The Minister of State for Education, Emeka Nwajiuba, said that the Federal Ministry of Education would not risk reopening schools across the country, until all preventive measures had been put in place.
He noted that various dates of resumption being circulated in some quarters were false, adding that the government would consider introducing afternoon classes to ease rowdiness.
“We want to say that the announcement that we are reopening all schools on June 8 did not emanate from us. That is not true; until we are sure that these children can go to school, return safely and not bring home with them this COVID-19 material.
“So we are not taking that risk yet. We are going to prepare as much as possible within the guidance that we are offered, working in conjunction with the World Health Organisation, before we reopen schools.”
AfDB: Nigeria, others risk $236.7b losses in GDP
The African Development Bank (AfDB) has projected that Nigeria and the rest of the continent will suffer a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) loss of $189.7 billion this year.
The AfDB’s African Economic Outlook released yesterday stated: “Africa could suffer GDP losses in 2020 between $145.5 billion (baseline) and $189.7 billion (worst case).’’
The report noted that pre-COVID-19 estimates of African GDP had predicted a growth of $2.59 trillion for the year.
According to the AfDB,
“some losses are carried over to 2021, as the projected recovery would be partial.”
For 2021 projected losses, AfDB said,
“could be from $27.6 billion (baseline) up to $47 billion (worst case) from the potential GDP of $2.76 trillion without the pandemic”.
The continental bank said the most affected economies will be countries
“with poor healthcare systems, those that rely heavily on tourism, international trade, and commodity exports, and those with high debt burdens and high dependence on volatile international financial flows”.
The pandemic, the report stated, has triggered a sudden uptick in inflation, in some cases by more than five per cent in the first quarter of 2020.
This, the bank said, “has mainly been caused by disruptions in the supply of food and energy, the bulk of which are imported”.
According to the AfDB, “overall, although headline inflation, which includes food and basic energy prices, would be expected to rise, core inflation might remain stable until demand picks up after the pandemic”.
To the governments, the AfDB cautioned that “expansionary fiscal spending could double already high fiscal deficits’’.
“In 2020, deficits are projected to increase twofold, to eight per cent of GDP, in the baseline scenario, and to go as high as nine per cent in the worst-case scenario,” it said.
This worsening fiscal position, the AfDB said, “would be the result of above-the-line increases in budgetary outlays on COVID-19-related health spending, unemployment benefits, targeted wage subsidies and direct transfers, and tax cuts and deferrals”.
On the debt side, the AfDB predicted that COVID-19 will “add to sovereign debt burdens as COVID-19 heightens the likelihood of a widespread and far-reaching sovereign debt crisis if debt is not properly managed”.
According to the bank, many countries in Africa entered the crisis period with high debt-to-GDP ratios, which are projected to increase further by up to 10 percentage points beyond the pre-COVID trajectory in 2020 and 2021.
The sovereign debt buildup the bank lamented “is particularly worrisome because of its changing risk structure in Africa as a result of the increasing share of commercial debt Eurobonds and other private creditors and the high foreign currency denomination of Africa’s debt.”
Remittances which grew to $86.2 billion in 2019 on the back of a pickup in global economic growth and rising migration has now been threatened by COVID-19 and exposed countries which rely heavily on remittances to shocks “especially in high-income economies where migrant jobs and incomes are threatened.”
Foreign direct investment which picked up in 2018 by 10.9 per cent, reaching $45.9 billion, and improved further to an estimated $49 billion in 2019 is also expected to fall in 2020 as investors reduce or postpone their investments amid uncertainties.
Official Development Assistance (ODA), which has risen since 2016 (by 1.2 per cent in 2018), could be constrained by the impact of the crisis on advanced economies.
In 2021, the number of extremely poor, the AfDB said: “could increase by 34-49.2 million due to the pandemic as GDP growth continues to fall below population growth rates.”
Specifically, Nigeria being and Africa’s most populous country “would record the largest increases 8.5 in the baseline scenario in 2020, and 11.5 in the worst-case scenario. There will be an estimated job loss in the tens of millions.
The AfDB advised African governments that “given the global scale of the COVID-19 pandemic and its repercussions, governments and development partners must respond in a coordinated, targeted, and rapid manner to be effective in limiting its impacts.”
According to the bank, “across Africa, the response must be well-sequenced and multipronged, involving: a public health response to contain the spread of the virus and minimize fatalities.”
It called for “a monetary policy response to ease liquidity constraints and solvency risks, a fiscal response to cushion the economic impacts of the pandemic on livelihoods and to assist businesses, labour market policies to protect workers and their jobs, and structural policies to enable African economies to rebuild and enhance their resilience to future shocks.”
Nigeria records 503 new COVID-19 cases, total now 29, 879
Nigeria, on Tuesday, recorded 503 new cases of COVID-19 in 20 states, bring the total confirmed cases to 29,879, with 669 deaths.
Of the new cases reported by the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, Lagos which is the epicenter, leads with a total of 153 cases, followed by Ondo State with 76 confirmed cases.
Other states are Edo-54, FCT-41, Enugu-37, Rivers-30, Benue-24,Osun-20, Kaduna-15, Kwara-13, Abia-9, Borno-8, Plateau-6, Taraba-5, Ogun-3, Kano-3, Kebbi-2, Nasarawa-2, Bayelsa-1 and Gombe-1.
So far Nigeria has discharged a total of 12,108 and had recorded 669 deaths as of July 7.
The NCDC report also revealed that 203 cases were discharged in the last 24 hours in 11 states— Edo, 87; FCT, 33; Lagos, 23; Rivers, 19; Akwa Ibom, 17; Ebonyi, 12; Kano, 5; Gombe, 3; Ondo, 2; Bauchi, 1 and Ogun, 1.
Also, 11 deaths were recorded in the last 24 hours in six states: Oyo -5, Rivers -2 Adamawa 1, Akwa Ibom 1, Bayelsa -1, and Gombe- 1.
503 new cases of COVID19Nigeria;
Ghana reopens 600 Nigerian shops after six months
Over Six Hundred (600) shops belonging to Nigerian traders in Ghana have been reopened to business by the Ghanaian government has been under lock and key for over six months.
According to a statement signed on Tuesday by Gabriel Odu of Media, Public Relations and Protocol Unit of the Nigerians in the Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) the President, National Association of Nigerian Traders (NANTS) Ken Ukaoha disclosed this on Solidarity visit to the Chairman/CEO, Nigerians in the Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Tuesday, in Abuja.
Ukaoha stated that the visit to NIDCOM is to commend and appreciate the Chairman/CEO Hon Abike Dabiri-Erewa for her untiring and unrelenting efforts in resolving the lockdown of Nigerian shops in Ghana for over six months.
Ukaoha believes that the ECOWAS Protocol of the Free Movement of Persons, Goods, and Services shouldn’t be observed in breach but rather be observed in the spirit of brotherhood and diplomatic reciprocity.
In a similar development, Abike Dabiri-Erewa lauded the NANTS led by its Ukaoha for appreciating NIDCOM’s role in the reopening of Nigerian shops in Ghana, the statement said.
She also thanked President Muhammadu Buhari and stated that the intervention was multi-level especially at the highest level of diplomacy and bilateral relations between Ghana and Nigeria. Dabiri-Erewa urged Nigerian traders in Ghana to always obey the laws of their host country and conduct themselves with respect and dignity.
It could be recalled that shops belonging to Nigerian traders in Ghana have been on lockdown since December 2019.
The reopening of the shops may also have been connected with the effort being made by the Ghanaian Government to appease the Nigerian government in order to resolve the recent face-off with Nigeria over the demolition of a residential building within the premises of the Nigerian High Commission in Accra, the Ghanaian capital.
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