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Chamber Predicts Rise In Inflationary Rate In 2021



The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) says inflation rate will rise in 2021.

The chamber made the assertion in its Economic Review for 2020 and Outlook for 2021 made available to newsmen, yesterday in Lagos.

Its Director-General, Dr Muda Yusuf, attributed the projected inflation outlook for the incoming year to the combination of food supply shocks, heightened insecurity in major food-producing states, foreign exchange policies, illiquidity and higher energy costs.

“We, however, believe a broad-based harmonisation of fiscal and monetary policies towards addressing the identified structural constraints will significantly help to moderate inflationary pressure in  the medium term,’’ he stated.

On sectorial review and outlook, the LCCI’s D-G said performance was largely weak across sectors in the third quarter of 2020 because of lingering effects of Covid-19 disruptions.

Yusuf stated that the trend would likely persist into the last quarter of 2020 and the first quarter of 2021 as the economy gradually recovers from the recession.

He noted that a resurgence of Covid-19 pandemic would cause another disruption in activities in the oil and non-oil sectors.

“We expect Information, Communication Technology, financial institutions, and agriculture to drive growth in the non-oil sector in the short-term while the country’s commitment to Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) agreement is expected to dampen recovery prospects of the oil sector,’’ he stated.

On Agriculture, the LCCI’s D-G said he foresaw the CBN sustaining its intervention in the sector in year 2021 in a bid to boost domestic food production and minimise food supply gap.

“While the ban on importation of rice, poultry and other agricultural commodities still subsists amid border reopening, there is risk of resurgence of smuggling of agricultural products into the country considering the porous nature of Nigeria’s land borders.

“This, combined with the commencement of Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), could see Nigeria being a destination for imported food products in the absence of adequate border monitoring measures.

“Additionally, heightened security concerns around the country, especially in the northern part and resurgence in herder-farmer conflict in the Middle Belt, the southwest and southeast, if unaddressed, will hamper local food production in the near term.

“Nonetheless, we expect a modest growth performance in year 2021,’’ he said.

As outlook for the manufacturing sector, Yusuf said the reopening of the land borders should provide succour to the sector even as the kick-off of AfCFTA serves as an avenue for manufacturers to penetrate new African markets.

He noted that critical challenges currently beguiling the sector alongside the new competitiveness pressure foisted by the AfCFTA might dampen the recovery prospects of the sector in year 2021.

“We expect the CBN to sustain its intervention efforts in the manufacturing sector as part of measures to boost economic recovery.

“We see the CBN maintaining policies that support credit extension to the real economy.

“The low interest environment in the money market favours big manufacturing players in terms of raising cheap capital, but the business environment will remain challenging for manufacturing SMEs.

“In our view, credit flows to the manufacturing sector will fail to achieve desired outcomes without putting in place measures to address structural, bottlenecks in the ports and customs processes and other policy challenges to productivity.

“Thus, we see growth of the manufacturing sector being subdued in the near to medium term,’’ he said.

Yusuf said the banking industry was expected to sustain positive growth trajectory in Q4-2020 amid the numerous regulatory limitations.

“We expect CBN to maintain its regulatory surveillance in the industry in ensuring the industry is financially sound amid evolving Covid-19 disruptions.

“Resurgence of Covid-19 pandemic, oil price volatility sluggish economic recovery and lingering external pressure are major downside risks to the growth prospects of the banking sector in year 2021.

“Loan-to-Deposit-Ratio policies drove the impressive performance in Q1-2020 by 24 per cent and Q2-2020 by 28.41 per cent.

“Momentum eased in Q3-2020 (6.8 per cent) as banks became more reluctant in providing credit to business given weak macroeconomic conditions.

“Nevertheless, banking industry remained financially sound with Capital Adequacy, Non-Performing Loan Ratio and Liquidity Ratio at 15.5 per cent, 5.73 per cent and 35.6 per cent as of end-October 2020, respectively,’’ he said.

The LCCI’s D-G said the oil sector would further contract in Q4-2020 in the light of lower production in compliance to OPEC+ agreement.

“We note OPEC+ has agreed to ease supply cut by 0.5 million barrels per day starting from Jan. 1, 2021 due to sluggish recovery in fuel demand, much lower than 2.0 million barrels per day earlier planned.

“Crude oil production will likely be lower in year 2021 as OPEC+ sustains efforts to prevent oil glut.

“We project that OPEC+ will be cautious in relaxing output reduction given the uncertainties around Covid-19 pandemic and global oil demand.

“Thus, we expect oil and gas sector growth to be subdued in year 2021 on the continued implementation of OPEC+ Declaration of Cooperation and weak oil price outlook.

“Also, increasing preference for renewable energy globally will put downward pressure on crude oil demand and prices. We are not optimistic of a significant growth performance in oil industry in year 2021,’’ he said.

He said that considering the dim outlook for revenue in the face of weak economic fundamentals, government would most likely underperform its revenue projections with attendant impact on fiscal deficit and debt portfolio.

“Budget deficit for year 2021 is expected to remain elevated above the projected N5. trillion and this poses a risk to Nigeria’s fiscal sustainability.

“We believe the Federal Government will be inclined towards securing concessionary borrowings with low interest rate and long maturity profile in the global market, rather than raising Eurobonds, especially now that the country is faced with foreign exchange scarcity,’’ he said.


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Nine Passengers Burnt In Oyo Auto Crash – FRSC



The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) has said nine passengers have sustained varying degree of burns in an auto crash on Ogbomoso-Oyo Expressway.
The Sector Commander in the state, Joshua Adekanye, confirmed the incident in an interview with The Tide’s source  in Ibadan yesterday.
He said the accident, which occurred on Saturday, involved a trailer and a truck at Sekona area along Ogbomoso – Oyo Expressway.
Adekanye said nine out of the total 13 people involved in the accident got burnt while four others escaped unhurt.
“The accident happened around 3:30 a.m. on Saturday, and the truck vehicle caught fire while the trailer collided with it.
“The actual cause of the fire in the truck could not be ascertain because it happened at night”, he said.
He, however, said the likely cause of the trailer colliding with the truck might be speeding and wrongful overtaking.
According to him, the burnt victims are being referred to the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital for treatment, adding that the RS11.31 Ogbomoso and RS11.312 Oolo Commands conducted rescue operation.
“Other agency that carried out the rescue operation are the Fire Service and Odo-Oba Police Division”, he said.
Adekanye called on motorists to shun night travelling, wrongful overtaking and dangerous driving to ensure safety on the road.

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Association Lauds Gov Over E-Ticket Revenue Collection



Enugu State Governor, Barr Peter Mbah, has been commended for introducing E-Ticket system of revenue collection, which is aimed at increasing Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of the state.
The President, Enugu State Markets Amalgamated Traders Association (ESMATA), Chief Stephen Aniagu, who made the commendation in a chat with newsmen in Enugu, expressed happiness that the system has already started yielding fruitful results.
Urging traders in all the markets in the State to cooperate with government by embracing the innovation, Chief Aniagu also expressed satisfaction with the announcement by the State Government that its IGR had increased tremendously from what it used to be before the introduction of the system.
According to him, traders in Ogbete Main Market have already identified themselves with the system, with a view to encouraging the State Government’s efforts at increasing its IGR.
On programmes and projects mapped out for execution by the Governor Mbah-led administration, Chief Aniagu said, “we have already started feeling the impacts of these projects.
“From all indications, Governor Mbah has plans to make Enugu State a role model. We are cooperating very well with the State Government. The relationship between the Governor and traders in the State is very cordial.
“Ogbete traders are fully involved as they have started paying their taxes as and when due. I urge all the traders to key in by ensuring that government revenue goes directly into government Coffers instead of private pockets”.
Continuing, Chief Aniagu further said: “The Governor has always carried along traders in Ogbete and other markets in the State in his programmes.
Fielding questions from newsmen on the level of peace in Ogbete, Chief Aniagu stated that there was relative peace in the market, adding that traders  were fully supporting and cooperating with his administration.
He, however, advised traders in Ogbete and other markets in the State not to cheat their customers in any manner, noting that “the importance of carrying out you businesses with the fear of God cannot be over emphasized”.

By: Canice Amadi Enugu

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EFCC Boss Vows To Fight Corruption



The Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Ola Olukoyede, has pledged to refocus the anti-corruption war by adopting modalities capable of stimulating economic growth and development.
He gave the assurance while addressing members of staff of Ilorin Zonal Command of EFCC, at the Commission’s Office, GRA, Ilorin.
Olukoyede promised a paradigm shift in the agency’s approach to anti-graft war, to make it more proactive and result oriented.
“There is need for us to refocus our attention in EFCC. We need to define our scope of mandate with a view to stimulate the economy of the country.
“The era of stifling and crippling of businesses with unwarranted PNDs is gone.
“We must be able to separate proceeds of crime from legitimate funds and use the instrumentality of our mandate to create wealth and jobs for people.
“We will also use the instrumentality of our mandate to create conducive environment for businesses to thrive for a sustainable economic growth”, he said.
The EFCC boss also pledged to prioritise staff welfare, stressing that he was already in talks with the government for necessary support.
“We have done it before and we are going to do it again”, he assured.
Olukoyede asked officers of the commission to be above board and avoid acts of compromise in their line of duty, stressing, “We owe our nation the sacred duty of making this country free of corruption and crimes”.
He urged members of staff to work together for a good course and see themselves as officers having the same rights and privileges as encapsulated in Section 8 (5) of the EFCC Establishment Act, 2004.
The TIde’s source reports that the executive Chairman had earlier visited the palace of Emir of Ilorin, Alhaji Ibrahim Zulu Gambari, where he called on traditional rulers to deepen their partnership with EFCC.
He called for more cooperation in order to reduce corruption through adequate promotion of ethics, values and behavioral change among their subjects.
“Our royal fathers have a crucial role to play by using your good offices to champion the crusade against corruption among your subjects.
Responding, the Emir of Ilorin, Alhaji Ibrahim Zulu Gambari pledged to continue supporting EFCC and other law enforcement agencies in stamping out corruption and other form of criminalities in the State.

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