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No Plan to Remove Fuel Subsidy, FG Insists

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The Federal Government has given the assurance that there are no plans to remove fuel subsidy now just as queues emerged in filling stations in some parts of the country.

The Minister of Finance, Ms Zainab Ahmed, said this during a ministerial press briefing at the 2019 International Monetary Fund and World Bank Spring Meetings in Washington DC. The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator  Udo Udoma and the Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr Godwin Emefiele, were also in attendance.

Recall that the Managing Director, International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, had last week called on the Federal Government to remove fuel subsidy, saying it was the right thing to do.

Lagarde had said that with the low revenue mobilisation that existed in Nigeria in terms of tax to Gross Domestic Product, it was important for the country to remove fuel subsidies and move available funds into improving health, education, and infrastructure, among others.

The IMF had earlier its 2019 Article IV Consultation on Nigeria noted that phasing out implicit fuel subsidies while strengthening social safety nets to mitigate the impact on the most vulnerable would help reduce the poverty gap and free up additional fiscal space in the country.

She had said, “We believe that removing fossil fuel subsidies is the right way to go. If you look at our numbers from 2015, it is no less than about $5.2tn that is spent on fuel subsidies and the consequences thereof.

I would add as a footnote as far as Nigeria is concerned that, with the low revenue mobilisation that exists in the country in terms of tax to GDP, Nigeria is amongst the lowest. A real effort has to be done in order to maintain a good public finance situation for the country and direct investment towards health, education, and infrastructure.”

Days after Lagarde’s call for fuel subsidy removal, fuel queues resurfaced in Nigeria and worsened as of Saturday.

In view of this, the finance minister explained that the Federal Government was not anywhere near subsidy removal.

She said, “There is no imminent plan to remove fuel subsidy. We are here to discuss with the global community on various policy issues. One of the issues that always come up in the report, especially the IMF World Economic Outlook report, is how we handle fuel subsidies. So, in principle, the IMF will say fuel subsidies are better removed so that we can use the resources for other important sectors. And in principle, that is a fact to do so.

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UBA Takes Centre Stage at 2024 ECOWAS Mining Forum in Cotonou As Elumelu Gives Keynote Address

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Africa’s Global Bank, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, has been announced as the official sponsor of the 4th edition of the ECOWAS Mining and Petroleum Forum (ECOMOF 2024) scheduled to take place at the Palais des Congrès in Cotonou, Benin from February 22 to February 24, 2024.

The regional event is expected to see a large gathering of key players and stakeholders in the mining and petroleum sectors of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and as the financial institution of choice, with presence in 20 African countries and active involvement in major continental development projects, UBA is the preferred partner for the event, underlining the bank’s commitment to the growth of mining and Petroleum industry in the sub-region but to the whole not African economic development.

UBA Group Chairman, Tony Elumelu, would give the keynote address during the opening ceremony of this all-important event.

Elumelu who doubles as Chairman of Transcorp Group, with extensive interests in energy and power, will be speaking on the theme: “Geo-extractive Resources and Technologies: what pooling strategies for Value Creation in West Africa”

His speech is expected to highlight UBA’s increasing effort to support and develop the African continent through strategic investments in the key sectors of mining and petroleum.

Under the esteemed leadership of the President of the Republic of Benin, His Excellency, Patrice Talon, and the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and current President of ECOWAS, His Excellency Mr. Bola Tinubu, UBA Group will at the forum aim to restate its commitment towards supporting economic and social development across the continent.

The focus of ECOMOF 2024 underscores the significance of transforming the mining and oil sectors into economic pillars by formulating attractive policies for investors, essential for the sectors’ substantial contribution to the Gross Domestic Products (GDP) of ECOWAS member states.

The Transnational Corporation Group (Transcorp Plc) – a diversified conglomerate with strategic investments in various sectors, including power and energy – will also actively participate in the forum.

Key officials from UBA Group and Transcorp Plc, including the Chief Executive Officer UBA Africa, Abiola Bawuah; UBA’s Group Head, Corporate and Energy Bank, Ebele Ogbue, and President/ Chief Executive Officer, Transcorp Group, Owen Omogiafo will be actively involved in discussions and panels on the sidelines of the event.

Anticipated to attract over 2,000 participants from diverse sectors, including representatives from mining and oil industries, government officials, international and national investors, industry experts, ECOWAS delegates, and international organizations, ECOMOF 2024 promises to be a significant platform for collaborative dialogue and partnership building.

United Bank for Africa is one of the largest employers in the financial sector on the African continent, with 25,000 employees’ group wide and serving over 35 million customers globally. Operating in 20 African countries and in the United Kingdom, the United States of America, France and the United Arab Emirates, UBA provides retail, commercial and institutional banking services, leading financial inclusion and implementing cutting edge technology.

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SME In A Box: Glo Unveils Niche Product to Boost Businesses

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Telecommunications firm, Globacom, has unveiled a niche product, ‘SME In A Box‘, to boost small and medium enterprise businesses in Nigeria.

Globacom disclosed in a press release that the product is an all-in-one bundle to connect, grow businesses and enhance productivity, saying it had continued to “evolve and adapt to changing business requirements by expanding and investing in areas of common interest and bringing latest solutions to support small and medium businesses across the country”.

Glo SME In A Box provides a set of bundled solutions for all the major communication and technology requirement of SMEs in the country. The product provides, among other benefits, professional website creation, customized Email setup and business tools (Social Media Integration, free social media advertising) as one bundle to customers. With this, SMEs can avoid engaging multiple partners to meet their needs. It is also bundled with voice and data bundles to enable the SMEs conduct business with ease.

The product’s affordability, said Glo, is to ensure small businesses benefit as it can be accessed for as low as N20,000 for a yearly package.

Globacom added that the product “is highly customizable and flexible to use because  it avails anyone with basic computer skills to establish online business presence and set up business-support tools within 30 minutes. It helps right from purchasing a domain to professional website creation, accounting payroll, CRM and inventory management”.

The company lamented that less than 5 percent of SMEs currently use Information Communication Technology (ICT) for their business operations or have a visible online presence. “Due to the low technology knowledge of most SME owners, they require a reliable partner to assist in introducing technology to their businesses, hence the introduction of the Glo SME In A Box”.

With Glo SME In A Box, the company noted, “customers can bring credibility and expand the reach of their businesses with the support of established business supporting tools and mediums. Glo SME In A Box is a complete bundle addressing the needs of growing and upcoming entrepreneurs through one single solution”.

The company urged businesses to log on to the dedicated website, https//www.glosmartbiz.com, for more information or call 121 for prepaid lines and 200 for postpaid lines.

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Cashtoken Promo: Glo Rewards Customers with N100m, Other Prizes

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Digital telecommunications solutions provider, Globacom, has launched another season of its recharge-based loyalty reward promo, ‘Glo Rewards- Cashtoken’.

According to the company, all old and prospective customers on the prepaid platforms are qualified to win in the promo.

To enroll for GloRewards, subscribers will dial *301*8# and start recharging to earn cashtokens. The assured cashback is N8, and they have a chance to win between N5,000 and N100m weekly in grand raffle draws. Every week, customers will also get a chance to win Gloworld Gift vouchers worth N10,000, Samsung A05 Phones and Samsung A54 smartphones,” a statement from Glo informed.

Winners that emerged in a previous edition of the promo include William Ubi, a Civil Engineering student of Cross River State University and Mohammed Tijani, a Kaduna-based farmer, who both won N200,000 and Anthony Iyemi, a Warri-based customer who won N100,000.

The company further disclosed in the press statement, which was released in Lagos,  that the new season of Rewards was unveiled to avail its subscribers and other Nigerians another opportunity to win cash prizes and other amazing items saying, “customers participating in the Rewards Program, just like in other seasons, will earn cashtokens on every N1000 cumulative recharge within a calendar month.”

Subscribers, according to the company will continue to earn and accumulate cashtokens as long as they meet the eligibility criteria. This means that there is no upper limit to accumulating cashtokens as all  cashtokens will be credited in a virtual wallet that is linked to the customer’s mobile.

“Customers will be able to view and redeem their cashtokens by dialing *6700# to purchase airtime/data, pay electricity bills, pay cable television bills or make other payments. They can also transfer their accumulated cashtokens to the bank and cash out the equivalent value”, the company added.

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