FROM ISAAC ANUMIHE, ABUJA and BLAISE UDUNZE
The Excess Crude Account (ECA) has risen from $2.11 billion to $3.45 billion, thus representing 63.5 per cent rise.
In a statement, the Special Adviser to the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Mr. Paul Nwabuikwu, said the account increased by $1.34 billion.
“According to the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the rise in the ECA signals the Federal Government’s commitment to rebuilding the country’s fiscal buffers by increasing the savings in the ECA and strengthening the foreign reserves,” the statement, said.
This is coming as the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) at the weekend said the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which measures inflation, rose by 7.7 per cent year-on-year in February.
It also said that the moderation in year-on-year rates in February was as a result of higher year-on-year changes exhibited in February 2013. The NBS CPI report also said that during this period, prices increased by 0.75 per cent on a monthly basis (the second highest price increase observed during the year) compared to a moderated increase in the month-on-month rate of change of 0.5 per cent observed in February 2014.
It said that food prices also rose at a relatively slower rate in February 2014. “Food prices, as observed in the food sub-index, rose by 9.2 per cent year-on-year. Prices of yams, potatoes and other tubers, vegetables and fruits increased at slower rate in February, while prices of bread and cereals rose at a faster rate during the period. The price of meat products grew at the same rate year-on-year compared with January 2014.
After a brief respite in January 2014, prices in the core sub-index increased at a faster rate in February. Prices rose by 7.2 per cent year-on-year, higher than the price increase recorded in January by 0.6 percentage points.
The headline index is made up of the core index and farm produce items as processed foods are included in both the core and food sub-indices, which implies that these sub-indices are not mutually-exclusive. On a monthly basis, prices increased at a slower rate for the second consecutive month, increasing by 0.5 per cent in February, marginally lower than the 0.64 per cent increase recorded in January,” it said.
The report further noted that after a slight increase in January (year-on-year) urban price increases moderated as indicated by the urban composite CPI whereas the index was recorded at 153.0 points in February, a 7.8 per cent increase from levels recorded in February 2013.
“The price increase was lower than rates recorded in January by 0.4 percentage points. The corresponding rural national CPI recorded a 7.7 per cent year-on-year change in February 2014, easing marginally from the rate recorded in January (7.8 per cent).
On a monthly basis, price increases in the urban all-items index eased for the second consecutive month in February, increasing by 0.5 per cent. The rural all items index further slowed in a similar fashion increasing by 0.49 in February, down from 0.68 per cent recorded in January. The percentage change in the average composite CPI for the 12-month period ending in February 2014 over the average of the CPI for the previous 12-month period was recorded at 8.3 per cent, marginally lower from the 8.4 per cent average 12-month rate of change recorded in January 2014.
The corresponding 12-month year-on-year average percentage change for the urban index was 8.5 per cent, while the corresponding rural index was recorded at 8.1 per cent. Both were lower from the previous 12-month rates of change by 0.2 percentage points,” the report explained.