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Thursday, 28 November 2019

Despite negative effects on Nigeria, border won’t be opened — FG

Despite negative effects on Nigeria, border won’t be opened — FG

Zainab-Ahmed

The Federal Government has said the closure of the country’s borders was also affecting Nigerians.
This was disclosed by the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, after the Federal Executive Council meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Ahmed said the negative effects on Nigeria and Nigerians include the current rising inflation in the country and high cost of food.

She, however, said the closure of the borders would remain in place until the country’s neighbours learnt to respect trade protocols.

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Ahmed, who spoke with State House Correspondents, said: “On inflation, headline inflation declined every month for several months before we noticed an optic in the last two months.
“And now, headline inflation is at about 11:61 per cent as of the end of October.

“The slight increase in this inflation between September and October is due to food inflation.
“The food inflation relates to prices of cereals, rice and fish.
“And part of the reason is the border closure.

“But the border closure is very, very short and temporary and the increase is just about two-basis point.

“Remember, there was a time inflation was nine per cent and it grew to about 18 per cent in January 2017 when we were in recession.

“The relationship between inflation, interest rate and growth is managed by the monetary authorities and is a management that is tracked on a regular basis.

“So, if you reduce interest rate, you expect more borrowing for investments in the real sector.
“But at the same time, that also has the tendency of reducing money that is used for consumption on a day to day basis.

“So, it is a balance that we continue to watch on a regular basis.

“We expect that this will be moderated as border closure impact fizzles out and also as the monetary authorities continue to support the MPR (monetary policy rate), therefore ensuring that interest rates are not on the high side.

“What we are doing is important for our economy.

“We signed up to the ACFTA; we have to make sure that we put in place checks to make sure that our economy will not be overrun as a result of the coming into effect of the ACFTA.

“That is why we have this border closure to return to the discipline of respecting the protocols that we all committed to.”

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