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Rising inflation worries employers

Inflation

Drop in inflation

By Moses Uwagbale
The Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) has expressed worry over the rising trend of the inflation rate in the country.

According to the latest report of the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics, it further rose from 13.71 per cent in September, 2020 to 14.23 per cent in October.

NECA’s Director-General, Dr Timothy Olawale, raised concerns over the trend in a statement on Monday.

Olawale said that the rise suggested that the policy options provided by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in taming the gory head of inflation needed critical review.

“It is instructive to note that the persistent increase in food prices, caused by border closures, restrictions in FX market and insecurity predominantly in the Northern states has further heightened the situation.

“The inflationary situation is further compounded by the recent #EndSARS protest, which limited movement of persons and goods or services across most cities and the rising cost of transportation.

“Since the deregulation of petrol prices, the country has witnessed petrol increase by almost 30 per cent in the last four months, which suggests a continuous increase in transport cost.

“Sadly, Nigerians are now being battered on two fronts; high transport cost and high inflation, ” he said.

The Director-General commended the various intervention programmes of CBN during the COVID-19 pandemic.

He, however, urged the apex bank to complement its efforts by synergising its policies alongside the fiscal authorities in bringing needed growth and development into the economy.

“We urge, as a matter of urgency, that concerted efforts should be made across-board to create an environment that will not only attract foreign direct investment, but that will also enable current investors to remain sustainable as a way out of the challenges of a mono-foreign exchange economy, ” he said.

Olawale urged the Federal Government to roll out more direct fiscal interventions to aid domestic production as being done in the agricultural sector.

He also called for these interventions to be extended to the mining, manufacturing and other high job creating sectors.

“It is also important to support the transportation sector, most especially the Public Transport, that is, massive transit buses, by reducing the duties or taxes on cost of vehicle import, which is currently about 70 per cent for fully-built vehicle units.

“If import duty waiver or reduction is applied to the transport sector, this will surely go a long way in reducing cost of public transportation.

“With the current exchange and import duty, the landing cost of a high capacity bus in Lagos is approximately N78 million ($170,000) at least.

“This is aside fuel cost which accounts for 35 per cent of revenue and interest rate of 27 per cent per annum, ” the Director-General said.

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