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mVisa launch new Mobile Money App in Nigeria

AG. BUSINESS EDITOR
Nigerian financial and consumer market leaped with delight at the entrant of mVisa, a mobile app. solution by Visa which will bring the benefits of easy and secure digital commerce to financial institutions, merchants and consumers in Nigeria based on four key pillars.

Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, has expressed the Federal Government’s readiness to explore the potential of the nation’s maritime resources to improve infrastructure at the seaports.

Amaechi said this in a keynote address sent to the celebration of “African Day of Seas and Oceans’’, in Lagos, on Monday.

The the celebration of the African Day of the Seas and Oceans is in furtherance of the declaration by the AU) Assembly of 2015 -2025 as the Decade of African Seas and Oceans and July 25 of each year as the African Day of the Seas and Oceans.

The Minister of Transportation, who was represented by Director, Special Duties, in the ministry, Mr. Aminu Dutse, said that inland dry ports were being developed across the country to ease movement of cargo from the seaports.

“This is in line with our diversification programme aimed at repositioning the nation`s economy and reducing dependency of foreign patronage, thereby retaining our capital flight.

“The Ministry of Transportation has embarked on massive railway infrastructural development and upgrading.

“The motive is to bridge the gap between hinterlands and the oceans to link all the states of the federation to the international trade logistics chain through the seaports. It is only this way that prosperity through trade can reach all our people.”

The Chairman, Governing Board of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Maj.- Gen. India Garba (rtd), said the viability and sustainability of the oceans should be of importance to every person.

Garuba said, “We need to appreciate the fact that our seas and oceans harbour natural resources, which if properly harnessed and used responsibly can exponentially increase Africa’s economic prosperity, provide youth employment and fuel growth in other sector of the continental economy.’’

He called for collective efforts and cooperation by the stakeholders to tackle the menace of sea piracy and other forms of economic sabotage which occurred within the maritime domain.

The Director-General of NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, said that the agency had considered it necessary to continue championing the awareness on Africa Integrated Maritime Strategy (AIMS) and the Blue Economy through the hosting of the Day of Africa Seas and Oceans.

“As a continent, we must begin to put in place all the necessary measures to check issues of sea piracy and robbery; environmental degradation, marine pollution and unauthorised fishing activities.

“On the other hand, issues of ocean governance in terms of marine environment protection, fisheries monitoring, maritime economic growth, migration and trafficking should be given proper attention,’’ Peterside said.

Peterside said the theme for this year’s event, “Harnessing African Maritime Potentials for Sustainable Development’’, theme was very apt considering the fact that African seas and oceans held the key to unlocking the potential of the Blue Economy toward Africa’s sustainable development.

The director-general noted that Africa should be able to utilise the opportunities offered by the Blue Economy.

“The Blue Economy could be regarded as an ocean-based economy which includes fishing, agriculture, tourism, ocean energy that contribute to human well-being in an economically-sustainable way.

“I wish to note that the Seas and Oceans are central to the concept of the Blue Economy and important tools to achieving sustainable development in Africa,’’ he said.

Peterside said that increased investments would enhance the productive capacities of the economy which was actually the content required to urgently restore degraded resources and further develop others that had remained unutilised.

He commended the determination and purposefulness of African leaders for displaying “an unparalleled zeal and purpose” by developing the 2050 Africa’s Integrated Maritime Strategy (2050 AIM Strategy).

The director-general said that the agenda provided long term goals for wealth creation in consonance with the universal shift to Blue Economy.

The Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Ms Hadiza Usman, said as the continent celebrated the 2017 African Day of the Seas and Oceans, the association for African Maritime Administration (AAMA) should pay attention to maritime policy and capacity by building across the board.

Usman, who was represented by Capt. Ihenacho Ebubeogu, NPA’s General Manager, Monitoring and Compliance, said attention should also be paid to marine spatial governance/administration; climate change, environmental protection and maritime security.

“In harnessing the Blue Economy, our relationship with the oceans and seas subjected us to coexist with all stakeholders for spatial parcel allocations which covers navigation right, public access right, fishing right, seabed use right, mineral right, riparian right and development right.

“Maritime spatial governance became necessary as this co-existence will raise legal issues that border around sovereignty, legislative jurisdiction, administrative authority and title or ownership,’’ she said.

Usman mentioned climate change, which she said called for inter-regional collaboration for effective monitoring, research development and robust regional data base.

The Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Mr Hassan Bello, called for robust collaboration between all agencies of government to enable them to achieve the potential of the maritime industry.

Bello urged the agencies to focus more on transportation system which he described as the heartbeat of the economy.

The Managing Director, National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), Mr. Boss Mustapha, said some of the benefits of oceans and seas included contribution to poverty eradication by creating sustainable livelihood and decent work.

Mustapha said that over three billion people depended on marine and coastal resources for their livelihood.

“Also the oceans are crucial to global food security and human health just as they are primary regulator of global climate and host huge reservoir of bio-diversity.

“While activities abound in oceans and seas, it is of paramount importance that the shore interface, the inland waterways be considered as well, since the take-off and return of all activities in the oceans are linked to transportation, storage, pollution control and human involvement,’’ the managing director said.

He suggested the need to design a maritime development strategy that would involve improving service delivery by service providers in line with maritime global standards.

Mustapha also said there should be upgrading of the nation’s transport infrastructure like roads, rail and inland and intra-coastal waterways to facilitate intermodal connection.

He called for strengthening of institutional and regulatory capacities to ensure adherence to global standards.

The NIWA boss also noted that there should be adequate security in line with the International Maritime Organisation’s regulations for the safety of ships, crew and cargo.

For a better society.

 

UBA Foundation Takes its Read Africa Initiative East

The United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, through its Corporate Social Responsibility arm, the UBA Foundation, continued on its quest to educate and empower African youths as it visited Our Lady of Mercy Girls Secondary School in Nairobi to donate over 500 copies of the book The Fishermen(by Chigozie Obioma), under the UBA Foundation’s Read Africa Initiative.

ADEKUNLE ADESUJI, Abuja

Senate Panel on Thursday disclosed that it was in possession of documents that revealed how port ‘cabal’  defrauded  Federal government of N30 trillion.

The chairman of the  joint Committee on Customs, Excise & Tariff and Marine Transport, Senator Hope Uzodinma, who made this known during investigation, vowed that all those ‘cabals’ would be made to face the full wrath of the law.

ADEKUNLE ADESUJI, Abuja

International Agricultural experts  has raised the alarm that malnutrition may envelope the country in years to come if the problem of food insecurity is not practically addressed through research-driven agricultural programmes on yearly basis.

The researchers, who stated this in Abuja while on a courtesy visit to the Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi  (APC Niger North) , advised the Federal Government to scale up its action on agricultural research for identification of problems bedeviling the sector, proffering solutions to them and sustaining whatever results achieved.

The Director-General of International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Dr Shenggen Fan who led the two-man experts said while Agricultural research ratings of countries like Brazil, India , China etc, are moving upward, that of Nigeria is sliding downward on yearly basis with attendant increased food insecurity in the land  portending danger of malnutrition if not practically addressed.

He stressed that Nigeria being the most populous country in Africa with the largest economy should use its agriculture in getting the greatest good for the greater number of her people and reinvigorate her economy.

“We want you to see to your government redoubling its efforts in the promotion of research –driven agricultural sector as being practiced in many agriculturally developed countries of the world as the surest way of running a sector devoid of avoidable problems here and there culminating in poor output and invariably food insecurity with attendant cases of malnutrition as already reported in the North East area of the country and some other states outside the zone like Kebbi “, he said.

He added by promising the total support of his Research Institute to any move in that respect by the federal government.

In his own remarks, Senator Abdullahi promised that as a federal lawmaker, he would lobby his other colleagues to join him in making the federal government run research-driven agricultural sector, saying “the country should no longer be working in silos, while others do with solution-driven findings made from researches.

For a better society

 

COMFORT EKELEME

Chief Consultant of Biodun Adedipe Associates Limited, Biodun Adedipe, has said the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has the capacity to sustain ongoing Foreign Exchange (FX) interventions despite the pressure on the foreign exchange reserves,

Speaking in Lagos at the Finance Correspondents Association of Nigeria (FICAN) half-year economic review, Adedipe disclosed that on the 30-day moving average, the reserves have risen from $29.07 billion at end of 2015 to $30.36 billion in July 11.

According to him, the liquid portion of the reserves stood at $29.62 billion, which translates to 12.31 months of imports cover, adding that the exchange rate has gradually depreciated and been devalued to N168 to dollar at the end of 2014; N197 to dollar at end of 2015; N305 to dollar at the end of 2016 and N305.85 to dollar as at July 19, 2017.

Adedipe, who spoke on the theme: “Nigerian Economy: First Half 2017 and Outlook” said the required international benchmark was for external reserves to be able to sustain at least, six months of the import bill adding that Nigeria is still doing great with its reserves covering over 12 months import cover.

The economist, said Nigeria’s total import figure for the first half of this year was N2.2 trillion ($7.218 billion), with an average monthly figure of $2.406 billion.

He explained that due to recession, the current import figure was a decline from $14.171 billion or monthly average of $4.724 billion in the first quarter of 2015, noting that foreign trade had picked up since the first quarter of last year, with imports declining.

Adedipe described as aberration calls on the CBN to freely float the naira, adding that no country in the world adopts such approach to exchange rate management. He said the ongoing spike in naira exchange rate occurred after the CBN was pressured by several stakeholders to adopt flexible exchange rate system and freely float the naira.

“That of course, was a huge aberration, as there is no country that freely floats its currency (even the US) – the job of the central bank is to defend and protect its currency by intervening in the markets as necessary. The voices are coming from  too many experts that know nothing other than to echo what the Breton Woods institutions have said,” Adedipe stated.

Speaking on the interest rate, he said the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR), which is the benchmark rate was raised to 14 per cent per annum in July 2016 from 12 per cent per annum. He said that changes in the MPR have not sufficiently impacted bank deposit/lending rates as well as changes in banking credit volumes.

“The most volatile interest rate variant is the inter-bank rate, which is more of a reflection of the liquidity in the banking system (Federal allocations) rather than of changes in the MPR. The deposit and prime lending rates moved in adverse directions, respectively with deposits becoming cheaper to the banks and borrowing more expensive to borrowing customers. But actual lending rates were much higher – mostly at 29 per cent and above,” he added.

According to Adedipe, maintaining the MPR at 14 per cent on the argument of inflation risk, stabilizing the exchange value of the naira and bond prices is more counter-productive to domestic productive activities than to investment in financial instruments.

“It only extenuates government’s cost of borrowing and makes government’s debt instruments very attractive to astute investors. This long spell of fixed MPR is also gradually making the rate to lose its strategic relevance as a signal rate,” he said.

Adedipe also supported Federal Government’s plans to reflate the economy through borrowing. He said such borrowed funds should not be used to fund recurrent expenditure, but should be used to fund infrastructure and projects that can generate enough resources to repay the loans.

Speaking further, he noted that “When an economy is seeking to get out of recession, the typical response is for the government to embark on massive spending, which is referred to as fiscal stimulus. Often times, the government may lack the volume required and will therefore, have to borrow beyond the normal range for an economy that is either in boom or the recovery mode.

“No professional economist will argue against borrowing to stimulate a recessed economy. But the question will always be to spend on what? If the answer is infrastructure, my take is to go ahead and borrow as much as you can,” Adedipe advised.

For a better society

Breaking: Mayhem in Apapa: Policeman shoots 3 trailer drivers dead, mob set Bank ablaze

COMFORT EKELEME

The Management of Diamond Bank Plc, Wednesday confirmed that there was a fire incident as a result of mob action at its Creek Road, Apapa branch in Lagos State.

In a statement made available to newsmen, Head, Corporate Communications, Chioma Afe, said the bank was set ablaze by an angry mob after a policeman allegedly shot dead a trailer driver outside the bank premises.

“We had a fire incident at our branch office on Creek Road, Apapa which severely damaged branch infrastructure as a result of mob action. While the situation is under control, we are working with the Nigeria Police Force and other law enforcement agencies to investigate actions leading to the fire incident. While these investigations are ongoing, the branch will be closed to customers for their safety and to allow for completion of all repairs.

“We will continue to provide updates to our customers via our social media platforms and print media and we urge those customers in the Apapa area to use our broad range of alternate delivery channels like the Diamond Mobile app, Diamond Online, Diamond Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) and Contact Centre to carry out their transactions.

“For those who need to visit a branch location, our closest branches to the Apapa area are situated in Ebute Metta, 1, Market Street,Oyingbo, Opposite Bhojsons Ltd Yaba, Iddo Market Mini, Iddo Ultramodern Market, Surulere, 31, Bode Thomas Street and Amuwo Odofin, Plot Nos 21, 22 & 23 Opposite Abc Transport Terminal are available to process their requests”, the statement said.

Also giving the update on the same fire incident that affected its branch in Creek Road, Sterling Bank said, an armed mobile policeman fleeing from an irate mob after shooting a tanker driver disrupted banking operations at the Sterling Bank branch on Creek Road this morning, saying that the policeman into the premises of the bank to escape being lynched.

According to the bank, Security operatives attached to the bank disarmed and arrested the fleeing mobile policeman but did not hand him over to the irate mob.

The mob got upset and attacked the bank with the intention of unleashing mayhem on staff and customers. The branch’s reception area was vandalized and set ablaze.

The security operatives attached to the branch prevented the mob from entering the branch while evacuating staff and customers before the arrival of police reinforcement. The branch has been temporarily shut down.

“We wish to inform all our customers that normal services will continue at nearby branches and through all our electronic channels. Sterling Bank is working with security agencies to resolve the issue,” the bank said.

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