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Press focuses on new inflation rate of 17.01% for August, others

The drop in inflation rate to 17.01 percent in August compared to 17 38 percent in July and the report…

The drop in inflation rate to 17.01 percent in August compared to 17 38 percent in July and the report that the federal government is willing to listen to repentant bandits and settle them without cost in a bid to find a lasting solution to the security threats in the Northern Nigeria are some of the leading stories in Nigerian newspapers on Wednesday.ThisDay reports that the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which measures inflation increased by 17.01 percent (year-on-year) in August compared to 17 38 percent in July, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

The NBS said on Wednesday that Food inflation slowed to 20.30 percent in the review period compared to 21.03 percent in July.

The NBS noted that food prices increased at a slower rate in August following moderation in prices of bread and cereals, milk, cheese and egg, oils and fats, potatoes, yam and other tuber, food products, meat and coffee, tea and cocoa.

On the other hand, the core inflation, which excludes the prices of volatile agricultural produce also slowed to13.41 per cent in August 2021, down by 0.31 per cent when compared with 13.72 per cent in July.

The newspaper says that Minister of Police Affairs, Muhammad Dingyadi, yesterday said the federal government was willing to listen to repentant bandits and settle them without cost in a bid to find a lasting solution to the security threats in the North-west and North-central regions of the country.

“With all pleasure, anybody willing to surrender and do it honourably and honestly, the government is ready to listen. The government is ready to see what they can do to settle them down without much cost,” the minister said in a television interview.

He explained that the present administration intended to reintegrate repentant bandits into the larger society, saying the government would closely monitor those who have turned a new leaf to ensure they do not return to their old way of life.

He also spoke about the ongoing military operations against bandits in Katsina, Zamfara, Sokoto and other states where their activities have been alarming, noting that President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration will continue to record successes against bandits as long as the security agencies continue to work in synergy.

On whether the window of amnesty was still open for bandits willing to surrender, Dinyadi said: “When you talk of amnesty, it is a relative term and what the Federal Government is trying to say is that: ‘Let us see those who have surrendered their arms, let us listen to them, let us chronicle them, let us receive them. We cannot just throw these people away because they are all Nigerians.

“Of course, they are criminals, they have committed atrocities, they have committed crimes, but according to the international laws, when you surrender from a war zone, you are not killed, you are not maimed, you are allowed to have your say.

“We are listening to them to see how we can integrate them into the larger society. What we are trying to do is to get them settled in their various communities, to let them have a kind of means of livelihood so that they can integrate peacefully and honourably into the society.”

The Punch reports that President Muhammadu Buhari has asked the National Assembly to approve fresh external loans of $4.05bn and €710m for his regime.

Experts and Civil Society Organisations who spoke to our correspondents faulted the process of approving loans for the current regime by the National Assembly. Buhari is also seeking the nation’s legislature’s approval for grant components of $125m in the 2018-2020 external rolling borrowing plan.

These were contained in a letter addressed to both chambers of the National Assembly and read on the floor at the resumption of plenary by the presiding officers Messrs Ahmad Lawan and Femi Gbajabiamila (Senate President and Speaker of House of Representatives respectively) on Tuesday.

Buhari had on May 18, 2021sought the approval of the Senate to borrow $6.18bn external loan to finance this year’s N5.6trn budget deficit.

He had said the proposed loan, which is equivalent of N2.3tn would be used to finance the 2021 budget deficit of N5.6tn.

Also, the Federal Executive Council, on July 8, 2021 approved the 2022 – 2024 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and the Fiscal Strategy Paper, authorising the funding of the N5.26tn deficit envisaged in the 2022 budget through borrowings.

The newspaper says that the Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele, has said that the country’s Gross Domestic Product can rise to three per cent by the end of 2021.

He spoke during the 14th annual Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria’s banking and finance conference with the theme, ‘Recovery, inclusion and transformation: The role of banking and finance’ in Abuja on Tuesday.

The event was attended by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, among other dignitaries. Emefiele said, “Your excellency sir, with continued improvements in the economy, I am optimistic that by the end of the year, our economy will not only close the output gap brought about by the 2020 recession, but that we would end the year with an annual GDP growth of between 2.5 – 3 percent, up from -1.92 percent in 2020.”

He also disclosed that the country’s robust payment system had continued to evolve towards meeting the needs of households and businesses in Nigeria. Reflective of the confidence in its payment system, he said, between 2015 and 2020, close to $500m worth of funds had been invested in firms run by Nigerian founders.

The Sun reports that President Muhammadu Buhari has been advised to jettison calls by the Arewa Youth Assembly to demand the resignation of Governor Godwin Emefiele of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) over the slow pace of the economy.

The National President and Secretary of Coalition of Civil Society Groups (CCSG), Etuk Bassey Williams, and Abubakar Ibrahim, at a press conference in Abuja, described as unsubstantiated and frivolous claim that the policies of the CBN have plunged the economy into comatose.

“We condemn in strong terms the call for resignation of the CBN Governor by the Arewa Youth Assembly over an unsubstantiated and frivolous claim that the policies of the CBN has plunged the county’s economy into comatose is laughable and uncharitable.

“It is unfortunate that some individuals will derive joy in an attempt to pull an achiever down.

“We observe the insincerity and question the genuineness of the claim that the economy is bad today by the same people who asserted that President Muhammadu Buhari administration inherited an economy that was in a shambles and worsened by a sharp drop in the prices of oil crude at the international market, empty treasury that resulted in the inability of many state governments to pay salaries of worker, depleted foreign reserves, dilapidated infrastructure and long-standing insurgency/internal security challenges.”

The Guardian says that concerns about the inefficiencies in the country’s ports operations continue as exporters lost about N90 billion in damaged products last year.

These have a knock-off effect on the growth of non-oil exports. The non-crude oil export recorded N1001.23 billion representing 19.71 percent of total export trade in the second quarter (Q2 2021).

The value of agricultural exports increased by 111.8 percent compared to Q2 2020.

The Guardian learnt that export in agriculture produce such as cocoa beans, cashew nuts, sesame seeds, semi-processed ginger and garlic, shea butter, among others were damaged due to poor government policies, multi taxation, cost of production, corruption, lack of basic amenities at the terminals and cost of transportation from remote areas to the ports, among others.

According to the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS) report, the majority of the commodity exported out of Nigeria were transported via water, which accounted for N5,033.37 billion representing 99.09 percent, followed by Air transport that contributed N31.71 billion representing 0.62 percent and Road transport valued at N14.36 billion representing 0.28 percent.

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