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China Tasks Nigeria On Trade Imbalance

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The Chairman, China Africa Business Council (CABC), Chief Dana Chen, has charged Nigeria on options to have balance of trade.
Chen, who gave the charge recently at the signing ceremony of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) and CABC in Lagos, noted that currently, Nigeria imports far more than it exports.
“Nigeria imports too much and needs to also export to achieve a balance of trade level. This would also make the Nigerian currency to be strong. There are lots of areas we can explore and strengthen our trade relationship
“We can invest more in logistics, supply chain and product manufacturing in Nigeria. We are also increasing investments in promoting the culture in Nigeria, because Nigeria’s creative industry is one of the biggest industries in the world where they can be developed to export to Asian countries and it offers huge potentials for Nigeria”, she added.
The CABC boss also announced that the Chinese Government is planning to invest over $300 billion in the African continent over the next three years.
According to her, the move is expected to increase the volume of trade between Africa and China from the current $30 billion.
“We are targeting the next three years to increase the trade volume between China and Africa from over $30 billion to $300 billion. This is over 10 times the size of the current trade between China and Africa. The trade increase is expected to benefit more African businesses” she stated.
Chen also unveiled plans to establish 10 medical and 10 housing projects for African countries, 10 poverty reduction, 10 agricultural projects, while also reaffirming China’s commitment to help Nigeria address its security concerns by providing military support programmes.
Earlier, the President LCCI, Dr. Michael Olawale-Cole, explained that the MoU would further improve bilateral and diplomatic relations between the two countries.
He stressing that the partnership is historic and significant to the LCCI as it would also strengthen its international trade relations with China.
Olawale-Cole noted that China-Nigeria relations, which dates back to the early 1970s, has progressed significantly in recent years, saying that Nigeria is one of China’s largest trading partners in Africa.
Over the years, China has been a strategic import hub for Nigerian manufacturers and trade activities between both nations, which he said, has seen dramatic improvement.
“According to the National Bureau of Statistic, the trade volume between both countries grew remarkably to $16 billion in 2019 from $7.4 billion in 2018. Bilateral relations between both nations have also expanded tremendously on growing bilateral trade and strategic cooperation till date”, he said.
He added that the Chinese have shown interest in the Nigerian market with their presence across various sectors of the economy, including financial technology, construction, retail and e-commerce and manufacturin

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Withdrawal Of Naira Notes: Stakeholders Call For Caution

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has debunked rumours that it is planning to withdraw naira notes from circulation and replace it with its digital currency, the eNaira, which was launched  last October by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Recall that stakeholders had warned the apex bank to desist from such move.
Director, Corporate Communications Department of the CBN, Osita Nwanisobi, at the weekend, noted that, the statement purportedly to have been made during a stakeholders’ engagement on eNaira adoption in Asaba, Delta State, was misconstrued.
He, therefore called on the public to disregard such information in its entirety.
The eNaira is a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) that was rolled out to improve financial inclusion in the country, reduce the cost of transactions, and boost security in the financial system.
According to Nwanisobi, the digital version of the Naira is meant to complement the existing currency notes and, therefore, will circulate simultaneously as a means of exchange and store of value.
On the benefits of adopting the eNaira, he said the digital legal tender, aside from the safety and speedy features, will also ensure greater access to financial services by the underbanked and unbanked populace, thereby enhancing financial inclusion.
Nwanisobi, therefore, urged members of the public and business owners to embrace the digital currency, the eNaira, saying it offers more possibilities.
Meanwhile, the eNaira speed wallet is expected to have another update which will allow users to pay bills and conumate online shopping payments directly from their wallets.
Stakeholders have, however, queried the decision of the government over planned removal of Naira notes from circulation.
They noted that in civilised societies, physical money exists side by side with other forms of financial transactions.
Speaking in an interview the The Tide’s source, the President of National Union of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions Employees of Nigeria (NUBIFIE), Comrade Anthony  Abakpa, expressed wonder how such a policy could be brought out without enough preparation and enough awareness.
“The CBN ought to give enough time to enable Nigerians prepare for it. CBN should know that not every Nigerian is having bank account, talkless of e-money. Most of them who cannot write would not be carried along.

“What CBN needs most is ability to educate everyone on it and save people from demoralisation, because it will demoralise and be cumbersome to many people and they will lose confidence in government.

“CBN should run both physical and e-money together, not total removal of physical notes from circulation”, Abakpa said.

On his part, the General Secretary of Iron and Steel Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ISSAN), Comrade Lucky Odigie, urged Federal Government to desist from policy summersaults.

He said, “Federal Government should not start what it will not be able to sustain. In fact, this policy has already failed before birth.

“How can Government just wake up with policy that would add more burdens to the masses that have already been pushed to the wall?”

Odigie also advised FG to always put the interest of the masses first in all their planning in order to reduce harsh economic situations that are pushing some into vices.

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NMDPRA Unveils Regulations On Gas Pricing, Pipeline Tariff, Others

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The Nigeria Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) says it is drafting six regulations on midstream and downstream operations to bring clarity, improve business processes and ease of doing business in the sector.
This, it said, is to enhance efficient operations of the oil and gas industry.
The Authority Chief Executive (ACE), NMDPRA, Farouk Ahmed, who made this known in a meeting with members of the Independent Petroleum Producers Group (IPPG) in Abuja, said the regulations are on gas pricing, environmental management plan, environmental remediation fund, decommissioning and abandonment, gas infrastructure fund and natural gas pipeline tariff.
Ahmed also informed the Group that a working team, chaired by Mr Ogbugo Ukoha, Executive Director, Distribution Systems, Storage & Retailing Infrastructure (DSSRI)  was set up to review the draft regulations, engage and consult stakeholders for smooth implementation when released.
“One of our key concerns is boosting local refining. Dangote and BUA refineries are coming on board. However,  we want to see more companies investing in refineries so we can stop the importation of refined petroleum products, save our foreign earnings, create jobs and add value to the economy’’.
The NMDPRA boss noted and commended the gradual growth of indigenous players in local exploration and production of petroleum products.
Earlier, the IPPG Chairman, Mr Abdulrazaq Isa, said the IPPG was an association of 25 indigenous Exploration and Production (E&P) companies with the vision to promote the continued development of the Nigerian petroleum industry for the benefit of industry stakeholders and the nation.
Isa noted that timely communication with industry players was important at this time that the Authority is going through a transition period.

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NADDC Begins Talks On Automotive Financing With CBN 

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The National Auotomotive Design and Development Council has begun discussions with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to design workable solutions for automotive financing.
This, according to the Director General of NADDC,  Jelani Aliyu, is to make auto purchase affordable for Nigerians.
Aliyu made this disclosure recently, while making a presentation at the 9th Annual Transport Lecture organised by Transport Day Newspapers, with the theme, ‘Nigeria’s Transportation For Development: Sectoral Achievements, Prospects and Challenges’, held in Abuja.
“We had a meeting with the CBN yesterday on auto financing. We want to work out a solution that would enable Nigerians buy new vehicles and pay over a period of six years”, he said.
The NADDC boss said the move is part of the agency’s efforts geared towards promoting and enhancing value addition in the transport cum automotive sector of the economy by creating a conducive business climate to further enhance investment inflow and industrialization.
“NADDC is rapidly shifting attention to carbonless transport system in Nigeria in a bid to develop and promote advanced transport technology in the automotive industry.
“This is because, vehicle electrification is inevitable. It is the future of automotive industry worldwide and we are working assiduously towards achieving its comprehensive and sustainable adoption in Nigeria.
“There is no gainsaying the fact that poor maintenance culture of vehicles in the transport sector contributes immensely to environmental pollution.
“The use of EVs that have advanced technology will not only curb these excesses, but will also lead to more productivity in the industry.
“Currently, one of our top focus areas is scaling up production of applicable electric vehicles locally, to enable Nigeria meet its target for the Paris Accord and 2060 net zero commitment, both on reducing harmful gas emissions from vehicles”, he said.

He further stated that NADDC recently  set up a Technical Committee on Electric Vehicle Development Plan aimed at drawing up a comprehensive development plan for vehicle electrification in Nigeria.

He said this is towards the realization of full scale local production of multiple brands of applicable EVs that would be in tune with the economic structure of the country, and to be supported by establishing effective ecosystem of charging infrastructure.

According to the NADDC boss, this plan would also ensure that made-in Nigeria EVs are of world standards and compete favourably in the global market.

“As a pilot scheme project, the NADDC has established 100% Solar Powered EV Charging Stations at Usman Danfodio University, Sokoto, University of Lagos and University of Nigeria, Nsukka, and also discussing with other stakeholders for collaboration in establishing more charging infrastructure all over the country.

By: Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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