The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) raised its benchmark interest rate on Tuesday for the fifth straight time. After the first two-day Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting of the year in Abuja, seven out of 12 members voted to raise the benchmark Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) by 100 basis points to 17.5 percent. The rate hike decision followed the slowdown in the country’s inflation rate to 21.34 percent in December from 21.47 percent in November, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. All the members unanimously voted to retain other parameters. Consequently, the CBN retained the asymmetric corridor of +100/-700 basis points around the MPR, the cash reserve ratio at 32.5 percent, and the liquidity ratio at 30 per cent. Emefiele, who addressed journalists after the meeting, said although the MPC was delighted that inflation moderated year-on-year in December, it was not convinced that a marginal 13-basis-point drop in inflation was enough to celebrate. “The committee, therefore, was of the opinion that a hold or loosen option was desirable.”

The House of Representatives has passed for second reading a bill seeking to criminalise abuse of the Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA) 2007, especially concerning borrowing and public debt. The bill particularly proposes a three-year jail term and a ₦500 million fine for a public official who breaches the provisions of Section 41 of the FRA. The bill’s sponsor, Sergius Ogun, while leading the debate on the bill at the second reading on Tuesday, noted that the proposal was to amend the FRA to make provision for specific sanctions within the Act, for failure to comply with its provisions. The bill is seeking to amend Section 41(3) to increase the sanctions mechanism. Ogun stated that the bill, when passed into law, would “address the lacuna in the Act, obviate impunity and serve as a mechanism for making government officials accountable.”

The African Development Bank said Ghana’s economy expanded by 3.6 percent in 2022, from 5.4 percent in 2021. This was slightly lower than the 3.7 percent forecast by the government and the World Bank’s 3.8 per cent. In its latest 2023 Macroeconomic Performance and Outlook Report, it said growth was weighed down by deep macroeconomic imbalances, higher inflation, depreciating local currency, and high public debt estimated at 91 per cent of Gross Domestic Product. The top African growth performers in 2022 were Seychelles (8.3 percent), Rwanda (6.9 percent) and Kenya (5.5 percent). Growth in oil-exporting countries declined marginally, with average growth reaching an estimated 4.0 percent in 2022, from 4.2 percent in 2021, largely reflecting Libya’s sharp decline and Nigeria’s weaker growth.

At least 23 civilians have been killed in an attack attributed to the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) in a village in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s east, local sources said. “Twenty-four people, including six women, were killed in this incursion of the ADF” in the village of Makugwe, in the territory of Beni in North Kivu, said Roger Wangeve, the president of the local civil society. While in the village, the provincial deputy Saidi Balikwisha mentioned a toll of “23 people killed.” He called for an increase in the number of “well-equipped military personnel” in the hope of being able to “anticipate enemy attacks.” According to Roger Wangeve, the victims included 17 people who were “in a small bar where they were drinking beer. The ADF “executed them all,” he said. At least seven residential houses were burned, three drugstores and 11 stores looted, while the number of “civilians taken into the bush is not yet known,” added Mr Wangeve. Speaking to the AFP, Colonel Charles Omeonga, the administrator of Beni territory, said the armed forces were “in pursuit of the enemy” who, according to him, had “hidden in the population.”