The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, has said the inflation rate in Nigeria is largely driven by the cost of transportation.
The country has seen an increase in transport costs in recent months largely on the back of the hikes in the pump price of petrol, used by many commercial transporters to power their vehicles.
In what is the latest in a series of petrol price hikes since July, fuel marketers on Friday raised the pump price of the product following an increase in the ex-depot price.
Ahmed, who spoke on Friday at a virtual consultation and stakeholder engagement to discuss the economic and fiscal policy drivers underpinning the Finance Bill 2020, said the draft bill sought to reduce transportation cost in the country.
The average transport fare paid by commuters for bus journey within a city increased by 12.70 per cent month-on-month and 48.02 per cent year-on-year to N278.88 in August, the latest data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed.
Ahmed said the bill contained ‘some interesting new proposals,’ citing ‘fiscal relief for mass transit…which is designed to provide support to mass transit by reviewing the duties regime’ as an example.
The minister said, “The essence why this is being done is we recognise transportation as one of the major cost drivers in the economy.
“If you look at the rate at which our inflation is going, and you disaggregate the components, you will find that inflation is largely driven by transport cost.
“So, the essence here is to reduce transportation cost so that businesses will have ease and pass benefits to eventual consumers.”
The nation’s inflation rate rose to 13.71 per cent in September from 13.22 per cent a month earlier, according to the NBS.
Analysts at Financial Derivatives Company Limited, led by foremost economist Bismarck Rewane, said last week that headline inflation was projected to rise to 14.5 per cent in October from 13.71 per cent in September.
“This means that inflation will be rising for the 14th consecutive month. It would also be the highest level in 33 months. Food inflation will be the most affected as it is estimated to climb to 17.05 per cent. Other sub-indices are also expected to move in the same direction,” they said.
The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr Godwin Emefiele, said recently that the rising inflation in the country and the contraction of the economy had created a dilemma for policymaking and foreboded the need to strengthen the productive base of the economy.
As Abuja-Kaduna train resumes, NRC gives passengers Nov 6 for unused tickets
Train operations on the Abuja-Kaduna route resumed on Saturday, after they were suspended on Thursday following an attack that damaged the rail track.
The Nigerian Railway Corporation has given passengers with unused tickets two weekends ending on November to make use of the tickets or forfeit them.
Two reported attacks on Wednesday night and Thursday morning said to have been executed with the use of explosives led to damage on the rail track.
In one of the attacks, the window of the driver compartment of the train was reportedly shattered. This prompted the corporation to suspend the train ride along the route.
But the NRC restored the train services on Saturday after carrying out adequate repairs on the damaged track and beefing up security along the route.
On Saturday when train services resumed along the route, there was a report of low turnout of passengers.
Some of the passengers, who acknowledged improved armed security presence on the train and along the track said they could not use their pre-purchased tickets as the railway officials claimed they had no order to accept them.
A statement issued by the NRC later said customers would have two weeks (ending November 06) to use tickets for rides scheduled during the period operations were cancelled.
The corporation also asked affected customers to give 48-hour notice before their scheduled trips with the unused tickets.
The statement read in part, “Dear esteemed customers, service has been restored on the Abuja-Kaduna service.
“Customers with unused tickets for the 21st and 22nd of October should kindly contact the customer care unit (firstname.lastname@example.org and 01 888 7741) for rescheduling.
“Kindly give 48-hour notice ahead of new travel date. This offer is open for the next 2 weeks and will expire on the 6th of November, 2021. We sincerely apologise for any inconvenience.”
Abuja-Kaduna train resumes operation Saturday – NRC
Barely 24 hours after suspending the Abuja-Kaduna trains for safety reasons, the Nigerian Railway Corporation says the services will resume Saturday October 23.
The suspension followed an explosion attack by hoodlums on the Abuja-Kaduna rail track Wednesday evening, which the corporation said affected the locomotive tank of a Kaduna-bound train.
Although there have been conflicting accounts of the attack with some attributing it to bandit or terrorist attack, the Managing Director of the corporation said in an interview on Friday night that the NRC team of engineers and technicians had fixed the problem and was certified that the train service could resume on the route after carrying out extensive an inspection of the line.
The NRC also said in a statement issued Friday evening that the Abuja-Kaduna Train Services (AKTS) would “resume tomorrow, Saturday, 23rd October, 2021 as follows: From IDU, Abuja (AK3) at 0950am. From Rigasa, Kaduna (KA4) at 10.35am.”
The statement read in part, “The board and management of the Nigerian railway corporation (NRC) hereby inform the general public, particularly our valued passengers that Abuja-Kaduna Train Services (AKTS) resume tomorrow, Saturday, 23rd October, 2021 as follows: From IDU, Abuja (AK3) at 0950am. From Rigasa, Kaduna (KA4) at 10.35am. Subsequent train services continue.
“The NRC once again sincerely apologises for the inconvenience.”
Motorists, travellers stranded as Delta bridge collapses
There was confusion in part of Delta State on Friday following the collapse of the Umutu Bridge in the Ukwuani Local Government Area of the state, leaving several motorists and travellers on the Agbor-Abraka-Eku road stranded.
The incident reportedly occurred in the early hours of the day, adding that the aged long bridge gave way as a Trailer conveying heavy duty construction bulldozer was passing through it towards the Agbor axis of the state.
The deplorable condition of federal road has been on the news, with report of the road project already awarded for reconstruction by the federal government.
The road link many communities in the state and connect the people with other parts of the country, particularly Northern and South-East states.
Deputy Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, Chief Ochor Christopher Ochor who hails from the area, regretted that the federal government had not given such an important road the desired attention.
Ochor who spoke to our Correspondent, described the collapsed of the bridge as unfortunate and sympathized with stranded motorists and travelers for the pains it may have caused them.
He said he had already contacted the Commissioner for Work in charge of Urban and Highways roads in the State, Mr Neol Omodion, who has promised to take necessary steps to address the ugly situation.
Ochor however stressed the need to beef up security in the area to protect the lives and properties of the stranded travelers, calling on the federal government to reconstruct the road due to its strategic position to the socio economic development of the area.
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