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Nigerian government to invest $617.7 million in digital and creative industries in November

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Vice President Kashim Shettima has instructed the Investment in Digital and Creative Enterprises (i-DICE) team to ensure the program begins no later than the end of November.

Shettima issued this directive during a meeting at the Presidential Villa in Abuja on Friday when the i-DICE team provided an update on its progress. He emphasized that President Bola Tinubu’s administration is committed to fulfilling its promise of generating millions of jobs in the technology sector in Nigeria. The administration has proposed November 2023 as the launch date for the $617.7 million i-DICE Investment program.

Shettima stressed the importance of this initiative to the Federal Government’s efforts to create digital jobs. He urged all partners involved in the i-DICE program to make efficient use of the funds. He believes that the $617.7 million program can be a game-changing endeavor.

Given the unique challenges facing the country, especially related to youth unemployment, Shettima emphasized the need to create jobs for the nation’s youth. He requested regular updates on the progress of the program, with the aim of launching it by the end of November this year. He also highlighted the importance of nationwide coverage to ensure inclusivity.

The Vice-President assured the technical committee, program personnel, and international partners that they would receive full support from the government, emphasizing President Bola Tinubu’s commitment to the country’s transformation. Shettima stated, “We mean business, and my boss, President Bola Tinubu, is passionate about the transformation of this country. So, you have nothing to worry about regarding government support.”

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Neglect by govt blamed for decline in cocoa production in Cross River

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Godwin Ukwu, the National Vice Chairman of the Cocoa Association of Nigeria (CAN) for the Akwa Ibom, Cross River, and Rivers states zone, has attributed the decline in cocoa production in Cross River State to government neglect. He mentioned that Cross River used to be the second-largest cocoa producer in Nigeria, following Ondo State.

Speaking at a training workshop in Calabar for key stakeholders in the cocoa, coffee, and oil palm sectors, Ukwu pointed out that the cocoa estates established in the 1960s by Dr. Michael Okpara, the former Premier of the defunct Eastern Region, have aged and are deteriorating due to a lack of regeneration plans.

Ukwu emphasized the need for a strategic development roadmap to achieve significant growth in the sector and praised the recent formation of a committee on the strategic development of cocoa, coffee, and oil palm by the state government.

“It has been challenging to secure a roadmap for cocoa in Cross River State. We have repeatedly advocated for this plan. The current administration seems committed to revitalizing the neglected cocoa sector, as our plantations have aged and are now dying,” Ukwu stated.

He argued that Cross River should be the leading cocoa-producing state, hindered only by the lack of political will and support to boost production and regenerate the estates. “With the efforts of the government and partners, it is highly likely that the state will achieve the number one spot, which has always been our dream,” Ukwu added.

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The training workshop, aimed at developing strategic plans for the cocoa, coffee, and oil palm sectors, was organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) in collaboration with the Cross River State government.

Professor Susan Ben Ohen, Chairman of the committee on the strategic development of cocoa, coffee, and oil palm, stated, “We are developing strategies for these three crops in the state. We have had extensive meetings and set goals and objectives. The training for members and stakeholders will help them understand the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats in these sectors. The outcomes from these processes will benefit farmers, processors, marketers, banks, government, and others.”

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Heritage Bank: Revocation of license by CBN wasn’t surprising – Moghalu

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Former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Kingsley Moghalu, has described the recent revocation of the banking license of Heritage Bank by the apex bank as the chronicle of a death foretold.

Moghalu said the development wasn’t surprising.

In a post on his X handle on Wednesday, Moghalu said the revocation of the license of the defunct bank should not worry anyone, adding that it doesn’t mean the financial system isn’t sound.

He said: “The revocation of the banking license of Heritage Bank by @cenbank is the chronicle of a death foretold. In other words, it’s not surprising.

“I don’t think it should worry anyone, nor does it mean the financial system isn’t sound. Banks are businesses, even if very special and thus heavily regulated ones. A bank that is badly run should not have a lifetime guarantee. The important thing is to protect depositors’ funds.

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“What we did in 2010 when we created @AmconNg was to ensure SYSTEMIC financial stability. We made sure no bank failed then to ensure systemic stability because of the unique situation of the global financial crisis. But over the long term, I never subscribed to a view that no bank, no matter how badly run, should ever fail. That would be a wrong approach to financial regulation.”

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Forex crisis: Why CBN should review recapitalization requirement for BDCs – ABCON

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The Association of Bureau De Change Operators has criticized the Central Bank of Nigeria’s new recapitalization requirements for its members amid the ongoing foreign exchange crisis.

ABCON President Aminu Gwadabe expressed this sentiment on Thursday at the 8th edition of the Vanguard Economic Summit.

This follows the CBN’s announcement of a new guideline for BDC operators in Nigeria on Wednesday.

The central bank mandated that all BDC operators reapply for licenses, raising the minimum capital requirement for tier-1 and tier-2 licenses to N2 billion and N500 million, respectively.

However, Gwadabe has urged a review of the CBN’s directive to increase the capital base for BDC operators, arguing that it deviates from global standards.

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“You increased the capital from N10 million to N35 million in 2014, and now you are raising the capital base of BDCs from N35 million to N500 million for Tier 2 operators and N2 billion. It’s highly against the global standard,” Gwadabe said.

These developments occurred as the Naira depreciated on Thursday in both parallel and official forex markets after four days of appreciation.

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