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David Frost issues veiled threat to ditch Northern Ireland protocol

David Frost

David Frost issues veiled threat to ditch Northern Ireland protocol

The UK government has issued a veiled threat to ditch the Northern Ireland protocol sooner rather than later, warning it “cannot wait for ever” for the EU to respond to its demands to rewrite the Brexit arrangement.

The Brexit minister, David Frost, said he had been waiting since July for a formal request for substantial changes to the protocol, which the UK has largely suspended over objections to checks on a range of goods including sausages.

In a speech to the Conservative party conference declaring the “long bad dream of EU membership” over, Lord Frost warned the EU that it must come back with “ambitious” proposals to renegotiate the protocol, which was drawn up to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland.

But setting the scene for an imminent triggering of article 16, allowing the UK to unilaterally suspend some of the current arrangements, if the EU does not respond, he told a half-full hall in Manchester, he was not confident the EU would meet his demands.

“From what I hear I worry that we will not get one [a response] which enables the significant change we need,” he said.

“We cannot wait for ever. Without an agreed solution soon, we will need to act, using the article 16 safeguard mechanism, to address the impact the protocol is having on Northern Ireland.

“That may in the end be the only way to protect our country – our people, our trade, our territorial integrity, the peace process, and the benefits of this great UK, of which we are all part,” he said.

He attacked what he described as the EU’s “heavy-handed actions”, which he said had led to the protocol unravelling sooner than he had anticipated.

“Cross-community political support for the protocol has collapsed,” he said.

His claims came days after business representatives in Northern Ireland warned that triggering article 16 would have a chilling effect on trade between Great Britain and Northern Ireland and between Northern Ireland and the EU.

The EU’s ambassador to the UK, João Vale de Almeida, who was in the audience, said there was “nothing strange” or unexpected in Frost’s speech, promising a response to the UK’s demands within the coming weeks.

“We are looking forward to the solutions in Northern Ireland. We are ready to be flexible,” said.

He told delegates Boris Johnson knew he was “taking a risk” when he agreed the protocol in the “difficult autumn” of 2019 but the risk was “a worthy one, in the cause of peace and protecting the Belfast/Good Friday agreement”.

But he added: “We worried right from the start that the protocol would not take the strain if not handled sensitively. As it has turned out, we were right.”

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Business

NBS Says Price Of Kerosene Hit N1, 041 per Litre In October

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), has disclosed that the average retail price of Household Kerosene (HHK) paid by consumers in October was N1, 041.05 per litre.

The NBS stated in its “National Household Kerosene Price Watch” for October 2022 that the average price was a 9.90 per cent increase over the N947.30 per litre recorded in September 2022.

“On a year-on-year basis, the average retail price per litre of the product increased by 145.87 per cent from N423.42 recorded in October 2021.”

On state profile analysis, the report showed that the highest average price per litre of kerosene in October 2022 was recorded in Cross River at N1,304.17, followed by Enugu at N1,300.00 and Lagos at N1,294.44.

Conversely, it said the lowest price was recorded in Borno at N783.33, followed by Rivers at N804.17 and Bayelsa at N805.67.

The NBS said that analysis by zone showed that the South-East recorded the highest average retail price per litre of Kerosene at N1,191.14, followed by the South-West at N1,142.60.

It said the North-East recorded the lowest average retail price per litre of kerosene at N905.18.

The report said the average retail price per gallon of kerosene paid by consumers in October 2022 was N3,516.87, indicating an 8.67 per cent increase from N3,236.27 recorded in September 2022.

”On a year-on-year basis, the average price per gallon of kerosene increased by 126.46 per cent from N1,552.96 recorded in October 2021.”

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Business

No Plan To Introduce N5,000 Note- CBN

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says it has no plan to introduce N5,000 denominated banknote as being speculated by some sections of the society.

Ahmed Umar, the Director, Currency Operations of CBN clarified this at a three-day workshop organised by the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), for members of the Financial Correspondents Association of Nigeria (FICAN) and Business Editors.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the workshop, which opened on Monday in Port Harcourt, has as its theme: “Building Depositors Confidence Amidst Emerging Issues and Challenges in the Banking Industry.”

Umar who spoke on the topic, “Redesign of the Naira: Benefits to the financial system and the Nigerian economy”, said the apex bank was not carrying out note restructuring.

“We are not introducing any new note because there was noise, some people have seen one N5000 note that we don’t know about,” he said.

Umar was represented by Amina Halidu-Giwa, the Head, of the Policy Development Division, Currency Operations Department of the bank.

He explained that if the apex bank wanted to carry out note restructuring, it would need to coin the lower bills, like the N100 note for example.

He also said that the apex bank had not made any provision for exchange in the redesigned note, adding that what it was printing would only replace the currencies withdrawn.

“What we are printing is going to be very limited because we want other means of settling transactions to be used.

“Because of Nigerians and cash, there seems to be a problem. And it will give us enhanced visibility and control of the currency.

“We will also be able to control the number of banknotes outside,” he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that videos of some bundles of new N5,000 notes with the name of the Central Bank of Nigeria clearly printed on them, circulated on WhatsApp immediately after the apex bank announced plans to redesign the N200, N500, and N1,000 notes in October.

(NAN)

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Business

Jaiz Bank Relocates Head Office To Abuja

Jaiz Bank Plc has relocated its Head Office to its own building, Jaiz Bank House, in Garki, Abuja.

A statement by the company on Tuesday said the movement coincides with the 10th anniversary of the bank.

The bank commenced operations in 2012, with three branches in Abuja, Kano and Kaduna.

It currently has 46 branches across Nigeria.

The statement said the new Head Office would provide the bank with more visibility, enlarged space and enhanced capacity to deliver excellent service to its stakeholders.

“The management is thankful to its esteemed customers and shareholders who have continued to support the bank all along and appreciates the hardworking staff for their dedication to duty.

“In the non-interest banking space in Nigeria, Jaiz Bank controls over 62% assets, which is supported by its robust gross income of N23.74 billion as at end of September 2022 from N18.78 billion at the end of September 2021, representing “26.34% increment.”

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