Dear Subscriber,

Stay connected: WiFi or not!

Today, internet access has become the gateway to vast information, expanding the horizon of our minds. A few weeks ago, almost all of West Africa was affected by internet downtime due to subsea cable damage. This led to panic among business owners and youths who enjoy social media buzz. The few days of internet disruption underscored how much screens and data have ingrained themselves deeply into our daily lives. Moreso, there is a strong positive correlation between broadband availability and GDP growth. According to the World Bank, a 10-percentage point rise in broadband penetration in developing countries results in a substantial 1.38% boost in GDP. But remember that balance is critical, as too much of everything is costly! Kent Conrad, a former American politician, aptly described access to computers and the internet as “a basic need for education in our society.” Recognizing this significance in the lifestyle section of this Unity Bank Digest, we’ve compiled some invaluable tips to keep you connected to the world even when WIFI or service is down.

Everyone is impacted by the falling naira

As of April 12, the naira at the parallel market gained by 11.11% to N1,125/$ from N1,250/$ at the start of the month. The good news is that the naira’s appreciation is beginning to reflect in the prices of some food items as businesses stock up on new inventory. Our survey revealed a 5.26% decline in the price of a 50kg bag of rice to N90,000. Sugar prices fell by 5.88% to N80,000/bag, flour experienced a decline of 7.81% to N59,000/bag, and a carton of noodles now costs N7,800, down by 15.22%. The sustained appreciation of the naira due to the CBN’s FX market sanitization efforts will taper prices of imported commodities and slow the pace of inflation in the coming months.

The higher the interest rates, the more you save 

At its March meeting, the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) opted to raise the policy rate by an additional 200 basis points to 24.75%p.a. This brought the cumulative rate increase in 2024 to 600pbs. Similarly, the 2-year savings bond rate surged by 476bps to 17.05%p.a in April 2024, up from 12.29%p.a at the end of 2023. This has increased the attractiveness of savings relative to consumption and increased consumer earnings. However, businesses are likely to face challenges in an elevated interest rate environment as the cost of borrowing increases at a time when aggregate demand is weakening.

This edition of the Unity Bank Digest provides a comprehensive analysis of these economic trends and engaging lifestyle and entertainment stories for your reading pleasure.

Enjoy your read!