The hike in food prices and consumption across the country further increased inflation in Nigeria to 14.23 percent in October 2020. Figures released by the National Bureau of Statistics on Monday showed that the country’s inflation increased again in October, moving up by 0.52 percent compared to the preceding month. The bureau said, “The Consumer Price Index, which measures inflation increased by 14.23 per cent (year-on-year) in October 2020. “This is 0.52 percent points higher than the rate recorded in September 2020 (13.71 per cent).” It was observed that increases were recorded in all Classification of Individual Consumption by Purpose divisions that yielded the headline index. On a month-on-month basis, the headline index increased by 1.54 percent in October 2020, representing 0.06 percent rate higher than the rate recorded in September 2020 (1.48 percent). The urban inflation rate increased by 14.81 percent (year-on-year) in October 2020 from 14.31 percent recorded in September 2020. The rural inflation rate, on the other hand, increased by 13.68 percent in October 2020 from 13.14 percent in September 2020.

The leadership of the House of Representatives, on Monday, met with the heads of security agencies in the country behind closed doors over the recent nationwide #EndSARS protests against police brutality and human rights abuses. The House had on 20 October 2020, considered and adopted a motion on #EndSARS, calling on President Muhammadu Buhari, to “issue an Executive Order to address some of the broader issues on police brutality.” The lawmakers had also resolved to set up an ad hoc committee to be chaired by the Deputy Speaker, Ahmed Wase, the membership of which should comprise the Majority Leader, Alhassan Ado-Doguwa; the Minority Leader, Ndudi Elumelu, and three members each from the Committees on Defence, Police Affairs, Army, Air Force, Navy, Interior, National Security and Intelligence, and Human Rights. Heads of security agencies physically present at the meeting include the Comptroller-General of NCS, Ja’afaru Ahmed; Comptroller-General of NSCDC, Abdullahi Mohammed; Director-General, Department of State Services, Yusuf Bichi; Comptroller General of NIS, Mohammed Babandede.

The FG plans to start a fund that will operate a bridge bank to nurse struggling lenders back to health. The central bank will inject ₦10 billion ($26 million), or an amount that still needs to be determined by its board, into the so-called resolution fund every year, according to amended banking laws signed by President Muhammadu Buhari. Each lender will make annual contributions equivalent to 10 basis points of their total assets, or a percentage that the Abuja-based regulator still has to finalise. The new rule is separate to the Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (Amcon), which was created to buy bad debts following a banking crisis in 2009, according to the amended laws. Amcon is expected to wind down by 2023. While Nigeria’s biggest lenders have built strong buffers since the global financial crisis, some small- and medium-sized banks have struggled to ward off shocks arising from a 2016 economic contraction and the coronavirus pandemic. In 2018, Skye Bank collapsed and the central bank established Polaris Bank, a bridge bank to take over its assets and liabilities.

Zambia’s Finance Minister Bwalya Ng’andu said creditors were at least partly to blame for the country defaulting on one of its Eurobonds last week, while a group of bondholders said the missed payment risked setting a more adversarial backdrop for debt negotiations. The southern African country became the continent’s first pandemic-era sovereign default after holders of the debt refused to grant it a six-month interest-payment freeze on Friday. The bondholders demanded more information on Zambia’s debts to Chinese lenders, but wouldn’t sign the necessary confidentiality agreements, Ng’andu said in an interview broadcast by state television. Zambia missed a $42.5 million interest payment on $1 billion of Eurobonds maturing in 2024. The default was unavoidable because the country, which had received some debt relief from China Development Bank, had to treat all creditors equally and had already built up arrears on other loans, Ng’andu said. The Export-Import Bank of China told the country it would suspend payments of all interest and principal on sovereign loans amounting to $110 million due between May 1 and Dec. 31. The 2024 notes fell 1.7% to 45.1 cents on the dollar and the non-payment has triggered cross-default provisions in all the outstanding dollar bonds. The bondholders’ committee, whose 15 members in aggregate represent more than 40% of Zambia’s $3 billion in outstanding Eurobonds, said on Monday investors had been unable to consent to a debt standstill because they never received the information they needed for an informed decision. That includes details on Zambia’s “policy trajectory” and fiscal framework and transparency on how the government intends to deal with other creditors. There had been no direct discussions between bondholders and the authorities to date, the group said in an emailed statement.