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Naira drops to N387.65 per dollar, as crude oil prices plunge to $27

Nigeria’s currency is expected to have little price swings in the coming weeks, as the lockdown aggravates dollar shortages.

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A quick look at the evolution of money,Naira drops to N387.65 to the dollar as crude oil price plunges to $27,Naira drops to N387.65 to the dollar as crude oil price plunges to $27

Nigeria’s naira is expected to have little price swings in the coming weeks, as the Federal Government’s lockdown of Lagos and other parts of the country continues to aggravates dollar shortages.

The naira traded at N387.65 per dollar in the over-the-counter (OTC) market on Thursday, due to poor market liquidity. It had softened to an intra-day low of N388 on the official market in the previous session but later rebounded.

READ MORE: See 5 signs indicating that Nigeria is heading for a recession

Meanwhile, U.S. crude oil was below the $20 level, closing at $19.87 a barrel on Thursday, while Brent crude oil closed at $27.82 a barrel, falling below Nigeria’s adjusted benchmark for crude oil pegged at $30 thereby reducing dollar earnings for Nigeria. Crude oil makes about 90% of Nigeria’s export earnings.

On Monday, Nigerian authorities extended the lockdown on Lagos, Ogun, and Abuja by fourteen more days. The lockdown is aimed at curbing the spread of the Coronavirus in Nigeria. Although well-intended, the lockdown is seriously affecting the country’s economy. In the meantime, the Central Bank now rendering skeletal services even as currency traders work from home. Yet, dollar shortages have worsened.

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(READ MORE: Naira gains on the dollar for the first time since March)

Recall that in mid-March 2020, Nigeria’s apex bank postponed forex sales to retail currency traders and Bureau de Change operators after the Federal Government banned entry to nationals from 13 countries with over 1000 Covid-19 cases. Nigerians were also advised to cancel or reschedule their any planned travels to those countries.

The American dollar index surged on Thursday, closing at $100.130 as investors rushed to safety, following a series of negative data.

Olumide Adesina is a French-born Nigerian. He is a Certified Investment Trader, with more than 15 years of working expertise in Investment Trading. Member of the Chartered Financial Analyst Society. Behavioral Finance, Duke University. You can follow Olumide on twitter @tokunboadesina or email [email protected]

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Coronavirus

WHO approves protocol for phase 3 clinical trials for COVID-19 herbal medicine

A COVID-19 herbal medicine has gained approval by WHO for phase 3 clinical trial.

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The World Health Organization (WHO), in collaboration with the African Centre for Disease Control and Prevention and the African Union Commission for Social Affairs, has approved a protocol for phase 3 clinical trials of herbal medicine for Covid-19.

The Regional Expert Committee on Traditional Medicine for Covid-19, which was formed by the 3 institutions, while giving the approval also endorsed a charter and terms of reference for the establishment of a data and safety monitoring board for herbal medicine clinical trials.

READ: Fidson’s plan to dominate the pharmaceutical space in the next 10 years

The Director Universal Health Coverage and Life Course Cluster at WHO Regional Office for Africa, Dr Tumusiime, said, “Just like other areas of medicine, sound science is the sole basis for safe and effective traditional medicine therapies. The onset of COVID-19, like the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, has highlighted the need for strengthened health systems and accelerated research and development programmes, including on traditional medicines.’

The technical documents that were approved are aimed at empowering and developing a critical mass of technical capacity of scientists in Africa to conduct proper clinical trials to ensure quality, safety and efficacy of traditional medicines in line with international standards.

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READ: South Africa moves to become first African country to produce COVID-19 vaccine

This appears to add to the global effort to develop vaccines for the coronavirus disease, which are at different trial stages. The WHO had disclosed that there are well over 100 Covid-19 vaccines currently under development across the globe with about 8 of them at the phase 3 trial stage.

The phase 3 clinical trials are quite crucial in fully assessing the safety and efficacy of a new medical product. The data safety and monitoring board will ensure that the accumulated studies data are reviewed periodically against participants’ safety.

The late-stage trial will also make recommendations on the continuation, modification or termination of a trial, based on evaluation of data at predetermined periods during the study.

READ: Moderna’s shares gain over 16% as COVID-19 vaccine passes first human trial

Dr Tumusiime explained that if a traditional medicine product is found to be safe, efficacious and quality assured, the WHO will recommend for a fast-tracked, large-scale local manufacturing. The WHO also noted that through the African Vaccine Regulatory Forum, there is now a benchmark upon which clinical trials of medicines and vaccines in the region can be assessed and approved in less than 60 days.

The Expert Committee Chairman, Professor Motlalepula Gilbert Matsabisa said, “The adoption of the technical documents will ensure that universally acceptable clinical evidence of the efficacy of herbal medicines for the treatment of COVID-19 is generated without compromising the safety of participants.”

The 25-member Regional Expert Advisory Committee on Traditional Medicine for Covid-19 was mandated to support countries to improve on research and development of traditional medicine based therapies against the virus.

It is to also provide guidance on the implementation of the approved protocols to generate scientific evidence on the quality, safety and efficacy of herbal medicines for Covid-19.

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Coronavirus

COVID-19 Update in Nigeria

On the 20th of September 2020, 97 new confirmed cases and 3 deaths were recorded in Nigeria.

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The spread of novel Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) in Nigeria continues to record increases as the latest statistics provided by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control reveal Nigeria now has 57,242 confirmed cases.

On the 20th of September 2020, 97 new confirmed cases and 3 deaths were recorded in Nigeria, having carried out a total daily test of 2,609 samples across the country.

To date, 57,242 cases have been confirmed, 48,569 cases have been discharged and 1,098 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. A total of 482,321  tests have been carried out as of September 20th, 2020 compared to 479,712 tests a day earlier.

COVID-19 Case Updates- 20th September 2020,

  • Total Number of Cases – 57,242
  • Total Number Discharged – 48,569
  • Total Deaths – 1,098
  • Total Tests Carried out – 482,321

According to the NCDC, the 97 new cases were reported from 12 states- Lagos (46), Kwara (12), Rivers (11), Adamawa (4), Niger (4), Ogun (4), Osun (4), Ekiti (3), Imo (3), Kaduna (3), Plateau (2), FCT (1).

Meanwhile, the latest numbers bring Lagos state total confirmed cases to 18,943, followed by Abuja (5,551), Oyo (3,231), Plateau (3,231), Edo (2,611), Kaduna (2,348), Rivers (2,243), Delta (1,799), Ogun (1,766), Kano (1,734), Ondo (1,597), Enugu (1,234), Ebonyi (1,038), Kwara (1,025), Abia (881), Katsina (848), Osun (817), Gombe (799), Borno (741), and Bauchi (689).

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Imo State has recorded 562 cases, Benue (473), Nasarawa (448), Bayelsa (394),  Jigawa (322), Ekiti (317), Akwa Ibom (288), Niger (254), Adamawa (234), Anambra (232), Sokoto (161), Taraba (95), Kebbi (93), Cross River (85), Zamfara (78), Yobe (75), while Kogi state has recorded 5 cases only.

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

Lock Down and Curfew

In a move to combat the spread of the pandemic disease, President Muhammadu Buhari directed the cessation of all movements in Lagos and the FCT for an initial period of 14 days, which took effect from 11 pm on Monday, 30th March 2020.

The movement restriction, which was extended by another two-weeks period, has been partially put on hold with some businesses commencing operations from May 4. On April 27th, 2020, Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari declared an overnight curfew from 8 pm to 6 am across the country, as part of new measures to contain the spread of the COVID-19. This comes along with the phased and gradual easing of lockdown measures in FCT, Lagos, and Ogun States, which took effect from Saturday, 2nd May 2020, at 9 am.

On Monday, 29th June 2020 the federal government extended the second phase of the eased lockdown by 4 weeks and approved interstate movement outside curfew hours with effect from July 1, 2020. Also, on Monday 27th July 2020, the federal government extended the second phase of eased lockdown by an additional one week.

On Thursday, 6th August 2020 the federal government through the secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 announced the extension of the second phase of eased lockdown by another four (4) weeks.

READ ALSO: Bill Gates says Trump’s WHO funding suspension is dangerous

 

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Economy & Politics

Godwin Obaseki wins Edo State governorship election

Incumbent governor, Godwin Obaseki emerged winner in the Edo State gubernatorial election.

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Oil theft gulped $1.35 billion in first six months - Obaseki 

Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) has declared Godwin Obaseki the winner of the Edo State gubernatorial election today.

Mr. Obaseki will return as the Governor of the state for a second term.

The results were declared by INEC on Sunday afternoon after the results were counted from all LGA’s on Saturday.

Obaseki had 307,955 votes, which was enough to be declared a clear winner over Ize-Iyamu’s 223,619 votes.

Obaseki took to his Twitter handle to thank the people of Edo State for their votes. He stated,

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“Words fail me in saluting our teeming supporters who displayed immense courage in the face of threats, intimidation and brutalization. The collective will of Edo people made it possible for us to triumph over godfatherism. Congratulations to all Edo people. This is our victory!”

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