Nigerian Governor: Buhari Says Economy in ‘Bad Shape’

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari said the country’s economy was in “bad shape,” the governor of a northwestern state told reporters Friday after a meeting with governors from across the country. 

Buhari will seek a second term in an election to be held in February in which the economy is likely to be a campaign issue. 

Africa’s top oil producer last year emerged from its first recession in 25 years, caused by low crude prices, but growth remains sluggish. 

“Mr. President, as usual, responded by telling us that the economy is in a bad shape and we have to come together and think and rethink on the way forward,” Abdulaziz Yari, who chairs the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, told reporters when asked how Buhari answered requests for a bailout to some states. 

“Mr. President talked to us in the manner that we have a task ahead of us. So, we should tighten our belts and see how we can put the Nigerian economy in the right direction,” said Yari, governor of Zamfara state. He spoke to journalists in the capital, Abuja. 

The main opposition candidate, businessman and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, has criticized Buhari’s handling of the economy and said that, if elected, he would aim to double the size of the economy to $900 billion by 2025. 

Nigeria’s economy grew by 1.81 percent in the third quarter of this year, the statistics office said Monday. And on Friday, it said consumer prices had risen 11.28 percent in November compared with a year ago. 

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Nigerian Governor: Buhari Says Economy in ‘Bad Shape’

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari said the country’s economy was in “bad shape,” the governor of a northwestern state told reporters Friday after a meeting with governors from across the country. 

Buhari will seek a second term in an election to be held in February in which the economy is likely to be a campaign issue. 

Africa’s top oil producer last year emerged from its first recession in 25 years, caused by low crude prices, but growth remains sluggish. 

“Mr. President, as usual, responded by telling us that the economy is in a bad shape and we have to come together and think and rethink on the way forward,” Abdulaziz Yari, who chairs the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, told reporters when asked how Buhari answered requests for a bailout to some states. 

“Mr. President talked to us in the manner that we have a task ahead of us. So, we should tighten our belts and see how we can put the Nigerian economy in the right direction,” said Yari, governor of Zamfara state. He spoke to journalists in the capital, Abuja. 

The main opposition candidate, businessman and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, has criticized Buhari’s handling of the economy and said that, if elected, he would aim to double the size of the economy to $900 billion by 2025. 

Nigeria’s economy grew by 1.81 percent in the third quarter of this year, the statistics office said Monday. And on Friday, it said consumer prices had risen 11.28 percent in November compared with a year ago. 

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US Judge: Lawsuit Over Trump Travel Ban Waivers Will Proceed

A lawsuit accusing the Trump administration of denying nearly all visa applicants from countries under President Donald Trump’s travel ban will move forward, a U.S. judge said Thursday.

Judge James Donato heard arguments on the administration’s request that he dismiss the lawsuit. The case was “not going away at this stage,” he said at the close of the hearing.

The plaintiffs say the administration is not honoring a waiver provision in the president’s ban on travelers from five mostly Muslim countries — Iran, Lybia, Somalia, Syria and Yemen.

The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the ban in a 5-4 ruling in June.

The waiver provision allows a case-by-case exemption for people who can show entry to the U.S. is in the national interest, is needed to prevent undue hardship, and would not pose a security risk.

The 36 plaintiffs named in the lawsuit include people who have had waiver applications denied or stalled despite chronic medical conditions, prolonged family separations, or significant business interests, according to their attorneys.

They estimate tens of thousands of people have been affected by what they say are blanket denials of visa applications.

At Thursday’s hearing, Sirine Shebaya, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said officials considering the waiver requests are not following guidelines and are routinely denying people the opportunity to show they qualify for a visa.

Justice Department attorney August Flentje said consular officials are working “tirelessly” on visa applications using guidelines from the State Department. He said decisions on visas are beyond judicial review, and he accused plaintiffs’ attorneys of a “kind of micromanagement” of those decisions.

Donato said he did not have to consider any specific waiver decision, but more broadly whether officials were considering applications in “good faith” and not stonewalling.

Roughly two dozen opponents of the travel ban — some wearing stickers that read, “No ban, no wall,” — came to the courthouse for the hearing.

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US Judge: Lawsuit Over Trump Travel Ban Waivers Will Proceed

A lawsuit accusing the Trump administration of denying nearly all visa applicants from countries under President Donald Trump’s travel ban will move forward, a U.S. judge said Thursday.

Judge James Donato heard arguments on the administration’s request that he dismiss the lawsuit. The case was “not going away at this stage,” he said at the close of the hearing.

The plaintiffs say the administration is not honoring a waiver provision in the president’s ban on travelers from five mostly Muslim countries — Iran, Lybia, Somalia, Syria and Yemen.

The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the ban in a 5-4 ruling in June.

The waiver provision allows a case-by-case exemption for people who can show entry to the U.S. is in the national interest, is needed to prevent undue hardship, and would not pose a security risk.

The 36 plaintiffs named in the lawsuit include people who have had waiver applications denied or stalled despite chronic medical conditions, prolonged family separations, or significant business interests, according to their attorneys.

They estimate tens of thousands of people have been affected by what they say are blanket denials of visa applications.

At Thursday’s hearing, Sirine Shebaya, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said officials considering the waiver requests are not following guidelines and are routinely denying people the opportunity to show they qualify for a visa.

Justice Department attorney August Flentje said consular officials are working “tirelessly” on visa applications using guidelines from the State Department. He said decisions on visas are beyond judicial review, and he accused plaintiffs’ attorneys of a “kind of micromanagement” of those decisions.

Donato said he did not have to consider any specific waiver decision, but more broadly whether officials were considering applications in “good faith” and not stonewalling.

Roughly two dozen opponents of the travel ban — some wearing stickers that read, “No ban, no wall,” — came to the courthouse for the hearing.

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Report: Federal Prosecutors Probing Trump Inauguration Spending

Federal prosecutors are investigating whether U.S. President Donald Trump’s inaugural committee misspent some of the funds it raised, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday, citing people it said were familiar with the matter.

The investigation opened by the Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office is examining whether some of the committee’s donors gave money in exchange for policy concessions, influencing administration positions or access to the incoming administration, the Journal said.

The probe could present another legal threat for Trump and his White House, which already faces a web of lawsuits and probes into subjects such as the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russia, hush-money payments to women made by the president’s former lawyer, and spending by Trump’s foundation.

The investigation into the inaugural committee partly stemmed from materials seized in a probe into the dealings of former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, the Journal reported. Cohen was sentenced Wednesday to three years in prison for crimes including orchestrating the hush payments in violation of campaign laws.

A spokesman for the Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office declined to comment. Spokespeople for the White House and Trump’s campaign did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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Report: Federal Prosecutors Probing Trump Inauguration Spending

Federal prosecutors are investigating whether U.S. President Donald Trump’s inaugural committee misspent some of the funds it raised, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday, citing people it said were familiar with the matter.

The investigation opened by the Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office is examining whether some of the committee’s donors gave money in exchange for policy concessions, influencing administration positions or access to the incoming administration, the Journal said.

The probe could present another legal threat for Trump and his White House, which already faces a web of lawsuits and probes into subjects such as the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russia, hush-money payments to women made by the president’s former lawyer, and spending by Trump’s foundation.

The investigation into the inaugural committee partly stemmed from materials seized in a probe into the dealings of former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, the Journal reported. Cohen was sentenced Wednesday to three years in prison for crimes including orchestrating the hush payments in violation of campaign laws.

A spokesman for the Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office declined to comment. Spokespeople for the White House and Trump’s campaign did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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US Budget Deficit Hits Record $204.9B for November 

The federal budget deficit surged to a record for the month of November of $204.9 billion, but a big part of the increase reflected a calendar quirk. 

 

In its monthly budget report, the Treasury Department said Thursday that the deficit for November was $66.4 billion higher than the imbalance in November 2017. 

 

But $44 billion of that figure reflected the fact that December benefits in many government entitlement programs were paid in November this year because Dec. 1 fell on a Saturday. 

 

For the first two months of this budget year, the deficit totals $305.4 billion, up 51.4 percent from the same period last year. The Trump administration is projecting that this year’s deficit will top $1 trillion, reflecting increased government spending and the loss of revenue from a big tax cut. 

 

The new report showed that the higher tariffs from President Donald Trump’s get-tough trade policies are showing up in the budget totals. Customs duties totaled $6 billion in November, up 99 percent from November 2017. 

 

Trump has imposed penalty tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from a number of countries and on $250 billion of Chinese imports as the administration seeks to apply pressure to other countries to reduce their barriers to American exports. However, China and other nations have retaliated by imposing penalty tariffs on U.S. exports, sparking a tit-for-tat trade war. 

 

The administration still believes it will prevail and is currently in talks with China over trade practices the administration feels are unfair to American companies and workers. 

Three years of $1 trillion deficits

 

Last year’s budget deficit totaled $779 billion. The administration is projecting that this year’s deficit, for a budget year that runs from October through September, will total $1.09 trillion. The administration sees the deficit remaining above $1 trillion for three straight years. 

 

The only time the government has run deficits of this size was for four years from 2009 through 2012 when the Obama administration was boosting spending to grapple with the 2008 financial crisis and the worst recession since the 1930s. 

 

Trump has said that the new budget he will unveil next February will require 5 percent spending cuts for domestic agencies in a bid to trim future deficits. The administration is also counting on government revenues to be increased by faster economic growth from the $1.5 trillion tax cut passed a year ago. 

 

The $204.9 billion deficit last month was the biggest deficit ever recorded in November, a month when the government normally runs a deficit. Outlays were also a record in the month of November. 

 

Through the first two months of this budget year, revenues total $458.7 billion, 3.4 percent higher than the same period a year ago. Outlays totaled $764 billion, up 18.4 percent from the same period a year ago.  

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US Budget Deficit Hits Record $204.9B for November 

The federal budget deficit surged to a record for the month of November of $204.9 billion, but a big part of the increase reflected a calendar quirk. 

 

In its monthly budget report, the Treasury Department said Thursday that the deficit for November was $66.4 billion higher than the imbalance in November 2017. 

 

But $44 billion of that figure reflected the fact that December benefits in many government entitlement programs were paid in November this year because Dec. 1 fell on a Saturday. 

 

For the first two months of this budget year, the deficit totals $305.4 billion, up 51.4 percent from the same period last year. The Trump administration is projecting that this year’s deficit will top $1 trillion, reflecting increased government spending and the loss of revenue from a big tax cut. 

 

The new report showed that the higher tariffs from President Donald Trump’s get-tough trade policies are showing up in the budget totals. Customs duties totaled $6 billion in November, up 99 percent from November 2017. 

 

Trump has imposed penalty tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from a number of countries and on $250 billion of Chinese imports as the administration seeks to apply pressure to other countries to reduce their barriers to American exports. However, China and other nations have retaliated by imposing penalty tariffs on U.S. exports, sparking a tit-for-tat trade war. 

 

The administration still believes it will prevail and is currently in talks with China over trade practices the administration feels are unfair to American companies and workers. 

Three years of $1 trillion deficits

 

Last year’s budget deficit totaled $779 billion. The administration is projecting that this year’s deficit, for a budget year that runs from October through September, will total $1.09 trillion. The administration sees the deficit remaining above $1 trillion for three straight years. 

 

The only time the government has run deficits of this size was for four years from 2009 through 2012 when the Obama administration was boosting spending to grapple with the 2008 financial crisis and the worst recession since the 1930s. 

 

Trump has said that the new budget he will unveil next February will require 5 percent spending cuts for domestic agencies in a bid to trim future deficits. The administration is also counting on government revenues to be increased by faster economic growth from the $1.5 trillion tax cut passed a year ago. 

 

The $204.9 billion deficit last month was the biggest deficit ever recorded in November, a month when the government normally runs a deficit. Outlays were also a record in the month of November. 

 

Through the first two months of this budget year, revenues total $458.7 billion, 3.4 percent higher than the same period a year ago. Outlays totaled $764 billion, up 18.4 percent from the same period a year ago.  

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