Nigeria: FEC Approves N18 Billion for Kano, Calabar Free Trade Zones

The Federal Executive Council yesterday approved N18.1bn for development of infrastructure and Kano and Calabar Free Trade Zones as well as the Textile and Garment Park in Lagos and the Special Economic Zone, Lekki-Lagos.

Information Minister Lai Mohammed told reporters that the approval was of critical importance to the infrastructure development plan of the country.

He said the council also approved the award of contract for the appointment of insurance companies for group life assurance for federal employees, public servants, para-military and the intelligence community for the year 2021-2022 in the sum of N9, 248. 995, 907.

"This premium is for a period of 12 months. This is part of the government's welfare programme for our public employees so that in case of death, they're assured that there would be compensation," he said.

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, said she presented the first quarter of 2021 GDP results and other performance indicators of the Nigerian economy to the council.

According to her, the estimates and report show that Nigerian GDP had grown to 0.51% year-on-year in real terms in the First Quarter of 2021.

She said the agricultural sector posted a strong growth at the rate of 2.28 per cent in the first quarter of 2021, compared to previous quarters.

"Also, the agricultural sector posted a strong growth at the rate of 2.28per cent in the first quarter of 2021, compared to previous quarters. This growth in agriculture signifies the resilience of the agricultural sector.

"Also, the industry sector has recorded positive growth, even though a weak one, but the growth is a positive one and this marks the past quarter of growth over the past one year in the industry sector.

"Services recorded a slight dip, but a small one at 0.39per cent.

"In addition to the economic activities and the reopening our businesses, growth was also boosted, in fact by increase in crude oil prices as well as increase in production in the first quarter of 2020.

The minister, while speaking on inflationary trends, said airline inflation had maintained an upward trend throughout 2020.

She said prices of food items might not come down as fast as the other aspects of inflation.

She said: "For the first time in 19 months, inflation has shown a slight dip. It's a very slight dip, but it's a positive point for us, we had indicated that our projection is that inflation will begin to flatten in the month of April 2021 and this is an indication.

"So, subsequent periods we are looking at inflation beginning to trend downwards. Food inflation will not come down as fast as the other aspects of inflation.

"But it is important to also see that the rate of food inflation also showed a slight dip and the rise in food index, which you will see if you check the detailed report, is driven by foods such as coffee, tea, cocoa, breads, cereals, soft drinks, milk, cheese, not basic food items like rice, maize and millet.

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