Alcaraz

Nigerians Can Now Obtain UAE Visas – Minister

Alcaraz

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has lifted its visa ban on Nigerians, allowing them to once again obtain visas to visit the country.

This announcement was made by the minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, who stated that the visa ban is lifted effective from July 15, 2024.

He disclosed this to State House correspondents on Monday after the  Federal Executive Council meeting presided over by President Bola Tinubu at the Presidential Villa.

Idris said that an agreement has been reached between Nigeria and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) regarding travel restrictions, thereby allowing Nigerian passport holders intending to travel to the UAE to do so.

Recall that on December 13, 2021, the UAE issued a travel restriction on passengers from Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo, citing a surge in COVID-19 cases among travellers from these two African nations.

This travel ban may have been linked to a diplomatic dispute between Nigeria and the UAE regarding Air Peace’s flight frequency to the UAE.

Air Peace had requested three weekly flights to Sharjah Airport, but the UAE’s General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) granted only one.

The GCAA stated that Air Peace could not expect to retain its flight frequency after withdrawing from Sharjah Airport, a claim the Nigerian airline denied.

In response, the Nigerian federal government reduced Emirates’ flight slots from 21 to one, prompting the Dubai-based airline to suspend all flights to Nigeria.

However, President Bola Tinubu had intervened in August 2023 to resolve the dispute over visa issuance and the face-off with Emirates Airlines

This development is expected to ease travel between Nigeria and the UAE, which is considered an important partner for Nigeria, with many Nigerians having significant investments in the country.

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Alcaraz

High Food Prices Push Nigeria’s Inflation To 34.19%

Alcaraz

Nigeria’s inflation rate surged to 34.19 per cent in June 2024, the highest level in over a year, driven by soaring food prices. This represents a 0.24 percentage point increase from the 33.95 per cent recorded in May 2024.

The rate at which prices of goods and services rise in the country has continued to soar, as latest data by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed inflation rate for June rose to 34.91 per cent as food inflation spiked further to 40.89 per cent.

This was higher than analysts’ estimate of 34 per cent inflation rate for June as estimates of month-on-month headline inflation rose by 17 basis points to 2.31 per cent compared to the May increase of  2.14 per cent month-on-month).

On a year-on-year basis, the headline inflation rate was 11.40 percentage points higher compared to June 2023, when it stood at 22.79 per cent. The month-on-month inflation rate also rose to 2.31 per cent in June 2024, up from 2.14 per cent in May.

The NBS attributed the spike in inflation to the rising cost of food, transportation, and housing. Food inflation alone reached 40.87 per cent in June, the highest on record.

The June 2024 headline inflation rate showed an increase of 0.24 per cent points when compared to the May 2024 headline inflation rate. On a year-on-year basis, the headline inflation rate was 11.40 per cent points higher compared to the rate recorded in June 2023, which was 22.79 per cent.

This shows that the headline inflation rate (year-on-year basis) increased in the month of June 2024 when compared to the same month in the preceding year (i.e. June 2023). Furthermore, on a month-on-month basis, the headline inflation rate in June 2024 was 2.31 per cent, which was 0.17 per cent higher than the rate recorded in May 2024 (2.14 per cent).

The latest data showed that, in the month of June 2024, the rate of increase in the average price level is higher than the rate of increase in the average price level in May 2024.

Meanwhile, Food inflation increased by 21bps to 40.87 per cent y/y (May: 40.66 per cent y/y).

The rise in Food inflation on a year-on-year basis was caused by increases in prices of the following items: Millet Whole grain, Garri, Guinea corn, etc (Bread and Cereals Class), Yam, Water Yam, Coco Yam (Potatoes, Yam & Other Tubers Class), Groundnut Oil, Palm Oil, etc (Oil & Fats Class) and Catfish Dried, Dried Fish-Sardine, and Mudfish (Fish Class).

On a month-on-month basis, Food inflation increased by 2.55 per cent, relative to the 2.28 per cent m/m recorded in the previous month.

Similarly, the Core inflation increased by 36 bps to 27.40 per cent y/y (May: 27.04 per cent y/y). The highest increases were recorded in prices of the following items: Rents (Actual and Imputed Rentals for Housing Class), Journey by motorcycle, Bus Journey intercity (under Passenger Transport by Road Class), Accommodation Service, Consultation Fee of a medical doctor, Laboratory service, X-ray photography, etc (under Medical Services Class) and pharmaceutical products. Compared to the previous month, the Core index surged by 5bps to 2.06 per cent m/m in June (May: 2.01 per cent m/m).

In response, the Nigerian government recently announced a 150-day duty-free import window for essential food items like maize, wheat, and rice to help stabilise prices. The government also plans to collaborate with states to expand land cultivation nationwide.

However, analysts warn that the persistently high inflation rate could have severe consequences for the economy and consumers. The core inflation rate, which excludes food and energy, climbed to 26.41 per cent in June.

As policymakers grapple with the inflationary pressures, the public eagerly awaits further measures to address the underlying factors driving the cost of living higher.

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Argentina

Mining Rates Review: Stakeholders Decry Inadequate Consultation

Argentina

Stakeholders in the mining sector have decried the lack of proper consultation before new mining rates were announced by the federal government.

The minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr Dele Alake, had on July 5  announced an upward review of rates and charges for all activities in the mining sector.

He said that the move was aimed at positioning the sector for economic consolidation, and was due to the introduction of qualitative measures being implemented.

According to him, the move will raise the level of services, improve transaction traffic, and develop infrastructure.

The new rates include increase in mining lease licences and royalty rates of minerals particularly of lithium, kunzite and gold.

In response to the development, the National President of the Miners Association of Nigeria (MAN), Dele Ayanleke, said that stakeholders were dissatisfied with the rates.

Ayanleke expressed concern with the processes leading to the announcement, and the general state of the sector, particularly the multiple taxation of operators by state governments.

“To say the new rates are high is an understatement; it is unrealistic.

“In a situation where state governments keep on issuing unconstitutional regulations with attendant rates and charges with impunity and the federal government, through the Ministry, could not assert its authority on a subject located in the exclusive list.

“Outrageous upward review of rates and charges can only be interpreted as the government wants indigenous operators out of the mining business,” he said.

He urged the federal government to engage with state governments to address the widespread illegality in the regulatory and governance framework of the sector, which was frustrating mining operators in their businesses.

According to him, once the situation is resolved, stakeholders should be engaged in determining the best ways to optimise revenue generation, and harness the wealth creation potential of the sector.

Similarly, the President of the Nigerian Mining and Geosciences Society (NMGS), Prof Akinade Olatunji, said that the review was not the issue, but rather the process of arriving at it.

Olatunji said that the ministry had used the current selling prices of minerals as the basis for determining the fixed rates.

“This was done unilaterally without sufficient consultation with relevant stakeholders.

“There are several factors that govern royalty rates. The operators are currently groaning under huge costs aggravated by the prevailing economic challenges, so this may send many more operators out of business.

“What I think the government should do is to get the Mines Inspectorate Division strengthened with more qualified personnel, provide them mobility and running costs and allow them to do their job effectively.

“That would prevent revenue leakage and of course increase the accrual to the government,” he said.

He said that the new rates for exploration and mining leases indicates that the entire landscape may just be confiscated by those with deep pockets.

Recall  that 268 items were reviewed in the new regime.

Investors applying for a mining lease licence will pay N3 million, while Small Scale Mining Lease (SSML) applicants will pay N300,000 for the first two cadastral units.

The cost to obtain an Exploration Licence (EL) is N600,000 for the first 100 cadastral units, Quarry lease and reconnaissance permit, will attract N300,000.

In the new rates regime, lithium ore lepidolite at the current market value of N600,000 per tonne attracts an N18,000 royalty per tonne.

Kunzite, with a current market value of N3 million per tonne, attracts a N90,000 royalty per tonne, while lithium ore spodumene, with a current market value of N316,667 per tonne, attracts a N9,500 royalty per tonne among others.

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Argentina

French Shipping Firm Slams $400 Surcharge On Nigeria-bound Cargoes, Others

Argentina

French Shipping Company, CMA CGM has announced a new Peak Season Surcharge (PSS) of US$400 per container effective 5th August on cargo originating from the United States and Canada destined for Nigeria.

Other countries affected are, Ghana, Cameroon, Togo, Benin, Angola, Gabon, Sierra Leone, Congo, DRC, Namibia and Equatorial Guinea.

LEADERSHIP reports that the PSS are fee associated with the increased costs of transport in a specific period. The peak surcharge usually happens when there is a high transport demand and every carrier imposes different charges as it suit them.

The new surcharge is coming barely two months after the shipping line imposed the sum of $900 per TEU (twenty equivalent unit) of containers as PSS on cargoes coming through it from China to Nigeria.

However, in this new announcement, the shipping company announced the implementation of a separate surcharge of €400 per container on cargo originating from North Europe (including the Baltic and Scandinavia), GB£300 per container from the United Kingdom and US$400 per container from West Mediterranean, East Mediterranean, Adriatic, Morocco, North Africa, and the Black Sea, and destined for Nigeria, Ghana, Cameroon, Togo, Benin, Angola, Gabon, Sierra Leone, Congo, DRC, Namibia, and Equatorial Guinea.

This surcharge, which comes into effect on 1s August 2024 (loading date), is applicable to dry and reefer cargo.

The Marseille-based container carrier also applied a surcharge of US$200 per 20ft container on shipments from all Middle East Gulf & Pakistan ports to South Africa effective 20th July.

The container carrier said the surcharge will be applied until further notice.

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COPA America final

Zeenab Foods Signs N20bn Commercial Paper Issuance Programme

COPA America final

Zeenab Foods Limited, a leading food processing and agro-commodity trading company in Nigeria, has successfully signed a N20billion Commercial Paper (CP) Issuance Programme on the FMDQ Securities Exchange Limited.

The Board Listings and Markets Committee of the Financial Market Dealers Quotation (FMDQ) Securities Exchange approved the CP Programme.

The signing ceremony occurred on July 2, 2024, at the company’s corporate head office at Idu Industrial Area, Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja.

The event was attended by key stakeholders, including Pathway Advisors Limited (Financial Adviser and Transaction Sponsor), Polaris Bank Limited (Collecting and Paying Agent), Greychapel Legal (Transaction Solicitor), and ATC Professional Services (Auditor to the Issuer).

According to the MD/CEO of Zeenab Foods Limited, Dr Victor O. Ayemere, the Commercial Paper program will position Zeenab Foods to navigate the financial landscape of the agro-commodities sector, ultimately leading to enhanced growth opportunities and sustainable success in the market.

“It will also aid in meeting the company’s short-term capital and funding needs, ultimately allowing for a broader range of funding options and creating additional value for stakeholders. The proceeds from the CP issuance will be specifically used to purchase rice paddy and enhance value addition to other agro-commodities before export,” Ayemere said.

He expressed gratitude to Pathway Advisors Limited, the Financial Adviser and Transaction Sponsor, for their efforts in ensuring the successful approval of the CP Programme.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, CEO of Pathway Advisors Limited, Mr. Adekunle Alade, said: “Pathway Advisors Limited is pleased to have advised Zeenab Foods Limited on the establishment of its inaugural N20 billion CP issuance programme, which will enable the Company to access competitively priced short-term funding from institutional investors.

“It will also provide a platform for the company to diversify sources of debt funding to include non-bank investors, thereby increasing resources available for strategic planning while also reducing the average cost of borrowing.”

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CAC Directs Revoked BDCs To Change Names Within 3 Months

COPA America final

The 4,173 Bureau De Change companies whose licenses were recently revoked by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) have been asked by the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) to change their names within three months.

LEADERSHIP recalls the CBN revoked the operational licenses of the 4,173 BDC operators in March due to noncompliance with certain regulatory guidelines.

CAC, in a notice issued on Wednesday said the failure of the BDCs to change the names with which they were registered as companies would result in the cancellation of their certificate of incorporation and dissolution.

While urging shareholders and directors of the companies to take action, the CAC said details of the affected companies have also been published on its website for re-confirmation.

“Following the revocation of the operational licenses of 4,173 Bureau De Change companies by the Central Bank of Nigeria vide a Federal Republic of Nigeria Official Gazette (Vol. 111) No. 37 of February 2024 for non-compliance with Regulatory Standards, the Corporate Affairs Commission in exercise of its powers under Section 8(1) (e) of the Companies and Allied Matters Act, 2020 advises these companies to within three months from the date of this publication, change names and objects.

“Failure to change the names and objects within the stipulated time frame shall result in cancellation of certificate of incorporation and dissolution. It is to be noted that it is unlawful for a company whose certificate has been deemed dissolved to carry on business,” the CAC said.

The apex bank had in March said the companies failed to comply with the required payment of all necessary fees, including license renewal within the stipulated period in line with the guidelines; rendition of returns in line with the guidelines; and compliance with guidelines, directives and circulars of the CBN, particularly Anti-Money Laundering (AML), Countering the Financing of Terrorism (CFT) and Counter-Proliferation Financing (CPF) regulations.

CBN’s spokesperson, Sidi Hakama, said the bank acted in exercise of the powers conferred on it under the Bank and Other Financial Institutions Act (BOFIA) 2020, Act No. 5, and the Revised Operational Guidelines for Bureaux De Change 2015 (the Guidelines).

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Senate Rejects Bill To Establish Forex Market In Nigeria

COPA America final

The Senate on Thursday rejected a proposed bill that aimed to establish a foreign exchange market in Nigeria.

The bill, titled “The Foreign Exchange (Control And Monitoring) Bill, 2024 (SB. 353),” was sponsored by Senator Sani Musa and sought to provide regulations and supervision for transactions conducted in the foreign exchange market.

However, many senators expressed concerns about the potential overlap of the forex market with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN’s) existing control over the market.

The lawmakers argued that introducing additional legislation could lead to confusion and generate counterproductive outcomes.

Despite the Senate President’s suggestion for further consultations and withdrawal of the bill, Senator Musa refused while majority of lawmakers voted against its second reading.

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Industry Leaders Dissect Risk Management Strategies In Nigeria

the Nigerian coat of arms

Industry leaders in Nigeria have dissected innovative risk management strategies to overcome the economic challenges facing the country.

The leaders spoke in Abuja yesterday, during the 7th Nigerian risk leadership summit and awards with the theme: “Connecting Risk Resilience And Innovation For Sustainable Growth.”

The event also featured panel discussions on the skill sustainability risk for Nigerian organisations, and strategies for building risk and resilience management in Nigeria.

The vice president, Kashim Shettima who was represented by the Special Adviser to the President on Economic Affairs in the Office of the Vice President, Dr. Tope Fasua, urged Nigerian youths to strive to make a living anywhere they found themselves, as the global economic system has broken down.

“There is a need for people, organisations and nations to exercise great concern and intelligence in the world.

“Innovation drives today’s world and innovation is often a result of risk taking, as curiosity, observation and intelligent work. But the consumers of innovation must understand those equipment that make everyone’s life a little easier,” he said.

Also Speaking, the convener of the event, Dr.Joachim Adenusi, said the ultimate objective of this year’s summit is to provide a response to the ongoing challenges we face as a nation, offering a comprehensive idea for the stability of organisations in Nigeria.

He emphasised the need to explore innovative approaches to managing risks so that we can equip industry leaders and policymakers with the appropriate knowledge and tools to make informed decisions that will best benefit the growth of our great nation Nigeria.

“If we are able to manage risks on time, we may reduce the number of unending daily crises frustrating many Nigerians and start experiencing effective sustainable growth.

“So, let us embrace today’s event as an opportunity to learn, grow, and connect with one another. Let us be open to new ideas, perspectives, and experiences,” he said.

In his keynote presentation, the CEO of Nigeria’s Ministry of Finance Incorporated (MOFI), Dr. Armstrong Takang, represented by the Executive Director,(MOFI), Oluwakemi Babalogbon,said effective management of accountability is essential for creating a high-performance environment with an organisation.

According to him, when employees are held accountable for their actions and decisions, it fosters a culture of ownership, responsibility and continuous improvement.

Takang identified strategies of mitigating accountability risk, establishing clear policies and procedures, conducting regular audits and assessments, amongst others.

During the panel discussion on ‘Japa syndrome,’ the director of programmes, China Central Television, Kelechi Emekalam said there is urgent need to give attention to the massive exodus of Nigerians to other countries.

“We need to find a solution to what has become a consistent problem that is affecting different sectors of our economy and families.”

She lamented that the economic situation is pushing people out of the country, hence the need to make the economy stable where people can thrive.

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Logistics Disruptions Caused Fuel Shortages – NMDPRA

The chief executive officer of the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA), Farouk Ahmed, has confirmed that the recent fuel shortages experienced in the country were due to logistics disruptions caused by severe flooding in Lagos and other parts of the country.
Ahmed disclosed this to State House Correspondents after meeting with President Bola Tinubu at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

According to him, flooding in Lagos State disrupted truck loading and movement.
He said this further increased the problem of insufficiency of PMS, he assured that these issues were being addressed through coordinated efforts between Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) and marketing companies.

“And obviously offshore there were a lot of soil and there were destabilisation and it was very difficult to continue our shipping operations because of safety, the safe shift transfer was suspended because of the volatile nature of the high sea at the time, so that two days of delays created that gap and on top of that elsewhere there were floodings in Lagos and that disrupted truck loading and truck movement because of the floods so the floodings were now more like helpless”.

While reiterating the government’s commitment to supporting local industries and ensuring the quality of petroleum products, he added that there is a 20-day sufficiency of petroleum products, with 12 days offshore and eight days onshore .

“I did briefed the President we have like 20 days sufficiency, 12 days offshore and over eight days sufficiency of onshore but what is important is to translate the offshore to onshore and that is why I mentioned to you earlier that the movement of shipping to other parts of the country will fast track the onshore availability and once we have the stock in onshore spread across the country then you see a lot of comforts coming in” Ahmed added.

The CEO also discussed the impact of floods in parts of Niger and Edo states, which he said increases road blockages and hinders the transportation of petroleum products.

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Edun Tasks New SEC Management On Regulation Of Cryptocurrency

Minister of finance and coordinating minister of the economy, Wale Edun has urged the new management of Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to focus on crypto areas and develop a master plan “for proper implementation by ensuring that they are regulated according to the guidelines.”

The minister gave the directive on Tuesday during the inauguration of the new board members of the securities commission with a charge to explore innovative mechanisms and improve on digital currency transactions in regulating Financial market aimed at attracting investors both within and outside the country, the ministry said in a statement.

The minister said the key objectives of the President Bola Tinubu’s administration was ensuring the realisation of fiscal policy geared towards Financial market regulations with a view to enhancing economic growth and development of Nigeria.

The minister emphasised the importance of facilitating financial development, improving the operational financial market, and mitigating challenges through the deployment of technology and innovation.

“Let me remind you and charge you also that, SEC, being the Apex Financial market and key regulators in foreign exchange financial market, Capital market and cooperative operators, need to be innovative as well as improve on technology to mitigate the financial market challenges in line with the Renewed Hope Agenda of the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu-led Administration,” Edun said.

He called on the board to beam their search light on Crypto areas, which he said are fast moving, in order to protect the investment public and the general public.
Chairman of the board, Mairiga Aliyu Katuka, thanked President Tinubu for finding them worthy to assume the office of trust and responsibility.

He underscored his predecessors efforts that culminated in the remarkable achievements which repositioned the commission as a regulating agency and promised to build a stronger and more resilient Financial ecosystem, in line with the Commission’s mandate as well as the Renewed Hope Agenda of the present administration

Katuka assured that members of the Board will harness their individual expertise and innovative ideas as well as their wealth of experience to ensure the realisation of the policy objectives of the government.

He emphasised that the Board would pursue a comprehensive agenda aimed at advancing the interest of the investors, safeguarding market integrity, promoting capital formation and enhancing regulatory oversight.

He assured further that the Board will continue to collaborate with relevant stakeholders so as to ensure open communication and mutual cooperation in order to achieve the goals set for it

While assuring President Bola Ahmed Tinubu that the Board will not disappoint the confidence reposed on them, Mr Katuka expressed optimism that the future of Nigerian Security market is sure to chart a new course towards a more prosperous and resilient financial ecosystem, especially with the reforms and policies put in place by the present administration which includes robust inflation management, macro-economic innovations and improved private sector development.

Earlier in her opening remarks, the permanent secretary, Federal Ministry of Finance, Lydia Shehu Jafiya commended the minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Wale Edun for his unwavering and sterling leadership that is enabling the Ministry and its Agencies to deliver on their mandate.

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