The presidency has reacted to the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics (NBS) which revealed that the country recorded a negative economic growth in the second quarter of 2020.
Nigeria’s economy contracted by -6.10 per cent in the second quarter of 2020 (April to June), a development caused mainly by some of the measures taken to curb the spread of Coronavirus in the country.
However in a statement released by President Buhari’s spokesperson Femi Adesina, the Presidency averred that even with the negative growth Nigeria’s economy outperformed projections by most domestic and international analysts.
He also stated that the Fiscal and Monetary Policy initiatives being deployed by government in a phased process, will be a robust response to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The statement read;
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) published on Monday, August 24, 2020, the 2nd Quarter (Q2) 2020 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) estimates, which measures economic growth.
Nigeria’s (GDP) declined by –6.10% (year-on-year) in real terms in the second quarter of 2020, ending the 3-year trend of low but consistently improving positive real growth rates recorded since the 2016/17 recession. Consequently, for the first half of 2020, real GDP declined by –2.18% year-on-year, compared with 2.11% recorded in the first half of 2019.
The overall decline of -6.1% (for Q2 2020) and -2.18 per cent (for H1 2020) was better than the projected forecast of -7.24% as estimated by the National Bureau of Statistics. The figure was also relatively far better than many other countries recorded during the same quarter.
Furthermore, despite the observed contraction in economic activity during the quarter, it outperformed projections by most domestic and international analysts. It also appears muted compared to the outcomes in several other countries, including large economies such as the US (-33%), UK (-20%), France (-14%), Germany (-10%), Italy (-12.4%), Canada (-12.0%), Israel (-29%), Japan (-8%), South Africa (projection -20% to -50%), with the notable exception of only China (+3%).
The government’s anticipation of the impending economic slowdown and the various initiatives introduced as early responses to cushion the economic and social effects of the pandemic, through the Economic Sustainability Programme (ESP), contributed immensely to dampening the severity of the pandemic on growth.
On the fiscal side, a robust financing mechanism was designed to raise revenue to support humanitarian assistance, in addition to special intervention funds for the health sector.
Adjustments to the national budget as well as emergency financing from concessional lending windows of development finance institutions were critical in supporting governments’ capacity to meet its obligations.
On the monetary side, moratorium on loans, credit support to households and industries, regulatory forbearance and targeted lending and guarantee programs through NIRSAL were some of the measures implemented in response to the pandemic during the second quarter.
It is equally worth noting that since the start of the third quarter, the phased approach to easing the restrictions being implemented centrally and across States have resulted in a gradual return of economic activity, including the possibility of international travel.
More importantly, the anticipated health impacts of the pandemic have been managed without overwhelming the health infrastructure, which would have further compromised the ability to re-open the country to travel, commerce and international trade. Indeed, this has provided greater confidence and ability for authorities to initiate the conduct of nationwide terminal examinations and resumption of the next academic year.
Finally, it is anticipated that while the third and fourth quarters will reflect continued effects of the slowdown, the Fiscal and Monetary Policy initiatives being deployed by government in a phased process will be a robust response to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Furthermore, as the country begins the gradual loosening up of restrictions, and levels of commercial activity increase by people returning to their various livelihoods and payrolls expand, it still remains imperative that all the necessary public health safeguards are adhered to so the country avoids an emergence of a second wave.
God will punish me if I was involved – Ex-minister denies being involved in stripping his staff naked over missing money
Former Minister of State for Petroleum, Olorogun Kenneth Gbagi has denied being involved in stripping some of his hotel staff naked over a missing money.
Recall that the Minister made headlines after being accused of arresting four of his hotel staff and stripping them naked for allegedly stealing N5,000. The four staff of the hotel have been identified as Gloria Oguzie, Victor Ephraim, Rosslyn Okiemute and Achibong Precious. It was also alleged that the hotel management forcefully made some withdrawals from their bank accounts with their ATM cards before the police took them away in a waiting van.
However commenting on the incident at a press conference held at his country home in Oginibo, Ughelli South council area of Delta state, Gbagi stressed that the said staff were not employees of the hotel but “freelancers”. He added that there are records to back this up.
He further alleged that his political detractors who are out to truncate his plans to contest for the 2023 gubernatorial race in the state, are behind the trending video and photos.
“There was nothing as you have read, that happened. The people you saw in those pictures are not staff of my hotel. Legally, documentarily, they are not staff of the hotel. They are freelancers.
“Were you to do a forensic analysis of the video for my body on those pictures, and you find me there, I will resign from politics.
“I invited the Police from Ebrumede to take them. I will never descend to do such (strip people naked). It was politically motivated. I will not strip anybody’s daughter naked or strip any person.
“This, to me, is just a distraction. I am resolute, I am contesting in 2023. Let God punish me if I touched any of the girls or was involved in their stripping. I am prepared. I know what they are planning.”
The former Minister who also revealed that he is yet to receive a police invitation over the incident, added that he “will graciously attend any invitation of the Nigerian Police.”
We will reopen land borders soon – Vice President Yemi Osinbajo
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says the federal government is currently working towards reopening Nigeria’s land borders.
Recall that in October 2019, President Buhari ordered the full closure of land borders as part of measures to checkmate smuggling activities.
However speaking at a webinar organized by The Africa Report, Vice President Osinbajo said the Federal government is working with neighbouring countries on the terms of reopening the border.
“We are working with our neighbours to see on what terms we would reopen those borders. At the moment, we are undertaking joint border patrols to control smuggling along the borders and we think it is working and I am sure that soon enough we should have the borders opened,” he said.
We are committed to the AfCFTA but we are concerned about threats to security and the economy and we had to take certain actions that would satisfy the immediate needs of our country. It (border closure) certainly wasn’t meant to be permanent and we are looking forward to reopening as quickly as possible.” Osinbajo said
COVID-19 is a sign that God is not happy with us – Aisha Buhari
First Lady Aisha Buhari has stated that the COVID-19 pandemic is a sign that God is not happy with us.
Aisha Buhari said this on Friday, September 25, 2020, at the national mosque during a public lecture to mark Nigeria’s 60th independence anniversary.
The First Lady who urged Nigerians to pray for peace, progress and sustainable development as the country marks its 60th independence anniversary, also appealed to Nigerians to keep supporting the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration to ensure better welfare, saying the president cannot do it alone.
“The world is no longer the same as a result of the pandemic and the pandemic is a sign that almighty God is not happy with us.
“We need to pray for forgiveness. I think we have no choice than to continue asking for forgiveness from almighty Allah.
“The president cannot do it alone. He needs the support and cooperation of all Nigerians, including his appointees, to go in line with his change mantra.”