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Africa needs fiscal stimulus to drive economic growth – Okonjo-Iweala

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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)

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APC PCC commends CBN, Buhari for extension of naira swap deadline

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The All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Campaign Council has commended President Muhammadu Buhari, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and its Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele for extending the naira notes swap deadline.

Buhari on Sunday approved a 10-day extension for Nigerians to swap their old N1,000, N500 and N200 notes for the new ones.

Emefiele announced this after a meeting with the President in his Daura country home.

The extension followed complaints by Nigerians who experienced difficulties getting the new notes via ATMs and over the counter from banks.

The APC PCC, in a statement by its Director, Media & Publicity, Mr. Bayo Onanuga, praised the move.

It said: “We want to commend the Central Bank of Nigeria and Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele for listening to the voice of well-meaning Nigerians on the exigency of extending the deadline for change of old N200, N500 and N1000 naira notes to the new ones.

‘Following difficulties experienced by Nigerians from across the country from getting the new notes via ATMs and over the counter from Banks, many Nigerians especially requested an extension of the 31 January 2023 deadline.

“We welcome the 10-day extension of the deadline and the additional seven days of grace.

“This window will enable Nigerians especially those in rural and remote areas to have more time to change their old notes and avert the panic that would have followed.”

It said the President deserved “special commendation” for approving the extension “and for his leadership and statesmanship.”

The APC PCC added: “In the same vein, we praise our presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu for his forthrightness in addressing the concerns of Nigerians at his campaign rally in Abeokuta last week.

“Asiwaju Tinubu didn’t take the easy road by shying away from what would have caused serious inconvenience for our teeming masses.

“Asiwaju showed leadership and compassion for the welfare of Nigerians, at the most appropriate time.”

 

 

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ASSBIFI commends extension of validity of old Naira notes

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The Association of Senior Staff of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions (ASSBIFI) on Sunday in Lagos endorsed the extension of the validity of old naira notes from Jan. 31 to Feb. 10.

Its president, Mr Olusoji Oluwole, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the CBN decision to extend the deadline was a step in the right direction.

CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, in a statement on Sunday said the CBN added a 10-day extension of the deadline of Jan. 31 to Feb. 10, to allow for the collection of more old notes.

He also noted that Nigerians would still have grace period to deposit their old notes directly with the CBN until Feb. 17.

“It is a step in the right direction, especially in providing more time for the return of old notes after the actual date of invalidation.

“CBN, however, needs to proactively monitor and address sufficient availability and distribution of the new notes.

“It should also increase sensitisation of, and probably incentivising the general public on the cashless policy to reduce the pressure on cash,’’ Oluwole said.

Banks have been contending with increased number of customers rushing to beat the Jan. 31 deadline given by CBN for the return of old naira notes which would cease to be legal tender.

New N200, N500 and N1,000 notes became legal tender on Dec. 15, 2022 after they were unveiled by President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja on Nov. 23, 2022.

Many bank customers, however, complained that the new notes were not readily available and have yet to circulate adequately four days to the expiration of the old notes.

 

(NAN)

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New Naira Notes: CBN Extends Deadline Till February 10

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has extended the deadline for the use of the old notes till February 10.

CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, announced the extension in a statement signed on Sunday.

He explained that the apex bank has sought approval from President Muhammadu Buhari to extend the deadline for the use of the old notes by 10 days.

“Based on the foregoing, we have sought and obtained Mr President’s approval for the following:  A 10-day extension of the deadline from January 31 to February 10 to allow for the collection of more old notes legitimately held by Nigerians,” the statement read.

“A 7-day grace period, beginning from February 10 to February 17, in compliance with Sections 20(3) and 22 of the CBN Act allowing Nigerians to deposit their old notes at the CBN after the February deadline when the old currency would have lost its Legal Tender Status.”

The CBN Governor also solicited the cooperation of all Nigerians in ensuring a hitch-free process for the implementation of the policy.

Before the apex bank extended the use of the naira note, many Nigerians experienced difficulty in lodging their old banknotes.

The scramble by many Nigerians to meet the initial January 31 deadline has been chaotic as many of them flood banking halls with huge cash in old notes to exchange them with new ones.

Others are seen in long queues at the few ATM points having the new naira notes in different parts of the country to have access.

The naira redesign was greeted by criticism by some Nigerians, including the presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), saying the policy was intended to scuttle his presidential ambition.

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