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FG Urged to Align Fiscal, Monetary Policies to Grow Foreign Investments

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National President of the Unilag Alumni and co-founder of Eko Hospital, Dr. Sonny Kuku has called for clarity and consistency in government’s policies as well as alignment between monetary and fiscal regimes in order to build confidence and grow foreign direct investment (FDI).

He made this remark during a courtesy visit by members of the National Executive Committee of the Association to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo in Abuja.

Declaring that doing business in Nigeria is still very tough in spite of the government’s best efforts, he called on the government to streamline the work of the ministries for co-ordination and effectiveness.

As part of its contribution to national development, the association offered to make available to the federal government the abundant skills and talents in its various sectoral alumni groups.

Kuku said the federal government can draw from the association’s various sectoral groups as resources and think-tanks.

Welcoming the visitors to the Villa, Osinbajo said the task of nation building is highly demanding and the federal government needs all the help it can get from every Nigerian.

He assured members of the association that he would continue to do his best in the discharge of his duties as Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and make the university and its alumni association proud.

Kuku noted that the association is keen to support the federal government in Nigeria’s trying times and to provide its perspective on the way forward for the nation and its economy as well as the university system.

He gave the Alumni’s perspectives on social development especially relating to human capital development, security and the provision of quality social services.

He emphasised the challenges of infrastructure improvement, diversifying the economy through agriculture and manufacturing, resolving foreign exchange issues and providing a more business-friendly environment. He also presented the Alumni’s perspectives on improving the university system in terms of funding and autonomy.

He urged the government to seek ways of engaging the youth, particularly on Information and Communication Technology (ICT), as a way of ensuring that the contribution of this vital segment of the population is efficiently exploited.
He added that the government needs to accelerate and sustain its interventions in power and transport sectors.

Highlighting the need for the government to make agriculture a top priority, Kuku said the government should focus on policies and programmes that would lead to significant improvements in agricultural yields and products quality.

“There must be proper administration, void of corruption and misappropriation of funds. It is time for a change. It is time for a revolution.”

The association recommended a three-point solution to the perennial problem of funding in the nation’s university system.

“We want the federal government to pay the universities per student instead of the current arrangement where subventions are doled out. Also, the Association wants our universities to place less emphasis on the tedious task of driving internally generated revenue because this distracts them from offering resourceful solutions to the nation’s challenges by way of inventions and breakthrough research, among others.

“Lastly, the students must be encouraged to pay reasonable fees and all levels of government (local, state and federal) give scholarships and student loans, just as individuals, communities and well-meaning organisations should also come to the party,” he said.

Giving the association’s perspective on university autonomy, Kuku said, “We believe that universities should become autonomous and governed independently, rather than through the Federal Ministry of Education, which could remain a regulato. We also believe that the structure of appointments to university councils should be reviewed.”

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

Crude Oil

Oil Jumps to $67.70 as OPEC+ Extends Production Cuts

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Oil Jumps to $67.70 as OPEC+ Extends Production Cuts

Brent crude oil, against which Nigerian oil is priced, rose to $67.70 per barrel on Thursday following the decision of OPEC and allies, known as OPEC+, to extend production cuts.

OPEC and allies are presently debating whether to restore as much as 1.5 million barrels per day of crude oil in April, according to people with the knowledge of the meeting.

Experts have said OPEC+ continuous production cuts could increase global inflationary pressure with the rising price of could oil. However, Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said “I don’t think it will overheat.”

Last year “we suffered alone, we as OPEC+” and now “it’s about being vigilant and being careful,” he said.

Saudi minister added that the additional 1 million barrel-a-day voluntary production cut the kingdom introduced in February was now open-ended. Meaning, OPEC+ will be withholding 7 million barrels a day or 7 percent of global demand from the market– even as fuel consumption recovers in many nations.

Experts have started predicting $75 a barrel by April.

“We expect oil prices to rise toward $70 to $75 a barrel during April,” said Ann-Louise Hittle, vice president of macro oils at consultant Wood Mackenzie Ltd. “The risk is these higher prices will dampen the tentative global recovery. But the Saudi energy minister is adamant OPEC+ must watch for concrete signs of a demand rise before he moves on production.”

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Gold

Gold Hits Eight-Month Low as Global Optimism Grows Amid Rising Demand for Bitcoin

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Gold Struggles Ahead of Economic Recovery as Bitcoin, New Gold, Surges

Global haven asset, gold, declined to the lowest in more than eight months on Tuesday as signs of global economic recovery became glaring with rising bond yields.

The price of the precious metal declined to $1,718 per ounce during London trading on Thursday, down from $2,072 it traded in August as more investors continue to cut down on their holdings of the metal.

The previous metal usually performs poorly with rising yields on other assets like bonds, especially given the fact that gold does not provide streams of interest payments. Investors have been jumping on US bonds ahead of President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus stimulus package, expected to stoke stronger US price growth.

We see the rising bond yields as a sign of economic optimism, which has also prompted gold investors to sell some of their positions,” said Carsten Menke of Julius Baer.

Another analyst from Commerzbank, Carsten Fritsch, said that “gold’s reputation appears to have been tarnished considerably by the heavy losses of recent weeks, as evidenced by the ongoing outflows from gold ETFs”.

Experts at Investors King believed the growing demand for Bitcoin, now called the new gold, and other cryptocurrencies in recent months by institutional investors is hurting gold attractiveness.

In a recent report, analysts at Citigroup have started projecting mainstream acceptance for the unregulated dominant cryptocurrency, Bitcoin.

The price of Bitcoin has rallied by 60 percent to $52,000 this year alone. While Ethereum has risen by over 660 percent in 2021.

 

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Crude Oil

Oil Prices Extend Gains to $64.32 Ahead of OPEC+ Meeting

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Oil Prices Rise to $64.32 Amid Expected Output Extension

Oil prices extended gains during the early hours of Thursday trading session amid the possibility that OPEC+ producers might not increase output at a key meeting scheduled for later in the day and the drop in U.S refining.

Brent crude oil, against which Nigeria oil is priced, gained 0.4 percent or 27 cents to $64.32 per barrel as at 7:32 am Nigerian time on Thursday. While the U.S West Texas Intermediate gained 19 cents or 0.3 percent to $61.47 a barrel.

“Prices hinge on Russia’s and Saudi Arabia’s preference to add more crude oil production,” said Stephen Innes, global market strategist at Axi. “Perhaps more interesting is the lack of U.S. shale response to the higher crude oil prices, which is favourable for higher prices.”

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allies, together known as OPEC+, are looking to extend production cuts into April against expected output increase due to the fragile state of the global oil market.

Oil traders and businesses had been expecting the oil cartel to ease production by around 500,000 barrels per day since January 2021 but because of the coronavirus risk and rising global uncertainties, OPEC+ was forced to role-over production cuts until March. Experts now expect that this could be extended to April given the global situation.

“OPEC+ is currently meeting to discuss its current supply agreement. This raised the spectre of a rollover in supply cuts, which also buoyed the market,” ANZ said in a report.

Meanwhile, U.S crude oil inventories rose by more than a record 21 million barrels last week as refining plunged to a record-low amid Texas weather that knocked out power from homes.

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