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Businesses suffer as dollar shortage hits Egypt



Egypt is faced with a foreign exchange crisis that has affected businesses, Financial Times is reporting.

Importers have been adversely affected by the country’s foreign exchange shortage, according to the report.

Egypt uses a flexible exchange rate regime where the FX rate is dependent upon the supply and demand of money in the market.

The first three weeks of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February led to $20 billion of outflows from the country as foreign portfolio investors rushed to safe havens.

Despite $13 billion in deposits from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, and Qatar, and another $3.3 billion in asset sales to the UAE in 2022, foreign currency has remained in desperately short supply for the import-dependent country, the report noted.

Last week, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, president of Egypt, had said banks would secure the foreign currency necessary to clear a backlog of imports within four days.

Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly of Egypt also said $9.5 billion worth of goods are still held up at the country’s ports.

According to the report, the inflationary impact of the war in Ukraine on prices for basic commodities such as wheat has added to pressure on the country’s foreign currency resources, forcing the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) to devalue the pound in March and October.

In an effort to conserve foreign currency, the CBE placed restrictions on imports in March. The requirement to use letters of credit slowed the process and created a backlog of unfulfilled demand for dollars, according to Financial Times.

The report noted that priority was also given to access, with basic commodities such as staple foods and medicines at the top of the list.

The CBE cancelled the requirement to use letters of credit on December 29.

The two devaluations have reduced the pound from around E£16 to the dollar to E£24.7, with the black market rate even lower, Financial Times reports.

It said the CBE increased interest rates by 300 basis points on December 22, taking the overnight deposit rate to 16.25 percent.

The rise surpassed analysts’ expectations and reflected increasing concern about inflation and the falling pound, according to London-based consultancy Capital Economics.

Mohamed Abu Basha, head of macroeconomic analysis at Cairo-based investment bank EFG-Hermes, said the shift to a flexible exchange rate could not “happen overnight”, and that the authorities needed to “ideally first build up a buffer of foreign currency to help clear the backlog of demand” before moving on the exchange rate.

On his part, Farouk Soussa, an economist at Goldman Sachs, outlined the difficult options facing Cairo as it sought to build up liquidity to deal with near-term demand for dollars.

“The CBE could clear the market by continuing to raise rates, floating the currency, and restricting the money supply, but the implications for prices and growth are problematic,” he said.

“The authorities’ preferred option is to wait for inflows from the Qataris, the Emiratis, and the Saudis to buy assets in Egypt, but that is also uncertain.”


IPMAN debunks shutting down filling stations




The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria has described as “fake” news doing the rounds that its over 30, 000 members would be shutting down their filling stations.

The National Controller Operations, IPMAN, Mike Osatuyi, who spoke with The PUNCH on Tuesday, said the memo to members which emanated from the Chairman, IPMAN Borno chapter, Mohammed Kuluwa, earlier on Tuesday, asking all its members in the state to suspend services was a wrong move.

“Fake news. Bad eggs and sabotage,” Osatuyi told The PUNCH over the phone.

Also, the IPMAN National President, Elder Chinedu Okonkwo, told The PUNCH when contacted via the telephone that Kuluwa should not have issued the statement credited to him.

“He should not have issued the statement. In fact, he has retracted it,” Okonkwo said.

Kuluwa had earlier directed that IPMAN members in Borno State should suspend ordering products from source until further notice.

The association said the decision followed, “the critical situation as it affect our sourcing and selling of product at lost (sic) and the action of the authority to impose the selling of product at a lost price (sic) on our side,” the first statement read.

However, in the retraction issued later, Kuluwa said, “Having met with the concerned authority, all filling stations should open with immediate effect. Continue selling while the association continues with further consultation and accordingly keep you informed.”

On Sunday, the Public Relations Officer, Ibadan Depot, Mojeed Adesope, was said to have also issued a similar statement ordering IPMAN’s members in Oyo State to stop buying products and shut down their stations.

Mojeed, however, denied issuing such a statement.

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JUST IN: IPMAN directs members to suspend operations, shut filling stations




There are reports that oil marketers under the aegis of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) have directed its members to suspend all operations across the country.

IPMAN appears to be making good on its earlier threat to consider shutting down filling stations this week if the Federal Government goes ahead to enforce the N195 per litre price for petrol.

This was made known in a statement signed by the IPMAN Chairman, Mohammed Kuluwa, who said that marketers were also ordered to suspend the payment of ordering products from the source until further notice.

The association in the statement said, ‘’The decision followed the critical situation as it affect our sourcing and selling of product at lost and the action of the authority to impose the selling of product at a lost price on our side”.

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WhatsApp rolls out new features, including voice note status




Instant messaging platform, WhatsApp, has rolled out a set of new features including voice note status, which enables users to record and share voice messages of up to 30 seconds as status updates. 

According to the Meta-owned company, WhatsApp users that prefer talking to typing can now send more personal updates via voice status. Users will get the option to record voice notes by tapping the microphone icon on the status screen.  

The release of voice status by WhatsApp came as a response to the significant increase in voice messages recorded by the platform last year. WhatsApp disclosed that its users were sending an average of 7 billion voice messages daily, indicating that many are more comfortable talking than typing. 

WhatsApp on Tuesday also rolled out other features pertaining to status to improve the user experience. These include:

Private Audience Selector: With the realization that every status a user shares may not always be right for all of their contacts, this feature provides users with the flexibility to update their privacy settings per status so they can choose who views their status each time they update it. WhatsApp noted that a user’s most recent audience selection will be saved and used as the default for their next status.

Status Reactions: WhatsApp has added status reactions to provide users with a quick and easy way to respond to status updates from their friends and close contacts. According to the company, this was the number 1 feature users wanted, following the launch of Reactions last year.

“You can now quickly reply to any status by swiping up and tapping on one of eight emojis. You can of course still reply to a status with text, voice messages, stickers, and more,” WhatsApp stated.

Status Profile Rings for New Updates: With the new status profile ring, WhatsApp said users will never miss a status from a loved one. This ring will be present around your contact’s profile picture whenever they share a status update. It will be visible in the chat lists, group participant lists, and contact info.

Link Previews on Status: With this feature, when you post a link on your status, you will automatically see a visual preview of the link content, just like when you send a message.

Visual previews make your statuses look better, and also give your contacts a better idea of what the link is before they click.

According to WhatsApp, all these updates have started rolling out to users globally and will be available to everyone in the coming weeks.

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Bodex F. Hungbo, SPMIIM is a multiple award-winning Nigerian Digital Media Practitioner, Digital Strategist, PR consultant, Brand and Event Expert, Tv Presenter, Tier-A Blogger/Influencer, and a top cobbler in Nigeria.

She has widespread experiences across different professions and skills, which includes experiences in; Marketing, Media, Broadcasting, Brand and Event Management, Administration and Management with prior stints at MTN, NAPIMS-NNPC, GLOBAL FLEET OIL AND GAS, LTV, Silverbird and a host of others

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