Tuesday, July 9, 2024

Nigeria suspends tax on imported brown rice, corn, and other food

Nigeria plans to suspend taxes on certain food imports including wheat and maize for 150-days, and recommend a retail price to try to bring under control rising prices in Africa's most populous nation, its agricultural minister said on Monday.

The move is part of the government's policy to curb food inflation, which has climbed to over 40% year-on-year, and spur growth which has been fragile for almost a decade.

President Bola Tinubu has asked his economic management team to prepare a 2 trillion naira ($1.33 billion) stimulus plan to address concerns about food supplies and pricing and bolster key sectors, the finance minister said last week.

"To ameliorate food inflation in the country caused by affordability and exacerbated by availability, the government has taken a raft of measures to be implemented over the next 180 days," Agricultural Minister Abubakar Kyari said in a statement posted on X.

He said that the government would import 250,000 metric tons of wheat and 250,000 metric tons of maize in addition to imports by the private sector. The commodities will be imported in their semi-processed state and target supplies to small-scale processors and millers.

Food inflation has soared in the West African nation with insecurity in parts of the country's food producing regions and poor road network linking farms to markets.

Soaring costs of food staples have deepened the cost of living crisis and added to double-digit inflation which is stuck at nearly 30-year high.

Kyari said the tax waiver would cover food commodities imported through the country's land and sea borders. 

By Macdonald Dzirutwe, Reuters

Related story: Video - What's the root cause of the economic crisis in Nigeria?



Friday, July 5, 2024

Nigeria's Kemi Badenoch retains seat despite Conservative's catastrophic night

British-Nigerian Kemi Badenoch retained her seat in North West Essex despite Conservative Party’s catastrophic night in UK’s general election.

Badenoch was the Secretary of State for Business and Trade in Rishi Sunak’s cabinet that has now been sacked by the Labour Party.

She won the North West Essex seat after a tight race.
Badenoch received 19,360 votes – 35.6 per cent of the overall votes, which is a decrease of 26.1 per cent from her previous majority.

Labour candidate Issy Waite received 16,750 votes, while Reform UK’s Grant StClair-Armstrong received 7,668 votes, despite resigning from his party after it was discovered he had previously encouraged people to vote for the far-right British National Party (BNP).

According to Salffron Walden Reporters, Liberal Democrat Smita Rajesh received 6,055 votes and Green candidate Edward Gildea received 2,846 votes.

Independent candidate Andrew David Green received 852 votes, fellow independent Erik Bonino received 699 votes and independent candidate Niko Omilana received 156.

There was a 68 per cent voter turnout in the constituency, which was previously named Saffron Walden.

Kemi Badenoch has served as the MP for Saffron Walden since 2017.

Badenoch, born on 2 January 1980 in Wimbledon, London is one of three children born to Nigerian Yoruba parents.

Her father, Femi Adegoke, was a GP and her mother, Feyi Adegoke, was a professor of physiology. She has a brother and a sister.

Badenoch spent her childhood living in Lagos, Nigeria and in the United States, where her mother lectured. She returned to the UK at the age of 16 to live with a friend of her mother’s owing to the deteriorating political and economic situation in Nigeria which had affected her family.

Although a British citizen and born in the UK, during her parliamentary maiden speech Badenoch stated that she was “to all intents and purposes a first-generation immigrant.”

Related story: Nigerian Kemi Badenoch launches bid for UK’s PM

Nigeria beats Ghana, South Africa to host $5bn African Energy Bank

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Oil), Heineken Lokpobiri, disclosed this while speaking to journalists after a virtual meeting of the council of ministers of the African Petroleum Producers Organisation (APPO) on Thursday.

Nigeria emerged as the preferred host nation amidst stiff competition from Ghana, Benin, Algeria, South Africa, and Côte d'Ivoire.

What the minister said:

“As the Minister for Petroleum Resources (Oil), I am incredibly proud of this achievement. The African Energy Bank will be a cornerstone for financing and advancing energy projects across Africa, promoting innovation, sustainability, and economic growth,"

“The African Energy Bank will be a cornerstone for financing and advancing energy projects across Africa, promoting innovation, sustainability, and economic growth,"

He stressed that the development is a remarkable victory for Nigeria and the entire African continent.

"It symbolizes our collective efforts to harness and develop our rich energy resources for a brighter, more sustainable future. Thank you to everyone who made this possible. Together, we are shaping the future of energy in Africa, starting right here in Nigeria,” he said.

Lokpobiri also noted that the bank’s share capital, set at $5 billion, is expected to be subscribed over three years, with an initial capital of $1.5 billion reserved for APPO member countries.

Presently, APPO has a total of 18 members across Africa, all of which are either oil or gas-producing nations, or both.

AfreximBank has been supporting APPO in establishing the bank and has approved an investment of $1.75 billion for this purpose.

The lender stated it had partnered with over 700 banks across Africa and its partners to chart a profitable pathway for the African energy sector.

By Adekunle Agbetiloye, Business Insider Africa

Shell Nigeria sale must be free of conflict of interests

Reacting to the hiring by the Nigerian oil regulator of the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and S&P Global to help scrutinize the sale of Shell’s onshore assets in the country, Isa Sanusi, Amnesty International Nigeria Director, said:

“The government regulator overseeing Shell’s sale of its onshore assets in Nigeria must avoid any perceived conflict of interests by ensuring and guaranteeing the full independence of any consultants it uses to review Shell’s proposed sale of its assets in Nigeria.

“The decision by the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission to hire BCG, which already performs a wide variety of other work for Shell, to help assess this sale is concerning. It is similarly worrying that S&P Global, which also plays a key role in rating Shell’s debt and creditworthiness as well as providing other services to the oil company, is also involved.

“Given the enormous human rights risks at stake it is essential that reviews of the sale are not just independent – but seen to be independent. Shell must be held fully to account for the oil spills related to the business it is selling, which for decades have polluted the environment, contaminated drinking water and poisoned agricultural land, fisheries and people.

“Any assurances from these consultancy groups that their reviews will be divorced from their wider commercial interests with Shell are unlikely to allay worries that they could soft pedal on the remedies required to address the human rights abuses related to Shell’s activities.

“It is also essential that the potential buyers of the business have the ability and financial stability to manage the operations safely and effectively to ensure local communities are not exposed to further harms. The deal should not be allowed to proceed unless a series of safeguards are in place that fully protect people’s rights.”


Shell announced in January that it had agreed to sell the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC) to the Renaissance consortium, which comprises four exploration and production companies based in Nigeria and an international energy group, in a deal worth up to US$2.4 billion, financed partly with a loan to the buyers from Shell.

Amnesty International

Related story: Advocacy Groups Call for Halt to Shell's Planned Exit from Nigeria

Thursday, July 4, 2024

Advertising spending in Nigeria surged to 400 million U.S. dollars in 2023

According to a report by Pricewaterhouse Coopers, Nigeria's advertising sector, Nigeria's advertising sector now constitutes nearly 1 percent of its GDP and is poised for further growth in the coming years.