Wednesday, March 20, 2019

FG Approves N28bn Budget Loan For 35 States

The Federal Government has approved 800 million Naira as a budget support loan facility for each of the 35 states of the federation.
The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udo Udoma who gave this information after the National Economic Council meeting in Abuja, said the Central Bank had been directed to release the total amount of 28 billion Naira to the benefitting states.
Although the minister did not name the state that was excluded, he explained that the facility was for July and August.
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Economic Diversification Policies Are On The Right Path, Says Buhari

File photo
President Muhammadu Buhari has said that the policies of his administration towards improving Nigeria’s economy through diversification are on the right path.
The President stated this on Thursday in his address during the official commissioning ceremony of the Sunti Golden Sugar Estate (SGSE) in Niger State.
He said the Federal Government remains committed to delivering on the policy goals of tackling corruption and improving the security of lives and property in the country.
President Buhari gave the assurance that his administration would provide necessary support for businesses to strengthen investments in critical sectors such as agriculture, power, and solid minerals among others.
Restating his resolve to transform the economy, he said the government would continue to create an enabling business environment for investors.
The President further recalled that he had inaugurated the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) in July 2016, with the aim of improving the business environment in the country.
He said his administration would give more attention to major infrastructure including roads and rail construction as well as and power generation.
The event was also attended by the Niger State Governor, Mr Abubakar Bello, and the Chairman of Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc (FMN), Mr John Coumantaros.
The construction of the sugar estate costs more than N50billion naira, and it has the capacity to produce 100,000 metric tons of sugar annually.
Read President Buhari’s full speech below:
I am very pleased to be here today to formally commission the Sunti Golden Sugar Estates.
This project could not have come at a better time. As Nigeria makes her journey out of recession and the economy continues to show considerable progress, we are reminded of one of the cardinal objectives of this administration which is to look inwards as we focus on our natural endowments in agriculture, and other non-oil sectors for inclusive growth and development.
The level of work and magnitude of investment that we are witnessing here today is a clear demonstration that our policies on economic diversification are on the right path. On that note, I must congratulate the entire members of board, the management and staff of this great company for such a laudable project that will undoubtedly reposition Nigeria as a leading player in the global food market.
I trust that you will agree with me that Flour Mills of Nigeria, has an unmistakable footprint in the history of our Nation. Since her establishment in 1960, Flour Mills and their Golden Penny food brand have become household names, bringing good food and nourishment to millions of Nigerian families. For over 57 years, the company has repeatedly shown her unwavering commitment to doing business in Nigeria and contributing to the socio-economic development of our dear country.
The Sunti Golden Sugar Estate as I am told was built at a cost of over fifty billion naira, making it one of the largest Agro-allied investments in Nigeria, today, with a capacity to produce 100,000 metric tons of sugar annually. While we have had some challenges in the implementation of the National Sugar Master Plan (NSMP) in the past, I believe that our vision of attaining self-sufficiency in sugar in Nigeria is well within sight with the kind of investment that has been made here. I am told that the Estate will engage up to 10,000 people directly once developed, including a network of over 3,000 small-scale out growers of Sugarcane. This to my mind is central to this administration’s determination to create jobs and gainfully engage our people.
I am happy to mention also, that projects like the Sunti Sugar Estate are in tandem with the vision and objectives that we set out to achieve when this administration instituted the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP). While, our focus is steadfast on delivering on our policy goals of tackling corruption, improving security and rebuilding the economy; more than ever, Government will work in close partnership with businesses to strengthen investments in Agriculture, Power, Manufacturing, Solid Minerals, and the Service sectors.
It is worth mentioning at this point that the location of the Sunti Sugar Estates on the banks of the River Niger is as notable as it is commendable. The enormous economic possibilities inherent here have perhaps been overlooked for far too long. It is indeed on record that the Niger River Basin has played an essential role in the lives of the people who have had to depend on it for sustenance. And when we take into cognisance the tributaries of the river and the proximity to the Kainji dam, I must say that it is time that we take a closer look at the full spectrum of the River Niger’s ecosystem and explore how this massive body of resources can be converted to a hub for industry and commerce. To that end, I hereby call on other businesses and investors to take a cue from what we are witnessing today.
To ensure that we do not lose momentum in our strategic roadmap of developing the Sugar sub-sector, and achieving the target of attaining self-sufficiency in Sugar, it is perhaps time to revive also our sugar industries of old – this, of course, brings to mind the once flourishing sugar industry in Bacita, Kwara state which was established in 1964. This administration will welcome the opportunity to work with investors like Flour Mills to restore the glory of what was once a reputable industrial hub for sugar and pride for Nigeria.
At this juncture, I would like to assure Nigerians, that this administration is fully committed to the transformation and diversification of the economy. We will continue to support businesses by creating an enabling business environment. As you would recall, I inaugurated the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) in July 2016, to spearhead business climate reforms and improve the general business environment in Nigeria.
During my presentation of the 2018 budget to the National Assembly, I mentioned that one of the targets we set out for gauging our progress in creating an enabling environment for business was to achieve a positive movement in the World Ease of Doing Business Index.
I am delighted to mention that, a recently released World Bank business ranking report announced that Nigeria had moved 24 places to 145th position in 2017, and for the first time recognised as one of the top 10 most improved economies in the world; a clear indication that we are making remarkable progress in this regard.
In May 2017, this administration institutionalised an executive order #1 on the promotion of transparency and efficiency in the business environment as part of reforms to encourage private sector participation and attracting new investments. The order contained measures that ease the process of business registration, approval of permits, granting visas and streamlining port operations.
I wish to assure Nigerians, that this government will continue to focus on the improvement of critical infrastructure, like roads, construction of rails and power generation across the country.
Furthermore, we have also developed Road Trust Fund (RTF) that empowers private investors to contribute to the development of roads of significant national importance. We expect that the company would seize this opportunity to further develop the Sunti-Mokwa Road to support the CSR efforts it has already undertaken in rebuilding the critical Apapa-Wharf Road in conjunction with other private and public-sector stakeholders.
The world over, Sugar has been identified as a key commodity that is critical to national food security. Other than the development of local content, an investment of this size in the sugar value chain will not only stern the tide of importation of sugar and save foreign exchange, but enhance rural industrialisation, create wealth and alleviate poverty. For this, I must commend Flour Mills of Nigeria –Your mantra, “Feeding the Nation, Every Day,” is truly an inspiration to us all.
It is, therefore, with great pleasure that I once again say congratulation to the Board, the Management and staff of Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc for this auspicious project.
I thank you most sincerely for your attention.
May God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
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Gaidam Signs 2018 Budget Into Law

The Yobe State, Governor Ibrahim Gaidam, has signed the 2018 budget into law.
Assenting to the bills at the Government House in Damaturu the Yobe state capital, Governor Gaidam said the bills provide for a total expenditure of N92,182,336,000 and remain the same as presented except for some internal adjustments made thereby decreasing the allocation for recurrent services and increasing allocation of the funds earmarked for the execution of capital projects.
The recurrent expenditure of the assented bill according to the governor has been raised to N46, 753, 805, 000, 00 by the state assembly while the sum of N45, 428, 531, 000, 00 is an earmark for capital expenditure and thanks members for the adjustments and expeditious work on the bills.
“This implies that the budget size as presented remains the same except for some internal adjustments made thereby decreasing the allocation for recurrent services and increasing the allocation of the funds earmarked for the execution of the capital programmes”
The budget he said is geared towards service delivery assuring that his administration will continue to evoke ways that will enhance the development of the state.
“During the 2018 fiscal year, we will continue to implement our planned programme to build on the successes recorded in the previous budgets since our assumption of office nine years ago”
Governor Gaidam also said his administration will step up efforts in revenue generation and remittance to ensure the budget is effectively financed.
“In order to ensure greater successes in the mobilisation of funds, we will give renewed emphasis to our drive for enhancing revenue generation through effective monitoring of internal Revenue collection and remittance,” the governor said.
The Speaker of the State Assembly Adamu Dala-Dogo applauded the focus of the budget which according to him is aimed at addressing the pathetic problems of the internally displaced persons as well as provides more infrastructure, job and wealth creation for the people.
“We expeditiously worked on this budget to ensure its implementation in view of the fact that it will address the problems of the IDPs as well as provides more developmental projects to the people of the state,” the Speaker said.
The asserting of the bills was graced by some members of the National Assembly from the state and beyond as well as politicians and top government functionaries among others.
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Buhari Seeks China’s Support For Mambila Power Project

President Muhammadu Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari is counting on support from China to build the 3050 Megawatts Mambila Hydropower Project.
According to the Presidency, the President won the crucial support of his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, in Beijing on Wednesday.
The President sought the support of the Chinese President for the project while commending him and his government for successfully hosting the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) and for the growing relationship between both countries.
“I would like to once again solicit your support for the Mambilla Hydropower Project which remains a key priority for my government,” President Buhari was quoted as saying in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu.
“Our hope is to fund the project with concessionary loans from China as any alternative funding arrangement will adversely impact the project’s viability.”
President Buhari who explained that Nigeria’s submission on the project was being assessed by Chinese agencies is hopeful that the process would be fast-tracked.
“We hope, with your kind intervention, this assessment will be expedited. Your Excellency, Mambilla is Nigeria’s equivalent of the three gorges dam. My wish is that you join me for the ground-breaking ceremony of this project in the not too distant future,” he said.
In response, the Chinese President promised to ensure the project succeeds.
“We understand how critical the project is to your country and we will take a serious look at it and ensure that it succeeds because of its social and economic benefits,” he said.
President Buhari’s request follows the $328m agreement Nigeria and China signed for the Information and Communication Technology Infrastructure Backbone Phase II (NICTIB II) project.
The concessional loan agreement between Galaxy Backbone Limited and Huawei Technologies Limited (HUAWEI) was signed by Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, Kemi Adesoun, and the Director-General, International Development Agency Wang Xiaotoa, in the presence of President Buhari and Xi Jinping.
Nigeria and China also signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the One Belt One Road Initiative (OBOR).
The OBOR is an initiative of Xi which focuses on improving connectivity and cooperation among multiple countries spread across the continents of Asia, Africa and Europe.
While speaking about the growing relationship between both countries, President Buhari also thanked China for accepting to support the international efforts to recharge Lake Chad.
“The inclusion of this project in the FOCAC Action Plan 2019 to 2021 will go a long way in supporting our efforts to rehabilitate and resettle the conflict-impacted North East region,” he said.
Before his meeting with Xi, President Buhari met with Nigerian students and entrepreneurs in China as well as Chinese students who were learning Nigerian languages.
He told Xi he was “very pleased” with his interactions and called for more to be done to foster people-to-people relationships in both countries.
“We must continue to support such exchange programmes to enhance our people-to-people contacts,” he said.
According to him, the easy movement of citizens of both countries would complement the currency swap agreements between both countries.
“Since our last meeting two years ago, Nigeria has relaxed its visa requirements to Chinese citizens. Today, I am pleased to inform Your Excellency that Chinese citizens receive Nigerian visas in less than 48 hours,” President Buhari told Xi.
“Another measure that will improve our trade volumes will be to introduce import duty waivers on Nigeria’s commodity exports to China. Today, our commodities such as sesame seeds, hibiscus, and cassava amongst others attract import duty in China.”
In terms of security, the Chinese President commended Nigeria’s fight against terrorism and the progress that has been made so far.
He promised China’s support in capacity building and intelligence sharing and pledged 50 million Chinese Yuan support to Nigeria’s military.
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U.S. Stocks Drop As Trump Cancels North Korea Meeting

U.S. stocks dropped on Thursday after President Donald Trump cancelled a planned summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, while a slide in oil prices and bank stocks also weighed as investors grappled with fresh U.S. protectionist plans.
Trump said he cancelled a June 12 summit “based on the tremendous anger and open hostility” in Kim’s recent statement.
The move came after North Korean media reported earlier that the country had blown up tunnels at its nuclear test site, which had raised the possibility of the summit.
Trump on Wednesday ordered a national security probe into car and truck imports that could lead to new tariffs, with China calling the move an “abuse” of the clauses and saying it would defend its interests.
The decision added to jitters over the prospects of trade negotiations with China, reignited after Trump called for “a different structure” to any trade deal.
“The markets are adjusting now with lots of uncertainties, with China, North Korea, (and the prospect of) a trade war that could spill over to other parts of the economy and the world,” said Adam Sarhan, chief executive of 50 Park Investments in New York.
At 10:03 a.m. EDT the Dow Jones Industrial Average.DJI was down 129.77 points, or 0.52 percent, at 24,757.04, the S&P 500.SPX was down 13.55 points, or 0.50 percent, at 2,719.74 and the Nasdaq Composite.IXIC was down 31.17 points, or 0.42 percent, at 7,394.79.
Nine of the 11 major S&P sectors were in the red, with the technology sectors.SPLRCT 0.5 percent decline weighing the most. The decline accelerated after the North Korea-U.S. summit cancellation.
Shares of European and Asian automakers skidded on the possibility of import tariffs, while U.S. automakers gained.
Ford (F.N) was up 1.3 percent and General Motors (GM.N) gained 0.8 percent. U.S.-listed shares of Fiat (FCAU.N) fell 2.3 percent, while those of Ferrari (RACE.K) dipped 0.6 percent.
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Dangote Challenges FG To Invest In Human Capital Development

President of the Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote has asked the Federal Government to provide solutions to human capital challenges experienced in the country.
Giving a speech at the Expanded National Economic Council On Investment in Human Capital, an event held on Thursday in Abuja, he stressed that human capital is a critical component of Nigeria’s future economic growth.
He said while the nation has largely achieved growth by extracting natural resources, the youths have to be equipped both physically and mentally to drive the nation’s future success.
“In Nigeria, we have largely achieved growth by extracting natural resources and we’re not building on that through our physical infrastructure. But we must also remember that it is our young people that will drive our future success.
“By 2050, Nigeria is projected to be the 3rd largest economy in the world.
“For this next generation to thrive as adults and drive economic progress, we need to invest in their health and well-being and in their ability to learn and apply new skills.
“As a business leader, it is my responsibility to offer jobs and opportunities but I can only do that when people themselves are healthy and have basic skills.”
Speaking further, the business mogul explained how nutrition and infrastructural development also play a huge role in equipping the youth for the future.
According to him, malnutrition has been identified as one of the biggest factors undermining the potentials of children and for Nigeria to be able to truly compete globally, we must prioritize investment in health, education and other key sectors.
He said: “As a philanthropist and development expert, I have seen first-hand and critical gaps and proven interventions that can help set those young people up for success especially the poorest.
“A key example is nutrition; a primary focus for the Dangote Foundation.”
“Today, one of the biggest factors undermining our progress is malnutrition. Poor nutrition prevents children from realizing their true potentials, stunting not only their physical and intellectual growth but also educational and employment opportunities.
“As a business leader, I feel the consequences of malnutrition. An inadequately skilled workforce is a constraint to my businesses. Again as a philanthropist and development expert, it is the kind of challenge I am committed to helping solve.
“By this, is where my two roles converge because all sectors, businesses, philanthropy and especially government will need to step up to address the human capital challenges we are now facing in Nigeria.
“For Nigeria to truly compete globally, we must prioritize investment in the health, education, and opportunity of our people alongside other critical areas like infrastructure,” he stated.
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Two Million Nigerians To Get Collateral Free Loans From FG

The Federal Government will be giving 2million Nigerians collateral free loans as part of the recently launched initiative under the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP), called the TraderMoni.
The aim of the initiative is to empower 2million petty traders between now and end of the year.
The scheme, which was launched last week in Lagos, would grant a minimum of 30,000 loans in each state of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
Traders from Lagos, Kano, Abia will be the first round of beneficiaries to partake in the loan.
In a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the Acting President on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande, “In addition to the 30,000 loans per State, States with larger populations like Lagos and Kano are expected to get more than 30,000 loans.
“Across the country, especially in the pilot states, about 500,000 potential beneficiaries have so far been enumerated.
“In order to identify the beneficiaries, no less than 4,000 enumeration agents have been engaged by the Bank of Industry which is deploying the new scheme”, he said.
Mr Akande explained that TraderMoni is designed to help petty traders expand their trade through the provision of collateral free loans of N10,000.
The loans are repayable over a period of six months.
He explained that under the scheme, beneficiaries can get access to a higher facility ranging from N15,000 to N50,000 when they repay N10,000 within the stipulated time period.
According to Mr Akande, the goal of the Buhari Administration is to use the TraderMoni to take financial inclusion down to the grassroots, the bottom of the ladder, considering the contribution of petty traders to economic development.
“The Federal Government is also aware of the fact that many of the petty traders don’t have what the commercial banks require to grant them loans.
“This administration is keen to ensure that such traders at that level are able to build their businesses and grow.
“TraderMoni was launched last Tuesday in five markets in Lagos State, with tens of thousands beneficiaries already.
“The Lagos markets already reached are Mushin, Ikotun, Agege, Ketu, and Abule Egba markets.
“The scheme will soon be taken to other states in the country, with Abia and Kano states next in line”, he added.
He further noted that the initiative which was just launched has already started receiving commendations by the beneficiaries.
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We Are Trying Very Hard To Provide Jobs For Our Youths, Says Buhari

File photo: President Muhammadu Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed satisfaction with the growing role of agriculture as a strategy for job creation among Nigerian youths.
While receiving the Foreign Minister of Tunisia Mr Boukekri Rmilli, at the State House in Abuja on Tuesday, President Buhari said his administration will increase its support for agriculture as a mechanism for jobs creation.
This was disclosed in a statement signed by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu on Tuesday.
“We are trying very hard to provide jobs, for our youths. We are investing heavily in agriculture.
“Following the uncertainty in the oil market and the huge unemployment situation in the country, we chose to put our fate in agriculture. I am glad that our young people are accepting agriculture instead of waiting for white-collar jobs. They are out there sweating it out in the sun, making a living. Agriculture is the way to go, even when we are realising this almost belatedly,” the President said.
He added that the administration recognises the progress Tunisia has made in agriculture, tourism and health, and will soon raise a team to visit the country to identify sectors in which the two countries can work together.
Furthermore, he expressed happiness with the resuscitation of the Nigeria – Tunisia Binational Commission which was attended by a large delegation of businessmen and prospective investors.
Mr Rmilli, who is also the leader of the delegation of businessmen, told the President that his country is anxious to grow trade relationships with Nigeria.
He also expressed satisfaction with the large number of local business men who turned up for the Nigeria – Tunisia Business Forum on Monday in Abuja.
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‘We Must Become Food Exporters’ – Buhari

The President, Muhammadu Buhari, has said that his administration will not rest in reviewing and strengthening ongoing reforms in the agricultural sector, until Nigerian regains its pride of place as a food exporting country.
Receiving the All Progressives Congress (APC) family from Kebbi State at the Presidential Villa, the President said that the country’s huge rice import bill had dropped significantly by more than 90 per cent, adding that it wasn’t good enough by his expectation.
In a statement by the Senior Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu “Beyond self-sufficiency, we must strive to become net exporters of food commodities.
“We are not doing badly in the agricultural sector and Nigerians, and the world, are beginning to appreciate our efforts. We will not be satisfied; we will work harder until we start exporting food.

Money Marriage: An Ancient Obanliku Culture Where Girls Are ‘Sold’ For Money, Food

A view of Obanliku in Cross River State.
The Becheve tribe of Obanliku Cross River State comes under the spotlight for a culture which subjects young girls into modern slavery through a tradition called ‘Money Marriage’.
Obanliku, a local government situated in North region of Cross River is an eight hours drive from Calabar the State Capital.
The Becheve tribe in Obanliku is made up of 17 tribes who practice an age long tradition where young girls are in the exchange of items including food items or debt settlement are given out in “Money Marriage.”
Obanliku is full of thick vegetation and mountainous terrain as high as 1576 meters above sea level. Behind the cloudy terrain are the sad tales of the young girls who are stripped of human dignity. They are called ‘Money Woman’ of ‘Money Wife.’
Visitors climbing into Obanliku Community.
Richards Akonam, a missionary who has spent over 25 years building a strong advocacy against the Money Marriage culture, told Channels Television that relatives of the ‘Money Woman’ freely visit the couple after the ‘marriage’ and enjoys gifts including money.
“Apart from the ‘main man’ who gives out the girl into ‘Money Marriage’ the relatives of the girl’s mother are free to go and collect stuff from their ‘in-law’. Anything offered them during their visit is given monetary value and recorded by their in-law (the man who is marrying the girl).
“If the mother is the greedy type, she’ll often visit her ‘in-law’ to get stuff,” he said.
This practice is sadly carried out without the consent of the girls. They are sold out to clear debts owed by a family relation or debts owed even before her birth. The ‘Money Wife’ most sadly does not benefit from the ‘Money Marriage.’
“While her parents or relatives share money and other gifts given them by the ‘groom’, she is left alone to struggle and find a means of survival.
“The girl (money girl) can only benefit if anyone who has gone to collect anything shares with her. This hardly happens. She will be responsible for taking care of herself by farming or otherwise. None of her relatives will buy or give her gifts. She now belongs to another and helping her translates to helping her owner,” Akonam said.
Some are the girls are even sold out in marriage before they are born. The GM of Obudu Mountain Resort, David Chris said the girl is eventually given out after the ‘groom’ has made ‘payment.’
“The child is given to a man who pays a certain amount of money. It can be before the child is born. If it is a girl-child, the child is given to the person (groom) after he has made payment that is required by culture,” he said.
One of the victims of Money Marriage
Most of the girls could hardly express their story as all they could do was cry when being interviewed. Aji Patience whose sister was sold at a tender age of four expressed disapproval at the tradition.
“My Sister was four years old when they gave her out for money marriage N2, 000 as at then was given to my uncle in exchange for her. I don’t like the condition,” Patience said.
The ‘Money Woman’ practice according to tribes in Becheve is a show of pride as there is almost no family in Becheve that is not without a ‘Money Wife.’
The story, however, gets complicated when the husband dies.
When the husband dies, his next-of-kin marries the girl and if she dies without giving birth to children, her parents are obligated to bring a replacement as demanded by the customs.
Another victim, Victoria Tabang, who spoke in the local dialect said she has remained helpless since her husband’s death.
“I lived with him since I was young but upon his death, I couldn’t do anything. I’m expected to just remain here. Even when I went to my people, they drove me away, saying I now belong elsewhere,” she said.
‘Money Wives’ are not allowed the right to education and in every sale; the girl’s opinion is not sought. She is the bread winner.
Victims of this marriage are sold for as low as N10,000 few goats and pigs, tubers of yam, depending on the man’s bargain power.
‘Money Wives’ are not allowed the right to education and in every sale, the girl’s opinion is not sought.
“Money that the man give in my head (sic) was not much. It was N20,000 and one goat,” a victim who was willing to speak, sadly revealed.
A mother and her daughter returns from the farm in Obanliku community.
Once a girl is sold out for Money Marriage, she is considered dead by her immediate family and warned never to return back irrespective of how she is being treated by her husband or his relatives.
The wife of the state governor, Linda Ayade, in an interview with Channels Television, said she is shocked by the practice. He assured that efforts will be geared towards ending the culture.
The Money Marriage culture of the Obanliku is another clear case of human slavery in the 21st century which needs urgent attention of the government and advocacy group to end the miseries of the victims.
Watch Full Video…
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Kano DPR Inspects 166 Stations, Seals Eight For Hoarding Fuel

The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) in Kano State have inspected 166 fuel stations, sealing eight in the process for hoarding and selling fuel above the official pump price.
During the inspection conducted on Wednesday, the Acting Controller Operations, DPR Kano field office, Paul Jhezi said the inspection was conducted across the 44 Local Government Areas of the state.
READ ALSO: DPR Seals Five Filling Stations In Imo
Jhezi said the inspection is targeting at ensuring that fuel queues disappear in view of the recent development of supply by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in the state.
He said more field officers have been dispatched to suspicious fueling stations across the state to ensure compliance.
The 166 fuel stations were inspected within the period of three days.
The situation of fuel scarcity in Kano State have since been gradually put under control as a result of the monitoring by DPR.

Apapa Gridlock Traps 30,000 Tonnes Of Cocoa

About 30,000 metric tonnes of cocoa have been trapped at the Apapa gridlock on its way to the Apapa port, according to exporters.
The Cocoa Exporters Association of Nigeria on Monday said that 1,760 tons of Cocoa butter and cake are held up in the traffic which has been a source of concern to motorists, residents as well as importers and exporters.
Traders said, as a result of the development, farm-gate cocoa prices have dropped, while purchases have slowed.
Nigeria is currently ranked fifth alongside Cameroon, among the world’s biggest cocoa producers, with the international cocoa organisation estimating its 2017 to 2018 output at 240,000 metric tonnes.
The Apapa is one of Africa’s biggest port city but the current road repairs hinder access to ships for export.
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Turkey’s Lira Crisis Spills Into Asian Markets

A picture taken on August 12, 2018 shows a wad of one-hundred Turkish lira notes on display at a currency exchange in Kuwait City.  Yasser Al-Zayyat / AFP
Asian and European markets tumbled and the Turkish lira dived almost eight percent Monday on fears that the economic crisis gripping Turkey could spill over into the global economy.
With investors already on edge over the China-US trade war, the lira’s collapse sparked a sell-off in Europe and New York at the end of last week, with safe-haven assets including the Japanese yen and Swiss franc rallying.
The lira dived to a record low of 7.24 to the dollar at one point overnight before recovering slightly after the country’s finance minister said Ankara was planning to roll out an “action plan” on Monday in response to the crisis.
That was followed by the central bank saying it was ready to take “all necessary measures” to ensure financial stability, easing reserve requirements for lenders and promising to provide them with liquidity.
“Our institutions will take necessary action from Monday in order to relieve the markets,” Berat Albayrak said, adding that the plan would center on “the state of our banks and the small and medium-sized enterprises” most affected by the lira’s plunge.
The lira has been hammered this year, having started January at around 3.70 to the dollar according to Bloomberg data, while it is also sharply down against the euro.
However, the European unit was taking a hit against the greenback on worries about the possible impact on some European banks, including Spain’s BBVA, Italy’s UniCredit and France’s BNP Paribas.
Despite the tumult, President Tayyip Erdogan remains in a combative mood, calling the rout a “political, underhand plot” against Turkey.
The crisis has been sparked by a series of issues including a faltering economy — the central bank has defied market calls for rate hikes — and tensions with the United States, which has hit Turkey with sanctions over its detention of an American pastor.
Ankara has also hit out at Washington’s cooperation with Syrian Kurdish militia in the fight against Islamic State.
“The decline in the lira is multifaceted, caused not only by a weak external position in terms of current account deficit and inadequate currency reserves but also the challenging political environment which exacerbates the vulnerabilities in the lira,” said Kerry Craig, global market strategist at JP Morgan Asset Management.
“A mid-meeting rate hike and tightening of monetary policy may help to avert the lira’s decline, to some extent.”
As well as the lira, emerging market and other high-yielding currencies tumbled across the board.
The Russian ruble, already under pressure after the US hit Moscow with sanctions last week, lost two percent, while the South African rand was battered seven percent.
South Korea’s won and the Australian dollar retreated 0.4 percent and the Indonesian rupiah lost 0.9 percent and is at its weakest level since October 2015.
The Indian rupee hit a new low of 69.62, extending a recent sell-off with high crude prices also squeezing the unit as India is a net importer of oil.
The yen, a go-to unit in times of turmoil, rose against the dollar, while the Swiss franc was also higher.
“The dominating theme of this week is likely to be the Turkish situation,” Okasan Online Securities said in a note to clients.
“The ‘Turkey shock’ from last weekend, triggered by sharp plunges of the lira, has fuelled fears that it may impact financial institutions in Europe,” it said.
On equity markets, Hong Kong shed 1.5 percent and Shanghai finished 0.3 percent lower, while Tokyo dropped two percent with exporters hurt by the stronger yen.
Sydney fell 0.4 percent, Singapore was 0.8 percent lower and Seoul shed 1.5 percent. There were also sharp losses in Taipei, Manila, and Jakarta, which dived 3.3 percent after Indonesia reported Friday its biggest current account deficit in about four years.
London fell 0.5 percent in the morning, while Paris slipped 0.3 percent and Frankfurt was 0.6 percent lower.
The sharp losses come despite the fact Turkey accounts for just one percent of the world economy, meaning there is little risk to the world economy or even the eurozone.
Key figures at 0810 GMT –
Dollar/Turkish lira: UP at 6.88 lira from 6.43 lira late Friday
Euro/Turkish lira: UP at 7.84 lira from 7.34 lira
Tokyo – Nikkei 225: DOWN 2.0 percent at 21,857.43 (close)
Hong Kong – Hang Seng: DOWN 1.5 percent at 27,936.57 (close)
Shanghai – Composite: DOWN 0.3 percent at 2,785.87 (close)
London – FTSE 100: DOWN 0.5 percent at 7,627.95
Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1373 from $1.1421
Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.2746 from $1.2789
Dollar/yen: DOWN at 110.24 yen from 110.58 yen
Oil – West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 28 cents at $67.35
Oil – Brent Crude: DOWN 35 cents at $72.46
New York – Dow Jones: DOWN 0.8 percent at 25,313.14
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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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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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