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World Bank Says Nigeria Dying Slowly, FG Claims Everything is Okay

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World Bank Thursday said that Nigeria was dying slowly and tragically living on borrowed time due to the perennial neglect of the agricultural sector and relying heavily on crude oil that belongs to yesterday.

 

But Prof Yemi Osinbajo, Vice President, assured that the Buhari administration will ensure an export based economy, especially as it recognises the importance of the agriculture sector to food security, job creation and poverty reduction.

 

He said the sector remains one of the priority areas of the government that has attracted various intervention programmes under the Agricultural Promotion Policy.

 

Dr Adetunji Oredipe, senior agriculture economist, World Bank, however, said, economic diversification into agricultural should be in practice not theory as the economy has become increasingly dependent which has proven to be both a “disaster and calamity.”

 

He spoke in Abuja while delivering a keynote address at the agriculture summit Africa sponsored by Sterling Bank Plc,

 

According to him, if Nigeria had held to its market share in palm oil, cocoa, groundnut and cotton, the country would be earning at least $10bn annually from these three commodities.

 

The event was attended by the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo who was represented by the Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Mustapha Shehuri; Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs Paulen Talen; Governor of Kebbi State, Atiku Bagudu; Chairman of Sterling Bank Plc, Asue Ighodalo; and the Managing Director of Sterling Bank Plc, Abubakar Suleiman.

 

Analyzing a gloomy picture of the country’s agricultural sector, the World Bank Agric Economist said that Nigeria is now one of the largest food importers in the world.

 

He said: “In 2016 alone, Nigeria spent $965m on the importation of wheat, $39.7m to import rice and $100.2m on sugar importation.

 

He added that the decision to spend $655m on fish importation seems financially irresponsible given all the marine resources, rivers, lakes, and creeks in Nigeria.

 

He noted: “None of the above transactions (Importation of rice, fish, sugar) is fiscally, economically, or politically sustainable. Nigeria is tragically is living on borrowed time, a typical case of robbing Paul to pay Peter.

 

“For instance, each time we spend money to import rice, Nigerian local rice farmers are negatively affected in terms of morale, sales, and realizable income.

 

He lamented that despite the huge agricultural potential, Nigeria which used to be the major player in agriculture in the world has lost its place in the global community.

 

He said, “In the 1960s we had glory. That glory was visible and significant for the global community to recognize and applaud. Nigeria accounted for 42 per cent of the world’s exports of shelled groundnuts. Our total export volume was 502, 000 MT.

 

“This declined to 356 MT by 2016. Nigeria lost her leadership position and was overtaken by USA, China, and Argentina. Nigeria was also the largest exporter of palm oil in the world and accounted for 27 per cent of the global export volume for palm oil.

 

“Total export volume for palm oil by Nigeria was 167,000 MT in 1961. This declined to 8,000 MT by 2016as the global export volume rose from 629,000 MT in 1961 to over 42.1 million MT in 2016.

 

“Malaysia and Indonesia took over using the oil palm seedlings obtained from Nigeria. In 2018, Malaysia earns $8.7bn, 28.6 per cent of total palm oil exports from export of palm oil alone.

 

“Indonesia alone recorded US$16.5bn, 54.5 per cent of total palm oil exports. Unfortunately, Nigeria is not listed among the first 15 as at this moment.”

 

He said the huge taste of Nigerians for imported food items had also contributed to high levels of unemployment for youths.

 

“Food producing factories in Western world, Far East Asia and other countries employ millions of young people to produce and export food. This is a source of livelihood and it helps the workers to live well and go to school.

 

“But on our side of the world, Nigerian youths have no one to hire them to their capacity. This is a typical case of disguised employment or unemployment. It is unacceptable for our graduate to have no one who needs their university/polytechnic acquired- knowledge and skills.

 

“We must use the power of our population to our advantage by buying local foods,’ he added.

 

To reverse this trend, Oredipe said the government must articulate a clear vision to achieve a hunger-free Nigeria, through an agricultural sector that drives income growth, accelerates achievement of food and nutritional security, generates employment and transforms Nigeria into a leading player in global food markets.

 

In doing this, he said the vision of the government should be to revive the rural economy by transforming Nigeria into an agriculturally industrialized economy, create wealth, jobs, and markets for farmers.

 

He said, “We must adopt an ambitious agricultural promotion strategy, one that is focused on a combination of transformational policy reforms and private capital investments with a promise to expand the benefits to millions of Nigerians.

 

“The government needs revamp their current outlook about how agriculture works by inviting the private sector capacities in order to improve efficiency.

 

“We need to focus on agricultural value chains and not just on increasing production.

 


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FG Makes u-Turn on Bank Account Re-Registration

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Federal government on Friday apologised for asking all account holders in financial institutions in the country to re-register their personal details.

FG makes u-Turn on Bank Account Re-Registration

Recall that the federal government had on Thursday ‎ordered that all persons holding accounts across financial institutions and insurance firms should complete and submit self-certification forms to their respective financial institutions.

The notice issued by the government to that effect read, ‎“This is to notify the general public that all account holders in Financial Institutions (Banks, Insurance Companies, etc.) are required to obtain, complete, and submit Self – Certification Forms to their respective Financial Institutions.

“Persons holding accounts in different financial institutions are required to complete and submit the form to each one of the institutions. The forms are required by the relevant financial institutions to carry out due diligence procedures, in line with the Income Tax Regulations 2019.‎”

The directive raised eyebrows, as account holders already possessed Bank Verification Numbers.

Following widespread condemnation that trailed the directive, the Federal Government backtracked on Friday, saying the fresh guidelin‎e was not for all Nigerians.

The government attributed the development to misinformation.

The clarification issued by the government on Friday read, ‎“We apologise for the misleading tweets (now deleted) that went up yesterday, regarding the completion of self-certification forms by Reportable Persons. The message contained in the notice does not apply to everybody. ‎FIRS will clarify Nigerians on the objectives of the directive.”

Also on Friday, FIRS, in a statement posted on Twitter, explained that the guidelines were only for non-residents, as well as people paying tax in more than one country.

Parts of the FIRS statement read, “The Self Certification Form is basically to be administered on Reportable Persons, holding accounts in Financial institutions, that are regarded as “Reportable Financial Institutions” under the CRS.

“Reportable persons are often non-residents and other persons, who have residence for tax purposes in more than one jurisdiction or country.”

“The information that indicates an account holder is a resident for tax purposes in more than one jurisdiction, is expected to be available to Financial Institutions during account opening processes, for the KYC and AML purpose.”


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Stanbic IBTC Bank Disowns Lagos ATM Fraudster

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Stanbic IBTC Bank PLC has disowned Tope Olajide, 22-year-old fraudster arraigned for theft of customers deposits.

Stanbic IBTC Bank Disowns Lagos ATM Fraudster

The Bank said this in a statement on Wednesday.

The statement said: “The attention of the management of Stanbic IBTC Bank PLC has been drawn to news currently circulating in the media, about the alleged arraignment of staff of the Bank on charges bordering on the theft of customers deposits.

“The Bank would like to clarify that the defendant, a 22-year-old Tope Olajide, IS NOT, and was at no point in time an employee of Stanbic IBTC Bank PLC.

“The alleged culprit was apprehended around 7:30 am, on Thursday, 27 August 2020, by security operatives after he was exposed by CCTV footage using ATM cards he had allegedly stolen and converted, to make withdrawals from the accounts tied to the stolen ATMs.

“The CCTV footage also showed the alleged culprit pretending to assist customers at ATMs whilst also attempting to fraudulently dispossess the customers of their ATMs.

“He was subsequently arraigned before an Ikeja Magistrate Court on Monday, 14 September, for stealing the debit cards of two customers and using them to unlawfully withdraw the sum of N427,000.

“The Bank would also like to implore members of the public to be security conscious when conducting transactions at ATMs. Customers are advised to report any suspicious actions around them to security operatives who are usually stationed around the Bank’s ATMs, when carrying out transactions at any of our ATM locations.

“As an organisation, we hold dear the values of integrity, and we will continue to prioritise the safety of our customers effectively.”


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Buhari Okays Establishment of CBN-Led Infraco

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President Muhammadu  Buhari has approved the establishment of an   Infrastructure Company (Infraco) to be driven by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in partnership with the African Finance Corporation (AFC) and the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA).

Buhari Okays Establishment of CBN-Led Infraco

Mr. Godwin Emefiele, CBN governor

This is coming  on the heels of the foreign reserves’ slump to $36 billion following a cocktail of monetary policy interventions by the apex bank to cushion the scathing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy.

Mr Godwin Emefiele, CBN governor, made these disclosures in Abuja at the annual conference of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) with the theme: Facilitating a Sustainable Future: The role of Banking and Finance.

According to him, Infraco would enable the use of private and public capital to support infrastructure investment that will have a multiplier effect on growth across critical sectors.

“This entity would also be able to raise funds from the capital markets and mobilise long term finance to address some of our infrastructure needs, while providing reasonable returns to investors. “We believe this well-structured fund can act as a catalyst for growth in the medium and the long run. The support of the banking community will be important in achieving this objective.

“A well-built infrastructure system, comprising hard infrastructure such as roads and ports, and soft infrastructure such as broadband penetration, can have a multiplier effect on growth by enabling the expansion of business activities in the country”, he explained.

On foreign reserves, Emefiele attributed its crash to the decline in foreign exchange earnings and subsequent adjustments in the value of the naira to the dollar.


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