Benue launches facilities for NIHOTOUR zonal campus - Newstrends
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Benue launches facilities for NIHOTOUR zonal campus



By Ebere Chibuzor

The Benue State Government has kept faith with its promise to hand over of some structures and facilities to the Federal Government for the take-off of the North Central zonal campus of the National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism (NIHOTOUR).

The Minister for Arts and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who made the statement at the official handing over of the facilities in Makurdi, said tourism had assumed an extraordinary growth globally.

Tourism, according to him, is a major catalyst for economic growth and social development of most countries with its attendant spiral effects along the long line of its value chain.

He further said that one of the prerequisites for the tourism industry to flourish and play the desired role in the socio-economic development of the country is the availability of trained personnel to run the sector.

This, he said, was what informed the setting up of NIHOTOUR by the Federal Government with the mandate of providing skill proficiency, technical upgrading and professional-based education for the hospitality, travel and tourism industries for both Nigeria and the West African sub region.

Mohammed expressed the appreciation of the Federal Government to the government and people of Benue State for making the desire to establish the North Central zonal campus of the institute a reality and called for renewed understanding between states, organised private sector and the Federal Government in the efforts to transform the socio-economic growth of Nigeria through tourism.

He reiterated the determination of his ministry to develop, project and showcase the country’s tourism potential and endowments because the benefits derivable therein are enormous in revenue generation, job creation, wealth redistribution, infrastructural development and  inter-sectorial linkage incentives.

In his address at the occasion, the Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom, who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Benson Abounu, stated the resolve of his administration to tap into the potential of tourism products and activities that the state had been endowed with to grow the economy and better the social activities of the people of the state.

Ortom said the handing over of the magnificent edifice to the Federal Government for use by NIHOTOUR was informed by the desire of his government to create the needed platform for youth empowerment and skill acquisition which the training centre would offer youths of the state as well as states within the North Central Zone to grow the economy through hospitality and the tourism industry.

Director General of NIHOTOUR, Alhaji Nura Sani Kangiwa, had earlier in his speech stated that the dearth of needed skilled and trained manpower to run the hospitality and travel-tourism industry in the country was responsible for the stunted growth and development of the industry, adding that with NIHOTOUR in place, it has the capacity to overturn the trends for the best to develop the sector.

He said the choice of Benue as the zonal campus and headquarter of the North Central Zone of the institute was informed by the place of the state not only as the food basket of the country, but a tourism haven of Nigeria.

He urged the state to explore the tourism potential the state is endowed with to grow its internally generated revenue to boost its economy.

Kangiwa pointed out the need for the state to produce its tourism development master plan which would be a guide in the appropriate development of the state’s tourism endowments in line with global best practices.


FEC okays N27.5tn budget for 2024, $77.9 oil benchmark



FEC okays N27.5tn budget for 2024, $77.9 oil benchmark 

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved N27.5 trillion expenditure for the 2024 Appropriation Bill.

It also raised its oil price assumption by $4 per barrel to $77.96 and its assumed currency value down to N750 per dollar, compared with N700.

Minister of Budget and Economic Planning, Alhaji Atiku Bagudu, disclosed this on Monday in Abuja after the FEC meeting presided over by President Bola Tinubu at the State House.

The minister last month said the country planned to spend N26.01 trillion for its 2024 budget.

Bagudu gave the targeted revenue for next year as N18 trillion.

According to him, further details of the budget will be given when President Tinubu presents the budget to the National Assembly.

He also said the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF), which had been passed by the National Assembly, was further reviewed.

Bagudu said, “The Federal Executive Council considered the 2024 Appropriation bill.

“The MTEF was earlier approved by the National Assembly. It has an exchange rate of N700 to a dollar and a crude oil benchmark of $73.

“To improve revenue, the council further reviewed the MTEF, with an exchange rate of N750 to a dollar, and a crude oil benchmark of $77. This will significantly improve revenue.”

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NADDC DG, KPMG economist Kale for LCCI auto industry symposium



NADDC DG, KPMG economist Kale for LCCI auto industry symposium


The Auto & Allied sub-Sectoral Group of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) is set to hold a symposium on the Nigeria’s fledging automotive industry.

The programme holding on November 30, 2023 with the theme: The Auto & Allied Sector, Present-Day Realities in Nigeria’, at the LCCI Commerce House, Victoria Island, Lagos, will be attended by many leading auto industry stakeholders as well as experts from other fields of the economy.

According to a statement made available by Austin Akpovili, chairman of the symposium organizing committee, guest speakers expected at the symposium are Joseph Oluwemimo-Osanipin, director-general, National Automotive Design and Development Council (NADDC); Yemi Kale, partner and chief economist at KPMG Professional Services.

Panelists at the programme are Aissatou Diuof, general manager, Suzuki by CFAO Motors Nigeria Limited; Mayokun Fadeyibi, chief operating officer, Autochek Africa; and Diana Chen, chairman and chief executive officer, CIG Motors Limited.

Michael Olawale-Cole, president of LCCI and Kunle Jayesimi are the chief host and host respectively.

Commenting on the forthcoming symposium, Jayesimi, who is chairman of the Auto & Allied sub-Sectoral Group of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, stated that the theme of this year’s symposium reflects the current realities confronting Nigeria’s automotive sector.

He expressed optimism that both the keynote speakers and the panelists invited to the symposium would provide useful insights and frameworks on best ways possible to address the hydra-headed problem confronting the local automotive sector over the years.

On his own submission, Akpovili, chairman of the symposium organising committee stated that, he is very positive that the calibre of the speakers at this year’s symposium would provide quality propositions on the way forward for the automobile industry in the present day realities of Nigeria.

Expected at the all-important symposium are all the major automobile dealers, Association of Motor Dealers of Nigeria (AMDON), the Nigerian Automobile Manufacturers Association (NAMA) and the mechanic bodies.

Others targeted are the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, National Automotive Design and Development Council (NADDC), KPMG and Delloite, the Japanese embassy, the German and United States consulates.

The list also includes the Bureau of Public Enterprise, the Nigeria Customs Service, Publicity and Advocacy group of the of LCCI Chambers, customs clearing agents/association with Frank Aigbogun, publisher of of BusinessDay as the moderator.

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Updated: CBN to introduce new forex guidelines



Updated: CBN to introduce new forex guidelines


The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)  Mr says it will soon introduce a new set of foreign exchange laws and guidelines to address naira depreciation.

Governor of the CBN, Mr Yemi Cardoso, said on Friday the measure would help Nigeria achieve exchange rate stability.

The CBN, according to him, will also conduct a new recapitalisation exercise for the banking industry.

He said thus would be done by directing banks to increase their minimum capital base to a level sufficient to support the vision of a $1trillion economy.

Cardoso disclosed this in Lagos in a keynote speech at the 2023 Annual Bankers Dinner of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria.

He also said that the CBN would introduce a new licensing framework for fintechs and payment banks, warning that operators found engaging in activities outside their licenses will be sanctioned.

He cited the need to curtail the challenge of rising inflation, adding that the apex bank would further tighten money supply for the next two quarters.

To further reduce excess cash in the banking system, he said the management of the CBN would soon conduct another round of liquidity mop up via issuance of Open Market Operations, treasury bills.

He said, “Our monetary policies will aim to achieve price stability, foster sustainable economic growth, stabilize the exchange rate of the naira, and reduce interest rates to facilitate borrowing and investments in the real sector.

“In order to ensure the proper functioning of domestic and foreign currency markets, clear, transparent, and harmonized rules governing market operations are essential.

“New foreign exchange guidelines and legislation will be developed, and extensive consultations will be conducted with banks and FX market operators before implementing any new requirements.

“Considering the policy imperatives and the projected economic growth, it is crucial for us to evaluate the adequacy of our banking industry to serve the envisioned larger economy.

“It is not just about the stability of the financial system in the present moment, as we have already established that the current assessment shows stability.

“However, we need to ask ourselves: Will Nigerian banks have sufficient capital relative to the financial system’s needs in servicing a $1.0 trillion economy in the near future? In my opinion, the answer is No, unless we take action.
“Therefore, we must make difficult decisions regarding capital adequacy. As a first step, we will be directing banks to increase their capital.”
On new licensing framework for fintechs, Cardoso said, “Technology will continue to play a critical role in delivering financial services and enhancing financial inclusion. “However, recent developments in the payment services landscape have raised concerns regarding the use of technology and the existing licensing and regulatory framework.

“We have observed that some licensees are operating outside the approved activities, breaching the boundaries set for them.

“Any intentional or unintended noncompliance will be subject to sanctions, as operators have the responsibility to ensure that they are licensed for the activities they undertake. “Concurrently, as we conduct a comprehensive review of the licensing framework for payment services, we will engage in extensive consultations to develop a new regulatory and compliance framework that is suitable for the technology-driven payment services sector.”

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