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Inflation Rate Drops To 8.6%

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Nigeria’s inflation rate has dropped to 8.6 per cent in March, down from the 9.5 per cent rate attained in the preceding month.

This is contained in a statement issued on Wednesday in Abuja by Dr Yemi Kale, the Statistician-General of the Federation.

“The nation’s Composite Price Index (CPI), which measures the average change in price level, slowed down for the second consecutive month in March, dropping to 8.6 per cent, down from the 9.5 per cent rate attained in the preceding month.

“The slower rise in the headline index when compared with the price level of the preceding month could primarily be attributable to base effects from March of 2012 when the economy witnessed significant higher price levels,” he said.

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said that between February and March of 2012, there were substantial increases in seven, eight and six of the 11 non-food Classification of Individual Consumption by Purpose (COICOP) divisions in the headline.

The statement said that urban and rural indices which resulted in the Core Index, increased from 11.9 in February 2012, to 15.0 in March 2012.

“In March, the composite CPI increased by 0.71 per cent month-on-month from index levels recorded in February.

“The Urban composite CPI was recorded at 142.8 in March, which was a 9.3 per cent year-on-year change. This was lower than the 9.8 per cent recorded in February.”

The bureau said the corresponding Rural composite CPI recorded a 8.1 per cent year-on-year change, up from 9.5 per cent in February.

“On a month-on-month basis, the Urban All-item index increased by 0.6 per cent from levels recorded in February while the Rural All Items index increased from levels recorded in February by 0.8 per cent.

“The percentage change in the average Composite CPI for the twelve-month period ending in March 2012 over the average of the CPI for the previous twelve-month period was recorded at 11.4 per cent.

“The corresponding 12-month year-on-year average percentage change for the Urban index was 13.3percent, while the corresponding Rural index was 10.0 per cent,” the statement said.

The bureau noted that in the month under review, the composite Food Index increased year-on-year by 9.5 per cent to 144.6 points, representing 1.5 percentage points lower than the 11.0 per cent recorded in the preceding month.

It said that on a month-on-month basis, the Food index increased by 1.0 per cent between February and March.

The NBS said that food prices were higher across all classes in the food sub-index.

It attributed the higher food index to contributions by bread and cereals, potatoes, yams and other tubers and vegetables.

“On the `All items less Farm Produce’ or Core index, which excludes the prices of volatile agricultural products, increased by 7.2 per cent year-on-year, a percentage that was lower than 11.2 per cent recorded in the preceding month by 4 percentage points while on month-on-month basis, the Core index increased by 0.7 per cent from February to March 2013,”

The statement indicated that year-on-year all COICOP classes that contributed to the core exhibited, muted rises except the “Alcoholic Beverages, Tobacco and Cola” division.

It added that the average 12-month annual rate of rise of the index was recorded at 13.0 per cent for the twelve-month period ending in March 2013, down by 0.7 percentage points from February, 2013.

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Crude Hits Seven-Year High On Recovery Hope … Equity Rally Runs Out

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Crude oil hit a more than seven-year high yesterday on optimism that the global recovery will ramp up demand.
However, concerns about the end of long-running central bank support and rising Treasury yields saw most equity markets reverse early gains.
After an almost uninterrupted rally from the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, world markets are showing signs of levelling out as global finance chiefs shift from economy-boosting largesse to measures aimed at reining in inflation.
Still, there is an expectation that equities will enjoy further gains this year as countries reopen and people grow more confident about travel, especially as studies suggest the more prevalent Omicron coronavirus variant appears to be milder and as vaccines are rolled out.
Analysts are also watching the corporate earnings season that is underway, with hopes that firms can match their stellar performances last year.
But while Asian markets started the day brightly after Monday’s travails, traders returned to selling, with US Treasury yields surging on expectations the Federal Reserve will have to unveil several interest rate hikes to tackle a worrying spike in inflation. Wall Street was closed Monday.
Tokyo, Hong Kong, Sydney, Seoul, Singapore, Taipei, Mumbai, Bangkok and Jakarta all fell.
There were gains in Shanghai in hopes of fresh economy-boosting measures, while Wellington and Manila also edged up.
London, Paris and Frankfurt all fell at the open.
But oil built on its early promise, with Brent climbing to $88.13 a barrel and WTI hitting $85.74, both levels not seen since October 2014.
The gains came thanks to demand optimism as the world reopens and concerns about Omicron ease. The loosening of travel restrictions in several countries has seen jet fuel costs soar.
Hopes for more monetary easing by major consumer, China, to reinforce its stuttering economy were also seen as key support for the oil market.

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NPA, MWUN, Others Synergise On Labour

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President General of Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN), Comrade Adewale Adeyanju, has reaffirmed commitment to ensuring smooth working relationship with  management, Tin Can Island Port Complex (TCIPC) of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) on labour related issues.
Adeyanju, who made the commitment during a working visit to the Port Manager, TCIPC, Mr. Buba Jubril, in Lagos, noted that the union will continue to promote industrial peace and harmony in the  operational activities at seaports.
Noting that synergy among all the maritime stakeholders was key for port efficiency, he hinted that the union has changed the narrative from being tagged as hooligans to a more responsible and civil Institution in the maritime industry.
Earlier, the Port Manager, TCIPC, Buba Jubril, thanked the  PG of MWUN for the systematic approach on labour related issues at the port level
Disclosing that the PG has been instrumental to the existing peace in port operations, Jubril assured on the existing synergy the port authority and all the unions.
Jubril further said that “ Myself and the President General MWUN has come a long in the industry.
“I have known him (PG) for over 33years and that will tell you that he is my friend and friend to management of the Nigeria port authority”, he said.

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Osinbajo Wants More Stakeholders’ Involvement In Blue Economy … Inaugurates Committee

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Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has sought for wider participation of relevant stakeholders in the blue economy project to deepen participation and benefits of Nigerians from the country’s marine resources.
Making the call at the  inaugural meeting of an Expanded Committee on Sustainable Blue Economy in Nigeria at the Presidential Villa yesterday, the Vice President said “a viable blue economy project will offer vista of opportunities not only for littoral states where there are bodies of waters, but for the entire country”.
He identified areas to be exploited to include ports, terminals, fishing, training, environment, tourism, power,oil and gas.
While identifying possible challenges of sustainability, the VP urged all the ministries, departments and agencies to strengthen their collaborations in an atmosphere of inter ministerial working groups and advised all members to attend the meetings faithfully for maximum results.
Osinbajo , who formally inaugurated the expanded committee, identified the need for a legal framework that will be more robust than other international maritime conventions on blue economy, which Nigeria has been signatory to.
He said the scope and participation of the committee will be further improved upon to accommodate more members from government agencies and relevant private sector stakeholders
“There is no doubt that the blue economy is a new frontier for economic development and a means of diversifying the economy through the use of resources from oceans, seas, rivers and lakes for the well being of the people.
“It also provides positive contribution to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs) 2052 Africa Integrated Maritime Strategy (2052AIM) and the UN 2030 agenda
“This concept for economic diversification is promoted by the international community and provides friendly means of livelihood in line with this administration’s agenda on job creation’, he said.
He continued that “the ocean economy as an emerging economic frontier applies to ocean-based industry activities and the assets, goods and services of marine ecosystems.
“Countries have to define the scope of their blue economy based on their priorities. For example, in Bangladesh, the ocean economy consists of the following broad and growing economic sectors; living resources, minerals, energy, transport, trade, tourism and recreation, carbon sequestration and coastal protection.
“These industries and ecosystem services do not develop in isolation, but rather interact as an economic ecosystem”, the VP said.
Earlier in his remark,Transportation Minister, Rotimi Amaechi said the blue economy is capable of improving government revenue, create employments and grow the gross domestic product of Nigeria.
Amaechi, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Dr Magdalene Ajani, also expressed optimism in the benefits derivable from a well exploited marine environment
Speaking at the event,  Dr. Paul Adalikwu, Secretary General of Maritime Organisation of West and Central Africa (MOWCA) lauded the initiative of the expansion while recommending inclusion of financial institutions such as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and African Development Bank (AfDB), as well as key financial institutions that will contribute meaningfully to realizing Nigeria’s Blue Economy objective.
In addition to  maritime agencies such as the Nigeria Ports Authority, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, and Maritime Academy of Nigeria, the expanded committee also include ten state governors.
They the Governors of Rivers, Lagos, Delta, Akwa Ibom, Borno, Ogun, Ondo, Cross River, Bayelsa and Edo States.
Other members are Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Power, Finance, Environment, Trade and Investment, Agriculture and Water Resources , Chief of Naval Staff, Comptroller General of Customs, Lake Chad Basin Commission, Nigeria Economic Summit Group, etc.

By: Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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