Items filtered by date: Wednesday, 05 December 2018
Wednesday, 05 December 2018 12:36

May suffers three Brexit defeats in Commons

Theresa May has suffered three Brexit defeats in the Commons as she set out to sell her EU deal to sceptical MPs.
 
Ministers will be forced to publish the government’s full legal advice on the deal after MPs found them in contempt of Parliament for issuing a summary.
 
And MPs backed calls for the Commons to have a direct say in what happens if her deal is rejected next Tuesday.
 
Mrs May said MPs had a duty to deliver on the 2016 Brexit vote and the deal on offer was an “honourable compromise”.
 
Addressing the Commons at the start of a five-day debate on her proposed agreement, Mrs May said Brexit divisions had become “corrosive” to UK politics and the public believed the issue had “gone on long enough” and must be resolved.
 
MPs will decide whether to reject the terms of the UK’s withdrawal and future relations with the EU on Tuesday 11 December.
 
The Commons supported a motion demanding full disclosure of the government’s legal advice, by 311 votes to 293.
 
The move was backed by six opposition parties, while the Democratic Unionists, which have a parliamentary pact with the Conservatives, also voted against the government.
 
It came after Attorney General Geoffrey Cox published a summary of the advice on Monday and answered MPs questions for three hours – but said that full publication would not be in the national interest.
 
Labour had accused ministers of “wilfully refusing to comply” with a binding Commons vote last month demanding they provided the attorney general’s full and final advice.
 
After Labour demanded the advice should be released ahead of next Tuesday’s key vote on Mrs May’s deal, Commons Speaker John Bercow said it was “unimaginable” this would not happen.
 
In response, Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom said she “would respond” on Wednesday but would ask the Commons Privileges Committee to consider the constitutional repercussions.
 
An attempt by ministers to refer the whole issue, including the government’s conduct, to the committee of MPs was earlier defeated by four votes.
 
The privileges committee will now decide which ministers should be held accountable and what sanction to apply, with options ranging from a reprimand to the more unlikely scenario of a minister being suspended from the Commons.
 
Lib Dem leader Sir Vince Cable said the result left the government “on the ropes”, adding: “Theresa May’s majority has evaporated, and the credibility of her deal is evaporating with it.”
 
 
Source: BBC
 
Published in World
Wednesday, 05 December 2018 10:18

IMF puts global debt at $180trn

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has put the global debt at $180 trillion, warning highly indebted emerging-markets and low-income countries against what it termed pro-cyclical fiscal policies.
 
IMF Managing Director, Christine Lagarde, in a statement issued at the conclusion of the Group of 20 (G-20) Summit in Buenos Aires, called for collaborative action by G-20 leaders as global growth moderates and risks increased.
 
Ms Lagarde emphasised that global growth remained strong, but that it was moderating and becoming more uneven.
 
She said pressures on emerging markets had been rising and trade tensions have begun to have a negative impact, increasing downside risks.
 
“Another urgent issue is the excessive level of global debt – about $182 trillion by the IMF’s estimate.
 
“It is important, particularly for highly indebted emerging-market and low-income countries, to rebuild buffers and reverse pro-cyclical fiscal policies.
 
“Increasing debt transparency, such as on the volumes and terms of loans, by borrowers as well as lenders, is as important as supporting debt sustainability,’’ Lagarde said.
 
According to her, choosing the right policy is, therefore, critical for individual economies, the global economy, and for people everywhere.
 
“The choice is especially stark regarding trade.
 
“We estimate that if recently raised and threatened tariffs were to remain in place and announced tariffs were implemented, about three-quarters of one per cent of global GDP could be lost by 2020.
 
“If instead, trade restrictions in services were reduced by 15 per cent, global GDP could be higher by one-half of one per cent.
 
“The choice is clear: there is an urgent need to de-escalate trade tensions, reverse recent tariff increases, and modernise the rules-based multilateral trade system.’’
 
To meet the challenges facing the global economy, the IMF chief made several policy recommendations to the G-20 leaders.
 
“First, fix trade – this is priority number one to boost growth and jobs.
 
“Continue to normalise monetary policy in a well-communicated, gradual, data-driven manner and with due regard to potential spill-over effects.
 
“Address financial risks, using micro and macro-prudential tools to tackle problems related to the leveraged ending, deteriorating credit quality and high exposure to foreign currency or foreign-owned debt.
 
“Use exchange rate flexibility to mitigate external pressures, avoiding tariffs and other policies that could weaken market confidence.
 
“Finally, eliminate legal obstacles to the participation of women in the economy which is key to tackling high and persistent inequality and would add to the growth potential of all G-20 countries,’’ Lagarde said.
 
She said she was encouraged by the G-20’s continued commitment to strengthening the global financial safety net, with a strong and adequately financed IMF at its centre.
 
“It is important that the G-20 leaders have pledged to conclude the 15th General Review of Quotas by our Spring Meetings and no later than the Annual Meetings in 2019.’’ 
 
 
Source: NAN
Published in Bank & Finance
The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies are working toward a deal this week to reduce oil output by no less than 1.3 million barrels per day, four sources said.
 
It added that Russia’s resistance to a major cut was so far the main stumbling block.
 
OPEC would meet on Thursday in Vienna, followed by talks with allies such as Russia on Friday, amid a drop in crude prices caused by global economic weakness and fears of an oil glut due largely to a rise in U.S. production.
 
The producer group’s de facto leader, Saudi Arabia, has indicated a need for steep reductions in output from January but has come under pressure from U.S. President Donald Trump to help support the world economy with lower oil prices.
 
Possibly complicating any OPEC decision is the crisis around the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October.
 
Mr Trump has backed Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in spite of calls from many U.S. politicians to impose stiff sanctions on Riyadh.
 
The sources, three from OPEC and one from a non-OPEC producer, said the meetings were taking place in a difficult environment and that Russia’s position would be key in reaching a deal.
 
Enelamah calls for collaboration of States, LGAs on ease of doing business
“Russia is playing tough,” one of the OPEC sources said.
 
Another OPEC source said: “the Saudis are working hard on the cut. But if Russia says no cut, then we (OPEC) won’t cut.”
 
Russian sources have indicated Moscow could contribute some 140,000 bpd to a reduction, but Middle East-dominated OPEC insisted Russia cut by 250,000-300,000 bpd.
 
Two sources said talks were focusing on a pro-rata cut of 3-3.5 per cent from October output levels, with no exemptions for any member.
 
Sources also said OPEC could delay a decision to cut if the main criteria such as Russia’s involvement were not met, even though doing so would mean a further fall in prices.
 
“OPEC can always meet again in February, for example, and decide on a cut then. Those who were not able or willing to cooperate will want to cut then,” one source said.
 
Saudi Arabia previously insisted on a need to reduce production.
 
It was unclear whether the apparent shift in position was caused by OPEC using negotiation tactics to bring Russia on board or by pressure from Trump to refrain from cutting output.
 
Iraq’s oil minister said OPEC must come up with a medium- to long-term strategy to achieve crude price stability and minimise damage to oil markets caused by geopolitics.
 
Ghadhban said Iraq would work to help balance markets and bolster prices.
 
Iraq is OPEC’s second-biggest producer after Saudi Arabia.
 
“Solutions to low oil prices should not be limited to decreasing output,’’ Ghadhban said in a statement, adding that any agreement reached this week should avoid damage to the interests of OPEC and non-OPEC oil producers.
 
Similarly, United Arab Emirates Energy Minister, Suhail bin Mohammed al-Mazroui, on Tuesday said an adjustment in global oil output is required and all producers must be on board.
 
“What is that adjustment, and what is the level, from what level, that is what will be discussed.
 
“An adjustment means a decrease in production, it’s important that everyone is on board,” Mr Mazroui said.
 
OPEC is an intergovernmental organisation of 15 nations, founded in 1960 in Baghdad by the first five members, and headquartered since 1965 in Vienna, Austria.
 
 
Source: Reuters/NAN
Published in Business
Wednesday, 05 December 2018 05:20

$8.1BN SUIT: MTN seeks out of court settlement

Telecommunication firm, MTN Nigeria Communications Limited, on Tuesday, asked the Federal High Court in Lagos for a further adjournment in the suit it filed to challenge the $8,134,312,397.63 being demanded from it by the Central Bank of Nigeria.
 
CBN had asked MTN to pay the sum of The $8.1bn for alleged forex remittances infraction.
 
When the case came up on Tuesday, MTN’s lead counsel, Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN, informed the court that his client had approached the CBN for possible amicable resolution of the dispute.
 
Olanipekun, prayed Justice Saliu Saidu to further adjourn the suit to enable parties to fully explore out-of-court resolution and deliberate on the terms of the settlement.
 
Read also: Nigerian govt declares Discos as failures, five years after privatisation
 
Seyi Sowemimo, SAN, the lead counsel for CBN, confirmed Olanipekun’s position, adding that discussions for possible out-of-court settlement were in the advanced stage.
 
Justice Saidu adjourned till December 12, 2018, for a report of the settlement between the parties.
 
It would be recalled that MTN had filed the suit, marked FHC/L/CS/1475/2018, in November, urging the court to declare that the CBN acted ultra vires of its statutory powers when it wrote an August 28, 2018 letter to it demanding a refund of $8.1bn.
 
The firm urged the court to hold that the CBN’s $8.1bn demand was “illegal, oppressive, abusive, unauthorised and unconstitutional.”
 
 
Source: The Ripples
Published in Telecoms
The Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) says it is encouraging Nigerians abroad to contribute to the development of the country’s economy, as part of its advocacy programmes.
 
The president of the institut, Uche Olowu, said this while speaking about some of the initiatives of the CIBN during the 53rd Annual Bankers Dinner in Lagos on Friday.
 
He said, “We have continued with our role as the conscience of the industry by paying more attention to constructive stakeholders’ engagements for the benefit of our corporate and individual members.
 
“In view of this, we organised, through our USA branch, a conference to encourage Nigerians abroad to invest more in the country’s economy for the good of the greater number of the populace.”
 
Mr Olowu said the governing council of the institute recently introduced a quarterly discussion to examine pertinent issues affecting the banking industry and came up with its position for the benefit of the various key stakeholders.
 
At the event, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, said in addition to key macroeconomic concerns such as inflation and exchange rate stability, the CBN would ensure its policies and programmes focus on supporting job creation and fostering inclusive growth.
 
“I hope to use this opportunity tonight to convey a sense of the strong commitment of the Central Bank of Nigeria towards supporting measures that would wean the nation from its dependence on imported goods, create wealth and jobs for our teeming youths, and promote a more stable and resilient financial system,” he said.
 
 
Source: The daily mail
Published in Economy

Social media giant Facebook has agreed to pay more than 100 million euros ($114 million) to end a fiscal fraud dispute, Italian tax authorities said Thursday. 

Italy has already drawn similar agreements from Amazon, Apple and Google, joining EU neighbours seeking a bigger tax take from multinationals previously able to use loopholes allowing the booking of profits in countries with more favourable tax regimes.

The accord aims to “end the disagreement relating to tax inquiries undertaken by the financial police (GdF) at the behest of the Milan prosecutor for the period 2010-2016,” Italy’s tax authority said in a statement.

The authority added that Facebook Italy would be “making a payment of more than 100 million euros.”

Online retail behemoth Amazon agreed on a similar deal last December while in May last year Google agreed to pay 306 million euros to end a dispute relating primarily to 2009-2013 profits booked in Ireland.

Ireland has one of the lowest corporate tax rates in the European Union.

Apple had earlier, in December 2015, agreed to make payment of more than 300 million euros on Italian-generated profits dating back to 2008. (AFP)

 

Source News Express

Published in World

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