Economy

Why I spoke directly to Nigerian leaders –Bill Gates

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Written by Maritime First

…As Nigeria earns N3.8trn from crude oil, gas export in 3 months***

The Co-Chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Mr. Bill Gates, again on Monday criticised the Federal Government’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.

Gates, in an interview with the CNN, said that the Federal Government’s investment in education and health was not good enough.

“While it may be easier to be polite, it’s more important to face facts so that you can make progress,” the philanthropist told a room of Nigeria’s government elite that included the President.

In an exclusive television interview with the CNN, Gates said he spoke out to implore Nigerian politicians to focus on human capital and its large youth population.

“The current quality and quantity of investment in this young generation in health and education just isn’t good enough. So, I was very direct,” he told CNN.

The philanthropist had at a special session of the National Economic Council, on Thursday, said Nigeria would do better with strong investments in health and education, rather than concentrate on physical infrastructure to the detriment of human capital development.

He had said,  “Nigeria is one of the most dangerous places in the world to give birth, with the fourth worst maternal mortality rate in the world ahead of only Sierra Leone, Central African Republic and Chad. One in three Nigerian children is chronically malnourished.

“In upper middle-income countries, the average life expectancy is 75 years. In lower middle-income countries, it’s 68; in low-income countries, it’s 62. In Nigeria, it is lower still, just 53 years.

“The Nigerian government’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan identifies investing in the people as one of three strategic objectives. But the execution priorities don’t fully reflect people’s needs, prioritising physical capital over human capital. People without roads, ports and factories can’t flourish. And roads, ports and factories without skilled workers to build and manage them can’t sustain an economy.”

But the Kaduna State Governor, Nasir el-Rufai, in an interview with State House correspondents after the NEC meeting,  faulted the claim of Gates.

He said the plan had enough provisions for education and health, adding that what was needed was for states to complement efforts of the Federal Government.

Meanwhile,  Nigeria earned N3.738 trillion from the export of crude oil and petroleum products in three months, from October to December 2018, according to latest data released by the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS.

The NBS, in its Foreign Trade Statistics for the Fourth Quarter of 2018, stated that petroleum products export accounted for 95.58 per cent of Nigeria’s total export in the period under review.

Giving a breakdown of petroleum products export, the report disclosed that crude oil export stood at N3.255 trillion, representing 83.22 per cent of the sector’s total export; Liquefied Natural Gas, LNG, export stood at N416.588 billion; while other petroleum gases export stood at N28.42 billion. According to the report, other medium petrol oil accounted for total export of N12.32 billion; liquefied butanes valued at N12.304 billion was exported in the period under review; while liquefied propane and Liquefied Petroleum Gas exports stood at N8.85 billion and N4.81 billion.

The NBS stated that, “The value of the export trade continues its growth trend totalling N3.91 trillion in the fourth quarter 2017 representing an increase of 9.4 per cent over the value of N3.576 trillion recorded in the preceding quarter, and an increase of 31.3 per cent over the value of N2.979 trillion recorded in the fourth quarter of 2016.

“The structure of the export trade is heavily dominated by crude oil, liquefied natural gas, and other petroleum gases, which contributed N3.699 trillion or 94.6 per cent to the value of total domestic export trade in the fourth quarter of 2017. Crude oil alone contributed N3.254 trillion, representing 83.2 per cent of total exports during the period under review, while natural liquefied gas contributed N416.6 billion, representing 10.6 per cent of the total exports in fourth quarter 2017. “Exports by section similarly show that Nigeria exported mainly mineral products, which accounted for N3.772 trillion or 96.5 per cent of the total export value for fourth quarter 2017.

“Other products exported by Nigeria include prepared foodstuffs; beverages spirits and vinegar; tobacco at N36.7 billion or 0.9 per cent of total exports, and products of the chemical and allied industries at N25.5 billion or 0.7 per cent of total exports.”

The report noted that India accounted for N571.54 billion of Nigeria’s crude oil export in the fourth quarter of 2017, followed by the United States of America with N488.6 billion, while the Netherlands purchased crude oil worth N366.2 billion from Nigeria in the period under review. The report further stated that in the period under review, Europe and Asia were the top regions for Nigeria’s exports, accounting for N1.539 trillion, representing 39.3 per cent of total exports, and N1.034 billion, representing 26.4 per cent of total exports, respectively.

The report noted that this represents a 18.9 per cent growth and a 0.1 per cent decline respectively over the previous quarter; and a 27.1 per cent and 16.9 per cent growth respectively, when compared to the same quarter in 2016. According to the report, the Americas region was Nigeria’s third largest exporting partner in the period under review, representing 22.5 per cent of all exports with a value of N879.19 billion.

“The growth in total exports in fourth quarter 2017 is buoyed by exports to the Americas which increased by 6.3 per cent and 112.3 per cent in fourth quarter 2017 from third quarter 2017 and fourth quarter 2016 respectively. “Value of exports to Africa were recorded at N382.8 billion naira during the period under review, among which N152.5 billion naira of goods were exported to ECOWAS countries, representing 39.9 per cent of exports to African countries,” the report noted.

Punch with additional report from Vanguard

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Maritime First