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Experts lament rising inflation over border closure  

Some experts have raised alarm over rising inflation as a result of the closure of Nigeria’s land borders.

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Although capital market operators have praised the closure of Nigeria’s land borders by the Federal Government, noting that it has yielded positive economic results, they have raised alarm over rising inflation as one of the consequences of the border closure.

According to Guardian, the experts said that emerging reports released by the government showed that there had been a 30% increase in the price of vegetable oil, while that of local rice had risen by 44%. They also added that there’s a reduction in Nigeria’s daily fuel consumption.

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Experts’ concerns: While speaking at the Private Capital Markets Business Breakfast Session, in Lagos, Rand Merchant Bank’s Head of Research, Gbenga Sholotan said that the border closure had caused a rise in inflation in September by 11%, and food is about 50% of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) basket.

Sholotan put expected growth of the economy by the end of the year at 2.2 % and 3% in the coming year, while noting that the key drivers in this progress would be agriculture, telecommunications apart from oil and gas.

For Chief Executive Officer of Rand Merchant Bank (RMB) Nigeria and Regional Head, West Africa, Michael Larbie, the border closure deprives Nigeria much needed foreign exchange, and it is in contravention of the ECOWAS treaty on free movement of people and goods and services, while noting that the on-boarding of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection (FCCP) in Nigeria’s capital market would boost investors’ confidence, ease market entry, ensure fairness and eradicate fixed pricing.

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[READ MORE: Border closure retaliation: Nigerian goods get dumped by West African countries]

Babatunde Irukera, Director-General, Federal Competition and Consumer Protection, in his remarks, said that while FCCP was needed to instil regulations and carry out market oversights to make markets safe, the keys to boosting investors’ confidence were transparency and price discovery.

The presence of FCCP in the market would make investments and market entry easier. I say so because there are certain industries you look at and you look at potential transactions and you say you won’t touch it but with balanced regulatory framework, you would be sure that there is a protection that companies that are struggling would survive,” he said.

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Patricia

Chidinma holds a degree in Mass communication from Caleb University Lagos and a Masters in view in Public Relations. She strongly believes in self development which has made her volunteer with an NGO on girl child development. She loves writing, reading and travelling. You may contact her via - [email protected]

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Economy & Politics

Just in: Buhari suspends EFCC boss, Ibrahim Magu from office

The suspension follows the investigation of allegations of gross misconduct against him on Monday.

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EFCC to help AMCON recover bad debts

President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the suspension of the acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, from office. The suspension follows the investigation of allegations of gross misconduct against him on Monday.

According to available information, Magu was suspended to allow for probe into allegations against him.

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The EFCC boss appeared before a presidential probe panel headed by retired Justice Ayo Salami, who is investigating the allegations against him.

Details later…

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Economy & Politics

Reps to investigate alleged illegal withdrawal of $1.05 billion from NLNG account

Gbajabiamila mandated the House to conduct a thorough investigation on activities of the dividends account.

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Reps to investigate alleged illegal withdrawal of $1.05 billion from NLNG account

The House of Representatives has concluded plans to investigate the alleged illegal withdrawal of $1.05 billion from Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) account by the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) without its knowledge and appropriation.

The decision by the lower chamber is on the heels of a unanimous adoption of a motion by the Minority Leader of the House, Ndudi Elumelu, during plenary session on Tuesday, July 7, 2020.

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Going down memory lane, Elumelu recalled that the NLNG was incorporated as a limited liability company in 1989 with the aim of producing liquefied natural gas and natural gas liquids for export purposes which began in 1999.

He pointed out that the NLNG is jointly owned by the Federal Government, represented by the NNPC with a shareholding of 49% and Shell Gas with 25.6%, Total LNG Nigeria Ltd with 15% and ENI International with 10.4%.

READ MORE: Nigeria’s debt rises to $79.5 billion, as debt to revenue ratio worsens

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The Minority leader said, “The dividends from the NLNG are supposed to be paid into the Consolidated Revenue Funds Account of the Federal Government and to be shared among the three tiers of government.’’

Going further in his motion, Elumelu said, “The NNPC who represents the government of Nigeria on the board of the NLNG had unilaterally without the required consultations with states and the mandatory appropriation from the National Assembly illegally tampered with the funds at the NLNG dividends account to the tune of 1.05 billion dollars thereby violating the nation’s appropriation law.

“There was no transparency in this extra-budgetary spending as only the Group Managing Director and the corporation’s Chief Financial Officer had the knowledge of how the 1.05 billion dollars was spent.’’

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‘’There are no records showing the audit and recovery of accrued funds from the NLNG by the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation. Hence the need for a thorough investigation of the activities on the NLNG dividends account.

In his ruling, the Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, mandated the House Committee on Public Account to conduct a thorough investigation on activities that had taken place on the dividends account.

Gbajabiamila mandated the committee to invite the management of the NNPC as well as that of the NLNG in the process and report back to the house in four weeks.

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Coronavirus

COVID-19: We may recommend lockdown to ensure Nigeria’s safety – PTF

PTF on COVID-19 on Monday, Mustapha warned that the deadly virus is still spreading at an alarming rate.

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COVID-19: Reactions trail FG travel ban on 13 countries

The Secretary to the Federal Government and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, disclosed yesterday that the PTF will not shy away from the possibility of another lockdown, adding that the PTF will recommend it to the President who will make the final decisions.

While speaking during the national daily briefing by the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 on Monday, Mustapha warned that the deadly virus is still spreading at an alarming rate.

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“Therefore, we cannot afford to slow down and we must never compromise. Let us continue to learn from the history of pandemics by avoiding the mistakes of 1918.

“What happened in 1918 was very simple. During the Spanish Flu, it lasted for 2 years and in three waves, and during that period of time, 500 million people were infected, out of which they recorded fatalities of about 50 million persons. But the dangerous phase of the flu was the second phase,” Boss Mustapha said.

He added that the Spanish Flu lasted for 2 years of 1918 came in 3 waves, but the phase the most casualties were recorded was in the second phase. Adding that the impatience of people forced governments to lift lockdowns, and by the time the second wave arrived, millions died.

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READ MORE: FG may lift ban on interstate movement on June 21

He acknowledged that the possibility of lockdown would not be popular with Nigerians, however, “but what will happen in the preceding weeks will determine”, citing rising cases in the United States after the holiday weekend and a the newly imposed lockdown in Madagascar despite developing its “herbal cure”.

“I believe as the days and weeks ahead will present, we will not speculate what will happen in the future but we will do everything within our mandate to ensure the safety and protection of the people of Nigeria. If that will recommend a prescription of a lockdown, this task force will not shy away from its responsibilities.”

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He added that the recommendations of lockdown would be passed to President Buhari who will decide in the next 2 weeks.

“The PTF urged Nigerians to be vigilant, citing global developments in coronavirus in the past week from China to the United States.

“We urge that vigilance and care should be exhibited by all Nigerians irrespective of status. This virus does not discriminate and the PTF shall keep sustaining its sensitization messaging,” Mustapha stated.

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