Wednesday, January 27African Business News
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Author: Joshua Olotu

Israel ‘closes skies’ to air travel to prevent spread of Covid-19 variants

Israel ‘closes skies’ to air travel to prevent spread of Covid-19 variants

Health
Israel on Sunday announced a week-long ban on most incoming and outgoing flights in a bid to slow the spread of new variants of the novel coronavirus. The measure will begin at midnight from Monday into Tuesday and remain in effect until Sunday, a statement from the prime minister's office said. Exceptions will be made for cargo and firefighting flights, as well as trips for medical treatments, funerals and legal procedures. A panel of health and interior ministry officials will be able to issue exemptions on request "for humanitarian or personal needs", the statement said. The decision came with the country in its third national coronavirus lockdown, initiated late December and extended on Tuesday until the end of the month due to a surge in Covid-19 deaths. Earlier S...
Community health workers must be better supported in 2021, the Year of the Healthcare Worker

Community health workers must be better supported in 2021, the Year of the Healthcare Worker

Health
Cape Town, 25 January 2021 - Frontline health workers, who are to be honoured during the World Health Organization’s international Year of the Healthcare Worker in 2021, must be better supported in their vital role to beat back the global COVID-19 pandemic on community level, according to global health technology experts, BroadReach Group. Frontline health workers, and in particular Community Health Workers (CHWs) help educate communities, collect grassroots data and provide vital firstline health interventions in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. They can only continue to play a vital role in the global pandemic response if they get the proper support, according to BroadReach Group, a global health social enterprise that uses innovation and technology to empower human action. Br...
Naira falls across forex markets as CBN moves against IMTOs

Naira falls across forex markets as CBN moves against IMTOs

Finance
On January 22, 2021, the exchange rate between the naira and the dollar depreciated closing at N394.17/$1 at the NAFEX (I&E Window) where forex is traded officially. Forex turnover, however, dropped by about 42.2% as pressure on the foreign exchange market continue On January 22, 2021, the exchange rate between the naira and the dollar depreciated closing at N394.17/$1 at the NAFEX (I&E Window) where forex is traded officially. Forex turnover, however, dropped by about 42.2% as pressure on the foreign exchange market continues. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in a new circular, read the riot act to the International Money Transfer Operators (IMTOs) as they have threatened to sanction some of them who still facilitate diaspora remittances in naira, co...
FG refunds Bayelsa State N27 billion as amount spent on federal projects

FG refunds Bayelsa State N27 billion as amount spent on federal projects

Business
The Federal Government has refunded N27 billion to Bayelsa State as the money the State government spent on federal projects since 2005 to date. This was disclosed by the Bayelsa State government on Sunday, as it said the amount is not up to the N38 billion approved by the FG as refunds for federal road projects. The Federal Government has refunded N27 billion to Bayelsa State as the money the State government spent on federal projects since 2005 to date. This was disclosed by the Bayelsa State government on Sunday, as it said the amount is not up to the N38 billion approved by the FG as refunds for federal road projects. State Governor, Douye Diri said that the state only received an N27 billion cash refund, meanwhile, the Technical Adviser on T...
As CBN battles non-conformist diaspora remittance market

As CBN battles non-conformist diaspora remittance market

Finance
Despite efforts by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to stimulate activities in the formal channels of diaspora remittances, the window has continued to battle with its historical challenges, including rising competition with informal windows, poor regulatory compliance by the international money transfer operators (IMTOs), high charges and underhand dealing of agent banks. Following the growing pressure on the naira last year, the apex bank retooled the regulatory framework with a focus on “improving remittance inflows into Nigeria”. In a meeting with IMTOs and money deposit banks (MDBs), the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, stressed: “Diaspora remittances through International Money Transfer Operators (IMTOs) shall henceforth receive such inflows in foreign currency through the d...
Profit-taking heightens amid fears of MPR adjustment

Profit-taking heightens amid fears of MPR adjustment

Business
Index depreciate by 0.42%, as analysts urge caution As investors await the outcome of the next Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting, amid fear of possible adjustment in rate, sentiments turned bearish as profit-taking dominated market performance at the equity sector of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) last week. The development caused the NSE All-share index and market capitalisation to depreciate by 0.42 per cent and 0.38 per cent to close the week at 41,001.99 and N21.449 trillion, respectively. Similarly, all other indices finished lower with the exception of NSE MERI Growth, which appreciated by 0.12 per cent while the NSE ASeM and NSE Growth Indices closed flat. Analysts linked the persistent profit-taking last week to fear that was heightened by the latest FGN Bond...
ELAN canvasses govt, businesses investment in leasing to boost economy

ELAN canvasses govt, businesses investment in leasing to boost economy

Business
The Equipment Leasing Association of Nigeria (ELAN) has listed leasing as a major financing tool that can bring the economy out of the woods. This was highlighted in its 2021 outlook released by the association. It stated: “Rebuilding the economy requires huge capital and the growing cost of assets, hinders the capital formation in the economy. Governments at all levels must seek innovative and proactive ways in achieving their development-oriented initiatives. “One of these options is equipment leasing – a creative financing alternative, utilised globally to stimulate economic development and growth. The appeal of leasing is underscored in its developmental attributes of enhancing capital formation in the economy that drives job creation, revenue, better life and economic growth...
Investors count losses as restrictions, taxes slow breweries

Investors count losses as restrictions, taxes slow breweries

Business
The brewery industry in Nigeria is reeling under pangs of poor consumer spending, induced by the devastating COVID-19 pandemic and recession. The situation has left investors counting and lamenting their losses. The recession has caused the bottom line of the industry’s listed equities to remain subdued with gloomy 2021 outlook. The Vice Chairman of High Cap Securities Limited, Imafidon Adonri, described the brewery industry as a creator of enormous wealth and probably the largest employer of production labour, following the collapse of the textile industry. He, however, lamented that though the industry had been entrenched and contributing significantly to the nation’s GDP, its 2021 prospect is not bright, considering the second wave of COVID-19. The challenges of the indu...
Tax Race Has Taken Over Arms Race Across The World – FIRS Boss, Nami

Tax Race Has Taken Over Arms Race Across The World – FIRS Boss, Nami

Economy
The Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Muhammad Nami, has said that tax race has now overtaken arms race amongst the nations of the world. “The well-known arms race among nations is gradually giving way to tax-race.  The international struggle for, and against digital services tax is just the beginning of the tax race.  It is a race for all nations – developed or developing.  And for Nigeria, it is a must-win race.” Nami, who spoke today, January 21, at the First Annual National Tax Dialogue organized by the FIRS at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, said that the universal collapse of traditional government revenue sources and the consequential resort to tax is a testimony to the tax race that is merging. He stressed that the FIRS would match on to d...
Federal Govt Blames Conornavirus, #EndSARS Protests For Rising Cement Prices

Federal Govt Blames Conornavirus, #EndSARS Protests For Rising Cement Prices

Economy
The Federal Government has attributed last year’s #EndSARS protests and coronavirus pandemic to rising prices of cement in Nigeria. The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Nasir Sani-Gwarzo, who said this at an event in Abuja, explained that the development affected the volume of stock levels in the supply chain due to reduction of cash flow of major distributors and high cost of transportation. Market surveys show that prices of cement and associated products, such as blocks, in many states, including Abuja, have continued to rise. For instance, the price of a 50-kilogramme bag now goes for N3, 700 in Lagos and Cross River states; N4,000 in Enugu and Imo states; Rivers state N4,300; Abuja N3,700; Kano and Oyo states N3,500. Until the last...