Connect with us

VenturesNow

No timeline on debt restructuring—Zambia’s finance minister 

Published

on

In response to calls for compromise from the International Monetary Fund’s Africa head, Zambia’s finance minister, Situmbeko Musokotwane, stated on Monday that he was unable to provide a timeframe for a debt restructuring agreement with private creditors.

On the fringes of a mining conference in Cape Town, Musokotwane was asked by reporters when Zambia may come to a new agreement to restructure the bonds. “It is just a process. I cannot give you a timeline. I am hopeful,” Musokotwane said.

“We’ve done everything on our side to get to debt restructuring. … This is why we are saying that they (creditors) ought to recognise the pain and difficulties that arise as long as this debt is not restructured,” he added.

Due to delays in its lengthy restructuring attempts, Zambia became the first African nation to default on its sovereign debt during the COVID epidemic in late 2020.

It experienced a significant setback in November when its official creditors, including China, rejected a new agreement to rework $3 billion of Eurobonds.

Felix Nkulukusa, Zambia’s Treasury Secretary, stated in January that the country’s largest copper producer aimed to reach a new restructuring agreement by the end of 2024’s first quarter.

According to Nkulukusa’s statement from last week, Zambian officials travelled to China two weeks ago to talk about debt restructuring with officials from the Export-Import Bank of China and a few Chinese commercial banks.

The most recent IMF data indicates that by the end of 2022, Zambia owed Chinese creditors approximately $5.9 billion.

VenturesNow

Nigerian govt ‘may open border for importation of cement’

Published

on

The Nigerian government has issued a warning to cement producers, stating that if they continue to raise prices arbitrarily, it may decide to open the border to cement imports.

This warning was given by Arc Ahmed Dangiwa, Minister of Housing and Urban Development, during an urgent meeting with cement and building material manufacturers on Tuesday in Abuja.

The government last week called for an urgent meeting with cement manufacturers following a recent surge in the price of the product, which has seen a bag of cement jump from N5,000 to as high as N15,000 in less than two weeks.

However, during his speech to the manufacturers on Tuesday, Dangiwa urged them to be more patriotic, pointing out that domestic sources, such as limestone, clay, silica sand, and gypsum, are used to produce cement rather than imports, and as such, they shouldn’t be valued in terms of dollars.

Dangiwa, who stated that the price of cement has increased and is unreasonable, also rejected the makers’ claim that the price increase was caused by petrol and the high cost of importing equipment.

This was in reaction to Salako James, the Association’s Executive Secretary, who had said that the association just heard of the  pricing from the market like every other Nigerian and did not discuss or decide the rates of specific enterprises.

“The challenges you speak of, many countries are facing the same challenges and some even worse than that but as patriotic citizens, we have to rally around whenever there is a crisis to change the situation.

“The gas price you spoke of, we know that we produce gas in the country the only thing you can say is that maybe it is not enough.

“Even if you say about 50 percent of your production cost is spent on gas prices, we still produce gas in Nigeria it’s just that some of the manufacturers take advantage of the situation. As for the mining equipment that you mentioned, you buy equipment and it takes years and you are still using it.

“The time you bought it maybe it was at a lower price but because now the dollar is high you are using it as an excuse. Honestly, we have to sit down and look at this critically. The demand and supply should be good for you because the government stopped the importation of cement, they stopped the importation in order to empower you to produce more.

“Otherwise if the government opens the border for mass importation of cement, the price would crash but you would have no business to do and at the same time the employment generation would go down. So these are the kinds of things you have to look at, the efforts of government in ensuring things go well.”

Following the elimination of fuel subsidies, the depreciation of the national currency, and low agricultural output, Nigeria is currently facing its worst cost of living crisis. These factors have all contributed to Nigeria’s highest headline inflation rate of 27% year over year and food inflation of 32%. The massive housing shortage facing the nation seems to have a new facet as a result of the recent increase in cement prices.

Continue Reading

VenturesNow

Nigeria’s Q3 jobless rate rises to 5% after policy reforms 

Published

on

The figures issued by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed that the jobless rate increased from 4.2% in the previous quarter following the government’s elimination of the expensive petrol subsidy in May.

Nigeria’s jobless rate increased to 5% in the third quarter due to a crisis in the country’s cost of living. Among young people aged 15 to 24, the unemployment rate increased from 7.2% to 8.6%. Additionally, urban unemployment increased slightly from 5.9% to 6% in the prior quarter.

With over 200 million citizens, Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa. However, decades of high unemployment have been caused by a population surge that has outpaced economic expansion.

However, once the government changed the formula for calculating the numbers in early 2023, the unemployment rate fell from a record 33% in the fourth quarter of 2020. With 87% of workers being self-employed, underemployment still exists. During that time, only 12.7% of people were employed for pay.

The NBS reports that the percentage of workers in the grey economy, or informal employment rate, remained relatively stable at 92.3%. Additionally, the workforce participation rate decreased somewhat to 79.5% from 80.4% in the second quarter.

President Bola Tinubu has defended his two main reforms, eliminating foreign exchange controls and subsidies, arguing that while these will cause hardships in the near run, they are essential to draw in investment and strengthen government coffers.

Continue Reading

EDITOR’S PICK

Metro27 mins ago

Hardship: Nigerian govt to resume direct cash transfers to 12m citizens

Nigeria’s Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Wale Edun, has revealed that the federal government will resume...

Musings From Abroad57 mins ago

US keen on expanding bilateral trade with Nigeria

According to the US Consulate in Nigeria, it is looking for ways to guarantee prosperity for Nigeria by increasing bilateral...

Strictly Personal1 hour ago

Nigeria’s Currency Crisis: Time to deploy Amotekun, By Chinedu Chidi

I have thought long and hard about just the right solution to the downward spiral of the Naira, and confidently...

Sports14 hours ago

Kelvin Kiptum: Autopsy reveals late Marathon record holder died from head injuries

An autopsy carried out by the Kenyan government has revealed that late world marathon record holder, Kelvin Kiptum, died from...

Tech14 hours ago

M-PESA partners IFC to increase financial inclusion for farmers in Mozambique

Mobile money transfer and payment service provider, M-Pesa, has entered into a partnership with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) aimed...

Culture14 hours ago

Director of ‘Dahomey’ Mati Diop shines at Berlin Film Festival 2024

Senegalese-French writer and and director of African documentary movie, “Dahomey,” Mati Diop, made history when her movie was selected for...

Metro15 hours ago

Zambian govt begs citizens in diaspora to help attract foriegn investment

The Zambian government has called on its citizens in the diaspora to help in attracting foreign direct investment to the...

Musings From Abroad16 hours ago

UN sanctions six Congolese rebels over crisis in its eastern region

Six members of five armed organisations in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have been sanctioned by the...

Strictly Personal17 hours ago

The problem of DRC’s beautiful wife, maize it planted by roadside, By Charles Onyango-Obbo

Watching the upheaval in the Democratic Republic of Congo in recent days, one is tempted to invoke the African proverb...

VenturesNow20 hours ago

Nigerian govt ‘may open border for importation of cement’

The Nigerian government has issued a warning to cement producers, stating that if they continue to raise prices arbitrarily, it...

Trending