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Atiku Was Never Head of Economic Management Team—Ezekwesili

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Ezekwesili Atiku Economic Management Team

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

A former Nigerian Minister, Mrs Oby Ezekwesili, has asked former Vice President Atiku Abubakar to stop parading himself as the head of the Economic Management Team of former President Olusegun Obasanjo.

Mr Obasanjo governed the country as a civilian between 1999 and 2007 with Mr Atiku, who intends to become the next Nigerian president this year.

He is contesting the position with the candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), the candidate of the Labour Party, Mr Peter Obi, and others.

On Monday, the former VP, through his official Twitter page, said, “As the head of the economic management team, while I was Vice President, I was instrumental in designing a private sector revival strategy and advocated the opening of the economy for private sector investments in several sectors, and we made tremendous progress.”

But the co-convener of the Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) movement, in response to the tweet, described Mr Atiku’s claim as a lie, saying he never headed the Economic Management Team but the National Economic Council (NEC), which the constitution makes provision for the VP to lead.

“Dear former Vice President Atiku, please ask the handlers of your @Twitter account to stop misleading the public. You were never the Head of the Economic Management Team.

“This absurd lie does you no good at all. Please ask your Team to stop it,” she responded.

She further wrote, “There is a difference between the Economic Management Team set up for the 1st time ever in 2003 by President Obasanjo and the National Economic Council established by the 1999 Constitution as amended; Section 153(1) and Paragraphs 18 & 19 of Part I of the Third Schedule.

“The Presidential Economic Management Team (we called it “The Economic Team” for brevity) was a Technical Team of 12 persons from a range of expertise whom President Obasanjo constituted to drive Nigeria’s Economic Reforms Agenda during his 2nd Term in office 2003-2007.

“In constituting the Economic Team, we designed it @ two levels of Leadership: 1. Political Leadership [headed by] President Olusegun Obasanjo, and the Technical Leadership [headed by] The Minister of Finance, Dr Okonjo-Iweala.

“Our Team also had Thematic Issues Lead, e.g. I was for Good Governance.

“At the Political Leadership level of the Economic Team, the then President, Olusegun Obasanjo, instituted a Weekly Meeting before the Federal Executive Council where he would meet with us his Economic Team to discuss the Economic Reform Agenda. The President was Chair.

“As Chair of the Political Leadership Level of the Economic Team, the then President decided (usually with the counsel of his Economic Team) which sectoral Ministers, or Heads of Agencies, Parastatals and Departments joined this Weekly Wednesday meeting held before FEC meeting.

“As Chair of the Technical Level Leadership, the then Minister of Finance was the Head of our Technocratic Team of 12 persons, which met in her office at the Ministry statutorily weekly and as often as necessary daily as we designed and began implementing the Economic Reforms.

“There is no sincere basis for confusing the work of the Presidential Economic Management Team that I described in the previous tweets with the National Economic Council, provided for in the Constitution and chaired by a Vice President. The functions are not the same at all. None.

“National Economic Council consists of: (a) Vice-President as the Chairman; (b) the Governor of each State of the Federation; and (c) the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria established under the Central Bank of Nigeria Decree 1991 or any enactment replacing that Decree.

“Constitutionally, National Economic Council advises the President concerning the economic affairs of the Federation, and in particular on measures necessary for the coordination of the economic planning efforts or economic programmes of the various Governments of the Federation.

“The National Economic Council, which former Vice President Atiku constitutionally chaired and now by Professor Osinbajo, is really an advisory organ that provides an opportunity for the Federal Government and States of the Federation to discuss our Economy for coordination purposes.

“The 1999 Constitution also has the Vice President as the Chairperson of the National Council on Privatization. In that capacity, it is the duty of the Vice President to supervise the work of the Bureau for Public Enterprise BPE on behalf of the President.”

Economy

NGX Upgrades Price Stock Group of Eterna

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price stock group of Eterna

By Dipo Olowookere

The price stock group of Eterna Plc has been moved upward by the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited, Business Post reports.

In a regulatory notice on Monday, the bourse noted that it upgraded the stock category of the energy company from a low-price stock group to a medium-price stock group.

This action, according to the exchange, was necessitated after the stability in the price of the company’s equities within four of the last six months in the new price category, in line with its price methodology framework.

“Equity securities of quoted companies on the exchange (NGX) are classified into three stock price groups or categories; high-priced, medium-priced, and low-priced stocks, based on their market price.

“In this regard, securities must have traded for at least four out of the most recent six-month period within a stock price group’s specified price band to be classified into the category.

“Accordingly, a review of Eternal Plc stock price and trade activities over the most recent six-month period provides the basis for reclassifying the security from the low-priced stock group to the medium-priced stock group.

“This reclassification also necessitates the attendant change in the tick size change from N0.01 kobo to N0.05 kobo, in line with Rule 15.29: Pricing Methodology, Rulebook of the exchange, 2015 (trading license holders’ rules),” the statement from the platform stated.

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Economy

Unlisted Securities Investors Gain N18.29bn in Five Days

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unlisted securities investors

By Dipo Olowookere

It was another positive week for unlisted securities investors in Nigeria as they smiled home with N18.29 billion last week on the floor of the NASD over-the-counter (OTC) Securities Exchange.

This was buoyed by the 1.98 per cent week-on-week growth recorded by the alternative bourse in the country during the five-day trading week, which had five stocks closing on the gainers’ chart, with none on the opposite table.

Data harvested by Business Post indicated that FrieslandCampina Wamco Nigeria appreciated by 10.44 per cent to settle at N69.00 per unit. UBN Property Gain 7.14 per cent to trade at 75 Kobo per share, Niger Delta Exploration and Production improved by 6.95 per cent to N200.00 per unit, Geo-Fluids rose by 6.12 per cent to N1.04 per share, and Central Securities Clearing System (CSCS) increased by 3.85 per cent to N13.50 per unit.

In the week, the volume of trades declined by 35.51 per cent to 24.5 million units from 62.6 million units, the number of deals went down by 12.82 per cent to 66 deals from the preceding week’s 71 deals, while the value of transactions increased by 122.48 per cent to N96.6 million from N87.6 million.

The most active security for the week by volume was Geo-Fluids, with the sale of 20.0 million units, followed by UBN Property with 3.4 million units. FrieslandCampina traded 581,021 units, CSCS transacted 375,512 units, and VFD Group exchanged 111,104 units.

However, the most active equity by value for the week was FrieslandCampina, with a sale of N38.5 million. VFD Group recorded N27.2 million, Geo-Fluids traded N20.7 million, CSCS transacted 5.1 million, and UBN Property traded N2.6 million.

Data showed that the NASD unlisted securities index (NSI) increased in the week by 13.92 points to 717.15 points from 703.23 points, as the market capitalisation grew by N18.29 billion to N942.35 billion from N924.06 billion.

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Economy

Nigeria’s External Reserves Shed 0.14% to $37.020bn

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Nigeria's external reserves

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

In one week, Nigeria’s external reserves depreciated by a marginal 0.14 per cent to $37.020 billion from $37.070 billion in the preceding week.

Data obtained by Business Post from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) disclosed that the balance in the coffers was as of Thursday, February 2, 2023.

The FX balance in the country’s purse was supposed to expand during this period when prices of crude oil were relatively stable, but this has not been the case because of low production.

Nigeria relies heavily on the sale of crude oil to earn forex, which is currently scarce in the country, putting the Naira under pressure.

The federal government has blamed low crude oil output on the theft of the commodity and has promised to make efforts to address the issue.

Recall that in August 2022, Nigeria’s crude oil production plunged below one million barrels per day (972,394 bpd), the lowest ever in several years.

However, according to the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), the output improved by 171,000 barrels per day in November to 1.186mbpd, though about 700,000 barrels per day less than its quota for the month.

The Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, said the federal government plans to improve the country’s crude oil production to 1.6 million barrels per day by the first quarter of 2023.

It is believed that this would boost the FX earnings of the nation and bolster the reserves and the local currency in the foreign exchange market.

Last week, the Nigerian Naira depreciated against the United States Dollar on a week-on-week basis by 25 Kobo or 0.05 per cent to N461.50/$1 compared with the preceding week’s N461.75/$1.

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