Indoor Sports Hall Collapses In Calabar

A major disaster which would have claimed lives and left many severely injured was averted in Calabar, the Cross River state capital, when an uncompleted multipurpose indoor sports hall at the U. J. Esuene Sports Stadium collapsed.

The incident happened at a time when the children’s competition taking place in the stadium was suspended to observe the Easter Holiday as more than 2000 children would have been crushed to death.

The structure was supposed to be one of the facilities to host the National Sports Festival by the State, which was awarded for 14 million Dollars.

Reacting on the unfortunate development, Chairman of the State’s Sports Commission, Mr Orok Duke, blamed the incident on the Contractor who besides not completing the job after being fully paid 14 million Dollars upfront, still used substandard materials.

The indoor Sport hall Chairman said, the stadium was awarded by the immediate past administration and has been under construction for over two years.

“What I have discovered is that the contractors to this project have used substandard materials and it is showing because this structure has been here for not more than three years but what we should note is that this structure was erected before the advent of Prof Ben Ayade’s government.

“And in keeping with our policy of trying to reposition sports, I had asked for permission to go after the contractor, but my principal, the governor had said he does not want to be distracted. We should cut our losses and move on because he was still focusing on hosting the National Sports Festival.

“The most frightening thing is the discovery of these substandard materials which means this was a tragedy waiting to happen.

“If it hadn’t happened now, maybe it would have happened when we had a full house with a lot of athletes.

“Being Good Friday, I can say that God just intervened because a lot of people would have been killed, especially now lots of children come to the stadium. This structure was supposed to be here for over 200 years. So we are really stunned about this development.

“The original design of the indoor sports hall had two ovals. So money was given for two ovals, but he started work on one and could not even complete it. Even at that, substandard materials were still used. It is only in Cross River that sundry contractors would walk in, cheat us and walk away without anyone going after them. It is sad for us”, Mr Duke said.

Mr Duke further called on relevant agencies to thoroughly look into the matter and act accordingly in order to serve as a deterrent.

CBN Sells 313 Million Dollars In Forward Auction

Monetary Policy Committee , MPC Meeting, MPC, CBN, Anchor Borrowers Scheme, 683 FarmersThe Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has sold about 313 million Dollars, in a two-month forward auction to clear a backlog of Dollar demand.

This is the third of such auctions since the launch of the forwards market in June 2016.

Its comes about a week after the regulator held a two-month Dollar forward auction to clear a backlog of demand from airlines, manufacturers and other companies, due to huge shortage of the dollar.

Traders say the bank had sold less foreign exchange than it was expected at a special auction, and bids had been accepted at a range of 310-350 per Dollar.

Nigeria Owes Foreign Creditors 11.26 Billion Dollars

Naira, Market, dollarNigeria’s foreign debt now stands at 11.26 billion Dollars.

This is according to data from the Debt Management Office.

This figure is made up of a 3.65 billion dollar foreign debt by the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory.

The data shows Lagos, which has the biggest economy in the country, as the most indebted state to the tune of 1.43 billion dollars.

Kaduna State follows with a foreign debt of 225.28 million dollar while Edo State, with 179.52 million dollars is the third most indebted state.

External Reserves Drop To 24 Billion Dollars

Naira, dollar, Market FX marketNigeria’s external reserves have declined to a record low of 24.8 billion dollars.

This is as at September 16, 2016.

The Central Bank of Nigeria explains that the forex reserves shed 600 million dollars from 25.4 billion dollars recorded on August 31, 2016.

This follows CBN’s frequent interventions at the inter bank official foreign exchange market in recent weeks, as severe dollar shortage continues to weigh on the economy.

Nigeria’s Oil Production Shows Further Strain

Oil ProductionNigeria’s oil production showed further signs of strain on Thursday as intruders blocked access to Exxon Mobil’s terminal exporting in Qua Iboe, the country’s largest crude stream.

Exxon Mobil said that the terminal continued to operate even as the intruders blocked staff from gaining access from early morning hours.

The incident is the latest in a string of attacks and other problems at the oil infrastructure in Africa’s largest crude producer.

Militant activity in the oil-rich Niger Delta has taken out some 500,000 barrels per day of crude oil production from other companies in Nigeria, pushing oil output in Africa’s largest-producing nation to more than 22-year lows.

Human Rights Lawyer, Falana, Sues CBN Over Exchange Rate

Femi-FalanaHuman rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), has asked the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja to restrain the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) from allowing market forces to determine the exchange rate of the naira.

The Senior Advocate of Nigeria also asked the court to direct the CBN to stop the use of the United States dollar as a legal tender in Nigeria.

The suit was filed on Wednesday, 24 February 2016 and is yet to be assigned to a judge for hearing.

In the suit, Mr Falana, alleged that the CBN’s monetary policy had led to a situation where too much naira was made to chase a few dollars with an attendant weaker naira and adverse multiplier effects such as rising inflation, closure of factories and high level of unemployment.

He also alleged that the CBN had so “dollarised the economy” that the foreign currency had now become legal tender with school fees and rents now being charged and paid in dollars to the detriment of the economy.

The Senior Advocate wants the court to make a declaration that by virtue of Section 16 of the CBN Act 2007, the CBN shall fix and determine the exchange rate of the naira by a suitable mechanism devised for that purpose.

Naira Trades In Tight Spread As Oil Firms Sell Dollars

naira-notesThe naira traded within a range at which it has been stuck for almost a month on the interbank market, supported by dollar sales from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)and oil companies, dealers said on Monday.

The naira closed unchanged at 199 naira to the dollar, while it traded at 224 naira against the greenback at the parallel market, operated by bureau de change agents.

The central bank scrapped its bi-weekly forex auctions last month and fixed its clearing rate at 198 naira to the dollar, in a move to curb speculation on the currency. The naira has since been trading at around 197 to 199 to the dollar.

A total of 104.5 million dollar sales were carried out on Monday at a range of 197 to 199 naira to the dollar, just before the market closed, Thomson Reuters data showed, with dealers attributing some of the trades to a central bank forex sale.

The local units of Chevron sold $30.4 million while Shell sold an undisclosed amount to some lenders to buy naira for local use on Monday.

The central bank this month fixed the rate at which banks can buy dollars from oil companies at not more than 2 naira spread to its clearing rate, its latest attempt to prop up the currency hit by the drop in oil prices.

Naira Gains On Dollar Sales By Oil Firms

naira-notesNigeria’s local currency firmed 1.13 percent against the dollar on the interbank market in thin trade on Monday, supported by dollar flows from two energy companies, traders said.

The naira closed at 199.7 to the dollar compared with 202 on the interbank market on Friday, dealers said.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had set its intervention rate at 196.8/197.8 to the dollar on Monday, but dealers said the regulator had not yet sold dollars to lenders by 1302 GMT.

The Nigerian unit of Royal Dutch Shell sold an undisclosed amount of dollars while Eni sold $15 million, lending support to the naira, traders said.

The naira suffered its biggest monthly fall in over five years in February on concerns over political uncertainty and the CBN’s ability to manage a currency hammered by weak oil prices.

“There was not much of activity in the market today, apart from dollar sales by the two oil companies which boosted liquidity a bit and supported the naira,” said a trader.

Traders expect the local currency would be driven by availability of dollar inflows through anticipated month-end sales by oil companies during the week.

Senate Passes 2015 MTEF, Approves $52 Oil Price Benchmark

Ministerial NomineesThe Senate has passed the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Policy Paper (FSP).

The Senate at plenary on Wednesday set the benchmark price of crude at $52 dollars per barrel, against the benchmark price of $65 dollars per barrel set by the Federal Ministry of Finance.

The Senate also set an exchange rate of one hundred and ninety naira to one dollar against one hundred and sixty five naira to the dollar set by the Ministry of Finance.

The Chairman Senate Committee on Finance, Senator Ahmed Markarfi, said the benchmark price of crude was reviewed lower because of the falling price in the international market.

The Senate also approved the reduction of recurrent expenditure from N2.6 trillion to N2.4 trillion and increased capital expenditure from N633 billion to N700 billion.

Naira Sheds 0.27 Pct As Oil Price Continues To Fall

Money_newNigeria naira slipped 0.27 percent on Monday amid a shortage of dollars on the interbank market, as higher demand coupled with declining global oil prices .

The naira closed at 163.85 to the dollar, below the three-month low of 163.45 naira it touched a week ago.

The naira closed at 163.40 on Friday.

“Dollar demand from politicians holding their assets in hard currency ahead of elections next year has increased pressure on the local currency,” one dealer said.

The central bank was selling dollars directly on the interbank market to try to prop up the currency, which has shed almost 3.5 percent this year, for most of last week.

On Monday, the local unit of Royal Dutch Shell sold an undisclosed amount of dollars to some lenders, which was not enough to support the naira.

The naira has “depreciated substantially” on the interbank market in the past two months, Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele, noted during last Friday’s interest-rate-setting meeting, citing risks from declines in global oil prices and domestic production.

Brent crude oil fell below $98 a barrel on Monday, dropping for the third session in four, as sluggish demand and ample supplies outweighed expectations of a cut in oil output from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

Dealers expect dollar sales by multinational oil companies as they meet their month-end domestic obligations to provide some support for the naira in the days ahead.

Congolese Mining Taxes Short Of $88M– Transparency Int’l

[highlight]Tax authorities in Democratic Republic of Congo have failed to account for $88 million in revenue from the booming mining sector, according to a representative of a global anti-corruption campaign.[/highlight]

Congo has attracted international firms including Freeport-McMoRan, Glencore and Randgold to mine its rich copper, cobalt and gold deposits, but remains one of the most corrupt countries on earth.

The missing funds date from 2010 and tax bodies should have paid them into the central bank, said Mack Dumba Jeremy, national coordinator in Congo for the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI).

But he said the DGRAD tax agency had been unable to prove that the payment was made. Attempts to find the money had been going on since January, said Jeremy, who stopped short of accusing the authorities of corruption.

“DGRAD must prove that the money actually arrived in the public treasury in 2010. If they can’t then the executive committee of EITI will go to the courts in order to launch an inquiry into the whereabouts of this $88 million,” Jeremy said.

EITI is an international initiative which aims to improve transparency in resource-rich countries by tallying up the amount paid by companies and how much governments say they receive.

Congo is currently a candidate to become a full member of EITI although it is unclear whether it will meet the standards required.

No one from DGRAD or the government was immediately available for comment. Prime Minister Augustin Matata Ponyo has repeatedly promised to tackle corruption.

Matata Ponyo survived a challenge to his authority on Monday after more than 40 legislators who had previously signed a motion of censure against him withdrew their signatures.

Attempts were made by the scuppered opposition to force a vote of no confidence in the government for various alleged failings, including mismanagement of government funds.

Watchdog Transparency International ranks Congo 160th out of 176 countries in its Corruption Perceptions Index for 2012, with a score of just 21 out of 100.

Dr. Dre Taking A Deep Into Music Streaming Service

Rapper and music producer Dr.Dre has taken another huge step in the music industry surely to allow the million dollar man to rake in more dollars into his coffers as he recently acquired MOG; as the headphone maker is indeed working on a streaming service to launch sometime next year.

Beats acquired MOG mostly for its technology, as music licenses are not transferable in a sale like this.

Beats thought in the line of spreading its tentacles before anyone thought of it as Dre’s ace in using MOG to accelerate plans to launch its own streaming service.

And recent info is that Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor is affiliated with the project, which is codenamed Daisy.

The service will offer music streaming, but with a big focus on curation, both algorithm and human based and it’s the current low point of any on-demand streaming service.