Data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) revealed that Nigeria’s consumer inflation moderated to a 43-month low in August. In the month under review, inflation grew at a pace of 11.02% y/y compared to 11.08% y/y in July.
The fall in the headline inflation was on the back of a 22bps moderation in food inflation (13.17% y/y vs 13.39% y/y in July), as well as a decline in core inflation to 8.68% y/y (July: 8.80% y/y). Thus far in the year, headline inflation has been sticky-down at c.11% y/y with a year-to-date average of 11.25%.
Across the CPI components, the biggest annual increase came from the non-alcoholic food component, which was up by 13.1% y/y in August. This aligned with the rise in global food prices in the period, as reported by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. The FAO reported a 1.14% y/y rise in its Food Price Index which measures monthly change in international prices of a basket of food commodities including meat, cereal and oils. The continued moderation in core inflation is due to the sustained decline in the average price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS). The NBS reported that the average price of PMS fell to N145.5/litre in August from an average price of N146.9/litre in August 2018.
Although the price index remains on a downward trajectory, the magnitude of the decrease is slowing, reflecting rising inflationary pressures. We remain concerned about the recent ban on food import access to the FX market which will likely increase inflationary pressures in the coming months.
Also, the expected rise in VAT rate will put pressure on the demand side, limiting the downward trend in the elevated price index (2019e: 11.3%). Overall, we do not expect a further easing cycle from the CBN due to structural challenges, and we see scope for the implementation of a tighter monetary policy stance in the near-term.
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Just-in: NLC, TUC suspend nationwide strike
Hike in electricity tariff to be suspended for 2 weeks, while new pump price of petrol remain unchanged.
The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) have suspended the planned nationwide strike and protest that was to commence on Monday, September 28, 2020, over the recent hike in electricity tariff and petrol pump price.
This follows the agreement reached between the Federal Government and the organized labour during the meeting held by both parties which started on Sunday night and dragged on till the early hours of Monday morning.
The disclosure was made by the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, through a tweet post on his twitter handle.
In the agreement between the Federal Government and organized labour, the hike in electricity tariff is to be suspended for a period of 2 weeks, while the new pump price of petrol is to remain unchanged.
According to the agreement, which was seen by Nairametrics, both parties agreed to set up a technical committee on Electricity Tariff reforms, comprising Ministries, Agencies, Departments, NLC and TUC, which will work for a duration of 2 weeks with effect from Monday, September 28, 2020, to examine the justification of the new policy in view of the need for the validation of the basis for the new cost-reflective tariff.
This is due to the conflicting field reports which appear different from the data presented to justify the new policy by NERC, metering deployment, challenges, timelines for massive rollout.
The technical committee is to be headed by the Minister of State for Labour and Labour, Festus Keyamo.
Other members of the committee include the Minister of State Power, Godwin Jedy-Agba, Executive Chairman, National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), James Momoh, Special Assistant to the President on Infrastructure, Ahmad Zakari as the Secretary.
Also in the committee are Onoho’Omhen Ebhohimhen, Joe Ajaero (NLC), Chris Okonkwo (TUC) and a representative of electricity distribution companies.
The terms of reference for the technical committee include;
- To examine the justification for the new policy on cost-reflective electricity tariff adjustments.
- To look at the different Electricity Distribution Companies (DISCOs) and their different electricity vis-à-vis NERC order and mandate.
- Examine and advice government on the issues that have hindered the deployment of the 6 million meters.
- To look into the NERC act under review with a view to expanding its representation to include organized labour.
FG & LABOUR reach agreement at 2:53am. Deregulation to stay as Govt rolls out palliatives for labour (details in 2 weeks); Electricity tariffs suspended by Govt for 2 weeks with a joint Committee headed by @fkeyamo to examine the justification for the new policy. Strike suspended pic.twitter.com/9tOTlJ9o1l
— Festus Keyamo, SAN (@fkeyamo) September 28, 2020
Speaker Gbajabiamila asks NLC to suspend strike, offers palliatives
Nigeria’s lower federal legislative chamber has appealed to Labour to suspend its planned strike action.
The House of Representatives has asked the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to suspend the strike planned to commence on Monday, as it offered the organised labour some palliatives.
This was disclosed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, at a negotiation meeting with labour on Sunday in Abuja, according to NAN.
The palliatives, according to the Speaker, would be included in the proposed 2021 budget, which he said would soon be presented to the National Assembly.
The speaker explained that some palliatives were being considered to cushion the effects of increase in electricity tariff and fuel price hike.
Some of the palliatives are the distribution of food items, reduction of taxes on minimum wage and payment of some special allowances.
Others are involvement in ownership of housing programmes through mortgage and distribution of special buses to public institutions, which run on autogas.
Back story: Nairametrics had reported when labour insisted on going ahead with its earlier planned strike and protest, with effect from September 28, 2020, following the failure of the Federal Government to reverse the increases in electricity tariff and fuel price.
The disclosure was made by the NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, after the National Executive Council meeting of the labour organization in Abuja.
Gbajabiamila said that the palliatives would go a long way to assuage the suffering of Nigerians.
According to him, the lawmakers would also make provision in the budget to tackle the eight million deficit of meters to enable Nigerians to access them.
He said, “I have never heard it anywhere in the world, so if we may have to provide for the deficit, we will have to do that.”
He appealed to labour to suspend the planned strike, saying embarking on industrial action at this critical time would not augur well for the citizenry.
“You know, you cannot go on strike at this time, if you go on strike, the people you think you are protecting will be at the receiving end, we share your philosophy regarding workers’ rights. We know what Nigerians are going through, our position on electricity billing is obvious, the only thing now is to continue to talk, I am concerned about the people out there. Shutting down the markets, banks and other places of work is my worry, I am concerned about the people,” he said.
Gbajabiamila said that there was the need for every Nigerian to be properly metered in order to capture the true cost, adding that the lawmakers would consider metering in the 2021 budget.
Explore Economic and Financial Data on the Nairametrics Research Website
Wabba, insisted that the organised labour would go ahead with the strike if its demands were not met by the Federal Government before the expiration of the ultimatum.
He said that the increase in electricity tariff and hike in fuel price had eroded the purchasing power of Nigerian workers.
According to him, the initial plan was that there would not be increase in electricity tariff until meters were provided for Nigerians.
Wabba commended the speaker for the intervention, adding that he had consistently represented the interest of Nigerians.
The NLC president said there was a valid court judgment nullifying the electricity tariff, adding that the judgment of the National Industrial Court asking NLC to stop its planned strike could not be sustained.
Oil marketers back out of NLC, TUC nationwide strike, support deregulation policy
IPMAN will not be part of the strike the NLC is calling, as it is not part of NLC.
The National Executive Council of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) has directed its members to dissociate themselves from the planned nationwide strike and protest by the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC), which is to commence on Monday, September 28, 2020.
According Vanguard, this was disclosed by the National Public Relations Officer of IPMAN, Alhaji Suleiman Yakubu, in a public statement on Sunday, September 27, 2020.
While reacting to the planned strike by the NLC and TUC and their affiliate unions, the IPMAN national executive member, asked its members to continue with their normal businesses just as he asked the labour unions to cooperate with the Federal Government for the good of the nation’s economy.
Yakubu stated, “IPMAN will not be part of the strike the NLC is calling, since our Association is not part of NLC. Therefore, we have already directed our members to continue doing their normal business while NLC and TUC are doing there strike.’’
In his statement, he called on NLC to realize that deregulation is inevitable and remains the surest way to bringing the economy back to normalcy. He also pointed out that there is no country in the world that can sustain its economy without deregulation of the oil sector.
Yakubu also advised Nigerians to cooperate with the government in ensuring that the economy grows better and stronger.
It can be recalled that the NLC and the TUC and their affiliated unions had called out workers to embark on an indefinite strike and protest on Monday, September 28, 2020, as part of the effort to compel the Federal Government to reverse its earlier decision on the recent increase in the pump price of petrol and electricity tariff.
Despite a court order that was obtained by the Federal Government, which stopped the strike action, the labour bodies still threatened to go ahead with it.