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News Economy (78)

Nigeria’s revenue from oil export hit an estimated $26 billion between January and July this year as the price of global oil benchmark, Brent crude, rose to the highest level in two weeks on Wednesday.

According to the new OPEC Revenues Fact Sheet recently released by the Energy Information Administration (EIA), revenue from oil export rose by 30 percent to $34 billion in 2017 from $26 billion in 2016.

The oil price appreciation followed a sharp drop in the United States crude inventories and the country’s sanctions on Iran, the third-largest producer in the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), causing tighter supply of the commodity.

The price of Brent crude, against which Nigeria’s oil is priced, rose by $1.38 to $74.19 per barrel, the highest since August 8, while US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) gained $1.28 to $67.12 per barrel.

Nigerian economy was battered due to the fall in the prices of crude oil in the international market in 2014, at the end of 2017, a development which led the country into its worst economy crisis since 1987 in 2016.

However, the country officially emerged from recession in Q3 2017 after two consecutive positive GDP growth. The economy shock occasioned by the drop in crude price prompted the Federal Government to devise other means to diversify the economy away from oil into solid minerals, agriculture, among others to forestall a recurrence of the 2016 economic distress.

But while the Mining and Quarry sector of the economy grew by 14.85 percent (year-on-year) in Q1 2018, 30.25 percentage points and 4.14 percentage points higher than the same quarter of 2017 and Q4 2017, the agriculture sector grew by 3.00 percent (year-on-year) in real terms in the review quarter, a decrease by 0.38 percentage points from the corresponding period of 2017 also a decrease by 1.23 percentage points from the preceding quarter.

Currently, Nigeria still rely on crude oil as its major source of revenue, accounting for about 70 percent of its total revenue and over 90 percent for its export earnings.

The Brent crude price rose to $66.87 per barrel from around $53 per barrel at the beginning of the year.

In May 2018, Brent rose above $80 per barrel for the first time since November 2014 but dropped afterward amid rising US crude inventories.

 

Source: The Ripples

Booking a learners or drivers license test in South Africa has never been the easiest thing in the world. The new online system is sure to change things up.
 
While a strike at the office that makes the license cards had caused some worry in recent weeks, getting a slot for your learners or drivers license test is about to become a whole lot easier. The Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) is finally looking to keep up with the digital times in 2018.
 
RTMC to offer new online drivers license test bookings
 
On Friday, the RTMC unveiled a plan that is sure to make millions of young South Africans lives a lot easier. Yes, from September, you will be able to begin to book your learners and drivers licenses online.
 
The new system will begin to be rolled out in Gauteng in September and will then move its way to other provinces after assessing how well the system worked and if there were any issues.
 
Those looking to book their tests will be able to choose the date, time and place for their test. Want to book your test at a traffic department on the other side of the province, that is easily doable. Seriously, you won’t even be required to go in beforehand.
 
RTMC spokesperson Simon Zwane has been doing the media rounds explaining why the system was needed and what it does for people.
 
“I think this will be convenient for the members of the public because now you will be going to the centres to pay for your appointment and do the eye test and from there will be no interaction with officials and officials won’t have the opportunity to block bookings.”
 
Zwane explained that fraud and corruption have played a huge part in there being a need for an online method. In some cases, corrupt driving schools are even paying for certain slots to be booked with specific traffic officials.
 
“We have found that spaces are being blocked to enable people who are coming from the corrupt networks to be able to do tests on a particular date and a particular time. We want to deal with that so people have equal opportunity and the handling of officials,” Zwane says.
 
Let’s hope the system launch goes relatively smoothly.
 
Source:IreportSouthAfrica
South Africa’s Upper House of Parliament, the National Council of Provinces (NCP), on Tuesday approved the controversial National Minimum Wage (NMW) Bill which will be sent to President Cyril Ramaphosa for assent.
 
The Parliament said the NCP approved the bill without amendment.
 
The bill, which Minister of Labour Mildred Oliphant introduced in November 2017, aims to provide for a NMW and the establishment of a commission with clear functions and composition for implementation, Parliament spokesperson Moloto Mothapo said.
 
The National Assembly (Lower House of Parliament) had earlier approved the bill and referred it to the NCP. Once signed by Ramaphosa, the bill will become law.
 
The bill sets 3,500 rand (about 243 U.S. dollars) per month or 20 rand (about 1.4 dollars) per hour for over six million working people in the country.
 
Trade unions have lambasted the NMW as “slavery wage,” saying the working class cannot make both ends meet with the meagre NMW.
 
In May, massive protests against the bill took place across the country.
 
Trade unions have threatened to stage more protests if the NMW wage is not raised to a living wage.
 
The government says setting the NMW was informed by research and robust analysis of various scenarios and their possible ramifications, not by some idealistic desires.
 
All social partners have worked hard for nearly three years to reach agreement on the NMW to improve the conditions of millions of poor families, according to the government.
 
Ramaphosa has pledged to increase the NMW over time in a way that meaningfully reduces poverty and inequality.
 
Source: PMNEWSNIGERIA
Ethiopian Airlines says it has signed a shareholding agreement with Zambia’s main development agency to relaunch the southern African country’s flag carrier at an initial cost of $30 million.
 
A joint statement with Zambia’s state-owned Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) in Lusaka said that under the plan, Zambia Airways, being revived more than two decades after it was shut down, would operate 12 planes by 2028.
 
The Ethiopian state-owned carrier has outpaced regional competitors Kenya Airways and South African Airways to become Africa’s largest airline by revenue and profit, and has been buying shares in other African airlines to gain a competitive advantage over rivals such as those in the Gulf.
 
Ethiopian Airlines said it would own 45 per cent of the revamped Zambian airline, while Zambia would own 55 per cent.
 
“The initial investment as we start up the national carrier will be $30 million. Obviously, as we operate the airline, we will facilitate the financing necessary to support its growth,” it said.
 
Ethiopian Airlines had earlier said in January that it had signed an agreement with the Zambian government to relaunch Zambia Airways.
 
“Zambia Airways will launch local and regional routes this year, while intercontinental routes, including Europe, the Middle East and Asia, will be added in the near future,” the joint statement stated.
 
It would be recalled that the state-owned Zambia Airways went into liquidation in 1994, while the privately-owned Zambian Airways then emerged as the country’s main carrier with flights to other major hubs in southern Africa, but it suspended operations in 2009.
 
 
NAN
With the myriads of problems facing the nation’s stock market, stakeholders have expressed divergent views on the relevance of the routine ‘Bell Ringing’ exercise at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) and the impact on the market.
 
While some stakeholders believe that the ceremony has increased stock market visibility and attracted more stakeholders, others argued that the impact has not reflected on the market.
 
The Managing Director of High Cap Securities, David Imafidon, explained that the NSE uses the gong sounding ceremony to publicise itself and attract stakeholders to its platform.
 
According to him, efforts must be made not to trivialise the programme, considering the level of visibility and competitiveness the exercise has attracted to the exchange.
 
Also speaking, the Managing Director of High Cap Securities Limited, Mike Eze, who described the exercise as a routine, said: “Bell ringing in any stock exchange is the exclusive preserve of the President of the stock exchange.
 
The President, who is not on ground day to day, on his part, delegates this function to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the exchange, who is on ground running the exchange day to day.
 
“The CEO in his wisdom, may decide to invite any reputable hand to assist him in bringing the market to a close. This is the interplay you see going on every day in the last eight years. It is just the process of opening and closing of a stock market.”
 
The Managing Director of Dependable Securities Limited, Chinenyem Anyanwu, said: “It has a way of impacting the market positively by making the stock Exchange and the capital market to always be in the news, sometimes occupying the front pages of the print media.
 
However, the President of Progressive Shareholders association of Nigeria, Boniface Okezie, explained that the exercise has not attracted the expected investments into the market.
 
According to him, it is expected that the ceremony would serve as a platform for listed firms to unfold their growth plans and present their scorecards to stockbrokers for share price appreciation.
 
He noted that in other exchanges across the world, due to the amount of coverage the opening and closing bells receive, many companies coordinate new product launch and other marketing-related events with the day their company representative rings the bell.
 
“The purpose of the exercise is to boost the market in terms of liquidity, volume of shares and attract new investments. Listed companies may also use the platform to inform stockbrokers on new products they are about to lunch or any other information that can boost their share price. But these are not happening.
 
“I have not seen the impact. They should look at how to improve on the exercise, so that it would be more impactful and add value to the market. Those undervalued stocks need to improve.
 
“We need the companies to come to the market and tell stockbrokers their growth plans so that it would lift their stock prices and in turn, grow the market.”
 
The Guardian 

Zimbabwe’s annual inflation rate rose 1.38 percent to 4.29 percent in July 2018, latest figures from the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZImStats) show.

This was a significant upturn from the June 2018 figure of 2.91 percent.

On a monthly basis, the inflation rose 1.03 percentage points to 0.98 percent.

“The month-on-month inflation rate in July 2018 was 0,98 percent gaining 1,03 percentage points on the June 2018 rate of -0,05 percent,” said ZimStats in its monthly update.

Some observers have attributed the quickening inflation to the continuance of the parallel currency market.

Although the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has maintained the US dollar-bond note official rate at 1:1, cash shortages have resulted in a thriving black market for physical currency, both bond notes and United States dollar notes.

It is largely expected that the high demand for US dollars by both companies and individuals continues to push up the exchange rate.

 

Source: Vanguard

Leading management consulting firm, Phillips Consulting Limited (PCL), has transformed the financial technology sector by introducing cutting-edge technology, Intellect Digital Core Banking Solution, to Nigeria.
 
Phillips Consulting collaborated with Intellect Design Arena Limited, a global leading company that offers services in Financial Technology for Banking, Insurance and other Financial Services. This collaborative banking solution will no doubt revolutionize the Nigerian banking industry.
 
Intellect Digital Core banking solution is a comprehensive, integrated, yet modular and agile business solution, addressing all core banking needs. It is designed to help banks accelerate their digital banking and channel transformation journey. Intellect Digital Core comes with a Digital 360 proposition with an inbuilt design for both Digital Outside and Digital Inside. Digital Outside ensures true Omni-channel and consistency of customer experience at all touch points while Digital Inside drives operational excellence. In addition, it provides all the building blocks of business functionality, enabling users to flexibly configure products and processes in order to adapt to a dynamic environment.
 
Through this partnership with Intellect Design Arena, Phillips Consulting builds local capacity by playing an integral role in the joint implementation and on-going support of Intellect Digital Core in Nigeria.
 
Speaking on the Core Banking Solution, the Managing Director of Phillips Consulting, Mr. Robert Taiwo, explained the benefits of Intellect Digital Core. “In banking, the digital discourse has shifted from ‘nice to have’, to critical business imperative. Market share will increasingly swing to those banks that can quickly and effectively respond to technology advancements. The ability to grapple with 4.0 technologies such as AI, Big Data, Robotics and Blockchain, will differentiate the leaders from followers. Superior interconnectivity and system integration will enhance customer-centricity and this by default will accelerate first mover advantage.” He added “But technology must not become the end in itself. “Me too” strategies will not be effective. CEOs must, therefore, drive business aligned digital strategies which speak directly to the operating models and value propositions of their respective organisations.”
 
Although the Intellect Digital Core Banking Platform is new to Nigeria, a new age bank recently implemented it.
 
Further discussing the core banking solution, Senior Partner at Phillips Consulting, Mr. Seun Ngonnase explained, “In today’s world, banks require a single, seamlessly integrated global payments system for domestic and cross-border transactions. This system must eliminate manual tasks and enhance interoperability. Implementing Intellect’s Core Banking platform will save time and money for the bank while providing value-added services to their customers. The whole idea is based on the concept of Contextual Banking; customers should bank in the way they want to and how they want to.”
 
Intellect Design Arena – a global leader in Financial Technology for Banking, Insurance and other Financial Services. A uniquely focused Products business, Intellect addresses the needs of financial institutions in varying stages of technology adoption.
 
Intellect’s robust iDigital platform enables products across four distinct lines of businesses: Global Consumer Banking (iGCB), Risk, Treasury & Markets (iRTM), Global Transaction Banking (iGTB), Central Banking and Insurance (Intellect SEEC). Deep banking domain expertise coupled with investments of Rs 800 Crores over the last ten years in developing the world’s first full spectrum of banking products has made Intellect the company with the most advanced technologies for financial institutions with global businesses.
 
As leaders in strategy, execution and transformation are at the core of what Phillips Consulting does. The company’s digital and technology transformation practice supports clients in driving strategic business change across its operating model. Fundamentally reshaping the way products and services are delivered.
 
 
Source: NAN
An update received from the office of the Vice President of Nigeria on the state of foreign investment inflow into the economy has indicated that about $83.9 billion worth of investments were announced between January 2017 and the end of the first quarter of 2018, Q1’18. Osinbajo The report titled, “2018 Making Business Work”, evaluated government’s efforts in improving the business environment in Nigeria and was presented to the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, by the Enabling Business Environment Secretariat in the Vice President’s office during the monthly meeting of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC). 
 
A breakdown of capital investments as contained in the report showed that in 2017, over $66 billion worth of investments were announced, comprising 112 projects across 27 states and the FCT Abuja, while an additional $17.9 billion worth of investments were announced in quarter 1 of 2018, as actual capital importation stood at $6.3 billion, representing over six times the value in the first quarter of 2017, Q1’17. 
 
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity Office of the Vice President, Laolu Akande, who unfolded the report yesterday, stated that measurable progress has been recorded on multiple fronts as the economy responds to key government interventions particularly in the areas of economic growth, inflation, foreign exchange & external reserves, capital market, investment, infrastructure and social investment programmes. Looking at the journey so far, according to him, the report indicated that under economic growth, the rigorous implementation of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, ERGP, led the economy out of a recession in 2017; it grew to 0.83 percent, up from -1.58 percent recorded in 2016, on the back of improvements in agriculture, industry and trade. It further stated that the economy has registered four consecutive quarters of steady growth. 
 
In the first quarter of 2018, the economy grew 1.95 percent and is projected to grow by up to 3.0 percent over the year, driven by stronger oil prices, stable production, increased non-oil output and improved foreign exchange availability. The report also indicated that for the first time in Nigeria, under the competitiveness section of the ERGP, soft infrastructure is expressly recognized as a deliberate strategy to attain economic development through the facilitation of an enabling business environment for businesses to thrive. 
 
The report specifically recognized government’s efforts in improving the effectiveness of soft infrastructure such as the financial system; the education system; health care system; the system of government; law enforcement; and emergency service. According to the report, “Nigeria’s reforms have so far seen it successfully move 24 places up the World Bank Ease of Doing Business rankings. Overall, in the current reform cycle, the PEBEC focused on three pillars to accelerate and expand the impact of completed reforms. 
 
The focus will be on deepening existing reforms. Complete pending initiatives and ensure implementation of completed reforms launched in 2017, including communication and consequence management, as well as making the reforms sustainable.” On inflation, the report indicated that the pressure on prices is easing and inflation fell 16 consecutive months from 18.72 percent in January 2017 to 11.60 percent in May 2018.
 
 
 
Source: Vanguard
The Federal Government’s economic reforms to attract investments in 2017 and the first quarter of 2018 is said to yield over 83.9 billion dollars.
 
Mr Laolu Akande, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, in a statement on Wednesday, said the figure was given in the 2018 Making Business Work report.
 
He said the report was presented to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, on July 31 by the Enabling Business Environment Secretariat, during the monthly meeting of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC).
 
On capital investments, Akande said over 66 billion dollar worth of investments comprising 112 projects across 27 states and the FCT Abuja were announced in 2017.
 
He said an additional 17.9 billion dollars worth of investments were announced in quarter one of 2018, as actual capital importation stood at 6.3 billion dollars, representing over six times the value in quarter one of 2017.
 
Akande explained that measurable progress had been recorded in multiple fronts as the economy responded to key government interventions especially in, foreign exchange and external reserves, capital market, infrastructure and social investment programmes.
 
“Looking at the journey so far, the report indicated that under economic growth, the rigorous implementation of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) led the economy out of a recession in 2017.
 
“It grew to 0.83per cent, up from -1.58per cent recorded in 2016, on the back of improvements in agriculture, industry and trade.
 
“Akande said the economy has registered four consecutive quarters of steady growth.
 
“In the first quarter of 2018, the economy grew 1.95per cent and is projected to grow by up to three per cent over the year.
 
“”Also for the first time in Nigeria, under the competitiveness section of ERGP, soft infrastructure is recognised as a deliberate strategy to attain economic development,’’ Akande quoted the report as saying.
 
Akande said the report recognised government’s efforts in improving the effectiveness of the system of government, financial, educational, health care, law enforcement systems in the country.
 
He said: “”Nigeria’s reforms have so far seen it successfully move 24 places up the World Bank Ease of Doing Business rankings.
 
“”Overall, in the current reform cycle, the PEBEC focused on three pillars to accelerate and expand the impact of completed reforms.
 
“”It will focus on deepening existing reforms, complete pending initiatives and ensure implementation of completed reforms launched in 2017, including communication and consequence management, as well as making the reforms sustainable.”
 
On inflation, Akande said the pressure on prices had eased and inflation fell 16 consecutive months from 18.72per cent in Jan. 2017 to 11.60per cent in May 2018.
 
He said the capital market recorded an outstanding performance in 2017.
 
He said the Nigeria Stock Exchange (NSE) All-Share Index rallied 42per cent and emerged the third-best performing exchange in the world in 2017 (after the USA and Argentina).
 
Akande expressed optimism that the PEBEC would in 2018/2019, continue to improve public service delivery and the business environment for MSMEs.
 
He said:“ “Nigeria must improve its ranking by 45 places in the World Bank Ease of Doing Business Index over the next two years to achieve its goal of attaining the top 100 by 2020.
 
““Such an ambitious goal requires accelerated and focused execution and the National Action Plan 6.0 (NAP 6.0) and Executive Order 01 (EO1) have laid the foundations.
 
“”Also, government must institutionalise all efforts and work closely with the private sector to deliver an enabling environment for businesses to thrive.”
 
He further said the PEBEC, in the second half of 2018 and into 2019, would focus primarily on regulators, an Omnibus Bill on business facilitation, and consolidating gains for the economy.
 
This, he said would be done through deepening of the Subnational Ease of Doing Business project.
 
 
Source: NAN
To get the new national carrier off its feet, the Federal Government will be injecting about N3.168billion ($8.8million) as the startup capital for Nigeria Air.
 
The provision, among others, is contained in the Outline Business Case (OBC) recently approved by the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) and currently before the Federal Executive Council for approval.
 
Meanwhile, airlines operators have expressed concerns over governments’ funding of the airlines and the high likelihood of interference in its operations that ordinarily should run as a private business and compete fairly with other existing airlines.
 
The Guardian gathered that the initial injection of N3.2billion is a part-payment for the government’s five per cent equity in the investment, whose take-off fund in the next three years of operation has been put at N108billion ($300million).
 
Sources at the Ministry of Transportation, contrary to claims, said the $300million is the minimum fund expected from both the public and private investors, of which only five per cent ($15million) is government’s contribution.
 
The director explained that the government is not funding the entire project, but will be offering the startup capital in the form of Viability Gap Funding (VGF).
 
“Once the strategic investor is in place, they will be expecting to build on the initial investment made. The OBC suggested that there is a need to start the business in order to attract credible investors,” the source said.
 
The $300million is the funding requirement for the next three years, beginning 2018 ($55million), 2019 ($100million), and 2020 ($145million).
 
Speaking on the development, the Chief Executive Officer, Med-View Airlines, Muneer Bankole, urged the Federal Government to fully disclose its plans for the general public to know what is in the offing, and warned against injecting public funds into the airline to allow it function and compete as another private carrier.
 
He said: “There is definitely no threat to operators that know their onions, and once they (new airline) operate normally like an airline, everyone will be fine. The only thing is that they should not take off with the government and people’s funds; it should be privately driven.
 
“I want to give them the opportunity to come out and be able to tell everybody the template that is still being talked about in Farnborough. When it comes to this country, we have to sit down and ask questions.”
 
The Chairman, Air Peace Airlines, Allen Onyema, congratulated the Federal Government on the feat, describing it as an avenue to create jobs for Nigerians, and improve capacity for air travel in the country.
 
Onyema, however, said the new carrier has to operate transparently, with regulators giving a level playing field to all operators in a fair competition.
 
He said: “If the airline will be used to frustrate the hard earned successes of existing airlines, then we all will be against it. As at now, Air Peace has acquired four B777, Med-View just got one, and maybe Azman soon. Does it mean that we would be restricted from those 91 routes that Nigeria Air will be flying? I hope not.
 
“We trust Buhari to be a nationalist, and he will not allow us to be forced out of business. That is why the new airline has to be transparent. Government has said it is going to be a private business. It has to operate side-by-side with other airlines. So, if the new airline goes to London, no local airlines should be stopped from the route, once it has the capacity,” Onyema said.
 
The Secretary General, Aviation Safety Round-table Initiative, Group Capt. John Ojikutu (rtd), added that the meticulous nature of the programme is quite pleasing and designed in a way that it takes the responsibility of infrastructure maintenance off the government.
 
Ojikutu said: “It is clear that this government does not want to go the way of other people; hence, the plan to concession the airports. National carrier is also to safeguard the market from other foreign carriers, and some of us are in agreement with them.
 
“Like I have said, let government not put its hand in it. Let them get technical partners from outside to invest a minimum of 40 per cent. That is why they are talking to Boeing, and will soon talk to Airbus to come and invest, while Nigerians will take the remaining 60 per cent.
 
“If the aircraft manufacturers bring aircraft today and government goes to the Stock Exchange, Nigerians will come out to invest in the 50 per cent. The remaining 10 per cent can then be between the Federal Government and the states. That is when we will have a national carrier.” he said.
 
 
Source: The Guardian

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