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IMF Approves $3.4bn Emergency Support For Nigeria

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The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has approved Nigeria’s request for $3.4 billion emergency support to address the severe impact of the COVID-19.

While approving this on Tuesday, the IMF insisted that the Federal Government must be committed to medium-term macro-economic stability to support economic recovery and ensure the country’s debt remains sustainable.

The $3.4 billion loan from IMF is part of $6.9 billion loan Nigeria is seeking from international lenders to enhance its efforts to tackle the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on government’s revenue and the economy in general.

In addition to the IMF loan, Nigeria is seeking $2.5 billion loan from the World Bank, and $1 billion from the African Development Bank.

In a statement announcing the emergency support to Nigeria, the IMF said: “The IMF approved US$3.4 billion in emergency financial assistance under the Rapid Financing Instrument to support the authorities’ efforts in addressing the severe economic impact of the COVID-19 shock and the sharp fall in oil prices.

“The COVID-19 outbreak has magnified existing vulnerabilities, leading to a historic contraction in real GDP growth and to large external and fiscal financing needs.

“Once the impact of the COVID-19 shock passes, the authorities’ commitment to medium-term macroeconomic stability remains crucial to support the recovery and ensure debt remains sustainable.

“The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund, IMF, approved Nigeria’s request for emergency financial assistance of SDR 2,454.5 million (US$ 3.4 billion, 100 percent of quota) under the Rapid Financing Instrument, RFI, to meet the urgent balance of payment needs stemming from the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The near-term economic impact of COVID-19 is expected to be severe, while already high downside risks have increased. Even before the COVID-19 outbreak, Nigeria’s economy was facing headwinds from rising external vulnerabilities and falling per capita GDP levels.

“The pandemic— along with the sharp fall in oil prices— has magnified the vulnerabilities, leading to a historic decline in growth and large financing needs.

“The IMF financial support will help limit the decline in international reserves and provide financing to the budget for targeted and temporary spending increases aimed at containing and mitigating the economic impact of the pandemic and of the sharp fall in international oil prices.

“The IMF remains closely engaged with the Nigerian authorities and stands ready to provide policy advice and further support, as needed.”

Commenting, Mr. Mitsuhiro Furusawa, Deputy Managing Director and Acting Chair of the IMF Board said: “The COVID-19 outbreak— magnified by the sharp fall in international oil prices and reduced global demand for oil products— is severely impacting economic activity in Nigeria.

“These shocks have created large external and financing needs for 2020. Additional declines in oil prices and more protracted containment measures would seriously affect the real and financial sectors and strain the country’s financing.

“The authorities’ immediate actions to respond to the crisis are welcome. The short-term focus on fiscal accommodation would allow for higher health spending and help alleviate the impact of the crisis on households and businesses. Steps taken toward a more unified and flexible exchange rate are also important and unification of the exchange rate should be expedited.

“Once the COVID-19 crisis passes, the focus should remain on medium-term macroeconomic stability, with revenue-based fiscal consolidation essential to keep Nigeria’s debt sustainable and create fiscal space for priority spending. Implementation of the reform priorities under the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, particularly on power and governance, remains crucial to boost growth over the medium term.

“The emergency financing under the RFI will provide much needed liquidity support to respond to the urgent BOP needs. Additional assistance from development partners will be required to support the government’s efforts and close the large financing gap. The implementation of proper governance arrangements—including through the publication and independent audit of crisis-mitigating spending and procurement processes—is crucial to ensure emergency funds are used for their intended purposes.”

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Petroleum: DPR Promise To Sustain Uninterrupted Product Supply 

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The Bauchi office of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) says it will continue to ensure the availability of petroleum products across the 500 existing filling stations in the state.Malam Abdullahi Isyaku, the Operation’s Controller of the agency made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Bauchi on Monday.

Isyaku said the department would continue to closely monitor filling stations, especially on the implementation of safety measures by retail outlets.

He added that it would constantly ensure that outlets adhere to the official pump price of the commodity.

“We are determined and committed to sanctioning erring outlets found to be shortchanging consumers,’’ he said.

Isyaku said that the regulatory agency was fully committed to assisting interested marketers who want to venture into dealing with Liquefied Gas LPG in accordance with the Federal Government policy on Domestic Gas Utilisation.

According to him, the department has intensified efforts on routine surveillance of all existing retail outlets.

This is with a view to ensuring compliance with operational guidelines.

“We will not compromise standards,’’ He said.

The controller called on all registered marketers to key into the newly introduced operational monitoring tool called ‘Down Stream Remote Monitoring System’ (DRMS).

NAN reports that DRMS was recently launched by the national office of the department.

According to Isyaku, the device will assist DPR in online routine monitoring of stock positions of the products at both depots and retail outlets.

It will also help marketers to monitor activities in their filling stations.

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Leadway Assurance Charges Nigerians To Embrace Cyber Insurance

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Leadway Assurance Company Limited has charged corporate entities, institutions, religious organisations and individuals to embrace cyber insurance to protect their database and computer networks from attacks by hackers.

With increased online and internet connectivity becoming part of our day to day business, as a result of COVID-19 pandemic, there is need for protection against cyber attacks, Mr. Uzodinma Ibe of the Casualty & Liability Underwriting, General Insurance, said.

He spoke at a virtual training workshop on “Understanding Cyber Insurance” organised by Leadway Assurance for insurance journalists recently.

Ibe said a comprehensive report by a United Kingdom (UK) cybersecurity company, confirmed that there was high traffic when it comes to information, transactions and data emanating from Nigeria into digital space, adding that the survey noted that 36 percent of Nigerian organisations suffered cyber attacks in the last 12 months.

He also stated that 64 percent of cyber attacks in Nigeria exploited misconfigurations on the organisation servers, pointing out that Nigeria has the highest data leakage in the world.

On business activities, social networking and governmental activities, he said the report has also identified where Nigeria as a digital hub is and to what extent are their cyber exposures.

In order to avoid cyber attacks on our computer networks, which sometimes resulted into data and financial losses, there is a need for enterprises, individuals, corporate organisations, to see it as a serious business and take up some form of cyber mitigating efforts in this regard.

According to him, “Here in Leadway, through our research, we have been able to identify a particular area of cyber exposure where corporate entities can find themselves and see how we can do proper risk management and provide specific insurance product that can help them mitigate such exposures through Cyber Risk Management Insurance which in some quarters called Cyber Liability Insurance and in some, Cyber Risk Management Insurance.

“We have been able to highlight that technology, social media and transactions over the internet (cyber platforms) play a key role in how most organisations conduct business and reach out to prospective customers today. These vehicles have gateways – platforms, integrations that cyber attackers often use.

From Leadway point of view, our Cyber Enterprise Risk Management Insurance Policies try to help any organisation mitigate risk exposure for a certain cost expenses involve with recovery after a cyber-related security breach or similar event.

On who is being indemnified or who is being provided cover, he explained that Leadway Cyber Insurance provides first-party coverage and third-party liability risk covers against cyber-attacks for organisations.

“First party which is the policyholder, the individual or that corporate entity that buys the insurance, such policy caters for private investigation expenses where there is some form of data compromise or breach to reach out to different customers to inform them of the breach.

“Third-party liability coverage indemnify companies for losses to others caused, for example, by errors and omissions, failure to safeguard data, or defamation; and other benefits including regular security-audit, post-incident public relations and investigative expenses, and criminal reward funds.

“Risks of this nature are typically excluded from traditional commercial general liability policies or at least are not specifically defined in traditional insurance products. Most people believe that only large-scale industries, such as banks only need cyber security insurance. However, any electronic information such as your name, email, contact number, financial records, medical records, payment information, government documentation, etc., stored in your personal devices can be easily and quickly hacked by a genius hacker,” he explained.

“Cyber-insurance is a specialty lines insurance product intended to protect businesses, and individuals providing services for such businesses, from Internet-based risks, and more generally from risks relating to information technology infrastructure, information privacy, information governance liability, and activities related thereto,” he pointed out.

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PENGASSAN Suspends Strike Over Chevron’s Agbami Oilfield Dispute

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Mr Lumumba Okugbawa, General-Secretary of PENGASSAN made this known to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Yenagoa.

Okugbawa told NAN that the strike had been put on hold following a truce with company’s management on April 15. According to him, the leadership of PENGASSAN and management of CNL reached an agreement over the matter, making the proposed strike unnecessary.

Okugbawa said that the mediatory meeting by Chief Timipre Sylva, Minister of State for Petroleum with the leadership of the union scheduled for April 15 could not also hold because a truce had reached.

PENGASSAN had threatened to down tools and shutdown Agbami Offshore Oilfield over moves by Chevron to cut its workforce by 25 per cent.

The plan to lay off 600 workers was announced, in a statement, on Oct. 2, 2020 by Mr Esimaje Brikinn, CNL’s General Manager Policy, Government and Public Affairs.

Brikinn said the job cut was to reposition the oil firm for greater efficiency and competitiveness.

Agbami field, which has the capacity to produce 250,000 barrels per day (bpd), currently produces about 140,000 bpd according to industry data.

NAN

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