Nigeria’s headline inflation rose to 16.47 percent in January 2021, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Tuesday. Buoyed by galloping food prices, food inflation also rose to 20.57% in January, from 19.56% in December. Inflation soared at 15.75% in December, its highest level in 32 months, with the 0.86% month-on-month increase marking the 16th consecutive monthly inflationary rise. Earlier in November, it touched 14.89%. The new increase signals that there is a long way towards recovery for Africa’s largest economy, which slipped into its second recession in four years and the worst in nearly four decades in the third quarter of 2020. There will also be sustained inflationary pressures on consumers’ purchasing power. Nigeria announced a shutdown of its porous land borders with neighbouring countries in October 2019, in a move seeking to spur local production of food as well as curb smuggling and sundry cross-border corruption. The move however contributed to accelerated food prices, analysts said. The FG reopened parts of the land borders last year to ease food inflation rate, but the move hasn’t had much effect. According to the NBS, core Inflation rose to 11.85% in January 2021, from 11.37% in December.

President Muhammadu Buhari has asked the Senate to confirm Abdulrasheed Bawa as substantive chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). Presidential spokesman Femi Adesina said this in a statement on Tuesday. He said the President conveyed his request in a letter to Senate President Ahmad Lawan. Mr Bawa, who is 40 years old, is one of the pioneer EFCC cadet officers from 2005. He is currently the Lagos zonal head of the anti-graft agency. He will be taking over from Mohammed Umar who has been in acting capacity since July 2020 after the suspension of Ibrahim Magu over corruption allegations. He holds a first degree in economics and a master’s degree in international affairs and diplomacy.

The National Chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC), Mahmood Yakubu, on Tuesday, said that as of 15 February, the commission had received 9,777 requests from across the country for the establishment of additional polling units. He observed that the requests, which were 5,700 as of October, 2020 had surged by over 4,000 in just four months. Mr Yakubu made the disclosure when he visited the offices of the Arewa Consultative Forum office, in Kaduna, for consultation on creating additional polling units in the country. The INEC chairman said the purpose of the visit was to meet with the ACF to brief it of the commission’s policy of expanding access to polling units in the country, adding that the issue of inadequate polling units was a national problem. “We have had 119,973 polling units since 1996, but the number hasn’t changed as it was projected in 1996 to accommodate 50 million registered voters. “In 1999, the country had 84 million registered voters and the number of polling units still remained the same,” he said. He noted that as a result, ”there was a lot of congestion and this had not given voters a pleasant voting experience on election day”.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has issued fresh guidelines on the management and payment of diaspora remittances to recipients, mandating the international money transfer operator (IMTO) to ensure that transfer funds are deposited in “the agent bank’s correspondent account”. The bank, in the circular issued Monday, also authorised the recipients to decide how they would be paid. “The mode of payment either in cash or transfer is at the sole discretion of the beneficiaries/recipients,” said the circular signed by Director, Trade and Exchange Department, Dr. Ozoemena Nnaji. The regulator also said the commercial banks, as against IMTOs, would henceforth take responsibility for payment of remittances to beneficiaries/recipients. “Agent banks (Deposit Money Banks) in Nigeria will be responsible for final payment to beneficiaries/recipients either in foreign currency cash (USD) or into the beneficiaries’/recipients’ domiciliary account in Nigeria,” the CBN statement read in part.