- Government Mulls e-services Firm to Drive Inclusion
The Federal Government has announced plans to establish an electronic company, to achieve an all-inclusive economic growth, noting that this would go a long way to avail Nigerians in remote areas, easy access to government services.
The Minister of Communication, Adebayo Shittu, also said plans are underway to establish a Nigerian Postal Services (NIPOST) banking and insurance company, to get every individual into the financial inclusion scheme.
The minister, who spoke during a stakeholders’ conference on, ‘digital addressing system and address verification system,’ organised by NIPOST, said: “We are also looking at establishing a NIPOST Property and Development Company, to make judicious use of NIPOST underutilised facilities wasting away.
“It is our plan as part of the general reform to ensure that most of these lands that are vacant and unused, are leased out to the public to establish property development. Some of these lands will be available to build housing estates, event centres, garages, and others to earn revenue for the federal government.”
He explained further, saying: “In two years from now, NIPOST will be the best leading federal government agency in terms of its impactful influence on the life of every Nigerian, and courtesy of its upgraded processes, it would also help in bringing in the largest amount of money into federal government coffers.
‘‘There are communities which are about 200 to 300 kilometres away from the state capitals, so with the help of these offices, people can assess government services from their local communities. By the time we conclude in establishing all of these companies, there will be no one person in Nigeria, who will not be affected positively by NIPOST multifaceted companies.”
Earlier, the Postmaster General of the Federation, Bisi Adegbuyi, said NIPOST has opened up new windows of opportunities for the organisation to realise its objective of providing digital addressing system for Nigerians that is hyper specific and predicated on latest technologies.
He said its Address Verification System (AVS) is the new game changing products that will avail digitally verified addresses to all Nigerians and legal residents as well as help organisations ascertain the authenticity of the addresses provided by the residents.
He said the new system is not a replacement to the present Nigerian Addressing System, stressing that the present only brings an element of standardisation into the system that a vast and complex country like Nigeria needs.
He said the global postal sector is undergoing an era of unprecedented change spurred by the rapid evolution of information and communication technologies, saying that postal organisations have come to realise the need to change their business models in order to survive.
The Assistant Secretary General of Pan African Postal Union, Kolawole Raheem Aduloju, in Africa, ecommerce is currently growing at 25.8 per cent compared to the 16.8 per cent of the average growth for the rest of the world, but said Africa remained the fastest growing continent in the globe.
He said there are many barriers to the growth of cross-border e-commerce, such as complexity of the postal product offering, lack of adequate infrastructure support, and outdated and inefficient postal–customs–transport processes, security challenges, high cost of doing business, lack of collaboration between stakeholders.
He added that globally, B2C e-commerce is valued at about $1.2 trillion considerably smaller than business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce, valued at more than $15 trillion.
He added that the segment is growing faster, especially in Asia and Africa, but stating that Africa still account for just about one per cent of the global volume and are mostly import based items.
Brent Crude Oil Approaches $70 Per Barrel on Friday
Nigerian Oil Approaches $70 Per Barrel Following OPEC+ Production Cuts Extension
Brent crude oil, against which Nigerian oil is priced, rose to $69 on Friday at 3:55 pm Nigerian time.
Oil price jumped after OPEC and allies, known as OPEC plus, agreed to role-over crude oil production cuts to further reduce global oil supplies and artificially sustain oil price in a move experts said could stoke inflationary pressure.
Brent crude oil rose from $63.86 per barrel on Wednesday to $69 per barrel on Friday as energy investors became more optimistic about the oil outlook.
While certain experts are worried that U.S crude oil production will eventually hurt OPEC strategy once the economy fully opens, few experts are saying production in the world’s largest economy won’t hit pre-pandemic highs.
According to Vicki Hollub, the CEO of Occidental, U.S oil production may not return to pre-pandemic levels given a shift in corporates’ value.
“I do believe that most companies have committed to value growth, rather than production growth,” she said during a CNBC Evolve conversation with Brian Sullivan. “And so I do believe that that’s going to be part of the reason that oil production in the United States does not get back to 13 million barrels a day.”
Hollub believes corporate organisations will focus on optimizing present operations and facilities, rather than seeking growth at all costs. She, however, noted that oil prices rebounded faster than expected, largely due to China, India and United States’ growing consumption.
“The recovery looks more V-shaped than we had originally thought it would be,” she said. Occidental previous projection had oil production recovering to pre-pandemic levels by the middle of 2022. The CEO Now believes demand will return by the end of this year or the first few months of 2022.
“I do believe we’re headed for a much healthier supply and demand environment” she said.
Oil Jumps to $67.70 as OPEC+ Extends Production Cuts
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.”
Gold Hits Eight-Month Low as Global Optimism Grows Amid Rising Demand for Bitcoin
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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