Nigerian press focuses on revenue shortfall, huge trade deficit in 1Q

APA – Lagos (Nigeria)

The revenue shortfall recorded by the Nigerian government due to the Coronavirus pandemic and the trade deficit of N138.98bn recorded in the first quarter of 2020 are the leading stories in Nigerian newspapers on Wednesday.

The Punch reports that the negative impact of the Coronavirus pandemic has resulted in the Nigerian government recording a revenue shortfall of about N1.01tn in the first quarter of this year.

The drop in revenue, according to documents obtained by from the Budget Office of the Federation, was primarily due to the dwindling revenue inflow into the federation account.

According to the report, the pandemic had so far led to an unprecedented drop in global crude oil prices. The outbreak of the deadly virus in Nigeria had resulted in the lockdown of many states, a development that has paralysed economic activities.

The newspaper also says that Nigeria recorded a trade deficit of N138.98bn in the first quarter of 2020, the National Bureau of Statistics has said. The NBS disclosed this in its Foreign Trade in Goods Statistics report for Q1 2020, which was released on Tuesday.

“The value of Nigeria’s total trade stood at N8.3tn in Q1, 2020. This was 17.94 per cent lower than the value recorded in Q4 2019 but 0.80 per cent higher than the value recorded in Q1 2019,” it said.

According to the report, the import component of the trade was valued at N4.22tn or 50.8 per cent, while the export component totalled N4.08tn, representing 49.2 per cent of the total trade.

The Nation newspaper says that Nigeria’s pension fund dropped by N180 billion in March 2020, eroding the N77 billion it gained in February, a 1.7 percent decrease.

The drop may not be unconnected to the Covid-19 pandemic, The Nation learnt on Tuesday.

The fund, which stood at N10.577 trillion as at April 30, 2020, gained N250 billion the following month, a 2.4 percent increase. The fund grew from N10.327 trillion in March 2020 to N10.577 trillion in April. These were shown in a report entitled: Pension Fund Monthly Summary Report by the National Pension Commission (PENCOM).

ThisDay reports that Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) yesterday gave seven Distribution Companies (Discos) 14 days to explain why they should not be sanctioned for breaching the capping order on estimated billing of customers without meters.

NERC’s order 197/2020 placed limits on estimated bills that could be issued by Discos to unmetered electricity customers of residential (R2) and commercial (C1). The regulatory commission listed the errant Discos as Benin, Enugu, Eko, Ikeja, Kano, Kaduna and Port Harcourt.

NERC, which gave the indication to punish the Discos on its twitter handle: @NERCNG, if after the 14-day deadline the Discos are unable to give any tenable reasons for their action, explained that the rules would be applied appropriately. It said:

The newspaper World Trade Organisation (WTO) yesterday said it had received the nomination of Nigeria’s former Minister of Finance and former Managing Director (Operations) of the World Bank, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, for the position of its director general.

According to analysts, the former minister is widely regarded as a front runner in the leadership race at WTO, given statements by local and international experts and analysis by influential media platforms.

The Sun reports that the APM Terminals Apapa and Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) have restored the evacuation of containers by rail from the Lagos Port Complex, Apapa, as part of efforts to decongest the roads.

APM Terminals originally restored the rail service in 2013, running three times per week to Kano and Kaduna. Speaking in Lagos, the General Manager, External Affairs of APM Terminals, Apapa, Daniel Odibe, said the terminal and the NRC have developed a new Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), which would bridge communication gap and ultimately lead to more efficient cargo evacuation by rail.


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