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Trade war: China, US kick off new round of tariffs

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Trade war: China, US kick off new round of tariffs

China and the United States began imposing additional tariffs on each other’s goods on Sunday, the latest escalation in a bruising trade war, despite signs that talks would resume some time this month.

A new round of tariffs took effect from 0401 GMT, with Beijing’s levy of 5% on U.S. crude marking the first time the fuel has been targeted since the world’s two largest economies started their trade war more than a year ago.

The Trump administration will begin collecting 15% tariffs on more than $125 billion in Chinese imports, including smart speakers, Bluetooth headphones and many types of footwear.

In retaliation, China started to impose additional tariffs on some of the U.S. goods on a $75-billion target list. Beijing did not specify the value of the goods that face higher tariffs from Sunday.

The extra tariffs of 5% and 10% were levied on 1,717 items of a total of 5,078 products originating from the United States. Beijing will start collecting additional tariffs on the rest from December 15.

Chinese state media struck a defiant note.

“The United States should learn how to behave like a responsible global power and stop acting as a ‘school bully’,” the official Xinhua news agency said.

“As the world’s only superpower, it needs to shoulder its due responsibility, and join other countries in making this world a better and more prosperous place. Only then can America become great again.”

Tariffs could not impede China’s development, said the official People’s Daily of the ruling Communist Party.

“China’s booming economy has made China a fertile ground for investment that foreign companies cannot ignore,” it said, in a commentary under the name ‘Zhong Sheng’, or ‘Voice of China’, which is often used to state its view on foreign policy issues.

Last month, U.S. President Donald Trump said he was increasing existing and planned tariffs by 5% on about $550-billion worth of Chinese imports after Beijing announced its own retaliatory tariffs on U.S. goods.

Tariffs of 15% on cellphones, laptop computers, toys and clothing are to take effect on December 15, reports Reuters.

The U.S. Trade Representative’s Office said on Thursday it would collect public comments through September 20 on a planned tariff increase to 30% on a $250-billion list of goods already hit with a 25% tariff.

Trade teams from China and the United States continue to talk and will meet in September, but tariff hikes on Chinese goods set to go in place on Sunday will not be delayed, Trump has said.

For two years, the Trump administration has sought to pressure China to make sweeping changes to its policies on intellectual property protection, forced transfers of technology to Chinese firms, industrial subsidies and market access.

China has consistently denied Washington’s accusations that it engages in unfair trade practices, vowing to fight back in kind and criticizing U.S. measures as protectionist.

China has pressed the United States to cancel the tariff increase, but said last week that a September round of talks was being discussed between the two.

The trade war further strains Beijing-Washington ties, already overshadowed by U.S. freedom of navigation exercises near Chinese-occupied islands in the disputed South China Sea, and U.S. support for self-ruled and democratic Taiwan, which China claims as its own.

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MDXi wins Datacloud Africa Leadership awards

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MainOne’s data centre company, MDXi, came out tops at the 2019 edition of Datacloud Africa Leadership Summit and Awards held in Ghana. The company was awarded the “Excellence in Data Centre: Africa” as well as “Africa Cloud Service Provider of the Year.”

According to the organisers of the awards, the awardees were selected by an independent panel of global data centre experts recognised for being world-class data centre and connectivity providers and innovators.

“The highly competitive ‘Excellence in Data Center’ award, honours companies known for excellence in providing regional collocation services in Africa, focusing on the data centres that combine best practice in data centre management and infrastructure, with efficient technologies that lend towards the optimization and security of critical resources,” the organisers said.

Reputed as the largest purpose-built commercial data centre in West Africa, MDXi was recognised for its world-class data centre infrastructure designed with a strong focus on high availability, security, and open access connectivity and operational excellence.

Expressing his pleasure at receiving the awards, General Manager, MDXi, Gbenga Adegbiji,  said: “We are immensely appreciative of the recognition by the international community for the role we play in the West African digital ecosystem and we reaffirm our unwavering commitment to continued service excellence, by providing reliable collocation and cloud solutions.

“The data center business is about giving our customers peace of mind to run their businesses from wherever they may be, and we do not take the responsibility lightly.  We have just launched our Abidjan Data Centre and announced our Appolonia (Accra) Data Centre where we plan to bring our operational expertise and processes to ensure the highest quality standards are put in place for customers in those markets. We are firmly looking forward to serving more businesses as the region continues to grow its digital economy.”

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Bells’ students develop software to computerise hospitals

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team of 19 students of Bells University of Technology were recently mentored by leading US-based international IT company, New Horizons, to develop a high-end hospital management application to solve university-wide medical need. 

According to the school’s management, the development has further advanced the capability of Nigerian universities to be the provider of much needed IT solutions, which can bail the country out of dependence on oil economy and near-total reliance on foreign technology experts to solve critical societal issues.

At the commissioning event on the university campus, it was revealed that the students successfully developed a digital solution named Bells Hospital Management System (BHMS) that completely digitalises the university’s medical/hospital system through a project platform named “Bells/New Horizons TECH HUB.’’

According to the project’s team leaders, the technology hub was established as the project-based component of the high-end deliverable emanating from the partnership between the university and New Horizons organisation.

The university management led by the Vice Chancellor, Professor Jeremiah Ojediran, was visibly impressed based on the fact that the project team consists of students from diverse disciplines, which include Atewogbola Yanmife – 400L Computer Engineering, Adetipe Kehinde – 300L Accounting , Oyienloba Joel -200L Computer Science, Umeh Tobenna -200L Computer  Engineering, Adedigba Mololuwa- 300L Accounting , Ushie Joan – 400L Electrical Engineering, Uko Akanowo- 300L Computer Science, Kevin Obaro – 300LComputer Science, Noiki Tomiwa – 400L Electrical Engineering, Oladele Seyi -300L Computer Science, Odusami Olatunde- 300L Computer Science, Yusuf Halimat -300L Mechatronics.

The rest are Arogundade Rahmat -300L Mechatronics, Jibueze Anthony – 300L Computer Science, Oguh Kelechi -400L Electrical Engineering, Makanjuola Eniola -400L Architecture, Onatoyinbo Timileyin -300L Civil  Engineering, Ogunseye Abiodun- 300L Accounting , Echefu Louis- 400L Mechatronics.

Professor Ojediran appreciated New Horizons management for mentoring the students from the scratch up to the development of the hospital solution.

According to him, various supports from New Horizons, which include periodic free ICT training for staff, media promotion of Bells University brand, prizes at convocation event, among others, have shown that the partnership with New Horizons is a viable one.

The Managing Director/CEO of New Horizons, Mr Tim Akano, who led the company’s team, commended the project team for having teachable spirit and being fast learners.

Akano charged the students on three main takeaways. Firstly, he said the students should have the mentality that they are not too young to be successful and that they should learn from internationally successful technopreneurs like Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, Dell, etc that started their researches and exploits as very young undergraduates.

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Inlaks to host banks, others at maiden digital summit

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Leading systems integrator in sub-Saharan Africa, Inlaks, is set to bring together leaders, regulators, and investors from the financial services industry to discuss issues around digital banking in Africa through its maiden digital summit.

Themed:  “Unlocking the opportunities in the Digital Banking Age,” the summit scheduled to hold in Lagos is expected to explore the diverse opportunities technology offers to the financial and banking sectors and how African business leaders can harness it.

Speaking ahead of the event in Lagos, MD, Africa Operations, Inlaks, Femi Adeoti, noted that “for over three decades, Inlaks has thrived successfully in bringing authentic and innovative solutions to its customers. In today’s world of unprecedented shift in digital tendencies across industries, every economic sector must be well-prepared for the imminent change to stay relevant. Inlaks Digital Summit 2019 will address issues relating to the relevance of technology to the financial and banking industries, preparing our industry for coming technological disruptions and arming them with adequate knowledge on the future of banking.”

In an interaction with the press, the Executive Director, Infrastructure Business at Inlaks, Tope Dare, noted that the financial service and banking sector, in the last decades, had witnessed disruption due to changing technology and consumer behaviours.

“By 2020, most of the big players in the fintech industry will be competing with banks for same customers. Therefore, only banks that can transform into an effective digital bank will survive the threat and stay relevant.

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Experts advocate technology adoption for Nigeria’s healthcare

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Practitioners in the healthcare delivering profession have been advised to take advantage of the several premium healthcare solutions and technologies that abound in the advanced economy to improve the Nigerian healthcare sector. Speaking at the HealthCare Business Conference (HBC) of the Medic West Africa Exhibition and Congress, held in Lagos, leaders in the health and technology sector said technological innovation would help bring healthcare services to millions of Nigerians.

Speaking in one of the sessions at the HBC, Co-CEO, DrugStoc , Dr. Chibuzo Opara, said advanced medical technology can improve the standard of medical practice in Nigeria, adding that it can be done through the introduction of innovative ,high quality affordable and state-of-the art medical equipment.

Beyond the impact of technological innovation on the health sector, the practitioners also had the opportunity to examine the issue of business management alongside bookkeeping skills. Highlighting the essence of business management, Country Director, Iqvia and Board Member of Healthcare Foundation of (HFN), Mr. Remi Adesuen said that most members of the HFN are in the SMEs sector of the economy and they offer primary healthcare services to Nigeria contrary to the notion that primary healthcare is that of government. According to him, over 70 per cent of Nigerians access their healthcare through the private sector noting that 60 per cent of the practitioners are SMEs, who needs business skills and technology to give the required medical care.

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Oil prices edge higher as OPEC hints at deeper output cuts

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Oil prices edge higher as OPEC hints at deeper output cuts

Oil prices rose on Wednesday, tracking gains in equities, as investors pinned hopes on a potential Brexit deal between Britain and the European Union and on signals from OPEC and its allies that further supply curbs could be possible.

But gains were limited due to lingering concerns of a global economic slowdown.

Global benchmark Brent crude oil futures LCOc1 had risen 25 cents to 58.99 dollars by 0621 GMT, up about 0.4 per cent from the previous day’s close.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude CLc1 gained 23 cents or 0.4 per cent to 53.04 dollars a barrel.

“Oil is starting to see some bullish positions added on the easing of two big tail risks for global demand, the U.S.-China trade war and Brexit,” said Edward Moya, a senior market analyst at OANDA in New York.

“While a broader trade deal seems unlikely in the immediate future, the risks for the U.S.-China trade war have been fading.”

Last-ditch talks between Britain and the European Union to get a Brexit deal ahead of a summit of the bloc’s leaders this week ran past midnight to Wednesday, but it was still unclear if Britain could avoid postponing its departure, due on Oct. 31.

Analysts have said any agreement that avoids a “hard” or no-deal Brexit should boost economic growth and in turn oil demand and prices.

Providing more support, OPEC Secretary-General Mohammad Barkindo said the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries “will do whatever (is) in its power” along with its allied producers to sustain oil market stability beyond 2020.

OPEC, Russia and other producers have cut oil output by 1.2 million barrels per day to support the market.

Yet an expected rise in U.S. crude inventories this week kept prices under pressure.

U.S. crude stocks probably grew for the fifth straight week, a preliminary Reuters poll showed.

U.S. oil inventory reports are due out from industry group the American Petroleum Institute on Wednesday and the U.S. Energy Information Administration on Thursday.

The reports have been delayed one day because of a U.S. government holiday.

“Should EIA inventories illustrate for a fifth consecutive week build, we expect for strong selling pressure to afflict oil prices on an intraday basis,” Benjamin Lu from Phillip Futures said in a note.

Concerns of a global economic slowdown due to the protracted trade war between the United States and China and swelling U.S. inventories also pressured prices.

The U.S.-China trade war will cut 2019 global growth to its slowest pace since the 2008-2009 financial crisis, the International Monetary Fund warned on Tuesday.

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CBN: Supply of secured credit increased in Q3’19

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CBN: Supply of secured credit increased in Q3’19

T

he Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said that the supply of  secured credit to households increased in Q3 2019 and is expected to increase in the next quarter, adding that the development was due to improved market share. 

 

The apex bank, which disclosed this in its Credit Conditions Survey Report for Q3 2019 posted on its website yesterday, also stated that  the availability of unsecured credit to households increased in Q3 2019, but it is, however,  expected to decrease in Q4 2019.

According to the report,   the overall availability of credit to the corporate sector decreased in Q3 2019 but was expected to increase in the next quarter as a  result of capital market pressure.   

 

The  report  further disclosed  that demand for secured lending for house purchase decreased in Q3 2019, but lenders expect demand to increase in the next quarter.

 

“The proportion of loan applications approved increased even though lenders maintained the credit scoring criteria,” the report stated.

It, however, stated that demand for total unsecured lending from households increased in the current quarter, and is expected to increase in the next quarter.

 

 

“In spite of lenders’ resolve to retain the credit scoring criterion, the proportion of approved unsecured loan applications increased in the current quarter and is expected to further increase in the next quarter,” the CBN said.

In addition, the CBN survey  shows that  lenders reported increased demand for corporate credit from all firm sizes in Q3 2019 and they  also expect increased demand from all firm sizes in the next quarter.

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DMO: Nigeria’s debt hits N25.7trn

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DMO: Nigeria’s debt hits N25.7trn

Rising

Nation’s debt increased by N3.32 trilion in one year

 

 

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igeria’s total public debt increased by to N25.7 trillion as at the end of June 2019 from N22.38 trillion as of June 2018, the Debt Management Office (DMO)  said yesterday.

This means that the country’s debt increased by N3.32 trilion in one year.

The debt stock, the DMO said, is made up of N8.32 trillion ($27.16bn) external debt and N17.38 trillion borrowed domestically.

 

 

According to latest data posted on the DMO website, the N25.7 trillion debt comprise N20.42 trillion owed by the Federal Government owed as of June 30, 2019, while the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory had a total debt portfolio of N5.28 trillion.

It would be recalled that the International Monetary Fund (IMF)  in January this year warned Nigeria and other highly indebted countries against  “a legacy of excessive debt”.

 

Also during its meeting last month, the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) noted that the rising public debt was one of the factors hindering the  nation’s growth prospects.

 

However,  the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, said in August this year that the country did not have a debt problem,  but faced  the challenge of  generating sufficient revenue.

 

She said: “There is a lot of insensitivity around the level of our debt. I want to restate that our debt is not too high — what we have is a revenue problem. Our debt is still very much within a reasonable fiscal limit. In fact, among our comparative countries, we are the least in terms of borrowing.”

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NSE: Equities drop 0.16% to reverse gain

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NSE: Equities drop 0.16% to reverse gain

LOW SENTIMENT

GSK Plc led losers with a drop of 9.86 per cent to close at N6.40 per share

 

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rading activities on the nation’s equities market yesterday closed bearish as negative sentiments reversed the previous day’s gain.

At the close of trading session, market breadth also closed negative, recording seven gainers against 13 losers.

Consequently, the All-Share Index dipped 43.79 basis points or 0.16 per cent to close at 26.513.65 index points as against 26.557.44 recorded the previous day while market capitalisation of equities depreciated by N22 billion from N12.928 trillion the previous day to N12.906 trillion as market sentiments remained on the negative territory.

 

Meanwhile, a turnover of 174.4 million shares exchanged in 2,484 deals was recorded in the day’s trading.

The premium sub-sector was the most active (measured by turnover volume); with 96.3 million shares exchanged by investors in 938 deals.

Volume in the sub-sector was largely driven by activities in the shares of Access Bank Plc and Zenith Bank Plc.

 

Also, the banking  sub-sector, boosted by activities in the shares of GTBank Plc and Sterling Bank Plc, followed with a turnover of31.8 million shares in 358 deals.

 

Further analysis of the day’s trading showed that in percentage terms, Nacho Nigeria Plc topped the day’s gainers’ table with 5.15 per cent to close at N2.45 per share while Cement Company of Northern Nigeria (CCNN) Plc followed with 4.28 per cent to close at N15.85 per share. United Capital  Plc added 3.45 per cent to close at N2.10 per share.

 

On the flip side, GSK Nigeria Plc led the losers with a drop of 9.86 per cent to close at N6.40 per share while Courtville Business Solutions Plc shed 9.09 per cent to close at 20 kobo per share. Union Dicon Nigeria Plc trailed with 8.33 per cent to close at 22 kobo per share.

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SEC restates commitment to sustainable financing

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SEC restates commitment to sustainable financing

T

he Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has reinstated commitment to the promotion of infrastructural development through sustainable financing. 

 

 

This was stated by Acting Director General, SEC, Ms. Mary Uduk, at the formal launch of the Financial Center for Sustainability in Lagos.

Uduk said SEC believed, and very strongly too, that the huge budget deficit and infrastructural gap in the country can be financed by harnessing resources available from sustainability finance investors and interest groups around the world.

 

 

According to her, as Nigeria strives to build a diversified economy that harnesses the resources of non-oil sectors to anchor the transition to a more resilient economy, there is urgent need to close the huge infrastructure gap with investments in sustainable finance initiatives driven primarily by complementary efforts of the government, regulators and the financial services industry to direct financial capital to more sustainable economic activity.

 

 

She said: “It is, therefore, my expectation that the launch of the Financial Centre for Sustainability, Lagos would serve as a rallying point for further discussions and engagement on ways of taking advantage of the enormous resources and potential of sustainable financing to address the infrastructure gap of our country, deepen the product offering in the Nigerian Capital Market and create greater prosperity for investors and our people.

 

 

“There are tremendous opportunities in the areas of power generation and transmission, rail transportation, housing, agriculture and water, among others, where sustainable financing can be an avenue for the private sector to partner with government in the overall drive for prosperity and economic development.

“The Federal Government through the Debt Management Office (DMO) has led the way in Africa in this regard by issuing the first sovereign green bond in December 2017. It has since followed up with another N15bn issuance in June this year specifically to fund renewable energy, afforestation and transportation.”

 

 

The Acting DG disclosed that following the approval of the commission’s Rules on Green Bonds in October 2018, two issuances have been made by North South Power Services Ltd and Access Bank Plc worth N8.56bn and N15bn respectively, to finance various infrastructural projects in the power, water and agriculture sectors of the Nigerian economy. 

She said the onus, therefore, lies with all in the financial services industry to work together and continue to expand these issuances by locating a need and fashioning appropriate sustainable financing products to meet them.

“In addition, the Securities and Exchange Commission led the creation of sustainable finance guidelines and disclosure requirements for capital market operators. The guidelines which will be rolled out before the end of the year were developed in line with the Nigerian Sustainable Finance Principles (NSFP),as adopted by the Financial Services Regulatory Council Committee (FSRCC).

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Seplat Petroleum to acquire Eland

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Seplat Petroleum to acquire Eland

T

he boards of Seplat Petroleum and Eland Oil and Gas have reached agreement on the terms of a recommended cash acquisition of the entire issued and to be issued ordinary share capital of Eland by Seplat.

The acquisition, according to Seplat, is to be effected by means of a scheme of arrangement under Part 26 of the Companies Act.

 

 

Under the terms of the acquisition, each Eland shareholder will be entitled to receive for each Eland Share 166 pence in cash.

 

 

The acquisition values the entire issued and to be issued ordinary share capital of Eland at approximately £382 million on a fully diluted basis, and represents a premium of approximately 28.5 per cent to the closing price per Eland Share of 129.2 pence on 14 October 2019 (being the latest practicable date prior to this announcement);  a premium of approximately 32.6 per cent to the three-month volume weighted average price per Eland share as of October 14, 2019 of 125.2 pence; and  a premium of approximately 32.7 per cent to the six-month volume weighted average price per Eland Share as of 14 October 2019 of 125.1 pence.

 

 

In addition, Eland shareholders on the register at the close of business on October 18, 2019 will be entitled to receive and retain the interim dividend of 1 pence per Eland share to be paid on October 31, 2019.

 

 

Commenting on the acquisition, George Maxwell, CEO of Eland, said: “This recommended offer from Seplat represents the culmination of a very successful journey by Eland, the management team and all of its stakeholders. Since founding Eland, we have, jointly with our partners in Elcrest, acquired our interests in OML 40, a non-producing asset, achieved an all-time record production on this asset and become a significant independent producer in Nigeria’s E&P landscape and one of the biggest oil producers on London’s AIM market.  Eland has, in a period which has seen a significant cyclical downturn in our industry, outperformed most of its peers and the AIM Oil & Gas Index. This transaction represents a record share price for Eland and crystallises Eland’s stated goal to maximise shareholder value.”

 

 

Russell Harvey, Chairman of Eland, commented:  “We are pleased to announce this recommended Acquisition by Seplat. Eland’s management team has done an excellent job executing our strategy. We have demonstrated a strong track record of operational delivery and value creation in Nigeria from our high-quality assets.

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