…Warns of sustained inflationary pressure over border closure
By Naomi Uzor
At the backdrop of the recent Gross Domestic Products, GDP, reading of 2.3 percent for the third quarter 2019, The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, LCCI, yesterday, said Nigeria’s economy is not growing fast enough to create opportunities for its population, which is growing at 2.6 percent.
Disclosing this at the 131th Annual General Meeting of the Chamber, the president, Mr. Paul Ruwase, said that the pace of the country’s economic growth calls for concern given its attendant impact on poverty and unemployment.
He also stated that inflation would most likely trend higher in the coming months with continued shut down of the land borders, implementation of new minimum wage and proposed hike in Value Added tax (VAT) rate among others.
“Headline inflation averaged 11.25 per cent between January and September 2019 above Central Bank of Nigeria’s preferred six percent to nine percent target and the 9.8 percent target in the 2019 budget.
“Inflation will most likely trend higher in coming months considering continued shut down of the land borders, implementation of new minimum wage, proposed hike in VAT rate, festive-related consumer spending and recent flooding incidences which may affect harvesting of food crops. Increasing inflation may further worsen the poverty status of many and this calls for concerns,” he added.
Commenting on the external sector performance, he stated: “The Naira has been relatively stable against the US dollar across different market windows. This was largely driven by sustained intervention of the CBN in the currency market.
“We believe the CBN’s continued injection of liquidity into the foreign exchange market to ensure stability of the Naira is not sustainable, as a potential crash in global oil prices may weaken the CBN’s ability to defend the Naira.
“Also, the multiplicity of exchange rate windows continues to promote arbitrage and deters foreign investment.”