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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

Lagos-Ibadan expressway partially closed till Friday.

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The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) Ogun State Command, has announced the temporary closure of a section of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, from Wednesday, May 22 till Friday, May 24.

FRSC, in a statement made available to the public explained that the temporary closure will affect only the Ibadan-bound carriageway of the expressway from Magboro to Kara and Ibafo.The statement added that the three-day closure is to enable Julius Berger lay asphalt on the road.

“This is to inform the motoring public that Julius Berger Nigeria PLC, currently rehabilitating the Lagos–Ibadan Expressway, would be temporarily closing only the Ibadan bound carriageway from Magboro to Kara and Ibafo, scheduled to commence from Wednesday, 22 May, 2019 and reopened on Friday, 24 May, 2019.”

“The closure would not affect traffic inbound Lagos around the affected road, but would narrow the carriageway which is expected to build up traffic around the mentioned sections,” the statement read in part.

The FRSC Sector Commander, Clement Oladele, therefore advised motorists to note the development and plan their trips.

Oladele warned those using the corridor within the period to obey all traffic rules and regulations, including refraining from driving against traffic, as violators are liable to be apprehended for dangerous driving which attracts the fine of fifty thousand naira (N50,000) and impoundment of the erring vehicle.

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Motherland News

Nigeria: Another Teenager drowns in Kano

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Kano State Fire Service spokesman, Alhaji Saidu Mohammed announced that Umar Murtala drowned in a pond at Gwazaye, in Gwale LGA of  Kano State.

According to reports, there has been increased  cases of drowning since the commencement of the heat season in Kano about a month ago.

Alhaji Mohammed disclosed to newsmen in Kano that Murtala, 18, drowned in a pond at Gwazaye, opposite the  Abacha Youth Centre around  5:00p.m on Sunday.

“On receiving the information, we sent our rescue team to the scene at  5:15p.m.

“The cause of the incident is still under investigation.

“Murtala was found dead and his corpse was later handed over to his father, Alhaji Murtala Salisu.’’ 

In another development, it was also reported that one Mr Mohammed Shaharali, 20, drowned when he fell into an open pool of water on Sunday morning at Ladanai in Nasarawa LGA of Kano State.

According to him, the deceased was rescued unconscious but later confirmed dead.

The spokesman said that his remains were handed to the Head of Hotoron Arewa  Central Ward, Alhaji Murtala Mohammed.


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