Daily Watch – Reps extend 2022 capital implementation, Labour unions suspend naira strikes

29th March 2023

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) have suspended their planned strike earlier slated for Wednesday over the unavailability of naira notes. The two labour unions said they would monitor cash availability in commercial banks for two weeks before deciding on the next line of action. NLC and TUC Presidents, Joe Ajaero and Festus Osifo said this during a joint press conference on Tuesday in Abuja at the end of their National Executive Council meetings. Ajaero said the NLC would resume the planned protest if naira notes become unavailable to Nigerians by the end of the period.

The House of Representatives on Tuesday extended the implementation of the capital aspect of the 2022 budget and the supplementary appropriation for the preceding financial year. This came after the passage of a bill to extend the capital implementation of the 2022 Appropriation Act from 31 March to 30 June. The bill was referred to the Committee of Supply where it was approved and passed through third reading and transmitted to the Senate for concurrence. This is the second extension of last year’s appropriation act; the House having passed an extension bill from 31 December 2022 to 31 March 2023. The green chamber also approved an ₦819.54 billion supplementary budget sent by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Ghana’s government and international bondholders are pushing forward with formal debt talks after advisors to both sides signed non-disclosure agreements, three sources with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters. The country has picked Lazard as its financial adviser, while a group of international private lenders are represented by Rothschild & Co. Ghana’s dollar-denominated debt is more than $13 billion across maturities ranging from 2023 to 2061, according to Refinitiv data. After signing the NDAs earlier this month, both parties cannot share any information under the agreement with any non-authorised party. “The government and the bondholders are sharing sensitive material through the advisers, like the revenues that could be used to service the debt and the restructuring parameters the creditors are aiming for,” said one of the unnamed sources. Steering committee members include Abrdn, Amundi, BlackRock, Greylock Capital Management and Ninety One. An official creditor committee for talks with sovereign creditors such as China and the Paris Club is still pending.

According to the 2023 Global Terrorism Index’s latest report, published by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), the number of victims of terrorist attacks in the Sahel region has increased by more than 2,000 percent over the past 15 years. “The Sahel region of sub-Saharan Africa is now the epicentre of terrorism, accounting for more deaths from terrorism in 2022 than South Asia and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) combined,” the report said. The findings showed that “Across the Sahel, 22,074 people were killed in 6,408 terrorist attacks between 2007 and 2022.” With 8,564 victims, Burkina Faso ranks second in the world for the most affected countries in 2022, just behind Afghanistan, which has ranked first every year since 2019. The country recorded 310 terrorist incidents in 2022 compared to 224 in 2021. Somalia, Mali and Syria occupy the 3rd, 4th and 5th place respectively. Next come Pakistan, Iraq, Nigeria, Burma and Niger, according to the document, which also said terrorist attacks around the world fell from 5,463 to 3,955 in 2022 for the first time since 2019, a 28 percent drop compared to 2021.