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
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 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
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