Daily Watch – FG to get COVID stimulus extension, Accra bags trade surplus

22nd May 2023

Suspected terrorists have reportedly killed at least nine at the Ungwan Dakwa village around the Dogo Dawa ward of Birnin-Gwari Local Government Area of Kaduna State. Punch reported that the incident took place on Saturday at about 2 pm when the hoodlums raided the community, shooting indiscriminately. There is no official confirmation from either the state government or the state police command. However, a House of Assembly member-elect, Yahaya Birnin-Gwari, confirmed the attack on the community where the persons were killed. Birnin-Gwari said scores of the villagers also sustained varying degrees of injuries following the attack. According to him, the terrorists stormed the community on Saturday where they carried out the dastardly act. Those who sustained injuries, he said, were taken to neighbouring Funtua in Katsina where they were currently receiving medical treatment. He added that most villagers had fled their homes following the attack, leaving the community deserted.

The FG is on the brink of getting a one-year extension to access the World Bank’s $750 million concessional loan for Nigeria’s COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus Programme (NG-CARES) on behalf of the 36 state governments and the Federal Capital Territory. The World Bank Task Team Leader for NG-CARES, Professor Foluso Okunmadewa, confirmed the development in Ibadan during the maiden town hall meeting for stakeholders under the programme. Okunmadewa, while speaking at the event, said 29 states and the FCT had so far earned reimbursement after deducting the initial advance, adding that seven states earned no reimbursement. He noted that the World Bank would continue to allow access to funds as long as it sees evidence of the continued commitment of state governments to disbursements of the funds.

Ghana recorded a trade surplus of $1.6 billion in the first four months of 2023; higher than the $1.15 billion recorded during the same period in 2022. According to the May 2023 Summary of Economic and Financial Data by the Bank of Ghana, total exports as of April 2023 were estimated at $5.64 billion, whilst total imports stood at $4.04 billion. Gold dominated the total value of exports, recording $2.17 billion in April 2023, higher than the $1.84 billion recorded during the same period last year. Proceeds from cocoa’s export commodity in the first four months of 2023 stood at $1.25 billion, as against $1.03 billion a year ago. Crude oil exports brought in $1.17 billion in April 2023. This is compared to $1.85 billion in April 2022.  For imports, oil imports accounted for $1.20 billion in April 2023, whilst non-oil imports totalled $2.84 billion. Balance of Payment at the end of March 2023 showed a deficit of $353 million; far lower than the deficit of $934 million recorded during the same period in 2022.

Security forces in the Democratic Republic of Congo fired tear gas and fought running battles in the streets of the capital Kinshasa with anti-government protesters demonstrating on Saturday over alleged irregularities in voter registration. The protesters are also angry over the rising cost of living and prolonged insecurity in the east of the country, where armed militias and rebel groups have killed hundreds and displaced over a million. Around a dozen protesters were detained by security forces just after the start of the demonstration, which was called for by opposition leaders.