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Hope rises for indigenous ship owners



…As FG sets to disburse over $200m CVFF soon

By Seun Ibiyemi

The Federal Government is set to disburse the Cabottage Vessel Financing Fund soon to enable indigenous shipping operators to compete favourably with their international counterparts.

Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Jaji Sambo  disclosed this during the weekend when he visited the National Inland Waterways Authority, Area Office in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.     The CVFF is an intervention fund created by the Federal Government for the development of indigenous shipping capacity in Nigeria to enable them maintain existing vessels or purchase new ones.

Describing the CVFF as a low hanging fruit, the Minister said it would support  maritime activities which is the gateway to the nation’s economy, adding that “if we get our acts right, the maritime industry can replace the revenue from the oil.”                  While answering questions from journalists at the BUA Ports and Terminal Limited, situated at the Rivers Port, the Minister expressed delight at the progress of work, saying: “we are making good progress, bringing this place to a world standard,”  but urged the operators to ensure completion by 2025.

Furthermore, the Minister assured that as part of the railway modernization policy, rail lines would be linked to the  seaports for effective and efficient haulage of cargoes.

The Minister was accompanied on the trip by the Director, Finance and Accounts, FMT,  Umaru Hassan who represented the Permanent Secretary, Dr. Magdalene Ajani, Directors, MSD, Legal Services, Rail, Press,  Babatunde Sule, Pius Oteh, Jimoh Yusfu, Eric Ojiekwe, respectively.

Others were Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority, Mohammed Bello-Koko, Managing Director, Nigerian Railway Corporation, Fidet Okhiria and the Registrar, Council for Regulation of Freight Forwarding, in Nigeria, Sam Nwakohu among others.

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Bitcoin price dips below $64,000 amid cryptocurrency slump



The price of Bitcoin, a cryptocurrency platform, fell below $64,000 on Thursday morning, with over $209 million in crypto-bullish positions wiped off as the market slumped overnight.

According to Decrypt, data from Coingecko disclosed that Bitcoin is selling at $63,700, down by a whopping 4 per cent in a single day.

Bitcoin is not alone in its slump; the broader crypto market also slumped, with the combined market capitalisation of all cryptocurrencies dropping by 4.7 per cent overnight.

Ethereum, the second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalisation, also slumped like Bitcoin, down by 5.3 per cent over the past 24 hours, with its price hovering around $3,090.

Among the top 10 cryptocurrencies, Toncoin (TON) has seen the biggest dip, down 10.1 per cent over the past 24 hours to trade at $5.21.

The market dip saw over $209 million worth of crypto-long positions liquidated, according to CoinGlass data. Similarly, about 52 million in Bitcoin Long Positions were also liquidated.

The current dip comes as inflows into Blackrock’s spot bitcoin ETF dried up, ending a 71-day streak of consistent inflows, making it break into the top ten for the longest ETF daily inflow streaks since 2004.

Across the board, according to CoinGlass data, Bitcoin spot ETF outflows hit $120.6 million after three consecutive days of inflows.

This follows Hong Kong spot Bitcoin and Ethereum ETFs getting officially approved yesterday, with a trading date set for April 30.

Experts believe that as much as $25 billion could be brought into the crypto market should exchange-traded funds be opened to investors in mainland China.

The much-anticipated Bitcoin Halving event occurred over the weekend. This event has always been bullish over the long term but it comes with some short-term losses.

Since Bitcoin’s high of $65,230 on the day of the halving, the leading cryptocurrency has dropped 2 per cent as it dipped below $64,000.

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Nigerians to pay more as Multichoice Nigeria hikes Dstv, Gotv subscription fees by 25%



Multichoice Nigeria, a prominent Pay-TV operator, has once again announced a price increase for its DStv and GOtv packages, this time by at least 25 percent.

This marks the third increment since last year, following the initial adjustment implemented on May 1, 2023.

Multichoice stated that the latest increase will take effect from Wednesday, May 1, 2024. While last year’s increment ranged between 19 percent to 20 percent depending on the bouquet, the company is now announcing a 25 percent to 26 percent increase across its packages.

The new subscription fees were communicated to customers via an email titled “Price Adjustment on DStv and GOtv Packages” on Wednesday, April 24, 2024. Below is an excerpt from the email message that subscribers received.

On Wednesday, 1 May 2024 we will adjust our prices across all our packages on OStv and GOtv. We understand the impact this change may have on you – our valued customer, but the rise in the cost of business operations has led us to make this difficult decision.

 It remains our mission to provide the best entertainment and viewing experience to you and are committed to continue to deliver high-quality content and unparalleled service.

“So, from Wednesday, 1 May 2024, the price adjustment will take effect as follows.”

According to the notice sent to its subscribers, customers on the DStv Premium package will see their monthly subscription fee increase to N37,000 starting from May 1, marking a 25.4 percent rise from the current N29,500.

 Similarly, the price of the Compact+ bouquet has been raised to N25,000 from N19,800 per month, reflecting a 26.2 percent increment.

DStv has also announced that subscribers on its Compact bouquet will now pay N15,700, up from the current N12,500, representing a 25.6 percent increase. Meanwhile, those on the Confam package will face a 25.6% hike as their monthly subscription rises to N9,300 from N7,400.

 Under the new pricing structure, viewers on the DStv Yanga bouquet will be charged N5,100 for their monthly subscription, marking a 21.43 percent increase over the current N4,200 fee.

Multichoice has announced price increases across its GOtv packages. Customers on the Supa Plus package will now pay N15,700, marking a 25.6 percent rise from the current price of N12,500. Similarly, the Supa bouquet will see its price increase to N9,600 from the current N7,600.

For the GOtv Max subscription, the new price is N7,200, up from N5,700, while the Jolli package will now cost N4,850, compared to the current price of N3,950. Multichoice has also adjusted the price of its lowest GOtv package, Jinja, which will now be N3,300 monthly instead of the current N2,700.

Although Multichoice Nigeria is yet to issue any statement regarding the factors behind the recent price review, Nigeria’s inflation increased to 33.2 percent.

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BPE seeks collaboration with NLC on privatisation process



By Matthew Dennis

The Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), under the leadership of the Acting Director General, Mr. Ignatius Ayewoh, recently paid a courtesy visit to the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Joe Ajero, to seek collaboration with the Labour Union in the ongoing reform and privatisation program of the Federal Government.

This is contained in a statement signed by Head, Public Communications, Amina Tukur Othman, and made available to NewsDirect on Tuesday.

The statement stated that Mr. Ayewoh emphasised the importance of collaboration with the labour unions to ensure the welfare of workers during and after government agency reforms. He expressed gratitude to Mr. Ajero and the Union for their past support and urged them to continue partnering with the Bureau, particularly as members of the Technical Committee (TC) of the National Council on Privatisation (NCP).

Highlighting BPE’s previous successes in various sectors of the Nigerian economy such as telecoms, banking, Eleme petrochemical, and port terminal concessions, Mr. Ayewoh stated that the Bureau’s current strategy is focused on implementing Public Private Partnership (PPP) and concessioning in its transactions.

Furthermore, Mr. Ayewoh informed Mr. Ajero that BPE is working closely with the Accountant General’s Office to ensure the payment of all outstanding severance liabilities arising from the 2013 privatisation of the power sector, in accordance with agreements made with labour unions.

In response, Mr. Ajero thanked the Ag. DG for the visit and pledged the collaboration of the NLC with the Bureau in its reform activities.

It is worth noting that, in 2023 the BPE, along with other sister agencies, conducted a verification exercise for the payment of the agreed 16-month severance benefits to former staff of the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), including certified Next-of-Kin (NOK) of deceased ex-staff. The exercise took place in twelve designated centres over four phases across the country.

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