The CBN and bankers committee have identified local pharmaceutical companies that would be granted funding facilities to procure raw materials and equipment. Some of the companies named by the committee at its meeting on Saturday include Emzor, Fidson, GSK, May & Baker, Unique Pharma, Swiss Pharma, Neimeth, Sagar, Orange Drugs and Dana Pharma. This is part of efforts to cushion the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on the Nigerian economy. “Given that this crisis is first and foremost a public health crisis, we are paying particular attention to our health industry,” a communique released at the end of its meeting read. “As aforementioned, global supply chains have been disrupted including dominant drug supply channels from China and India. In fact, many countries have or are planning to ban the export of drugs and medical supplies from their countries. Clearly, we have no choice but to produce these items locally,” it continued.
Data from the ad hoc committee of the National Economic Council showed that the electrical distribution companies in Nigeria owe the electricity market ₦230 billion as a result of collection shortfall and low remittance. The report of an ad hoc committee headed by Nasir El-Rufai, governor of Kaduna state and submitted to the NEC presided over by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo said the DisCos made under-investment of ₦164 billion or 67 percent into their network between 2015 and 2018, which is below their performance agreement target. The DisCos, according to the governor of Nasarawa state, Abdullahi Sule, made ₦147 billion from investments on their networks by the Niger Delta Power Holding Company and the Rural Electrification Agency. The debt owed by the DisCos’ includes ₦48 billion of MDAs indebtedness to DisCos. The power sector has under-performed due to critical challenges, including non-implementation of cost relative tariffs, misalignment between the investors and BPE on required investment in DisCos, under-investment in infrastructure and poor implementation of rules/ contracts, the governor added, suggesting that urgent measures needed to turn the sector around, including recapitalisation of DisCos, firm implementation of industry rules, contracts and the insistence on sound governance principles that improve performance.
International airlines based in the United States, Europe, the Middle East and other parts of the world; Delta, Turkish Airlines, AirFrance, KLM have suspended flight operations to Nigeria following the FG’s directive on the closure of Lagos and Abuja airports to international flights. The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority said on Saturday it would close Abuja and Lagos airports on Monday as the number of coronavirus cases in the country increased from 12 on Thursday to 22 on Saturday. This comes 48 hours after it announced the closure of the international airports at Kano, Enugu and Port Harcourt. The Director-General, NCAA, Musa Nuhu, told airline operators on Saturday that only emergency and essential flights would be exempted from the restrictions while the domestic airlines would continue normal flight operations. AirFrance, KLM among others operated their last flights to the country on Saturday. British Airways, Lufthansa, Virgin Atlantic among others are expected to operate their last flights to the country Sunday. Delta, which operated its last flight to Nigeria on Friday, confirmed it had suspended its flights to the country.
The CBN has technically devalued the naira to exchange the U.S. dollar at ₦380. According to BusinessDay, the CBN now pegged the naira at the official exchange rate of ₦360 per dollar. This is against the official rate of ₦307 per dollar as at Friday. The Nigerian central bank has sold the U.S. dollar to local Jaiz Bank at ₦360 on the official currency market, weaker than the 306 where it was previously pegged, implying a 15% devaluation, traders said on Friday. Traders said no quotes were shown on Friday for the naira on the official market, which has been supported by the central bank for more than two years. The move comes after the impact of an oil price plunge spread across asset classes in Nigeria, causing investors to widen spreads on the bond market, sell stocks and weaken the country’s dollar reserves. On the over-the-counter spot market for investors few trades were done on Friday on the naira at ₦380 on thin liquidity, traders said. Nigeria operates a multiple exchange rate regime which it has used to manage pressure on the currency. The CBN would make the dollar available to the BDCs at ₦378, which would be sold at ₦380 under the new dispensation as the President, Association of Bureaux De Change Operators of Nigeria, Aminu Gwadabe, said the merger of the different rates became necessary to build confidence in the sector.