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CBN Retains 12% Monetary Policy Rate

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The Monetary Policy Committee has retained the Monetary
Policy (lending) Rate at 12 per cent reports said.

Malam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, Central Bank Governor, made this
known while briefing newsmen on the outcome of committee’s meeting last week in
Abuja.

“The committee in an unanimous vote, decided to retain the
monetary policy rate at 12 per cent, plus or minus two per cent.

“It also retained the cash reserve requirement at 12 per
cent and the net open position at one per cent,’’ he said.

Reports said that this was the seventh time the committee
had retained the lending rate at 12 per cent.

Sanusi said the committee had identified three major
monetary policy challenges, which include protecting the domestic economy and
building the external reserve buffer, potential large inflow of hot money and
persisting high core inflation rates.

He said the committee was concerned that the lending rate
remained high and enjoined banks to sustain efforts on the interest rate
spread.

On inflation modulation, the CBN Governor said the
year-on-year headline inflation declined to 11.7 per cent in August from 12.8
per cent in July while core inflation decelerated to 14.7 from 15.0 per cent
during the same period.

He added that food inflation declined sharply to 9.9 per
cent in August from 12.1 per cent in July.

“The significant decline in year-on-year food inflation was
attributed to the decrease in prices of both processed foods (from 4.2 to 3.6
per cent) and farm produce (from 7.9 to 6.4 per cent).

“The committee observed that the inflationary pressures from
the partial removal of petroleum subsidy in January appear to have waned in
third quarter of 2012.

“Given the relatively stable exchange rate regime, the
pass-through to domestic prices was low during the period,’’ Sanusi said.

On the domestic economic and financial developments output, he
said that recent macroeconomic data indicated that the economy was performing
better than it was forecast.

He added that this was in spite of the fact that growth in
the first two quarters of 2012 remained consistently below the corresponding
growth rates in 2011.

According to him, the provisional real GDP growth rate from
the National Bureau of Statistics stood at 6.28 per cent in second quarter of
2012, up from 6.17 per cent in the first quarter of 2012 but lower than the
7.61 per cent recorded in the corresponding period of 2011.

He noted that the non-oil sector remained the major driver
of growth recording a 7.50 per cent increase in contrast to the oil sector,
which contracted by 0.73 per cent during the period.

“ Overall GDP growth for fiscal 2012 has been revised
upwards to 6.77 per cent from the earlier projection of 6.50 per cent.

“ The committee welcomed the promising growth performance
although it expressed concern that the overall output growth projection for
2012 is still lower than the 7.45 per cent recorded in 2011,’’ Sanusi said.

He said the growth drivers within the non-oil sector
remained agriculture; wholesale and retail trade and services, which
contributed 1.94 per cent, 1.69 per cent, and 3.16 per cent, respectively.

On the external reserve, he said the committee expressed
satisfaction with the significant accretion in external reserves during the
period.

“Gross external reserves as at Sept, 5, stood at 41.81
billion dollars, representing an increase of 6.40 billion dollars or 18.07 per
cent above the level of 35.41 billion dollars at end-June 2012.

“External reserves increased by 8.88 billion dollars or 27.0
per cent on a year-on-year basis compared with 32.93 billion dollars at end-
August 2011.

“The increase in the reserve level was driven mainly by
proceeds from crude oil and gas sales and crude oil related taxes.

“ The foreign reserves level could finance over seven months
of imports’’, the Governor said.

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Karu Market Inferno: Re-Allocate Shops To Original Owners, Senate Tells FCDA , AMAC

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The Senate yesterday expressed concern over recent spate of fire outbreak in markets while commiserating with traders in Karu Main Market over the huge losses.
Considering the plight of the traders, the Senate urged the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) and Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC), to re – allocate shops affected by fire outbreak at Karu Main Market to original owners after reconstruction.
The upper chamber also urged the federal government through its Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, Social Development and National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), to urgently make emergency palliative and relief provisions to cushion the effect of fire disaster on the victims.
The Senate consequently mandated its committees on Environment and Legislative compliance, to ensure strict compliance with the resolutions and report back within four weeks.
The resolutions were sequel to a motion sponsored to that effect by Senator IretiKingibe( Labour Party FCT) .
Senator Kingibe in the motion titled : “ The Karu Fire Outbreak and the Need for Safer Public Places “ , informed the Senate that the fire outbreak that occurred at Karu Main Market on June 27, 2024, left scores of traders in tears after goods worth billions of Naira were destroyed .
She specifically lamented that as disclosed by eye witness accounts, the inferno razed almost all the shops and destroyed food stuff, electronics, cosmetics, clothes among other consumables and non-consumable items worth billions of Naira.
‘ These fire outbreaks have become one too many already; with attendant losses running to billions of Naira. In the last six months, there have been several incidents of this nature. From Idumota Market Area in Lagos; to the Police Shopping Complex, Mararaba, Nasarawa State; to the Yan Katako Market, Rijiyar Lemu Area of Fagge LGA, Kano State, just to mention a few.
“ These fire outbreaks all had the same causative factors which hinged on basic building safety regulations that were either inadequate or not adhered to or out rightly not in place.
“This state of unpreparedness in safety management cuts across private homes, government buildings, open parks and gardens, markets, shopping malls, warehouses, sawmills, fuel tankers, gas and fuel stations, educational establishments, shops, clubs, hospitals, hotels, and restaurants: thereby exposing ourselves to avoidable mishaps”, she said .

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Support Nigeria’s Economic Reforms, Minister Urges UN

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Minister of Budget and Economic Planning, Senator Abubakar Bagudu, has called on the United Nations (UN) to show more deliberate support for Nigeria’s economic reforms.
He said such support would encourage other nations to make similar adjustments necessary for sustainable growth and development.
Bagudu made this appeal during a courtesy visit by the Deputy Director-General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), Ms. Fatou Haidara, in Abuja.
Despite the substantial economic reforms introduced by President Bola Tinubu’s administration aimed at revitalising Nigeria’s economy, Bagudu expressed disappointment over the UN’s slow response in backing these initiatives.
“Over the past year, Nigeria has undertaken what we consider very bold and courageous reforms, almost at risk to our leadership. But we don’t think the system, particularly the United Nations system, has responded fast enough.
“We feel that we are missing maybe an element which will encourage other countries to embark on reforms if they don’t see the support”.
The Minister told Haidara that many developing countries believe the UN has not been meeting their expectations. She urged the UNIDO deputy director-general to relay this message to the UN system for corrective measures.
“This issue was discussed at the Non-Aligned Movement Summit in Uganda. Many countries thought the United Nations system was deviating from the ideals of its founding fathers. We are telling you this, so you can find a way of communicating the challenge or doing something about it”, he stated.
Despite these concerns, Bagudu expressed gratitude for UNIDO’s support for Nigeria’s industrial sector over the past 40 years, particularly highlighting the establishment of one of its investment and technology promotion centres in the country.
In her response, Haidara acknowledged Nigeria as a significant founding partner of UNIDO and noted the rewarding cooperation between the two entities over the years.

Her visit is intended to provide a status report on the ongoing cooperation and seek further guidance to enhance their partnership.

“My colleagues told me that all the meetings to design the Programme for Country Partnership (PCP) were held with your ministry and here.

“We are very honoured to be able to talk today about what we will be doing under this Programme for Country Partnership”, she said.

Haidara revealed that UNIDO had developed ‘Agenda 2063,’ a strategic framework aligning with the developmental priorities of African leaders, to support the continent’s growth and development.

The meeting underscored the importance of mutual support and collaboration in achieving sustainable economic growth, with Nigeria urging for more proactive engagement from the UN system to bolster its ambitious reform agenda.

Nneka Amaechi -Nnadi, Abuja

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FG Threatens To Revoke Sold Ikoyi Liaison Quarters

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The Minister of Interior, Mr. Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, has expressed the Ministry’s determination to recover its liaison residential quarters allegedly sold by an undisclosed Director of the Ministry.
He gave the hint in Lagos on Monday while on tour of some facilities in the Federal Marriage Registry, Immigration Service, and Ikoyi Correctional Centre, all in Lagos, to be abreast with their operations.
The Minister said the sales of the properties will be revoked, not minding who is involved, because “we can not mortgage our future”.
According to him, “the government of President Ahmed Bola Tinubu’s Renewed Hope agenda would not let go of those involved in the illegally acquired government properties”.
In the same vein, while addressing journalists after the facilities tour at the correctional center, Ikoyi, he stated that “President Tinubu’s Renewed Hope agenda will continue to tackle and address all inherited jumble of problems of the past administration”.
He further explained that Mr. President as a patriot is braced up to address all inherited problems since assumption of office, adding that as a listener, he has showed concern about the inherited problems and never rested on his oars.
On Correctional Centre, Tunji-Ojo said, “I have always said, that urbanisation is real. So far, we have looked at some of these correctional centres across the country and we have been very keen on repositioning them.
“We want a real correctional centre in actual deed, not a place that will be psychologically damaging. We want offenders to come to correctional centres and be reformed.
“We think that the change of name from Prisons, which is a place of incarceration, to correction, simply means a place of transformation, and should take effect really.
“We want a change of ideology, a change in orientation, and change in our approach of methodology of formation so that people will see this place as a place of hope, and leave with the renewed hope”.
He further assured that the Ikoyi Correctional Centre will soon be relocated to a designated area properly deemed fit by the Federal Government.
Industry watchers commended the minister for making time to assess some of the dilapidated buildings and offices  warehousing his officials.
A senior officer of Immigration Service who did not want his name in print, said the Minister’s visit was not a witch hunting exercise but an assessment of performance of the ministries under his watch to enable him assess the problems inherited, adding that the Minister had an ample opportunity of critically observing activities on facilities visited and even said officialdom would not permit him to see.
The Minister was accompanied on the tours by the Director, Citizenship and Business, Mr. John Adinoron; Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Interior, Dr. Aishatu Gogo Naayako; and the Comptroller-General of Immigration Service, amongst others.

Nkemenyie Mcdonminic, Lagos

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