Annual inflation in Nigeria rose for the 11th straight month in July, the statistics office said on Monday, as the novel coronavirus pandemic took its toll on imports and logistics. Inflation climbed to 12.82%, its highest level in more than two years, from 12.56% in June, the National Bureau of Statistics said. Yields on Treasury bills and bonds have now fallen below inflation, a major stumbling block for the central bank’s push to attract foreign inflows to support the naira and boost the economy. A separate index for food, which accounts for the bulk of the inflation basket, showed a price increase of 15.48% from 15.18% in June. Food inflation has been in double digits for more than three years. The bureau said the rise in the food index was caused by increases in prices of bread and cereals, potatoes, yam, and other tubers, meat, fruits, oils and fats, and fish as the highest increases in the core inflation index were recorded in prices of medical services, passenger transport by air, pharmaceutical products, hospital services, passenger transport by road, maintenance and repair of personal transport equipment, paramedical services, and vehicle spare parts. On a month-on-month basis, Adamawa was the only state in the country that saw a general decrease in food prices while food inflation was highest in Zamfara (3.40%), Kogi (3.32%) and Yobe (3.00%) and lowest in Niger and Ogun, (0.44%) and Lagos (0.41%).
Nigeria expects to spend a record ₦12.65 trillion ($33.20 billion) in 2021 despite severe revenue constraints, according to an outlook released by the Finance Ministry on Monday. The spending by Africa’s largest economy, still reeling from low oil prices and the new coronavirus pandemic, is a 17.2% jump from the record ₦10.8 trillion budgeted this year. Spending, according to the document, would focus on completing as many ongoing projects as possible, and that no new works would be allowed unless there were adequate resources to complete ongoing projects. Projected debt servicing payments would take up ₦3.1 trillion of the spending, or just under 25% as revenue in the year are expected to reach ₦7.5 trillion in 2021, implying a higher deficit.
The Bayelsa state governorship election tribunal sitting in Abuja has annulled the election of Duoye Diri as Bayelsa governor. The candidate of the Advanced Nigeria Democratic Party, Lucky King-George had asked the tribunal to cancel the election because he was excluded from the November 16, 2019 governorship poll. The Independent National Electoral Commission had explained to the court that it excluded ANDP from the elections because David Esinkuma, 34-years old, the party’s initial deputy governorship candidate, did not meet the age requirement of 35 years to contest in elections. However, the ANDP had submitted that Esinkuma was duly substituted within the allowed time frame, following his disqualification. A three-man panel of the tribunal had dismissed three petitions challenging the election on the grounds of incompetence and lacking merit. While delivering judgement on yet another petition on Monday, the panel held that the election was unlawful due to the exclusion of ANDP and its candidate. Yunusa Musa, the judge who read the judgement, ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission to conduct a fresh election in Bayelsa within 90 days. Diri, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, was sworn in as governor after the Supreme Court sacked David Lyon as governor-elect 24 hours before his inauguration. The apex court based its rulings on the premise that Biobarakuma Degi-Eremieoyo, running mate of the candidate of the All Progressive Congress, presented forged certificates to the Independent National Electoral Commission. Diri said Monday that he will appeal the ruling of the petition tribunal.
The Nigerian government has announced the resumption of international flights from 29 August 2020. The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, announced the new dates for resumption of flights on his Twitter handle after the bi-weekly Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 briefing Monday. The minister said the airports will open in batches beginning with Lagos and Abuja. President Muhammad Buhari had in March ordered the suspension of international flights to curb the influx of imported cases of the virus in the country. While local flights were also suspended, they have resumed for about a month as the country continues to tackle COVID-19. Nigeria has recorded over 40,000 COVID-19 cases with less than a thousand deaths so far.