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Access Bank Partners Lagos to Improve Oniru Road Network

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Herbert Wigwe - Investors King

Following the improvement of the road network around the Oniru-Victoria Island and Lekki axis, where its head office is located, Access Bank Plc in partnership with the Lagos State government yesterday inaugurated the project.

The road network project measuring around 1.8 kilometers was inaugurated by the Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu and had in attendance his Deputy, Mr. Femi Hamzat, the Oniru of Iruland, Oba Abdul-Wasiu Omogbolahan Lawal and array of distinguished persons.

Speaking during the ceremony, Sanwo-Olu said the most critical challenge being experienced on daily basis by residents and road users along the axis was the heavy traffic, saying delivering the project has improved traffic flow, reduced travel time and eliminated perennial flooding issues.

According to the governor, the Victoria Island – Lekki Traffic Circulation Project commenced in December last year, under a Public Infrastructure Improvement Partnership (PIIP) Programme in conjunction with Access Bank.

It involved the dualisation, expansion, construction and rehabilitation of some roads, junction and turning radius. In addition, it included the provision of new drainage system, re-routing some roads as one way and signalization.

Sanwo-Olu added: “Over the years, one of the critical challenges being experienced on a daily basis by residences and road users along this axis has been heavy traffic, congestion occasioned by the geometric increase by the traffic of this area. The traffic congestion has been responsible for the decline in productivity and it discourages growth in this highly commercial location.

“As a responsible government, we resolved to work in partnership with public spirited corporate organisation to embark on this project and our aim was to improve on the traffic linkage and time of our people. Specifically, we sought to reduce the untold hardship our citizens pass through at this axis and this project was executed through the public infrastructure improvement partnership PIIP arrangement.

“Today I have the pleasure to stand before you and can confirm that we have improved network connectivity and traffic flow and we have reduced travel time. We have eliminated perennial flooding issues, enhanced transportation and we have improved the health and social economic wellbeing of our people through this Victoria island-lekki circulation around the Oniru axis from Muri Okunola extension down to Ligali Ayoyinde and along other 7 junctions.”

Speaking further, he praised the Group Managing Director Access Bank, Herbert Wigwe, describing him as, “a true believer of our government, a real partner and somebody you can truly depend on and rely on as a friend.”

Some of the roads delivered under the project are Ligali Ayorinde Muri Okunola – Aboyade Cole, Yesufu Abiodun Oniru, Ligali Ayorinde/Akinbolagbe/Okene amongst others

He said the partnership with Access Bank reinforced the importance of Public-Private Partnership (PPP) in delivering public infrastructure.

He said government was willing to give incentives such as tax holidays and branding and advertisement concession to corporate organisations that are ready to partner with government.

Commenting on the project, Wigwe said: “At the heart of Access Bank’s business operations is our commitment to offering ‘More’ to our customers and more extensively, positively affecting the communities in which we operate.

“Our track record speaks for itself as we have successfully executed similar projects in Oyin Jolayemi Street, Danmole Street and other areas. Indeed, community and social impact have become enshrined parts of our DNA as a bank.

“We appreciate the Lagos State Government, led by Dr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, for the incredible support received during the execution of this project. Our commitment to facilitating a greater Lagos will not end here and I am truly excited about the infrastructural, technological and social advancements that our partnership will foster.”

“The Victoria Island and Lekki axis are two of the most commercial areas in Lagos State, witnessing a huge daily exchange of economic activities and as a result, commuters. About 40 per cent of the employed population in the formal sector in Lagos work in Victoria Island, and a good percentage of these workers have their offices situated around the Oniru axis.”

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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Economy

Nigeria’s Growth Forecast Lowered to 3% for 2025, Higher than Most Emerging Markets

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IMF global - Investors King

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has projected a 3% growth rate for Nigeria in 2025, slightly down from the 3.1% forecasted for 2024.

Despite this slight decline, Nigeria’s projected growth remains higher than that of many emerging markets as detailed in the IMF’s latest World Economic Outlook released on Tuesday.

In comparison, South Africa’s economy is expected to grow by 1.2% in 2025, up from 0.9% this year. Brazil’s growth is projected at 2.4% from 2.1% in 2024, and Mexico’s growth forecast stands at 1.6% for 2025, down from 2.2% in 2024.

However, India is anticipated to see a robust growth of 6.5% in 2025, although this is slightly lower than the 7% forecast for 2024.

The IMF’s projections come as Nigeria undertakes significant monetary reforms. The Central Bank of Nigeria has been working on clearing the foreign exchange backlog, and the federal government recently removed petrol subsidies.

These reforms aim to stabilize the economy, but the country continues to grapple with high inflation and increasing poverty levels, which pose challenges to sustained economic growth.

Sub-Saharan Africa as a whole is expected to see an improvement in growth, with projections of 4.1% in 2025, up from 3.7% in 2024. This regional outlook indicates a modest recovery as economies adjust to global economic conditions.

The IMF report underscores the need for cautious monetary policy. It recommends that central banks in emerging markets avoid easing their monetary stances too early to manage inflation risks and sustain economic growth.

In cases where inflation risks have materialized, central banks are advised to remain open to further tightening of monetary policy.

“Central banks should refrain from easing too early and should be prepared for further tightening if necessary,” the report stated. “Where inflation data encouragingly signal a durable return to price stability, monetary policy easing should proceed gradually to allow for necessary fiscal consolidation.”

The IMF also highlighted the importance of avoiding fiscal slippages, noting that fiscal policies may need to be significantly tighter than previously anticipated in some countries to ensure economic stability.

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Economy

Nigeria’s Inflation Rises to 34.19% in June Amid Rising Costs

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Food Inflation - Investors King

Nigeria’s headline inflation rate surged to 34.19% in June 2024, a significant increase from the 33.95% recorded in May.

This rise highlights the continuing pressures on the nation’s economy as the cost of living continues to climb.

On a year-on-year basis, the June 2024 inflation rate was 11.40 percentage points higher than the 22.79% recorded in June 2023.

This substantial increase shows the persistent challenges faced by consumers and businesses alike in coping with escalating prices.

The month-on-month inflation rate for June 2024 was 2.31%, slightly up from 2.14% in May 2024. This indicates that the pace at which prices are rising continues to accelerate, compounding the economic strain on households and enterprises.

A closer examination of the divisional contributions to the inflation index reveals that food and non-alcoholic beverages were the primary drivers, contributing 17.71% to the year-on-year increase.

Housing, water, electricity, gas, and other fuels followed, adding 5.72% to the inflationary pressures.

Other significant contributors included clothing and footwear (2.62%), transport (2.23%), and furnishings, household equipment, and maintenance (1.72%).

Sectors such as education, health, and miscellaneous goods and services also played notable roles, contributing 1.35%, 1.03%, and 0.57% respectively.

The rural and urban inflation rates also exhibited marked increases. Urban inflation reached 36.55% in June 2024, a rise of 12.23 percentage points from the 24.33% recorded in June 2023.

On a month-on-month basis, urban inflation was 2.46% in June, slightly higher than the 2.35% in May 2024. The twelve-month average for urban inflation stood at 32.08%, up 9.70 percentage points from June 2023’s 22.38%.

Rural inflation was similarly impacted, with a year-on-year rate of 32.09% in June 2024, an increase of 10.71 percentage points from June 2023’s 21.37%.

The month-on-month rural inflation rate rose to 2.17% in June, up from 1.94% in May 2024. The twelve-month average for rural inflation reached 28.15%, compared to 20.76% in June 2023.

The rising inflation rates pose significant challenges for the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as it grapples with balancing monetary policy to rein in inflation while supporting economic growth.

The ongoing pressures from high food prices and energy costs necessitate urgent policy interventions to stabilize the economy and protect the purchasing power of Nigerians.

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Economy

Inflation to Climb Again in June, but at a Reduced Pace, Predicts Meristem

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Nigeria's Inflation Rate - Investors King

As Nigeria awaits the release of the National Bureau of Statistics’ report on June 2024 inflation, economic analysts project that while inflation will continue its upward trajectory, the pace of increase will moderate.

This comes after inflation rose to a 28-year high of 33.95% in May, up from 33.69% in April.

Meristem, a leading financial services company, has forecasted that June’s headline inflation will rise to 34.01%, a slight increase from May’s figure.

The firm attributes this persistent inflationary pressure to ongoing structural challenges in agriculture, high transportation costs, and the continuous depreciation of the naira.

Experts have highlighted several factors contributing to the inflationary trend. Insecurity in food-producing regions and high transportation costs have disrupted supply chains, while the depreciation of the naira has increased importation costs.

In May, food inflation grew at a slower pace, reaching 40.66%, but challenges in the agricultural sector, such as the infestation of tomato leaves, have led to higher prices for staples like tomatoes and yams.

Meristem predicts that food inflation will persist in June, driven by these lingering challenges. Increased demand during the Eid-el-Kabir celebration and rising importation costs are also expected to keep food prices elevated.

Core inflation, which excludes volatile items like food and energy, was at 27.04% in May. Meristem projects it to rise to 27.30% in June.

The firm notes that higher transportation costs and the depreciation of the naira will continue to push core inflation up.

However, they also anticipate a month-on-month moderation in the core index due to a relatively stable naira exchange rate during June, compared to a more significant depreciation in May.

Cowry Assets Management Limited has projected an even higher headline inflation figure of 34.25% for June, citing similar concerns.

The firm notes that over the past year, food prices in Nigeria have soared due to supply chain disruptions, currency depreciation, and climate change impacts on agriculture.

This has made basic staples increasingly unaffordable for many Nigerians, stretching household budgets.

As inflation continues to rise, analysts believe the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) will likely hike the benchmark lending rate again.

The CBN’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) has raised the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) by 650 basis points this year, bringing it to 26.25% as of May 2024.

At a recent BusinessDay CEO Forum, CBN Governor Dr. Olayemi Cardoso emphasized the MPC’s commitment to tackling inflation, stating that while the country needs growth, controlling inflation is paramount.

“The MPC is not oblivious to the fact that the country does need growth. If these hikes hadn’t been done at the time, the naira would have almost tipped over, so it helped to stabilize the naira. Interest rates are not set by the CBN governor but by the MPC committee composed of independent-minded people. These are people not given to emotion but to data. The MPC clarified that the major issue is taming inflation, and they would do what is necessary to tame it,” Cardoso said.

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