May 20, 2024
Reform foreign exchange market, address forex liquidity issues, tackle insecurity, others to tame inflation — Economist
Dangote Refinery Will Boost Growth of Downstream Sector in 2022, CPPE, Others Affirm
– By Godswill Odiong

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By Eyo Nsima

An Economist, weekend, urged the federal government to reform the foreign exchange market, address forex liquidity issues, insecurity, high transportation cost, fiscal deficit monetization, climate change, restore normalcy and good order at the nation’s ports, reduce import duty on intermediate products and raw materials for industries, reduce high energy cost and create an investment-friendly tax environment in order to tackle inflation in Nigeria.

An Economist/CEO, Centre for the Promotion of Private Enterprise, CPPE, Dr. Muda Yusuf, who is also the former Director General, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, LCCI, said these are the necessary steps needed to tame the nation’s high inflation.

Commenting on the nation’s September Report, he said: “The steady but marginal deceleration in headline inflation over the past few months is noteworthy.

“However, inflationary pressures remain a key concern in the Nigerian economy, both for businesses and the citizens. According to the National Bureau of Statistics [NBS], headline inflation decelerated by 0.38% in September from 17.01% in August to 16.63%. However, on a month-on-month basis, there was a further increase of 1.15% between August and September.

“Meanwhile, food inflation, which is the biggest worry for the poor, decelerated by 0.73% from 20.3% in August to 19.57% in September. But on a month-on-month basis, there was an increase of 1.26% between August and September.

“The Core inflation, which related largely to non-agricultural products, maintained an upward trend. It accelerated by 13.74% in September as against 13.41% in August, an increase of 1.24%. This was largely a reflection of the impact of the further depreciation in the naira exchange rate.”

On the implications, he stated: “Although the economy witnessed an incremental deceleration in inflation over the last couple of months, high inflationary pressures remain a major concern to stakeholders in the Nigeria economy.

“Some of the implications are the escalation of production and operating costs for businesses, leading to erosion of profit margins, drop in sales, decline in turnover and weak manufacturing capacity utilization, high food prices which impact adversely on citizens welfare and aggravate poverty.

“Weak purchasing power which poses a significant risk to business sustainability. Price volatility which undermines investors confidence.”

He said: “Exchange rate depreciation has a significant impact on headline inflation, especially the core sub-index.

“Liquidity challenges in the foreign exchange market impacting adversely on manufacturing output.

“Security concerns affecting agricultural output. Climate change effects on agricultural production. There are increasing cases of flooding and desertification in many parts of the country. These have a negative impact on agricultural output.

“Structural constraints affecting productivity in the agricultural value chain. High transportation costs affecting distribution costs across the country. This is also reflected in the huge differential between farm gate prices and market prices.

“Monetization of fiscal deficit [CBN financing of deficit] is highly inflationary because of the liquidity injection effects on the economy. This becomes worrisome when statutory thresholds are exceeded.

“High transactions cost at the nation’s ports increases the production and operating costs of businesses. High energy cost. High import duty on intermediate goods and raw materials.”

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