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ECOWAS economy grows by 3.1%, expected to hit 3.3% by end of 2019  

The economy of ECOWAS grew by 3.1% as at the end of the second quarter of 2019 and it’s expected to hit 3.3% by the end of the year.

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Power: Mambilla Power Project not prioritised by Ministry of Power for 2021 Budget - Finance Minister

The economy of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) grew by 3.1% as at the end of the second quarter of 2019 and it’s expected to hit 3.3% by the end of the year.

According to Punch, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, while speaking at the opening session of a meeting of the ECOWAS Committee of Ministers of Finance and Governors of Central Banks on the currency programme, disclosed that in spite the vulnerability of the global economy, the ECOWAS sub-region was making progress in its growth trajectory.

Mrs Ahmed stated that the improved economic performance could be attributed to relative stability in commodities’ prices and greater investment in agriculture and the services sector. However, the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Jean-Claude Kasi, in his welcome address stressed that in spite of the progress made, there was still much work to be done.

President Jean-Claude Kassi

Jean-Claude Kassi, speaking on the plan to achieve a single currency for the West African region, said that member-countries had made significant progress in several areas to achieve the monetary convergence. However, as earlier published on Nairametrics, only Togo had met the criteria for monetary convergence with the region.

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Meanwhile, Mrs Ahmed speaking on the domestic front, disclosed that the Nigerian economy was recording improvement also, and the Nigerian Government was implementing various reforms to enable the country achieve its targets for the monetary marriage.

[READ MORE: Again, Finance Minister argues that Nigeria is not in debt distress]

On the issue of border closure, she said Nigeria shut its land borders to neighbouring countries because of their failure to obey trade agreements. She added that while Nigeria attached great importance to trade liberalisation, countries must be able to respect global trade commitments.

Finally, she told members of the committee that Nigeria decided to take the agonizing but pre-emptive steps to check the smuggling threats, which if left unchecked, would affect Nigeria’s competitiveness and that of the entire West African sub-region.

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Companies

Neimeth Pharmaceuticals to raise N5 billion in additional equity

The Board of Neimeth is set to raise N5 billion additional equity upon the approval by shareholders of the company at the AGM.

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Neimeth Pharmaceuticals

The Board of Directors of Neimeth Pharmaceuticals disclosed that the company is set to raise N5 billion in additional equity upon approval by shareholders of the company.

This information was made public knowledge in a notification issued by the Company Secretary, Mrs. Florence Onyenekwe, and published on the website of the Nigerian Stock Exchange.

The disclosure is part of the resolutions reached at the Board of Directors meeting of 15th January 2021. At the end of the meeting, it was resolved that the company would raise additional equity to the tune of N5 billion.

In line with this development, a board resolution proposing to raise equity will be presented at the Annual General Meeting of the Company scheduled to hold on 9th March 2021.

What you should know

  • The Board of the Company is yet to disclose if the additional equity would be a rights issue or a private placement, as the details of the additional N5 billion equity set to be raised are yet to be finalized.
  • The fund will help the company’s management to execute key strategies that will reposition the company as a leader in the healthcare industry, with the hope to deliver better returns on investment to shareholders.
  • The additional equity financing will also increase Neimeth’s outstanding shares, which will dilute earnings and impact the Company’s stock value for existing shareholders.
  • The move has the potential to trigger a sell-off of the company shares on the Nigerian Stock Exchange.

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Appointments

Buhari appoints Abubakar Nuhu Fikpo as Acting DG of National Directorate of Employment

President Buhari has appointed Abubakar Nuhu Fikpo as the Acting DG of the National Directorate of Employment.

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Buhari sacks DG National Directorate of Employment, Nasiru Argungu

President Muhammadu Buhari has announced the appointment of Abubakar Nuhu Fikpo as the Acting Director-General of the National Directorate of Employment.

This was disclosed by media aide to the Presidency, Garba Shehu, in a social media statement on Monday.

He said:

  • President Muhammadu Buhari has formally conveyed to the Hon. Minister of State, Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, SAN, his approval of the nomination of Mallam Abubakar Nuhu Fikpo, as the Acting Director-General of the National Directorate of Employment, pending the appointment of a substantive Director-General for the Agency.
  • Last month, the President relieved the former DG of his appointment, and directed the Minister to nominate an Acting DG to superintend over the Agency, pending the appointment of a substantive DG.

What you should know 

  • The Federal Government through the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) formally kick-started the Special Public Works (SPW) programme, which was designed to create 774,000 jobs across the nation, with the inauguration of the State Selection Committees in 2020.
  • Nairametrics reported last month that President Muhammadu Buhari approved the sack of Dr Nasiru Mohammed Ladan Argungu as the Director-General of the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) with effect from December 7, 2020.
  • The Presidency did not give any specific reason for the sack.

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Coronavirus

Covid-19: WHO warns the world faces catastrophic moral failure due to vaccine nationalism

The WHO has said that the prospects of equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines were at serious risk.

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Dr Tedros Adhanom, Head of the World health organization (WHO), COVID-19

The World Health Organization (WHO) said the world is on the brink of a catastrophic moral failure due to the fear of Covid-19 vaccine nationalism by the wealthy countries, while the poor countries are left behind.

This is as the UN health agency revealed that the prospects of equitable distribution of the vaccines were at serious risk just as its COVAX vaccine-sharing scheme plans to start distributing inoculations in February.

According to a report from Reuters, this disclosure was made by the Director-General of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyrsus, at the opening of the body’s Annual Executive Board virtual meeting.

He pointed out that 44 bilateral deals were signed last year and at least 12 have already been signed this year.

What the WHO Director-General is saying

Tedros warned against vaccine nationalism to avoid making the same mistake during the HIN1 and HIV pandemic.

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The WHO boss in his statement said,

  • This could delay COVAX deliveries and create exactly the scenario COVAX was designed to avoid with hoarding, a chaotic market, an uncoordinated response and continued social and economic disruption. Such a ‘me-first approach’ left the world’s poorest and most vulnerable at risk.
  • “Ultimately, these actions will only prolong the pandemic, countries should avoid making the same mistakes made during the H1N1 and HIV pandemics.’

He expressed his reservations over the ‘me-first’ attitude of the rich countries and the vaccine manufacturers who prioritize going for regulatory approval in wealthy countries rather than submitting their data to WHO for approval of the vaccines for use globally.

The global scramble for shots has intensified, as more infectious virus variants circulate.

Tedros said more than 39 million vaccine doses had been administered in 49 higher-income countries, whereas just 25 doses had been given in one poor country.

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Observers say this board meeting, which lasts until next Tuesday, is one of the most important in the U.N. health agency’s more than 70-year history, and could shape its role in global health long after the pandemic ends.

What you should know

  • The WHO and health experts had severally warned against nationalism as a serious threat to the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
  • They had called for an equitable distribution of the Covid-19 vaccine amongst all countries globally, as the wealthy nations will still be at risk of the pandemic if the poor countries are still battling with the disease.

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