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ACCI urges FG`s  intervention to curb inflation

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The Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), has called on the Federal Government to take decisive measures to curb the rising  inflation in the country.

The President of ACCI, Mr Emeka Obegolu, made the call  in a statement on Saturday  in Abuja.

He  also advocated  the implementation of strategic interventions to counter the inflationary trends in the country.

According to Obegolu, the country’s inflation rate deepened due to the removal of fuel subsidy and other impediments hindering smooth conduct of business operations.

“This statement aligns with findings of the National Bureau of Statistics report on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for December 2023.

“The report reveals an eleventh consecutive increase, reaching 28.92 per cent, marking the highest inflation rate in two decades.

“Furthermore, the report highlights a surge in food inflation, reaching 33.93 per cent,” he said.

Obegolu urged government to fortify the production value chain, particularly in sectors that generated employment opportunities.

According to him, the livestock sector, especially the dairy industry, can address the long standing farmer-herder clashes and enhance national security.

Obegolu urged the government to attract more foreign investment to bolster the socio-economic welfare of the citizens.

The ACCI president urged the government to maintain its pro-business policies aimed at enhancing ease of doing business.

He said the policies included streamlining tax procedures, swift implementation of new minimum wage standards to boost consumer purchasing power.

Others are addressing the prevailing insecurity concerns and ensuring a stable power supply.

According to Obegolu, these measures are anticipated to alleviate the cost of production, ultimately positioning the country as an attractive investment destination.

The president expressed optimism that the nation’s economy would prosper with the commencement of operations at the Dangote Refinery and other refineries.

“I believe that this development will enable the government to conserve foreign reserve earnings, thereby facilitating investment in critical sectors of the economy.

“As Nigeria grapples with a historic surge in inflation, the ACCI’s plea serves as a timely call to action.

“A call for government to implement robust strategies that will mitigate the economic challenges faced by the nation and pave the way for sustainable growth and development,” he said.

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Senate tasks stakeholders on strengthening commodities exchange

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The Senate has tasked relevant stakeholders in the Capital Market to strive hard to strengthen the commodities exchange toward actualising its full potential.

Sen. Osita Izunaso, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Capital Market, said this at a workshop for members of the committee, with the theme “On Infrastructure Financing Development of the Commodities Ecosystem through Commodities Exchanges” in Abuja on Sunday.

He said that executive and the legislature must work in harmony to ensure that commodities exchange was strengthened in line with the global best practices.

Izunaso said that the workshop was aimed at positioning the community exchange toward ensuring food security in the country as well as enhance foreign exchange earnings.

“We discover that people are talking about money market, capital market. Nobody is dwelling on commodity. So that is why we have to partner with Lagos Commodities and Futures Exchange to bring the story nearer home.

“There must be need for us to ensure that all the export commodities in Nigeria should pass through the commodity exchange as a way of getting revenue for the country.

“Commodities exchanges are game-changers. They enable investment diversification, manage risk, ensure fair pricing and streamline transactions.

“To boost Nigeria’s competitiveness, we need a thriving commodities trading ecosystem,” he said.
Izunaso added:“Recent global events highlight the urgent need to diversify our economy. Prioritising and accelerating the development of non-oil commodities is crucial, especially to diversify foreign exchange sources.”

He said that the Lagos Commodities Exchange had recorded some major achievements lately.
recorded an upswing

“This demonstrates the potential of the sector. Commodities Exchanges are a path to progress.There is a clear consensus,” he said.

He also said that for Nigeria to overcome its challenges, economic diversification was essential adding that commodities exchanges could play a vital role in achieving the goals of job creation and economic growth.

The lawmaker said that the Senate through legislation, would ensure that there were adequate legal frameworks for commodity exchanges, warehouses and financing.

Also speaking, the Minister of State for Agriculture and Food Security, Sen. Sabi Abdullahi said the ministry had been working to reverse food inflation and stem food crisis in the country.

He said that Nigeria had about 73 million hectares of arable land out of which only about 33 hectares were being cultivated.

“With this, our productivity is still low. I believe there is a lot to be done to raise the productivity of farmers.”

He said that to increase productivity, there was the need to improve on irrigation capabilities through dry season farming.

“Our findings show that farmers are finding it difficult to fuel irrigation facilities.

“We are suggesting that there are solar-powered irrigation pumps that members of the national assembly can use as part of their constituency programmes.

“So as to empower their farmers who are involved in dry season farming so that together, we can increase our production and improve the volume of food available, thereby reducing the impact of food inflation and of course, guaranteeing food security for our citizens,” he said.

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Low turnout of voters recorded in APC primary rerun in Okitipupa LGA

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The rerun of the All Progressives Congress (APC) primary election in Okitipupa Local Government Area of Ondo State on Sunday recorded a low turnout in some wards.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Gov. Usman Ododo led APC Primary Election Committee had declared the exercise held on Saturday in the 203 wards in 18 local government area of the state inconclusive .

In a statement issued in the early hours of Sunday in Akure, Ododo said that reports reaching the committee indicated that the electoral process in 13 wards in Okitipupa LGA suffered some hitches.

Accordingly, the governor declared the governorship primary inconclusive and directed that a rerun be held in the 13 wards in Okitipupa LGA, having a total validated registered members of 9,515.

A NAN correspondent who monitored the rerun in some wards in Okitipupa reports low turnout of voters and security agents, compared to the large voter turnout on Saturday.

The wards visited are: Okitipupa Ward 1 at Stellamaris College, Okitipupa, Ward 2 at St. John Primary School, Ayeka/Igbodigo ward and Ikoya/Igbinsin/Oloto ward in Ikoya, all in Okitipupa LGA.

NAN reports that no officials, APC committee members or election materials were seen in sight at the wards as at the time of filling this report.

The low turnout of voters might also be unconnected with the violence recorded in some wards on Saturday.

Chief Adebayo Ogunedowo, an APC chieftain, who spoke with NAN, said that the APC primary was a big fraud to the people and democracy.

He said that voters are scared of being lynched or injured because of the breakout of violence at some wards in the state.

“Supporters of some aspirants refused to come here with directives from their principal.

“The primary election is a big fraud. A slap to residents of Ondo State and a shame to democracy.

“This is an indictment on Gov. Ododo led APC Primary Election Committee except the whole election is cancelled in the state,” he said.

Gov. Lucky Aiyedatiwa of Ondo State and 15 other aspirants are jostling to pick the party’s ticket ahead of the Nov. 16, governorship election in the state.

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Nigerian Aviation workers threaten to shut down sector over 50% revenue deduction

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The Air Transport Service Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, ATSSSAN, has threatened to ground aviation operations in Nigeria over the Federal government’s 50 per cent internal revenue deduction policy for Ministries, Agencies and Departments, MDAs, and government-owned enterprises.

ATSSSAN’s National Executive Council disclosed this in a recent communique after NEC in Ibadan, Oyo State.

Recall that the Federal Government, in a letter through the Minister of Finance, Wale Edun, mandated all MDAs to remit 50 per cent of all their internally generated revenue to the government’s confers.

However, ATSSSAN asked for exempting aviation agencies from the deduction of 50 per cent of their IGR under the Fiscal Responsibility Act.

The association said the agencies were not established for profit, adding that stifling them of the required funds would jeopardise the effective performance of their safety and security mandates.

ATSSAN warned that if the federal government insisted on the deduction, thereby compounding the current financial state of the agencies, “we may be forced to direct all aviation workers to down tools until the government reverses itself.”

Last year, through the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, the government commenced the 50 per cent internally generated revenue deduction from federal government-owned enterprises.

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