Lending rate review’ll attract foreign investments —NACCIMA

Anna Okon

The Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture has called on managers of the economy to review downward the Monetary Policy Rate, which is currently at 14 per cent, in order to attract the much needed Foreign Direct Investments to the country so as to drive growth.

The National President, NACCIMA, Chief Alaba Lawson, stated this on the sidelines of a press briefing on Monday to review the state of the nation’s economy.

“The private sector is advocating a review of the policy to encourage the sector and more investments,” she noted.

According to the NACCIMA president, the Central Bank of Nigeria’s decision to retain the MPR and Cash Reserve Ratio at 14 and 22.5 per cent, respectively, is not ideal to attract private sector investments.

Citing data from National Bureau of Statistics, Lawson stated that the Nigerian economy grew by 1.95 per cent in the first quarter of this year, an increase she said could be traced to improvement   in global oil prices and output.

She observed that the nation’s non-oil sector contracted from 92.65 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product in the fourth quarter of 2017 to 90.4 per cent in the first quarter of 2018.

She noted that the decrease showed that there was a lot of work to be done to increase the output from the non-oil sector.

 “We need to pay more attention to this sector in view of the non-reliability of oil prices, which more often than not is also subject to the vagaries of the international political environment,” Lawson said.

 According to her, inflation continues to be in double digits, stressing that despite the consecutive decline with a positive growth on the economy, the rate of inflation still remained high.

On the nation’s foreign exchange reserves, which increased to $47.75bn on May 21 after dropping for the first time in eight months in the early part of the month, she noted that it was a good indication, because it would lead to more liquidity in the foreign exchange market and help to stabilise the naira.

Lawson charged the Federal Government to come up with more favourable and stable policies to encourage more domestic investments in non-oil exports in line with the commitment to diversify the economy, improve revenue generation and contributions to the nation’s external reserves.

On the 2018 budget, the NACCIMA boss commended the Federal Government and its Ministries, Departments and Agencies for the timely presentation of the budget proposal to the National Assembly, but decried the late passage of the budget by the legislature.

She said, “NACCIMA is of the opinion that this act of passing yearly budgets late is unhealthy for the economy. It does not augur well for the management of the country’s resources and projects. It also has direct implications on projects, programmes and spending by the government. Likewise, it affects planning by the private sector.

“As the voice of Nigerian business, stakeholders in the private sector and concerned citizens, we call for swift passage of our yearly budgets. And now that the 2018 budget has been passed, we call for its urgent implementation.

“In doing so, we applaud the allocation of about 30 per cent of the budget to infrastructural development in the 2017 and proposed 2018 budgets. We urge judicious and strict implementation of the budgets in order to achieve the projected gains in all sectors of the economy.”

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HYPREP trains 35 graduates for Ogoni clean-up

Chukwudi Akasike, Port Harcourt

Determined to achieve the clean-up of Ogoniland, the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project, in collaboration with the Niger Delta Development Commission, has trained 35 technical assistants.

The technical assistants, according to HYPREP, will monitor the clean-up of polluted sites in Ogoniland.

HYPREP’s Head of Communications, Mr. Isa Wasa, said in Goi, Gokana Local Government Area of Rivers State, on Tuesday that the training was aimed equipping the personnel with the skills to work with firms that would handle the project as recommended by the United Nations Environment Programme.

Wassa explained that more graduates of Environmental Sciences would be trained in line with global best practices; with the aim of equipping them to be able to manage the task ahead.

He stated, “This training is the second in the series. The essence is that these personnel will work with the companies that will be selected after the procurement process. We do not take the training of our personnel for granted, because training is key.

“Right now, we have 35 in this phase and it is going to be a continuous process. It is not going to end here. Capacity building is key, so it is going to be a continuous process.

“Their role is to work along the companies that will be selected through the procurement process to work with them and ensure that best practices are employed in the project.

“We also thank the NDDC, which has supported us to conduct this training. Our doors are open to other supporters; we invite other organisations to join us in ensuring that the HYPREP mandate of remediation and restoration of livelihoods is achieved.”

In his remarks, Mr. John Ukpatu, who spoke on behalf of the trained technical assistants, said the training was significant because it prepared them ahead for the task of cleaning up Ogoniland.

Ukpatu explained that they had taken water and soil samples from the area to determine the current level of pollution, adding that the samples would be taken to the laboratory for analyses.

“As technical assistants, based on our training and knowledge in Environmental Sciences, we are going to monitor and also be of assistance to the HYPREP for the implementation of the clean-up,” he said.

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Freshworks announces expansion plans in Nigeria, others

Freshworks Inc., a leading provider of cloud-based business software, has announced its expansion into the African market, as it plans to substantially increase its commitment with specific investments in marketing, sales and partner resources to better serve its customers in the region.

The Director for Middle East & Africa, Freshworks, Arihant Jain, was quoted as saying in a statement on Tuesday, “Africa is a very strategic market for Freshworks. The opening of Africa is an important milestone for us, as it demonstrates our expanding commitment to the region and strengthens our position as a leading software provider.

“The combination of our industry-leading solutions along with a growing customer base in the region will augment our local operations. Our aim is to build rich, meaningful engagement with enterprises of all sizes that are looking for new cutting-edge solutions to power their customer and employee experiences.”

The International Data Corporation predicts the overall African Information Technology spending to reach $33.4bn in 2018, with nearly $1.9bn of that coming from Nigeria alone.

The year 2017 saw Freshworks building its African foundation with the company’s flagship ‘Partner Programme’ receiving immense interest from regional resellers and adding Beaupun and GoTech to the partner ecosystem.

The firm said in the statement, “Today, with a diverse network of partners, the experience of serving leading businesses and their IT executives and the recent accreditation of the ‘2018 Gartner Peer Insights Customers’ Choice for IT Service Management Tools’, Freshworks is paving way for the future of IT service management in Africa to keep pace with growing customer and market demands.

“With a mission to reimagine and transform IT experiences, Freshworks, along with select c-level executives and IT leaders, will be discussing the ‘Consumerisation of IT: From a service to an experience’ at an exclusive invite-only breakfast and networking event organised on 31st of May in Lagos. With the company’s strategic focus on the African market, this event is a step forward in building Freshworks’ credentials as a front-runner in the experience era.”

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2019: Be vigilant, Wike urges Rivers residents

Chukwudi Akasike, Port Harcourt

THE Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, on Tuesday called on the people of the state to be vigilant ahead of the 2019 general elections.

The governor declared that his administration had in the last three years run an open, transparent and accountable government.

Wike spoke while addressing Rivers stakeholders in Port Harcourt on Tuesday during the public presentation of his administration’s scorecard as part of the programme marking his government’s third anniversary.

He specifically urged the people to be mindful of desperate politicians plotting to capture the state with the aim of plundering the resources.

The governor said, “We derive our inspiration from God and our faith in the future greatness of our state remains unshaken. We must, therefore, be prepared to defend our inalienable right to freely and fairly elect our leaders as freedom is never ever given.

“It is always taken and defended through perpetual vigilance. While I appeal to us to uphold the peace and remain united, we cannot afford to return to power those who are desperate to capture the state by all means and plunder our resources with strangers.”

Wike added that his administration’s efforts had transformed the trajectory of governance from the failures of the past to one that cared and worked for the people.

He said that his administration was delivering on its campaign promises and improving the standards of living of Rivers people through quality projects and programmes.

“It is clear that in the last three years, our state has progressed at a rate it has never been. There is no doubt that the foundation that we need to accelerate our development, create jobs and advance our prosperity has firmly been laid.

“We give profound thanks to God for these achievements, but we also owe everything to you who are truly driving the change process with your unqualified support, encouragement and prayers,” he added.

The governor said that improvements in different sectors had changed the fortune of the state and placed it on the pedestal of sustained growth.

He said, “Before we assumed office, we made a lot of promises as the bases for seeking your mandate. We have also invested time, efforts and resources to fulfil these promises.

“Lest we forget, we all know the state of our state, especially the very poor state of our economy before we took over the mantle of leadership.  However, despite the challenges, we remain undaunted, focused and determined to make the difference we had promised.”

Wike noted that his investments in road infrastructure had yielded positive results and improved the economy of the state through programmed connectivity.

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Obiano frees 20 prisoners

Tony Okafor, Awka

The Anambra State Governor, Willie Obiano, on Tuesday, freed 20 prison inmates in the state to mark the Democracy Day.

The ex-prisoners were drawn from different prisons in the state.

Two of the freed persons, Augustine Emelue and Sunday Agbo, hail from Delta and Ebonyi states respectively.

The freed inmates include: Chimezie Ewuzie, Augustine Emelue,  Amaechi Edochie, Monday Nwobu,  Oluchi Emeodi, Nchedochi Rachel,  Sunday Agbo, Christopher Biali,  Innocent Nwokeke and Emmanuel Nwoye.

Others are Ignatius Ohams, James Odor, Uchenna Ifecheobi, Tochukwu Okpala, Onwuachu Augustine, Emeka Okoye, Ekene Okeke, Ernest Onyemechalu, Afam Okoli and Ubaka Okwuchukwu.

Obiano asked the former prisoners to stay away from trouble by being good citizens of the state and Nigeria.

Assuring them of government’s assistance, he said, “Government will empower you to enable you to fend for yourselves as most of you have stayed more than five years in incarceration and lost contact with the world.”

Thanking the governor on behalf of the others for their freedom, Ekene Okeke pledged that they would be of good behaviour.

While saying they had training in various skills in the prisons, Okeke gave the assurance that any money given to them as empowerment would be used judiciously.

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Don’t truncate political process, Saraki cautions Nigerians

The President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki, has cautioned Nigerians against any actions, statements and the moves that could truncate political process in the country.

Saraki gave the warning in his message to Nigerians on the 19th anniversary of unbroken elected government in the country signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Yusuph Olaniyonu.

Saraki advised the people to be vigilant and speak against anti-democratic policies and actions, which are capable of subverting the rule of law.

He also admonished citizens not to take for granted the continued democratic dispensation the country had been enjoying for the past 19 years.

The Senate President canvassed strict adherence to the principles of the rule of law, separation of powers, the sovereignty of parliament, independence of the judiciary, and freedom of the press.

He said, “Our constitutional institutions must be preserved and protected.

“As we celebrate democracy today, I congratulate our people and express my conviction that this system of government is the best so far invented.

“However, it goes beyond the conduct of elections to put leaders in office. Democracy involves strict adherence to the rule of law as against the rule of men.

“It is about respect for due process and following laid-down procedures and it is about respect for the institutions.”

According to him, that is why Democracy Day cannot be celebrated without calling for caution on some recent negative developments in the polity, particularly as the nation prepares for the 2019 general elections.

He said, “These include abuse of office in a manner that suggests persecution and oppression of perceived enemies, stifling of free expression, undermining of democratic institutions, and impunity on the part of certain persons, who behave as though they are above the laws of the land.

“These developments should be of concern to all democrats.

“Other political and opinion leaders, who decided to turn a blind eye as if they are not seeing these infractions on democracy and choose to keep quiet, should know that they equally pose danger to the survival of our country.”

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Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie on Fame, Being in a Feminist Marriage & More

Renowned Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has been referred to as one of the most vital and original novelists of her generation, having touched vast topics with her novels that drew extensively on the Biafran war in Nigeria during the late 1960 and non-fiction articles. In a new feature on The NewYorkerLarissa MacFarquhar profiles Chimamanda and takes us on an extensive journey of her life so far, referencing quotes from her books in an article titled: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Comes to Terms With Global Fame.

One part of the article talks about her rise from being an up and coming writer to established Bestselling author of Half of A Yellow Sun. Since attaining great heights in her career, Chimamanda is very in Nigeria. Her face is on billboards. People crowd around her at the airport. When she enters a restaurant, there is a ripple of recognition. Sometimes she will ask for the bill and discover that someone else has paid for her meal. She is admired as a Nigerian who has become an international celebrity, bringing renown to her country and a sense that now, for a Nigerian, anything is possible.

But, because she is so visible, everything she does or says is scrutinized. Once asked where she went instead to find the best African fiction, she said, “My mailbox,” where she received her workshop students’ stories. This was met with a lot of backlashes, especially from Nigerian Twitter. One user wrote; “It doesn’t take much brain juice to realize from her interviews that Ms CNA’s ego can sink an island. So the best African fiction is in Chimamanda Adichie’s inbox?”. Another said, “I hail thee, queen-god mother. Go f–k yourself, Chimamanda.

The profile has quotes from Chimamanda about being African in America, feminism and more. Se excerpts:

On how people handle her success

Ta-Nehisi Coates said to me once that what hurt him the most, becoming successful, was how much it was black intellectuals who seemed to be out for him, and I know what that’s like. I told him that there’s a circle of Nigerians who are resentful of my international success, and it’s very hurtful because I want my people to wish me well.

On being African in America

There is a certain kind of black American that deeply resents an African whom they think of as privileged. Privileged Nigerians especially. My husband and I have got to the airport and they’ve said to us, You’re Nigerian, I bet you have twenty-five thousand dollars in your bag, let’s see it.

On being in a feminist marriage

One of the perils of a feminist marriage is that the man actually wants to be there. He is so present and he does every damn thing! And the child adores him. I swear to God, sometimes I look at her and say, I carried you for nine months, my breasts went down because of you, my belly is slack because of you, and now Papa comes home and you run off and ignore me. Really?

On the right age to indoctrinate her daughter in feminism

If I tell her when she’s four, They don’t let women do that! will it do something to her?. You know that English word ‘chippy’—will she become one of those people who are called chippy?.

Read the full feature on www.newyorker.com

Photo Credit: Lofficiel Italia

The post Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie on Fame, Being in a Feminist Marriage & More appeared first on BellaNaija – Nigeria breaking & top news to the World 24/7. Read Today.

Democracy must be sustained, says Akeredolu

The Ondo State Governor, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu, has called on all Nigerians to shun all acts capable of disintegrating the country.

He said there was a need for the citizens to remember the sacrifice made by those who had passed away during the period of fighting for the country to return to democratic government, saying that democracy must be sustained.

The governor stated this while speaking at the 2018 Ondo State Democracy Day celebration held at the International Event Centre, Akure, the state capital.

According to him, May 29 of every year is significant to Nigeria.

He noted that though the task of nation-building might appear arduous, there was hope that the challenges currently facing the country would be subdued.

Akeredolu said, “We fought relentlessly to gain democracy; we must remember the sacrifice made by those who have passed away. We must salute the courage of the departed souls.

“We must note the sacrifice of Late Chief M.K.O Abiola and other people who made the supreme sacrifice for the country. We owe a duty to ensure that the country sustains the democracy.

“This is the longest time we have stayed under civilian rule despite all the challenges. So only a few of us can dream of Nigeria being divided. I will fight for one Nigeria till I die. We must sustain the Nigerian spirit. All of us must work together to make Nigeria one.”

At the event, a lecture titled, ‘Nigeria unity: The challenges, prospects and the way forward’,  was delivered by a former member of the House of Representatives and past National President, Association of Nigeria Authors, Dr. Wale Okediran.

The guest lecturer said that there was a need for Nigerians to see one another as belonging to one indivisible country where though tribes and tongues may differ, in brotherhood we stand.”

Speaking earlier, the chairman of the event, Senator Olorunnimbe Mamora, commended Akeredolu for putting together the event, describing the governor as one man who believed in the unity of the country.

Mamora urged Nigerians to work together and ensure the building of a nation in which everyone would see one another as brothers and sisters.

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President’s speech uninspiring, hollow, say PDP, others

John Alechenu, Abuja

The opposition Peoples Democratic Party and the United Peoples Party and the Labour Party have rated the Democracy Day speech of President Muhammadu Buhari below average in terms of addressing the concerns of Nigerians.

The opposition political parties,  which reacted separately in Abuja, on Tuesday, said Nigerians expected much better than the President offered with regards to the assurances about their security, safety, economic growth and prosperity.

On its part, the main opposition party, the PDP, described the President’s address as uninspiring, hollow, and full of self-praise and false performance claims but silent on issues agitating the minds of Nigerians.

The PDP made its position known in a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan. The party said the address was seasoned with a list of phantom projects and “executive regurgitation,” inherently designed by President Buhari’s handlers to sway Nigerians and divert attention from the many failures of his administration.

The PDP said, “Mr. President failed to show the littlest empathy to millions of citizens groaning under the worst form of poverty, starvation and economic hardship occasioned by his misrule.

“No line in the supposed Democracy Day Address” did the President address the issue of justice for victims of human rights abuses, illegal arrests and detentions as well as killings in Benue, Taraba, Zamfara, Kaduna, Plateau, Borno, Kogi and Yobe states, among sundry infractions.

“Mr. President, on Democracy Day, had no words of assurance on the unrelenting violation of our constitution; assault on the National Assembly and erosion of personal freedom of citizens.

“Mr. President’s handlers chose to subject him to a fantasy trip, making false performance claims with phantom projects, muddling up economic statistics and ended up worsening his already diminished public perception.

“PDP notes the fact that the President had no committing words towards the conduct of free, fair and credible 2019 general elections, apparently overwhelmed by the avalanche of his public rejection ahead of the polls,” the party stated. It added that it was largely due to the aforementioned missteps that it “advised President Buhari not to bother to address Nigerians on Democracy Day.”

Speaking in a similar vein, the National Chairman of the Labour Party, Alhaji Abdulsalam Abdulkadir, stated that Nigerians expected sincere assurances about the protection of their lives and guarantees that their constitutionally guaranteed rights would be respected and when they go to court to seek justice and get court orders, such orders would be respected.

He said, “The simple things like respect for the rule of law is the least one expects in a democracy. The first order of business of the government is to protect the lives and property of citizens. When a government promises such things, we expect delivery.”

The National Chairman of the UPP, Chief Chekwas Okorie,  said, “The area he has woefully failed is in giving Nigerians a sense of belonging. He never even alluded to that in his speech, but you know that it is a very sore point and you know that this government has been appropriated by a particular section of this country.”

He, however, said it would not be fair not to acknowledge the fact that the Buhari administration had recorded improvements in areas such as agriculture, infrastructural development (such as road construction) and improvements in revenue generation and blocking of leakages within the system.

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Emmanuel warns politicians against causing disunity

Etim Ekpimah, Uyo

The Akwa State Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, has warned politicians against causing disunity in the state.

He reminded the people that they were always brothers and sisters irrespective of political divide.

Speaking during his state-wide broadcast to commemorate the Democracy Day and his third year in office on Tuesday, the governor noted that he had not forgotten any of the promises he made to the people on assumption of office as the governor.

He said, “As the political season dawns, let us remember that we were brothers and sisters before the coming of partisan politics, and we will remain brothers and sisters long after we have finished our careers in public service.

“Let us show love to one another even when we don’t agree or share the same political orientation. As a one-time United States President, John Quincy Adams, said, ‘If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more; you are a leader.’

“May the actions of our leaders inspire us to become more loving, less rancorous, and more united and faithful believers in the immutable essence and definition of the Akwa Ibom spirit.

“As your governor and leader, these are the values I embody and will continue to project them, now and in the future, with your prayers and support,” he said.

Emmanuel added that he was determined to fulfil his electioneering promises of 2015, and thanked the people for the opportunity they had given him to serve them.

He said, “I promised to consolidate and expand our infrastructure, the 1,701 kilometres of roads and 35 bridges bear us out. I promised the security of lives and property.

 “I promised to empower our men, women and youths. You are my witnesses that this we have done.”

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