Thursday, 06 February 2020

 

Infinity Trust Mortgage Bank Plc has declared a final dividend of N3.5k per share for the period ended 31 December, 2019 on the back of its impressive recently released Full Year 2019 financial results.

This feat makes the mortgage bank the first company on the Nigerian bourse to declare a dividend this year.

According to the firm’s notice to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), posted on the latter’s website on Wednesday, the dividend “It will be paid to shareholders whose names appear in the Register of Members as at the close of business on the 6th of March, 2020.”

The register of shareholders will be closed from 9th March to 13th March 2020, preparatory to the payment. The qualification date is 6th March 2020.

The company says dividends will be paid electronically on 14th March 2020 to shareholders whose names feature on the members’ register as of 6th March 2020 and who also have completed the e-dividend registration and mandated the registrar to pay their dividends directly into their bank accounts.

In a related development, the company has timed its Annual General Meeting to hold on 7th May 2020 in Abuja.

Incorporated in January 2002 as Infinity Trust Savings & Loans Limited, it attained a Public Limited Liability Company status in 2013.

Infinity Trust currently trades on the floor of the NSE at N1.39 per share.

Published in Bank & Finance
Thursday, 06 February 2020 11:54

Not more than 3 SIM card for a Nigerian

The Federal Government of Nigeria has directed the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to review SIM card registration and usage in a bid to bar Nigerians from owning more than three mobile telephone lines.

It is expected that telecommunication companies will block unregistered SIMs from functioning on their networks in line with the directive which came in the wake of increased killings and kidnapping for ransom and general insecurity.

The NCC was also directed to ensure that the National Identity Number (NIN) becomes a prerequisite for Nigerians registering new SIM cards, while for foreigners use their passports and visas. Already registered SIM cards are to be updated with the NIN before December 1, 2020.

The statement released by Dr. Femi Adeluyi, the technical advisor of the Communications and Digital Economy Minister Isa Ibrahim Pantami, reads;

 “The revision of the policy is based on the feedback received from the security agencies, following the successful revalidation of improperly registered SIM cards in September 2019 and the blocking of those that failed to revalidate their SIMs. 

“Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, has directed the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to revise the Policy on SIM Card registration and usage.

“This is in line with the Powers of the minister as stated in Section 25(1) of the Nigerian Communications Act 2003- “the Minister shall, in writing, from time to time notify the Commission or and express his views on the general policy direction of the Federal Government in respect of the communications sector.

“The updated policy is expected to include the following provisions, amongst others:

Ensure that the National Identity Number (NIN) becomes a prerequisite for Nigerians registering new SIM cards (while for foreigners, their passports and visas should be used), while already registered SIM cards are to be updated with National Identity Number (NIN) before 1st December, 2020;

Ensure that only fully-accredited agents support the SIM card registration process without pre-registering SIM cards themselves, while the eventual registration should be done by the operators;

There should be a maximum number of SIM cards that can be tied to a single individual, possibly a maximum of three;

Ensure that no unregistered SIMs are ever allowed on mobile networks;

Ensure that subscribers can easily check the number of SIM cards registered to their name, along with the associated phone numbers and networks;

Ensure that mobile network operators fortify their networks against cyberattacks and ensure that they adhere to the provisions of the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR); and

Ensure that SIM cards that have been used to perpetrate crimes are permanently deactivated.


“The NCC is to provide the minister with progress reports on the implementation of the revised policy.


Commenting on the directive, telecommunication operators said the new measures may not stop criminal activities in the country. The President of the Association of Telecoms Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Olusola Teniola said the next move by criminals will be to get as many NINs they need to register SIM cards for their nefarious activities.

Teniola listed the post-code system and digital address system as measures that worked in other climes including the United Kingdom (UK) and Ghana, as he urged the Minister to take the issue of the digital address system seriously.

Published in Telecoms

Record-breaking NASA astronaut Christina Koch has returned to Earth today, February 6, 2020, after spending 328 days in space.

This is the longest single spaceflight by any woman.

Astronaut Christina Koch returned to Earth alongside European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Luca Parmitano and Russian cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov.

Koch has been living and working aboard the International Space Station to help scientists gather data for future missions to the Moon and Mars.

Koch is also only the second US astronaut to spend such a long time on the International Space Station (ISS) in a single spaceflight.

Former NASA astronaut Scott Kelly holds the longest single spaceflight for US astronauts at 340 days, set during his one-year mission in 2015-16. In terms of overall time spent in space, she is now seventh on the list of US astronauts.

Christina Koch’s work on the ISS
During her record-breaking spaceflight, Koch has been a crew member for three expeditions — 59, 60 and 61. Her mission included participation in more than 210 investigations, helping advance the space agency’s goals to return humans to the Moon under the Artemis program and prepare for human exploration of Mars, NASA said.

Koch also participated in a number of studies to support those future exploration missions, including research into how the human body adjusts to weightlessness, isolation, radiation and the stress of long-duration spaceflight. She also worked on the Microgravity Crystals investigation, which crystallizes a membrane protein that is integral to tumour growth and cancer survival.

During her spaceflight, Koch completed 5,248 orbits of Earth and a journey of 139 million miles, roughly the equivalent of 291 trips to the Moon and back. She also supported the arrivals and/or departures of more than a dozen Soyuz and cargo resupply spacecraft from the U.S., Japan, and Russia. Koch ventured outside the confines of the space station for six spacewalks during her mission, spending 42 hours and 15 minutes outside the station. Among those was the first all-woman spacewalk, which she conducted alongside NASA astronaut Jessica Meir.

Dangers of long-time spaceflight

Long-time spaceflights are not good for the human body. NASA has gathered data about astronaut health and performance during the past 60 years and has focused recently on extended durations up to one year with the dedicated mission of astronauts like Scott Kelly, Peggy Whitson, Andrew Morgan, and Christina Koch.

NASA says that it has a rigorous training process to prepare astronauts for their missions, a thoroughly planned lifestyle and work regimen while in space, and a rehabilitation and reconditioning program for them after they return to Earth. It says that these measures help the human body remain robust and resilient even after spending nearly a year in space.

There is truly no place like our home: Earth.

Published in World

Big Tim, a beloved elephant who was one of Africa’s last giant “tuskers”, has died, the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) said yesterday.

“The celebrated elephant died early Tuesday morning aged 50,” KWS said in a statement.

A survivor of poachers, Big Tim was found dead of natural causes in Amboseli National Park at the foot of the snowcapped peak of Kilimanjaro, the Amboseli Trust for Elephants said.

He was “a benevolent, slow-moving preserver of the peace at Amboseli,” KWS said. “He was well known and loved throughout Kenya.”

An elephant is technically a “tusker” when its ivory tusks are so long that they scrape the ground. Usually, only old bull elephants grow their tusks long enough to reach this acclaimed status.

But conservationists estimate only a few dozen such animals with tusks that size are now left on the continent. This because poachers target the animals with the biggest ivory, and elephants with the heaviest tusks are most at risk.

With the big tuskers killed first, that reduces the gene pool; as a result most elephants in Africa today have smaller tusks than they did a century ago, scientists say.

Tim was named by researchers who called each elephant in the family herd they were monitoring by the same letter to help identify them; Tim was a member of the ‘T’ herd.

The giant pachyderm once roamed outside the national parks into farming lands and had survived poachers and angry farmers. 

Vets once treated him for a spear that had gone through his ear and snapped off into his shoulder.

“Our hearts are broken,” said Wildlife Direct, a Nairobi-based conservation campaign group. 

“Tim was one of Africa’s very few Super Tuskers, and an incredible elephant whose presence awed and inspired many. He was one of Kenya’s National Treasures.”

Big Tim’s body is being transported to the Kenyan capital Nairobi, where a taxidermist will preserve Tim for display at the national museum, KWS said.

Poaching has seen the population of African elephants plunge by 110,000 over the past decade to just 415,000 animals, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

 

— AFP

Published in Travel & Tourism

Standard Chartered Bank’s Chief Economist for Africa and Middle East, Ms. Razia Khan, has projected a three per cent economic growth for Nigeria in 2020.

Khan, also projected that for the first time the Sub Saharan Africa (SSA) would witness accelerated growth even as the global growth was predicted to decelerate. She also said that SSA growth would be powered by Nigeria and South Africa’s economies.

She said this during her presentation of Nigeria’s 2020 economic outlook, held in Lagos, yesterday.

Khan’s projected economic growth for Nigeria was slightly above the 2.9 percent growth rate President Mohammadu Buhari proposed in the 2020 budget. 

According to her, “2020 is a year we might see SSA economies growing faster in the face of slowing global economy. Growth in the SSA will be driven by the two largest economies in Africa, namely Nigeria and South Africa.”

She predicted that oil price stability and increased crude oil production would power Nigeria’s economic growth 2020.
“We have positive view on Nigeria’s growth because of developments in the fiscal and monetary sectors that will drive more expansion in the Nigerian economy. We have not lowered our Nigeria’s GDP and oil price projection.”

One of the monetary policy stance of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) that would bolster the economy in 2020, according to Khan, was the push for increased private sector lending, which has since unlocked N2 trillion in to the economy.

She also noted that the return of Nigeria’s budget cycle to January-December and early implementation of the fiscal policy tool would enhance the execution of capital projects.

“The difference in 2020 is that Nigeria has reverted to normal budget cycle as early implementation of capital projects will add stimulus to the economy.”

Other developments she identified that would encourage economic growth in 2020 were the enactments of Petroleum Sharing Contract Act of 2019 and the Finance Act 2019 that increased the Value Added Tax by 50 per cent, from five to 7.5 per cent.

However, Khan warned that the ability to ensure compliance to the above legislations would be where the challenge lies for the federal government, adding that previous VAT collection did not meet government’s projected revenue earning from it.

The Standard Chartered Bank’s chief economist also warned Nigeria to do away with the its age-long sharing of oil revenue every month during FAAC, and focus on diversifying the economy so as to earn more revenue from other sources.
She also noted that Nigeria’s problem was not high debt burden, but low revenue mobilisation.

She also projected that a prolonged case of the coronavirus would affect demand for oil and might add pressure on Nigeria’s foreign exchange market.

She, however, noted that the expectation of better GDP performance in 2020 would also depend on return of positive momentum capable of building confidence and attracting private sector investments to make Nigeria economy grow by offering them higher rate on return.

 

Credit: ThisDay

Published in Economy

Daniel arap Moi – Kenya’s president from 1978 to 2002 – has died at the grand age of 95.

The only extended biography of Kenya’s longest-serving president was written by Andrew Morton, made famous for his account of the world’s glitterati – from Princess Diana and Madonna to David and Victoria Beckham.

In Moi: The Making of an African Statesman, Morton portrays Moi as a “traditional” African elder who understood the complexities of leading, uniting and developing a poor and predominantly rural community composed of at least 42 “tribes”.

Unsurprisingly, this exculpatory portrait never became a bestseller.

Moi is widely held responsible for a regime that bore witness to, and benefited from, violence, corruption and discrimination. Kenya’s Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission found that between 1978 and 2002, Moi’s government was responsible for numerous gross human rights violations. These included massacres, unlawful detentions and torture.

But rather than focus on the ills of the Moi regime, I want to look at how he rose to power in the first place and what insights that rise can provide. Particularly because – unlike many other post-independence African leaders – Moi was not particularly well connected.

Moi was not educated abroad, nor did he rise through the ranks of the military. He was from a small and relatively marginal community: the Tugen, a sub-group of the Kalenjin.

Despite such odds, Moi succeeded Jomo Kenyatta, Kenya’s first president, in 1978. And unlike Kenyatta, who benefited from being the “father of the nation” and from the immediate economic gains of independence, Moi rose to power when the Kenyan economy was beginning to stagnate. He soon faced increasing dissent and an attempted coup.

In this context, Moi oversaw an increasingly authoritarian regime in which he – as the “Big Man” – depended on a network of loyal supporters. But how was Moi’s leadership shaped by his formative years?

The teacher

Moi was born in 1924, when Kenya was a British colony. He was chosen by his uncle, a local chief, to attend the Christian Africa Inland Mission school in 1934. This turned him into a staunch lifelong follower of the Evangelical church.

After school, Moi opted to go to a teacher training college. This seemed to ossify his religiosity and the importance he attached to discipline and order, which would characterise his regime.

Through his role as a teacher and then head teacher, together with his regular church attendance and position on various boards and committees, Moi quickly developed a reputation with colonial officials for hard work and sobriety, and thus as a potential “moderate” African leader.

Moi was selected by British officials to attend a special civics course in 1953. This was at a time when opposition to colonial rule had reached new heights. Two years later he became one of eight Africans nominated to be a member of the colonial government’s legislative council.

Moi was to remain a member of the Kenyan legislature – first as a nominated member, then as an elected member – for 47 years.

Early entry

His early entry into politics bestowed two crucial advantages. First, when other Kalenjin politicians joined him in the legislative council, he was in a real sense their elder. This helped to entrench him as the Kalenjin spokesperson.

Second, Moi used his political position to take advantage of the new opportunities for African citizens and to advance himself economically. This allowed him to accumulate resources for political campaigns.

Yet these factors cannot alone explain Moi’s longevity and continued rise.

In parliamentary elections in 1957, the first in which Africans could be elected, Moi was one of just two African incumbent members of the legislative council to secure election. In the first decade following colonial rule, many heroes of the independence period and wealthy sons of independence fell by the wayside.

As I have argued in I Say To You: Ethnic Politics and the Kalenjin in Kenya, Moi had the ability at key historical junctures – notably at independence and with the return to multi-party politics in the early 1990s – to articulate the grievances of his fellow Kalenjin. These included widespread fears of political marginalisation and historical narratives of injustice with regard to land, which also appealed to a number of other communities.

In addition, Moi’s financial generosity to local fundraisers, frequent tours of the countryside, and excellent memory for names and faces kept him popular with many across the country.

Ethnic alliances

Then there was his political acumen, which included an ability to build cross-ethnic alliances.

From the beginning, Moi – later nicknamed the “professor of politics” – showed great insight when, on joining the ruling party in 1964, he became a loyal ally of the then president, Jomo Kenyatta. This loyalty, together with his position as the preeminent Kalenjin politician, goes a long way to explain Kenyatta’s decision to appoint Moi as his vice-president in 1967. He wasn’t seen as a threatening figure and this helped him rise to the presidency on Kenyatta’s death.

We must also recognise Moi’s ability, often through the strategic use of patronage and sanctions, to preempt and undermine his opponents. He had the tendency to act decisively and ruthlessly against former allies and later reconcile with former foes. This gave Moi great political flexibility and enabled him to enter new alliances and to rehabilitate, recycle, or swap allies.

This dynamism helped him to keep ahead of opponents and limited the entrenchment of potential rivals in the short term. But in the longer term his direct intervention in elections and repression of dissent led a growing number of popular politicians to form new alliances with church leaders and civil society activists to call for his removal.

This group was first successful in their push for multi-party politics in the early 1990s. Then on Moi’s retirement in 2002, they secured victory – through the broad-based alliance that was the National Rainbow Coalition – over his chosen successor (and Jomo Kenyatta’s son and current president), Uhuru Kenyatta.

Moi’s legacy is mixed.

His supporters can point to Kenya’s relative stability during the 1980s, his decision to reintroduce multi-party politics in the early 1990s and the peaceful handover of power in 2002.

In contrast, his critics can point to the problems that his regime oversaw and to the centralisation of power, culture of impunity and sense of an ethnically biased state with which Kenyans still grapple today.

 

This article draws from Gabrielle Lynch (2008) Moi: The Making of an African ‘Big-Man’ and Gabrielle Lynch (2011) I Say to You: Ethnic Politics and the Kalenjin in Kenya.The Conversation

Gabrielle Lynch, Professor of Comparative Politics, University of Warwick

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

Published in Opinion & Analysis
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