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money Budget: CBN advises against raising oil price benchmark Ifea n yi Onurn " Ab '-Ua HE Go\'l"" r o( the Central &mk o( Nigeria, Mr Lanlldo S mUSI , Oll Tuesday cauti! 'nro the NlltlOlll1 Asso·mloly agalrult increasing th,· 2( '12 Budget oil pri~ bellcltnark from $70 per barrel 10 between $75 and $80 I ~ baml sayillg such mo.~ would further exert i're!-tureOn the country's (ort'ign reserves, SaIlWli dISCI )5(.'<1 this while briefing iollmalists shortly after the end or the two- day CBN's Monetary Policy Comnlittl e meetill& held at the a\ ex ban""s headquarters in . \buja, At thl" fint rroeeting this )-ear whkh ns convened to revtew the do nestic and international economic environment wit I a view 10 un\'eillngpobcie forthefirst quarter of thl! ),''llr, Sallusi Mid the coontr l s foreign exchange ~'S stood at $34, IBbn on ,Ian 18ry 27, I-I~ ho\..-ve , warned IhaltheJftefVeS "hich had assumed all UJ'l'illrd trend since the p.1.rti;,J remO\'8l or ruel rnbskly I light come


under 5e\-ere pressure if thl" oil priee beochmark was increased by the lawmakers, It was learnt that rollowing the increase in Ule mternational pnceofcrude, themembersoftheNaLional Assembly were proposing increasing the benchmark frolll $70 10 between 575 to $Bo pu barrel to raise more re\"enue to fund Federal Go\'~rnmenl's programmes (or the 2012 fiscal year 8ul Sanusi said, I11e committee bas noted comments Illdicating possible plans by the National Assembly to rev1,'e the budget benchmark pri~ of oil (rom $70 to 575 or ~en 580 per barreL ~Sucb a measure will sipilic:aotly mcrease I!'Xpellditures especially gil't'D the already high output assumptions. Ln addition, it would reduce Iccretion to thf' Excess Crude Account or the So\ereign Wealth Fund and inc:rease thE' infiationary pressUI't'S already in place Oil the supply side.. ~ In the e'o-ent of this

happening, the likelihood of further tightenin,: in 2012 will increase. Thecommlltee wouki like to I"e-lffirnl its commitment 10 IJrice and exchange rat~ stabilit) and its detennination not to pursue an IIccommodati\'e monetary stance.. Ihe committee therefore SUpJXlrts the recommendatio,{l o( the executive (or II benchmark oil pm or a mnimum of $70 per barTel The CBN boss also said that the committee in a unanuoous decisIOn voted W the Monetary Policy Rate be retained at 12 per cenl with mterest rate corridor or ... / + 200 basis pOints. It also left the Mlllimum Liquidit)' Ratio al 30 per cent, the Cash Resen-e Ratio at eight per cent and the exchange rate at NtS5 to a doliar, In retaining the cumnt rales. the committee noted Ulat the inflation outlook in the short- term ""Quid be Impacted by the anticipated fiscal injections in relation \0 the proposed 2012

budget, the I'llC'ent p,lrtial deregulation of pump price of Premium Motor Spirit, and new tariff regimes on !':ert:"n food imports. Sanusl also commended the Federal Government's partilll removal o( fuel subsidy Mytng the move ""Quid have a significant impact on exchange rate Ilnd in\·estment in the oil and downstream seclor of the economy, He, however, admitted that Ille policy would stimulate inflation in the near tenn, adding thlltthere was need (or the Federal

Gao'ernmenl to ensure the speedy i,npielllenla6on of the Subsidy R£-in\"e5lment Ind Empowerment programme to cushion th~ impact of the partial removal. -rile long- tenn benefits o( subsidy remOl.1I1 far oulweigh its cost as far IS inflation is concerned: he added. The apex bank boss also .said Ulat the country's high output growth during the 20t2 (JSC:a1 period had (ailed 10 create adequate ~mploymenl forihegro"ing labour force.

Fadam ill disburses Nl.6bn to South -South farmers Chukwu di Aklisike, Ponl-l arTOUM


HE SoUlh-& uth Zonal Office of Fad.ima 1lI saKi 11 had so £ar dis! ursed O'\'er NL6bn to farm 'N in the


ThE' ZoJWII project Coordinator of I adama III, Dr lsai:tb Fob) discloged thiB durilll tI e lendel'5 mid-term fnie 0( mission organtsed fo~ S )lith-South and South-East zones on Tuesday in Pt 'rt IlafU)UrL Foby expbillt d that the Soulh-5outh 7olll ofFAdama III had impie[J1ented 383 kltnJ developmel t plans out vr 681 thai W(·re I'rt'pared. l'he 'IOMI oonlillator pomted OUI tha t 110 fl'\\'t'r farmeB Ihan 69,705 had benefitted rrom the programme ",Utin the period tmder rt!\i ew, lie Slid, "Di., burxlllent in the Wh~ Slands II NI,6s6A79,l""'2_ l'he moe has implemenletl 383 local d~lopment pJ.' ns out of Uu! 681 prepllmJ IInpadllll on about 69."""05 individuals withm the IX" lIXI under """~.

"11M! :lOot' neiUler partjcipeted in Fadama I nor D, nod "Udl n\akes us the newest In llle FAdama family, TIM' I meess of implem~ntabOn has not betn r'.aS)', bUI th,· role5ofth~ vibrant team in the: \'3rious state projecl c:Klrdinattan offices in the woo> had o\adl" us 10 record 501"'I~ tangible resuhs by the mi I-Ienn , ~ foby, ho¥o~ -, lamented

non+p3.}'Il1eIlt of the COtlnteTp8rtfundingbystales and local gO\'el11Jnel\IS, adding Il\at the development was ad\-ersely affecting the implementation of Fadama programme in the moe.. lie called on states and local g<7\'emmenlS to see the proJect as a statutOI)' obligation that .should be embmced before participating in the programme. In his remarks, the Rh-efS Slate Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr Emmanuel Chlllda, urged South-50uth and South-Easl ZODes of FaMilia to be frank in their assessment of the project in the zones: and proffer suggestions on improvilll arPM of weakness to impf"O\'e the perfonnance or the progmmme within the area.

• L-R: Assistant Din!dor, National Lottery Regulatory CommlSSfon, Mr. Henry Uwodie; grand prize winner oj

two cors, Ms. OnYIn~Achlgbi; Generol monager, Nol"ia West Africo, Mr, Olm Brawn, and Compliance OjJicer. Lagos Strue Lottery Boord, Mrs, Toym Darumola, at the Nokio SUd Promo grand prize I'reseFilatlon. in Lagos ,., on Friday

FG to reduce cost of starting business - Aganga Ifeanyi O no!»a, Ah'-Ua HE Federal (;{.~menl on Tuesday saKI. thai it ~"a5 ~rking on rnodalitjps thaI would red~ the CO!'It and pnx:edures of starting a business 8.S well as make it possible for both Nigerians and roreigners 10 start their busmes5eS within 48 hours TheMinisterorrmdeand Jm-estment, Mr, Olusegun Aganga, disclosed this III Ahuja at the maiden edition or the Oolng 811smess in Nigeria Workshop. He said that government was intensifying efforts 1\ removllI! thl" botUenecks


a.5SOciat.ed with doing btlSllles!I 11\ Nigena b)' hannonismg taxes collected by both local and state government.! ill line with the Federal Government's efforts to impf"O\·e the ease of doing business in Nigeria. lie said, ~We are working to improve the I"ru;e of doing business in the rountry. Our strategy to achieving this is by setting up implementation (('ams comprisingthestakebolders lind ell5uring thaI these teams work on the sub IlIdicatoB. Wf' have started

recording some success already "TIle Corporate Affairs Commission, an agency under my mmistry, has started working on reducing thl" pnx:edures, time Ind cost to start I business (rom an average 0(36 days to less than five days , 77 per ~nl of income per capita to less than 10 per cent of income per capita and from mne processes to less lhnn fi~ processes III the medium teon, MOnr long-ternl goal is to ensure that businesses caD be started in this country

Global food prices easing - World Bank LOBAL food pnc:es an! set to decline further m 2012 as a weaker WQrld !!COnom) dampens COIlSUlller demand while food supplies rise, the World Bank has said. "~ming tlmt a possible rise in oil prices could m 'eBe the trend, The World Bank said prices had declined steadily but volatility had increased, IlIcluding among staples like wheat moize and rice. In sollie countries, domestic food prices are higher than I"'els m 2010, keeping pressureon poorhouseholds thnt spt'nd the bulk or their


Income on food. The World Bank inae:ased its monitoring of global (ood prices in 2009 during a food and merX)' price crisis UI81 bit food importing countries the hardest and highlighted the chronic underinve:slllleni in agriculture in d~'elopil" countries. The World Bank said its 2011 annual food priee index showed price! w~re still 24 per ~nl higher than in 2010 despite sollie dKlinl". G1obaJ.pricesfellby ei&bl per !':enl in the Ihree month! from September to

December 2011. ending the year 5I:\-.:'D pe:r cent below Dettmber 2010 levels, !he wurst food price increases may be OI.-er but we must remain vigilant, W the World Bank Group's Vice- President for Pm"erty Reduction and EconomK: Management.Ota\' iano Canulo, said ·Prices of certain foods remain MngerD\lSly high in many countries, leaving milliorul of people at risk of malnutrition and hunger; he added. The bank warned, howe'oocr, that the steady

decline in zlebal food prices could be halted if weather pattemschanged.orifworld oil prices rose, pus.hing up pri~ volatility and demand for bl?fuels. . Pnce volatility adds UD.cert31.nty and keeps pnces high because farmers are Urultll'e how to price their products. The World 8ank's sister organisation, the: International Monetary Fund, warned last week that global crude oil prices could rise as rouc:h as 30 per cent i( Iron halted exports u a result of United States and European UnionsancliollS

withlll 48 houl'$.. A number of stille governments are also haononlSlng la%es and levies among themselves: and thf' Local Governments in their domain to avoid saddling companies. " Agonga stated that the ministry had concluded plans to sel up a competiti\-eness council, which would be drh'en by the private sector to illlprove the competiveness of the nation's business environment II~ said, "We are working on Improving the competh-eness of our nallon To achie1.'t' this, we are working with the private sector to set up a Compell\-eness Council whkh will be pnvate sector+ drl\-en and made up of members from the public: and private sectors Aganga added, wWe are also working on enabling domestiC, rqK>nal and international trade.. We are in the proc:ess of rein\igoraling the lrade facilitation task force to impro\'e its effectiveness. WWe believe that our actions will go a long in improving our investment climate and .send the right signal to illves\:on; both at home and abroad.'