By Adedapo Adesanya
The Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, has promised to seek the approval of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for the commencement of Ibadan Dry Port before the end of May.
Mr Amaechi, who is also aspiring to take over from President Muhammadu Buhari in 2023 on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), made the pledge when he visited the Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Olalekan Balogun, at his Alarere Palace, Ibadan, Oyo State.
The Minister was responding to Senator Kola Balogun’s request for the completion of the Ibadan Inland Dry Port, explaining that all the bottlenecks surrounding the delay of the project have been resolved.
Mr Amaechi assured the Olubadan that the project would commence operation once approved by FEC, adding that a railway station would be named after an Ibadan indigene.
The APC presidential aspirant said he possessed all that would take him to make Nigeria better if given the opportunity to become the next president.
Mr Amaechi said he was a detribalised Nigerian, adding that as a firm believer in the Nigerian project, his cabinet as the Governor in Rivers State had a sizable number of non-indigenes.
“Two Permanent Secretaries were non-natives of Rivers State to demonstrate my detribalised nature.
“I don’t belong to any geopolitical bloc as far as my presidential ambition is concerned.
“I’m not Hausa/Fulani candidate, I’m not Yoruba candidate, I’m not Igbo candidate and I’m not even the Kalabari candidate, but a Nigeria candidate,” he said.
He also promised to perform if allowed to govern Nigeria, recalling how he turned things around in Rivers State and made it a safe haven for both people and businesses.
“Whoever is conversant with Rivers State will attest to it that the place witnessed a turnaround during my tenure and this was made possible by creating an alternative to criminality.
“Whatever you do, if people are not engaged toward ministering to their welfare, crime will thrive,” he said.
Responding, the monarch lauded Mr Amaechi for being a detribalised Nigerian, saying that the Minister shares the same attribute with him on the oneness of Nigeria.
The Olubadan said that the Minister has demonstrated the capacity to wedge the country together and told him to feel free to knock at the palace’s door any time.
He, thereafter, harped on the unity of the country, saying that, irrespective of language, tribe or religion, “we are all brothers and sisters.”
Nigeria Needs 10 Years to Meet Yearly Sugar Production Target—Adedeji
By Adedapo Adesanya
Nigeria needs another 10 years to meet its yearly sugar production target of 1.7 million metric tonnes, capable of stemming the rising tide of sugar importation while creating jobs, generating electricity and producing ethanol for industrial purposes.
The Executive Secretary of the National Sugar Development Council (NSDC), Mr Zacch Adedeji, disclosed this yesterday while briefing journalists on the state of sugar production in Nigeria.
Mr Adedeji revealed that a total of 250,000 hectares would also be required for cane cultivation while 28 factories are expected to be established even as over 100,000 direct and indirect jobs are expected to be created within the 10 years time frame as encapsulated in the Nigeria Sugar Master plan (NSMP) phase 2.
Nigeria is the largest and fastest growing economy in Africa, and the African Development Bank (AfDB) projects that the average growth rate for the country’s economy will increase by 3.2 per cent this year, but many factors have impacted the possibility of this leading to dwindling revenue.
The country has thus been exploring many options to raise revenue, especially through non-oil exports, which include sugar.
However, the shortage of foreign exchange, technology for production, required land mass, and skilled labour poses serious challenges to the success of the sugar sector.
Mr Adedeji noted, “With phase 1 of the master plan, which began in 2013 reaching its crescendo in the first quarter of 2023, the federal government, in a rare show of commitment to its economic diversification policy through the promotion of industrialization, has approved Phase 2 of the policy with actual implementation to begin in 2023 through 2033,” he said.
He noted, “I am pleased to also announce to you today that we have two new investors who are set to come on board in a week or two from now, and we are going to sign a Memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the Nasarawa State government and one of the investors, as well as another between the Oyo State government and the second investor.
“All the necessary policies and technology guidelines have been concluded. These new investors would focus on the field and agricultural aspect of the NSMP, which is the engine room of the master plan.”
He then explained that the good news is that, presently, four companies have signed on to the Backward Integration Programme (BIP) of the NSMP. These companies are Dangote Sugar Refinery, BUA Sugar Refinery, Golden Sugar Refinery, and Kia Africa Group.
Naira Appreciates on Dollar at P2P, Black Market, Drops at I&E
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Naira appreciated against the US Dollar at the black market and the Peer-to-Peer (P2P) arms of the foreign exchange (forex) market on Wednesday but recorded a marginal loss at the Investors and Exporters (I&E) window.
In the parallel market, the domestic currency gained N3 against the greenback to sell at N727/$1 compared with the previous day’s value of N730/$1.
Also, in the P2P window, the local currency appreciated against the American Dollar by N9 to trade at N751/$1 compared with the previous day’s rate of N760/$1.
Business Post reports that the Naira eased off the scare that arose from the move by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to limit cash withdrawals from next year.
However, in the I&E segment, the Naira depreciated by 3 Kobo or 0.01 per cent against the US currency to trade at N445.83/$1, in contrast to Tuesday’s price of N445.80/$1, according to data obtained from FMDQ Securities Exchange.
This happened amid a 29.1 per cent or $52.51 million decline in the value of FX transactions at the stock exchange to $127.78 million from the preceding session’s $180.29 million.
In the interbank window, the local currency appreciated against the Pound Sterling yesterday by N2.47 to sell for N544.68/£1 versus Tuesday’s N547.15/£1 and against the Euro, the Naira gained N2.10 to close at N468.68/€1 compared with N470.78/€1.
Meanwhile, in the digital currency market, most of the tokens pointed south, with Litecoin (LTC) declining by 6.2 per cent to $75.07 and Solana (SOL) recording a 4.7 per cent slump to trade at $13.34.
Dogecoin (DOGE) went southwards by 4.5 per cent to sell at $0.0959, Cardano (ADA) lost 2.6 per cent to close at $0.3089, Ethereum (ETH) fell by 2.5 per cent to trade at $1,228.05, Binance Coin (BNB) slid by 1.8 per cent to $283.32, Bitcoin (BTC) fell by 1.1 per cent to $16,812.26, and Ripple (XRP) dipped by 0.1 per cent to $0.3874.
But the US Dollar Tether (USDT) and Binance USD (BUSD) closed flat at $1.00 each.
NASD OTC Market Closes Flat in Midweek Session
By Adedapo Adesanya
The NASD Over-the-Counter (OTC) Securities Exchange remained unchanged at the close of business on Wednesday, December 7, with the performance indicators closing flat.
Business Post reports that there was neither a price gainer nor a price loser at the midweek trading session, and this left the market capitalisation of the alternative bourse unchanged at N935.79 billion, as the NASD Unlisted Securities Index (NSI) also closed flat at 712.16 points.
However, the activity chart witnessed a downward movement during the session as the volume of transactions declined by 94.5 per cent due to the 56,370 units of securities traded by investors, in contrast to the 1.03 million units of securities transacted a day earlier.
Similarly, the value of shares exchanged by the market participants went down by 95.8 per cent yesterday as a result of the N1.3 million worth of stocks traded compared with the N31.0 million worth of stocks traded on Tuesday.
However, the number of deals carried out by traders increased by 30 per cent due to the 13 deals completed by investors as against the 10 deals executed in the preceding market day.
When trading activities ended for the day, AG Mortgage Bank Plc maintained its position as the most active stock by volume on a year-to-date basis with a turnover of 2.3 billion units valued at N1.2 billion, Central Securities Clearing System (CSCS) Plc stood in second place with the sale of 687.9 million units worth N14.3 billion, while Lighthouse Financial Services Plc was in third place with a turnover of 224.7 million units valued at N112.3 million.
Also, CSCS Plc retained its spot as the busiest stock by value on a year-to-date basis with the sale of 687.9 million units worth N14.3 billion, followed by VFD Group Plc with the sale of 29.1 million units valued at N7.7 billion, and FrieslandCampina WAMCO Nigeria Plc with a turnover of 17.6 million units worth N1.9 billion.
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