US removes reciprocity visa fee for Nigerian applicants – Newstrends
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US removes reciprocity visa fee for Nigerian applicants

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Nigerians issued with the United States Visa will no longer pay reciprocity fees with effect from December 3, the Federal Government has said.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Saturday that the US decided to remove the reciprocity fee following the removal of excess visa application, processing and biometric fees for American citizens applying for Nigerian visas.

The Donald Trump administration had in 2019 imposed the reciprocity fee for all approved non-immigrant visa applications by Nigerians.

The fee was charged in addition to visa application fees for only applicants issued visas.

The additional reciprocity fees which ranged from $80 to $303, depending on the class of visa, took effect from August 29 last year.

The US Embassy in Nigeria said the reciprocity fees were in response to unsuccessful talks with Nigeria to adjust the fees it charged American applicants.

It argued that the total cost for a US citizen to obtain a visa to Nigeria was higher than the total cost for a Nigerian to obtain a comparable visa to the United States.

The Mission insisted that the reciprocity fee was meant to eliminate the cost difference as required by US laws.

Announcing the removal of the reciprocity fee in a statement, the MFA spokesman, Ferdinand Nwonye, said, “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs wishes to inform that the United States Government has removed all visa reciprocity fees for Nigerian citizens seeking visas to the United States.

“The positive development is in line with the removal of excess visa application, processing and biometric fees for United States citizens applying for Nigerian visas by the Nigerian government.

“The United States Government has, therefore, eliminated reciprocity fees for Nigerian citizens with effect from December 3, 2020.”

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Naira could trade below ₦1,000/$ – Goldman Sachs

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Naira could trade below ₦1,000/$ – Goldman Sachs

The report, compiled by Goldman Sachs’ economists projected that, with the current upward swing of the naira in the foreign exchange market, the currency may exchange below ₦1,000 per dollar in the coming months.

The firm, in its March projection, said the naira would appreciate to N1,200 per dollar within the next 12 months.

However, it disclosed that the local currency surged 12% against the greenback, adding to a 1% increase in March.

According to the firm, the rally was supported by capital inflows and consecutive interest rate hikes, helping to recover from significant losses following two devaluations since last June.

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Speaking in an interview with Bloomberg on Friday, April 12, 2024, an economist at Goldman Sachs, Andrew Matheny, commended the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for “continuing to hold the line.

“This probably can run further; we would see an extension of the move to 1,000 and maybe even sub-1,000,” Matheny said.

Goldman Sachs’ forecast comes amid a strong rally of the naira at both parallel and official sections of the foreign exchange market.

On Monday, April 8, 2024, the local currency exchanged for ₦1,230.61 at the official market and ₦1,200 at the parallel market.

In the past months, the apex bank has introduced several policy measures aimed at injecting stability into the FX market.

At the same time, the CBN continues to intervene by selling FX to Bureau De Change (BDC) operators at a revised rate, leading to further gains for the naira.

Naira could trade below ₦1,000/$ – Goldman Sachs

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Naira continues gain, sold N1,150/$ at parallel market

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Naira continues gain, sold N1,150/$ at parallel market

 

The naira on Friday continued its gain at the the foreign exchange (FX) market as one dollar went for N1,150 at the parallel section.

Bureau de change (BDCs) operators, gave the buying price the greenback at N1,110 and the selling price at N1,150 — leaving a profit margin of N40.

The naira appreciated by 0.86 percent from the N1,160 recorded on April 11.

“The dollar is falling and it is my fault. It is how the FX market is now,” Lawal, a BDC operator, said.

Also, FMDQ Exchange, a platform that oversees official foreign exchange (FX) trading in Nigeria, said the naira rose by 7.16 percent or N88.23 to N1,142.38/$ on Friday – from N1,230.61/$ on Monday.

The gain of the naira is coming a few days after the CBN opened the third tranche of sales to the BDC operations.

The apex bank began the sale of foreign exchange to BDC operators at the rate of N1,101/$ on April 8.

Also, on the same day, the CBN directed all banks to stop the use of foreign currency-denominated collaterals for naira loans.

The financial regulator is intensifying its efforts to boost liquidity and strengthen the naira.

Meanwhile, earlier today, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said the naira could extend gains to trade below N1,000 to the dollar.

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Innoson: Nnewi plant is active, we’re committed to producing top quality vehicles

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Innoson: Nnewi plant is active, we’re committed to producing top quality vehicles

 

Nigeria’s first indigenous auto plant, Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing Company Ltd (IVM), based in Nnewi, Anambra State, has restated its commitment to continuous investment in the production of top quality vehicles for the Nigerian market and other African countries.

The company also said that rather than soft-pedal on this vision, it had in the past few years upscaled its production technology, in addition to embarking on a plant expansion and establishment of a new production facility in Nsukka, and CNG conversion factory in Owerri.

The Innoson management was reacting to a recent publication in a national daily which claimed that all the auto assembly plants in Nigeria are in ruins, and that about N500 billion investment made since the Nigerian Automotive Industry Development Plan (NAIDP) took effect in 2014 had not made any impact on the industry.

A press statement by the Head of Communications at Innoson Vehicles, Mr. Cornel Osigwe, said, ”Since our plant commenced vehicle manufacturing more than 13 years ago with a pledge to keep providing affordable vehicles to Nigerians without compromising on quality, we have gone beyond the initial mini buses and pick-ups, to add different models of sedans, SUVs, family vehicles, fire trucks, as well as city and inter-city buses of various sizes.

“We are always busy manufacturing these vehicles based on the demands from the government and the private sector.

“We also feel the pulse of users of our vehicles as well as the market generally, and the feedback so obtained helps us to enhance the quality of our products. It also helps us to determine what the market needs.

“About two years ago, we made history by becoming the first, and so far the only manufacturer of CNG/LNG-powered vehicles in Nigeria, for which we have earned many recognitions, including awards from The Sun Publishing, Silverbird and the Nigeria Auto Journalists Association (NAJA), all in 2023.

“Moreover, the presentation of Quality Management Certificate and the MANCAP Certificate by the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) to Innoson in 2023 is a confirmation of our adherence to high international quality standards in the manufacture of our range of vehicles.

“So, with all these production activities and sustained investments, Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing Co, Nnewi, cannot be described as an assembly plant in ruins.”

The firm further disclosed that it upgraded its factory operations from manual production to semi-automation, and then to standard automation, resulting in the production capacity, increasing from 10,000 vehicles to 60,000 vehicles per annum.

“In line with the foresight of its Chairman, Dr. Innocent Chukwuma, CON, Innoson Vehicles has embarked on an ambitious multi-billion naira plant expansion project at Umuezena part of Umudim, Nnewi, which when completed in the next couple of months, will be dedicated to the manufacture of a wide range of the CNG/LNG-powered vehicles and heavy duty trucks.

“Innoson is also investing in the University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN) where it is partnering with the institution to establish a plant that will be manufacturing units of 20HP Agricultural Tractor with the brand name Lion IVM,” it stated.

It also said, “Apart from the Umuezena and UNN projects, Innoson Vehicles is currently setting up an IVM CNG conversion centre at Naze, Owerri, Imo State.

“The state-of-the-art facility is for the conversion and retrofitting of fuel/diesel powered vehicles to CNG/LNG powered vehicles.”

The statement also gave insight into the company’s partnership with the Military, saying, “Innoson Vehicles has been collaborating with the Nigerian Air Force for the development and promotion of joint activities to sustain the maintenance of the Nigerian Air Force Air Asset and other associated Aerospace Ground Equipment, AGE.

“We are equally in partnership with the Nigerian Army for the modification of some of its equipment, local production of armoured fighting and utility vehicles.

“Recall that the Nnewi auto plant has in the past few years exported IVM vehicles to some African countries, including Sierra Leone, Niger, Congo, Ghana, Mali, Côte d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso.

“This has culminated in the company concluding plans with the government of Sierra Leone to establish an assembly plant in Freetown.

“Innoson Vehicles is on a mission to be a giant vehicle manufacturing company in Africa in order to serve Africa vehicle needs by its current expansion efforts.

“The range of products from the stable of IVM are affordable and within the reach of the Nigerian investing public who are in the transportation business, corporate organisations, government and its agencies at various levels, as well as individuals who desire the products, satisfactory service and exciting driving experience.”

The company, however, disclosed that there had been challenges in the industry which the founder, Chief Innocent Chukwuma, was hopeful the Federal Government would earnestly address through the new Automotive Policy.

Part of the statement also read, “The Innoson Group founder has since applauded the recent efforts by the Minister of Industry Trade & Investments Minister, Dr. Doris Nkiruka Uzoka-Anite, and the Director General of the National Automotive Design and Development Council (NADDC), Mr. Joseph Osanipin, towards effective implementation of the new Automotive Policy (NAIDP 2023).

“The recent inauguration of the NAIDP 2023 implementation committee in Abuja is a testament to the Federal Government’s commitment to making the new policy work.

“We are hopeful the new policy will be well implemented, and we support the efforts being made by the government and the NADDC in that direction.”

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