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Diesel price hits all-time high in Nigeria after Vice President met oil executives

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With continued scarcity of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) in Nigeria, the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo yesterday summoned the Group Managing Director (GMD) of the  Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to the Presidential Villa.

Meanwhile, the price of diesel has hit a record height at ₦625 per litre in filling stations. The price jumped from ₦ 430 to ₦545 two days ago. The product was sold for as low as ₦ 420 last week.

The summon came less than 24 hours after President Muhammadu Buhari declared that his deputy is now in charge of the country as he departed for a two-week medical vacation to London,

Sources confirmed that Mr. Mele Kyari, the GMD of the NNPC and some other executives of the company were seen on Monday afternoon coming into the Villa and leaving soon after.

Nigerians have been reacting to the continued scarcity of the essential commodity which became scarce in the first week of February 2022 when the Nigerian government says it found an unsafe quantity of methanol in petrol imported into the country, and cited that as the reason for fuel shortage that has led to hard times for many Nigerians.

It was disclosed that in what was a short meeting, the Vice President asked for an update on how the NNPC intended to quickly resolve the lingering fuel scarcity.

“The NNPC boss gave an impressive report and plan to the VP and was seen leaving the Villa…walking briskly as if he had been given a firm order,” said a reliable source.

Sources added that a sense of urgency to resolve the fuel scarcity was stressed by the Vice President at the meeting, a cue the NNPC executives also took.

“Judging from the look of things, the scarcity would be over very soon,” said another source close to the NNPC executives.

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IMF Chief, Ceyla Pazarbasioglu, to visit China over Africa’s growing debt profile

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As the debt profile of many African countries continues to rise, the International Monetary Fund strategy chief, Ceyla Pazarbasioglu will travel to China next week for another high-level meeting.

Her travel is part of efforts to press the world’s largest sovereign creditor for quicker progress on debt restructurings for countries in need.

The IMF chief had called for debt restructuring arrangements for Zambia and Chad to be completed shortly.

Pazarbasioglu said it was critical to move forward and that “outreach to China next week is very important, at the highest levels.”

“It’s moving – very slowly, but it’s moving,” Pazarbasioglu said, noting that the participation of mining company Glencore Plc in the Chad treatment was also “a very good sign” that “even the most difficult private sector participants” were participating.

She said the Paris Club of official bilateral creditors had taken years to hammer out their debt relief processes, and China was learning, although she noted that the debt issues facing borrowing countries now were acute.

“The problem we have is that we don’t have that time right now because these countries are very fragile and dealing with debt vulnerabilities,” she said. “What we need is speed.”

Pazarbasioglu said the IMF would continue to press for changes to the Common Framework, including a freeze in debt payments when countries apply for a debt treatment, as well as clearer procedures and timelines for action, and ensuring comparable treatment for private creditors.

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Botswana central bank predicts fall of inflation rates, maintains monetary policy

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Botswana’s central bank has predicted that the country’s inflation rate will gradually fall back within its target range by 2024.

The bank is predicting that inflation will fall back within the 3%-6% range in the third quarter of 2024. The prediction has made it keep its monetary policy rate unchanged at 2.65% on Thursday.

The bank’s governor, Moses Pelaelo while speaking at a news conference said “the domestic economy will continue to perform below capacity in the medium term and therefore not pose any inflationary pressures.”

The inflation rate in the Southern African country dipped to 13.1% year on year in October from 13.8% in September but is still far above the central bank’s 3%-6% preferred band.

“The drop in inflation in the past months is due to the dissipating effects of previous increases in administered prices,” Pelaelo said.

According to the World Bank, Botswana’s reliance on diamonds and a public sector-driven model makes the economy vulnerable to external shocks, as diamonds contribute over 80% of total exports and are a major source of fiscal revenues.

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