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EU Approves 500m Euro Budget for Nigeria

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The EU has approved 500 million euro budget for Nigeria from 2014 to 2020, its top official for Africa, Dr Nicholas Wescot, said yesterday in Abuja.

Wescot disclosed this at a press conference that the EU development programme in Nigeria for the next seven years would be targeted at poverty reduction, particularly in northern Nigeria.

The EU official said the fund was approved under the 11th European Union Development Fund (EDF) from 2014 to 2020.

It was gathered that the fund is a reduction of 17.7 per cent compared with the 677 million euros appropriated to Nigeria under the 10th EDF from 2008 to 2013.

Wescot, however, described Nigeria as a significant development partner to EU, citing strong trade relations.

“The EU imports 33 billion euros of goods from Nigeria; we exported in 2012 11.4 billion euro goods to Nigeria. We have the biggest stock of investment built up over many years in Nigeria and many EU investors are still keen to come and invest in the country. We also remain a significant development partner and have just agreed that over the next seven years we will contribute 500 million euros in development systems to Nigeria.’’

He said the EU and prospective investors from the bloc would target investments in the agriculture sector to provide jobs for the unemployed people in Nigeria, particularly in the rural areas.

Wescot reiterated EU’s commitment to assist Nigeria in addressing its security challenges including the fight against Boko Haram and the piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.

“We are keen to provide support and from our instrument for stability we have just agreed an additional 10 million euros to help support the Nigeria security apparatus to develop its capability of solving some of these challenges. On the 2015 elections, he said the EU would assist Nigeria to build robust democratic institutions, where “differences of views could be resolved peacefully without resorting to violence. The forthcoming elections in Nigeria would be a very important step to the evolution of Nigeria’s democracy. All the people of Nigeria and the international community want those elections to be transparent, honest, open, credible and peaceful,’’ he said.

Wescot noted that during his visit to Abuja he would meet with Prof Attahiru Jega, the INEC chairman, to discuss on credible elections in Nigeria.

According to the EU official, he had earlier met with Olusegun Aganga, Nigeria’s Minister of Trade and they held discussions on the EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with West Africa countries.

He said negotiations on the EPA had made “good progress’’ and he described ECOWAS member-countries commitment to a common external tariff as a “significant step forward.’’

“There are still outstanding issues to be resolved, but my conversation with the minister was encouraging and these are problems that can be overcome in the weeks ahead.’’

He also used the occasion to announce that the EU-Africa summit would hold in Brussels on April 2 to April 3 this year.

He said all AU countries and Morocco have been invited for the summit which has a session for Heads of State and Governments.

The meeting will address the theme “Investing in People, Prosperity and Peace’’.


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CBN Pulls Rate Cut Trigger, King Dollar Returns

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By Lukman Otunuga, Senior Research Analyst at FXTM,

In a move that caught investors off-guard this week, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) slashed interest rates by 100 basis points bringing the MPR to 11.5%. Given how inflation has been above target since 2015, rates were expected to remain unchanged for the rest of 2020 and possibly early 2021.

 

The question on the mind of many is whether the rate cut will achieve the desired effect by stimulating consumption and economic growth? Ongoing border closures and disruptions created by COVID-19 have pushed inflation to levels not seen since March 2018 above 13.20% while a drop in the production and price of Oil continues to rub salt into the wound. While looser monetary policy could support growth, it may come at the cost of rising inflation and weaker Naira.

 

Over the past few months, central banks across the globe have deployed unprecedented measures to defend their respective economies against the coronavirus menace. However, fiscal policy has been identified as the sharper tool with governments across the world providing a critical lifeline to keep the wheels of their respective economies rolling.

 

Outside of Nigeria, King Dollar made a return by appreciating against every single G10 currency. In times of uncertainty, everyone wants a juicy piece of the world’s most liquid currency. As coronavirus cases rise in Europe and other parts of the world, the flight to safety is likely to boost appetite for the Dollar. This is bad news for many emerging markets currencies, especially those with high Dollar-denominated debt.

 

On the commodity side, Oil prices remain heavily influenced by demand-side factors and the state of the global economy. Prices are likely to remain stuck around the $40 regions in the near term, especially If another round of possible lockdowns hit Oil demand. Looking at the technicals, WTI Crude is under pressure on the daily charts. If prices are unable to break away from the sticky $40 regions, the next key point of interest remains around $38. A weekly close above $41.50 could pave a path towards $43.


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NCC Arrests Man for Hacking into DSTV System

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Nigeria Copyright Commission (NCC), has arrested one Mr Aliu Olalekan, for allegedly hacking into DSTV system and watching the channels free without subscription.

NCC Arrests Man for Hacking into DSTV System

Mr Matthew Ojo, NCC Director in the Lagos Directorate Office said this while speaking with newsmen in Lagos, on Tuesday.

He said that the suspect used to watch DSTV channels free without subscription on his Android phone via an app which he downloaded on google play store.

“This suspect distributed the know-how to his telegram followers and on his blog with the aim of gaining more followers and viewership on his blog and makes more money through google ad-sense.

“The operation was based on surveillance which had earlier been carried out by the Multi-choice team and verified by a copyright inspector, ” he said.

He added that the arrest was made in collaboration with a team of copyright inspectors led by the Head of Enforcement Department, Mr Charles Amudipe.

Others included; a team from Multichoice Nigeria led by Mr Umar Ibrahim and policemen from Lagos Command Headquarters, Ikeja.

Ojo said that the joint team conducted an anti-piracy operation at the premises of the culprit in Amukoko, Lagos.

According to him, the suspect was contacted on phone by a member of the operation team on the disguise of patronising him. “The suspect came out to meet the caller and in the process of discussion, he was apprehended.

“The suspect took the team to his resident. The squad paraded his one-room apartment and recovered his laptop and phones used in perpetrating the ungodly act. “He was arrested and brought to the copyright commission office for further investigation, ” he said.

Ojo said that, on getting to the commission’s office, the statement of the suspect was taken and the inventory of items seized from him taken. He said that investigation on the matter was still ongoing and if found guilty the suspect will be charged to court.

 


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NCC, Digital Encode Support NITRA Innovative Tech Forum On Post-COVID-19 Strategies

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The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Nigeria’s telecommunications regulator and Digital Encode, Cybersecurity and Compliance advisory company, have indicated interest to partner with the Nigeria Information Technology Reporters Association (NITRA), the national umbrella body of ICT reporters, as it organizes a forum that will x-ray the industry’s future plans for ICT growth post pandemic era.

 

The event, slated to hold on October 15, 2020, will seek to discuss the needs for a fortified ICT sector after the COVID-19 era, and the level of preparedness of ICT stakeholders to embrace the challenge of being pivotal to the stability and growth of all other sectors.

 

A statement from NITRA National Secretariat in Lagos indicates that due to the pandemic and need to observe the COVID-19 protocol on social distancing, the event will be held via a Webinar.

 

This year’s theme, “Multi-stakeholder Approach To National Recovery Post-Pandemic”, is in line with the annual event’s generic theme, ‘NITRA Innovative Tech Forum’, a contribution by NITRA to the development of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) innovations and policies in Nigeria.

 

Prof. Umar Danbatta, executive vice chairman, NCC is expected to deliver the keynote speech at the event and will throw more light on Federal Government’s plans, programmes and policies on post-pandemic strategies using ICT.

 

Dr. Adewale Obadare and Dr. Seyi Akindeinde, founders of Digital Encode, while accepting to support the event expressed their readiness to offer their expertise in Cybersecurity for organisations to prepare against cyber- attacks with the new normal.

 

They will also highlight areas that are high risks that need fortification in terms of cybersecurity.

 

Speaking on the event, Mr. Chike Onwuegbuchi, national chairman, NITRA, noted that as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to leave its negative trails across the globe, economic reboot for countries will not only depend on how well they readapt to the new normal, but also more on their recovery plans.

 

According to him: “While the federal government has consistently expressed its willingness to set all policies in place to engender growth, and accelerated implementation of these policies, private sector firms have also shown great hunger for the task ahead in post-COVID-19 era.

 

However, the question that needs to be answered is whether all stakeholders are ready for the required task ahead.”

 

The event will also offer participating companies opportunities to publicize some of their individual efforts at contributing to reacting a soft landing or lifeline for SMEs and other ancillary companies as the pandemic threatens their survival.

 

Digital Encode is a multi-award winning and leading consulting and integration firm that specializes in the design, management, and security of business-critical networks, telecommunications environments and other Information Technology (IT) infrastructures.

 


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