21 Aug

Daily Watch – Traders on warpath in Calabar, 34% of Chinese companies in Nigeria registered

  • The Henshaw Town Beach Market Traders’ Union, a traders’ union in Cross River state, shut down the Marina Beach Market in Calabar over the imposition of high levies by government agents. The traders, are specifically protesting the introduction of “waterfront regulatory economic levies” which ranged from N200 to N15,000. Nkereuwem Bassey, the union’s leader, said the new levies were introduced by the state Internal Revenue Service, and that they were unacceptable.
  • BusinessDay reports that subscribers on the 9mobile network have been venting their anger concerning the network’s terrible service in the last three to four days. The teleco has been unable to resolve issues causing very little or no coverage in most parts of Lagos since August 17. Some analysts told the paper that 9mobile risks losing even more subscribers than it did when the company failed to meet its loan obligations and was forced to restructure. Given the recent network problems and without investors, 9mobile may not survive in Nigeria’s telecoms market and may have to merge with any other existing operator to remain competitive in the tightening industry.
  • A Mckinsey report, ‘Lions on the move II: Realising the potential of Africa’s economies’, says out of the 930 Chinese companies operating in Nigeria, only 317 are documented by the Chinese ministry of commerce. Despite the Chinese presence in Nigeria, the report said only Ethopia and South Africa have a high level of engagement. “Nigeria does not yet have the same level of engagement with China as Ethiopia and South Africa. Three governments (Nigeria, Kenya and Tanzania) recognise China’s importance, but they have yet to translate this recognition into an explicit China strategy. Each has several hundred Chinese firms across a diverse set of sectors, but this presence has largely been the result of a passive posture relying on large markets or historical ties; much more is possible with true strategic engagement.” In recent times, there have been instances of labour and environmental violations by Chinese-owned businesses ranging from inhumane working conditions to illegal extraction of natural resources.
  • The naira ended the week at 370 per American dollar, reversing the modest gain it recorded on Thursday. Analysts have warned that the naira would weaken against the American currency due to rising demand for the dollar. The exchange rate as of two weeks ago was N364/dollar. Forex traders say that surging demand for the dollar by summer holidaymakers and parents paying school fees for their children abroad were making the dollar to gain strength.
  • The President of the Nigerian Institute of Architects, Tonye Braide, has called on the government to audit the activities of all building regulatory agencies in the countries, following rising cases of collapsed buildings. Braide said that if the government’s fight against corruption was extended to the regulatory process in the construction industry it would create a pathway to stop the continuing collapse of buildings and make the country great architecturally.