Items filtered by date: Monday, 10 December 2018
The Federal Government of Nigeria says African Natural Resources and Mines Ltd’s 600 million dollars (N183 billion) investment in integrated iron ore mining processing and steel production will boost the country’s economy.
The Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, said this in a statement issued by Paul Abechi, the Special Adviser on Media and Communications in Abuja on Sunday.
Mrs Ahmed, who expressed the government’s delight over the development, said this during a meeting with the representative of the firm, Raj Gupta, in Kagarko Local Government Area of Kaduna State.
The minister said that the investment would also lead to increased revenue generation and job creation under the diversification policy of the federal government.
“In a bid to diversify away from oil and increase government revenues, I met with African Natural Resources and Mines Ltd and they are investing 600 million dollars in an integrated iron ore mining, processing and steel production project in Kagarko Local Government, Kaduna State.
“This is about the first major investment in the mining sector in more than two decades.
‘‘The project will have a capacity of 5.4 metric tonnes per annum and will create 3,500 direct jobs and thousands of indirect jobs,” the minister said.  
“About 36 megawatts of electricity is to be generated from the waste heat which will increase power supply to Kagarko Local Government to help develop other industries and urbanise the local area.
‘‘The surplus will also be added to the national grid,” she said.
Mrs Ahmed explained that the company’s steel would carry out beneficiation, pelletising and convert iron into direct steel for manufacturing.
She added that it would galvanise the industrial space into a hub of production of finished goods for local consumption and export to foreign countries.
She predicted that the project would massively impact on the local people and the nation at large, based on the potential it has to transform the socio-economic life of Nigerians.
“This project will drive industrial and community development, generate more power, create employment for locals, substitute imports, crude steel production, royalties and reposition the mining sector,” she said. 
Source: NAN
Published in Bank & Finance
Oliver Stolpe, Country Representative, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), has said that the world loses $2.3 trillion to corruption annually.
He disclosed this at the Corruption Risk Assessment (CRA) training organised for Heads of Anti-Corruption Agencies of member-countries of African Union (AU) in Abuja, on Monday.
The training was organised by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the event was to also commemorate the 2018 UN International Anti-Corruption Day.
Mr Stolpe quoted World Economic Forum which estimated the cost of corruption to be at least 2.3 trillion dollars a year, saying that it was five per cent of global Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
“Corruption begets more corruption and results in a culture of impunity. It is that corruption present in all countries, including the rich and poor, North and South.
“Let us stand on this International Day against Corruption together, united against the scourge.
“It is an assault on the values of the UN. It robs societies of schools, hospitals and other vital services; it drives away foreign investment and it strips nations of their natural resources.
“It undermines the Rule of Law, tax evasion, money laundering and other illicit flows,” he said.
On his part, acting Chairman of ICPC, Musa Abubakar, said corruption risk assessment was one of the preventive tools employed by ICPC to plug systemic loopholes which provided opportunity for corruption in the public sector.
According to him, it was first developed in the country in 2011 with the assistance of the United Nations Development Virtual School in Bogota, Colombia, which trained the first set of corruption risk assessors.
“Since then, a new set of 60 persons have so far received training at the Anti-Corruption Academy of Nigeria and certified as corruption risk assessors, courtesy UNDP and UNODC.”
Mr Abubakar also said the commission had produced reports of CRA on the ports sector, two Nigerian International Airports and Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) charged with promoting Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“The latest of these reports being the CRA of Nigeria’s e-government systems that is, Treasury Single Account (TSA), Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS) and Government Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIMIS).”
He said when loopholes and leakages in the systems were plugged, people would be denied access to public funds and as such, would not have the opportunity to misappropriate it.
“This is against pursuing individuals after the deed is done, an action that drains a lot of resources amidst challenges that create uncertainty of outcomes.
“To this end, ICPC stands on the principle that an ounce of prevention is worth more than a tonne of remedy.”
Mr Abubakar said reports revealed that the redeployment of TSA, IPPIS and GIFMIS had significantly reduced bureaucratic corruption in Nigeria.
He said it was attributable to factors such as reduction in human interface and elimination of direct access to cash resources.
Also, representative of ECOWAS Commission, Remi Ajibewa, congratulated President Muhammadu Buhari for his leadership and chair of ECOWAS authority of Heads of States and Government.
“This leadership has consistently provided support on constructive guidance to the ECOWAS Commission, enabling the commission to perform its mission and in advancing the promotion of good governance, integration and development in the region.”
He commended the Mr Buhari’s fervent commitment in making transparency, accountability and integrity the cornerstone of governance in the region.
“These qualities have undoubtedly contributed to earning the President’s appointment as the African Union Anti-Corruption Champion for 2018.”
High point of the event was the presentation of the report of the CRA of Nigeria’s e-Government Systems by Mr Buhari.
Published in World
Ford said on Monday it had started negotiations with German worker representatives about potential job cuts at its Saarlouis plant following a decision to discontinue production of its Ford C-Max model.
"We can confirm that we are entering into formal negotiations with our Works Council with the objective of ending production of C-Max/Grand C-Max at Saarlouis," Ford said in a statement.
"As we continue to match production to consumer demand, the consultation process also will include necessary adjustments to the workforce at Saarlouis."
Saarlouis employs more than 6,190 staff, but the van segment is shrinking and tougher emissions rules will require costly investments.
"Keeping the vehicle compliant with all regulatory obligations would require a very high level of investment for this model," Ford said.
Source: Business Insider
Published in Business

The bitter truth buried in recent headlines about how the political consulting company – Cambridge Analytica – used social media and messaging, primarily Facebook and WhatsApp, to try to sway voters in presidential elections in the US and Kenya is simply this: Facebook is the reason why fake news is here to stay.

Various news outlets, and former Cambridge Analytica executives themselves, confirmed that the company used campaign speeches, surveys, and, of course, social media and social messaging to influence Kenyans in both 2013 and 2017.

The media reports also revealed that, working on behalf of US President Donald Trump’s campaign, Cambridge Analytica had got hold of data from 50 million Facebook users, which they sliced and diced to come up with “psychometric” profiles of American voters.

The political data company’s tactics have drawn scrutiny in the past, so the surprise of these revelations came more from the “how” than the “what.” The real stunner was learning how complicit Facebook and WhatsApp, which is owned by the social media behemoth, had been in aiding Cambridge Analytica in its work.

The Cambridge Analytica scandal appears to be symptomatic of much deeper challenges that Facebook must confront if it’s to become a force for good in the global fight against false narratives.

These hard truths include the fact that Facebook’s business model is built upon an inherent conflict of interest. The others are the company’s refusal to take responsibility for the power it wields and its inability to come up with a coherent strategy to tackle fake news.

Facebook’s biggest challenges

Facebook’s first issue is its business model. It has mushroomed into a multibillion-dollar corporation because its revenue comes from gathering and using the data shared by its audience of 2.2 billion monthly users.

Data shapes the ads that dominate our news feeds. Facebook retrieves information from what we like, comment on and share; the posts we hide and delete; the videos we watch; the ads we click on; the quizzes we take. It was, in fact, data sifted from one of these quizzes that Cambridge Analytica bought in 2014. Facebook executives knew of this massive data breach back then but chose to handle the mess internally. They shared nothing with the public.

This makes sense if the data from that public is what fuels your company’s revenues. It doesn’t make sense, however, if your mission is to make the world a more open and connected place, one built in transparency and trust. A corporation that says it protects privacy while also making billions of dollars from data, sets itself up for scandal.

This brings us to Facebook’s second challenge: its myopic vision of its own power. As repeated scandals and controversies have washed over the social network in the last couple of years, CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s response generally has been one of studied naivete. He seems to be in denial about his corporation’s singular influence and position.

Case in point: When it became clear in 2016 that fake news had affected American elections, Zuckerberg first dismissed that reality as “a pretty crazy idea.” In this latest scandal, he simply said nothing for days.

Throughout the world, news publishers report that 50% to 80% of their digital traffic comes from Facebook. No wonder Google and Facebook control 53% of the world’s digital and mobile advertising revenue. Yet Zuckerberg still struggles to accept that Facebook’s vast audience and its role as a purveyor of news and information combine to give it extraordinary power over what people consume, and by extension, how they behave.

All of this leads us to Facebook’s other challenge: its inability to articulate, and act on, a cogent strategy to attack fake news.

The fake news phenomenon

When Zuckerberg finally surfaced last month, he said out loud what a lot of people were already were thinking: there may be other Cambridge Analyticas out there.

This is very bad news for anyone worried about truth and democracy. For in America, fake news helped to propel into power a man whose presidential campaign may have been a branding exercise gone awry. But in countries like Kenya, fake news can kill.

Zuckerberg and his Facebook colleagues must face this truth. Fake news may not create tribal or regional mistrust, but inflammatory videos and posts shared on social media certainly feed those tensions.

And false narratives spread deep and wide: In 2016, BuzzFeed News found that in some cases, a fake news story was liked, commented and shared almost 500,000 times. A legitimate political news story might attract 75,000 likes, comments and shares.

After Zuckerberg was flogged for his initial statements about fake news, Facebook reached out to the Poynter Institute’s International Fact-checking Network in an effort to attack this scourge. Then in January 2018, the social network said that it was going to be more discriminating about how much news it would allow to find its way into the feeds of its users. In other words, more videos on cats and cooking, less news of any kind.

The policy sowed a lot of confusion and showed that Facebook is still groping for how to respond to fake news. It was also evidence that the social network does not understand that fake news endangers its own existence as well as the safety and security of citizens worldwide –- especially in young democracies such as Kenya.

Angry lawmakers in the US and Europe, along with a burgeoning rebellion among its vast audience, may finally grab Facebook’s attention. But we will only hear platitudes and see superficial change unless Facebook faces hard truths about its reliance on data, accepts its preeminent place in today’s media ecosystem and embraces its role in fighting fake news.

Until then, we should brace ourselves for more Cambridge Analyticas.The Conversation


Stephen Buckley, Lecturer, The Aga Khan University Graduate School of Media and Communications (GSMC)

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Published in Telecoms

Kenya’s Consolidated Bank said on Monday it was seeking an investor, either foreign or local, to inject 3.5 billion Kenyan shillings ($34.21 million) as part of its balance sheet reorganisation.

In a statement published in local newspapers, the state-owned bank asked investors to send in their prequalifications as a first step by Jan. 9, 2019.

In late November, Consolidated Bank said it had given its directors permission to allot up to 3.5 billion shillings in new preference shares to an unidentified investor and that the reorganisation of its balance sheet was a precursor to privatisation at a later date.

The bank has 17 branches and assets of over 12.5 billion shillings.

The National Treasury owns 85.8 percent of the bank, with the rest of the shares held by other government agencies.

($1 = 102.3000 Kenyan shillings)


- Reuters

Published in Bank & Finance

Nigeria’s main opposition People’s Democratic Party said the bank accounts of its vice presidential candidate had been frozen in an act of intimidation by the government ahead of February general elections.

The accounts of Peter Obi, his wife, family members and their businesses had been blocked “by agencies” of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, the PDP said in a statement late Saturday.

“Since his nomination, Peter Obi, apart from facing a series of failed attempts to destroy his reputation, has also continued to receive all manner of threats and blackmail, including threats to his life and those of his wife and children,” the party said.

A spokesman for Buhari, Femi Adesina, referred Bloomberg’s queries to the nation’s anti-corruption agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission. Its spokesman didn’t immediately respond to a text message seeking comment.

Buhari came to power in 2015 vowing to clamp down on endemic corrruption. Critics have accused him of using his anti-graft campaign as a pretext to quash political opponents. The main challenger to the 75-year-old former general’s path to a second term is PDP presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar, 72, who was vice president from 1999 to 2007. Obi, a former governor of the southeastern state of Anambra, was chosen as Abubakar’s running mate in October.

The PDP said in its statement that Buhari’s All Progressives Congress was using “smear campaigns” and “direct attacks” on Abubakar and Obi ahead of the vote, scheduled for Feb. 16.


- Bloomberg

Published in Economy

KPMG LLP, the auditor that shed clients and staff after scandals in South Africa, apologizes for its “misdeeds” and wants a second chance to reestablish its business in the country, Chairman Wiseman Nkuhlu said.

The firm, one of the so-called big four global auditing companies, confessed to publishing a misleading report on the South African Revenue Service that led to a police probe of a former finance minister, did work for the Gupta family who have been implicated in corruption scandals linked to former president Jacob Zuma, and acted as an auditor for a bank that collapsed due to alleged fraud. Its eight top staff resigned in September 2017, some of the biggest companies in South Africa have replaced it as their auditors and in June it said its workforce had shrunk to 2,200 from 3,400.

“KPMG had made a lot of serious mistakes and lost the trust of the public and clients,” Nkuhlu said in an advertisement placed in South Africa’s Sunday Times newspaper. “We had lost sight of our responsibility to serve the broader public interest.”

The company is one of a number of international firms that have apologized for their conduct during the nine-year rule of Zuma, which ended in February, during which time corruption at state companies became endemic. Bain & Co. has started an independent probe into its own work for South Africa’s tax service, while McKinsey & Co. and SAP SE have accepted responsibility for improper work done for state-owned companies.

“We know we made mistakes and we will accept responsibility, as appropriate, for our misdeeds,” Nkuhlu said. “In return, I would like to make an appeal to South Africa business, government and the public. An appeal for your recognition that KPMG South Africa is today a very different business to what it was 18 months ago.”

The company, which has lost clients including Barclays Africa Group Ltd. and Dimension Data Plc, is seeking to win back trust, he said.

We “appeal for your permission, for KPMG South Africa and the thousands of South Africans who work for it, to continue to play a positive role in the business community and the life of the nation,” he said.


- Bloomberg

Published in Business
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