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Nigeria will benefit from Okonjo Iweala in WTO – LCCI

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The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry has stated various steps Nigeria can take to fully take advantage of the opportunities offered by the World Trade Organisation under the leadership of Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

In a statement on Monday, the LCCI felicitated with Nigeria on the appointment of Okonjo-Iweala as the Director-General of World Trade Organization.

The Director-General, LCCI, Dr Muda Yusuf, said, “While the emergence of Dr Okonjo-Iweala as the new WTO Director-General is very gratifying and calls for celebration, there is a need to manage expectations around the outcomes for the Nigerian economy, given the numerous productivity and competitiveness issues the country is grappling with.

Read More: Okonjo-Iweala appointed as WTO DG

“Ultimately, these are the factors that would determine the benefits that would accrue to the economy from global trade.”

According to him, Nigeria needs to build capacity for international competitiveness of its products and services so as to benefit from the WTO.

He said, “Also imperative is the need to address trade facilitation issues, especially around port processes, ports infrastructures, international trade documentation, foreign exchange policies, trade policies and industrial policies. We need to promote local value addition and backward integration to strengthen competitiveness of our domestic industries.

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“We must undertake reforms of our tariff policy in accordance with the principles of comparative advantage, which would enable the country to optimise opportunities in the global trade arena and enhance the citizens’ welfare.”

According to Yusuf, it is critical to develop an African Continental Free Trade Area strategy that would enable the country to leverage trade opportunities both continentally and globally.

“There is a need to improve on our strategy in managing the coronavirus pandemic ranging from ensuring compliance to safety protocols to vaccine procurement and distribution,” he said.

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The LCCI DG said Okonjo-Iweala’s emergence came at a time when the global trading system was faced with numerous challenges, including supply chain disruptions precipitated by the coronavirus pandemic, rising protectionism and unilateralism, growing economic nationalism, and imposition of trade restrictions covering substantial amount of international trade, among others.

“Africa has peculiar challenges in the global trade arena. The continent is deeply integrated into the global supply chain and this underscores the low participation level of African economies in international trade,” he said.

According to him, it is very pertinent for African economies to build capacity within the continent in order to take advantage of the opportunities in global trade.

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Buhari sends delegation to Ghana over Nigerian traders’ plight

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The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), has directed that a ministerial delegation be sent to Ghana to resolve the prolonged conflict between Nigerian traders and Ghanaian authorities.

The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Niyi Adebayo, disclosed this on Monday.

According to a statement by his Special Adviser on Media, Ifedayo Sayo, the minister spoke at a meeting.

The statement was titled, ‘FG delegation to visit Ghana over Nigerian traders’ conflict with Ghanaian counterparts.’

“President Muhammadu Buhari has directed that a ministerial delegation be sent to Ghana to resolve the lingering conflict between Nigerian traders and Ghanaian authorities,” the minister was quoted as saying.

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Adebayo, who said he would be leading the delegation, added that members of the delegation “will also engage in further dialogue with Ghanaian authorities with a view to finding a lasting solution to the problem.”

He disclosed that the delegation is expected to embark on the visit between May 31 and June 1, 2021.

Other member of the delegation include the Minister of State, Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Zubairu Dada; the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr Nasir Sani-Gwarzo; the Executive Secretary, Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission, Yewande Sadiku; Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Diaspora Commission, Abike Dabiri-Erewa; and the President of National Association of Nigerian Traders, Dr Ken Ukaoha.

There has been lingering controversy over $1 million levy imposed on Nigerian traders and foreign investors by the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre.

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Board Dissolution: FBN Shares Drop By 6.75%

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Board Dissolution: FBN Shares Drop By 6.75%

The share price of FBN Holdings (FBNH) Plc on the Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX) in two days dropped by 6.75 per cent following the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) dissolution company’s board.

The share price of the holding company depreciated on Wednesday closed at N7.4 but dropped to N6.90 on Friday, according to the daily market report by NGX.

The share price drop of fall 6.76 per cent on Thursday is the highest drop since December 10, as the bank faced a stringent regulatory action by the apex bank.

Meanwhile, the domestic equities market closed transactions for the week on a positive note to extend the previous day’s positive sentiment, as NGX-All- Share Index (ASI) grew by 0.95 per cent and investors’ wealth rose by N195 billion.

The Central Bank of Nigeria Limited (CBN) reconstituted the Board of Directors of First Bank of Nigeria Limited.

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On April 29, 2021, the Boards of FBN Holdings Plc and First Bank of Nigeria Limited were dissolved and reconstituted, pursuant to its power under Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act (BOFIA) 2020.

The Board of Directors of First Bank of Nigeria Limited is now comprised as follows: Mr. Tunde Hassan-Odukale as Chairman; Tokunbo Martins; Uche Nwokedi; Adekunle Sonola; Ms. Isioma Ogodazi; Mr. Ebenezer Olufowose; Mr. Ishaya Elijah B. Dodo; Dr. Adesola Adeduntan as the managing director/ chief executive officer; Mr. Gbenga Shobo, deputy managing director; Dr. Remi Oni, executive director and Mr. Abdullahi Ibrahim, Executive Director.

The Bank said that Adeduntan has since resumed work as CEO in line with the directives of the CBN, saying “We can confirm that the Bank is co-operating with the Central Bank of Nigeria and other regulators while the operations of the Bank are not hampered or hindered in any way and are in fact running smoothly.

“We further wish to reassure the public, customers and stakeholders in the words of the Governor of the Central Bank in concluding his press conference, of its commitment to ensuring the stability of the financial system.

“There is therefore no cause for panic amongst the banking public, given that the actions being taken are meant to strengthen the Bank and position it as a banking industry giant.”

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Speaking on the issue, CEO of Greenville Capital Limited, Azeez Bello said that the timely intervention of the Central Bank of Nigeria in the corporate governance issues within FBNH is quite commendable apparently because it is a systemically important bank.

According to Bello, investors appear to be satisfied with the apex banking regulators swift resolution hence the share price of FBNH was flat at N6.90 at the end of the today’s trading session, April 30, 2021.

“However , it is highly expedient that the CBN work closely with the Financial Reporting Council in the institutionalisation of sound corporate governance practices in our banking institutions.”

Also, the managing director, Highcap Securities Limited, Mr. David Adnori stated that the decline in share price of the Holdco is directly linked to the CBN action.

According to him, what happened with the FBN Holdco shares has to do with price sensitive development and it has taken a toll on devaluation of price because investor’s confidence has really shaken with the CBN revelation.

“In addition to what CBN has done with the removal of Mr. Oba Otudeko, the bank will then need to implement series of decision to restore investors and customers deposits confidence going forward.”

First Bank of Nigeria Limited (FirstBank) is the premier Bank in West Africa and the leading financial inclusion services provider in Nigeria for over 125 years.

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COVID-19 resurgence, threat to oil demand recovery – OPEC

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The resurgence of the COVID-19 pandemic in many countries is posing a threat to economic and oil demand recovery, the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries has said.

It disclosed this at the 16th OPEC and non-OPEC ministerial meeting of the Declaration of Cooperation, which took place via teleconference on Tuesday.

In a document on some of the deliberations at the meeting, the organisation stated that participants highlighted the continuing recovery in the global economy, supported by unprecedented levels of monetary and fiscal support.

They noted that the recovery was expected to pick up in the second half of the year, but observed that the resurgence of COVID-19 across the globe could hamper economic and oil demand recovery.

OPEC said, “The ministerial meeting emphasised, however, that COVID-19 cases are rising in a number of countries, despite the ongoing vaccination campaigns, and that the resurgence could hamper the economic and oil demand recovery.”

The meeting also emphasised the ongoing positive contributions of the Declaration of Cooperation in supporting a rebalancing of the global oil market.

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This, according to the organisation, was in line with the historic decisions taken at the 10th (Extraordinary) OPEC and non-OPEC Ministerial Meeting on April 12, 2020 to adjust downwards overall crude oil production, and subsequent decisions.

The meeting further reviewed the monthly report prepared by the Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee, including the crude oil production data for March 2021.

Participants welcomed the positive performance of the participating countries, as they noted that overall conformity to the production adjustments was 115 per cent in March 2021, reinforcing the trend of high conformity by the nations.

OPEC said the meeting expressed its appreciation to the participating countries that performed beyond expectation in March 2021, with total over-conformed volumes of 1.23 million barrels per day.

It, however, noted that some participating countries had yet to achieve the minimum expectation of 100 per cent conformity and to compensate for overproduced volumes.

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