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Covid-19: Moscow commences mass vaccination of Sputnik V shot

Russia has commenced the distribution of its Covid-19 vaccine, which will be first made available to doctors and other medical workers.

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COVID-19 vaccine from Russia

Moscow has commenced the distribution of Covid-19 vaccine, Sputnik V, through 70 clinics on Saturday, December 5, 2020, marking Russia’s first mass inoculation against the disease that has infected over 2.4 million people in the country.

According to a report from Reuters, while making the disclosure, Moscow city’s coronavirus task force said that the Russian-made vaccine would first be made available to doctors and other medical workers, teachers and social workers because they have the highest risk of exposure to the disease.

The Russian capital, Moscow, which is the epicentre of the country’s coronavirus outbreak, reported 7,993 new cases overnight, a sharp increase from 6,868 that was recorded a day earlier and well above the reported daily infection rate of around 700 that was recorded in early September.

Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, on his personal website, wrote, “Over the first five hours, 5,000 people signed up for the jab – teachers, doctors, social workers, those who are today risking their health and lives the most.”

The age limit for those expected to receive the vaccine is capped at 60 years. It, however, bars people with certain underlying health conditions, pregnant women and those who have had respiratory illnesses for the past two weeks from being vaccinated.

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What you should know

  • It can be recalled that the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, in a televised government meeting, announced the registration of its first Covid-19 vaccine in what was described as a step ahead of any other vaccine development.
  • The Covid-19 vaccine, Sputnik V, which was developed by Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology, in collaboration with the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), was certified to be 92% effective in protecting people from the virus infection.
  • Russia has developed 2 Covid-19 vaccines; Sputnik V which is backed by the Russian Direct Investment Fund, and another by Siberia’s Vector Institute, with final trials for both yet to be completed.
  • Scientists have raised concerns about the safety and speed at which Russia had registered and approved its vaccine, giving the regulatory go-ahead for it and launching mass vaccinations before full trials to test its safety and efficacy had been completed.
  • The Sputnik V vaccine is administered in two injections, with the second dose expected to be given 21 days after the first.

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- [email protected]

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Financial Services

CBN to bar exporters with unrepatriated export proceeds from banking services

The CBN will from January 31, 2021 bar all exporters with unrepatriated export proceeds from accessing banking services.

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CBN to restrict foreign exchange on more food imports

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has announced the prohibition of all Nigerian exporters who are yet to repatriate their export proceeds, from banking services effective from January 31, 2021.

The apex bank had in an earlier circular warned that failure to repatriate exports within 90 days for oil and gas and 180 days for non-oil exports constitute a breach of the extant regulation.

Analysts believe that the directive is part of a monetary control mechanism by policymaker to maintain relative stability in the exchange rate, especially after the pandemic created a wide disparity between the official exchange and the parallel market rates, eliminating incidences of over-invoicing, transfer pricing, double handling charges, etc.

In lieu of this, all concerned exporters are urged to comply with the directive before the specified date.

What you should know

  • According to Bloomberg sources, the new directive applies to exports up until June last year.
  • In a bid to ensure prudent use of foreign exchange resources, the Central Bank of Nigeria had earlier instructed authorised dealers and exporters to only open forms M for letters of credit, bills for collection and other forms of payment

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Financial Services

Niger Insurance Plc gets shareholders nod to restructure business

Niger Insurance Plc has announced plans to restructure its insurance business into distinct but mutually dependent business entities.

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Edwin Igbiti

Niger Insurance Plc has obtained shareholders’ approval to restructure its insurance business into general, life and business insurance, with each segment to be structured as a separate legal entity.

This is part of the resolutions passed at the 50th Annual General Meeting of Niger Insurance Plc., held on 20th of January, 2021 at Peninsula Hotel in Lekki, Lagos.

The decision to restructure the company is in a bid to make it more efficient and profitable to stakeholders, especially as efforts are geared towards overturning a loss of about 1,1723.2% Year-on-Year, earlier made by the company in its last reported financial statement, Q2, 2020, as reported by Nairametrics.

Other key decisions reached at the 50th AGM include;

  • The re-appointment of Mr Ebi Enaholo and Mrs. Olufemi Owopetu as Directors of the company.
  • Acceptance of the presented financial statement for the year ended December 31, 2019 and the report of the audit committee, directors and auditors.
  • Directors were authorized to fix the remuneration of the auditors.
  • Directors were authorized to appoint external auditors to replace retiring auditors of the company.
  • The appointment of four individuals as members of the audit committee.
  • A decision to restructure the company’s business capital was also reached.

In case you missed it: The shareholders of Niger Insurance Plc in the 49th Annual General Meeting approved the decision by the company’s board to raise additional capital to the tune of N15 billion, in a bid to meet the revised recapitalization targets for general and life insurance companies.

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What you should know: The House of Representatives had in December 2020 directed NAICOM to suspend the mandatory deadline for the first phase of 50%-60% of the minimum paid-up share capital for insurance and reinsurance firms.

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Energy

Nigeria’s Qua Iboe crude exports resume as ExxonMobil lifts force majeure

ExxonMobil has lifted a force majeure on Nigeria’s Qua Iboe crude oil exports as production resumes.

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ExxonMobil has lifted a force majeure on Nigeria’s Qua Iboe crude oil export terminal, as crude exports resume for the first time in almost six weeks after a fire at the terminal halted operations.

This is according to a company spokesman yesterday, who confirmed the company had lifted force majeure on Qua Iboe crude loadings.

Qua Iboe production started to ramp up to normal levels of 200,000 b/d in the past week, according to sources, with the release of both the February and March loading programs.

The VLCC Dalia was also in the process of loading a 1-million-barrel stem at the Qua terminal since January 21, 2021, according to data intelligence firm Kpler. This will be the first export of Qua Iboe since December 15, 2020, after a fire hit the facility and injured two workers.

The company has been under pressure since the closure and prices have taken a hit as a result of the disruption. S&P Global Platts last assessed the grade at a discount to Dated Brent of 50 cents/b, down from a premium against the benchmark in December.

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Bonny Light, a mainstay Nigerian crude which typically trades at roughly the same level as Qua Iboe, was last assessed 30 cents/b higher.

What they are saying

One trader said: “If you get a cargo of Qua now it could be 50 cents to a dollar below Bonny even – a January cargo is completely out of cycle and the reliability issues mean people won’t touch it.”

Another trader stated that: “[The return of Qua Iboe] is not what West African crude assessments (WAF) differentials needed.”

What you should know

  • Qua Iboe is one of Nigeria’s largest export grades, and is very popular among global refiners, with India, the US, Canada, Italy, Spain, Indonesia, and the Netherlands being key buyers.
  • Qua Iboe is light sweet crude, which has a gravity of 36 API and sulfur content of 0.13%. The crude, produced from fields 20-40 miles off the coast of southeast Nigeria, is brought to shore at the Qua Iboe terminal via a seabed pipeline system.
  • Indian demand has steadied following a buying spree late last year, and European demand has been hit by renewed coronavirus lockdowns in the region.
  • Prices for Nigerian crude have suffered in recent weeks, even with lower supply due to the outage.
  • February and March loading programs have been issued for Qua Iboe averaging 169,643 b/d and 153,226 b/d respectively.
  • Production of this key grade ranged between 180,000-220,000 b/d in 2020, according to S&P Global Platts estimates.

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