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Egypt in search of wheat. How the Russia-Ukraine war may trigger food insecurity



Egypt, the world’s top importer of wheat, is looking for new sources after the Russian invasion of Ukraine disrupted crucial supply from the two major exporting countries.

It is a little over a week since Russian soldiers have invaded Ukraine following the order of their President, Vladimir Putin.
The war is already having a negative effect on countries – especially those that depend on the two countries for food, oil and gold.

Russia is the world’s largest wheat exporter and Ukraine is among the top five. Global grain markets are facing turmoil following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Thursday, with the two countries accounting for about 30 percent of the world’s wheat supply.

Wheat is fundamental to the Egyptian diet, with about 70 per cent of the population relying on subsidised bread to feed their families.

The Arab world’s most populous country, with more than 100 million people, Egypt is expected to need about 13 million tonnes of wheat this year, said Lamy Hamed, associate professor in the soil and water department at Cairo University’s Faculty of Agriculture.

This was said as the country’s main buying agency, the General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC), issued an international tender for Monday to buy 55,000 to 60,000 tonnes of wheat.

Despite the ongoing Russian-Ukrainian military escalation, the Egyptian ship “Wadi Al-Arab” carrying 60 tons of Ukrainian wheat has left the Yuzhne port of Ukraine and en route to Egypt, said the GASC on Saturday.

The shipment is part of a total of  300,000 tons of wheat scheduled to arrive from February 15 to March 3, 2022, the GASC noted. In a meeting with President Abdel Fattah El Sisi on Sunday, Minister of Supply Aly Moselhy said that the state’s strategic wheat stock lasts for 4 months and local production season will start in April, with a target of 4 million tons. On Feb. 26, 2022, the GASC announced – on behalf of the Ministry of Supply and Internal Trade – a new international tender to import wheat, adding that the shipments are scheduled on April 13-26.


Tanzania raises fuel prices for 4th consecutive month



Tanzania’s Energy and Water Utilities Regulatory Authority (Ewura) has announced an increase in the prices of petroleum products.

The increase, which takes effect from 4th October, is the fourth in consecutive months, with diesel taking the biggest hit. Currently at the capital city of Dar es Salaam, a litre of petrol will now cost Tsh3,281 ($1.31), up from Tsh3,213 ($1.29). A litre of diesel will now cost Tsh3,448 ($1.38), up from Tsh3,259 ($1.30). Kerosene prices have also increased, with a litre now costing Tsh2,943 ($1.18).

The price increase, according to Ewura, is the result of a number of factors, such as rising international fuel prices, higher export taxes, a decline in Opec+’s oil production, and economic sanctions imposed by Western nations against Russia.

“The price increase has been compounded by global factors, with global fuel prices skyrocketing by 4.21%, putting a strain on export charges, which increased by 17% for petrol, 62% for diesel, and 4% for kerosene,” Ewura said in a statement.

The alliance of oil-producing nations known as OPEC, which is led by Saudi Arabia and Russia, has continued to cut its oil output, which also raises the price. It is anticipated that prices will rise further as a result of OPEC’s announcement that it will reduce production by 1 million barrels per day starting in November.

The increase in fuel prices is likely to have a knock-on effect on prices of other goods and services, as businesses pass on the increased cost of transportation to consumers, as has been experienced in other African countries like Angola, Nigeria, and Kenya.

While the rise in the global price of crude oil means more earnings for oil-producing states, it may also connote an inevitable price hike on the “poor population” of these states.

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Nigeria: Senate cautions executive over central bank loans, illegal spending



The Nigerian Senate has advised President Bola Tinubu to send a supplementary budget for the country’s Compressed Natural Gas initiative and cautioned him against engaging in illegal spending.

Through its Gas Committee, chaired by Senator Jarigbe Jarigbe, the Senate urged Tinubu to swiftly submit a 2023 Supplementary Budget to the National Assembly in order to launch the compressed natural gas project.

This request was made just 48 hours after President Bola Tinubu announced plans to ease Nigerians’ pain from the removal of fuel subsidies. The law, insisted the legislators, forbade extra-budgetary spending.

Nigerian President, Bola Tinubu, in a nationwide broadcast on the commemoration of the country’s independence on Sunday, announced an interim wage rise for low-income workers, and deployment of mass transit buses running on gas to ease the impact of petrol subsidy removal.

Tinubu, in his address, said the government “has opened a new chapter in public transportation through the deployment of cheaper, safer CNG buses across the nation. These buses will operate at a fraction of current fuel prices, positively affecting transport fares. New CNG conversion kits will start coming in very soon as all hands are on deck to fast track the usually lengthy procurement process.”

The Central Bank of Nigeria’s advances to the federal government rose 2900 per cent in the last seven years to N23.8 trillion under Tinubu’s predecessor, Muhammadu Buhari, an unprecedented rise that violated the law, triggered inflation and worsened the country’s debt burden; and the Senate is worried the latest “CNG move ” by the executive might degenerate into a similar position

Although the committee’s chairman praised Tinubu for the CNG initiative, he also cautioned that other projects in the gas value chain and the use of taxpayer money without National Assembly approval would be illegal. The senators cautioned against extra-budgetary spending through Ways and Means, saying that the legislature was ready to support and assist the populace.

Jarigbe said, “The noble initiative would ameliorate the hardship of the citizens. Also, the President needs to come up with a supplementary budget to enable the government to fund the gas value chain, including the provision for CNG infrastructure and CNG vehicles.

“The President should not embark on extra-budgetary expenditure because it would be inconsistent with the provisions of the law.”

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