Items filtered by date: Tuesday, 21 August 2018
Ethiopian Airlines says it has signed a shareholding agreement with Zambia’s main development agency to relaunch the southern African country’s flag carrier at an initial cost of $30 million.
 
A joint statement with Zambia’s state-owned Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) in Lusaka said that under the plan, Zambia Airways, being revived more than two decades after it was shut down, would operate 12 planes by 2028.
 
The Ethiopian state-owned carrier has outpaced regional competitors Kenya Airways and South African Airways to become Africa’s largest airline by revenue and profit, and has been buying shares in other African airlines to gain a competitive advantage over rivals such as those in the Gulf.
 
Ethiopian Airlines said it would own 45 per cent of the revamped Zambian airline, while Zambia would own 55 per cent.
 
“The initial investment as we start up the national carrier will be $30 million. Obviously, as we operate the airline, we will facilitate the financing necessary to support its growth,” it said.
 
Ethiopian Airlines had earlier said in January that it had signed an agreement with the Zambian government to relaunch Zambia Airways.
 
“Zambia Airways will launch local and regional routes this year, while intercontinental routes, including Europe, the Middle East and Asia, will be added in the near future,” the joint statement stated.
 
It would be recalled that the state-owned Zambia Airways went into liquidation in 1994, while the privately-owned Zambian Airways then emerged as the country’s main carrier with flights to other major hubs in southern Africa, but it suspended operations in 2009.
 
 
NAN
Published in News Economy

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) says a total of 509,668,433 transactions valued at N32.90 trillion was recorded in Nigeria’s banking sector during the second quarter.

The NBS stated this in its “Selected Banking Sector Data: Sectorial Breakdown of Credit, ePayment Channels and Staff Strength (Q2 2018)’’report released in Abuja.

 

According to the report, Automated Teller Machine (ATM) transactions dominated the volume of transactions recorded.

It said 217,417,961 volume of ATM transactions valued at N1.603 billion was recorded in the period under reveal.

“In terms of credit to private sector, the total value of credit allocated by the banks stood at N15.34 trillion as at the second quarter.

“Oil and Gas and Manufacturing sectors got credit allocation of N3.45 trillion and N2.02 trillion respectively to record the highest credit allocation as at the period under review.

“As at the second quarter, the total number of banks staff increased by 13.67per cent, from 89,608 in first quarter to 101,861,”  the report stated.

 

Source: The Ripples

Published in Bank & Finance
In a bid to ensure the wellbeing of the citizenry, the Dukan Group has launched the CarXie Mobile app aimed at curtailing the spate of kidnapping and other criminal activities being perpetrated in the country.
 
The outfit’s operations Director, Chinedu Amadi, who spoke during the launch of the software in Abuja, disclosed that no fewer than 36,000 Nigerians would be gainfully employed through the initiative.
 
Amadi dosclosed that CarXie will come live in Abuja on August 20, urging the citizenry to download the CarXie Mobile App as soon as in the interest of the country.
Stating that well qualified drivers, car owners and commuters would reap immensely from the initiatives, he assured that CarXie would reduces the amount of monies Nigeria loses daily through capital flight to foreign cab companies.
 
Noting that there are many designs for technology products coming out from Nigeria that engender hope in the early emergence of Nigeria as the giant of Africa, Amadi said that the on-going national rolling-launch of the CarXie Mobile App and Swift2pay, is another opportunity for Nigerians to actively participate in national development.
 
According to him, “It is high time Nigerians realized that the only way to the industrialized economy of our dreams is the preference and patronage of Made in Nigeria products and Services. The preference for everything foreign must end in the face of products and services that meet global standards. We therefore ask Nigerians to support and partner made in Nigeria by Nigerians for Nigerians.
 
“The CarXie Mobile App, tested and available in the Google Play store and in the very discerning Apples Store, comes on board with awesome features that resolve a number of the challenges that have threatened the growth of the transport sector in Nigeria. These features include how to make car theft and kidnapping impracticable – a rider is expected to issue his Bank Verification Number (BVN), as a means of social identification, each vehicle is automatically tracked, and voice chats are possible during rides.
 
“The CarXie App is embedded with the Swift2Pay easy to use payment gateway and card to ensure only your wallet like feature is exposed to online transactions. Swift2Pay has additional features including ATM. This is an innovation to ensure that Nigerians can move around with a smart wallet. Engaging cab owners and drivers, the CarXie Director explained, that only cars made from 2008 would be allowed to operate the CarXie franchise.
 
He stressed that cars below 2008 may under-perform thus diminishing the image of the brand CarXie. Amadi noted that the integrity of the drivers and vehicles are assured through rigorous inspection exercises. Unlike competition, inspection is free and handled by supervisory partnerships embedded in the CarXie offer to ensure quality and trust – the Executive Partners, the State Partners and the Regional Partners.
 
 
Business Insider
Published in Telecoms

In 138 BC China took its first step towards global connectivity with the establishment of the historical Silk Road. Zhang Qian was sent by Emperor Wudi to Central Asia to establish trade relationships. His historic missions enabled China to make contact with the outposts of Hellenic civilisation established by Alexander the Great.

These efforts enabled Emperor’s Han dynasty to develop political and trade relationships with Central Asian countries. New ideas came to China, along with new plants like grapes and alfalfa and superior breeds of horses.

Centuries later, China is building a very different, very modern version of that route. The Belt and Road Initiative consists of two complementary, concurrent plans. One is an overland route connecting Europe, the Middle East and Central Asia to China. The second is the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, which aims to connect China, South East and South Asia with Africa.

The Belt and Road Initiative will connect at least 65 countries, most of them developing economies. The routes will cover 63% of the world’s population and 29% of global GDP.

Chinese President Xi Jinping reiterated his commitment to the project during the 10th BRICS Summit held in South Africa in late July 2018. He said it would “create new opportunities of social and economic development for participating countries.”

On the face of it, the Belt and Road Initiative looks set to change a number of economic, social and strategic landscapes. But it’s essential that whatever the project produces is perceived as benefiting everyone involved – China as well as the country’s affected.

Some projects which are already underway, particularly in Africa, offer insights into how the initiative might unfold and what its benefits and pitfalls could be. These projects also suggest that China has learned from previous infrastructure investments on the continent some decades ago.

Already connecting Africa

The African leg of the Belt and Road Initiative is work in progress. China says it will hold ongoing discussions with various countries and make decisions based on consensus as well as the economic, social and political feasibility of individual projects. Some of the countries poised to benefit most include Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Egypt.

This will cement China’s role as Africa’s main trading partner, a space it’s occupied since overtaking the US in 2009. Between 2010 and 2015, China’s foreign direct investment on the continent grew by 21.7% – and it’s still rising.

It’s important to point out that the Belt and Road Initiative will not be starting entirely from scratch. China has already provided significant help in improving connectivity and developing infrastructure in countries set to benefit from the initiative.

For example, China supported the Addis Ababa–Djibouti Railway. It’s the first transboundary and longest electrified railway line in Africa. The Export-Import Bank of China provided commercial loans that funded 85% of Ethiopia’s and 70% of Djibouti’s contributions. And the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation also owns 10% of Djibouti’s portion.

The 759 kilometre long railway, which connects landlocked Ethiopia to the maritime trade routes of the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, started carrying passengers in late 2016.

China is also responsible for constructing the Madaraka Express which connects the Kenyan port of Mombasa to the capital city Nairobi, a distance of 489 km. This railway is being extended to Naivasha in Kenya’s northwest. There are plans to extend it even further so that it eventually interconnects Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and, much later, South Sudan and Ethiopia.

The new railway has already reduced transportation time between Kenya’s two most important cities and, crucially for trade, reduced the cost of transporting a container between the two cities by half.

Next steps for the initiative

The success and effectiveness of the Belt and Road Initiative will depend on many factors. These include national and regional geopolitics and the long-term economic benefits of various projects in beneficiary countries.

It will also be important that non-Chinese companies, both public and private, are able to compete successfully for a significant portion of the construction pie. And China’s economic rivals should not be excluded from bidding for and winning work.

But tension is inevitable, as has already been seen in South Asia.

China is working to complete a 6 kilometre bridge over the river Padma in Bangladesh for which it is providing over USD$3 billion loan. China is investing some USD$31 billion in other projects in Bangladesh. It also plans to spend some USD$60 billion on construction of ports, railways, roads and power plants in Pakistan.

These activities and similar infrastructure developments in other countries like Nepal, Sri Lanka and the Maldives have unsettled India, which is questioning China’s real intentions in the region.

The Conversation

The world will be watching as the Belt and Road Initiative unfolds – and all the players will hope the benefits outweigh the costs and are sustainable in the long term.

Asit K. Biswas, Distinguished Visiting Professor, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore and Cecilia Tortajada, Senior Research Fellow, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Published in Opinion & Analysis
The dollar dipped Tuesday in Asia after Donald Trump hit out at the Federal Reserve’s interest rate rises and accused it of not backing his economic plan, while most equity markets edged up ahead of highly anticipated China-US trade talks.
The greenback has been on the ascent in recent months as US borrowing costs have gone up and the economy improves, but it stumbled after Trump’s latest criticism of the central bank.
 
In an interview with Reuters, the president said he was “not thrilled” with the rate rises under new Fed boss Jerome Powell, repeating comments made last month about the bank’s tightening measures.
 
 
When asked if he believed in the Fed’s independence, he refused to say yes, telling the reporter: “I believe in the Fed doing what’s good for the country.”
 
Trump also accused the European Union and China of manipulating their currencies, adding that Beijing was weakening the yuan to offset the effects of US tariffs.
 
While analysts said it was unlikely Trump’s remarks would make much difference to the Fed’s decision-making — Powell has said in the past “we don’t take political considerations into account” — the greenback was weaker against most other currencies.
 
The Fed is expected to raise rates twice more this year.
 
The pound and euro enjoyed some much-needed buying, while the yen was also up.
 
Higher-yielding and emerging market currencies — from South Korea’s won and the Indonesian rupiah to the Australian dollar and Mexican peso — were also higher, having come under pressure last week from the Turkey financial crisis.
 
Stocks rally
After the previous day’s broad gains, equity markets fluctuated as traders turn their attention to the China-US talks, which are due Wednesday and Thursday.
 
By the close Tokyo was up 0.1 percent, Hong Kong added 0.6 percent and Shanghai rallied 1.3 percent.
 
Seoul jumped one percent and Singapore and Wellington each gained 0.1 percent, while Taipei and Jakarta also rose.
 
Sydney shed one percent.
 
In early European trade London and Paris each dipped 0.2 percent, while Frankfurt shed 0.1 percent.
 
The trade meeting will be the first since the world’s top two economies started imposing tit-for-tat tariffs on billions of dollars’ worth of goods, with the Wall Street Journal saying they are aimed at smoothing the way ahead of a November summit.
 
They also come despite Washington continuing to push through fresh measures slated for Thursday.
 
However, JP Morgan Asset Management global market strategist Tai Hui said: “Given the little progress made on the US-China negotiations in the past six months, investors’ expectations are still low.
 
“Ongoing negotiation is good news, and that’s what the market is riding on at this stage, but a sustainable agreement to end this tension still seems unlikely at this point.”
 
He added: “If China’s earlier offer to buy US products and open up its market did not convince the US to de-escalate, it would take more creativity from Beijing to reach a compromise.”
 
– Key figures around 0810 GMT –
Tokyo – Nikkei 225: UP 0.1 percent at 22,219.73 (close)
 
Hong Kong – Hang Seng: UP 0.6 percent at 27,752.79 (close)
 
Shanghai – Composite: UP 1.3 percent at 2,733.83 (close)
 
London – FTSE 100: DOWN 0.2 percent at 7,580.80
 
Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1535 from $1.1479 at 2030 GMT
 
Pound/dollar: UP at $1.2836 from $1.2791
 
Dollar/yen: DOWN at 110.01 yen from 110.11 yen
 
Oil – West Texas Intermediate: UP 30 cents at $66.73 per barrel
 
Oil – Brent Crude: UP five cents at $72.26 per barrel
 
New York – Dow Jones: UP 0.4 percent at 25,758.69 (close)
 
The Guardian
 
Published in Bank & Finance

A Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday restrained Multichoice Nigeria Limited from going ahead with its recent decision to increase the subscription tariffs for DSTV, its satellite cable television service providers.

The restraining order was issued in respect of Suit No FHC/ABJ/CS/894/18 brought before the court by the Consumer Protection Council (CPC) in the light of the strong public interest raised in the application.

The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, had granted the authority for the Council to initiate the suit under Section 10 and 16 of the Consumer Protection Council Act, Cap c25, LFN 2004.

In his order, the judge, Nnamdi Dimgba, said the interim injunction restrains Multichoice Nigeria or its agents and representatives from continuing the implementation of any increase in subscription rates or price review policy imposing increased charges and costs on the consumers pending the determination of the motion on notice.

Besides, the court also restrained DSTV from further carrying on or continuing any conduct or activity which interferes with or has effect of circumventing the outcome of ongoing investigations by the CPC into the company’s compliance or non-compliance with the February 16, 2016 order pending the determination of the motion on notice.

In July, MultiChoice Nigeria announced new monthly subscription rates for the DSTV Premium package from $41 to $44 (about 7.5 per cent) Compact Plus from N$27 to $30; Compact bouquet from $17.5 to $18.8; Family from $10.5 to $11, and Access from $5.26 to $5.54.

The new rates took effect from August 1 this month. 

The application was filed by the CPC on behalf of the federal government, with the Director General of the Council, Babatunde Irukera, leading other concerned Nigerians to appear in court for the case.

The application was accompanied with a nine-paragraph statement jointly signed by Messrs Irukera, Abimbola Ojenike, Eme David-Ojugo, Moray Adebayo, Teniola Medupin and Florence Abebe.

The CPC said in the statement that it has constitutional responsibility to protect the welfare and interest of consumers in Nigeria through the instrumentality of the Council. In the exercise of its statutory mandate, the Council said it was conducting an investigation into DSTV’s compliance with its orders of February 16, 2016 over alleged unfairness, arbitrariness and excessiveness of pricing and billing systems.

Besides, the Council said it was also reviewing other emergent issues relating to whether DSTV‘s business practices and specific conducts were in violation of the law with respect to the rights of consumers in Nigeria.

The Council noted that in the course of its investigation and consultative engagement with the Multichoice Nigeria, DSTV “preemptively and surreptitiously introduced a subscription regime which imposes increased charges and costs on Nigerian Consumers of digital satellite television service with effect from 1st August, 2018”.

The agency argued that unless the court restrained Multichoice Nigeria, it was afraid DSTV or its representative would continue the implementation of the increased subscription rate.

The action, it pointed out, was capable of “rendering ineffective and nugatory the on-going regulatory investigation which seeks to prevent continuing exploitation of Nigerian consumers through obnoxious and exploitative billing systems and pricing regimes”.

“An order of interim injunction restraining the Defendant/Respondent by itself, agents, representatives, affiliates, officers or privies, howsoever described from continuing the implementation of any increased subscription rate or price review policy imposing increased charges and costs on the consumers of Defendant/Respondent’s services pending the determination of the Plaintiff/Applicant’s Motion on Notice for Interlocutory Injunction filed in this suit,” Mr Dimgba said.

The CPC asked the court to accord the matter accelerated hearing so that the substantive issues raised would be determined and settled definitively and expeditiously.

Consequently, the court adjourned the case to Tuesday, August 28, for hearing.

When contacted, the spokesperson of Multichoice Nigeria Limited, Carole Oghuma, promised to send the company’s reaction to the court order. However, at the time of this publication, the response was yet to come in.

 

Source: Premium Times Nigeria

Published in Telecoms
  1. Opinions and Analysis

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