Wall Street Gets Google Lift in S&P's Worst Week Since November

0 0
Read Time:4 Minute, 20 Second

Stocks rose on Friday as earnings from Google (GOOG.O) and other companies lifted tech shares, but the gains weren't enough to stop the S&P 500 from suffering its worst week since November.
High volatility marked the week, with the S&P 500 falling 2.3 percent on Monday in its worst day since November 7, which fueled talk that the market's long-awaited pullback had arrived.

Friday's trading volume, at 6.4 billion, was the lowest of the week, but in line with the average for the year. Much of Boston, a major U.S. financial center and home to a number of the country's biggest mutual fund companies, was under virtual lockdown as police killed one suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing in a shootout and mounted house-to-house searches for a second man, reports Reuters.
For the week, the S&P 500 ended down 2.1 percent but the index managed a finish above its 50-day moving average after ending below that level on Thursday for the first time this year.

Boosting the S&P 500 on Friday were shares of Google, which gained 4.4 percent to $799.87 a day after posting upbeat results. At least six brokerage firms have raised their target on Google's stock price.

The Dow finished barely in positive territory, held back by shares of International Business Machines (IBM.N), which posted their largest drop in eight years after the company's quarterly results missed estimates. IBM's stock ended down 8.3 percent at $190.
"Unless there's a shock to the system, investors will move back into the market as we head through earnings season, but now investors have an opportunity to study the winners and losers more closely," said Michael Sheldon, chief market strategist at RDM Financial in Westport, Connecticut.

The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI rose 10.37 points, or 0.07 percent, to 14,547.51 at the close. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index .SPX gained 13.64 points, or 0.88 percent, to finish at 1,555.25. The Nasdaq Composite Index .IXIC rose 39.69 points, or 1.25 percent, to close at 3,206.06.

For the week, the Dow slid 2.1 percent, while the Nasdaq lost 2.7 percent. Markets were roiled earlier in the week by the plunge in gold prices and slower growth out of China, the world's second-largest economy.
Still, the S&P 500 remains up about 9 percent for the year, and analysts said the pullback could give investors a chance to reevaluate their bets.

Options volume began the day unusually light for expiration day, which is typically a heavily traded session, as traders focused on developments in Boston. But trading in options picked up as the day progressed and ended near average levels.

The Boston situation "does disrupt activity. If you're a financial adviser, you're probably not having meetings today. But in terms of a corporate entity, most of the big ones in the city are probably operating pretty normally," said John Canally, investment strategist and economist at the Boston office of LPL Financial, which is the nation's largest independent broker-dealer.
On last month's expiration day, overall volume spiked to 8.6 billion shares traded, the busiest day of the year so far, but expiry days in January and February had volume of just 6.7 billion to 6.8 billion shares.

Among other tech gainers, shares of Microsoft MSFT. jumped 3.4 percent to $29.77 and topped the Nasdaq's most-active list after the company reported quarterly revenue and earnings that exceeded Wall Street's expectations.

Shares of Boeing Co (BA.N) gained 2.1 percent to $87.96 after U.S. regulators approved a revamped battery system for its 787 Dreamliner. The jet was grounded in January because the plane's lithium-ion batteries overheated.

Less-than-stellar earnings from McDonald's (MCD.N) and General Electric (GE.N) also weighed on the blue chips.
GE shares fell 4.1 percent to $21.75 after the conglomerate reported a quarterly profit in line with expectations as GE sold more jet engines and shed its stake in NBC Universal. The stock topped the New York Stock Exchange's list of most actively traded names.
McDonald's stock lost 2 percent to $99.92 after the world's biggest fast-food chain reported a first-quarter profit that fell short of Wall Street's expectations and said sales at established U.S. restaurants fell 1.2 percent.

Friday's volume totaled 6.4 billion shares traded on the New York Stock Exchange, the Nasdaq and the NYSE MKT, in line with the average daily closing volume of 6.4 billion this year.

Advancers outnumbered decliners on the New York Stock Exchange by a ratio of about 11 to 4, while on the Nasdaq, nearly 17 stocks rose for every eight that fell.

About Post Author

Anthony-Claret Ifeanyi Onwutalobi

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
Happy
0 0 %
Sad
0 0 %
Excited
0 0 %
Sleepy
0 0 %
Angry
0 0 %
Surprise
0 0 %

Luis Suarez the vampire!

0 0
Read Time:22 Second

Check out Liverpool striker Luis Suarez sinking his teeth in Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic during their 2-2 draw at Anfield on Sunday.

The Reds striker scored a late equaliser as the Merseyside club twice came from behind to secure a draw with the Blues at Anfield.

The match was marred though by an incident of, what appeared to be, biting by the Uruguayan hitman against Ivanovic during the 73rd minute.

SOURCE: talksport

About Post Author

Anthony-Claret Ifeanyi Onwutalobi

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
Happy
0 0 %
Sad
0 0 %
Excited
0 0 %
Sleepy
0 0 %
Angry
0 0 %
Surprise
0 0 %

Customs: The Many Sides of Self-Imposed N1.4Trillion Revenue Target

0 0
Read Time:7 Minute, 38 Second

Importers, freight  forwarders lament  coercion and imposition of high duties through issuance of Debit Notes (DNs)  by officers of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) in a bid to meet the   self-imposed revenue target of N1.4trillion  on the Service for this year as against N1trillion by the Federal Government, reports  Francis Ugwoke

For the  management of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), the  past few years have  been    true  demonstration of commitment to  national economic development.  The Service has in the past two years set out to impose  revenue targets that  are above the figures given by the government.   In 2012,  the Service was given a revenue target of N800bn, but it  sent out words to various commands  given them a target of N1.2trillion. At the end of the year, the Service  surpassed the target given by the government with a revenue generation of N870billion. However, it failed to meet the N1.2 trillion target. This year,   government based on the good outing last year  increased the target  to N1trillion.

Expectedly, the management of the Customs  again  set a target of N1.4trillion, N400billion more than that  given by the government.  Indications are that the Customs is targeting at least to  realise more than N1trillion. But the  targets  have been  given different  interpretations by stakeholders, apparently because of the negative implication on  international traders where the money is  coming  from. Each year of revenue target comes with stern measures that will make  international trade difficult, one of the reasons why importers, exporters and their freight forwarders have been bitter  with the  Customs management on revenue targets. Last year, the  management of the Service was said to have imagined  the trade volume  for the year and  imposed   a duty benchmark  on  very category of import. This  was first to check  undervaluation  as well as  to ease  duty collection at the ports. If the  policy was  not dropped  by the Presidency following outcry from importers and concerned freight forwarders, the Customs would have  probably been  able to realise  more than its  target, top officials had boasted to THISDAY.   Government had  cancelled  the policy since  it was against  fair practice in the system which requires assessment of duties based on   value declared  by the importer which  is a combination of a number of  variables, including the  country of import, pricing regime and quality of the  items. The duty benchmark was  such that no matter which country  a container of  any particular goods came from,   there is a fixed rate  of duty  for such items.

Politics of Revenue Target
The current trend in the industry is that the cargo traffic is low, a development which the General Manager, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Capt. Iheanacho Ebubeogu  attributed to  the global economic recession. Ebubeogu said that the poor cargo traffic report  was simply a reaction to the general global economic trends, particularly the situation in Europe, adding that it has nothing to do with ports efficiency or security crises, including the piracy menace on Nigeria’ s territorial waters and Boko Haram  nightmare . Ebubeogu was reacting to  views from industry watchers  who had also attrributed the poor traffic to diversion of cargoes to neighbouring countries   in protest against  high shipping charges by the terminal operators  and shipping lines in the country. However, critics of the Customs revenue target said that the management failed to consider dwindling  traffic in the ports  while giving express  order to  Commands to   meet  high revenue targets. The critics accuse the management of playing to the gallery as a way of trying to please some top officials  at the detriment of  Nigerian importers. A visit to the ports indicates lamentations from  freight forwarders whose importers have lost  their consignments as a result of  imposition of high duties,  terminal and shipping charges.  The  result is that so many of them are waiting to negotiate with relevant offices to get them back as auction award  after heavy ‘settlement’ that will go to private pockets.  Those who are unlucky will lose their goods.
Revenue Targets  as Nightmare to  Importers
Freight forwarders who spoke to THJISDAY said that the implication of revenue targets given to various commands in the  country is that  importers are forced to  pay   duties  not based on    the value of their imports  but  on what the  Valuation Officers feel is appropriate. Although  the  issue of duty benchmark is rested officially,   freight forwarders are lamenting that this is being implemented by   some officers in  other ways. They  point to the   issuance of Debit Notes (DNs)  to  most importers   on every consignment  which duty had been calculated by the Destination Inspection Agents (DIAs). A  one time top official of   the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN)   told THISDAY that  this attitude by the Customs leadership  to please the government  was responsible why some leaders of  associations of customs agents decided late last year to support the extension of the contract of the DIAs at a time that Customs had prepared to take over. According to him, there may still be another extension.

He  said “the  present  management of Customs  is  milking importers dry in order to please  government. That is why there is high cost of living because the importers  in an attempt to recover money  spent at the ports  raise  prices of their goods  either as finished products or raw materials”.  He  said that the management of the Customs need to understand that  value of goods either in  40ft  or 20 ft containers cannot be the same   even if such items come from the same country, adding that this was  the point that led to the suspension of duty benchmark.

Other Benefits  Side  of Revenue Targets
As much as  revenue target is being criticized,  industry watchers say  it is one strong measure that can really  check  a lot of malpractices  in the system.  A retired customs officer who  pleaded anonymity said that  it forces commands to wake up to their responsibilities. According to him, officers will be careful negotiating  ‘settlement’  for private pockets   when revenue targets are yet to be met.  He said that officers expecting  so much  from importers or their customs agents  who have problem of  undervaluation will understand that  they cannot insist on  settlement when appropriate duties have been collected through  the issuance of DNs, a development he said leads to more revenue yields  for commands.

He added that  importers  who  are apprehensive of the stern measure of the Customs  on appropriate revenue  payment try  as much as possible  not to  undervalue   through fictitious invoices or simply under-declaration or concealment   since such fraudulent  practices would be discovered during  examination and DNs raised on such goods.

Stakeholders Demand Caution on Revenue Target
Importers  and  freight forwarders who spoke to  THISDAY cautioned the Customs against arbitrariness  in their statutory responsibility.  Freight forwarders  who believe that  the target is unrealizable because of the low economic trend that has impacted negatively  on international trade  warned customs against  imposition of DNs  that will end up wiping the gains  of importers .

They    said that   Nigerian consumers  will be the ones that will suffer the effect as importers will attempt  to raise prices  of such goods   in order not to be at loss. A freight forwarder, Chief  John Odibo  told  THISDAY  that many  importers have abandoned their goods at the ports  because of the  amount being demanded by the  Customs as DN , adding that this is not the  best  for the country.  Odibo  said that some customs officers are using the issuance of  DNs as a  threat  and mainly to  extort them, adding that many importers  in apprehension of losing their goods have  been victims.

About Post Author

Anthony-Claret Ifeanyi Onwutalobi

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
Happy
0 0 %
Sad
0 0 %
Excited
0 0 %
Sleepy
0 0 %
Angry
0 0 %
Surprise
0 0 %

NIGERIA: Labour Not at Ease over Cost Cutting Measures

0 0
Read Time:8 Minute, 13 Second

Recent plans by various economic players to cut costs are giving labour leaders sleepless nights amid the air of uncertainty pervading the work place, reports Festus Akanbi

One employer of labour who recently experienced the fury of its employees is Aero Contractors, a major player in the nation’s aviation sector.  Although the 16-day crisis between the airline and its staff has been resolved, observers said the loss suffered by Aero Contractors while the crisis lasted cannot be forgotten in a hurry.

The crisis, which was triggered off by the cost cutting measures adopted by the airline, was brought to an end only when the two parties reached a truce brokered by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Aviation, Senator Hope Uzodinma.

At the end of the negotiation, Aero management recalled sacked staff (655 out of about 1,200) as demanded by the striking workers. The dispute saw Aero ground operations for about three weeks with revenue losses in excess of N500 million.

Labour sources hinted last week that apart from the aviation industry, other sectors of the economy likely to witness implosions by their aggrieved workers include banking and manufacturing.  The fear of labour disharmony is underscored by the ongoing banking sector reform, which has left on its trail unprecedented job losses in banks.

Purge in Banks
In banks, a combination of pressure from the Central Bank of Nigeria on the one hand, and the increasingly difficult environment on the other hand has made it abundantly necessary for banks to review their operations. In most cases, when this is done, it is human resources that usually take the heat.

Ironically, the so-called reform has not reflected in the labour practices of the banks, a situation that has seen bank and financial workers not only overexploited but also subjected to job uncertainty.

THISDAY investigation showed that apart from employees affected in the various rationalisation exercises, some of the lucky ones that are able to retain their positions in the affected banks are compelled to work under unfavourable conditions. The seriousness of the situation, according to a source, explains the decision of banks to subscribe to outsourcing of some categories of services hitherto undertaken by employees directly employed by the institutions.
In banks, apart from those manning the marketing department of these financial institutions, who have very difficult targets to meet in terms of deposit placement, some bank workers especially those at back office, are made to put in extra working hours which may spread till weekend.

For instance, Access Bank Plc recently lay off about 1000 of its staff, who according to sources, could not scale through the stringent conditions spelt out by the bank. Some of the affected staff were those said to have failed to meet the targets set by the bank.

THISDAY checks also showed that some organisations including banks are beginning to cut some perks of office. For instance, some banks are said to be planning to phase out the issue of staff bus service in order to cut cost. While banks are reviewing the transportation arrangement with their staff, some manufacturing companies have long ago withdrew transportation services from the list of incentives for their employees.

Spokesperson for the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Ugo Okoroafor told THISDAY that the apex bank could not frown at banks for the pressure on their staff to meet the new thresholds for customers’ deposit. This, according to him, is because, as a profit oriented institutions with responsibility to their shareholders, banks would like to make profits at the end of each financial year.

ASSBIFI Kicks
However, the National President of Association of Senior Staff of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions (ASSBIFI), Mr. Sunday Salako, traced the unfavourable labour relations in banks to the banking sector reforms initiated by the current leadership of the CBN.

“We are not against the reforms in the banking sector but the area of mass sack of our members is giving us a serious concern. Any reform that is aimed at cutting jobs is not a good one especially in Africa,” Salako argued.
He recalled that before the latest reforms, the banking sector was the second highest employer of labour after government.

On the issue of eradication of some perks of office including free transport services to staff, the ASBIFFI President said companies are justified to cut its costs in view of the reality of the nation’s economy.
He said members of his association cannot raise any eyebrows on the issue, given the fact that as senior staff, they are entitled to car loans, explaining that it does not make sense for a senior staff to be asking for free transportation services.

However, he lamented what he described as stringent condition of service in banks. He frowned on a situation where bank staff works round the clock even at weekend. “Bank staffs are made to work even at weekends as if their lives depend on it,” he said.

Nigerian Workers at the Receiving End
Labour analysts said the problem of Nigerian workers is compounded by the government policies on divestment as the right of the workers are seldom put to the front burner during negotiations between old and new owners.
Recently, the National Executive Council of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) condemned the National Oil Corporation of Brazil, which operates in the country’s oil and gas sector as Petrobras Nigeria Limited, for maltreating its employees.

In a statement last month, PENGASSAN criticised the company for locking out Nigerian employees “under the excuse of furthering the divestment of its stake in some Nigerian oil blocs valued at N795 billion.” It said, “Petrobras, as a corporate personality, including its management in Nigeria, must respect due process and rule of law and ensure that the parent body of the organised labour in Petrobras, which is PENGASSAN, is adequately engaged in accordance with the provisions of our extant national and labour laws, and the industry best practices before the planned divestment is finalised and as part of the process of consummating due diligence on Petrobras.”

According to the association, such exercise goes a long way in minimising the incidence of contingent liabilities and hindrances for the divesting company and the divestee that would acquire Petrobras assets and portfolios in Nigeria.

PENGASSAN explained that before it decided to issue a statement on the issue, efforts were made by its national secretariat, which engaged the top management of the company, to address the matter.

It added that even though it severally advised the Managing Director of Petrobras against undermining due process, rule of law and industry practice, he seemed bent on doing so, “ostensibly to his own peril and to the detriment of the new company that will acquire its stake in the Nigeria oil and gas industry.”  PENGASSAN warned that it would not be taken “for a ride.”

Violation of Workers’ Right
In March last year, the Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO) urged the Federal Government to investigate the alleged maltreatment of some Nigerians working in some foreign-owned companies in the country.

The leadership of the Akwa Ibom chapter of CLO said that in light of the rising cases of the maltreatment of Nigerians working in such firms, such investigation was considered very imperative.

The organisation cited the China Civil Engineering and Construction Corporation (CCECC) as one of the firms that was known for the gross violation of the rights of Nigerian workers.

He alleged that the perceptible violations included verbal insults as well as singling out and overworking specific individuals. The CLO leadership stressed that due to the fact that these foreign companies provided the much-needed employment, people were often willing to overlook their aberrations regarding violation of the workers’ rights and work ethics.

There are other allegations regarding the misconduct of foreign companies, particularly with regard to how expatriate workers were being given preferential treatment in the workplace.

Besides, concerned observers note that there have been complaints about enhanced remuneration for the foreign workers, who are also given residential quarters and official cars, while they are often allowed to go on their annual leave at their convenience.

On the contrary, the Nigerian workers in these firms are not allowed to enjoy similar privileges, while they are often laid off impulsively and indiscriminately.

Analysts, however, contend that whenever specialists are brought into a country, their pay package should reflect their skills, while it should also take into cognizance the fact that they were now working in a completely different country.

Some of the analysts are, nonetheless, quick to point out that there are enough qualified citizens who can easily be trained to perform the jobs which most of these foreigners are brought in to do.

Some business owners said the high cost of doing business in the country might be responsible for the harsh operating environment in the country.

In what looked like a response to the outcry against high cost of doing business, the Federal Government recently approved the downward review of the cost of business registration at the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) from N50, 000 to N15, 000.

The Minister of Trade and Investment Olusegun Aganga said the review was designed to make Nigeria highly competitive in line with international best practices. The NIPC’s Assistant Director/ Head, Media and Publicity, Joel Attah, said the downward review is in line with the desire of the federal government to improve the country’s competitiveness rating in doing business.

“It is also a very bold attempt at lowering the cost of doing business in Nigeria. This is expected to substantially enhance the country’s national competitiveness as a foreign direct investment destination,” he said.

About Post Author

Anthony-Claret Ifeanyi Onwutalobi

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
Happy
0 0 %
Sad
0 0 %
Excited
0 0 %
Sleepy
0 0 %
Angry
0 0 %
Surprise
0 0 %

Heritage Bank: Offering Free COT Services as Unique Selling Point

0 0
Read Time:7 Minute, 15 Second

Generally, financial institutions rely heavily on fees and commissions to prop up their operating profits and also to meet their day to day operations.

These charges which range from fees for administrative, verification, Automated Teller Machine (ATM), Commission on Turnover (COT), among others, are commonly seen as being burdensome by customers.

However, the COT charges which is mostly charged on current accounts transaction is a veritable source of income to banks.

But in order to enhance its financial inclusion drive, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) recently outlined plans to gradually phase-out the  COT charged current account holders by 2016.

Specifically, the central bank directed all banks to reduce COT from its current rate of N3 to N2 by 2014, N1 by 2015 and   banks are not expected to charge for COT on current account transactions by 2016. The policy became effective since April 1.

It explained that COT applies to customer-induced debit transactions on current account, even as it warned commercial banks not to charge COT on “returned outward clearing cheques, reversal on transactions and all bank-induced debits.” The CBN however pointed out that for loan repayment from current or savings account, COT is free.

But while other commercial banks in the country are still working out modalities on how to adjust to the central bank’s directive, the recently licensed Heritage Bank Limited has announced zero COT services to all its customers.

The offer which commenced on April 15, the bank also assured would not be accompanied with hidden charges.
Heritage Bank explained: “Our legacy remains to be at the forefront of events. We have done it in the past by introducing ATM to the country. We are at it again and have achieved this feat by taking the lead once again.
“Effective April 15th, 2013, Heritage Banking Company offers zero COT services. There shall be no hidden charges.”

According to the commercial bank, the move is to boost its deposit base, even as it assured of customer satisfaction.
“We must all be ready to serve customers as they come in their numbers. Customers can also enjoy interest on their accounts with certain maintained balance,” the bank assured.

The Business Plan
Heritage Bank which was created from the defunct Society Generale Bank (SGBN), opened its doors for business at the beginning of this quarter. The shareholding structure of the new bank showed that 80 per cent is owned by a core investor, nine per cent by Saraki family (owners of SGBN) and the remaining g 11 per cent by depositors of the bank.

The bank recently concluded a customer revalidation account exercise so as to carry customers of the defunct institution along. Heritage Bank had provided 13 designated centres across the country for customers of former SGBN to revalidate their accounts and collect instant cheques of the value outstanding in their accounts if desired.
The centres were in Lagos, Oyo, Kwara, Rivers, Delta, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Adamawa, Zamfara, Kaduna and FCT. The aim of the exercise according to the bank was to possibly pay all customers of the then SGBN.
Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Heritage Bank, Mr. Ifie Sekibo disclosed that the bank has so far opened three branches – two in Lagos and one at Ibadan.

Also, the Chairman, Heritage Bank, Mr. Akinsola Akinfemiwa, said, “We are going to be focusing majorly on Small and medium businesses to ensure that we boost their operation. We are not there to compete with the so called big banks; our services are going to be quite different from what other banks do. We will work closely with the small and medium businesses to nurture them to greater height. We will be enlightening them on her to keep proper books of accounting, how to manage their businesses and make them grow.

Continuing, he said, “Our services are going to be technology driven. We may not have many branches, but we are going to deploy technology to reach our customers. It should be noted that SGBN pioneered ATM which many thought will never work. But today it is working and making withdrawal easier for people. We are going to do same as we resume operation, our employees have been trained, we attach importance to technology, excellence, professionalism, innovation, dynamism, tenacity and solutions.”

Operating Structure
Heritage Bank which operates as a regional bank started operations with a capital base of N10 billion.
Sekibo explained: “We recapitalised to the tune of N12 billion, took up all liabilities and assets of the bank and found some form of accommodation for depositors whose money has been trapped for 10 years. Our vision is simple and clear. Today, we might look quite new in the market, but our idea of what this bank should be is clear from day one.

“We want to be a bank that people will believe and know that generation banking is the way to go. When we say generation  banking, we are basically saying it is not enough to amass wealth and when you die, you write a Will and somebody carries the Will and walk away. They fight over your Will or whatever, lawyer spends some part of the Will money and we don’t know what is up.

“We want a situation where your life is a continuum of what legacy you left behind. At the end of the day, the true wealth we have is our name. So, we are trying to see if we can re-focus our clients to begin to think of it in that line; to say if I have to leave a name, what kind of name will I leave behind? That name should be the legacy.”

Rendering Support to Customers
Despite the stiff competition in the Nigerian banking industry, the Heritage Bank boss believes that the bank would break even.

Sekibo explained: “We have to get a customer to begin to believe in themselves; that if you say you can make water, then we as a bank will want to know whether you will be able to do it. If you have what it takes to do that, then we as a bank will help you with other things that would assist you make the water.

“Some time people think money is the main thing to get business right; money is not the main thing to get business right. The partners have to put other things right. Most banks would be ready to help you if you are prepaid to do things right. If you tell a bank that you have partners that have enough skills to do the business, then better.

“You need people that will help you market the product, accountant or cashier, engineers etc. Another thing is ownership structure; you should not allow your relation to do everything in the business. What is lacking in the Nigeria banking state seems to be that we are not willing to own up.”

He maintained that the bank would strive to satisfy operators in every sectors of the economy.
“We want to be everything such as managing director, chairman, accountant and so on. The Dangote that we are seeing today did not start big, but started somewhere because he disciplined himself. It will pay us if we do business by sharing responsibility. Our children will enjoy, our grandchildren will enjoy and the entire country will enjoy if the business grows,” he added.

Continuing, he added: “There are a lot of value and opportunities in the Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs). Most banks don’t have the skill to mentor this scale of business. Money is not the first thing to get business right; there are things that must be put in place first before money. So, we intend to work with the SMEs and nurture them so that as they grow, we also grow with them.

“When we created International Energy Insurance (IEI) Company, there was no known energy insurance company in this country. People thought it won’t be possible. We took engineers who are petroleum engineers and taught them insurance and grew that market size .It looked impossible, but it worked out. There are ordinary people like us who can strive to be better off tomorrow; that is one niche.
“We might be small today, but if we have 20 people like us growing gradually, then tomorrow, we will grow to become big companies and that is what we are saying, that we are ready to work with enterprises that are ready to grow with us.”

About Post Author

Anthony-Claret Ifeanyi Onwutalobi

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
Happy
0 0 %
Sad
0 0 %
Excited
0 0 %
Sleepy
0 0 %
Angry
0 0 %
Surprise
0 0 %

2013 Budget: Concern Grows over Revenue Leakages

0 0
Read Time:11 Minute, 4 Second

A combination of the growing theft of oil and decline in the remittance by the various government agencies is giving economy managers sleepless nights, as the prospect of full realisation of the 2013 budget projection looks dicey, reports Festus Akanbi

With the controversies that dogged the passage into law of the 2013 Appropriation Bill effectively laid to rest, economic experts believe Nigerians’ expectation of a speedy implementation of the financial document is justified. This, according to them, is in tandem with President Goodluck Jonathan’s promise to hit the ground running as far as the implementation of 2013 fiscal policies is concerned.

However, as the implementation of the budget rolled into the second quarter of the year, there are fears that some leakages in the system may put some strains on revenue generation with the attendant failure to meet the projections at the end of the year.

Depleted Purse
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) last week announced a drop in crude oil revenue of about $1.23 billion (N191 billion) due to a drop in crude oil production for the first quarter of 2013.
Also Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC) has shut down the Nembe Creek Trunkline (NCTL), deferring the production of 150,000 barrels of crude oil per day to repair leaks caused by crude oil thieves.

Daily crude oil production, which had stabilised at 2.4mbpd,  is said to have fluctuated between 2.1 and 2.3 million barrels per day (mbpd) compared with the projected estimate of 2.48mbpd.
The fall between actual production and forecast in first quarter 2013 had resulted in a drop in crude oil revenue of about $1.23 billion (N$191 billion) that should have accrued to the Federation Account.
The fear over dwindling revenue was also rekindled a fortnight ago at the sharing of N623.768 billion (statutory allocation) among the three tiers of government for the month of March by the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC).

Although the total mineral revenue of N518.389 billion received for the month exceeded the N486.671 billion realised for the previous month, receipt of arrears of sale of crude oil and gas helped boost collections for the month under review.

Notwithstanding, the net statutory allocation of N486.6 billion for the month still fell short of the budgeted amount, forcing a deduction of N123.308 billion from the Excess Crude Account (ECA) to make up for the shortfall. The ECA, which was created to provide succour during rainy days, currently stood at $7 billion.

Explaining the shortfall, Minister of State for Finance, Alhaji Yerima Ngama, had disclosed that crude oil production and lifting operations had decreased during the period as a result of the force majeure declared at Qua-Iboe and Brass terminals as well as the maintenance activities at Okono, Brass and Amenam terminals.
The minister also said the total non- mineral receipts of N77.319 billion for the month fell short of the budgeted amount of N158. 711 billion by N81.392 billion and also fell short of collections for February by N7.686 billion.
He said: “In total, the amount available for distribution is N595.708 billion, which is below the budgeted amount of N623.768 billion by N28.060 billion”.

Oil Pipeline Sabotage
Perhaps, the greatest fear came from the sabotage of the oil pipelines, which has continued to form the basis for oil companies to tinker with their production schedules.

According to a recent report by Bloomberg News, Exxon Mobil ended a supply warning on Qua Iboe oil exports it made on February 7 after two weeks. Shell on February 5 announced a force majeure on gas supplies to Nigeria LNG Limited, after thieves ruptured a pipeline.

At the height of militancy in 2009 by the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, oil companies declared force majeure 12 times. The figure, which dropped to four in 2010 after the government declared an amnesty for MEND fighters, went up again to 11 last year as thousands of former rebels who gave up their weapons returned to a life of crime.

“There have been growing opportunities for some of these organised criminal syndicates to operate with greater impunity,” Roddy Barclay, an analyst at Control Risks, a London-based business consulting group, told Bloomberg News. “Certainly some of the ex-militant actors that were engaged in the armed attacks against the oil industry are now also involved in the more criminally lucrative theft”.

But Petroleum Resources Minister Diezani Alison-Madueke recently explained that President Jonathan was seeking international assistance by approaching countries that receive stolen crude from Nigeria or where the proceeds are laundered to help close the loopholes.

The thefts cost the government $7 billion in revenue in 2011, about a quarter of this year’s national budget, according to the central bank.

Harvests of Force Majeures
In the first two months of this year alone, Royal Dutch Shell Plc and other oil companies have declared three force majeures, a legal clause that allows them to miss contracted deliveries due to circumstances beyond their control. The thefts threaten to outpace the worst year, 2009, at the height of the insurgency by militants in the Niger Delta.

Bloomberg quoted the Country chair/ managing director of Shell Petroleum Development Company Limited, Mr. Mutiu Sunmonu, as stating that: “The situation in the last few weeks is unprecedented.”
He said: “The volume being stolen is the highest in the last three years; over 60,000 barrels per day from Shell alone.”

The agency stated that Shell, Exxon Mobil Corporation, Chevron Corporation, Total SA and Eni SpA run joint ventures with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation that pump most of the country’s oil. Nigeria was the seventh-biggest producer in the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries last month, with output at about 2.1 million barrels a day.

The federal government recently charged 22 people, including 10 Indian nationals, with oil theft in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State capital, on January. 23. A 15-man Russian crew is also facing charges of weapons smuggling after their vessel was seized in waters in the oil region in October last year, with authorities alleging links with the oil gangs.

At least 7,000 improvised refineries dotting the delta were destroyed by troops in the past two years, Joseph Okogie, a navy spokesman, recently disclosed.
“Given the magnitude of the leakages, a more proactive and comprehensive approach is probably needed to curb oil theft,” Samir Gadio, a London-based emerging-markets strategist at Standard Bank Plc, said in an agency report.

Revenue Shortfalls Worry DMO
The Director-General, Budget Office of the Federation, Dr. Bright Okogu, who confirmed the government’s anxiety about the likely revenue shortfall, reportedly listed revenue challenges to also include non-full remittance by revenue generating agencies; taxes collection efficiency issues (Federal Inland Revenue Service, Nigerian Customs Service); pipeline vandalism and oil theft,” he said.

As in a further confirmation of this scenario, figures from the monthly allocations to the three tiers of government by the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee showed the country only realised N1.818tn as gross federally collected revenue in the first quarter of the year. A breakdown of the figure showed that N651.26bn was earned in January; N571.7billion in February while the month of March yielded N595.71 billion.

Threats to 2013 Budget
Analysts said going by the trend, Nigeria may only realise about N7.3tn for the 2013 fiscal year unless the revenue generating agencies step up their efforts.

Of the N11.34tn projected gross federally collectible revenue, the Federal Government is expected to retain N4.1tn made up of N2.358tn oil revenue and N1.742tn from non-oil sources.

The N1.742tn non-oil revenue is expected to be generated as follows: Value Added Tax- N127.05bn; Companies’ Income Tax- N457.12bn; Customs- N412.90bn; independent revenue- N455.78bn; Federal Government’s balance of special accounts- N28.02bn, and unspent balance of the previous year- N261.21bn.
Of the revenue, the Federal Government alone is expected to spend N4.987tn made up of N2.386tn for non-debt recurrent expenditure, while capital expenditure will gulp N1.621tn.

A report of an investigation conducted by the House of Representative Committee on Finance showed that about 60 agencies considered as major revenue earners either spent the money they collected on their operations or simply failed to remit it to the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federal Government.

The committee report revealed, for instance, that out of the N3.06tn the agencies generated in 2009, only N46.8bn or 1.53 per cent was remitted to the government. In 2010, the sum of N3.07tn was generated but only N54.1bn or 1.76 per cent was remitted. For 2011, the generated figure was N3.17tn, out of which N73.8bn or 2.33 per cent was remitted.  The report added that out of the N189bbn expected to have been remitted as of October 2012; only N80bn was remitted, leaving a shortfall of N109bn.

In all, the committee found out that the total remittance to government for the three years was a paltry N254.7bn out of the total N9.4tn revenue generated.  According to figures reeled out by the Petroleum Products Marketing Company Limited and Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, N190bn was lost to pipeline vandals between 2011 and 2012.

Details of the loss showed that while revenues loss to crude oil theft decreased substantially within the period, those lost to theft of refined products, however, increased substantially.
In 2011, pipeline vandalism for the theft of crude resulted in the loss of N90bn, while theft of refined products resulted in the loss of N20bn in the same year.

Risks to Targeted Revenue
However, in his reaction to the emerging scenario, Head, Research and Intelligence, BGL Plc, Mr. Olufemi Ademola, said the situation would be worse unless the authorities moved swiftly to arrest the tide of sabotage to the economy.

He noted that a “significant portion of our national revenue comes from oil. The 2013 budget in which oil revenue accounted for 70% of total revenue is premised on oil production of 2.53million barrels per day (mbpd) and benchmark price of $79/barrel.

“Apart from the potential for download volatility in oil price which can affect the revenue, production shortfall due to downtime, insurgence/vandalism and theft are the major risks to meeting the target revenue.

“In the first quarter of 2013, despite the stable international oil price and the Naira exchange rate, total revenue to government was estimated at about N1.8 trillion; grossly below the budgeted figure of N2.84 trillion (based on the annual budget of N11.34 trillion). “The shortfall was blamed on production losses due to pipeline vandalisation and oil theft, and plants shutdown. In addition, non-full remittance by revenue generating agencies and taxes collection efficiency issues with FIRS and Nigerian Customs Services were partly responsible for the revenue shortfall. If this trend continues till the end of the year 2013, total revenue collected could amount to less than 70% of the budget; leading to increased borrowing to cover for the revenue gap and further worsening our debt situation and increasing macroeconomic risk. So, I will say that the fears are very real.”

FG up to the Task
In spite of the severity of the situation, Ademola believe the “Federal government is clearly capable of halting the negative trend. However, it will take a strong resolve by the government to tackle the problem. Since the causes of the shortfall are known, developing strategies to tackle the problems shouldn’t be difficult. Oil theft, especially in the delta areas, is not a new development. However, the brazen manner in which the perpetrators are now carrying out their activities is a serious concern. While the situation in the oil producing areas requires careful handling, it should be dealt with resolutely.

“There is need for increased effectiveness in policing the pipelines and oil installations and probably adopting the strategy of licensing the illegal oil refineries in the creeks and thus bringing them onto the mainstream. Government should also ensure increased transparent oversight of all revenue generating agencies and enforcement of strict adherence to fiscal governance rules and provisions in MDAs’ operation.”

How Serious is the Situation?
The BGL officer explained that, “On the surface the situation is very serious. The shortfall in the revenue for the first quarter was N1.02 trillion. This is being supported by the excess crude account and borrowing. The budgeted amount for borrowing in 2013 is N577 billion of which N285 billion has been borrowed in the first quarter.

The planned borrowing for April 2013 is N104.8 billion; leaving only N187.2 billion for remaining 8 months.
The implication is that the buffer to revenue from borrowing is seriously limited. However, this is just 3 months into the fiscal year and a lot can change before the year ends. Nonetheless, it will require deliberate corrective actions from the government to reverse the situation.”

About Post Author

Anthony-Claret Ifeanyi Onwutalobi

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
Happy
0 0 %
Sad
0 0 %
Excited
0 0 %
Sleepy
0 0 %
Angry
0 0 %
Surprise
0 0 %

ALSCON: Rusal Fights Back, Disputes Alleged Insolvency

0 0
Read Time:4 Minute, 0 Second

In its first public reaction to allegations of financial mismanagement and criminal devaluation of the Aluminum Smelter Company of Nigeria (ALSCON), UC Rusal, the current operator of the plant, has described the accusations as misleading and incorrect.

The sale of ALSCON to Rusal had been nullified by the Supreme Court in a July 6, 2012 ruling, which ordered that the company be handed over to US-based firm-BFI Group because it originally won the bid to acquire the plant before it was sidelined and ALSCON was awarded to Russia’s Rusal.

But, since the apex court directive, the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) and BFIG had been at loggerheads over the execution of the Share Purchase Agreement (SPA) as the latter had refused to pay the initial $410 million-price for ALSCON because it believed the company had been criminally devalued.
The crisis between BFIG and the privatisation agency had resulted in the cancelation of the sale offer to the former, prompting the duo to again resort to the apex court for the second time to resolve the issue.

BFIG had claimed that Rusal had consciously devalued ALSCON form $1.2 billion in 2006 to only about $89 million as at 2011. It said recently that it had directed its legal council to petition the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other related Offences Commission (ICPC) to probe Rusal to that effect.

Also, a KPMG audited report of 2011 had indicated that the company might be bankrupt amid rising short term loans value against the company’s declining asset value.

The audited report also indicated that the management had jettisoned the apex bank ruling by not mentioning the development in its financial statement to its shareholders.
Before now, Rusal had often refrained from making public statements on ALSCON arguing that issues were pending before the court of law.

It recently announced that it had temporarily suspended production at the plant owing to the uncertainty of the legal owner of the company as well as power related issues.

But its Spokesman Tatyana Smirnova told THISDAY over the weekend that contrary to media reports, Rusal was not insolvent and had invested about N11 billion (about $ 79.28 million) into fixed assets from 2007 to 2011.
Giving a breakdown of its financial commitments in equipment, machinery, and facilities, she said in 2007 it invested N4.87 billion (US$34.81 million; 2008 – N4.81 billion (US$34.39 million); 2009 – N0.53 billion (US$3.81 million); 2010 – N0.60 billion (US$4.34 million); and N0.27 billion (US$1.935 million) in 2011.

She added that, “The false statements which have emerged in the mass media about the possible existence of a plot by the management of ALSCON, owned by the Russian Company UC RUSAL, to strip the enterprise of its assets by announcing them as obsolete are completely groundless and defamatory.”

She said: “Information about the insolvency of ALSCON, in respect to ensuring the redemption of borrowed funds is false. ALSCON has in its possession officially certified letters from its shareholder, Dayson Holding, which state that Dayson Holding is not planning to recuperate loans previously granted to ALSCON while Dayson Holding remains its main shareholder. In accordance with the conditions of the loan agreements, Dayson Holding has granted loans to ALSCON totaling US$159.4 million as of the 1st of January 2013, allowing ALSCON to develop.”

Smirnova, also described as groundless, allegations that it had been granted a $120 million loan by information that the Nigerian Government for the purpose of dredging the Imo/Okpobo river.

On the allegation that it had unnecessarily classified some of the equipment as obsolete without proof, she said, “The spare parts and equipment that is worth N5.9 billion and the availability of which is mentioned in some publications, constitute an inventory stock of extended shelf life items. At the time of preparation of the administrative reporting for 2011, work for the identification of the spare parts and equipment had commenced and completion took place at the end of 2012 in accordance with the agreed schedule. These reports are available and will be submitted to the KPMG auditors, to be added to the report for 2012.”

She said: “No assets of the enterprise were divested. In order to implement the plans for the enhancement of production output, during the period from 2007 to 2012, ALSCON’s storeroom supplies were increased by RUSAL from N4.87 billion (US$34.78 million) to N8.4 billion (US$60 million). This means that the value of the plant in terms of its inventory stock and fixed assets increased by N3.53 billion (US$24.2 million).”

About Post Author

Anthony-Claret Ifeanyi Onwutalobi

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
Happy
0 0 %
Sad
0 0 %
Excited
0 0 %
Sleepy
0 0 %
Angry
0 0 %
Surprise
0 0 %

Inflation Rate: Odds Still Against Lower Interest Rates, Say Experts

0 0
Read Time:5 Minute, 1 Second

The recent downward trend in the current inflation figure notwithstanding, informed economic players have argued against the call for lower interest rates as the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Monetary Policy Committee meets next month.
According to the National Bureau of Statistics, inflation eased from 9.5 percent in February to 8.6 percent in March, the lowest in almost five years, as the impact of higher fuel prices a year ago fell out of the calculation.

However, analysts of the positive economic trend told THISDAY at the weekend that given the unsustainability of the current inflation rate, the pressure on the CBN to cut interest rates at the next MPC meeting is unjustifiable.
The pessimism over the likelihood of a cut in the rates was informed by the realisation that the latest inflation rate may not be a true reflection of the current situation since the fall was due to a substantial base effect (last year, in March, core inflation accelerated to 15% y/y from 11.9% in Feb 2012).

The base effect relates to inflation in the corresponding period of the previous year, if the inflation rate was too low in the corresponding period of the previous year, even a smaller rise in the Price Index will arithmetically give a high rate of inflation now.

On the other hand, if the price index had risen at a high rate in the corresponding period of the previous year and recorded high inflation rate, a similar absolute increase in the price index now will show a lower inflation rate.
In her reaction to the latest figures from the NBS, Regional Head of Economics, Africa, Standard Chartered Bank Razia Khan said emerging fundamentals in the national and global economic scenes do not support the anticipated calls for a rate cut.

She said: “No doubt, the better-than-expected print – which reflects in part the overall stability in the foreign exchange rate seen in recent months – will lead to new calls for interest rate easing.  Should the improvement in inflation be sustained, then the risk of any easing is certainly higher.

“However, the recent decline in the oil price remains a key risk factor.  With Bonny light (which trades closely to Brent) now below $ 100/bbl, investors are likely to be paying very close attention to Nigeria’s oil sensitivity. Any emergence of pressure on the FX rate might complicate the inflation outlook, and keep the CBN on hold a while longer. “

The Standard Chartered chief said there is need to watch the patterns of excess crude account disbursement and the political scene before the CBN rushes to any decision on the rate given the likelihood of politicians to throw money around in preparation for the 2015 election, a development which she feared could put pressure on the nation’s currency, the naira.

“A second risk factor relates to the price outlook once the substantial base effect has run its course.  Although current Federal government spending plans envisage a modest increase in spending overall in 2013, the recently higher frequency of ECA disbursements still bears watching. Any sign that the political risk cycle has returned to Nigeria ahead of 2015 will require additional caution from the central bank.  In other words, policy shouldn’t just be about the inflation outlook in the next month or two – the outlook on a two-year horizon should arguably be more important.  The case for sustained easing may not yet be that clear-cut,” she suggested.

Similar sentiment was expressed by the Managing Director, Financial Derivatives Limited, Mr. Bismarck Rewane, who described the 8.6 percent figure released by the statistics bureau as unsustainable.
“The 8.6 percent inflation rate for the month of March is not sustainable because the rate will rise gradually when the figures for the month of April are ready because the base year is already over.
“We also need to note that apart from the fall in oil price at the international market, crude oil production has also reduced,” he said.

In her reaction, Renaissance Capital’s Sub-Saharan Africa Economist Yvonne Mhango said, “Weak credit growth and the softening of inflation in 1Q13 may add to arguments to cut the MPR and/or reduce the cash reserve requirement at the next MPC meeting in May. However, the slowdown in the buildup of foreign exchange reserves in recent weeks, downside risks to oil production and the recent drop in the international oil price, have increased the risk to the naira and are likely to keep the MPC from easing policy in the near term. Our YE13 MPR projection is 11%.

“We think the slowdown in inflation in March was largely due to a high base effect rather than smaller price increases. This slowdown was largely broad-based – food inflation slowed to 9.5% YoY in March (vs 11.0% YoY in February), while core inflation (which strips out farm produce) dropped to 7.2% YoY, from 11.2% YoY. The sharper slowdown in core inflation was partly due to a fall in clothing and footwear prices,” she said.

Head, Research and Intelligence, BGL Plc, Mr. Olufemi Ademola, explained that, “the reduction in inflation is still significantly due to the base effect of higher inflation in 2012. However, unlike the earlier months in 2013, the moderation in all categories of inflation suggest underlying decline in prices in real term. This development would have necessitated a reversal of the tight monetary policy but the expanding monetary aggregates, rising pressures on Naira exchange rate and threats to fiscal sustainability would prevent such action.”

The CBN has kept its benchmark policy rate at a record 12 percent for nine consecutive meetings to keep prices in check and bolster the naira. The inflation rate has been below 10 percent, matching the central bank’s target, for three consecutive months.

About Post Author

Anthony-Claret Ifeanyi Onwutalobi

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
Happy
0 0 %
Sad
0 0 %
Excited
0 0 %
Sleepy
0 0 %
Angry
0 0 %
Surprise
0 0 %

The Temple of Justice Has Been Desecrated, Says Amaechi

0 0
Read Time:3 Minute, 39 Second

Rivers State Governor, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Amaechi, has described the April 15 verdict delivered by Justice Ishaq Bello of the Abuja High Court declaring Mr. Felix Obuah and Mr. Ibibia Walter as duly elected chairman and secretary, respectively, of the state chapter of Peoples Democratic Party as a desecration of the temple of justice.

This came as the Minister of State for Education, Chief Nyesom Wike, who is widely believed to be the sponsor of the court action, declared that he had no personal problems with Amaechi. And president of the Nigerian Labour Congress, Comrade Abdulwaheed Umar, described the governor as a pillar of democracy, saying Nigerians are watching his ordeal.

Amaechi spoke Saturday in Port Harcourt while addressing a massive crowd of supporters from across Rivers State who staged a solidarity march to Government House following the Abuja court ruling.

Bello had ruled on Monday that the Obuah faction of PDP in the state, backed by Wike, should be sworn in as a replacement for the serving state executive committee of PDP chaired by Chief Godspower Ake. The judge held that Obuah and Walter were the duly elected candidates at the state congress of PDP held on March 17 last year.

While the Ake committee was loyal to Amaechi, the Obuah committee is believed to be sponsored by Wike, Amaechi’s erstwhile ally who is now widely suspected to be used by President Goodluck Jonathan to get even with the Rivers State governor.

But Amaechi dismissed what he called an attempt to use the court against him as a defilement of the country’s justice system. Represented by his deputy, Mr. Tele Ikuru, Amaechi declared before the crowd of supporters Saturday, “I think as a nation one area we should not allow mud to go into is the judiciary. As a nation, one area we should not allow to become a thing of play is the judiciary. The temple of justice has been desecrated.

“Nigeria arise, Nigeria arise. If we do not rise, we will lose our country. As a nation, any day we allow the temple of justice to be desecrated we’ll lose our country.”

Amaechi, who is also the chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, said, “Any day a poor man cannot go to the court and state his case and get justice that country is lost…"

Also speaking, the senator representing Rivers South-East Senatorial District, Senator Magnus Abe, said, the PDP stalwarts from across the state were at Government House to agitate for freedom, saying they will never be slaves to any political group in the state.

But Wike said on Rhythm FM, which was monitored in Port Harcourt, that he still believed in the Amaechi administration in the state.

Wike stated that the change in the leadership of PDP in the state, which he championed, was as a result of injustice that he saw in the chapter, stressing that he would fight injustice anywhere he has a reason to fight it.

In response to a question, he said, “Why will I support him from the beginning and I will not support him till the end? I supported him, and my local government gave him the highest number of votes in the state. Having supported him to win the election, will I now say he should leave the office? That is unthinkable.”

Meanwhile, the NLC president at the weekend in Port Harcourt described the Rivers State governor as a pillar of democracy in the current dispensation. Umar spoke when he led a delegation of top NLC officials on a courtesy visit to the governor.

The NLC delegation was in the Rivers State capital for a conference to elect a new executive for the Amalgamated Union of Public Corporation, Civil Service, Technical and Recreational Services (AUCPTRC).

Umar said, “Nigerians are watching.  Nigerians are very, very intelligent people.  They are watching, they know things, they know what is happening (to Amaechi) and they are also passing their own judgment…

Responding, Amaechi urged the NLC to continue to represent the poor and give voice to the voiceless for a better Nigeria.

“I think that, basically, the greatest voice that the poor can have will not be any other voice than the voice of the workers,” the governor said.

About Post Author

Anthony-Claret Ifeanyi Onwutalobi

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
Happy
0 0 %
Sad
0 0 %
Excited
0 0 %
Sleepy
0 0 %
Angry
0 0 %
Surprise
0 0 %

Jonathan May Be The Last President of Nigeria

0 0
Read Time:2 Minute, 6 Second

Dr Chris Ekiyor is the former National President of the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) and currently the Caretaker Chairman of Patani Local Government Council of Delta State. In this interview, the Niger Delta activist faults the calls for amnesty for members of the Boko Haram sect and warns that the people of the Niger Delta will resist any move to use the resources from the area to fund the amnesty.

On the 2015 presidency, he says the people of the Niger Delta are unanimous in their decision that President Goodluck Jonathan should run for second term asserting that any attempt to stop him by the North will lead to the end of Nigeria. Excerpts:

The Federal Government has announced a committee to look into the possibilities of granting amnesty to members of the Boko Haram sect. As one of those who perfected amnesty for ex-militants in the Niger Delta, what is your view?

This is another bandwagon effect that is tearing apart our country again. Amnesty today is another word for quick money. I think it is a misplaced national priority to even think about granting amnesty to a bunch of people who, in all their activities, have shown criminality, have shown cold blood murder and have no focus or issue. And it is unfortunate to try to equate Boko Haram with the struggles of the Niger Delta.

In the Niger Delta, a people, who were living peacefully and having their own livelihood, were traumatized by the Federal Government with its activities in oil exploration. Their land captured, their environment polluted from 1957 till date. And the people decided to say, enough is enough, you cannot take our oil and impoverish us. You cannot put 60 per cent of our oil wealth in the hands of Northerners and our environment is not protected.

You have to allow us control our resources so that we can develop our place at the pace at which we found our resources. We are willing to pay tax to the center as it is done every where that oil was found’.
That was what caused the Niger Delta crisis. The Niger Delta struggle was a purposeful and ideology based struggle. That was the focus. Now, between 1996 and 2003, of course, it became an all-comers struggle.
Criminals who will go and steal on the streets will claim that they kidnapped because of oil. Between 2003 and 2007 it went out of hand because the military itself became a party to the process.

About Post Author

Anthony-Claret Ifeanyi Onwutalobi

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
Happy
0 0 %
Sad
0 0 %
Excited
0 0 %
Sleepy
0 0 %
Angry
0 0 %
Surprise
0 0 %