The Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 in Nigeria, Boss Mustapha, says the FG has lifted the ban placed on interstate travel with effect from 1 July, provided such journeys are made outside curfew hours. Mustapha, who is also the SGF, also said Monday at the daily briefing of the task force, that the government has approved the safe resumption of domestic flights in the country. The latest developments, according to Mustapha were contained in the task force’s fifth interim report submitted to President Buhari earlier in the day. However certain measures placed to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic shall either remain in place or come into effect. The measures include maintaining the current phase of the national response, for another four weeks in line with modifications to be expatiated by the National Coordinator; permission of movement across state borders only outside curfew hours with effect from 1 July, 2020; enforcement of laws around non-pharmaceutical interventions by states, in particular, the use of face masks in public places; safe re-opening of schools to allow students in graduating classes resume in-person in preparation for examinations; safe reopening of domestic aviation services as soon as practicable; and the publication of revised guidelines around the three thematic areas of general movement, industry and labour; and community activities.
A report from the NBS shows that the total non-performing loans of real estate and construction firms rose by ₦33.31 billion from ₦102.74 billion at the end of 2018 financial period to ₦136.05 billion as of the end of 2019. The non-performing loans of construction firms to the banking sector rose by ₦34.53 billion at the end of 2018 to N86.4 billion as of the end of 2019. While the loans in construction sector stood at ₦723.15 billion, real estate’s stood at ₦604.97 as of the end of 2019, the report said. Total non-performing loans in the banking sector were at ₦1.05 trillion out of a total loan of ₦17.56 trillion as of the end of 2019 while the gross loans in the sector stood at ₦17.56 trillion as of the end of December 2019. This is even as the loans with specific provisions and loans after specific provisions stood at ₦1.43 trillion and ₦16.13 trillion respectively as of the end of 2019.
The IMF has urged Nigeria’s government to adopt supportive policies during the COVID-19 pandemic and shun any form of aggressive introduction of new tax measures at this time. The director of the IMF Africa department, Abebe Aemro Selassie, said Monday that it would be wrong for the FG to make such moves. Presenting the latest regional economic outlook for Sub-Saharan Africa, Selassie emphasised on the importance to have a very nimble policy response to ensure that the hits to the economy are not compounded by policy challenges. He described the pandemic as a “fast-moving crisis” adding that the resultant economic downturn will be significantly larger than projected in April. He advised countries to prioritise the preservation of health and lives in the short-term. The impact of the pandemic on Nigeria is compounded by the sharp decline in oil prices, and as a result, the IMF projects that Nigeria’s economy will contract by 5.4 percent in 2020 and recover by 2.3 percent in 2021.
Boko Haram has abducted over a dozen of women and girls during an attack on a Borno community. The attack occurred on Friday night when the insurgents invaded Malaharam in Biu LGA at about 11pm, the Sun newspaper, quoting unnamed security sources said. The insurgents carted away foodstuffs and cattle after nearly two hours raid, a relation to one of the abductee women told The Sun. Malaharam, which is just north of Chibok in he Borno South senatorial district, is a few kilometres from Damboa, which is itself 89km from Maiduguri.