According to the latest CBN financial inclusion report, overall progress towards achieving the Nigeria Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS) fell short of the annualized target in 2017. The World Bank’s Findex database also shows that ownership of an account with a financial institution or a mobile money provider dropped by 4 percentage points from 44% in 2016 to 40% in 20171. The gender disparity in account ownership is greatly manifested, with 51% men owning an account compared to 27% women. Although critical themes were outlined to scale up financial inclusion targets in 2017, factors such as religious and cultural bias to the uptake of financial products, worsening levels of unemployment, and high levels of informality in the economy remained setbacks toward achieving higher rates of financial inclusion in Nigeria.
Macroeconomic Report & Economic Updates
Appropriation Act (Budget): Capital expenditure remarkably increased in 2016 relative to preceding year, on the account of the present governments renewed commitment to infrastructure development.
Recently released report by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) indicates price increase of selected food items for the month of February 2017, relative to January 2017. Specifically, prices of the selected 24 food items ranged from N47.42 N1, 812 in January to N42.90 N1, 955.10 in February 2017. Average price of all selected items increased month-on-month by 2.7 percent to N540.05. Non-seasonal agriculture factors such as rising cost of crop production, imported products, and transportation continue to drive domestic food prices higher as domestic food supply contracts. This is also reflective of the high food inflation rate in February (18.53 percent) relative to 17.82 percent recorded in January 2017. Strengthening Nigerias crude oil production, supporting local agricultural production, and improving forex policies to straighten the naira remain critical in improving food supply and reducing inflation.
Recent ranking by the World Bank, portrayed Nigeria as having a poor business environment based on the ease of doing business in 2016. Although, Nigeria moved one position forward from previous (2015) ranking, to attain the 169th position out of the 190 global economies reviewed4. This poor rating is resultant of a myriad of factors, including: difficulties in starting a business, enforcing contracts, inaccessibility to credit, tax payment issues, as well as unreliable supply of energy, and labour market regulations. Going forward, improving the efficiency of tax administration by adopting the latest technology to facilitate the preparation, filling and payment of taxes will be beneficial for the business community.