India’s central bank, on Thursday, unexpectedly lowered interest rates and, as anticipated, shifted its stance to “neutral” from “calibrated tightening” to boost a slowing economy after a sharp fall in the inflation rate. 
The monetary policy committee (MPC) of the Reserve Bank of India cut the repo rate by 25 basis points to 6.25 per cent, as predicted by only 21 of 65 analysts polled by Reuters. Most polled respondents expected the central bank to only change the stance to neutral. Four of six members of the MPC voted to cut the rates, while all six voted for a change in the stance. “Investment activity is recovering but supported mainly by public spending on infrastructure. 
The need is to strengthen private investment activity and buttress private consumption,” the MPC said in a statement. Indian shares pared gains while 10-year bond yields slid 5 basis points after the surprise rate cut. The Indian rupee weakened to 71.69 to the dollar immediately after the announcement but strengthened soon after to 71.42. India’s last rate cut, to 6.00 per cent, was in August 2017. 
Thursday’s cut is welcome news for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government, which wants to boost lending and lift growth as it faces elections by May. The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party is already in an election mode. In its budget on Feb. 1, the government doled out cash to farmers and tax cuts to middle-class families, at the cost of a wider fiscal deficit and larger borrowing. Economic growth fell to a worse-than-expected 7.1 per cent in the July-September quarter from 8.2 per cent, dragged down by slower consumer spending and farm growth, below analysts forecast for a 7.4 per cent increase.   
Source: Vanguard
The Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Abhay Thakur, has said that Nigeria can explore $5 billion line of credit with low interest rate from India.
Thakur, who disclosed this when he visited the Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu, in Abuja on Monday, said the Prime Minister of India made available to Africa $10billion credit line during India – Africa Forum Summit out of which only fifty per cent had been utilised.
According to him, Nigeria had the opportunity to explore the credit line which had an interest rate of only 1.75 per cent.
“This is a good facility which to my knowledge half of it has just been utilised and for Nigeria, we can enhance our areas of collaboration,” the envoy said.
Speaking further, Thakur said India was making moves to upgrade the bilateral agreement existing between both countries in the areas of human capacity development, e-government, industrialisation and Information and Communications Technology.
In his response, Shittu admitted that India has remained one of the best countries Nigeria had enjoyed a relationship with in terms of partnership.
Shittu said: “In the area of bilateral agreement, we can raise a team to work on crucial areas and look at the details and appraise what we can do on low hanging fruit that would be beneficial to both countries.
“A lot of Indian companies had often indicated interest to invest in Nigeria by way of establishing industries but rarely translate such into action, hence, the need to encourage them to translate such interest into reality.”
The minister however called on the High Commissioner to encourage India investors to establish a 5G village in Nigeria and also partner with stakeholders in building the proposed ICT Park in Abuja.
According to the minister, the park is expected to be located in a free trade zone that would add beauty and elegance to the country as well as boost revenue base of the investors.
Source: Business Insider

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.



The Federal Government has approved the immediate deportation of 36 Indians and two Democratic People’s Republic of Korea nationals with immediate effect.
The Minister of Interior, retired Lt.- Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazau, disclosed this in a statement issued by the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Dr Mohammed Umar, on Tuesday in Abuja.
Umar said the minister who signed the deportation order on Tuesday, in his Office in Abuja said it was pursuant to section 45(2, 3 and 4) of the Nigeria Immigration Act 2015.
Dambazau in the statement explained that the Indian nationals gained entry into the country with fake visas and counterfeit Immigration stamps, while the Korean nationals failed to regularise their stay upon the expiration of their contract with Zamfara Government.
Dambazau gave the names of the affected nationals as:Mr AN CHUN SIK and Mr JON SU GYONG of the Democratic People’s Republic Of Korea.
The statement listed the names of the 36 Indian nationals as: -Mr Sajji, Mrs Sajji Arvini, Mrs Sunil Babujumma, Mrs Meemi, Mr Papachi, Mr Deva, Mr Rajani, Mrs Kiran Shivachadra, Mr Shivachadra and Mr Shakthi.
Others the statement said are : Mr Prabhukumar, Mr Rajan, Mr Shree Kumar, Mr Jagandeesh, Mrs Mamathaja, Mrs Sheela, Mr Prasad, Mr Pappa and Ms Nirveni
Also named are: Mr Shambhu Kumar, Mrs Reshma, Mr Ravi Kumar, Mr Iraji, Mrs Jinotha, Mr Kishore, Mr Nageena, Mrs Sheelavathi and Mr. Nentaraju/Santhosh Kumar.
The minister in the statement named other India nationals as Mrs Sumati, Mr Krishna Lokesh, Mr Santhil, Mr Vasantha, Mr Seebu, Mr Vishwanath, Mr Vishwanth Ramya and Mr Rajeshwari.
He reiterated President Muhammadu Buhari’s determination to empower the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) to enhance enforcement of the nation’s Immigration Laws.
The minister in the statement further stated that all foreign nationals should operate within the provisions of the law as the nation would not compromise its immigration laws.

India has overtaken the Netherlands as Nigeria’s major export trading partner in the second quarter of 2018, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

The NBS had ranked the Netherlands as the country’s leading export trading partner in Q1 2018, having recorded N963.5 billion in value of exported commodities.

But the latest Foreign Trade Statistics by the bureau showed that 16.19 percent of the Nigeria’s Q2 2018 export trade worth N722.6 billion was moved to India against N457.6 billion worth of commodities exported to the Netherlands in the review quarter.

It said other major export destinations of the country include Spain, South Africa and United States with value of commodities at N426.1 billion or 9.6 percent, N359.8 billion or 8.1 percent and N306.5 billion or 6.9 percent respectively.

“In the reviewing quarter, mineral products accounted for N4,275.3 billion or 95.8% of the total export from Nigeria. This category of export was dominated by Crude Oil exports which contributed N3,728.4 billion or 83.5% of total exports,” it added.

According to the statistics bureau, the total value of Nigeria’s merchandise trade dropped from N7.21 trillion in Q1, 2018 to N6.57 trillion in the second quarter of 2018.

It said the contraction of total trade in the reviewing quarter was mainly driven by the decline in both
imports and exports.

“The trade balance in Q2, 2018 was a surplus of N2,356.60 billion, which is an 8.36% increase from the
figure in Q1, 2018 (N2,174.60 billion) and a 399.82% increase from the figure in Q1, 2017 (N471.48 billion),” it said.

“Total Imports value was N2,106.7 billion in Q2, 2018, -16.3% lower than Q1, 2018 (N2,518.26 billion) and –
19.9%% lower than Q1, 2017 (N2,631.65 billion),” the NBS said.

The top five import destinations for Nigeria were China, Netherlands, Belgium, India and United States which respectively accounted for N531.6 billion or 25.2 percent, N181 billion or 8.6 percent, N170.9 billion or 8.1 percent, N145.0 billion or 6.9 percent and N141.5 billion or 6.7 percent.

The bureau further said, “Total export value amounted to N4,463.3 billion in Q2, 2018, representing a contraction of -4.9% over Q1, 2018 (N4,692.86 billion) and a growth of 43.8% over Q2, 2017 (N3,102.14 billion).”


Source: The Ripples

The Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Nagabhushana Reddy, said the trade value between India and Nigeria rose to $12 billion between April 2017 to March 2018.

Reddy, who made the disclosure while speaking with newsmen at a flag hoisting ceremony to mark the 72nd Independence of India in Abuja recently, said the current amount represents 26 percent increase from the previous financial year.

“Looking at the bilateral relations, our financial year is from April last year to March this year. We have been able to register $12 billion of bilateral trade which marks an increase of 26 percent from the previous year,” he said.

He said Nigeria was one of India’s major exporter of crude oil, adding that both countries were exploring other areas of bilateral relations as this year also marked 60 years of diplomatic relations between both countries.

India is Nigeria’s second export trading partner after Netherlands, the value of trade with the Asian country accounted for 18.2 percent of the total value of goods exported from Nigeria in the first quarter of 2018, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

“We are looking at bringing more Indian companies here and looking at not just a buyer-seller arrangement but to do more investments.

“As of today, Indian companies have invested about 10 billion dollars and I think there are about 135 Indian companies in Nigeria.

“I can mention that Indian investments are in the field of pharmaceuticals, electrical manufacturing, assembly lines for automobiles particularly agricultural related,” he added.

Source: The Ripples

President Vladimir Putin of Russia said on Friday BRICS leaders were not ruling out the possibility of increasing the number of the bloc’s member states, but the decision on accepting more countries to the organisation should not be taken in a rush.
BRICS is the acronym coined by British Economist Jim O’Neill meant for an association of five
major emerging national economies: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
“The candidates have not backed out, on the contrary, they have demonstrated readiness and to work within BRICS as full-fledged members, but at today’s meeting in a small format all my colleagues approached accepting new members to BRICS with caution.
“However, they certainly do wish to work with other states and do not exclude the possibility of BRICS expansion,” Putin said at a news conference after the BRICS summit in South Africa.
Putin said that the expansion issue needs further discussions, as such a serious question could not be solved “in one fell swoop.”
He also said that all decisions are being taken on the basis of consensus.
“There is really no some kind of formal leadership. All issues are resolved, decisions are being taken on the basis of consensus, with full respect for the interests of all participants in this
organisation,” Putin said.
“This is its huge advantage,” the president said.
Source: Bloomberg News

Nigeria and India are making moves to explore opportunities in renewable energy development as part of the international agreements signed by both countries.Indian High Commissioner, Nagabhushana Reddy, at a Business meeting in Abuja, said the home government was committed to deriving at least 30 per cent of its power needs from renewable energy by 2030.

Reddy noted that exploring areas of cooperation in renewable energy would build on existing partnerships between both countries, especially as Nigeria, was member of the International Solar Alliance (ISA).

According to him, ISA intends to provide dedicated platform for cooperation among solar resource rich countries and mobilise $1 trillion funds for future solar generation, storage and technology across the world.He said: “We are opening a new chapter of India-Nigeria economic engagement by moving into the power sector relating to renewable energy. India had been present in Nigeria in the power sector mostly in the areas of distribution and transmission.”

Reddy also said that both countries would sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in the renewable sector to create a joint working group to develop projects for enhanced and effective collaboration.

Earlier, President of Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Kayode Adetokunbo, called on the Federal Government to harmonise policies on renewable energy to create single body for the implementation of relevant policies. Adetokunbo said: “There is no clarity in policies and we need all the advantages solar power and renewable energy can offer and put it in one agency that has multi-sectoral approach so that other relevant agencies can work together as a team.”

He added that promoting synergy among stakeholders would create jobs and fast track economic development in line with the government’s economic growth plan.A representative of Nigerian chapter of Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India, Rajneesh Gupta, said that there are ongoing enlightenment campaigns on promoting renewable energy in Nigeria.

He said: “Simba Solar has been educating Nigerians on renewable energy technologies, and how it can deliver value. We are also training electricians and budding entrepreneurs that can key into these technologies to the end users.”“Electricity generation is fluctuating this year, peaking 5,090megawatts as government continued to show determination to produce an energy mix with 30 per cent component of renewable energy out of the gross energy produced by 2030.”


Source: The Guardian

Experts at the 52nd African Development Bank Annual Meetings, which started Monday in Ahmedabad, India, have identified the missing links to building a strong trade and investment relationship that will lead to sustainable development in India and Africa.

Those missing links are the inability of African countries to exploit the preferential trade agreements provided by India; the need for capacity-building of small and business enterprises in Africa to bring out their real potential; using technology to leapfrog development in many sectors like education; and the inability of Indian financial institutions to push credit facilities to banks in Africa.

Manoj Dwivedi, Indian Administrative Service (IAS) Joint Secretary, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Department of Commerce, Government of India, highlighted the four missing links when he address the audience at a panel session on African India Co-operation entitled: “Exploring Diversity: Promoting Trade and Investment”. He was joined by Admassu Tadesse, President and Chief Executive of Eastern and Southern African Trade and Development Bank (TDB), who said that his bank has been opening up to India for support it with credit facilities but it has not taken the opportunity.

“It’s time to consolidate our trade agreement preferably with trade blocs such as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS),” said Dwivedi, adding that out of 21 countries, which offered duty-free partnership 11 of them have not subscribed to it.

Mahmood Mansoor, Executive Secretary of Comesa Clearing House, Zimbabwe, who was a participant at the session, concurred. Mansoor insisted that only India can address the problem.

Other panelists included David Rasquinha, Managing Director, Export-Import Bank of India; Sfiso Buthelezi, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Finance, Republic of South Africa; Abdoulaye Fall, Vice-President, Operations, ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development.

India and Africa have had robust trade relations. Bilateral trade between them has risen around five-fold in the decade from US $11.9 billion in 2005-2006 to US $56.7 billion in 2015-2016. The rapid growth in bilateral trade flows has come about because both Indian and African Governments have systematically brought down the barriers to seamless bilateral trade flows, by dismantling various tariff and non-tariff barriers. Private sectors in both regions have been at the helm of various trade promotion and facilitation initiatives.

According to a theme paper on “Africa-India Cooperation 2017: Partnerships to Industrialise and Move Africa up the Value Chains”, India has steadily opened up its markets to African exports. The result is that Africa’s trade surplus with India has increased rapidly, albeit driven in large part by a narrow range of suppliers and commodities. Consequently, today India’s export to Africa have increased almost four-fold from US $7 billion in 2005-2006 to US $25 billion in 2015-2016, accounting for 9.5 percent share in India’s total exports.

Conversely, India’s imports from Africa, increased seven-fold from US $4.9 billion in 2005-2006 to US $31.7 billion in 2015-2016, accounting for 8.3 percent share in India’s imports total imports. India’s imports from Africa grew at an annual average of 29.8 percent during 2005-2006 to 2015-2016, as against India’s exports to Africa that grew at an annual average of 15.9 percent during the same period.


Read  more - African Development Bank (AfDB) Group website. 

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