Items filtered by date: Thursday, 01 November 2018
The Nigerian manufacturing sector has reported an expansion for the nineteenth consecutive month in October, latest data from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) have shown.
 
The Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), a barometer of the economic health of manufacturing and services sectors, grew by 0.6 index points to 56.8 index points in October, its fastest pace this year.
 
According to the data released on Wednesday, of the 14 sub-sectors captured in the survey, 13 reported growth in the review month.
 
The sub-sectors comprise of electrical equipment; petroleum & coal products; printing & related support activities; cement; chemical & pharmaceutical products; textile, apparel, leather & footwear; and furniture & related products.
 
Others include transportation equipment; plastics & rubber products; food, beverage & tobacco products; fabricated metal products; nonmetallic mineral products; and paper products.
 
However, only the primary metal sub-sector recorded a decline in the review month.
 
The CBN data show that the production level index for the manufacturing sector grew for the twentieth consecutive month in October to 58.9 points from 58.4 points in September.
 
Similarly, the new orders index grew for the nineteenth consecutive month to 56.8 points, indicating an increase in new orders in the review month.
 
The manufacturing supplier delivery time index grew faster to 56.4 points, while the sector’s inventories index also grew for the nineteenth consecutive month to 56.2 points, the index grew at a faster rate when compared to its level in the previous month.
 
In spite of these, the employment level index, which recorded 54.8 points, grew at a weaker pace in October.
 
The composite PMI for the non-manufacturing sector grew at 57.0 points in October 2018, indicating expansion in the non-manufacturing PMI for the eighteenth consecutive month.
 
Business activity, new orders, employment, inventory in the non-manufacturing sector all grew at a slower rate, recording 58.3 points, 56.4 points, 55.7 points and 57.6 points in October as against 58.1 points, 55.8 points, 55.4 points and 56.8 points recorded in the preceding month, respectively.
 
 
Source: The Ripples
Published in News Economy

Football fans have been questioning the resemblance of a statue of Cristiano Ronaldo unveiled on the Portuguese island of Madeira.

Many on social media say the work looks more like former Republic of Ireland captain Niall Quinn than Ronaldo.
The statue was revealed at a ceremony to name the island’s airport after him.

Portugal’s president and the prime minister flew to the island to unveil the tribute to the player outside the terminal entrance.

President Rebelo de Sousa said Ronaldo “projects Madeira and Portugal across the world far more than anybody else”.

The 32-year-old is a local hero in Madeira, where he is seen as a rags-to-riches success. He already has a museum about him in his hometown of Funchal.

The player later said on Twitter: “Happy and honored to have my name given to the Madeira airport!”
Take a look around Ronaldo’s house.

Ronaldo is not the first footballer to have an airport named after him. Belfast airport was named after former Manchester United player George Best in 2006, a year after he died.

-BBC

Published in Travel & Tourism
In the morning, displaced women from Mayendit, South Sudan, collect wild grass and leaves in Rumbek to secure a meal for the day. With no money to buy sorghum and no humanitarian assistance in the first days following their displacement in Rumbek, new arrivals are forced to eat whatever food they find in order to survive, including fodder for grazing animals.
 
A humanitarian aid agency on Monday said hunger forces South Sudanese to eat leaves from trees as food runs out even in crisis areas where famine has not been declared.
 
The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) said that children and others in a community outside Aweil Centre County in the north of the country where its staff visited are surviving on trees and seed stocks.
 
NRC’s Country Director in South Sudan, Rehana Zawar said that eating barely edible wild foods is a coping strategy for communities trying to survive a food crisis.
 
“The bitter leaves eaten by families we spoke to are from the Lalop tree, and have limited nutritional value.
 
“When families eat these leaves and little else, malnutrition quickly follows,’’ Zawar said in a statement.
 
The agency said the emergency teams on the ground have helped support more than 100,000 people affected by the food crisis since the declaration of famine in parts of the country.
 
According to UN, insecurity and lack of access have complicated an already worrying situation as more than 100,000 people face starvation in the famine-declared parts of the country, and a further one million are on the brink of famine.
 
There are also fears that by the height of the lean season in July, some 5.5 million people could face severe food insecurity across the country.
 
Additionally, since December 2013, about 3.4 million people have been displaced, including about 1.5 million who fled as refugees to neighbouring countries, NRC said food crisis has hit Amothic in Aweil Centre County hard.
 
The agency noted that while famine has already been declared in Leer and Mayendit counties to the south, villages outside Aweil are also running out of food.
 
Formerly known as the state of Northern Bahr el Ghazal, the counties which make up this region are currently in the crisis phase or emergency phase of food security; the latter is one level short of famine.
 
This region previously was the site of a famine in 1998.
 
Zawar said international donors need to provide more funding for emergency aid for South Sudan to stop the famine and food crisis escalating.
 
“We have a catastrophe occurring right before our eyes, and the time to act and stop this crisis from spreading is now,” she said.
 
The aid agency said the consumption of seeds is especially alarming in areas where famine has already hit as some families have been eating wild water lilies, or seeds to survive.
 
“Without seeds for cultivation, families will have nothing to plant for the next growing season.
 
“This could worsen the food crisis, and threaten to spread the famine to adjacent areas,” the charity said.
 
Across much of the country, household access to food and cash income has declined as conflict has disrupted planting, harvesting and other livelihood activities, according to food security experts, FEWSNet.
 
Families are fleeing the region in search of food, with many crossing into Sudan.
 
More than 35,000 people have already fled South Sudan and crossed the border to Sudan this year, according to UNHCR.
 
The aid appeal for South Sudan requires 1.6 billion dollars to support people in need. So far only 18 per cent of the appeal has been funded.
 
 
NewsAgency.com
Published in Country Profiles
The Ghanaian High Commissioner in Nigeria, Alhaji Rashid Bawa, has clarified the controversy surrounding the closure of 400 Nigerian businesses in Ashanti, Ghana.
 
Bawa made the clarification while speaking at a programme organised by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Wednesday in Lagos.
 
The envoy, who was represented by the Minister, Counsellor for Trade and Investment, Sintim Asare, explained that contrary to reports that 400 Nigerian businesses were closed, only 117 were shut in Ghana.
 
According to him, the businesses were closed because they were not registered, evaded tax, their owners did not have work permits and a large percentage of them dealt in fake drugs.
 
Bawa noted that the closure of the businesses did not affect only Nigerians but other nationals, including Chinese and Indians.
 
He said the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre Act, under which the businesses were shut, was meant to protect small businesses in the country by preventing non-Ghanaians from engaging in petty trade, adding that some of the closed businesses have been reopened.
 
“We are committed to the ECOWAS Treaty and we cannot fight Nigerians, because they are our brothers. Some of the 117 businesses have been reopened.
 
“For those that are still shut, the owners were given time to regularise their papers and they are doing that, while others have simply shut their shops out of fear of attacks or in solidarity with their brothers who have not opened theirs,” the envoy said.
 
Reacting, the representatives of various Nigerian businesses in Ghana said the reasons presented by the Ghanaian envoy were not true.
 
Also speaking, the President of Nigeria Union of Traders Association, Ghana (NUTAG), Chukwuemeka Nnaji, while citing similar occurrence in 2007, said the attacks on Nigerian businesses in Ghana have become a recurring trend.
 
Nnaji argued that the Act completely eroded the rights of other Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) citizens in Ghana, even as Ghanaian citizens continued to enjoy privileges all over West Africa.
 
 
Source: NAN
Published in Opinion & Analysis
The number of people facing severe hunger worldwide has surpassed 100 million and will grow if humanitarian aid is not paired with more support for farmers, a senior United Nations official said.
 
Dominique Burgeon, director of the emergency division at the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said latest studies showed 102 million people faced acute malnutrition – meaning they were on the brink of starvation – in 2016, up almost 30 percent from 80 million in 2015.
 
“The hike was mainly driven by deepening crises in Yemen, South Sudan, Nigeria and Somalia, where conflict and drought have crippled food production,” he said.
 
“Humanitarian assistance has kept many people alive so far but their food security situation has continued to deteriorate,” Burgeon told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in an interview.
 
More investment is needed to help people feed themselves by farming crops and livestock, he added.
 
“We come with airplanes, we provide food assistance and we manage to keep them alive but we do not invest enough in the livelihood of these people,” he said.
 
“We avoid them falling into famine but we are not good at taking them off the cliff, away from food insecurity.”
 
The U.N. World Food Programme said last month more than 20 million people – greater than the population of Romania or Florida – risk dying from starvation within six months in four separate famines.
 
Wars in Yemen, northeastern Nigeria and South Sudan have devastated households and driven up prices, while a drought in east Africa has ruined the agricultural economy.
 
Famine was formally declared in February in parts of South Sudan, which has been mired in civil war since 2013.
 
In northeastern Nigeria, once a breadbasket for the country, a seven-year insurgency by Boko Haram militants has uprooted some 1.8 million people, forcing many to abandon their farms.
 
The government says it has clawed back most of the territory it lost to the jihadist group and tens of thousands of refugees are hoping to return to their crops, although security remains a concern.
 
Burgeon said the FAO had raised less than a third of the $20 million it needs within the next two weeks to support almost 2 million people in the upcoming planting season in Nigeria – an investment he said would save money in the future.
 
“If you don’t support those who want to return to their area to crop then you have to agree that you will have to provide massive aid assistance at least until the harvest in 2018, which is unbearable,” he said.
 
Lack of funding was also hampering the agency’s response in Syria, where food production dropped to an all-time low in 2016, Burgeon said.
 
“A lot is going to food assistance and barely anything is going to help farmers who have decided to stay on their land,” he said.
 
The soaring cost of seeds, fertilisers and tractor fuel was pushing many farmers to leave, making it more difficult to restart the economy once peace or stability returned, he added.
 
“What we need to do is to help them stay and crop their land and be there for the future,” Burgeon said. “To survive is not enough.”
 
-Reuters
Published in World
Ethiopia’s parliament on Thursday swore in the country’s first female supreme court president, building on efforts by reformist Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to achieve gender parity in government.
 
The appointment of Meaza Ashenafi comes two weeks after Ahmed named 10 female ministers to make Ethiopia the third country in Africa – after Rwanda and Seychelles – to have its cabinet split equally between men and women.
 
A prominent rights campaigner, Meaza recently served as an adviser on women’s rights at the Addis Ababa-based UN Economic Commission for Africa.
 
Naming her as his pick to head the Supreme Court, Ahmed told lawmakers the court system needed improved capacities “to successfully implement demands made with regards to justice, democracy and change in our country.
 
“I have made the nomination with the firm belief that she has the capacity required, with her vast international experience in mind.”
 
Parliament unanimously approved Ahmed’s choice.
 
Under Ethiopia’s constitution, the court system operates independent of government.
 
On Oct. 26, the Horn of Africa country named Sahle-Work Zewde as president, also the first woman to hold that post.
 
Since his appointment in April, Ahmed has presided over a series of reforms that have included the pardoning of dissidents long outlawed by the government and diplomatic overtures to long-term enemy Eritrea.
 
But they have so far failed to curtail unrest with over two million people displaced this year due to clashes – many pitting different ethnic groups against each other – in several parts of the country.
Published in Country Profiles

A pilot project to test the strength and purity of recreational drugs was launched in Berlin on Thursday, a spokeswoman said.

Recreational drugs are chemical substances taken for enjoyment, or leisure purposes, rather than for medical reasons.

They can lead to addiction, to health and social problems and to crime; most are illegal.

The “drug-checking’’ project aims to provide one official location where drugs such as ecstasy can be chemically analysed, according to the spokeswoman for the Berlin Senate Department for Health, Care and Equality.

The city’s administration has been considering such a move for some time to protect clubbers from tainted or particularly powerful drugs.

According to the health administration, the aim is to obtain as much accurate information as possible about the ingredients in the drugs and their dosages and to publicise the results.

The project will receive $34,000 (30,000 euros) of funding in 2018 and 120,000 euros in 2019.

It is being run by organisations in Berlin working in the areas of drugs and addiction.

However, there remain some legal issues to iron out before the project is rolled out.

Because of the legal situation in Germany, Berlin needs special permission from the Federal Institute for Medicines and Medical Products.

In other countries like Switzerland, drug-checking has been around for years.

There, online warnings are issued when high-dose pills are in circulation, for example.

A survey commissioned by the Berlin Senate showed that partygoers in Berlin are widely using drugs such as cannabis, amphetamines and ecstasy.

Published in News Economy
Uber has announced a strategic partnership with the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund to create business and economic opportunities for riders on Uber platform.
 
According to the partners, the initiative tagged ‘UBERPITCH’ creates opportunities for entrepreneurs to pitch their ideas, learn from highly successful business leaders and potentially get capital to effectively run their business.
 
Commenting on the partnership, the Uber General Manager for West Africa, Lola Kassim, said, “In line with Uber’s clear commitment to Africa and our goal of continually creating business and economic opportunities for all, the UBERPITCH campaign sees us supporting entrepreneurs by creating a platform for them to pitch ideas, leverage relevant advice from business mentors and potentially receive capital from the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund to run their businesses. Our partnership with the LSETF indicates that we are focused on ensuring that these entrepreneurs build viable and successful businesses.”
 
Speaking on the initiative and the collaboration with Uber, the Executive Secretary/CEO of the LSETF, Akintunde Oyebode, said, “The LSETF’s mandate of job creation by supporting entrepreneurship and employability is a vision we share with Uber. Since its inception two years ago, the LSETF has provided funding worth N6bn to 8,000 businesses; and trained over 3,000 unemployed Lagos residents, with a view to placing them in jobs. Through these activities, the Fund has enabled jobs for over 25,000 people, improved the productivity of small businesses state-wide, and ensured Lagos State remains on a path of sustainable economic growth.”
 
Sharing additional details on the UBERPITCH campaign, the Country Marketing Lead for Uber in West Africa, Margaret Banasko, said, “The campaign is divided into two phases. The first phase is where Uber riders who run tech-enabled businesses submit or pitch their ideas; and shortlisted candidates stand the chance of winning workspace vouchers of up to N1.8m.”
 
 
Source: PunchNG
Published in Business
Thursday, 01 November 2018 10:59

India unveils world’s tallest statue

India on Wednesday unveiled the world’s tallest statue in the western state of Gujurat in celebration of her unity.

Towering at 182 metres, the Statue of Unity is a tribute to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, a hero of India’s freedom struggle and the country’s first deputy prime minister.

Patel, a Gujarati, was known as the ‘Iron man of India’ as he went about persuading all the princely states to join the Indian union after independence from British rule in 1947.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who also hails from Gujarat, dedicated Patel’s statue to the people of India on the 142th birth anniversary of the statesman’s birth.

The record-breaking monument, which towers over the Narmada River, was built at a cost of 29.89 billion rupees (430 million dollars).

Based on award-winning sculptor Ram Sutar’s creation, the statue was built by engineering firm Larsen and Toubro.

The bronze statue, which depicts Patel wearing the traditional Indian attire of a dhoti and a shawl, took 33 months to build and involved 250 engineers and 3400 workers, according to the Press Information Bureau of India.

“To build this statue, [hundreds of thousands) of farmers from all over India came together to donate their tools, portions of their soil and a mass movement developed around the statue,” Modi said in his speech.

Thousands of policemen guarded the venue during the inauguration, as local tribal people have been holding protests in recent months claiming the project had destroyed natural resources, the Times of India newspaper reported.

The 128-metre Spring Temple Buddha in China had previously held the record for tallest statue.

 

Source: WorldPress.com

Published in World
Nigeria’s Minister of Labour and Productivity, Dr. Chris Ngige, on Wednesday said the Federal Government cannot accept the N22,500 minimum wage proposal by the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF).
 
“The governors have not even done enough. I told them that this N22,500 is even rejected by the Federal Government,” says the minister in a phone interview on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily.
 
Ngige’s comments come 24 hours after NGF unanimously agreed to pay Nigerian workers N22,500 as the new minimum wage as against the current N18,000.
 
Chairman of the Forum and Zamfara State Governor, Abdul’Aziz Yari, said that the decision of the governors was based on the current realities on the ground.
 
But Ngige criticised the governors for the figure, saying N22,500 is even below the N24, 000 agreement by the Federal Government.
 
He, however, said that all parties on the ground would resume back on negotiations to see that the welfare of the workers was met.
 
“The national minimum wage is a national legislation being driven by the Federal Government of Nigeria in pursuance to item 34 of the Exclusive Legislative list. But you don’t go and make a law which people will disobey at the initial.
 
“If you make a law and hoax a figure that is not agreeable, which people don’t have the capacity or ability to pay because the International Labour Organisation (ILO) says in those negotiations, the principle is the ability to pay,” the minister stated.
 
Ngige lamented that the Chairman of the Tripartite Committee, Ms. Amal Pepple was not in the country, explaining that despite her absence for two weeks for a medical check-up, the Federal Government would convene partners involved in the minimum wage to deliberate on the issue and arrive on the same page.
 
Although workers are demanding N30,000 as minimum wage, the minister said that any industrial action being embarked on the aggrieved workers would not resolve the issues at stake.
Published in Bank & Finance
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