KWASU-ASUU hails Kwara govt as work begins on collapsed Shao-Malete road culvert, seeks for restoration of varsity subvention

The Kwara State University chapter of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has commended the Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq led administration for commencing work on the collapsed culvert linking Shao to Malete road.

The statement personally signed by the chapter chairman, Comrade. Abdulganiyu Shehu Salau appealed to the State government to see the need to provide a panacea to the problem through the construction of an overhead bridge at Shao junction.

The dualisation of the the Shao-Malete road will be helpful in putting a total end to heavy traffic being experienced by staff of the university and other road users in the area, the statement added.

In similar vein, the union has appealed to the state government to fulfil her pledges on EAA and subvention to the university.  The union recalled that it met and got the nodding of Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq on requests for the settlement of the accrued EAA and restoration of subvention to the university.

According to Comrade. Abdulganiyu, these two requests have not been fulfilled as earlier promised as at the time of writing this report. Stressing a particular need for the restoration of subvention to the varsity, the chairman concluded that out of the five varsities in Ibadan zone of ASUU, KWASU is the only institution that has not been receiving subvention from the government.

The union, while assuring the state government of its unshaken supports and cooperation at all times, appeals to Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq to restore KWASU monthly subvention and effect the payment of the accumulated EAA to save the university and cushion the effect of the current hardship its members are facing.

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AFCON 2023: I target fourth title with Nigeria – Peseiro insists

Jose Peseiro has once again reiterated his desire to guide the Super Eagles to glory at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations.

Three-time winners, Nigeria will be looking to win a fourth title in Cote d’Ivoire.

The Super Eagles will be up against the hosts, Guinea-Bissau and Equatorial Guinea in Group A.

The West Africans last tasted success on the continent in 2013.

Peseiro is however upbeat his team can emerge the best team on the continent again.

“My experience with the Nigerian national team is very good. Being part of African and Nigerian football is an interesting thing, and I cannot deny that,” said Peseiro as quoted by KORAPLUS.

“I told everyone that I wanted to win the Africa Cup of Nations from the first moment I signed the contract with the Nigerian national team, and we study our opponents well in order to win, and this is what we seek to achieve.”

The Super Eagles will start their preparation for the competition in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates next week Tuesday.

(Daily Post)

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Securitize N7.3trn ways and means loan – Tinubu asks Senate

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has asked the Nigerian Senate to approve the securitization of the outstanding debit balance of N7.3 trillion in the consolidated revenue fund also known as Ways and Means advance.

The president sought this approval in a letter read on the floor of the Senate by Senate President Godswill Akpabio during plenary on Saturday.

The President, in his letter, said although the federal government was considering various measures to forestall the use of ways and means advances for domestic debt servicing, it has, however, become highly imperative to securitize the outstanding ways and means advance to the federal government before the end of 2023.

Tinubu said his request was in line with the Provision of Section 38 of the Central Bank Of Nigeria Act 2017, which grants temporary advances to the federal government to fill up the budget deficit.

He said data from the CBN indicates that the consolidated revenue fund stood at N7.3 trillion as of December 11 2023, largely due to domestic debt servicing, principal and interest.

Tinubu emphasized that the securitization of the ways and means will lead to the realization of several benefits, including the reduction of debt service cost.

The President added that the savings arising from the lower interest rate will reduce the deficit in the budget.

“Given the preceding, the Senate is invited to consider and approve securitization of the outstanding debit balance of N7.3 trillion in the CNRF as of December 11 2023”, the letter read.

Recall that in May 2023, the Senate approved the N22.7 trillion loans the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, extended to the federal government under its Ways and Means provision.

(Daily Post)

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Nigerian oil firms mandated to supply 483,000 bpd of crude oil to local refineries

The Nigeria Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Council has issued new regulations requiring oil producers to send around 483,000 barrels per day of crude oil to nearby refineries during the first half of 2024.

This program is part of the efforts of Africa’s largest crude oil exporter to secure a steady supply for domestic processing.

The Dangote oil refinery and at least three government-run refineries are among the local refineries set to begin operations in 2024.

According to the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission’s recently announced Domestic Crude Supply Obligation criteria, the 650,000-barrel-per-day Dangote refinery is slated to earn the largest portion, with a volume of 325,000 bpd.

According to the Nigeria Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Council, six refineries with a combined refining capacity of 864,500 barrels per day are expected to begin operations in 2024. As a result, oil producers will be required to supply somewhat more than half of the crude required to meet these processing capacities.

Warri and Port-Harcourt refineries, for example, are expected to receive 75,000 and 54,000 barrels of crude oil daily, respectively, from the crude oil supply. Meanwhile, refineries like Waltersmith, OPAC, and Niger Delta Petroleum Refinery, among others, are expected to get 10,000 bpd or less.

The Petroleum Industry Act, adopted in 2021, included a provision requiring Nigerian oil producers to allocate a percentage of their crude to domestic refineries to avoid shortages. This regulation, however, has not yet been applied.

Following the termination of the fuel subsidy in June, Nigeria has been attempting to reduce imports of petroleum products while keeping prices reasonably low. After the subsidy was removed in June, the price of petrol increased by more than 200%.

Despite the fact that the NNPCL’s CEO claimed in a June interview that local refining will not considerably cut fuel prices across the country post-subsidy. He expressly said that the cut will range from N20 to N30 from the imported fuel.

Since 2021, the country has used foreign contractors to renovate its state-owned refineries and has assisted the private sector in the construction of others. The Dangote refinery was inaugurated in May, but it has yet to begin refining despite receiving oil earlier this month.

In addition, the former Port-Harcourt refinery’s turnaround maintenance has been finished, and it will begin refining 60,000 barrels of oil per day in January 2024.

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Elon Musk closes 2023 with $92bn profit

Elon Musk ends the year with a whopping $92 billion in year-to-date earnings in 2023, indicating a comeback for the world’s wealthiest person.

According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, his puts Elon Musk at the top of the list, leading the pack of the combined net worth of the 500 richest people, which totals $1.5 trillion, a $1.4 trillion gain from the previous year.

These individuals’ fortunes closely paralleled the performance of technology stocks, which reached historic highs despite fears of an approaching recession, persistent inflation, high interest rates, and geopolitical uncertainty.

The wealth of tech billionaires increased by 48%, totaling $658 billion, fueled by the excitement surrounding artificial intelligence.

Among this select group, Elon Musk reclaimed the title of world’s richest person, edging out French luxury billionaire, Bernard Arnault.

By the end of Thursday, Tesla Inc.’s CEO had amassed an additional $95.4 billion, fueled by the triumphs of both Tesla and SpaceX, effectively recovering from a $138 billion loss in 2022.

Musk’s net worth now exceeds Arnault’s by more than $50 billion, as LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE shares fell due to a global drop in luxury goods demand.

Elon Musk’s notable $92 billion fortune increase year-to-date, reaching a valuation of $229 billion, occurred against the backdrop of controversy surrounding his social media activities, including an antisemitic remark that forced big sponsors such as Walt Disney, Sony, and IBM to sever ties with the platform.

Despite obstacles, Musk’s Tesla reached significant milestones in the first three quarters, tripling its shares and breaking its previous annual sales record.

However, the business suffered setbacks due to lowered prices to encourage demand in the face of increased competition in the electric vehicle sector, placing pressure on Tesla’s profit margins.

Simultaneously, the founder of Amazon.com Inc.,  Jeff Bezos, increased his fortune by more than $70 billion, putting him in a close competition with Arnault for second place.

The CEO of Meta Platforms Inc., Mark Zuckerberg, saw his wealth rise by more than $80 billion.

However, not everyone enjoyed an increase in wealth. Following the devaluation of the Adani Group by short-seller Hindenburg Research, Indian billionaire Gautam Adani had a severe setback, losing $21 billion on January 27 alone and a total of $37.3 billion for the year. Despite this, Adani still controls a sizable 11-figure fortune.

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Dangote, two other Nigerian billionaires lost $9.3bn in 2023 – Report

The Forbes’ Real-Time Billionaires list has revealed that three Nigerian billionaires – Aliko Dangote, Abdulsamad Rabiu, and Mike Adenuga’s combined wealth would fall by $9.3 billion in 2023.

The Forbes’ wealth-tracking tool gives ongoing updates on each individual confirmed to be a billionaire’s net worth and ranking.

When relevant stock markets are open, the value of individuals’ public holdings is updated every five minutes.

Dangote, Rabiu, and Adenuga’s fortunes fell 33.9 percent to $18.1 billion as of 3 p.m. on December 29, 2023, down from $27.4 billion on January 30.

According to the data, Dangote’s fortune has plummeted by $4.1 billion to $9.4 billion, Rabiu’s fortune has dropped by $1.9 billion to $5.7 billion, and Adenuga’s fortune has dropped by $3.3 billion to $3 billion.

“The devaluation of the naira would have affected their wealth because the currency has lost its value against the dollar,” said managing director of Afrinvest Consulting Limited, Abiodun Keripe.

He went on to say that the billionaires have the majority of their enterprises in Nigeria and that converting the worth of their businesses from naira to dollar will result in a loss of value.

The liberalization of the foreign exchange rules in June as part of economic stimulus measures resulted in a significant depreciation of the naira.

The Central Bank of Nigeria consolidated all components of the foreign exchange market into the Investors and Exporters window and reinstated the willing buyer, willing seller model.

Since then, the naira has continued to fall in value versus the US dollar and other major foreign currencies.

As of December 28, the official exchange rate has dropped from N463.38/$ to N1,043.09/$. On the parallel market, the naira fell from 762/$ to 1,210/$.

In June, Forbes claimed that Dangote had lost his position as Africa’s richest person for the first time in 12 years. It was reported that Johann Rupert of South Africa, who amassed a fortune in luxury products and other areas, had surpassed the Nigerian industrialist.

“The decline of Dangote’s fortune came in the wake of the CBN’s decision to float its currency, the naira, on June 14, abandoning the fixed exchange rate with the U.S. dollar,” the report said.

According to the newest 2023 Billionaires Ambitious report, billionaires in Nigeria raised the country’s wealth by 19.7 percent in one year, three weeks ago.

According to a research by a major investment bank and financial services firm, UBS, their total worth increased to $28.5 billion in April 2023 from $23.8 billion the previous year.

“An obvious reason for the uptick in wealth would be the benefit of the stronger oil price, given that Nigeria is usually Africa’s biggest oil producer,” according to analysts at UBS.

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Nigeria, others most affected by high food inflation – W’Bank

The World Bank has revealed that domestic food price inflation has had the greatest impact on Nigeria and other African, North American, and Latin American countries.

According to The PUNCH, the multilateral lender’s recently released Food Security Update revealed that while domestic food price inflation remained high, 61.9 per cent of low-income nations faced inflation more than 5 per cent.

It said that since the last FSU update, the agriculture, cereal, and export price indices closed 2%, 6%, and 1% higher, respectively, while maize and wheat prices jumped 8% and 14%, respectively.

It went on to say that, despite a slowing global economy, demand for agricultural products was expected to hit new highs in the 2023/24 marketing season.

“The inflation of food prices in the country is still significant. In 61.9 per cent of low-income nations, 76.1 per cent of lower-middle-income countries, 50 per cent of upper-middle-income countries, and 57.4 per cent of high-income countries, inflation exceeds 5%.

“Africa, North America, Latin America, South Asia, Europe, and Central Asia are the most affected. Food price rise outpaced general inflation in 74 per cent of the 167 nations where data is available,” according to the research.

According to the report, trade-related measures enforced by countries increased following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

It went on to say that the global food crisis had been exacerbated in part by the increased number of food trade restrictions imposed by countries with a goal of increasing domestic supply and reducing prices.

The latest Consumer Price Index: November 2023′ report released by the National Bureau of Statistics two weeks ago stated that Nigeria’s food inflation rate jumped to 32.84 per cent.

Food inflation was highest in Kogi, Kwara, and Rivers, where it reached 41.29 per cent, 40.72 per cent, and 40.22 per cent, respectively.

The November food inflation rate was 8.72 per cent points higher than the November 2022 figure (24.13 per cent).

According to the research, the increase in food prices was caused by price rises in bread and cereals, oil and fat, potatoes, yam and other tubers, fish, fruit, meat, vegetables, and coffee, tea, and cocoa.

The National Bureau of Statistics reported, “On a month-on-month basis, the food inflation rate in November 2023 was 2.42 per cent this was 0.51 per cent higher compared to the rate recorded in October 2023 (1.91 per cent).”

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Naira drops 11.4% to N927/$1 on official market

The Nigerian Autonomous Foreign Exchange Market, the official FX window, saw a 11.4 per cent depreciation of the Naira against the Dollar on Friday, December 1, closing at N927.19/$1, from Thursday’s exchange rate of N832.32/$1.

This depreciation put the Naira on the back burner for the first trading session of the final month of 2023.

The domestic currency declined in the spot market on Sunday as a result of the December rush for foreign exchange, as the supply of foreign currency could not keep up with demand.

According to data, the value of FX transactions that were recorded at the market during the trading day was $110.14 million, down from $115.41 million the day before, indicating a decline of 4.6 per cent or $5.27 million.

The unregulated foreign exchange market experienced pressure on Friday due to the official market’s incapacity to meet the demand of customers. The local currency lost N5 in value against the US dollar in the parallel market, closing at N1,165/$1, as opposed to N1,160/$1, on Thursday.

However on Sunday, in the Peer-to-Peer window, the value of the Nigerian Naira increased by N8 relative to that of the US dollar, selling for N1,148/$1 as opposed to N1,156/$1.

During the session at NAFEM, the Naira fell N158.01 against the Pound Sterling to settle at N1,204.10/£1, down from N1,046.09/£1 the day before. Against the Euro, it fell N95.37 to sell at N1,036.06/€1, down from N940.69/€1 on Thursday.

The cryptocurrency market, meanwhile, saw mixed results, with Bitcoin rising by 1.9% to $38,112.80, and Dogecoin gained 3.1 per cent to sell at $0.0839.

Additionally, Litecoin gained 0.4% to $70.09, Binance Coin gained 0.4% to $228.88, Cardano expanded by 0.1% to $0.378 and Ethereum increased by 2.7% to $2,090.27. Ripple saw an increase of 0.8% to $0.6105.

Solana saw a slight decline of less than 0.3 percent to close at $60.34, whereas US Dollar Coin and US Dollar Tether ended the day unchanged at $1.00 each.

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INEC seeks collaboration among ECOWAS electoral bodies

The Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, has called for collaboration among West African states on election management.

Yakubu stated this at an event to commemorate the Liberia’s National Election Commission’s workspace for its staff.

On November 14 2023, Liberians voted in the run-off to elect their president for the next six years. After the election, Joseph Boakai became Liberia’s new leader after his rival and sitting President George Weah conceded to mark a peaceful transfer of power in a region that has recently seen many military coups.

Yakubu, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Rotimi Oyekanmi, on Saturday, expressed heartfelt appreciation to NEC-Liberia for the esteemed honour bestowed upon INEC Nigeria in dedicating the workspace to staff.

“Professor Yakubu underscored the complexity of election management and urged prioritising peer support amid limited resources and escalating election costs,” the statement noted.

The chairperson of NEC Liberia, Davidetta Lansanah, acknowledged the pivotal technical support rendered by INEC Nigeria and Yakubu in establishing the workspace and bolstering the electoral process in Liberia.

(Punch)

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Prepare for possible ‘war’, N’Korea’s Kim orders military amidst US alleged threat

North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un wrapped the year with fresh threats of a nuclear attack on Seoul and orders for a military arsenal build-up to prepare for a war that can “break out at any time” on the peninsula, state media reported Sunday.

Kim lambasted the United States during a lengthy speech at the end of five days of year-end party meetings that set his country’s military, political, and economic policy decisions for 2024.

The meeting announced plans for further military development in the coming year, including launching three more spy satellites, building unmanned drones and developing electronic warfare capabilities, as well as strengthening nuclear and missile forces, according to the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

Pyongyang this year successfully launched a reconnaissance satellite, enshrined its status as a nuclear power in its constitution, and test-fired the most advanced intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) in its arsenal.

At the meeting that ended Saturday, Kim accused the United States of posing “various types of military threat” and ordered his armed forces to maintain “overwhelming war response capability”, according to KCNA.

It is a “fait accompli that a war can break out at any time on the Korean peninsula due to reckless moves by the enemies to invade us”, Kim said.

In an effort to deter Pyongyang, Washington earlier this month deployed a nuclear-powered submarine in the South Korean port city of Busan, and flew its long-range bombers in drills with Seoul and Tokyo.

The North has previously described the deployment of Washington’s strategic weapons — such as B-52 bombers — in joint drills on the Korean peninsula as the “intentional nuclear war provocative moves”.

“We must respond quickly to a possible nuclear crisis and continue to accelerate preparations to pacify the entire territory of South Korea by mobilising all physical means and forces, including nuclear force, in case of emergency,” Kim said.

– ‘Uncontrollable crisis situation’ –

At the meeting, Kim said he would no longer seek reconciliation and reunification with South Korea, noting the “persisting uncontrollable crisis situation” which he said was triggered by Seoul and Washington.

Inter-Korean relations have deteriorated to a low point this year, with Pyongyang’s spy satellite launch prompting Seoul to partially suspend a 2018 military agreement aimed at defusing tensions.

“I believe that it is a mistake that we should no longer make to consider the people who declare us as the ‘main enemy’… as a counterpart for reconciliation and unification,” KCNA cited Kim as saying.

Kim ordered the drawing-up of measures for reorganising departments handling cross-border affairs, to “fundamentally shift the direction”.

Leif Easley, a professor of international relations at Ewha University in Seoul, said the emphasis on North Korea’s “significant military capabilities” was likely aimed at hiding the country’s poor economic achievements this year.

“Much of what state-controlled media publishes is recycled propaganda,” he said, adding: “Pyongyang’s bellicose rhetoric suggests its military moves are not only about deterrence but also domestic politics and international coercion.”

Pyongyang declared itself an “irreversible” nuclear power last year and has repeatedly said it will never give up its nukes programme, which the regime views as essential for its survival.

The United Nations Security Council has adopted many resolutions calling on North Korea to halt its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes since it first conducted a nuclear test in 2006.

(AFP)

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