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Naira Depreciates Further, Sells N517 to Dollar

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The naira fell further against the dollar at the parallel market on Wednesday after staying steady at 515/$ in recent days.

The local currency fell to 517 against the US currency at the parallel market on Wednesday.

At the Investors and Exporters’ window, the naira weakened by 0.06 per cent to close at 411.75/$ on Wednesday, according to FMDQ Group.

The naira had strengthened to 506/$ on August 4 after plunging to 525/$ at the parallel market on July 28, a day after the Central Bank of Nigeria stopped foreign exchange sales to Bureaux de Change. It had been hovering around 508/$ and 510/$ in recent days.

The CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, had on July 27, at the end of the Monetary Policy Committee meeting, announced the stoppage of forex sale to the BDCs, saying they had turned themselves into ‘agents that facilitate graft and corrupt activities of people who seek illicit fund flow and money laundering in Nigeria’.

He said the CBN would channel a significant portion of its weekly allocation currently meant for BDCs to commercial banks to meet legitimate forex demand for ordinary Nigerians and businesses.

The PUNCH had reported on Monday that the total forex transactions on FMDQ Securities Exchange rose by about 2.24 per cent last week.

The Exchange said in the forex spot and derivatives markets, the total turnover for the week ended August 13, 2021 was $692.60m, up from $677.44m reported for the previous week.

It said the week-on-week increase in turnover was driven by the 12.31 per cent increase in the forex spot, despite the 24.06 per cent decrease in forex derivatives turnover.

The total value of transactions in the Investors’ & Exporters’ window was $550.14m, representing an increase of 12.31 per cent from $489.85m in the previous week.

According to the Exchange, the average Nigerian Autonomous Foreign Exchange Fixing rate was N411.17/$, compared to N411.16/$ recorded in the previous week, representing a depreciation of the naira against the dollar by 0.003 per cent.

The naira, however, appreciated against the dollar by 0.04 per cent at the parallel market as it averaged 510.60/$, compared to 510.80/$ in the previous week.

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Unity Bank Collaborate to Fund N15.5bn Equipment for Julius Berger

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Unity Bank Plc, in company of other banks has facilitated a credit facility of N15.5bn for the acquisition of trucks and equipment to Julius Berger Plc.

The group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of SCOA Nigeria Plc, Dr Massad Boulos, has appreciated the gesture.

A statement from SCOA said that SCOA presented 33 MAN platform trucks and equipment to Julius Berger to be deployed for the construction of the 380 kilometre Abuja-Kaduna-Kano roads.

The banks that funded the acquisition were Unity Bank Plc, Heritage Bank Limited, Zenith Bank Plc, Providus Bank Limited, Wema Bank Plc, United Bank for Africa Plc, Union Bank Plc and Coronation Merchant Bank Limited.

Boulos said, “I commend Unity Bank, their MD and the members of the executive management; and the entire team of banks who have worked closely with us on this project.”

Mr Ralph Brendicke, the representative of the MD of Julius Berger Nigeria Plc, Dr Lars Richter, said the trucks and other equipment would help the company expand its field capacity and increase the speed of execution leading to timely completion of the highly anticipated project.

The MD/CEO of Unity Bank Plc, Mrs Tomi Somefun, represented by the Directorate Head, Lagos and South West Zone, Mr Wale Ogunride, was quoted as saying, “We looked at the strategic importance of this project and how such infrastructure could contribute to stimulating economic activity and decided that Unity Bank must play its part.

“Unity Bank will continue to provide support to such projects as we have been doing in other critical sectors of the economy such as agriculture.”

In a separate statement, the Executive Director of Wema Bank, Mr Oluwole Ajimisinmi, was quoted as saying that his bank was delighted to be one of the institutions to support SCOA in the project.

He also encouraged and solicited for more local content in order to create more jobs.

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NBS Report: Nigeria’s Inflation Rate Dropped Further to 17.01% in August

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Nigeria’s inflation rate has dropped by 0.37 per cent to 17.01 per cent (year-on-year) in August, from the 17.38 per cent recorded in July.

This was disclosed in the Consumer Price Index report just released by the National Bureau of Statistics.

According to the report, composite food index also dropped to 20.30 per cent against 21.03 per cent in July.

“This rise in the food index was caused by increases in prices of bread and cereals, milk, cheese and egg, oils and fats, Potatoes, yam and other tuber, food products n.e.c, meat and coffee, tea and cocoa,” the report read in part.

At the same time, the country’s urban inflation rate fell to 17.59 per cent year-on-year, from 18.01 per cent recorded two months ago, rural inflation rate tapered to 16.43 per cent from a previous 16.75 per cent, while core inflation, which excludes the prices of volatile agricultural produce dropped by 0.31 per cent to 13.41 per cent in from 13.72 per cent recorded in July.

“The corresponding twelve-month year-on-year average percentage change for the urban index is 17.19 per cent in August 2021. This is higher than 16.89 per cent reported in July 2021, while the corresponding rural inflation rate in August 2021 is 16.03 per cent compared to 15.73 per cent recorded in July 2021,” the report further stated.

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Dangote Partners NCDMB on Oil Sector Research, Development

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Dangote Refinery has announced a partnership with the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board on the promotion of research and development in Nigeria’s oil and gas industry.

According to a statement from the firm, Dangote refinery was a platinum sponsor of the second edition of the NCDMB Research and Development Fair and Conference 2021 in a bid to show its commitment to the project.

The statement also said that Dangote refinery was able to showcase its 650,000 barrel per day project and the research and development activities it had carried out during the construction of the refinery at the fair.

The Executive Secretary of NCDMB, Mr Simbi Wabote, commended the company’s support for the fair. He expressed the need for companies in the Nigeria oil and gas sector to start nurturing the growth of the country’s home-grown technology rather just being wholesome consumers of other people’s innovations.

Wabote was quoted as saying, “Analysis of global practices of Research and Development revealed that the combined R&D spend of just five countries makes up 63.5 per cent of the entire global R&D spend. These five countries, namely USA, China, Japan, Germany, and India were also observed to have accounted for over 50 per cent of the global Gross Domestic Product.

“Africa, on the other hand, accounted for less than one per cent of the global R&D spend while its GDP is only three per cent of the global GDP. You will agree with me that there is a nexus between the spend on Research and Development and economic prosperity,” the Executive Secretary added.

The minister, represented by the Permanent Secretary, Nasir Sani-Gwarzo, also called on industry stakeholders and youths across the country to take advantage of the NCDMB R&D centre to bolster adaptation of existing solutions and also come up with new ones to address major challenges in the industry.

The Bayelsa State Governor, Douye Diri, represented by his deputy, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo was quoted as saying that the theme for the fair captures stakeholders’ collective commitment to aggressively drive innovation and position the oil industry on the path of an integrated energy sector, where field development and production solutions are sourced through local capabilities.

He emphasised the need for private sector operators to invest in research and development. “It is important, however, to clear up a certain misconception: The funding of research is not the sole responsibility of National Governments; rather, big spenders on research and development globally come from the private sector,” he added.

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