Daily Watch – 13 million Nigerians ‘will get poorer,’ Ghana’s reserves thin out

25th April 2023

Troops of Operation Hadarin Daji, last Saturday, neutralised seven terrorists, apprehended two and destroyed several of their camps in Zurmi Local Government Area (LGA) of Zamfara. In a statement on Sunday, defence spokesman, Maj. Gen. Musa Danmadami said troops encountered the bandits at Birnin Tsaba, Tsanu, Lamba, Gabas, Gidan Kaso, and Dumburum Forest in Zurmi. He said the troops recovered seven motorcycles, two empty AK-47 magazines and one Baofeng radio. According to him, following the arrest of a terrorist informant on 21 April, troops conducted a follow-up operation and arrested two more terrorists at Shinkafi town in the Shinkafi LGA.

The World Bank, in its April poverty outlook, said about 13 million Nigerians would fall below the national poverty line by 2025, due to population growth outpacing poverty reduction. The institution said that Nigeria’s macroeconomic stability has weakened due to FX rates, inflation, fiscal pressures, and declining forex reserves and its fiscal position has been affected by declining oil revenue and rising expenditures. In its report, it added: “Nigeria is in a more fragile position than before the late 2021 global oil price boom. Growth and poverty reduction have further been affected by cash scarcity in the context of the Naira redesign. The economy is projected to grow by an average of 2.9 percent per year between 2023 and 2025, slightly above the population growth rate of 2.4 per cent. Growth will be driven by services, trade, and manufacturing.”

Ghana’s net international reserves will end in 2023 at nearly three weeks of import cover (0.8 months), the 2023 International Monetary Fund Regional Economic Outlook Report (Sub-Saharan Africa) has disclosed. The report said Ghana’s reserves stood at a little above two weeks (0.6 months) of import cover in 2022, contrary to the Bank of Ghana’s projections. In Sub-Saharan Africa, Zimbabwe (0.2 months), South Sudan (0.5 months) and Ethiopia (0.6 months) are the only countries expected to record import cover lower than Ghana. In a related development, the Bank of Ghana in its March 2023 Summary of Economic and Financial Data said the country’s net international reserves improved slightly to $2.62 billion, about 2.8 months of import cover in February 2023. This was up slightly from the $2.24 billion recorded in December 2022, about 2.7 months of import cover. The country’s balance of payments at the end of February 2023 stood at a deficit of $3.63 billion.

The US said on Monday that the warring factions in Sudan had agreed to a 72-hour ceasefire, while Western, Arab and Asian countries raced to extract their citizens from the country. US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said the truce deal followed two days of intense negotiations. Fighting erupted between the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and Rapid Support Forces (RSF) paramilitary group on 15 April and has killed at least 427 people, knocked out hospitals and other services, and turned residential areas into war zones. Blinken said that the US would work with regional, international and Sudanese civilian interests to create a committee that would oversee work on a permanent ceasefire and humanitarian arrangements. The RSF confirmed in Khartoum that it had agreed to the ceasefire, starting at midnight, to facilitate humanitarian efforts. The Security Council plans a meeting in Sudan on Tuesday.