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  • Border Closure: Ghana And Nigeria Agree On Temporary Import Corridor For Ghanaian Goods

    Nigeria Cameroon border
    Nigeria Cameroon border

    Nigeria Cameroon border


     

    Following a ban on all imports and exports by President Muhammadu Buhari, Ghana and Nigeria have agreed on the creation of a temporary corridor on Nigeria’s western border with Benin Republic where Ghanaian goods in transit can pass to avoid collateral damage arising from the closure of Nigeria’s borders with Benin.

    Nigeria partially closed its borders with Benin in August 2019 to curb the spate of rice smuggling, which Africa’s most populous country said was threatening its attempt to boost local production.

    The Ghanaian authorities are expected to provide further information on Ghanaian companies that do business in Nigeria, the goods and companies affected and those likely to be affected by the closure of the borders, Graphic Online reports.

    The decisions were reached when the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Ms Shirley Botchwey, and Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Alan Kyerematen, held talks with their Nigerian counterparts on the border closure in Abuja.

    While Botchwey met with Nigeria’s Foreign Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama, Kyerematen held discussions with the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Niyi Adebayo.

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Friday said the Abuja meetings were aimed at discussing further ways of providing a path towards resolving the challenges facing Ghanaian companies and traders following the closure of the border.

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  • CBN’s Directives Weakening Its Confidence, Says Analysts


     

    The Central Bank of Nigeria may be reducing its ability to make market driven policies, experts in the finance industry feel.

    An analyst at Afrinvest Research, Adedayo Bakre, said the bank has abandoned market principles in driving growth.

    CSL research shared similar sentiments in a report released on Friday, saying the apex lender is using unorthodox methods.

    The CBN had on Thursday given a directive to Deposit Money Banks, instructing them to cancel any customer requests for the purchase of Treasury Bills at Primary or secondary auctions, if such customers are borrowing customers of such banks or other banks.

    The order was not issued in a publically circulated circular but was communicated directly to the commercial lenders.

    “This is surprising but what we have observed, with the recent flurry of direct interventions, is that the CBN has abandoned market-based approaches to policymaking.

    “While the motivation for this decision is unclear, as no circular backs it up, we believe it further weakens confidence in the CBN.

    “As customer loans are often above the rate offered on T-bills, there is no scope for arbitrage – loans offered at rates lower than the CBN’s approved interbank rate,” Bakare said.

    “We are not certain what the CBN plans to achieve with this directive but we believe it may not be unrelated to the CBN’s recent efforts to promote lending to the real sector by commercial banks,” the report said.

    The firm further added, “Forcing banks to lend under the current macro-economic situation, with stringent capital and cash reserve requirements, will only result in banks resorting to ingenious ways to meet these requirements and we believe this may be the reason behind CBN’s new directive.

    “While the objective of the CBN is clear in terms of improving the flow of credit to the private sector to stimulate growth, we are concerned that these unorthodox methods being deployed to achieve this aim may have many unintended negative effects. We are also not certain how CBN intends to monitor compliance.”

    For Afrinvest Research, the CBN’s many interventions at rates below what is obtainable in the market, provides room for abuse. 

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  • EFCC Arrests Nine Suspected Internet Fraudsters In Enugu


     

    The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Enugu Zonal Office, on Friday arrested nine suspected Internet fraudsters.

    The names of the suspects were giving as Precious Ibegbulem, Michael Odishi, Ebuka Kenneth, Akabuke Beluolisa, Chibueze Ezeagwu, Nnamdi Maduekwe, Kingsley Orazulike, Uche Nwosu and Linda Chidera.

    According to EFCC, the suspect were arrested based on an intelligence report about their lifestyle and suspected criminal activities.

    Working on the information, the EFCC raided the home of the suspects and arrested all of them.

    Items recovered from the suspected fraudsters include two Toyota Corolla vehicles with registration number DM 722 YAB and LSR 468 FW, mobile phones, laptop computers.

     

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  • One Out Of Seven Nigerians Use Psychoactive Substance –Gen Buba Marwa


     

    One out of seven persons in Nigeria between the ages of 15 and 64 years use at least one psychoactive substance as against global average of one in 20.

    This was revealed by the Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee on the Elimination of Drug Abuse in Nigeria, General Buba Marwa (Retd), who stated this at the public lecture and inauguration ceremony of the Society of Substance Use Prevention and Treatment Professionals in Abuja on Thursday.

    He also said one out of five persons, who use drugs in Nigeria, are suffering from substance use disorders, which is higher than the global average of one in 11 persons.

    He said though Nigeria’s population is about three per cent of the world population, it also constitutes six per cent of the world population of cannabis users and he described as alarming.

    Marwa noted that 14 per cent of the world populations, who misuse pharmaceutical opioids are in Nigeria, thereby making the country one of the nations in the world with the highest population of drug abusers.

    General Marwa, who was represented by Otunba Lanre Ipinmosho called for the introduction of addiction studies in the country’s higher institutions of learning, adding that it will go a long way in professionalising the field of drug demand reduction and subsequently contribute significantly towards addressing the challenges of substance abuse in Nigeria. 

     

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  • WHO Celebrates As World’s First Ebola Vaccine Gets EU Approval


     

    European drugs regulators on Friday approved the world’s first Ebola vaccine, a move, which has been hailed by the World Health Organisation as a “triumph for public health” that would save many lives and ensure people are protected.

    Developed by United States drug maker Merck & Co, the vaccine is already being used under emergency guidelines to try to protect people against the spread of a deadly Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

    According to reports, the vaccine is also being reviewed under a fast-track system by regulators in the United States.

    WHO’s Director-General, Tedros Ghebreyesus, in a statement on Thursday, said; “This vaccine has already saved many lives in the current Ebola outbreak, and the decision by European regulator will help it to eventually save many more.”

    Over 2,100 people have been killed by Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo since the middle of last year.

    This is the second largest Ebola outbreak in history, after a 2013-16 epidemic in West Africa that killed more than 11,300.

    The Merck vaccine, which the company has now brand-named Ervebo, is likely to get a full marketing licence from the European Commission within a few weeks, Reuters said in a report.

    Merck said in a statement its priority now was to get regulatory approval of its Ervebo manufacturing site in Germany so that licensed supply of the vaccine “can be used to support global public health preparedness”.

    Health authorities in Kinshasa said last week they planned to introduce an experimental second Ebola vaccine, developed by drug maker Johnson & Johnson in November in the country’s eastern provinces.

    Ebola virus causes haemorrhagic fever and spreads from person to person through direct contact with body fluids and it kills around half of those it infects.

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