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FG Links Rise In Food Inflation To Border Closure

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The recent border closure drill has been attributed to the rise in headline inflation which is currently at 11.61 per cent as of October 2019.

Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, who is the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, briefed Journalists on Wednesday after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting in Abuja, adding that recent figures from the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics (NBS) were noticed since September.

The Minister informed that the increase in food inflation witnessed in September and October is linked to the increase in prices of food, propelled by the border closure.

“Headline inflation declined for several months before we noticed an uptake in the last two months and now headline inflation is at 11.61 percent as at the end of October.

“The slight increase between September and October is due to increases in food inflation ascribed to increase in prices of cereals, rice, and fish.

“Part of the reason is the border closure; the closure is very short and temporary and the increase is just by 2 basis points,” she explained.

Mrs. Ahmed pointed out that discussions with neighbouring countries on the border closure have advanced and the Federal Government is expecting every party to respect the protocols they are all committed to.

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She stressed that the government is making sure that the economy does not suffer once the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA) comes into effect.

“The border closure is temporary; we have really advanced on the discussion between ourselves and our neighbours and we expect that the outcomes of those discussions and agreement are that each party will respect the protocols that we all committed to and then the borders will be open again.

“What we are doing is important for our economy as we signed on to the AfCFTA, we have to make sure that we put in place, checks to make sure that our economy is not overrun as a result of the coming into effect of the AfCFTA and that’s why we have this border closure to return to the discipline of respecting the protocols that we are all committed to.”

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Naira strengthens against dollar

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Barely 24 hours, the Naira was forced to a downward trajectory by dollar scarcity, it bounced back, closing at N477 to a dollar at the parallel market in Lagos.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Pound Sterling and the Euro traded at N608 and N550, respectively.

The Naira, however, weakened marginally at the investor’s window, losing one point to close at N386 to a dollar.

The volume of trade at the window shrunk by 1.83 million dollars when compared to Tuesday, to close at 18.44 million dollars

The Nigerian currency exchanged at N381 to a dollar at the official CBN window.

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Oyo govt. will continue to support SMEs, Olaniyan assures

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The Deputy Governor of Oyo state,  Engr. Raufu Olaniyan has reassured the state’s government commitment to supporting Small and Medium Scale Enterprises in the state,

The deputy governor gave the assurance at the Commissioning of a new shopping mall ATM located in the Oke Ado area of Ibadan.

Olaniyan noted that small scale businesses with adequate support have the potential to be a major employer of labour.

He reiterated the state’s government desire to support entrepreneurs who chose to do business in the state, stressing that the present administration has put necessary machinery in place to make doing business in Oyo state stress free.

Alhaja Adeogun Tunrayo Muslimat,  owner of ATM mall had earlier informed that her desire to set up business in the state aside profit was also borne out of her avidity to support the government in the area of job creation, and also boost the economy of her home state.

 

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AfDB urges central banks to cut interest rates

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The African Development Bank (AfDB) has urged central banks on the continent to act quickly by cutting interest rates to inject liquidity in view of impact of COVID-19 pandemic.

The AfDB , in its African Economic Outlook 2020 supplement amid coronavirus pandemic released on Tuesday gave the advice.

According to the bank, the targeted interventions should be implemented for affected firms and sectors and use macroprudential and unconventional monetary policy to support the economy.

It added that central banks could resort to their own forms of quantitative easing, targeted at funding the most affected sectors such as firms in the hospitality and entertainment industry.

The bank noted that other sectors to be assisted are airlines, hotel chains, logistics and sports by temporarily reprofiling or restructuring their debts.

AfDB emphasised that the apex banks could also support vulnerable groups by designing programmes targeted at micro enterprises and the unbanked in the informal sector, financed by government and potentially run by other agencies closer to the ground.

“The impact of COVID–19 on Africa’s labour markets will have disproportionate impacts on vulnerable groups, notably youth and women, who are engaged in the informal sector, or with only casual job opportunities in the formal sector.

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“Assist vulnerable groups, especially youth and women. The COVID–19 pandemic can have differentiated socioeconomic impacts,” the AfDB said.

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