Summary of the top business, economic and political news in Nigeria today.
- The Federal Government is considering a bouquet of new measures to check the increasing rate of illegal recruitment among the ministries, departments and agencies of government. The measures to be rolled out soon, it was learnt, would put to an end the practice by the agencies of government of conducting recruitment without recourse to the laid down procedures. Many government parastatals including the Central Bank of Nigeria, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, the Federal Inland Revenue Service, and the Nigerian Prisons Service, among others have been rocked by recruitment scandals. Link
- The three tiers of government – federal, states and local governments – shared N2.788 trillion between January and June this year, Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) said yesterday. According to a statement by NEITI Director of Communications, Dr. Orji Ogbonnaya Orji, the allocation shows a 38 per cent increase on the N2.019 trillion shared in the first half of 2016. Link
- More than 700 Bureaux De Change (BDC) operators are inactive in the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN’s) Forex Window as forex end users embrace commercial banks. Link
- The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has recovered N329.150billion from 10 marketers from 2016 to date. The marketers defaulted in payment for products supplied to them by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) through its subsidiary, the Petroleum Products and Marketing Company (PPMC). About N20, 604, 109, 123.90 is yet to be recovered. Link
- The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has disclosed that commercial banks reduced their lending to the economy by N292 billion in the second quarter (Q2) of 2017. The bureau in its report titled: “Selected Banking Sector Data” also disclosed that Electronic Payment Channels in the Nigeria Banking Sector hits N19.78 trillion in Q2 of 2017. According to NBS report, Commercial banks’ lending to 17 sectors of the economy fell to N15.7 trillion in Q2 of 2017 from N16 trillion in first quarter (Q1) 2017, indicating a drop of N292 billion or 1.8 per cent. The 17 sectors according to NBS include Agriculture, Mining and Quarrying, Manufacturing, Oil and Gas, and Power and Energy, among others. Link
- The Minister of Transport, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi has directed that every prospective train passenger must present identity cards before obtaining tickets at ticket sales points. He said that the each passenger on presentation of ID card will be issued a ticket with his or her name boldly written to forestall the possibility of transferring tickets to the highest bidders which was the practice in recent times. Link
- The fixed income and currency markets operated by FMDQ OTC Securities Exchange have recorded transactions worth N78.90 trillion between January and July. Trading statistics showed a decline of 8.6 per cent in the month of July. Investors traded N11.53 trillion in July, down from N12.62 trillion recorded in June. But in all, the market has facilitated N78.90 trillion investments in seven months. Link
- Nigeria’s interbank overnight lending rate fell sharply on Friday to an average of 12 per cent from around 60 percent a week ago after the central bank repaid matured treasury bills and a refund of excess cash deposited by banks to buy dollars. Link
- Although Nigeria and many of the African countries are admired for being commodity markets, a study of importation in the country shows that Nigeria has spent as much as N19.5tn on the importation of primary raw materials into the country in the past seven years. Statistics obtained from the Raw Materials Research and Development Council showed that between 2010 and 2015, Nigeria spent N13.6tn on the importation of raw materials that could be replaced with other materials from local sources if some more rigorous work could be put into the country’s import substitution strategy. Link
- South Energyx Nigeria Limited, developers of Eko Atlantic City and real estate investment firm, Fine and Country, as well as other stakeholders are partnering to woo investors to Nigeria’s real estate market. The Vice-Chairman of South Energyx Nigeria Limited, Mr. Ronald Chagoury Jr, said the Refined Investors Series 2017 scheduled to take place in London, United Kingdom on October 6th and 7th, would be a leading premium real estate forum, targeting Nigerians in the Diaspora and other international investors. Link
- The Ondo State Governor, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu, has called on the Federal Government to assist the state in the area of provision of potable water for the people of the state. Link
- Traders under the aegis of Henshaw Town Beach Market Traders’ Union on Saturday shut down the popular Marina Beach Market in Calabar, Cross River State over an alleged imposition of high levies by government agents. The aggrieved traders, protesting against the introduction of waterfront regulatory economic levies which ranged from N200 to N15,000, also vowed not to open the market until the government reversed the new charges and levies. Link
- Insurance companies have jerked up premium rates for flood insurance by 50 per cent, in response to increased flooding incidences across the country. Link
- As the federal government continues to grapple with means of settling its huge pension deficit, an additional N20 billion liability would be added to the stack upon passage of the bill for the exemption of the Police and other paramilitary agencies from the Contributory Pension Scheme, CPS. LInk
- Tin Can Island Comptroller, Yusuf Bashar, at the weekend, disclosed that his command generates an average of N1.2 billion, daily to the Federal Government coffers. Link
- Despite the excitement that trailed the launch of Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) Savings Bond, investors’ participation in it has not been too impressive even with its high coupon rate. This is because the amount allotted has dropped consistently from N2.07 billion in March 2017 to N400.57 million in July 2017. According to data from FSDH Research, total number of investors in the FGN Savings Bond also dropped from 2,575 in March 2017 to 779 in July 2017. Link
- The Insurers Committee has differed on how to carry out its much-publicised N300 million insurance industry rebranding project. The group with umbrella bodies, Nigeria Insurers Association (NIA), Nigeria Council of Registered Insurance Brokers (NCRIB) and Institute of Loss Adjusters of Nigeria (ILAN) as members, disagreed over the sharing formula of the project expenses and which operator will be most favoured from it. The committee comprises the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), chief executive officers(CEOs) of 58 insurance firms, over 400 broking firms and loss adjusters. Link
- The Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) in collaboration with Africa Rice Nigeria has distributed 51 bags of improved rice seeds to 50 farmers in Anambra to boost production. Mr Andrew Ikhadeunu, FAO National Project Coordinator, Rice Value Chain, told newsmen in Awka on Monday that the beneficiaries were earlier selected and trained in February. “They were given demonstration plots for planting. Now they have harvested, we are following it up with the improved seeds of 51 bags of rice for them,’’ he said. Link
- The illegal occupation of Belema Flow Station and Gas Plant in Rivers State has safety implications both for the people at the facilities and nearby communities, the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC) has warned. Link
- Semic International Limited has said it is not in partnership with Konga and Jumia to boost The Billion Coin (TBC) or digital currency acceptance in the country. In a statement, Semic International Limited, said contrary to reports that the company was in a partnership with Jumia or Konga for the acceptance of Crypto currency in the country, it only signed up with both firms as independent sales agents. Link
- Caverton Offshore Support Group Plc has secured a five year logistics support contract from Chevron Nigeria Limited, the operator of NNPC/CNL Joint Venture, for the provision of aviation services. The contract, awarded to one of the company’s subsidiaries, Caverton Helicopters, is with a 2-year renewable option. Link
- The Board of Director of Nigerian Aviation Handling Company has announced the appointment of Mrs. Folashade Ode as Acting Managing Director/ CEO with effect from August 7th 2017. Her appointment follows the resignation of Norbert Bielderman with effect from August 31st 2017. Link
- Africa’s conglomerate and indigenous investor, Dangote Group, has signed a Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) with Kano state Government, for a proposed multi-million dollars 100MW Dangote-Black Rhino Solar Power Project. Link
- Mr Nicolas Terraz, the Managing Director and Chief Executive, Total Upstream Companies in Nigeria, said the companies invested over 10 billion dollars in the country oil and gas sector. According to him, with expertise and strong position in the onshore, offshore and deep offshore, its Egina field development nearly completed, was expected to add 200,000 barrel per day to Nigeria’s output on stream in 2018. Link
- Global Utilities Management Company (GUMCO), a subsidiary of Vigeo Group, has signed a long-term partnership agreement with Genus Power Infrastructures Limited for the manufacturing, assembling and development of power metering solutions for Nigeria and other countries in the West African sub-region. Link
- As the House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts awaits details of disbursements of loans to its customers by the Bank of Industry (BoI), it emerged at the weekend that as much as N13billion was advanced to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) by the bank as at April this year. Link
- The Jaiz Takaful Insurance Plc has commenced operations in Nigeria with the promise that all policy holders would be paid at the end of every fiscal year either through claims or profit sharing. Mr. Momodou Musa Joof, Managing Director, Jaiz Takaful Insurance Plc, stated this while speaking at a press briefing in Abuja. Link
- FBN General Insurance Limited has announced the appointment of Babatunde Mimiko as its Executive Director. The company said in a statement that Mimiko brings on board a sterling 18-year career across the financial services industry including a short stint in banking. Link
- The Managing Director, AfriGlobal Insurance Brokers Limited, Mr. Casmir Azubuike, has said that the company plans to expand its operations beyond the shores of Nigeria and become a major international broker. Link
- Staco Insurance Plc said the group paid N2.08bn claims to its clients in 2016 financial period. Link
- The Coordinator of natnudO Foods’ broiler out-grower scheme tagged, “natnuPreneur”, Mr. Gbolade Adewole, has said that farmers registered under the six-seven week broiler production scheme, have consistently enjoyed between 7.5 per cent and 15 per cent profit on investment per cycle. With a potential to conclude five cycles per year, efficient farmers stand to make between 37.5 per cent and 75 per cent profit per annum, making natnuPreneur “broiler out-grower” the most profitable poultry scheme in the country. Link
- The Oyo State Governor Abiola Ajimobi on Saturday announced the introduction of the Electronic Certificate of Occupancy, thereby ditching the use the paper-based Certificate of Occupancy. Link
Elon Musk to offer $100 million prize for best carbon capture technology
Elon Musk has announced a donation of $100 million prize money for the best technology that can capture carbon dioxide.
Tesla Inc CEO Elon Musk on Thursday took to Twitter to promise a $100 million prize for the development of the “best” carbon capture technology.
Elon Musk wrote in a tweet, “Am donating $100M towards a prize for best carbon capture technology,” details next week.
Carbon capture technology is designed to prevent the release of CO2 generated through conventional power generation and industrial production processes by injecting the CO2 into suitable underground storage reservoirs.
According to Reuters, “Capturing planet-warming emissions is becoming a critical part of many plans to keep climate change in check, but very little progress has been made on the technology to date, with efforts focused on cutting emissions rather than taking carbon out of the air.”
Since the tweet was shared, it has garnered thousands of responses from people because of the jaw-dropping cash prize. A lot of people have started sharing their carbon capture ideas.
The International Energy Agency said late last year that a sharp rise in the deployment of carbon capture technology was needed if countries are to meet net-zero emissions targets.
Newly-sworn-in U.S. President, Joe Biden has pledged to accelerate the development of carbon capture technology as part of his sweeping plan to tackle climate change. On Thursday, he named Jennifer Wilcox, an expert in carbon removal technologies, as the principal deputy assistant secretary for fossil energy at the U.S. Department of Energy.
Besides Tesla, Elon also heads rocket company SpaceX and Neuralink, a startup that is developing ultra-high bandwidth brain-machine interfaces to connect the human brain to computers.
WHO warns Africa in danger of being left behind in Covid-19 vaccination
The WHO has warned that Africa is in danger of being left behind in Covid-19 vaccination.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned that Africa is in danger of being left behind in Covid-19 vaccination as countries from other regions strike bilateral deals, thereby driving up prices.
This follows the development and approval of safe and effective vaccine less than a year after the emergence of the coronavirus pandemic, regarded as a stunning achievement.
This disclosure was made by the WHO’s Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti while speaking during a virtual press conference which was facilitated by APO Group.
Dr Moeti was joined at the press briefing by the Managing Director, Country Programmes, Gavi, Thabani Maphosa and UNICEF Regional Director for Eastern and Southern Africa, Mohamed Fall.
What the WHO’s Regional Director for Africa is saying
Dr Moeti stated that as of early this week, 40 million Covid-19 vaccine doses have been administered in 50 mostly high-income countries with Guinea being the only low-income country on the continent to have provided doses to only 25 people so far.
According to her, Seychelles is the only high-income country on the continent where a national Covid-19 vaccination campaign has started.
She said, “We first, not me first, is the only way to end the pandemic. Vaccine hoarding will only prolong the ordeal and delay Africa’s recovery. It is deeply unjust that the most vulnerable Africans are forced to wait for vaccines while lower-risk groups in rich countries are made safe.
“Health workers and vulnerable people in Africa need urgent access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines.’’
What the Managing Director, Country Programmes, GAVI, is saying
Mr Thabani Maphosa, the Managing Director, Country Programmes at GAVI, a partner in the alliance, was quoted as saying delivery would begin soon.
He said, “COVAX is on track to start delivering vaccine doses and begin ensuring global access to vaccines. This massive international undertaking has been made possible thanks to donations work towards dose-sharing deals and deals with manufacturers that have brought us to almost 2 billion doses secured. We look forward to rollout in the coming weeks.”
What you should know
- COVAX facility is an international alliance which is backed by the WHO, Gavi, the vaccine alliance and Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), to ensure equitable distribution of the Covid-19 vaccines among all countries regardless of income level.
- The alliance has secured 2 billion doses of the Covid-19 vaccine for Africa from 5 producers, with options of over 1 billion more doses.
- COVAX has committed to vaccinating no fewer than 20% of the population in Africa by the end of 2021.
- Priority will be given to health workers and other vulnerable groups, such as older persons and those with pre-existing health conditions.
- An initial 30 million vaccine doses are expected to begin arriving in countries by March.
- The United Nations in its report said that a maximum of 600 million doses will be disbursed, based on 2 doses per person.
Google threatens to remove its search engine from Australia due to media code
Google has threatened to remove its search engine from Australia due to the media code introduced by the government.
Google said that it will disable its search engine in Australia if the government proceeds with a media code that would force it and Facebook Inc to pay local media companies for sharing their content.
The code requires Google and Facebook to enter mandatory arbitration with media companies if they cannot reach an agreement over the value of their content within three months.
It also requires the platforms to give the news businesses 14 days’ notice of algorithm changes, and non-discrimination provisions have been put in place to stop the tech giants from taking retaliatory action such as removing content or punishing organisations that participate in the code.
Mel Silva, Google Australia and New Zealand VP told Australia’s Senate Economics Legislation Committee today that Google would shut off the search in Australia if the government’s proposed media bargaining code becomes law. According to her, “The code’s arbitration model with bias criteria presents an unmanageable financial and operational risk for Google”
Australia announced the legislation last month after an investigation found Alphabet Inc-owned Google and social media giant Facebook held too much market power in the media industry, a situation it said posed a potential threat to a well-functioning democracy.
Prime Minister of Australia, Scott Morrison said Australia would not respond to the threats as news media companies fired back at suggestions their content did not add value to the platforms. “Australia makes our rules for things you can do in Australia. That’s done in our Parliament. It’s done by our government, and that’s how things work here in Australia,” he said. “People who want to work with that, in Australia, you’re very welcome. But we don’t respond to threats.”
What you should know
- Google’s threats follow similar remarks made by Facebook Australia’s managing director, Will Easton in September, who announced plans to remove news articles from the social media’s main app if the media code is passed by Parliament.
- To avoid the operation of the code, Google and Facebook have no option but to cease linking to news altogether. If Google can’t reliably separate news results from other search results, then logically it may have to pull its entire search service from Australia.
- Google’s threat to limit its services in Australia came just hours after the internet giant reached a content-payment deal with some French news publishers.
- This new media code will affect millions of Australians who use Google Search and Facebook every month.