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Ebonyi Builds New Fertilizer Plant as Demand Soars

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  • Ebonyi Builds New Fertilizer Plant as Demand Soars

The Ebonyi State Government has commenced the construction and installation of equipment towards enhancing the production capacity of the Ebonyi Fertilizer and Chemical Company Limited in order to take advantage of the soaring demand for various blends of the NPK fertilizer produced in the country.

Construction work has already reached advanced stages at the new site, located behind the existing plant complex along the Abakaliki-Ogoja highway in the state capital, with the installation of the plants and machinery expected to be completed soon.

When completed, the new plant will add a production capacity of 40 metric tonnes of blended NPK fertilizer per hour to the existing plant built in 2004, and which has a capacity of 32 metric tonnes per hour.

According to a statement from the General Manager, Ebonyi Fertilizer and Chemical Company, Prof. Ogbonnaya Chukwu, the state government, under the leadership of Governor David Umahi, envisioned that the expanded capacity of the plant would place the company in good stead to meet the growing fertilizer needs of the state as well as those of neighbouring South-East and South-South states.

Chukwu, who doubles as the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Investments, commended the Federal Government for the vision behind the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative, saying farmers in the state had benefitted immensely from the programme, making it possible and easy for fertilizer blends to be delivered on time and at affordable prices.

“I think the Ebonyi State Fertilizer and Chemical Company Limited is one of the biggest beneficiaries of the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative. The intervention by the PFI has helped us to up our game in terms of employment generation and service delivery. Farmers in the state now get very high quality fertilizers early and that was largely responsible for the high volume of rice produced in the state in 2017,” he stated.

He also said that the company, which produces the different blends of the multi-nutrient NPK fertilizer, had also made it possible for farmers in neighbouring states of Enugu, Anambra, Imo, Delta and Cross River to purchase the appropriate fertilizer blends relevant for different crop types, adding that with the new plant, scarcity of fertilizer in many of the South-East and South-South states would be a thing of the past.

He added that the PFI had also been critical to the revival of the old plant built by the state in 2004, saying it was through the initiative that all the disused equipment in the hitherto moribund plant were sourced and replaced at much more affordable costs.

“By the time we were about to start last year, we realised that the conveyor chain on our old plant had been broken and it had not been replaced since 2004. That replacement was made possible by the fact that we participated in the PFI. And through the help of some members of FEPSAN, it was possible to achieve that at a significantly lower cost,” Chukwu said.

He thanked the governor for his vision in keying into the PFI, saying farmers in the state have had no reason to complain of non-availability or high cost of fertilizer since the plant was revived early in 2017.

Chukwu said Umahi had designed a scheme that ensured that fertilizers produced in the plant were distributed to all the wards in the state to reduce the transportation costs for both large and small unit farmers, and that every farmer gets fertilizers at the official price of N5,500 per 50-kilogramme bag.

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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South Africa’s Inflation Rate Holds Steady in May

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South Africa’s inflation rate remained unchanged in May, increasing the likelihood that the central bank will maintain current borrowing costs.

According to a statement released by Statistics South Africa on Wednesday, consumer prices rose by 5.2% year-on-year, the same rate as in April.

The consistent inflation rate is expected to influence the decision of the six-member monetary policy committee (MPC), which is set to meet in mid-July. The current benchmark rate stands at 8.25%, a 15-year high, and has been held steady for six consecutive meetings.

Central Bank Governor Lesetja Kganyago has repeatedly emphasized the need for inflation to fall firmly within the 3% to 6% target range before considering any reduction in borrowing costs.

“We will continue to deliver on our mandate, irrespective of how our post-election politics plays out,” Kganyago stated earlier this month in Soweto. “The only impact is what kind of policies any coalition will propose. If the policies are not sustainable, we might not have investment.”

While money markets are assigning a slim chance of a 25-basis point rate cut in July, they are fully pricing in a reduction by November.

Bloomberg Africa economist Yvonne Mhango anticipates the rate-cutting cycle to begin in the fourth quarter, supported by a sharp drop in gasoline prices in June and a rally in the rand.

The rand has appreciated more than 3% since Friday, following the ANC’s agreement to a power-sharing deal with business-friendly opposition parties and the re-election of President Cyril Ramaphosa.

In May, the annual inflation rates for four of the twelve product groups remained stable, including food and non-alcoholic beverages.

However, transport, alcoholic beverages and tobacco, and recreation and culture saw higher rates. Food prices increased by 4.3% in May, slightly down from 4.4% in April, while transport costs rose by 6.3%, up from 5.7% and marking the highest rate for this category since October 2023.

The central bank’s cautious stance on monetary policy reflects its ongoing concerns about inflation.

Governor Kganyago has consistently voiced worries that the inflation rate is not decreasing as quickly as desired. The MPC’s upcoming decision will hinge on sustained inflationary pressures and the need to balance economic stability with fostering growth.

As South Africa navigates its economic challenges, the steady inflation rate in May provides a measure of predictability for policymakers and investors alike.

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Ghana Reports Strong 4.7% GDP Growth in First Quarter of 2024

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Ghana’s economy showed impressive growth in the first quarter of 2024 with the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) expanding by 4.7% compared to the same period last year, according to Government Statistician Samuel Kobina Annim.

This represents an increase from the 3.8% growth recorded in the previous quarter and should provide a much-needed boost to the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) as the nation approaches the presidential elections scheduled for December 7.

The positive economic data comes amidst a challenging backdrop of fiscal consolidation efforts under a $3 billion International Monetary Fund (IMF) rescue program.

The government has been working to control debt through reduced spending and restructuring nearly all of its $44 billion debt.

This includes ongoing negotiations with private creditors to reorganize $13 billion worth of bonds.

The latest GDP figures are seen as a vindication of the NPP’s economic policies, which have been under fire from the main opposition party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC).

The opposition has criticized the government’s handling of the economy, particularly its fiscal policies and the terms of the IMF program, arguing that they have imposed undue hardship on ordinary Ghanaians.

However, the 4.7% growth rate suggests that the measures taken to stabilize the economy are beginning to yield positive results.

Analysts believe that the stronger-than-expected economic performance will bolster the NPP’s position as the country gears up for the presidential elections.

“The growth we are seeing is a testament to the resilience of the Ghanaian economy and the effectiveness of the government’s policies,” Annim stated at a press briefing in Accra. “Despite the constraints imposed by the debt restructuring and IMF program, we are seeing significant progress.”

The IMF program, which is designed to restore macroeconomic stability, has necessitated tough fiscal adjustments.

These include cutting government expenditure and implementing structural reforms aimed at boosting economic efficiency and growth.

The government’s commitment to these reforms has been crucial in securing the confidence of international lenders and investors.

In addition to the IMF support, the government has also been focused on diversifying the economy, reducing its reliance on commodities, and fostering sectors such as manufacturing, services, and technology.

These efforts have contributed to the robust growth figures reported for the first quarter.

Economic growth in Ghana has been uneven in recent years, with periods of rapid expansion often followed by slowdowns.

The current administration has emphasized sustainable and inclusive growth, seeking to ensure that the benefits of economic progress are widely shared across all segments of the population.

The next few months will be critical as the government continues its efforts to stabilize the economy while preparing for the upcoming elections.

The positive GDP growth figures provide a strong foundation, but challenges remain, including managing inflation, creating jobs, and ensuring the stability of the financial sector.

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World Bank Commits Over $15 Billion to Support Nigeria’s Economic Reforms

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The World Bank has pledged over $15 billion in technical advisory and financial support to help the country achieve sustainable economic prosperity.

This commitment, announced in a feature article titled “Turning The Corner: Nigeria’s Ongoing Path of Economic Reforms,” underscores the international lender’s confidence in Nigeria’s recent bold reforms aimed at stabilizing and growing its economy.

The World Bank’s support will be channeled into key sectors such as reliable power and clean energy, girls’ education and women’s economic empowerment, climate adaptation and resilience, water and sanitation, and governance reforms.

The bank lauded Nigeria’s government for its courageous steps in implementing much-needed reforms, highlighting the unification of multiple official exchange rates, which has led to a market-determined official rate, and the phasing out of the costly gasoline subsidy.

“These reforms are crucial for Nigeria’s long-term economic health,” the World Bank stated. “The supply of foreign exchange has improved, benefiting businesses and consumers, while the gap between official and parallel market exchange rates has narrowed, enhancing transparency and curbing corrupt practices.”

The removal of the gasoline subsidy, which had cost the country over 8.6 trillion naira (US$22.2 billion) from 2019 to 2022, was particularly noted for its potential to redirect fiscal resources toward more impactful public investments.

The World Bank pointed out that the subsidy primarily benefited wealthier consumers and fostered black market activities, rather than aiding the poor.

The bank’s article emphasized that Nigeria is at a turning point, with macro-fiscal reforms expected to channel more resources into sectors critical for improving citizens’ lives.

The World Bank’s support is designed to sustain these reforms and expand social protection for the poor and vulnerable, aiming to put the economy back on a sustainable growth path.

In addition to this substantial support, the World Bank recently approved a $2.25 billion loan to Nigeria at a one percent interest rate to finance further fiscal reforms.

This includes $1.5 billion for the Nigeria Reforms for Economic Stabilization to Enable Transformation (RESET) Development Policy Financing, and $750 million for the NG Accelerating Resource Mobilization Reforms Programme-for-Results (ARMOR).

“The future can be bright, and Nigeria can rise and serve as an example for the region on how macro-fiscal and governance reforms, along with continued investments in public goods, can accelerate growth and improve the lives of its citizens,” the World Bank concluded.

With this robust backing from the World Bank, Nigeria is well-positioned to tackle its economic challenges and embark on a path to sustained prosperity and development.

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