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Ambode gives public works four weeks ultimatum – Punch Newspapers

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Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State has directed the state Public Works Corporation to fix potholes on major and inner roads across the state within the next four weeks.

The Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Mr Ade Akinsanya, said this on Friday, during an inspection of the ongoing Pen Cinema bridge in Agege area of the state.

Akinsanya said the repairs would bring relief and succour to the generality of the residents.

He said that due to the torrential rainfall witnessed in the last few weeks, repair works on many roads in the state were suspended.

READ ALSORetirement is a ‘curse’, South-East pensioners lament

The commissioner, however, said that with the rains subsiding, there was need to intensify efforts in completing ongoing repair works and making roads better across the state.

“The operation fix the pothole will last for about three to four weeks,” he said.

Akinsanya, therefore, appealed to residents and motorists to cooperate by following traffic diversions put in place to ensure the early and smooth completion of the repair works.

Reviewing ongoing projects in the state, he said that the state government was committed to the completion of the over 70 projects going on across the state.

He said that the Pen Cinema bridge would be completed by the first quarter of 2019, while the Oshodi/International Airport Road would be delivered by December this year.

The commissioner thanked residents for their patience and sued for continued cooperation as the projects progress.

“Whatever time we have lost on these projects as a result of the rain, pace will be accelerated,” he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the commissioner and his team also inspected ongoing Oshodi/International Airport Road project.

(NAN)

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CBN injects $317.52m, CNY 58.40m into retail SMIS

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CBN said the Bilateral Currency Swap Agreement with the Peoples’ Bank of China has continued to receive encouraging responses from customers.

Uche Usim, Abuja

In line with its resolve to boost operations in the retail Secondary Market Intervention Sales (SMIS), the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has injected $317.52 million into that segment of the market, in addition to CNY58.40 million in the spot and short-tenured forwards segment.

The figures obtained from the apex Bank on Friday revealed that the US dollar-denominated interventions were only for actors in the agricultural and raw materials sectors, while the Yuan was for Renminbi-denominated Letters of Credit.

READ ALSO: China renews commitment to deepen investments in Nigeria

Confirming the figures, CBN Director, Corporate Communications Department, Mr Isaac Okorafor, said the Bilateral Currency Swap Agreement (BCSA) with the Peoples’ Bank of China has continued to receive encouraging responses from customers.

While noting that Friday’s sale was the fifth in a series of interventions, he said the BCSA was achieving its major objectives of reducing the use and influence of third currency transactions; reducing the pressure on the naira exchange rate; easing trade transactions between Nigeria and China, and maintaining financial market stability in Nigeria.

Okorafor further assured that the CBN would remain committed to ensuring that all the sectors of the foreign exchange market continue to enjoy access to needed foreign exchange by Nigerians.

The Bank had on Tuesday, September 18, intervened in the inter-bank Foreign Exchange Market to the tune of $210 million.

Meanwhile, $1 exchanged for N361 at the Bureau de Change (BDC) segment of the foreign exchange market, while CNY 1 exchanged for N53.



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Sen. Uzodinma calls for direct primaries to end APC Imo crisis – The Sun News

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NAN

Sen. Hope Uzodinma, representing Imo West Senatorial District, has called for adoption of direct primaries in Imo to end crisis and ensure victory for the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2019 general elections.

Uzodinma told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Friday, that direct primaries, as encouraged by the National Working Committee, would bring the various factions of the party in the state together.

He commended the National Chairman of the party, Adams Oshiomhole and the National Working Committee for the role they played in reconciling the various factions of the APC in Imo.

“The national leadership of the party, the National Working Committee, met with the representatives of the various factions of the party in the state and the National Chairman, whom we respect a lot, in his wisdom, was able to talk sense into all of us.

READ ALSO Ambode directs state public works to fix Lagos roads in 4 weeks

“Also, in view of the various litigation in court and to protect the interest of our candidates, he has approved the use of direct primaries for Imo State.

“The party in its wisdom has seen that, that is what will bring solution to the problem in Imo,” he said.

The lawmaker, who is a governorship aspirant for the 2019 election in the state, urged all party members to be in the spirit of sacrifice and reconciliation.

He also urged all party members to accept the party’s recommendation and adopt direct primaries.

He stressed that direct primaries would allow for all-inclusiveness, thereby making the general elections easier.

According to him, direct primaries will allow those who participate in the nomination to own the process and ensure commitment of all APC candidates.

Uzodinma further said, through the intervention of the national body, an agreement was reached to open up the party structure by giving the governor a chunk of the structure.

READ ALSO 2019: Fear of imposition grips Delta North PDP aspirants

He said, “The governor and his group have been given up to 50 per cent of the party structure and we were given 45 per cent.

“Though it is small but in obedience to the party, we agreed to that so that we can work together.

“This is because elections are by the corner and the earlier we begin to come together as a people, begin to forgive one another and begin to put the interest of the party first, the better for us all.

“I think it is a win-win situation. I do not think there is any need for further crisis or disagreement.”

Uzodinma explained that what was termed as bickering between him and Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, was only a communication gap, adding that they only had different interests.

He also explained that he joined the party to add value and not to create problems.

According to him, the whole idea is for us to work together, defend the party and convince our people that APC is the party to beat.

” I do not think there is any conflict. The governor is the Chief Executive of the state and the implication is that he is the leader of the party in the state.

“Nobody is contesting that but then we are saying that the party should be able to accommodate more people, new members, so that the stronger we are, the better for all of us.”

On statements credited to Imo State APC Chairman, Mr Daniel Nwafor, that he was not a member of the party, the lawmaker said he believed the chairman was quoted out of context.

He expressed optimism that he would win the election, adding “I have a goodwill that will speak for me when the time comes.”



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Do you need both current and savings accounts? – Punch Newspapers

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Perhaps you think having a savings account is a nice, but unnecessary, banking option. But you may benefit from having both types of accounts. Having a better understanding of the differences will help you decide, according to www.bankrate.com.

Current and savings accounts are basically an arrangement to lend money to a bank in the form of deposits, which they promise to keep safe until you withdraw or spend it.

Current accounts

Transactional: Traditional current accounts are transactional accounts, meaning banks expect account holders to frequently take out money, with few restrictions on the timing or amount of those transactions.

To help make those transactions as convenient as possible, current accounts typically come with the ability to make payments with a chequebook, debit card and even mobile apps.

Typically paid for by fees: Current accounts usually carry fees for a long list of services or account holder missteps, such as not carrying a high enough balance, using another bank’s ATM or for covering an overdraft. Banks attach so many fees for two reasons:

  • Banks can’t count on your money staying in current accounts for a very long time, so they have to hold a greater amount of your money in reserve than they would for a savings account, and they can’t lend it out. Instead, they make money on current accounts through fees.
  • Keeping a close eye on a lot of transactions incurs administrative costs for the banks.

No interest payments: Most traditional current accounts don’t pay any interest to account holders, no matter how much is in the account. But you can find current accounts that pay interest if you shop around.

Savings accounts

Longer-term investment: Savings accounts are closer to a form of investment than a transactional account. You are giving a bank access to your cash, typically for longer periods than with current, so they can loan out almost all of it to earn a return.

Harder to spend: By design, money contained in savings accounts is hard to spend directly. Savings accounts typically don’t have cheque-writing privileges or debit cards attached to them, so in many cases, you will need to withdraw or transfer it before you spend it.

Few fees: With savings accounts, banks make money off the “spread” — the difference between the interest rate they pay you and the interest rate on the loans they fund with your money. Because of that, and the fact that they don’t cost as much as current accounts to administer, banks typically charge little, if any, fees on savings accounts.

Pays interest: Current yields on savings accounts may not be great, but they may be able to help you accumulate a little more cash over time. Shop around to make sure you get the best rate on a savings account.

Why you need both

It is very likely you have a current account.

While they are a convenient way to pay for things, current accounts are terrible places to save. Not only can money be drawn out quickly by savers themselves in moments of weakness, but current deposits make a ripe target for thieves.

Because of consumer protection laws regarding fraud, the bank will most likely end up making you whole again, but meanwhile, you are stuck.

And if you are worried about the hassle of managing multiple accounts, it is easier than ever, with the ability to bank online and via mobile. Having two accounts can even allow you to dodge current fees in some cases.

Copyright PUNCH.

All rights reserved. This material, and other digital content on this website, may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from PUNCH.

Contact: [email protected]

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Abdulsalami warns against Nigeria’s disintegration – Punch Newspapers

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Former Head of state,  Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, on Friday said he will forever be an enemy of anyone that tried to hinder the democratic development of Nigeria or plunge Nigeria into crisis.

Abdualsalami said this at the Maiden Edition of General Abdulsalami Abubakar Foundation Peace Lecture, organised by the staff and students of the Abdulsalami Abubakar Post Graduate Students’ Hall of the University of Ibadan. The lecture was titled; “Collaborative Peace Building in Nigeria,”

He cautioned politicians against disrupting the 2019 general elections, saying “we have no other place to run to should the country be engulfed by fire”.

According to the former head of state, Nigeria cannot be that great nation we all want,  except we all agree to collectively work together and collaborate on peace.

“Peace is not absence of disagreement. Every society must have disagreements. This is because we are not born alike, even twins do not operate in a like manner,” hence there is nothing wrong with people having disagreements.

READ ALSO: Three babies stabbed at childcare center

“What is expected is that when we have disagreements we would find peaceful solutions to the issues, ” he said.

He said there can be no sustainable development where people find it difficult to deal with the problems around them peacefully.

“It is therefore, my honest opinion that we are going nowhere until we have a national consensus to work for peace.

“What our politicians should focus upon at a time like this is to be working with professionals on how to make a difference in 2019.”

The former head of state stressed the need for Nigerians to focus more on addressing the escalating development crisis in the land.

“No matter how good those managing INEC are, if things are not well managed as they are, it might be difficult for us to have credible elections in 2019,” he said.

He advised the students to reject being used in the forthcoming elections and not be allowed to be dragged into electoral malfeasance and violence.

He also appealed to politicians to be more conciliatory in their relationship and public utterances.

“INEC must be an unbiased umpire. The security agencies in the country must be fair to all, people must be free to vote their leaders”.

The Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof Idowu Olayinka, praised the former head of state, adding “it is very rare for a military head of state to say he has to grant the wishes  of the people for a democratic government.

“This is the kind of things we need in Nigeria for our leaders to forge peace in the country,” he haid.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the University presented a peace award to Gen. Abdulsalami, while a cafeteria was built in his honour.

Some Dignitaries at the event included former minister of Petroleum, Tam David West, the GOC, 2 Division, Fidelis Azinta,  former Executive Secretary, TETFund Prof.  Suleiman Bogoro and the state governor, Abiola Ajimobi.

(NAN)

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FG in talks with EU to reverse ban on agric exports

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Okwe Obi, Abuja

The Federal Government has commenced talks with the European Union to reverse the ban placed on Nigeria’s agricultural produce exports to Europe.

Coordinating Director, Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS), Dr. Vincent Isegbe, disclosed this, on Thursday, at a workshop, in Abuja.

Recall that in 2015, the EU banned Nigeria from exporting beans and other produce to Europe due to high level of chemical contamination.

Isegbe emphasised that balanced diet could not be achieved without fruits and vegetables, stressing that aggressive advocacy and active participation of crop life, will help.

His words: “The EU ban seizes officially in June 2019 we are discussing and we have gone to do periodic sampling on the level of chemicals in our beans.

“With that, we will know if the farmers are complying with our regulations and advice. So far so good, the chemical level is reducing. Though it at a slow pace but it’s reducing.”

“The country has a demand of 40, 000 metric tons vegetable but unable to achieve.

“We can grow all these commodities all year round either winter or summer. We have a great opportunity to send these commodities to European nations, America during the time of winter or when the winter is just finishing, so the market is always there.

READ ALSO: Ortom confirms receipt of N14.9b Paris Club refund

“In term of the exporters, we have gone to the point to discuss with major exporters, for you to be able to export, you need to buy from the farmers we had trained to know specific commodity.

“If you buy and have issue with them, with the structure that we have put in place, it is easy to trace back, so there is a chain of flexibility at any point in time which will really help us on our export.

“We have decided to pick 10 commodities and do basic analysis on those commodities so that any young man that is educated and want to go for export will have the basics and understanding of the commodities,” Isegbe added.



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Vote for competence, not gender, APC female senatorial aspirant says

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NAN

Lagos businesswoman, Mrs Adesola Elegbede, on Friday advised voters to choose competence over gender while making electoral choices.

Elegbede gave the advice on Friday in Lagos, while declaring interest in the Lagos West senatorial seat on the platform of All Progressives Congress (APC).

She said that she was prepared to fiight for the interest of indegent members of the senatorial district.

“A lot of women are fond of creating the impression that they deserve pity and electoral support simply because they are women.

READ ALSO Protest: Police deploy personnel to prevent Shiites

“Both men and women are equally endowed and should be elected based on competence and capacity,” she said.

Elegbe promised members of her constituency that she would make visible impact if elected as senator.

“The major reason why I am entering this race is because representation of Lagos West, presently, is not efficient, and I am prepared to change this,’ she said.

The aspirant urged the leadership of APC to create a level playing field for all aspirants in the spirit of fairness.

Elegbede, shortly after her address, headed for Abuja for the screening exercise of the APC for all aspirants.



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Lagos leads as Nigeria’s foreign debt hits $22bn – Punch Newspapers

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Nike Popoola

The country’s foreign and domestic debts stood at $22.08bn and N15.63tn, respectively at the end of the second quarter of this year, according to figures released by the National Bureau of Statistics.

Figures from the NBS obtained by our correspondent on Thursday revealed that Lagos State had the largest share of the foreign and local debts among the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory.

READ ALSO: VAR would have cleared Ronaldo – Allegri

The NBS stated, “The Nigerian states and federal debt stock data as of 30th of June, 2018 reflected that the country’s foreign and domestic debts stood at $22.08bn and N15.63tn, respectively. Further disaggregation of Nigeria’s foreign debt showed that $10.88bn of the debt was multilateral; $274.98m was bilateral (AFD) and another $2.12bn bilateral from the Exim Bank of China, JICA, India and KFW, while $8.80bn was commercial.

“Lagos State has the highest foreign debt profile among the 36 states and the FCT, accounting for 34.17 per cent, while Edo (6.57 per cent), Kaduna (5.48 per cent), Cross River (4.56 per cent) and Bauchi (3.18 per cent), followed closely.

“Similarly, the total domestic debt was N3.48tn, with Lagos State accounting for 14.88 per cent of the total domestic debt stock, while Anambra State has the least debt in this category with a contribution of 0.08 per cent to the total domestic debt stock.”

On the domestic debt stock of the states and the FCT, the NBS data revealed that Lagos owed N517.367bn; Delta, N222.680bn; Akwa Ibom, N179.714bn; while Kaduna had N75.606bn.

The statistics also revealed that Abia owed N57.467bn; Adamawa, N67.460bn; Anambra, N2.612bn; Bauchi, N78.076bn; and Bayelsa, N123.031bn.

The NBS statistics further revealed that the Federal Government’s domestic debt stock totalled N12.151tn during the period under review.

READ ALSO: Niger police arrest woman for kidnapping neighbour’s daughter

A breakdown of the figure showed that FGN Bonds amounted to N8.927tn or 73.47 per cent; Nigerian Treasury Bills totalled N2.953tn or 24.31 per cent; Nigerian Treasury Bonds, N150.988bn or 1.24 per cent; while the FGN Savings Bond was N8.521bn or 0.07 per cent.

Others are FGN Sukuk of N100bn or 0.82 per cent and FGN Green Bond of N10.690bn or 0.09 per cent.

 Copyright PUNCH.

All rights reserved. This material, and other digital content on this website, may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from PUNCH.

Contact: [email protected]

 

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New security strategy will enable US conduct cyberattacks freely –Adviser – Punch Newspapers

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The US will be able to conduct and counter cyber attacks more freely under a new cybersecurity strategy signed on Thursday by President Donald Trump, National Security Adviser, John Bolton said.

“Our hands are not tied as they were in the Obama administration,” Bolton said while outlining the National Cyber Strategy directive.

Although Bolton did not provide exact details, officials say the new strategy “eliminates a lengthy process of consensus-building across the government’’ before the US can conduct offensive action, according to the New York Times.

Bolton said the US would “through both offensive and defensive cyber actions…create structures of deterrence that will reduce malign behaviour in cyberspace.”

READ ALSO: Cholera resurfaces in Yobe, 61 dead –Commissioner

He warned that nations conducting malicious cyber activity against the US should expect it to respond “offensively as well as defensively.’’

There is growing concern about possible cyber-attacks ahead of national mid-term elections in November.

Americans in cyberspace are “under attack every day,’’ Bolton said.

“Malicious nation-state, criminal, and terrorist actors seek to steal our intellectual property and our personal information, damage our infrastructure, and even undermine our democracy.’’

(dpa/NAN)

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CBN to review CCI fines on 4 banks, MTN – The Sun News

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Omodele Adigun

Less than four weeks after the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) slammed heavy fines on four banks and MTN, there is the likelihood that the apex bank might reverse the fines.

An indication to this emerged, on Wednesday, in a statement by Mr. Isaac Okorafor, the CBN spokesman.

According to him, “the banks and MTN are engaging the CBN, and have provided additional information which is currently being reviewed with a view to arriving at an equitable resolution”.

Recall that on August 29, CBN slammed N5.87 billion fine on four banks and ordered them to refund over $8.13 billion with largest mobile telecommunications operator, MTN, for “flagrant violation of extant laws and regulations of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, including the Foreign Exchange (Monitoring and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 1995 of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Foreign Exchange Manual, 2006.”

READ ALSO: Event professionals boost Nigeria’s economy with $50b annually

The four banks sanctioned were Standard Chartered Bank, Stanbic-IBTC, Citibank and  Diamond Bank.

Announcing the sanctions, Okorafor said CBN’s actions became necessary following allegations of remittance of foreign exchange with irregular Certificates of Capital Importation (CCIs) issued on behalf of some offshore investors of MTN Nigeria Communications Limited and subsequent investigations carried out by the apex bank in March 2018.

“The CBN has, therefore, asked the managements of the banks and MTN Nigeria Communications Limited to immediately refund the sum of $8,134,312,397.63, illegally repatriated by the company to the coffers of CBN.

“The breakdown of the penalties shows that the highest fine of N2,470,604,767.13 was imposed on Standard Chartered Bank, while Stanbic IBTC Nigeria was fined N1,885,852,847.45. For its punishment, Citibank Nigeria was penalised N1,265,541,562.31, just as Diamond Bank was directed to pay N250 million.”

But a press statement by Okorafor on Wednesday stated that, “The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) acknowledges the public interest over sanctions recently imposed on four deposit money banks (DMBs).

“We wish to restate that the CBN will continue to welcome foreign investments and investors. Indeed, some of our recent innovations and reforms of the Foreign Exchange regime such as the introduction of the NAFEX window, are designed to simplify foreign exchange regulations.

READ ALSO: NDIC hosts IADI Africa Regional Committee (ARC) AGM

Furthermore, the delegation of the issuance of Certificates of Capital Importation (CCIs) to commercial and merchant banks some years ago was done to instill confidence in the investor community and encourage the flow of foreign direct and portfolio investments into the Nigerian economy.

“The recent sanctions on the banks arose due to irregularities with respect to repatriations made on behalf of MTN Nigeria Limited and were not in any way designed to restrict access to investor returns.

“In response to the recent regulatory actions, the Banks and MTN are engaging the CBN and have provided additional information which is currently being reviewed with a view to arriving at an equitable resolution.

“We assure all investors that the integrity of the CCI regime remains sacrosanct and there shall be no retroactive application of foreign exchange rules and regulations.

“The CBN welcomes all legitimate investors to take advantage of the enormous investment opportunities in Nigeria.”



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