Africa Briefs

30 April 2020 | Economics

Nigeria to finance budget domestically

Nigeria will shelve plans to borrow 850 billion naira (US$2.36 billion) from international markets and instead tap domestic markets to finance its 2020 budget, president Muhammadu Buhari said after the new coronavirus pandemic triggered an oil price plunge.

In total, the government had planned to borrow US$3.3 billion from international markets this year to finance its 2020 budget and to refinance a US$500 million Eurobond due in January.

Nigeria, Africa's largest crude oil producer, has cut nearly US$5 billion from its 2020 budget as oil prices collapsed. The revised version uses a benchmark of US$30 per barrel oil, though Brent crude was trading at just under US$20 on Tuesday.

The IMF board on Tuesday approved US$3.4 billion in emergency financing for Nigeria to help deal with the economic damage inflicted by the coronavirus pandemic.

The loan aims "to support the authorities' efforts in addressing the severe economic impact of the Covid-19 shock and the sharp fall in oil prices," the IMF said in a statement. – Nampa/AFP

Sudan inflation soars

Sudan's annual inflation rate has topped 80%, the government said Tuesday, as the country grapples with an acute economic crisis.

Sudanese authorities have hiked bread prices, with one Sudanese pound now buying only a 50-gram loaf of bread, compared to 70 grams before.

Many Sudanese still queue for hours to buy staple foods or gas up their car.

The country remains in deep economic crisis one year after mass protests led to the military ouster of strongman Omar al-Bashir, ending his 30-year-rule.

The anti-Bashir protests, which erupted late 2018, were triggered by a government decision to triple bread prices before morphing into broader calls for political change. – Nampa/AFP

Lesotho amends constitution

The Senate of the mountain kingdom of Lesotho amended the constitution on Tuesday, capping the prime minister's powers to dissolve parliament and call fresh elections, as pressure for his resignation mounts.

The country's opposition and even rivals within his ruling party are calling on prime minister Thomas Thabane to step down over suspicions he had a hand in the murder of his estranged wife in 2017.

Police have charged his current wife, first lady Maesaiah Thabane, with the murder of his previous wife Lipolelo Thabane.

Despite vowing to step down in July due to old age, the 80-year-old premier has fought tooth-and-nail to stay in power.

In March he suspended the parliament for three months shortly after the lower house National Assembly passed a bill barring him from calling fresh elections if he loses a looming no-confidence vote. – Nampa/AFP

Angola says oil cuts insufficient

Angola sees an oil production curb by OPEC, its allies and other top producers as insufficient to balance global markets, state news agency ANGOP quoted resources and petroleum minister Diamantino Azevedo.

Amid the unprecedented reductions by major producers, Angola committed to cut almost a quarter of its output from an October 2018 baseline.

March production stood at 1.39 million barrels per day (bpd) and Angola is obliged to reduce its output to 1.18 million bpd from May.

Angola, Africa's number two oil exporter after Nigeria, is working to reform its oil industry to halt a production slump that has dented the economy, including privatising stakes of state oil giant Sonangol. – Nampa/Reuters

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