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BREAKING: Okonjo-Iweala Emerges WTO Director-General

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Former Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has been named the new Director-General of the World Trade Organization, WTO.

She defeated the trade minister from South Korea by polling 104 votes from 164 member countries.

This makes her the first African to occupy the position of DG WTO.

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Business Edge | Petroleum Industry Bill Passes Second Reading in the House of Representatives

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PIB has passed second reading at the House of Representatives. The PIB in many quarters appears to be the most politicized piece of legislation in Nigeria’s legislative history. It was conceived by the Executive Arm of government some 18 years ago to principally inject transparency and stimulate growth in the country’s oil industry. But controversies arising from vested interests have continued to bog it down, making it one of the longest bills in the National Assembly that had been subjected to legislative fireworks.

To get it passed in the first attempt, the document was balkanised by the two chambers of the Nigerian National Assembly, the Senate, and the House of Representatives which called it “Petroleum Industry Governance Bill, PIGB”. With the new name, the Bill was passed simultaneously in both chambers in January 2018.

It was later forwarded to President Muhammadu Buhari for presidential assent. But the President expressly declined his assent, citing anomalies, particularly the reduction of Powers of the Minister of Petroleum over Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC. The refusal then necessitated the return of the Bill to the National Parliament.

Also, Ethiopia plans to sell a 45% stake in its Ethio Telecom monopoly, an adviser to the state minister of finance said, as the government pursues the liberalization of the sector despite an armed conflict in the north of the country. Ethiopia’s telecoms industry is considered the big prize in a push to liberalize the African country’s economy because of a vast protected market, which serves around 100 million people. Tolulope Adeleru Balogun discussed these with Nasir Afolabi Agbalaya and Ralph Malik

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South Africa Records Boost In Business Confidence

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Following the easing of lockdown restrictions imposed by the South African government to check the spread of COVID-19, the country has enjoyed a new boost in business confidence.

According to a quarterly assessment of business confidence in the country, conducted by FirstRand Ltd.’s Rand Merchant Bank unit, it on Wednesday, said business confidence country has increased to 40 from 24. It is the country’s highest since Q2/2018. The index is compiled by Stellenbosch University’s Bureau for Economic Research.

The improvement shown is another proof to the data that suggests the South African economy may be recovering gradually from its low ebb.

The country’s output contracted by an annualized 51% and 2.2 million jobs were lost in the second quarter.

“It only signifies an economy that’s out of intensive care, and not out of high care,” an RMB chief said. “The strong rise in confidence among consumer-facing sectors could easily turn out to be temporary if the ‘kicker’ having come from pent-up demand peters out.”

The confidence boost for businesses may however not be long-lasting due to the overall effects of the pandemic.

South Africa is one of Africa’s worst-hit countries and has been rallying back, following its recession in March. The country has faced two recessions in two years.

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Nigeria Suffers The Worst Economic Recession In 33 Years

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The news of Nigeria sinking into its worst recession in 33 years has left most Nigerians asking how the giant of Africa got here. News Central speaks with Muktar Mohammed, a finance analyst who further explains the implication of this recession.

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