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Volkswagen to invest €2bn in electric vehicle

By DPA

German carmaker Volkswagen on Friday said that it had agreed to invest more than 2 billion euros (2.2 billion dollars) in two Chinese electric car companies.

The vehicle is the latest in a series of moves to muscle in on the lucrative Chinese market.

The Wolfsburg-based company said it has signed a memorandum to pay 1 billion euros for a 50-per cent stake in the state owned parent of JAC Motors, thereby raising its stake in the joint venture with JAC to 75 per cent.

It also said it would invest 1.1 billion euros in order to acquire a 26.5 per cent stake in Guoxuan High-tech Co Ltd, an electric vehicle battery manufacturer.

The transaction will make Volkswagen its biggest shareholder.

“Together with strong and reliable partners, Volkswagen is strengthening its (electric vehicle) strategy in China,’’ said VW chief executive Herbert Diess, according to a statement.

CBN to empower 11,250 wet season farmers

By Anthony Areh

The Anchor Borrowers Programme of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) would empower no fewer than 11,250 farmers for the 2020 wet season farming in Adamawa.

Alhaji Ilyasu Mu’azu, the Chairman, Adamawa branch of Maize Association of Nigeria (MAAN), disclosed this during the flag off of the 2020 wet season Anchor Borrowers Programme on Thursday in Yola.

Mu’azu stated that the 2020 wet season Anchor Borrowers Programme in the state was in collaboration with Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), MAAN and the Unity Bank.

“In the 2020 Wet Season farming, 11,250 farmers will be empowered in Adamawa by the Central Bank of Nigeria Anchor Borrowers Programme in collaboration with Maize Association of Nigeria and Unity Bank.

“In Adamawa state, in 2018 and 2019, the Anchor Borrowers Programme empowered 4,293 small scale farmers, through the provision of inputs, extension services and linkage with market outlets,” Mu’azu said.

He said that the farmers empowerment was a soft loan which would be repaid with farm produce.

The chairman observed that the rate of population growth, climate change, insurgency, farmers/herders conflict, flood effect and COVID-19 pandemic was alarming and threatening national food production in 2020.

Alhaji Adamu Yusuf, the CBN representative, said that the apex bank was committed to ensure effective national agricultural growths.

Yusuf called on the beneficiary farmers to utilise the inputs given to them judiciously, to improve their standard of living and national food production.

He noted that the inputs were given as soft loam to famers, urging them to repay the loan as at when due, to enable the programme capture additional farmers in the next farming season.

Speaking on behalf of the Adamawa Government, Mr Kabir Bello,  commended the Federal Government for the gesture.

Bello said the loan was convered by the Nigeria Agricultural Insurance to reduce negative and natural risks on the farmers.

According to him, the programme will go a long way in improving food production, adding that the state government will ensure farmers make effective use of the inputs.

Responding on behalf of the beneficiaries, Malam Usman Michika, State Chairman, All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), also lauded the federal government for initiating the Anchor Borrowers Programme.

AfDB’s Board denies asking Adesina to step down

By Tanko Mohammed

As rumour flies over his fate, the Bureau of the Boards of Governors of the African Development Bank (AfDB) has denied asking the bank’s President, Dr Akinwumi Adesina to step down for any probe.

The Chairman of the bureau, Niale Kaba in a statement said that the publications trending in the media on purported directive of stepping down of Adesina was false.

KABA said there was no governance crisis at AfDB as was being speculated at certain quarters.

He cautioned that the bureau should be allowed to do its work and it would ensure due process as all governors would be carried along in resolving whatever the issues might be.

“The bureau of the Boards of Governors of AfDB met on Tuesday, May 26,  to consider the matter arising from a whistleblowers’ complaint against the president of the bank which was dealt with by the ethics committee of boards of Directors of the bank.

“And for which I received letters from some stakeholders expressing various views.

“Following the meeting, my attention has been drawn to several publications in the national and international press regarding the content of the deluberations of the said meeting, and I’m compelled to make clarifications in other to avoid any misunderstanding.

“The bureau which I chaired wishes to reasure the publuc that it is  treating the matter with the utmost seriousness that it deserves.

“The bureau wishes to informs the public that it has not taken any decision as was falsely conveyed in some publications,” he added.

CBN predicts negative economic growth

By Moses Uwagbale

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has predicted negative Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth for the country in the second quarter (Q2) 2020 owing to COVID-19 pandemic that had affected the economy.

The CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, made the prediction while fielding questions from journalists after the Monetary Policy (MPC) meeting in Abuja.

Emefiele explained that the reason was the fact that Nigerian economy, just like global economy, was shut down during the month of April, May substantially and to some extent also in June.

He said with this development, he was almost certain that growth in second quarter would be in negative.

He further stated that the unfortunate situation arising from COVID-19 pandemic had led to health and economic crisis of unprecedented proportion.

According to him, the situation has affected U.S, Europe and China economies as well as developing countries.

“Luckily and pleasantly surprised, Nigeria first quarter growth in 2020 came down from 2.5 per cent from fourth quarter 2019 to 1.87 per cent.

“Understandably by the virtue of the fact, we began to really lockdown our economy in the month of March because we were already seeing some interesting growth trajectory in the month of January and February following the recovery that we have made in 2019.

“So, we saw what I could call a somehow pleasant GDP of 1.87 per cent” he added.

The governor noted Nigeria was part of global economy and if the country was able to manage this impact as quickly as possible, and join others in getting out of the difficult situation, the better for the nation.

He, however, emphasised the need to work together towards achieving vibrant economy.

“As we begin to see the easing of the lockdown, business begin to come back alive again, we all need to move very aggressively and fast to see that corporate activities are pushed to extent where if we are lucky, third quarter growth may come out positive.

“If this is achieved, Nigeria will return to a situation where we can say we are not into recession”.

All-Share Index down 0.22% in stock market

By Tanko Mohammed

The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) trading indices on Thursday lost N29 billion or 0.22 per cent, with market capitalisation closing at N13.115 trillion compared with N13.144 posted on Wednesday.

The long successive gains in previous trading were halted by profit-taking.

Besides, the All-Share Index, which opened at 25,221.23 dipped by 55.22 points or 0.22 per cent to close at 25,166.01.

Meanwhile, the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Central Bank of Nigeria at the end of its one-day meeting voted to reduce the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) by 100 basis points to 12.50 per cent from 13.5 per cent.

This was in a bid to salvage the economy from the negative impact of COVID-19 pandemic.

They, however, maintained the asymmetric corridor around the MPR at +200/-500bps, hold Cash Reserves Ratio (CRR) at 27.5 per cent and keep liquidity ratio at 30 per cent.

The downturn of trading on NSE  was due to losses recorded in medium and large-capitalised stocks, among others.

ETI led the losers’ chart in percentage terms by 9.92 per cent to close at N5.45 per share.

Ikeja Hotel followed with 8.73 per cent to close at N1.15, while UBA shed 6.25 per cent to close at N6.75 per share.

Oando dipped by 5.71 per cent to close at N2.64, while Fidelity Bank lost 5.50 per cent to close at N1.89 per share.

Conversely, Cutix dominated the gainers’ chart in percentage terms by 9.94 per cent to close at N1.88 per share.

May & Baker Nigeria followed with 9.71 per cent to close at N3.39, while Champion Breweries improved by 9.64 per cent to close at 91k per share.

University Press grew by 9.62 per cent to close at N1.14, while Neimeth International Pharmaceuticals rose by 9.57 per cent to close at N1.03 per share.

Analysts at Afrinvest Limited expected bargain hunting to support market performance in the next trading session.

As a result of the losses, the total volume of shares traded decreased by 40.13 per cent as investors bought and sold 348.21 million shares, valued at N3.433 billion in 7,148 deals.

This was against a total of 581.61 million shares worth N5.59 billion achieved in 7,759 deals on Wednesday.

Transactions in the shares of FBN Holdings topped the activity chart with 47.39 million shares worth N261.94 million.

Access Bank trailed with 36.87 million shares valued at N270.71 million, while Zenith Bank traded 27.42 million shares worth N478.13 million.

UBA accounted for 25.02 million shares valued at N174.40 million, while Guaranty Trust Bank transacted 23.49 million shares worth N576.22 million.