Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, has said Nigeria’s borrowing still stands at 19 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). She said this level is low compared to debt levels in Ghana, Brazil, South Africa, Egypt and Angola.
The minister also said there is no plan to remove fuel subsidy. She said the International Monetary Fund merely advised the federal government to remove fuel subsidy but assured Nigerians fuel subsidy removal plans are not even being considered at this time.
On the question of the country’s debt level, the minister said Nigeria’s borrowing is still at 19 per cent of GDP. She said this is still within the country’s fiscal responsibility act which allows a maximum of 25 per cent of GDP.
The minister said Nigeria has the lowest level of borrowing compared to other countries.
Covid-19 Pandemic: World Trade To Fall By Up To 32% In 2020 – WTO
World trade is expected to fall by between 13 and 32 percent this year as the covid-19 pandemic disrupts normal economic activity and life around the world.
The World Trade Organization has said in its annual trade statistics and outlook report that that the decline would likely exceed the trade slump brought on by the global financial crisis of 2008.
The report’s estimates of the expected recovery in 2021 are equally uncertain, with outcomes depending largely on the duration of the outbreak and the effectiveness of the policy responses.
WTO director-general, Roberto Azevedo says “the immediate goal is to bring the pandemic under control and mitigate the economic damage to people, companies and countries. He recommends policymakers begin planning for the aftermath of the pandemic.
Azevedo said a rapid and vigorous rebound is possible if countries work together rather than if each country acts alone.
Zimbabwe Reintroduces Use Of Foreign Currencies
Zimbabwe has reintroduced the use of foreign currencies for domestic transactions, in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. The country had banned foreign notes in June last year.
Authorities announced the move on Thursday saying it is expected to help the country access private foreign exchange savings as it gears up for the battle against coronavirus.
The country’s central bank has also reduced its main lending rate to 25% and set a fixed exchange rate as part of measures to support the economy against the pandemic.
Central Bank Governor John Mangudya said he expected banks to cut lending rates to customers.
Zimbabwe had used a number of foreign currencies since hyperinflation forced the government to ditch the Zimbabwe dollar in 2009. Last year’s ban on foreign currencies was intended to restore normalcy to the economy.
Officially, Zimbabwe has so far recorded five cases of coronavirus, including one death.
Hit By Power Shortages, South Africa’s Economy In Recession
South Africa has plunged into recession and widespread power cuts are being blamed for it. Official statistics released on Tuesday shows South Africa’s economy, the continent’s most industrialized, falling into a decline. Its economy shrank by 1.4% in the fourth quarter of 2019 from the previous three-month period.
South Africa’s nationwide power blackouts are blamed for the larger than expected decline in the fourth quarter. State-owned power utility, Eskom, has been unable to meet demand and has had to implement rotating cuts in electricity to residences, factories, mines and businesses.
A recession is commonly defined as two consecutive quarters of economic decline.
South Africa’s economic growth forecast for 2020 has been cut to just under one percent.
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