16 Mar

Daily Watch – Inflation enters double digits, Ghana moves against Nigerian cement

  • The Consumer Price Index, which measures inflation, hit 11.4 percent in February. The CPI report, released on Tuesday by the National Bureau of Statistics, showed that the “significant uptick” recorded in the headline index last month was roughly 1.76 points higher from the 9.6 percent recorded in January. “The faster pace of increases which led to the overall increase in the headline index were recorded across almost all major divisions which contribute to the headline index with the exception of the restaurants and hotels division which increased, albeit at a slower pace,” the NBS stated in its report. Food prices leaped in February after increasing at the same pace for two months. The report revealed that the food sub-index increased to 11.3 percent in February, up by 0.71 percent points from rates recorded in January.
  • Ghana plans to restrict cement imports. To this end, the Minister of Trade and Industry, Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, has proposed to the parliament, the enactment of an Act “to propose a ceiling on the annual importation of cement into Ghana.” Ghana has a production capacity of about 9 million metric tonnes per year, while national consumption is below 6 million; thus leaving an excess of about 3 million metric tonnes per annum. Current imports into the country are above one million tonnes of cement per annum. This figure, according to the minister has aggravated the glut in the industry, making it necessary to curtail cement imports. In recent months there have been agitations from Ghanaian cement manufacturers for the government’s intervention to prevent the collapse of their companies. Specifically, Diamond Cement Company in Aflao has in recent months protested against the importation of already bagged Dangote Cement from Nigeria. In one of such protests, some youths in the community had appealed to President John Mahama to intervene. They demanded that Dangote should expand his factory in the country to create more jobs in Ghana, instead of endangering existing jobs in the industry by importing already bagged cement into the country.
  • Following ethnic clashes in neighbouring Lagos, Ogun State has relocated Mile 12 traders and traders in the Ram Market from the Kara area to Ogere. The relocation process, which commenced last Friday, saw the state government providing the traders with about 300 hectares of land in Ogere. The closure of the Mile 12 Market in Lagos left hundreds of trailers loaded with consumable goods and their owners stranded. The traders later moved to Kara in Ogun State, where they offloaded their goods and joined traders at the Ram Market. The Ogun State Government however told the traders that Kara was not ideal for them and they would be moved to a new place. The government also said the traders who were previously at the Kara Market would be relocated with the Mile 12 traders.
  • The Securities and Exchange Commission has started trying to position Nigeria for a big role in the emerging global market for Islamic or non-interest finance valued at over $2 trillion. Director General of SEC, Mounir Gwarzo, said this in Sokoto. “In Nigeria, the SEC has implemented a number of reforms aimed at deepening the non-interest capital market. The global Sukuk market continues to witness remarkable growth since after the 2008 global financial crisis. Annual issuances have grown from $15 billion in 2008 to almost $120 billion in 2014.”