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World Bank Raises the Alarm on Nigeria’s Rising Debts

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  • Debt Stock of Developing Countries Hits $7. 8trl

By Mathew Dadiya, Abuja

The World Bank has warned that global debt burden is rising revealing that total external debt of low and middle-income countries climbed 5.3 percent to $7.8 trillion in 2018 while net debt flows (gross disbursements minus principal payments) from external creditors tumbled 28 percent to $529 billion.

The disclosure is contained in the World Bank’s International Debt Statistics 2020 released on Thursday.

Although on average, the external debt burden of low- and middle-income countries was moderate, several countries have been on a deteriorating debt trajectory since 2009, the report indicated.

 

The share of low- and middle-income countries with debt-to-GNI ratios below 30 percent has shrunk to 25 percent, down from 42 percent ten years ago. Similarly, the share of countries with high debt-to-export ratios has climbed.  

World Bank Group President, David Malpass, said that to grow faster, many developing countries need more investment that meets their development goals.

Malpass said, ”debt transparency should extend to all forms of government commitments, both explicit and implicit. Transparency is a critical part of attracting more investment and building an efficient allocation of capital, and these are essential in our work to improve development outcomes.”

Debt stocks were driven up by a 15 percent jump in China, fueled by investor appetite for renminbi-denominated assets. 

Excluding the 10 largest borrowers (Argentina, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, the Russian Federation, South Africa, Thailand, and Turkey), external debt stocks rose 4 percent. 

Sub-Saharan countries excluding South Africa saw debts stocks swell by 8 percent on average in 2018, and over half the countries in the region have seen external debt stocks double since 2009.

Net debt inflows to low- and middle-income countries from multilateral creditors surged 86 percent, principally due to the International Monetary Fund’s support for Argentina. 

Excluding that loan, net inflows from multilateral creditors to other low- and middle-income countries were unchanged from the previous year. Lending from non-Paris Club creditors to countries eligible to borrow from the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), its fund for the poorest countries, slowed. 

The share of new commitments from non-Paris Club bilateral creditors fell to 17 percent (a continued decline from  43 percent in 2010) while the share held by Paris Club bilateral creditors remained steady at 12 percent.

This edition of International Debt Statistics features for the first time a breakdown of public and publicly guaranteed debt – government and other public sector debt, as well as private debt that is government guaranteed. 

Also, World Bank Development Economics Data Group Director, Haishan Fu said

“Borrowing patterns and debt instruments have changed over time, and so has the depth and scope of International Debt Statistics.

What has not changed is the core objective of the report: providing comprehensive, timely data on the external debt of low- and middle-income countries to support debt management and related policy decisions.”

Bond issuance by low- and middle-income countries – a primary source of external financing for some countries fell 26 percent to $302 billion in 2018 amid heightened global uncertainty, tighter capital markets, and credit ratings downgrades. 

However, Sub-Saharan countries excluding South Africa issued a record-high $17 billion in bonds. 

Issues in 2018 were characterized by longer maturities and all were oversubscribed.

Net financial flows to low- and middle-income countries – including both debt and equity – slipped 19 percent in 2018 to $1 trillion. 

The reports shown that excluding China, which accounts for half of net debt flows and 43 percent of net equity flows, net financial flows to low- and middle-income countries tumbled 28 percent.

Business News

CGC Raises Concerns, as Customs Intercepts Cannabis, Codeine Worth N4.1b

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From Anthony Nwachukwu, Lagos

The Comptroller-General of Customs, Adewale Adeniyi, has warned of the severe and devastating effects of the growing misuse and abuse of drugs on the youth and the society at large, as the agency intercepted cannabis indica and codeine worth N4.

1 billion.

Adeniyi spoke in Lagos over the weekend while showcasing the unwholesome imports comprising 1x40ft container of regulated, unregistered pharmaceuticals and another 1x40ft container of illicit psychotropic substances intercepted by the Tin Can Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).

He disclosed that one of the 1x40ft containers No. GAOU 669921/5 imported from Canada, with approximate street value of N3.

216 billion, concealed three plastic drums with several packets of cannabis indica and 46bags of 2,144 packets of cannabis indica – all weighing 1,072kg.

The other contained 877 cartons of Barcadin cough syrup with codeine (200 bottles of 100ml per carton), and 82 cartons of Really Extra Diclofenac Sodium 50mg tablets (600 packs per carton) from India. The approximate street value of the cough syrup is N964.340 million.

According to him, the agency has made concerted efforts to prevent illegal entry and exit through diverse routes and means of conveyances, leading to a number of successfully executed interceptions and seizures of illicit drugs, arms and ammunition, illegal wildlife and petroleum products at various locations in recent months.

However, “these interceptions have brought to light a concerning trend wherein criminal networks engage in collaborative attempts to subvert the competency of the agencies tasked with mitigating the trafficking of such illicit substances,” he noted.

 “The misuse and abuse of drugs, particularly cannabis indica and codeine, pose severe dangers to our society. Codeine, a restricted drug in Nigeria, has been widely abused, leading to devastating effects on our youth.

 “This substance not only impairs the health and well-being of individuals but also contributes to the rise in criminal activities.  Cannabis indica, similarly, has become a significant concern, with its abuse leading to mental health issues, addiction, and social problems.

 “Unchecked activities involving restricted items serve multiple purposes for criminal elements. These drugs, for instance, are used as stimulants by criminals, further fueling societal unrest and instability.

 “Additionally, the proceeds from the illicit drug trade are often used to finance disruptions by non-state actors, posing a significant threat to our national security and economic stability.”

Nevertheless, Adeniyi noted that within its mandate of obstructing harmful and illegal substances from Nigerian communities, the NCS “will continue to work closely with relevant national and international agencies to conduct operations that lead to the interception of illegal goods and the disruption of criminal networks.

He disclosed that investigations were ongoing to bring perpetrators to book, while warning those engaging in illicit activities of the NCS’ unwavering vigilance and dedication to protecting the society and ensuring that all Nigerians benefit from a stable and prosperous economy.

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Investing in Davido, Meme Coins Highly Risky – SEC

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By Tony Obiechina, Abuja

The Security and Exchange Commission has warned that investing in meme coins, including $Davido, is highly risky and should be done with a full understanding of the associated risk.

According to the Commission in a Circular, “The attention of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Nigeria (“SEC”) has been drawn to a meme coin known as “$Davido” allegedly linked to the popular Nigerian singer, David Adedeji Adeleke AKA Davido.

“Generally, meme coins are crypto-currencies inspired by memes and internet jokes. They are often envisaged as fun, light-hearted crypto-currencies promoted through a social media community and sometimes through celebrity endorsements”.

The SEC further stated that Meme coins are also NOT intended to serve as a medium of exchange accepted by the public as payment for goods and services, or as digital representation of capital market products such as shares, debentures, units of collective investment schemes, derivatives contracts, commodities or other kinds of financial instruments or investments.

The Commission therefore advised the general public that meme coins lack fundamental value and are purely speculative.

“The general public is further WARNED that investing in meme coins, including $Davido, is highly risky and should be done with a full understanding of the associated risk.

“Capital Market Operators are by this Notice warned not to associate with instruments that fall outside the SEC’s regulatory purview. Such instruments should not in any manner be distributed or monitored through any capital market mechanism”.

The SEC also emphasised that the Commission does not recognize $Davido as an investment product or investable asset class under its regulatory purview, as such individuals who patronize it, do so at their peril.

“The Commission will continue to monitor developments within the ecosystem and will not relent in deploying its regulatory powers as and when required” , the circular added.

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Blue Economy Targets Top Spot in PEBEC – Oyetola

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From Anthony Nwachukwu, Lagos

Mindful of the sector’s critical role in economic diversification and sustainable development, the Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy aims to place Nigeria tops in the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) by achieving ease of doing business and fostering a conducive environment for trade and investment.

To this end, the Minister, Adegboyega Oyetola, said the ministry plans to elevate Nigeria’s maritime sector to global standards and has prioritised the implementation of the national single window and port community system to automate port processes, in order to enhance operational efficiency and attract investments.

Oyetola, who spoke at the BusinessDay Maritime Conference in Lagos Thursday, disclosed that the ministry has already reported significant progress in revenue generation, driven by innovative strategies to block revenue leakages and explore new sources within the marine and blue economy sector.

Others include ongoing efforts to upgrade infrastructure, such as the development of inland dry ports and modernisation projects at key ports across the country, while public-private partnerships (PPPs) in advancing port modernisation, dredging activities and deploying cutting-edge maritime technologies remain important.

He further announced plans for the development of additional deep-sea ports on a PPP basis to further bolster Nigeria’s maritime capabilities.

Acknowledging the significant contributions of participants in shaping the discourse in Nigeria’s marine and blue economy, Oyetola expressed hope that insights from the conference would drive positive transformations and propel Nigeria towards greater economic prosperity through the harnessing of its vast maritime resources.

He restated his commitment to developing a dynamic national policy framework for the sector by the end of the year, while urging all stakeholders to continue working together towards realising the sector’s full potential, ensuring sustainable growth and inclusive development across coastal communities.

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