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IMF says Nigerians getting poorer

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The International Monetary Fund (IMF) says Nigerians are getting poorer and that “coherent and comprehensive” economic reforms are urgently needed in the country.

The gross domestic product report released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on Tuesday showed that the economy recorded a growth of 0.83 percent in 2017.

The Bretton Wood institution said it expects the government to “muddle through” in the medium term, and any progress could also be threatened if elections next year consume political energy and resources.

Reuters reports that the IMF said that although the outlook for growth has improved, the climate still remained challenging.

“Comprehensive and coherent economic policies remain urgent and must not be delayed by approaching elections and recovering oil prices,” IMF said in its annual Article IV review of Nigeria’s economy.

“Higher oil prices would support a recovery in 2018 but a ‘muddle-through’ outlook is projected for the medium term under current policies, with fiscal dominance and structural constraints leading to continuing falls in real GDP per capita.

“Further delays in policy action — including because of pre-election pressures — can only make the inevitable adjustment more difficult and costlier.”

The lender reteirated that Nigeria needs to simplify its complex foreign exchange system.

“Moving towards a unified exchange rate should be pursued as soon as possible. (IMF) staff does not support the exchange measures that have given rise to the exchange restrictions and multiple currency practices.”

It also said that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) should stop its intervention activities in the foreign exchange market.

The CBN has been injecting money into the forex market to ease the pressure on the naira.

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‘Tinubu’s Ex-Wife & Mother Of His First Son Is Dead’

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The National Leader of All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu, has lost his ex-wife.

Though information about the death of the estranged wife of the political icon was shrouded in secrecy, make it exclusively gathered that the deceased died about three and a half weeks ago.

She was said to be the mother of Jide who died on November 1, 2017. Jide was said to be the first son of Tinubu.

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‘I don’t believe foreigners are involved in Nigeria killings’ – French envoy contradicts Buhari

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Denys Gauer, outgoing French ambassador to Nigeria, says he does not believe that foreigners are involved in the killings across the country.

The French’s envoy position contradicts that of President Muhammadu Buhari.

Buhari had said that the killings are as a result of the influx of mercenaries from the Sahel region.

“It has always been there, but now made worse by the influx of armed gunmen from the Sahel region into different parts of the West African sub-region,” the president had said when Justin Welby, archbishop of Canterbury, visited him in London back in April.

But speaking with journalists on Friday in Abuja, Gauer said impunity is encouraging the killings in the country and those responsible must be punished.

The envoy spoke to journalists in commemoration of the 2018 French National Day.

“The reason for the killings is demography; some people are fighting for land, so there must be direct policy to develop agriculture and animal husbandry,” he said.

“I think impunity is encouraging the killings and those responsible must be punished. I don’t believe foreigners are involved in the killings.

“The second is justice. When there is that kind of killing, there must be proper prosecution and perpetrators must be properly sentenced. If that does not happen then, it cannot end.”

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INEC: Smartphones can be used at polling units but not inside voting cubicle

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it has not banned the use of smartphones around polling unit areas.

The electoral body says the rule only comes into effect once a prospective voter enters the voting cubicle to cast his or her vote.

Rotimi Oyekanmi, chief press secretary to INEC chairman, made the clarification in an interview with NAN on Wednesday in Abuja.

He said this while reacting to a statement issued by Uche Secondus, national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), condemning the decision of INEC to ban the use of smartphones at polling booths.

Secondus had alleged that the decision was to perfect a rigging formula for the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

But Oyekanmi said the challenge of vote-buying and selling had prompted many stakeholders to call on INEC to devise innovative ways to tackle the problem.

He said: “In consultation with other stakeholders, the Commission came up with new measures to solve the problem, one of which is to disallow the use of smartphones and other electronic devices in the voting cubicles on election day.

“In other words, INEC is not banning phones around the polling unit area, but the ban takes effect from the moment a prospective voter collects his or her ballot paper and enters into voting cubicle to thumbprint and thereafter drop the folded ballot paper into the ballot box.

“After that, the voter can have access to his or her phone.”

Oyekanmi urged Nigerians to disregard any attempt by any individual or group to politicise what was purely a preventive measure.

NAN

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