents that had led to the development of road maps in the solid minerals and water sectors.

According  to him, the society is also involved in several aspect of the implementation of the road maps.

“It is is the hope of government that the synergy and collaboration will be strengthened as we move forward,” he said.

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The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that governors of Kaduna,Taraba and Adamawa states were represented at the ceremony which was also attended by traditional rulers.

Economy

World Bank Announces Ajay Banga as Sole Nominee for President

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The World Bank Group’s Board of Executive Directors announced that Ajay Banga, a U.S. national, was the only nominee for the position of the next President of the bank.

This is contained in a statement issued by the World Bank  in Abuja on Friday.

“The World Bank Group’s Board of Executive Directors today confirmed that, as announced on Feb.

  22, the period for submitting nominations for the position of the next President of the World Bank Group closed on Wednesday at 6:00 pm ET.

“The board received one nomination and would like to announce that Ajay Banga, a U.

S. national, will be considered for the position.

“In accordance with established procedures, the Board of Executive Directors will conduct a formal interview with the candidate in Washington D.C., and expect to conclude the Presidential selection in due course,” the board said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that in February, US President Joe Biden nominated Banga to lead the World Bank saying that he is “well equipped” to lead the global institution at “this critical moment in history.”

No other country proposed an alternate candidate for the prestigious post.

Banga, 63, was born in India and is a naturalised U.S. citizen.

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The former Mastercard Inc. chief, Banga currently serves as Vice Chairman at General Atlantic.

NAN reports that if confirmed, Banga would become the first-ever Indian-American to head either of the two top international financial institutions: the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

Banga is expected to replace the current World Bank president David Malpass, who will step down in June, nearly a year before his term is scheduled to expire.

Malpass faced strong criticism over the bank’s commitment to climate action and over his personal views on climate change. (NAN)

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Nigeria’s Debt Stock Hits N46trn

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Nigeria’s total public debt stock as at Dec.31, 2022 stands at N46.25 trillion (103.11 billion dollars).

This is according to a statement issued by the Debt Management Office (DMO) in Abuja yesterday.

The DMO said the total public debt stock of the country consisted of the domestic and external debts of the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) and the sub-national governments.

The sub-national are the 36 state governments and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

The comparative debt stock for Dec. 31, 2021 is N39.59 trillion (95.77 billion dollars)

The DMO said in terms of composition, total domestic debt stock stood at N27.

55 trillion (61.42 billion dollars), while total external debt stock was N18.70 trillion (41.69 billion dollar).

“Among the reasons for the increase in total public debt stock were new borrowings by the Federal Government and sub-national governments, primarily to finance budget deficits and execute projects.

“The issuance of promissory notes by the Federal Government to settle some liabilities also contributed to growth in the debt stock,” the office said.

It, however, said that on-going efforts by the Federal Government to increase revenue from oil and non-oil sources through initiatives like the Finance Acts and the Strategic Revenue Mobilisation Initiative are expected support debt sustainability.

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“Meanwhile, the total debt-to- Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ratio for Dec. 31, 2022 was 23.20 per cent. It indicates a slight increase from the figure of Dec. 31, 2021 at 22.47 per cent.

“The ratio of 23.20 per cent is within the 40 per cent limit self-imposed by Nigeria and the 55 per cent limit recommend by World Bank/International Monetary Fund (IMF).

“It is also within the 70 per cent limit recommend by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS),” it said.

The total public debt stock as released by DMO excludes the N22 trillion Federal Government’s indebtedness to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), through Ways and Means advances.

The Ways and Means advances are presently awaiting securitisation by the National Assembly, and can only be added to the country’s public debt after such securitisation.

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Economy

Experts Canvass Better Attention to Taxes, Untapped Minerals, others 

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By Gom Mirian, Abuja

Experts in the research and development sectors have called on the incoming administration to focus on the growth-enhancing sectors in the country rather than relying solely on revenues from crude oil to develop the economy.

The call was made in Abuja at a one-day Leadership and Development Policy Dialogue Series (LDPDS)organized by the African Centre for Leadership, Strategy and Development (Centre LSD)tagged: “Nigerian Debt Profile: Issues, implications, Lessons and Solutions for the Next Administration.

” yesterday.

Director portfolio management department of the Debt Management Office (DMO), Mr Oladele Afolabi said there were a lot of linkages and shortfalls in the payment of taxes, especially by companies which is the reflection of the low revenue received in the country.

While urging the next administration to ensure blockage of these linkages, tasked the government to explore untapped mineral resources in the country to generate more revenue since the revenue obtained from crude oil is incapable of developing the economy.

Speaking at the dialogue, a professor of Economics at the University of Abuja, Isa Muhammad said Nigeria spends N97 of every N100 earned or produced on debt service.

According to professor Muhammad, the Nigerian debt service to income ratio has drastically increased from 17% to 97% in ten years (2012-2021).

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He said the increase is extremely high compared to the World Bank’s recommended limit of no more than 22.5%.

He said: “In 2022, a deficit of N6. 26 trillion is anticipated as a result of all fiscal activities.

“Debt payment is anticipated to cost N3.61 trillion, with N292.71 billion coming from sinking funds to pay off maturing bonds.

“This is an alarming instance of revenue challenge that, if not handled properly, could result in a problem with the sustainability of debt”, he said.

Professor Muhammad called on the next administration to strengthen government finances, lower the fiscal deficit over time, and adopt revenue and expenditure reform steps in the medium term.

He also called on the next administration to move away from budget deficits as income collections increase.

Earlier in his remarks, the Executive Director of the Centre LSD, Mr Monday Osasah, said dialogue became imperative following the Federal Government (FG), the outcry that Nigeria’s debt sustainability has become threatened owing to the rise in its revenue shortfalls.

He said: “This revenue, unfortunately, is not matched by the high debt servicing burden of the country. According to the Minister of Finance, Nigeria is expected to spend 60% of its total revenue on debt servicing in 2023. 

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Also, the Head of the National Bureau of Statistics(NBS), Dr Anthony Ayo urged the next administration to step down on the ‘debt-to-GDP ratio as a method of measuring debt sustainability but rather than adopt the ‘revenue-to-GDP approach to achieve effective results.

Mr Osasah said these assertions portend a grave threat to the Nigerian economy, as this depletes the resources available for other national developmental priorities.

He said the dialogue, therefore, presents an opportunity for stakeholders to have a shared understanding of the issues, implications, lessons, and solutions, as well as make recommendations for the next Administration.  

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