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Finance minister needs to have Egypt, Indonesia counterparts on speed dial

Nigeria’s next finance minister needs to grab the economy by the scruff of the neck to deliver big wins that don’t require reinventing the wheel.

The minister also needs to make close friends with the Indonesian counterpart, Sri Mulyani Indrawati and Egypt’s Mohamed Maait, seeing that both ministers could have a thing or two to share about economic reforms.

Abuja’s many economic struggles mean it wouldn’t require too much for the finance minister to make global waves. That’s assuming the minister can dodge the overbearing influence of President Muhammadu Buhari.

For starters, the minister could unlock quick economic wins by pulling the plugs on crippling power and petrol subsidies that have hobbled the economy and deterred investment.

The minister can lead the charge on privatisation of redundant government assets, effectively providing more opportunities for investors to invest in and seeking ways to replicate the successful and profitable NLNG model with other government assets.

This way the Minister opens up other sources of revenue for the government, thereby cutting down on a fastgrowing public debt stock and

lowering the budget deficit.

If the budget deficit is lower and the government can borrow less, that would free up credit to the private sector while also reducing the borrowing costs of the government.

In 2018, the federal government spent 66 kobo of every naira earned to service debt. In the 2019 budget, recurrent expenditure to revenue ratio of 150 percent implies that the government will spend every naira earned as well as an extra 50 kobo borrowed on only recurrent expenditure this year.

The Minister needs to enforce a breakaway from the government’s spending on recurrent expenditure and debt servicing by pushing for reforms that reduce the cost of governance and spur spending on infrastructure.

Cutting corporate taxes for businesses to compete effectively against other countries amid the global hunt for capital, while ensuring higher compliance rates for taxpayers, would also bode well not only for the economy but even her reputation.

For the first time, there’s a good chance of Nigeria’s finance minister bagging the prestigious Bankers global finance minister of the year award that was last won by Indonesia’s Sri Mulyani Indrawati for her mark on SouthEast Asia’s largest economy.

Mulyani gained global acclaim for a cocktail of tax reforms that entailed lowering income tax for small businesses and achieving higher taxpayer compliance which stimulated economic growth, created jobs and led to higher government revenues.

Taxpayer compliance hit 82.5 percent in 2019, a sizeable increase from the 74 percent recorded in 2014.

These changes to the tax system are integral to the finance minister’s aims of boosting state revenues by 12.9 percent to $146.5 billion in 2019, with the increased income from tax predicted to represent 80 percent of the target.

For the regional awards, it was Mohamed Maait of Egypt who clinched best finance minister in Africa.

Egypt’s ambitious programme of economic reform continues to win plaudits from around the world, with good reason.

In the space of four years, the country has enacted some of the most wide-reaching structural reforms in its recent history.

Admittedly, this has led to a high degree of short-term pain for Egyptian consumers – high inflation has emerged, for instance, as a result of the free float of the pound – but these reforms are undoubtedly paving the way for a brighter future for the country. And at the forefront of this reform story is Egypt’s finance ministry.

List of Savings and Loans Companies in good standing after clean-up

The Bank of Ghana last Friday decided to revoke the licenses of some 15 savings and loans companies which it said were insolvent and could no longer meet the obligations of customers.

The central bank’s action left 25 savings and loans companies in good standing.

Below are the Savings and Loans companies that are currently in good standing, according to the BoG:

ABii National Savings and Loans Ltd

Adehyeman Savings and Loans Company Ltd.

Advans Ghana Savings and Loans Ltd.

Asa Savings and Loans Company Ltd.

Assurance Savings and Loans Ltd.

Bond Savings and Loans Ltd.

Best Point Savings and Loans Ltd.

Bayport Savings and Loans Plc.

Direct Savings and Loans Ltd.

Equity Savings and Loans Ltd.

Golden Link Savings & Loans Ltd.

Golden Pride Savings and Loans Ltd.

Izwe Savings and Loans Ltd.

Jins Savings and Loans Ltd.

Letshego Ghana Savings and Loans Plc

Multi Credit Savings & Loans Co. Ltd.

Opportunity International Savings and Loans Co. Ltd.

Pacific Savings & Loans Co. Ltd.

Pan-African Savings and Loans Company Ltd.

Progress Savings and Loans Ltd.

Services Integrity Savings and Loans Ltd.

SIC Life Savings and Loans Ltd.

Sinapi Aba Savings and Loans Company Ltd.

The Seed Funds Savings and Loans Ltd.

Utrak Savings and Loans Ltd.

‘Funds available to pay customers of collapsed 23 savings and loans, finance houses’

The Bank of Ghana (BoG) has given the assurance that funds are available to pay depositors of the 23 savings and loans companies and finance house companies that have been shut down.

“In line with the Government’s commitment to protect depositors’ funds, the Government has made funds available to enable the Receiver pay depositors after their claims are validated. The Receiver will in due course make an announcement with regards to when and where payments will be made,” a statement issued on Friday by the BoG said.

It said the Receiver, Eric Nipah would make known documents required from the affected depositors to facilitate the validation of claims and orderly payment of validated deposits.

The BoG revoked the licences of the 23 companies because they were highly insolvent.

The BoG also revoked the licences of two nonbank financial institutions, namely Express Funds International Ltd (remittance company) and Ghana Leasing Company Ltd (leasing company).

According to the BoG, the two entities have been insolvent and have been inactive for a number of years.

“This action is pursuant to Section 7 of the Non-Bank Financial Institutions Act, 2008 (Act 774), which mandates the Bank of Ghana to revoke the licence of a non-bank financial institution licensed under that Act if that institution among other things ceases to carry on business,” it said.

Thus, the BoG says it has completed the clean-up of the banking, specialized deposit-taking (SDI), and non-bank financial institutions (NBFI) sectors which began in August 2017.

“This follows the revocation of the licences of nine (9) universal banks, 347 microfinance companies (of which 155 had already ceased operations), 39 micro credit companies/money lenders (10 of which had already ceased operations), 15 savings and loans companies, eight (8) finance house companies, and two (2) non-bank financial institutions that had already ceased operations,” it said.

BANK OF GHANA REVOKES LICENCES OF GHANA SAVINGS, IDEAL FINANCE AND 20 OTHERS

The Bank of Ghana (BoG) has revoked the licences of twenty-three insolvent savings and loans companies and finance house companies.

The affected institutions include Ideal Finance, GN Savings and Loans, First Allied Savings and Loans, ASN Financial Services, Midland Savings and Loans, IFS Financial Services, Unicredit Savings and Loans and Women’s World Banking Savings and Loans.

A statement issued by the BoG on Friday August 16, 2019 said the revocation of the licences of the institutions had become necessary because they were insolvent even after a reasonable period within which the Bank of Ghana had engaged with them in the hope that they would be recapitalized by their shareholders to return them to solvency.

“These actions were taken pursuant to Section 123 (1) of the Banks and Specialised Deposit-Taking Institutions Act, 2016 (Act 930), which requires the Bank of Ghana to revoke the licence of a Bank or Specialised Deposit-Taking Institution (SDI) where the Bank of Ghana determines that the institution is insolvent,” the statement said.

The Bank of Ghana has also appointed Eric Nipah as a Receiver for the specified institutions in line with section 123 (2) of Act 930.

The companies are:

  • 1. Accent Financial Services Ltd
    2. Adom Savings and Loans Ltd
    3. AllTime Finance Ltd
    4. Alpha Capital Savings and Loans Ltd
    5. ASN Financial Services Ltd
    6. CDH Savings and Loans Ltd
    7. Commerz Savings and Loans Ltd
    8. Crest Finance House Ltd
    9. Dream Finance Company Ltd
    10. Express Savings and Loans Company Ltd
    11. First African Savings & Loans Company Ltd
    12. First Allied Savings and Loans Co. Ltd
    13. First Ghana Savings and Loans Co. Ltd
    14. FirstTrust Savings and Loans Ltd
    15. Global Access Savings and Loans Company Ltd
    16. GN Savings and Loans Ltd
    17. Ideal Finance Ltd. Finance House
    18. IFS Financial Services Ltd
    19. Legacy Capital Savings and Loans Ltd
    20. Midland Savings and Loans Company Ltd
    21. Sterling Financial Services Ltd
    22. Unicredit Savings and Loans Ltd
    23. Women’s World Banking Savings and Loans Co. Ltd

Source: graphic

Positives As NMRC Announces 2018 Financial Results

Nigeria Mortgage Refinance Company Plc (NMRC) has published its Annual Reports and Accounts for 2018 at its Annual General Meeting held at the Eko Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos on Wednesday.

The Chairman, Mr. Charles Adeyemi Candide-Johnson (SAN), in his remarks noted that despite the challenging operating environment, NMRC had a good year in 2018. The Company’s Balance Sheet grew by 63% with refinanced loans portfolio growing by over 100% thereby positioning the company for sustained growth and profitability. Mr Candide Johnson further noted that the Company’s capital position remains strong and far in excess of the regulatory requirement in in view of the impending recapitalisation exercise within the financial services sector.

NMRC’s Managing Director, Mr Kehinde Ogundimu in his comments stated that 2018 was indicative of a positive performance for the company across all financial metrics. Mr Ogundimu further noted that the company improved in terms of its strategic positioning and witnessed growth in total assets from N42.54 billion in 2017 to N69.29 billion in 2018. While the company’s Mortgage Refinance Loan portfolio increased by 106% from N 8.23 billion in 2017 to N 17.02 billion in 2018. NMRC’s Gross earnings increased by 15% from N 6.160 billion in 2017 to N7.086 billion in 2018.Earnings per share decreased to N0.93 in 2018 from N1.04 in 2017.

 

In terms of operational efficiency, the company’s personnel expenses decreased by 8% to N0.82 billion in 2018. Other operating expenses decreased by 6% to N0.98 billion in 2018.

Profit before income tax decreased marginally by 0.5% from N1.945 billion in 2017 to N 1.935 billion in 2018 primarily due to the adoption of International Financial Reporting Standards No. 9 (IFRS 9).

The shareholders of the company passed all resolutions presented at the meeting.

NMRC is a CBN-licensed mortgage liquidity facility with the core mandate of developing the primary and secondary mortgage markets. NMRC raises long-term funds from the capital market for mortgage refinancing and by extension promotes affordable housing development and home ownership in Nigeria. NMRC was incorporated on 24th June 2013 and obtained its final license to operate as a non-deposit taking financial institution from the CBN on 18th February 2015.

Nigeria’s Total Debt Stock Rises to N24.9 Trillion

Nigeria’s total debt stock rose to N24.9 trillion (US$81.2 billion) as of the end of March 2019. This is revealed in the latest report released on Wednesday by the Debt Management Office (DMO).

According to the latest report released by DMO, Nigeria’s total debt portfolio hits N24.9 trillion as of March 31, 2019, compared to N24.3 trillion in December 2018. That is, quarter on quarter, Nigeria’s total debt stock rose by 2.3% or N560 billion.

Breakdown of debt stock: Nigeria’s debt stock category for the first quarter of 2019 shows that the country’s total external debt is estimated at N7.8 trillion (US$25.6 billion), constituting 31.5% of total debt for Federal government, Stated and the FCT.

  • The total domestic debt rose to N17 trillion (US$55.6 billion) or 68% of total debt stock within the quarter.
  • The Federal government’s domestic debt was put at N13.1 trillion or US$42.7 billion
  • All the 36 states accrued domestic debt of N3.97 trillion or US$12.9 billion as of the end of March.

States’ debt stock hits N3.97 trillion: A Further look into the breakdown of debts accruable to states in Nigeria revealed that states’ debt profile increased by 3% within the last quarter.

Specifically, as of December 2018, total debt accruable to states was estimated at N3.85 trillion, while the figure rose to N3.97 trillion in March 2019.

 

Analysis of the data shows that Lagos State posted the highest debt stock as of March 2018 with a whopping N542.2 billion. Other states that make up the top 10 highest indebted states in Nigeria include;

  • Rivers – N225.5 billion
  • Delta – 223.4 billion
  • Akwa Ibom – N199.7 billion
  • Cross River – N167.2 billion
  • FCT – N163.5 billion
  • Osun – N147.7 billion
  • Bayelsa – N133.3 billion
  • Kano – N121.7 billion
  • Ekiti – N118 billion

Debt stock

States are in debt trap: It is no longer news that close to 30 states in Nigeria have been described as insolvent. Recall that the federal government dished out bailout funds to assist almost 30 states in the past year to pay up workers’ salaries at respective states.

While the federal government has come out to indicate no more bail-out to states governments, trouble may soon unravel as the organized Labour Union is bent on the implementation of the new N30,000 minimum wage from states whose revenue sources have plunged over time with rising debt.

Fresh concerns about Nigeria’s rising Debt: In recent months, Nigeria’s debt has gained wide criticisms both within the domestic and international spheres. For instance;

  •  The African Development Bank (AfBD) recently revealed that Nigeria spends more than 50% of its revenue on debt servicing.
  • The World Bank has claimed Nigeria’s debt is not sustainable
  • The former Central Bank of Nigeria’s Governor, Sanusi Lamido, recently declared that Nigeria is “bankrupt and the country is heading to bankruptcy”
  • With Nigeria’s rising debt closing down on N30 trillion mark, the calls for fresh concerns in the country.

Source: nairametrics

Biggest PFAs return 4.6% in H1 2019 as total portfolio hits record high

The intensity with which pension funds in Nigeria generate returns for contributors seems to have waned in the first half of 2019.

Although both the Retirement Savings Account (RSA) and retiree fund category of pension funds ended the first quarter of the year with a positive performance, BusinessDay analysis of the half-year return of the seven biggest Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs) reveals that these PFAs delivered an average return of 4.6 percent and 5.2 percent on Fund II and Fund III, respectively, while total portfolio for RSA hit N6.9 trillion.

The choice of Fund II and III is based on the fact that these fund types dominate total RSA funds.

Figures from the National Pension Commission (PenCom) reveal that total funds in RSA as at March 31, 2019, stood at N6.9 trillion, with Fund II at N4 trillion, followed by Fund III (N2.1 trillion), Fund IV (N732 billion), and Fund I (N12.7 billion).

Under the multi-fund structure introduced by PenCom in 2018, the Fund II type is meant for middle-aged contributors – below the age of 49 – and this accounts for 58 percent of the total RSA fund.

Fund III, which is the most conservative fund for active contributors designed for people close to retirement and meant for persons above the age of 50, accounts for 31 percent of the pension fund.

Fund I, which is meant for active contributors who were 49 years and below as at their last birthdays, and Fund IV, meant strictly for RSA retirees, account for a meagre 0.19 percent and 11 percent, respectively.

Taking account of inflation, which accelerated to 11.40 percent in May, a 0.03 percentage point higher than 11.37 percent in January, PFAs within the coverage of this analysis returned 4.57 percent and 5.17 percent on Fund II and Fund III, respectively, in nominal terms.

This means the funds are largely returning below inflation or negative in real terms.

For Fund II with a maximum 55 percent exposure to variable income securities, Pension Alliance (PAL) emerged top performer with 6.5 percent as the unit price increased from N3.56 on January 2, 2019 to N3.79 on June 30, 2019.

Premium Pension emerged the second top performer with a 5.8 percent return as price per unit from N4.1 on January 2, 2019 to N4.34 on June 30, 2019. ARM Pension’s unit price appreciated 5.8 percent from N3.78 on January 2, 2019, to N4.34 on June 30, 2019. Stanbic IBTC Pension’s unit price climbed 4.7 percent higher from N3.82 on January 2, 2019 to N4 on June 30, 2019.

Sigma Pension returned 4.1 percent as price per unit advanced from N3.14 to N3.27 between January 2 and June 30, 2019. Trust Fund Pension delivered 3.9 percent return as unit price appreciated from N3.34 on January 31, 2019, to N3.47 on June 30, 2019. Leadway Pensure returned 2.5 percent as unit price moved from N3.21 on April 10, 2019 to N3.29 on June 30, 2019.

For pre-retiree Fund III with 20 percent maximum limit to variable investment securities, Premium Pension topped peers with positive half-year return of 6.6 percent as price per unit moved from N1.06 to N1.13 between January 2 and June 30, 2019.

Within the six-month period, Sigma Pension’s unit price advanced from N1.02 to N1.08 and delivered 5.9 percent return. Pension Alliance (PAL) and ARM Pension returned 5.7 percent as their unit price increased from N1.05 and N1.04, respectively, to N1.11 and N1.10 respectively. Stanbic IBTC Pension’s unit price climbed 4.7 percent higher from N1.05 on January 2, 2019, to N1.11 on June 30, 2019.

Trust Fund Pension delivered 4.8 percent return as unit price appreciated from N1.04 on January 31, 2019 to N1.11 on June 30, 2019. Leadway Pensure returned 2.8 percent as unit price moved from N1.06 on April 10, 2019 to N1.09 on June 30, 2019.

The seven PFAs have a combined 75 percent market share in the pension industry, with Stanbic IBTC Pension leading the space with 37.2 percent. ARM Pension, Premium Pension and Trust Fund Pension have an individual market share of 8.8 percent, 7.9 percent, and 6.4 percent, respectively. These are followed by Sigma Pension (5.5 percent), and Pension Alliance and Leadway Pensure with 4.8 percent share each.

Pension assets rose by 4.5 percent to N9 trillion while pension to GDP stood at 28.3 percent in Q1 2019, from 24.52 percent in Q4 2018. In 2018, total Asset Under Management (AuM) was N8.14trn ($26.6), more than the combined assets in Egypt, Ghana, and Kenya.

In the full-year 2018, Nigeria’s pension to GDP was 6.7 percent. By comparison, it stood higher than Egypt’s 1.5 percent, Ghana’s 4.4 percent but below Kenya’s 12.9 percent. Meanwhile, Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) member countries averaged 53.3 percent in 2018.

By OLUFIKAYO OWOEYE, SEGUN ADAMS & ISRAEL ODUBOLA

Private renters living in hazardous homes thanks to ‘weak regulations’, says Citizens Advice

Hundreds of thousands of tenants in England are living in hazardous homes with problems such mould or faulty fire alarms due to “weak and confusing” regulation, according to Citizens Advice.

The charity found that almost one in three tenants surveyed said their house did not have a carbon monoxide alarm despite requiring one. That equates to 900,000 homes across the UK.

Three-fifths of tenants identified disrepair in their home during the last two years that was not caused by them and that their landlord was responsible for fixing. One in six of those said the disrepair was a major threat to their health and safety.

Citizens Advice also polled landlords, finding widespread gaps in knowledge of their legal responsibilities to tenants.

A quarter of landlords failed to ensure that there was a smoke alarm on each floor of all of their properties.

Almost half (49 per cent) did not know they face a penalty of up to £5,000 for not checking smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are in working order on the first day of the tenancy. The same proportion didn’t know the penalty for not carrying out a gas safety check.

“Too many private renters live in hazardous homes – often with potentially fatal flaws,” said Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice.

“Weak and confusing regulation means landlords can struggle to understand their legal obligations, while tenants find it hard to get problems in their homes resolved.

It suggests creating a home “MOT”, setting a “fit-and-proper-person” test for landlords and standardising rental contracts.

The government has made reforms in the private rented sector in recent years, such as laws to ensure all rented homes are fit to be lived in, banning most tenant fees, and proposed the abolition of “no-fault” section 21 evictions.

But Citizens Advice claims that renters still lack the power they need to ensure standards are consistent, and landlords and tenants lack the knowledge they need for standards to be upheld.

Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said: “It is truly alarming that so many private renters are living in homes which aren’t up to scratch and compromise their safety. A safe home is a basic standard that every renter has the right to expect.

“It’s critical that every landlord is aware of their responsibilities and stays in step with the new Fitness for Human Habitation Act, which sets out standards to keep renters safe.

“But if landlords don’t follow these rules, renters should be armed with the power to challenge their poor behaviour.

“That’s why the government’s planned ban on no-fault evictions must become law as quickly as possible, so that private renters can speak up about safety concerns without living in fear of a revenge eviction.”

Statewide PSA Warns Real Estate Scams Put You at Risk

The growing threat of wire fraud scams targeting real estate transactions is prompting the Utah Division of Real Estate to launch a statewide campaign in warning the public. A real estate email scam is trying to dupe unsuspecting buyers out of their down payment right before settlement.

The Utah Division of Real Estate has produced a public service announcement video that is airing on local television stations as well as a statewide billboard campaign through the end of August.

The email scam—affecting transactions across the country—targets real estate agents’ and title companies’ email accounts. Scammers learn when transactions are scheduled and, usually within 24 hours of a transaction closing, they’ll use the email account to send new wiring instructions to the buyer, seller, title, or escrow agent, lender, real estate agent, or broker. The new wiring instruction will have the funds directed to a bank account outside of the country. After the funds are transferred, they are usually quickly dispersed to multiple banks and quickly become untraceable and unrecoverable.

More than $149 million was lost by consumers nationwide in 2018 from this type of email real estate fraud, according to a Federal Bureau of Investigation report.

“All parties in a real estate transaction should be very wary of any last-minute changes over email,” says Jonathan Stewart, director of the Utah Division of Real Estate. “Once criminals gain access to your email account, they can make anything sound legitimate. We hope by educating consumers about this statewide email scam, we can prevent Utahns from becoming victims.”

SOURCE: REALTOR magazine

National Association of Realtors: ” Real Estate will continue to see growth, amid a strong economy”

National Association of Realtor’s chief economist Lawrence Yun’s remarks came during a talk at the Realtors Conference & Expo in Boston last week, where he added that in his opinion another recession seems unlikely in the short term due to the country’s sound economic fundamentals.

Yun also forecast around six million new and existing home sales by the end of this year, and slightly more in the next couple of years. The economist also believes home prices will continue to grow at a modest rate, around 4.7 percent in 2018, 3.1 percent in 2019 and 2.7 percent in 2020.

Key Takeaways

  • Yun forecast around six million new and existing home sales by the end of this year
  • New homes are being added to the market at a rate of around 1.2 million per year, but that’s below the historical average
  • Yun said there’s little chance of a recession happening as inflation remains under control, and so any interest rate increases by the Federal Reserve will likely be moderate.

However, Yun said these positive trends would only occur if homebuilders are able to keep up with demand by adding new inventory to the market. New homes are being added to the market at a rate of around 1.2 million per year, but that’s below the historical average and well off the 1.9 million homes that were built in 2004.

There are no signs of a housing bubble at least, Yun added. He said that even though home prices have been outpacing income for several years now, the overall economy in the U.S. is still fundamentally sound, that mortgage quality is high, and that due to the persisting inventory shortages in many markets, there is no danger of the overbuilding that preceded the Great Recession.

Some risks do exist though. Yun said the threat of a full-scale trade war between the U.S. would hamper economic growth, and lead to higher interest rates for long-term debt instruments. If that happened, it’s likely a recession would occur, Yun said.

One piece of good news is that Realtors themselves can help do their bit by reminding their clients that the economy is still healthy and that all signs point towards positive home price increases. Yun said there’s little chance of a recession happening as inflation remains under control, and so any interest rate increases by the Federal Reserve will likely be moderate.

In other words, it’s a good time to buy a home, Yun said.

“All indications are prices will keep moving higher, and buyers who wait risk missing out on wealth gains,” he said.

Source: Realty Biz News

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