COVID-19: Reopen Lagos Street For Business, Traders Cry Out To Obaseki
Traders at Lagos Street, Benin City, have appealed to Mr. Godwin Obaseki-led Edo State government to reopen the market, and also support them with soft loans so they can bounce back to business having been out of business for a long time.
Edo State government ordered the shutdown of Lagos Street following the refusal of residents and traders in the area to comply with the state government’s directives to participate in an ongoing screening and testing exercise for COVID-19.
Some traders, while speaking with INFO DAILY at the popular Lagos Street said they have undergone the screening exercise and have been declared COVID-19 free.
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They said, having have gone through the screening and testing exercise and declared free of COVID-19, it becomes necessary the state government reopen the area for business activities to commence.
Speaking, National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) officials who do want their names mentioned at a screening centre at the area said there’s high turnout of residents who willingly surrendered themselves for test for the coronavirus.
They disclosed that various screening and testing centres set up by the state government are up to the task.
READ ALSO: COVID-19: Lagos Street Shut Down Over Failure To Comply With Screening Exercise
The NCDC officials therefore called on other residents of the state who are yet to comply to do so in order to know their COVI-19 status.
Reps Invite Ministers, Firms Over $2.4bn Oil Sale
The House of Representatives’ will on April 11, 2023, grill ministers and other heads of ministries, departments and agencies of the Federal Government as well as oil companies and banks over the alleged illegal sale of 48 million barrels of crude oil valued at $2.4bn.
The House’ Ad Hoc Committee to Investigate Alleged Loss of Over $2.4bn in Revenue from Illegal Sale of 48 Million Barrels of Crude Oil Export in 2015 Including All Crude Oil Exports and Sales by Nigeria from 2014 Till Date is handling the probe.
The committee, in a notice to the invitees on Monday, also demanded memoranda from whistle-blowers who’s alarm had led to recovery of public funds from corrupt individuals and organisations.
The committee invited 100 individuals, organisations and groups, including the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited; Group Chief Executive Officer, NNPCL; Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning; Attorney General of the Federation; Director of Public Prosecutions of the Federation; Central Bank of Nigeria; Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission; Chief Executive, NUPRC; former Chairman, Presidential Committee on Recovery of Missing Crude Oil; former Director-General, DSS, Lawal Musa Daura; Department of State Services; Nigeria Police Force; INTERPOL National Central Bureau, Nigeria, among others.
READ ALSO: Bank Credit To Govt Hits N28.43tn
The oil and telecommunication firms as well as banks for appearance include Dangote Industries Limited/Dangote Refinery; MTN Nigeria Limited; 9Mobile Nigeria Limited; Airtel Nigeria Limited; United Bank for Africa; Guaranty Trust Bank; Access Bank; Ecobank; Fidelity Bank; and Zenith Bank; Famfa Oil Limited; Seplat Petroleum; Addax Petroleum; Total Energies; Chevron; Shell (SNEPCO & SPDC); Sahara Energy Resources; Conoil; AITEO; Agip/NAOC; Heirs Petroleum; ExxonMobil/ESSO Petroleum; Oando; Oriental; SAPETRO and all other JV, PSC and marginal field operators.
Other top government officials have also been invited.
The notice partly read, “In the unlikely event that formal correspondence from the committee does not reach any of those listed above, please consider this publication as a formal invitation to the public hearing.
“Individuals, agencies, civil society and non-governmental organisations, companies and all other entities who are privy to or have provided whistle-blower information to the Nigerian Government about corruption and proceeds of corruption (whether or not such information has led to recovery by the government) are also, hereby, requested to submit memoranda with the following information to the committee’s secretariat:
The committee had held an investigative hearing at least twice during which invitees, including the Nigeria Police Force and INTERPOL we’re grilled.
The Chairman of the committee, Mark Gbillah, who was contacted on the telephone on Monday, said the panel had not been officially inaugurated as Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, was not available to declare the hearing open.
Gbillah said the Speaker would now inaugurate the committee on April 11.
When asked of the possibility of the committee concluding the investigation before the 9th National Assembly winds down in June, the chairman disclosed that the probe might be continued in the 10th Assembly.
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He said, “Yes, we believe we have enough time to look at the critical issues. But anything outstanding – that is why government) is a continuum – we can always make a recommendation in the report that the next House should take over from here and there. But it is too-important an issue for us to not try to conclude on.”
The House had on December 20, 2022, resolved to constitute an ad hoc committee to investigate a whistle-blower’s allegation of illegal sale of 48 million barrels of Nigeria’s Bonny Light crude in China in 2015 and the insurance status of the cargo.
The committee was also to investigate all crude oil exports and sales by Nigeria from 2014 to date, with regards to quantity, insurance, revenue generated, remittances into the Federation Account or other accounts as well as utilisation of the revenue for the period under review.
In addition, the panel would investigate all proceeds recovered through the Whistle-Blowers Policy of the regime led by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), and the level of compliance with the policy.
The committee was to report back within four weeks for further legislative action.
Bank Credit To Govt Hits N28.43tn
Banks’ credits to the government rose by N3.77tn in the first two months of 2023.
Figures obtained from the Central Bank of Nigeria revealed that the total government credit which ended December 2022 at N24.66tn rose to N28.43tn as of the end of February 2023.
The CBN disclosed in its ‘Money and credit statistics’ report that the credit rose from N14.9tn as of the end of January 2022 to N26.65tn in the corresponding period of 2023.
According to statements released by the CBN, a member of the Monetary Policy Committee, Aliyu Sanusi, said at the January meeting that tightening of the rates was needed to moderate the effects of election-related spending and the liquidity associated with the proposed government borrowing in 2023.
He also said that the key drivers of the NDA was net claims on government which grew by 78.15 per cent (y-t-d) in December 2022, which in turn was driven by FGN’s borrowing from the central bank (93.21 per cent), commercial banks (44.26 per cent) and non-interest banks (79.13 per cent).
READ ALSO: JUST IN: CBN Raises Interest Rate To 18%
“This suggests that monetary and fiscal factors have continued to play an important role in the current inflationary processes,” he said.
Another MPC member, Adeola Adenikinju, said, “The World Bank forecast Nigeria’s real GDP growth to decline to 2.9 per cent in 2023.
“The slow growth is because of the effects of flooding, the tight fiscal space and rise in borrowing costs, security challenges and moderation in oil prices.”
Nigerians In Diaspora Worry As Economic Crisis Affects Funds Transfer – Report
Nigeria Diaspora remittances declined
Nigerians in Diaspora cannot currently transfer a lot of funds home because of a harsh global economic condition, a report from Western Union has revealed.
The report titled, ‘Global Money Transfer Index: Uncovering consumer expectations of the remittance industry (The Africa Series)’ stated that this is as most remittance receivers in the country revealed that they will need to get more money from senders due to a cost-of-living crisis.
The report revealed that remittance inflows into the country were estimated to be $21bn, making it the largest receiving market in Africa, and the ninth largest in the world. It noted that two in three consumers (63 per cent) of the Nigerians who took part in its survey stated that they collect funds at least once a month, with 70 per cent also transferring money abroad at the same rate.
Remittance is expected to increase in 2023 because of increases in the price of things, but this increase is across the board affecting both senders and receivers.
READ ALSO: JUST IN: CBN Raises Interest Rate To 18%
Western Union said, “These figures seem set to grow in 2023 as a large majority of receivers (85 per cent) say they need to get more money from senders amid the cost of living crisis. This rises to 88 per cent of those aged 35 to 44, but drops to 73 per cent of consumers aged 55-plus.
“Senders too generally agree they must transfer bigger sums in the 12 months ahead (82 per cent). However, they face a problem: three-quarters (75 per cent) of them — increasing to 84 per cent of senders aged from 18 to 24 — say global economic conditions mean they cannot transfer as much currently as they did in the past.”
The Regional Vice President, Africa at Western Union, Mohamed Touhami El Ouazzani, opined, “Economic headwinds have impacted all consumers globally, and remittances play an integral role in ensuring people and their communities can keep moving forward, leveraging opportunities.
“Now more than ever, it is incumbent on us as money transfer providers to be agile, supporting consumers as their requirements evolve in order to manage their daily financial needs.”
READ ALSO: Decline In Women Rights Threaten Global Economic Growth – World Bank
In its index report, Western Union noted that Nigerian consumers’ behaviour was influenced by currency fluctuations which include increasing, reducing, or delaying forwarding funds depending on the value of the naira.
It further revealed that the adoption of digital money transfer services in the country was strong. The firm noted that its Nigerian consumers were calling for greater innovation from money transfer providers to support their remittance needs.
Ouazzani added, “Nigeria’s Government and Central Bank’s efforts in developing the necessary infrastructure has boosted connectivity and inclusivity.
“As a result, consumers have become attuned to the opportunities and flexibility innovations can bring. We expect this to continue, underscored by a strong emphasis on speed, convenience, and reliability.”
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