The deficit spending of Nigeria’s Government rose sharply by 144 percent, year-on-year, to ₦650 billion in the first two months of 2020. This is compared to ₦250 billion recorded in the corresponding period of 2019. According to the CBN’s monthly economic reports for January and February 2020, Nigeria’s oil revenue also rose by 17 percent YoY to ₦1.1 trillion within the period as against the ₦896.8 billion recorded in the corresponding period of 2019. The oil revenue was however 34 percent lower than the ₦2.5 trillion Budget 2020 estimate for the two months. The report also said that Non-oil revenue rose by 15 percent, YoY, to ₦744.2 billion in January and February 2020, from ₦645.1 billion in the corresponding period of 2019. The Non-oil revenue recorded was however 17 percent lower than the budget 2020 estimate of ₦894.4 billion. According to the CBN’s report, the sharp increase in deficit was due to 54 percent YoY, upsurge in FG’s expenditure to ₦1.22 trillion in January and February 2020 from ₦798.9 billion in the corresponding period of 2020. The upsurge in spending erased a 13 percent YoY, increase recorded in the FG’s retained revenue which rose to ₦619.3 billion in January and February 2020, from ₦548.9 billion in the corresponding period of 2019. Meanwhile, the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries has said that the servicing of debts by Nigeria may limit the FG’s ability to increase economic productivity. OPEC added that based on direct communication with Nigeria, the country’s crude oil production dropped from the 1.76 million barrels per day in the first quarter of this year to 1.4 million barrels per day in June. In its monthly analysis of the fiscal activities of the FG, the CBN stated at ₦325.54 billion, the estimated FG retained revenue for the month of January 2020 was below the monthly budget of ₦705.44 billion by 53.9 percent.
Twelve directors of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission have been suspended. The attorney-general of the federation, Abubakar Malami, on Tuesday sent a letter to acting EFCC chairman, Mohammed Umar, notifying him of the suspension of the directors. The directors affected by the action have been a part of the team investigating Malami. However, the suspension, according to the AGF is in connection with the probe of Ibrahim Magu, suspended acting chairman of the anti-graft agency. Malami admitted to approving the sale of oil assets seized by the EFCC, but he said the sale followed due process. According to a human rights lawyer, Kabir Akingbolu, the AGF risked five years in prison for “illegally” approving the auctioning of the sea vessels holding crude oil and diesel. Magi, remained suspended, was arrested and marshalled before a presidential panel led by Ayo Salami probing the operations of the agency under him last week before he was detained. The suspended acting EFCC boss was alleged to have purchased a property in Dubai, United Arab Emirate using a pastor as a conduit. He was also alleged to have laundered over ₦500 billion through a bureau-de-change in Kaduna. Though, Magu has since denied the allegations.
A large number of Nigerian households could not afford to buy sufficient supplies of the water they needed for handwashing, a survey in June 2020 has shown. According to the National Bureau of Statistics’ COVID-19 Impact Monitoring report, despite high awareness of safety measures to curtail the spread coronavirus pandemic, almost a quarter of respondents do not have sufficient soap to wash their hands. This is even as frequent handwashing with soap is widely advised as a preventive measure against COVID-19. According to the findings of the second round of the NBS’ Nigeria COVID-19 National Longitudinal Phone survey conducted last month, in the baseline, soap and cleaning supplies were the most commonly needed items, and most families confirmed that they were able to purchase soap when needed. The report said that nearly a quarter, 24 percent of households, did not have sufficient soap to wash their hands in June and about seven percent of households also reported insufficient access to water for handwashing. It further noted that the shortage of water for drinking and washing hands faced by households was primarily due either to a disruption in the supply or inability to access the source of water. The NBS described the COVID-19 NLPS launched in April 2020 with the support for. The World Bank as a monthly survey of a nationally representative sample of 1,950 households to monitor the economic impact of the pandemic and other shocks.
The West African coast has become the worst area for reported piracy and kidnappings at sea in 2019. The region has surpassed Southeast Asia after recording the number of seafarers seized rising by more than 50%. The area, also called the Gulf of Guinea, also recorded the third-highest number of ship losses, the most yet, according to Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty SE, a unit of Munich-based Allianz SE. The International Maritime Bureau said, abductions in the region accounted for 90% of the global total in 2019, while Piracy remains an ongoing issue. The global head of marine risk at Allianz, Rahul Khanna, the form thought it had a handle on it but it has manifested yet again. Incidents on West Africa-bound vessels have most recently been rising steadily, with attacks targeting crew rather than the ship or its cargo. Despite a global decline in piracy last year, there has been no let-up in attacks in the Gulf of Guinea in 2020, especially off Nigeria’s coast. The head of maritime safety & security at the Baltic & International Maritime Council in Copenhage asserted that “Piracy in the Gulf of Guinea emanates almost exclusively from Nigeria. “The Nigerian pirates use the Niger Delta as the staging point for attacks on shipping across the whole eastern part of the Gulf of Guinea and take hostages, holding them for ransom in camps in the Niger Delta.” About 45% of global piracy occurred in the Gulf of Guinea in the first quarter of this year, according to Allianz. There were 47 reported incidents, up from 38 a year ago, mostly targeting container ships and bulk carriers. Allianz said a key reason for the increased attacks is the ability of pirates, who are often well-armed and violent, to reach ships and kidnap crews as far as 170 nautical miles (315 km) offshore, Allianz said. .Piracy will likely remain a threat for the foreseeable future amid heightened global political and economic uncertainties, Allianz said.