Sunday, December 9, 2018

Minimum Wage: State Governors Offer To Pay N22,500

Chairman of Governor’s Forum and Zamfara State Governor, Abdul’aziz Yari
 
State Governors have offered to pay a sum of N22,500 as minimum wage as against the N30,000 demanded by labour.
According to a statement by the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum, Governor Abdul’aziz Yari Abubakar, the governors concluded based on their ability and capacity to pay.
The organized labour had earlier threatened to embark on a fresh nationwide industrial action from November 6.
Today (Tuesday), the unions commenced a protest in different parts of the country, insisting that the government must approve the N30,000 minimum wage and nothing less.
They maintained that by November 6, if the government fails to meet their demands, they would embark on the indefinite strike.
Read Also: Minimum Wage: NLC Insists On November 6 To Commence Indefinite Strike
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China’s Yuan Hits Decade Low On Trade, Economy Fears

 
The Chinese yuan weakened to a decade low on Tuesday on concerns over China’s slowing economy and the US trade war, but Beijing was expected to prevent it breaking the psychologically important 7 yuan per dollar barrier.
The yuan drifted past 6.96 to the dollar, hitting its weakest levels since May 2008.
Breaking 7 could further undermine market confidence and potentially trigger fresh US accusations that China was allowing the yuan to weaken to blunt the impact of tariffs that Washington has imposed on Chinese goods.
A weaker yuan makes Chinese exports less expensive overseas, ameliorating some of the higher costs brought by the tariffs.
China restricts the yuan’s daily trading band, and a front-page commentary on Tuesday in the state-run Economy Information Daily said authorities were unlikely to let it hit 7 to the dollar.
“China’s balance of payments situation won’t change in the short term. Current monetary officials have the strength and determination to stabilize the market. There also are enough policy tools to deal with changes in the situation,” it said.
Washington has imposed tariffs on billions of dollars worth of Chinese goods as President Donald Trump tries to pressure Beijing to change trade policies that he says are unfair to US companies.
The yuan is likely to remain weak as long as the trade row persists, Ben Kwong, executive director at KGI Asia, told Bloomberg News.
“Chinese officials have already indicated they don’t want the yuan to break through 7 this year. The yuan may fall very close to 7 but maybe not beyond that,” he said.
Washington recently declined to officially label China a currency manipulator — a designation that would have further escalated the trade fight — but expressed concern over the yuan’s weakness and Beijing’s foreign exchange policies.
AFP
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Mo Ibrahim Foundation Ranks Nigeria 33 Out Of 54 Countries In Overall Governance In...

 
The Mo Ibrahim Foundation has scored Nigeria 47.9 in overall governance, ranking it 33 out of 54 countries in Africa.
The 2018 Ibrahim Index of African governance was launched by the foundation on Monday.
Although Nigeria increased in ranking from 35 in 2017 to 33 in 2018, the country’s overall score dropped from 48.1 to 47.9.
According to the report, this score is lower than the African average of 49.9 and also lower than the west African average of 54.3.
The report stated that Nigeria received its highest category score in participation and human rights, scoring 53.2 and its lowest score in sustainable economic opportunies, scoring 43.5.
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Volkswagen Profits Soar Despite Diesel Scandal

In this file photo taken on March 14, 2017,  German judges on October 24, 2018, ordered Volkswagen’s largest shareholder, holding company Porsche SE, to pay damages to some of its own investors over its handling of the car giant’s “dieselgate” emissions scandal.Odd ANDERSEN / AFP
 
German car giant Volkswagen reported soaring profits on Thursday for the third quarter free of massive payouts for diesel emissions cheating but the results were still weighed down by new pollution tests.
Net profit at the Wolfsburg-based group more than doubled year-on-year between July and September, to 2.76 billion euros ($3.14 billion) — but still fell short of analysts’ expectations.
In the third quarter of 2017, the bottom line was slashed to 1.07 billion euros by one-off costs of 2.6 billion euros, as a US recall of cars with diesel engines configured to cheat regulatory emissions tests proved more complicated than expected.
Volkswagen remains mired in legal woes over the “dieselgate” scandal first revealed in 2015, with open investigations against former executives, and investors and car owners beating a path to court to claim damages.
But it was the new emissions tests known as WLTP — introduced after the trickery affecting 11 million vehicles worldwide was uncovered — that weighed on this year’s third quarter.
While revenues at VW grew 0.9 percent year-on-year to 55.2 billion euros, operating, or underlying profit before special items fell 18.6 percent, to 3.51 billion.
The group highlighted operating profit over the first nine months was “on par” with last year’s figure, saying that “strong development in the first half of the year and during the summer months was able to compensate for September’s decline in deliveries, which was mainly caused by the WLTP transition.”
Other carmakers have also complained of a bottleneck caused by the new tests, which are designed to better reflect cars’ output of harmful gases like nitrogen oxides (NOx) in real on-road driving conditions.
Looking ahead to the full year, VW confirmed its forecast of unit sales slightly higher than in 2017, with revenues “intended to grow by as much as five percent” compared with the 230.7 billion euros booked last year.
AFP
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Amazon Rakes In $2.9Bn Profit

 
Amazon reported Thursday that its profit in the recently-ended quarter rocketed to $2.9 billion in a ten-fold increase from the same period last year.
Net sales at the e-commerce colossus climbed to $56.6 billion in the third quarter, a 29 per cent increase from the $43.7 in sales reported in the third quarter in 2017.
AFP
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Twitter Surges On Profit, Revenue Growth

 
Twitter reported on Thursday stronger-than-expected profits and revenues in the third quarter, igniting a strong rally in shares of the key social network.
The San Francisco group delivered a $789 million profit, including one-time gains, compared to a net loss of $21 million in the previous year, as revenues grew 29 percent to $758 million.
Twitter shares rallied 12 percent in premarket trade following the results, as the markets overlooked a dip in the number of users of the short-messaging service.
Average monthly active users totaled 326 million, down from 335 million in the previous quarter. The company said the drop came from efforts to weed out fake and inauthentic accounts. The recently enacted privacy rules in the European Union also had an effect.
The record profit included one-time gains from tax and asset valuation adjustments. Excluding those items, profits amounted to $163 million.
Twitter said the drop in its user count was a direct result of efforts to improve the “health” of its platform by removing fake and abusive accounts.
“We’re achieving meaningful progress in our efforts to make Twitter a healthier and valuable everyday service,” said chief executive Jack Dorsey in a statement.
“We’re doing a better job detecting and removing spammy and suspicious accounts at sign-up… This quarter’s strong results prove we can prioritize the long-term health of Twitter while growing the number of people who participate in a public conversation.”
 Health vs. growth 
Twitter and other social networks have faced challenges in curbing manipulation and weeding out “hate speech,” but Dorsey said the removal of abusive content will be beneficial for the platform in the long term.
“We do see health as a growth sector over the long term,” Dorsey told analysts on a conference call.
“Our purpose is to serve the public conversation, and we have a singular purpose… which is increasing the health of that conversation.”
Twitter has managed to swing into profit over the past few quarters after years of losses, but it has struggled to grow its user base beyond a core of celebrities, journalists and political figures.
It has sought to expand its appeal with new services, including live video.
Twitter claims its estimate of daily users, which it says reflects engagement, was up nine percent in the past quarter but offers no specific numbers.
Advertising, which makes up the bulk of Twitter revenues, grew 29 percent over the past year to $650 million, according to the earnings report.
Twitter said it had 67 million monthly active users in the US in the quarter, and 259 million internationally.
Despite its unique offering of near real-time information, Twitter has lagged behind other social networks such as Facebook and Facebook-owned Instagram.
According to the research firm eMarketer, Twitter’s share of worldwide social network users is expected to drop slightly from 10 percent in 2018 to nine percent in 2022.
In 2018, Twitter will take a 1.8 percent share of display ad revenue worldwide.
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Nokia Reduces Third Quarter Losses And Launches New Savings Drive

(File Photo)
 
Finnish telecoms equipment maker Nokia reported a reduction in its third-quarter losses of almost 57 percent on Thursday, as it launched a cost-savings programme in a bid to restore profitability.
The company announced a net loss of 79 million euros between July and September, compared to 183 million euros for the same period last year.
Nokia also released details of a 700 million euros cost-savings programme between now and the end of 2020, of which 500 million is expected to come from operating expenses.
The improved results, driven by a pickup in commercial 5G deployments in the US, saw Nokia reiterate its guidance to investors after a difficult start to the year.
“Nokia’s third-quarter results validate our earlier view that conditions would improve in the second half of 2018,” CEO Rajeev Suri said in a statement.
“This was particularly evident in our excellent momentum in orders, growth across all five of our Networks business groups, and improved profitability,” Suri said.
However, Mikael Rautanen, an analyst at Inderes, said the size of Nokia’s new cost-cutting programme came as a surprise.
“They will have to squeeze in more cost cuts than what was expected in order to meet the targets that they have set for 2020,” Rautanen said.
“Investors and the market were already skeptical about Nokia’s ability to meet those targets if you look at the forecasts that are out there in the consensus. I would say they still have work to do to restore investor confidence.”
In a statement, Nokia said its 700 million euro savings programme will look to cut costs through a wide range of measures. These include further investment in digitization “to drive more automation and productivity”, and “significant reductions in central support functions”.
The group’s turnover fell 1.0 percent in the third quarter to 5.46 billion euros, due to unfavorable exchange rates, but Nokia reduced its operating loss from 230 million euros to 54 million.
Nokia’s share price rose 0.5 percent on the opening of the Helsinki stock exchange following the publication of the results.
AFP
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UBS Reports Better-Than-Expected Results

A sign of Swiss banking giant UBS is seen on October 6, 2018, at a branch in Lausanne. Photo: Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP
Swiss banking giant UBS reported on Thursday better-than-expected third quarter results alongside a cautious outlook due to the current turmoil in the markets.
UBS said its net profit in the three months to September jumped 32 percent from a year earlier to 1.2 billion Swiss francs (1.0 billion euros, $1.2 billion), boosted by its asset management unit.
Analysts had forecast a net profit of 995 million Swiss francs. Revenues came in as expected at 7.2 billion Swiss francs, up 2.0 percent.
UBS maintained its current year-end estimates on the basis that current global growth rates still offered business opportunities.
At the same time, the bank highlighted concerns over persistent geopolitical tensions plus trade conflicts which have dented investor confidence, especially at its asset management arm.
This unit, the bank’s biggest, posted a pretax profit gain of 3.0 percent to 932 million Swiss francs.
“The quarterly results show once again that our diversification strategy has proved its worth,” UBS chief Sergio Ermotti said in a statement.
AFP
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Stock Markets Tumble As Geopolitical Fears Set In

Pedestrians look at the share prices for the Tokyo Stock Exchange on a stock indicator board in Tokyo on October 23, 2018. Tokyo stocks dropped sharply on October 23 morning trade with investors concerned with an array of geopolitical risks and cautious ahead of corporate earnings season. Behrouz MEHRI / AFP
Stock markets slumped on Tuesday on geopolitical risks stretching from US tensions with Russia and Saudi Arabia to trade issues and Italy’s budget stand-off with the European Union.
European stocks picked up where Asia left off, with Frankfurt losing more than two percent in morning deals after Hong Kong closed down more than three percent.
The dollar was down versus the euro, yen, and pound.
Frankfurt was dragged down additionally by a near eight-percent plunge in the share price of chemicals and pharmaceuticals giant Bayer to 70.50 euros.
A San Francisco judge on Monday upheld a jury verdict that found Bayer-owned Monsanto liable for not warning a groundskeeper that its weed killer product Roundup might cause cancer.
Judge Suzanne Bolanos denied Monsanto’s request for a new trial but cut the $289 million damages award to $78 million to comply with the law regarding how punitive damages awards must be calculated.
Bayer said it would appeal the latest ruling.
There is meanwhile growing unease about Italy’s row with the EU over its purse-busting budget, which Brussels said breaks the bloc’s financial rules.
The populist government in Rome has refused to back down and cut its spending promises despite warnings about the country’s economic outlook.
The standoff comes as officials struggle to hammer out a Brexit agreement with a deadline for Britain to leave the EU looming in the background.
Pressure is also growing on Saudi Arabia after it admitted that a journalist critical of Riyadh had been killed at its Istanbul consulate.
Oil prices slid Tuesday as the market discounted concerns about potential supply disruptions in the Middle East.
Saudi Arabia said Monday it had no plans to repeat its harsh 1973 oil embargo, even as relations with the West sour following the death of Khashoggi.
In stocks, Wall Street closed mixed Monday as investors wait on company earnings.
The sharp losses Tuesday in Asia brought an end to a rally in previous sessions fuelled by China’s top brass issuing coordinated statements of support for the country’s markets and officials unveiling tax cut plans.
Nerves have been tested by US President Donald Trump’s warning that he will pull out of a nuclear treaty with Russia and bolster America’s arsenal.
Traders are also turning their attention to next month’s US midterm elections, which could turn control of Congress over to the Democrats.
Key figures around 0900 GMT
London – FTSE 100: DOWN 1.1 percent at 6,966.10 points
Frankfurt – DAX 30: DOWN 2.3 percent at 11,262.21
Paris – CAC 40: DOWN 1.6 percent at 4,970.24
Milan – FTSE MIB: DOWN 1.1 percent at 18,750.36
EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 1.6 percent at 3,138.01
Tokyo – Nikkei 225: DOWN 2.7 percent at 22,010.78 (close)
Shanghai – Composite: DOWN 2.3 percent at 2,594.83 (close)
Hong Kong – Hang Seng: DOWN 3.1 percent at 25,346.55 (close)
New York – Dow: DOWN 0.5 percent at 25,317.61 (close)
Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1470 from $1.1466 at 2100 GMT
Pound/dollar: UP at $1.2995 from $1.2967
Dollar/yen: DOWN at 112.20 from 112.81 yen
Oil – Brent Crude: DOWN $1.05 at $78.78 per barrel
Oil – West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 59 cents at $68.77.
AFP
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CBN Sets Up Mortgage Guarantee Companies

 
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has announced the introduction of mortgage guarantee companies, to reduce credit risk in the mortgage finance sector and increase access to mortgage loans.
This is contained in the financial regulator’s exposure draft released to all banks, the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria, Nigeria Mortgage Refinance Company and Mortgage Bank Association of Nigeria.
The CBN says the objectives of the MGCS are to support mortgage originators such as primary mortgage banks and commercial banks, to increase mortgage lending, by guaranteeing against losses resulting from borrower defaults on their mortgage loan portfolios.
The new firms will operate with a minimum capital base of N6 billion and provide full or partial guarantee for residential mortgage loans.
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Enugu Govt Inaugurates Committee On Airport Upgrade

Enugu Airport (file)
 
The Enugu State Government has inaugurated a committee on the upgrade of the Akanu Ibiam International Airport.
The committee was inaugurated by the Deputy Governor of the state, Mrs Cecilia Ezeilo, on Wednesday in the state capital.
Mrs Ezeilo explained that the committee has a charge to tackle issues relating to the encroachment of land around the runway of the airport.
She said, “This all-encompassing committee will finally deal with the issues of the encroachment of land around the runway of the Akanu Ibiam International Airport and other related matters, and advise the government on all necessary steps to be taken to ensure full safety operations of the airport which includes the relocation of the mast to a new site.”
According to the deputy governor, the airport project will boost the state’s economic growth in the South-East geopolitical zone and beyond.
She also reiterated Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi’s commitment to the effective and efficient operation of the airport.
The committee is chaired by the Commissioner for Enugu Capital Territory Development Authority (ECTDA), Mr Chidi Aroh.
Its members include the Commissioners for Lands and Urban Development, as well as Commerce and Industry.
Others include the Assistant General Manager of the Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA); as well as the General Manager of Land and Water Survey at the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) among others.
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Nigeria’s Inflation Rate Rises Again – NBS

Nigeria’s inflation rate has again risen for the second time in a row.
Data from the National Bureau of Statistic (NBS)on Tuesday showed a slim margin of 0.05 per cent to 11.28 per cent in September, compared to 11.23 per cent recorded in August.
According to the NBS, the composite food index rose to 13.31 per cent year-on-year in September, driven by an increase in the price of poultry product, vegetables and other important food items.
Similarly, the country’s urban inflation rate increased to 11.70 per cent year-on-year, while the rural inflation rate increased to 10.92 per cent last month.
On a month-on-month basis, the headline index dropped by 0.21 per cent to 0.84 per cent in September, the food sub-index fell by 0.42 per cent points to 1.00 per cent, while the urban index and rural index both fell by 0.14 to 1 per cent and 0.82 per cent each.
This rise in the food index was caused by increases in prices of Potatoes, yams and other tubers, vegetables, fruits, meat, milk, cheese and egg, Bread and cereals, and Fish.
On a month-on-month basis, the food sub-index increased by 1.00 per cent in September 2018, down by 0.42 per cent points from 1.42 per cent recorded in August.
The average annual rate of change of the Food sub-index for the twelve-month period ending September 2018 over the previous twelve-month average was 15.92 per cent, 0.58 per cent points from the average annual rate of change recorded in August (16.50)
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Nigeria’s Inflation Rate Rises, Says NBS

 
 
The National Bureau of Statistic (NBS) has said that Nigeria’s headline inflation has risen for the second time in a row.
Statistics show by a slim margin of 0.05 per cent to 11.28 per cent in September, compared to 11.23 per cent recorded in August.
The latest data released by the NBS shows that the composite food index rose to 13.31 per cent year-on-year in September, driven by an increase in the price of poultry product, vegetables and other important food items.
Similarly, the country’s urban inflation rate increased to 11.70 per cent year-on-year, while the rural inflation rate increased to 10.92 per cent last month.
On a month-on-month basis, the headline index dropped by 0.21 per cent to 0.84 per cent in September, the food sub-index fell by 0.42 per cent points to 1.00 per cent, while the urban index and rural index both fell by 0.14 to 1 per cent and 0.82 per cent each.
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Plastic Surgeon Buys Top South Korea Bitcoin Exchange

A currency dealer monitors exchange rates in a trading room at the KEB Hana Bank in Seoul on October 12, 2018. Asia’s main stock markets traded lower on October 12, but losses were relatively muted as investors took a breather after a global rout sparked by fears over higher US interest rates. PHOTO: Jung Yeon-je / AFP
 
A consortium led by a prominent Seoul plastic surgeon purchased a controlling stake in South Korea’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, reports said on Friday.
The hyper-wired South has emerged as one of the world’s top Bitcoin markets, at one point accounting for more than 20 per cent of global Bitcoin transactions — about 10 times the country’s share of the global economy.
Singapore-based BK Global Consortium bought a 50-per cent stake plus one share in Bithumb, the country’s biggest virtual currency exchange, from shareholder BTC Holdings for about 400 billion won ($353 million), Yonhap news agency and other South Korean media said, citing industry sources.
Bithumb has more than a million customers but suffered a devastating hacking attack in June that left more than $30 million worth of cryptocurrency stolen.
South Korean exchanges have been hit by a series of attacks by hackers who stole millions of dollars, contributing to the market losing steam as prices tumbled.
The BK consortium is an investment group led by Kim Byung-gun, a high-profile plastic surgeon who founded BK Plastic Surgery Hospital, a major clinic in Seoul that also has operations in Singapore.
Cryptocurrencies have plunged since the end of 2017, when Bitcoin hit a record high near $20,000, having surged from less than $1,000 just 11 months earlier. The unit is now worth around $6,210.
AFP
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Buhari Seeks NASS Approval Of $2.78bn Eurobonds

File photo: President Muhammadu Buhari
 
President Muhammadu Buhari has sought the approval of the National Assembly to raise a fresh 2.79 billion dollars from The International Capital Market to finance deficits and other key projects in the 2018 budget.
The President made the request in a letter dated July 23, and read by the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, at plenary on Tuesday, after the lawmakers resumed from their annual recess.
The amount which has been approved in the 2018 Appropriation Act, is expected to be raised from Eurobonds and other securities on the International Capital Market.
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In the same letter, the president also sought legislative approval for an external capital sourcing of 82.54 million dollars to refinance the balance of a 500 million dollar matured Eurobond.
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