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Despite Challenges, Nigeria Remains Profitable Investment Haven—FG

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Nigeria Profitable Investment Haven

By Ashemiriogwa Emmanuel

The federal government has said despite the various challenges bedevilling Nigeria, it has remained a good and profitable investment haven attracting foreign workers.

The Minister of Interior, Mr Rauf Aregbesola, while delivering his goodwill address titled That business may thrive in Kaduna on the second day of the 6th edition of the Annual Kaduna Economic Investment (KADINVEST 6.0) held in Kaduna State, said within a period of 24 months, the central government has registered more than 2,000 foreign companies while over 12,000 expatriates have been given permits to work in Nigeria.

Speaking at the event on Friday, he said that the ministry, from inception to date, has handled 14,690 companies and granted 126,893 quota licenses to expatriates, indicating something special about the nation.

He said, “The Ministry from inception till date has handled 14,690 companies and granted 126,893 quota licenses to expatriates. However, from August 2019 till date we have registered more than 2,000 companies while over 12,000 expatriates have been given permits to work in Nigeria.

“We now handle applications with dispatch and will encourage any firm or organization with a genuine need for expatriates to bring their applications. We shall accord it with the required courtesy. The Minister also reiterated the fact that Nigeria is still a good and profitable investment haven, even in the face of security challenges.”

He pointed out the abundant raw materials, highly skilled and affordable workforce, as well as the largest market for goods and services in Africa which has made Nigeria remained investors’ dream in spite of the challenges faced.

“Looking at the history of economic development, we can see that there was a quantum leap in economic production at the onset of Industrial Revolution circa 1760 in England, compared to what obtained in the feudal era.

“The introduction of machines and factory system that enabled mass production of goods unleashed economic prosperity on the industrialized nations such that in a period of 50 years, it had created a yawning gap between them and the societies still trapped in feudal productions.

“Two and a half centuries down the line, the paradigm of production will be further altered spectacularly with advancement in knowledge altogether. Economic production in the immediate Industrial Revolution era had been built on the factors of nearness to raw materials and markets, among others.

“Therefore, the concept of comparative advantage is said to favour locales where these factors count higher than others. A petroleum refinery under this outlook is said to be best sited near oil deposits, just as automobile factories are recommended to be sited near iron ore deposits.

“But all that has changed. The new idea now is competitiveness. This is the concept of where, how, and which firms can best produce the same product qualitatively and at the best price, discounting the old notion of comparative advantage,” he explained.

The Minister then applauded the Kaduna State Government, the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), and the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) for their effort in organizing the program with is themed Towards a sustainable knowledge-based economy.

Among the dignitaries present at the event were the Deputy Governor of Kaduna State, Mr Hadiza Sabuwa Balarabe; the Minister of State for Mines and Steel, Mr Uche Ogah, and the Emir of Zazzau, Emir Ahmad Nuhu Bamalli.

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Economy

Stakeholders Pledge Quality Market for Locally Produced Onion Species

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onions at Lagos Markets

By Adedapo Adesanya

National Onion Producers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria (NOPPMAN) has pledged to stimulate quality production and profitable market for all the commodity stakeholders in West Africa.

This was disclosed by the President of the association, Mr Aliyu Maitasamu in Abuja, who further said the group was ready to build members’ capacities in good agronomic practices for onion production and good strategies for commercialisation.

Mr Maitasamu said that the onion species produced in the country was one of the best in the world because of its strong pungency, adding that it is exported to many countries including France, Japan, India, Niger Republic, Ghana and others.

He said as part of efforts to bring stakeholders together in West Africa to further harness the potential of the onion business, the association plans a regional conference on the impact of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) on onions in November.

Mr Maitasamu said that the regional conference and their General Annual Meeting 2021 will hold on November 3 and 4, in Kano State, urging interested participants to register through https://noppman.org.

He said the theme of the conference is The Onion Sector in the Era of the African Free Trade Area and the COVID-19 Pandemic: Challenges and Opportunities.

Mr Maitasamu added that the conference is a collaborative effort of the Regional Observatory for Onion Sector in West and Central Africa (ROO-WCA), explaining that the overall objective is to re-structure efficiently the onion sector in the region in order to ensure a better exchange of onion between areas of production and consumption.

“More specifically, ROO/WCA is targeting to build an integrated, strong and effective onion value-chain that will be able to ensure and stimulate a quality production and profitable market for all the commodity stakeholders.

“The ROO-WCA mission expands also into reinforcing institutional capacities of professional organizations, with the objective to ensure smooth exchange between partners by collection.

“And dispersal of commercial information relevant for decision-makers in production, purchases and sales.

“This will ensure permanent contact between members by organising periodic meetings, for a better use of business opportunities and judicious sharing of information and experience,” he said.

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Economy

Crude Prices to Average $74 Per Barrel in 2022—World Bank

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crude oil prices

By Adedapo Adesanya

The World Bank in its latest Commodity Markets Outlook says crude prices will average $74 per barrel next year.

Crude oil prices (an average of Brent, WTI and Dubai) are expected to average $70 in 2021, an increase of 70 per cent and are projected to be $74 a barrel in 2022 as oil demand strengthens and reaches pre-pandemic levels.

The use of crude oil as a substitute for natural gas presents a major upside risk to the demand outlook, although higher energy prices may start to weigh on global growth.

This is happening as energy prices soared in the third quarter of 2021 and are expected to remain elevated in 2022.

The Bretton Wood institution said that the rise is adding to global inflationary pressures and could shift economic growth to energy-exporting countries from energy-importing ones.

The report said that energy prices—expected to average more than 80 per cent higher in 2021 compared to last year—will remain at high levels in 2022 but will start to decline in the second half of the year as supply constraints ease.

Non-energy prices, including agriculture and metals, are projected to decrease in 2022, following strong gains this year.

“The surge in energy prices poses significant near-term risks to global inflation and, if sustained, could also weigh on growth in energy-importing countries,” said Mr Ayhan Kose, Chief Economist and Director of the World Bank’s Prospects Group, which produces the Outlook report.

“The sharp rebound in commodity prices is turning out to be more pronounced than previously projected. Recent volatility in prices may complicate policy choices as countries recover from last year’s global recession,” he added.

In 2021, some commodity prices rose to or exceeded levels not seen since the spike of 2011.

For example, natural gas and coal prices reached record highs amid supply constraints and rebounding demand for electricity, although they are expected to decline in 2022 as demand eases and supply improves.

However, additional price spikes may occur in the near term amid very low inventories and persistent supply bottlenecks.

As global growth softens and supply disruptions are resolved, metal prices are forecast to fall 5 per cent in 2022, after rising by an estimated 48 per cent in 2021.

Following a projected 22 per cent increase in 2021, agricultural prices are expected to decline modestly next year as supply conditions improve and energy prices stabilize.

“High natural gas and coal prices are impacting the production of other commodities and pose an upside risk to price forecasts,” said Mr John Baffes, Senior Economist in the World Bank’s Prospects Group.

“Fertilizer production has been curtailed by higher natural gas and coal prices, and higher fertilizer prices have been pushing up input costs for key food crops. The production of some metals such as aluminium and zinc has been reduced due to high energy costs as well.”

The institution then called on countries to benefit from accelerating the installation of renewable energy and reducing their dependency on fossil fuels.

The report notes that forecasts are subject to substantial risks—including adverse weather, the uneven COVID-19 recovery, the threat of more outbreaks, supply-chain disruptions, and environmental policies.

Furthermore, higher food prices, along with the recent spike in energy costs, are pushing food-price inflation up and raising food-security concerns in several developing economies, it warned.

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Economy

NGX Index Grows 1.10% as MTN, Airtel, Nestle Witness Cross Deals

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Cross Deals

By Dipo Olowookere

The Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited finished strong on Thursday as it appreciated by 1.10 per cent on the back of sustained bargain hunting by investors.

Consequently, the All-Share Index (ASI) went up by 454.40 points to 41,704.11 points from 41,249.71 points, while the market capitalisation rose by N238 billion to N21.764 trillion from N21.526 trillion it finished on Wednesday.

Business Post reports that the activity chart was weak yesterday as a total of 216.2 million shares worth N3.4 billion were traded in 4,272 deals as against the 499.5 million shares worth N5.1 billion transacted in 5,998 deals a day earlier.

This indicated that the volume of shares bought and sold at the session depreciated by 56.72 per cent, the value of the stocks went down by 33.43 per cent and the number of deals fell by 28.78 per cent.

Like in the previous trading day, FBN Holdings was the most traded stock with the sale of 51.9 million units valued at N628.3 million as Ecobank traded 20.0 million units worth N143.7 million.

Transcorp exchanged 14.7 million equities valued at N15.0 million, Access Bank transacted 13.0 million stocks worth N124.2 million, while Fidelity Bank sold 12.5 million shares for N34.2 million.

It was observed that on Thursday, three cross deals were recorded with MTN opening the market with the exchange of about 2 million units of its stocks at N172.00 each, while Airtel Africa witnessed the transfer of over 900,000 units at N770.00 each, with about 100,000 units of Nestle Nigeria’s shares crossed at N1,405.00 each.

A cross deal is the practice of the exchange of stocks between a buyer and a seller through a broker at an agreed price on the exchange.

A total of 23 equities were on the gainers’ chart yesterday with Cutix leading after its value went higher by the maximum rise of 10.00 per cent to settle at N5.50.

NGX Group rose by 9.79 per cent to N23.55, Consolidated Hallmark Insurance grew by 9.09 per cent to 60 kobo, Nigerian Breweries appreciated by 7.41 per cent to N51.45, while BUA Cement gained 6.12 per cent to sell for N72.00.

Conversely, 19 stocks finished on the losers’ log led by the Initiates, which fell by 8.51 per cent to trade at 43 kobo, followed by Neimeth, which lost 4.86 per cent to quote at N1.76.

Furthermore, Universal Insurance depreciated by 4.76 per cent to close at 20 kobo, NAHCO depleted by 3.61 per cent to N3.47, while Unity Bank went down by 3.51 per cent to 55 kobo.

In terms of the performance of the sectors, the energy space was down by 0.36 per cent while the industrial goods, insurance, consumer goods and banking counters appreciated by 2.16 per cent, 1.56 per cent, 1.45 per cent and 0.17 per cent respectively.

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