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Updated: CBN opposes second lockdown, retains interest rate at 11.5%

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  • Banks’ credit to economy hit N25tn in 2020

The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Central Bank of Nigeria has asked the Federal Government to do everything possible to avert another round of lockdown.

CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele made this known in Abuja at the end of the first MPC meeting in 2021.

The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 has warned that the government could be forced to impose a second lockdown on the nation in view of the spike in the new wave of the coronavirus infection and the nonchalant attitude of the people towards recommended safety protocols.

Emefiele said the bank would work with the fiscal authorities to revamp the economy by collaborating on policy implementation.

He also said the CBN had secured approval from President Muhammadu Buhari to restructure the Nigeria Commodity Exchange.

He said the Bank CBN could no longer sit back and watch unscrupulous commodity merchants hoard commodities and force the prices of commodities to be high.

According to him, the CBN owns 60 per cent of the Nigeria Commodity Exchange and it will take over the running of the exchange to international standard

Emefiele also announced that the committee unanimously agreed to retain the current monetary policy stance by leaving the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) at 11.5 per cent and retain the Cash Reserves Ratio at 27.5 per cent.

It also retained the Liquidity Ratio at 30 per cent; and the asymmetric corridor at +100 and -700 basis points around the MPR.

meanwhile, bBanks’ total credit to the economy rose to N25.02tn as of the end of 2020, this was also disclosed during the Monetary Policy Committee meeting in Abuja on Tuesday.

Emefiele, said, “Aggregate domestic credit, also moved further up by 13.40 per cent in December 2020, compared with 9.48 per cent in the previous month.

“This was largely attributed to the bank’s policy on Loan-to-Deposit Ratio, complemented by its interventions in various sectors of the economy.

“Consequently, banking sector gross credit as at end-December 2020 stood at N25.02tn compared with N24.25tn at the end of November 2020, representing an increase of N774.28bn.”

The committee urged the bank to sustain its current drive to improve access to credit to the private sector while exploring other complementary initiatives, in collaboration with the Federal Government, to improve funding to critical sectors of the economy.

 

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Airlines to pay $3,500 per passenger for flouting COVID-19 protocols – NCAA

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THE Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has issued a notification to airlines stating that they will pay a penalty of $3,500 per passenger if they flout the newly revised COVID-19 provisional quarantine protocols.

Besides, the regulator said extreme violation by any carrier would lead to an outright ban.

An All Operators Letter (AOL) issued on December 3, to accountable managers and signed by the NCAA Director-General, Captain Musa Nuhu, said protocols for international flight operations and quarantine protocols for travellers arriving Nigeria issued on July 1, still subsists.

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The NCAA directed airlines to airlift passengers travelling to Nigeria, who are in possession of a paid permit to travel with a QR Code and a result of a negative COVID-19 test done not later than 48 hours from time of boarding.

The NCAA said violation of these travel directives will cost the airline $3,500 for any individual passenger or earn them a ban from flying into Nigeria.

“Non-compliance to these pre-boarding requirements by any airline will attract a penalty of $3,500 per passenger. Airlines who consistently fail to comply with these requirements may be banned from coming to Nigeria.”

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Buhari Sacks Abuja Disco Board Over Prolonged Internal Wrangling

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Minister of State, Power, Mr. Goddy Jedy-Agba

•Sets up interim management to oversee power company

President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday formally sacked the management of the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC), following a prolonged internal power tussle among the owners of the company which affected the welfare of the staff of the distribution company.

A statement by Ofem Uket, a Media Aide to the Minister of State, Power, Mr. Goddy Jedy-Agba, announced that a new interim governing board had been appointed to oversee the day-to-day operations of the electricity distribution company.

Although the decision had been expected long before now, the dissolution of the board was further accelerated by Monday’s industrial action embarked upon by the aggrieved staff of the company over the non-payment of arrears of pensions, allowances, salaries and promotion.

The statement indicated that the sack of the management team was conveyed by the presidency to the federal ministry of power, stressing that the new development takes immediate effect.

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In addition, it stated that the Minister of Power, Aliyu Abubakar and Agba, had earlier intervened through dialogue with the ministry of labour, Bureau of Public Enterprises, and the Nigerian union of Electricity Employees, NUEE, to resolve and call off the 14 hours strike action.

AEDC’s franchise areas include the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Kogi, Nasarawa, Kaduna and parts of Edo states.

The industrial action by the workers on Monday, had left the affected areas in total blackout between 7 am in the morning to about 8 pm as a result of the strike action.

“The presidential directive as conveyed has also directed the BPE to set up a new management team for the AEDC,” the statement revealed.

Furthermore, the statement noted that a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), had earlier been jointly signed by Jedy-Agba; the Chairman, Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Sanusi Garba; the Director General, BPE, Alex Okoh; as well as Joe Ajaero on behalf of the union, for the suspension of the strike.

“And they have been given 21 days within which the outstanding emoluments and entitlements of staff will be paid,” the statement noted.

It further noted that government, “has described the non-performance and incompetence of the AEDC as a national embarrassment,” saying the suspension of the management team will subsist until further notice.

“At the end of the expansive consultation between the leadership of NUEE and relevant government institutions in the power sector over the industrial action government intervened with the firm arrangement to ensure the payment of the outstanding entitlements of AEDC staff within 21 days counting from the date of the signing of the MoU.

The tussle relating to the board of KANN Utility Company Limited, owners of AEDC had raged for years as the shareholders had continued to differ on decisions and appointments to the board and the management.

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The matter got to a head last year when some investors in the AEDC purportedly announced changes to the governing board of Disco.

At the time CEC Africa Limited (CECA), one of the parties in the matter, had said the board of KANN Utility Company Limited had announced the withdrawal of their nominations to the board of AEDC and their replacement with new nominees.

It had said that the board of KANN proposed the following new directors: Mr. Joe (Joseph) Makoju , Mallam Ibrahim Aliyu, Dr. Olubunmi Peters, Dr. George Nwangwu, and Mr. Faruk Aliyu.

“The board of AEDC has since resolved to accept both the withdrawals and the new appointments,” it said.

But Chairman of the dissolved board of AEDC and KANN, Shehu Malami in a reaction, said the alleged change in the management of the Disco was false.

”For the records the board of AEDC is the only authorised body that can appoint or remove its directors, and has made no such decision in recent time,” he said at the time.

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Flying Doctors introduce catalyst fund for tech startups

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Flying Doctors Healthcare Investment Company has unveiled a catalyst fund to support health tech and fintech startups.

Catalyst funds are used to support inclusive tech innovators in emerging markets — especially micro and small firms.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, the company said the initiative tagged ‘FDHIC Catalyst Fund’, would tackle Africa’s healthcare and finance challenges.
Citing the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the FDHIC noted that only a few countries in Africa spend between $34 and $40 a year per person on healthcare as recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
This, it said, has led to very high infant and maternal mortality rates across Africa.
The company said solving these challenges requires a holistic approach to drive financial inclusion through private sector investments.
“Through the new Flying Doctors Healthcare Investment Company (FDHIC) Catalyst Fund, we are building an investor collective that will tackle Africa’s healthcare and financial inclusion challenges by backing technology-enabled healthtech and fintech startups in the early or growth stage,” the statement reads.
“Our Catalyst Fund offers corporate bodies and individuals, anywhere in the world, an opportunity to invest in, and get returns from, Africa-based HealthTech and FinTech Investments combined with the satisfaction of making sustainable impacts in underserved communities.
“We provide qualified investors – who are a part of our investors collective — with vetted investment opportunities in the Fintech and HealthTech space.
“The FDHIC Catalyst Fund will channel its investments through deal-specific syndicate investment vehicles domiciled in the USA.”
Assuring prospective investors of its expertise, FDHIC said its founder and management team have deep sector expertise in healthcare and finance from years of work and study.
“At FDHIC CF, we will bring to bear our investment analysis and portfolio management experience,” the statement added.
The company also pointed out that it has investments in companies like Mdaas Global, Helium health, Chisco express, Lifestores Pharmacy & Sygen.

FDHIC said it decided to democratise the membership of the catalyst fund to break away from the conventional.
“We want to give time-strapped executives and mid-level professionals the opportunity to get high-value returns without facing the attendant rigours of managing a full-time business,” the statement said.
It added that individuals and corporate entities can subscribe to membership of FDIHC’s investors collective, in preparation for deal sourcing, evaluation, and eventual investment

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