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Nigeria begins pilot project for information system to support economy

Mr Uwa told the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja that the Federal
Government and the service provider of BRISIN, Dermo Impex, had carried
out awareness campaigns on the project.
BRISIN is an integrated system for the collection, storage and
distribution of information to support the management of the economy.
The federal government had approved the implementation of the project
which would be carried out by Dermo Impex, an Italian based Information
and Communication Technology (ICT) Company.
He said that BRISIN had started with sensitisation and workshop on disability.
“The second leg of the project is the official flag off. At the
official flag off, the field work will start, that is the real
implementation.
“All the necessary logistics need to be prepared before the flagoff,
that it why we have met with stakeholders to make sure that BRISIN is
implemented.
“It the responsibility of the FCT to provide funding, then, they are
going to provide provisional office for the flag off and implementation
before BRISIN centres are built.
“The federal government has asked us to look at the possibility of
seeking funds from Nigerian citizens and international organisations,
mostly because this aspect that has to do with disability.
“Disability is not an area that investors will put their money, they
need a lot of donors and sympathetic help that comes,’’ the coordinator
said.
Mr Uwa, however, told NAN that the implementation team would mobilise
resources to start the project, using few investors who are ready to
support the project.
According to him, BRISIN is a programme that will take over 10 to 15 years across the country.
“BRISIN will be inaugurated in FCT soon; by the end of year, we would
have completed the implementation of mostly the structure and building,
if funds are readily available.
“We have held two strategic meetings; we will be working with three
major agencies – National Population Commission, Federal Inland Revenue
Service and National Bureau of Statistics first.
“All the milestone needs to be determined by these people, real data on demographic and with the provision of security number.
“So, that is the reason we needed these agencies to be part and parcel of the implementation even with disability data bank.
“I am assuring you that immediately we start, we will not stop. FCT
could take six months, if actually fully funded so we should get the FCT
pilot project right.’’
In addition, he said the two meetings held in May with the
stakeholders were to re-strategise on the implementation as agreed by
the federal government.
“Federal government said that FCT should provide the structures,
mostly operational office for flag off – where BRISIN will take off with
disability data capture.
“Then, it will also provide land for BRISIN centres from the wards to council areas and to the states.
“The second meeting took place and the result of the meeting was so
impressing, it showed that it was time for us to move forward,’’ the
official said.
NAN reports that no fewer than 9,822 servers will be installed in all
the wards, local governments and states in the country as part of the
project implementation.
The service provider will install one server in each of the 8,812
wards in Nigeria and move up to the 774 local governments headquarters.
BRISIN was initiated by the Obasanjo administration, while the
Jonathan administration inaugurated a technical committee for its
implementation.
(NAN)

Rice smuggling: Nigeria to shut land border in few days

Bag of rice used to illustrate the story.

The Federal Government says it will shut down the land border
between Nigeria and a neigbouring country in a few days time to avoid
smuggling of foreign rice into the country.
Audu Ogbeh, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, made
the disclosure in Abuja on Monday while speaking with youth in a
leadership clinic under the auspices of Guardians of the Nation
International (GOTNI).
Mr Ogbeh who did not mention the particular country and border, said
shutting the borders had become necessary to encourage local production
and sustain the economy of the country.
Nigeria shares borders with Niger, Chad, Benin and Cameroon.
The minister said that a neighbouring country was bent on destroying
the economy of the country and discouraging local production of rice,
hence the need to shut down the border.
“Our other problem is smuggling. As we speak, a neighbour of ours is importing more rice than China is importing.
“They do not eat parboiled rice, they eat white rice, they use their ports to try and damage our economy.
“I am telling you now because in a few days, you will hear the border
has been shut, we are going to shut it to protect you, us and protect
our economy.
“You will start seeing all sorts of negative things on the internet.
“Let me tell you why we need to shut the border, I grow rice, I was
the first Nigerian to mill rice free of stones, if you plant rice in
certain parcels of land, some poisonous materials gets into the rice.
“There are three kinds of water in their natural state; there is
fresh water from the river, salt water from the sea, blackish water.
“If you go to the Delta in many countries, in South East Asia where
they grow the rice, if you plant rice in the same place like four to six
years continuously, the quantum of arsenic begins to increase and
arsenic causes cancer and that is what they are dumping for us.
“Some people say they prefer Thai rice because they are very sophisticated, welcome to poison,’’ Mr Ogbeh said.
He said that the Federal Government in two years reduced rice
importation by 95 per cent and increased the number of rice farmers from
five million to 30 million.
The minister said that states like Anambra, Ebonyi, Kebbi, Kano, Jigawa were doing well in rice production.
“We just have to handwork you to prosperity otherwise, this country
will not grow. My wish for you is to have a better time that we had,’’
Mr Ogbeh said.
The president of GOTNI, Linus Okorie, commended the minister for sharing prosperity experiences with the youth.
Mr Okorie noted that the leadership clinic was organised by GOTNI to
expose young people to practical leadership principle for life success.
According to him, GOTNI is committed to changing the narratives of
poor leadership in Nigeria by consciously developing the capacities of
generational leaders.
“A lot of young people are asking questions, seeking answers to their
questions, wish that they have an experienced person who will hold them
by the hands and show them the way to achieve success.
“There are a few people that are readily available to do this; a lot
of them are making decisions everyday on the basis of their limited
exposure.
“If Nigeria must make progress, if we must consciously build the next
generation of leaders then, we must expose these young people to
experienced leaders that have gone ahead for a conscious transfer of
knowledge and experiences,’’ he said.
Some of the youth who spoke at the meeting called for continuous
mentorship from leaders, access to finance and low interest rates to
assist them in businesses.
GOTNI is a non-profit youth leadership capital development
organisation with a passion to nurture various categories of young
people under 40 years of age, into transformational leaders. (NAN)

Fw: U.S.-China Trade Standoff Weighs on Global Shares

Global stocks fell at the start of the week, as escalating trade
tensions between the U.S. and China weighed on investors’ risk appetite.
The Stoxx Europe 600 was down 0.2% shortly after opening following
losses in many Asian markets. Futures pointed to an opening loss of 0.4%
for the S&P 500.
President Donald Trump approved tariffs of 25% on about $50 billion
of Chinese goods on Friday, prompting Chinese officials to hit back by
announcing the country would levy penalties of the same rate on U.S.
goods of the same value.
The moves exacerbate concerns among investors that the world’s two
biggest economies could descend into a trade war. Rising frictions in
international trade in recent months have already instilled uncertainty
in global markets, which are experiencing one of their most volatile
stretches in years.
Concerns about the fate of the North American Free Trade Agreement
and tariffs that the Trump administration imposed on European allies are
also adding to investor anxiety.
“Trade continues to weigh on the market and the China tariffs are a
big deal,” said Lindsey Bell, investment strategist at CFRA Research.
“It could get worse before it gets better.”
The 10-year U.S. Treasury yield fell to 2.917% from 2.926%. Yields
move inversely to prices. The WSJ Dollar Index, which tracks the dollar
against a basket of 16 currencies, was up 0.2%.
In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average finished down 0.8% while South
Korea’s Kospi shed 1.2%. Bourses in China and Hong Kong were closed for
holidays.
In commodities, Brent crude, the global oil price benchmark, was down
0.3% as investors awaited a key producer meeting between the
Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and other major
suppliers later this week. Gold was up 0.2%.

Source: Dow Jones

Global banks sliding share prices signify financial stress

 As the world’s three largest
central banks take turns this week to show how they propose to remove
the emergency support from asset markets, markets are already behaving
as though financial risk has grown much higher.
Post-crisis,
financial regulators decided to nominate a select few GSifis (global
systemically important financial institutions). Because these groups
were so systemically important, at least within their own markets, they
would need to be regulated more tightly, or required to keep a bigger
capital cushion, than other banks or insurers. 
This
tends to reduce their profitability, which is why executives resist the
status but should drastically reduce the risk that they crash. In the
phrase everyone learned 10 years ago, they were too big to fail. The
GSifi status makes them more attractive as bond investments, but less
attractive to equity investors.
   
There are any number of arguments over exactly which institutions
should make the list, and some crafty lobbying has gone into ensuring
that a few names are not labelled GSifis. But as it stands, there are 40
GSifis. And if this list were turned into its own stock market index,
it would be doing very poorly, even as tech stocks hit new records and
main indices enjoy steady recoveries from February’s sudden sell-off.
If
we weight the 40 GSifis by market cap (so as not to overstate the
impact of some sharp recent falls for relatively small European
institutions), then London’s Absolute Strategy Research shows that from
the market top on January 26 until May 31, they lost $800bn in market
capital, or about 18 per cent. That is virtually a bear market. Some 16
of them remain more than 20 per cent down from their 12-month highs.
These
numbers are slightly worse than for the banking system as a whole, and
suggest nerves that systemic risks are returning. Tightening monetary
policy may already be having an effect.
The
US yield curve — the excess of 10-year over two-year Treasury yields —
is now its flattest since 2007. This hurts the profitability of banks
who make money by borrowing at short-term rates and lending at longer
rates. The flat yield curve also implies that the Fed will tighten too
much in the short run, and then have to ease policy in the longer run.
But
the problem is primarily outside the US, where Prudential Financial is
the only GSifi still down as much as 20 per cent from its peak. Most of
the worst affected are in the eurozone, where the problems of the
banking system have long been well known. The imbroglio over the new
Italian government, even if it has calmed somewhat since the new finance
minister ruled out any attempt to leave the euro, has made things
worse. Certain specific banks, notably UniCredit and Deutsche, have
their own idiosyncratic problems.
Twenty
years ago, before both banks made a number of huge acquisitions,
Deutsche’s market cap was slightly higher than JPMorgan’s. The US bank
is now roughly 10 times larger.
But
this cannot be dismissed as a group of idiosyncratic problems. Banks in
China, where the authorities are hoping to deal with the debt overhang,
and even Japan, whose central bank is still stimulating with full
force, have also seen big falls in their share price.
However,
ASR points out that the loss of confidence in the GSifis overlaps
closely with a decline in the global real money supply. In other words,
it could reflect a shortage of dollars. Even if US banks are not much
affected, the GSifi problem could emanate from the US.
A
shortage of dollars has shown up in rising short-term dollar Libor
rates. It could be an artefact of quantitative tightening, as the Fed
removes money from the market by selling bonds from its portfolio. Last
year’s tax reform to encourage US multinationals to repatriate their
cash could also be a factor; dollar balances previously held in non-US
banks have shifted, making it harder for foreign banks to access
dollars.
Alternatively,
the move away from the equity of GSifis could reflect concern over
widening US credit spreads, which have risen from a very low level.
Eurozone asset managers are particularly heavily exposed to US credit at
present, arguably because the European Central Bank has given them
little choice but to look abroad to take risks. 
This
is hard for central banks. They have lived in fear for 10 years of
misjudging, pulling off support too quickly, and provoking another
crisis once more. Problems for the GSifis could yet prompt them to slow
down or reverse their tightening of monetary policy.

Lagos Chamber of Commerce calls for review of import duty

Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI)

The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has called for
the review of import duty and Customs administration as part of the
ongoing tax reform towards enhancing ease of doing business in the
country.
Muda Yusuf, Director-General of LCCI, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Lagos.
According to him, the import duty on many inputs for production and
investments is high, making investment difficult across sectors.
Mr Yusuf noted that high import duty has led to the escalation of
smuggling activities and loss of customs revenue, leading to loss of
thousands of maritime sector jobs to neighbouring countries.
“The outrageous import duty on vehicles is a major factor responsible
for the current high transportation costs in the country, and this
adversely impacts all sectors and it is a major driver of inflation,” he
said.
Besides, he said issues around valuation and classification of goods
by the customs have become a major concern for investors in the economy.
“The administration of tariff at the various ports and border posts leaves much to be desired.
“There is a great deal of arbitrariness as the customs strives to
meet revenue target, which is the principal performance indicator for
the agency.
“It is thus necessary to incorporate import duty and customs
administration reforms into the ongoing tax review process,” he said.
According to him, dispute resolution system on import duty and
valuations should reflect the principles of fairness in all
ramifications.
“The situation now is that the customs is the accuser and the judge;
which is not in consonance with the basic principles of justice
delivery.

“The customs should not be a judge in a case where there is dispute between the customs and an importer,” he said.
Mr Yusuf stressed that issues of multiple taxation levied on investors
by the three levels of government should also be addressed within the
framework of the current tax review.

“We need to bring our tax system in consonance with the key
principles of equity, convenience, accountability, certainty and the
economics of collection,” he said.
NAN reports that the Federal Government is presently undertaking
policy reforms and amendment bills to improve the nation’s tax system
toward enhancing ease of doing business in the country.
(NAN)