Friday, June 22, 2018

NERC Issues Licences To Power Ariaria Market In Abia

Nigeria’s largest indigenous entrepreneurial facility, popularly known as the Ariaria market in Abia state, may soon overcome decades of inadequate electricity that hampers the output of thousands of Nigerians working and trading at the multi-million dollar hub.
The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) on Wednesday announced that licenses have been issued for the generation and distribution of 9.5 megawatts of electricity to serve the Ariaria market in Aba.
The new licenses were issued to ”Ariaria Market Independent Power Plant Limited” and ”Ariaria Independent Energy Distribution Network Limited”
Ariaria market is West Africa’s largest hub of entrepreneurs who produced goods that are distributed across West and central African countries.
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AFDB Pledges N120m Investment For Cassava Production In Africa

The African Development Bank has pledged to invest 120 million naira between the next two and three years to boost cassava production and eight other commodities in Africa.
The other commodities include rice, maize, millet, wheat and livestock.
The AFDB’s Director for Agriculture, Martin Fregene told participants at the at a conference on cassava, in Cotonou, Benin Republic, that transforming these commodities would help African nations to cut imports and redirect about 1.2 billion dollars into their domestic economies.
The bank’s investment in cassava comes at a time when African governments are scaling up efforts to end food imports and create wealth.
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Trump Accuses OPEC Of Driving Up Oil Prices

US President Donald Trump marks Memorial Day with a speech at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, on May 28, 2018. JIM WATSON / AFP
US President Donald Trump on Wednesday accused the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries of driving up oil prices, in a fresh swipe at the cartel’s agreement to cap production.
“Oil prices are too high, OPEC is at it again. Not good!” he wrote on Twitter.
Oil prices peaked in late May, hitting the $80 per barrel ceiling on the Brent futures contract and $72.24 on the West Texas Intermediate.
Traders are holding their breath for the June 22 meeting of oil ministers from OPEC member states in Vienna.
In April Saudi Energy Minister Khaled al-Faleh said the global market has the capacity to absorb higher oil prices — a remark that drew a swift reaction Trump.
“With record amounts of Oil all over the place, including the fully loaded ships at sea, Oil prices are artificially Very High! No good and will not be accepted!” Trump tweeted on April 20.
OPEC producers and non-OPEC countries struck a deal in 2016 to trim production by 1.8 million barrels per day to reduce a global glut of oil.
The deal, which is due to run out at the end of 2018, has succeeded in boosting oil prices above $70 a barrel from below $30 a barrel in early 2016.
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IMF Tells Rwanda To Invest In Public Infrastructure

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has asked the government of Rwanda to invest in public infrastructure and interventions to promote structural transformation and diversified exports.
The IMF which just concluded the ninth review of Rwanda’s performance under the policy support instrument, says inflation is expected to remain around the authorities’ targeted 5 percent over the medium-term.
IMF expects the Rwandan government’s “vision 2050” to reach middle-income status by 2035, but believes it will require continued reform efforts to create higher value-added economic activity, with the private sector serving as the main engine of growth.
Inflation is expected to remain below the Central Bank’s medium-term target of 5 percent in 2018 but should pick up toward the target over the medium-term.
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BREAKING: President Buhari Appoints Shonubi As New CBN Dep Governor

Folashodun Adebisi Shonubi
President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the nomination of Folashodun Adebisi Shonubi as the Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The appointment is subject to Senate confirmation.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu disclosed this in a statement on Friday.
Folashodun Shonubi is currently the Managing Director of the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System Plc (NIBSS) – the financial payments, facilitation and settlement platform.
READ ALSO: Nigeria To Strengthen Economic Ties With Tanzania
NIBSS is one of the platforms used by the Federal Government in electronic payments in the Nigerian financial industry.
Before assuming the headship of NIBBS in 2012, Shonubi had garnered decades of executive-level experience in financial service operations, notably as Executive Director at Union Bank of Nigeria Plc, Renaissance Securities Nigeria Limited and Ecobank Nigeria Plc.
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India Raises Interest Rates For First Time In Four Years

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Money SHARMA / AFP
India’s central bank raised interest rates for the first time in over four years Wednesday, citing concerns over a spike in inflation.
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said the benchmark repo rate — the level at which it lends to commercial banks — would be increased by 25 basis points to 6.25 percent.
The rate was last hiked in January 2014.
More to follow…
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Britain To Expand Heathrow Airport

Heathrow Airport
Britain’s government on Tuesday gave the go-ahead to building a third runway at London Heathrow, Europe’s biggest airport by passenger numbers, a long-awaited decision that has stoked decades of division and debate.
“The time for action is now,” Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said after a cabinet meeting, as he laid out the controversial plan in parliament, which will vote on it in the coming weeks.
“This is a decision taken in the national interest,” he added.
The expansion project is highly contested, mainly over environmental and noise level concerns for a large area of west London around Heathrow.
“We’ve considered these issues very carefully,” Grayling told lawmakers under questioning. “But the other thing we have to take into account is the potential for our economy.”
Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, who represents a nearby constituency, has previously opposed the plan, once pledging to lie in front of bulldozers to stop building.
It is unclear whether he and other lawmakers from the ruling Conservative Party will be allowed a free vote on the project.
Conservative former transport secretary Justine Greening insisted she would vote against the expansion — and urged the government to allow lawmakers to vote freely on the issue.
“These are local MPs who need to represent our local communities,” she told the BBC.
Although other Conservative MPs are also against the expansion, some opposition Labour lawmakers vocally backed the move in parliament.
Shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald said Labour will consider the proposal against four tests, including if environmental issues can be fully addressed and growth across the country is supported.
The parliamentary vote must take place by July 11, according to the Department for Transport.
‘Air pollution crisis’ 
Greenpeace UK executive director John Sauven said: “Green-lighting a new runway at Heathrow on World Environment Day is like handing out free cigarettes on World Health Day.
“This airstrip alone will load the atmosphere with as much extra carbon as some entire countries pump out. It would make Londoners’ air more dangerous to breathe, contributing to an air pollution crisis that’s already cutting short thousands of lives.
“It’s time the UK Government took seriously its commitment to protect the environment by building a low-carbon economy.”
But the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), Britain’s big business lobby, voiced strong support for the project.
CBI deputy director-general Josh Hardie said: “It’s fantastic that the new runway at Heathrow is getting closer to take-off. All the more so as the United Kingdom has waited for nearly half a century for this decision.
“Expanding our aviation capacity, and creating new flight routes to rapidly growing markets, is mission critical to ensuring Britain can compete on the post-Brexit world stage.
“Our aviation capacity is set to run out as early as 2025, so it’s crucial we get spades in the ground as soon as possible,” he said.
Grayling said the government’s decision was “an important milestone in building a global Britain”.
“As we leave the EU, the UK must remain one of the world’s best-connected and outward-looking countries and a third runway at Heathrow is the best option to deliver this,” he said.
British Airways owner IAG, whose chief executive Willie Walsh told a parliamentary inquiry in February he had “zero” confidence that Heathrow could deliver the project on time and on budget, called the decision a “missed opportunity”.
“Today Heathrow is the most expensive hub airport in the world,” it said in a statement.
“The government has missed an opportunity to provide the UK with the airport it needs at a price it can afford.”
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FG Begins Implementation Of New Excise Duties On Alcohol, Tobacco

File photo: President Muhammadu Buhari
The Federal Government will today begin the implementation of the new excise duties for alcohol and tobacco.
President Muhammadu Buhari had in March assented to an increase in excise duties for tobacco, beer, wine, and spirits imported permitting a grace period of 90 days for implementation.
This follows after the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun wrote to President Buhari to seek approval of the excise review.
The Minister stated that Adeosun noted that the reviews would be from 2018 to 2020 in order to reduce an expected negative impact on the sector.
According to her, the health hazards associated with tobacco-related diseases and alcohol abuse will be reduced.
“The Tariff Technical Committee (TCC) recommended the slight adjustment in the excise duty charges after cautious considerations of the government’s fiscal policy measures for 2018 and the reports of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund Technical Assistance Mission on Nigeria’s fiscal policy.
“The effect of the excise duty rates adjustment on trade and investment was also assessed by the Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment and it adopted the recommendations of the TTC.
“Peer country comparisons were also carried out showing Nigeria as being behind the curve in the review of excise duty rates on alcoholic beverages and tobacco.”
The upward review of the rates was carried out in line with new ECOWAS standards and is expected to boost the government’s revenue and discourage abuse of the items.
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CBN Injects $331M Into Forex Market

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) continued its intervention on the Interbank Foreign Exchange Market.
The CBN on Friday with an injection of 331.41 million dollars to alleviate dollar shortages.
The funds were allocated to companies in the agricultural, airline, petroleum and machinery sectors.
CBN spokesperson, Isaac Okorafor said the financial regulator is buoyant enough to meet the foreign exchange requests of various customers cut across the different segments of the market.
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Russia Comes Under Fire At UN Over MH17 Downing

The UN Security Council meets at UN Headquarters in New York.                   HECTOR RETAMAL / AFP
Russia on Tuesday rejected calls at the United Nations to accept responsibility for the downing of Flight MH17 over Ukraine after an investigation found that a Russian army missile was used in the attack.
At a Security Council meeting on Ukraine, Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok called on Moscow to accept the findings that the airliner was shot down by a Russian-made BUK missile provided by a brigade based in the Russian city of Kursk.
“The language of ultimatums is not something that anyone will be allowed to use when speaking to Russia,” Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia told the council meeting.
“We cannot accept the unfounded conclusion of the JIT”, the Dutch-led Joint investigation Team, he added.
All 298 people on the Malaysia Airlines flight en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur were killed when the missile slammed into the plane as it flew over territory held by pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine in July 2014.
Responding to Nebenzia, the Dutch foreign minister said his arguments were “nothing new” and again urged Russia to work with the Netherlands and Australia to identify the perpetrators.
US Ambassador Nikki Haley voiced strong support for the Dutch and Australian call on Russia to acknowledge its role in the tragedy and help bring to account those responsible for the shooting down.
“Despite its transparent denials, there is no doubt Russia is driving the Ukrainian conflict,” said Haley.
More than 10,000 people have been killed since the Moscow-backed insurgency broke out in April 2014 following Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin told the council that Russia’s rejection of the findings “did not surprise me at all.”
“We have no doubt that the downing of MH17 flight is a terrorist act,” he said.
Ukraine will present documents to the International Court of Justice next month showing that Russia is violating anti-terrorism agreements, he said.
Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz renewed his call for a peacekeeping mission to be deployed to east Ukraine and urged Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to appoint a UN special envoy for Ukraine.
Diplomats say Russia, a veto-wielding power at the council, has blocked attempts to step up UN involvement in efforts to end the conflict.
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Rewane Warns Against Continued Retention Of Current Interest Rates

Economist, Bismarck Rewane believes the most critical sectors to Nigerians are suffering and will continue to do so unless things change.
Rewane, who was one of the guests on Channels Television Programme, Channels Forum held on Tuesday called for a change in the interest rate which has remained static for about 22 months.
He said if the interest rate is changed, then the problem of increase unemployment can be resolved in Nigeria.
READ ALSO: The Change We Have In Nigeria Is From Bad To Worse – Sani
“If we look at the growth numbers that came out recently, 14% growth was in the oil sector, then we have insurance and some other areas where people are not employed.
“The sectors that employ people which are interest rate sectors are the ones that are actually slow and contracted; therefore I submit that if we don’t bring down interest rate (we have had 22 months of no change in interest rate) to stimulate and increase economic activity, then all of these things are going to…”
Rewane, who is also the Managing Director of Financial Derivatives Company Limited, stressed the importance of shifting focus from sectors that are growing but not creating jobs.
“The underlined thing is that unemployment and underemployment has increased in all the three quarters that we have had positive growth. We have had higher unemployment. Therefore the sectors that are growing are not the ones that are employing.
“So we now have to shift emphasis and focus on areas where there is labour intensive activities, these people can create jobs.
“The unemployed man becomes a dysfunctional member of the society who disrupts, who kidnaps and that destroys everything.”
The economists also noted that despite governments noble intentions the impacts are not felt due to these impediments while Nigerians are eager to see results and impacts.
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Nigerians Will Feel Economic Impact Soon, Says Budget Minister

Minister of Budget and National Planning, Mr Udo Udoma
The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udoma Udo Udoma, has said that Nigerians will feel the impact of the economy soon.
He said, “When an economy starts to grow it takes time before people start to feel the impact.
The Minister explained that the economy is growing slowing at 1.9 percent, Nigerians are however yet to feel the impacts through the creation of more jobs among others.
“An economy that is growing at 1.9% people will rarely feel the impact but the important thing is for people to see the direction of growth which should get them optimistic because our target is 7% by 2020.
According to him, the citizens would begin to appreciate the policies geared towards economic growth when it moves upward to about 5 percent.
“By the time we get to 4-5% people will rarely feel the impact of the economy”, he added.

The minister stated this on Tuesday when he appeared as a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily.
He addressed the issue of jobs, stating that the Federal Government is engaging people the unemployed through the construction activities that are ongoing.
“Agriculture is creating jobs and also the Social Intervention Programme is creating jobs, so over time the job impact will be felt”.
Earlier, President Muhammadu Buhari revealed plans to create more than 500,000 jobs by 2020 which will help reduce the rate of unemployment affecting the country.
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FG To Create Over 500,000 Jobs By 2020

President Muhammadu Buhari has revealed plans to create more than 500,000 jobs by 2020 which will help reduce the rate of unemployment affecting the country.
Recently the Federal Government conducted focus labs in key areas of the economy which are agriculture, transport, manufacturing and processing, power and gas.
The President during his democracy broadcast on Tuesday stated that these sectors have yielded significant prospects for investments and job creation to the tune of $22.5bn with a potential for creating “more than 500,000 jobs by 2020”.
He said that These investment generation initiatives are expected to increase capital inflows in the form of foreign direct investment with a high prospect that the cumulative investments from this first phase of the Labs will hit US$39.2 billion by 2025.
The Buhari-led administration created the N-Power Job creation Scheme which is targeted at providing jobs for unemployed young graduates.
The President said that so far about 200,000 youths have been recruited while the next batch of 300,000 has been selected, verified and would soon be deployed across the 36 States and the FCT.
Furthermore, 20,000 non-graduate volunteers have also been selected to kick off the N-Build programme in collaboration with the National Automotive Design and Development Council and the Council of Registered Builders of Nigeria.
The President noted that his administration has recorded giant strides in the past three years in improving the welfare of Nigerian youths and will continue to do more for the country as a whole.
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Nigeria’s Economy Has Been Revamped, Says Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari has said that Nigeria’s economy has been revamped since his administration took over in 2015.
President Buhari while rolling out the success of his administration on Tuesday during the democracy broadcast explained that in 2016, the government executed an expansionary budget and developed the Strategic Implementation Plan (SIP) which for the first time, 30% of the budget was earmarked for capital expenditure to represents an upward review when compared with the 2015 budget.
After the execution of the Strategic Implementation Plan, the Federal Government decided to go a step further by establishing comprehensive medium-term plan called the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) 2017-2020.
The aim of the ERGP is to restore and sustain economic growth, build a globally competitive economy and invest in Nigerians.
However, the President noted that the establishment of the ERGP has started yielding results, following the National Bureau of Statistics reports which shows that the economy grew by 1.95% in 1st quarter 2018, which is a good performance when viewed against -0.91 in 1st quarter 2017 and -0.67% in 1st quarter 2016 respectively.
The President further stated that “Our foreign reserve has improved significantly to 47.5 billion USD as of May 2018 as against 29.6 billion USD in 2015.
“The inflationary rate has consistently declined every month since January 2017”.
He, therefore, called on Nigerians to work with the Federal Government to ensure that its plans are achieved.
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Oil Prices Fall As Saudis See Likely Supply Boost

Global oil prices fell Friday after top producer Saudi Arabia signalled a likely boost in supply as soon as the third quarter, and world stock markets were mixed over the sudden US move to cancel the summit with North Korea.
Saudi oil minister Khaled al-Faleh said at an economic conference in Russia that a gradual output increase could happen in the second half of the year to prevent any supply shocks, according to the RIA Novosti agency.
OPEC and 10 other oil producers agreed at the end of 2016 to cut output by 1.8 million barrels per day to clear a glut that had led to a collapse in prices in 2014.
The deal, which has been extended until the end of 2018, has led to that glut disappearing and prices have recovered from around $30 per barrel to around $80.
The Saudi comments sent oil prices tumbling by over three percent. Brent Crude fell to $76.43 per barrel and WTI Crude to $68.03 around 1545 GMT.
Russia’s oil tsar Alexander Novak said ministers from the OPEC cartel and other members of the production pact would discuss how much to increase production next month.
“If we come to a common opinion that it is necessary” to increase supply it “should probably take place from the third quarter,” Novak said, according to RIA Novosti.
Uncertainties about supplies from Iran and Venezuela have led prices to spike higher in recent weeks, with industry players warning they could jump to $100 per barrel.
In stocks, London and Frankfurt indices finished the week slightly higher, while Paris was essentially flat at the close as investors hesitated amid the confusing series of reports on geopolitics.
In New York, the Dow slipped 0.4 percent in mid-day trading Friday as falling crude prices dragged energy stocks lower and investors continued to digest the US-North Korea situation and US-China trade.
Shortly after the open, President Donald Trump had said the summit with North Korea that he had called off just 24 hours before could go ahead after all as talks with Pyongyang were continuing.
But investors were contending with the possibility that the summit’s cancellation could cause Trump to be more aggressive in trade talks with China.
Asia down on Trump move
Asian markets mostly fell Friday after the news that Trump had abruptly axed next month’s summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
For its part North Korea declared that it is willing to talk to the United States “at any time”, while China urged both sides to show restraint.
“The focus has been firmly centred upon Donald Trump, with his decision to cancel the June meeting with Kim Jong Un bringing about a return to the risk-off sentiment,” said analyst Joshua Mahony at trading firm IG.
Markets have been jittery this week as the US president had warned in recent days that he could cancel the summit, while also voicing his displeasure at a deal to avert a trade war with China and threatening tariffs on car imports.
Thursday’s summit cancellation took many by surprise — including North and South Korean officials — and fuelled concerns about the future of a rapprochement that has had many hoping for peace on the divided peninsula.
“It looks like we are back to fire and fury as the modus operandi for the White House again after President Trump (threatened) a new 25 percent car import tariff and cancelled the summit with North Korea,” said Greg McKenna, chief market strategist at AxiTrader.
Key figures around 15:45 GMT
New York – Dow: DOWN 0.4 percent at 24,725.08
London – FTSE 100: UP 0.18 percent at 7,730.28 points (close)
Paris – CAC 40: DOWN 0.1 percent at 5,542.55 (close)
Frankfurt – DAX 30: UP 0.65 percent at 12,938.01 (close)
EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 0.18 percent at 3,515.36
Tokyo – Nikkei 225: UP 0.1 percent at 22,450.79 (close)
Hong Kong – Hang Seng: DOWN 0.6 percent at 30,588.04 (close)
Shanghai – Composite: DOWN 0.4 percent at 3,141.30 (close)
Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1662 from $1.1720 at 2100 GMT
Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.3318 from $1.3381
Dollar/yen: UP at 109.32 yen from 109.26 yen
Oil – Brent North Sea: DOWN $2.36 at $76.43 per barrel
Oil – West Texas Intermediate: DOWN $2.68 at $68.03
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