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Five things to know to start your Wednesday

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FTZs key to economic growth – Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari, represented by Ambassador Maryam Katagum, at the inauguration of the Kano Free Trade Zone’s new administrative building and the Nigeria Special Economic Zones Institute on Tuesday, said his administration had deployed Free Trade Zones (FTZs) as a launchpad for economic development and growth in the country.

The president said the FTZ scheme had been repositioned in infrastructure development to attain global competitiveness in the past seven years.

He added that the scheme contributed enormously to the execution of the economic policies of the present administration, which, according to him, include the designation of six special economic zones, four international airports as free trade zones, and the attraction of investments worth $30 billion.

“The zones have attracted over $30 billion in investments, which is expected to increase in the next few years with sustained incentives and aggressive investment drive.

“Incentives in the free trade zones includes tax free operations, free fiscal duty for imported goods, machinery and equipment, exemption from levies.

“The presence of key enterprises in the zones is an attestation to the fact that FTZs are contributing immensely to the growth and industrialisation of the Nigerian economy.

“Under this administration, there has been geometric increase in the number of FTZs from 21 to 46,” the president said.

Read also: AfCFTA: Buhari wants Africa to grow export beyond 3% for job, wealth creation

Global recession most likely this year — Zainab

Zainab Ahmed, the minister of finance, budget, and planning, said on Tuesday that the world economy is likely to go into recession this year.

Ahmed said this in Davos, Switzerland, during her interview with Arise TV. She was in Davos to attend the World Economic Forum, where business leaders and key policymakers were in attendance to discuss some of the pertinent economic issues affecting the world.

In her interview, she admitted that a recession is most likely based on the several forecasts given by the World Bank, the IMF, and other globally recognised agencies.

She made reference to China’s economy not witnessing any growth when a global recession happened the last time.

She linked the recession to the “sustained economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” which has resurfaced, especially in China. The prolonged Russia-Ukraine war was also fingered as another factor likely to cause this recession.

She also admitted that as long as quantitative easing was used as a measure to address inflation, people’s spending power would be badly affected.

“The quantitative easing that is being implemented by central banks across the world also contributes to high costs of interest, resulting in a higher inflation rate that means people’s spending is weakening as a result. So there are all indications that there would be a global recession,” she said.

Private sector proffers policy options for incoming govt to grow economy

The organised Private Sector of Nigeria (OPSN) said at a high-level meeting on Tuesday in Lagos that it has put together an advocacy document to help the incoming government achieve better governance, reiterating its readiness to work with the government to ensure economic growth.

The organisation meeting, which was in collaboration with the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), was facilitated by the Centre for International Private Enterprise.

The organisation comprises the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) and the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines, and Agriculture (NACCIMA).

Others are the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA); the Nigeria Association of Small Scale Industries; and the Nigeria Association of Small and Medium Enterprises.

INEC leaving no stone unturned on general election – Yakubu

Professor Mahmood Yakubu, Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), said on Tuesday that the agency is leaving no stone unturned in its quest to ensure a hitch-free and credible 2023 general election. Yakubu said this when he addressed the press at Chatham House in London.

He admitted that the agency was satisfied with the level of its preparations for the election, saying that 11 out of 14 activities scheduled for the election had been accomplished.
He agreed that, in spite of preparation, there were still some outstanding challenges, such as the security challenges, which were beyond INEC’s capabilities.

Microsoft to cut thousands of jobs across divisions – reports

Reports from several international media organisations on Tuesday say that Microsoft Corp. plans to cut thousands of jobs this quarter. The focus of the job cuts would be the human resources and engineering divisions of the software giant.

Microsoft’s expected layoffs follow those of other U.S. technology giants such as Amazon and Meta, which have announced retrenchment exercises in response to slowing demand and a worsening global economic outlook.

U.K. broadcaster Sky News reported, citing sources, that Microsoft plans to cut about 5 percent of its workforce, or about 11,000 roles.