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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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Binance Addresses Unusual Currency Movement

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The cryptocurrency trading platform Binance has made adjustments to its trading operations to address an unusual movement in currency values. Despite reports suggesting that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and other government agencies ordered Binance to impose restrictions on Nigerian traders selling USDT, Binance has distanced itself from such claims. In a report published on Wednesday by the Binance Blog, the platform clarified that its peer-to-peer (P2P) product remains operational but with some adjustments.

Binance explained that to safeguard users and prevent potential abuse, their system automatically halts trading during periods of significant currency movement. They noted an instance of temporary suppression of prices that briefly reached their system limit late at night. Prompt adjustments were made to allow trading to continue seamlessly. The platform highlighted their stringent measures to protect users, such as real-time monitoring, immediate removal of non-compliant advertisements, and permanent exclusion of bad actors from utilizing the P2P product. Continuous market surveillance ensures the swift removal of abnormal prices, supported by a fixed security deposit.

Furthermore, Binance emphasized their collaboration with legislators and authorities to uphold transparency in cryptocurrency trading and its impact on financial markets. They underscored that foreign exchange rates are influenced by various complex factors beyond Binance’s control. Despite this, they reiterated their commitment to engaging with regulators, policymakers, and stakeholders to facilitate open and transparent dialogue about managing the evolving cryptocurrency and financial markets landscape.

Binance encouraged users and the community to disregard any unfounded fears or uncertainties and expressed gratitude for ongoing support as they navigate dynamic market conditions. They pledged to provide updates through official channels as necessary.

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Again, CBN Hikes Import Duty Rate To N1,493.23/$1

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Less than a day after reducing the rate, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) increased the exchange rate used for calculating Customs duties at the country’s seaports by 1.4 percent on Saturday morning.

According to information from the official trade portal of the Nigeria Customs Service, the Customs duty rate has been adjusted upwards from N1,472.756 per dollar to N1,493.23 per dollar as of Saturday, February 17, 2024.

This adjustment represents a 1.4 percent rise in the Customs duty rate, resulting in an increase of N20.474 compared to the previous rate.

This move contradicts the directive from the House of Representatives, which called on the apex bank to maintain the Customs and excise duties exchange rate below N1,000 per dollar. The House proposed pegging the rate at N951.941 per dollar, believing that reducing the rate would stimulate activity in Nigerian ports, curb inflation, and enhance economic stability.

The decision to raise the Customs duty exchange rate means that importers will incur higher costs to clear their goods, as import duties are linked to the dollar.

The new rate aligns with the official CBN foreign exchange rate of N1,493.73 per dollar as of Saturday, February 15, 2024, as announced by Customs management.

Earlier this year, the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Adewale Adeniyi, stated that the Service would solely use the exchange rate from the official Central Bank window for clearing imported goods and would refrain from arbitrarily adjusting the exchange rate.

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Nigerian Customs intercept 15 trucks of food items in Sokoto

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The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) in Sokoto State has seized 15 trucks transporting food items in an effort to combat smuggling, which has exacerbated the increasing prices of goods in the nation.

Abubakar Chafe, the spokesperson for the NCS Sokoto Command, informed the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Saturday that the trucks were apprehended along the Gwadabawa-Illela road.

Chafe explained that the interceptions were prompted by the large quantity of agricultural produce being transported by the trucks.

He noted that the trucks are currently under the custody of the command, and an investigation has been launched to determine the owners and intended destinations of the food items.

The operation was conducted by a joint team comprising officers from the NCS Sokoto Command, the Federal Operation Unit, and the Intelligent Unit of the Service, according to Chafe.

He emphasized that the operation was necessary due to the ongoing inflation of food items in the country.

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