The eurozone’s gross domestic product shrank slightly less than initially estimated in the second quarter but still saw a dramatic plunge of 11.8 per cent, according to revised statistics released on Tuesday.
Eurostat’s first estimate, published in July, had put the fall in economic output at 12.1 per cent in the 19-country currency area.
The broader European Union (EU) economy also fared slightly better than previously thought, according to the bloc’s statistical office.
The first estimate saw Gross Domestic Product (GDP) contract by 11.9 per cent in the 27 EU countries, but this was revised downwards on Tuesday to 11.4 per cent.
Despite the revisions, the second quarter results are still the worst quarterly downturn on record since Eurostat started releasing the figures in 1995.
Spain was hit the hardest of the EU member states, with 18.5 per cent wiped off its GDP.
Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim
Electricity/Fuel pump hike: NLC insists on nationwide protest
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has insisted that it would proceed with its planned nationwide protest with effect from Sept. 28 over Federal Government refusal to reverse the hikes in electricity tariff and fuel pump price.
News Agency of Nigeria reports that the NLC’s Central Working Committee (CWC) on Sept. 17 had issued a two-weeks ultimatum to the Federal Government to reverse the hike in electricity tariff and pump price of petrol or workers would embarked on a nationwide protest on Sept. 28.
According to Wabba, the NEC after its extensive deliberations, resolved to reject the hike in electricity tariff by almost 100 per cent and also reject the fuel price increased in the name of deregulation.
“This decision, along side other decisions of the government including the increase of VAT by 7.5 per cent, other numerous charged by commercial banks on depositors, without any explanation will further impoverish Nigerian workers and citizenry, including their families.
“Therefore, this is coming in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and this is not only “ill timed’’ but it is also counter productive, ” he said.
He said that NEC also observed that the privatisation process that was done seven years ago had not yielded any positive result and that the entire sector was sold at about N400 billion.
He also noted that the Federal Government within the last four years have injected N1.53 trillion over and above the amount that was used to sell those important assets.
“Therefore, NEC came to the conclusion that the entire privatisation process have failed and the electricity hike, is a continuous process of exploitation of Nigerians,” he said.
Wabba also noted that the issue of the three refineries and increase in the pump price of petroleum had been on constant debate for more than three decades and that the arguments were still the same.
According to him, this is whether it is in the name of deregulation or subsidiary removal, what is obvious is that the fuel price hike has further eroded the gains of the N30, 000 National Minimum Wage, as it has spiral effects.
“The spiral effects include, high cost of goods and services and reductions in the purchasing power of ordinary Nigerians.
“NEC thought that on the issue of deregulation, it will be a continuous exploitation if it is imported driven. While demanding that our three refineries should be made to work optimally, and then it will be beneficial to Nigerians. ” he said.
He said that the primary purpose of governance was about the security and welfare of the Nigerian people.
He further called on the Federal Government to maintain refineries in the country for the benefits of its citizenry.
“In the light of all of this, NEC decided to endorsed the two- weeks ultimatum given to the Federal Government to try to reverse those obnoxious decisions and also pronounced that the action proposed by the CWC is hereby endorsed by the NEC.
“That Sept. 28 will be a date that those actions will be challenged by Nigerian workers, our civil society allies and also other Labour centres,” he said.
Edited By: Dorcas Jonah/Felix Ajide
LASG receives 107,546 CA-COVID food palliative packs
Speaking on behalf of the State Government, during the symbolic handover ceremony at the Lagos House, Ikeja, the Acting Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms Abisola Olusanya, said the food items were donated by CA-COVID in May.
Olusanya said that the food palliative packs were meant for the indigent residents of the state and the elderly.
”We are here today for the hand over ceremony of the Coalition Against COVOD-19 pandemic distribution for the food items that were donated by this group as far back as April-May.
“Lagos officially is just taking receipt of it and we want to launch this distribution in a couple of days.
”According to the CA-COVID team, Lagos State is supposed to receive 107,546 beneficiary packs for our citizens – for the indigents, the elderly, for those that do not have the wherewithal or the capacity to have food on their table on a daily basis.
”Now for this 107,546 beneficiary packs, each pack contains 10 kilograms of rice, five kilograms of garri, five kilograms of sugar, one kilogram of salt, two cartons of noodules (Indomie) and one carton of pasta.
“That is what a single beneficiary will get for his or her family,” she said.
According to her, the food items are being repackaged by the Ministry of Agriculture to ensure that each beneficiary gets the right quantity of items.
”We do not want a situation where they receive the items and they claim that they have not received garri or they have not received rice.
”That is why under the administration of Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, we have taken the pains to get bags marked, to print on them the Lagos State logo, the CA-COVID logo and to put these items in each pack, such that we have transparency across board.
”But nonetheless, with regard to the 107,546 packs, we are still repackaging and so far, the team has been able to repackage about 50,000 beneficiary packs.
”Until we finish repackaging, before we can ascertain and say this is the quantity that we have actually received as Lagos State.
”So currently, about 50,000 is what we will say we have taken possession of and we will start with the redistribution in the next couple of days,” she said.
The Acting Commissioner said that the CA-COVID team was also working with the ministry to ensure that all were on the same board.
She said that in terms of the distribution modality, the state would borrow a leaf from the experience during the lockdown period when it pioneered the distribution of over 50,000 food beneficiary packs.
”We will be going along the route of using the local government, as well as using our groups.
”When I talk about our groups, I am referring to the artisans and tradesmen groups, I am referring to the religious bodies, I am referring to people with disabilities, I am referring to the transporters union, I am referring to so many groups that cut across different cadres of society.
”The idea around this is also to use the ministries that have these people as their stakeholders to help in the distribution, such that we are able to reach the right people and there is also transparency across board.
“We can also hold people accountable for the redistribution,” Olusanya said.
Also speaking, the CA-COVID State Representative, Mr Amaechi Okobi, commended the Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, for the tireless efforts at ensuring things went well doing the lockdown.
”There is no gainsaying that COVID-19 took us by surprise but with people like you supporting us, we would win this battle.
”The Commissioner has been very eloquent in exactly about what we have done.
“The idea here is to take care of our fellow men. No fewer than 1,666,667 Nigerians need our help.
”All Nigerians need our help but we focused on the lowest five per cent to ensure that in this extremely tough time, they are at least fed.
”We have lockdown that prevented them from working. So, they need help. Could we do more? We will love to and could the Governor do more, I know he will love to do more.
“But this is a start and we are just basically saying that Nigerians for Nigeria are fighting this fight,” Okobi said.
He said that the efforts to get the food and palliatives were gigantic but to distribute the food was even more because some problems would be encountered.
”So, I ask on behalf of the CA-COVID that you continue to support to ensure that every Nigerian that the commissioners mentioned gets these items.
”It is critical. It impacts our credibility. It impacts the work of serious people that want to actually do something,” Okobi said.
Edited By: Donald Ugwu
At UNGA, AU chairman solicits ‘comprehensive stimulus package’ for Africa
President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa on Tuesday solicited a comprehensive stimulus package for Africa to enable its recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ramaphosa made the appeal in his pre-recorded video statement to the virtual General Debate of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
Speaking in his capacity as Chairman of the African Union (AU), he also called for suspension of interest payments on Africa’s external and public debts.
The South African president said although the continent had responded “swiftly and effectively” to the pandemic, it would “inevitably set back our developmental aspirations”.
He said: “The resources we have had to redirect to fighting the pandemic has set back our efforts to provide housing, health care, water and sanitation and education to our people.
“When the Secretary-General António Guterres delivered the 18th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture in July, 2020, he called on the nations of the world to forge a New Social Contract and a New Global Deal.
“He said we must create equal opportunities for all, that we must advance a more inclusive and balanced multilateral trading system, that debt architecture must be reformed, and that there should be greater access to affordable credit for developing countries.
“It is in the spirit of this New Global Deal, that we call on the international community and our international partners to support the rollout of a comprehensive stimulus package for Africa.
“This will enable African countries to not only mitigate the health impacts of COVID-19 but to aid us in the immense task of rebuilding our shattered economies.”
He, however, acknowledged joint efforts by the G20, International Monetary Fund, World Bank and the UN to address debt sustainability in developing countries.
He noted that pandemic had underscored the urgency with which the world strive to meet the Sustainable Development Goals.
Ramaphosa reiterated the AU’s call for the lifting of economic sanctions against Zimbabwe and Sudan to enable their governments to adequately respond to the pandemic.
According to him, relieving both countries of sanctions will also ensure no one is left behind as the world races against time to meet the Sustainable Development Goals.
Zeroing in on SDG 1, poverty education, the AU chairman noted that the purpose of the UN would remain a mirage until global poverty was eradicated.
He called for expansion of economic opportunities to all our people, especially young people, women and the vulnerable.
Ramaphosa further urged decisive action to rid the continent of corruption, which he said is “robbing our people of the opportunities and services that are their right”.
Edited By: Wale Ojetimi
Sanusi calls for diversification of economy to address poverty, inequality
Former Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II, has said that Nigeria must diversify its economy in order to address the high rate of poverty and inequality in the country.
He also said governments at all levels must invest on human capital development and create enabling environment for investments, instead of borrowing to finance development.
Sanusi gave the advice in a presentation during the virtual Kaduna Economic and Investment Summit, on Tuesday.
The former Governor of the Central Bank, however, said the Federal Government has minimal role to play in rejigging the economy.
“While everyone looks to the federal government for solutions, the truth is that its role in the economy is small – both in absolute and relative terms.’’
Sanusi noted that the nation’s economy has not been diversified, years after the discovery of oil.
He added that though Nigeria has generated an increase in wealth from $345 in 1985 to $2,655 in 2015 GDP per capita, but there has been no structural transformation in what the country actually produce.
According to him, though the economy is growing, but its non diversification has resulted to the high rate of poverty and high level of inequality in the country.
He explained that the difference between African countries and those in Asia is that they have diversified from primary to secondary and tertiary sectors of the global economy.
“The major difference is that they have moved on but we have not,’’ he lamented.
Sanusi pointed out that Malaysia has the same factors that Nigeria has been using as an excuse for having not developed, adding that both countries are multi-ethnic and have fought wars.
The former Emir lamented that Nigeria is still a consumer nation instead of being a producer, by seizing on the investments that the government has done in technology.
“Africa’s failure has been in not leveraging on the underlying infrastructure – towers and under sea cables- to catalyse the development of other and new industries,’’ he said.
‘’If you use your smart phone which is made in China and order shoes from France and they are delivered to you at home, what have you actually gained? You are just a consumer,’’ he added.
The ex-CBN Governor argued that the same phone can be put to productive use, when it is used to shoot a Nollywood movie and the film clip is distributed.
Sanusi noted that the success of Nigeria’s pre-oil economy was based on the dynamism of its trading sector and the diversity of its export base, which ‘’meant that it was less vulnerable to terms of trade shock driven by any one export.”
Edited By: Maharazu Ahmed