15 Jun

Daily Watch – Inflation marches on, FG, states, spend less than 2% on agric

  • The consumer price index, which measures inflation, for May 2016 has risen to its highest point since February 2010. According to the NBS, the inflation rate has worsened consistently since President Buhari took office in May 2015, rising to 15.6 percent in May 2016. Of the 12 months spent so far, inflation has risen every month but one, moving from nine percent in May 2015 to 15.6 percent in May. The Headline index increased by 15.6% (year-on-year), 1.9% points higher from rates recorded in April (13.7%). The NBS said electricity and public transportation price hikes drove inflation significantly in May.
  • The CBN has announced that it will reveal details of its new Flexible Exchange Rate policy today. CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, announced at the last monetary policy communique that the regulator will adopt a new flexible exchange rate policy and promised to reveal details soon. Nigerians and foreign investors interested in investing in Nigeria have been anticipating this announcement. The delay has heightened speculations at the parallel market with the Naira trading as high as N368 to the dollar.
  • The Daily Trust is reporting that less than two percent of the ₦12.2 trillion total budgets of the federal and state governments will be spent on agriculture this year. This, despite the government’s much trumpeted determination to move away from oil to agriculture as the mainstay of the economy. The newspaper’s analysis of the combined expenditure of the federal and 30 state governments shows that they will spend ₦196.33 billion (1.6 percent) on agriculture. About half of these figures would be expended on running the bureaucracies of the agric ministries and their related agencies of forestry, rural development and water resources, among others.
  • Meanwhile, the FG has sought to clear the air on the ongoing controversy over the introduction of genetically modified organisms into the country. Shehu Ahmed, the permanent secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the government would soon make a statement on the complaints made by Nigerians on the use of GMOs. The two permits are: ‘Permit for Commercial release/ Placing on Market of Cotton (MON15985) genetically modified for lepidopteran insect pest resistance’ with Permit No: NBMA/CM/IM/001 and ‘Permit for Confined Field Trial (CFT) of maize (NK603 and MON 89034 x NK603) genetically modified for insect resistance and herbicide tolerance’ with Permit No: NBMA/C FT/001. The permits came despite concerted efforts of many Nigerians (comprising 100 groups of farmers, faith-based organizations, civil society groups, students, and local farmers) to prevent the introduction of Cottgenetically modified (GM) cotton and maize into Nigeria’s foods and farming system. The NBMA approved the glysophate herbicide resistant maize despite the International Agency for Research on Cancer report that linked the active ingredient glyphosate to cancer. Monsanto had, however, pushed back on the claims insisting that its glyphosate-based weed killer has a long history of safe use.