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Nigeria Manages Debt Despite Rising Interest Rates, Enhances Infrastructure Funding, State Allocations

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Despite rising interest rates, Nigeria has managed to significantly improve its debt repayment capabilities, reporting a debt-to-revenue ratio of 78%. This achievement is coupled with the removal of over N1 trillion in deductions, with a significant portion allocated to the Infrastructure Development Fund, and an increase in state allocations.

Just a year ago, Nigeria struggled under a daunting debt-to-revenue ratio of 98%, even with lower interest rates. The government relied on borrowing to pay civil servants’ salaries, which contributed to the financial strain. Former President Muhammadu Buhari highlighted this fiscal turnaround, stating, “we are no longer bleeding.”

The recent deductions are perceived by some as a strategic delay tactic while the president works towards local government autonomy. Critics argue that it is imprudent to transfer large sums of money to state governors, many of whom are perceived as neglectful of grassroots governance, leading to persistent suffering among local populations.

According to the latest data from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the country spent about $2.2 billion on debt servicing in the first five months of 2024. May recorded the highest expenditure at $854.36 million, marking the largest single-month debt servicing payment in the past year. This figure represents a 29% increase from April and a staggering 286.49% increase from May 2023’s $221.05 million. Debt servicing costs were $215.20 million in April, $276.16 million in March, $283.22 million in February, and $560.52 million in January.

Overall, the amount spent on debt servicing in the first five months of this year is approximately 96.32% higher than the $1.12 billion spent during the same period in 2023. Despite these substantial payments, Nigeria’s foreign reserves have continued to grow, indicating a healthier fiscal space than last year.

The improved fiscal position allows the government to undertake critical infrastructure projects and increases the financial support to states, ensuring better governance and development at all levels. The ability to manage debt effectively amidst rising interest rates underscores Nigeria’s resilient economic strategies and the government’s commitment to fiscal responsibility.

Nigeria’s economic turnaround is notable. With improved debt management, increased infrastructure funding, and growing foreign reserves, the country is in a better fiscal space, enabling more robust governance and development efforts.

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LASTMA Cracks Down on Illegal Motor Parks, Impounds 40 More Vehicles

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The Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) has impounded another 25 commercial and 15 private vehicles operating illegal garages and causing serious road obstructions around the Oyingbo, Ijora, and Idumota areas.

Taofiq Adebayo, spokesman for LASTMA, said this in a statement on Friday.

Mr Adebayo noted that the impounding of the vehicles in these areas was a decisive move by LASTMA to restore order and ensure the free flow of traffic.

He said the operation was led by Kayode Odunuga, the LASTMA head of enforcement, under the directives of Sola Giwa, the special adviser to the governor on transportation.

Mr Adebayo said that they were specifically directed at illegal garages, which had been a persistent source of congestion and inconvenience for residents and commuters.

He said the impoundment, which began in recent weeks, was part of a broader initiative by the Lagos government to enhance the efficiency of the city’s transportation network.

Mr Giwa emphasised that the government is committed to maintaining law and order on the roads and ensuring that all traffic regulations are strictly enforced.

“illegal garages have been a significant challenge in our quest to maintain a seamless traffic flow in Lagos. These impoundments send a strong message to all offenders that the state will not tolerate activities that disrupt public order and endanger the lives of our citizens.

“Our goal is to create a safe and orderly environment for all road users, and this action is a crucial step in that direction,” Mr Giwa said.

He noted that the targeted areas, Oyingbo, Ijora, and Idumota, are known hotspots for traffic congestion due to unauthorised parking and the establishment of makeshift garages.

He said that these activities not only obstruct the free movement of vehicles but also pose safety risks to pedestrians.

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PCNGi Shines at Climate Action Africa Forum 2024

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The Presidential Compressed Natural Gas Initiative (#PCNGi) made a notable impact at the Climate Action Africa Forum 2024, the largest gathering of climate change stakeholders on the continent, held in Lagos. The event brought together leaders, experts, and activists to discuss and strategize on climate action across Africa.

Engineer Michael Oluwagbemi, the Chief Executive of #PCNGi, delivered a compelling keynote address. He outlined the initiative’s ambitious vision of converting Nigeria’s waste gas into valuable resources, underscoring its dedication to sustainable energy solutions and proactive climate action. Oluwagbemi emphasized that harnessing waste gas not only reduces environmental pollution but also offers significant economic benefits.

“The Presidential CNG Initiative is a testament to Nigeria’s commitment to turning environmental challenges into economic opportunities,” Oluwagbemi stated. “By transforming waste gas into wealth, we are not only addressing the issue of gas flaring but also creating a new revenue stream that can drive economic growth and job creation.”

The keynote address also highlighted several key projects and achievements of the initiative. These include the development of infrastructure for compressed natural gas (CNG) distribution, partnerships with local and international stakeholders, and the promotion of CNG as a cleaner, more affordable alternative to traditional fossil fuels.

Oluwagbemi noted that the initiative is aligned with global climate goals and Nigeria’s own targets under the Paris Agreement. He called on other African nations to adopt similar strategies, leveraging their natural resources to foster sustainable development.

In addition to the keynote address, #PCNGi hosted a series of panel discussions and workshops during the forum. These sessions focused on the technical, economic, and social aspects of CNG implementation, offering insights and fostering dialogue among participants.

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Politics

Opposition Emerges Over Proposal For Anioma State Creation

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A proposal by Senator Ned Nwoko, representing Delta north senatorial district in the National Assembly for the creation of Anioma State has elicited division within the district.

He had revealed during an interactive session with indigenes of Anioma in Abuja last week, that creating Anioma state is not just about increasing the number of states but about ensuring fair representation and resource allocation for the South East.

According to him, the creation of Anioma State is both urgent and compelling, promising to present a bill for the creation of Anioma state.

In a swift reaction to the proposal, the Ukwuani people which is among the nine local government areas of Delta north region in the state, popularly referred to as Anioma, disagreed with the senator.

In a statement on the issue, the Ukwuani people under the aegis of VOTAbanum, said they had been strange bedfellows with the people of Anioma and preferred to hobnob with the Urhobo, Isoko, Itsekiri ethnic nationalities than the people of Aniocha and Oshimili.

The statement was jointly signed by VOTAbanum, Chairman, Abel Emah-Iyesele; Secretary and Dr. Mike Akpati; Hon. Aneke Efemeni, Bar. Sam Chukuji, members.

They said it is a well and thoroughly considered view and opinion of the generality of Ukwuani people that Anioma is not an expression of the people of the zone.

“Before the proposal by Senator Ned Nwoko to rekindle the campaign for the establishment of Anioma State, the Ukwuani nation had already conveyed their stance in 2021 through the Ndokwa Neku Union (NNU), the leading socio-cultural organization of the Ukwuani people, in a report presented by the Adhoc Committee on States Creation and Geopolitical Zones Arrangements.

“Ukwuani had never been a part of the defunct Benin Province where Aniocha, Oshimili and Ika were integral constituents. Ukwuani congenially had been part and parcel of the original Delta province where we still share more robust cultural affinity.

“Ukwuani nation relates more comfortably and mutually with the people of the core Delta Province as against Aniocha, Oshimili, and Ika of the Benin Province. Though tongues may differ, and surely they do, the Ukwuani nation finds unity in diversity best within our Delta province enclave.

“The positions enumerated and enunciated above, is the considered views and strong belief that the Ukwuani nation will be comfortable and better of placed among the comity of states with the original core Delta province peoples, that is — the Urhobo, Isoko, Itshekiri, and Ijaw ethnic nationalities.

“With the comparative advantage Ukwuani has, Ukwuani nation can request for an Ukwuani state. We have the natural resources, population, land mass and human capital needs in abundance to make a nation state.

“We, the entire Ukwuani people are strongly and vehemently opposed to the creation of Anioma state without recourse to factors such as capital location, LGA distribution, placement of government facilities” the statement said.

 

 

 

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