It was a brainstorming session last Saturday when stakeholders and top business magnates met at Angola-Nigeria Diplomatic-Business Investment organised by the Angola-Nigeria Business Council.
Notable personalities that spoke at the event held at the prestigious Radisson Blu, Victoria Island, Lagos include Nigeria’s former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, Former senate president, Olusola Saraki, notable businesswoman and architect, Princess Fifi Ejindu, Edem Duke, Segun Awolowo, Vice President of the Council, Engineer Antonio dos Santos Domingos, among several others.
The former President, Obasanjo called for increased bilateral relations between Nigeria and Angola.
Obasanjo, who was also a special guest of honour at the event, said the meeting focused on the potential for enhanced collaboration between the two countries.
According to him, the meeting also emphasises the need to boost trade volume within Africa, which reflects a commitment to advancing economic partnerships on the continent.
The former President advised that attention should be on African countries’ benefits from their own products, as it aligns with the goal of promoting intra-African trade and economic self-sufficiency.
He expressed concerns about infrastructural deficits, particularly in transportation and highlighted the challenges that needed to be addressed to facilitate seamless trade between nations.
“One of the things the leaders of the post-independence achieved is to promote the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AFCFTA),” he said.
Also, the Secretary of the National Action Committee of AFCFTA, Nigeria, Olusegun Awolowo, said the lack of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) between Nigeria and Angola underscored the untapped potential for economic engagement between the two largest oil exporters in Africa.
“Sadly, there is no Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) between Nigeria and Angola. This means trade between the two biggest oil exporters is zero, and this is not good enough.
“Angola is importing from the rest of the world what it can actually get from Nigeria and Nigeria doing likewise, we should trade between ourselves.
“Comparatively, we supply what they don’t have and they also supply what we don’t have. Former President Obasanjo has mentioned some areas that need more collaboration.
“It’s true we have some infrastructural deficits which both government and the private organisations can also latch on to invest,” he said.
Speaking on the efforts to address trade barriers and streamline visa processes, the President of the Angola-Nigeria Business Council, Fifi Ejindu, called for a positive step toward fostering smoother trade ties between Nigeria and Angola.
According to her, the support from Angolan government authorities further reinforces the potential for progress in this regard.
Princess Ejindu said that the engagement of Nigerian investors and the anticipated business activations in Angola indicated growing interest and participation in the trade initiatives discussed.
Armando Manuel, a former Minister of Finance in Angola, said that a positive assessment of the recent diplomatic-business investment meeting signalled the fruitful nature of the discussions and the potential for tangible outcomes in the near future.
“We are awaiting Nigerian investors to come to Angola because we already have the expertise in various sectors.
Saraki, who is also a patron of the council, encouraged that stakeholders of the council in Angola and Nigeria should walk the talk and commence action immediately to encourage investment between the two countries.
Suspicious inflows: $26bn from unknown sources passed through Binance Nigeria in one year, says Cardoso
The governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Olayemi Cardoso, has said that $26 billion passed through Binance Nigeria from unidentified sources in one year.
Cardoso disclosed this to journalists on Tuesday after the committee’s meeting at the CBN headquarters in Abuja.
In June 2023, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) had said the operation of Binance Nigeria Limited, a subsidiary of Binance, was illegal.
Cardoso’s comments come amid recent media reports of a clampdown on crypto exchanges — including Binance — by the Federal Government.
Bayo Onanuga, the special adviser to President Bola Tinubu on information and strategy, had posted some of the reports on X on February 24, 2024 — an act that could be seen as a confirmation of the development.
Prior to this, Onanuga had called for a ban on Binance and other crypto platforms operating in Nigeria to curb foreign exchange (FX) rate distortions.
Speaking on the matter, Cardoso said the apex bank is collaborating with the SEC to ensure there is no manipulation in the FX market.
“We are concerned that certain practices go on that indicate illicit flows going through a number of these entities, suspicious flows at best,” the CBN governor said.
“In the case of Binance, in the last one year alone, $26bn has passed through Nigeria from sources/users who we cannot adequately identify.
“There’s a lot that is going on now as a result of collaboration between the different agencies which includes EFCC, the police, and of course, the office of the NSA.
“And in due course, as we progress and have more information to share, we will certainly share.
“But suffice to say that we are determined to do everything it takes to ensure that we take charge of our market or put it differently to not allow others to manipulate our markets in a way that ends us distortionary and sub-optimises for all Nigerians.”
He added that the apex bank will ensure that this “type of infraction” does not take place.
On February 20, 2024, the CBN and the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) announced a partnership to investigate and penalise those involved in illicit activities within the FX market
Sellers of FX above $10,000 must declare source to BDCs – CBN
As part of the strategies to save the economy, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says sellers of foreign exchange (FX) of $10,000 and above to Bureau De Change (BDC) operators must declare the source of the forex.
The apex bank made this known on Friday in a document titled ‘Revised Regulatory and Supervisory Guidelines for Bureau De Change Operations in Nigeria’.
CBN also mandated the sellers to “comply with all AML/CFT/CPF regulations and foreign exchange laws and regulations”.
Also, the CBN said customers can move foreign currencies from their domiciliary accounts with Nigerian banks to BDCs.
“All digital/transfer purchases of foreign currencies shall be credited to the BDC’s Nigerian domiciliary account,” CBN said.
“Payments for all digital/transfer purchases of foreign currency by a BDC shall be by transfer to the customer’s Naira account. If the customer is non-resident (whether Nigerian or not), a BDC may issue the customer a prepaid NGN card.”
The financial regulator said BDCs can source foreign currencies from tourists, returnees from the diaspora, and expatriates with foreign exchange inflows from work, travel, investment or their domiciliary accounts.
Other allowable sources mentioned by CBN are residents with foreign exchange inflows from work, travel, investment or their domiciliary accounts, and International Money Transfer Operators (IMTOs).
CBN also listed embassies, hotels that are authorised buyers of foreign currencies, the Nigerian foreign exchange market (NFEM), as well as any other source that the apex bank may specify.
FG stops gas exports to crash price, end scarcity
As part of the general efforts to end the scarcity of gas in the country, the Federal Government has announced the suspension of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) exports.
Ekperikpe Ekpo, minister of state for petroleum resources (gas) made this known on Thursday during an “Internal Stakeholders’ Workshop” in Abuja.
He said the action is part of a deliberate attempt to increase the availability of LPG in the domestic market and lessen the financial strain on customers due to the hike in the price of the commodity.
“We are interacting with critical stakeholders to ensure that there is no exportation of LPG. All LPG produced within the country will have to be domesticated. When this is done, the volume will increase and of course, the price will automatically crash,” he said.
“I am in contact with the regulation, NMDPRA, we hold meetings almost on a daily basis, and the producers such as Mobil, Chevron, and Shell. So, there is that hope that things will turn around. We don’t need to make noise about it.”
The minister underlined the need for banning the export of domestically manufactured LPG, saying the entire production will be utilised within the country.
He said the expected increase in the volume available for the domestic market and price reductions would bring relief to customers struggling with the high cost of cooking gas.
The development comes amid a rise in the price of the product.
According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the average retail price for refilling a 12.5kg cylinder of LPG increased by 0.28 percent on a month-on-month basis from N10,248.97 in December 2022 to N10,277.17 in January 2023.
The Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), on January 25, 2024, had attributed the gradual decrease in power supply to gas shortage.
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