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NIGERIA: ECONOMIST CAUTIONS FG ON N21.73TRN DEBT.

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 An economist, Prof. Sheriffdeen Tella, on Monday described the nation’s debt stock of N21.73 trillion as worrisome and urged the Federal Government to stop external borrowing.

Tella, a professor of Economics at Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun, expressed his views in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.

He said that the current size of the country’s external debt was worrisome.

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NAN reports that the Debt Management Office (DMO), on March 14, said that Nigeria’s external debt had risen to 18.91 billion dollars (N5.79 trillion) as at Dec. 31, 2017.

The DMO said that domestic debt also rose to N15.94 trillion, bringing the total debt stock to N21.725 trillion (70.92 billion dollars).

According to the economist, the total external debt of 18.91 billion dollars is very high compared to the current Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

He said that the current GDP growth rate was largely due to higher crude oil price than increased output in agriculture.

Tella said that there was no rationale for government to borrow in dollars to offset domestic debts, stressing that part of the earnings from oil should be monetised to offset such debt.

According to him, government is borrowing as if the country is not earning foreign exchange which can be used to meet some of the external needs.

“What is the pride in accumulating external debt when you are at the same time building external reserve?

The ratio of debt service to the annual budget continues to rise, thereby depriving the nation of funds that should go into project execution and general economic development,” Tella said.

He said that apart from the delay in passing the 2018 budget and attendant delay in budget implementation which were affecting the speed of economic recovery, the huge sums spent on debt servicing also contributed to the slow economic recovery.

“This is the time to put a stop to these orgies of borrowing. How much of the dollar borrowed reach the shores of Nigeria?

“A sizeable proportion is used for agency fees, facilitator fees, technical expertise, purchase of equipment, machinery, and other production inputs that are not produced locally, and payments are made for all these in foreign currency,” the don said.

Tella said that a number of research results had shown that external debts had negative impact on the development of the country.

He said that the earlier the National Assembly stopped approving borrowing, the better it would be for the country.

Tella said that there must be a threshold for external reserve and once the threshold is met, the rest should be for infrastructure development and other items we borrowed money to execute.

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Motherland News

Nigerian President Buhari Warns Ballot box snatchers to value their lives

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President Muhammadu Buhari has warned those planning to snatch ballot boxes during the elections to desist or pay with his or her life if caught.



President Buhari who stated this at the opening session of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Caucus meeting in Abuja, on Monday, said that such act would be the last unlawful act the person will be brought to book.

Meanwhile, the governors of Imo, Rochas Okorocha and Ogun, Ibikunle Amosun were conspicuously absent at the meeting.

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Buhari who said he is confident that he has garnered enough supporters having gone round the country to campaign, urged party members to reassure their constituents to come out and vote on the rescheduled dates.

While urging party agents to watch out for the party interests at the polling units the president said that he has directed security agencies to identify hot spots and be ready to move should they suspect any attempts to cause problems by thugs across the country irrespective of party affiliations.

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– Vanguard

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Health & Lifestyle

DR Congo blame Unending Ebola Outbreak on Violence , Community Mistrust.

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DR Congo Ministry of Health spokesperson Jessica Ilunga has declared that violence and community mistrust have continued to hamper all efforts to control and end the fresh Ebola outbreak, which started Aug. 1.



Though according to the World Health Organization the number of new Ebola cases has dropped slightly in the Democratic Republic of the Congo as there are 33% fewer cases to date in February compared with the same time period in December per STAT’s Helen Branswell, but some experts warn Axios that there remain signs that this outbreak is far from over.

Meanwhile, some experts warn that, that doesn’t mean the world’s second-largest Ebola outbreak on record is yet under control, and in fact it could simply be moving to new areas of the sprawling country.

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Johns Hopkins’ public health expert Jennifer Nuzzo maintains there are several reasons people should continue to view this outbreak as a cause for concern.

However, Nuzzo said Congo needs more than money from the international community and the U.S. in particular. Safety concerns have largely caused the CDC to limit its Ebola experts to the capital city of Kinshasa, where some have returned after being evacuated during an uptick in election-related violence, Nuzzo added that Now is the time for the U.S. to send them into the field.

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