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How to cushion Nigeria’s rising debt portfolio — LCCI

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LCCI calls for improved funding of Nigeria’s education sector

The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has called on the Federal Government to adopt measures to increase the country’s revenue and borrow from cheaper sources to cushion Nigeria’s debt portfolio.

Dr Michael Olawale-Cole, President, LCCI, gave the advice in a statement on Monday in Lagos.

Also read: Consider Unintended Consequences of Banning Motorcycles, Mining- LCCI urges FG

Olawale-Cole said the advice had become necessary because the country’s rising debt stock was becoming increasingly problematic in the face of dwindling revenue and the unsustainable burden of subsidy payments.

He said that most recent statistics on government revenues showed poor performance and mounting government costs, making it evident that Nigeria was going through a debt crisis.

He noted that aggregate expenditure for 2022 was estimated at N17.32 trillion; at the end of April, a revenue of N5.77 trillion was expected but only N1.63 trillion was realised as the government’s retained revenue.

Olawale-Cole added that within the same period, the government’s actual spending stood at N4.72 trillion; N1.94 trillion on debt servicing, and N1.26 trillion on personnel costs, leaving only N773.63 billion for capital expenditure.

He further said that the country’s total public debt stock rose from N39.56 trillion in December 2021 to N41.60 trillion by the end of the second quarter of 2022, as revealed by the Debt Management Office (DMO).

He warned that the borrowings were significantly increasing, and Nigeria was struggling to service these debts due to revenue mobilisation challenges and an increased fuel subsidy burden.

These developments, the LCCI President said, were disturbing seeing that debt servicing alone was higher than actual retained revenue in the first four months of this year.

“There are already concerns that most, if not all, of the assumptions in the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) 2023-2025 will be missed as we continue to experience unprecedented levels of disruptions to supply chains and agricultural production.

“The 2022 budget assumptions have already fallen short in terms of inflation, exchange rate, and GDP growth rate and all of these assumptions have become inadequate.

“Nigeria’s Debt-to-GDP ratio now stands at 23.27 per cent, as against 22.43 per cent on Dec. 31, 2021.

“On the path of caution, we urge the Federal Government to discontinue this unsustainable pattern,” he said.

The industrialist acknowledged that the level of insecurity in the country had prompted increased spending on defence and security.

He said that the deteriorating security situation in the country had also battered investors’ confidence and affected foreign exchange inflows into Nigeria.

He stressed that with the high component of Eurobonds as part of external debt, the current weakening of the naira signified an exchange rate risk likely to put pressure on inflation and its attendant consequences.

“Nigeria is the only major oil exporter that hasn’t benefited from the windfall of higher global oil prices.

“The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned that debt servicing may gulp 100 percent of the Federal Government’s revenue by 2026 if the government fails to implement adequate measures to improve revenue generation.

“In the face of rising debt servicing costs accompanied by a dwindling revenue, the provision of critical infrastructure and amenities like healthcare services, education, power, roads, and security will be hard hit as funding shrinks,” he said.

He noted that recently, the Debt Management Office (DMO) listed N250 billion Sukuk on the Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX) as an alternative financing source to bridge the infrastructure gap in the country.

He said the issuance and subsequent listing of the Sovereign Sukuk on the NGX platform aligned with the Chamber’s persistent call for cheaper government financing away from debts by leveraging innovative and cost-effective revenue sources.

“The Chamber has consistently advised the government to borrow from cheaper sources and consider deficit financing from equity instead of the expensive debts borrowed and used for recurrent expenditures.

“The commercialisation model proposed for NNPC Limited is the right direction to go.

“Once this plan succeeds next year, it should be replicated with other national corporate assets scattered across the country.

“Nigeria must manage its debt burden to avoid further pressure on revenue.

He said it was also imperative that more spending was needed in supporting productive infrastructure instead of spending borrowed money on subsidising consumption.

“Government must rethink its sourcing of debts and spending of borrowed funds,” he said.

 

Economy

Nigeria’s Inflation Rate Hits 33.95% In May -NBS Explains Nation’s Anger

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Nigeria’s Inflation Rate Hits 33.95% In May -NBS Explains Nation's Anger

 The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), says Nigeria’s headline inflation rate increased to 33.95 per cent in May 2024.

The NBS said this in its Consumer Price Index (CPI) and Inflation Report for May, which was released on Saturday in Abuja

According to the report, the figure is 0.26 per cent points higher compared to the 33.69 per cent recorded in April 2024.

On a year-on-year basis, the headline inflation rate in May 2024 was 11.54 per cent higher than the rate recorded in May 2023 at 22.41 per cent.

In addition, the report said, on a month-on-month basis, the headline inflation rate in May 2024 was 2.14 per cent, which was 0.15 per cent lower than the rate recorded in April 2024 at 2.29 per cent.

“This means that in May 2024, the rate of increase in the average price level is less than the rate of increase in the average price level in April 2024.”

The report said the increase in the headline index for May 2024 on a year-on-year basis and month-on-month basis was attributed to the increase in some items in the basket of goods and services at the divisional level.

It said these increases were observed in food and non-alcoholic beverages, housing, water, electricity, gas, and other fuel, clothing and footwear, and transport.

Others were furnishings, household equipment and maintenance, education, health, miscellaneous goods and services, restaurants and hotels, alcoholic beverage, tobacco and kola, recreation and culture, and communication.

It said the percentage change in the average CPI for the 12 months ending May 2024 over the average of the CPI for the previous corresponding 12- month period was 29.06 per cent.

“This indicates a 7.86 per cent increase compared to 21.20 per cent recorded in May 2023.”

The report said the food inflation rate in May 2024 increased to 40.66 per cent on a year-on-year basis, which was 15.84 per cent higher compared to the rate recorded in May 2023 at 24.82 per cent.

“The rise in food inflation on a year-on-year basis is caused by increases in prices of Semovita, Oat Flake, Yam flour prepackage, Garri, and Bean,

“Others are Irish Potatoes, Yam, Water Yam, Palm Oil, Vegetable Oil, Stockfish, Mudfish, Crayfish, Beef Head, Chicken-live, Pork Head, and Bush Meat.”

It said on a month-on-month basis, the food inflation rate in May was 2.28 per cent, which was a 0.22 per cent decrease compared to the rate recorded in April 2024 at 2.50 per cent.

“The fall in food inflation on a month-on-month basis was caused by a decrease in the average prices of Palm Oil, Groundnut Oil, Yam, Irish Potato, and Cassava Tuber.

“Others are Wine, Bournvita, Milo, and Nescafe.”

The report said that “all items less farm produce and energy’’ or core inflation, which excludes the prices of volatile agricultural produce and energy, stood at 27.04 per cent in May on a year-on-year basis.

“This increased by 7.21 per cent compared to 19.83 per cent recorded in May 2023.’’

“The exclusion of the PMS is due to the deregulation of the commodity by removal of subsidy.”

It said the highest increases were recorded in prices of Actual and Imputed Rentals for Housing Class, Bus Journey intercity, and Taxi Journey per drop.

“Others are Accommodation Service, X-ray photography, Consultation Fee of a medical doctor, Laboratory service, among others.”

The NBS said on a month-on-month basis, the core inflation rate was 2.01 per cent in May 2024.

“This indicates a 0.18 per cent decrease compared to what was recorded in April 2024 at 2.20 per cent.”

“The average 12-month annual inflation rate was 23.45 per cent for the 12 months ending May 2024, this was 5.34 per cent points higher than the 18.11 per cent recorded in May 2023.”

The report said on a year-on-year basis in May 2024, the urban inflation rate was 36.34 per cent, which was 12.61 per cent higher compared to the 23.74 per cent recorded in May 2023.

“On a month-on-month basis, the urban inflation rate was 2.35 per cent, which decreased by 0.32 per cent compared to April 2024 at 2.67 per cent.’’

The report said on a year-on-year basis in May 2024, the rural inflation rate was 31.82 per cent, which was 10.63 per cent higher compared to the 21.19 per cent recorded in May 2023.

“On a month-on-month basis, the rural inflation rate was 1.94 per cent, which increased by 0.024 per cent compared to April 2024 at 1.92 per cent.’’

On states’ profile analysis, the report showed that in May, all items’ inflation rate on a year-on-year basis was highest in Bauchi at 42.30 per cent, followed by Kogi at 39.38 per cent, and Oyo at 37.73 per cent.

It however, said the slowest rise in headline inflation on a year-on-year basis was recorded in Borno at 25.97 per cent, followed by Benue at 27.74 per cent, and Delta at 28.67 per cent.

The report, however, said in May 2024, all items inflation rate on a month-on-month basis was highest in Kano at 4.24 per cent, followed by Gombe at 4.06 per cent, and Bauchi at 3.75 per cent.

“Ondo at 0.57 per cent, followed by Kwara at 1.19 per cent and Yobe at 1.24 per cent recorded the slowest rise in month-on-month inflation.”

The report said on a year-on-year basis, food inflation was highest in Kogi at 46.32 per cent, followed by Ekiti at 44.94 per cent, and Kwara at 44.66 per cent.

“Adamawa at 31.72 per cent, followed by Bauchi at 34.35 per cent and Borno at 34.74 per cent recorded the slowest rise in food inflation on a year-on-year basis.’’

The report, however, said on a month-on-month basis, food inflation was highest in Gombe at 4.88 per cent, followed by Kano at 4.68 per cent, and Bayelsa at 3.62 per cent.

“While Ondo at 0.02 per cent, followed by Yobe at 0.95 per cent and Adamawa at 1.02 per cent, recorded the slowest rise in inflation on a month-on-month basis.”

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Economy

Equity Market Opens With N324bn Gain, eTranzact, Champion Lead Losers Table 

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Equity Market Opens With N324bn Gain, eTranzact, Champion Lead Losers Table 

 The Nigerian equity market on Monday opened the week on a positive note with a gain of 0.58 per cent.

Consequently, investors gained N324 billion or 0.58 per cent, as the market capitalisation which opened at N56.128 trillion, closed at N56.452 trillion.

The All-Share Index also closed 0.58 per cent or 573 points stronger to close at 99,793.71 as against 99,221.14 recorded on Friday.

As a result, the Year-To-Date (YTD) return rose to 33.46 per cent.

The market’s positive performance was primarily driven by gains in Seplat, Guaranty Trust Holding Company (GTCO) Zenith Bank, United Bank For Africa(UBA), Transcorp Hotel and Nigerian Breweries, among other advanced equities.

Market breadth closed positive with 30 gainers and 10 losers on the floor of the Exchange.

On the gainers’ chart, Flour Mill led by 10 per cent to close at N41.80 per share.

Total Energies followed closely by 9.98 per cent to close at N353.60 per share.

Access Corporation gained 9.86 per cent to close at N18.95, Chams rose by 9.74 per cent to close at N1.69, and Veritas Kapital Assurance advanced by 9.52 per cent to close at 69k per share.

On the other side, eTranzact led the losers’ chart to close at N4.55, and Daar Communications trailed at 9.52 per cent to close at 57k per share.

Champion lost 6.67 per cent to close at N2.80, Unity Bank shed 6.67 per cent to close at N1.12 and Wapic Insurance went down by 2.86 per cent to close at 68k per share.

Market analysis revealed that trade turnover settled higher relative to the previous session with the value of transactions up by 83.55 per cent.

A total of 963.54 million shares valued at N13.50 billion were exchanged in 8,657 deals, compared to 388.02 million shares valued at N7.35 billion exchanged in 7,106 deals.

Meanwhile, Fidelity Bank led the activity chart in volume and value with 605.26 million shares worth N6.03 billion, Access Corporation followed by 93.07 million shares valued at N1.74 billion.

UBA transacted 58.73 million shares worth N1.26 billion, Nigerian Breweries traded 45.26 million shares valued at N1.27 billion and Zenith Bank sold 16.08 million shares worth N539.55 million.

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Strike: Labour records 100% compliance in Niger, As Anambra Records 90% Compliance

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Strike: Labour records 100% compliance in Niger, As Anambra Records 90% Compliance

Mr Ibrahim Gana, Chairman of Trade Union Congress (TUC) in Niger, on Monday, said the union recorded 100 per cent success compliance with the ongoing strike over the minimum wage in the state.

He said this in an interview with newsmen shortly after monitoring the level of compliance in Minna, the state capital.

Gana said that unlike in the past, the officials of organised labour did not struggle with workers in their offices this time around.

“This is a fantastic strike we have ever had, the level of compliance is 100 per cent, and we didn’t struggle with people in their offices this time around.

“Just a circular that workers should comply with the national directive of both NLC and TUC and virtually everywhere we have gone we have 100 per cent compliance.

He said that the level of compliance indicates that workers were beginning to listen to the labour leaders and also understanding the yearnings of the union in the country.

The chairman said both Federal and state organisations observed total compliance, adding that the strike would continue until the union received further directives from its national body.

It was reported that parts of organisations shut down by NLC included the Minna General Hospital, Bola Ahmed Tinubu International Airport, Federal Inland Revenue and the state High Court.

Other places visited by the union officials were the Niger State House of Assembly, the state Secretariat, the Office of the Secretary to the Niger Government and the Office of the Deputy Governor.

It was also recalled that NLC had on June 1, announced a nationwide strike commencing on June 3, following the tripartite committee’s failure to reach an agreement on a new minimum wage for workers.

In addition, unions are protesting against recent hikes in electricity tariffs, which they said have placed an undue burden on workers and consumers across the country. 

In a related development, Mr Humphrey Nwafor, Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in Anambra on Monday, said that the organised labour recorded 90 per cent compliance in the state.

Nwafor told newsmen after going around Awka to monitor compliance in Awka and its environs.

Offices at the federal and state secretariats, the state House of Assembly schools, banks and courts did not open for business.

Nwafor, while commending union leaders for their cooperation, said the strike would continue until the federal government yielded to their demands

“To be honest with you, I am very much delighted with the Anambra workers’ total compliance to the strike.

 “Picketing is ongoing across the state according to the directive from the national body, and it will continue until 6 p.m. to ensure that no office is open for any administrative businesses,” he said

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