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Economy

Innovators Seek Research Funds to Reduce Machinery Imports

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Machinery Imports

By Sodeinde Temidayo David

Nigerian innovators and technologists have asked for the availability of research funds to enable them to produce machine parts and equipment to reduce the country’s dependence on imports.

This was revealed at the Hardware Convention 2021 organised by Clintonel Innovation Centre (CIC), which was held in Aba, Abia State.

CIC is a hardware startup incubator that provides training, mentoring and equipment for young people to create engineering innovations, build indigenous products and start-up technology businesses.

At the convention, different professionals canvassed the need to grow the local hardware industry.

Also, innovators converged at the Hardware Convention to seek funding assistance to stop the revenue leakage as Nigeria’s machinery imports were about $9 billion while $3 billion was expended on manufacturing tools.

According to the convener of the Hardware Convention, Mr Tochukwu Chukwueke, the neglect of the hardware sector is one of the major reasons Nigeria is suffering from a 33 per cent unemployment rate and 60 per cent poverty rate.

“The hardware sector is responsible for producing and maintaining the tools, machines and equipment required by the manufacturing sector which is a major employer of labour.

“Today, Nigerian industries rely heavily on importation for virtually all the machinery they use, causing Nigeria to lose a lot of foreign exchange and the Naira to depreciate in value.

“Until we pay serious attention to developing the Nigerian hardware sector, Nigeria may never experience any meaningful development, job creation or poverty reduction,” he added.

Also, the hardware sector is responsible for producing military equipment as well as several consumer goods like electronics and domestic appliances.

Mr Chukwuwke further revealed that concerned stakeholders were nurturing a multi-industrial hardware innovation hub to drive the development of equipment and adoption of emerging technologies in Aba.

He urged investors to support local fabrication and hardware hubs, and that a lot is happening to grow the local tech sector.

Furthermore, the convener stressed that a substantial portion of the innovations is the ones that are regarded as high‑tech products, especially those related to telecommunications equipment, semiconductors and computer items.

He also explained that there is hardware to support consumer electronics for domestic use, including a wide range of audio‑visual equipment, computer products and telecommunications equipment.

It is seen that local innovators are providing solutions to tackle numerous challenges the industry is facing exploring opportunities created by emerging technologies driven by conductor-enabled devices.

With the Made in Aba initiative, innovators have been about to build up efforts employing financial incentives to develop the domestic semiconductor industry and establish Nigeria as a leader in the technology industry.

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Economy

Nigerian Exchange Rises 0.23% as Investors Mop up Bank Stocks

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Nigerian Exchange 1

By Dipo Olowookere

The Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited extended its gains on Friday with a 0.23 per cent growth on the back of a sustained interest in bank stocks.

Business Post observed that investors mopped up equities of tier-one lenders yesterday and this buying pressure further lifted the All-Share Index (ASI) of the exchange by 88.15 points to 38,962.28 points from the previous day’s 38,874.13 and pushed the market capitalisation higher by N46 billion to N20.300 trillion from N20.254 trillion.

The market breadth was positive during the session as there were 25 price gainers and 11 price losers, indicating a positive investor sentiment.

Pharma Deko topped the gainers’ chart after its equity price went up by 9.74 per cent to N2.14. Sovereign Trust Insurance grew by 8.70 per cent to 25 kobo, Okomu Oil rose by 5.77 per cent to N110.00, Eterna appreciated by 4.95 per cent to N7.00, while Champion Breweries moved up by 4.71 per cent to N2.00.

On the reverse side, SCOA Nigeria topped the log with a price decline of 9.38 per cent to settle at 87 kobo. Presco went down by 8.18 per cent to N73.00, Regency Alliance fell by 6.38 per cent to 44 kobo, Total Energies depreciated by 3.61 per cent to N192.00, while Sterling Bank depleted by 1.34 per cent to N1.47.

A look at the performance of the five key sectors of the market showed that the banking space closed 1.86 per cent higher, the insurance sector rose by 0.27 per cent, the consumer goods counter appreciated by 0.06 per cent, while the energy index grew by 0.04 per cent, with the industrial goods sector closing flat.

The most traded stock on Friday was FBN Holdings as investors exchanged 481.5 million units valued at N3.6 billion.

Ecobank traded 16.6 million units worth N87.8 million, Zenith Bank transacted 12.0 million units valued at N279.0 million, Access Bank exchanged 11.6 million units worth N100.9 million, while Transcorp sold 9.4 million units for N8.7 million.

At the close of business, a total of 633.5 million shares worth N6.5 billion were traded in 3,228 deals as against the 125.8 million shares worth N1.3 billion transacted in 2,990 deals on Thursday, indicating a 403.61 per cent rise in the trading volume, a 409.36 per cent growth in the trading value and a 7.96 per cent jump in the number of deals.

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Economy

FX Demand Pressure Crashes Naira by N1.22 at I&E

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Nigerian Naira

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Naira came under immense pressure on Friday against the United States Dollar at the Investors and Exporters (I&E) segment of the foreign exchange (FX) market as more customers approach the banks for their forex needs.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had informed FX users to stop patronising traders at the unregulated segment of the market and use the I&E window for their forex transactions.

But it seems the traders at the official window are battling with FX supply as the demand pressure is taking its toll on the local currency, according to its performance yesterday.

Business Post reports that the domestic currency depreciated against the greenback on Friday by N1.22 or 0.30 per cent to close at N414.90/$1 compared with N413.68/$1 it was traded on Thursday.

It was observed that during the session, the value of trades increased by 10.1 per cent or $17.71 million to $193.59 million from the previous day’s $175.86 million.

At the interbank segment of the market, the value of the indigenous currency also depreciated by 3 kobo to settle at N410.70/$1 in contrast to N410.67/$1 it traded at the preceding session.

As for the digital currency market, there was a downward movement in eight of the 10 tokens monitored by this newspaper yesterday as only the duo of Cardano (ADA) and the United States Dollar Tether (USDT) appreciated at the market by 1.2 per cent and 0.1 per cent respectively to settle at N1,374.04 and N576.01 apiece.

On the other hand, Ethereum (ETH) went down by 7.6 per cent to sell at N1,713,900.99, Litecoin (LTC) dipped by 6.6 per cent to trade at N86,848.72, while Dash (DASH) fell by 5.8 per cent to N97,992.14.

Also, Tron (TRX) declined by 3.9 per cent to finish at N53.39, Ripple (XRP) lost 3 per cent to trade at N559.99 Dogecoin (DOGE) depreciated by 2.4 per cent to trade N125.90, while Bitcoin (BTC) reduced by 1.9 per cent to close at N24,809,058.00.

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Economy

Brent Climbs Above $78 as Supply Tightens

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Brent Price

By Adedapo Adesanya

Brent crude oil rose above $78 a barrel on Friday, precisely to $78.09 per barrel after it appreciated by 1.09 per cent or 84 cents as global output disruptions forced energy companies to pull out large amounts of crude inventories.

Also during the session, the price of the United States West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures improved by 0.63 per cent or 93 cents to finish at $73.98 per barrel.

The Brent posted its highest value since October 2018, while the WTI since July 2021.

It was also the third week of gains for Brent and the fifth for WTI mostly due to US Gulf Coast output disruptions from Hurricane Ida in late August.

The market has been bullish since news of US crude stocks dropped to their lowest since October 2018 and the broader market received more clarity about the US Federal Reserve next policy moves.

After the US Fed signalled that it could begin tapering asset purchases as soon as November and potentially start raising interest rates as soon as next year, oil market participants turned their focus to global oil inventories, especially those in the United States.

The aftermath of Hurricane Ida is still curtailing oil production in the world’s largest producer, with 16 per cent of crude oil production in the Gulf of Mexico still offline, according to the latest data from the country’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE).

The market also gained as US oil refiners were hunting to replace Gulf crude, turning to Iraqi and Canadian oil while Asian buyers have been pursuing Middle Eastern and Russian grades, analysts and traders said.

Positives from one of the world’s biggest exporters, India helped the market as crude imports rose to a three-month peak in August, rebounding from July’s near one-year low.

And the fact that some members of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies (OPEC+) have struggled to raise output due to under-investment or maintenance delays during the pandemic also added to the bullish sentiment.

Iran, which wants to export more oil, said it will return to talks on resuming compliance with the 2015 Iran nuclear deal very soon, but gave no specific date. The return of Iranian oil may be damaging to the market since it is exempted from OPEC cuts.

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