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Increase in Price of Food is Imminent; Farmers Association Warns

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Agriculture - Investors King

Farmers under the aegis of the Smallholder Women Farmers Organisation in Nigeria (SWOFON) have joined a growing list of associations and experts who have warned of food scarcity in Nigeria.

SWOFON noted during an event in Abuja that Nigerians will likely spend more on food if the federal government failed to address the challenges faced by farmers due to flooding. 

Investors King had reported that a series of ravaging floods destroyed several houses and farmlands across the country. 

According to the National President of SWOFON, Mary Afan, if relevant government agencies failed to give financial aid to farmers and improve security around the country, it could lead to high cost of food which might result in increased hunger for the vulnerable Nigerians. 

“The implication of this massive flooding is that the prices of food will rise higher owing to its unavailability. 

“This will deal a great blow to the over 90 million Nigerians currently leaving below the poverty line and the over 21 million Nigerians currently experiencing acute hunger,” the president noted. 

She noted that small farmers who are women have lost many of their farmlands due to the ravaging floods. She added that members of the association are also short of seeds to plant during the next farming season. 

“While some farmers are gradually returning to their homes as the water recedes to pick up whatever is left of the destruction, others cannot go back home or to their farms. Some have lost the courage to start all over and others have totally lost hope,” she lamented. 

Also speaking at the event, the Director-General of the Budget Office of the Federation, Prof Ben Akabueze admonished the association to seek federal government intervention through the national assembly. 

It could be recalled that the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq had disclosed that about 123,000 farmlands were partially destroyed while about 392,000 farmlands were totally destroyed due to the devastating floods. 

Economy

Nigeria’s GDP Grows by 3.46% in Q4 2023, Driven by Services

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Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by 3.46% in the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2023 on the back of robust performance of the services sector, according to data released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

The GDP expansion though slightly lower than the 3.52% recorded in the same period of 2022, reflects a positive trajectory for the Nigerian economy amid ongoing challenges.

The growth rate surpassed the 2.54% recorded in the preceding quarter, indicating a rebound in economic activity.

The services sector emerged as the key driver of growth expanding by 3.98% and contributing 56.55% to the overall GDP.

This sector’s resilience underscores its pivotal role in Nigeria’s economic landscape, encompassing diverse industries such as telecommunications, finance, and real estate.

Also, the agriculture sector experienced growth, expanding by 2.10% compared to the same period in 2022.

Meanwhile, the industry sector recorded a notable improvement, growing by 3.86%, a stark contrast to the -0.94% contraction observed in the fourth quarter of 2022.

On an annual basis, Nigeria’s GDP expanded by 2.74% in 2023 compared to 3.10% in the previous year, reflecting sustained but moderated growth.

The positive trajectory in GDP growth reflects resilience in the face of various economic challenges.

However, sustaining and accelerating growth will require continued efforts to address structural bottlenecks, foster investment, and promote inclusive economic policies across sectors.

Nigeria’s Oil Sector Growth

During the fourth quarter of 2023, Nigeria’s oil sector posted a real growth rate of 12.11% year-on-year, signifying a significant improvement from previous periods.

This was driven by the surge in average daily oil production to 1.55 million barrels per day (mbpd), a positive shift in the sector’s performance.

Despite challenges such as global market fluctuations and production constraints, the oil sector contributed 4.70% to the nation’s total real GDP in Q4 2023.

Nigeria’s Non-Oil Sector

Nigeria’s non-oil sector sustained growth momentum, posting a 3.07% real growth rate in Q4 2023.

This growth was primarily attributed to key industries including finance, telecommunications, agriculture, manufacturing, and construction.

Accounting for 95.30% of the nation’s GDP in the same quarter, the non-oil sector continues to drive economic diversification efforts and reduce dependence on oil revenues.

Despite facing challenges, such as infrastructure deficits and regulatory bottlenecks, the sector’s resilience underscores its pivotal role in fostering sustainable economic development and inclusive growth agendas.

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Economy

Senate Rejects Ministry of Power’s Proposed Electricity Tariff Hikes

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The Nigerian Senate has firmly opposed the Ministry of Power’s proposed electricity tariff hikes, emphasizing the need to alleviate the burden on citizens amidst prevailing economic hardships.

The rejection comes as a response to the Ministry’s consideration of increasing electricity tariffs and removing subsidies in the face of escalating economic challenges across the nation.

During a recent plenary session, Senator Aminu Abbas moved a motion urging the Senate to retain electricity subsidies to mitigate the impact of rising living costs on Nigerians.

The motion garnered unanimous support, with senators expressing concerns over the implications of tariff hikes on an already financially strained populace.

The Senate’s resolution also directed the Committee on Power to conduct a comprehensive investigation into the N2 trillion required for electricity subsidy payments, outstanding debts within the sector, and the state of metering nationwide.

This decision reflects the Senate’s commitment to ensuring transparency and accountability in the power sector’s financial management.

The rejection underscores the Senate’s stance against policies that could exacerbate the financial burdens faced by Nigerian citizens.

The move aligns with the Senate’s broader efforts to prioritize the welfare of the populace and advocate for measures that promote economic stability and affordability.

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Economy

Nigerian Oil Transporters End Two-Day Operation Suspension After Government Intervention

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Petrol - Investors King

After a two-day suspension of operations by the Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO), oil transporters have resumed operations following government intervention.

The suspension had caused fuel queues in many states and the Federal Capital Territory, raising concerns among motorists.

The resolution came after talks mediated by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Oil), Heineken Lokpobiri, in Abuja.

Representatives from NARTO, government officials, and stakeholders from the downstream oil sector were present at the meeting.

The agreement reached includes an adjustment in the freight rate for petroleum transporters and a commitment to address other concerns raised by NARTO members.

The decision to resume operations aims to alleviate the challenges faced by Nigerians in accessing petroleum products.

Yusuf Othman, the President of NARTO, confirmed the end of the suspension, urging members to return to work.

The association had initially suspended operations due to the high operational costs, particularly the escalating price of diesel needed to power their trucks for product transportation across the nation.

With operations now back on track, it is hoped that the resumption will help stabilize fuel distribution and prevent further scarcity, ensuring smoother access to petroleum products for consumers across Nigeria.

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