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Buhari insists “no kobo” of foreign exchange will be issued for food imports

Buhari insists “no kobo” for food imports sending a loud message to CBN to ban forex for importation for food and fertilizer

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Decline in oil price has affected Nigeria’s financial capacity, CBN

President Muhammadu Buhari has warned the Central Bank of Nigeria against implementing any plans geared towards providing forex for the importation of “food items and fertilizers” into the country.

The President made this remark via his Twitter handle on Thursday, September 10th as he presided over the National Food Security Council meeting yesterday at the State House, Abuja.

READ: CBN removes “third parties” from buying forex routed through Form M

According to a series of tweets from the president’s Twitter handle,  “I am restating it that nobody importing food or fertilizer should be given foreign exchange from the Central Bank. We will not pay a kobo of our foreign reserves to import food or fertilizer. We will instead empower local farmers and producers.” 

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READ: Investors flee Nigerian Stocks as FDI and FPI dips

He also claimed that Nigeria has “a lot of able-bodied young people willing to work, and agriculture is the answer.”

Just last week the CBN issued emergency forex importation approvals for companies for the importation of 262,000 tonnes of Maize. The companies are Wacot Limited, Chi farms Limited, Crown Flour Mills Limited, and Premier Feeds Company Limited. It is unclear if this statement by the president affects these plans.

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Between the lines: These tweets appear to be clear instructions to the CBN to resist any plans to provide forex to importers of forex into the country for importation of food items.

  • The government’s economic policy has centered mainly on food and agriculture security even as prices of food remains at all-time high.
  • Latest inflation numbers indicate food inflation rose by 15.48% in July 2020 compared to 15.18% in June 2020.
  • This represents a 0.34% increase compared to June figures. Also, on a month-on-month basis, the food sub-index increased by 1.52% in July 2020, up by 0.04% points from 1.48% recorded in June 2020.

READ: CBN claims no immunity for Emefiele as it fires back at NESG

 

 

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Business

Court suspends Mareva injunction, orders opening of Seplat’s corporate offices

The Court of Appeal has suspended the interim order issued by a Federal High Court sealing the corporate Offices of Seplat Petroleum Development Company.

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A Lagos Court of Appeal has ordered the suspension of an interim order issued by a Federal High Court sealing the corporate offices of Seplat Petroleum Development Company.

The closure of Seplat’s office was ordered over loan facilities Cardinal Drilling Services Limited allegedly owes Access Bank Plc.

The court lifts the interim order on the stance that Access Bank had nothing to lose if Seplat continued to discharge its obligation to its numerous customers.

While delivering a ruling on an application by the petroleum company for an order of the Court suspending the interim order pending the determination of the appeal filed by Seplat, Justice Joseph Ikyegh held that the balance of convenience favoured the petroleum company.

Justice Ikyegh, however, ordered the company to issue a bond of $20 million in the name of the Court’s Chief Registrar, an order the company’s counsel Etigwe Uwa, SAN said had been complied with.

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The Court rejected Access Bank’s argument that suspending the interim order would amount to dabbling into the substantive issues that ought to be determined while hearing the main appeal. The Court noted that Seplat supplied gas to three power plants that generate almost 40 per cent of power supply in Nigeria and that it would not be able to deliver this service if the order was not suspended.

What they are saying

Justice Joseph Ikyegh said:

“The fear and anxiety expressed by the 1st Respondent (Access Bank) appeared unfounded. It would also not amount to hearing the substantive suit.

“The Supreme Court has held that where machines and workers would be rendered useless, the court would intervene.

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“Disruption of business should be considered in the issue of balance of convenience. The court will exercise its discretion in suspending the injunction.

“Practical approach should be adopted and not do injustice to any of the parties.

“Where considerable hardship will be done to a party, the court will intervene by suspending the injunction or stay it.

“I found substance in the argument. The injunction restraining the appellant from operating is hereby suspended.

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“Order on its accounts are also lifted pending the determination of the appeal.”

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What you should know

  • Recall that Nairametrics reported some months ago that Access Bank obtained an Ex-Parte Order dated November 13th, 2020, to seal the assets of Seplat.
  • The bank also obtained a Mareva injunction freezing the accounts of Seplat in Nigeria and abroad.
  • Seplat had appealed the December 24, 2020 decision of the Federal High Court granting injunctions that, among others, resulted in the sealing of its corporate offices in Lagos.
  • The Federal High Court had earlier turned down an application by Seplat to access its accounts and offices which were earlier shut down by a Mareva injunction obtained by Access Bank against it.
  • Access Bank is understood to be grappling with a string of bad loans issued under the defunct Diamond Bank, and is now stepping up efforts to go after some of the debtors by obtaining several court orders to seize properties.

Seplat has continued to maintain that the loan agreements evidenced by letters of offer of credit facility were all between Diamond Bank Plc. (now Access Bank Plc.) and Cardinal Drilling Services Limited, while the three Deeds of Debenture to the loan were over specific and fixed assets of Cardinal Drilling viz four Drilling Rigs set out in the schedules of the three Deeds of Debenture.

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Spotlight Stories

Google threatens to remove its search engine from Australia due to media code

Google has threatened to remove its search engine from Australia due to the media code introduced by the government.

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Google made a whooping $4.7b from news content in 2018, Google Threatens To Remove Its Search Engine From Australia Due To Media Code

Google said that it will disable its search engine in Australia if the government proceeds with a media code that would force it and Facebook Inc to pay local media companies for sharing their content.

The code requires Google and Facebook to enter mandatory arbitration with media companies if they cannot reach an agreement over the value of their content within three months.

It also requires the platforms to give the news businesses 14 days’ notice of algorithm changes, and non-discrimination provisions have been put in place to stop the tech giants from taking retaliatory action such as removing content or punishing organisations that participate in the code.

READ: Satoshi Nakamoto’s unspent BTCs worth $10.9 billion

Mel Silva, Google Australia and New Zealand VP told Australia’s Senate Economics Legislation Committee today that Google would shut off the search in Australia if the government’s proposed media bargaining code becomes law. According to her, “The code’s arbitration model with bias criteria presents an unmanageable financial and operational risk for Google”

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Australia announced the legislation last month after an investigation found Alphabet Inc-owned Google and social media giant Facebook held too much market power in the media industry, a situation it said posed a potential threat to a well-functioning democracy.

READ: Facebook Oversight Board to review decision to suspend Trump’s account

Prime Minister of Australia, Scott Morrison said Australia would not respond to the threats as news media companies fired back at suggestions their content did not add value to the platforms. “Australia makes our rules for things you can do in Australia. That’s done in our Parliament. It’s done by our government, and that’s how things work here in Australia,” he said. “People who want to work with that, in Australia, you’re very welcome. But we don’t respond to threats.”

READ: Betting on Bitcoin is better than investing in PayPal, Google, Facebook, Amazon

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What you should know

  • Google’s threats follow similar remarks made by Facebook Australia’s managing director, Will Easton in September, who announced plans to remove news articles from the social media’s main app if the media code is passed by Parliament.
  • To avoid the operation of the code, Google and Facebook have no option but to cease linking to news altogether. If Google can’t reliably separate news results from other search results, then logically it may have to pull its entire search service from Australia.
  • Google’s threat to limit its services in Australia came just hours after the internet giant reached a content-payment deal with some French news publishers.
  • This new media code will affect millions of Australians who use Google Search and Facebook every month.

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Coronavirus

COVID-19: Evidence suggests that new variants could pose challenge for vaccines

The research findings show that the new COVID variants may likely not respond well to the vaccines.

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Recent research findings suggest that the new coronavirus variants would likely pose a big challenge for the vaccines, as revealed by studies by several medical researchers.

The new variant was first discovered in South Africa in October but has now been spread to more than a dozen countries all over the world.

According to the most recent findings, as reported by CNN, researchers took antibodies from six people who were hospitalized with Covid-19 before the new variant was discovered. They found to varying degrees, that the antibodies for all six of the survivors were unable to fully fight off the virus.

According to Alex Sigal, a virologist at the Africa Health Research Institute and the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology, “I think the evidence is building that these mutations — and I think other mutations — will emerge across the globe — and are emerging already — that are escaping antibodies from previous infection. It’s concerning.”

According to Jesse Bloom, a virologist at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, “When you see two groups independently arriving at same basic answer, that good — there’s more consonance that they are correct”

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What you should know

  • Sigal’s findings were very similar to those of a recent study by the National Institute for Communicable Diseases in South Africa.
  • A research study has revealed that mutations in the new variant allowed them to evade some of the immunity induced by vaccination, but it was far from a complete escape.
  • One thing that is critically safe for everyone is to get vaccinated, while the researchers are working to confirm whether these variants are dangerous or not to contain with the vaccines.
  • According to Alex Sigal, “I would for sure get it if I could. My father-in-law had the opportunity to fly to Israel and get it, and I was shooing him out of the house because you can’t get it here in South Africa.”
  • In a research study done at Rockefeller University, from a sample of 20 people who had received either the Moderna or the Pfizer vaccine, it was found that different mutations in the viruses did allow some escape from some types of antibodies, but the volunteers’ immune systems threw an army of different types of antibodies at the viruses.
  • According to the research conducted in South Africa, blood was drawn from 44 people who had Covid-19 but the antibodies of about half of the 44 people were powerless against the new variant, while the other half, their antibody responses were weakened, but not totally knocked out.

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