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Covid-19: Africa records over 3 million cases

Africa CDC has announced that Africa’s COVID-19 cases surpassed 3 million on Sunday, January 10, 2021.

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Nigeria blows past 40,000 COVID-19 cases

Africa’s recorded coronavirus cases surpassed 3 million on Sunday, including over 72,000 casualties from the pandemic.

This was disclosed by the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in a Bloomberg report on Sunday evening.

READ: Nigeria surpasses 100,000 cases of Covid-19

South Africa remains the leading nation in Africa, accounting for the highest number of cases at over 1.2 million and also the highest number of reported deaths at over 32,800 as at Sunday, January 10, 2021 –  30% of all cases in the continent.

Experts believe South Africa’s high number of cases could be linked to more tests carried out compared to most other African nations.

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READ: Lagos bed occupancy level in COVID-19 care centres increases to 51%

South Africa said it hopes to vaccinate about 67% of its population by the end of 2021, as it expects to receive the first phase of its AstraZeneca vaccine before the end of January and WHO COVAX vaccines by April.

READ: Covid-19: Nigerian variant appears to be highly contagious

What you should know 

  • Nairametrics reported that the total number of Covid-19 cases in Nigeria has surpassed the 100,000 mark as of yesterday, Sunday, 10th January 2021, according to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.

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Manufacturing

Notore chemicals shuts down 500,000 MTPA fertiliser plant for turn around maintenance

Notore Chemicals has shut down its fertiliser plant for turn around maintenance, in expectation of significant improvement in the Plant’s reliability index.

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Notore Chemical Industries Plc, Notore Chemical's plant at Onne, Rivers State, Company result, Fertilizer, Jobs, Profit, Notore Chemical Industries 2019 H1 Financial Statements

Notore Chemicals has shut down its fertiliser plant with a 500,000MTPA nameplate capacity for maintenance, in order to restore the plant’s productivity and facilitate a sustainable bounce back in operations.

This information became general knowledge after a notification issued by the Company Secretary, Mrs. Otivbo Saleh, was published on the website of the Nigerian Stock Exchange.

According to her, Notore Chemical Industries Plc had to shut down its fertiliser plant to pave way for the commencement of the Turn Around Maintenance, expected to return the Plant to its 500,000 MTPA nameplate capacity and improve the reliability index to 95%.

The TAM exercise was initially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, as the disruption to global businesses occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic and its attendant restrictions by Governments all over the world affected the timely delivery of procured spares and the arrival to the site of Vendor Service Men (VSM).

Barring any unforeseen circumstance, the Turn Around Maintenance which has started should be completed on 8 March 2021.

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  • The company’s 2020 audited financial report tells a tale of effete operation, as the company made a Gross loss of N2.9 billion, due to the cost coming from the company’s operation completely eroding all the revenue generated from its operating segment.
  • The company managed to post a positive operating profit of N9.5billion at the back of N18.8billion revenue from contracts with customers. However, this was not enough to set the company on the path of profitability, as the heavy loan book of the company impacted its profitability in 2020.
  • Upon the completion of the TAM programme, the company expects a significant improvement in the Plant’s reliability index and sustained daily production output of 1,500MT.

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Financial Services

CBN issues framework for QR payments

CBN has issued a framework that would guide Quick response (QR) code payments in Nigeria.

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The Central Bank of Nigeria has issued the framework that would guide Quick Response (QR) Code Payments in Nigeria.

This is a proactive move by the Apex bank towards ensuring the safety and stability of the Nigerian Financial System, as well as promoting the use and adoption of electronic payments and foster innovation in the payments system.

Quick Response (QR) Codes are matrix barcodes representing information presented as square grids, made up of black squares against a contrasting background that can be scanned by an imaging device, processed and transmitted by appropriate technology.

The codes are used to present, capture and transmit payments information across payments infrastructure and further enable the mobile channel to facilitate payments and present another avenue for promoting electronic payments for micro and small enterprises.

What you should know

  • Quick Response (QR) codes are two-dimensional bar codes. QR code payments allow merchants to receive payments from customers simply by scanning generated QR codes using a smartphone camera. The QR code payments carry the purchase transaction information to the mobile device of the buyer/customer.
  • Making payments via QR codes is very secure. It is because the QR code is nothing but just a tool that is used to exchange information. Any data which is transferred via QR codes is encrypted, thus making the payment secure.
  • The Participants in QR Code Payment in Nigeria include Merchants, Customers, Issuers (Banks, MMOs and Other Financial Institutions), Acquirers (Banks, MMOs and Other Financial Institutions) and Payments Service Providers.
  • QR payments are increasingly becoming a popular means of payments in Nigeria, and some industry players would see the framework as a perfect way of regulating the sector.
  • QR codes are capable of storing lots of data. But no matter how much they contain, when scanned, the QR code should allow the user to access information instantly. It can be used for payments, sharing contacts and Wi-Fi passwords and lots more.
  • The popular and common argument is that since POS machines are expensive, cheaper options such as QR scanners should be pushed forward to local traders.

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Macro-Economic News

Nigeria’s inflation rate spikes by 15.75% in December 2020, highest in 3 years

This is 0.86% points higher than the rate of 14.89% recorded in November 2020.

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Despite billions on agriculture, food inflation up by 108% since 2015.

Nigeria’s inflation rate increased by 15.75% (year-on-year) in December 2020, the highest rate recorded in 3 years.

According to the latest Consumer Price Index report, released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the latest figure is 0.86% points higher than the rate of 14.89% recorded in November 2020.

On a month-on-month basis, the index increased by 1.61% in December 2020. This is 0.01% point higher than the rate recorded in November 2020 (1.60%).

Food inflation

The closely watched index rose sharply by 19.56% in December compared to 18.3% recorded in the previous month.

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  • On a month-on-month basis, the food sub-index increased by 2.05% in December 2020, up by 0.01% point from 2.04% recorded in November 2020.
  • The rise in the food index was caused by increases recorded in prices of bread and cereals, potatoes, yam and other tubers, meat, fruits, vegetable, fish and oils and fats.

Core inflation

The “All items less farm produce’‘ or Core inflation, which excludes the prices of volatile agricultural produce stood at 11.37% in December 2020, up by 0.32% when compared with 11.05% recorded in November 2020.

  • Also, on a month-on-month basis, the core sub-index increased by 1.10% in December 2020. This was up by 0.39% when compared with 0.71% recorded in November 2020.
  • The highest increases were recorded in prices of passenger transport by air, medical services, hospital services, shoes and other footwear, passenger transport by road, miscellaneous services relating to dwellings, hairdressing salons and personal grooming establishments, and repair of furniture.
  • Others include vehicle spare parts, pharmaceutical products, motor cars, maintenance and repair of personal transport equipment, paramedical services, motorcycle, dental services, and bicycles.

Worst hit states

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  • In the month of December 2020, Bauchi State recorded the highest inflation rate at 19.85%, closely followed by Kogi State with an inflation rate of 18.4%
  • Others include Edo (18.1%), Zamfara (17.9%), and Sokoto (17.6%)
  • In terms of food inflation, Edo State also recorded the highest rise in inflation rate with 24.1%, followed by Kogi (23.16%), Sokoto (22.2%); while Kwara and Zamfara State recorded food inflation of 22.1% and 21.7% respectively.

Meanwhile, the urban inflation rate increased by 16.33% (year-on-year) in December 2020 from 15.47% recorded in November 2020, while the rural inflation rate increased by 15.20% compared to 14.33% recorded in November 2020.

What this means

The rise in the consumer price index indicates that consumers spent more in the month of December compared to the previous month.

  • This implies that the purchasing power of Nigerians is continually eroding.
  • Nigerians could be faced with new worries if the second wave of the covid-19 pandemic leads to a second round of lockdown in the country.
  • The significant increase could, however, be attributed to the Christmas and New year festivities in the month of December.

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