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ECA calls for policies, infrastructure to promote digital innovations

By Eyewitness reporter

The Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) has called on African governments to implement policies and establish infrastructure that would promote digital innovations to solve the continent’s development challenges.

A statement from the ECA, on Sunday, quoted Mr Jean-Paul Adam, Director, Technology, Climate Change and Natural Resources Management at the commission as making the call at a side event to the ongoing 53rd session of the ECA Conference of Ministers.

The event was tagged “Driving Africa’s Industrialisation Agenda by Investing in Youth’s Digital Innovations Post COVID-19″.

In his keynote address, Adam noted that young entrepreneurs could propel Africa’s industrialisation, emphasising that the youths were a critical part of recovery and reset in response to the pandemic.

“We need to reset our development framework for Africa to succeed and digitalisation will play a key role in this,” he stressed.

The director also explained that the reset was about reconsidering sustainable development for Africa and tapping the energy of young people to build forward better.

“Young people are key agents of that reset, the digital space should be one of empowerment and not restriction.”  Adam said.

He further said Africa was impacted more than other regions in the context of COVID-19 and climate change, due to its vulnerability, lack of safety nets and minimal fiscal space to adequately respond to such issues.

“We need to respond. We need to address the immediate impact we are facing in terms of lost jobs, in terms of economic opportunities.

”These  have been disrupted and we also need to recover from the initial impacts of the crisis of this unprecedented magnitude.”  he said.

Adam disclosed that 110 million young people entered the job market in the last 10 years, but only 37 million wage paying jobs were created.

He said the pandemic, however, had presented opportunities for a reset and green recovery for Africa around sustainable energy access for more than 590 million people, without access to electricity.

Furthermore, Adam stressed that digital services were also an opportunity to move Africa’s commerce into the digital space.

He said consideration should be given to  specific digital skills which should be invested in and upgrading digital infrastructure like the internet, enhancing digital services, digital identities, and online payment systems.

“We have to ensure access to markets for young people,” he said.

He, however, added that young entrepreneurs must have access to finance and the procurement space.

“E-commerce has emerged as a trade facilitator and the AfCFTA must be leveraged to facilitate trade for young people.

“If we empower young people to enter the digital space and create their own business space, we can expect that every young person will probably create one other job for another person.

“This is the promise that we have for that reset in reviewing the development architecture we believe is necessary for the empowerment of young people and green recovery for Africa.” Adam said.

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Nigerians to groan under fresh fuel scarcity for another two weeks- Independent Petroleum Marketers

The Eyewitness Reporter 
The current fuel crisis in the country may not go anytime soon as the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) has warned that the situation may likely persist for the next two weeks.
Speaking against the fresh fuel scarcity in the country, the IPMAN’s Public Relations Officer, Chinedu Ukadike disclosed that there is no petrol product available for supply in the country.
Ukadike, in a statement, said there is a breach in the international supply chain, adding that fuel is not available even for Nigeria’s sole supplier, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NPCL).
This follows an ongoing turnaround maintenance of refineries in Europe.Ukadike explained that once there is a breach in the international supply chain, it will have an impact on domestic supply because they depend on imports.

“The situation is that there is no product. Once there is a lack of supply or inadequate supply, what you will see is scarcity and queues will emerge at filling stations.

“On the part of NNPCL, which is the sole supplier of petroleum products in Nigeria, they have attributed the challenge to logistics and vessel problems.

“Once there is a breach in the international supply chain, it will have an impact on domestic supply because we depend on imports.

” I also have it on good authority that most of the refineries in Europe are undergoing turnaround maintenance, so sourcing petroleum products has become a bit difficult.” IPMAN spokesman said.
According to him, “NNPC Group CEO has assured us that there will be improvement in the supply chain because their vessels are arriving”.“Once that is done, normalcy will return. This is because once the 30-day supply sufficiency is disrupted, it takes two to three months to restore it.

“We expect that by next week or so, NNPC should be able to restore supply and with another week, normalcy should return,” he said.

Ukadike further stated that “NNPC has said the marketers who have not been able to renew their licences will not be allowed to remain on their portal which has been shut for some time now.

” Because of this, we have not been able to request new products”.

 “At this nascent period of deregulation, you will discover that this leads to scarcity, even when the product arrives.

“As it is now, even by their data, out of 15,000 marketers that are on the portal with licences, only 1,050 renewed their licences.

“The requirement for renewal by NMDPRA is so much. Marketers are facing a hostile environment. NNPC placed a deadline of April 15, 2024, for marketers to renew their licences.

“We are, therefore, appealing to NNPC to extend this deadline and also to NMDPRA to hasten the release of licences of marketers who have completed their processes, and also reduce bottlenecks around licence renewals.”

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CBN sells $15.830m at N1.021 per dollar to 1,583 BDCs

CBN Governor, Olayemi Cardoso
The Eyewitness Reporter 
In its ongoing effort to ensure liquidity in the foreign exchange market which is expected to ease the pressure on the naira, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Monday disbursed the sum of $15,830,000m to 1,583 licensed Bureau De Change Operators at $10, 000 each.
In a letter dated April 22nd, 2024 and addressed to the President of the Association of Bureau De Change Operators of Nigeria and signed by Dr Hassan Mahmud, the Director, Trade and Exchange Department of the CBN, the beneficiaries are mandated to sell allocated forex to eligible end users ” at a spread of not more than 1.5 percent above the purchase price.
The CBN said the sale of forex to the BDCs will meet market demand (retail-end) for invisible transactions.
The apex bank however advised all the BDCs to continue to abide by the rules and conditions as stipulated in the operational guidelines.
The beneficiary BDCs have trading locations at Lagos, Abuja, Akwa and Kano.
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News Alert! CBN revokes operational licenses of 4,173 Bureau De Change operators for breach of regulatory guidelines

CBN Governor, Olayemi Cardoso

The Eyewitness Reporter

In its continuous efforts to sanitize the foreign exchange market and halt the frightening slide of the naira in exchange for the dollars, the Central Bank of Nigeria has revoked the operational licenses of 1,173 Bureau De Change operators.

In a press release issued Friday, March 1st, 2024 and signed by Mrs. Sidi Ali Hakama, the Acting Director, Corporate Communications, the apex bank said the axed BDCs failed to observe at least one of the following regulatory provisions which include payment of all necessary fees, including license renewal within the stipulated period in line with the Guidelines, rendition of returns in line with the Guidelines, compliance with guideline, directives and circulars of the CBN, particularly Anti-Money Laundering(AML), countering the Financing of Terrorism(CFT)and Counter-Proliferation Financing(CPF) regulations.

The apex bank said it relied on the powers conferred on it under the Bank and Other Financial Institutions Act(BOFIA)2020, Act n0.5 and Revised Operational Guidelines for Bureaux De Change 2015(the Guidelines).

“The CBN is revising the regulatory and supervisory guidelines for Bureau de Change operations in Nigeria. Compliance with the new requirements will be mandatory for all stakeholders in the sector when the revised guidelines become effective.

‘Members of the Public are hereby advised to take note and be guided accordingly”, the statement concluded.

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