Nigeria’s inflation rate is expected to rise to about 11.4 per cent for the rest of this year till mid-2019, the Central Bank of Nigeria has said.
The CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiel*e, disclosed this while speaking on Nigeria’s outlook and policy thrust for 2019.
He said, “Inflation expectations are rising on the backdrop of anticipated politically related liquidity injections. For the rest of 2018 and towards mid-2019, Nigeria’s rate of inflation is projected to rise slightly to about 11.4 per cent and then moderate thereafter.”
The consumer price index, which measures inflation decreased to 11.26 per cent (year-on-year) in October2018, according to latest report by the National Bureau of Statistics on its ‘CPI and inflation report October 2018’.
The statistics revealed that this was a 0.02 per cent points lower than the rate recorded in September 2018 (11.28 per cent).
While speaking on the exchange rate, he said that although the CBN had so far managed to maintain exchange rate stability, the current capital flow reversals from emerging markets were expected to continue to exert considerable pressure on market rates.
This pressure, he added, could be amplified by the forthcoming elections, especially as the political marketplace heats up.
He said notwithstanding those pressures, the CBN was determined to maintain its stable exchange rate policy stance over the next few months, given the relatively high level of reserves.
“Gross stability is projected in the foreign exchange market given increased oil-related inflows and contained import bill. I would like to make it categorically clear that sustaining a stable exchange rate is of overriding importance to us even as we continue to put measures in place to shore up reserves,” he said.
While speaking on the balance of payments, he said it was expected to remain positive in the short term, and that oil prices continue to recover, adding that it was expected that the current account balance would strengthen even further.
“This will be supported by improved non-oil performance as diversification efforts begin to yield results to reduce undue imports,” he added.
Emefiele also said that the apex bank would explore the possibility of leveraging technology to enhance credit to critical sectors of the economy, especially agriculture and manufacturing.
Oil marketers in Nigeria have cried out over the continued delay by the Federal Government in paying subsidy arrears accrued to them.
According to the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, MOMAN and the Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association of Nigeria, DAPPMAN, the delay is impacting negatively on their businesses.
The marketers called on government to facilitate the payment of the debts by the agencies saddled with the responsibility.
It would be recalled that the Senate had approved the request by President Mohammadu Buhari for the payment of subsidy claims amounting to N348 billion to oil companies in July.
Speaking on the issue, the Executive Secretary, MOMAN, Mr Clement Isong, appealed to the government to hasten the payment of the subsidy arrears owed to them, adding that the continued non-payment had severely impacted their working capital and their ability to pay bank loans and their service providers.
He said: “We appreciate the efforts of the National Assembly and the Federal Executive Council in approving payment but the non-payment has a significantly negative impact on the operational efficiency of the downstream sector of the oil industry, thereby placing a severe strain on players’ efforts to continually invest in infrastructure and raise industry standards. We hope that the debts will be paid in full to the oil marketers as soon as possible.”
Isong said the debt owed to MOMAN members alone stood at N130.7bn as of August 2018.
Also speaking, the Executive Secretary, DAPPMAN, Mr Olufemi Adewole, faulted the processes highlighted for payment by the government, saying, they were inimical to the operations of their businesses.
He said: “The processes they have highlighted are killing our businesses. Immediately the banks read in the media that the National Assembly had approved, they went to court, got an injunction and seized our assets.”
According to Adewole, some marketers had been forced out of business as banks had taken over their depots, assets and properties due to their inability to pay back monies borrowed to import fuel, while others were struggling to survive.
“The debt has had very adverse effects on our operations. I am aware of two depots that have been forcibly taken over by banks because they got injunctions from the courts. They did so the moment they heard that the National Assembly approved payment of the debt to marketers. Unfortunately, as of today, the money has yet to get into our accounts,” he added.
Source: The Ripples