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Money-spinning COVID-19 tests choke travellers

Nigerians travelling abroad are still stuck with pricey payment for the mandatory COVID-19 test introduced by the Federal Government to curb importation of the COVID-19 virus and its circulating variants.

Within a few days of travel, many are forced to run as much as four separate tests at N50,400 each in mandatory private laboratories in Nigeria as well as abroad where it could be totally free or sometimes cost more.

The National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) continues to reserve free testing at public laboratories exclusively for medical purposes – a decision that still fails intended patients and leaves travellers with costly travel bills.

While NNPC forages for cash, its peers record bumper earnings

Some oil companies who have released their 2021 first-quarter results are reporting earnings similar to pre-pandemic levels, but for Nigeria’s state oil company, an inability to reform continues to rain on its parade.

Saudi Arabia’s national oil company, Saudi Aramco reported net income for the first quarter this year of $21 billion, up 24 percent year-on-year, and free cash flow of $18.3 billion.

Royal Dutch Shell reported adjusted earnings of $3.2 billion for the three months through to the end of March. This compares positively with $2.9 billion reported over the same period a year earlier and $393 million for the fourth quarter of 2020.

However, the NNPC has not published its first-quarter earnings of 2021 but it doesn’t take a seer to understand that the oil corporation is flailing.

Nigerians applying for passport stranded as booklets shortage persists

Nigerians applying for passports in the last six months have been stranded and unable to travel outside the country as a result of the scarcity of international passports.

In Lagos and Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, many applicants have been waiting for months for their passports, which they had applied and paid for and had also, been captured in the database, but are unable to obtain their passports because booklets are scarce.

BusinessDay’s checks show that passports are currently scarce because the government owes its technical partners abroad huge debts running into millions of dollars.

Improved PMI reading foreshadows awaited recovery of businesses

Nigeria’s manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), a gauge for manufacturing sentiments, has continued its upward movement on a monthly basis signifying the gradual recovery of business activities in the country’s manufacturing sector.

The PMI moved from 51.4 points in March to 53 points in April with improvement recorded for four out of the five sub-indices examined, according to data by FBN Quest and NOI. This was driven by activities in the cement industry which emerged a winner during the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, despite the upward movement of the PMI which is a forward-looking indicator of economic performance, analysts do not believe that it will impact the economic performance particularly for the first quarter of 2021.

Okonjo-Iweala announces appointment of four Deputy DG for WTO

Less than two months after her resumption as director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has announced the appointment of four new deputy director-general for the international trade organization.

According to a public statement released Tuesday, May 4, 2021, the four newly appointed Deputy Director-General are Angela Ellard of the United States, Anabel González of Costa Rica, Ambassador Jean-Marie Paugam of France and Ambassador Xiangchen Zhang of China.

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