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FG establishes National Gold Reserve Scheme, issues first gold refining licence

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…As NIMASA goes tough on dangerous imports***

The federal government had established  a Federal Gold Reserve Scheme, in pursuance of its economic diversification programme.

Disclosing this yesterday at the on-going National Economic Summit, the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Sen. Udoma Udoma, said the move was part of the implementation of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) with a view to strengthening the nation’s macro-economy.

He stated: “As an outcome of the ERGP focus labs, we have also been able to accelerate the development of a National Gold Development Policy and the establishment of a Federal Gold Reserve Scheme in Nigeria. Today, I am happy to report that the first gold refining license has been issued to a company called Kian Smith Limited, which was one of the companies that participated in the Labs. “Indeed, the Federal Government is finalizing modalities to purchase gold from local refineries via a Federal Gold Reserve Scheme subject to international standards such as the London Bullion Market Association. This accelerated development of the National Gold Development Policy by the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, and the progress recorded in implementing the Federal Gold Reserve Scheme by the Central Bank of Nigeria, are direct solutions to issues presented by investors at the ERGP Focus Labs.” Udoma added that the during the Labs, investors interested in agriculture were assisted to obtain farming land from some State Governments, to boost the agricultural sector.

“Also arising from the Lab process, a local automobile assembly firm in Imo State, Autodex Limited, is being supported to double its capacity for the production of farm tractors. This is just to mention a few of the projects arising out of the Focus Labs. “The ERGP Delivery Unit is working hard to advance progress on many other potential projects identified in the Labs. To keep the public informed of progress arising from the Focus Labs the ERGP Delivery Unit has started producing a monthly newsletter.

The next one is scheduled for release within the next two weeks,” he said. The minister said that the theme of this year’s Summit, “Poverty to Prosperity: Making Governance & Institutions Work,” provided another opportunity for to examine the progress made so far in achieving the programmes, policies and objectives of the ERGP. According to him, “The ERGP specifically maps out strategies to improve governance by institutionalizing transparency, accountability, fighting corruption, improving security, reforming the public service, and strengthening coordination with sub-national governments.

“We, at the Federal level, are working closely with the States through the National Economic Council (NEC) to strengthen the coordination required for enhanced implementation of the governance components of the ERGP, including monitoring the progress of States’ implementation of the 22-point Fiscal Sustainability Plan (FSP).

“Furthermore, we have, amongst other reforms, introduced a 4-year strategic plan for Civil Service Reform which is being coordinated by the Head of Service. This aims to drive innovation in service and institutionalise a performance management system that is citizen oriented.” Udoma also explained that the President’s Executive Orders were to improve service delivery and enhance transparency. They included the Executive Order on Promoting Procurement by Government Agencies; an Executive Order on Improving Efficiency in the Business Environment; and an Executive Order on Promotion of Nigerian content in contracts in Science, Engineering and Technology. The minister added that the government of President Muhammadu Buhari had invested in, and continued to invest in, several initiatives to improve the quality of governance, improve transparency and reduce corruption. “We know we still need to do more – and we will continue to listen to suggestions.

However, I can assure you that this is a Government that is committed to do whatever is necessary to move our people from ‘Poverty to Prosperity’. To achieve this, we will continue to invest in our people. We will continue with our social intervention and other programmes to ensure that no one is left behind. We will continue to fight corruption so as to ensure that resources meant for the development of our people are not diverted for selfish purposes.”

Under the ERGP, the government conducted Focus Labs in three work streams, namely Agriculture and Transportation; Manufacturing and Processing; and Power and Gas. We have set up an ERGP Delivery “As part of the Lab process we were able to assist Brass Fertilizer and Petrochemical Development Company in obtaining expedited issuance of various approvals that were required by its financiers from multiple government agencies. Brass Fertilizer is a very large, multi-billion-dollar petrochemical plant positioned to be one of the largest consumers of gas in the country within the next 5 years. If this project succeeds it could create up to 20,000 direct and indirect jobs,” the minister disclosed.

In the meantime, the  Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has vowed to deal with those involved in the shipment of dangerous goods to the country.

The agency, sources said, is to implement safety codes on dangerous goods to enhance safety in the marine environment.

Its Director of Operations, Mr Rotimi Fashakin, said the indiscriminate dumping of dangerous goods in the marine environment has been a growing concern and a threat to human health and the environment.

He said the IMDG Code was a convention under the auspices of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) to which Nigeria is a signatory.

He recalled the negative effect that the dumping into Koko Port in Delta in 1988 of 18,000 barrels of hazardous waste from Italy and recent similar cases on the area.

He said there was the need to pay special attention to the negative effects that dumping of dangerous goods in the environment could cause the residents.

“The special requirements in the transportation of IMDG are to eliminate or minimise the risk of injury to people.

“Over the years, the maritime sector in many countries had taken measures to regulate the transportation of dangerous drugs through identification, labelling and stowage of such goods,” Fashakin said.

He said that the measure for international regulation on transporting dangerous goods was ratified by the 1929 International Conference on Safety of Life at Sea and adopted in the 1948 Conference.

He added that the usefulness of most IMDG, especially, to industries had made them inalienable from man hence the desire for them.

“This session is, therefore, part of Nigeria’s readiness to effectively perform its statutory responsibilities of implementing the IMDG Code on transporting dangerous goods in order to guarantee the health of its citizens,” he said.

Also, Dr Felicia Mogo, NIMASA’s Head of Marine Environment Management Department, who facilitated the session, said that the code was meant to enhance the safe carriage of dangerous goods.

She advised port users to be patriotic in their dealings in order to save the country from danger.

Vanguard with additional report from The Nation

Economy

Senate Passes Bill Seeking Return To Old National Anthem

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Senate Passes Bill Seeking Return To Old National Anthem

Nigerians may soon go to their beloved old anthem as the Senate on Tuesday passed the bill seeking to return Nigeria to the old National Anthem.

This followed the adoption of the report of the Senate Joint Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights, Legal Matters, Federal Character and Inter-Governmental Affairs at plenary.

Presenting the report, the Chairman of the Committee, Sen. Mohammed Monguno (APC-Borno) said the bill was first read at plenary on May 23.

He said the bill, among others, sought to provide a legal framework for an Act to reinvent the old National Anthem titled “Nigeria We Hail Thee” which was adopted at Independence in 1960.

He said the anthem was the official anthem of Nigeria until 1978 when it was replaced with the current “Arise O Compatriot.”

Monguno said the aim was to adopt the old national anthem through legislation because of its contextual connotations and relevance to the current state of the country.

“The bill is designed to promote national unity and cohesion through ideological and philosophical concepts of the rich historic and cultural heritage of Nigeria.

“It will engender and inculcate a deep sense of patriotism, togetherness and oneness amongst citizens.

“It is the first time the parliament is making a legal framework for a national anthem: all the steps of law making including public hearing have been undertaken,” he said.

Monguno said the passage of the bill would provide the needed platform for sensitisation of the citizenry on the nation’s core value system by the National Orientation Agency (NOA).

“Adopting the old national anthem will preserve and promote the country’s cultural heritage for future generations.

“The bill is significant, as changing the national anthem will symbolise Nigeria’s transition towards greater unity, inclusiveness and progress as a nation.

“The adoption of the anthem certainly demonstrates Nigeria’s respect for its cultural traditions while also embracing positive changes within the society,” he said.

The senator added that by passing the bill, an arbitrary change on the national anthem would be avoided as it would be subjected to legislative process, thus setting a precedent.

The President of the Senate, Sen. Godswill Akpabio, thanked the committee for its input on the bill.

He also commended the various stakeholders that made inputs on the bill at the public hearing, saying that the bill was awaiting President Bola Tinubu’s assent.

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Economy

Naira Appreciates By 9.7% Against Dollar At Official Market

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Naira Appreciates By 9.7% Against Dollar At Official Market

…Naira trades between N1,501 and N1,310 against the dollar at Investor’s and Exporter’s (I&E) window

 On Monday, Naira experienced huge appreciation at the official market, trading at N1,339.33 to the dollar.

Data from the official trading platform of the FMDQ Exchange, a platform that oversees the Nigerian Autonomous Foreign Exchange Market (NAFEM), revealed that the Naira gained N143.48

This represents a 9.67 per cent gain when compared to the previous trading date on Friday, May 24, 2024, exchanging at N1,482.81.

However, the total daily turnover reduced to $180.80 million on Monday down from $556.25 million recorded on Friday.

Meanwhile, at the Investor’s and Exporter’s (I&E) window, the Naira traded between N1,501 and N1,310 against the dollar..

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Economy

NGX Delists Arbico Plc After 46 Years, Investors Lose N290bn

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NGX Delists Arbico Plc After 46 Years, Investors Lose N290bn

The Nigerian Exchange Ltd. (NGX) says it has delisted the entire issued share capital of Arbico Plc from its daily official list after 46 years of listing.

The NGX disclosed in its weekly official report made available to newsmen in Lagos that the company was delisted on Monday.

Arbico, a building and civil engineering construction company, was established in 1958 and listed on the Exchange in 1978.

Shareholders of the company had in March approved the voluntary delisting of the shares of the company from the bourse and sought the regulator’s approval.

NGX said: “Refer to our market bulletin of May 17, 2024, with reference number: NGXREG/IRD/MB26/24/05/17 wherein the Market was notified of the suspension placed on trading in the securities of Arbico Plc in preparation for the delisting of the company.

“Following the approval of the company’s application to delist its entire issued share capital from the NGX.

“Please be informed that the entire issued share capital of Arbico was on Monday, May 20, 2024, delisted from the daily official list of the NGX.

Also in the week, Jaiz Bank Plc, Nigeria’s first full-service non-interest financial institution, declared to pay its shareholders a dividend of 4k per share on July 16.

FBN Holdings Plc also announced to pay its shareholders a dividend of 40k on Aug. 23.

On trade, the NGX All-Share Index and Market Capitalisation depreciated by 0.52 per cent to close the week at 97,612.51 and N55.218 trillion respectively, as against 98,125.73 and N55.508 trillion respectively reported in the previous week.

As a result, investors lost a total of N290 billion this week.

Similarly, all other indices finished lower except NGX MERI Value, NGX Consumer Goods, NGX Oil and Gas, NGX Lotus ll and NGX Industrial Goods which appreciated by 1.74, 0.31, 0.72, 0.44 and 0.19 per cent while the NGX ASeM index closed flat.

Meanwhile, Trading in the top three equities namely Ecobank Transnational Incorporated Plc, Access Holdings Plc and United Bank for Africa Plc measured by volume accounted for 1.006 billion shares worth N20.115 billion in 6,849 deals.

This contributed 50.67 and 49.40 per cent to the total equity turnover volume and value respectively.

Also, a turnover of 1.986 billion shares worth N40.715 billion in 38,487 deals was traded this week by investors on the floor of the Exchange in contrast to  1.652 billion shares valued at N42.677 billion traded last week in 38,123 deals.

The Financial Services Industry measured by volume led the activity chart with 1.577 billion shares valued at N30.359 billion traded in 20,697 deals; thus contributing 79.41 and 74.56 per cent to the total equity turnover in volume and value respectively.

The Conglomerates Industry followed with 125.342 million shares worth N1.387 billion in 2,283 deals.

The third place was the Consumer Goods Industry, with a turnover of 77.327 million shares worth N2.446 billion in 4,916 deals.

Also, 24 equities appreciated during the week lower than 28 equities in the previous week.

53 equities also depreciated higher than 51 in the previous week, while 77 equities remained unchanged, higher than 76 recorded the previous week.

Meanwhile, Deap Capital Management and Trust Plc, FNT Cocoa Processors, Transnational Corporation, United Bank For Africa and UPDC Plc led the losers’ table.

The gainers table was led by Berger Paints, Regency Assurance Plc, Cutix Plc, McNichols Plc, and Nestle Plc.

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