Nigeria, Africa’s biggest economy, has entered its second recession in five years as official figures published on Saturday show that the economy shrank again in the third quarter of this year.
This year’s recession, occasioned by the economic fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic, is worse than that of 2016.
The National Bureau of Statistics, in its Gross Domestic Product report for Q3, said the GDP, the broadest measure of economic prosperity, fell by 3.62 in the three months to September.
Economists consider two consecutive quarters of shrinking GDP as the technical definition of a recession.
For the first time in more than three years, the Nigerian economy shrank in the second quarter of this year as the GDP fell by 6.10 per cent, compared with a growth of 1.87 per cent in Q1.
The NBS had said in August that the economic decline in Q2 was largely attributable to significantly lower levels of both domestic and international economic activity resulting from nationwide shutdown efforts aimed at containing the COVID-19 pandemic.
It said the contraction in Q2 brought to an end the three-year trend of low but positive real growth rates recorded since the 2016/17 recession.
The economy, which emerged from its first recession in 25 years in Q2 2017 when it posted a 0.7 per cent growth, had continued its slow recovery since then but the COVID-19 crisis made things worse.
In 2016, the economy slipped into recession in Q2 as the GDP shrank by 2.1 per cent after falling by 0.4 per cent in Q1 on the back of the steep fall in global crude oil prices and the country’s production volumes.
Last month, the World Bank revised its 2020 forecast for Nigeria’s economy to -4.1 per cent from its previous projection of -3.2 per cent, saying the country’s near-term outlook was subject to “considerable uncertainty”.
The bank had said in June that the collapse in crude oil prices, coupled with the COVID-19 pandemic, was expected to “plunge the Nigerian economy into a severe recession, the worst since the 1980s”.
Inksnation Foundation Is Legitimate, Duly Registered Under The Statutory Law – Kogi State Coordinator
The State Coordinator and Director General inksnation foundation in Kogi State, Mrs Grace Mubo Daikwo has refuted the rumoured making the rounds on doubting the authenticity of inksnation foundation as falsehood from detractors of good things.
The Director General disclosed this while speaking with Journalist as so many news are going round as regards the foundation.
She said inksnation foundation is duly registered under the statutory law of the Federal republic of Nigeria via the Corporate Affairs Commission.
She emphasized that contrary to the news from some quarter, Inksnation has come to stay and it is a very genuine foundation that has over 6.7million members in Nigeria alone with reputable members cutting across board.
The Director General further explained that the motive of inksnation foundation is to impact into the lives of the poor and vulnerable positively especially in the area of putting food on their table and giving them income.
She however, called on members of inksnation foundation to keep calm on the recent message showing”UNVERIFIED”on there dashboard saying it is as a result of server breakdown as there is an upgrade in server presently with a new website that has just been launched with which everybody will be verified with an extension of time.
The Director General called on all members to get ready for the next December market that will come up in all the seven zones in Kogi State as a directive from the founder, Amos Sewanu.
She said all the market has been zoned to our local government across the three senatorial districts from the 14th of December where members would have gotten two of their monthly allowance which they can spend in the market to take care of food items during the festive period.
She called on all the members to dispel the rumor as the foundation has taken a bold step to report to appropriate bodies and equally taken a legal action on those quarters where this stories generates from.
On clarification, members can check the head office at number 19 Posokah quarters off dosu way Badagry Lagos State or Kogi State office at Aliu Obaje road suit number 2, Hajia K.Plaza along NIWA road Lokoja to know more about the foundation.
In her final words, the Director General said inksnation foundation has come to give everybody equitable distribution of wealth, love, peace and unity with a projection of a better tomorrow.
FGN Disburses N66.5billion To States For Amended COVID-19 Responsive 2020 Budget
The federal government of Nigeria (FGN) has disbursed the sum of N66.5billion (USD$175 million) to eligible States on the basis of the Amended COVID-19 Responsive 2020 Budget results achievement.
According to a press statement signed by Hassan Dodo,
Director, Press and Public Relations,
Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, says Mrs. Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed, the Honourable Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, who disclosed this in a statement signed by Mr. Hassan Dodo, the Ministry’s Director of Press and Public Relations, yesterday in Abuja, explained that the disbursement followed compliance with the Amended COVID-19 Responsive 2020 Budget by 35 eligible States in the country.
The programme is wholly-financed with a loan amount of $750 million from the International Development Association (IDA), a member of the World Bank Group. Each State received the total sum of N1.9bn equivalent of $5million.
The disbursement is, according to her, under the performance-based grant component of the World Bank-Assisted States Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS) Programme-for-Results.
Rivers State is the only one that missed out on the grant due to its inability to meet the eligibility criteria which required the states to have passed and published online on a state’s website by July 31,2020 credible, fiscally responsible COVID-19 Responsive Amended 2020 Budgets duly approved by the State House of Assembly and assented to by the State Governor.
According to Ahmed, the Amended 2020 State Budget must also include standardised budget documentation to enhance clarity, transparency and accessibility.
“It must also significantly lower the gross statutory revenue projections – consistent with the revised medium-term expenditure framework (MTEF) and federal government’s budget; reduced non-essential overhead and capital expenditures”.
“The budget must be tagged and found to have allocated at least 10 percent of the total expenditure of the amended budget for COVID-19 relief, restructuring and recovery programs; and identified credible sources to fully finance the budget deficit to avoid accumulation of arrears”.
Mrs. Ahmed stressed that the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated economic and fiscal shocks have put significant pressure on States’ fiscal resources and undermined the reality and credibility of the States’ original 2020 Annual Budgets.
She was of the opinion that a transparent, accountable and sustainable state-level fiscal/budget framework is a pre-requisite for a robust COVID-19 response, enabling necessary health, social protection and livelihood interventions during the COVID-19 relief, restructuring and recovery phases.
The Honourable Minister expressed optimism that the achievement of results by the 35 out of 36 States would further strengthen the national fiscal response to COVID-19 and align efforts at both the federal and state-levels.
She noted that the World Bank-assisted SFTAS Programme is principally meant to strengthen fiscal management at the state level, so as to ensure effective mobilisation and utilisation of financial resources to the benefit of the citizens in a transparent, accountable and sustainable manner, thereby reducing fiscal risks and encouraging a common set of fiscal behaviours.
Ahmed observed that the SFTAS programme could not have come at a better time, given the dwindling government revenue occasioned by oil price volatility coupled with the current impact of COVID-19 which has further intensified the need for improved practices in fiscal transparency, accountability and sustainability as enunciated in the SFTAS ideals.
It would be recalled that the federal government had earlier in April, 2020 disbursed the total sum of (N43,416,000,000.00) $120.6 million to the qualified 24 States, based on their performance.
“We Can No Longer Afford Onions Due To Increment In Price”. — Nigerians Cry Out
Onions are fast becoming luxurious to many households as the prices have increased by more than 150 percent. As a result, many people are resorting to cooking without it, and those who must use it pay through their teeth.
A visit to the biggest onion market in the North-West, Aliero in Kebbi State, showed that commercial activities are at their lowest ebb. Devoid of its usual hustling and bustling, the market stalls, which were usually filled to the brim with the commodity, were virtually empty.
Onion business, one of the highest money-spinning ventures in Aliero, the headquarters of Aliero Local Government Area, suffered devastating effect as it is the case in most other businesses at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Hardly had the businesses recovered from the COVID-19 pandemic before the #EndSARS protest surfaced.
It was learnt that the dwindling fortune of the business had rendered many people bankrupt.
Many businessmen from Aliero are into the business of supplying onions to the southern part of the country while few others operate as middlemen between dealers from the South and locals.
The Aliero onion market is seasonal as is the case with most others where there are perishable commodities. Onion business reaches its annual peak between December and February. This is the period when a glut is usually experienced.
The prices of the commodity may start to rise as supply to the market shrinks. At the peak of business, the market accommodates thrice its capacity.
At such peak period, over 30 vehicles, mostly trailers, are said to be involved in the daily haulage of the commodity to other parts of the country. At this period, the market virtually operates 24 hours.
Smaller vehicles only supply to the market from producing communities while the articulated ones transport in tonnes to other parts of the country.
A member of the Kebbi State chapter of the Onion Producers and Marketers Association of Nigeria (OPMAN), who did not want his name mentioned, said dealers lost millions of naira worth of goods to the violence that accompanied the #EndSARS protest in the South-East. He said several vehicles conveying onions were damaged on most of highways.
On the skyrocketed prices of the commodity in the country, he said the COVID-19 pandemic and the violence of #EndSARS protest altered supply as most farmers could not go back to their farms because they had not recovered the money from dealers who lost their commodities.
He said while farmers could not produce enough, dealers closed shops due to low supply.
“Our association will soon complete its assessment of the loss incurred. Many vehicles, both private and commercial, loaded with an unaccountable number of onion bags, were burnt. Looking at the enormity of the loss, if there is no intervention from government, many will be out of business.
The hike in the prices of onions across the country is largely a result of the #EndSARS protest which turned violent. Most dealers are out of business because they lost all they had. You know supply and production work together; once one is affected, the other will be affected too. This is exactly the situation at hand,” he said.
The treasurer of OPMAN in the state, Alhaji Salla Nawarai Aliero, said before the #EndSARS protest, COVID-19 affected most of dealers because despite the fact that there was no restriction on the movement of food items during the lockdown, the market was not there as people were barred from the streets.
Aliero added that over 2,000 bags of onions belonging to some dealers were trapped in Enugu market when the lockdown was announced, and due to the perishable nature of the commodity, it spoilt before the lockdown was lifted.
He said the market was not open until a month ago, and before that, half of the goods had damaged.
He said a change in the farming pattern, outbreak of diseases in the rainy season, farmers’ shift from farming in the rainy season to dry season, and the fact that businesses delayed in picking up in the market, affected the business.
“Where the supply keeps coming, the prices of the commodity crash, but shortly afterwards, the tide may change as the trend gradually takes a new course. The supply gradually decreases, while on the other hand, the prices of the commodity begin to appreciate steadily until it gets to a certain bar, like what we have now,” he said.
In Anambra State, a basket of onions, which previously cost between N18, 000 and N20, 000, is now N80, 000. Residents lament that the change is prices is affecting their mode of cooking. They said the smallest ball of onion, which is not enough to cook, is sold at N50. Some of the residents were surprised that they could not afford what used to be one of the cheapest commodities in the market.
A trader in foodstuff at Eke Awka market, Awka South Local Government Area, Mr Micheal Onah, expressed surprise at the new cost of the commodity.
“This is unbelievable; and no one could give an exact reason for the hike in the price onions. In the past, I could buy about six bags and sell within one week, but it is now difficult to sell a bag of onions because people do not buy as before,” he said.
Mrs Uche Okafor, a housewife, said the year had been difficult for the masses, and wondered why onions would become out of reach for the common man. She said she had been preparing her meals without onions because she could not afford it.
“The smallest balls of onions which traders usually gave out for free are now sold at N50. There is no N20 onion in the market again. And the commodity is important in a meal,” she said.
Another resident, Mrs Perpetual Nwaora, also said, “I cannot struggle to get money to buy rice at N36,000 a bag and also buy N200 onion to cook.”
She said onions had become a luxury and must be treated as such.
Another resident, Chief Mrs Chinenye Okafor, said that no matter the cost, she would always use onions to cook, saying that without it food would be tasteless.
“What I normally do now is to monitor how my children use onions in the house while cooking. Before now, if I bought onions worth N500 I would use it for months, but N5,000 worth of the commodity is just like that of N200,” she said.
Nasir Mohammed, who sells onions in the Mogadishu market in Kaduna, said it was normal for the commodity to be expensive during this time of the year, but added that the situation was worse this year.
According to him, the major problem is that farmers and dealers used to take the produce to other countries such as Chad, Cameroon and Ghana, but because of border closure, dealers from those countries now come in to buy in bulk so it can last them a while. So they buy more than they did in the past, making the commodity scarce here.
He said that between September and December, a big bag of onions used to cost between N5,000 and N7,000, but presently, it is N60,000. A small bag is between N47,000 and N50,000.
“No matter how expensive the commodity is, people will buy because it is essential in cooking, but now, we cannot sell at N500,’’ he said.
A housewife, Hajiya Halima Abdullahi, expressed concern over the high cost of onions in the market.
She said she had no option than to reduce the quantity used in preparing her soup.
“I used three to four onions, but I have reduced it to one or even half because it is expensive. I bought N1,000 worth of onions, which didn’t last few days. It has not been easy because I enjoy using it in food,” she said.
Similarly, Hajiya Maimunah Sani, also a resident of Kaduna, said, “The price is getting high daily because there is no control. This is the problem.’’
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