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Education takes largest share as Mbah presents N521bn 2024 budget to Enugu assembly

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Enugu Governor, Dr Peter Mbah

Gov. Peter Mbah of Enugu State has earmarked an ambitious 33 per cent in 2024 budgetary allocation, which amounts to N134.5 billion, to the education sector of the state.

It is recorded that Enugu State under Gov. Mbah is the first state in Nigeria to allocate such a bogus percentage and amount to education; thus, surpassing the United Nation’s recommended 25 per cent threshold for education.

Mbah declared this on Tuesday while presenting the proposed 2024 Budget Allocation tagged: “Budget of Disruptive Economic Growth” to the Enugu State House of Assembly for consideration.

The governor presented a gigantic N521.5 billion for 2024 budget for the state, adding that it was an ambitious and highest budgetary allocation in the state’s history meant to expand the economy of the state.

According to him, in the total estimate, Enugu State proposes N107.2 billion is for recurrent expenditure and N414.3 billion capital expenditure for the fiscal year of 2024.

He said: “We have taken the view that one of the surest ways of ensuring sustainable eradication of poverty is through the aggressive enhancement of our education and public health systems.

“After all, we know that education correlates all over the globe with economic advancement and prosperity, while health on the other hand, is critical for the optimisation of the human resources of any nation or sub- national entity.”

The governor further said that in line with the government’s commitment to reinvent the education system in the state “we are constructing 260 Smart Model Basic Schools across the 260 Wards in the State which will rank amongst the best in the country.

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“The pilot Smart Model Basic School in Owo community in Nkanu East Local Government Area is now ready for commissioning and similar schools will be replicated in all the 260 Wards across the 17 LG Councils in the State.

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“We are also in the process of constructing 260 Type-2 Primary Health Centres across the 260 wards in the state to cater for the health needs of rural communities which are paramount in our health care agenda,” he said.

On security, Mbah said that no economic growth is possible without security, adding: “We have ensured the discontinuation of the ignoble Monday sit-at-home campaign.

“We have boosted the security framework within the State with the introduction of the Distress Response Squad, which has recorded several successes, effectively bringing the crime rate in Enugu State to a bare minimum.

“We are going further by commencing the installation of a CCTV surveillance network around the State. Work is at an advanced stage on this initiative,” he said.

The governor noted that reliance on allocations from Federal Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) had not served the state and “is unlikely” not to take the state to “the promised land’; adding that the state was pushing hard in maximising its Internal Generated Revenue (IGR).

“Consequently, this budget has a philosophy to maximise our IGR efforts, by improving efficiency of collections, enhancing efficacy of government services to the populace and evolving creative new IGR sources particularly by optimising our natural resources e.g. improved oversight and regulation of mining activities and landed assets.

“All these are in our vision to make Enugu one of the top three states in Nigeria in terms of Gross Domestic Product and achieve a zero percent rate in the poverty headcount index.

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“We also intend to grow our GDP from the current $4.4b to $30b before 2031,” he noted.

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Mbah said that his administration within a few months had achieved the following: launched the ultra modern water scheme at Ninth mile which has a daily production capacity of 70 million cubic meters (70,000,000m3) of clean water, combined with the production of 50 million cubic litres from Oji River.

This, he said, had capacity to give out a total daily volume of 120 million cubic meters a day as against less than 2,000,000m3 we meet on resumption of office.

He said: “This achievement disrupts over two decades water scarcity in Enugu urban, and also fulfils our promise to Ndi Enugu to provide Enugu urban residents with water within 180 days.

“We have awarded contracts for the construction and rehabilitation work on the over 81 roads including several urban roads as well as some priority non-urban roads.

“Dualization of Enugu Airport flyover, to Eke Obinagu and Ebonyi border approximately 22km and also construction of Owo-Ubahu-Ama Nkanu-Neke-ikem road of approximately 45km. As you may be aware, work on these roads has since commenced.”

The governor said that his administration had expanded the National Cash Transfer Register of the Federal Government from 43,000 to260,000 beneficiaries, adding that the expansion was to accommodate more poor and vulnerable residents in the state in line with the vision to eradicate poverty.

He said: “We have commenced the accumulation of 300,000 hectares of land for our land bank, which will be made available to corporate farmers for massive cultivation of agro produce.

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“In line with this, one partner firm is already planting cassava under the pilot scheme of Cassava to Ethanol Programme in Aninri, Nkanu East, and Uzo Uwani LGAs.

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“Related to this we are advancing conversations with key development agencies for the development of Special Agro Processing Zones (SAPZs) in the three senatorial areas of the State.

“We also held the Enugu State Investment Roundtable which attracted the best of the private sector as well as development partners such as AfDB, AFREXIM, FCDO, the World Bank, etc; thus, signalling our government’s zeal to transform Enugu State into private sector driven economy,” he added.

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More pressures on pockets as food inflation rises to 40%

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More pressures on pockets as food inflation rises to 40%

•High electricity tariff to drive further rise — Analysts

•It’s bad for businesses – NACCIMA •Small businesses to lose capital base— ASBON

At the backdrop of sustained rise in prices of staple food items in the market, Nigeria has recorded an unprecedented food inflation rate of 40 percent in March 2024.

Economists and financial analysts explained that the development would put more pressure on the purchasing power of average Nigerian and they also predict that the trend will continue for some months before stabilising.

The food inflation drove the headline inflation rate to 33.2 percent, up from 31.7 percent recorded in the month of February.

The figures released yesterday by National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, in its Consumer Price Index, CPI, report for March 2024, represented a 2.09 and 1.5 percentage percentage points increases month-on-month.

But the analysts see a wider headline inflationary rise in this month to 34.6 percent, representing a 2.4 percentage month-on-month rise resulting from the recent hike in electricity tariff.

Electricity tariff hike to drive further inflation – CardinalStone

Analysts at CardinalStone Finance Limited, a Lagos based investment house, indicated that further inflationary upswing should be expected following the recent drastic hike in electricity tariff.

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They stated: ‘’The inflation outlook is biased to the upside, a consequence of the recent implementation of a new electricity tariff. For context, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) have hiked price for Band A customer from N68 to N225 per kilowatt hour.

‘’Nevertheless, we see some downside risk from the recent currency sustainability. ‘’Overall, we project inflation to print 34.6% in April 2024.’’

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Further rise will be slower – Alpha Morgan

In the meantime, analysts at Alpha Morgan Capital said: “From our analysis, we project that inflation will further increase but at a continuously slower rate. We tie this prediction primarily to the recent monetary interventions by the Central Bank of Nigeria in mopping up excess liquidity, curbing volatile exchange rate movement through various aggressive currency interventions, government fiscal policies, such as agricultural interventions, among others.”

Devpt is bad for businesses – NACCIMA

Meanwhile, OPS said that the persistent rising inflation could sound the death knell for small businesses in the country, with consequential loss of jobs and worsened insecurity.

Commenting, Director General of the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines, and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Sola Obadimu, said: “Persistent rising inflation is bad for business as well as for individuals.

“It erodes income in value terms and purchasing power becomes weaker for both individuals and businesses. Inventories will continue to grow.

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“It is bad for planning purposes and breeds growing uncertainty. Cost of doing business continues to grow leading to higher cost of goods. It’s cyclical.

“Even when businesses or individuals tend to earn higher income, the value (in real terms) becomes lower.”

In his reaction, President of Association of Small Business Owners of Nigeria (ASBON), Dr Femi Egbesola, said the development will worsen survival of small businesses.

He stated: “The new and rising inflation rate, affecting largely food, essential commodities, raw materials, electricity and alternative power generation, transportation among others, will continue to worsen the survival and growth of SMEs.

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It will, no doubt, squeeze out the meager working capital of SMEs and make us more vulnerable to extinction.

“Not all costs can be passed to the consumers but even at that, certain costs will be passed onto them, and since they also have had their disposable income eroded by inflation, sales of goods and services of SMEs will drastically drop. For an average citizen, their standard of living and welfare will significantly drop too.

“More Nigerians will suffer from hunger, and lack of access to basic necessities and amenities, worse of it is health and medical needs.

“Overall, the implications of this on SMEs is that many more businesses will die off and become ailing, job losses will increase as many more businesses will lay off workers.

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“There will be an increase in bad loans as more SMEs will be unable to fulfill their loan obligations leading to decreased access to funding from banks that will be more averse to lending to SMEs particularly with the increased interest rate, now coupled with inflation.

“More insecurity will prevail in the land for many will look for alternative illegal ways of survival. More will migrate in the name of Japa.

“The extinction of more businesses will open doors for imported products to take their space which eventually will also stress the Naira exchange rate.”

In its CPI report NBS stated: “In March 2024, the headline inflation rate increased to 33.2 percent relative to the February 2024  headline inflation rate which was 31.7 percent .

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“On a YoY basis, the headline inflation rate was 11.16 percentage points higher compared to  the rate recorded in March 2023, which was 22.04 percent.

On food inflation the bureau said: “The food inflation rate in March 2024 was 40.01 percent on a year-on-year basis, which was 15.56 percentage points higher compared to the rate recorded in March 2023 (24.45 percent).

“The rise in Food inflation on a year-on-year basis was caused by increases in prices of the following items garri, millet, akpu uncooked fermented (which are under the bread and cereals class), yam tuber, water yam (under potatoes, yam, and other tubers class), dried fish sadine, mudfish dried (under Fish class), palm oil, vegetable oil (under Oil and Fat), beef feet, beef head, liver (under Meat class), coconut, water melon (under Fruit Class), Lipton tea, Bournvita, Milo (under coffee, tea and cocoa class).” (Vanguard)

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N20, N10, N5 rendered ‘irrelevant’ as inflation bites harder

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N20, N10, N5 rendered ‘irrelevant’ as inflation bites harder
Naira

Across major markets, prices of goods are moving away from the lower denomination of the Naira currencies as inflation bites harder.

Not too long ago, a sachet of pure water cost N5.

However, in the past couple of years, these notes have struggled to get items they could be attached to.

A market survey by DAILY POST showed that more than half of Nigeria’s legal tenders cannot make purchases.

Despite this, the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, recognizes the following denominations; 50 kobo, N1 and N2 which are coins, and N5, N10, N20 and N50 which are printed on polymer materials.

A sachet of pure water now sells for N30. Retailed sugar no longer sells for N10, while candies like Tom Tom are retailed at two pieces for N50. To further compound the woes of these notes, goods are now rounded up to 50 or 100, which further makes these currencies irrelevant.

In the past six months, the Naira has depreciated considerably. At one point, it was about N1,900 to a single dollar until the intervention by the CBN with the naira now trading at about N1050 to a dollar.

The implication of it is that N1000, which is Nigeria’s highest denomination, is less than a single dollar.

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Anyone with $1000 is a millionaire in naira based on the current exchange rate, and anyone with $1 has more than N1,000.

Despite the recent surge in the value of naira, prices of commodities have not shown any significant signs of climbing down.

Experts believe that Nigeria’s inflation is a product of many factors, with FX being one of the numerous factors.

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But despite this, the Nigerian government is still printing some of the lower denomination currencies at a huge cost.

According to reports, in 2016, CBN had to temporarily halt the printing of N5, 10, N20 and N50 due to the cost of production.

The report said it costs N1000 to print each lower denomination because Nigeria Security Printing and Minting plc (NSPM) is unable to print on polymer.

Now experts are calling on the CBN to discontinue the printing of the lower denominations and review the currencies in line with realities.

Abiodun Ayangbemi, an economist, emphasised that the CBN must discontinue the printing of the lower denomination because the majority of those currencies have failed the basic principles of money— means of exchange and store of value.

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“The monetary authorities cannot continue to print those denominations when there is basically nothing to use them for,” he said.

Lekan Olaleye, a monetary policy expert, asked the federal government to take a copy of the re-denomination policy adopted by Ghana some years back.

He argued that the CBN should remove two zeros from the existing notes.

It would be recalled that Ghana had in 2007, re-denominated the Cedis by striking out four zeros from their currency and producing the new Ghana Cedis.

A former CBN Governor, Sanusi Lamido had in 2012 announced a plan to introduce N5000 notes. In the same vein, there was also a plan to coin the lower bank notes of N5, N10 and N20.

However, the policy was met with a strong outcry from the public, who condemned the plan. Thus, the government shelved the plan.

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Years after the botched plan, prices of goods and services have spiked beyond the 2012 level. (Daily Post)

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We’re not aware of Ganduje’s suspension – Kano APC Chairman

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Ganduje, wife, son to be arraigned before Kano court April 17
APC National Chairman and former Governor of Kano State, Abdullahi Ganduje

The Ganduje ward executives of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in Kano State, have denied the reported suspension of APC National Chairman, Dr Abdullahi-Umar Ganduje.

The ward executives made the denial while briefing journalist at the APC State Secretariat, on Monday in Kano.

According to the ward Chairman, Malam Ahmad Ganduje, those purported to have announced the suspension were not members of the party.

He said they were solemnly behind the APC national chairman and have confidence in his style of leadership.

The ward chairman added that they had passed a vote of confidence on Ganduje, and urged all party members in the ward and across the state to remain calm and law abiding.

In his remarks, the APC Chairman, Dawakin Tofa Local Government Area, Alhaji Inusa Dawanau, said the party will take legal action against those the “impersonators”, who announced Ganduje’s suspension.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that, Malam Haladu Gwanjo, who claimed to be the Legal Adviser of APC in Ganduje Ward, had earlier announced the purported suspension of party’s national chairman.
Gwanjo, who cited alleged corruption and other vices as reasons for the suspension, said that the decision was taken by nine executive members of party in Ganduje ward.(NAN)

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