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How Rising Food Prices Pushed Inflation to 49-Month High of 18.17%



prices of food at market

By Adedapo Adesanya

On Thursday, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) announced that inflation in Nigeria surged to a 49-month high as it rose to 18.17 per cent from 17.33 per cent recorded in February 2021.

The last time Nigeria recorded an inflation rate higher than 18.17 per cent was in January 2017, when headline inflation stood at 18.72 per cent.

In the report released by the NBS yesterday, the inflation numbers for last month were 0.82 per cent higher than the February figures.

On a month-on-month basis, the headline index increased by 1.56 per cent in March 2021, this is 0.02 per cent points higher than the rate recorded in February 2021 (1.54 per cent).

From the NBS report, it was clear that the inflation worsened last month as a result of rising food prices in the country and this can be attributed to insecurities in the country.

Why food prices are high

Many farmers have been unable to go to their farms because of fears of being killed or if lucky, just abducted with a huge amount of money paid for their freedom.

For those who managed to be on their farms, they have to pay levies to bandits for planting and harvesting and when the farm products are to be transported to the market, another huddle is there waiting for them.

Several transporters have complained bitterly of how they pay to security officials who mount roadblocks and in some cases, there is the fear of being kidnapped by hoodlums on the road.

By the time the products get to market, all these costs are factored into them while the sellers will have to pass on the extra cost on the consumer, leaving the prices very high for most consumers to purchase because of the harsh economic situation in the country.

Food index figures

According to the stats office on Thursday, last month, the country’s food inflation jumped to 22.95 per cent from 21.79 per cent recorded in the previous month.

On a month-on-month basis, the food sub-index increased by 1.9 per cent in March 2021, up by 0.01 per cent points from 1.89 per cent recorded in February 2021.

The stats office explained in the report that the rise in the food index was caused by increases in prices of bread and cereals, potatoes, yam, and other tubers, meat, vegetables, fish, oils and fats, and fruits.

Also, the average annual rate of change of the food sub-index for the 12-month period ending March 2021 over the previous 12-month average was 17.93 per cent representing 0.68 per cent points from the average annual rate of change recorded in February 2021 (17.25 per cent).

Meanwhile, the urban inflation rate rose to 18.76 per cent (year-on-year) in March 2021 from 17.92 per cent recorded in February 2021, while the rural inflation rate jumped to 17.6 per cent in March 2021 from 16.77 per cent in February 2021.

The ”All items less farm produce” or core inflation, which excludes the prices of volatile agricultural produce rose to 12.67 per cent in March 2021, up by 0.29 per cent when compared with 12.38 per cent recorded in the preceding month.

On a month-on-month basis, the core sub-index increased by 1.06 per cent in the period under review. This was down by 0.15 per cent when compared with 1.21 per cent recorded in February 2021.

The average 12-month annual rate of change of the index was 10.01 per cent for the 12-month period ending March 2021; this is 0.76 per cent points lower than the 10.77 per cent recorded in February 2021.

NBS revealed that the highest increases were recorded in prices of passenger transport by air, medical services, miscellaneous services relating to the dwelling, passenger transport by road, hospital services, passenger transport by road.

Others were pharmaceutical products, paramedical services, vehicle spare parts, dental services, motor cars, maintenance and repair of personal transport equipment, and hairdressing salons and personal grooming establishment.

Kogi State recorded the highest inflation rate by states in March 2021 with a rise of 24.51 per cent while Cross River (14.45 per cent) recorded the slowest rise in headline year-on-year inflation.

The Yahaya Bello governed state also recorded the highest in terms of food inflation, on a year on year basis at 29.71 per cent while Bauchi State (18.61 per cent) recorded the slowest rise .in year on year inflation.

Analysts have noted that Nigerians will now have to battle with a worsening purchasing power as prices of goods and services continue to rise, meaning more poverty and an increased economic downturn.

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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Binance Gets Digital Asset Service Provider Licence in France




By Adedapo Adesanya

Binance, the world’s largest crypto and blockchain infrastructure provider, has been granted a Digital Asset Service Provider (DASP) registration to operate in France.

The green light was given by Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF), which regulates the French financial markets, with the approval of the Autorité de Contrôle Prudentiel et de Résolution (ACPR), the authority responsible for supervising the banking and insurance sectors in France, especially AML Regulations.

The landmark achievement for Binance represents its first DASP registration in the European Union and demonstrates its commitment to being a compliance-first exchange.

The registration allows Binance France SAS to operate as a DASP in France and provides regulatory protection for local users with regard to the implementation of French AML/CFT and customer identification requirements.

This came just after the platform received licenses to be a crypto service provider in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, a key milestone for the world’s largest digital-asset exchange as it set up the stage for a major push in the Middle East.

According to Binance, compliance and regulation are critical to the development and maturation of the crypto and blockchain industry.

Mr Changpeng Zhao (CZ), founder and CEO of Binance, said: “Effective regulation is essential for the mainstream adoption of cryptocurrency. The French DASP and AML/CFT regulations put in place stringent anti-money laundering and fit and proper requirements to meet the high standards necessary to be regulated in France.”

“We are grateful to the AMF and ACPR who both demonstrated a commitment to innovation that made it possible for Binance to navigate the entire application process. Since day one, Binance has always put its users first, and now the crypto community can have even further confidence in Binance France as a trusted DASP registered in France,” he added.

Mr David Princay, CEO of Binance France added, “The registration of Binance France as a DASP is a key milestone for crypto in Europe. In particular, the new levels of protection for AML will help grow crypto adoption in France and Europe. Greater adoption will help bring better liquidity to the market which will be welcomed by users and the community in particular.”

Following the registration, Binance will significantly expand its operations and intends to recruit more people focused on cryptocurrency and blockchain infrastructure development.

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We’ll Sustain High Level of Corporate Governance—Seplat




By Aduragbemi Omiyale

The immediate past chairman of Seplat Energy Plc, Mr Ambrosie Bryant Chukwueloka (ABC) Orjiako, has assured that the company will continue to sustain a high level of corporate governance.

Speaking last Thursday at the closing gong ceremony to honour him and introduce his successor, Mr Basil Omiyi, to the market, the energy expert applauded the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited for insisting on transparent and accountable corporate governance for issuers on its platform.

According to him, this has been critical to the company’s growth, assuring that this trend would be maintained in the interest of the firm’s stakeholders.

“The high level of corporate governance promoted by NGX for its listed companies was a key attribute that motivated Seplat Energy Plc to become part of the market.

“Since our acceptance into the market, Seplat Energy Plc has continued to deliver a corporate governance structure that is accountable and transparent to our investors, employees, government and all other relevant stakeholders.

“We are committed to sustaining these high levels of corporate governance through our collaboration with NGX as we implement market-leading measures towards ensuring Nigeria achieves a sustainable energy sector,” he said.

Corroborating him, Mr Omiyi, said, “NGX has played an instrumental role in Seplat Energy Plc’s growth within the domestic and international markets. Our history with the exchange dates back to 2014 when the shares of Seplat Energy Plc were listed in the market and over the years, Seplat has benefitted immensely from its collaboration with NGX.

“As we celebrate another milestone on the Trading Floor of the Exchange, we look forward to strengthening our partnership with NGX for the fulfilment of our joint goal of leveraging capital to empower sustainable initiatives that positively impact our investors, employees, and the environment.”

The chairman of NGX, Mr A.B. Mahmoud, in his address, congratulated Mr Orjiako for his exemplary leadership and outstanding performance of Seplat Energy for well over a decade, during which the company was listed on both NGX and the London Stock Exchange.

“The notable acquisition of eight oil and gas assets, expansion of the Oben and development of the ANOH gas plants under his leadership positioned the company as the largest indigenous domestic supplier of gas,” Mr Mahmoud, who was represented by a director on the bourse, Mr Kamarudeen Oladosu, he noted.

On his part, the CEO of NGX, Mr Temi Popoola, said, “The exchange is better positioned to lead government advocacy efforts for listed companies, promote technology advancement and digital innovation for the capital market, and increase retail investor participation in the capital market aimed at building a market for the future and addressing the prevailing challenge of financial inclusion.

“We welcome Seplat Energy Plc to a renewed NGX and look forward to deepening our collaboration to develop and push for disruptive, out of the box ideas that could support Nigeria’s energy transition into a net-zero economy.”

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JUST IN: CBN Raises Benchmark Interest Rate to 13%



killing interest rate

By Dipo Olowookere

For the first time in two years, the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) has been raised by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to 13.0 per cent from 11.5 per cent.

Mr Godwin Emefiele, the Governor of the CBN, who announced this development on Tuesday in Abuja, explained that the decision to increase the benchmark interest rate was taken at the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting held yesterday and today.

While addressing financial reporters this afternoon, Mr Emefiele said members of the committee were unanimous with the decision to hike the rates as it was the best thing to do after holding them for about two years.

According to the central bank chief, one of the reasons for raising the rate is to control liquidity ahead of the 2023 general elections as politicians would be expected to flood the system with cash in a bid to woo voters.

However, the other parameters were left unchanged by members at the gathering as the Asymmetric corridor remained around the MPR at +100/-700bps, the Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) at 27.5 per cent and the Liquidity Ratio (LR) at 30.0 per cent.

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