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Latest News in Nigeria Today, August 25th, 2023

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Investors King has put together the latest news in Nigeria today, August 25th, 2023, to ensure you stay atop trending news and happenings in the business world.

Where do Nigerians get their news?

Oil Prices Slip as Global Economies Face Bleak Outlook

On Thursday, oil prices saw a modest decline in the face of disappointing economic indicators from major economies worldwide.

Investors are holding their breath for U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s speech scheduled for Friday, hoping for insights into future interest rate trends. Read more here.

Nigeria’s Unemployment Rate Improved to 4.1% in Q1, 2023 as NBS Adopts New Computing Model

Nigeria’s unemployment rate has dropped to 4.1% in the first quarter (Q1) of 2023 as the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) adopts a new data collection and analysis model.

This represents a significant drop from the 5.3% reported in the final quarter of 2022. Read more here.

Dollar Rate Climbs Higher, Naira Slumps in Official and Black Markets

The exchange rate between the United States dollar and the Nigerian naira witnessed significant fluctuations on Wednesday.

The dollar rate extended its upward swing, closing at N773.42 per $1 in the Investors’ and Exporters (I&E) window of the official market, a troubling trend that has caught the attention of both investors and the general public. Read more here.

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Russian Mercenary Leader’s Mysterious Demise Sparks Global Speculation

The demise of Yevgeny Prigozhin, the enigmatic leader of the Wagner mercenary group, in a plane crash near Moscow, has sent shockwaves through global intelligence circles and fueled a whirlwind of speculation regarding the circumstances surrounding his death.

Prigozhin, a figure known for his controversial activities and audacious moves, had recently led a mutiny against Russia’s military leadership, an action that Russian President Vladimir Putin himself acknowledged could have pushed the nation to the brink of civil conflict. Read more here.

Fintech Pioneer LemFi Secures $33 Million Series A Funding to Revolutionize Financial Services for Immigrants

LemFi, a startup on a mission to transform financial services for immigrants, has successfully raised $33 million in its Series A funding round, spearheaded by Left Lane Capital.

This investment is set to catalyze LemFi’s vision of empowering immigrants globally by providing them with accessible, comprehensive, and secure financial solutions. Read more here.

Former Nigerian Bar Association President Olumide Akpata Bids Farewell to Law, Ventures into Politics for Nation Building

Mr. Olumide Akpata, the former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), has made a resolute decision to disengage from his esteemed position as Senior Partner at Templars, one of Nigeria’s most prominent law firms.

Akpata’s announcement, conveyed through the company on August 24, 2023, states his intent to enter the arena of active politics and make a tangible contribution to the nation’s development. Read more here.

Kwik Launches Innovative KwikShelf – Revolutionizing E-commerce Fulfillment in Lagos

Kwik, the dynamic digital logistics platform, is proud to announce the inauguration of its groundbreaking initiative, KwikShelf, marking its debut in the on-demand e-commerce fulfillment sector in Lagos.

Situated at the heart of Lagos in the esteemed Iddo House, Oyingbo, KwikShelf boasts a spacious facility spanning 1,250 square meters and is set to commence operations this September. This strategic location offers Nigerian businesses a secure and convenient avenue to procure warehousing space on a need-based basis, facilitating the seamless outsourcing of their inventory storage and fulfillment requirements. Read more here.

Central Bank of Nigeria Dismisses JP Morgan’s FX Reserves Estimate

In a recent interview on Africa Independent Television (AIT), Hassan Mahmud, the Director of the Monetary Policy Department at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), responded to JP Morgan’s estimate of the country’s foreign exchange (FX) reserves.

Mahmud described the estimate as being presented “out of context.”

Earlier this week, JP Morgan estimated that the CBN’s net FX reserves had decreased to $3.7 billion at the end of 2022, down from $14 billion in 2021. Read more here.

Foreign Crude Oil Refiners Extend Credit Facilities to Nigerian Marketers Amid Dollar Scarcity

In a strategic move to alleviate the challenges posed by dollar scarcity in Nigeria, foreign crude oil refiners have embarked on a novel approach by offering credit facilities to Nigerian oil marketers, according to insider sources.

Concerns have arisen among foreign refiners about potential loss of a significant market due to the removal of subsidies, leading to a marked reduction in the country’s petrol consumption. Read more here.

NERC Urges Electricity Consumers to Upgrade Prepaid Meters

The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has issued a crucial message via its official Twitter account, urging electricity consumers across the nation to initiate the process of upgrading their prepaid meters.

This proactive step is necessary to avoid the potential deactivation of these meters, which is set to commence in November 2024. Read more here.

Nigeria’s Pharmaceutical Crisis: Foreign Exchange Shortage Threatens Drug Supply

Nigeria’s pharmaceutical sector is reeling from a severe shortage of foreign exchange, resulting in a concerning inability to maintain a consistent drug supply.

Recent data from the International Trade Centre, a multilateral agency, reveals the alarming decline in pharmaceutical imports into Nigeria to $1.05 billion in 2022. Read more here.

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Education

Southern States Skeptical as NELFund Disburses First Loans

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The National Education Loan Fund (NELFund) officially launched on Wednesday, a significant step in providing financial aid to students across Nigeria.

However, the initiative faces skepticism, particularly from the southern states.

President Bola Tinubu inaugurated the first tranche of funds, amounting to N32 billion, aimed at empowering Nigerian youth and breaking financial barriers to education.

The NELFund portal has registered 164,000 students, with 103,000 applying for loans.

Despite the promising start, many southern states remain doubtful about the fund’s implementation.

Akintunde Sawyerr, NELFund’s Managing Director, acknowledged these concerns, citing data challenges in verifying indigent applicants as a primary hurdle.

Sawyerr highlighted the lack of comprehensive data needed for credit assessments. The fund relies on bank verification numbers (BVN), National Identification Numbers (NIN), and educational institution data to determine eligibility.

More applications have been received from northern states, where students have shown greater confidence in the fund.

Sawyerr pointed out that skepticism in the south might stem from uncertainty about the program’s viability.

NELFund offers two types of loans: educational fees paid directly to institutions and upkeep loans for student stipends.

The focus is currently on government-owned institutions to ensure a smooth rollout.

President Tinubu emphasized education as a critical tool against poverty and insecurity, linking the nation’s challenges to a lack of educational opportunities.

He reaffirmed his commitment to inclusive growth through education.

As NELFund continues its rollout, efforts to address data issues and regional skepticism will be crucial. By building trust and ensuring transparency, the program aims to support more students nationwide and foster a fairer society.

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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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Travel

Nigeria and UAE Reach Agreement on Visa Access for Nigerians

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Nigerian International passport- Investors King

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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