October 14, 2019 // 1 month ago
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Nigerian Governors to Demand States’ Share of Federation Account in Dollars

Worried by the intractable problem of fuel subsidy, which has affected the amount of money available for distribution among the three tiers of government, governors of the 36 states of the federation are mulling presenting to the federal government a demand for their shares and those of the local governments from the Federation Account to be given to them in dollars. One of the governors confided in Thisday at the weekend in Abuja that their efforts to resolve the issue so far has failed to yield any positive result due to pushback from some federal government officials, who believed a full deregulation of the downstream sector of the oil industry, which would lead to uncapping petrol price would be injurious to the poor, whom President Muhammadu Buhari has vowed to protect from the vulnerabilities of the nation’s economy. The governors upcoming push came just as Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) Chairman and Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, criticised the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) for writing to banks to restrict transactions from joint accounts between states and local governments

Military Plots New Strategy to End Insurgency in Three Months

The military is tinkering with a new war strategy to end terror attacks by insurgent groups in the North-east within three months, THISDAY’s investigation has revealed. The new strategy, it was learnt, followed the widespread criticism of the present strategy, super camp, which entails concentration of a large number of troops in a particular area from where troops launch attacks on insurgents. Super camp has drawn flaks from military tacticians and stakeholders in the North-east, including Borno State Governor, Prof. Babagana Zulum, who described it as defective since concentration of troops in one area means their absence in many areas and consequential attacks by terrorists on such areas. Thisday gathered that following advice by military strategists and countries with strong military background, especially in tackling insurgency, Defence ministry officials are focusing on the massive procurement and deployment of attack helicopters and gunships.

APC Lauds EFCC for Recovering N111m from Treasury Looters

The Kwara State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) at the weekend lauded the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on its recent recovery and handing-over of N111million allegedly recovered from treasury looters in the state to the state Governor, Alhaji Abdulrahman Abdulrasaq. The Zonal Head of the EFCC, Mr. Isyaku Shari, at a news conference in Ilorin last Friday said the Commission which started its work in February this year at the zonal office has achieved a lot in terms of recovery and conviction of corrupt individuals. He added that the Commission also saved the state from financial recklessness in May this year at the eve of handing and taking over of government.

Finance Minister Leads Nigerian Delegation to IMF, World Bank Meetings

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed is leading Nigeria’s delegation to the 2019 annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank billed to commence today in Washington DC, United States of America. The week-long events, which run between October 14 and 20, will attract global players from the public and private sectors where issues ranging from economy, finance, trade, environment, climate change and other global socio-economic challenges are discussed.

Nigeria Has Lowest Tax Rate Globally, Minister Insists

The Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Agba, has defended the recent increase in Value Added Tax (VAT) from 5 per cent to 7.5 per cent by the federal government, saying despite the increase, Nigeria still has the lowest tax rate in the world. Agba wondered why Nigerians are protesting against the increase, assuring them that accruals from the tax would be used to boost infrastructure and social amenities for ordinary Nigerians, and noted that the increase from 5 per cent to 7.5 per cent is negligible considering that it was just additional 2.5 per cent.

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Qatar banks on RwandAir deal to expand in Africa

Rwanda is in the process of selling shares in the national carrier RwandAir to Qatar Airways, in a deal that is expected to shake up the country’s aviation industry and beyond. Aviation experts say the move by Qatar to buy shares in RwandAir could enable it to solidify its presence in the African market given its current woes with its Gulf neighbours. Qatar was banned from flying over neighbouring Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain since mid-2017 due to a dispute between it and the Gulf states. They were key markets for the airline and so buying a stake in RwandAir will support its expansion into Africa as an alternative market. Although the details are scanty, sources say the deal is at an advanced stage, with institutions from both carriers fast-tracking all the necessary processes to conclude it.

EA to post best GDP growth as North, West, reel under load of oil shocks

East African economies are tipped to outpace growth of other regional blocs this year, as the slump in oil and commodity prices hits North, Western and Southern countries. The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) has in its latest economic update projected that East African economies will post a GDP growth rate of 6.3 per cent this year. The GDP expansion is higher than the projected growth in North and West Africa, which is estimated at 2.8 per cent and 3.4 per cent respectively. Southern Africa is expected to record a sluggish pace of 1.3 per cent, as the region grapples with policy uncertainty, effects of cyclones, rainfall deficit and power rationing.

Mara in talks to sell its phones in Kenya, Angola, DR Congo

Rwanda has become the first in Africa to produce smartphones. The Mara Phone factory in Kigali commissioned last week on Tuesday by President Paul Kagame is expected to produce at least 1,200 smartphones daily for sale in Rwanda and abroad. Ashish Thakkar, founder of Mara Group and member of President Paul Kagame’s Presidential Advisory Council, said the firm is in talks with regional countries including Kenya, DR Congo and Angola to export and sell the Rwanda-made smartphones.

World Bank warns Kenya over $85.7b debt ceiling

The World Bank has warned Kenya against piling up more debt than the country can repay, even as Parliament this week approved to raise borrowing ceiling to Ksh9 trillion ($85.7 billion). A World Bank report released on Wednesday warns that Kenya is drifting towards debt distress, owing to the government’s huge appetite for expensive loans. The Kenyan Parliament, on the same day when the WB report was released, approved the National Treasury’s push to raise the borrowing cap from about 50 per cent of GDP to an absolute figure of Ksh9 trillion. The possibility of Kenya sliding into distress is classified as ‘moderate’ having risen from ‘low’ in recent years, driven by the government’s rapid uptake of loans that saw the total public debt hit Ksh5.7 trillion ($54.3 billion) by June this year.

Kenya to step up exports to Rwanda, Burundi, DRC

Kenya has announced plans to set up warehouses in Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo in an elaborate strategy to tighten its grip on the regional export market. The warehouses in Kigali, Bujumbura and Lumbubashi are expected to drive more exports and ward off competition from neighbouring countries that are threatening Kenya’s dominance of the key markets. The warehouses are expected to smoothen challenges that come with cross-border transportation of goods.


Jordan Reiterates Support for Morocco’s Territorial Integrity

Sima Sami Bahous, representative of Jordan at the United Nations, has reiterated her country’s support for Morocco’s territorial integrity. Bahous made clear Jordan’s position on Western Sahara at the 4th Commission of the UN General Assembly in New York. The Jordanian official stated that Morocco’s Autonomy Plan, submitted to the UN in 2007, is a “serious and realistic mechanism that takes into account the specificities of the region, the territorial integrity and the full sovereignty of the Kingdom of Morocco over its territory.” Qatar Expresses Support for Morocco’s Autonomy Plan

Qatar Expresses Support for Morocco’s Autonomy Plan

Jassim Sayar al-Maawda, representative of Qatar at the UN reaffirmed his country’s unwavering support for Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara on October 11. The Qatari diplomat reiterated his country’s call for a “final and consensual political solution to the Moroccan Sahara” conflict. Qatar also reaffirmed support for the UN-led political process to find an agreed upon and mutually acceptable solution to the conflict.

FM: Arab League Statement Condemning Turkey Does Not Reflect Morocco’s Position

Morocco’s Foreign Affairs Minister Nasser Bourita has stated that the Arab League’s condemnation statement made against Turkey in an emergency ministerial meeting on October 12 does not necessarily “reflect” Morocco’s position. The Arab League issued a statement to condemn Turkey’s military “Operation Peace Spring” in northern Syria. Turkey’s move drew criticism from the UK, several European states, and the Arab League states. For Turkey, the operation seeks to “secure its borders by eliminating terrorists there and ensuring the safe return of Syrian refugees and Syria’s territorial integrity,” reported the Anadolu Agency. The Arab league called on the United Nations to take action against Turkey.

King Mohammed VI Urges Political Parties to Preserve Unity, End “Pointless Disputes”

King Mohammed VI has called on political parties to show a willingness to work together to face the challenges slowing Morocco’s growth. In a speech at the opening of the legislative year at the parliament on Friday, October 11, the monarch emphasized that this the new parliamentary year “should be placed under the motto of responsibility and hard war, since we are halfway through the current parliamentary term.” The King called on political parties to use the legislative session “properly” in order to bear the responsibilities that citizens have entrusted them with.

King Mohammed VI Calls on Private Sector, Banks to Support Morocco’s New Development Model

Morocco’s King Mohammed VI is urging the private sector, especially financial and banking institutions, to play an integral part in the country’s new development model. Addressing the parliament on the occasion of the opening of the first session of the “fourth legislative year of the tenth legislature” earlier today, the monarch spoke about “shouldering responsibilities” and “honoring commitments” towards the country and its people.

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SAA in talks with potential partners, says Cyril Ramaphosa

Embattled state-owned SA Airways (SAA) is open to outside investment and in talks with a number of potential partners, President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Monday. The SA economy has come under ever-growing pressure as the government grapples with lacklustre growth, high unemployment and a heavy debt burden, especially from state-owned enterprises such as SAA and power utility Eskom. “SAA is one of those state-owned enterprises that has relied on lots of state bailouts,” Ramaphosa told the FT Africa conference in London. “We are on record as saying we are open to the participation of the private sector. As we speak now, we’re talking to a few interested parties when it comes to SAA.” In September, the cash-strapped national airline said a government cash injection of R5.5bn had been approved for the 2019/2020 financial year but that it still needed more money.

Uganda plans bill imposing death penalty for gay sex

Uganda has announced plans for a bill that would impose the death penalty on homosexuals, saying the legislation would curb a rise in unnatural sex in the east African nation. The bill - colloquially known as "Kill the Gays" in Uganda - was nullified five years ago on a technicality and the government said it plans to resurrect it within weeks. "Homosexuality is not natural to Ugandans, but there has been a massive recruitment by gay people in schools, and especially among the youth, where they are promoting the falsehood that people are born like that," Ethics and Integrity Minister Simon Lokodo told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. "Our current penal law is limited. It only criminalises the act. We want it made clear that anyone who is even involved in promotion and recruitment has to be criminalised. Those that do grave acts will be given the death sentence."

Nigerian president calls for stricter laws on sex abuse

Nigeria‘s president called for stricter laws against sexual abuse on Friday after a documentary showed a university lecturer propositioning a reporter posing as an underage student. The BBC film used an undercover reporter to expose sexual harassment at two universities in Nigeria and Ghana, sparking debate on social media about the problem of "sex for grades". "Nigeria needs stricter laws to protect girls and women from abuse," said President Muhammadu Buhari in a tweet. "I acknowledge that we need to do more as a country to address incidents of sexual violence and sexual abuse in our schools; and all forms of discrimination, human trafficking and cultural practices that violate women‘s rights," he added. Buhari said he welcomed amendments proposed by the National Assembly to address these issues, without giving details, and urged police and schools to take harassment cases seriously.

Wandering hippo kills pensioner

The killing of a 63-year-old Limpopo woman by a hippo at a village near Kruger National Park has highlighted the danger faced by people living near the world-famous park. Muthavini Luceth Masungwini of Magona village, about 27km east of Malamulele, was crushed to death by a hippo near her home on Thursday night. The pensioner‘s daughter Tintswalo said she and her mother joined locals at around 9pm that night to be on the lookout for a hippo that was spotted near their home earlier. The hippo was with its cub. "We joined a group that followed it while it was walking away from the village with its cub. It appeared harmless until it made a sound and turned and started charging," she said. Tintswalo said her mother fell down while running away and in no time the animal had reached her. "While it was attacking my mother I turned back and tried to pull her away. [The hippo] left but my mother was bleeding profusely," she said. Masungwini died from her wounds at the local clinic.

Woman arrested for allegedly attempting to smuggle drugs into Durban prison

The department of correctional services has warned the public against smuggling contraband into prisons, after a woman was arrested for alleged possession of drugs at a Durban facility at the weekend. “This comes after a visitor was arrested [on Sunday] for attempting to smuggle 200 drug capsules hidden in her underwear at the Durban Correctional Centre,” said correctional services spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo. “This is a second incident in a space of two weeks at the same facility, signalling such perpetual behaviour from the public that must be condemned.” He said the department had been applying different methods in its drive to prevent contraband entering correctional centres.

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