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African Energy Chamber calls on the Bank of Central African States to relax Forex Rules

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The African Energy Chamber  has joined oil industry stakeholders in calling on the Bank of Central African States (BEAC) to relax its currency controls rules adopted in June 2019.

Last year, the BEAC introduced new rules controlling the flows of currency in Central Africa in a bid to promote financial transparency and ensure that oil revenues stay within local economies and local banks. While the Chamber continues to support sound and transparent revenue management and distribution across the oil & gas industry, these specific rules have created a very unattractive environment for foreign investors seeking to invest in CFA union states.

The new rules notably state that all foreign exchange transfers over $1,680 be vetted for approval by the bank, and that all export proceeds above $8,400 be repatriated in 150 days to a local bank account. Unfortunately, such controls are causing transaction delays and preventing foreign investors to repatriate proceeds from their investment, which is a key condition of any attractive investment jurisdiction. With such controls and rules in place, CEMAC will suffer and becomes less attractive to credible investors.

H.E. Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons of Equatorial Guinea, had quickly reacted and called the measures deadly for the local oil & gas industry, stating that they could destroy economies and make it impossible to attract investments. Local and regional entrepreneurs will suffer and the oil sector will see a decline in investment.

Given the current scenario of historic low oil prices and COVID-19 pandemic, the Chamber is urgently calling on the BEAC to listen to industry voices and concerns and relax such currency controls to maintain the region’s attractiveness as an investment destination.

“The FX Regulations adopted in June 2019 make it very difficult for our companies to compete and create employment, and render our business environment very unattractive for foreign investors. Given the worsening of the region’s economic outlook in light of the COVID-19, the industry needs urgent action on the relaxing of these FX Regulations,” declared H.E. Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons.

Following the release of Africa’s Energy Commonsense Agenda this week, the Chamber believes that reforming business environments across Africa should be a priority for every regulator and all central banks, in order to ensure swift economic recovery and make the continent more competitive on the global stage.

The African Energy Chamber’s Call to Action was released this week and is available to download for free on www.EnergyChamber.org. It details 10 measures that form part of a Commonsense Energy Agenda for Africa to recover from the current crisis.

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Capital Market

Stock market gains N15bn on MTNN price rally

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The key market indices of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) on Friday rebounded by 0.12 per cent following price appreciation achieved by MTN Nigeria Communications.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that MTN Nigeria Communication dominated the gainers’ table with N1.10 to close at N16.10 per share.

Vitafoam Nigeria followed with 26k to close at N3.85, while International Breweries added 25k to close at N3.85 per share.

GlaxosmithKline gained 20k to close at N4.80, while PZ Cussons appreciated by 15k to close at N4.50 per share.

Consequently, the All-Share Index which opened at 24,276.56 rose by 29.80 points or 0.12 per cent to close at 24,306.36.

Also, the market capitalisation of listed equities inched higher by N15 billion or 0.12 per cent to N12.679 trillion from N12.664 trillion achieved on Thursday.

On the other hand, Guaranty Trust Bank topped the laggards’ table, dropping 30k to close at N22.45 per share.

United Bank for Africa trailed with a loss of 15k to close at N6.25, while Zenith Bank lost 5k to close at N16.70, per share.

ABC Transport dipped 5k to 51k, while FBN Holdings also declined by 5k to close at N5.20 per share.

An analysis of the activity chart indicates that Sterling Bank was the most active, exchanging 17.66 million shares valued at N22.63 million.

Zenith Bank followed with an account of 7.47 million shares worth N47.06 million, while Transcorp sold 7.41 million shares valued at N4.69 million.

Fidelity Bank exchanged a total of 6.20 million shares worth N11.11 million.

In all, the volume of shares traded closed lower with an exchange of 131.63 million shares valued at N899.49 million in 3,044 deals.

This was in contrast with 192.08 million shares worth N2.47 billion exchanged hands in 3,833 deals on Thursday.

 

(NAN)

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BUSINESS

EKEDC warns against tampering with meters

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Eko Electricity Distribution Company (EKEDC) on Friday said it had intensified efforts to curb cases of meter tampering by customers within its operational network.
Mr Godwin Idemudia, General Manager, Corporate Communications, EKEDC, in a statement issued in Lagos warned that those involved in such nefarious activities would face prosecution.
Idemudia said the warning follows the recent arraignment of three persons before an Ojo Magistrates’ Court on a four-count charge of conspiracy to commit fraud, impersonation, forgery and tampering with electricity installations.
He said the accused persons allegedly received the sum of N70,000 from unsuspecting customers who wanted to get their prepaid meters repaired and placed them on direct connection.
Idemudia said :” It is rather unfortunate that people go about parading themselves as our staff when they are not.
“We will go the full extent of the law and this will serve as a deterrent to others aiming to do same.”
He urged EKEDC customers to always go through the appropriate channels for all complaints or issues and make no form of payment to unauthorised persons or channels.
Idemudia also advised customers to report any staff or partners that make demands on them for EKEDC’s services via its social media platforms and other designated channels.
(NAN)
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Aviation

Ekiti Cargo Airport to be ready in 18 months

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Ekiti Government has said the ongoing construction of the Cargo Airport at Ipogun in Irepodun/Ifelodun Local Government Area would completed in 18 months.

Mr Bunmi Awotiku, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Airport Project, said this when Ekiti House of Assembly Committee on Works and Transport visited the site on Friday at Ipogun.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the project started in October 2019.

The Chairman of the House Committee, Chief Olugboyega Aribisogan, said that the airport was a timeless legacy, which would enhance the rapid transformation and development of the state.

Aribisogan, accompanied by other committee members, said they were at the site to examine the level of work done on the project.

The chairman assured that the Assembly would give necessary legislative support to the state Executive to enable it deliver the dividend of democracy to the people of the state

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