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‘Inflation Weakens Naira By 15%’

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An economic group, Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG), has said inflation has so far weakened the value of naira by 14.9 per cent.
The group also added that the naira redesign of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has further triggered the devaluation of the country’s currency.
The economic group made this known in its 2023 Macroeconomic Outlook Report, with the title ‘Nigeria in Transition: Recipes for Shared Prosperity’ which reflected on the issue of inflation in the country, noting the major inflationary drivers.
“A further breakdown of the inflation numbers showed that the Food and Core inflation averaged 20.6 per cent and 15.8 per cent, respectively in 2022. Since the country relied heavily on imports for manufactured and industrial intermediate goods, global inflationary pressure permeated all productive activities in Nigeria.
“Domestically, a combination of cost-push and demand-pull factors constituted significant drivers of the surge in the general price level.
“Some of these factors include shortage of industrial inputs, insecurity, lower agricultural productivity, the high price of fuel, logistics problems, increased VAT, increasing energy cost (electricity), and foreign exchange scarcity.
“Since the demand for necessities is relatively inelastic – the change in demand is relatively unresponsive to the change in price , many businesses transferred additional production costs to consumers, resulting in higher overall prices for goods and services, particularly food”, the report explained.
It further noted that the purchasing power of N1000 in January 2022 fell to N851 by the end of the year.
“On the welfare side, rising inflationary pressures reduced households’ purchasing power and access to necessities. To illustrate, the purchasing power of N1000 in January 2022 had fallen to N851 by the end of the year.
“This situation exacerbates various forms of poverty – monetary and non-monetary deprivation – and contributes to Nigeria’s multi-dimensional poverty, which is currently estimated to affect over 6 out of every 10 Nigerians,” the report explained.
The NESG also said that the naira depreciated by 2.4 per cent and 30.01 per cent in the Investors and Exporters and parallel market rates.
It said, “In 2022, Naira depreciated by 2.4 per cent and 30.1 per cent in the Investors’ & Exporters (I&E) and the parallel market rates to N451/US$ and N745/US$, respectively.
“Consequently, the premium (the gap) between the official and the parallel markets expanded from N55 (18 per cent of the official rate) at the beginning of the year to N294 (65 per cent) at the end of 2022.”
The NESG added that the naira depreciated, especially in the parallel market, due to the move by the CBN to redesign the country’s currency.
“Also, in December 2022, the Monetary Authority initiated the redesign of the N200, N500, and N1,000 notes to manage Naira liquidity. This action triggered further depreciation of the Naira against the US dollar in the foreign exchange rate market, especially the parallel market rate.
“Aside from the CBN currency redesign, other issues that triggered Naira depreciation include US monetary policy tightening that strengthened the US dollar and the proliferation of political activities with the US dollar.” it stated.
It was also noted that the inflation rate will likely average 20.5 per cent in 2023 and the unemployment rate will increase by 37 per cent with a poverty headcount at 45 per cent in this year 2023.

By: Corlins Walter

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CBN Assures On Depositors’ Fund Safety 

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Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has reassured the banking public of the safety of their deposits and the banking system’s resilience.
CBN’s Acting Director of  Corporate Communications Department, Mrs Hakama Sidi-Ali, gave the assurance in a statement on  Monday in Abuja.
The statement, a response to concerns raised about the stability of some Nigerian banks in the wake of Heritage Bank Plc’s license revocation, faulted claims that the CBN was considering revoking the operating licences of Fidelity, Polaris, Wema, and Unity Banks.
It also clarified that a circular issued by the Bank on January 10, 2024, notifying the public about the dissolution of the Boards of Union, Keystone, and Polaris Banks, was currently being circulated as though it was freshly issued.
According to the Director, Heritage Bank’s case was isolated.
“Allegations of further revocation of licences prior to the completion of CBN’s recapitalisation exercise are mere fabrications aimed at creating panic within the system”, Sidi-Ali said.
She stated that bank customers, particularly those of Heritage Bank, need not worry about the safety of their deposits, adding that the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) had commenced payment to the bank’s insured depositors.
The spokesperson urged members of the public to continue their regular banking activities without fear, dismissing any false reports regarding the health of specific Deposit Money Banks.
“The CBN, with its robust regulatory framework, is proactively ensuring the stability of Nigeria’s financial system, thereby guaranteeing the safety of depositors’ funds in all Nigerian financial institutions”, she said.
Sidi-Ali reiterated the assurances of the CBN Governor, Olayemi Cardoso, that the recapitalisation of banks in Nigeria was intended to bolster the banking system and safeguard the sector against risks.

She urged all stakeholders to cooperate in ensuring the success of the process, which she said would be for the overall growth of the Nigerian economy.

“Without prejudice to the ongoing recapitalisation process, I want to restate that the Nigerian banking industry remains resilient. Key financial soundness indicators remain within current regulatory thresholds.

“Customers are, therefore, encouraged to proceed with their transactions as usual, as the CBN is committed to ensuring the safety of the banking system”, she said

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NERC Approves New Tariff Hike For Port Harcourt DisCo

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In spire of calls that the recently hiked “Band A” tariff be reversed, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has approved a new tariff hike for the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company (DisCo).
NERC permitted the PHED to raise tariffs for Band A customers categorised as Maximum Demand 2 Special (A – MD2 Special).
MD customers are customers that have a load of 45kVA and above. They also operate and maintain their dedicated transformers.
From N206 per kilowatt-hour, this category of customers within the Port Harcourt franchise will now pay N225/KWh.
In a regulatory instrument tagged June 2024 Supplementary Order to the Multi-Year Tariff Order – 2024 (“June 2024 Supplementary Order”) for Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Plc, the NERC said the tariff approval was under the Tariff Review Application by PHED.
“Further to Section 23 of the MYTO-2024, this Supplementary Order seeks to reflect the changes in the pass-through indices outside the control of licensees including inflation rates, naira/dollar exchange rate, available generation capacity and gas price for the determination of Cost-Reflective Tariffs”, NERC stated.
The electricity regilator emphasised the basis for the review, saying the Naira to the US Dollar exchange rate of N1,469.06 per dollar has been adopted for June to December 2024. It said this has been determined by adding a 1 per cent transaction cost to the average foreign exchange rate of N1,454.52 during the period May 1 to 24, 2024 as obtained from the website of the Central Bank of Nigeria.
It also added that the Nigerian inflation rate of 33.69 per cent for April 2024 as published by the National Bureau of Statistics was applied to revise the Nigerian inflation rate projection for 2024.
“Under Section 116 of the Electricity Act and extant regulations, the commission has considered and approved for PHED, the tariffs (in Table 2) effective 1st June 2024. The approved tariffs shall remain in force subject to monthly adjustments of pass-through indices including inflation rates, naira/dollar exchange rates and gas-to-power prices.
“In line with the policy direction of the Federal Government of Nigeria on electricity subsidy, the allowed tariffs for Bands B – E customer categories shall remain frozen at the rates payable since December 2022 subject to further policy direction by the government.
“With this policy, the estimated subsidy benefit for customers under the PHED franchise in 2024 is approximately N11.49bn monthly”, the NERC stated.
In April, the NERC announced a new tariff for customers in Band A, from N68/KWh to N225/KWh.
It later reduced the tariff to N206.80/KWh based on the rebound of the naira.
Meanwhile, organised labour and manufacturers have kicked against the Band A tariff.

Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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AMJON Partners School To Train Journalists On Maritime Operations 

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The Association of Maritime journalists of Nigeria (AMJON) has gone into a mutually beneficial collaboration with School of Eloquence to strengthen the capacity and reporting skills of Maritime journalists.
This was disclosed in a statement signed by the Chairman, AMJON Organising Committee, Mr. Segun Oladipupo and made available to our correspondent in Lagos on Monday.
According to the statement, “This year’s edition, tagged “Special Edition”, is a collaborative effort between the foremost Public Speaking training School,  School of Eloquence and AMJON”.
Oladipupo said the training is slated to hold on Friday at the School of Eloquence premises at Osborne Road, Ikoyi.
“Experts from the Nigeria Customs Service, Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) and School of Eloquence have been lined up to train journalists on the rudiments of their own operations”, according to the statement.
Speaking, the President of AMJON, Paul Ogbuokiri, said journalism required constant training to be in tune with evolving trends in the industry.
According to him, journalism has taken a leap from what it used to be and journalists need to equip themselves with modern journalism tools that will help them to catch up with the trends.
“We need constant training and restraining to be relevant in this age of journalism. If we fail to update ourselves, we will soon fizzle out,
“This partnership with the School of Eloquence is a right step in the right direction. It will no doubt, energise our knowledge of reportage”, he stated.
On his part, the Chairman, Organising Committee, Segun Oladipupo, said the event would afford members the opportunity to take their reporting to enviable height
He, therefore, enjoined participants to seize the opportunity to learn new trends in journalism and also learn the business side of the job.
He thanked the School of Eloquence for providing a platform for Nigerian journalists to take a flight in their daily assignment.

Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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