Five things to know to start your day
Nigeria records lowest daily COVID cases in 2021
Nigeria on Monday recorded 48 fresh COVID-19 infections, the lowest single-day count in 2021.
That’s also a 53 percent decline from the 104 cases recorded the day before.
The new cases were recorded in eight states.
Lagos recorded 13 cases, Kaduna (7), Nasarawa (7), Kano (6), Kwara (5), Ondo (4), Akwa Ibom (3), and Osun (3).
One new death was recorded, bringing the total number of fatalities to 2,049.
Also, 158 persons were discharged on Monday after recovering from the infection. This includes 28 community recoveries in Ekiti state “managed in line with guidelines”.
With the new figure, the total number of COVID-19 recoveries in Nigeria stands at 150,466.
Out of 162641 cases that have been confirmed in 36 states and the FCT, 10,126 are active cases.
WHO’s report on COVID origin due today
The World Health Organisation (WHO) will today publish a report on COVID-19 origin.
The report will entail findings of independent experts investigating the origins of the coronavirus.
According to Reuters, a summary of the report seen on Monday says the virus was probably transmitted from bats to humans through another animal, and that a lab leak was “extremely unlikely” as a cause.
Nigeria OMO sales at 4-yr low
Nigeria sold the lowest amount of OMO in 2020 than it did in the last four years after a ban on domestic investors by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) crashed the sales of the short-term instrument.
The Central Bank sold OMO worth N6.5 trillion in the year 2020, down 57.5 percent and 62.25 percent from the N15.3 trillion and N17.1 trillion worth of the securities sold in 2019 and 2018 respectively, according to data obtained from the CBN and analysed by BusinessDay.
In what was aimed at boosting real sector growth in an economy growing below its population, the CBN had in October 2019 restricted non-bank local investors from participating in OMO bills, meaning only banks and foreign investors are allowed to buy the short-term securities.
Known fully as Open Market Operation (OMO), the short-term instrument is one of the numerous tools used by monetary authorities to control the amount of money in circulation.
What this means is that it is only the central bank of a country that wields the power to issue OMO.
A private helping hand
The Nigerian government is in dire need of money, and while it remains uncomfortable with letting the private sector run its business interests, evidence points to the need to let go.
Allowing private capital to stimulate the economy as seen in recent developments from concessioned ports can generate more money for the government than it can do on its own.
Last week, the Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE) said that private sector fiscal contribution to the port and the Federal Government increased to over N538 billion within 11 years of port concession from 2006 to 2017.
These were monies collected from commencement fees, lease fees, throughput fees, tax payments by the concessionaires as well as revenue put into infrastructure development, and investment in equipment.
If the government is willing, the private sector can take the lead in various sectors of the economy especially at a time when the financial capability of government is dwindling.
By Monday evening, salvage crews managed to tow the Ever Given to a lake halfway through the Suez Canal, allowing a massive queue of ships to start passing through the waterway. While the traffic jam may disappear within two and a half days, global trade is bracing for more disruption after the incident threw a complex network of tightly scheduled supply chains into disarray. Ports in Europe and Asia are bracing to be inundated with goods held up near Egypt for almost a week, with at least 59 container ships delayed on their way to Rotterdam, Europe’s largest seaport.