The Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, said the African continent needed more fiscal stimulus to engender economic growth and recovery.
Okonjo-Iweala spoke at the UBA Africa Conversations 2021 with the theme: “Africa to the World,” held virtually to commemorate Africa Day on Tuesday in Lagos.
She noted that other developed countries were employing fiscal stimulus for economic growth recovery.
“On catalysing recovery and economic growth, aside from health investments, the next few actions, is to see on the short-term economic side, how we can get more fiscal stimulus into our economy.
“The developed countries are recovering very fast because they have been able to implement massive amount of fiscal stimulus.
”For the rich countries, 29 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product, for the emerging markets, 6.9 per cent and for poorer countries, just about two per cent.
“This is the reason for the whole discussions on restricting debts and giving African economies fiscal space to breath so that they can invest not only on the health side but also on the economic side, this will help us recover.
“The good news is that all African presidents like President Kagame of Rwanda, have been pushing for issuance of new Special Drawing Rights at the International Monetary Fund and $650 billion has now been agreed.
”Out of the $650 billion, Africa will get $34bn but more may be allocated.
“We can use this to help prevent more fiscal stimulus so that our economies can have the ability to recover, of that we should use some for liquidity for the private sector,” Okonjo-Iweala said.
She also said there was a need to revive the services sector such as tourism, logistics and others to help the recovery plan of the continent.
Okonjo-Iweala said: “We need to look at how to revive the services sector, many of our countries depend on tourism, logistics and how to get those services revive using these resources is very important.
“In the long or medium term, we need to diversify our economy, we are too vulnerable to movement in commodity prices and it was evident during the pandemic, too much fluctuations in oil and gas and other sectors.
“Some countries in the continent that did better during the pandemic were those that had diversified economies.
“Also, we must take advantage of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTA) agreement. Movement of goods and people should be made easier to get the AfCTA to work,” Okonjo-Iweala added. (NAN)
Skils acquisition: ITF, Sightsavers train 32 physically challenged on 8 set of skills
In fulfilling its mandate of promoting skills acquisition in the country, the Industrial Training Fund (ITF), in partnership with Sightsavers, an international non-governmental organization that promotes disability rights have trained and graduated 32 Nigerians on different skills.
The skills include, computer hardware, event management, catering, phone repair, photography and poultry management.
Sir Joseph Ari, Director General of the ITF, at the graduation ceremony in Abuja on Thursday, said that the agency has made the training of physically challenged persons a priority.
He said “Among the the 34 that started the training only 2 couldn’t continue, therefore making the graduands 32.
“There is a physically challenged Act today in Nigeria, therefore as an agency thatt caters for the growth and development of youths and women through skills acquisition, we have decided to focus on our attention on the physically challenged so they can acquire different skills and contribute their quota to national development because we believe there is ability in disability,”
Yahaya Manu, Area Manager, ITF Kaduna, who reppresented Ari, also charged the graduands to make good use of their start up parks provides to them by the agency.
“Now that you have acquired these special skills, I urge you to deploy it into judicious use so you can contribute your quota to the growth and development of the country, because the ultimate aim of this training is to reduce youth unemployment,, and the agency is always committed to support the physically challenged in any capacity” he further stated.
On his part, the country director of Sightsavers Nigeria, Dr. Sunday Isiyaku, said the rationale behind their partnership with the ITF is to transform the labour market system to be disability inclusive.
“We are building the disability confidence of employers, job readiness of young persons with disabilities and supporting government agencies to ensure their programs promote disability inclusive economic empowerment.
“While we have trained hundreds of persons with disabilities on soft and digital” skills, preparing and connecting them to formal job, we decided to partner with ITF to empower the graduates today in vocational training and prepare them for entrepreneurship,” he said.
He said the courses were carefully selected for the disability persons due to its relevance to the labour market while admonishing the graduands to apply the knowledge they have gathered during the training to start their business.
NCC, FIRS inaugurate 17-man joint committee to enhance revenues in telecoms sector
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) have taken their collaboration a bit further by setting up a Joint Committee of senior and management staff of the two agencies towards the implementation of inter-agency strategies for enhancing national revenues in the telecommunications sector.
The collaboration birthed the inauguration of 17-member committee by the NCC’s Executive Commissioner, Stakeholder Management, Adeleke Adewolu, on behalf of the Commission’s Executive Vice Chairman, Prof. Umar Danbatta, and the Executive Chairman of the FIRS, Mr. Muhammad Nami, at the NCC’s headquarters in Abuja.
The inauguration of the committee, comprising six officials of NCC and eleven officials of FIRS, was carried out with senior officials of NCC and those of the tax agency led by its Coordinating Director for Compliance Support Group, Dr. Dick Irri, who represented the FIRS’ Executive Chairman, Muhammad Nami at the event.
While inaugurating the Committee on behalf of the heads of the two agencies, Adewolu said the terms of reference of the Committee include: review the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the NCC and the FIRS on June 9, 2020; and carry out inter-agency interaction on the implementation of the NCC’s Revenue Assurance System (RAS), to ensure that it incorporates the needs of FIRS to the extent that RAS can remain the sole interface with telecom service providers’ networks vis-à-vis the Tax Authority’s information needs from the telecoms sector.
On his part, Dr. Dick Irri, who led the FIRS delegation, advised the Committee to take the assignments very seriously.
Irri said: “I would like to task you to take this assignment as a national matter as we expect the two agencies to work in harmony, collaborate effectively and have a warm handshake that will make this synergy between the two agencies a great example of collaboration between Federal Government agencies towards enhancing fiscal governance in Nigeria”.
Nigeria’s GDP improve by 4.03 per cent – NBS Report
Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Products has increased by 4.03 per cent in the third quarter of 2021, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
This is contained in a report released by the NBS on Nigerian Gross Domestic Product Report (Expenditure and Income Approach) for third and fourth quarter (Q3, Q4 2021) in Abuja yesterday.
The report said, Q3, 2021 of Nigeria’s real GDP at basic prices grew by 4.03 per cent on a year-on-year basis showing a steady improvement from the economic downturn in 2020.
The NBS said growth improved further in Q4 of 2021 with a positive GDP growth rate of 3.98 per cent.
In the report: “The negative quarterly growths in Q2 and Q3 2020 resulted in a recession, which led to a negative annual growth rate of -1.92 per cent for 2020, compared to 2.27 per cent in 2019 on a year-on-year basis.
“Annual growth in 2021 stood at 3.40 per cent, an improvement of 2020. Compared to the third and fourth quarters of 2020, the performance in 2021 indicated an increase of 7.65 per cent points and 3.87 per cent points higher,” NBS said in the report.
The report further said Household Consumption Expenditure in Q3 and Q4 2021, grew by 19.36 per cent and 7.30 per cent in real terms, year-on-year.
For 2021, the yearly growth rate in real household consumption expenditure stood at 25.65 per cent compared to -1.69 per cent recorded in 2020.
“The observed trend in 2020 indicates that real household consumption expenditure declined in Q1 and Q2 accounting for negative growth rates informed by the COVID 19 pandemic.
“However, positive growth rates were recorded in Q3 and Q4 of 2020 as well as the four quarters of 2021,” NBS said in the report.
Household consumption expenditure consists of expenditure, including imputed expenditure, incurred by resident households on individual consumption goods and services.
It said that Government Consumption Expenditure recorded growth rates of -39.51 per cent and -16.76 per cent in Q3 and Q4 of 2021, year-on-year.
The Bureau said the yearly growth rate, according to the report, stood at -34.03 per cent in 2021, compared to 61.58 per cent in 2020.
The report also said Net Exports recorded positive growth rates in the first two quarters of 2020 and shifted to negative growth rates in the third and fourth quarters of 2020.
The negative growth rate was also recorded in the first three quarters of 2021, a departure from the trend in 2019.
It, however, said that Net exports grew in real terms in Q3 and Q4 of 2021 by -38.27 per cent and 1.35 per cent respectively.
“On an annual basis, net exports grew by -55.77 per cent in 2021, compared to -13.17 per cent recorded in 2020.”
The report said that National Disposable Income grew by -1.48 per cent in the third quarter of 2021 and 2.84 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2021.
However, a growth of 0.32 per cent and -1.28 per cent in Q3 and Q4 of 2020 on a year-on-year basis in real terms was recorded.
This gave a slower growth rate of -2.52 per cent for the annual figure in 2021, compared to a positive growth rate at the end of 2020 (1.07 per cent).
The report said Compensation of Employees during the third and fourth quarters of 2021 grew by 14.54 per cent, and 11.79 per cent respectively in real terms on a year-on-year basis.
“For 2021, growth rate stood at 13.68 per cent compared to 0.96 per cent in 2020,” it said.
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