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PMB, Adeosun, Emefiele Meet Over Economy, Budget Performance

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By Jonathan Nda- Isaiah, Abuja, BUKOLA IDOWU and KAYODE TOKEDE, Lagos –

President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday met with the Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, her Budget and National Planning counterpart, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma and governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, to deliberate on the state of the nation’s economy.

At the meeting which lasted almost two hours, the ministers and CBN governor briefed the president on the improving state of the economy, implementation of the 2017 budget, preparation for the 2018 budget, revenue strategies, combined cost reduction and debt management.

A statement by the special adviser to the president on media and publicity, Femi Adesina, noted that President Buhari declared that he was pleased with the progress being made on different fronts of the economy.

The presidential spokesman said, “Also discussed were monetary policy strategies and their economic impact, among others.

“President Buhari, while reminding the Ministers and CBN Governor that reviving the economy was one of the major planks on which the campaign of his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), was based, expressed gladness that things were looking up after two years of yeoman’s job”

“Urging them to keep at it, the president noted that the main aim of government was to bring succour to Nigerians across all walks of life”.

President Buhari was away in the United Kingdom for medical treatment when then Vice President Yemi Osinbajo who was acting president signed the 2017 appropriation bill into law on June 12, 2017. The total budget figure signed is put at N 7.44 trillion.

The National Assembly had passed the 2017 Appropriations Bill on May 10 after increasing the N7.28 trillion earlier proposed by Buhari in December last year to N7.44 trillion.

When contacted yesterday to provide details of how much has been released from the 2017 budget so far, director in the ministry of finance, Salisu Na’Inna Dambatta said he doesn’t have such record.

“Come to our office tomorrow so that we can both work on it”, he simply said.

External Reserves Rise by 21% to $31.6bn

Meanwhile, Nigeria’s external reserves have continued to accumulate despite the frequent interventions of the Central Bank of Nigeria at the foreign exchange market as the 30-day moving average of the reserves stood at $31.599 billion as at August 18, 2017.

The latest data provided by the apex bank is a 21.1 per cent or $5.5 billion increase since the beginning of the year when it was $26.094 billion.

The external reserves had accumulated $755.79 million within the month of August when it reached the $31 billion mark.

Although the price of crude oil, the country’s major foreign exchange earner, has been hovering between $46 and $49 per barrel, an increased inflow of capital as well as a more liberalised foreign exchange market had eased up the pressure at the foreign exchange market.

This saw the value of the naira which had breached the N500 to the dollar mark at the parallel market earlier in the year ease to N365. The naira yesterday closed at the parallel market at N370 to the dollar.

Aside the foreign exchange inflow from the investors and exporters window launched early this year, the apex bank has been intervening regularly at the foreign exchange market, selling dollars to small businesses, manufacturers as well as for personal and business travel allowances.

So far, the CBN has injected $9.964 billion into the interbank segment of the foreign exchange market since it commenced its aggressive intervention in February this year.

Nigeria’s average import bill in the first five months of 2017 reached about N588.1 billion per month. This is in contrast to what it was in 2005 when oil price was about $50 per barrel for an extended period of time and monthly average import bill was N12.4 billion.

Inflation Rate Drops To 16.05% In July – NBS

Meanwhile, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said yesterday that inflation rate in Nigeria stood at 16.05 per cent in July, down from 16.10 per cent in June.

According to a report by the NBS, inflation dropped by 0.05 per cent in July making it the sixth consecutive decline in Inflation rate since January 2017.

The report noted: “On a month-on-month basis, the Headline index increased by 1.21 per cent in July 2017, 0.37 per cent points lower from the rate of 1.58 per cent recorded in June.

“The percentage change in the average composite Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the twelve-month period ending in July 2017 over the average of the CPI for the previous twelve-month period was 17.47 per cent, 0.11 per cent point lower from 17.58 per  cent recorded in June 2017.

“The Urban index rose by 16.04 per cent (year-on-year) in July 2017, down by 0.11 per cent point from 16.15 per cent recorded in June, and the Rural index increased by 16.08 per cent in July from 16.01 per cent in June.

“On month-on-month basis, the urban index rose by 1.25 per cent in July 2017, down by 0.35 per cent point from 1.60 per cent recorded in June, while the rural index rose by 1.18 per cent in July 2017, down by 0.39 per cent point from 1.57 per cent in June.

“The corresponding twelve month year-on-year average percentage change for the urban index increased from 18.69 percent in June to 18.43 per cent in July, while the corresponding rural index also increased from 16.56 per cent in June to 16.60 per cent in July”.

NBS’ food price pressure continued into July as all major food sub-indexes increased.

It said, “The Food Index increased by 20.28 per cent (year-on-year) in July, up by 0.37 per cent points from the rate recorded in June (19.91 per cent). This represents the highest year on year increase in food inflation since the beginning of the new series in 2009.

“The rise in the index was caused by increases in prices of bread and cereals, meat, fish, oils and fats, coffee, tea and cocoa, potatoes yam and other tubers and vegetables.

“On a month-on-month basis, the Food sub-index increased by 1.52 per cent in July, down by 0.47 per cent points from 1.99 per cent recorded in June.

“The average annual rate of change of the Food sub-index for the twelve-month period ending in July 2017 over the previous twelve month average was 18.25 per cent, 0.38 per cent points from the average annual rate of change recorded in June at 17.87per cent”.

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