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Economy

AfDB calls off proposed $400m loan to Nigeria

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…As HPH Trust’s Earnings Drop despite Rise in Volumes***

The African Development Bank (AfDB) has called off a loan to Nigeria that would have helped fund the country’s budget.

It has instead redirected the money to specific projects, a vice president at the lender said yesterday, according to Reuters.

The AfDB  had been in talks with Nigeria for around a year to release the second, $400 million tranche of a $1 billion loan to shore up its budget for 2017, as the government tried to reinvigorate its stagnant economy with heavy spending.

But Nigeria has not met the terms of the international lenders, which also included the World Bank, to enact various reforms, including allowing its currency, the naira, to float freely on the foreign exchange market.

Rather than loan Nigeria money to fund its budget, the African Development Bank is likely to take at least some of that money and “put it directly into projects,” Amadou Hott, African Development Bank vice-president for power, energy, climate change and green growth, told Reuters in an interview during a Nordic-African business conference in Oslo.

Because prices for oil, on which Nigeria’s government relies for about two-thirds of its revenues, have risen and the naira-dollar exchange rate has improved, the country is relying less than expected on external borrowing, Hott said.

No one from the Nigerian finance ministry was immediately available to comment.

Nigeria’s 2017 budget, N7.44 trillion, is just one in a series of record budgets that the government has faced obstacles funding, pushing it to seek loans from overseas.

In late 2016, the AfDB agreed to lend Nigeria a first tranche of $600 million out of $1 billion. But negotiations over economic reform later bogged down, blocking attempts to secure the second tranche of $400 million, sources told Reuters then.

Now, AfDB’s loans will be more targeted, Hott said.

“It’s hundreds of millions of dollars, just in one go, that we were supposed to provide in budget support, but we will move into real projects … “ he said.

Earlier this month, the head of Nigeria’s Debt Management Office said the country is still in talks with the World Bank for a $1.6 billion loan, which will help plug part of an expected $7.5 billion deficit for 2017.

The administration is also trying to restructure its debt to move away from high-interest, naira-denominated loans and towards dollar loans, which carry lower rates.

In the meantime, although its combined container throughput increased in the third quarter of 2017, Singapore-listed container port business trust Hutchison Port Holdings Trust (HPH Trust) saw a drop in its earnings for the period.

The company’s profit for the three months ended September 30 was down by 16.4 percent and stood at HKD 678.5 million at the end of the period, compared to HKD 812 million reported in the third quarter of 2016. Revenue and other income for the quarter decreased by 1.3 percent to HKD 3.22 billion, from HKD 3.26 billion seen a year earlier.

Combined container throughput of Hongkong International Terminals Limited (HIT), COSCO-HIT Terminals and Asia Container Terminals Limited (ACT) (collectively HPHT Kwai Tsing) increased by 12.8 percent as compared to the same quarter in 2016, primarily due to higher transshipment cargoes and additional throughput from a new customer. The container throughput of Yantian International Container Terminals (YICT) increased by 13.8 percent as compared to the same quarter in 2016, mainly due to growth in the US, Europe, empty and transshipment cargoes.

Average revenue per TEU for Hong Kong and China were below last year mainly attributed to greater volume of concessions offered to certain liners, as well as, certain revision on tariffs following the mergers and acquisitions of some liners.

HPH Trust informed that its profit for the first nine months of 2017 was at HKD 1.61 billion, decreasing by 27.7 percent from HKD 2.23 billion seen in the same period a year earlier. The company’s revenue and other income was down by 2.9 percent to HKD 8.69 billion, against HKD 8.95 billion reported in the corresponding nine-month period of 2016.

Combined container throughput of HPHT Kwai Tsing increased by 6.6 percent for the nine months ended September 30 as compared to the same period in 2016, while container throughput of YICT increased by 7.9 percent.

In a separate announcement, Hutchison Port Holdings Management unveiled its plans to voluntarily wind up a number of dormant wholly-owned subsidiaries as part of the efforts of HPH Trust to rationalise its structure and that of its subsidiaries.

The dormant subsidiaries include Classic Outlook Investments Limited, Keen Source Limited, Senior Win Limited, Southocean Resources Limited, and Tonsan Limited.

The winding-up of these dormant wholly-owned subsidiaries is not expected to have a material effect on the earnings per unit and the net tangible asset value per unit of the group for the financial year ending December 31, 2017, the company informed.

Nation with additional report from World Maritime News

Economy

Sanwo-Olu Urges Use of Innovative Technologies in Solving Challenges

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Sanwo-Olu Urges Use of Innovative Technologies in Solving Challenges

Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State has called for the use of innovative technologies in resolving the economic and social challenges of the country.

Sanwo-Olu said this on Wednesday during the pioneer graduation of the Lateef Jakande Leadership Academy (LJLA) at Konga Place in Lekki.

He said that the new platform of globalisation and Internet of things must be significantly employed to resolve new challenges encountered in the course of improving the living standards of citizens.

30 students, 15 men and 15 women, between 18 and 35 years, graduated from the academy after a one-year course and mentorship in leadership.

The Lagos Leadership Summit (LLS) is a pivotal platform dedicated to empowering Nigeria’s young professionals with the skills and insights essential for success in various leadership roles.

With a focus on leadership excellence, ethical governance, and youth inclusion in governance, the summit offers a unique opportunity for participants to engage with renowned leaders and industry experts.

” You have to be able to innovate for us, you are here as leaders of not tomorrow but today. Proffer solutions that the government can use as a tool, to solve the challenges that we are facing today but more importantly to solve global issues.

“And that is why we started the Lateef Jakande Leadership Academy. For us as a government, we felt how well can we honour a man than for us in public sector to set up a cream of new leaders.

“So we set up this school that has the first set, the one-year fellowship, who indeed have not only shown us that we took the right step, they have been outstanding individuals,” the governor said.

The guest speaker and former governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Fashola, noted that it was important for followers to trust their leaders for a successful outcome.

“The people need to trust the government, they must know the capability of their leaders so that when issues beyond human expectations happen, the followers can show empathy to the plight of their leaders.

” I have always been an advocate that believes that the process is as important as the result, the end shouldn’t justify the means, the process is crucial, it serves as a blueprint for others coming behind,” he said.

Similarly, Dr Obafemi Hamzat, Deputy Governor, who spoke on “Leadership And Community Engagement”, stated that to achieve effective leadership in Nigeria, there was the need to navigate complex political, economic and social landscapes.

Hamzat urged the citizens to be involved in governance while stressing the need for collaborations with private stakeholders and the public sector.

According to him, community engagement with government at all levels is pivotal to the nation’s development.

In her address, Mrs Ayisat Agbaje-Okunade, LIJA’s Executive Secretary, noted that the challenges faced required leaders who are not only capable but compassionate, visionary, and adaptable.

According to her, leadership must transcend rhetoric and manifest tangible outcomes.

“We need leaders who inspire confidence, foster unity, and drive transformation.”

Agbaje-Okunade urged the participants to embrace the responsibility that comes with leadership and pave the way for a generation of new leaders.

The keynote speaker, Mr Abubakar Suleiman, Chief Executive Officer, Sterling Bank, said that leadership is about leading people on a new purposeful journey.

Suleiman said being a strategic thinker and a transformational leader was what makes leadership different from management, adding that the future is being crafted in leadership.

“In essence, as a leader, you must be able to lead people to the future hence, you must be convincing for people to be bold to follow you, able to trust and believe in you.

“For one to be a leader, the people must be able to believe and trust you to take them to the future where you have never been to,” he said.

Also speaking, Mr Tunbosun Alake, Commissioner, Innovation, Science and Technology, stressed that leadership had nothing to do with being young or old but having good values and character.

The commissioner advised the participants to pursue excellence in their various career paths to succeed in life.

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Economy

Eid-el-Fitr: Tinubu Urges Sacrifice, Integrity For National Rebirth

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Eid-el-Fitr: Tinubu urges sacrifice, integrity for national rebirth

 President Bola Tinubu has urged Nigerians to continue to make sacrifices and exhibit integrity for national development.

Tinubu said this after observing the Eid-el-Fitr prayer at the Eid Ground at Dodon Barracks on Wednesday in Lagos.

The President also called on Nigerians to continue to have faith in his government and remain patriotic citizens.

Tinubu said that the Renewed Hope Agenda of his administration, aimed at bringing prosperity to Nigerians, was being diligently implemented.

Encouraging Muslims to extend the values of sacrifice and resilience beyond the fasting period, Tinubu emphasised the need for Nigerians to prioritise the exhibition of love for their country.

‘’The resilience and sacrifice that we have shown and made during these months should be preserved.

“Be a kind and cheerful giver. We must love our country more than any other country because this is the only one we have.

‘’We must continue to protect the integrity of our government and leadership. The Renewed Hope Agenda is alive, well and fine, and Nigerians should continue to be very hopeful. Without hope, there is no salvation.

“Without hope, there is no development. Without hope, there is no life. Eid Mubarak,’’ the President said at the end of the prayers led by the Chief Imam of Lagos State, Sheikh Sulaiman Abou-Nolla.

Earlier in his sermon, the Chief Imam urged Nigerians to shun all acts of violence, ensure peaceful co-existence, and continue to have faith in the country.

He asked those in leadership positions to remain faithful to their oaths of office and work towards alleviating the suffering of the less privileged.

‘‘Let us not forget our brothers and sisters in Gaza and other areas of conflict,’’ the Chief Imam said.

He offered prayers of God’s guidance, wisdom, and protection for the President and the Lagos State government, as well as for peace and stability in the country.

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Economy

Lawmaker Secures Release of 4 Persons Involved in Illegal Arms Manufacturing in Delta

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Lawmaker Secures Release of 4 Persons Involved in Illegal Arms Manufacturing in Delta

Sen. Ned Nwoko (PDP-Delta), on Wednesday, disclosed that he had secured the release of four family members involved in manufacturing arms at the Onicha-Olona Illegal Arms Factory in Delta.

Nwoko representing Delta North Senatorial District, who disclosed this in an interview in Abuja, said that the release of the four persons was through collaborative efforts.

On March 12, troops of 63 Brigade, Asaba, uncovered an illegal arms manufacturing factory in Onicha-Olona, Delta North Senatorial District and arrested eight family members in connection with the crime.

Nwoko disclosed that efforts have been made to ensure fair treatment for those involved, balancing justice with the opportunity for rehabilitation and contribution to society.

“Following my recent visit to the headquarters of 63 Brigade, Asaba and productive discussions with the Brigade Commander, I am pleased to announce progress in addressing the situation regarding the illegal arms factory discovered in the Onicha-Olona community, Delta.

“Efforts have been made to ensure fair treatment for those involved, balancing justice with the opportunity for rehabilitation and contribution to society.

“I am pleased to reveal that through collaborative efforts, I have successfully secured the release of four family members implicated in the illegal activity.

“However, our commitment to upholding the law remains unwavering, and endeavours continue for fair judgment and potential pardon for the remaining four individuals,” he said.

The lawmaker stressed that the underlying issue highlighted by the discovery, however, remained of paramount importance.

“We must seize the opportunity to redirect the talents demonstrated by those involved towards lawful and productive endeavours.

“The young man in the family, known for his passion and ability to build drones, exemplifies this potential.

“His skills should be harnessed and put to good use,” he said.

Nwoko added that the Industrial Revolution served as a pertinent historical precedent where individual efforts catalysed transformative change and made possible by governments that created conducive environments.

“We can emulate this model here. We can provide support and opportunities for talented individuals like the young drone builder, and stimulate a new wave of innovation and economic growth in Nigeria.

“As previously stated, Nigeria’s economy faces significant challenges exacerbated by escalating imports, particularly in the realm of arms and weaponry.

“Therefore, we must harness our indigenous talents for the greater good and bolster our local industries,” he said.

Nwoko further said that the Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria (DICON), as well as the Ministry of Science and Technology, have crucial roles to play in this regard.

According to him, by engaging with individuals possessing such skills, we can offer them legal avenues for their expertise to flourish.

“The aim is not only to prevent the proliferation of illegal arms or other weapons manufacturing but also to channel these talents towards legitimate industries for national development.

“I reiterate the need for the government to support and integrate such offenders with specialised skills and talents into the formal economy.

“This initiative should focus on recognising their capabilities and providing opportunities for them to contribute to the development of our local indigenous technology.

“As noted earlier, an individual capable of modifying an AK-47 magazine, originally designed to hold 30 rounds, to accommodate 60 rounds using rudimentary equipment, holds immense potential for greater achievements.

”Such individual can do more with proper legal support and access to adequate resources.”

He disclosed that he was committed to proposing or supporting a new law aimed at assisting talented and skilful individuals involved in illegal activities and also partnering with law enforcement agencies in these endeavours.

“I am committed to proposing or supporting a new law aimed at assisting talented and skilful individuals involved in illegal activities and also partner with law enforcement agencies in these endeavours.”

“They have the intelligence and insights of the potential beneficiaries of this “amnesty” drive towards creating a new cadre of indigenous technologists.

“This law would establish an agency dedicated to providing government support and resources to rehabilitate and engage these individuals in legal and productive activities.

“I tentatively suggest naming this proposed law the “National Talent Rehabilitation and Integration Act”.

“This legislation will not only focus on rehabilitation but also on harnessing the skills and talents of offenders for the benefit of society.

“By providing a structured environment and necessary support, this agency will facilitate the transition of individuals from illicit activities to lawful and productive ventures.

”And they will be contributing to both their personal rehabilitation and national development,” Nwoko added.

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