By Favour Nnabugwu
The Federal Government of Nigeria has paid over US$100m to the Economic Community of West Africa (ECOWAS) as community levy for 2022.
At the presentation of the Nigeria country report by the Nigerian delegation at the on-going Second Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Parliament in Abuja revealed
The leader of Nigeria’s Delegation of Parliamentarians to ECOWAS Parliament, Rt. Hon. Ahmed Idris Wase said Nigeria has remitted a total sum of US$100,324,011.33 to the ECOWAS Commission in 2022 and added that the government is committed to fulfilling her financial obligations to ECOWAS, and is making arrangements to pay up the balance for the year.
He said “Nigeria’s commitment to the ECOWAS Protocol on Free Movement of Persons and Goods is completely unwavering. In a bid to gain full realization of the protocol, the Federal Government has introduced the Visa on Arrival (VoA) policy to expedite movement of ECOWAS members through Nigeria’s borders.
“The Federal Government of Nigeria has signed the agreement establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area, AfCFTA. Nigeria has equally demonstrated commitment to a gradual removal of import duties and other non-tariff barriers on imports within the African continent.
To show the Federal Government’s commitment, the Nigerian Ports Authority has commissioned the first Export Processing Terminal (EPT) in the country. This is geared at enabling export-bound cargoes access to the Lagos Seaports without a glitch, in line with AfCFTA objectives. With this move, we believe we will encourage intra-African trade and boost regional development.”
On the 2023 elections, he reported that the political situation in Nigeria is charged-up with electioneering activities and that the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) has expressed its commitment to free, fair and credible elections.
He mentioned that Nigeria security situation is currently stable, as data for Q3 shows a decline in security but added that the country is still experiencing some security challenges.
“The months of July and August 2022 saw a peak in security related incidents, particularly unprovoked attacks on civilians and security operatives by armed bandits and terrorists.
“The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) was not spared, with the attack on a medium security prison in Kuje, that led to the escape of a number of criminal elements, some of whom are affiliated with the Boko Haram terrorist group.
There was also the attack on the presidential guard brigade that led to the death of six officers and other unprovoked attacks on military checkpoints that have led to loss of lives,” he said.
On the economy, Wase said “the economy is slowly recovering from the combined impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Russian-Ukraine war, insecurity, and natural disasters.
Despite the challenges, the Nigerian economy recorded a 3.54% growth in the second quarter (Q2) of 2022. This is a 0.43% increase from Q2 of 2021 where we had a 3.11% growth and a higher showing, compared to the initial market forecasts of 2.60% growth.
“The current growth we see in the economy is driven by the non-oil sector with key sectors being – finance and insurance; transportation; agriculture and manufacturing; information and communication sectors.
“The oil sector, which has been the economic driver and core revenue generator for the country, has shrunken by 12%. Oil production declined to 1.43 million barrels per day in Q2 of 2022, compared with 1.49 million barrels in Q1. The loss in production is largely attributable to oil bunkering and as a result, Nigeria has been unable to meet her OPEC+ quota this year.
However, the country’s oil production is set to improve through the Federal Government’s collaboration with some major stakeholders in the industry to clamp down on oil theft. Thus, improving production and guarantying efficient export operations by the end of November 2022.”
He explained that to cushion the impact of the troubled economy, the Federal Government of Nigeria has leveraged on Nigeria’s international partnerships.
“In this regard, Nigeria and Indonesia have intensified commitments to improving bilateral trade to reach US$4 billion. Both counties have considered developing an ecosystem, including reduction of trade hurdles to improve the capacity of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
Nigeria also supports the realization of the Indonesia/ECOWAS Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) which is expected to provide major opportunities and benefits for all stakeholders, especially in trade and investment.
Additionally, Nigeria is in talks to broaden her bilateral trade relationship with South Korea to extend beyond gas exports,” he said.
He stated that Nigeria is working assiduously to alleviate the human rights situation posed by nagging security incidents and the flooding disaster.
“Over 3.2 million people in the country have been affected by the floods that have resulted in at least 600 fatalities as of 3rd November 2022.
“The widespread flooding has destroyed over 300, 000 homes and rendered about 1.4 million people homeless, thus increasing the already high number of internally displaced persons within the country,” he said.