Nigeria loses $16b to oil companies:NEITI

The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI)said that Nigeria lost at least $16 billion in ten years due to non-review of the 1993 Production Sharing Contracts, (PSC), with oil companies.

This was one of the highlights of the latest report by NEITI released in Abuja Sunday. It was tagged “The Steep Cost of Inaction”.

It said that the losses were recorded between 2008 and 2017.

The study done in conjunction with Open Oil, a Berlin-based extractive sector transparency group, found that the losses could be up to $28 billion if, after the review, the Federation were allowed to share profit from two additional licenses.

NEITI, therefore, called for an urgent review of the PSCs to stem the huge revenue losses to the Federation.

It added that the review was particularly important for Nigeria because oil production from PSCs had surpassed production from Joint Ventures (JV) with PSCs now contributing the largest share to federation revenue.

“Between 1998 and 2005, total production by PSC companies was below 100 million barrels per year while JV companies produced over 650 million barrels per year.

” By 2017, total production by PSC companies was 305.800 million barrels, which was 44.32 per cent of total production.

” Total production by JV companies was 212.850 million barrels, representing 30.84 per cent of total production.” It said.

NEITI stated that the Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contracts provided for a review of the terms on two conditions.

“The first review was to be triggered, if oil prices exceeded 20 dollars per barrel.

“Section 16 (1) of the Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contracts specifies that: The provisions of the Act shall be subject to review to ensure that if the price of crude oil at any time exceeds 20 dollars per barrel, real terms, the share of the Government of the Federation in the additional revenue shall be adjusted under the Production Sharing Contracts to such extent that the Production Sharing Contracts shall be economically beneficial to the Government of the Federation.”

NEITI observed that this review should have been activated in 2004 when oil prices exceeded the 20 dollars per barrel mark.

It added that although the review was not done in 2004, the judgement of the Supreme Court in October 2018 had mandated the Attorney General of the Federation to work together with the governments of Akwa Ibom, Rivers and Bayelsa States to recover all lost revenues accruable to the Federation with effect from the respective times when the price of crude oil exceeded $20 per barrel.

It further stated that the second review was to be activated 15 years following commencement of the PSC Act, where Section 16 (2) states that “Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (1) of this section, the provisions of this Decree shall be liable to review after a period of 15 years from the date of commencement and every 5 years thereafter”.

The transparency watchdog disclosed that at inception in 1993, the PSC terms were drawn up to attract oil and gas companies to invest in the exploration and production of offshore fields considering the risks involved coupled with low oil prices.

“Thus the PSC contracts were supposedly more beneficial to the companies. However, the Law anticipates that the companies would have recouped their investments when oil price increases and after many years of operations, hence the two trigger clauses in the Act.

“Since the Supreme Court judgement has addressed the condition for the first review, this second review was the focus of NEITI’s Policy Brief.

” This second review should have happened in 2008 and informed why it chose 2008 as the the start date for commencement of estimated losses in the model,” NEITI noted.

It explained that to determine the losses, the analysis was conducted for the seven producing fields of the 1993 PSCs, which are Abo (OML 125): operated by Eni; Agbami-Ekoli (OML 127 & OML 128): operated by Chevron; Akpo & Egina (OML 130): operated by Total and South Atlantic Petroleum; and Bonga (OML 118): operated by Shell.

Others, it said are Erha (OML 133): operated by ExxonMobil; Okwori & Nda (OML 126): operated by Addax; and Usan (OML 133): operated by ExxonMobil.

FG targets solid minerals to boost economy

The Executive Secretary of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, (NEITI), Mr. Waziri Adio, says the solid mineral sector, though not being tapped to its fullest, has the potential to grow Nigeria’s economy, create jobs and address a number of social issues.

Adio made this known at the launch of a report designed to enhance the contribution of the solid minerals sector to Nigeria’s revenue and Gross Domestic Product,( GDP) in Abuja on Thursday.

The report is tagged ‘Improving Transparency and Governance in Nigeria’s Mining Sector,’

According to him, NEITI, in launching the report, is seeing how it can bring on board, what needs to be done and how it should be done.

He added that NEITI wanted to go beyond audits and do things that would impact lives of the citizenry.

“There is no doubt that Nigeria has lot of potentials in the solid minerals sector, but having potentials is not enough.

” Potentials by itself would not translate to improve revenue for improved fortunes for countries and for its people.

“Our country definitely needs other streams of income, but we are not doing that.

” This sector is one that has all the potentials to generate more revenue for our country, create more jobs for our people, to even expand our industry base. Rather than continue to talk about the problems all the time, we want to do something that would build on ongoing reforms in the sector.

“The Ministry of Mines and Steel Development is doing enormous work to reposition the sector.

“To align with that, we want to see how we can bring certain perspectives, not just on the potentials and problems, which we all know, but what needs to be done and how.” he said.

Presenting the report, the Editorial Consultant and Professor of Geology, University of Ibadan, Mr Gbenga Okunlola, said that in comparison with other countries with similar potential, Nigeria’s mining sector was still largely underdeveloped.

The NEITI report , he said  until recently, when there had been a slight improvement, the mining sector’s contribution to the GDP had not been more than 0.5 per cent, a reversal from the historically higher percentages of about 4-5 per cent in the 1960s and 1970s.

“The misfortune of the solid minerals sector started with the Indigenisation Decree of 1972, which saw massive withdrawal of foreign investments in the mining industry from the country, leaving the bulk of private sector mining operations in the hands of small scale local miners.

“These factors were largely responsible for production decline in the sector, particularly in the metallic minerals sub-sectors, starting in the late 1970s.

“The report indicated that the mining industry had the potential to sharply contribute to the country’s GDP, but was currently under-performing, responsible for 0.33 per cent of employment in Nigeria, 0.02 per cent of the country’s exports and 0.3 per cent of the country’s GDP, ” he quoted the report.

He further noted that the report called for policy consistency in the sector, stating that this would help boost Nigeria’s score in the global Policy Perception Index, thereby, removing the barriers to investments in the sector.(NAN)

Nigeria has $48bn investment opportunities in oil, gas sector — Baru

The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr Maikanti Baru says that over 48 billion dollars investment opportunities are in the Nigerian oil and gas sector.

Baru disclosed this in a statement issued in by the NNPC Spokesman, Mr Ndu Ughamadu, in Abuja, on Thursday.

The GMD called on investors to utilise the over 48 billion dollars investment opportunities available in the upcoming capital projects within Nigeria’s Oil and Gas Industry.

Ughamadu said Baru disclosed this at a Panel Session on the topic “Insights on Future Exploration Hotspots: Opportunities for Africa’s Oil & Gas Industry” under the sub-theme “The New Frontier for Africa’s Oil & Gas” at the 2019 International Petroleum (IP) Week conference in London.

The IP Week is a global oil and gas platform where executives and other energy professionals discuss the big issues affecting the sector.

It is organised annually by the London-based Energy Institute.

Baru said that the NNPC’s Frontier Exploration Service was currently drilling the Kolmani River-2 Well where desktop estimates revealed that about 400 bcf of gas was expected to be encountered.

He stressed that several new frontiers for exploration opportunities abound in Nigeria, even as offshore discoveries in the country had mostly been limited to between 1,000 – 1,500m of water depth.

“Beyond these water depths, the new frontiers of ultra-deep waters need to be tested. And that is where we need the investors,” he told the audience.

He noted that unless issues related to Legal and Regulatory uncertainties, lack of infrastructure, skilled manpower shortage, transparency and accountability were addressed among key stakeholders, the continent’s oil and gas industry might not achieve its full potential.

On the potentials of the industry in Africa, he said the continent’s energy outlook was looking positive amid difficult operating and economic headwinds.

He added that over 41 billion barrels of oil and 319 trillion cubic feet of gas were yet to be discovered in sub-Saharan Africa alone, while between 2008 and 2017, exploratory success in the sub-region was at least 45 per cent.

According to him, there has been a surge in the capital expenditure (CAPEX) across Africa’s oil and gas sector, with close to 194 billion dollars earmarked to be spent between 2018 and 2025 on 93 upcoming oil and gas fields in Africa.

“Out of this 194 billion dollars , Nigeria accounts for 48.04 billion dollars (over 24.8%) of the total CAPEX coming into upcoming projects in Africa over 2018 to 2025, with over 20 planned projects,” Baru said.

The GMD observed that 23.8 per cent of the CAPEX in Africa would be spent in Mozambique, 11.3 per cent in Angola while about 29.2 per cent would be spent in Tanzania, Senegal, Mauritania, Uganda, Egypt, Algeria and Kenya combined.

Baru noted that with over 14 oil producing countries, Africa currently accounts for 7.5 per cent (barrels of crude oil) and 7.1 per cent (488 Tcf of gas) of global proven oil and gas reserves.

On production, he said the continent accounted for 8.7 per cent (8.1 million barrels per day) of global oil production and 6.1 per cent (21.8 bscfd) of global gas production.

He further that the continent , consumed four Million barrels of oil per day and 13.7 bscfd of gas (equivalent to 4.1% and 3.9% of global oil and consumption ).(NAN)

How Access Bank plans to attract trade finance with Diamond Bank merger

Access Bank Plc on Friday said it would be well positioned to attract more opportunities from international partners with its Diamond Bank merger.

Mr Herbert Wigwe, the bank’s Chief Executive Officer, said this in Lagos while speaking on the benefits of its merger with Diamond Bank Plc.

Wigwe said the bank, after the merger, would attract more opportunities such as trade finance from international partners.

“With the final merger of both banks and the status of the resulting entity as ‘the largest bank in Africa’s largest economy,’ this greatly bolsters the bank’s brand, opening doors of opportunity both in local and international markets,” he said.

Wigwe said the merger was expected to produce the largest banking group in Africa based on its number of customers with more than 29 million customers.

“The resulting entity which will maintain the brand name Access Bank, but with Diamond Bank colors, will have more than 29 million customers, 13 million of which are mobile customers,” he said.

Wigwe said the bank would be a continental force with presence in 12 countries, 3,100 ATMS and nearly 32, 000 Point of Sale.

“As a continental financial force, it is set to attract more opportunities such as trade finance from international partners seeking multinational lenders with local intelligence,” he stated.

Wigwe said that the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Securities and Exchange Commission had granted both banks approval in principle for the merger.

According to him, the final approval will come after the shareholders meeting to be convened by both banks in the first week of March.

He noted that the whole merger process was expected to be completed in the first half of 2019.

“With the final merger of both banks and the status of the resulting entity as ‘the largest bank in Africa’s largest economy,’ this greatly bolsters the bank’s brand, opening doors of opportunity both in local and international markets,” Wigwe added.

He said Diamond bank merging with, “Access Bank also means, the former’s customers can enjoy access to the latter’s strong balance sheet, ubiquitous presence and solid operational structure.”

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the board of Diamond Bank in December confirmed its merger with Access Bank Plc, which is expected to be completed in the first half of 2019.

Mr Uzoma Dozie, the bank’s Chief Executive Officer, said in Lagos that the board had selected Access Bank as the preferred bidder with respect to a potential merger of both banks.

Dozie said the potential merger of the two banks would create Nigeria and Africa’s largest retail bank by customers.

He said the transaction to be completed in the first half of 2019 was in the best interest of all stakeholders including, employees, customers, depositors and shareholders.

Dozie said the completion of the merger was subject to certain shareholder and regulatory approvals.

“The proposed merger would involve Access Bank acquiring the entire issued share capital of Diamond Bank in exchange for a combination of cash and shares in Access Bank via a Scheme of Merger.

“Based on the agreement reached by the boards of the two financial institutions, Diamond Bank shareholders will receive a consideration of N3.13 per share, comprising N1 per share in cash,” he said.

Dozie also said the transaction would include the allotment of two new Access Bank ordinary shares for every seven Diamond Bank ordinary shares held as at the implementation date.

“The offer represents a premium of 260 per cent to the closing market price of 87k per share of Diamond Bank on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (“NSE”) as of Dec. 13, 2018, the date of the final binding offer,” Dozie said.

=Prices of diesel, kerosene rise in January – NBS

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), said the average prices paid by consumers for kerosene and diesel increased in January 2019. The price of kerosene increased month-on-month (MoM) by 5.35 percent to N306.28 per litre last month from N290.74 in December 2018 while the price of diesel rose MoM by 1.59 percent to N225.09 from N221.56

=However, the average price consumers paid for petrol also known as premium motor spirit (PMS) decreased marginally by 0.1 percent MoM to N145.70 in January from N145.80 while the price of cooking gas declined by 0.63 percent MoM to N2,039.82 in January 2019 from N2,052.79 in December 2018. NBS stated

Nigeria’s Fadama III programme a success – World Bank

The World Bank has given a pass mark to Fadama III programme in Nigeria for the success recorded in the implementation of its programmes ahead of its Dec. 31, 2019 closing date.

The World Bank Fadama III AF Project Task Team Leader, Dr Adetunji Oredipe on Wednesday told News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja that Fadama III programme had achieved its objectives of increasing the incomes of Fadama land and water resource users.

NAN reporta that the World Bank Fadama III AF Project with a total project cost of 425 million dollar is being executed across the country.

According to him, this has gone a long way to reducing rural poverty, increase food security as well as contributing to the achievement of the SDGs Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

“The project had taken the Community Driven Development (CDD) approach, which placed the beneficiaries on the driver’s seat.

“The project had contributed to the agricultural transformation and development in Nigeria in terms of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), food security, youth and women employment and rural development and World Bank is happy for this,’’ he said.

Oredipe said the local community members under the umbrella of Fadama Community Associations (FCAs) and Fadama User Groups (FUGs) were in charge of overseeing the design and implementation of the project.

This had gone a long way to empower their skills and capacity-building as well as improving their livelihoods through income generating activities.

The team leader said as at the last count in June 2018, the programme had recorded 309,164 direct beneficiaries and the bank was still counting because there were updates at every mission.

Accordingly, he said in addition to food security, the programme had improved some of the root, tuber and grains in the country.

Oredipe said that in terms of the Addition to Food Security (AFS) the yields of cassava before the programme was 5.27 tonnes per hectare.

He said that added to the National Food Security programme with an increase to 24.8 tonnes per hectare.

He said that rice had also moved from 2.83 tonnes per hectare to 5.11 tonnes per hectare, sorghum 1.54 tonnes per hectare to 2.12 tonnes per hectare.

“Tomato has recorded a drastic change, leaping from 1.6 tonnes per hectare to 29.69 tonnes per hectare due to availability of improved technology, preparation of lands and other additional support.’’

According to him, in terms of coverage, the programme has covered hectares of land more than 19,431 hectares of cassava, 131,210 hectares of rice, sorghum, 38,887 hectares, and 15,793 hectares of tomatoes.

The team leader said at full circle of harvesting in 2018, high increase was recorded on food production which includes addition of 841, 53 tonnes of cassava, 1.5million tonnes of rice, 184,978 tonnes sorghum and 1.2million tonnes tomatoes were added to the production.

He said that for the bank, it was also a success story, adding that the farmers were also supported on the field with consultants in all areas of farming.

Oredipe said that as a further step, Fadama 111 applied N9 billion of the proceeds as credit support to over 6000 graduate youths, under the Youths Unemployment Scheme of the project and women to become agro-preneurs.

“Many of them have undergone agric entrepreneurship training of the project and have been supported with financial grant to set up small agric business in the area of the choices.’’

Oredipe said the North East food Security and Livelihood Emergency Support Project which commenced in 2016 with the disbursement of 50 million dollars projects fund to benefiting states of Borno, Adamawa, Yobe, Taraba, Bauchi and Gombe had exceeded its targets.

FEC approves contracts for Calabar, Kano trade zones

While awaiting the completion of the process of bringing in more investors, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved the award of contracts of more than N19.45 billion for the needed investment in Calabar and Kano Free Trade Zones where work is currently ongoing.

In a bid to consolidate more investors, Nigeria signed investment agreements with Afreximbank, Bank of Industry and the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) for the development of special economic zones.

And with the signing, President Muhammadu Buhari, who presided over the ceremony at the Council Chambers of the Aso Rock Villa, declared the investment company in the special economic zones will become operational.

According to a statement by Bisi Daniels, the Strategy and Communications Adviser to the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, the approval for Calabar and Kano is the highest amount of capital investment ever in the history of these zones.

He quoted President Buhari as saying: “We have allocated substantial funds to upgrade the capabilities of our people and the systems in the Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority to strengthen it as a regulator of our Special Economic Zones; and

“We are allocating substantial resources to the provision of “outside the fence” infrastructure to ensure that our Special Economic Zones are connected to global, regional and domestic markets.

“We are reviewing our incentive framework to ensure competitiveness relative to the other countries with whom we are in the race to attract export oriented global manufacturing investment.”

He added that the Federal Government will extend the early successes achieved in Ease of Doing Business to the areas critical to globally competitive export-oriented manufacturing operations.

He thanked the investment partners for their “strong demonstrations of support for the important initiative.”

President Buhari who presided over the signing of the new agreement said: “Today, we are here to witness the signing of investment agreements, following which the Nigeria SEZ Investment Company Limited will become fully operational.”

The Federal Government set up NSEZCO Limited as a vehicle for participating in Public-Private Partnerships involving Federal and State governments and local and foreign private investors.

They are to develop new Special Economic Zones all over the country, offering world class infrastructure and facilities at competitive costs.

The projects in the pilot phase include Enyimba Economic City, Funtua Cotton Cluster and Lekki Model Industrial Park.

The three DFIs are among the five to partner with NSEZCO and the Ministry of Finance Incorporated. NSEZCO intends to raise at least US$500million in equity over the first five years in order to execute its ambitious strategy of becoming a leading investor in special economic zones in the country.

The other investment partners are African Development Bank (AfDB) and Africa Finance Corporation (AFC).

Assets in CBN’s National Collateral Registry Hits N1.561tn

A cumulative of 154,827 micro, small and medium scale enterprises (MSMEs) have used movable assets valued at N1.561 trillion to obtain loans from financial institutions since the National Collateral Register (NCR) was passed into law, BENGBENRO investigation has revealed.

The latest NCR report obtained by THISDAY showed that a breakdown of the amount recorded between January 1, 2017 and December 19, 2018, put the value of the assets at N1.209 trillion; $1,142, 389,799.12 (N349,571,278,530.72) and €6,080,004.36 (N2,121,921,521.64).

In pursuant of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) mandate on sustainable economic inclusive growth and financial inclusion, the apex bank in collaboration with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) had established the NCR.

The NCR is a financial infrastructure that seeks to deepen credit delivery to MSMEs through enhanced acceptability of movable assets – equipment, machinery, vehicles, Keke – NAPEP, crops, livestock, account receivables, inventories, and jewelry – as collateral for loans by financial institutions.

It is a registry where security interests in moveable assets are registered after being used as collateral to obtain facilities from financial institutions.

NCR allows lenders to assess their priority interest in potential claims against particular collateral.

The objective, it was learnt, is to enhance financial inclusion in Nigeria, stimulate responsible lending to MSMEs, facilitate access to credit secured with movable assets, perfect security interests in movable assets, facilitate realisation of security interests in movable asset.

The key deliverable of the registry is to promote the acceptance of movable asset as collaterals for loans and contribute to economic growth and development of the country.

It was signed into law in 2017 by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, during the period he acted as president.

Continuing, the report revealed that of the 154,827 MSMEs that used their movable assets to obtain loans from financial institutions, 22,251 were female-owned MSMEs.

It said, “Considerable number of borrowers secured credit from financial institutions in 2018 using their movable assets as collateral. The high number of borrowers that secured credit in 2017 is attributable to the high participation of smallholder farmers under the CBN Anchor Borrower’s Programme using cross-guarantee as collateral.

“During the year under review, there was an upsurge of lending using movable assets as collateral. This is attributable to the increase in the number of microfinance banks on the NCR portal as well as increased participation of deposit money banks and non-bank financial institutions. Out of the total amount of N1,209,381,006,933. 90, a sum of N43,618,262,792.17 went to female MSMEs.”

In addition, the report showed that a cumulative of 16,349 searches were conducted by both financial institutions and the public on the NCR portal.

Also, there was an upsurge of searches conducted by financial institutions in 2018 due to their increased participation in the movable asset lending regime and continuous sensitisation to the users to ensure they conduct searches to determine the level of encumbrances before undertaking any financial transaction.

Commenting on the milestone recorded in 2018, the report pointed out that during the year, 411 microfinance banks registered on the NCR portal as a result of intensive sensitisation campaign on the operations of the register carried out across the six geo-political zones of the country as well as other collaborative strategic enlightenment programmes.

“During the period under review, the number of financial institutions that registered on the National Collateral Registry portal increased by 343 per cent, when compared with the 2017 figure which was 103 financial institutions. This was the result of the various aggressive education and awareness campaign on secured transactions in moveable assets conducted under the National Action Plan.

“Also, during the period under review, the number of registered financial institutions that registered financing statements on the NCR portal increased by 89 per cent when compared with the 2017 figure which was 36 financial institutions. This was the result of the various aggressive education and awareness campaign on secured transactions in moveable assets conducted under the National Action Plan,” it stated.

Some of the challenges faced included paucity of funds for sensitising the judiciary and Nigeria police on the legal implications of the STMA Act, 2017; the need for a driver to move NCR staff to strategic meetings and answer to financial institutions complaints where necessary considering the present location of the office; and low usage of the Collateral Registry System especially bank and reluctance of financial service providers to appreciate the benefits of Asset-Based Lending, among others.

AfCFTA: Boosting industrial revolution through intra-Africa trade

AfCFTA: Boosting industrial revolution through intra-Africa trade

The shelves of many supermarkets in Nigeria boast of a large amount imported products, including toothpicks from China, toilet paper and milk from Holland, sugar from France, chocolates from Switzerland and matchboxes from Sweden.

Yet many of these products can be produced in Nigeria or found in much closer African countries with industrial bases.

Why businessmen still prefer to source their goods from halfway around the world still remain of concern. The answers are however not far-fetched. It is because of the complexity of trade regulations and high tariffs that make intra-African commerce costly, time wasting and cumbersome.

The African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), so far signed by 49 African countries in Kigali, Rwanda, in March 2018 tends to provide a solution to this unnecessary capital flight from Africa.

The AfCFTA is meant to create a tariff-free continent that can grow local businesses, boost intra-African trade, rev up industrialisation and create jobs.

The agreement will create a single continental market for goods and services as well as a customs union with free movement of capital and businesses.

Countries joining AfCFTA must commit to removing tariffs on at least 90 per cent of the goods they produce.

“If all 55 African countries join a free trade area, it will be the world’s largest by number of countries, covering more than 1.2 billion people and a combined GDP of 2.5 trillion dollars”, says the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).

Speaking at a workshop of the Network of Economic Journalists for West Africa, in Monrovia, Liberia, the acting Director, ECA West Africa Office, Mr Bakary Dosso, said the workshop aims to equip newsmen to properly understand the stakes of the AfCFTA.

Dosso said that the largest number of countries that have ratified the AfCFTA where from the ECOWAS region, showing its relevance to the further development of the region.

“The general objective is to improve the quality of media coverage of AfCFTA related activities in West Africa so they can produce fact based reports on the agreement for the benefit of the public and other stakeholders,” he said.

Also, the Liberian Deputy Minister for Administration, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Mr Wilfred Bangura, said the training workshop will boost the development of a responsible and stronger partnership with sub-regional media organisations.

He said that the training would further improve visibility and wider dissemination of information relevant to the sub-region for economic and social development of its member states.

Also, Mr  Konzi Tei, the ECOWAS Commissioner in Charge of Trade and Free Movement said the implementation of the AfCFTA would lead to massive industrial revolution on the continent.

He said that ECOWAS was poised to benefit the most from the agreement as it was already an expert in pursuing the free movement of its people and goods across borders since 1979.

It will be recalled that Nigeria despite playing a role in drafting the AfCFTA, refused to sign the agreement on March 21, 2018 in Kigali, Rwanda.

Nigeria said it was delaying its signature to the agreement to widen and deepen domestic consultations, to ensure all concerns were addressed, as it would not sign any agreement that would not fairly and equitably represent the interest of Nigeria and indeed, her neighbours.

Some of the concerns have to do with the likelihood that it may impact on government revenue and social welfare, as elimination of all tariffs among African countries would erode the trading states’ treasury by up to 4.1billion dollars annually and deepen poverty, with millions of Africans potentially exposed to starvation and death.

Others, particularly among the poorer economies are afraid the benefits in the free trade area may not be equitably distributed among economies.

Naira closes at N362.19 to dollar

The Naira on Tuesday’s closed at N363.19 to the dollar at the investors window, just as market turnover stood at 441.38 million dollars.

At the parallel market, the Naira sustained gains, closing at N358 to the dollar, while the Pound Sterling and the Euro traded at N472 and N411, respectively.

Trading at the Bureau De Change (BDC) segment saw the naira closing at N360 to the dollar, while the Pound Sterling and the Euro traded at N472 and N411, respectively.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the naira had remained stable at the parallel market due largely to the aggressive interventions by the CBN and the collaborations of BDCs.(NAN)