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Monday, May 29, 2023

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  • Nigeria swears in a new president admist controversial events
    by Bayo Wahab, Chinedu Okafor on May 29, 2023 at 10:45 AM

    President Bola Ahmed Tinubu assumes office as Nigeria's 16th president, taking the Oath of Office on May 29, 2023. Tinubu emerged victorious in the February 2023 presidential election, securing 8,794,726 votes and defeating his closest rival, Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party. Despite facing significant economic and security challenges, President Tinubu vows to tackle corruption, insecurity, and other pressing issues, expressing determination to live up to the expectations of the Nigerian people. President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has been sworn in as Nigeria's 16th president. Tinubu and his running mate, Kashim Shettima took the Oath of Office administered by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Kayode Ariwoola, on Monday, May 29, 2023. The former governor of Lagos State was declared the winner of the February 2023 presidential election by Nigeria's electorial body, the Independent National Electoral Commission. Tinubu scored 8,794,726 votes to defeat his closest rival of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, who polled a total of 6,984,520 votes in the election while Peter Obi of the Labour Party came third in the election with a total of 6,101,533 votes. Bola Tinubu, 71, won the election in February on a platform of restoring optimism, but he now faces significant economic and security difficulties. In the midst of severe inflation and record debt levels, he succeeds two-term President Muhammadu Buhari. Based on the country's current economic profile, inflation is at its highest rate in 2005, one in three people are unemployed and the output of the vital oil industry is shrinking. Additionally, the circumstance surrounding the current president's victory is a highly divisive subject amongst the Nigerian people. While there are a fraction of people fully in support the president's victory, others are of the opinion that the election was a sham and a desecration of Nigeria's democracy. As a result, his opponent, Mr. Peter Obi of Nigeria's Labor Party, continues to challenge the election's result in court. However, the president, during his inaugural speech, promised to work for the good of the country, noting that he doesn't need anyone's compassion to do his job. “We have corruption, insecurity, and many problems confronting us… but don’t pity me. I asked for the job. I campaigned for it. No excuses. I will live up to expectation, I promise you,” he said.

  • Here's how Nigeria's presidential inauguration will unfold
    by Bayo Wahab, Chinedu Okafor on May 29, 2023 at 9:10 AM

    The Nigerian presidential inauguration is a quadrennial event that marks the end of an administration and the beginning of another four-year presidential tenure.During the ceremony, the president-elect will make some statements administered by the Chief Justice of Nigeria to affirm his position and duties.The outgoing president will hand over the national and the defence flags to the president. To usher in a new administration, the outgoing president will present new flags neatly folded in a glass box to the new president. Usually, the event takes place at Eagle Square, a venue that was built for that purpose and other state functions when the country returned to democratic rule in 1999. Since the beginning of the fourth republic, Nigeria’s presidential inauguration ceremonies have been held on May 29. Graced by presidents, government officials of other countries as well as former Nigerian presidents, and other invited dignitaries, the inauguration ceremony is typically held amid tight security. During the ceremony, the president-elect will make some statements administered by the Chief Justice of Nigeria to affirm his position and duties. This pronouncement — entrenched in the constitution — is known as the Oath of Office. After taking the oath of office, the president-elect will officially become the president of the country and thereafter, the outgoing president will hand over the national and the defence flags to the president. The handing over of the flags involves the lowering and raising of the national and the defence flags while the Guard Brigade performs. Once the flags are lowered, the flag bearers will neatly fold them and place them in a glass box in the hand of the Regimental Sergeant Major (RSM) of the Guards Brigade. Upon receiving the flags, the RSM will march forward and hand the box to the Commander Guard Brigade, who will then pass it to the Chief of Defence Staff. The Chief of Defence Staff will after that march towards the outgoing president and the new president and hand over the box to the outgoing president. To usher in a new administration, the outgoing president will present new flags folded in another glass box to the new president, who will then pass it to the Chief of Defence Staff. The box will then be passed to the Commander Guard Brigade, who will forward it to the Regimental Sergeant Major. Once the box is received, the RSM will present the new flags to the flagbearers to hoist them to indicate the beginning of a new administration. After the hoisting of the flags, the president is expected to deliver his speech after which he will proceed to inspect the officers and guards on parade. This is the moment the new president is seen in an open roof vehicle moving round the parade ground while waving at the crowd and invited guests. Finally, the new president will be taken to the Presidential Villa in the official vehicle that brought the ex-president to the inauguration venue.

  • Tanzania and India explore local currency trade to reduce dependency on dollars
    by Chinedu Okafor on May 29, 2023 at 9:00 AM

    Tanzania and India explore local currency trade to reduce dependence on global currencies, promoting a stable trading environment. Rupee Nostro Account System offers potential benefits such as decreased reliance on hard currency and reduced transaction costs. Implementation of the system presents opportunities for efficient foreign exchange management and streamlined cross-border transactions, benefiting both corporate organizations and the banking sector. By encouraging commerce in local currencies, stakeholders have claimed that Tanzania and India may lessen their dependency on important global currencies and promote a stable and effective trading environment. The Indian Institute of Chartered Accountants recently convened said stakeholders in Tanzania for a consultative meeting. Following the recent declaration that both nations will start trading in their own indigenous currencies, they talked about the ramifications of the Rupee Nostro Account System. The debate emphasized several major benefits, one of which was the decrease in dependence on hard currency. The system's potential to reduce the need for ongoing currency conversions and dependence on foreign exchange reserves encouraged stakeholders. The system has enormous potential for corporate organizations, which can efficiently manage their foreign exchange balances and avoid exchange risks associated with fluctuating global currencies, according to Mr. Antaryami Sarangi, managing director of Bank of India in Tanzania. “The banking sector also stands to gain from implementing this system. Banks could facilitate importers by providing them with increased flexibility and reduced dependencies on hard currencies. This would streamline trade processes and enhance the overall efficiency of cross-border transactions,” he said. Aditya Narayan Singh, the managing director of Bank of Baroda, stated that the arrangement is anticipated to result in decreased transaction costs, which would be advantageous for companies of all sizes. “By eliminating the need for constant currency conversions, settlement times can be significantly reduced and yield lower transaction costs,” he said. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has paved the way for commerce using local currencies by enabling approved Indian banks to create Special Rupee Vestro Accounts (SRVA) in Tanzania, according to a news statement issued on the Indian High Commission in Dar es Salaam's website. Tanzanian banks must open SRVA in India in order to trade via this method. They must then approach authorized Indian banks, who will then seek RBI for their permission with information about the arrangement. The amount of bilateral commerce between Tanzania and India is now close to $4.5 billion.

  • Nigeria's internet subscriptions soar by 2.7 million in Q1 2023
    by Chinedu Okafor on May 28, 2023 at 12:35 PM

    Nigeria experienced a significant increase of 2.7 million active internet subscriptions in Q1 2023, reaching a total of 157.5 million connections. Mobile network operators, including MTN, Airtel, Globacom, and 9mobile, maintained their dominance in the Nigerian market, contributing to the majority of internet service subscriptions. The implementation of the National Broadband Plan (NBP 2020–2025) in Nigeria has led to a rise in broadband subscriptions, with the country's broadband penetration reaching 48.21% by the end of Q1 2023. In Nigeria, there were 2.7 million more active internet subscriptions across fixed, mobile, and VOIP networks during the first quarter of this year. According to the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), there were 2.7 million more active internet subscribers in Nigeria in the first quarter of this year. By the end of March, the nation had 157.5 million internet connections in total, up from 154.8 million in December 2022. The growth rate throughout this time period indicated by the rise is 1.7%. With a combined total of 156.9 million members, the main mobile network operators, including MTN, Airtel, Globacom, and 9mobile, continued to rule the market for internet service providers. Additionally, 340,614 internet subscriptions were provided by VOIP providers Smile and Ntel, while 221,267 subscribers came from other ISPs. These statistics show how internet access is continuing to grow in Nigeria and how mobile network carriers continue to dominate the market for internet services. The constant increase in internet subscribers demonstrates the nation's growing reliance on digital connection and highlights its significance in many facets of everyday life and commercial operations. Broadband subscriptions, or high-speed internet access, also increased, going from 90.4 million in December of last year to 92 million at the end of the first quarter of 2023. At the end of March, this increased the country's broadband penetration to 48.21%. The nation's efforts to execute the National Broadband Plan (NBP 2020–2025) are paying off, as seen by the rise in broadband subscribers. The government set a target of 70% broadband penetration to be attained by 2025 in the plan. The nationwide rollout of the telecoms' 4G service is helping to increase broadband penetration.

  • Botswana Demands Greater Share in Diamond Profits Amidst Renewal Talks with De Beers
    by Victor Oluwole on May 27, 2023 at 1:48 PM

    Botswana President challenges De Beers for an improved diamond partnership deal.President Masisi insists on a higher stake in profits and involvement in the diamond value chain.Uncertainty looms as negotiations continue, with potential global repercussions for the diamond industry. President Mokgweetsi Masisi of Botswana has again taken aim at the longstanding partnership with diamond giant De Beers, launching a scathing attack and vowing not to settle for anything less than an improved agreement. The current deal, set to expire next month, grants Botswana a 25% share of rough diamonds mined under the partnership, while De Beers retains the majority. Negotiations for a pact renewal are underway, with Botswana pushing for a higher stake in the profits, VOANews reported. Debswana Diamond Company, jointly owned by Botswana and De Beers, is responsible for the extraction of these precious stones. Botswana supplies 70% of De Beers' rough diamonds, emphasising the country's significant role in the diamond industry. READ: Botswana to end its 54-year-old partnership with a UK-based firm if Botswana continues to feel cheated President Masisi, who has been intensifying pressure on De Beers since February, made his strong stance clear during a speech in Mmadinare, northeast of Gaborone's capital. In the local vernacular, Setswana, he expressed that the current agreement was not intended to be permanent and hinted that negotiations could reach an impasse. The President stated, "It is either we accept the situation as it is and continue getting leftovers, or we dig in and, no matter how tough it is, demand what is ours, even if we lose through litigation." While De Beers refrained from commenting on the matter, the company had previously expressed confidence in reaching a favourable resolution, acknowledging the complexities involved. With Botswana gearing up for its general election next year, President Masisi declared his readiness to risk political losses over this sensitive issue. He boldly asserted, "I am not scared. Yes, we are politicians and always lobby for votes, but if it means losing as a result of this issue, let it be." The negotiations began in 2018 and were slated to conclude in 2021. Due to the pandemic, the deadline was extended until June 30, 2023. President Masisi highlighted that the trade of rough diamonds mined in Botswana could generate up to $15 billion annually. The current deal with De Beers yields around $7 billion, or $8 billion. Furthermore, he criticised the existing agreement for limiting Botswana to trading solely in rough diamonds. The country aspires to expand its involvement in the diamond value chain, encompassing mining, sorting, cutting, polishing, jewellery creation, and sales. President Masisi asserted that participation in the value chain could result in nearly $100 billion in earnings, underscoring the need for a more favourable deal with De Beers. Expressing his bewilderment, President Masisi raised concerns about the arbitration process, which refers to deadlock situations in negotiations with courts in England. He decried the notion that others profit from Botswana's diamonds while leaving the country impoverished, stating, "The $7 billion that we get ... yet we can get close to $100 million. No, no." President Masisi firmly believes that if Botswana secures a favourable agreement with De Beers, the country's struggle with poverty could be swiftly eradicated. He asserted, "We have been shortchanged with our resources through these agreements, but now we can read, and our eyes are open." Hans Merket, a diamond expert based in Belgium, expressed concerns over the potential ramifications of Botswana's threats to withdraw from the De Beers deal. While uncertainty looms within the diamond industry, Merket suggests that these statements may be part of negotiating tactics rather than an actual desire to sever ties. He believes that De Beers and Botswana rely on each other and that breaking the partnership would be detrimental. Given Botswana's prominent position as the largest diamond-producing country by value, protracted negotiations could disrupt the entire diamond value chain. Merket emphasised that Botswana's diamond production, accounting for over 90% of the country's total production, plays a significant role in the global market. Moreover, with diamond production from Russia facing challenges due to Western sanctions imposed after the conflict in Ukraine, any disruption in Botswana's supply would have far-reaching consequences. Botswana ranks second only to Russia in terms of global diamond production, but buyers have been shying away from Russian stones following the 2022 invasion of Ukraine by Moscow.



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