News Roundup: Nigeria sees spike in cases of Mutant Poliovirus in 27 states, Oil prices to decline in 2022, 2023 – EIA…

Nigeria government lifts ban on Twitter after securing agreements
The Nigerian government has lifted the ban placed on microblogging platform, Twitter, after about 8 months of freezing its operations in the country. The platform’s operation came back at 12am, 13 January 2022. The decision to lift the suspension was approved by President Muhammadu Buhari after the microblogging platform agreed to four resolutions requested by the Nigerian government. Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, the Chairman Technical Committee Nigeria-Twitter Engagement and Director-General National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), said in a statement that the approval was given following a memo written to the President by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Ali Pantami. In the said memo the minister had updated and requested the President’s approval for the lifting based on the Technical Committee Nigeria-Twitter Engagement’s recommendation. Following the ban on June 4, 2021, the federal government had listed several demands which Twitter must agree to before it is allowed to operate again in Nigeria. The demands include employing a designated country representative. The company representative must also have a physical address in Abuja and outside the capital city as well as access to the global management so that it can serve as the liaison between Nigeria and Twitter. Twitter is also expected to register with all relevant bodies and regulatory authorities like the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC). The government also wants Twitter to commit itself to work with the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) to enable local tax collection from the company.

Oil prices to decline in 2022, 2023 – EIA
Crude oil prices have been forecasted to fall from 2021 levels on the back of a shift from global petroleum inventory declines during 2021 to inventory increases in the current year and next, the U.S. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) said in its Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO) for January. According to the document, the price of Brent crude oil, the international pricing benchmark which in the fourth quarter of 2021, averaged $79 per barrel is expected to see an average $75/b in 2022 and $68/b in 2023. Similarly, EIA monthly data also showed that the U.S. benchmark, WTI Crude, is expected to average $71.32 per barrel this year and $63.50 a barrel next year. “The declining prices are driven by a shift from global petroleum inventory declines during 2021 to inventory increases in 2022 and 2023. Global petroleum inventories decline when consumption is greater than production and increase when production is greater than consumption,” the monthly report states. In 2021, global petroleum inventories were drained at a rate of 1.4 million barrels per day (b/d), contributing to higher crude oil prices, it recalled. However, after the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020, petroleum consumption returned faster than petroleum production, resulting in this inventory draw. Noting this, the EIA has anticipated an increase in petroleum production and a slowing of consumption growth in 2022, resulting in an increase in global petroleum inventories.
Also, the global petroleum production will increase by 5.5 million b/d in 2022, driven by production increases in the United States, OPEC, and Russia, which together account for 84 percent, or 4.6 million b/d, of the growth, according to the report.

Read also: Nigerian government spends N152bn on digitalisation in 2021

Nigeria sees spike in cases of Mutant Poliovirus in 27 states
Twenty-Seven states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) have reported an outbreak of Circulating Mutant Poliovirus Type 2 (cMPV2), and the total confirmed cases in the country is 395, the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency stated on Thursday. cMPV2 is a form of polio that often occurs due to low immunization rates within communities. The Global Polio Eradication Initiative said the virus can mutate and take on a form that can cause paralysis just like the wild poliovirus. Recently, the World Health Organisation (WHO) expressed concern that Nigeria is causing the virus to spread to other countries. The health body also expressed concerns about the poor quality of supplementary immunisation activities conducted to date and routine immunisation and urged the Nigerian government to focus its efforts to address these factors. cMPV2 outbreaks are caused by immunity gaps in children due to several reasons, including low routine immunization coverage, and missing children during immunization campaigns. The suspension of several polio campaigns and other health programmes in 2020, as well as disruptions to routine immunization because of the COVID-19 pandemic, created further immunity gaps which led to new and wider outbreaks and further increased transmission of the circulating mutant poliovirus both globally and within Nigeria. The viruses thrive in areas with poor sanitation, open defecation, and inadequate access to clean drinking water. These have allowed the virus to be easily transmitted from one person to another through contaminated water and poor sewage disposal.

Nigeria stocks to watch in 2022
The year 2021 was a roller-coaster for equities, with eight months of positive returns and four month of bearish season. The market ended with a positive return of 6.7 percent amid a remarkable last-minute rally that helped push the value of listed stocks up by N1.23 trillion. Interestingly, market liquidity and the record rally were driven majorly by domestic institutional and retail investors, thus reinforcing the potential of Nigerian investors in stabilizing and growing the market. Notwithstanding imminent risks to equity market rally in 2022, Nigerian stocks are still attractive and should remain resilient in this year. Stocks seen reoccurring in many analysts BUY lists for 2022, which investors should actively consider in their equities portfolio this year include Dangote Cement, MTN Nigeria, Lafarge Africa, GTCO, Nestle Nigeria, Zenith Bank, BUA Cement, BUA Foods, UBA, Fidelity Bank, Access Bank, Stanbic IBTC Holdings, and Flour Mills of Nigeria. Currently in the Nigerian market, many of these stocks are undervalued and present attractive BUY opportunities for investors seeking both capital appreciation and for long-term returns. Others are: Unilever Nigeria, Okomu Oil Palm, Presco, Vitafoam, Berger Paints, Ardova, Seplat, and Total Energies Marketing Nigeria. Also on analysts BUY list are Dangote Sugar Refinery, Guinness Nigeria, Conoil, FCMB Group, May & Baker, Fidson Healthcare, and Neimeth International Pharmaceuticals. Amid increasing optimism in the market, a likely modest rise in the interest rate environment may undermine funds flow to equities in 2022, but a positive earnings outlook across most largely capitalised value stocks should reinforce the investment opportunities in these stocks.

Here are five online platforms for tech-based skills in 2022
Since the beginning of the Covid 19 pandemic, the quest to recruit technology-based talents has skyrocketed for employers. This is to enable them to rebound from the effects brought about by the pandemic. According to MyJobMag, with the advancement in technology and an introduction to remote work, a lot of companies have had to move their businesses online and this creates a need for building products that will make this shift feasible and effective. BusinessDay did some research and found out additional 10 jobs that are being highly sought after by employers. Although these jobs are not courses studied in the Nigerian universities, they, however, can be learnt online via platforms including Google, as well as technology institutions through these five online mediums; HNG, Decagon, Udemy, Pluralsight, and Bloom Institute of Technology. While some of these platforms offer internship programmes with no upfront payment, others require a particular amount as tuition fee which varies across course type, usually over a stipulated period of time. Some of the tech-based courses include coding, web development, video editing and animation, data science, python, javascript, among others. After training, the institute follows up on her trainees and recommends them for jobs worldwide where applicable.

The remodeling of Africa’s largest film industry
Funke Akindele’s Omo Ghetto, which has generated over N640 million in gross revenue, took over a year to produce. This is a rarity for a Nollywood industry once known to churn out tens of movies on a weekly basis. In a post-premiere interview, Akindele said the movie took that long because the production crew needed to get every digital component of the movie correctly. For example, the yellow Volkswagen used by the character Lefty took a lot of time as they had to redesign and reconstruct it to become the final car that was used in the movie. Putting a lot more care in the movie production process to ensure the quality meets global standards has become a trend for directors in the industry in recent times. Movies that have achieved success like King of Boys: Return of the King, Citation, Elevator Baby, Chief Daddy 1, and Prophetess, to mention a few have the same hallmark of attention. It is therefore not surprising to many that the industry has attracted big foreign investors in recent years. Netflix according to a 2021 UNESCO report declared that its African subscribers have increased to over 2 million, with Nigeria being a major market. This increasing number is due to the positive impact Covid-19 lockdown brought to digital platforms across the continent. The digital streaming platform officially entered the Nigerian market in 2019. That year, the platform was estimated to have attracted some 50,000 subscribers. Patrick Enaholo, Faculty, School of Media and Communication, Pan-African University, Lagos, gave insights on the recent data in the distribution industry, stating that Omo Ghetto: The Saga, which he fondly refers to as ‘the shining star’ is still a record-breaking movie with over N636 million made this year, topping Hollywood movies such as Fast and Furious (F9) movie which came second place in local cinemas grossing N467 million, a gap of almost 200 million.

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