Nigeria in Q1,2019: Key Political-Economic Developments to Watch

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Outdoor mall and pedestrian bridge in downtown Lagos.

As the year 2019 begins we take a look at major events to watch that cover the socio-political space, financial market, economy and business environment.

January CBN MPC Meeting

The first monetary policy committee of the Central Bank of Nigeria for the year 2019, will be crucial as it comes just before the February 16th Presidential and National Assembly elections in the country.

For two years in a row the monetary policy rate (MPR) has been retained at 14%, while the MPC continues to monitor developments in the economy.

The MPC meeting Chaired by the Central Bank Governor Mr Godwin Emefiele will hold in January, 2019.

It will be interesting to see if the MPC will begin the year by maintaining the current MPR rate of 14%, or take a different approach to monetary policy management by reducing or increasing the rate alongside other parameters.

2019 Elections: Presidential Debate

On January 19th, 2019 Nigerians will have the opportunity to view from their television sets the Presidential Debate, organized by the Nigeria Election Debate Group in partnership with the Broadcasting Organization of Nigeria.

It will feature the candidates of the All Progressives Congress-President Muhammadu Buhari, Alliance for New Nigeria-Mr Fela Durotoye , Peoples Democratic Party-Alhaji Atiku Abubakar , Young Progressive Party-Professor Kingsley Moghalu and Allied Congress Progress of Nigeria-Dr Obiageli Ezekwesili.

The debate will be an opportunity for the candidates to articulate their plans, strategies and their party ideologies to the Nigerian electorate especially undecided voters.

Presidential and National Assembly Elections

February 16th, 2019 will be a significant date for Nigeria’s socio-political space as the Presidential and National Assembly elections will hold across the country.

It will be a huge test for the Independent National Electorate Commission, INEC, to guarantee a credible electioneering process.

The outcome of the elections and reactions will go a long way in dictating the pace of the nation’s political economy in 2019.

Who will Win the Presidential Elections? Who will emerge the leading party at the end of the National Assembly elections?

Gubernatorial and State Assembly Elections

Two weeks after the Presidential and National Assembly Elections, the Gubernatorial and State Assembly elections will hold across the country.

It will be keenly contested in States like Lagos, Akwa Ibom, Delta, Ogun, Borno, Plateau, Rivers, Oyo, Kaduna, Kano, Cross River, Abia and Imo amongst others.

We expect a peaceful electioneering process and political analysts will be eager to see which party will emerge the dominant force at the end of the polls.

The elections is scheduled for March 2nd, 2019.

2019 Economic Outlook Conferences

We expect several investment groups, chambers of commerce and notable organizations to host various “2019 Economic Outlook” conferences in January, 2019 to discuss developments around the nation’s election season and give scenarios and projections on the economy.

Presidential Technical Committee on National Minimum Wage

All eyes will be on President Muhammadu Buhari and his plan to set up a technical committee on the National Minimum wage, which has been a bone of contention between the Nigeria Labour Congress and State Governments.

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has prop0sed a minimum wage of N30,000 while State Governors have failed to provide a united front to support it, on the other hand the Federal Government has reiterated its commitment to improving the minimum wage situation in the country.

President Buhari has less than a month to attend to this critical issue before the general elections.

Access-Diamond Bank M&A

It remains the biggest merger and acquisition story in the Nigerian banking sector post-2007, and capital market operators, shareholders and analysts will watch as Access Bank and Diamond Bank merge to form an ostensibly stronger financial institution.

The M&A will see Access Bank as a major banking group in the country with 27 million customers.

Q1, 2019 is the timeline for concluding the terms of agreement .

Q4, 2018 GDP Report

In Q1, 2019 we expect the Q4, 2018 GDP report to be published giving authentic information on Nigeria’s economic growth. This will come in during the period of the general elections.

December, 2018 & January and February, 2019 Inflation Reports

In the quarter we expect the National Bureau of Statistics to publish the December, 2018, January, 2019 and February 2019 inflation reports.

Nigeria’s current inflation rate is 11.3% and will likely experience a slight increase in the months ahead.

International Crude Oil Price

The crude oil benchmark price for the 2019 Budget of Nigeria is $60 per barrel, and some economists and analysts have described it as ambitious.

In Q1, 2019 the crude oil price will be a key indicator to watch as it will play a major role in shaping Nigeria’s fiscal plans and revenue projections.

At the moment the international crude oil price for Brent is about $53.3, which is below the budget benchmark.

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Godwin Okafor is a Financial Journalist, Internet Social Entrepreneur and Founder of Naija247news Media Limited. He has over 16 years experience in financial journalism. His experience cuts across traditional and digital media. He started his journalism career at Business Day, Nigeria and founded Naija247news Media in 2010. Godwin holds a Bachelors degree in Industrial Relations and Personnel Management from the Lagos State University, Ojo, Lagos. He is an alumni of Lagos Business School and a Fellow of the University of Pennsylvania (Wharton Seminar for Business Journalists). Over the years, he has won a number of journalism awards. Godwin is the chairman of Emmerich Resources Limited, the publisher of Naija247news.

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