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NGX opens week negative, down by N3bn

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Trading at the domestic bourse started the week on Monday still on negative mood, taking the bearish sentiment to six consecutive trading sessions.

The price depreciation was due to profit-taking sentiments in all the major sectors except the consumer goods and banking sectors.

Specifically, the All-Share Index shed 6.16 points or 0.02 per cent to close at 38,915.62 from 38,921.78 posted on Friday

Accordingly, month-to-date and year-to-date losses stood at 0.8 per cent and 3.4 per cent, respectively.

Similarly, the market capitalisation lost N3 billion to close at N20.275 trillion in contrast with N20.278 trillion recorded on Friday.

The market negative performance was driven by price depreciation in large and medium capitalised stocks, which are Guinness, Lafarge Africa, Oando, Fidson Healthcare and SCOA.

Analysts at United Capital anticipated some bargain hunting on some stocks that experienced selloffs in the previous week.

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“In the medium term, we expect the market to remain choppy.

“Additionally, market participants will be watching the fixed income space closely amid a hike in stop rates at the recent Nigerian Treasury Bills (NTB) auction,” they said.

The market breadth closed negative with 20 losers, against 18 gainers.

SCOA led the losers’ chart by 10 per cent to close at N1.17 per share.

Academy Press followed with a decline of 7.69 per cent to close at 36k, while UACN Property Development Company was down by 6.21 per cent to close at N1.51 per share.

Associated Bus Company depreciated by 5.71 per cent to close at 33k, while Oando declined by 4.09 per cent to close at N4.45 per share.

On the other hand, Morison Industries dominated the gainers’ chart in percentage terms, gaining 9.38 per cent to close at N2.10 per share.

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Sovereign Trust Insurance followed with a gain of eight per cent to close at 27k, while Linkage Assurance appreciated by 5.26 per cent to close at 60k per share.

Fidelity Bank went up by 4.35 per cent to close at N2.40, while International Breweries appreciated by 4.17 per cent to close at N5 per share.

Total volume traded appreciated by 30.11 per cent to 201.10 million shares worth N2.53 billion traded in 3,340 deals.

This was against a total of 154.56 million shares worth N2.27 billion traded in 3,467 deals on Friday.

Transactions in the shares of Universal Insurance topped the activity chart with 19.45 million shares valued at N3.89 million.

Fidelity Bank followed with 19.28 million shares worth N46.51 million, while FBN Holdings traded 16.68 million shares valued at N12.49 million.

Courteville Business Solutions traded 13.76 million shares valued at N3.87 million, while Access Bank sold 13.49 million shares worth N125.06 million. (NAN)

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AFRICA

Nigeria’s AfriGo to Rival Visa, Mastercard – Central Bank

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has launched the Nigerian National Domestic Card Scheme, AfriGo, aimed at creating a more robust payment system that would drive financial inclusion in the country.

CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, has said that transaction charges on all cards would henceforth be paid in Naira, except for international transactions.

Emefiele said the card, which will function like other international payment cards, is aimed at boosting financial inclusion in the country and reducing dependence on foreign cards. He added that “by this initiative, will therefore be joining countries like China, Russia, Turkey and India which have launched domestic card schemes and harnessed the transformative benefits for their respective payments and financial systems, particularly for the underbanked.”

The national domestic card is expected to rival Visa and Mastercard, the market’s biggest players.

The announcement follows last year’s decision to phase out old higher denomination bank notes. The new notes came into circulation effect on December 15, 2022.

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AFRICA

Nigeria: Federal Govt Sets Up 14-Man Committee to Manage Petroleum Products Supply, Distribution

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In a move to find lasting solution to the disruptions in the supply and distribution of petroleum products in the country, President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the constitution of a 14-man Steering Committee on Petroleum Products Supply and Distribution management, which he will personally chair, the ministry of petroleum resources announced yesterday.

The Steering Committee, which has minister of state for Petroleum Resource, Chief Timipre Sylva as alternate chairman is expected to among other things to ensure transparent and efficient supply and distribution of petroleum products across the country.

Other terms of reference are to ensure national strategic stock management, visibility on the NNPC Limited refineries rehabilitation programme and ensure end-end tracking of petroleum products, especial PMS to ascertain daily national consumption and eliminate smuggling.

To further ensure sanity in the supply and distribution across the value chain, Sylva has directed the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) to ensure strict compliance with the government approved ex-depot and retail prices for PMS.

The minister has further directed the NMDPRA to ensure that NNPC Limited, which is the supplier of last resort meets the domestic supply obligation of PMS and other petroleum products in the country.

He further directed that the interests of the ordinary Nigerian is protected from price exploitation on other deregulated products such as AGO and DPK and LPG.

The federal government will not allow misguided elements to bring untold hardship upon the citizenry and attempt to discredit government’s efforts in consolidating the gains made thus far in the oil and gas sector of the economy.

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Other members of the committee are minister of Finance, permanent secretary, Ministry of Petroleum Resources, National Economic Adviser to the President, director-general, Department of State Services (DSS), comptroller-general, Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Member (EFCC), and commandant-general, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC)

Others who made up the Steering Committee are Authority chief executive, Nigerian Midstream and Member Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA), governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), group chief executive officer, NNPC Limited, Special Advisor (Special Duties) to the HMSPR while the Technical Advisor (Midstream) to the HMSPR will serve as Secretary.

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AFRICA

Nigeria: Inside the Multi-Million-Dollar Business Dispute Between Emefiele and ‘Brother-in-Law’

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John Omoile, who is demanding $36 million in damages, accuses Mr Emefiele of breach of contract, fraudulent inducement, negligent representation and fraud.

The governor of Nigeria’s central bank, Godwin Emefiele, is embroiled in a multi-million-dollar legal battle that has torn apart a once close family relationship. The legal tussle is separate from the troubles he faces over the handling of his job.

Mr Emefiele recently sneaked out and back to the country to avert the possibility of arrest by the State Security Service (SSS) who accuse him of financing terrorism.

He faces growing criticisms over the policies of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) often blamed for some of the nation’s economic woes and the scarcity of newly introduced currency notes just days before the deadline it set for phasing out the old notes.

As all of these happen, Mr Emefiele quietly grapples with a long-running feud which climaxed in a $36 million suit filed against him by a brother-in-law, John Omoile, in faraway Texas, the United States of America, in 2021.

The legal duel between Mr Emefiele and Mr Omoile is still on at the US District Court in the Northern Texas District.

Mr Omoile is demanding $36 million in damages for the losses he allegedly suffered as a result of the CBN governor’s alleged breach of contract, fraudulent inducement, negligent representation and fraud in course of their business partnerships.

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Apart from tearing apart a familial relationship, the feud has defied the larger family’s interventions, recorded a violation of a settlement agreement, and pitted lawyers engaged by both sides in the US against themselves.

The case has passed through at least five Texas law firms apart from the Nigerian lawyers keeping watch over the Nigerian end of the battle on behalf of the warring parties.

With the case just starting in court for the third time, Mr Omoile has indicated it will cost him $200,000 in attorney’s fees.

Mr Emefiele, too, has complained to the court that it will be extraordinarily burdensome for him to defend himself in the US, where he does not reside.

He has urged the court to dismiss the suit and hold that Nigeria is the appropriate jurisdiction to pursue the case, for reasons including the fact that the settlement agreement which covered all the issues between him and Mr Omoile was signed in Nigeria in 2014.

Background: Emefiele Vs Omoile

Mr Emefiele’s wife, Margaret, and John Omoile, a dual citizen of Nigeria and the US, are cousins raised in their teenage years by an aunt in Agbor, Delta State, South-south Nigeria, according to documents filed in court.

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The bond between them was so strong that they regarded each other as siblings. When Margaret got married to Mr Emefiele, the CBN governor had no difficulty regarding Mr Omoile as his brother-in-law.

Court documents described in compelling detail the rosy past of their family relationship.

Mr Emefiele visited and stayed with Mr Omoile’s family in Texas, US, during some of his vacations. He described how he lavished Mr Omoile with gifts, money, and business opportunities over the years.

Also remembering their once affectionate family relationship, Mr Omoile said of how they “shared homes, spent holidays and family gatherings together, have been close family friends, and as detailed below, became business partners/joint venturers.”

Mr Omoile, on different occasions, helped the Emefieles to buy houses in his neighbourhood in Coppell, Texas.

Drawing from the familial bond, mutual trust and goodwill they had built in each other for decades, their rapport flourished and grew into a business partnership in 2004.

They sent funds to each other for personal investments and joint ventures in Nigeria and in the US.

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But in the unsavoury turn of events, the previously trusted relatives now accuse each other of fraud, greed, deception, and extortion. The CBN governor, who vehemently denied wrongdoing, said the suit currently “is simply another attempt to extort $36 million” from him.

Zenith Bank stock investments

In 2004, Mr Omoile said he paid Mr Emefiele $50,000 for the purchase of an Initial Public Offering (IPO) investment in Zenith Bank in Nigeria, where Mr Emefiele was then an official.

In 2007, Mr Omoile received 200,000 additional shares from Mr Emefiele as a gift.

Mr Emefiele became the managing director of Zenith Bank in 2010 and the governor of the CBN in 2014.

Mr Omoile said he often raised questions but has yet to get an answer about the wide range of issues, including dividends issued, but not paid, the prices at which certain stock shares were supposedly acquired for him, “and the prices at which Defendant Emefiele actually acquired the shares.”

He accused Mr Emefile of continuing to “use his position as former Managing Director and current Governor of the Bank of Nigeria to actively prevent Plaintiff Omoile from getting a full and accurate accounting for his shares.”

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Mr Emefiele and a contentious oil and gas partnership

In a related development, Mr Omoile recalled that in 2007, he, Mr Emefiele and one Pius Oyibo signed a tripartite agreement in Coppell, Texas, to form an oil and gas company on 7 December 2007. The proposed firm, called Noka Energy Nigeria Limited, was to buy, sell and transport petroleum products in Nigeria.

Mr Omoile recalled that he made several trips and several contacts on behalf of the partnership to Houston, the Caribbean, and Nigeria to meet with oil and gas executives.

He recalled Mr Emefiele’s investment into the venture to include $200,000 sent to him for the purchase of 10 truck heads from LKQ in Houston for the partnership.

He said he bought the truck heads, the number not specified, and shipped them to Nigeria, for the business.

He said he would later discover that Mr Emefiele did not incorporate Noka Energy Nigeria Limited as agreed, but instead formed Dummies Oil and Gas for himself.

Real estate business

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In 2006, while the other business discussions between them were going on, they formed a partnership called Rosewood Malcom LLC which would buy, sell and develop real estate properties in the US.

The business plan, according to Mr Omoile, included him taking mortgages in his name for the benefit of the joint venture.

He said profit and loss were to be shared equally between the partners, but that that was not the case eventually.

He said once the joint venture started, profits were shared, however, losses were left for him to bear.

According to him, the venture acquired a property at 7026 W. 43rd Street, Houston Texas, for $141,000.

He also said he took a personal mortgage in his name for $167,000 from Wachovia Bank.

He recalled that as the properties’ market value crashed during the US economic meltdown between 2008 and 2009, he continued to be responsible for the substantial financial burden of mortgage servicing without any help or assistance from Mr Emefiele.

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He added that he purchased a property in 2008 in Coppell with $360,000 sent by Mr Emefiele.

But he said he was bearing the tax liabilities on the properties from his personal business accounts. According to him, the total personal loss he incurred for the real estate partnership and out-of-pocket expenses meant to be paid by Mr Emefiele was at least $500,000.

Mr Emefiele offers defence

Mr Emefiele has yet to formally file a defence to the suit, but his side of the story can be gleaned from the troves of documents he attached as exhibits to his preliminary court filings.

In a letter dated 17 January 2022, Mr Emefiele’s lawyer, Nitor Egbarin, denied the allegations raised in previous ‘legal demand’ letters which Mr Omoile’s lawyer, Donald Kaiser Jr, sent directly to the CBN governor.

In the strongly-worded letter, Mr Egbarin said his client was not involved in the management of Mr Omoile’s Zenith Bank’s shares and could not have blocked access to the records of the investments.

He said the fact that Mr Omoile used the CBN governor’s business address as his contact address for receiving his brokerage account statement “is not a proof that my client had legal responsibility for managing John’s money in the brokerage account.”

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He said his client is no longer the Managing director of Zenith Bank and is not Mr Omoile’s stockbroker.

“Your legal demand must be directed at John to provide you with his Zenith Bank accounts which he opened in Agbor and in Lagos. Proceeds from John’s brokerage account are deposited into John’s bank accounts in Lagos and in Agbor,” the letter read in part.

Also denying his client’s alleged breach of financial obligation to their real estate venture, Mr Egbarin went down memory lane, highlighting Mr Emefiele’s investments in the venture and financial assistance he had rendered to Mr Omoile.

He recalled that in 2006, Mr Omoile took out $200,000, using a pre-signed cheque, from Mr Emefiele’s bank account, and never accounted for the money meant to be used for estate development in Houston.

He said instead of using the money to develop the Houston property, Mr Omoile and his wife, on 17 January 2007, took out a $167,650 construction mortgage with Wachovia Mortgage.

He also recalled Mr Emefiele sent another $40,000 to Mr Omoile in 2009 for the purchase of a second real estate property on the plot next to the first property in Houston.

Tired of the frustrations from the investments, Mr Emefiele, according to his lawyer, decided to stop providing financial support to Mr Omoile in 2012.

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But, the lawyer said, with a settlement agreement the brothers-in-law singed on 26 April 2014, Mr Emefiele agreed to relinquish all his rights in the two properties in Houston to Mr Omoile valued at over $207,650.

He said Mr Emefiele also paid off the Wachovia Mortgage balance of about $155,000.

He said the CBN governor also sent $250,000 requested by Mr Omoile to clear unpaid income tax in 2020.

He said, from 2006 to 2020, Mr Omoile had received at least $645,000 in cash in financial support from Mr Emefiele.

But he did not address the issue of the failed oil and gas business plan.

‘No more free food’

Mr Egbarin’s letter went beyond defending his client. It was an unsparing frenzied personal attack on Mr Omoile and his lawyer.

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The letter describes Mr Emefiele as “a wealthy banker” and former chief executive officer of “the largest bank in Nigeria and West Africa” who has been “a generous donor, benefactor and breadwinner” to Mr Omoile over the years.

The CBN governor, according to the letter, “took care of John (Mr Omoile) as one would do of a brother-in-law,” providing “financial support to John and his wife and his children over the years.”

In a rather demeaning manner highlighting how much the relationship between the in-laws has soured, Mr Egbarin said his client was no longer prepared to continue to feed Mr Omoile. “You should advise John that my client does not wish to continue to feed him. John should pursue other means to make a living rather than continue to shakedown my client for more financial support.”

Turning on Mr Kaiser, Mr Egbarin accused him of incompetence and of having little understanding of the area of law he was handling for Mr Omoile.

He also accused the lawyer of making false claims about Mr Emefiele and of unethical practice by bypassing him to write directly to the CBN governor.

He said Mr Emefiele, on becoming the CBN governor, became a target for a lawsuit in Nigeria engaged by Mr Omoile for “harassment demanding monies for matters that had been settled in the 2014 Settlement Agreement.”

He said the letters of demand sent severally to Mr Emefiele to account for Mr Omoile’s shares is “an attempt to shakedown/extort my client for money.”

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He ended the letter with a devastating salvo to Mr Omoile. “Finally, there is still nothing more my client will do for John. The gravy train has come to a stop.”

Members of the larger family called a series of peace meetings attended by the brothers-in-law to settle their disputes.

The meetings were held in Nigeria. Some of the meetings were also held via Zoom.

They finally reached an agreement in 2014.

With the hope of getting “relief from the mounting debts” resulting from the real estate losses since 2007, Mr Omile said, he signed the agreement with Mr Emefiele on 26 April 2014.

But both sides have accused each other of violating the agreements.

The family also again called a series of Zoom meetings to resolve the disputes in April 2020.

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But in what would be the last straw, according to Mr Omoile, Mr Emefiele declared through his wife, Margaret, who represented him at one of the Zoom meetings, that there was never an intention to form and operate a joint oil and gas firm.

Mr Omoile said he realised then that he had been “induced with false statements and promises” to enter into a partnership with Mr Emefiele. He also said he realised that Mr Emefiele “never intended to follow through with his past promises”.

Unending Legal battle: Emefiele Vs Omoile

With settlement talks over, Mr Omoile took the decision to sue Mr Emefiele after the Zoom meetings in 2020.

In July 2021, he hired a Texas attorney, Kenneth Onyenah, who filed the suit claiming economic and actual damages against Mr Emefiele for the losses he allegedly incurred as a result of the CBN governor’s alleged failure to fulfil his financial obligations to him and their joint ventures.

He filed the suit at the US District Court of the Northern District of Texas.

But shortly after the filing, the lawyer withdrew the suit.

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Mr Omoile said the lawyer withdrew the suit without prior communication or his authority in August 2021.

He added that the lawyer took the step after he was threatened by Mr Emefiele’s lawyer, Mr Egbarin. But Mr Egbarin said the lawyer withdrew the case after realising it had no merit.

Later in 2021, Mr Omoile hired Donald Kaiser Jr. to reopen the case.

On 12 May 2022, Mr Kaiser refiled the suit at the 68th Judicial District Court in Dallas County, Texas.

But following Mr Emefiele’s objection, the suit was removed from the state court “on the basis of diversity jurisdiction” to a federal court, the US District Court of the Northern District of Texas.

A new lawyer named Ewomazino Magbegor is now representing Mr Emefiele following the refiling of the case.

Mr Magbebor is the second lawyer known on record to have defended the CBN governor in the matter in the US. From Mr Egbarin’s letter, the plaintiff, Mr Omoile, has engaged at least three lawyers in respect of the case.

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Mr Emefiele’s new lawyer, in November 2022, filed an application to challenge the service of the suit on the CBN governor through substituted means. He also sought the dismissal of the suit on the grounds that the court lacked jurisdiction on the matter.

The court’s decision on the application will determine the future of the case.

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BUSINESS

Advertising Market Leaders Give 5 Marketing Musts for 2023

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1. Recognize the increasingly important role of video Raja Rajamannar, chief marketing & communications officer at Mastercard talked about how video is a critical component of his business’s marketing mix. “It’s where you’re able to evoke the right emotions,” he said. “You’re able to connect with consumers to tell the story the right way, and to impress upon them the message you’re trying to convey. Video is front and center in whatever we do.” Twitter’s director, client services – retail & travel, Alex Kennedy, agreed: “Video is core to any good strategic marketing plan. Whether your objective is awareness, consideration, or even priming consumers for lower-funnel objectives like conversion, there is a role for video. And the reason is because consumers are consistently watching more video, specifically online digital video.” Kennedy also stressed the importance of understanding both the customer and their viewing context to get the most out of video. “You have to reach your consumer where they are and how they’re watching,” she explained. “That means you have to create bespoke content for the environment. That’s what’s going to be key.” 2. Make the most of the data mix, utilizing both first- and third-party data The level of understanding Kennedy described requires a data strategy that recognizes the role all the different types of data have to play. This point was picked up by Sean Popen, executive vice-president, outcome navigator at Interpublic’s activation intelligence company Matterkind. “A tactic that we’re seeing working is using a combination of first, second- and third-party data, which allows brands to tap in and get that additional reach,” he said. This view was echoed by Dawn Williamson, senior vice-president, head of sales development at Comcast’s advertising sales division, Effectv, who stressed the importance of using data to target audiences: “It’s going to be less about ‘I want to be in this show’ and more about ‘Where’s my audience, and where are they consuming content?’ because, as an advertiser, that’s where I want to be.”

3. Overcome the challenges of a fragmented viewing audience According to Dave Pajeau, executive director of programmatic/advanced TV for Effectv, video advertising will only continue to get more fragmented as more providers come in. For him, the key will be to integrate the traditional and streaming experiences, enabling measurement and targeting against the two together. “There’s a tremendous amount of viewership that still exists through traditional linear channels, and that now co-exists with new viewership through streaming platforms,” he said. “They work best together, but you have to know the right allocation for your brand and audience. So in 2023 we’ll start moving towards true cross-screen delivery, audience delivery and measurement.” 4. Understand how the consumption of advertising has evolved Brian Wallach is head of revenue for programmatic TV sales platform AudienceXpress. In his view, successful advertisers are those who understand there’s no longer one single consumer journey, no matter what the brand or sector. “Successful advertisers are consumers themselves, and oftentimes they admit they watch content in different ways,” he explained. “So now their planning and execution of media is adapting so that, if their desired audience isn’t all coming from traditional linear TV, they’re able to optimize and adapt and run media against other channels. We call these fluidity deals in the industry, where it’s less about whether it’s linear TV or digital, and more about reaching the right audience in quality programming.” For Effectv’s Williamson, it once again comes back to understanding your customers. “Clients and advertisers are really focusing on consumer behavior, and they’re studying where ad consumption is happening. So it’s less about connected TV or video-on-demand (VOD), and more about looking at the entire TV ecosystem to ensure they’re targeting the right audiences as they’re looking to get their message out there.” 5. Value a ‘one viewer’ solution Being able to track and measure viewing behavior across multiple platforms is the crucial piece of the puzzle. It will improve brands’ understanding of their customers, solve ad frequency problems and allow sequential messaging. It will also allow more accurate attribution, improving media planning and increasing efficiency. That’s why Elizabeth Luciano, senior vice-president, marketing & brand strategy at broadcaster A+E Networks, is keen to encourage everyone in the video advertising space to work together to make the ‘one viewer’ solution happen. “It’s going to be so important,” she said. “We want to deliver content when and where people want to watch it. In order to do that, we need to see how they travel across platforms.”

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Learn from your experiences

Perhaps the final word goes to Soyoung Kang, chief marketing officer at beauty brand eos. As marketers start to think about the trends that will define their 2023, she urged them to also remember the lessons of the last few years. “As we try to understand how to navigate this macroeconomic climate, it’s really important for us as marketers to continue to push forward,” she said. “We have to stay agile. We’ve built all of these muscles during the pandemic where we needed to be able to shift investments as circumstances changed. It’s time to exercise those muscles again.”
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