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World Economic Forum: Tinubu advocates collaboration, inclusiveness to address global challenges

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.As Senate proffers solutions to bad economy, Naira depreciation

 .Abia, Imo residents, retailers decry rising cost of foodstuffs

.Nursing mothers lament high cost of diapers


Ignatius Okorocha, Abuja



President Bola Tinubu says collaboration and inclusiveness are invaluable to achieving global food security, addressing collective challenges, and driving innovation across a chain of interests for a more stable and prosperous world.


Speaking during a high-level panel session at the World Economic Forum Special Meeting on Global Collaboration, Growth and Energy for Development in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on Sunday, President Tinubu said “collaboration and inclusiveness”, especially with regard to Africa, are elemental to building a future of hope, peace, and progress for all.


He said capital mobilization, which is needed to spur economic growth and associated advancements in Africa, cannot be overlooked any longer.




The President posited that the continent is richly endowed but that the diversity of its resources must reflect in its wherewithal and economic realities.




“The capital formation that is necessary to drive the economy, agriculture, ensure food security, innovation, and technological advancement must be an inclusive programme of the entire world. No one should be left behind.




“I am glad the world is recognizing the need for cooperation, and that with the type of population growth that Africa is experiencing; the diversity of its resources must be married with economic opportunity. We must collaborate to achieve that,” President Tinubu said.




The President called on global leaders to pay attention to the developments in the Sahel, emphasizing the need for a studied understanding of the vectors of the current situation, while suggesting collaboration in the pursuit of enduring solutions.




“We are encouraging the entire world to pay attention to the Sahel and the other countries around us. As the Chairman of ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, I have wielded the big influence of Nigeria to discourage all unconstitutional change of government. Equally, we have eased the sanctions. We need to trade with one another; not fight each other. It is very necessary and compulsory for us to engender growth, stability, and economic prosperity for our people in West Africa.




“The rest of the world needs to look at the fundamentals of the problem; not just geopolitically, but at the root. Has the world paid attention to the poverty level in the Sahel and the rest of ECOWAS? Have they facilitated the infusion of capital and paid adequate attention to ensuring the exploitation of resources and the creation of opportunities presented by the mineral resources available?




“Are we going to play a big-brother role in a talkshop without taking necessary action? We just have to be involved in the promotion and prosperity of that region in order to see peace, stability, and economic growth,” President Tinubu said.




Detailing the steps taken to set Nigeria’s economy on the path of expeditious recovery, the President said he had to take tough but essential decisions like removing fuel subsidy – with its attendant perils – and managing the nation’s currency, effectively removing corruption-laden arbitrage.




“Concerning the question of subsidy removal, there is no doubt that it was a necessary action for my country not to go bankrupt and to reset the economy and the pathway to growth. It was going to be difficult, but the hallmark of leadership is making difficult decisions when they need to be made.




“That was necessary for the country. Yes, there have been drawbacks. Yes, there was the expectation that the difficulty would be felt by a greater number of people. But, of course, it was the interest of our people that was the primary focus of the government. Along the line, there was an arrangement to cushion the effect of the subsidy removal on the vulnerable population of the country. We shared the pain across the board. We cannot, but include those who are very vulnerable.




“Luckily, we have a very vibrant youth population interested in innovation and highly ready to leverage technology, good education, and who remain committed to growth. We were able to manage that and partition the economic drawback and the fallout of the subsidy removal equally; engendering transparency, accountability, and fiscal discipline for the country. And that, to me, is most important, which is focusing on what direction we should head in. I will pursue that rigorously.




“The currency management was necessary, equally to remove the artificial element of value in our currency. Hence, our local currency finds its level and competes with the rest of the world’s currencies as we remove corrupt arbitrage and opaqueness. That, we did. At the same time, that is a two-engine problem in a very turbulent situation for the government. But we are able to manage that turbulence because we prepared for this with inclusivity in governance and rapid communication with the public,” the President concluded.




In her remarks, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Kristalina Georgieva commended President Tinubu for offering insights on how to execute strategic economic reforms.




“President Tinubu has emphasized the right things about what world leaders must consider primary in the execution of strategic economic reform. He said there is a need to ensure that reforms are accompanied by a human touch. The needs of people must be identified and catered to as governments implement tough but necessary reforms,” the IMF Managing Director said.




During the session, the President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, who was also on the high-level panel, said: “I am happy that the Nigerian President spoke on the need for inclusive economic growth. Africa is the stage for an expanding middle class. As the growth of the middle class in developed economies stagnate, Africa’s middle class is growing. It is our human resources and not natural resources that make our continent strategic and central to the global community moving forward.”

.As Senate proffers solutions to bad economy, Naira depreciation


However, disturbed by current economic downturn and Naira depreciation in the country, Chairman Senate Committee on Finance, Senator Mohammed Sani Musa has said  his committee will address  the state of the Economy and Naira depreciation as it resumes plenary on Tuesday this week.


In a statement he personally signed on Sunday, Senator Musa said his committee will address the current state of the economy and the need for concerted efforts at tackling the instability and continuous depreciation of the Naira.


“As we continue to navigate on getting back our nation and economy back on track, I am issuing this statement to address the current state of the economy and the need for concerted efforts at tackling the instability and continuous depreciation of the Naira.


“The Nigerian economy is facing significant challenges, exacerbated by both internal and external factors. Despite efforts to stabilize and bolster economic growth, the numerous initiatives and bold but necessary steps and policy decisions taken by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu GCFR, the persistent depreciation of the Naira against major foreign currencies has become a pressing concern.


“The recent depreciation of the Naira underscores the need for proactive measures to safeguard the stability and resilience of our currency. The Senate Committee on Finance is closely monitoring the situation and is committed to working collaboratively with relevant stakeholders to implement effective policies and strategies,” he said.


Continuing the Lawmaker noted,”It is imperative that we address the root causes of Naira depreciation, including but not limited to fluctuations in global oil prices, fiscal deficits, and structural imbalances in the economy. Furthermore, we must continue to enhance transparency and accountability in our fiscal management processes to instill confidence in investors and promote sustainable economic growth.


“In light of these challenges, the Senate Committee on Finance is exploring a range of policy options to mitigate the impact of Naira depreciation and foster economic stability. This includes robust oversight of fiscal policies, engagement with key stakeholders, and the formulation of targeted interventions to support key sectors of the economy.


“It is also the hope of the committee our economic managers will adhere strictly to the norms and standards set by this administration to ensure that we achieve the desired outcomes in taking Nigeria to its economic growth and prosperity. As we pledge to give Mr. President and his executive arm of government every opportunity and support in legislation to achieve the  set goals.


“As we navigate these uncertain times, I urge all Nigerians to remain vigilant and resilient. Together, we can overcome the challenges facing our economy and chart a path towards prosperity for all.

.Nursing mothers lament high cost of diapers

Some nursing mothers have decried the increasing cost of different brands of diapers, describing the astronomical hike as insensitive and unacceptable.


Some of the mothers, who spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Sunday, said the increase had forced them to consider patronising diaper alternatives.


Mrs Suzzy Yusuf, a civil servant, alleged that although the quality of most of the diapers dropped, their prices skyrocketed.


Yusuf also alleged that most women now sun-dry disposable diapers to meet up with the demand, adding that the prices were discouraging.


”When I gave birth to my first child in 2021, as soon as I receive my salary, I bought the biggest size of diaper numbering about 81 pieces for between N4,800 and N5, 000 depending on the brand.


”Now, that size goes for between N9, 800 and N10,000 depending on the brand and the place of purchase.


”This is frustrating because my salary has not increased but the prices of things are going higher and higher.


”Imagine that I am working and feeling this way, what about nursing mothers that are not working.


”Honestly, the situation we have found ourselves today is terrible,” she said.


Mrs Aisha Abubakar, a nursing mother and house wife, said the price increase forced her to buy non-disposable diaper for her son.


Abubakar said that although the non-disposable diaper was causing rashes for her toddler, she would continue the usage to cut cost.


”The price of diapers now is too much. We rely on my husband for everything because I stopped my small kunu business because I just gave birth .


”It has not been easy for him because his little salary is not even enough for feeding not to talk of other expenses at home.


”I decided to help myself and help him so that there will be peace at home.


”When my friend talked about the non-disposable diaper, I went to the market and bought two.


”Although the diaper is not giving me the result I want because it gives my baby rashes in his private region due to intense heat but I have to manage it,” she said.


Another nursing mother, Mrs Ijeoma Aloysius, who said she had resorted to using napkins as alternative to diaper, lamented that it was difficult to wash.


Aloysius said that although using napkins were cheaper, it required a lot of processes to make it hygienically fit.


”The times and season we are now is not where someone will just be giving birth without control.


”Every family should endeavour to plan child bearing according to the number that their resources can train.


”People should not depend on others to train their children,” she said.


NAN reports that the smallest size of diaper comprising about eight pieces, formally sold between N600 and N700 is now being sold for between N1 000 and N1, 200.


The economy pack which comprised about 31 to 45 pieces formally sold for between N3, 000 and N4, 000 is now being sold for between N6, 000 and  N6,800.


The jumbo pack formally sold between N6, 000 and N6, 500 depending on the brand now goes for between N9, 800 and N11,000 depending on the brand.


.Abia, Imo residents, retailers decry rising cost of foodstuffs


Residents of Owerri and Umuahia, the capital cities of Imo and Abia in the South-East, have decried the continued rising cost of foodstuffs and general inflation in the country.


The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) correspondents, who monitored the situation in the two cities, report that prices of food items have hit the rooftops and now beyond the reach of average Nigerians since January.


At the popular Relief Market, Owerri, a 50kg bag of locally grown rice now sells from N60,000 to N68,000, depending on the brand.


The same 50kg bag of foreign rice sales between N72,000 and N80,000, also depending on brand and availability.


Other brands, such as Caprice and Royal Stallion, are sold as high as N75,000, while Al Wabel, Gilaso, Mama Gold  and Mamas Pride, often refered to as “Nigerian foreign”, goes for N70,000 for a 50kg bag.


Interestingly, a bag of beans, which was sold at N110,000 earlier in the year, has dropped to N80,000, while a painter previously sold for N6,700 now sales for N5000.


Conversely, a 10-litre jerrycan of vegetable oil, which previously sold for N12,000, now sells for N37,000.


Also, a custard painter of beans now sells for N6,000, as against N2,800 sold in January, while the same quantity of garri now sells for N3,200 as against N1,500.


An average-size tuber of yam now goes for N2,500, while smaller sizes sell for about N1,800 as against N1,000 and N700.


A retail trader, Mrs Louis Udoka, attributed the hike in prices to the high cost of transportation, arising from the high prices of petrol and diesel.


Udoka said, “For so long as the cost of fuel remains high, prices of goods will continue be high because fuel controls the Nigerian economy.”


An official of the All Farmers Association of Nigeria in Imo, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that although the naira had gained some value against the dollar, prices of locally produced food items were  not expected to drop significantly due to astronomical cost of transporting the goods from one part of the country to the other.


He argued that the appreciation of the naira to dollar could only affect the price of imported goods.


He urged the Federal Government to “push up local content” and return the subsidy on petroleum products and agricultural produce.


Mr Kingsley Akachi, who taught Economics at the secondary school level for 12 years, said that Nigeria’s rising population would naturally necessitate a rise in the demand for food, thus leading to increase in prices as producers struggle to cope with higher demand.


He  commended the Federal Government for stabilizing the naira, but called for better government policies to address the soaring cost of locally-produced food items.


In Umuahia, the situation slightly varied with marginal drop in the prices of some staple food items h in the last one month.


A survey conducted at Apummiri Market in Umuahia South Local Government Area on Saturday  shows that prices of rice, spaghetti, palm oil, vegetable oil, onions, flour and sugar dropped by some fractions.


For instance, a 50kg bag of  branded local rice, which was sold for N74,000 in March, dropped to between N67,000 and N70,000 in April.


Also, a 50kg bag of onions, which was sold at between N39,000 and N41,000, is now sold for between N27,000 and N28,000.


A 25-litre gallon of palm oil that sold for between N23,000 and N25,000 has also come down to between N21,000 and N23,000.


The survey also reveals that the price of a 25-litre gallon of vegetable oil dropped from N52,000 to between N47,000 and N48,000.


A carton of spaghetti, which sold for between N16,000 and N19,000,  now sells for betwee N13,500 and N17,000.


Also, a 50kg bag of flour, which sold for between N47,000 and N48,000, has dropped to N45,000, while a 50kg bag of sugar moved down from N85,000 to between N79,000 and N81,000.


Meanwhile, prices of some food items have experienced appreciable rise in the last one month.


A 100kg bag of beans, which was sold for N123,000 in the past month, now sells for N127,000, while the commodity is retailed at N350 as against N250 per cup.


The survey further reveals that a four-litre container of crayfish moved from N4,000 to N5,000, while a four-litre container of dry pepper, previously sold for between N5,000 and N7,000, now goes for between N8,000 and N9,000.


The price of a four-litre container of garri also recorded an increase from between N2,400 and N2,600 to N3,500.


A basket of tomato, which was sold for between N46,000 and N55,000, presently goes for between N75,000 and N80,000, while a carton of 70-gram satchet tomato paste went up from between N5,000 and N6,000 to between N8,000 and N9,000.


A kilogramme of Mackerel and Scumbia fish, which sold for N3,500 a month ago, dropped to N2,800, while a kilogramme of Chicken went up from N4,500 to N5,500.


In separate interviews, some of the retailers described the decline in the cost of some food items as a welcome development.


They blamed the current inflation and removal of fuel subsidy for the steady rise in the price of most food items in the market.


A foodstuff seller in the market, who identified herself simply as Mama Nkechi, said that the drop in the price of some items gave people “hope that things would get better.


“The high cost of food items is seriously affecting my business because my daily sales have continued to move on a downward trajectory.


“A good example is when a customer wants to buy groundnut oil and palm oil, and as a result of the high cost could decide to go for palm oil instead.


“It has not been encouraging because customers go for cheaper alternatives these days and this has not been favourably to my business,” she said.


According to her, the drop in price  of some food items would help her to regain her lost customers and boost her business.


Another foodstuff seller, Mr Obiefuna Diala, attributed the rise in the price of food items to the high cost of transportation and fuel subsidy removal.


Diala also said that the fuel subsidy removal had caused transport fare to constantly skyrocket, thereby shooting up the cost of transporting  goods to the market.


He also blamed the price increase on certain goods on “baseless speculations” by wholesalers about the foreign exchange, even when  the naira had appreciated significantly.


Also, a shop owner, Mr Kalu Udensi, said that although the price of some food items had come down, there were others, including garri, that have continued to rise, notwithstanding the stable value of the naira in the foreign exchange market.


Kalu said that “the high cost of food items is affecting the price of other items, such as garri, because farmers and traders sell at prices to be able to cover their expenses and make profit to meet up the current cost of living.


“The problem of rural-urban migration, which has resulted in low volume of garri produced for consumption, is another factor  causing a spike in the price of garri,” he said

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