Nigerian press focuses on new dimension of economic crisis, others

The new dimension of Nigerian economic crisis as food inflation reached a new high in northern states and the reduction…

The new dimension of Nigerian economic crisis as food inflation reached a new high in northern states and the reduction of lending rate to 11.5 percent are some of the leading stories in Nigerian newspapers on Wednesday.The Guardian reports that Nigeria seems to be plunging a new dimension of economic crisis as food inflation reached a new high in northern regions, hitherto considered the food basket of the country.

The North consistently led the country’s year-on-year (YOY) food inflation rate from June to August. In August and July, Kogi recorded the highest food inflation (22 percent and 20.1 per cent respectively), while Sokoto, with 17.9 per cent, took the lead in June.

On the average, food inflation of 11 northern states — as against six southern states — exceeded the composite figure in each of the three months. In August, 11 northern states, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT)) and four Southern states, exceeded the national average, which was 16 percent.

In July, the number of Northern states that surpassed the food inflation national average (15.48) was nine, as against seven from the South. Eight Southern states’ food inflation was above 15.18 (the combined average) in June, while 12 states from the North recorded higher figures.

According to the Consumer Price Index (CPI), a survey conducted by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the food inflation of Kogi, Kwara, Plateau, Sokoto, Yobe, Zamfara and FCT exceeded the national average in all the three months.

The Punch says that the Central Bank of Nigeria on Tuesday reduced the Monetary Policy Rate by 100 basis points from 12.5 percent to 11.5 percent after its two-day Monetary Policy Committee meeting in Abuja.

The 10 members of the committee who were in attendance voted to retain the Cash Reserve Ratio and Liquidity Ratio at 27.5 percent and 30 percent respectively.

The MPC adjusted the asymmetric corridor from +200/-500 basis points to +100/-700 basis points around the MPR. The Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele, disclosed these while presenting the communiqué after the meeting.

He said, “At present, fiscal policy is constrained and so cannot, on its own, lift the economy out of contraction or recession given the paucity of funds arising from weak revenue base, current low crude oil prices, lack of fiscal buffers and high burden of debt services.”

The newspaper reports that labour movement is set to commence strike and nationwide protest across the country from September 28, following the failure of the Federal Government to reverse the increase in the electricity tariffs and pump price of petrol.

The Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress said they would work together with their affiliate members to execute the industrial action for maximum effect.

Rising from a meeting in Abuja on Tuesday, the National Executive Council of the NLC comprising the chairpersons of the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory endorsed the decision earlier taken by the Central Working Committee of the Congress last Wednesday.

The CWC had handed down a two-week ultimatum to the FG to reverse the price hike or face industrial action.

The decision was taken after reviewing the meeting that took place between the government and organised labour on September 15, where the NLC was represented by 14 of its leaders.

ThisDay says that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) yesterday said it has funded smallholder farmers (SHFs) under the Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP) to the tune of N374 billion across the cassava, maize, cotton and rice value chain from 2016 to date.

The CBN Director, Development Finance Department, Mr. Yila Yusuf, disclosed this at a meeting of key stakeholders in the programme.

Specifically, he said in the 2020 wet season farming, the apex bank disbursed over N200 billion to SHFs which represented the highest amount made available in a single year from the inception of the programme.

He said the CBN had accentuated the importance of cultivating staple foods locally to drive its food security mandate and shore up its foreign reserves by discouraging the importation of these commodities that could easily be cultivated in the country.

The Sun reports that the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Mallam Mele Kyari, has raised the alarm that Nigeria was fast losing foreign investors confidence in the oil and gas sector.

Kyari, stated this while playing host to members of the House of Representatives Committee on Petroleum Resources (Upstream) who were on an oversight visit to the Corporation.

The NNPC said that the absence of a stable fiscal environment is inhibiting the growth of the Nigerian petroleum industry, especially the upstream sector, tasking the lawmakers to act fast and arrest the situation.

“We need to act quickly to move from this unstable situation to a very stable one and the only way is for us to get the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) to work so that countries and investors can work with us,” the GMD stated.

He said foreign capital was needed in the upstream sector and that the only way to attract it was to have stable laws and a friendly business environment that could guarantee cost recovery and a decent return on investment for investors. He disclosed that the uncertainty in the sector created by the long delay in the passage of the PIB has led to a number of divestments from the country in the recent past.