The Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Dr Suleiman Ndanusa, has said that the realisation of an integrated capital market within the West African region by 2016 is feasible.
Speaking at a meeting in Abuja, Ndanusa said that recent economic realities at the international market should be seen as an opportunity by countries in the region to boost activities in the capital market through the adoption of policies that are in the interest of the sector.
He said harmonisation of market processes and financial literacy remains key to achieving its objective of capital market integration.
Representatives of capital market institutions in the West Africa sub region gathered at a meeting to fast track the development of the market through the adoption of regional protocols.
Besides the decreasing prices of oil at the international market, security threat and differences in currencies among countries in the sub region appear to be a challenge to the attainment of the 2016 deadline.
However, many experts at the gathering highlighted great economic potential for the region through the capital market.
The Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission outlined some of the benefits of the creation of an integrated capital market which he said would serve as a catalyst to the growth of other sectors.
The Director-General, West African Monetary Institute, Dr Abwaku Englama, as well as the Chairman/C.E.O, Nigeria Stock Exchange, Oscar Onyema, also took turns to give their analyses of the economic potentials and how the dream would be realised in the days ahead.
The Debt Management Office in Nigeria has identified Tax Evasion as the major factor militating against increase in the Nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
At a retreat of stakeholders held in Ada in Osun State on Saturday on the implications of rebasing of Gross Domestic Product for Public Debt Management, speakers observed that Nigeria’s debt/GDP Ratio had, after rebasing, dropped from 22.84 per cent to 12.65 percent indicating that the economy has grown appreciably.
The three day Retreat was organised by the Debt Management Office for members of the House Committee on Aids, Loans and Debt Management.
They gathered to deliberate on the importance of rebasing, its benefits and effects on Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product for a better Economy.
Stakeholders observed that although the rebased GDP indicated broader classifications and economic activities, there was still the need for continued diversification of the economy away from Oil and Gas as its major Source of Revenue.
Proper Tax Administration and Collection, they all agreed, was one major way of increasing Nigeria’s GDP.
Director General, Debt Management Office, Abraham Nwankwo, stressed that focus should be on having the revenue to service debts, insisting that even though Nigeria’s debts ratio had fallen, “it does not mean that Nigeria is in a position to borrow money”.
Other Participants at the retreat stressed that as much as the government had a part to play in enhancing the economy; individuals had the major responsibility to perform their civic duty.
With this message it is hoped that every Nigerian will see the future of the Nation as a collective responsibility so the revenue profile of the government can grow in commensurate with the growing economic activities.
The Federal Government of Nigeria says it is not prepared to take any excuse from any state in the federation over failure to comply with the June 17, 2015 deadline for digital migration.
During a forum of representatives of state broadcast houses and members of the National Broadcasting Commission in Abuja, the Minister of Information, Mr Labaran Maku, said that the government had put in place all the necessary facilities to ensure a smooth migration by middle of next year.
It was the extra ordinary meeting of the National Council of Information, comprising the Minister of Information, commissioners in charge of information in the states, directors in the Federal Ministry of Information and heads of parastatals under the Information Ministry.
The meeting was meant to acquaint members on the level of implementation of the digitisation process in all the states.
While government is making efforts to ensure the compliance, the Minister of Information expressed concern that the present security situation may be a threat to full migration.
Already, the Federal Government had flagged-off the switch last month in Jos, the Plateau State Capital and other states are prepared for the migration.
The digital migration deadline was given by the International Telecommunication Union about five years ago, with the aim of freeing more spectrum for the development of broadcast sub-sector.
Some other dignitaries at the meeting were the Niger State Commissioner for Information, Danladi Mohammed, Bayelsa State Commissioner for Information, Markson Sesegha and the Director General, National Broadcasting Commission, Emeka Mba amongst others.
Fifty-four girls have been identified by parents and guardians of abducted schoolgirls in Chibok, Borno State, North-East Nigeria.
Governor Kashim Shettima told ‘bring back our girls’ protesters that the girls were identified by their parents in a video released on Monday by members of the Boko Haram sect.
The Governor told the protesters at the Borno Government Lodge in Abuja that efforts were ongoing to identify more of the girls.
He also announced that trauma counselling would be provided for the girls who escaped from their captors.
Nigerians asking the Government to rescue the abducted schoolgirls in Chibok, on Tuesday took their protest to the Borno State Governor after a march through the streets of Asokoro.
Led by former Education Minister, Dr Oby Ezekwesili, they told the Governor the purpose of the visit and in an interactive manner, members of the ‘bring back our girls’ group sought explanation on some issues.
Governor Kashim Shettima assured them of his efforts to rescue the girls.
As the campaign for the safe return of the abducted girls continues, members of the group promised to push for concrete efforts to rescue the abducted girls.
The Nigerian Government seems ready to talk to Islamist militants, Boko Haram for the release of more than 200 abducted schoolgirls.
The Minister of Special Duties, Tanimu Turaki, said that if Shekau was sincere, he should send representatives for talks.
The Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau, said on Monday that captured girls who have not converted to Islam could be swapped for members of his group in custody of Nigeria’s security agencies.
In a video purportedly released by sect on Monday, about 100 girls believed to be some of the 234 school girls, kidnapped in Chibok, Borno State, were seen reciting the Koran.
Mr Turaki – who is chairman of a committee set up by President Goodluck Jonathan to find ways of reconciling with Boko Haram – said that Mr Shekau should send people he trusts to meet the standing committee on reconciliation.
The Director-General, National Orientation Agency, Mike Omeri, had said late on Monday that the authorities would “use whatever kind of action” it took to free the girls, and that a military operation – with foreign help – was also possible.
The girls were abducted in April from a school in north-eastern Nigeria.
African leaders have been urged to boost trade and learn to share knowledge and infrastructure in order to develop the continent to a desired standard.
Discussing how African countries can partner with other countries around the world and the private sector to create jobs, discussants stressed the need for African countries to explore all sectors in order to open their economy more and create needed jobs for the youth.
At Thursday’s session on “Partnering for Prosperity” US Trade Representative, Michael Froman, stressed the need for African countries to explore the agriculture sector, which he said was capable of opening the economy of many African countries, since Africa has at least 20 per cent of the world’s land.
He also stressed the need to implement the World Trade Organisation (WTO) agreement reached in December on trade facilitation, which is aimed at reducing bills at the border and harmonising customs, making it easier for countries to trade with each other.
He also emphasised the need for security in the continent.
Lack Of Political Will
The Deputy, Director-General, WTO, Geneva, Yonov Fredrick Agah, stressed the need for African governments to take advantage of free trade rules and enhance trades within and outside Africa.
He suggested that profits made from trades could be channelled to other sectors of the economy in order to develop other sectors.
“Trade rules are not bad. It enables you to work for your own economy and for the economy of the trading partner.
“Trade is part of the solution to Africa’s development. A trade led growth strategy is compatible with other strategies that would grow the economy. From trade, you direct resources into manufacturing to create more jobs and reduce poverty level.
“With the increasing importance of free trade agreements, Africa should begin to think of how it will take advantage of the free trade in order to reduce the number of the unemployed in the continent,” Mr Agha said.
He also insisted that lack of political will on the part of the leaders was affecting growth.
Conducive Investment Environment
For Mr Jabu Mabuza, chairman, Telkom Groups, South Africa, educating Africans would go a long way in bringing the needed development in the continent.
He also stressed the need for Local domestic investments to be encouraged in order for foreign investments to come in.
“We need to recognise that we are at various stages and we need to sort out our own regional issues first,” he said.
Nigeria’s President, Goodluck Jonathan, told the discussants that the challenge Africa had at the moment was not the political will to move the continent forward, stating that African leaders were doing all they could to ensure that the investment environment was conducive for investors.
He said that Nigeria was open for investment, with adequate consideration given to the private sector’s interest in order to ensure that the purpose of opening the economy, which is to create jobs, would be achieved.
“There is the political will in Africa now for us to properly integrate. And that is why a committee has been established in the African Union level to look at how Africa can facilitate intra-Africa trade, having discovered that it is easier for countries in Africa to trade within the continent,” he said.
President Jonathan also stressed the need for African countries to also consider growing the manufacturing sector.
The discussants also pointed out that African governments should reduce bureaucratic process, which President Jonathan said “an abuse of the process was a challenge that should be tackled”.
The discussion was the last for the Thursday’s session of the WEFA that started on Wednesday.
The forum with participants from over 80 countries will end on Friday.
The growing presence of foreign insurers, rise in mergers and acquisitions will drive innovation and sanitise Nigeria’s Insurance Industry.
The Director General, Nigerian Insurance Association, Mr Olorundare Thomas, on Tuesday said that some insurance firms do not have the capacity to manage large risks leading to the use of foreign insurers.
He also explained that aside from being under-capitalised, domestic insurance companies lack the skills needed to manage specialised risks.
He believes that in spite of these challenges, the growth prospects remain significant and will be further boosted by government efforts to expand the sector’s capacity.
He also advised key players in the sector to create more awareness to the public and encourage Nigerians to see the several benefits that could be derived.
According to him, this will help improve the sector’s performance and overall contribution to economic growth.
The search for the missing Malaysian plane is still on but the Malaysian Police has warned that the reasons for the plane’s disappearance may never be known.
The warning comes as the country’s Prime Minister, Najib Razak, heads to Australia for talks on the search.
Ten planes and nine ships will search the southern Indian Ocean on Wednesday, with a UK submarine joining the hunt.
Flight MH370 disappeared on March 8, as it was travelling from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. It was carrying 239 people, with majority of them, Chinese nationals.
Malaysian authorities held a meeting on Wednesday with the relatives of the Chinese passengers who were aboard the missing aircraft.
“We had a meeting with the next of kin of the Chinese passengers, 29 of them. It was a closed door meeting and it went well. We answered all their questions but I cannot give you the specifics of the meeting,” the Director General, Malaysian Department of Civil Aviation, Datuk Rahman.
The relatives of the Chinese passengers have accused the Malaysian authorities of keeping information from them.
In preparation for the forthcoming governorship polls, the Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi has appointed Mr. Bimbo Daramola as the Director-General of Fayemi Campaign Organization.
Dr Fayemi in a press statement said that the appointment was after a wide consultation from the party leaders and other members, so as to get things planned properly and also to help communicate to the grassroots as well as to the entire people of the state.
Daramola, who is currently representing the Ekiti North Federal Constituency 2 at the House of Representatives, while briefing newsmen in Ado Ekiti, said that the eight members at federal level are closely working together, including Ekiti sons and daughters who have committed themselves to ensure Ekiti does not retrogress.
He also stated some reasons why a governor who has done tremendously well in the state and had made poverty a history should be elected into office for a second term.
The Nigerian government is set to review the Human Resources Management of Federal Civil Servants.
At a media briefing in Abuja, the Director-General of the Bureau of Public Service Reform, Dr. Joe Abah, lamented the unprofessional attitude of Civil Servants to Human Resources Management.
The Head of Service of the Federation, Mr Bukar Aji, had set up a committee to develop a curriculum for Human Resources Management in the Federal Civil Service.
Dr. Abah, who inaugurated the committee, said that the review would enable the government to achieve its goal of transforming the nation.
“Practice in the public sector is not strategic or professional.
“In the Nigerian Civil Service, generalist administrators within an administrative cadre commonly discharge the personnel management function. Their general approach to the work is often bureaucratic and restrictive, confined largely to routine decisions about staff discipline and welfare,” he said.
Dr Abah explained that the focus was on the interpretation of the administrative regulations, saying that government staff behaviour had little or no real input into strategic decision about staff management let alone how to achieve the overall core objectives of government.
He said that for the situation to change, there it was necessary to adopt a model of the Human Resource Management functions which would best enable the government to manage staff to achieve its corporate objectives.
Telecommunication providers in Nigeria have been asked to improve their service delivery or risk fines, withdrawal of their licenses and a possible jail term of five years.
At a joint press briefing with the consumer protection council in Lagos, the Minister of Communication Technology, Mrs Omobola Johnson, warned that from December 31, any network operator that failed to meet previously agreed target on quality of service would be immediately prevented from further expansion of subscriber base until further notice.
“They will not be allowed to sell any more SIM cards until they comply,” Mrs Johnson said at the Monday press conference.
The telecom sector is the fasted growing sector in Nigeria with over 100 million subscribers but it is characterised with poor quality service.
Some of the issues that users have raised are incessant drop calls indiscriminate charges and poor mobile internet services.
The Director General, Consumer Protection Council, Dupe Atoki, pointed out that the victims were consumers who pay for services but, at the end of the day, do not get value for money.
“Business is profitable, gifts are rolling out and promotions for expansions are going on. Therefore, we must insist that when value is not given, that the next level is compensation,” he said, emphasising the councils’ readiness to seek compensations.
The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC), Mr Eugene Juwah, said that the service providers have been given one year and a half to get their infrastructure ready for good quality of service.
“In view of all these, the NCC decided that on the expiration of the memorandum of Understanding we had with the providers, which is December 31, the full force of our original quality of service regulation will come into being,” he said.