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California Fast-Food Workers Get Wage Boost

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By Gabriella Ogbu

According to findings from the Abuja City Journal, Californian fast-food workers are now earning significantly higher wages. The new law, effective as of today, has raised the minimum pay for fast-food employees in the state from $7.25 to $20 per hour. This marks the first increase in California’s minimum wage since 2009.

Labor unions and employees have been advocating for this change, arguing that many fast-food workers are not just teenagers in their first jobs, contrary to popular belief. However, concerns have been raised by restaurant owners who fear that the higher wages could lead to job losses and increased costs for customers.

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IMF Predicts 26.3% Drop in Nigeria’s Inflation by 2024

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The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has forecasted a significant drop in Nigeria’s inflation rate to 26.3% by 2024. This projection was part of the IMF’s revised Global Economic Outlook released earlier this week, which also predicted a 3.3% growth for Nigeria’s economy this year.

In its report, the IMF maintained the growth prospects for Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) in 2024, with a slight upgrade attributed to Nigeria’s improved growth outlook, offsetting downward forecasts for other countries like Angola.

According to the IMF, Nigeria’s economy is expected to grow by 3.0% in 2025, a slight decline from its previous projection. The SSA region as a whole is forecasted to experience growth of 3.8% in 2024 and 4.0% in 2025, driven by the gradual improvement in supply issues and the easing of earlier weather shocks.

Additionally, the IMF noted a slight uptick in growth for advanced economies, with projections increasing from 1.6% in 2023 to 1.7% in 2024, and further to 1.8% in 2025.

However, Nigeria has been grappling with persistent inflationary pressures throughout the year. The country’s inflation rate rose from 29.90% in January to 33.2% in March, posing challenges to its economic stability despite the IMF’s optimistic long-term forecast.

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Volkswagen Invests $210 Million in South African Plant

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Volkswagen Group plans to inject $210 million into its South African manufacturing plant in anticipation of launching a new SUV brand by 2027. The investment aims to upgrade various facilities within the Eastern Cape-based plant to accommodate the production of a third model.

Martina Biene, managing director of the group’s Africa branch, emphasized aligning company objectives with the current automotive market landscape in Africa. He highlighted the ongoing demand for vehicles with internal combustion engines (ICEs) in the region despite the global shift towards electric vehicles.

The first phase of upgrades to the Volkswagen plant, known as the Kariega Plant, is set to commence by the end of 2024 during a scheduled plant shutdown. The development of the new SUV will be led by Volkswagen Brazil, with input from the Africa engineering team to adapt the vehicle to local requirements such as right-hand driving.

While the specific name of the new SUV remains undisclosed, Biene indicated that it would be marketed in African countries where Volkswagen has a presence. Additionally, Volkswagen plans to introduce its ID.4 test fleet in South Africa and Rwanda as part of its broader strategic initiatives.

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e-Payment Transactions Hit all-time High of N234.4trn in First Quarter 2024

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Electronic payment machines are becoming increasingly popular in Nigeria by 2024.

With the recently resolved cash scarcity issue, Nigerians have adapted to the use of POS for cash payments and withdrawals. This transaction increased to N234.4 trillion in the first quarter (Q1) of 2024 as more Nigerians went cashless during the period.

The Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) reported an 89% increase in the value of Instant Payment (NIP) to N234.4 trillion from N123.9 trillion in Q1 2023.

From the beginning of this year to March, there has been a steady rise in the amount of payment transactions carried out via various banks and fintech electronic channels in the country

Though the NIP transaction value rose to N72.1 trillion in January from N71.9 trillion recorded in December 2023, the value of electronic payments increased further to N79.3 trillion in February and by March, the value of electronic transactions in the country had surged to an all-time high of N83 trillion.

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