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Investors lose N169bn as market continues losing streak

The domestic equities market extended its losses to the second trading session of the week on the back of sustained losses in NIGERIAN BREWERIES (-9.7%), NESTLE (-3.5%) and UNILEVER (-8.5%) which saw N169bn wiped off investors’ wealth as market capitalisation fell to N11.4tn.

As a result, the Benchmark Index shed 1.0% to 30,226.7 points while year to date (YTD) loss further dipped to -3.8%.

Activity level was mixed as value traded advanced by 23.3% to N4.5bn while volume traded declined by 78.2% to 376.5m units.

The top traded stocks by value were NESTLE (N905.2m), NIGERIAN BREWERIES (N776.5m) and GUARANTY (N720.8m) while the top traded stocks by volume were FCMB (53.9m units), STERLING (41.4m units) and UBA (41.3m units).

Performance across sectors was mixed, albeit negatively skewed as only two out of five sectors advanced. The Insurance index advanced the most by 0.9% as investors took position in NEM (+5.0%) and CUSTODIAN (+0.82%) while the Industrial index advanced marginally by 0.1% as gains in DANGCEM (+1.1%) offset sustained losses in BETAGLASS (+10.0%).

On the flipside, the Consumer Goods index further declined by 3.8% following sustained profit taking activities in NIGERIAN BREWERIES (-9.7%), NESTLE (-3.5%) and UNILEVER (-8.5%). Likewise, the Oil and Gas index and the Banking index shed 1.8% and 1.1% respectively due to sustained losses in OANDO (-7.8%), FORTE(-9.9%), UBA (-2.6%) and ETI (-2.0%).

Investors’ sentiment as measured by market breadth weakened to 0.4x from 0.8x recorded in yesterday’s session as 10 stocks advanced against 28 stocks that declined.

The top performing stocks were WEMA (+10.0%), SOVERININ (+10.0%) and IKEJHOTEL (+9.7%) while the most underperforming stocks were BETAGLASS (-10.0%), FORTE (-9.9%) and NIGERIAN BREWERIES (-9.7%).

Analyst at Afinvest said: “While we expect this negative performance recorded thus far to persist in subsequent trading sessions, we do not rule out the possibility of an upturn in the performance of the Benchmark index as investors continue to take position in fundamentally attractive stocks.’’

Source: Dailytrustng

The Link Between Low Wages And High Housing Costs

There are two sides to the affordable housing problem. One is building more units and the other is the low income of our residents.

Building more affordable housing depends on subsidies which are limited by both the federal and state governments. As a practical matter, Hawaii only gets enough funds to create 200 to 225 units a year.

Building a two-bedroom, two-bath unit costs $150,000 in federal tax credits and $100,000 in direct subsidies from the state for a three- or four-story walk-up apartment. For something with more floors that requires an elevator the subsidies would increase to cover the higher cost of construction.

Besides the financial problem it takes a long time to process and develop a property, up to five to seven years. To produce 2,000 units, it will take 10 years of available federal and state allocations of funds. These 2,000 units will have little effect on the tremendous demand we currently have of 60,000 units by 2030 for all islands.

The additional problem is finding entitled land, which is scarce in Hawaii. All counties in Hawaii could utilize the State 201H program to create additional land for affordable units, however, it is not being promoted adequately and it takes years to get an approval. For the long term, each county should build an inventory of 201H affordable housing sites for future needs.

The other side of the affordable housing crisis is an income problem.

Fifty percent of the population pays more than 50% of their income for shelter, which leaves nothing for necessities. This in reality is a social inequality problem and needs to be addressed as quick as possible.

By raising wages, it is faster and more efficient to solve the affordable housing crises than trying to create more units. Currently, numerous cities and states are increasing their minimum wage.

Minimum Wage Increase Debated

In Hawaii, the Legislature again is talking about raising the minimum wage, from $10.10 an hour to $15 per year by 2023. Between 2005 and 2018 the Legislature had raised its wages 83% while the consumer price index increased only 41% for a part-time job.

The increase in wages is effectively $60 per hour if they worked six months per year. The National Housing Low Income Housing Coalition estimates that wages in Hawaii should be $27.44 per hour to afford a one-bedroom rental unit. Seattle raised its minimum wage last year to $15 an hour, and in comparison, to Honolulu, the cost of living per hour for Hawaii’s minimum wage should have been $18.39 per hour in 2018.

You can take several cities and states and do the same type of comparison by the cost of living, and it will indicate that Hawaii’s minimum wage proposal that’s currently being discussed is deplorable. It’s a step in the right direction, but still not enough to house or feed our people.

In Honolulu there are about 16,000 individuals earning $10.10 per hour, 23,000 persons earning between $10.10 an hour and $15 an hour. Many of these people are within one paycheck of being homeless. Additionally, there are 62,000 persons who earn between $15 an hour and $20 an hour.

If you raise their wages by $5 an hour for those making less than $15 an hour, it will have some effect on raising the wages of those over $15 per hour, but on a declining scale. In other words, those between $15 and $20 will see maybe a $2 increase and so on until it doesn’t ripple through the economy.

Overall, increasing the minimum wage is a net positive event to the economy and all of Hawaii.

If you assume you raise the minimum wage $5 an hour for all wage earners earning between $10.10 an hour and $15 an hour and all of the additional $5 per hour went to pay rent, that would be an additional $876 per month for each worker and this would solve part of our housing crises overnight.

To put this in perspective, an extremely low-income, two-person wage earner household at 45% area median income ideally paying 30% of their income for housing is paying $1,054 per month. If you increase their wages by $5 per hour over the $10.10 they currently make, they could pay $1,917 a month ($1054 plus $876 equals $1,917) for rent.

They now would be paying 39% of their income for housing and they would also move up to 65% AMI. This kind of wage increase will affect those in the lowest income spectrum the most.

If you increase current wages with an additional $8 per hour our extremely low-income resident could afford the average apartment in Hawaii and could maybe afford a few essential necessities. Imagine the dynamic effect of individual wage earners combining their income as families or roommates and what they could afford.

Many believe that by raising the minimum wage it would harm small businesses, which is true to an extent, but experience shows that the businesses that find it difficult to increase wages are the least efficient. While this seems cruel, inefficient businesses will close sooner or later from competition. The public is currently subsidizing these businesses that pay low wages through all the social services our low-income residents need.

Over time the increase in the minimum wage is going to expand the economy and the increase in wages is going to come out of real estate rents.

There’s a long-held economic principle call the “land rent theory” that says, as wages are increased and if market prices don’t go up (because of competition), the increase in wages will come out of the land. The opposite is also true: The higher the rents, the lower the wages, which brings us back to one of the causes of a lack of affordable units.

In 2016 and 2017, Hawaii ranked No. 1 in the nation for having the widest gap between wages and the price of rental housing by the National Low-Income Housing Coalition’s annual report.

Source: Charles P. Wathen

FEC approves N5.5bn for training of 12,000 unemployed youth

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved N5.5bn for the training of 12,000 unemployed youth in the country under the N-Power social intervention programme.

The approval was granted during the FEC meeting, presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the presidential Villa, Abuja. The meeting lasted for three hours.

Briefing State House Correspondents at the end of the meeting, the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udoma Udoma, said the youth would be selected from the six geo-political zones of the country.

He said the training which will last for nine months, will enable the beneficiaries assemble, repair and maintain electronic products such as mobile phones, competing devices, among others.

Udoma, said the programme was open to all unemployed youth, irrespective of their educational background. He said the training of each of the beneficiaries will cost, N259,000.

At the end of the training tagged, “N-power knowledge multi track youth empowerment programme”, the minister said the beneficiaries would be given working tool of N207,000.

” Each of the 12,000 beneficiaries will train five others, making a total of 60,000. The idea is to make our youth entrepreneurs, employing others,” he said. The contract is awarded to Softcom limited.

Source: By Ismail Mudashir

Two-thirds of world’s hungriest people live in Nigeria, seven other countries – UN

No fewer than 113 million people experienced high levels of food insecurity in the world’s most severe food crises in 2018, the Global Report on Food Crisis 2019 has found.

The report, which was released on Wednesday in Brussels, warned that these food crises were primarily driven by conflict and climate-related disasters.

One of the key findings of the report showed that nearly two-thirds of those facing acute hunger were in just eight countries.

These countries were Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Nigeria, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

“The worst food crises in 2018, in order of severity, were: Yemen, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, the Syrian Arab Republic, the Sudan, South Sudan and northern Nigeria.

“These eight countries accounted for two-thirds of the total number of people facing acute food insecurity – amounting to nearly 72 million people,” according to the report.

Similarly, short-term outlook of food insecurity for 2019 showed that “Yemen, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, the Syrian Arab Republic, the Sudan, South Sudan and northern Nigeria are expected to remain among the world’s most severe food crises in 2019.

“Large segments of populations in most of these countries risk falling into Emergency (IPC/CH Phase 4) levels of acute food insecurity,” it stated.

The report further added: “In the 16 states of northern Nigeria and the Federal Capital Territory, the number of people in ‘Crisis’ and ‘Emergency’ decreased by 40 per cent between June and August 2017 and 2018 to 5.3 million.

“At the peak of the lean season three million were acutely food insecure in the three north-eastern states affected by the Boko Haram insurgency where protracted conflict and mass displacement disrupted agriculture, trade, markets and livelihoods, and pushed up food prices,” said the report.

Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO)’s Director-General, José da Silva, said in spite of a slight drop in 2018 in the number of people experiencing acute food insecurity, “the figure is still far too high.”

“We must act at scale across the humanitarian-development-peace nexus to build the resilience of affected and vulnerable populations. To save lives, we also have to save livelihoods,” he added.

World Food Programme Executive Director, David Beasley, also said: “while critical to saving lives and alleviating human suffering, humanitarian assistance does not address the root causes of food crises.”

Beasley highlighted the importance of “attacking the root causes of hunger: conflict, instability, the impact of climate shocks.”

“Boys and girls need to be well-nourished and educated; women need to be truly empowered. Rural infrastructure must be strengthened in order to meet that ‘Zero Hunger’ goal.

“Programmes that make a community resilient and more stable will also reduce the number of hungry people,” he said

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Why we’re unveiling Africa’s biggest solar panel factory in Borno

Engineer Ibrahim Ali is a one time Minister of State for Petroleum Resources and once served as Managing Director of the Nigerian Housing Authority (NHA) credited with supervising the construction of the famous Gwarimpa Housing Estate in Abuja. In this interview, Ali who is executing Governor Kashim Shettima’s industrialisation policy speaks on the kick-off of the Borno Solar Panel Factory.

 

What is the motive behind plans to unveil the Solar Power Panel Factory in Maiduguri?

It is Africa’s biggest and is fully automated. The idea is wholly that of Governor Kashim Shettima, and his intention is to set the stage for the industrialisation of Borno State in line with his desire to kick-start the economy of the state in response to the dislocation wrought on the state by a decade-long insurgency. In this district where all the nine industries are located, one can see an unprecedented level of activity to redefine our targets and objectives in a way that will change the narratives and build a future of prosperity and growth.

 

What are your targets for the power sector?

We have all seen the implication of the Obasanjo/Jonathan kind of privatisation of the power sector, how he sold the assets and how the sector has been bastardised leading to very serious power crisis. We are supposed to look inward in order to identify how best to respond to the crisis in the power sector in relation to getting our priorities right.

In Borno and in the North, we have abundant sunshine, and I wonder why we cannot invest in solar energy to provide realistic and affordable power to our people in order to fast track growth. It is the global trend because 20 per cent of power generated globally is from solar. In April, we will roll out.

Our target is to produce certified quality solar panels and each panel will have capacity for 300 watts. As you know 1,000 watts equals to one kilowatt and 1,000 of that is one megawatt.

Each year, we would have an aggregate of 40MW. Borno requires not more than 120 to 150MW to power its industrial drive, lubricate the economy, give access to small scale entrepreneurs and propel growth. It means in just three years, we can achieve self-sufficiency in power generation.

Have you identified the market for the solar power panels?

We are a business and as such we are a global brand. But my eyes are set on providing cheap and affordable electricity to the very people that are in critical and dire need of it to have access to power to improve their performances and businesses and to push them out of poverty. In this category we have boreholes, clinics, hospitals, schools, kiosks and other small businesses, street lights, market places, villages and even Tsangayas.

In fact, we believe that we will change the way we do irrigation in the North, Nigeria and the whole of Africa. It is very difficult for farmers to make profit in tandem with the sweat they put in because getting the energy to power their water generating sets is very costly due to fluctuating oil prices. We will provide access to energy through less costly but highly effective and affordable solar power to make it profitable and less strenuous for farmers to power their sets.

 

It is said that solar power is not fully solving electricity needs due to its low voltage. Do you consider this?

Before I come to that question, I will like to re-emphasise the endowment God Almighty has given us in virtually all of Africa. There is just no reason whatsoever for African countries to shy away from investing in solar energy. I am aware that the sub-standard power panels most people have access to have proved to be problematic and as such, there is apparently a kind of lack of confidence in them.

We have addressed all those fears by establishing a world class solar panel factory, the best and biggest in Africa and it is fully automated. We produce highly qualitative panels through a well-thought out and meticulous engineering process that will stand the test of time. We know the challenges and there was no stone that was left unturned in the process of actualising this dream.

Our first priority is Borno, and because of our peculiar circumstances and situation, our objective is to address those peculiarities in order to provide a way out of our economic dislocation.

Germany’s 20 per cent electricity is solar generated even when they are not as endowed as we are, sun wise. It is all about believing in yourself and your ability to identify your shortcomings and needs and which best is the way to go about solving them.

Source: By Fidelis MacLeva & Simon Echewofun Sunday

AfDB report expresses concern over African countries rising external debt

The African Development Bank (AfDB) has expressed worry over the rising external debt profile of African countries as it is increasing the burden of debt servicing.

The bank raised the alarm during the launch of the AfDB Group’s 2019 African Economic Outlook and West Africa Regional Economic Outlook in Abuja, yesterday.

Mr. Ebrima Faal, Senior Director, AfDB in his remarks noted that “the issue of external debt is back on the radar in many countries. Average external debt is rising in the region and has nearly doubled over the past six years to 23.6 percent of GDP at end February 2019 compared with 13.5 percent in 2013. This has increased the burden of servicing external debt.”

AfDB thus advised African countries to watch their debts commitments going forward.

Mr. Faal also expressed worry over rising insecurity across Africa and the impact on unemployment as investments in the region dwindle.

“The delicate security situation in some parts of the region also continues to impede economic performance and social stability in the West African region,” he said.

Source: Chris Agabi

Science & tech to boost Nigeria’s GDP – Minister

The Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, said Nigeria aims to be among the countries with the largest GDP in the world through efficient use of Science, Technology and Innovation.

Dr. Onu disclosed this during the inauguration of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on the review of Science Technology and Innovation Policy in Abuja yesterday.

He said the Federal Government through Science, Technology and Innovation will effectively and efficiently utilise all the natural resources in the land to create sustainable wealth for the country, create more jobs and effectively fight poverty.

He said Science, Technology and Innovation cuts across all aspects of national life and contributes to the progress of the nation.

Nigeria, he added, should produce products which are of high quality and globally competitive.

“We should remain competitive and maintain high standards comparable to the best anywhere in the world”, he added.

He disclosed that Science, Technology and Innovation will be the centrepiece of the nation’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.

Earlier, the Committee chairman of the inter-ministerial Committee on the review of Science Technology and Innovation Policy, Prof. Ukwuoma Okechukwu assured that the committee will deliver on its mandate within the time frame and develop a report that will make Nigerians proud.

Source: Zakariyya Adaramola

FG seeks alternative revenue sources to fund 2019 budget

The federal government has evolved a strategic agenda to augment its sources of revenue to fund the 2019 budget.

This is according to submissions by heads of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to the Joint House of Representatives’ Committee on Appropriation Bill, in Abuja yesterday.

The 2019 budget defence, and consideration of the bases on which it is based, namely the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and the Economic Recovery Growth Plan (ERGP) featured the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udo Udoma and his Finance counterpart, Zaynab Ahmed.

Others included Director-General, Budget Office of the Federation, Ben Akabueze; Director-General, Debt Management Office (DMO), Patience Oniha; Accountant General of the Federation (AGF), Ahmed Idris; Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele; and Comptroller-General of Nigeria Customs, Hameed Ali.

There were also Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Babatunde Fowler; Group Managing Director (GMD), Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Maikanti Baru; and Head of the Department of Petroleum Resources, Mordecai Ladan.

Defending the 2018 budget performance, as well as the proposed appropriation for 2019 fiscal year, Udoma told the lawmakers that both the MTEF and ERGP aimed to diversify the economy, reduce unemployment and achieve sustainable economic growth.

According to him, there was need to intensify the implementation of ERGP with regard to enhanced revenue generation to effectively fund the 2019 budget, hence the strategic agenda.

He said although the economy recently emerged from recession, and thus requires time to fully recuperate, “all major economic indices are currently trending positively.”

As at 31 December, 2018, Udoma said given N3.96 trillion aggregate revenue, the government had incurred expenditure of N6 trillion, out of which N1.266 trillion was spent on capital projects.

The Minister attributed the rise of recurrent spending above capital expenditure in the 2019 budget to allocations for new minimum wage, as well as government’s commitment to offsetting all pension arrears.

Source: By Ozibo Ozibo

TSA to cover foreign account soon

Federal Government on Tuesday has disclosed that it was working towards implementing the Treasury Single Account (TSA) to cover foreign accounts.

The Minister for Finance, Hajia Zainab Amed, made this disclosure on Tuesday at a budget defence session with key revenue generating ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) organised by the House of Representatives joint committee on finance, appropriation, aids, loans and debt management under the Chairmanship of Hon. Babangida Ibrahim.

According to her, “we are working now to implement the TSA to cover foreign accounts operated by government agencies in order to broaden the net and minimise leakages.”

The Minister in the company of top officials of the Ministry explained that the federal government had evolved a new revenue strategic growth agenda developed by her ministry to ensure a sustainable revenue flow system.

According to the Minister, “we have identified new revenue streams and we’re working to tap into them, especially the identification of new taxes for which we are working with the FIRS to bring that to fruition, of course with an amendment to relevant tax laws.”

She assured that her Ministry was doing everything possible to ensure that all revenues due for the Federal government were adequately captured and remitted accordingly.

Source: By Jacob Segun Olatunji

Investors expect lower rates as CBN conducts first Q2 T-Bills auction

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) will on Thursday auction Treasury Bills worth N95.68 billion in its first Primary Market Auction (PMA) for the second quarter of 2019, with investors anticipating a lower stop rate.

Investors expect a stop rate bid range of between 10.00 percent and 10.20 percent compared with the last stop rate of 10.30 percent for a 91-day tenor instrument, according to details of this week’s T-Bills auction made available

For the 182-day tenor, they expect a stop rate of between 11.70 percent and 12 percent from the last rate of 12.20 percent.

In the same vein, the investors are looking at bidding at a range of between 11.90 percent and 12.20 percent compared with 12.34 percent for 364-day tenor.

Meanwhile, the CBN plans to sell N10 billion for 90-day tenor, N17.6 billion for 182-day tenor and N68.08 billion for 364-day tenor.

Consequently, Afrinvest Securities Limited has advised investors to take advantage of the long-term Primary Market Auction offer (yield around 13.9 percent) as well as selected secondary market bills with attractive yields.

“We do not rule out the possibility of a further moderation in the discount rate on T-Bills and Open Market Operation (OMO) bills instruments following the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) cut and the absence of CBN’s OMO auction,” said Afrinvest analysts.

On Tuesday, March 26, the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the CBN surprised analysts, economists and investors with a 50 basis point or 0.5 percent reduction in its benchmark interest rate to 13.5 percent, from 14 percent since July 2016. This triggered more buying interest as investors took positions across the yield curve. The regulator, however, retained asymmetric corridor around the MPR at +2 percent/-5 percent; Cash Reserve Requirement (CRR) at 22.5 percent and Liquidity Ratio at 30 percent.

The regulator of banks and other financial institutions sells Treasury Bills twice a month to help government fund its budget deficit.

“It is possible that the yields on the Nigerian Treasury Bills (NTBs) remain around the current levels if there is still sustained demand,” says Ayodele Akinwunmi, head of research, FSDH Merchant Bank Limited.

A report by Afrinvest revealed that the bearish sentiments in the Treasury Bills secondary market were reversed last week as average yields across all tenors declined 11bps week-on-week to settle at 13.6 percent on Friday.

The uptick in investor sentiment was largely supported by the inflow of liquidity from matured OMO bills amidst the surprising absence of the CBN’s OMO auction all through the week. As a result, most investors took positions in the secondary market, particularly along the medium and long ends of the curve with the 18-Jun-19 (-120 bps), 20-Jun-19 (-106 bps) and 23-Jan-20 (-48bps) maturities enjoying significant buying interests.

The overnight inter-bank rate, which is the rate at which banks borrow and lend to each other, has been on a steady decline since Tuesday last week, dropping to 5.57 percent on Monday, April 1, from 17.29 on March 26, 2019.

Also, the Open-Buy-Back (OBB), a money market instrument used to raise short-term capital, declined to 5.00 percent on Monday, April 1, compared to 16.43 on Tuesday, March 26, 2019.
Nigeria’s external reserves have increased to $44.34 billion as at March 28, 2019, compared to $42 29 billion it stood on February 28, 2019.

Naira appreciated marginally by 0.02 percent to close at N360.60k per dollar on Monday, as against N360.80k/$ at the investors and exporters foreign exchange window.

Source: By Hopes Moses Ashike

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