Daily Watch – Illegal oil rig capsizes in Warri, BoG denies GH¢80B government funding

18th August 2023

Abuja has approved ₦5 billion ($5.917 million) for each state and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to enable them to procure food items for distribution to the poor in their respective states. Borno Governor Babagana Zulum confirmed this after the National Economic Council (NEC) meeting. In addition to the fund, Zulum said the government also released five trucks of rice each to the 36 state governors. Explaining further, Zulum said the state governors are to procure 100,000 bags of rice, 40,000 bags of maize and fertilisers. He noted that 52 percent of the funds were given to the state governments as grants with 48 percent as loans. Speaking on Nigeria’s response to the ongoing political crises in Niger Republic, Zulum announced that NEC approved the distribution of foodstuff to the frontline states bordering the Niger Republic to tackle refugee issues.

The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) said the oil rig, which capsized on 15 August at Ovhor in Warri, Delta State, had been operating in the country’s waters illegally since 2016. In a press statement by the agency’s spokesman, Osagie Edward, he said the Majestic Rig belonging to Depthwize Nigeria Limited had been operating since 2016 without requisite agency approvals.

The Bank of Ghana (BoG) has debunked claims that it has financed the government to the tune of GH¢80 billion. It said the BoG did not provide credit to the government from 2017 to 2019 and 2021. The Bank said it was only in 2020 that it issued the GH¢10 billion COVID-19 bond to the government, while also issuing another GH¢37.9 billion in 2022. It said the Bank only supported the COVID-19 Pandemic Bond in 2020 and also supported the government to pay salaries and settle government debt maturities as the capital market shut down access to Ghana in 2022. The BoG explained that its decision to take a 50 percent haircut on the government’s debt saved the economy from collapse and sent a positive signal to external partners.

ECOWAS stands ready to intervene militarily in Niger should diplomatic efforts to reverse a coup there fail, a senior official told army chiefs who were meeting in Ghana on 17 August to discuss the details of a standby force. “Let no one be in doubt that if everything else fails, the valiant forces of West Africa. are ready to answer to the call of duty,” ECOWAS Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security Abdel-Fatau Musah said. “By all means available, constitutional order will be restored in the country,” he told assembled defence chiefs from member countries, listing past ECOWAS deployments in Gambia, Liberia and elsewhere as examples of readiness. He said most of the bloc’s 15 member states were prepared to participate in the standby force; the exceptions were those also under military rule—Mali, Burkina Faso and Guinea—and tiny Cape Verde.