Items filtered by date: Friday, 11 May 2018

The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, disclosed yesterday that the Federal Government would mobilise more revenues to drive its growth plan for the economy.The Minister made this known in Abuja at a meeting with a World Bank Mission of 10 Executive Directors led by Mr. Patrizio Pagano.

She stated that the government would accelerate Nigeria’s growth level and also improve the Ease of Doing Business.

“The Nigerian government is working towards accelerating the country’s growth level. The growth will be underpinned by stimulating the Ease of Doing Business in Nigeria and improving our capital expenditure, which we have done in the last two years.

“Nigerians should trust the government to deliver on its promises of improving the economy and providing sustainable infrastructural development. We are very optimistic but we will remain vigilant,” Adeosun said.  The Minister revealed that the country’s taxpayers’ base had risen from 14 million in 2016 to 19 million in 2018, grossing additional five million taxpayers into the system.

“By 2019, the growth will be stronger than the present level in 2018. We are optimistic in sustaining Nigeria’s economic growth. That is why we are driving the mobilisation of more revenues.

“We have been able to grow the taxpayers’ base to 19 million in two years from the 65 million economically active people who are not tax compliant,” she added.

The leader of the World Bank Mission to Nigeria, Patrizio Pagano, explained that the team was in the country to acquaint itself of the government’s growth and power priorities.

“We have met with several Nigerian entrepreneurs and have seen how vibrant the private sector is. We want to understand how the power sector is evolving in Nigeria,” Pagano said.

The World Bank officials had earlier met with the Organised Private Sector (OPS)in Lagos and undertaken a tour of LAPO Microfinance projects in Lagos.

 The 10 World Bank Executive Directors, representing 96 countries, are expected to inspect the Azura Power Plant in Edo State in the course of their three-day visit to Nigeria.
Published in News Economy

ExxonMobil affiliate, Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited, operator of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation/Mobil Producing Nigeria Joint Venture, today announced plans to invest up to N13 billion (US$43 million) in three community health, economic empowerment and education projects in Akwa Ibom State in the next 18 months.

These investments amount to one of the largest community investments by any company...

Published in News Economy

The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Maikanti Baru, says the corporation will prove to Nigerians that it is the most transparent organisation in Nigeria.

Mr Baru said this at a stakeholders’ workshop on validation by the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency …

Published in News Economy

The total value of capital imported in the first three months of 2018 (Q1) stood at $6,303.63 million, which represents a 594 percent increase (year- on–year) from $908.3 million in Q1 2017, according to National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

Published in Business

Ghana sold $2 billion worth of dual-tranche Eurobonds with 10- and 30-year maturities on Thursday and it will pay issuer-desired yields, government and transaction sources said.

The West African sovereign sold $1 billion each of the 10-year notes maturing in 2029 and a 30-year with 2049 maturity at 7.625 percent and 8.625 percent, respectively.

It set guidance for the May 2029 bond at 7.75 percent to 7.875 percent while the May 2049 was in the 8.75 percent to 8.875 percent range. The notes were first marketed in the low 8 percent area yield and low 9 percent mark.

Total books passed $5.5 billion, evenly split between the two tranches, lead advisers said.

“It’s a marked success for Accra because they got a low yield and a bigger size,” a sovereign debt market watcher told Reuters. “The pricing revision may have aided the deal and left investors unhappy.”

It was Ghana’s sixth sale since a 2007 debut. Lead advisers for the sale were Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Citigroup, JP Morgan and Standard Chartered. Ghana is rated B3/B-/B

The government plans to use some of the proceeds to refinance debt and up to $750 million as revenue for its 2018 budget. Ghana, which exports cocoa, gold and oil, is in its final year of a $918 million IMF credit deal to narrow fiscal deficit, inflation and public debt which hit 69 percent of gross domestic product in December.

The Thursday sale by Ghana followed similar big transactions by continental peers Angola, Kenya and Nigeria.

 

(Reuters)

Published in Bank & Finance

The unexpected death of Afonso Dhlakama, the former guerrilla leader and president of Renamo, the main opposition party in Mozambique, might lead to the political cards in Mozambique being reshuffled significantly.

The Renamo leader’s death could affect the progress that’s been made in negotiations to end hostilities between Renamo and the Frelimo government. It could also affect the outcome of municipal elections due to be held in October and national elections in 2019.

A great deal will depend on who succeeds Dhlakama. There is no clear successor as he centralised power and went to great lengths to prevent the emergence of one. Some analysts have argued that this would pose a problem for transition in the party. But the smooth and frictionless nomination of Ossufo Momade as transitional leader four days after Dhlakama’s death, suggests that the final succession might be smooth.

The peace negotiations to end the simmering war between Renamo and the Frelimo government were still ongoing when Dhlakama died. They had become very personalised, with Dhlakama and Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi mostly talking on the phone.

Dhlakama’s death should not put an end to negotiations, but it might delay them and lead to changes to the form they’ve taken. The secret one-on-one negotiations have been criticised. And since his death there have been calls for the negotiations to be re-institutionalised and opened up to civil society to enable a broad based sustainable peace agreement to be reached.

Renamo succession

Momade’s appointment as interim head of Renamo is only temporary and two groups will be competing for the top job – the civilian and the military. The civil branch of Renamo is dominated by its parliamentarians, with Ivonne Soares, Dhlamaka’s niece, at the helm. She is the head of the party in parliament. Should this group win the upper hand it might strengthen the civilian structure of Renamo and possibly help its electoral chances.

The military branch comprises of soldiers and generals from the time of the civil war (1976-1992). It also includes former combatants who resumed fighting in what’s become known as the small war – or “proto-war” – of 2013-16.

There are risks either way. There is concern that a civilian might not be able to control the military wing of the organisation. But a military leader as president of Renamo risks keeping it weak as an electoral machine, with consequences for peaceful electoral politics.

As a general cum parliamentarian cum negotiator Renamo’s interim president, Momadecould be an ideal compromise. One could also imagine a double ticket with a military as president and a civilian, such as Ivone Soares or Manuel Bissopo, the acting secretary-general, as number two.
Alternatively, some have advanced that Renamo dissidents such as Raul Domingos and Daviz Simango could have a chance as outsiders. Domingos, at one point seen as Dhlakama’s successor, was expelled from the party in 2000 in the middle of difficult negotiations with the government. Simango was elected for Renamo as mayor of Beira in 2003, but not put forward for reelection in 2008 as he was becoming too independent and influential. He seceded and created his own party, the Democratic Movement of Mozambique, which now controls several important cities.

More realistically, Renamo might reintegrate these dissidents and their party, or at least align with them, making Renamo a broader church. This could help the party get the electoral victory it has been seeking since 1994. Renamo has come second in all elections since the end of the war in 1992. It almost won in the 1999 elections, possibly only losing then because of fraud.

What next for peace negotiations

Dhlakama’s death could tempt both sides to change or withdraw from the negotiations. On May 5, two days after he died, Frelimo’s all powerful political commission, the party’s supreme organ, issued a statement saying that all that remained to be done now was “the disarmament and demilitarisation” of Renamo. It failed to mention the decentralisation agreement which would introduce a system of elections for provincial governors and create district assemblies. The agreement is facing difficulties in parliament where Frelimo is arguing that it needs to be amended and put to a national referendum.

Responding in kind, Momade declared that his party would be doing nothing else than finalising the agreement on decentralisation, as if the reintegration of Renamo soldiers into the Mozambican military was not an issue anymore.

A crowd displays the portrait of Afonso Dhlakama at his funeral service. EPA-EFE/Ricardo Franco

If not kept in check these kinds of dynamics could undermine, and even lead to the collapse, of the negotiations.

Political analyst Alex Vines has argued that Dhlakama’s death could, however, also be an opportunity for peace, recalling that the two sides were close to an agreement before he passed away. He has appealed to the goodwill of Renamo and Frelimo and called for greater engagement from the international community and investors.

Implications for Frelimo

Dhlakama’s departure could potentially weaken Nyusi, and as a result cause problems for Frelimo. The party fractured under Nyusi’s predecessor President Armando Guebuza. And Nyusi took over at a time of both economic and political crises in the country.

The country’s economic crisis is related to massive secret debts supposedly contracted to fight Renamo. The IMF and the Western international community have suspended cooperation and some investors have withdrawn.

On the political front, Nyusi staked his presidency on the resolution of the conflict with Renamo. At the time this was much against the will of his own party. Negotiations are therefore very important to him.

In a strong presidential system, a weakening of the president could lead to more internal divisions. In turn this would weaken him, the party and the government’s hand in negotiations with the IMF, the international community and Renamo.

The elections in October 2018 and in 2019 are looming large in people’s minds. Nobody is sure how they will play out. Renamo might align with other opposition parties while Frelimo might try to use the Renamo leadership transition to undermine its rival, with unknown consequences. There are also fears Frelimo might resort to harsh tactics to win and remain in power.

On the other hand, Dhlakama’s successor could ally more strongly with Nyusi and help him assert his peace agenda. They could work together to ensure a peaceful and constructive environment for the elections as well as widen the negotiations to reach a wide based agreement for a sustainable peace.

 

Eric Morier-Genoud, Lecturer in African history, Queen's University Belfast

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Published in Opinion & Analysis

Gambia is selling several planes and a fleet of luxury cars bought by former president Yahya Jammeh as it seeks to reduce a mountain of crippling debt contracted during the authoritarian leader’s decades-long rule.

Jammeh, who seized power in a 1994 coup, fled Gambia early last year as West African neighbours were poised for military intervention to topple him after he refused to step down following an election loss to current President Adama Barrow. While most of his people struggled in poverty under one of West Africa’s most oppressive regimes, Jammeh acquired vast wealth, much of which he packed into planes and carried with him into exile in Equatorial Guinea.

However, a fleet of vehicles, including several Rolls-Royces with Jammeh’s name embroidered in their red leather headrests, were left behind on the tarmac.

“The fleet of expensive vehicles at State House and the three planes bought by former president Yahya Jammeh have been put on sale,” Finance Minister Amadou Sanneh told Reuters. “My ministry will soon start publicising the sales.”

The International Monetary Fund warned Gambia on Wednesday against any new borrowing after its debt stock reached 130 percent of gross domestic product at the end of last year. Most of that debt was contracted under Jammeh, either through borrowing or the government’s taking on the liabilities of state-owned enterprises.

“Let me be very clear ... it may even go higher because we have not opened the books of the state-owned enterprises,” said Jaroslaw Wieczorek, who led a recent IMF mission to Gambia. “It could be a lot of liability.”

Since taking office and discovering government coffers were largely empty, Barrow’s administration has worked to disentangle Gambia’s state finances from Jammeh’s sprawling personal business empire.

Sanneh said last year that around $100 million - more than a third of the government’s annual budget - had been siphoned from state firms. Barrow set up a commission that visited Jammeh’s many properties - one estate boasts a mosque, jungle warfare training camp and a vast private safari park - to establish an inventory of his possessions with the aim of recovering looted assets.

Investigators have also sought to establish what wealth Jammeh may have stashed abroad.

The process has faced opposition from Jammeh’s political party and supporters, who have accused Barrow’s government of carrying out a witchhunt against the ex-president.

 

(Reuters)

Published in Economy

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