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Nigeria’s external reserve drop by $261 million in 15 days, oil firms to sell forex to CBN

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Nigeria’s external reserve

Nigeria’s external reserve drop by $261 million in 15 days, oil firms to sell forex to CBN 

Nigeria’s external reserve fell by $261 million in 15 days as the central bank of Nigeria (CBN) marginally increased sale of forex in the I&E (Investors and Exporter) window.

Data from the website of the apex bank reveals Nigeria’s external reserve is now $36.3 billion as of June 18th, 2020. Nairametrics tracks the external reserve position on a weekly basis.

The last time Nairametrics checked the external reserve position on June 3rd the central bank has $36.57 billion. The drop is in line with expectations considering the limited dollar earnings due to stiff OPEC cuts and low crude oil prices.

Nigeria’s external reserve has declined for a second consecutive week since June 3, 2020, when it stood at $36.577 billion. This represents a decline of $261 million or 0.71% in 15 days when compared to the $36.316 billion as of June 18, 2020.

Also, note that Nigeria’s external reserve position is now down $9 billion years to date and down from its peak of $45.17 billion achieved.

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The naira has been under pressure against other major currencies, particularly the dollar, since the fall in oil prices and the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. This has triggered a wave of currency speculators who believe the devaluation which occurred in March should be have been more. The CBN devalued it’s the official exchange rate in March from N307/$1 reacting to the fall in crude oil prices. However, Brent crude oil prices have risen since then to over $43 per barrel but yet to hit pre-crash level prices. Speculators are betting that the government may devalue further if they are to fund the government’s huge revenue gap.

However,  dollar shortages, which is impacting on the external reserve, continues to be on the burner and widening the exchange rate at the I&E window and the black market. Several reports monitored by Nairametrics suggest the accumulated demand for foreign exchange in the market especially by importers and foreign investors who want to repatriate their funds could be between $1.5–$5 billion as supply shortages persist. The rise in dollar demand and the contrasting fall in supply has given rise for calls for another round of devaluation by CBN.

Source had reported that the Federal Government through the Economic Sustainability Committee had proposed the unification of the exchange rate to maximize naira returns to FAAC from the foreign exchange inflows. The policy measures by the committee is also to help manage the exchange rate in a sustainable manner.

As part of the measure to improve the foreign exchange supply to CBN, the committee had recommended the sales of foreign exchange supply directly to the apex bank by oil companies and oil service companies instead of NNPC.

The naira depreciated to N386.50 to a dollar at the Investors and Exporters (I&E) window last week Friday. It also depreciated to N455 to a dollar at the parallel market otherwise known as the black market.
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COVID-19

Breakthrough As Nigeria Creates Own Testing Kits (RNA Swift)

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RNA Swift

Breakthrough As Nigeria Creates Own Testing Kits

Nigeria has recorded a significant breakthrough as the federal government yesterday announced the country’s indigenous development and validation of RNA Swift, a test kit for the identification of SARS-CoV-2, the causative agent for Covid-19.

The testing kits will help accelerate the capacity to test people and effectively manage the Coronavirus pandemic.

The RNA Swift testing kit is said to be capable of improving testing and bring the power of large scale and precise testing closer to Nigerians.

Addressing a world press conference in Abuja, the minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, said “The RNA Swift has amazing precision for the detection of SARS-COV-2 and will be commercially available at a price that places it ahead of competitors in terms of sensitivity and affordability”.

According to Onu, the RNA Swift was borne out of a need in the agricultural sector to test Nigerian farmers and labourers, even as he hinted that in the coming months, 5million farmers will be tested with the RNA Swift kits from the first 10 million kits to be produced.

He described the development of the testing kit as “Nigeria’s gift and contribution to help Africa and the world fight the Covid-19 pandemic”, adding that by encouraging Nigerian scientists and innovators, the country has the capacity to find solutions to global challenges.

Onu confirmed the support of the African Development Bank (AfDB) when he said, “I want to confirm to you that the RNASwift product team is in consultation with the African Development Bank for the funding of an African-wide testing programme for COVID-19 and the establishment for RNASwift production in Nigeria”.

The minister noted that the development of the test kit was as a result of careful planning and strategic investments of the Ministry’s departments and agencies.

He commended the Federal Ministries of Agriculture and Finance, as well as the National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), Sheffield University, scientists and the organised private sector (OPS) for their collaborative efforts in the development of the testing kits.

Earlier, the minister of Agriculture, Alhaji Sabo Nanono, said his ministry is working hard to ensure food security in the country by supporting the fight against the spread of Covid-19.

He said his ministry will continue to be in the forefront of the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic by ensuring that the newly developed testing kits is made available to test over 5 million farmers across the country.

He commended the efforts of the federal government in minimising the spread of the virus.

He further admonished Nigerians to look inwards, be more organised and focused so as to achieve greatness and more technological feats for the nation.

The acting director-general of NABDA, Prof Alex Ukpa, said the invention of the RNA Swift testing kit will improve testing and bring the power of large scale and precise testing closer to Nigerians.

He added that this approach will enable Nigeria and Africans at large get the needed attention to survive the pandemic.

Akpa commended two Nigerian companies, Graeme Blaque Advisory and Cellulant Nigeria Limited, for their support in the validation of the testing kit.

He further said the testing kits will be produced in Nigeria so as to meet the testing needs of the entire African continent.

“The RNA Swift kit will not only revolutionize Africa’s PCR-Based Covid-19 testing but will also lead to expanding it by at least 50 times while reducing cost, relative to the conventional kit, by over 500%,” he added.

400 Health Workers, FCT Health Sec, Nasarawa AG Test Positive

Meanwhile, no fewer than 400 health workers have tested positive for coronavirus.

National chairman of the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU), Joy Josiah Biobelemoye, who disclosed this yesterday in Abuja during the flag off ceremony for the distribution of Personal Protective Equipments PPEs to State councils of JOHESU, assured that despite the spike in infections, health workers would not relent in protecting the citizens.

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He noted that the situation on ground called for drastic solutions, hence the decision of the union to take it upon itself to distribute PPEs to her members.

“Since the outbreak of COVID-19 over 400 members of JOHESU have been infected by coronavirus. We also need to support our own members who are working and sacrificing their lives for the generality of Nigerians,”Biobelemoye stated.

Among PPEs to be distributed across 38 state councils of the union are 50,000 pieces of face masks, 15,200 pieces of sanitizers, 2000 pieces of disinfectants and 1,200 pieces of hand wash.

Meanwhile, Aliyu Mohammed, director of Human Resources who represented Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Abdulaziz Mashi, said the challenges that COVID-19 has thrown up in the health sector was becoming overwhelming, hence the federal government was appreciative of any donations made by public spirited Nigerians towards curbing the pandemic.

He noted that for some unusual reasons Nigeria has been able to brace up to the challenges better than other advanced countries with technological ingenuity.

He said, “The emergence of Covid-19 has changed the way we live our lives and the health system in general, such that even the developed countries have been overwhelmed, talk less of Nigeria.

“The virus has affected the economy drastically, hence government cannot meet all the challenges that has been thrown up; that is why we welcome such donations by the Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria.

“We have many frontline health workers taking up these challenges on behalf of other Nigerians and the federal government is always appreciative of these efforts. So, we crave your understanding and more support to improve on our health care delivery in the country”.

Earlier, general secretary of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Emmanuel Ugboaja, said health workers deserve commendation for being the first set of people to raise awareness on COVID-19 and its preventive measures.

He said when many Nigerians saw health workers putting on facemask they became aware of the seriousness of the virus and the need to stay safe.

“Medical and Health Workers Union were the first set of people that produced face masks and other PPEs and started distributing to Nigerians”, he stated.

Also, acting secretary for Health and Human Services Secretariat of the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), Dr Mohammed Kawu, has tested positive for COVID-19.

Kawu, while talking to journalists yesterday at the Asokoro District Hospital where he is currently receiving treatment, explained that his journey to the isolation center began 12 days earlier when he experienced feverish conditions.

This, he said, prompted him to take the COVID-19 test which turned out to be positive.

The acting secretary who is the equivalent to a state commissioner for Health said it was very important for Nigerians to appreciate that COVID-19 is real and can be fatal.

He stated: “I want every Nigerians, like I’ve always told them in the media, that this thing is real and anybody can be infected, especially those of us that are on the frontline.

“The disease can be fatal and it is important that everyone follows all the extant guidelines of hand washing or sanitizing, maintain social distancing wearing of facial covering and staying at home”.

On the challenges of being a frontline health worker, Dr Kawu said that the major drawback was infecting members of their families at home.

He said that his family members who are infected are also being managed within the FCT system.

Speaking on symptoms and status of his health, Kawu said. “I’m happy and I thank my creator that mine was moderate infection. I got some symptoms that were not very severe. I had to be on intravenous (IV) drugs for about 10 days. I’m stronger now. Probably they will discharge me anytime soon”.

Other COVID-19 patients also receiving treatment at the Asokoro Isolation and Treatment Center also called on the public to observe all extant guidelines to tame the spread of the disease.

Similarly, commissioner for Justice and Attorney General of Nasarawa State, Dr Abdulkarim Kana, has tested positive for COVID-19.

This is coming a week after Dr Bulus Umaru Peter, the chairman of Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), Nasarawa State branch, tested positive for the virus.

The state commissioner for Health, Pharmacist Yahaya Ahmed, confirmed the incident to our correspondent in a telephone interview in Lafia, the state capital.

He said, “I can confirm that. However he is in self isolation at home and is in a stable and clear condition. We are taking care of him.”

The Attorney General is a member of the state task force on COVID-19 who was reported to be very cautious of the pandemic by observing its safety rules like daily wearing of facemask, washing of hands and using of hand sanitizer.

Nasarawa state has so far recorded 234 positive cases of COVID 19, while 113 recovered with 8 deaths.

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NNPC Records 19% Gas To Power Supply Increase

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Power Supply Increase nnpc

NNPC Records 19% Gas To Power Supply Increase

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) yesterday in Abuja announced an increase of 19.14 per cent in the average daily natural gas supply to power plants.

This translates to 788 million standard cubic feet of gas per day (mmscfd), equivalent to power generation of 2,873MW.

The NNPC, in a release by its Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Dr. Kennie Obateru, explained that the figure was contained in the NNPC Monthly Financial and Operations Report (MFOR) for April, 2020.

According to the report, a total of 226.51 billion Cubic Feet (BCF) of natural gas was produced in April 2020, translating to an average daily production of 7,786.17 million Standard Cubic Feet per Day (mmscfd).

The figure indicated an increase of 3.73 per cent at 226.51BCF, compared to output in March 2020. Out of this figure, a total of 136.44BCF of gas was commercialised, consisting of 36.99BCF and 99.45BCF for the domestic and export market, respectively.

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Out of the 1,233.01mmscfd of gas supplied to the domestic market in April 2020, about 787.70mmscfd, representing 63.88 per cent was supplied to gas-fired power plants, while the balance of 445.31mmscfd or 36.12 per cent was supplied to other industries.

Similarly, for the period of April 2019 to April 2020, an average of 1,184.29mmscfd of gas was supplied to the domestic market, comprising an average of 677.87mmscfd or (57.24 per cent) as gas supply to the power plants and 506.42 mmscfd or (42.76 per cent) as gas supply to industries.

For the period of April 2019 to April 2020, a total of 3,082.91BCF of gas was produced, representing an average daily production of 7,857.18mmscfd during the period. Period-to-date production from Joint Ventures (JVs), Production Sharing Contracts (PSCs) and NPDC contributed about 69.57 per cent, 21.46 per cent and 8.97 per cent respectively to the total national gas production.

The report also indicated that in the Downstream Sector, a total of 0.94 billion litres of PMS, translating to 31.37mn liters/day, was supplied for the month, adding that the corporation has continued to diligently monitor the daily stock of petrol to achieve smooth distribution of petroleum products and zero fuel queue across the Nation.

In the period under review, 65 vandalized pipeline points were reported, a marked increase from the 19 points recorded in March 2020. The Atlas Cove-Mosimi stretch accounted for 55 per cent, while Mosimi-Ore recorded 22 per cent and other locations make up for the remaining 23 per cent.

The 57th edition of the MFOR indicated that in April 2020, NNPC remitted the sum of N219.16billion to the Federation Account, reflecting the Naira proceeds from the sale of domestic crude oil and gas.

In terms of dollar receipts, an export receipt of $193.05million was recorded in April 2020.

The release stated that it remained committed to sustaining effective communication with stakeholders through publication of its Monthly Financial and Operations reports on its website and in national dailies in line with the concept of Transparency, Accountability and Performance Excellence (TAPE) agenda of NNPC Management.

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NSCDC Arrest Suspected Human Trafficker In Enugu

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NSCDC Human Trafficker In Enugu

NSCDC Arrest Suspected Human Trafficker In Enugu

The Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) Command in Enugu has arrested a suspected human trafficker, Mrs. Okafor Chioma, who specialize in recruiting under-aged girls to run prostitution cartel.

CSP Danny Iwuchukwu, the spokesman for the command, said this in a statement on Thursday in Enugu.

Iwuchukwu alleged that the suspect was recruiting underage girls aged between 12 and 16, and sending them to brothels in different states for prostitution.

He said that she was arrested in Enugu on June 18 following intelligence report on her nefarious activities.

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Iwuchukwu said that the suspect, a widow who hailed from Nsugbe community in Anambra State, confessed to the crime and said she had been in the business for over four years.

“On their method of operation, she confessed that she works with a syndicate that brings the girls to her.

“And that her job is to give the girls out to different brothels where they would be prostituting and be remitting proceeds to her.

“She confessed that before giving the girls out, that she normally enters into an agreement with them.

“She said that the agreement varies from person to person putting into consideration how beautiful a particular girl is, while some pay her N50,000, others pay as much as N100,000.

“She further said that the agreement usually last for six months after which the girls will be freed.

“She, however, pleaded for forgiveness promising to stop the business,’’ he said.

Iwuchukwu said that the command has made contact with some of the girls (victims) recruited into the business by the suspect and they were willing to testify.

He, however, said that investigation was ongoing to track down some of the syndicate working for the suspect.

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#COVID19NIGERIA Situation Report

http://news.ncbn.ng/2020/06/04/coronavirus-and-the-adversity-of-the-asymptomatic-bala-ibrahim/

@Africa CDC

The African Union and Africa CDC will virtually rollout the Partnership to Accelerate COVID-19 Testing (PACT) in Africa tomorrow 4 June, 2020 at 11.00 am Eastern Africa Time.

The African Union and Africa CDC will virtually rollout the Partnership to Accelerate COVID-19 Testing (PACT) in Africa tomorrow 4 June, 2020 at 11.00 am Eastern Africa Time.

GALLANT OFFICER

Gallant Officer
"Also found worthy of honour was Bashir Abubakar, an Asst Comptroller-General of Customs, who rejected a bribe of $412,000 per container offered him by drug traffickers seeking to bring 40 containers of Tramadol into Nigeria. A fine example of incorruptibility, worthy of emulation"

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