- Senate Rejects Ban on Vehicle Importation Through Land Borders
The Senate has called for the reversal of the Federal Government policy banning the importation of vehicles into the country through land borders.
According to the Senate, the ban, which took effect on January 1, 2017, will lead to the loss of about 500,000 jobs.
The lawmakers, who criticised the policy during plenary on Wednesday, described the ban as anti-poor.
The Senate acted on a motion titled: ‘The ban on the importation of vehicles through the land borders into the country’.
The motion was jointly moved by Senators Barau Jibrin (Kano North), Kabiru Gaya (Kano South), Sabi Abdullahi (Niger North), Shehu Sani (Kaduna Central) and Ali Wakili (Bauchi South).
The lawmakers unanimously rejected the policy and asked the Nigeria Customs Service to immediately suspend its implementation.
The Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, who presided over the plenary, urged President Muhammadu Buhari to listen to the cries of Nigerians and reverse the policy.
“From the contributions made, it is obvious that the policy is unpopular. We are representatives of the people and the people have spoken through us that they do not want this policy. I think those in government should listen to them,” Ekweremadu said.
The Senate also directed its Committee on Customs and Excise to investigate the circumstances that led to the decision of the Federal Government to place a ban on the importation of vehicles through the land borders.
Many lawmakers who took turns to speak on the policy condemned it.
The immediate past Senate Majority Leader, Senator Ali Ndume, said, “Let us not forget the fact that the Constitution says the primary responsibility of the government is for the security and welfare of the people. This policy will render so many small businesses useless. My constituents are disturbing me to ensure that this policy is reversed.
“Why can’t Nigeria look at its policy to ensure that our laws are reformed? The era where people stay in their offices and make policies that are detrimental to the welfare of the people is gone. I call on this Senate to pass this motion with teeth. This resolution should be implemented when passed.”
Senator Dino Melaye stated, “We are in a precarious situation in this country. We are at a time when people are not sure where the next meal will come from. This government needs to consider the welfare of the people. In enacting any policy, we must look at the social impacts.
“This policy announcement, to me, is an admittance by the Customs that they lack the capacity to mount our borders effectively. As a parliament, we must speak in the interest of the people. We should be seen to be defending the people we are representing here.”
Senator Sam Egwu equally dismissed the policy as unpopular, stating, “We discussed here (on Tuesday) the planned closure of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja. This is a government that is supposed to bring change and succour to the people, but it has brought hardship on the people.
“This Senate must stand with the people. We need to defend the people. This government should put on its thinking cap and come up with policies that are beneficial to the people.”
In his submission, Senator Kabiru Gaya said, “As legislators, we should speak the truth, though this is our government. By stopping importation through land borders, we are creating hardship. Other countries within the West African region have lower tariffs. We have to look at this issue.
“Let the government man the borders and do the right thing. By this policy, we have created unemployment for over 500,000. We should stop this policy.”
The Committee on Customs and Excise, headed by Senator Hope Uzodinma, is expected to report back to the Senate within two weeks.
Gold Gained Ahead of Joe Biden Inauguration 2021
Gold price rose from one and a half month low on Tuesday ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on Wednesday.
The precious metal, largely regarded as a haven asset by investors, edged up by 0.2 percent to $1,844.52 per ounce on Tuesday, up from $1,802.61 on Monday.
He said, “The key factor appears to be the (U.S.) currency.”
As expected, a change in administration comes with the change in economic policies, especially taking into consideration the peculiarities of the present situation. In fact, even though Biden, Janet Yellen and the rest of the new cabinet are expected to go all out on additional stimulus with the support of Democrats controlled Houses, economic uncertainties with rising COVID-19 cases and slow vaccine distribution remained a huge concern.
Also, the effectiveness of the vaccines can not be ascertained until wider rollout.
Still, which policy would be halted or sustained by the incoming administration remained a concern that has forced many investors to once again flee other assets for Gold ahead of tomorrow’s inauguration.
Crude Oil Holds Steady Above $55 Per Barrel on Tuesday
Brent Crude oil, against which Nigerian crude oil is priced, rose from $54.46 per barrel on Monday to $55.27 per barrel as of 9:03 am Nigerian time on Tuesday.
Last week, Brent crude oil rose to 11 months high of $57.38 per barrel before pulling back on rising COVID-19 cases and lockdowns in key global economies like the United Kingdom, Euro-Area, China, etc.
While OPEC has left 2021 oil demand unchanged and President-elect Joe Biden has announced a $1.9 trillion stimulus package, experts are saying the rising number of new cases of COVID-19 amid poor vaccine distribution could drag on growth and demand for oil in 2021.
On Friday, Dan Yergin, vice-chairman at IHS Markit, said in addition to the stimulus package “There are two other things that are going with it … one is of course, vaccinations — in the sense that eventually this crisis is going to end, and maybe by the spring, lockdowns will be over.”
“The other thing is what Saudi Arabia did. This is the third time Saudi Arabia has made a sudden change in policy in less than a year, and this one was to announce (the) 1 million barrel a day cut — partly because they are worried about the impact of the surge in virus that’s occurring,” he said.
Also, the stimulus being injected into the United States economy could spur huge Shale production and disrupt OPEC and allies’ efforts at balancing the global oil market in 2021.
Crude Oil Pulled Back Despite Joe Biden Stimulus
Crude oil pulled back on Friday despite the $1.9 trillion stimulus package announced by U.S President-elect, Joe Biden.
Brent crude oil, against which Nigeria’s oil is priced, pulled back from $57.38 per barrel on Wednesday to $55.52 per barrel on Friday in spite of the huge stimulus package announced on Thursday.
On Thursday, OPEC, in its latest outlook for the year, said uncertainties remain high in 2021 with the number of COVID-19 new cases on the rise.
OPEC said, “Uncertainties remain high going forward with the main downside risks being issues related to COVID-19 containment measures and the impact of the pandemic on consumer behavior.”
“These will also include how many countries are adapting lockdown measures, and for how long. At the same time, quicker vaccination plans and a recovery in consumer confidence provide some upside optimism.”
Governments across Europe have announced tighter and longer coronavirus lockdowns, with vaccinations not expected to have a significant impact for the next few months.
“The complex remains in pause mode, a development that should not be surprising given the magnitude of the oil price gains that have been developing for some 2-1/2 months,” Jim Ritterbusch, president of Ritterbusch and Associates, said.
Still, OPEC left its crude oil projections unchanged for the year. The oil cartel expected global oil demand to increase by 5.9 million barrels per day year on year to an average of 95.9 million per day in 2020.
But also OPEC expects a recent rally and stimulus to boost U.S. Shale crude oil production in the year, a projection Investors King experts expect to hurt OPEC strategy in 2021.
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