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Buhari Raises Concerns Over Eco Currency for West Africa

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ECOWAS’ Eco Currency in Jeopardy, Says President Muhammadu Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday told members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) that the proposed and in-progress ECO currency may be in jeopardy following the adoption of the same unit by francophone nations within the region.

According to a statement issued by Femi Adesina, Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to President, during the virtual meeting held by the Authority of Heads of State and Government of the West African Monetary Zone on Tuesday, President Muhammadu Buhari expressed concerns over the region Eco currency and the need for member states to attain a collective goal.

He said, “It gives me an uneasy feeling that the UEMOA Zone now wishes to take up the Eco in replacement for its CFA Franc ahead of the rest of the member states.

“This is in addition to deviating from the Community Act on a consistent attainment of convergence in the three years running up to the introduction of the currency, and our subsequent reinforcing directives.

“I am informed that the French ministers have approved a bill to reform the CFA Franc and most, if not all of the UEMOA member states, have already passed legislations in their various parliaments to that effect.”

He added, “It is a matter of concern that a people with whom we wish to go into a union are taking these major steps without trusting us for discussion.

“We cannot ridicule ourselves by entering a union to disintegrate, potentially no sooner than we enter into it.

“We need to be clear and unequivocal about our position regarding this process. We have all staked so much in this project to leave things to mere expediencies and convenience.

“We must proceed with caution and comply with the agreed process of reaching our collective goal while treating each other with utmost respect.

“Without these, our ambitions for a strategic monetary union as an ECOWAS bloc could very well be in serious jeopardy.”

To better discuss the issue, ECOWAS leaders agreed to convene a more broad and inclusive meeting on the single currency.

Dr Obadiah Mailafia, a former Deputy Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria,  who also spoke on the matter said it was wrong for the francophone countries to unilaterally take the decision to replace the CFA Franc with Eco.

“They have simply gone ahead to create a fait accompli. It is not good for Nigeria. It has taken the leadership process from Nigeria, which accounts for up to 70 per cent of West Africa’s GDP.”

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.

Economy

Inflation, Economic Uncertainties Push Price of Palm Oil up 40% in Enugu

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Price of Palm Oil rose by 40% in Enugu State

The rising cost of goods and services amid economic uncertainties has pushed the price of a key food ingredient in Nigeria, palm oil, up by around 40 percent in Enugu metropolis, according to a recent report by NAN.

The survey revealed that at Ogbete main market, Garki and Mayor markets, a 5 litre key of palm oil now sells for N2,350, up from N1,800 it was sold in August.

Similarly, the price of a 70cl bottle rose from N280 a few weeks ago to N400.

The survey also revealed that a 20-litre jerry-can of palm oil is now selling between N11,000 and N12,500 as against N9,000 and N9,500, depending on its processing pattern and grade.

Palm oil dealers, who spoke newsmen at the various major markets in the metropolis, attributed the increase to an off-season of the palm fruits for the year.

Mrs Oby Ofordile, a palm oil seller at Ogbete Main Market said that “the price of oil as at January was between N250 and N270 per 70cl bottle, while 20-litre went for between N9,000 and N9,500.

Ofordile noted that scarcity of palm oil fruits had led to low productivity, thereby leading to a hike in the price of the commodity.

According to Miss Onyeka Agu, another seller of palm oil at Ogbete Market, a 25-litre jerry-can in major markets in the metropolis goes for between N13,000 and N14,500 while in the villages, where the oil is produced, the price stands at N12,500.

Mrs Lucy Adindu, a palm oil seller at Garki Market, corroborated Ofodile’s views, hinging the price hike on palm fruits being out of season.

“The price of the commodity will come down when next harvest period sets in,” Adindu said.

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Labour Says Nationwide Strike Will Commence on Monday, Shuns Court Order

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NLC, TUC to Embark on Nationwide Strike on Monday, Shuns Court Order

Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress has dismissed ruling of the National Industrial Court restraining them from embarking on a Nationwide strike on Monday 28, 2020.

The NLC and TUC disclosed this on Thursday after the meeting held with the Government ended in a deadlock.

Labour had engaged the government to reverse the recent increase in petrol price and the hike in electricity tariffs. However, after failing to get labour unions to back down on planned industrial action, a group likely sponsored by the government or one of it agents approached the industrial court in Abuja on Thursday to secure a restrain order against the planned strike.

Peace and Unity Ambassadors Association through their counsel, Sunusi Musa, had filed an ex-parte application to halt the protest.

But, Ayuba Wabba, the NLC President, dismissed court ruling, saying he has not been served and the group did not employ him.

He asked, “How does that (injunction) affect me if I have not been served? Have I been served? Are they our employers? What relationship do I have with any group?”

Quadri Olaleye, the TUC President, stated that the mobilisation of workers for the strike can not be stopped, noting that the government failed to reverse or suspend the fuel price hike and electricity tariff adjustment.

He stated, “We were not the one that adjourned the meeting; the government adjourned it till Monday. Monday is the expiration of the ultimatum and we are still very much focused on that. It is a deadlock now.

“Of course, that (adjournment) will not stop the action that has been put in place. We have told them to reverse or to suspend, while the discussion goes on Monday. So, labour is left with no option but to go our way.

Speaking on offers or concessions made by the government’s team, the union leader said, “We are coming with an open mind to find a solution to the problems in the country, especially on the price hike. They have made their proposal, but we are saying let us suspend or reverse, then we can now continue to discuss but they have adjourned. But labour will continue with the mobilisation of workers.

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Economy

Access Bank Partners Lagos to Improve Oniru Road Network

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Following the improvement of the road network around the Oniru-Victoria Island and Lekki axis, where its head office is located, Access Bank Plc in partnership with the Lagos State government yesterday inaugurated the project.

The road network project measuring around 1.8 kilometers was inaugurated by the Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu and had in attendance his Deputy, Mr. Femi Hamzat, the Oniru of Iruland, Oba Abdul-Wasiu Omogbolahan Lawal and array of distinguished persons.

Speaking during the ceremony, Sanwo-Olu said the most critical challenge being experienced on daily basis by residents and road users along the axis was the heavy traffic, saying delivering the project has improved traffic flow, reduced travel time and eliminated perennial flooding issues.

According to the governor, the Victoria Island – Lekki Traffic Circulation Project commenced in December last year, under a Public Infrastructure Improvement Partnership (PIIP) Programme in conjunction with Access Bank.

It involved the dualisation, expansion, construction and rehabilitation of some roads, junction and turning radius. In addition, it included the provision of new drainage system, re-routing some roads as one way and signalization.

Sanwo-Olu added: “Over the years, one of the critical challenges being experienced on a daily basis by residences and road users along this axis has been heavy traffic, congestion occasioned by the geometric increase by the traffic of this area. The traffic congestion has been responsible for the decline in productivity and it discourages growth in this highly commercial location.

“As a responsible government, we resolved to work in partnership with public spirited corporate organisation to embark on this project and our aim was to improve on the traffic linkage and time of our people. Specifically, we sought to reduce the untold hardship our citizens pass through at this axis and this project was executed through the public infrastructure improvement partnership PIIP arrangement.

“Today I have the pleasure to stand before you and can confirm that we have improved network connectivity and traffic flow and we have reduced travel time. We have eliminated perennial flooding issues, enhanced transportation and we have improved the health and social economic wellbeing of our people through this Victoria island-lekki circulation around the Oniru axis from Muri Okunola extension down to Ligali Ayoyinde and along other 7 junctions.”

Speaking further, he praised the Group Managing Director Access Bank, Herbert Wigwe, describing him as, “a true believer of our government, a real partner and somebody you can truly depend on and rely on as a friend.”

Some of the roads delivered under the project are Ligali Ayorinde Muri Okunola – Aboyade Cole, Yesufu Abiodun Oniru, Ligali Ayorinde/Akinbolagbe/Okene amongst others

He said the partnership with Access Bank reinforced the importance of Public-Private Partnership (PPP) in delivering public infrastructure.

He said government was willing to give incentives such as tax holidays and branding and advertisement concession to corporate organisations that are ready to partner with government.

Commenting on the project, Wigwe said: “At the heart of Access Bank’s business operations is our commitment to offering ‘More’ to our customers and more extensively, positively affecting the communities in which we operate.

“Our track record speaks for itself as we have successfully executed similar projects in Oyin Jolayemi Street, Danmole Street and other areas. Indeed, community and social impact have become enshrined parts of our DNA as a bank.

“We appreciate the Lagos State Government, led by Dr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, for the incredible support received during the execution of this project. Our commitment to facilitating a greater Lagos will not end here and I am truly excited about the infrastructural, technological and social advancements that our partnership will foster.”

“The Victoria Island and Lekki axis are two of the most commercial areas in Lagos State, witnessing a huge daily exchange of economic activities and as a result, commuters. About 40 per cent of the employed population in the formal sector in Lagos work in Victoria Island, and a good percentage of these workers have their offices situated around the Oniru axis.”

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