Summary of the top business, economic and political news in Nigeria today.
- Minister of Finance Mrs. Kemi Adeosun has said there is urgent need to reposition the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) for enhanced performance through efficient management of accrued scarce resources for national development. LInk
- In a bid to aid liquidity management and deepen the financial system, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has introduced two new financial instruments known as – Funding for Liquidity Facility (FfLF) and Intra-day Facility (IDF), at its window, for access by non-interest financial institutions (NIFIs) under its regulation. Link
- Nigeria’s oil production, excluding condensates, was slightly below 1.8 million barrels per day in July, the country’s oil minister Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu said yesterday. LInk
- The total amount of stamp duty collected on deposits in bank accounts across the Deposit Money Banks has yielded N13bn to the Federal Government. Sources close to the Central Bank of Nigeria where the fund is warehoused confirmed that in the first 12 months of application of the duty (January to December 2016), the banks remitted a total of N3bn into the Stamp Duty Treasury Single Account. Link
- The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has kicked against the threat to arrest 30 Chief Executive Officers of some of its member companies by the Senate Committee on Customs, Excise and Tariff, over N30 trillion revenue leakage in the import and export value chain between 2006 and 2017. Link
- Experts in apiculture industry in Nigeria have lamented that at least $2bn is spent annually on the importation of bee to beef up the shortfall in local production. The experts said that the national production of honey stood at 38, 000 tonnes annually as against the country’s consumption of 380, 000 tonnes, representing a shortfall of 90 per cent. Link
- The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, said that the Federal Government has commenced construction of houses in 33 states for workers under its National Housing Programme. Link
- The quarterly contribution of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has increased to N1.6 trillion from N1.4trn, the Nigerian Communications Commission has said. Link
- In line with the Federal Government move to boost poultry production in the country, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Bank of Industry (BoI) and Amo Farms have collaborated to flag off the Anchor Borrowers Program (APB) for poultry farmers in Lagos State. Link
- Niger State Fadama 111 Additional Financing Project have distributed farm inputs to over 8,000 farmers this year to boost agricultural produce in the state. Link
- The Murtala Muhammed Airport Terminal Two, popularly referred to as the MMA2, has been named the Nigerian Airport of the Year 2017 by WorldStage Limited. Link
- Investors in the country’s bond market, on Wednesday, shunned the Federal Government’s bond auction owing to falling yields. The country raised only N56.05bn ($179m) in the bond auction, which was less than half the amount on offer as domestic pension funds and insurance firms cut orders due to low yields, traders said on Thursday. Link
- Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has unveiled a scheme that aims to increase Nigerians’ ability to become homeowners in its Nigerian Housing Finance Programme (NHFP). The scheme termed, “My Own Home” launched in Lagos is a Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement targeted at providing mortgages, mortgage guarantee and insurance as well as housing microfinance to the Nigerian populace. Link
- An indigenous firm, Nigus Enfinity said it is set to introduce Electric Vehicles (EVs) into the Nigerian automobile market from 2018 just as it plans the first local assembly plant for EVs in 2020. Link
- Vitafoam Nigeria Plc has appointed two independent non-executive directors and one non-executive director into its board. The newly appointed directors whose tenure shall commence in October this year are Professor (Mrs) Rosemary IviowenEgonmwan, Mr Mohammed Goni Alkali and Mr Gerson Silver. Link
- The Northern Nigeria Flour Mills Plc’s new ultra-modern Sorghum Milling Plant, recently commissioned in the business city of Kano is to provide over 40,000 new jobs along the value chain. Link
- Paints and Coatings Manufacturers Nigeria Plc (“Paints and Coatings’’ or “the Company”) has notified its Dealing Members that it has through its Stockbroker; Meristem Securities Limited submitted an application for a Scheme of Arrangement between the Company and holders of its fully paid up ordinary shares of 50k each. The Scheme will lead to the delisting of the entire shares of Paints and Coatings Manufacturers Nigeria Plc from The Daily Official List of The Exchange. Link
- The Nigeria Police Force Property Development Construction Company (NPDCC), in collaboration with Ojim Royal Investment and Property Limited, are partnering to construct 40,000 units of mass housing in Enugu, Enugu State. Link
- A Japanese designer brand, Miniso, has opened outlets inside the six high-brow shopping malls in Lagos in line with the Federal Government’s quest for foreign direct investment. According to the Country Manager, Miniso, Mr. Chris Lee, the firm was planning to create employment by establishing 500 stores across Nigeria by 2019, noting that the brand was committed to employing about 30,000 Nigerians and establishing a university to transfer knowledge of retail trade to Nigerians. Link
- A leading media buying agency, Starcom Media, has changed its name to Media Seal. Link
- The United Bank for Africa has placed a restriction on the use of its debit and prepaid cards for purchasing certain items. The items include jewellery, pornography, dating and escort services. The bank also forbids the use of its cards for all sorts of betting — including buying lottery tickets, casino gaming chips, off-track betting and wagers (bets). Link
- Three commercial banks, including Zenith Bank, Guaranty Trust Bank (GTBank) and United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc funded one third (1/3) of Federal Government’s budget in 2016 with a whopping N2.3 trillion loans. Link
- The Nigerian Content Development Monitoring Board, NCDMB, Thursday, said it has set up an initiative to develop the capabilities of indigenous companies, ensuring that local companies manage the operations and maintenance of the Dangote Refinery when construction work is completed. Link
FG bars aides of VIPs from airport terminals, grants loans to airlines, others at 5%
The minister insisted that face masks must be worn at all times inside the airport and airplane.
The Federal Government has barred all non-travelling aides of public office holders and very important personalities (VIPs) from gaining access into the Airport terminal.
This is part of the measure and aviation protocol designed to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease and ensure safety of the passengers and workers in the aviation sector.
This was disclosed by the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, during Monday’s briefing of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19.
Sirika said that this measure applies especially to Governors, Ministers, National Assembly Members, Judicial officers and Military officers as the practice of having their Personal Assistants and Special Assistants, who they insist on seeing them off up to the aircraft though not travelling with them, would be stopped.
The Aviation Minister in his statement said, ‘’Henceforth, all VIPs will no longer be permitted to bring non-travelling aides into the Airport Terminals. This especially applies to Governors, Ministers, NASS members, Judiciary and Military officers.’’
While speaking on the new procedures during this COVID-19 era, the minister said that mandatory temperature and symptoms checks will be carried out at the airport terminals and frequent washing of hands should be done at the airports. He also said that face masks must be worn at all times inside the airport and airplane and anyone who does not do that will not be allowed inside the airport terminals.
He pointed out that physical distancing will be maintained at all times just as unruly passengers will not be allowed to board the aircrafts or fly as no pilot will be allowed to fly a plane carrying an unruly passenger.
He revealed that the processes of compression, heating, cooling and filtration that aircraft cabin air is subjected to, takes out 99.9% of all organisms including viruses etc. that’s why cabin air is safer than most other environments.
The aviation minister also stated that operators in the aviation sector including airlines, ground handling firms and others, will be given loan at 5% interest rate with effect from 2021. He, however, noted that the modalities for the loan is being worked out with the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning
It can be recalled that Sirika stated this in an interactive session with the senate committee on Aviation where he said that any VIP coming into the airport this time around as a personality, minister or even members of the national assembly will not be carrying their aides into the airports anymore.
Vodacom Nigeria gets new MD
Vodacom Business is a leading pan-African telecommunications provider wholly-owned by the Vodacom Group.
Vodacom Business (Nigeria) Limited has appointed Mr Valentine Chime as the Managing Director of its operations. According to a statement from the company on Monday, the appointment is at the instance of the board of directors.
He will now drive the company’s vision of becoming Africa’s leading cloud and digital service provider, the statement read.
Prior to this appointment, Valentine Chime was with Aruwa Capital, a private equity company investing across West Africa. He also worked at Kaizen Venture Partners, a private equity company focused on distressed assets. He has held various C-suite positions in a number of portfolio companies in different sectors.
Chime expressed his enthusiasm to take up the position and challenge of building the Vodacom brand in the country. He said:
“Vodacom Business Africa (Nigeria) Limited is well-known and very respected in the industry, and I look forward to taking up this mission.
“Covid-19 has accelerated digital transformation, and we are perfectly positioned to deliver intelligent connectivity through seamless delivery of cloud and digital services and technologies to our clients.”
Vodacom Business is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Vodacom Group, and a leading pan-African telecommunications provider that came into Africa since 1992.
America announces modified guidelines for foreign students returning to its schools
As a student already enrolled in a US university or about to be enrolled, you should read this carefully.
The U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), on Monday announced a much-needed update regarding the guidelines for foreign students hoping to return to campuses for the autumn semester.
A statement published on ICE’s website clearly spelled out the guidelines. Unfortunately, for some of the foreign students, these guidelines might as well come across as confusing instead of straightforward/explanatory.
Before we proceed to ICE’s modified guidelines, it is important to first note that some American universities have announced various modalities for class attendance amid the ravaging pandemic. For instance, while some schools said their classes can only be attended online, for now, others said they are committed to regular classroom settings, even as some others have plans to combine both face-to-face lecturing and online classes.
As a foreign student planning to return to school in the USA this autumn, the modality adopted by your school will simply determine how ICE’s new guidelines will affect you. Let us now examine the guidelines.
Modifications to ICE’s Student and Exchange Visitor Programme (SEVP)
Guidelines on online classes: ICE said that foreign students enrolled in American universities offering only online classes, will not be granted student’s visas to return to the country. Now, this is tricky because even though such students are permitted by the U.S Customs and Border Protection to enter the country, they will not just be granted their student visas by American consulates anywhere in the world. The implication of this, therefore, is that no foreign student is allowed to be in the USA while undertaking online classes offered by an American university.
Foreign students who wish to return/remain in the USA during the autumn semester must ensure that their classes will not be taught online. If it so happens that a foreign student is enrolled in a school offering only online classes, such a student has the option of transferring to another school that is conducting face-to-face lecturing. Otherwise, the student should stay back in their home country and take the full course online.
Foreign students who are already in the country but enrolled in schools offering only online courses must also ensure that either switch to a different school with the face-to-face lecture option, or leave the country willing. Otherwise, such foreign students risk being deported.
“Nonimmigrant F-1 and M-1 students attending schools operating entirely online may not take a full online course load and remain in the United States. The U.S. Department of State will not issue visas to students enrolled in schools and/or programs that are fully online for the fall semester nor will U.S. Customs and Border Protection permit these students to enter the United States. Active students currently in the United States enrolled in such programs must depart the country or take other measures, such as transferring to a school with in-person instruction to remain in lawful status. If not, they may face immigration consequences including, but not limited to, the initiation of removal proceedings,” part of the guideline said.
Guidelines on regular classes: The revised guideline specified that foreign students enrolled in American schools where classes are still taught face-to-face are required to be available on campus to attend classes during the autumn semester. Upon return to campus, such students are allowed to decide whether to combine both physical class attendance and online classes.
Other guidelines: Foreign students attending US schools that are combining online classes with physical lectures will not be allowed to only attend online lectures while on campus. Instead, they must attend both the online classes and face-to-face classes.
Some issues to consider
-It is obvious that ICE is trying to stop some foreign students from trooping to the USA when they can remotely receive lectures online. After all, this will help prevent further trans-border spread of COVID-19. However, online classes come special challenges, especially for students in foreign countries. The time difference is one of such challenges; what happens when an online class is holding by 12 noon at Harvard when a student somewhere in South East Asia supposed to be sleeping?
-For now, American consulates around the world have suspended visa issuance. This poses a serious challenge to foreign students who were just freshly admitted into American universities and will student visas before they can be on campus for the autumn semester. Now, the saddest part is that any student who does not resume along with the other students, will not be allowed to resume later.
-Meanwhile, Nigerian students hoping to return to the US for their studies would have to grapple with immigration uncertainties mentioned above, along with foreign exchange troubles. Recall that even though the Central Bank of Nigeria announced that it has resumed the sale of dollars to Nigerian students studying abroad, the exchange rate for naira against the dollar remains high. And this is a major challenge to any student who will need to pay the high tuition fees of American universities.