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Buhari warns Nigerian Customs over hindering ease of doing business

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President Muhammadu Buhari has warned officers of the Nigerian Customs service against being a stumbling block to the ease of doing business in the country. The President delivered the admonition today during the launch of the Kaduna dry port.

Nigeria recently moved up the ranking on the annual doing business report from 169 to 145, notching 24 places. Nigeria also features as one of the 10 economies showing the most notable improvement in Doing Business 2018.

Change in focus

The President seems to have turned his focus infrastructure and the  economy, as the Boko Haram insurgency slowly dies out. In his 2018 New Year address, Buhari reaffirmed his administration’s determination to address the country’s infrastructural challenges .

The Federal Road Maintenance Agency has been reconstituted and charged with a 12 week rapid intervention to cover all the political zones . Negotiations will be concluded in the first part of this year for the Port Harcourt to Maiduguri line railway line and the Kano-Maradi rail line.

Poor infrastructure like roads and power leads to a high cost of production. This in turn leads to made in Nigeria goods being more expensive than those imported.

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Is it too late ?

Some analysts are of the opinion that the President’s efforts may be coming too late. As the 2019 elections draw near, politics tends to take the front burner.

Onome Ohwovoriole has a degree in Economics and Statistics from the University of Benin and prior to joining Nairametrics in December 2016 as Lead Analyst had stints in Publishing, Automobile Services, Entertainment and Leadership Training. He covers companies in the Nigerian corporate space, especially those listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE). He also has a keen interest in new frontiers like Cryptocurrencies and Fintech. In his spare time, he loves to read books on finance, fiction as well as keep up with happenings in the world of international diplomacy. You can contact him via [email protected]

Business

Buhari pledges commitment to eradicate poverty & enhance development of women & girls

President Buhari has pledged commitment to eradicate poverty and to review laws addressing violence against women and girls.

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#EndSARS: Presidency to ensure that a repeat of protests does not happen, How Federal Government plans to increase VAT to 7.2% affects you

President Muhammadu Buhari said his administration remains committed to eradicating poverty & enhancing development for women & girls.

He added that Nigeria will conduct a review on laws that protect women, including laws touching on offences of rape, child defilement and gender-based violence to enhance laws addressing violence against women and girls.

The President disclosed this in a statement to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, ushering in the UN’s “16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence”.

The President disclosed that Nigeria is conducting a review of existing laws touching on violence against women and girls to boost the national response.

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“We are conducting a review of all the existing laws and policy instruments touching on offences of rape, child defilement and gender-based violence, to enable us put in place measures that enhance and strengthen the national response.

“Our Ministry of Women Affairs in collaboration with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) under the Joint EU-UN Spotlight Initiative and other critical stakeholders has also developed a National Tool for Gender-based Violence Data Management in Nigeria.

“The tool is expected to serve as a consolidated database to record and assess the occurrence of GBV during the COVID-19 period and beyond; it is also to document all forms of violence against women and girls in Nigeria using a single, harmonised data collection tool,” the President stated.

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He added that Nigeria remains committed to the eradication of poverty and improving development for women, citing welfare schemes launched by the FG since 2019 which have targeted women.

“Our administration remains committed to eradicating poverty & enhancing development for women & girls. In the last year, over one million Nigerians have been enrolled into National Social Register of poor & vulnerable households to enable them to access needed social assistance.

“In order to address gender-based poverty, we have initiated programmes such as: Tradermoni, Marketmoni and Farmersmoni under the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme, GEEP. More than half of GEEP beneficiaries so far are women,” he stated.

He added that Nigeria has implemented strategies to improve the quality of life for women and girls.

“Redoubling our efforts to improve access to productive resources for women and girls as well as continue to ensure the protection of fundamental rights,” he added.

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What you should know 

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The World Bank reported in 2013 that the Nigeria Demographic Health Survey (NDHS) 2013 (NPC and ICF International 2014) indicated that 28 per cent of women in Nigeria aged 15–49 have experienced some form of physical or sexual violence; 11 percent had experienced phys-ical violence within the 12 months prior to the survey.

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Business

Shell/Agip oil fields explosion: How the community battles air pollution

Residents of the location of a recent pipeline explosion in Bayelsa State are currently battling with air pollution since the unfortunate incident.

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The residents of Ikarama, the location of the Shell, Agip oil fields pipeline explosion, are currently battling with air pollution as a result of the incident.

This was disclosed by a youth leader of the community, Ben Warder, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria.

He said, “The incident resulted in air pollution from the gas pipeline and crude leak which members of the affected communities are battling to cope with.”

On how the explosion happened on Monday, Warder explained that the residents heard several sounds from the explosions that rocked the oil fields.

He said, “The site is not far from Ikarama, we heard sounds from the blast and it sounded like dynamites and it was not safe to go near.

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“So, when the situation became quiet we had to trace what happened and it turned out that Shell’s gas pipeline and Agip’s crude lines were destroyed.”

He lamented that citizens, for several years, have had to cope with years of oil pipeline vandalism in Nigeria’s Niger Delta and that is one of the major challenges oil companies operating in the region.

What you should know

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It was reported on Monday that unidentified persons attacked pipelines at Shell, Agip Oil Fields in Bayelsa

The Oil facilities, which are operated by Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) and Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC) are located in Yenagoa Local Government Area of the state.

Spokesperson of the SPDC, Michael Akande, who confirmed the incident said the oil firm had received reports of the incident and shut down the facility to curtail impact.

He said, “We have a report of interference on our pipeline about 1 kilometre from Ikarama Community in Bayelsa State. We immediately shut-in the line and we have informed the relevant regulatory government agencies and stakeholders.”

He added that the government-led joint investigation team would determine the cause of the interference.

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Currencies

Naira crashes across forex markets as CBN Governor hits at black market

At the black market, the Naira depreciated against the dollar to close at N487/$1 on Wednesday.

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Naira depreciates as dollar sales top $100m a day at I&E window, Global Investment Trends Monitor, Foreign Direct Investment

Forex turnover dropped by 68.2%, as Nigeria’s exchange rate at the NAFEX window depreciated significantly against the dollar to close at N393.25/$1 during intra-day trading on Wednesday, November 25.

Also, the naira crashed further against the dollar, closing at N487/$1 at the parallel market on Wednesday, November 25, 2020, as the CBN Governor who alleged that the black market is a tainted market used for bribe and corruption, said the Nigerian official exchange rate should not be determined by the rate at the parallel market.

The CBN, a few days ago relaxed its earlier policy on banning third parties from having access to foreign exchange routed through Form M.

Parallel market: According to information from Abokifx – a prominent FX tracking website, at the black market where forex is traded unofficially, the Naira depreciated against the dollar to close at N487/$1 on Wednesday.

(READ MORE: Naira falls to weakest level in 6 weeks at black market despite CBN intervention)

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This represents an N4 drop when compared to the N483/$1 that it exchanged for on Tuesday, November 24.

  • The local currency had strengthened by about 7.8% within one week in September at the black market, as the CBN introduced some measures targeted at exporters and importers.
  • This is to boost the supply of dollars in the foreign exchange market and reduce the high demand for forex by traders.
  • The CBN has sold about $1 billion to BDCs since they resumed forex sales on Monday, September 7, 2020.
  • This was expected to inject more liquidity into the retail end of the foreign exchange market and discourage hoarding and speculation.
  • However, the exchange rate against the dollar has remained volatile after the initial gains made, following the CBN’s resumption of sales of dollars to the BDCs.
  • The President of the Association of Bureau De Change Operators, Aminu Gwadebe, said he expects the impact of the extra liquidity in the market to be gradual.
  • Despite the drop in speculative buying of foreign exchange, the huge demand backlog by manufacturers and foreign investors still puts pressure and creates a volatile situation in the foreign exchange market.

(READ MORE: Naira stabilizes at black market as CBN continues its intervention in forex market)

NAFEX: The Naira depreciated against the dollar at the Investors and Exporters (I&E) window on Wednesday, closing at N393.25/$1.

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  • This represents an N7.75 gain when compared to the N385.50/$1 that it exchanged for on Tuesday, November 24.
  • The opening indicative rate was N386.29 to a dollar on Wednesday. This represents a 33 kobo drop when compared to the N385.96 that was recorded on Tuesday.
  • The N395 to a dollar was the highest rate during intra-day trading before, it still closed at N393.25 to a dollar. It also sold for as low as N383/$1 during intra-day trading.
  • Forex turnover: Forex turnover at the Investor and Exporters (I&E) window declined by 68.2% on Thursday, November 19, 2020.
  • According to the data tracked by Nairametrics from FMDQ, forex turnover dropped from $163.87 million on Tuesday, November 24, 2020, to $52.09 million on Wednesday, November 25, 2020.
  • The CBN is still struggling to clear the backlog of foreign exchange demand, especially by foreign investors wishing to repatriate their funds.
  • The drop in dollar supply after some trading days of improvement reinforces the volatility of the foreign exchange market. The supply of dollars has been on a decline for months due to low oil prices and the absence of foreign capital inflow into the country.
  • The average daily forex sale for last week was about $169.93 million, which represents a huge increase from the $34.5 million that was recorded the previous week.
  • Total forex trading at the NAFEX window in the month of September was about $1.98 billion, compared to $843.97 million in August.
  • The exchange rate is still being affected by low oil prices, dollar scarcity, a backlog of forex demand, and a shaky economy that has been hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
  • A financial expert and Managing Director of Financial Derivatives had stated that he expects the exchange rate at the parallel market to likely depreciate to N470-N475/$1 in November and December due to low oil prices that will further limit foreign exchange supply.
  • Some members of MPC of the CBN have expressed serious concerns over the increasing demand pressure in the country’s foreign exchange market. This is an obligation of manufacturers to their foreign suppliers that continues to increase in the face of dollar shortages.

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