By Adedapo Adesanya
The Naira gained 88 kobo or 0.21 per cent against the US Dollar at the Investors and Exporters (I&E) window of the foreign exchange market on Wednesday, May 19.
Business Post reports that when the market closed for the day, the value of the Naira stood at N410.75/$1 in contrast to the N411.63/$1 it ended on Tuesday.
The gained strength yesterday to withstand the demand pressure it came under as the value of transactions at the I&E FX window surged by $72.36 million or 122.9 per cent as trades worth $131.16 million were recorded at the session compared with the $58.88 million achieved a day before.
But at the parallel market, the Naira remained unchanged against the US Dollar and the Pound Sterling but appreciated against the Euro.
The local closed flat against the American currency at N485/$1 and against the British currency at N678/£1, but gained N1 against the European currency to close at N582/€1 in contrast to N583/£1 it settled a day earlier.
Bitcoin, Others Plunge as China Widens Crypto Crackdown
Meanwhile, at the cryptocurrency market, Bitcoin and other digital currencies plunged in one of the worst trading days after the world’s second-largest economy, China, took more steps to crack down on the virtual coins.
China said that financial institutions and payment companies should not participate in any transactions related to cryptocurrency, or provide crypto-related services to their clients.
This contributed to a shaky market that had earlier been impacted by Tesla Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mr Elon Musk, who said he was wary of the environmental impact of mining Bitcoin, adding that his company was halting the acceptance of the token as payment for its cars.
As of the time of this report, all tracked currency benchmarked by this platform was still in the negative territory.
Bitcoin (BTC) saw its value dip further by 23.5 per cent to trade at N16,000,087.00; Ethereum (ETH) slipped by 21.9 per cent to sell at N1,332, 800.00, while Ripple (XRP) went down by 26.7 per cent to trade at N565.99.
Also, the Dash (DASH) plunged by 36.1 per cent to sell at N110,001.01; Litecoin (LTC) dropped 28.4 per cent to trade at N108,887.00; Tron (TRX) went down by 21.9 per cent to sell for N46.00, while the United States Dollar Tether (USDT) depreciated by 3.2 per cent to sell at N500.29.
Honeywell Flour Expects Market Conditions to Remain Tough
By Dipo Olowookere
The Chairman of Honeywell Flour Mills Plc, Mr Oba Otudeko, says he expects market conditions to remain tough, though he sees the company coming out stronger.
Business Post reports that businesses in Nigeria are battling with a tough operating environment as the benchmark interest rate is at 11.5 per cent, with the inflation as of September 2021 at 16.63 per cent, low purchasing power of consumers and foreign exchange (FX) scarcity, which has put the Naira to Dollar exchange rate at N570/$1 at the parallel market, though it traded at N414.07/$1 at the Investors and Exporters (I&E) segment on Wednesday.
Addressing shareholders at the recent Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the firm in Lagos, the industrialist said these problems and others forced the organisation to design a 10-year strategy aimed to expand the portfolios of the company.
According to him, Honeywell Flour will make investments in technology and come up with products that will excite consumers within the period to drive growth and profitability.
“We expect market conditions to remain tough,” Mr Otudeko informed some investors present at the gathering, but assured them that, “We are adapting to this new reality by executing with speed in order to deliver competitive returns and meet the needs of our multiple stakeholders.”
“We are committed to investing in the capabilities we need, the know-how and the talent to continue to create value,” he further assured.
He recalled how the company navigated through the COVID-19 pandemic last year and “delivered a strong performance” by “working collaboratively towards the execution of our corporate goals, guided by clear priorities; keeping our people safe and motivated, ensuring the supply of our food products to consumers across the length and breadth of the country, and caring for the communities where we operate.”
The Managing Director of Honeywell Flour, Mr Lanre Jaiyeola, in his presentation, said in the fiscal year, the company “achieved record production and sales volumes driven by consumer food products which also achieved record sales volume.”
He also assured shareholders that the board and management “will continue to focus on our competitive advantage and improve our product offerings in order to exceed our consumers’ expectations while increasing market share, and delivering value to our shareholders.”
Commenting on the new plan, Mr Jaiyeola disclosed that it “will see Honeywell Flour Mills transition to become Honeywell Foods.”
“Our aim is to offer a portfolio of food products manufactured from a wide range of raw materials drawn from local sources that offer good nutrition and contribute to a healthier and balanced life.
“Our aim also aligns with the Federal Government’s commitment to achieving the United Nation’s 2030 Agenda of Sustainable Development Goals that seeks to ensure access to safe, nutritious and sufficient food,” he explained at the yearly shareholders’ event held precisely on Thursday, October 14, 2021, at the Civic Centre, Victoria Island.
Minister Tasks Port Officers on Professional Discharge of Duties
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, has charged Port State Control Officers (PSCOs) to display a high level of professionalism in carrying out their duties of inspecting foreign ships at national ports.
Mr Amaechi said this in a statement signed by the Director of Press and Public Relations of the Ministry, Mr Eric Ojiekwe.
He spoke at the 11th Port State Control Committee (PSC) Meeting of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on PSC for West and Central Africa Region, also known as (Abuja MoU) in Lagos.
According to the minister, the essence of PSC is the inspection of ships, to verify their condition, equipment, and whether it is manned and operated in compliance with the requirements of international conventions and regulations.
He said that it was also aimed at ensuring maritime safety and security of lives, assets and the prevention of pollution.
Mr Amaechi, while referring to the port officers as ambassadors of the MoU, said continuous training was required to maintain set standards at Ports.
He, however, called on member states to work together in achieving set goals.
“Bearing in mind that Port State Control Officers are ambassadors of the MoU, it is therefore important that they constantly undergo continuous trainings.
”This will impact on their knowledge and skills as well as on their overall standard of inspections at the Ports. However, this cannot be achieved without the commitment, financial and otherwise of every member state.
“We must all join forces and strive to ensure that we constantly uphold the ideals and objectives upon which the MoU was established.
”For this reason, I urge all member states to play their parts in contributing towards the growth of the Abuja MoU, so that we can constantly meet with expectations and safeguard our marine domains,” he said.
The Minister thanked member states for ensuring that the Abuja MoU performed well in the face of COVID-19 and urged them not to relent in their commitments to inspections, trainings and overall contributions.
“I must thank most of our member states for their performance and swift responses in declaring seafarers as key workers and in lending their support to ensure that the impact of COVID- 19 did not disrupt global shipping.
”While it is to be noted that the resulting effect of the pandemic slowed down inspection of vessels, nonetheless, based on our 2020 Report, the Abuja MoU performed relatively well in the inspection of vessels that called at our Ports,” he said.
On his part, Ghana’s Minister of Transportation and Chairman of Abuja MoU, Mr Kwaku Asiamah, said Port State Control acted as an important safety-net to eliminate the operation of sub-standard ships to ensure the needed safety.
Mr Asiamah said that in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic, ”our performance as flagship states have been very encouraging.”
He called on member states to prioritise the vaccination of seafarers, their off and on signings, especially in the repatriation process and ensure strict adherence to COVID-19 protocols.
He said this would ensure the protection of PSCOs and the Crew of vessels visiting their ports.
Mr Asiamah also charged member states to be guided by the IMO’s Code of Good Practice for PSCOs and other relevant circulars and statutory documents in conducting inspections within the framework of the regional MoU and agreement on PSC.
He urged them to ensure their PSCOs were empowered to safely conduct inspections and to always aim at exceeding the agreed 15 per cent minimum number of foreign vessels that call at the country’s ports.
”States should also accept and endorse the IMO’s guidelines on Cyber Security as part of the Safety Management Codes,” he said.
The Ghanaian minister also called on women to explore careers in PSC and other related fields, saying “women are great agents of change.”
He, therefore, tasked member states to create avenues for the participation of women as Port State Control Officers.
Kyari to Highlight PIA Benefits at 2021 African Energy Week
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mr Mele Kyari, is set to outline the benefits of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) at the 2021 African Energy Week (AEW) set to hold in Cape Town, South Africa.
At AEW 2021, Nigeria’s delegation will be led by Mr Timipre Sylva, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, while Mr Kyari will lead the discussion on the benefits and opportunities of the PIA.
He will also promote the law, emphasizing how Nigeria will serve as a trend for other resource-rich nations looking to secure international investment.
Nigeria has made significant to reform its oil and gas industry in 2021, with the progressive legislation being passed into law that not only restructures the domestic sector but provides a more attractive investment destination for international players.
With the passing of the act, the country has moved to position and stamp itself as Africa’s top energy market.
The PIA comprises a complete overhaul of the administrative, regulatory and fiscal regime in Nigeria’s energy sector, restructuring key petroleum institutions in order to streamline processes and drive the country’s oil and gas industry expansion.
As the country faces challenges of declining oil production from mature fields, coupled with the reduced capital expenditure climate brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, the PIA aims to enhance the sector’s attractiveness for foreign investment, ensuring a market-driven regulatory environment that will accelerate the country’s industry developments.
Notable regulatory reforms implemented through the PIA include the creation of a new upstream regulator, the commission, which has replaced the Department of Petroleum Resources; the creation of a new Nigerian midstream and downstream petroleum regulatory authority; and the complete overhaul of the NNPC – to be replaced by the NNPC Limited which will operate on a commercial basis without government funding.
Accordingly, Nigeria has placed transparency at the centre of its reforms. Additionally, fiscal reforms include the reduction in the taxation and royalty-take of new/converted licenses from the prior regime; and the introduction of a hydrocarbon tax – to replace the existing petroleum profits tax.
By incentivising investment, the government is focused on accelerating development across the entire energy sector value chain.
With over 200 trillion cubic feet of natural gas reserves and 36 billion barrels of oil, Nigeria is well-positioned to become a global energy player. Now, with a regulatory environment that places an emphasis on stability and transparency, the country is bound to see an influx in foreign capital and international company participation.
Speaking on the development, Mr NJ Ayuk, Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber (AEC) said, “Nigeria has set an incredibly high standard for other African countries. By implementing a complete regulatory, fiscal, and industry overhaul, introducing key institutions and streamlining sectoral regulations, the government has positioned Nigeria as Africa’s most attractive energy sector. the passing of the PIA is exceptional.
“This piece of legislature will usher in a new wave of investment and international participation in the Nigerian sector, and the government should be commended on this achievement. In Cape Town, we are looking forward to Mele Kyari going into detail on the benefits that the passing of the PIA will bring to the country.
“Kyari will advise on the NNPC restructuring, directly engage with investors, and promote the significant opportunities brought about by the PIA.”
AEW 2021, in partnership with South Africa’s Department of Mineral Resources and Energy DMRE, is the AEC’s annual conference, exhibition and networking event. The event unites African energy stakeholders with investors and international partners to drive industry growth and development and promote Africa as the destination for energy investments.
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