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264 Million in Nigeria, Others Malnourished – IMF

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The International Monetary Fund on Tuesday said the COVID-19 pandemic had led to a 20 per cent increase in the number of undernourished persons in Nigeria and other Sub-Saharan African countries to 264 million in 2020.

The Deputy Managing Director, IMF, Antoinette Sayeh, made the disclosure in Washington during a conversation on ‘Supporting Food Security in Sub-Saharan Africa amid the COVID-19 Pandemic and Climate Change.

A statement on the Fund’s website quoted Sayeh as saying, “The Sub-Saharan Africa has made substantial economic and social progress over the past two decades. Yet, the region is facing difficult challenges, including vulnerability to climate change .

“Indeed, we have seen a marked increase in the frequency and intensity of natural disasters, which are driving the desertification of the Sahel, for example, and threatening growth, employment opportunities and food security. Climate change  can also act as a multiplier for conflict and fragility in the region.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has also disrupted production, imports and supply chains of food, resulting in volatile and rising food prices. And that, along with falling incomes from the pandemic, has led to an increase in the number of undernourished in the region by 20 per cent in one year to reach 264 million in 2020.

She added, “It is also deeply worrisome that the global recovery that is now taking hold is driven by only a few countries that have had greater access to vaccines and resources, leaving others, especially low-income countries, at greater risk of falling behind. In this context, safeguarding food security is clearly a daunting challenge for sub-Saharan Africa.”

According to Sayeh, due to the low vaccination rate in the region (2.5 per cent), COVID‑19 will continue to claim more lives in the region.

She said there was a need to safeguard food security and increase the efficiency of public expenditure by gradually phasing out agricultural subsidies.

The IMF deputy managing director added that these subsidies would come at a high fiscal cost, adding that “across 10 sub-Saharan African countries we have data on, the cost ranged from nine per cent to 45 per cent of public agricultural spending (or some 1.5 per cent of the GDP on average) in 2014.

“Country experiences from the region, however, suggest that the contribution of agricultural subsidies to improving food security and reducing poverty has only been weak. Policymakers should channel the savings resulting from subsidy reforms toward strengthening social protection through cash transfers,” she said.

“The additional resources could also be invested in climate-resilient infrastructure, such as irrigation systems and storage facilities that would help weather recurring droughts and floods. Reforms to safeguard food security must also include facilitating fair competition, trade integration, and enabling digitalisation – all of which will be critical to attract much needed private sector investment,” she was added.

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Nigerian Navy Releases Cute Abiola From Detention

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Nigerian Navy has freed online Comedian, Abdulgafar Ahmad, aka Cute Abiola, from detention.

Naval spokesperson, Commodore Suleman Dahun, confirmed the development to Punch on Friday.

Cute Abiola was said to have been missing on Monday, November 15, 2021, when his colleague in the comedy industry, Debo Adedayo aka Mr Macaroni, raised the alarm that he was nowhere to be found after reporting at his office in Navy Town, Lagos, that same day.

Two days after the alarm was raised, Dahun had announced that the funnyman wasn’t missing but was detained for contravening the military laws by posting a video of himself in military uniform on social media, an act which is said to be in violation of the armed forces’ social media policy.

Dahun had also added that the comedian failed to show up when called upon to explain himself but only returned after the expiration of his leave on November 15, 2021, and was put behind bars the same day.

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LCCI Predicts Nigeria’s Economy To End 2021 At 2.5% Growth Rate

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Nigeria’s economy will end its current growth rate for the year at 2.5%, the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has revealed.

This was disclosed by Mrs Toki Mabogunje, President, LCCI, at the 133rd Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the chamber on Thursday in Lagos, according to the News Agency of Nigeria.

The LCCI chief urged that Nigeria’s fiscal and monetary sides of the economy should promote growth-enhancing and confidence-building policies that would encourage private capital flows to the economy to achieve the growth, and also a medium-term recovery plan anchored on local productivity, ease of business, attracting private investment, and developing physical and soft infrastructure.

Mabogunje revealed that Nigeria’s inflation would be sustained at its double-digit level in the short to medium term due to persistent food supply shocks, foreign exchange illiquidity, higher energy cost, potential removal of fuel subsidy, insecurity and social unrest in the Northern region.

“These structural factors will continue to mount pressure on domestic consumer prices,” she said.

She added that despite the non-oil economy growth by 5.4 per cent, insecurity challenges in some parts of the country may cause production to shrink and supply chain to be disrupted.

“Key drivers of the non-oil sector growth were finance and insurance with 23.2 per cent, transport and storage 20.6 per cent, trade with 11.9 per cent, telecommunications 10.9 per cent.

“Others are manufacturing 4.3 per cent, construction 4.1 per cent, real estate 2.3 per cent as well as agriculture 1.2 per cent all year round.

“However, with the worsening security perception about the country, foreign investors are not interested in bringing in Foreign Direct Investments to Nigeria,” Mabogunje said.

On the decision of the Monetary Policy Committee of the Central Bank of Nigeria to retain policy parameters, she said that while the CBN has been keen to extend credit to the real economy as a way of supporting the economy, the fact remains that credit provision in recent times has proved ineffective in boosting output growth and stabilising consumer prices.

“This is given the weak pass-through effect of traditional monetary policy instruments on the broader economy.

“A broad-based combination of fiscal and monetary policies is imperative to achieving the twin objective of economic growth and price stability.

“Looking forward, factors such as oil prices, oil production, output growth, inflation, foreign exchange stability, foreign capital inflows, credit to the private sector are expected to influence monetary policy.

“These decisions are decisions in the short to medium term.

“On the fiscal side, we expect to see clear communications and actions on the proposed fuel subsidy removal and how this will ease government’s revenue and boost investment in infrastructure,” she said

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APC Never Won 2018 In Osun in 2018 – Ex- Dep. Speaker Lasun

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Former Deputy Speaker of House of Representatives, Hon. Lasun Yussuff said the All Progressives Congress (APC) rigged 2018 gubernatorial election that brought Adegboyega Oyetola into office.

He said the party lost the election.

Lasun also revealed that the current Deputy Senate President Ovie Omo-Agege, was compensated for his current office because of the role he (Omo-Agege) played in 2018 in Osun state.

Speaking with newsmen at the APC national secretariat Thursday in Abuja, after he picked his nomination forms to contest the party’s governorship ticket, Lasun said, “And let me tell you this, the former governor of Zamfara State (Abdulaziz Yari) was the chairman of that Committee. On the day of primary, Senator Yari did not go to Osun, that is left for you journalists to go and find out, why he did not go.

“But let me give you a glimpse of what actually happened. The man knew I was popular. The man was instructed to go and do a particular thing, but he told them, I have run an investigation and I have discovered that the Deputy Speaker is popular, if you want us to come and achieve this, it might be difficult. That was one of the reasons that the man didn’t come.

“The job was undertaken by the current distinguished Senator, Deputy Senate President (Ovie Omo-Agege). He became the Chairman overnight.

“And I want to say, if he likes, he can controvert this, one of the reasons why he is Deputy Senate President today was that he was compensated for that job.

“Omo-Agege was in my home town for four hours on the day of that primary and he actually conducted three Wards primary out of six Wards of my home town and he signed three results. So, if I had wanted to go to court, what happened in Zamfara would have happened in Osun state. But I never went to school because I wanted to start writing petitions.

“But on Thursday when they met at the party secretariat, I warned them, I said if you rig me out of this election, I can assure you that you are not going to win the governorship. They thought I was a small boy and they thought I was just blabbing or just a mere threat.

“But my friends, you are a witness to what happened when the election eventually held. Did they win? They didn’t because there is no way they can rig.”

Lasun also said he does not believe that the party will conduct a free and fair primaries ahead of the 2022 governorship election, but he warned that “Nobody born of a woman can repeat what they did to me in 2018 because I was rigged out.

“I’m not talking about violence, don’t misunderstand me. People know me, I don’t use thugs in politics, I don’t do violence in Osun, but whoever tries it will have his generation to blame for it.

“There is still a gang up against me. You want to tell me party members have a say in the party? They don’t have to say.

“In 2018, when the opportunity came to run for the governorship election presented itself, I came into the race. Though at that time there was a serious gang up against me at the party level within the state. A serious gang up, well orchestrated, well coordinated. Because of the person I am, I don’t believe in jumping ship.I have had the opportunity to move from APC to another party, but that is not me. I knew the whole thing was tilted against me, but I never bothered.

“If not for my campaign, because I came out very early for my campaign in 2017, APC was dead in Osun. Dead to the extent that it was not possible for APC to win that governorship election unless it was given to someone like me.

“Let me remind Nigerians today that whether it is a direct or indirect primary, the confusion started in Osun state in 2018, with the sole aim of rigging Lasun Yusuff out of the governorship election. I’m that important in APC.”

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