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    Interswitch approves digital tools for cross-border deals.

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    Africa’s leading integrated payments and digital commerce company, has emphasised the need for more innovative solutions to effectively address issues hindering the growth of intra-continental trade.

    Managing Director, Payment Processing and Switching (Interswitch Purepay), Akeem Lawal, spoke during a panel session at the Zenith Bank International Trade Seminar in Lagos.

    According to Lawal, the prevailing issues limiting cross-border payments can be solved through advanced digital payment platforms that enable seamless intra-continental transactions.

    He acknowledged the prevailing issues affecting cross-border payments, positing that infrastructure can be improved to create opportunities for businesses within Nigeria to transact with businesses beyond the borders of the country.

    He said: “Businesses can achieve greater strides by embracing digitisation. This opportunity cuts across private businesses, the government parastatals and financial institutions. Digitisation is critical for designing platforms for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the export business to enable them complete transactions successfully with little to no constraints.”

    The seminar themed, “Nigerian non-oil export industry: The Present, The future”, also identified the impact of Nigeria’s service industry, with a focus on the creative and technology sectors and their impact to the country’s development.

    Speaking on the critical significance of these sectors, Lawal emphasised the need for fortified public-private partnerships to drive growth in Nigeria’s service industry which has consistently played a substantial role in the country’s overall Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

    He noted that Nigeria was a high exporter of technological expertise and that a significant investment in technology-focused companies would augment the sector’s contribution to the economy.

    As part of the collaboration between the government and private sector players, Lawal highlighted necessary interventions that would support the growth and development of the service sector including training workshops, the promotion of innovative systems, and conducive policy implementation.

    In the same vein, Lawal stressed the need for more robust investment vehicles targeted at the country’s fintech sector to drive tremendous growth in Nigeria.

    In his welcome address, Group Managing Director/CEO, Zenith Bank Plc, Ebenezer Onyeagwu, underscored the need for Nigeria to recognize its huge potential as a continental powerhouse, shifting its focus from oil products to non-oil commodities to derive value for the economy.

    He called for the need to tap into the country’s rich resources and to establish production bases that will support development, to create a ripple effect on a continental level.

    The trade seminar drew major stakeholders from both public and private sectors who expounded on the way forward for Nigeria and Africa at large.

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    Premium Breadmakers Association of Nigeria holds successful AGM & EXCO elections in Lagos

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    Lagos, Nigeria – May 10, 2024 – The Premium Breadmakers Association of Nigeria (PBAN) proudly announces the successful conclusion of its Annual General Meeting (AGM) and Executive Committee (Exco) Elections held on May 9th, 2024, in Lagos, Nigeria.

    The AGM, a hallmark event in the breadmaking industry, brought together esteemed members and industry leaders to reflect on the achievements of the past year and chart the course for the future. The assembly provided a platform for robust discussions on industry trends, challenges, and opportunities, fostering collaboration and innovation within the sector.

    One of the pivotal highlights of the AGM was the democratic process of electing the new Executive Committee to lead PBAN into its next chapter of growth and excellence. With a commitment to transparency and accountability, members cast their votes to elect passionate and visionary leaders who will steer the association towards its strategic objectives.

    The newly elected Executive Committee comprises dynamic individuals renowned for their dedication to the breadmaking industry and their unwavering commitment to advancing its interests. Their diverse expertise and collective vision promise to propel PBAN to new heights of success, innovation, and sustainability.

     

    Names and positions of the Executive Committee:

    1. Emmanuel Onuorah – President
    2. Abayomi Awe – Deputy President
    3. Emmanuel Onyoh – General Secretary
    4. Abayomi Okikiola – Assistant General Secretary
    5. Kene Mbuba – Treasurer
    6. Babalola Thomas – Public & Industrial Relations Officer
    7. Ekaette Okoi – Assistant Public & Industrial Relations Officer
    8. Adijat Olaniyi-Olopade – Financial Secretary
    9. Adebiyi Adebowale – Auditor
    10. Oludare Oladeji-Ojo – Compliance & Provost Officer
    11. Abisola Dejonwo-Tokan – Welfare Officer

     

    “We are thrilled to have successfully concluded our AGM and Exco Elections,” said Emmanuel Onuorah, President of PBAN. “The enthusiastic participation of our members reflects their dedication to the growth and prosperity of the breadmaking industry in Nigeria. With our newly elected Executive Committee at the helm, we are confident in our ability to navigate challenges, seize opportunities, and drive positive change for our members and stakeholders.”

    PBAN extends its gratitude to all attendees, participants, and volunteers whose contributions were instrumental in making the AGM and Exco Elections a resounding success. The association reaffirms its commitment to serving the interests of its members, promoting excellence in breadmaking, and contributing to the socio-economic development of Nigeria.

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    World Bank Blames FX Shortage, Naira Pressure For Parallel Market Resurgence

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    The World Bank has blamed the re-emergence of parallel currency exchange market in Nigeria on resistance toward the increasing pressure on the naira and the limited supply of forex at the official window.

    The Bank, in a report released on Wednesday in Washington DC, said the premium between the parallel exchange rate and the official rate widened from March 2020 until June 2023.

    “Despite changing the official exchange rate to better reflect market conditions in 2021—Nigeria operated multiple currency practices—the parallel rate premium continued to increase to 80 percent in November 2022 and then to about 60 percent in June 2023, as the Central Bank’s interventions to restrict foreign exchange demand and keep the exchange rate artificially low were met with declining FX supply from oil revenues,” said the report.

    It added that the prioritisation of strategic sectors and the imposed price ceilings and trade restrictions pushed transactions to the parallel market, which started to account for a large share of the foreign exchange transactions in the country, including for remittances, tourism, and exports of non-oil products.

    “After the unification and liberalisation of the exchange rates in June 2023, the NAFEX rate converged to the parallel one, closing the gap. However, resistance toward the increasing pressure on the Nigerian naira coupled with limited supply of FX at the official window has led to the reemergence of the parallel market premium,” the report said.

    The report, Africa’s Pulse, shows that Sub-Saharan Africa’s economic outlook remains bleak.

    It identified rising instability, weak growth in the region’s largest economies, and lingering uncertainty in the global economy as dragging down growth prospects.

    Economic growth in Sub-Saharan Africa, it said, is forecast to decelerate to 2.5% in 2023, from 3.6% in 2022.

    It added that Nigeria and Angola will grow at 2.9% and 1.3% respectively due to lower international prices and currency pressures affecting oil and non-oil activity.

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    Nigeria’s Untapped Goldmine: Unlocking the Treasure Trove of Tourism

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    In the quest for a robust economic growth, one glaring truth stands out like a beacon of opportunity: Nigeria must diversify its resources. But alas, the powers that be seem to have a one-track mind, obsessively chasing oil money while our nation’s finances crumble beneath our feet. Unemployment soars, hunger gnaws at our people, and the cost of governance continues to spiral out of control.

    It’s high time we break free from this perilous dependence on black gold. Nigeria, a nation steeped in diverse culture and natural beauty, has a goldmine waiting to be tapped—tourism

    Our cultural heritage is a tapestry woven with threads of history and tradition, waiting to be showcased to the world. Festivals like the Eyo Festival, Argungi Fishing Festival, New Yam Festival, and the Durbar Festival could become global extravaganzas, attracting tourists from every corner of the planet. Imagine the economic windfall, the boost to SMEs, and, the creation of jobs and the enhancement of our global image as a hospitable and vibrant nation.

    But it doesn’t stop there. Nigeria boasts stunning beaches and waterways, prime for transformation into the maldives and Venice of Africa. Consider Makoko in Lagos, where people build their lives on the water – with proper development and management, it could become a traveler’s paradise, an unparalleled experience that visitors will cherish for a lifetime.

    And let’s not forget our diverse landscapes – from enchanting waterfalls to historic museums, impressive dams to mysterious caves, serene springs to lush parks, remarkable statues to majestic mountains and hills – we have it all! Yet, these treasures lie neglected, falling into disrepair, their vast potentials untapped.

    Let’s take a look at Kenya, another African country that’s become synonymous with thrilling safaris. Tourists flock there from all corners of the globe, including Nigeria, for wildlife experiences and encounters with nature. What is Nigeria known for in the tourism arena? We have the potential to create our own unique narrative, to become a destination choice that captures the hearts and minds of travelers worldwide.

    Egypt draws in hordes of visitors with its iconic pyramids and historic museums. When will Nigeria follow suit, investing in its cultural riches, tasty cuisines, Arts and local religions to attract both foreign and local visitors? We’re called the giants of Africa for a reason, and it’s high time we started acting like one.

    We possess the resources and the human capital to make this transformation happen. The sun is shining on Nigeria. Let’s seize this moment and unlock the treasure trove of tourism, not just for our economic growth but for the world to witness the beauty, history, and vibrant culture of our nation. It’s not merely an opportunity; it’s our duty to ourselves, our future generations, and the world that’s been waiting to explore the wonders of Nigeria.

    Ebere Joy is the current Miss Tourism Nigeria, a business consultant and financial advisor.

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