The COVID-19 pandemic will drive Sub-Saharan Africa into recession with -5% growth, this year, the World Bank has predicted. It would be the first regional recession in 25 Years, the bank said.
The fall would be a sharp contrast from the 2.4% regional growth in 2019 as the new forecast has put it at between -2.1 % to -5.1% in 2020. The forecast was contained in the latest Africa’s Pulse, the World Bank’s twice-yearly economic update for the region. Hafez Ghanem, World Bank Vice President for Africa, was quoted as saying, “The COVID-19 pandemic is testing the limits of societies and economies across the world, and African countries are likely to be hit particularly hard.
“We are rallying all possible resources to help countries meet people’s immediate health and survival needs while also safeguarding livelihoods and jobs in the longer term – including calling for a standstill on official bilateral debt service payments which would free up funds for strengthening health systems to deal with COVID 19 and save lives, social safety nets to save livelihoods and help workers who lose jobs, support to small and medium enterprises, and food security.” The Pulse recommend that African policymakers focus on saving lives and protecting livelihoods by focusing on strengthening health systems and taking quick actions to minimize disruptions in food supply chains. It also recommends implementing social protection programs, including cash transfers, food distribution and fee waivers, to support citizens, especially those working in the informal sector. The analysis shows that COVID-19 will cost the region between $37 billion and $79 billion in output losses for 2020 due to a combination of effects.
The nation’s economy recorded a net foreign exchange inflow of $9.35bn in February.
The Central Bank of Nigeria disclosed this in its February monthly report.
It said, “Foreign exchange flows through the economy resulted in a net inflow of $9.35bn in the review period, compared with $9.99bn and $4.58bn at end-January 2020 and end-February 2019, respectively.”
It said the external sector performance declined in February due to the 11.7 per cent decrease in the international price of crude oil to $58.45 per barrel.
This was attributed mainly to the continuous spread of COVID-19.
The relationship between the Ministry of Labour and the National Assembly worsened on Wednesday when the representative of the Minister of Labour, Chris Ngige, clashed with members of the Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance, and other Financial Institutions, at a public hearing.
The public hearing was on Banks and other Financial Institutions Act Cap B3 LFN 2004 (Repeal and Reenactment) Bill 2020 (SB.178) and Electronic Transaction Bill, 2020 (SB.155).
The Presidency at the weekend explained the reason behind the upward review of the 2020 budget, saying it was premised on the need to tailor funds to address critical infrastructure gap and the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic on the economy.
Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari, Friday, signed the Appropriation (Repeal and Amendment) Act, 2020 of N10.8 trillion, which has N216 billion higher than what was initially proposed in the 2020 Appropriation Act. into law. Speaking to State House correspondents on why the revision was made, Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (House of Representatives) Umar el-Yakub, said the budget was raised to N10.8 trillion after certain realities were considered. He pointed out that whereas the initial 2020 budget was benchmarked on $25 dollars per barrel of crude oil, the revised one had $28, which gave a bit of increased revenue.