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Concerns mount as inflation rate jumps to 13.71 per cent

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There are fears that the Nigerians’ living conditions may not fare better in the coming months following the continued rise in inflation rate. The inflation rate rose to 13.71 per cent in September, which is 0.49 per cent higher than 13.22 per cent recorded in August 2020.

The latest inflation figure was released on Thursday by the National Bureau of Statistics in its Consumer Price Index report.

The rate has been on a steady rise this year. For instance, the inflation rate stood at 12.82 per cent in July, compared to 12.56 per cent in June 2020.

The September figure is noted as the highest level since March 2018 when it hit a record high of 13.34 per cent.

According to the NBS new report, “The consumer price index which measures inflation increased by 13.71 per cent (year-on-year) in September 2020. This is 0.49 per cent points higher than the rate recorded in August 2020 (13.22) per cent.”

Details of the report showed that increases were recorded in all COICOP divisions that yielded the headline index.

On a month-on-month basis, the headline index increased by 1.48 per cent in September 2020, which is 0.14 higher than the August 2020 (1.34) figure.

The percentage change in the average composite CPI for the 12-month period, ending September 2020 over the average of the CPI for the previous 12-month period is 12.44 per cent, showing 0.21 percentage point from 12.23 in August 2020.

The urban inflation rate increased by 14.31 per cent (year-on-year) from 13.83 per cent recorded in August 2020, while the rural inflation rate increased by 13.14 per cent from 12.65 in August 2020.

The urban index rose by 1.56 per cent in September 2020, on a month-on-month basis. This was up by 0.14 from 1.42 per cent in August 2020.

The rural index also rose by 1.40 per cent in September 2020, up by 0.13 from 1.27 in August 2020.

The corresponding 12-month year-on-year average percentage change for the urban index is 13.07 per cent in September 2020.

This is higher than the 12.85 per cent in August 2020, while the corresponding rural inflation rate in September 2020 is 11.86 per cent compared to the 11.66 per cent of August 2020.

The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry has expressed worry at the continued uptrend in headline inflation and urged the government to address issues around the disruption of agriculture value chain including insecurity problem.

Its President, Mrs Toki Mabogunje, said at a recent press briefing on the state of the economy that intense inflationary pressures would exert negative impact on households purchasing power, investment, production cost and business operations.

She noted the currency devaluation and the increase in value added tax rate as likely factors responsible for the higher inflation trend early this year, adding that the COVID-19 pandemic that paralysed the economy compounded the situation in the later months.

Mabogunje urged “the government to stem rising consumer prices through measures aimed at bridging supply gaps and reducing transportation costs. Similarly, there is a need to address the security concerns in the country, especially in the major food-producing areas.”

Railway

Police still on trail of Warri-Itakpe rail track vandals – NRC

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• Says vandals risk life imprisonment
Vandals of a section of the newly inaugurated Warri-Itakpe rail track have not been arrested, contrary to an earlier report, the Nigerian Railway Corporation has said.
Coordinator of the new rail line operation, Abdulganniyu Saani, an engineer, who stated this, also dismissed the viral video of the arrest of five suspects with a vehicle load of rail track sleepers, saying it was an old clip of an incident around Jos, Plateau State taken some years back.
He also said the latest cutting of Warri-Itakpe track material was not on the main lane but an extra lane, which had not disrupted the running of freight and passenger trains.
Saani spoke in an interview with NewsTrends on the telephone, warning that vandals would be treated as manslaughter suspects with a maximum penalty of life imprisonment upon conviction because their activities could lead to fatal railway accidents.
He also said that a number of traps had been laid for the arrest of the vandals still on the run and other hoodlums that might be contemplating of vandalizing or stealing railway materials.
“The police in Kogi State where the incident had happened are on the red alert. They are working with other security agencies to apprehend the vandals and anybody who dares tamper with railway materials.
Details later…

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Aviation workers threaten one-week shutdown of Kaduna airport from Sunday

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Aviation workers have threatened to withdraw their services at the Kaduna airport from Sunday, May 16 to Friday, May 21.
The workers in a statement on Saturday said their action was in support of the Kaduna State chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) over “anti-labour practices perpetrated against public servants in Kaduna State”
The statement was jointly signed by Ocheme Aba, general secretary of the National Union Of Air Transport Employees (NUATE); Rasaq Saidu, general secretary of the Association Of Nigeria Aviation Professionals (ANANP); and Umoh Ofonime, deputy general secretary of the National Association Of Aircraft Pilots And Engineers (NAAPE).
NLC had said that over 20,000 state workers had not received their April salaries, adding that due process was not followed in the recent disengagement of over 4,000 workers from the local government service, state universal basic education board and primary healthcare agency.
The statement read in part, “As you are all aware, the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) has declared strike action against the Kaduna State Government over numerous anti-labour practices perpetrated against the public servants of Kaduna state.
“Our unions, being affiliates of the NLC, are part of the decision and are in support of the action against the Kaduna State Government In this regard, our participation on the planned shutdown of Kaduna State is hereby affirmed.
“Accordingly, all aviation workers at the Kaduna Airport are hereby directed to withdraw all services at the airport with effect from midnight of Sunday the 16th of May 2021 to midnight of Friday the 21st of May 2021.
“The effect shall be the total grounding of operations of the Airport within the stipulated period. By this notice, members of the public are advised to make alternative travel plans within the period.”

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Remittances to Nigeria drop by 28% – World Bank

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Remittance inflow to Nigeria dropped by 28 per cent in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Bank has said.
The bank added that remittance flows fell for sub-Saharan Africa by 12.5 per cent, according to its Migration and Development Brief 33 Phase 11 entitled: “COVID-19 Crisis Through a Migration Lens’’ published on Thursday.
The report said the decline in remittance flows to Nigeria was largely responsible for the fall in remittance flows to sub-Saharan Africa.
“The decline in flows to sub-Saharan Africa was almost entirely due to a 28 per cent decline in remittance flows to Nigeria.
“Excluding flows to Nigeria, remittances to sub-Saharan Africa increased by 2.3 per cent, demonstrating resilience,’’ the report stated.
According to the report, the relatively strong performance of remittance flows during the COVID-19 crisis has also highlighted the importance of timely availability of data.
It stated that given its growing significance as a source of external financing for low and middle-income countries, there was need for better collection of data on remittances.
It emphasised that there was need for better collection of data on remittances, in terms of frequency, timely reporting, and granularity by corridor and channel.
With global growth expected to rebound further in 2021 and 2022, remittance flows to low and middle- income countries are expected to increase by 2.6 per cent to $553bn in 2021 and by 2.2 per cent to $565bn in 2022.
The report stated that global average cost of sending $200 remained high at 6.5 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2020, more than double the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) target of three per cent.
It stated that sub-Saharan Africa continued to have the highest average cost (8.2 per cent) adding that supporting the remittance infrastructure and keeping remittances flowing includes efforts to lower fees.
The true size of remittances, which includes formal and informal flows, is believed to be larger than officially reported data, though the extent of the impact of COVID-19 on informal flows is unclear.
“As COVID-19 still devastates families around the world, remittances continue to provide a critical lifeline for the poor and vulnerable,” said Michal Rutkowski, Global Director of the Social Protection and Jobs Global Practice at the World Bank.
“Supportive policy responses, together with national social protection systems, should continue to be inclusive of all communities, including migrants,” he said.

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