Press spotlights Nigeria, Egypt deal on trade promotion, others

The Memorandum of Understanding signed by the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission and the Egyptian Competition Authority on Thursday…

The Memorandum of Understanding signed by the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission and the Egyptian Competition Authority on Thursday to promote trade fairness between both countries is one of the trending stories in Nigerian newspapers on Friday.The Punch reports that the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission and the Egyptian Competition Authority on Thursday signed a Memorandum of Understanding to promote trade fairness between both countries.

The process began in 2019 when the FCCPC and the ECA initiated discussions on enhancing competition law and policy between both parties.

According to a statement by the management of FCCPC, the key mandates of the FCCPC include protection of consumers, and promoting fair competition in Nigeria, with its scope of application to all undertakings, conduct, and commercial activities within or having effect within Nigeria.

“In this regard, the FCCPC and ECA have solidified their engagements in a Memorandum of Understanding.

“Considering that both countries are part of the largest economies in Africa, and the mutuality of both agencies’ objectives and mandates, the FCCPC and ECA on Tuesday, January 31, 2023 at the Egyptian Competition Authority’s Headquarters in Cairo, Egypt, executed the MoU. Both agencies recognise and acknowledge the purpose, and benefits this collaboration portends – strengthen economies and promote shared prosperity.”

The statement noted that the MoU recognises crucial issues that seek to progress both agencies engagements through joint investigation, capacity development, and sharing of information and experiences to ensure consumers and businesses derive the protection and benefits that are inherent in the economic expansion this engagement enhances.

In his remarks, the Ambassador of Nigeria to Egypt, Amb Nura Rimi was quoted saying, “The MoU and its scope presents a very important starting point, and key competition regulators like the FCCPC and the ECA are vital to market entry and stability. This MoU is an indication of both agencies mutual commitments to promote trade and fairness.”

The Executive Vice Chairman, FCCPC, Babatunde Irukera welcomed the attendance of Nigeria’s ambassador to Egypt, thanked his colleagues at COMESA for their support and appreciated the warm hospitality of the Egyptian Competition Authority for hosting both the MoU execution and the African Heads of Competition Dialogue Meeting.

Irukera said,“Signing this MoU today in a manner of speaking is an end somehow as it concludes the significant work of engagement, negotiation and modification. By the same token, it marks the formal beginning of a framework and platform to increase trade between our countries, promote market fairness and ensure our continent progresses from the standpoints of choices for consumers, market entry and stability.”

During his speech, the Chairman, Egyptian Competition Authority, Dr Momtaz Mahmoud welcomed the distinguished attendees, highlighting the close relationship and cooperation with the FCCPC and noting that the MoU was an outcome of collaboration between the two agencies, and portends enhanced integration and joint regulatory action among African countries.

He also noted that such cooperation would contribute to addressing cross-border effectiveness of competition regulation between both countries, and on the continent.

The newspaper says that external reserves fell by $63.62m in January, figures obtained from the Central Bank of Nigeria have revealed.

The CBN revealed in its data on movement of foreign reserves that the external reserves which ended December 30, 2022 at $37.08bn fell to $37.01bn at the end of January 30, 2023.

Nigeria’s external reserves fell by $3.43bn in 2022 after dropping from $40.52bn as of the end of December 31, 2021.

Cordros Securities stated in its January report on ‘MPC to favour smaller rate hikes in the short term’ noted that local currency weakness remained intact.

It stated that, “Foreign investors remain on the sidelines given the lack of FX reforms, higher global interest rates and weak macroeconomic narrative.

“In addition, CBN’s FX supply to the different FX market segments remains significantly below pre-pandemic levels. Meanwhile, the demand for the greenback remains high as market players continue to source for FX to fulfil and clear their outstanding obligations. Consequently, since the last policy meeting, the local currency depreciated by 3.4 per cent to N461.25/$ at the official market as of 18 January 2023.

“However, given that the FX reserves remain within the CBN’s comfort level, we expect the Committee to highlight the need for the apex bank to maintain its periodic FX interventions and intensify its call to the fiscal authorities to amplify their efforts in ensuring higher crude oil production over the short-to-medium term.”

The Punch also reports that the Federal Government, on Thursday, said it was currently implementing measures to ensure the generation of 9,000 megawatts of electricity from renewable energy sources.

It disclosed this at the Rural Electrification Agency management and board retreat in Abuja, stressing that renewable energy from solar, wind, hydro, among other sources, was the solution to bridge the electricity gap across the country quickly.

“This why we plan to continue to optimise it while drawing in quality investments and private sector participation in the space,” the Minister of State for Power, Goddy Jedy-Agba, stated in his remarks at the retreat.

He added, “This administration’s efforts to improve energy access through on- and off-grid electrification solutions are commendable.

“We must not lose sight of Vision 30:30:30, aimed at raising the generation capacity to 30,000MW by 2030, of which 30 per cent (9,000MW) will be from renewable sources.”

Jedy-Agba said the REA was pivotal to this vision, as it had critical roles it must continue to play in the global conversation on energy transition and off-grid electrification.

He expressed confidence in the REA management and board, but noted that beyond the quality exchange of knowledge and optimisation of expertise, a healthy and productive collaboration was desirable for the agency.

“I commend you for organising this retreat to help strengthen the agency and I am confident that by the end of this exercise, the REA will be reinvigorated and repositioned for a more significant impact beyond its current scorecard,” the minister stated.

The Guardian says that the Coalition of Southern Groups (CSG) has called for the sacking of the Group Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited, Mele Kyari and others who are supposed to ensure the availability of fuel in the country.

CSG is the apex coordinating body for the majority of various groups of the Southern Nigeria extraction viz: Yoruba Council Worldwide, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Council, Ijaw Youth Council, Istekiri Youth Council, and Niger Delta Ethnic Nationalities Youth Leaders Council among others.

The group also demanded the removal of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor, Godwin Emefiele from office.

Aare Oba Oladotun Hassan, Chairman of the group and Mazi Okwu Nnabuike, Secretary, in a statement accused the duo of having an agenda to scuttle the success of the 2023 general elections.

The statement read: “We have jointly taken the lead to give backing to the voice of the Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) and align ourselves with the Federal House of Representative’s legitimate resolution against Mr Godwin Emefiele, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria on signing of his warrant of arrest and sanction in contravention and gross violation of the House Rules and Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, while equally calling on the Senate to toll same part of Honour in defence of the helpless and strangulated Nigerian masses, in view of the persistence in the lopsided height of crescendo on the perennial hydra-headed factors bedeviling the state of the nation, particularly on issues bordering on fuel Scarcity, Change of Currency and Unavailability of New Notes, coupled with INEC red alert on hacking of its data base, insecurity; all this are systemic circulated agenda to scuttle the success of the 2023 general elections, precipitating our resolution to align with all the bold positions reached and taken by the CNG on the unfolding double Jeopardy just a few days to the conduct of general elections in Nigeria.

“Noting especially, the setting in of major factors that negatively affect ordinary Nigerians and potentially frustrate the patriotic interest concerning the coming elections on fuel, electricity, redesigned of naira notes, withdrawal limit, hike in tuition fees and a general, a controversial population census, all that have been unjustly shrouded in secrecy under the veil of authority of the President, surprisingly without the concurrent inputs of the National Assembly respectively.

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