Nigeria recorded a trade balance deficit of ₦1.8 trillion at the end of Q2 2020, indicating the third consecutive quarter of negative trade balance. The country’s merchandise trade stood at ₦6.24 trillion in the same period 2020, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics’s Foreign trade in goods statistics’ report released on Wednesday. The report said the development indicated a sharp fall of 27.30 percent in Q2’20 compared to Q1’20 and 27.46 percent compared to Q2’19. The value of total trade year to date amounted to ₦14.82 trillion, representing a drop of 11.96 percent compared to half-year 2019. The NBS said the import component was valued at ₦4.02 trillion, representing a drop of 10.69 per cent in Q2’20 against the level recorded in Q1’20 but an increase of 0.39 percent year-on-year. The export component accounted for ₦2.21 trillion of the total trade, indicating a decline of 45.64 percent against the value recorded in Q1’20 and 51.73 percent compared to Q2’19. Consequently, the trade balance recorded a deficit of ₦1.8 trillion, marking the third consecutive quarter of negative trade balance, the report said. Nigeria’s major export, crude oil, accounted for ₦2.94 trillion representing 72.12 percent of total exports in Q1’20. The value of crude oil export was 18.86 percent less than the value recorded in Q4’19 and 12.80 percent lower than the value recorded in the corresponding quarter of 2019. Non-crude oil exports were valued at ₦1.13 trillion representing 27.9 percent of total exports during the period under review. The value of total imports amounted to ₦4.02 trillion in Q2’20, representing a drop of 10.69 percent against the level recorded in Q1’20 but an increase of just 0.39 percent year-on-year. The year to date import value amounted to ₦8.52 trillion, or 10.58 percent over half year 2019. During the quarter, Nigeria imported goods mainly from Asia, which was valued at ₦2.12 trillion or 52.8 percent of total imports, while goods valued at ₦31.1 billion originated from ECOWAS.

Leaders of lawyers from the northern part of the country have met with the new president of the Nigerian Bar Association, Olumide Akpata, and other national officers over the threat by some lawyers from the region to secede from the association. After the meeting, the participants from about 40 branches of the association in the northern region rejected the splinter group. The acting chairman of the Arewa Lawyers’ Forum, a socio-ethnic platform of lawyers from the northern region, Elisha Kaura, also called on all lawyers in the country to support the new NBA president. Speaking earlier, Mr Akpata said leaders of about 40 branches of the NBA and about the same number of other leaders of the association from the northern region attended the Wednesday’s “stakeholders’ meeting”. The division within the association was escalated following the decision of its National Executive Committee to dis-invite the Kaduna State Governor, Nasir el-Rufai, to speak at its just-concluded Annual General Conference which culminated in the inauguration of Mr Akpata as the NBA president on 29 August 2020.

Petrol prices in Nigeria will hit their highest ever in naira terms this month, according to a memo from a state oil subsidiary. The Petroleum Products Marketing Company said the ex-depot price of petrol for September will be ₦151.56 per litre, up from ₦138.62 per litre and above the previous pump record of ₦145. The internal memo, dated 2 September and signed by D.O Abalaka said the new product price adjustment has been effected on the company’s payment platform. The PPMC had fixed the ex-depot price of petrol at ₦138.62 in August. The ex-depot price is the price at which the product is sold to marketers at the depots. The final pump price will be even higher to incorporate transportation and logistics costs; a senior official with the fuel marketers association told The Nation that they will “instruct marketers to sell it for between ₦158 to ₦160 per litre” in the absence of direction from the PPMC or the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency.

Former Malian president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, who has not been seen in public since his 18 August ouster in a coup, has been hospitalised after suffering a brief stroke-like attack, a doctor said Wednesday. Earlier Wednesday, an aide to Keita and a medical source had said the former president had been admitted to the clinic for a routine check-up and that he was expected to return home in the coming hours. A doctor at the private clinic said a thorough analysis has shown that the president was the victim of a transient ischaemic attack. Keita was ousted by young military officers who mutinied at a base near Bamako before heading into the city, where they seized Keita and other leaders. Hours later, Keita announced on national TV that he was stepping down. He was released on 27 August by the new junta, who returned him to his residence in Bamako, where according to his entourage he has limited access to a phone and the internet. The junta has said that Keita is authorised to leave the country for medical care if need be. Keita, who was two years into his second five-year term, had been battling mounting protests fuelled by his handling of a bloody jihadist insurgency and failure to turn around Mali’s floundering economy. In 2016 Keita had a benign tumour removed from his neck in Paris.