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BREAKING: Buhari in crucial meeting with Obasanjo, other former heads of state

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President Muhammadu Buhari is currently presiding over a National Security Council meeting with some former heads of state and some security chiefs.

Although the agenda of the meeting is not made public, issues bothering on the current security situation in the country are believed to top the agenda. This follows the outbreak of violence across the country during the protest against police brutality and extra-judicial killings, which has led to the loss of lives and destruction of public assets and private properties.

According to media reports, the meeting which is coordinated from the Council Chamber of the Presidential Villa, Abuja, has in virtual attendance General Yakubu Gowon (rtd.), former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Gen Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd.), former President Goodluck Jonathan and former head of interim national government, Chief Ernest Shonekan.

Others who are physically present at the council chambers are Vice President Yemi Osinbajo;  National Security Adviser, Major General Babagana Monguno (rtd.); Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olanisakin; Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu; Director-General, Department of State Services, Yusuf Bichi; and Director-General, National Intelligence Agency, Ahmed Rufai, among others are attending with the President.

This meeting is coming a day after President Buhari’s national broadcast on the security situation in the country calling for an end to the #EndSARS protests as their voices have been loudly heard.

Details later…

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ECONOMY & POLITICS

Nigeria’s inflation hits 14.23 percent as food prices increases

Nigeria’s inflation rate rose by 14.23% in October 2020 as against 13.71% recorded in September 2020

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The National Bureau of Statistics on Monday November 16, released a data which revealed that Nigeria’s inflation rose to 14.23 percent, 0.52 percent higher than the 13.71 percent recorded in September.

According to the data, the core food index rose by 17.38 percent majorly driven by increases in food items. Core inflation also maintained a steady rise to 11.14 percent, from the 10.58 percent reported in August this year.

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 per cent points higher than the rate recorded in September 2020 (13.71 per cent).”

Urban inflation rose to 14.81 percent year-on-year from the 14.31 percent recorded last month, while rural inflation hit 13.68 percent.

Inflation was highest in Zamfara, Sokoto and Ebonyi, while Lagos, Abuja, and Cross River recorded the lowest in October.

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ECONOMY & POLITICS

Finance Bill: No plans to increase tax — FG

The essence was to ensure that local industries grow ahead of African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) take off.

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The Federal Government has stated that no new taxes will be introduced, nor tax waivers granted under the 2020 Finance Bill.

The FG said the tax stance was due to the effects of the pandemic on the economy.

This was disclosed by the Executive Secretary, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mr. Muhammad Nami, and the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, at a virtual meeting on the Finance Bill 2020 Public Consultation in Abuja on Friday.

Mr. Nami said that the economy was facing challenges caused by the pandemic, so the FG had no plans to introduce new taxes; however,  it would not grant tax waivers to businesses.

The economy is not doing very great because of the impact of COVID-19 and all other challenges so ordinarily government should be spending more money. However, government is not able to raise the taxes; in the same way, we still balance the budget to reduce the deficit as much as possible. Therefore, there will be no new waivers,” he said.

Nami said that the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement would increase Nigeria’s trade volumes and be a boost for the economy.

Nami added, “However, in anticipation of the AFCFTA, it is expected that the volume of trade will surge…and, as such, even though it will not significantly affect revenue being collected currently by government, it will have a way of making the economy increase significantly.”

Mrs. Ahmed disclosed that the public engagements with businesses was to prepare them for the new tax bill as Nigeria prepares for the AfCFTA where Nigerians goods will compete with the rest of Africa.

The essence was to ensure that local industries grow because once the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) takes effect our borders will be opened and we will have goods from other countries competing with goods in Nigeria,” she said.

This is being reinforced in the 2021 proposal by removing completely for the small businesses the obligation to pay education tax.

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ECONOMY & POLITICS

WTO: November 9 meeting to announce new DG postponed

The WTO has announced the postponement of its November 9 meeting which was scheduled to publicly announce the new DG.

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The World Trade Organization (WTO) has announced that it postponed the planned November 9th meeting to discuss the appointment of Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as the next Director-General.

This was disclosed in a statement released on Friday evening. A WTO document seen by Reuters said: “For reasons including the health situation and current events, delegations will not be in a position to take a formal decision on 9 November.” 

Reuters also reported that WTO insiders said the delay was because there was “no indication the Trump administration – which will continue to govern trade policy in the weeks ahead irrespective of any U.S. election result – had switched its support to Okonjo-Iweala.”

What you should know 

It was reported in October that Nigeria’s former Finance Minister, Dr Ngozi Okonji-Iweala, was close to being appointed as the new Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

A group of ambassadors also known as “troika” proposed Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to lead the WTO, giving her a clear path to becoming the first woman to head the WTO since it started 25 years ago.

Nigeria’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced in a statement that  Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala secured the support of the majority of the member-nations – but was yet to be declared and returned as the winner, as the United States opposed the consensus.

“It has come to my attention that for reasons including the health situation and current events, delegations will not be in a position to take a formal decision on 9 November,” WTO General Council Chairman, David Walker, announced on Friday.

“I am therefore postponing this meeting until further notice during which period I will continue to undertake consultations with delegations,” he added.

The WTO said they would continue consultations despite the postponement of the meeting. The headquarters of the WTO, Geneva, is also under new lockdown restrictions as coronavirus cases rise in Europe.

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