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524 Ongoing Road Projects Across Nigeria — Fashola

Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola has said that a total of 524 road projects were ongoing in the different geo-political zones in the country. Babatunde Fashola Fashola said this while addressing the House of Representatives Committee on Works chaired by Rep. Ahmed Birchi in Abuja.

The minister said there were four multilateral-funded road projects, 81 under the Presidential Infrastructural Development Fund and 45 others being funded under the Sukuk bond.  Motorists lament bad state of Ikotun-Cele road He said that the ministry was focusing on roads that open up the economy and contribute to the ease of doing business.

He added that “Nigeria would be back on its feet” if government could ensure that there was no failure on roads that stretched from ports to border cities. “What remains is to finish; the real challenge for us and our recommendation is to adopt the policy statement of the president and focus on whatever resources we have towards completing as many of those projects as possible.”

He added that a funding gap of ₦255 billion was required to “ideally” fund some of the major roads and stressed that the ₦157 billion 2020 budget allocation was inadequate. Fashola said that ₦2.93 billion was pending in unpaid certificates under the multilateral funded projects, while ₦306 billion was the amount for unpaid certificates for completed road projects.

On private sector investment in road projects, the minister, however, cautioned that the government “must not play politics” with such investment. He also said that the ministry undertook a traffic count on strategic roads nationwide which supported the argument of the toll gate system on Nigerian roads.

“For the first time in 10 years, the Ministry of Works undertook a traffic count nationwide on strategic roads; we completed it in 2017. “What you see (in the document) before you are reporting; so where you see Average Daily Traffic (ADT), the top item on the far right is Enugu-Abakaliki and it shows ADT is 20,746 vehicles.

“The projected traffic in 20 years is what is under it and if you look through all those columns from the left, Lagos-Ibadan, Ogere Northside the ADT there is reported as 25.1 thousand and projected to rise to 45,000 vehicles. “This (document) provides more information for those who make the argument that if you toll the roads you get all the money.”

Fashola added that the busiest road in the country was the Third Mainland Bridge with vehicular traffic of 117,000 plus average daily traffic. NAN reports that the Ministry of Works and Housing got the highest projected allocation of N262 billion from the N10. 33 trillion budget estimates presented by President Muhammadu Buhari to a joint session of the National Assembly on Tuesday.

SOURCE: VANGUARD

 

Fashola: No More Refund To States For Repairing Federal Roads

Fashola, middle, defending the budget of the Ministry of Works at the House of Representatives

Babatunde Raji Fashola, minister of works and housing announced that the Federal Government will no longer make refund to states which repair federal roads.

He advised the states to concentrate on state-funded roads.

Fashola announced the paradigm shift in federal-state relations on Thursday while defending the budget of his works component of his ministry before the Works Committee of the House of Representatives.

“When we came in, we inherited quite a number of such debts from states which repaired Federal roads and asked for refunds. The President directed that we pay all those that were approved by the previous government.

“He also directed that states should concentrate on their own roads and that states can only get involved in Federal roads, if they are repairing them and not coming to ask for refund,” he said.

The minister complained that the N157b capital budgetary allocation to his ministry is too little, as it is not enough to pay contractors for jobs already done.

According to him the Ministry needs N306 billion to pay contractors for jobs already done, while N2.93 billion was pending in unpaid certificates under the multilateral-funded projects.

The minister said the Federal Government has about 524 ongoing road projects across the country, with four multilateral-funded road projects, 81 roads under the Presidential Infrastructural Development Fund (PIDF) and 45 others being funded under the Sukuk bond.

Fashola said N255 billion was required to fund some of the major roads, adding that the ministry was focusing on roads that help to open up the economy and make the ease of doing business less cumbersome.

The minister listed some of the projects under the PIDF to include the Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano road, the Second Niger Bridge, the Lagos-Ibadan Express Road, the Mambilla Hydro project and the East-West road.

SOURCE: PMNEWSNIGERIA

Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services Awarded $900,000 Grant For Affordable Housing

To address concerns of a lack of affordable housing, Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services is receiving a $900,000 grant provided by the state government and a nonprofit that finances affordable housing.

The funds will be used to acquire and renovate distressed properties, provide training and technical assistance to homeowners, and create permanent affordable housing for low- and middle-income families. These housing properties will be added to INHS’s Community Housing Trust, meaning they are houses people own instead of INHS rental properties.

“The high cost of housing is one of the biggest challenges facing Ithaca today,” Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick said. “I am proud that residents of Ithaca and Tompkins County will now have a fair chance at homeownership, which is key to the long-term stability and well being of the community.”

Myrick, New York Attorney General Letitia James and officials from INHS made the announcement during a news conference Thursday on Hancock Street .

New York Attorney General Letitia James announces a $900,000 grant for Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services.Buy Photo
New York Attorney General Letitia James announces a $900,000 grant for Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services. (Photo: Matt Steecker / Ithaca Journal)

Johanna Anderson, executive director of Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services, said INHS is planning to preserve, buy and build 31 or more new housing units to be added to its community housing trust over the next five years.

The grant is part of a two-year program that will fund the creation of 18 of those new homes. It will allow INHS to create a new position to enhance and grow the community housing trust, and establish working capital revolving funds for land acquisition. INHS will also use the funds for outreach in educating and engaging homebuyers on the homes in the community land trust.

“The pipeline is constantly in motion, but this funding is wonderful, because there will be 18 units created whether we are buying or constructing,” Anderson said. “With every day comes new possibilities. Having $900,000 to do this work makes it more realistic and gets the pipeline moving much faster.”

The community housing trust currently has 52 units it has used to help 60 families over the last decade, Anderson said.

“INHS gave me the tools and support I needed to buy my first house,” said Leslie Benjamin, a community land trust resident. “I never thought I’d own a home, and I’m so thankful they walked me through the process. That program actually made me think it was possible to buy a house. I thank God each day.”

 

The grant is a continuation of the 2017 Community Land Trust Initiative started by the Office of the New York Attorney General and Enterprise Community Partners, a Maryland-headquartered nonprofit with offices in New York state.

Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick speaks at a press conference in which a $900,000 grant was announced for Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services on Thursday. Behind him on the right side of the photo is Johanna Anderson and to her right is Leslie Benjamin, a community land trust resident who has received assistance from INHS.

Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick speaks at a press conference in which a $900,000 grant was announced for Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services on Thursday. Behind him on the right side of the photo is Johanna Anderson and to her right is Leslie Benjamin, a community land trust resident who has received assistance from INHS. (Photo: Matt Steecker / Ithaca Journal)

“By providing Tompkins County with this grant, we are opening the doors to solutions to a problem that affects many families and individuals: the lack of safe, decent and affordable housing opportunities,” James said. “Our mission is to help communities develop solutions that meet local housing needs and revitalize neighborhoods.”

Outside of Tompkins, the Community Land Trust Initiative has awarded $7.8 million in nine cities and counties throughout New York state, including Broome, Nassau and Suffolk counties, and the cities of Rochester, Albany, Buffalo, New York and Schenectady.

Martha Robertson, chair of the Tompkins County Legislature, speaks at a press conference in which a $900,000 grant was announced for Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services on Thursday.Buy Photo
Martha Robertson, chair of the Tompkins County Legislature, speaks at a press conference in which a $900,000 grant was announced for Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services on Thursday. (Photo: Matt Steecker / Ithaca Journal)

“These homes will remain affordable,” said Martha Robertson, chair of the Tompkins County Legislature. “The value of the land will be held in perpetuity in the community land trust by INHS.”

Buhari Rejects W/Bank, IMF Statistics On Nigeria

  • Seeks home-grown solutions to economic crisis
  • Says int’l organisations’ expenditure claims on IDPs bogus
  • Admits economy not growing well
  • Unveils agenda for economic advisory council

President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday rejected statistics by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund on Nigeria’s economy.

He said such statistics were developed abroad and did not reflect the realities on ground as they also implied that “we are not fully aware of what is happening in our own country”.  Buhari spoke at the Presidential Villa in Abuja yesterday while inaugurating the Presidential Economic Advisory Council which was constituted on September 16, 2019 to replace the Economic Management Team chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo. TODAY OVER 5,000 NIGERIAN MEN HAVE OVERCOME POOR BEDROOM PERFORMANCE SYNDROME DUE TO THIS BRILLIANT DISCOVERY

“Today, most of the statistics quoted about Nigeria are developed abroad by the World Bank, IMF and other foreign bodies. “Some of the statistics we get relating to Nigeria are wild estimates and bear little relation to the facts on the ground.This is disturbing as it implies we are not fully aware of what is happening in our own country,” Buhari said. He set agenda for the Economic Advisory Council: proffering home-grown idea solutions to the economic crisis; coordinating and synthesising ideas and efforts on how to, in collaboration with various employment generating agencies, lift 100 million citizens out of poverty in 10 years as well as developing reliable data that will properly reflect what is happening in the country.

According to the president, “We can only plan realistically when we have reliable data.” Buhari also said the impact of hundreds of millions of dollars which the international organisations claimed to have spent on the internally displaced persons in the northeast was “rarely” seen on ground. “Today, we hear international organisations claiming to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on IDPs in the North East. But when you visit the camps, you rarely see the impact. “In 2017, when the National Emergency Management Agency took over the feeding of some IDPs in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa, the amount we spent was significantly lower than the claims made by these international organisations.

“Therefore, actionable data is critical to implement effective strategies to address pressing problems such as these humanitarian issues. “I, therefore, look forward to receiving your baseline study as this will help us shape ideas for a sustainable and prosperous future,” he said. He charged the council: “As you develop your baseline study, I would like you to focus on primary data collection.

“We can only plan realistically when we have reliable data. As you are aware, as a government, we prioritised agriculture as a critical sector to create jobs and bring prosperity to our rural communities. “Our programmes covered the entire agricultural value chain from seed to fertiliser to grains and ultimately, our dishes. “As you travel in some rural communities, you can clearly see the impact. However, the absence of reliable data is hindering our ability to upgrade these programmes and assure their sustainability.”

On the Social Investment Programmes, the president said his administration was working to measure the impact of the programme targeted at improving the well-being of millions of poor and vulnerable citizens. He said he had directed the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs to commence a comprehensive data-gathering exercise in all IDP camps in the northeast.

The president admitted that the nation’s economy was not growing well. “Yes, Nigeria has exited the recession. But our reported growth rate is still not fast enough to create the jobs we need to meet our national ambition of collective prosperity. “Reason being we had to tread carefully in view of the mess we inherited. Many of the ideas we developed in the last four years were targeted at returning Nigeria back to the path of growth. “I am sure you will also appreciate that during that time, our country was also facing serious challenges especially in the areas of insecurity and massive corruption.

“Therefore, I will be the first to admit that our plans were conservative. We had to avoid reckless and not well thought out policies. “However, it was very clear to me after we exited the recession that we needed to re-energise our economic growth plans. This is what I expect from you,” he said. President Buhari also assured the Council that the Federal Government will ensure that all their needs and requests were met before the next technical sessions in November.

He said all key ministries, departments and agencies would be available to meet and discuss with them on how to collectively build a new Nigeria that caters for all. “Now, no one person or a group of persons has a monopoly of knowledge or wisdom or patriotism.

“In the circumstances, you may feel free to co-opt, consult and defer to any knowledgeable person if in your opinion such a move enriches your deliberations and adds to the quality of your decisions, “he said. The chairman of the council, Professor Salami, said the mandate was about “Nigeria first, Nigeria second, and Nigeria always,” adding that it was about Nigerians, not as numbers, but as people.”

SOURCE: daily trust

Halifax To Use $1.8M From Developer For Affordable-Housing Fund

Halifax regional council agreed on Tuesday to accept $1.8 million from the developers of the Willow Tree Tower, in exchange for Armco Capital not including 20 affordable housing units in the building.

The 25-storey building is being constructed at the corner of Quinpool Road and Robie Street in Halifax. The project is being done under a development agreement, rather than the new Centre Plan rules.

Under the agreement, the developer had the option of getting extra height in exchange for units, cash or putting utility lines underground.

Coun. Shawn Cleary said the cash offer is a good deal for the municipality.

“Under the new Centre Plan’s density bonus formula, this development would actually only pay $841,000, so we’re getting a million more,” he said.

The money will be put into an affordable housing fund that will allow the municipality to provide grants to housing co-ops or affordable housing projects.

That is why Coun. Lindell Smith voted in favour of the cash offer.

‘A perfect start for us’
“This is a perfect start for us when we look at that affordable housing fund,” he said. “I believe this is a win for us.”

But Coun. Tim Outhit still has doubts about an affordable housing fund.

“The vision on this should be having units in buildings, not ghettoization,” said Outhit.

Coun. Waye Mason remains optimistic about the fund and pointed out the Armco tower money could be spent on a project just down the street.

“I would love to see this $1.8 million and any other money that may come from other Quinpool Road projects go into a site that we carve out of the St. Pat’s High site,” he said.

Only Outhit and Coun. Richard Zurawski voted against the deal.

SOURCE: CBC.CA

HUD OFFERS $112 MILLION TO PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES FOR AFFORDABLE HOUSING

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced today that there is a combined $112 million available to expand the supply of permanent affordable housing for very low-income persons with disabilities. Funding is available for the two components of the Section 811 Program – traditional Section 811 Supportive Housing for Persons with Disabilities and Section 811 Project Rental Assistance. The available funding includes $75 million in capital advances for the development of new supportive housing for this vulnerable population. This is the first time HUD is offering funding for both programs in nine years.

“Very simply, we need more permanent supportive housing to assist persons living with disabilities,” said HUD Secretary Ben Carson. “The funding we offer today will support existing developments and, for the first time in nearly a decade, help to produce new affordable housing at a time we need it the most.”

Brian Montgomery, Federal Housing Commissioner, added, “We’re seeking to fund innovative and efficient housing models that combine form and function—a pleasant and safe place to live, with the appropriate supportive services. Our goal is to support affordable housing developments that allow persons with disabilities to live as independently as possible in their own communities.”

Section 811 Capital Advances

HUD is offering up to $75 million in capital advance funding to eligible nonprofit organizations to fund innovative permanent supportive housing models that will be at the forefront of design, service delivery, and efficient use of federal resources. Applicants are encouraged to establish formal partnerships with health and human service agencies or other organizations with a demonstrated capacity to coordinate voluntary services and supports for persons with disabilities to enable them to live independently in the community.

To encourage development within Opportunity Zones, HUD will award two preference points to applicants seeking to construct or rehabilitate developments in qualified Opportunity Zone census tracts. Read HUD’s Section 811 Capital Advance funding notice for more information.

Section 811 Project Rental Assistance

HUD is making up to $37 million in rental assistance available to eligible housing agencies working closely with State Health and Human Service/Medicaid Agencies. Eligible applicants include any housing agency currently allocating Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC); participating jurisdictions administering affordable housing programs assisted through HUD’s HOME Investment Partnerships (HOME) Program; and/or housing agencies operating similar federal or state affordable housing programs. Eligible applicants are encouraged to align their Project Rental Assistance Programs with state or local initiatives that will directly increase development of permanent supportive housing for extremely low-income persons with disabilities. Read HUD’s Section 811 Project Rental Assistance funding notice for more information.

SOURCE: 1100theflag

NYC To Partner With Co-living Start-ups To Create Affordable Housing

Nearly a year after the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development announced a pilot program to develop affordable co-living residences, three proposals have been chosen to kick the whole thing off.

HPD announced this week that it will partner with three teams, comprising developers, nonprofits, and co-living companies, to develop sites in Manhattan and Brooklyn. In a press release, HPD commissioner Louise Carroll said the idea with the selected proposals is to mix “affordability with flexibility” to provide different types of housing to New Yorkers in need of affordable apartments.

“I hope that these three projects can serve as a model for more creative approaches to addressing the variety of unmet housing needs in our city,” City Council member Brad Lander said in a statement.

The three projects are as follows:

  • Ascendant Neighborhood Development, an East Harlem community group, and the Ali Forney Center will partner on a 10-story building in the neighborhood with the ability to house 36 people. The housing units will be spread across four duplex units, which will be shared by residents, and a single simplex unit; everything will be furnished, and utilities will be included. The team expects to have many of its residents come from the shelter system.
  • Development partners will also team up for an East Harlem building, this one with a whopping 253 “housing opportunities” split up between two eight-story buildings. True to form for Common, the buildings will have different types of co-living units—some more private, some more open—with the general idea being to encourage community among its residents. The project will be mostly geared toward low- and moderate-income New Yorkers, but some units will be market-rate.
  • And in East New York, co-living start-up PadSplit and Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation will create 11 housing opportunities in a two-story, legal single-room occupancy building. The building will be renovated and current residents will be able to remain, according to HPD. Once the renovation is complete, the units will be furnished, and common space—a yard, a communal area—will be added.

The co-living trend has been picking up steam in New York City; while Common is one of the largest operators of this type of housing, but other companies—including have also rolled out these dorm-like housing opportunities throughout the five boroughs.

And this is one of several creative solutions the city is looking at for creating affordable housing; earlier this year, HPD partnered with AIA’s New York chapter to design housing on oddly sized vacant lots.

SOURCE: Curbed.com

‘Pension Funds As Equity Will Boost Mortgage Finance, Housing, Others’

Industry regulator, the National Pension Commission (PenCom), has said there will be a significant development in Nigeria’s housing sector if contributors devoted a percentage of their Pension Fund Assets (PFA) under management as equity injections for residential mortgages.

According to the Commission, this will accelerate the development of both the mortgage finance and housing sectors, as well as make affordable housing accessible to registered contributors.

Recently, the Bankers’ Committee resolved that banks will support the pension industry to release up to 25 per cent of the pension funds to their contributors as equity injections towards owning houses, saying the funds can be used to stimulate demand for mortgage loans in Nigeria.

In her remarks, Chief Executive Officer, FSDH Merchant Bank, Hamda Ambah, explained that: “It was agreed that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) would talk to fellow regulators, and also work with government of various states to make the process of land transfer and titling a lot easier so that many more people across the nation can access mortgage financing to stimulate demand in our economy.”

Speaking to The Guardian, Acting Director-General, PenCom, Aisha Dahir-Umar, said one of the major inclusions in the Pension Reform Act (PRA) 2014, was the introduction of Section 89 (2), which allows registered contributors under the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS), to apply for a percentage of their pension assets as equity contribution for residential mortgages.

She noted that the initiative is significant, saying: “The Commission has drafted Guidelines, which are in line with the Framework of the Mortgage Guaranty Company (MGC), being proposed by the Central Bank of Nigeria.

“The objective of the MGC is to support mortgage originators such as Primary Mortgage Banks (PMBs), and commercial banks to increase mortgage lending by guaranteeing or partially guaranteeing equity contributions to secure a residential mortgage. The Commission is working with the CBN and the guidelines are to be disclosed before the end of the year.”

Meanwhile, Dahir-Umar said the total pension fund investment in infrastructure hit N150.71 billion as of June 30, 2019. Broken down, she said investment in Sukuk Bond took N86.10 billion, Infrastructure Funds N29.17 billion, Infrastructure Bond N11.49.92 billion, Green Bond N12.13 billion, while Agency Bond took N11.82 billion.

She explained that Sukuk was deployed for road infrastructure, while the Infrastructure Funds consist of Investments in ARM Harith Fund, which invested in the Azura-Edo independent power plant (IPP) project in Edo State, and Afri plus Fund that invested in the Constructions of 1,200 hostel rooms at the University of Calabar, Cross Rivers State.

Speaking further, she said the proceeds of the Infrastructure Bond (Vaithan Infrastructure Bond) were invested in the Akute Power Plant, Island Power Plant, Pipp Genco, and Gasco Marine Limited’s power projects in Lagos State.

However, she noted that pension assets in Nigeria, valued at N9.05 trillion as at April 30, 2019, are currently the largest available pool of capital, saying pension funds are adequately suited for investments in infrastructure, as it is a potential avenue to reap higher and consistent returns on investments if adequate policies, structures, and regulation are instituted.
“Several countries in Europe, Latin America, and Africa have successfully utilised part of the accumulated pension funds by investing in new infrastructure projects or renewing dilapidated ones. Globally, productive investments in infrastructure are majorly made possible by long-term funds and savings such as pension funds,” she added.

SOURCE:THE GUARDIAN

UN, Lagos, Others Seek Innovative Solutions To Cities’ Waste Challenges

The United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and other stakeholders have called for more innovative solutions and global investments to improve waste management across world cities.
Leading the call in a message to the event celebrated every first Monday in the Month of October, Guterres noted that the challenges of waste in world cities, stressing that frontier technologies could offer better and cheaper remedies to daily challenges of waste.

He said with cities in the lead and frontier technologies in widespread use, the world could achieve major advances on the road to sustainable urban development.

At this year’s World Habitat Day with the theme: “Frontier Technologies As Innovative Tool To Transform Waste To Wealth,” he said, the role cities and communities play in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and how well-planned and smartly managed cities can steer us towards inclusive growth and low-emission development.

Sanwo-Olu, who was represented by the Deputy Governor Babafemi Hamzat at an event organised by the Lagos State Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development in Lagos, stressed the place of technology and best practices in ensuring effective and efficient waste management in a megacity like Lagos.

He said effective management of waste has become a global priority, while waste is now viewed as a valuable resource that could be turned to wealth through technology, saying the innovative approach would address all areas of the waste hierarchy, reduction, reuse, recycling, recovery, and disposal.

Also, the United Nations Habitat Executive Director, Maimunah Sharif, urged local and national authorities to commit to the waste Cities Campaign being run by UN-Habitat and its partners to enhance waste management and resource efficiency in cities of the world.

Sharif, whose speech was delivered by National Programmes Officer of UN-Habitat, Paul Okunlola, said the global campaign encourages local and national authorities to commit to carrying out actions based on 12 principles for effective waste management.

In a lecture Guest Speaker and Chairman, Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, Opeyemi Bamidele, noted the alarming rate at which the earth’s limited resources are being depleted on daily basis, saying, “It has continued to remind us of the urgent global need to run circular economies, which prioritise deliberate recycling of waste materials.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV) yesterday asked the Federal Government to channel recovered funds by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to the provision of affordable housing in the country.

Chairman, Faculty of Housing, Chika Okafor, stated this during the commemoration of the World Habitat Day 2019 and presentation of communiqué on roadmap to housing development to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu in Lagos.

Okafor, who lamented Nigeria’s huge housing deficit of over 17 million, said if the government takes the step, it would cushion the effects of housing shortfall, halt Nigerian urban decay and promote effective housing delivery strategies through adequate funds to the sector.

SOURCE: theguardian

Shared Responsibility: Building And Sustaining Strong Economic Future For Nigeria~ Atedo N A Peterside

I consider it a great honour and privilege to have been invited as the Keynote Speaker on the occasion of the Dinner to celebrate the 25th Nigerian Economic Summit here today in Abuja. The organisers told me they wanted a speaker who was an active participant at the first Summit held a little over 25 years ago and who is still active today.  When I went back to read the Report of the 1st Nigerian Economic Summit which kicked off on 18 February 1993, my first reaction was one of humility and thanksgiving to God that I am still here 25 years later; I never realised that so many out of that very first batch of Summiteers had since passed on. May their gentle souls rest in perfect peace.

My second reaction, however, was one of disappointment that some of the exact same economic issues and problems that plagued Nigeria then are still being debated here 25 years later. I am not claiming that we have not achieved phenomenal progress in certain areas such as telecommunications, commercial and investment banking, Pension reform and other service sector pursuits such as Information Technology, Music, Film, Art and Fashion.

GDP Growth: Triumph of Sustainable Government Policies The harsh reality is that whatever gains Nigeria achieved in income per capita over the course of the last two decades are slowly being wiped out, as falling annual per capita incomes have become the norm in every single year since 2015.

Macroeconomists measure broad aggregates and the numbers do not lie. The investment and GDP statistics used here were obtained with the assistance of Dr Yemi Kale, who heads the National Bureau of Statistics. In a nutshell, falling living standards appear to have come to stay in Nigeria and so hordes of Nigerians continue to join the ranks of the extremely poor year after year, at a time when several African countries are successfully lifting more and more of their own people out of poverty. World Bank data confirms that the African countries who have been most successful (Top ten) at reducing extreme poverty over the course of a 15-year period spanning the Year 2000 to 2015 are Tanzania, Chad, Republic of Congo, Burkina Faso, Congo DRC, Ethiopia, Namibia, Mozambique, Rwanda & Uganda. When the earlier Summits were being held in the 1990s, some of the most popular comparisons by presenters were those between Nigeria and Malaysia, Indonesia and various other Asian tigers. Today, we can clearly benefit from case studies on poverty reduction emanating from Africa’s top ten. The same can be said for education, healthcare and infrastructure where Nigeria does not feature in Africa’s top ten in terms of rapid positive change. Indeed, Nigeria now leads the world in two appalling statistics:

1) the largest number of school-age children out of primary school (10.5m), and

2) the total number of persons living in extreme poverty (90m approx.). It was not so in 1993.

Nigeria must invest in innovative technology to survive — Soludo There is a frightening and ominous link between these two sets of statistics because children who are ill-equipped in terms of basic primary education are likely to be the most difficult to integrate into a 21st Century economy. Many of them were born into poverty and will remain in poverty unless we do something urgently to rescue them. Even more worrying are the regional disparities that show up when socioeconomic data is disaggregated. For instance, the WAEC May/June 2019 WASSCE results show that 9 out of the top 10 states with the best results are from the South East and South-South zones – Lagos State is the only top 10 entrant from outside these two zones.

Conversely, of the bottom 8 States on this same Exam results chart, five are from the North West, whilst three are from the North-East zone. In the 1990s, rapid economic growth eluded many Sub-Saharan African economies. In 2018, the average GDP growth rate for Sub-Saharan African economies was 2.4 per cent, but if you exclude the two largest economies (Nigeria and South Africa), who are both laggards, then the GDP growth rate for the rest of Sub-Saharan Africa immediately leaps up to five per cent. We therefore no longer need to go to Asia to learn lessons about rapid growth. We only need to look to Ivory Coast and Senegal in West Africa which grew at 7.40 per cent and 7.0 per cent respectively or to Ethiopia and Rwanda in East Africa, which grew by 8.50 per cent and 7.20 per cent respectively in 2018. The fore-runner of GDP growth is the Investment/GDP ratio. If there are little or no investments today, then there will be little or no growth in a couple of year’s time. The double-digit growth of 2002 came on the back of the very high Investment/GDP ratio of 35% recorded in the year 2000, which was the first full year following the restoration of democracy.

Thereafter, the long term trend for Nigeria’s Investment/GDP ratio has been a near-continuous downward slide. By 2012, the Investment to GDP ratio had slid all the way to below 15% and so GDP growth rates were bound to fall sharply after 2013. ALSO READ: We Must Struggle to Match UAE in Technological Advancement – Pantami As GDP growth rates fizzled out in 2015 and 2016, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) compounded the situation by embarking on forex policies which caused investors to both take fright and take flight at the same time. The inevitable outcome was an economic recession. It was only after CBN succumbed to pressure in early 2017 to allow a Nafex exchange rate, where all business units and individuals could buy and sell forex freely at a market-determined exchange rate of N360/$1 approx., that supply bottlenecks slowly disappeared and the economy limped out of a recession. The Nigerian economy is however still largely stagnant and so anaemic GDP growth rates which fall below the approximate three per cent population growth rate are not cause for celebration. With high inflation rates in the 11% range, which CBN appears to have accepted as being the norm, investors now fear stagflation. Compare and contrast this with Ivory Coast and Senegal which held inflation below two per cent and grew GDP in excess of seven per cent in 2018.

Before going into prescriptions it is important to update this audience about the current structure of the Nigerian economy, which is significantly different from what prevailed in 1993 in 5 important areas:

  1.  Over 50 per cent of our GDP now comes from the Service Sector. CBN appeared to have forgotten this in 2016 when directing banks to allocate 60 per cent of forex to the manufacturing sector that accounted for less than 10 per cent of GDP. CBN also held out the false hope that denial of forex to specific sectors of the economy would somehow incentivise investors in other sectors. The reality is that draconian actions directed at one group of investors simply make other investors think “so who is next and/or what is next”? A corollary of this proposition is to point out that actions and pronouncements that increase overall Uncertainty and Risk are likely to be counter-productive if the goal is to boost investment activity generally.
  2. Inward diaspora remittances now eclipse the oil and gas sector as the number one source of forex for Nigeria. Again, CBN overlooked this while trying to force these inflows to come in at a stipulated official rate of N200/$1 at a time when the parallel market had galloped beyond N400/$1 in 2016;
  3. Our ICT sector’s GDP contribution has since outgrown the oil and gas sector share of GDP and so it should be heralded and nurtured instead of being attacked by rogue regulators as has become fashionable;
  4.  The split of aggregate demand between the Private Sector and the Government Sector (all 3 tiers) is now 91.5%/8.5%. Some Nigerians still dream about FG stimulating national aggregate demand through its own expenditure activity alone. Meanwhile, FG’s total 2020 budget expenditures will translate into a paltry sum of $130 or less per Nigerian. How can that possibly transform Nigeria’s economy in a meaningful way? One of the first areas of consensus in that first economic summit in 1993 was that FG expenditures alone could never transform the Nigerian economy and so by far, the most impactful activity that FG could engage in was to create an enabling environment and a level playing field that would stimulate phenomenal private sector investment activity. 25 years later some of our policymakers still sound as if they missed this most basic lesson.
  5. In 2018, Nigeria’ Foreign Direct Investment inflows slipped behind Ghana’s for the first time. In terms of FDI flows into Africa, Nigeria slipped into the second tier in 2018.

The first tier is now comprised of Egypt, South Africa, Congo, Morocco, Ethiopia, Ghana and Mozambique. Indeed, Mozambique may head this chart in a few years time. They have provided the type of clarity which Nigeria has refused to provide to the Oil and Gas sector from the moment the Oil Minister in the previous administration produced the first draft of a myopic Petroleum Industry Bill.

The Way Forward It is not too late for President Buhari’s Government and our national assembly to borrow a cue from Mozambique and learn how to enact laws that provide clarity and reduce uncertainty for investors in the oil and gas sector and other sectors too. So, why is Nigeria unable to achieve GDP growth rates of 6% and above which are currently the norm in several Sub-Saharan Africa economies?

The obvious answer is that we appear to have frightened most investors away (local and foreign) and they will not be coming back any time soon until we correct the structural dysfunction that frightened them away in the first place. Investors appear to have concluded that the Nigerian economy is rigged against all except the very well-connected and they are right. By definition, the well-connected investors are few and so our Investment/GDP ratio is likely to remain low until we make it possible for all other investors (Nigerian and foreign) to come back and partake in the task of baking a bigger cake on the basis of a level playing field.

  • In Nigeria of 2019, only the well-connected can expect the following:
  •  Security of life and property;
  •  Prompt dispensation of Justice;
  • Sanctity of contracts;
  • No harassment from multiple rogue regulators;
  •  Access to land via the Land Use Act;
  •  Freedom from multiple illegal State and Local Government levies;
  • Provision of good roads and pipe-borne water to their door-step;
  • Access to subsidised financing; and
  •  Public sector employment opportunities.

For the youths, the less privileged and others who are not well connected, they dare not expect these 9 things.

 

Instead, they should concentrate on avoiding being the victims of extra-judicial killings and other forms of Police (notably SARS) or Army brutality and if they go into a legitimate business activity, they should get ready to grapple with endless threats and harassment by FIRS, Customs, State Government Tax authorities, SARS, NAFDAC etc. The bulk of this harassment typically comes from corrupt government officials seeking to line their own pockets through extortion. Sadly, there appears to be no oversight function and so the excesses of these rogue regulators are largely unchecked, thereby leaving no respite nor protection for their poor victims. There is no justice for the underprivileged in Nigeria and so this exacerbates Income inequality which is already very high, as demonstrated by our Gini Coefficient of 0.4 approx. A new generation of Nigerians (largely youths) have been dealt a terrible hand. A Nigerian Passport gives them few options for taking flight. It is not so with investors. Many can take flight and have done so. Sadly, most utterances by important public figures give the remaining investors, even more, cause to worry. We need a paradigm shift away from harassing investors to one of welcoming them sincerely as well as taking actions that boost business confidence, as Morocco and Rwanda do all the time. A global race is on to win the hearts and minds of investors. Nigeria is currently losing that race badly even within Africa. Reversing this terrible trend is a shared responsibility.

A society gets the leaders that it deserves and so I do not blame this Government or past Governments. I blame the elite in general because we shy away from backing truly competent political leaders as if we fear that we will not succeed in manipulating them or getting them to rig economic outcomes in our favour. In the meantime, FG has lost fiscal viability because it lacks the courage to trim personnel overheads on account of a bloated headcount in the public sector. Will 98% of the population continue to suffer so that less than 2% who make up the bloated public sector can maintain their lifestyles? The same FG endorsed a largely unaffordable minimum wage and presses on with “populist” subsidies which are largely cornered by the rich. Government revenues as a percentage of GDP are exceedingly low at 6% approx and yet all that the private sector does is resist any attempts to increase indirect taxes or price products such as petrol and electricity on the basis of full cost recovery.

Even the recent inevitable decision to introduce toll gates on our roads has been met by private sector resistance. Following the launch of a new payments-enabled National ID Card, it is certainly possible to quantify the annual petrol subsidy, apportion it and pay each Nigerian adult that falls below a minimum income threshold his or her share. This can be executed transparently by the same office for National Social Investment Programmes that currently pays monthly handouts to a lucky few out of the 90 million extremely poor Nigerians.

If FG is in the habit of being seen to grant subsidies then we should focus less on getting stubborn people to shed a bad habit. It is far better to get them to replace a bad habit of wasted subsidies with a much better habit of direct payments to the poor via an instrument that the rich cannot corner or access. There will be no strong economic future for Nigeria that can be built and sustained if the deal is to starve the Government of revenues, whilst blaming the 3 tiers of Government for failing to deliver on their respective mandates.

The responsibility that we must share is to encourage FG to get its finances in order and attain both fiscal viability and macroeconomic stability. We must also encourage FG to level the playing field for investors and quit dangling rent-seeking and/or arbitrage opportunities such as multiple exchange rates, which remain open to abuse. In 1993, Summiteers and CBN agreed that CBN should pursue a 5% inflation target. At that time US inflation was 3% and so the gap was only 2% p.a. Today, US inflation is 2% and yet CBN appears to be content with keeping inflation high at 10 or 11% p.a., the 9% per annum differential is much too high and is inconsistent with the declared goal of maintaining exchange rate stability. Nobody should get carried away by our short term reliance on “hot” money inflows to bolster forex reserves on the basis of distorted “carry trades”. CBN should quit expanding its mandate into other questionable areas, if it cannot meet its most basic mandate of containing inflation.

We cannot afford to approach the next 25 years by repeating the errors of the last 25 years. The shared responsibility includes getting the elite to become less insular or less sycophantic and to learn to speak truth to power. The recently appointed Economic Policy Advisory team is a step in the right direction by FG. Their job will be made a lot easier if this Summit can help establish an elite consensus on the unfinished business that is still holding us back from building and sustaining a strong economic future for Nigeria. I thank you for your attention.

Atedo N A Peterside* CON, is the Founder of Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc and the Chairman of Anap Business Jets Limited, ART X Collective Limited, Cadbury Nigeria Plc and Endeavor High Impact Entrepreneurship Ltd/Gte.

SOURCE: VANGUARD

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