The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has signalled plans to commence automation of the intervention funds process.
This follows its request for proposal for the automation of intervention funds processes as published on its website.
The Bank, in fulfilling its statutory objective of a sound and stable economy, provides intervention funds to different sectors of the economy. The management of these intervention funds generally follow a similar process with slight variations based on the conditions/criteria of the intervention/investment.
The Development Finance Department (DFD) of the CBN is responsible for managing the Bank’s Intervention funds and desires to harmonise and automate all intervention funds processes thereby eliminating the cumbersome process of operating several silo processes.
Consequently, the regulator invites sealed bids from bidders for the development, implementation, and automation of the intervention funds process for the CBN. This Request for Proposal (RFP) is being extended to a set of eligible and competent vendors.
“Proposals from single vendors or from multiple vendors working together as a team would be considered. The ideal vendor(s) will have certified knowledge and verifiable capacity and experience in the software industry. Experience in the public or banking sector is preferred, but not mandatory,” the CBN stated.
DURBAN – Africa’s emerging real estate investment trust (REIT) market could become the catalyst for large scale investment into the continent’s growing, albeit still underdeveloped, property sector.
Recent years have seen the debut of Stanlib’s Fahari I-REIT in Kenya, and Morocco, Ghana and Uganda having either recently achieved REIT status or being in the final process of doing so. Other notable capital market milestones include Nigeria listing its first real estate linked Bond on the FMDQ Securities Exchange and Botswana’s listed property sector now has more than seven trading counters. This indicates a market maturing.
“The cap rate compression achieved by these REITs in a listed environment presents significant value-unlock for investors. Our experience, having listed Grit on the main market of the London Stock Exchange, underscores a definite appetite for African real estate,” said Bronwyn Corbett, Chief Executive and co-founder of Grit Real Estate Income Group.
Speaking ahead of the API Summit set to take place on 2 and 3 October 2019 at the Sandton Convention Centre, Corbett believes that while there is interest, investors are still very selective about where they choose to invest.
“This is especially true for international investors who appreciate that Africa is a continent consisting of 54 odd countries. Geographic selection is, therefore, as important a property fundamental as choosing the appropriate asset class and location. Our approach has always been to be asset agnostic, focusing on what we call ‘investment grade Africa’ which includes Morocco, Mauritius and Botswana, and ‘high-growth Africa which is made up of Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, and Senegal,” said Corbett.
Fellow API Summit speaker Nesi Chetty, Fund Manager of Stanlib, agrees that African property markets will continue to be appealing for investors who have a long-term view on the continent. Chetty said, “The various African countries all have different demand drivers, political climates and growth trajectories. The ability to select those property countries that will outperform through the cycle is key”.
African pension and insurance funds are also expected to be critical drivers for African housing and real estate’s next investment cycle.
“In countries with funded pension sectors, the size of the pension assets are growing, and the need for diversification in itself dictates that consideration be given to alternative asset classes of which housing and real estate is one. In each of these countries, there is a huge deficit in housing, particularly in the affordable housing space. Various countries are taking initiatives to address the housing gap, but sadly the role that pension funds can play does not appear to be fully appreciated, and more can and needs to be done,” said Sundeep Raichura, Zamara Group Chief Executive, who will also speak at the API Summit.
But, several African countries have existing and substantial state pension and insurance funds, and concerns over the governance of investment in housing and real estate still need to be addressed.
He said, “There is a limited appetite to invest across jurisdictions other than South Africa, although Kenyan pension funds are taking more of a regional outlook, and there is an interest in investing across East Africa. Here, vehicles like REITs would make good sense”.
Kfir Rusin, Managing Director for API Events, the host of the API Summit, said that investing in African property is, to a certain extent, considerably less complex now, due to the rapid rate of market formalilisation, transparency and greater understanding of the continent’s unique markets and its needs.
“For REITs to succeed in Africa we need to create enough investment grade stock (something which we are moving towards) for REITs to buy and create enough scale, as well as ensure the correct legislation and tax dispensation is in place across all key countries. Lobbying by industry bodies to gain government and tax authority buy-in will be critical in the formation of REITs across the continent. We are seeing great progress being made across all these key areas,” said Rusin.
Rusin notes that the short-termism of private equity models have often proven a poor match for African property investment and focused on the wrong development priorities.
According to Corbett, REIT promulgation in many African countries is expected to have the same catalytic impact on property markets as it did in South Africa.
“I do not expect this development to be as rapid as the South African market experienced in 2013, when the SA REIT dispensation was introduced, as the sector is still in many respects in its infancy. Real estate investments offer an entry point for some and an exit for others, and I feel strongly that this regulation will unlock much needed deeper pools of capital as pension funds and international investors will increasingly participate once a familiar and standardises platform has been established,” said Corbett.
Grit is excited about the prospects of hospitality and logistics assets, depending on the appropriate region, but Corbett says luxury malls will continue to struggle.
Attendees at this year’s API Summit can expect further discussion on these topics and more with participation from over 500 + delegates, 60 speakers and 285 companies in attendance.
“I am looking to learn and share. There are many cross-cutting challenges across Africa, and I believe a forum like the API Summit will be a good opportunity to exchange ideas and look for areas of collaboration,” concluded Raichura.
Pat Utomi, a professor of political economy and former presidential candidate, says the biggest risk to any business operating in Nigeria.
Utomi made this claim on Tuesday while speaking at the Regulatory Conversations 4.0 themed ‘Foreign Exchange Restrictions on Food Imports and Implications for Regulating and Growing the Nigerian Economy’.
Utomi said many companies had collapsed in Nigeria due to regulatory risk and lack of national strategy.
“We should have a clear national strategy that we want to become global leaders in this one, two, three areas,” he said.
“We can do isolated industrial policy to those areas of which our endowments allow us to become competitive globally and dominate that value chain.
“The biggest risk in doing business in Nigeria is a regulatory risk. The regulator is more likely to kill a company than any market risk.”
Utomi said certain sectors of the economy had been wiped out by an unthinking regulator’s actions
He said the government needs to think through the consequences of its policies before implementation, noting that restrictions would not take the country anywhere.
Utomi explained that players in the industry should educate each other on the consequences because the economy belonged to everyone.
“Part of our duty as players in this, is to say to ourselves, look this economy belongs to all of us; can we begin to educate ourselves on the consequences,” he said.
In his comments, Muda Yusuf, the director-general of Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), said that the regulatory environment is one of the biggest challenges being faced currently in business in the country.
Yusuf said that regulators meant well for the country but the problem was in strategy and how to achieve it.
“Unfortunately, we don’t have regulators who are in government, who actually listens or engages so that you can have the right kind of strategy to achieve the desired result,” he said.
“There are too many regulations in the country and the damage it is doing to the economy is enormous.
“To do business with integrity in Nigeria today is a tall order.”
He said that many businesses had gone under because of challenges of regulatory compliance adding that many have transited to become informal sector players.
The LCCI boss said that smugglers had taken over businesses in Nigeria, adding that the country was losing because smugglers don’t pay taxes.
He explained that the emphasis should be on building domestic capacity for the development of the country.
Credit allocation from commercial banks to real estate industry has maintained a steady drop in over one year.
Loans from commercial banks to the real estate industry, which began to drop over a year ago, have maintained the downward trend.
From N784bn in the first quarter of 2018, credit to real estate dropped to N596bn out of the total loan of N15.21tn extended to the private sector in the first quarter of 2019, according to data obtained from the National Bureau of Statistics.
The N596bn which accounts for 3.92 per cent of the total credit to the private sector in Q1 of 2019 showed a difference of N188bn or 24 per cent year on year drop when compared with the same period of 2018.
The industry got about N622bn out of the N15.13tn credit to private sector in the last quarter of 2018, lower than the N710bn recorded in the third quarter of 2018.
In the first and second quarters of 2018, N784bn and N744bn, respectively, were the loans given out by banks to the industry.
The first quarter of 2018 saw growth in credit allocation to the industry when the amount rose to N784bn, up from the N753bn recorded in the last quarter of 2017.
From the NBS statistics, real estate appears to be the only sector with a downward credit allocation trend when compared to other sectors.
Agriculture recorded an increase from N501bn in the first quarter of 2018 to N638bn in the same period of 2019. Oil and gas, and manufacturing also increased from N3.42tn to N3.49tn and N2.07tn to N2.2tn in the first quarters of 2018 and 2019, respectively.
The real estate sector, however, recorded a decrease in the amount of non-performing loans, dropping from N170bn in April 2018 to N68.87bn in April 2019.
Stakeholders in the industry said it had become increasingly difficult to access commercial banks’ loans for investment in real estate.
According to some of them who spoke with The PUNCH, commercial banks are no longer interested in financing real estate projects, and have not been putting their money in the industry for due to a high level of default.
The Deputy President, Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria, Mr Akintoye Adeoye, said many banks that had their fingers burnt had become wary of extending credit to the sector.
The President, REDAN, Mr Ugo Chime, told our correspondent that a lot of factors had slowed down real estate activities and in turn affected response to credit facilities.
He said, “During election period like the one we went through in the first quarter of this year, the demand for real estate is usually low because most people use their money for elections which is common in most countries of the world. This is due to the measure of uncertainties during such times.
“It is understandable that a number of financial institutions will not be willing to give out money at such times or allow developers to take money from them.
“So, a combination of factors have made it possible that there would be low activities in the industry but we hope that in the coming quarters, starting from next month, we will have increased activities.”
Chime said the state of the economy had created a situation where people had become more concerned with feeding and other endeavours than investing in real estate.
“But we believe that if we have the increase in salary for civil servants and other things that are being put in place by the Federal Government, there would be more activities which will have impact on the real estate industry,” he said.
He stated that stakeholders in the industry had been advocating that the only way to stimulate activities in real estate sector would be for the government to increase mortgage and access to it.
“The purchasing power of most Nigerians cannot afford housing at this time except through mortgage,” he added.
The Head of the Nigeria Housing Finance Programme of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr Adedeji Adesemoye, stated that several interventions were being put in place by the apex financial institution to increase homeownership in the country.
According to him, one way for the government, especially at the state level, to address the challenge is to sign the Mortgage Model and Foreclosure Act into law.
He explained that many states were at different levels of implementing the law which would help to correct some of the shortcomings of the Land Use Act, which had limited access to land and housing.
“For people to be able to have better access to funding for investment in housing, mortgage culture must be encouraged to grow in the country,” he said.
Adesemoye said financial challenges had hindered the growth and progress of affordable housing in the country, adding that the CBN would reverse the situation through regulations, funding, policy frameworks, partnerships and many other initiatives.
According to him, the CBN has accepted the responsibility of driving reforms at many levels of housing financing.
He said, “The CBN supervises commercial and primary mortgage microfinance banks that have had various interventions in provision of housing funds across the landscape. So they need a supervisory framework that is robust to be able to do this.
“We need to have institutions that are well capitalised and well managed and supervised to be able to give back the right confidence to the people so that they can satisfy their finance needs.”
He added that the apex bank had moved further from being a regulator to implementing catalytic projects that would open up the financial landscape.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed, says it is difficult for Nigeria to achieve the $3trn infrastructure investment needed for the next 30 years.
She said in order to bridge Nigeria’s growing infrastructure gap, the federal government intended to cede 48 percent of the infrastructure needs to the private sector to build and own.
She stated this in Abuja at a workshop on Maximizing Finance for Development of Infrastructure in Nigeria, organised by the World Bank Group.
She said the 48 percent of the infrastructure would be largely in the transportation and energy sector which accounted for over 50 percent of the investments, the minister said.
She said: “It is estimated that $3 trillion infrastructure investment would be needed for the next 30 years” for Nigeria, a situation she said it’s impossible to achieve through budgetary provision. “Nigeria core infrastructure stock is currently estimated at 30 percent of the GDP which falls far short of the international benchmark of 70 percent.”
The Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) recent circular, which removed “interest rate and cap in respect of Part 2 Section 2.1.3 (Mortgage Finance)” in the Guide to Charges by Banks and Other Financial Institutions in Nigeria, should be of immense interest and concern to people who have had their hopes deferred about housing for all.
Specifically, those who intend to borrow money from financial institutions in the country to build or purchase house(s) and tenants should pay more attention to the new deal. The new policy should also be of interest to any persons currently enjoying a mortgage facility before the above referenced circular.
Prior to the latest circular which became effective September 9, 2019, interest rate on mortgage facilities in the country, was negotiable but pegged at or subject to a maximum of Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) plus 5%; meaning that lending by financial institutions in Nigeria for mortgage purposes, at a rate higher than MPR plus 5%, amounted to regulatory disobedience. That policy took effect on May 1, 2017. With its termination on September 8, 2019, it lived for about two years and four months.
It is noteworthy that, in taking the decision to remove the “interest rate and cap,” the CBN indicated it considered two issues: “Implementation challenges in respect of the maximum cap of MPR+5% placed on mortgage finance rates” and “concerns of stakeholders.” Unfortunately, the apex regulator in Nigeria’s banking and finance industry neither cited examples of the “implementation challenges” nor any of the “concerns of the stakeholders.”
Indeed, no single or group of stakeholders that had raised issues of concern was indicated. There was also no evidence that the challenges and concerns (whatever they were), were subjected to industry and other interested parties’ deliberations before CBN reached the decision to effect the change in the prevailing policy.
Beyond the fact that there may be concerns from some stakeholders about policies, it is imperative that what should guide policy changes or somersault must not be anything short of protecting national interest. That is, it must be for the good of a greater majority of the citizens.
Now, with this new change in policy, providers and users of mortgage finance products and services in the Nigerian finance industry are at liberty to negotiate and agree applicable interest rates for their mortgage transactions. In other words, the parties will determine at what interest rate they can do business.
Although the new policy regime has already taken off, it is nevertheless, important to highlight some of its major implications for the awareness and guidance of the authorities and other stakeholders such as (intending) borrowers of funds for mortgages and tenants, among others.
An important observation: The Nigerian mortgage sub-sector is still at its rudimentary stage and begging for speedy development. With this new policy, CBN has shot a poisoned arrow into the heart of mortgage finance in the country, with negative consequences.
The first implication is that interest rates at which mortgage finance can be accessed, going forward, will obviously increase and therefore, serve as a major deterrent to the development or purchase of mortgage-backed houses.
Second, interest rates on existing mortgages are at risk of being unilaterally reviewed upwards by financial institutions. The immediate and long-term implication of such situations is the likelihood that some of the mortgage loans will become non-performing, as many of the borrowers are unlikely to meet their obligations under the new rate regime. If no other thing will make this situation possible, the prevailing inclement and harsh economic and business environment in the country, should. And if the issue of non-performing mortgage facilities become prevalent in the sub sector, the risk of distress or even failure of some of the lending institutions will serve no one any benefit. In fact, it will be at the detriment of the economy in the country.
Another key issue is this: the possibility of financial institutions booking new mortgages at higher interest rate at this time that the economy is headed down-wards is quite slim. What is worse, many of our citizens who are within their working ages are unemployed and there is a lot of job instability and uncertainty in the economy. Private commercial property developers will be interested in looking at the bottom line of their businesses before commitments, in this regard.
Further, market-determined mortgage facility rates in this country skew the power of any provision for negotiation of the rates in favour of financial institutions. This will leave the borrowers with a ‘take-it or leave-it situation’, a scenario that will essentially be anti-national development, especially the drive to “housing for all,” which has always been a mirage.
The other impacts that should be expected include, increments in house rents notwithstanding the poor remuneration of the few that are employed and non-existing jobs for the unemployed; increased inability to meet basic household or family needs (such as feeding and payment of children’ school fees); increase in social problems that will arise from homelessness of, especially the youth whose parents may be relieved of their apartments as a result of default in meeting mortgage or tenancy obligations; increased rate of mental ill-health, including lunacy; and intensified level of corrupt practices in public and private services by individuals whose dreams to own houses via mortgage arrangements, have become derailed by the new policy.
It is therefore apparent that Nigerians will be great losers with full implementation of this CBN’s mortgage finance interest rate policy regime.
The development of the mortgage sub-sector will stall, if not nose-dive; the overbearing housing deficit facing the country will intensify aided by the growing number of internally displaced persons (IDPs); increased homelessness of citizens will aggravate prevailing social insecurity perhaps, beyond what is today associated with Boko Haram and kidnapping for ransom of innocent people. It is foreseeable that some of the financial institutions providing mortgages will sooner than later run into troubled waters when their non-performing mortgage portfolios rise above the regulatory threshold. And when that ensues, the CBN, the initiator of the new mortgage finance interest rate regime without boundaries and borders, will have enough to keep it busy towards ensuring recovery of huge outstanding bad debts and resolution of imminent distress or failure of institutions in the system.
All told, as the regulator’s aspiration to free the financial system in Nigeria from non-market determined and driven interest rates intensifies, it is time to give serious thought to questions as to whether a single country-wide mortgage framework will serve this complex federation of 36 states and 774 local governments more efficiently. With different housing needs and problems confronting various regions and geographical areas of the country, will what operates in one successfully be expected to also operate in the same manner in another or other areas? Granting the differing level and quantum of housing stock needed in different geographical areas across the country, are we having the mortgage system that can address the needs of all areas? If answers are in the negative, there will then be the urgent need to seek solutions that will take into account peculiarities of pre-defined areas and zones in the country. Such solutions must, of necessity, aim at the overall successful development of the mortgage sub-sector across the country. This again is another national question in the context of tinkering with the convoluted structure that holds everything down in this country.
* Confers Prestigious Social Innovation award on Special Adviser
* It demonstrates the commitment of the Nigerian Government towards reducing poverty… Mrs Uwais
Efforts by the President Buhari Administration to reduce poverty in Nigeria through its various Social Investment Programmes have continued to receive thumbs up from well-meaning individuals and organizations within and outside the shores of the country.
The latest is coming from Schwab Foundation, a sister organization of the World Economic Forum WEF, following its conferment of the prestigious Public Social Intrapreneur award on Mrs Maryam Uwais MFR, the Special Adviser to the President on Social Investments.
Mrs Uwais joins 40 other individuals selected from different countries across the World to receive the award in recognition of their innovative approach and potential for global impact.
The list includes start-up founders and chief executive officers, multinational and regional business leaders, government leaders and recognized experts who are working to address social and environmental issues with innovation, in areas ranging from water purification to financial inclusion to combatting hate.
For more than 20 years, the Schwab Foundation has recognized social entrepreneurs as a new breed of leaders – Hide quoted text values-driven, inclusive, compassionate and entrepreneurial, developing new sustainable models for business, human development and environmental initiatives – and embedded them in the platforms of the World Economic Forum.
The 2019 awardees were formally inaugurated during the World Economic Forum’s Sustainable Development Impact Summit held on Sunday, September 23, 2019 in New York, United States of America.
Mrs Uwais, in a goodwill message to the global gathering, (following her inability to be present in New York), described the award as an International endorsement of efforts by the Government of President Muhammadu Buhari to address the challenges relating to poverty and unemployment through the faithful implementation of the National Social Investment Programme N-SIP.
The Presidential Aide said the recognition is a call to action for the FGN to commit even more resources, assuring of continued transparency, efficiency and dedication in achieving the task of reducing poverty by 100m people in 10 years, in line with the target set by President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR.
“I am truly encouraged by this International endorsement of our efforts, through the structures & processes we have put in place towards ensuring that we drive implementation and set standards at Sub-National level in Nigeria (where the work is primarily done).
This award acknowledges that the Nigeria is serious about reducing poverty and unemployment, while improving our human capital indices. It is also a testament to the willingness of our legislators (at the National Assembly) and the Governors in the States to cooperate and partner with the Federal Government in its bid to uplift the conditions of its hitherto less privileged citizens. The close collaboration from the Federal Government Ministries and Agencies, as well as the Governors and officials of the States and Local Government, has enabled us work towards our objectives, as one united and indivisible country.
I am humbled by this recognition and thankful to the Almighty for this opportunity to serve my country and it’s citizens. I am also grateful to the team that has worked assiduously towards achieving our modest successes. It has been a collective effort, personally led by the Vice President of Nigeria, Prof Yemi Osinbajo SAN GCON.”
The Schwab Foundation provides a veritable platform of expertise, knowledge and resources, and a network we can engage with, for the work ahead. It is a privilege for me, to be able to learn, share and engage with the very best in social entrepreneurship, for the benefit of Nigeria and its citizens”
Mrs Uwais, whose appointment as Special Adviser to the President on Social Investment was recently renewed, has since 2016 been in charge of the National Social Investment Office, a portfolio of the Federal Government which coordinates all components of the Social Investment Programme in an inclusive manner, that is not only reducing poverty but also fostering financial inclusion in Nigeria.
Nearly 10 million pupils in 32 states across the country are currently benefiting from the School Feeding Programme, while close to 650,000 poor and vulnerable households in 27 States are enrolled onto the National Cash Transfer Programme.
This is in addition to over 2 million people who have benefitted from interest and collateral-free loans through Marketmoni, Tradermoni, and Farmermoni facilitated under the Government Economic and Enterprise Programme GEEP, just as N-Power, a job enhancement Scheme, has profitably engaged over 540,000 young people in all local government areas of the country.
Communications Manager, National Social Investment Office NSIO
Views of 200 institutions that oversee a combined $4.1tn in assets paint gloomy picture
Investors are increasingly fearful of a global recession, according to a survey of many of the world’s biggest asset managers. The likelihood of a downturn in the next year — driven by concerns over geopolitical uncertainty and trade tensions — stands at 52 per cent, according to the findings from Absolute Strategy Research.
This is the first time since the survey began in 2014 that investors have seen a greater than 50 per cent chance of a recession. The findings from ASR, which surveyed more than 200 institutions that manage a combined $4.1tn in assets, indicate that investors’ views on the outlook for business confidence and corporate earnings have dimmed. The respondents also expected US unemployment to rise over the next year.
“People have definitely bought into the bearish macro view,” said David Bowers, ASR’s head of research. “When you look at the pattern over the past four or five years, it is definitely quite an important inflection point.” The views coincide with the global manufacturing sector experiencing its sharpest decline in at least six years and a warning by the OECD that the world’s biggest economies are in danger of falling into a “low-growth trap”.
The group last week downgraded its economic forecasts for almost all the countries it examines. Yet despite the gloom, investors still expect stocks to outperform bonds over the next year. However, they assigned a less than 50 per cent chance of equities being higher a year from now.
One of the key questions is whether central bankers from Washington to Frankfurt will be successful in propping up their flagging economies as they loosen monetary policy, with the US Federal Reserve cutting interest rates for the second time this year last week and the European Central Bank launching another stimulus package. ASR’s survey suggests investors are hoping that monetary policy will smooth the way ahead.
“They haven’t gone maximum defensive,” said Mr Bowers. “People are thinking the cavalry is going to come quickly to create stimulus to provide that turnaround.”
Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote has boasted of creating not less than 25,000 jobs with Dangote Cement Plc alone. While speaking at the official commissioning of the N85 million Chemical and Non-Metallic Employers Federation House (CANMPEF House) built by CANMPEF, Dangote said the operations of the cement company has spread to 14 other African countries.
According to the President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Dangote Group, the cement company has 29 million tons installed capacity for cement production and expected to increase to 35 million by 2020 in the country.
Why you should know: Despite the job opportunities the Dangote Group has created, data proves that many Nigerians are still unemployed. The Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS) had released the country’s unemployment report which puts the number of unemployed Nigerians at 20,927,648.
Year on year, the unemployment rate increased from 18.8% during the third quarter of 2017, to 23.1% in the same period this year. A closer examination of the report shows that this is the highest unemployment rate in Nigeria since Q3 2014 when the number of unemployed Nigerians was 7.27 million.
Since 2014, the unemployment rate in the country has significantly increased from 9.7% to 23.1%. Key extracts from the NBS reports are as follows:
The total number of completely unemployed Nigerians increased from 17.6 million in Q4 2017 to 20.9 million in Q3 2018.
Out of the 20.9 million unemployed persons as at Q3 2018, 11.1 million did some form of work but for too few hours a week (under 20 hours) while 9.7 million people did absolutely nothing.
Out of the 9.7 million unemployed Nigerians, who did absolutely nothing as at Q3 2018, 8.77million were unable to work because they were first-time job seekers.
Out of the 9.7 million that were unemployed and did nothing at all, 35.0% or 3.4 million have been unemployed and did nothing at all for less than a year, 17.2% or 1.6 million for a year, 15.7% or 1.5 million had been unemployed and did nothing for 2 years, and the remaining 32.1% or 3.1 million unemployed persons had been unemployed doing nothing for 3 years and above.
The economically active or working-age population (15 – 64 years of age) increased from 111.1 million in Q3, 2017 to 115.5million in Q3, 2018.
The number of persons in the labour force also increased from 75.94 million in Q3 2015 to 80.66 million in Q3 2016 to 85.1 million in Q3,2017 to 90.5million in Q3, 2018.
The total number of people in employment (with jobs) increased from 68.4 million in Q3 2015 to 68.72 million in Q3 2016 and from 69.09 million in Q3 2017 to 69.54 million in Q3 2018.
The Details: Nigeria has not been doing enough to fight poverty from its shores. In fact, Nigeria has only spent less than 3% of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on social investments. This development has been mind-boggling to Benmessaoud who emphasized the need for the Federal Government to not only fight poverty but also improve economic growth and raise human capital.
Benmessaoud said the World Bank was caring enough to support Nigeria’s social investments and even went ahead to create a Social Registry, containing legitimate names of poor households in parts of the country. This resource built by the World Bank has helped Nigeria in reaching vulnerable people through targeted intervention programmes like conditional cash transfers.
Opposing voices: Unwilling to go down without a fight, Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed disputed the World Bank claims as well as the Social Safety Nets report, saying that Nigeria spends more than 3% of GDP on social investments.
Ahmed argued that the report failedto acknowledge other social protection programmes like pensions, health insurance and interventions that targets people living with disabilities.
However, the National Coordinatorof the National Social Safety-Nets Coordinating Office (NASSCO), MrIorwa Apera, promised to work on the next report of social safety nets. He also promised to give a more holistic picture of government’s spending on pro-poor programmes.
What you should know: The Federal Government of Nigeria established the National Social Investments Programmes in 2016, to tackle poverty and hunger across the country.
The N-power programme is designed to assist the unemployed between the ages of 18 to 35 to acquire and develop life-long skills and are given a stipend of N30,000 monthly.
The Conditional Cash Transfer programme directly supports those within the lowest poverty bracket by giving them monthly stipends of N5,000.
The Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme is a micro-lending intervention that provides loans between 10,000 and 100,000 to petty traders, artisans, enterprising youth, farmers and women.
The Home-Grown School Feeding Programme focuses on increasing school enrollment by feeding children in public schools from class one to three while simultaneously empowering community women and small farmers.