Category Archives: Economic Today

France moves into national recession.

France has entered into a recession as a result of measures to stem the spread of coronavirus, the country’s national bank said on Wednesday.

The French economy shrank by six per cent in the first quarter of 2020, according to initial Banque de France estimates published on Wednesday.

GDP already shrank by 0.1 per cent in the last quarter of 2019 in the eurozone’s second largest economy, according to the nation’s statistics office.

Economists talk of a country entering into a recession when the economy shrinks for two quarters in a row.

Ahead of the outbreak of the current crisis, France’s economy had been forecast slight growth of 0.1 per cent for the first quarter of 2020.

However, in light of the pandemic, the French Government is now bracing itself for the nation’s worst recession since 1945.

French Finance Minister Bruno Le-Maire has said he expects the current crisis to exceed that of the 2009 financial crisis when the economy of the highly-indebted country shrank by 2.9 per cent, at the time of the most severe contraction since the end of World War II.

France has, for the past three weeks, imposed strict lockdown measures on its population, with many economic sectors facing severe limitations on their activities.


Nigeria’s debt may hit N30tr before 2020 ends.

If Nigeria succeeds in borrowing the proposed $6.9bn from international lenders including the World Bank, the African Development Bank and the Islamic Development bank to help counteract the impact of coronavirus on the economy, the country’s debt stock may hit N30 trillion before the end of 2020.

Finance Minister Zainab Ahmed had on Monday, said the government will ask for $3.4bn from the IMF, $2.5bn from the World Bank and another $1bn from the African Development Bank (AfDB), an amount totalling N2.48 trillion (N360/$1).

According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) the nation’s total public debts, consisting of external and domestic debts, stands at N27.4 trillion as at 31st December 2019.

Rating agencies, Fitch, Moody’s and S&P Global had earlier downgraded Nigeria’s ratings, with the latest of them Fitch, downgrading the country’s ratings to sovereign credit rating (long-term, foreign currency) by one notch from B+ to B, and maintained the negative outlook.

According to the agencies, Nigeria faces the crashing oil price and the coronavirus pandemic with limited, and shrinking external buffers.

Fitch’s numbers rest upon average oil prices of US$35/b this year and US$45/b in 2021, and the CBN’s “continued reluctance to adjust the exchange rate”.

According to the members of the Organised Private Sector (OPS), the growing national debt is a cause for concern as the profile has grown from N12.6 trillion in 2015 to N27.4 trillion at the end of 2019.

With oil prices trading below the 2020 budget benchmark, they noted that in the 2020 budget, debt service commitment and recurrent spending were beginning to crowd out capital expenditure, adding that the trajectory was not consistent with the country’s national aspiration to build infrastructure and a competitive economy.

The debt portfolio comprising state and federal debt stocks were N9.02 trillion or 31.55 per cent of the debt was external while N18.37 trillion or 67.07 per cent of the debt was domestic.

Lagos state accounted for 10.82 per cent of the total domestic debt stock, the highest while Yobe State has the least debt stock in this category with a contribution of 0.71 per cent to the total domestic debt stock.

According to the report, Nigeria’s total public debt portfolio as of December 31, 2019, total external debt was N9.02 trillion ($27.67 billion) with a percentage of 32.93.

Break down showed that federal government debt instrument accounted for N7.53 trillion ($23.11 billion) with a percentage of 27.50, states and Federal Capital Territory (FCT) accounted for N1.48 trillion ($12.59 billion) with a percentage of 5.43.

A further breakdown of the NBS report showed that total domestic debt stood at $56.37 billion at N18.37 trillion with a percentage of 67.07.

Federal government domestic debt stood atN14.27 trillion ( $43.78 billion) with a percentage of 52.09, with states and FCT contributing N4.10 trillion ( $12.59 billion) with a percentage of 14.99.

The report showed that the total public debt is the addition of external and domestic debt instruments for the year 2019, which was N27.40 trillion ($84.05 billion).

This accounted for 100 per cent of both domestic and external debt instruments for the entire 2019.


COVID-19 lockdown: Send Armies from streets – Femi Falana tells Nigerian Govt

Human Rights Activist, Femi Falana (SAN) has asked the Federal Government to withdraw the army from enforcing the lockdown order placed on the Federal Capital Territory; Lagos and Ogun States.
He said deploying armed troops is illegal and unconstitutional based on precedent judgements of the courts of the land.

He said, “In the March 29, 2020, national broadcast of President Muhammadu Buhari and the COVID-19 Quarantine Regulations issued thereafter to curtail the spread of coronavirus pandemic the members of the armed forces were not authorised to enforce the Regulations.

“But out of sheer impunity, the Defence Headquarters announced the plans of the armed forces to implement the presidential order on the restriction of the movement of the Nigerian people.

“In my reaction to the illegal plan of the Defence Headquarters to involve armed troops in the enforcement of the Regulations, I issued a public statement wherein I said that while the nation’s armed forces should be commended for making their medical facilities available to members of the public in the fight against the highly dangerous virus, the plan to dispatch armed soldiers to the streets to enforce the COVID-19 guidelines should be shelved because it is illegal.

“For the umpteenth time, I am compelled to draw the attention of the military authorities to the case of Yussuf v Obasanjo (2005) 18 NWLR (Pt ) where Salami JCA (as he then was) held that ‘It is up to the police to protect our nascent democracy and not the military, otherwise the democracy might be wittingly or unwittingly militarized.’ This is not what the citizenry bargained for in wrestling power from the military in 1999.

“Conscious steps should be taken to civilianise the polity and thereby ensure the survival of and sustenance of democracy.”

Falana said his position was also backed by the judgement in the case of All Progressive Congress v Peoples Democratic Party (2015) LPELR 24349 where Aboki JCA held that the President lacked the power to call on the Armed Forces to restore law and order in any part of the federation without the approval of the National Assembly as provided in sections 217(2) and 218(4) of the Constitution as amended.

He reminded the Federal Government of its legal obligation “to confine the Military to their demanding assignments especially in these trying times of insurgencies and encroachment into the country’s territories…

“However, in utter violation of the aforesaid injunctions of the Court of Appeal, the platoons of armed troops deployed by the military authorities have unleashed mayhem on innocent members of the public for allegedly breaching the COVID-19 Regulations.”

Falana regretted that the involvement of the armed troops in the enforcement had led to torture and brutalisation of innocent citizens as revealed in several video clips trending online.

He accused the military authorities of not conducting a thorough investigation but rather dismissing the video clip.

“Whereas based on a similar video clip which recently exposed a group of policemen who had engaged in the brutalisation of some traders in Lagos under the pretext of enforcing the COVID-19 Regulations the Inspector General of Police, Mr Mohammed Adamu ensured that the culprits were promptly identified and arrested for the purpose of prosecuting them.

“The civilised conduct of the Police Chief has demonstrated the readiness of the current police leadership to put a stop to the involvement of police personnel in the crude infringement of the fundamental right of the Nigerian people to dignity.

“In the light of the foregoing, we respectfully call on President Buhari and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces to restrain members of the armed forces from further enforcing the COVID 19 Regulations.

“Furthermore, we urge the President to order an investigation into the video clips of the brutalisation of members of the public by some overzealous soldiers and direct the appropriate authorities to bring them to justice for contravening the provisions of the Anti Torture Act, 2017,” he said.


Buhari direct prompt payment of salaries to all employees.

President Muhammadu Buhari has directed prompt payment of salaries to all employees.

He also directed the ministry to ensure that critical infrastructure like roads, rails are protected and as much as possible, use local inputs so that the country retains value within her economy.

This is as governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Godwin Emefiele has said that the global economy was facing serious problems that could lead to recession and that the government was doing everything possible to rescue the nation’s economy.

President Buhari gave the directive for the prompt payment of salaries when he met with the members of the Presidential committee to review the impact of COVID-19 on the economy at the State House Abuja.

Briefing State House correspondents after the meeting, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, said the committee met with the President to brief him on the current happenings around the world due to COVID-19 and the impact on the nation’s economy.

The Minister who fielded questions from journalists said, “well, he (President) has directed that we should make sure that salaries are paid, make critical infrastructures like roads, rails are protected, as much as possible use local inputs so that we retain value within our economy. And also make sure that we measure that protect the poor and the vulnerable.”

Asked the purpose of the meeting, Mrs. Ahmed said, “This meeting was just to brief Mr. President as the situation we are in keeps evolving on a daily basis.

“As the health crisis gradually expands, affecting States and also the lockdown that has been ordered to help curtail the expansion of the health crisis.

“The consequences of the lockdown is the additional slowing down of the economy and the measures that we need to take to mitigate the negative consequences of the slow trade and businesses.”

Also speaking, the Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, painted a gloomy picture on the economy, saying that it was not in the best of sharp due to COVID-19.

He also said that the global oil prices were collapsing every day, adding that the situation required regular briefing of the President.

On his part, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Chief Godwin Emefiele, said the economy was not looking as simple as every thought it would be.

He said: “The global economy naturally like we all know at this time will naturally suffer growth problems and may even lead to recession globally. So we are trying to see what we can do as a country to rescue our own situation so we don’t go the direction many will go.

“It is not going to be easy but we can only assure our people that we are on top of it and that we will resolve it and Nigerians will still be better for it.”

Other members of the committee are Minister of State, Budget and National Planning, Clement Agba and the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mela Kyari.


Nigeria: PMS marketers agree to sell at N123.50k / Litre.

The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) said they have agreed to sell petrol for N123 in compliance with government directive.

“The National Executive Committee (NEC) of IPMAN once more commends the Federal Government of Nigeria for the further reduction of the pump price of PMS to between N123.50k and N125 per litre,” IPMAN president Sanusi Fari said in a statement.

Breaking: Fuel price deteriorate to N123.50k per litre from N125. (Nigeria)

“As law-abiding citizens, our members shall comply immediately.”

The government through the Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) on Wednesday reduced fuel price from N125 to N123.

PPPRA said the reduction in fuel price was necessitated by it’s monthly price modulation initiative.

IPMAN, however, disagreed with the government agency, saying it members will not comply and continue to run at a loss in sales.

The association also threatened to cease selling if government close down any petrol station in the country.

Retracting the earlier statement, IPMAN said they will sell for the new price “which will further lessen more burden on the masses.”

Fari said the previous reduction done by President Muhammadu Buhari in mid-March affected their members so much that they lost funds which did not go down well with members.

“Most members deal on borrowed funds from banks wuth Interests,” Fari said, “We had earlier pleaded then, that some time be given to us to exhaust the old stock which we did not get any response.”

Fari appealed to PPPRA and other relevant agencies to communicate with the association in future strategic decisions of such nature.


N123.50k/ltr: Don’t Mind New Fuel Price – IPMAN tells Marketers. (Nigeria)

Following the reduction of pump price of petrol from N125 per litre to N123.50 per litre, the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association in Kano State has directed its members to ignore the directive on new price and sell the product at N125 per litre until their old stocks are exhausted.

IPMAN’s Chairman for Kano State, Alhaji Bashir Danmalam, who gave the directive while addressing a news conference in Kano on Wednesday, said members of the association would not comply with the new price regime until after they had sold all their old stocks.

The Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency had on Tuesday night announced the reduction of pump price from N125 per litre to 123.50 per litre.

According to Danmalam, the last time the Federal Government reduced the pump price of the product from N145 per litre to N125 per litre, its members nationwide lost over N5.5bn as a result of the sudden action.

“We called on government to compensate or support our members who incurred the huge losses due to the sudden reduction in fuel pump price but nothing was given to us.

“But to our surprise, the private depots owners were paid; none of our members was supported to reduce the losses they incurred. This time round, we will not sell our products at the new price until the old stocks are exhausted.”

He noted that IPMAN was the largest employer of labour besides the Federal Government, adding that members of the union would not continue to operate at a loss.

“Apart from the Federal Government, IPMAN is the largest employer of labour in the country and we cannot continue to support the government at this trying time while we are operating at a loss,” Danmalam said.

He accused the management of the PPPRA of trying to sabotage the Federal Government’s efforts to ensure sustained fuel supply and distribution across the country through some policies that could plunge the sector into a serious crisis.

“Even though we are happy with the new development and the Federal Government should be commended for the gesture, the government should consider the fact that no sane marketer or businessman will continue operating their business at a loss.

“Before the last announcement, many of our members had already bought and loaded their vehicles with the product at old prices from Lagos, Port Harcourt and Warri and we spent five to seven days before reaching our destinations. So we are not going to sell the product at the new price until we sell the old stocks.”

He said the union would not hesitate to ask its members to withdraw their services should any filling station of their members be closed for not selling at the new pump price of N123.50 per litre.

Compliance low as monthly petrol price review begins

The compliance by filling stations in Abuja and surrounding Niger and Nasarawa states to the new N123.5/litre pump price of petrol was low on Wednesday.

It was also gathered that the monthly price modulation exercise for petrol had effectively commenced after the Federal Government declared N123.5/litre as the cost of petrol price for April.

Although some of the filling stations were not open for business when our correspondent visited the outlets on Wednesday morning, officials at the few ones that dispensed products claimed not to be aware of the new petrol price.

Some others stated that the information had yet to fully circulate to marketers, adding that dealers of petroleum products would comply when adequately briefed.

A popular private filling station on Kubwa Market road, Nipco filling station on Zuba-Kubwa road, Abuja, and two others in Zuba, Niger State, dispensed petrol at the old N125/litre price.

The NNPC filling station on Zuba-Kubwa road had yet to start dispensing when our correspondent visited the outlet due to the very limited vehicular movement in Abuja occasioned by the lockdown.


Nigeria: CJN’s order on court proceedings suspension in line with quarantine act – Malami

The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, says the directive of the Chief Justice of the Federation, Justice Tanko Mohammed for courts to suspend proceedings follows the Quarantine Act signed by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Malami in a statement issued on Wednesday by his Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations, Dr Umar Jibrilu Gwandu, however, clarified that courts are expected to attend to matters that are urgent, essential or time-bound even during the lockdown.

The AGF explained that since speedy dispensation of justice is a cardinal principle of the Justice Sector Reform of the present administration, only time-bound cases will be treated with dispatch and accorded the required attention as the nation battles the COVID-19 scourge.

According to the statement, the directive was communicated in a letter addressed to all heads of courts dated 1st April 2020 conveying the COVID 19 Regulation 2020.

It read in part: “Further to the letter Ref. No. NJC/CIR/HOC/11/631 dated 23rd March 2020 by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Hon. Justice I. T. Mohammad, CFR directing suspension of Court sittings for an initial period of two weeks at the first instance, except in matters that are urgent, essential or time-bound according to extant laws.”


Nigeria: We are working on stable and adequate power supply – GenCos.

The Power Generation Companies of Nigeria have pledged to sustain the provision of adequate power in the country during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Joy Ogaji, Executive Secretary, Association of Power Generation Companies, made this known in a statement in Abuja on Wednesday.

Ogaji said GenCos were working together to ensure the sustainability of adequate power generation during the Coronavirus crisis.

She said GenCos had reiterated their commitment and readiness to improve power generation from Thermal and Renewable (Hydro Power Plants) sources across the country.

She said: “This is evidence in the increase in power generation which has averaged 4,024MW since the index case was recorded on February 27.

‘GenCos are altering their business practices and developing strategies to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

“To this end, GenCos have established telework protocols to ensure that non-essential, non-critical employees work from home.

“While implementing continuation of services, GenCos plan to ensure operations and service delivery continue to prevent more economic disruption.”

The executive secretary said the GenCos have strong track record of preparing for numerous emergencies such as the COVID-19 pandemic and countless types of emergencies.

According to her, this is evident in ramping up to a total available capacity of over 7,500MW and gross generation installed capacity of over 13,000MW.

Ogaji said in preparation for the current situation, the GenCos have commenced close talk with the Federal Government and other power sector stakeholders to ensure that plants have the resources needed for generation of power.

She said: “GenCos are ready to partner with the government and its relevant stakeholders to evolve strategies that will fast track the quest for optimal utilisation of available and recover unavailable installed generation capacity.

“This can make the nation to be listed on the roll call of countries with adequate and stable electricity supply in the world.”

Ogaji said there was, however, shortage of gas supply for thermal generation companies as thermal power from gas and steam turbines accounted for about 80 per cent of the country’s power generation.

She explained that gas unavailability hindered power generation in Thermal Power Plants and that gas cost constituted over 60 per cent of wholesale electricity tariffs.

“Hence, what goes on in the gas sector has huge implications for the Nigeria Electricity Supply Industry,” the executive secretary said.

She further said suppliers demanded upfront payment before they made gas available and that GenCos could not afford to meet the request given the liquidity issues in the NESI.

Ogaji said the GenCos were willing to invest to increase the capacity of power plants and provide necessary investments to cater for maintenance and repairs.

She said: “Generation Companies are willing to work with relevant stakeholders such as the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC).

“With oversight over gas resources, to develop novel approaches in making gas available for generation companies.

“Gas and transmission (evacuation) are critical and urgent needs outside the control of the generation companies. It calls for urgent government intervention.

“GenCos are corporate citizens with zeal and are willing to build the nation together with the government.”

Ogaji also said aside gas molecules and transmission, GenCos have other challenges which government was resolving.

She noted that there was need for an apolitical enabling environment through the design and implementation of viable policies, strong and experienced leadership and coordination of the sector.

She said: “This requires effective collaboration and coordination across interrelated Ministries.

“If answers to GenCos most pressing and pertinent questions such as: can we be fully dispatched?

“Can we get gas and who is paying for the power can be tackled, then, power supply will be a thing of the past.”

Ogaji said the APGC would continue to work with power sector stakeholders to gather and share up-to-date information.

She said: “Best practices and guidance to support them in safely maintaining operational integrity.

“It is our desire that the pandemic be resolved as soon as possible.”

She commended the Federal Government’s efforts through the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation.


Breaking: Fuel price deteriorate to N123.50k per litre from N125. (Nigeria)

The federal government has announced further reduction of the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), also known as petrol.

It said the product has been reduced from N125 to N123.50k per litre. N.Rs report

The new rate takes effect from Wednesday, April 1, 2020.

The Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) made the announcement in a statement Tuesday night by the Executive Secretary, Abdulkadir Saidu.

“PPPRA in line with the government approval for a monthly review of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) pump price, hereby announces Guiding PMS pump price of N123.50 per Litre.

“The Guiding price which becomes effective April 1 2020, shall apply at all retail outlets nationwide for the month of April, 2020.”

Saidu assured that said PPPRA and other regulatory agencies would continue to monitor compliance.

The agency had on March 18 reduced the pump price of PMS from N145.00 to N125.00. NobleReporters report


Nigeria: Enugu international airport reconstruction to pause.

The Federal Government, on Tuesday, announced the suspension of the ongoing reconstruction work at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu.

The Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika disclosed this after an inspection tour of the project.

He arrived the airport aboard a police chopper, with only few officials.

Sirika said the project, which had gone beyond 90 percent, would have been delivered before Easter.

“But considering that the construction workers have downed tools owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Federal Government hereby officially announce suspension of procurement.

“The work would have been completed in 6-7 days, but the workers left to be with their families in view of the social distancing,” the minister declared.


Breaking: Naira plunges again, falls to N412 per dollar.

The dollar exchanged for N412 on Monday at the Bureau De Change segment of the market.

This followed a temporary suspension of sale of forex to the Bureau De Change operators in the industry by the Central Bank of Nigeria.

The Association of Bureaux De Change Operators of Nigeria had made a request to the CBN to grant it market holidays, given the ongoing challenges faced in the local and global economies due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The CBN granted the BDCs two weeks market holiday as requested.

According to the BDCs, there had been drastic decline in demand for forex due to the impact of the COVID-19 on the economy, as businesses were down and many people were not travelling.

The naira had also suffered setbacks as a result of crude oil price that fell drastically in the international market, which raised speculations among the BDC operators and Nigerians in general


Nigeria: Electricity tariff to increase from April 1, 2020.

Nigerians will from Wednesday, April 1, 2020, pay more for electricity, NobleReporters reports.

The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission had disclosed this in its December 2019 Minor Review of Multi-Year Tariff Order 2015 and Minimum Remittance Order for the Year 2020.

Checks by NobleReporters on Monday showed that the decision to increase tariff had not yet been suspended despite the lockdown occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.

A top source at Ikeja Electric siad that the firm had not received any directive from NERC as regards reversal of the plan.

He said, “According to the tariff order for the year, we are supposed to increase on April 1, 2020. So far, we have not received any directive not to go ahead.”

Efforts to get NERC to speak on the matter were not successful on Monday as the spokesman for the commission, Usman Arabi, said he was not around but on a course at the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies.

Arabi’s substitute, however, did not respond to calls or a text message sent to him.

NERC had disclosed in its December 2019 Minor Review of Multi-Year Tariff Order 2015 and Minimum Remittance Order for the Year 2020 that the order was issued to reflect the impact of changes in the minor review variables in the determination of cost-reflective tariffs and relevant tariff and market shortfalls for 2019 and 2020.

The commission said the order also determined the minimum remittances payable by the distribution companies in meeting their market obligations based on the allowed tariffs.

It said, “The Federal Government’s updated Power Sector Recovery Programme does not envisage an immediate increase in end-user tariffs until April 1, 2020, and a transition to full cost reflectivity by end of 2021.

“In the interim, the Federal Government has committed to funding the revenue gap arising from the difference between cost-reflective tariffs determined by the commission and the actual end-user tariffs payable by customers.”

According to NERC, all Discos are obligated to settle their market invoices in full as adjusted and netted off by applicable tariff shortfall.

It said, “All FGN intervention from the financing plan of the PSRP for funding tariff shortfall shall be applied through NBET and the market operator to ensure 100 per cent settlement of invoices issued by market participants.

“Effectively, this order places a freeze on the tariffs of the TCN and administrative charges until April 2020 at the rates applied in generating MO invoices for the period of January to October 2019.”


Nigeria: President Buhari Sign COVID-19 Regulations 2020

President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday signed the COVID-19 Regulations, 2020, which declared COVID-19 a dangerous infectious disease.

This according to Femi Adesina the special adviser to the President, is in line with the exercising of the powers conferred on Buhari by Sections 2, 3 and 4 of the Quarantine Act (CAP Q2 LFN 2004), and all other powers enabling him in that behalf.

In his statement on Monday, the presidential spokesman noted that the regulations, effective March 30, 2020, also gave legal backing to the various measures outlined in the President’s National Broadcast on March 29, 2020, such as Restriction/Cessation of Movement in Lagos, FCT and Ogun State and others toward containing the spread of the pandemic in the country.

He added that to ensure that Nigerians can still perform on-line transactions and use ATMs whilst observing these restrictions, exemption is granted financial system and money markets to allow very skeletal operations in order to keep the system in light operations during the pendency of these regulations.


Nigeria: FCCPC sues supermarkets, pharmacies over increased prices of santisers.

The Federal Government has filed charges against four supermarkets and their proprietors in Abuja for alleged arbitrary hike of prices of sanitisers, handwash liquids, disinfectants, and other anti-bacterial hygiene products.

Court documents made available to Channels Television by the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Council (FCCPC) named the four supermarkets, which also include their pharmacies as H-Medix Pharmacy and Stores Limited, Prince Ebeano Supermarket Limited and its proprietor, David Ojei, and Bakan Gizo Pharmacy & Stores Nigeria Limited.

The others are Ray Opia and Luter Irene and their representatives, Sandra Ejekwu and John Oluwagbemiga, as well as Faxx Stores & Trading Limited and its representative, Adogah Ahmed.

In the statement of claim filed before the Federal High Court in Abuja, the FCCPC preferred a six-counts against the four supermarkets and their owners.

The charges against them are for violating section 125 (1) (a) of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Act, 2018, and punishable under section 155 of the Federal Competition And Consumer Protection Act, 2018.

The four supermarkets were also charged with supplying hand sanitisers and surgical disposable face masks of various existing brands to consumers at a price that was manifestly unfair, unreasonable and unjust.

They were also accused of disobeying without lawful excuse, the lawful orders and directives of the FCCPC against such practices.

The commission said the allegations against the accused were discovered following complaints from consumers through various social media channels, as well as visits to their supermarkets and pharmacies by representatives of its surveillance and enforcement office.

No date has been fixed for the hearing of the case.


Nigeria: Buhari pronounce Osinbajo head of ‘Economic Sustainability Committee.’

President Muhammadu Buhari has named Vice President Yemi Osinbajo as the head of economic sustainability committee.

The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 chaired by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, made this disclosure at the press conference.

The terms of reference as well as members of the committee will be announced soon.

He said: “We do not desire to slow down the economy in any way.”

Meanwhile, Nigeria has recorded another fatality due to COVID-19.

The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, made this disclosure at the press conference.


NNPC: We have 60-days fuel sufficiency in Nigeria.

Nigerian National petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has urged Nigerians not to engage in panic buying of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), as the country has adequate stock of the products to last for over 60-days.

Mr Mele Kyari, Group Managing Director of the corporation, gave the assurance while briefing newsmen on Sunday in Abuja.

Kyari assured that the NNPC had the support of all stakeholders to ensure adequate supply of petroleum products in the country.

He said: “There is absolutely no scarcity anywhere; our supply is robust, we have fuel that will last this country even for 60-days if assuming we do not import any.

“Of course people because of the pandemic, stay at home, may try to conserve fuel, there is no need to do this.

“Maintain your normal life, we have secured all assurances that trucks will be moving freely across the country throughout this period of difficulty and supply will be sustained’’.

He appealed to Nigerians no to flood fuel stations as there was no need for that.

Commenting on National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) order to petrol tankers drivers to vacate the depots, Kyari said that the corporation would continue to engage them.

“No restrictions; as we speak now loading is going on, trucks are moving around, no action like that will come to fruition,’’ he added


Nigeria: FG to stop inter-state travels, ban motor parks.

The Federal Government of Nigeria has announced plans to ban inter-state travel and possibly close down motor parks in the country as part of measures to curtail the spread of the Coronavirus.

Minister for Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed said this at an ongoing press briefing in Abuja, on Thursday.

He said: “It is now time for enforcement.”

He made the comment in reaction to reports that the number of people who have tested positive to the deadly disease in Nigeria has hit 51.


N380 forex rate per dollar not devaluation of Naira – CBN.

Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr Godwin Emefiele on Saturday clarified that the recent jump in foreign exchange rate to N380 to a dollar is not a devaluation but an adjustment.

According to Mr Emefiele, the apex bank has the responsibility to see to the adjustment in the Naira, insisting that the bank has no hand in what happens in the Investors, Exporters and End- users window.

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CBN technically devalue Nigeria Naira.

The CBN had issued a circular to all banks and Bureau De Change on Friday, advising that the BDC should not sell the Dollar more than N380/1USD to end-users.

The Central Bank of Nigeria has the responsibility to see to the adjustment in the currency; what you have seen is an adjustment in currency and we have been accused that we have a hand, we don’t have a hand, Emefiele said.

We allow the I&E window, which is the dominant market to dictate the exchange rate in the market.

At this time the CBN provides FX in that market at 380, anyone who has higher than the 380 can go ahead, but it should be available in the market to fund the domestic market.

He added that the new rate is only an adjustment, but in economics and foreign exchange management language, it is not a devaluation, he maintained.


Nigeria’s refusal to devalue naira to fail again.

Four years after Nigeria tried and failed to stop its currency from collapsing, Africa’s biggest crude producer is again reacting to this oil crisis the same way it did in the recent past.

It worked out badly then as oil revenues, which account for 90% of foreign-exchange earnings, failed to rebound in time — leading to a depletion in the central bank’s fire power to defend the naira. It will likely fail again, if the West Africa nation sticks to the same template.

A surge in supply after OPEC failure to agree on production cuts with Russia has combined with reduced demand as the coronavirus pandemic disrupts economies globally. This means crude prices will remain low far longer than the central bank’s dwindling reserves can support the currency, which has weakened the least among major oil producing countries in 2020.

The naira weakened slightly last week after crude prices crashed, but since has remained largely stable. Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari considers a stable naira as a keystone in his plan to bolster and wean the economy off oil. In a rare public acknowledgment he indicated that the pandemic could trigger a foreign exchange re-alignment after he met with his new economic advisory council, according to a statement emailed on Thursday.

Buhari agreed with the council, led by orthodox economist, Doyin Salami, that “tough economic decisions” may be needed to face the crisis,the presidency said . But the central bank, which has kept the currency in a quasi-peg to the dollar since mid-2017, has said it has no plans for a devaluation and threatened to investigate any local currency dealers suggesting otherwise.

“The administration will fight tooth and nail to avoid a devaluation in the short-term,” said Malte Liewerscheidt, vice president at Teneo Intelligence in London.

The reason — Nigeria’s import dependent economy has seen inflation accelerate to a 22-month high in February and could rise even faster if the currency weakens. Despite being oil rich, the West African nation imports almost 100% of its gasoline due to mismanagement of its domestic refineries. The fuel is then sold at subsidized prices to Nigerians. A weaker naira would raise the cost of those subsidies, which already consumes a chunk of government revenues at almost $2 billion a year.

The central bank has blamed speculators for any weakness in the currency and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission said its agents are raiding hotels and bureau de change outlets to arrest offenders hoarding foreign currency, a tactic used after crude prices crashed in 2014.

The regulator “is poised to apply the toolbox developed during the 2014-16 oil price crisis,” said Liewerscheidt. “Providing high yields and preferential foreign-exchange access to portfolio investors while curbing demand by other market players through measures such as import bans and rationing.”

The local currency traded at 368 per dollar as at 4.30 p.m local time on Wednesday, about 1.9% weaker since the oil price crash. Prices for 12-month forward contracts have risen to 479 per dollar, suggesting investors see the naira falling 25% in that period.

The majority of investors and analysts surveyed by Bloomberg believe the naira will eventually be devalued by as much as 15% in the third quarter.

Reverting to past measures, Central bank Governor Godwin Emefiele plans to tighten capital controls by banning forex for hand sanitizers needed to curb the spread of the coronavirus, adding it to dozens of items already barred from accessing foreign exchange.

“Active management of foreign-exchange allocation could create scarcity and delays in allocation which will inevitably push importers to seek dollars at the unofficial segment,” Lagos-based Nova Merchant Bank said in a note to clients on Tuesday.

However, foreign-currency reserves have decreased by 20% in the past two years to the lowest since November 2017, giving little room for the nation to support the naira.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said last week it would take an exchange rate of 600 naira per dollar for Nigeria to generate a healthy current-account surplus at today’s oil prices.

A sustained period of low crude prices will weaken dollar liquidity and elevate banks asset risks, Moody’s Investors Service said.
Average yields on naira government bonds have surged 709 basis points to 12.6% since January, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, signaling outflows resulting from falling risk appetite of investors.

The bearish sentiment is expected to continue as coronavirus fears persist, Johannesburg-based Rand Merchant Bank said in a note on Wednesday.

“The market still grapples with limited dollar supply —as the oil price remains at abysmally low levels,” according to RMB.


Nigeria: NDDC begin digitisation of documents.

The Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, says it has commenced the digitisation of its documents as part of its efforts to render faster and better service to the people of the Niger Delta region.

Speaking after reviewing the on-going capturing and archiving at the NDDC headquarters in Port Harcourt, the Director, Information Technology and Management Information System, Mr Kine Osain, said that the digitisation of legacy documents was necessary to ensure their safety and continuity.

He said: “The world is moving towards a paperless society and NDDC will not be left behind. We should, in fact, be among those blazing the trail in digitisation. This will guard against unexpected mishaps that can occur to compromise the commission’s documents. With digitisation, we will have soft copies that will provide adequate backup.

Osain remarked that the digitisation would help the NDDC in preparing for the forensic audit ordered by President Muhammadu Buhari, as it would give the necessary integrity to official documents and make them readily acceptable in courts.

He said that with the numerous benefits of digitisation, all the Directorates and Departments in NDDC would key into it for the overall interest of the people of the Niger Delta region.

Osain noted: “We have started with a pilot scheme that has fully captured the legal directorate. Eventually, all directorates and departments will be covered and our consultants, Xerox, will in addition to setting up the system, provide hands-on training for staff. When we are done, the various directorates and departments will own their documents.”

According to him, “the beauty of going paperless is that it makes for a smart organization.

Throwing more light on the digitisation project, the system analyst for Xerox, Mr. Kinsley Maduako, affirmed that it would ensure the security of documents in the event of fire outbreak, unforeseen hazards or natural disaster.

He added: “It will guarantee the safety of documents and the project will run on Docushare software which will protect the documents from invasion by malwares, viruses and intruders or hackers.”

He listed the benefits of the project, which he said included less IT dependence because files would be uploaded directly to the server from the user departments; less paper use, which will reduce operational costs and improved productivity in terms of automated workflow process.

Maduako assured that Xerox would provide continuous technical support for the efficient operation of the Docushare software for the project.

He explained: “The project involves the deployment of enterprise content management and physical archiving setup. We are now in the process of digitising the legacy documents, which involves capturing the hard copy documents and converting them into electronic format.”


PMS stations yet to sell at N125 in Anambra

marketers in Anambra, Lagos still selling @ N145

Two days after the Federal Government announced a downward review of the price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) from N145 to N125, marketers in Anambra are yet to adjust to the new price.

NobleReporters gathered that retail outlets in Awka, the state capital were still selling at N145.

A manager of one of the outlets on Enugu-Onitsha expressway said it was not realistic that they would adjust immediately when they still had products procured at the old rate.

The source said the reduction in pump price was good, but marketers should not be made to bear the cost.

“We cannot sell at N125 for now because the product we have came at above N141, let them allow us to sell off what we have now.

“The depot owners have to start loading based on the adjusted price and that will make us sell at the new goverment price,” he said.

Chief Cletus Obi-Okoye, the state Chairman of Petroleum Dealers Association of Nigeria said implementation of the new price regime should start with the depots.

Obi-Okoye said most of his members still have old stock and appealed that the marketers be allowed to exhaust their stock before enforcement commences.

However, the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) says it would ensure that marketers adjust to the new price.

Mr Okiemute Akpomudjere, DPR Operations Controller in the state, faulted the marketers for refusing to adjust their meters to reflect the new pump price, saying that the adjustment should be automatic.

“Our people are already in the field because there is an ongoing operation.

“The government pronouncement of reduction in pump price is a policy that has to be implemented.

“DPR will ensure that Nigerians, petrol customers are protected by ensuring immediate adjustment, “ he said.

The Federal Government on March 18 announced a downward review of price of petrol from N145 to N125 per litre in response to falling crude oil prices to less than 30 dollars per barrel