Daily Watch – Manufacturing jobs plunge 21%, UN to resume operations in Sudan

2nd May 2023

Bandits have released 74 children out of more than 80 people who were abducted in April in Zamfara after ransoms were paid, Reuters reported. Two parents from Zamfara’s Wadzamai village said they paid ₦20,000 ($43.50) each, and their children, who were among those released last Friday, had suffered from severe malnutrition. A village head in Wadzamai said 11 people were still being held, but two were killed trying to escape their captors. This comes as bandits killed at least 40 villagers in the state and neighbouring Kebbi during a dawn attack on Sunday. According to reporting by Daily Trust, six mobile policemen were among the 36 victims killed at Dan Umaru. 27 people died, while several others sustained injuries. Dozens have also been kidnapped and hundreds of cattle rustled during the attack on neighbouring villages. In Delta, two priests, Chochos Kunav and Raphael Ogigba, were abducted in Agbaro Otor near Warri. The Punch reported that the Ughelli-bound two clerics were forcefully taken away by yet-to-be-identified gunmen along the Agbaro Otor Road on Saturday night.

The number of direct jobs created in Nigeria’s manufacturing sector declined by 20.8 percent in the second half of 2022. According to the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), employment dipped to 6,741 in H2 2022 from 8,508 and 9559 recorded in H2 2021 and H1 2022 respectively. “The decline in the number of jobs corroborates the poor operating business environment that was perverse with high energy cost, exorbitant cost of borrowing, high inflation, low sales due to limited cash and many more,” the report said. The total number of jobs created was 16,300 in 2022 from 16,110 in 2021 and 8,692 recorded in 2020. In February, the aggregate Manufacturers CEOs Confidence Index (MCCI) said the current employment condition fell to 51.3 in 2022’s fourth quarter from 51.9 in the previous. Factory output value dropped to ₦2.68 trillion in H2 2022 from ₦3.73 trillion recorded in H2 2021. “Manufacturing production was severely affected by the absence of implementation of new capital projects by the government as they focused on the elections,” MAN said.

Ghana has moved one step closer to securing a $3bn International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout after its monetary policymakers and Ministry of Finance signed a Memorandum of Understanding to end Central Bank lending to the Government. Bank of Ghana Governor Ernest Addison told the Financial Times that a “zero financing” agreement was signed last week between the Central Bank and the ministry headed by Ken Ofori-Atta. The agreement — a precondition to unlocking relief from the fund — will take effect when the fund’s board approves Ghana’s programme, Addison added. The government owes about 40 billion cedis ($3.4 billion) to its apex bank, according to Bloomberg. Ghana’s economic performance has improved in recent months, with gross domestic product growing by a better-than-expected 3.7 percent in Q4 2022.

The United Nations World Food Programme said it would immediately lift the suspension of its operations in Sudan that was put in place after the deaths of its team members. “WFP is rapidly resuming our programmes to provide the life-saving assistance that many so desperately need right now,” WFP’s executive director Cindy McCain wrote on Twitter. The WFP said, on 16 April, it had temporarily halted all operations in Sudan after three of its employees were killed in clashes between the Sudanese army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) a day earlier. In a related development, Arab League permanent members held an emergency meeting on the fighting in Cairo. Egypt’s deputy permanent representative, Obaida el-Dandarawy, outlined a draft resolution to halt fighting in the neighbouring country.