• Friday, March 01, 2024
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Five things to know to start your Wednesday


APC’s victory in Lagos momentary, we’ll seek redress — LP Chairman

Dayo Ekong, the Lagos State Labour Party Chairperson said on Tuesday that the party has stated its readiness to challenge the outcome of Saturday’s Governorship and House of Assembly elections in court.

Ekong made this known during a press briefing in Lagos, describing the victory of the ruling party—the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the elections as “momentary.”

According to her, Saturday’s Governorship and House of Assembly elections in the state failed all democratic tests and the party was ready to seek redress.

The Party chairman said that the several infractions such as the high incidence of voter suppression and violence against party loyalists and agents made it necessary for them to challenge the APC victory.

The chairperson, who said that the election was not free, fair and credible, expressed confidence that the judiciary would do the right thing.

“There was no credibility, fairness and it was not free. I can assure you that we will seek redress, whatever it takes for us to get justice, we will do,” Ekong said.

CBN disbursed N12.65bn as agriculture intervention since January – Emefiele

Godwin Emefiele, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor, said that the CBN has disbursed N12.65 billion to the Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP) from January till date.

Emefiele said this on Tuesday in Abuja, when he read the communique of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting of the apex bank.

According to the Governor, the total sum that has been disbursed under the ABP since its inception in 2015 is N1.09 trillion.

“Between January and February 2023, the bank disbursed N12.65 billion to three agricultural projects under the ABP.

“It brings the cumulative disbursement under the programme to N1.09 trillion to more than 4.6 million smallholder farmers cultivating or rearing 21 agricultural commodities on an approved 6.02 million hectares of farmland,” Emefiele said.

Read also: CBN raises interest rate to 18% on rising inflation, fragile growth

FG removes 5% excise duty on calls, data

Isa Pantami, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, announced in a press conference on Tuesday in Abuja that the Federal Government will remove its proposed five percent excise duty on telecommunication services.

Pantami said that this gesture was in line with the recommendations of a committee, the Presidential Review Committee on Excise Duty in the Digital Economy Sector, which was constituted to review the implementation of excise duty in the telecom sector.

The Minister who apparently chaired the committee said, “I am happy to report to you that President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, has approved the exemption of the digital economy sector from the five percent excise duty to be paid and this is because of the strength of the argument presented to him by the Committee that additional burden on telecom sector will increase the sufferings of Nigerians and that other sectors that are not making as much contribution to the economy should be challenged to do more and pay the five percent excise duty.”

Pantami said that the removal will help many businesses survive this trying economic weather. “Many MSMEs and SMEs depend on the sector for survival; if the tax is increased, the impact will take a toll on these businesses,” he said.

Oil slips after unexpected build in U.S. crude stocks

The recent rise in U.S. crude inventories last week pushed oil prices further downward pushing away gains from the past two trading sessions in a move that shows that fuel demand may be depleting.

Brent futures, which have risen more than 3 percent this week, were down 48 cents, or 0.6 percent, at $74.84 a barrel at 0203 GMT. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were down 47 cents, or 0.7 percent, at $69.20.

According to Reuters, data from the American Petroleum Institute on Tuesday showed U.S. crude inventories rose by about 3.3 million barrels in the week ended March 17, sources said.

Traders and analysts will be looking out for data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration on Wednesday to see whether it confirms signs of weaker crude demand.

IMF staff reaches agreement with Ukraine for $15.6bn program

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) announced on Tuesday that it has reached a staff-level agreement with Ukraine for a four-year financing package worth $15 billion. This fund would help the country continue its defence against Russia’s invasion and subsequent rebuilding, the IMF said.

According to Reuters, the agreement, which must still be ratified by the IMF’s board, takes into consideration Ukraine’s path to accession to the European Union after the war. The fund said its executive board was expected to discuss approval in the coming weeks.

“The overarching goals of the authorities’ program are to sustain economic and financial stability in circumstances of exceptionally high uncertainty, restore debt sustainability, and support Ukraine’s recovery on the path toward EU accession in the post-war period,” IMF official Gavin Gray said in a statement announcing the agreement.