Wednesday, January 27African Business News
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Economy

After months of COVID delays, African free trade bloc launches

After months of COVID delays, African free trade bloc launches

Economy
African countries began officially trading under a new continent-wide free trade area on Friday, after months of delays caused by the global coronavirus pandemic. But experts view the New Year’s Day launch as largely symbolic with full implementation of the deal expected to take years. The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) aims to bring together 1.3 billion people in a $3.4 trillion economic bloc that will be the largest free trade area since the establishment of the World Trade Organization. Backers say it will boost trade among African neighbours while allowing the continent to develop its own value chains. The World Bank estimates it could lift tens of millions out of poverty by 2035. “There is a new Africa emerging with a sense of urgency and purpose and an asp...
Yellen earned millions in speaking fees from Wall St, tech firms

Yellen earned millions in speaking fees from Wall St, tech firms

Economy
President-elect Joe Biden’s choice to be treasury secretary, Janet Yellen, collected more than $7m in speaking fees over the past two years from top financial firms and tech giants including Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and Google, according to disclosure forms filed as part of her nomination. Yellen’s was among three financial disclosures turned in by Biden transition officials that were made public on Thursday by the Office of Government Ethics. In a separate filing, Yellen listed firms and banks where she had received speaking fees and said she intended to “seek written authorization” from ethics officials to “participate personally and substantially” in matters involving them. Yellen was the Federal Reserve chair from 2014 to 2018. Her term was not renewed by President Donald T...
Nigeria Loses N22.2bn to Gas, Others’ Constraints in Power Sector

Nigeria Loses N22.2bn to Gas, Others’ Constraints in Power Sector

Economy
The Nigerian power sector has continued to suffer severe loss of revenue due to gas as well as transmission and distribution constraints in the electricity value chain, with the losses hitting N22.294 billion on Christmas day, a 30-day review has showed. The largely negative figures for the last 30 days from the Advisory Power Team, which is resident in the office of the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, also showed that with declining generation and distribution, many Nigerian homes did not enjoy stable power supply during the ongoing festivities. According to latest data, with revenue leakages owing to constraints within the system, including poor infrastructure, the country lost 1.548 megawatts per hour of the 4.482 megawatts average energy generated from November 26 to Decem...
THE NIGERIA’S FX CRISIS:  OVERARCHING CONSEQUENCE OF INSECURITY AND STRUCTURAL DEFICIENCY

THE NIGERIA’S FX CRISIS: OVERARCHING CONSEQUENCE OF INSECURITY AND STRUCTURAL DEFICIENCY

Economy, Finance
The Nigerian Naira has lost close to 30% in value within the last one year, and more than 200% in the last 10 years. The situation has led to a spike in capital outflow, high unemployment, the alarming rate of inflation and other direct and indirect consequences associated with exchange rate crisis. While greater attention has been placed on COVID-19 as the root cause of the diverse economic challenges this year, the current FX situation should be looked at from diverse perspectives; primarily, the existing structural and policy challenges that have been limiting the country’s FX earnings over the years and also the COVID-19 induced shock on global energy demand. The COVID-19 Effect Earlier this year, as a result of restrictions imposed by countries when COVID-19 was declared a glob...
FG suspends issuance of license to free trade zone operators

FG suspends issuance of license to free trade zone operators

Economy
The Federal government has suspended the issuance of licenses to operators at the free trade zones (FTZ) in the country. Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo, announced the suspension on Monday in Abuja. It was conveyed via a statement signed by the Minister’s Special Assistant on Media, Ifedayo Sayo. Adebayo, who stated this during the inauguration of the panel set up for the evaluation of the performance of FTZs, said all applications for FTZ licenses will no longer be processed pending the completion of the panel’s assignment. He noted that the key objective of the panel is aimed to provide concrete recommendations and reshape the government’s strategies to reposition the FTZs based on a thorough evaluation of current operations. The panel, whi...
Reps accuse Apapa gridlock presidential task force of extortion

Reps accuse Apapa gridlock presidential task force of extortion

Economy
The House of Representatives has said the Federal Government should pay attention to the construction of access roads linking seaports in the Apapa area of Lagos State. It also accused the presidential task force set up to decongest the ports of extortion and worsening the gridlock in the area. The House specifically asked that a greater part of two months revenue generated by the Apapa Port, TinCan Island Port, Kirikiri Lighter Terminal and PTML be committed to the construction of all the access roads for optimal revenue for the country. In addition, the House urged the Nigerian Ports Authority and relevant security agencies to halt extortion activities going on at the ports and the access roads. The House further urged the Federal Government to ‘immediately disband the Presid...

700 road projects currently ongoing – FG

Economy
The Federal Government on Wednesday said over 700 road projects were currently ongoing across all geopolitical zones in Nigeria. It said the roads include intervention projects in higher institutions of learning and assured it would complete ongoing iconic road infrastructure across the country. The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, Ernest Umakhihe, disclosed this at the ongoing 26th National Council on Works in Port Harcourt. He was quoted in a statement issued in Abuja by the Director, Press and Public Relations, Boade Akinola, as saying, “The Federal Government is committed to completing some iconic projects such as the second Niger Bridge, Bodo-Bonny Road, Abuja-Kaduna-Kano Expressway and Obajana-Kabba Road in Kogi State. “In the same vein, government is a...
FG Urged to Establish More Economic Zones Across Nigeria

FG Urged to Establish More Economic Zones Across Nigeria

Economy
The Organised Private Sector Investors Association of Africa Special Economic Zones Projects (OPSIAASEZ) has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to approve the proposed establishment of the Nigeria Special Economic Zones Projects (NSEZ) in the six geo–political zones and the Federal Capital Territory, (FCT). It noted that many developed countries have keyed into the initiative and leveraged greatly on SEZs to achieve far reaching economic transformation in their respective countries. China is a typical example of the developed economy that has taken maximum advantage of the platform, they stated. Speaking recently during the OPSIAASEZ memorandum presentation to President Buhari, the Chairman, Board of Trustees of the association, Peter Isibor, stated that Africa is endowed ...
‘We must stimulate economy now to address projected population explosion’

‘We must stimulate economy now to address projected population explosion’

Economy
The Minister of State, Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Ikanade Agba, has stressed the need for timely stimulation of the economy to address the projected population explosion of over 411 million by 2050. According to the minister, the process must be that which engenders growth and creates jobs for the increasing population. Agba stated this in Abuja, while declaring open the 23rd meeting of the Inter-governmental Committee of Senior Officials and Experts (ICE) for West Africa. His words: “For instance, it is estimated that Nigeria’s population will hit over 411 million by 2050, with 65 percent of the population under the age of 35. “The high population growth rate is therefore, a matter of concern, hence the need to stimulate the economy.” According to him, the ga...
Architects seek National Assembly backing for bill against building collapse

Architects seek National Assembly backing for bill against building collapse

Economy
The Nigerian Institute of Architects has appealed to the National Assembly to support a bill it was sponsoring to curb the menace of building collapse in the country. The National President of the Institute, Mr. Sunny Echono, made the appeal on Friday, when he led members of his executive to pay a courtesy visit on the Clerk to the National Assembly, Amos Ojo, who is also an architect. Echono said the proposed bill spells out conditions that would ensure that only professionals would be allowed to carry out construction works in the country. He said, “It is an agenda of the institute, just like in the issue of building collapse we talk about, to straighten the legislative framework and the laws. “This will ensure that only those who have the capacity, the experience and the com...