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Latest News in Nigeria Today, August 23rd, 2023

Investors King has put together the latest news in Nigeria today, August 23rd, 2023, to ensure you stay atop trending news and happenings in the business world.

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Investors King has put together the latest news in Nigeria today, August 23rd, 2023, to ensure you stay atop trending news and happenings in the business world.

Nigeria’s Economic Struggle Contrasted with Norway’s Tech-Driven Prosperity

Nigeria is currently grappling with a pressing need for foreign currency, particularly dollars, while Norway, a nation sharing a comparable oil production capacity, witnessed its oil wealth surge by an astounding $142.65 billion during the initial half of 2023.

In a remarkable turnaround, Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, established to safeguard the nation’s future beyond oil, has experienced a substantial infusion of $142.65 billion due to a surge in AI-driven technological advancements. Read more here.

Oil Prices Experience Slight Dip Amid Anticipation of Iraqi Oil Export Resumption

Brent crude oil edged lower by 8 cents to settle at $84.38 per barrel in the early hours of Tuesday while the U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude oil shed 7 cents to $80.65 per barrel.

Market analysts from ANZ Bank, Brian Martin, and Daniel Hynes, in a conversation with Reuters, observed that “Crude oil faced challenges in maintaining its upward momentum, with indications of supply tightness showing signs of easing.” Read more here.

Former Nigerian Oil Minister Diezani Alison-Madueke Charged with Bribery Offences by British Police

British authorities announced on Tuesday that they have formally charged former Nigerian oil minister Diezani Alison-Madueke with bribery offences.

The charges stem from suspicions that she accepted bribes in exchange for awarding multi-million pound oil and gas contracts during her tenure. Read more here.

CBN Directive: Leaked Letter Prohibits Naira Overdrafts Secured by Foreign Currency Deposits

A confidential communication from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to a prominent commercial Bank Plc has surfaced, shedding light on a decisive directive issued by the apex bank concerning Naira overdrafts supported by foreign currency deposits.

This directive marks a significant shift in lending practices, disallowing borrowers from employing foreign currency deposits, notably in dollars as collateral to access loans denominated in Naira. Read more here.

Coinbase, Leading US Crypto Exchange, Takes Stake in Circle, a Major Stablecoin Issuer

Coinbase Global Inc., the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the United States, has made a strategic investment in Circle, a prominent stablecoin issuer.

This move is attributed to the perceived increase in regulatory clarity surrounding stablecoins, both in the US and across the globe. Read more here.

NIBSS Reports Significant Loss of N9.5 Billion in Banking Sector Amid Escalating E-Fraud Concerns

The Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) announced a substantial loss of approximately N9.5 billion within the banking sector for the year 2023.

The disclosure was made by Premier Owoih, the Managing Director of NIBSS, during the third-quarter meeting of the Nigeria Electronic Fraud Forum (NeFF) held in Lagos. Read more here.

Africa’s Largest Economy Poised to Enter Booming Global Lithium Market

Thor Explorations Ltd has unveiled promising preliminary results from its initial drilling efforts in pursuit of lithium in Nigeria as it looks to tap into the $37 billion lithium market.

Thor Explorations, a Canadian mineral exploration company operating in Nigeria, Senegal, and Burkina Faso, recently reported “significant” findings of mineralized pegmatites in its initial drilling campaign. Read more here.

Canada Welcomes 10,180 New Immigrants from Nigeria, Africa’s Largest Economy, in First Half of 2023

Canada has warmly embraced a total of 10,180 new immigrants from Nigeria, the continent’s leading economy, during the initial six months of 2023.

The latest data provided by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) illustrates that the nation registered an increase of 0.74 percent in Permanent Residents (PRs) from Nigeria in the first half of this year compared to 2022, when the number stood at 10,105. Read more here.

Upwork Unveils Top 10 Generative AI-Related Searches and Hires in First Half of 2023

Upwork Inc., the world’s work marketplace and the preeminent destination for businesses to find trusted AI talent, today released new platform data examining the skillset make up of talent and the search and hiring behaviors of companies in relation to Upwork’s fastest-growing category: Generative AI.

The analysis by Upwork’s Research Institute found that businesses are progressing their understanding of generative AI as they increasingly move from searching and hiring for singular generative AI tools toward generative AI applications and services. Read more here.

JP Morgan Estimates Nigeria’s Net Foreign Reserves at $3.7 Billion, Discrepancy with CBN Figures Raises Concerns

Global financial services giant JP Morgan has revealed its assessment of Nigeria’s net foreign reserves to be approximately $3.7 billion. This estimation stands in stark contrast to the $33.8 billion reported on the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) website as of August 17.

JP Morgan’s latest report on Nigeria, titled “Nigeria: Reform pause rather than fatigue,” sheds light on this significant disparity in figures. Read more here.

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Travel

UAE Lifts Visa Ban on Nigerians, Introduces N640,000 Non-Refundable Application Fee

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The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has officially lifted the visa ban imposed on Nigerian passport holders, effective July 15.

However, this positive move comes with a substantial caveat—a new non-refundable visa application fee of N640,000.

The announcement, made following bilateral discussions between Nigerian and UAE authorities, ends a prolonged period of restricted travel between the two nations due to diplomatic disputes and financial issues.

New Visa Regulations

Under the new guidelines set forth by the UAE government, Nigerian passport holders seeking to travel to the Emirates must adhere to several stringent requirements:

  1. Application Fee: Applicants are required to pay a non-refundable fee of N640,000 for visa processing. This fee represents a significant increase compared to the previous $100 fee before the ban.
  2. Document Verification Number (DVN): Before applying for a visa, applicants must obtain a Document Verification Number (DVN). This number is valid for only 14 days from issuance or until the visa application is processed, whichever comes first.
  3. Application Process: The application process for UAE visas remains stringent, emphasizing the importance of meeting all specified criteria to enhance the chances of approval.

Public Reaction and Outcry

The introduction of the N640,000 visa application fee has sparked widespread criticism and public outcry among Nigerians, particularly on social media platforms. Many have expressed their discontent, labeling the new fee as exorbitant and financially burdensome, especially in light of economic challenges facing the country.

Social media users have taken to various platforms to voice their concerns:

  • @firstladyship: “It is obvious the UAE don’t want Nigerians. They reluctantly unbanned the Nigerian passport, but slammed a hefty N640,000 on Nigerians. Guess what? The money is nonrefundable & has expiration date. This is see finish.”
  • @Peco3D: “This is just extortion in fine words. Shameless.”
  • @Comr_lucky1: “This is exploitation and shameful if allowed by Nigeria government.”

Government Response

Mohammed Idris, Minister of Information and National Orientation, announced the lifting of the visa ban and emphasized that Nigerian passport holders are now eligible to apply for visas to the UAE.

The government has acknowledged the concerns raised by citizens and assured them of continued engagement to address the issue.

Background

The UAE had imposed the visa ban on Nigeria approximately two years ago amid diplomatic tensions and financial disputes.

Efforts to resolve these issues included discussions and negotiations between the Nigerian and UAE governments, leading to the recent breakthrough in visa restrictions.

Despite the imposition of the N640,000 visa fee, the lifting of the ban represents a step forward in diplomatic relations between Nigeria and the UAE, potentially paving the way for enhanced bilateral cooperation and economic ties.

As Nigerian travelers navigate these new visa regulations, reactions continue to pour in, reflecting the broader impact of international relations on individual mobility and economic opportunities.

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Nigeria and UAE Reach Agreement on Visa Access for Nigerians

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The Nigerian Federal Government announced on Monday that it has reached an agreement with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to facilitate visa access for Nigerian citizens.

This announcement came following the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, presided over by President Bola Tinubu.

Mohammed Idris, Minister of Information and National Orientation, made the announcement while briefing journalists after the FEC meeting.

He highlighted the importance of this agreement in strengthening the bilateral relationship between Nigeria and the UAE, and in fostering greater economic and cultural exchange.

“After extensive negotiations, we are pleased to announce that an agreement has been reached with the UAE that will enable Nigerians to access UAE visas,” Idris stated.

“This development is a testament to the commitment of President Tinubu’s administration to improving the mobility and opportunities for Nigerian citizens globally.”

The agreement is expected to streamline the visa application process, making it easier for Nigerians to travel to the UAE for business, tourism, and other purposes. This move comes as a relief to many Nigerians who have faced difficulties in obtaining UAE visas in recent times.

In addition to the visa agreement, the FEC also directed the Ministry of Budget to propose amendments to the 2024 budget.

This directive aims to address emerging fiscal challenges and align the budget with current economic realities.

Idris further announced that President Tinubu will meet with labor leaders on Thursday to finalize discussions on the new minimum wage.

This meeting is part of ongoing efforts to ensure fair wages for Nigerian workers without triggering inflationary pressures.

“The President is committed to delivering a minimum wage that is both fair and sustainable. After thorough consultations, the proposed figures will be submitted to the National Assembly,” Idris explained.

The FEC’s deliberations on the wage increase focused on balancing the need for higher wages with the potential impact on the economy.

“We are determined to provide wages that improve the standard of living for Nigerians while maintaining economic stability,” Idris added.

This week’s FEC meeting also discussed various national issues, including infrastructure development, security, and public service reforms.

The council reiterated its commitment to pursuing policies that promote growth and improve the welfare of all Nigerians.

The agreement with the UAE and the forthcoming minimum wage proposal are seen as significant steps in President Tinubu’s broader agenda to enhance Nigeria’s international standing and address domestic economic challenges.

As the government moves forward with these initiatives, citizens and stakeholders are hopeful for positive outcomes that will benefit the nation.

In the coming days, further details of the UAE visa agreement and the new minimum wage proposal are expected to be disclosed, providing more clarity on the government’s plans and their implications for Nigerians.

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Spain Triumphs in Euro 2024 Final, Defeats England with Last-Minute Winner

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Spain clinched their fourth European Championship title with a thrilling 2-1 victory over England, thanks to a last-minute goal from Mikel Oyarzabal.

The dramatic finale at Berlin’s Olympiastadion on Sunday saw Spain’s dominance throughout the tournament crowned with a well-deserved win, while England suffered their second consecutive final defeat.

The match began cautiously, with Spain controlling 65% of possession in the first half but failing to capitalize on their dominance.

England’s Phil Foden had the only shot on target, reflecting a tense and tightly contested opening period.

The breakthrough came just two minutes into the second half when teenager Lamine Yamal, who had been effectively contained in the first half, found space down the right wing.

His precise cross met Nico Williams, who slotted the ball past England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, giving Spain a 1-0 lead.

Spain enjoyed a period of sustained pressure following the goal, with Dani Olmo, Alvaro Morata, and Williams all coming close to extending their lead.

England’s previously solid defense appeared to be losing its shape under the relentless Spanish attacks.

In response, England manager Gareth Southgate made strategic substitutions, bringing on Ollie Watkins and Cole Palmer.

The changes paid off when Jude Bellingham set up Palmer, who curled a low shot from 20 meters out into the net in the 73rd minute, leveling the score and igniting hope among the English fans.

The match seemed destined for extra time until a lapse in England’s defense allowed Spain to strike again. Marc Cucurella, left unmarked on the left flank, delivered a cross into the box.

Oyarzabal, who had come on as a substitute, stretched to poke the ball home, securing Spain’s victory four minutes from the end.

The final moments of the game saw frantic action, with Spain’s goalkeeper Unai Simon making a crucial save from a Declan Rice header, and Dani Olmo clearing a follow-up effort off the line. Despite England’s late surge, Spain held firm to secure the 2-1 win.

Spain manager Luis de la Fuente expressed his pride in his team after the match. “I couldn’t be happier. This confirms what we are. For me, they are the best in the world,” he said.

England, who had fought back from a goal down for the fourth consecutive match in the tournament, were left to rue missed opportunities and defensive lapses.

Southgate, who has led England to two Euro finals and a World Cup semi-final during his tenure, acknowledged the team’s effort but conceded Spain’s superiority.

“The players have got to take enormous credit for getting us to the point they did. They fought and represented the shirt with pride. But I think Spain were the best team in the tournament and they deserved to win,” Southgate said.

Spain’s victory adds a fourth European Championship title to their collection, following wins in 1964, 2008, and 2012.

As only the third team in the last nine Euros to win the trophy without a penalty shootout, Spain’s triumph cements their place as one of the dominant forces in European football.

Meanwhile, England’s wait for a major tournament victory continues, extending their “30 years of hurt” since their 1966 World Cup win to at least double that number.

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