Nigeria’s foreign exchange reserves fell below $40 billion for the first time in 23 months, as the country’s crude oil earnings remain under pressure in the international market, while the monetary regulator sustains its currency defence efforts. While the yields on fixed-income securities have relatively been pressured in recent times, the monetary authorities may need to tweak the rates to attract foreign investors, to shore up the depleted reserves. The falling reserves, at $39.8 billion, fell by about $7 billion in the 23-month period, after rising to about $47 billion, but now raising concerns with uncertainty around the crude oil price – Nigeria’s major foreign exchange earner, and may soon cause panic demand by investors, causing a renewed exchange rate pressure.

Investment inflows into Nigeria declined by $460 million from $5.82 billion in the second quarter of 2019 to $5.36 billion in the third quarter, the National Bureau of Statistics said Monday. The Q3 inflow represents a decrease of 7.78 percent when compared to the Q2 figure. The report said the largest amount of capital importation was received through portfolio investment, which accounted for $2.99 billion representing 55.88 percent of total capital importation. This is followed by Other Investments, which accounted for $2.16 billion or 40.39 percent of total capital, while Foreign Direct Investment accounted for $200.08 million or 3.73 percent of total capital imported in the third quarter of this year. Payments group, Visa, said it was paying $200 million for a 20 percent stake in Nigerian company, Interswitch, ahead of a potential London IPO next year. The deal will see Visa becoming a cornerstone investor in the Nigerian-headquartered company ahead of a prospective initial public offering in London during the first half of 2020.

The prices of rice and other foodstuff in Nigeria have risen by more than 29.41 percent since July Research by The Punch has shown. At the moment, the price of foreign parboiled rice has gone up to between ₦22,000 and ₦30,000, while the price of locally sourced rice has also gone up. The prices vary according to the markets and types. Local rice at Bodija market in Ibadan, Oyo State, sells for ₦20,000 per 50kg bag and ₦16,000/50kg in Minna in Niger State. It sells for ₦20,000/50kg bag in Garko Market, Kano, ₦18,000/50kg ₦11,000/50kg, ₦19,000/50kg and ₦23,000/50kg bag in Lapal, Niger State; Gboko, Benue State; Maitagari, Jigawa State and Ughelli, Delta State, respectively. In Umuahia Main Market, Abia State, Nigerian rice sells for ₦22,000. The popular Ofada rice, consumed for its rich nutritional value and great flavour, sells for ₦28,000 per 50kg bag and between ₦2,800 and ₦3,500 per 5kg bag. This is totally different from the prices of the food in July, according to data from Nigerian agriculture produce portals. Imported rice was ₦17,000 in July; local rice was sold for between ₦11,000 and ₦15,000 for a 50kg bag. Other staples such as noodles, chicken, and mackerel (ice fish) have also witnessed price increases. Mackerel, for instance, has increased from between ₦950 and ₦1,000 per kilo to ₦1,200/kilo. The price of noodles has moved from between ₦1,800 and ₦1,950 per carton to ₦2,100.

President Buhari has shown a “stunning disregard for the rule of law and human rights, ignoring Nigerian judges on at least 40 occasions,” since assuming office in 2015, a legal adviser to Amnesty International, Kolawole Olaniyan, has said. Olaniyan made the claims in a piece titled, ‘Buhari is ignoring Nigerian judges – We must not let him get away with it’ as he also accused the President of treating judges with disdain. He went further to question the sincerity of Buhari’s anti-corruption fight, asserting that Buhari has never obeyed the courts anytime it told him to do something it doesn’t like. Attorney General of the Federation, Abukabar Malami had once said the rule of law is what the authorities determine it to be, Olaniyan said. He said that Buhari’s government always has explanations on why it should not obey lawful court orders, seemingly replacing binding legal decisions with the vagaries of politics, and obeying the decisions whenever they suit it. The public now has the perception that the government will only obey court orders if it gets what it wants. Yet, it should never be right for the government to obey the court as a matter of grace. Olaniyan advised that Buhari has to obey the courts as a matter of necessity. “If Nigeria is ever going to comply with its international human rights obligations and commitments, the government has to begin to show respect for Nigerian judges,” he said.