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COVID-19: Western diplomats warn of disease explosion, poor handling by government

Some of the Western diplomats on Friday expressed fears over the abysmal way the Federal Government was handling the Coronavirus outbreak.

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coronavirus, COVID-19: Infections rise to 42 as 2 new cases are confirmed, COVID-19: Western diplomats warn of disease explosion, poor handling by government

Some Western diplomats expressed fears over the abysmal way the Federal Government was handling the Coronavirus outbreak. They warned that the number of infections could witness a sharp increase in the coming weeks if the Nigerian Government does not review its strategy and the poor way it’s been handling the pandemic.

The country as at late Friday had 81 confirmed cases, recorded 1 death of the pandemic and 3 who have been released after being treated of the disease.

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A monitored report by Nairametrics suggests that diplomats are predicting that the Covid-19 infections could rise to more than 10,000 in the coming weeks, as there are at least 5,000 persons, who had come in contact with infected persons in Nigeria already.

These set of people, it was gathered, had also subsequently come in contact with thousands of others in society without realizing that they might have the virus.

[READ MORE: COVID-19: Lagos State to begin curfew on Sunday to disinfect metropolis)

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The monitored report disclosed that a senior diplomat attached to one of the European high commissions in Nigeria on Friday said, “This is the real danger. A lot of people who have had contacts with original carriers of the virus don’t even know they have the ailment and have in fact gone ahead to mingle with hundreds and thousands of others in the society, spreading the virus further.

“From the information we have in the diplomatic community, there could be an explosion of confirmed infections in the coming weeks. It is going to disrupt a lot of things.”

JUST IN: Second case of Covid-19 now tests negative

Osagie Ehanire, Health Minister, Nigeria

Another diplomat, who is from a country that has provided technical support to African countries trying to curtail the spread of the disease said that the country was in a desperate and extremely serious situation.

This is partly because of the suspicion that the untested infection cases far outnumber those who have been tested by government agencies due to the unavailability of testing kits.

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There is also palpable fear amongst Nigerians over the rate at which the coronavirus is spreading and lack of medical facilities and preparedness by both the federal and state governments.

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Although as part of their philanthropic gesture, some wealthy Nigerians, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and Chinese billionaire, Jack Ma, have been donating testing kits and protective items to Nigeria to help combat the virus, a huge number of potentially infected persons are yet to be tested, increasing the risk of an epidemic in the West African state.

According to the diplomat on Friday, “We could be having tens of thousands of confirmed cases across Nigeria in a few days from now. 

“There are thousands of people with the virus already on the loose in the country and many of these people cannot be traced. They have taken this pandemic into every nook and cranny of this country. 

“I think Nigeria must act fast to avert a full-blown war.”

[READ ALSO: COVID-19: NCDC, NPA clarify controversy over cases)

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Already, there have been reported cases of people being asked to self-isolate after reporting to health agencies of having symptoms of the Covid-19 virus.

Without proper monitoring and stringent measures to ensure such persons do not expose others to infection in case they have the virus, thousands of individuals in this category have gone on with their daily activities and opened up the chance of an epidemic in the country.

As a result of this lacklustre and unsatisfactory approach to the pandemic by the Nigerian government, some European countries have started evacuating their citizens from Nigeria.

Nairametrics had reported that An Air France flight on Thursday, airlifted 260 Europeans from Nigeria to France to prevent them from being infected with the virus.

Also on Thursday, British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Ms Catriona Laing CB, said the mission was exploring available options to send staff and their families back to the United Kingdom.

Chike Olisah is a graduate of accountancy with over 15 years working experience in the financial service sector. He has worked in research and marketing departments of three top commercial banks. Chike is a senior member of the Nairametrics Editorial Team. You may contact him via his email- chike.olisah@nairametrics.com.

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Coronavirus

CBN announces new policy measures, reduces interest rates for financial institutions

CBN will be reducing interest rates on its facilities through participating financial institutions from 9% to 5% per annum for a year.

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CBN-Governor-Emefiele, Investors’ and Exporters’ forex window aided Naira stability – Emefiele , external reserves, Financial Inclusion: CBN licensed 15 mobile money operators – Emefiele , Rates continue to decline as banks struggle to meet CBN’s 65% minimum LDR, CBN releases new guidelines, to fine banks N2 million over customers’ complaint , CBN: FG fell short of monthly allocated collected revenue by N388 billion, CBN issues new rule for use of PoS, merchants to face sanction after deadline, CBN may devalue naira in 2020 as experts highlight red flags in the economy, CBN appoints and redeploys directors within its ranks, Banks look to lending rates for revenue, as slash on e-transaction charges affect operations, CBN discloses currency in circulation worth N2.44 trillion, CBN to commence recycling of mutilated naira notes, Agriculture: CBN's revised policy on the dairy industry, CBN condemns foreign money transfers to Nigeria, Experts outline effect of CBN’s longer term contract, Bank’s lending rates decline albeit slower than expected, CBN releases new capital base, sanctions for Microfinance Banks, CBN reveals banks’ foreign assets rise to N14.19 trillion in 2019, CBN insists on no devaluation, threatens to sanction those responsible for false speculations, CBN considers interest rate cut as trade, economy decline over Coronavirus, Defending the naira at a cost, CBN announces initial policy response to COVID-19, CBN stops oil companies from selling dollar to NNPC, here’s why, Amid Coronavirus spread, CBN directs staff to stay at home, External reserves to fall below $30 billion, more forex restrictions expected, UPDATE: Fitch downgrades Nigeria's IDR to "B", says CBN's remedial policy not enough, What constitutes Nigeria’s external reserves?, CBN to create housing funds for developers, Nigeria Trade: CBN reviews exchange rate for cargo imports, Nigerian Fintechs re-strategize with CBNs’ postponement of revised MFB license regulations

As part of its monetary and financial policy measures to further mitigate the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on households, and businesses, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has approved regulatory forbearance for the restructuring of credit facilities in the Other Financial Institution (OFI) sub-sector.

This was disclosed in a circular signed by the CBN’s Director for Financial Policy and Regulatory Department, Kevin Amugo, on Wednesday, May 27, 2020.

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In the circular, stated that Amugo the apex bank will be reducing interest rates on its facilities through participating financial institutions from 9% to 5% per annum for a year with effect from March 1, 2020.

According to the circular, CBN has approved regulatory forbearance for the restructuring of credit facilities in the OFI sub-sector as follows:

‘’CBN Intervention facilities availed through participating OFIs are granted a further one-year moratorium on all principal repayments, effective March 1, 2020.

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‘’Interest rates on the CBN intervention facilities through participating OFIs hereby reduced from 9% to 5% per annum for 1-year effective March 1, 2020.

‘’OFIs are granted leave to consider temporary and time-limited restructuring of the tenor and loan terms for households and businesses affected by COVID-19, subject to the recently issued guidelines for restructuring affected credit facilities in the OFIs sub-sector.”

This new policy measure by the apex bank is in continuation of its intervention in the nation’s economy so as to help manage the crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic and reduce its effects on household and businesses.

This is coming a day before the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting for the month of May which has been slated for tomorrow Thursday, May 27, 2020.

Meanwhile, the CBN said that it shall continue to monitor developments and implement appropriate measures to safeguard financial stability and support stakeholders impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Economy & Politics

President Buhari directs Ministries of Power, Finance, BPE to seal Siemens deal

Presidency has approved the release of funding for the first part of Phase 1 of the PPI, to kick-off the pre-engineering and concession financing workstreams.

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Nigeria-Siemens power deal get N61 billion allocation 

President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the Ministries of Power, Finance, and the Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE) to conclude the nation’s engagement with Siemens AG over regular power supply.

The directive, which was issued via the Presidency’s Twitter handle on Wednesday, was to start the pre-engineering & concessionary financing aspects of the Presidential Power Initiative (PPI).

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PPI is a power infrastructure upgrade and modernization Programme agreed to by the Federal Government and Siemens AG of Germany, with the support of the German Government. The ultimate goal of the initiative, according to the government, is to modernize and increase the Nigerian electricity grid capacity from its current capacity of  about 5 GW to 25 GW, over three phases.

How it works: Under the PPI, Nigeria on behalf of the other shareholders in the Electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos), will invest in infrastructure upgrades in the form of improved payment systems, distribution substations, transformers, protection devices, smart meters, and transmission lines among others.

The President explained that all DisCos have, directly and through the BPE, been diligently carried along over the last 15 months to understand in detail the challenges in the electricity systems.

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Funding: The funding for the PPI will be secured under concessionary terms (up to 3-year moratorium and 12-year repayment at concessionary interest rates) through the German Euler Hermes cover, which Nigeria will on-lend as a convertible loan to the other shareholders in the DisCos.

According to the statement, President Buhari has approved the release of funding for the first part of Phase 1 of the PPI, to kick-off the pre-engineering and concession financing workstreams.

“To ensure fairness and transparency of the intervention, the President has also directed that the nation engage the International Finance Corporation (‘IFC’) to assist in developing the commercial structure of the intervention…

“The President has also directed that to ensure value for money and preserve the integrity & transparency of the procurement process under the Govt-to-Govt framework, Siemens AG shall be solely responsible for nominating its EPC partners to perform all onshore works; NO middlemen.

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“Our goal is simply to deliver electricity to Nigerian businesses and homes… Our intention is to ensure that our cooperation is structured under a Govt-to-Govt framework. No middlemen will be involved, so that we can achieve value for money for Nigerians,” President Buhari added.

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The PPI journey started on August 31, 2018, when Chancellor Angela Merkel visited Nigeria and met with President Buhari. Then the Chancellor brought along with her a business delegation that included the Global CEO of Siemens.

Nigeria and Germany agreed to explore cooperation in a number of areas, including Power.

PPI was designed to deliver improved power supply nationwide, with attendant results in job creation, investor confidence, cost and ease of doing business and economic growth. The partnership is also  expected to guarantee training & capacity building for thousands of young Nigerians (non-graduates, students & graduates).

Other goals include the creation of economic opportunities for Nigerian engineering companies that will serve as local vendors for the provision of manpower and equipment. Overall, the partnership will guarantee inflow of additional investment into the power sector.

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Companies

Endeavour honours founders of Kobo360

Fixing Africa’s supply chain is clearly important for commerce on the continent.

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Kobo360

Endeavour, a leading global movement for high-impact entrepreneurship, has honoured the founders of Kobo360, Obi Ozor and Ife Oyedele as Endeavor Entrepreneurs.

Kobo360 is a digital logistics platform that uses big data and agile technology to reduce friction and improve efficiency in the African logistics ecosystem.

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Managing Director, Endeavor in Nigeria, Gihan-Mbelu, explained that the company is excited to welcome Kobo360 into Endeavor’s network which includes some of the world’s most exciting scale-up entrepreneurs and most experienced mentors and investors.

He said, “Fixing Africa’s supply chain is clearly important for commerce on the continent, and Kobo360’s rapid growth over the past 3 years is evidence that the company’s valuable services are in critical demand. Obi and Ife are inspiring founders and their relentless focus on scaling Kobo360 serves as an inspiration to high-impact entrepreneurs everywhere.”

Meanwhile, since launching in 2017, Kobo360 has surpassed several milestones, including a $30 million Series A in August 2019.

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“It’s an honour to be joining this global network of high-impact entrepreneurs and to have Endeavor recognise our efforts to transform Africa’s logistics sector using technology. As entrepreneurs, we wanted to turn African problems into African opportunities.

“Focusing on logistics, Ife and I started Kobo360 to not only fix the inefficiencies that exist, but to build opportunities for the businesses we serve and most importantly, the hundreds of thousands of truck drivers across Africa. This is a fundamental milestone in Kobo360’s journey; our Global Logistics Operating System [GLOS] will revolutionize supply chain across emerging markets, Ozor, Co-founder & CEO of Kobo360.

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