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Showing posts with label Business. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Business. Show all posts

Friday, October 15, 2021

October 15, 2021

Bitcoin Hits $60,000, Nears Record High With Growing ETF Hopes

Agency Report

Bitcoin hit $60,000 for the first time in six months on Friday, nearing its record high, as traders grew confident that U.S. regulators would approve the launch of an exchange-traded fund based on its futures contracts.

Cryptocurrency investors have been waiting for approval of the first U.S. ETF for bitcoin, whose recent rally has been fuelled in part by anticipation of such a move, which is seen as speeding up the mainstream adoption of digital assets.

Bitcoin, the world’s biggest cryptocurrency, rose 4.5% to its highest level since Apr. 17 and was last at $59,030. It has risen by more than half in value since Sept. 20 and is now close to its all-time high of $64,895.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is set to allow the first U.S. bitcoin futures ETF to begin trading next week, Bloomberg News reported on Thursday.

“It is widely expected that Q4 will see significant progress around a bitcoin ETF in the U.S.,” Ben Caselin, head of research and strategy at Asia-based cryptocurrency exchange AAX, said.

Friday’s moves were spurred, he said, by a tweet from the SEC’s investor education office that stated: “Before investing in a fund that holds Bitcoin futures contracts, make sure you carefully weigh the potential risks and benefits.”

“We have seen more institutional build up, especially in the past few weeks, than we have at any time since the (bitcoin price) crash back in April,” said Noelle Acheson, head of market insights at Genesis Global Trading.

SEC Chair Gary Gensler has previously said the crypto market involves many tokens which may be unregistered securities and leaves prices open to manipulation and millions of investors vulnerable to risks.

The Bloomberg report, citing people familiar with the matter, said that proposals by ProShares and Invesco are based on futures contracts and were filed under mutual fund rules that Gensler has said provide “significant investor protections”.

The SEC did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the Bloomberg report. 

Thursday, September 30, 2021

September 30, 2021

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala Considers Resigning As WTO DG, May Contest For President In Nigeria


Just seven months into her four-year tenure as the Director General at the World Trade Organisation (WTO), there are reports that Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is growing frustrated with the workings of the organization and has floated the idea of resigning if no headway can be found on critical issues.

According to Bloomberg, five trade officials, who declined to be identified, reported that Okonjo-Iweala has fully grasped the frustrating reality of the WTO’s historical inertia, and has considered quitting.

The officials said that she has repeatedly told ambassadors and staff that she could easily walk away from the job, and reminds them she hasn’t bought any furniture for her temporary home in Geneva.

But in a statement to Bloomberg News on speculation that she wants to run in the 2023 Nigeria’s presidential election, Okonjo-Iweala didn’t comment about her threats to resign but denied any interest in running for the Nigerian presidency, calling such speculation “utterly ridiculous and not true”.


She added: “I just got here. I am enjoying what I’m doing. It is a very exciting job and I am trying to have some successes here.”

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala began her tenure with a plan to score quick negotiating victories that she hoped would help reboot the dysfunctional Geneva-based trade body.

Observers note that her early departure would add yet another layer of chaos to an organization suffering from an existential crisis that may lead governments to conclude that WTO is not a credible forum for addressing their shared challenges.

Deep divisions and a lack of trust are not new for the WTO, which requires consensus agreement among all 164 members to finalize multilateral accords.

The WTO’s rigid negotiating structure and disparate interests of its diverse membership have precluded the organization from delivering anything substantial for the better part of the past decade.

Last year, Okonjo-Iweala’s predecessor – Roberto Azevedo – cited the lack of progress at the WTO as his primary reason for resigning from the organization a year before his tenure was scheduled to end.

The true test of Okonjo-Iweala’s leadership will come later in November, when she hosts the WTO’s 12th ministerial conference – a gathering of the organization’s highest decision-making body.

To date, WTO members have failed to make significant headway on the three priority areas Okonjo-Iweala identified for potential outcomes at the biennial meeting. These are: an agreement to curb harmful fishery subsidies; a pledge to reduce trade-distorting agricultural policies; and a framework to expand global trade in vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics.

Thursday, August 19, 2021

August 19, 2021

SokoLoan Fined N10m For Privacy Invasion, Defamation Of Character


The National Information Technology Development Agency has sanctioned Soko Lending Company Limited, an online lending platform, with a fine of N10m for privacy invasion.

This was contained in a press statement titled ‘NITDA sanctions Soko Loan for privacy invasion’ issued by NITDA’s spokesperson, Hadiza Umar, on Tuesday.

The statement said, “This action was taken after receiving series of complaints against the company for unauthorised disclosures, failure to protect customers’ personal data and defamation of character as well as carrying out the necessary due diligence as enshrined in the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation.”

It added, “One of such complaints filed by Bloomgate Solicitors on behalf of its client, the data subject, was received on Monday, 11th November 2019. NITDA, as part of its due diligence process commenced investigation over the alleged infractions of the provisions of the NDPR.

“According to one of the complainants, when he failed to meet up with his repayment obligations due to insufficient credit in his account on the date the direct debit was to take effect, the company unilaterally sent privacy invading messages to the complainant’s contacts.

“Investigation revealed that complainant’s contacts who were neither parties to the loan transaction nor consented to the processing of their data have confirmed the receipt of such messages.

“The agency made strident efforts to get Soko Loan to change the unethical practice but to no avail. After the agency’s investigation team secured a lien order on one of the company’s accounts by which it could come up with privacy enhancing solutions for its business model, Soko Loan decided to rebrand and direct its customers to pay into its other business accounts.

“The agency’s investigation further revealed that the company embeds trackers that share data with third parties inside its mobile application without providing users information about it or using the appropriate lawful basis.”

NITDA said it found Soko Loan to be in violation of the use of the non-conforming privacy notice, contrary to Article 2.5 and 3.1(7) of the NDPR.

For the alleged breaches privacy data, NITDA imposed a monetary sanction of N10m on Soko Loan.

It also directed that no further privacy invading messages be sent to any Nigerian until the company and its entities showed full compliance with the NDPR.

Thursday, August 12, 2021

August 12, 2021

Osinbajo: Bonny, Warri, Ibom Deep Seaports To Commence Operations Soon

As a move to further boost economic activities in the Niger Delta, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has said the current administration would complete the development of all the seaports in the area.

The vice president, at Gbaramatu Voice 6th Anniversary Lecture in Lagos said: “The theme you have chosen, ‘The Dwindling State of Crude Oil Demand in the Global Market: The Way Forward’, is especially timely. It is no secret that revenue from crude oil accounts for about 90 per cent of our foreign exchange earnings.

According to him, “the Federal Government is developing a number of deep seaports across the region, including the Bonny, Warri and Ibom Deep Sea Ports, among other development projects such as the establishment of Export Processing Zones to boost economic activities, which will be operational soon.

“In the last decade, we have borne witness to the revolution in tracking technology, which led to the Shale boom and the attendant decline in demand for our crude oil. In the past year, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has had an equally adverse impact on global energy demand and hence on our earnings.

“Thus, the current situation, more than ever before, calls for a creative and holistic approach to the task of fostering economic growth.

“Beyond its oil wealth, Niger Delta is incredibly blessed with diverse human capital across education, sports, technology, creative arts, entertainment, economy and many other sectors.

“Even before the onslaught of the pandemic, the imperatives before us had become clear and we had responded accordingly. Right from the inception of this administration, we have demonstrated a commitment towards the challenge of creating economic opportunities for our fast-growing population in a post-oil future.

“Our entire strategic outlook has been shaped by the concept of ‘Nigeria Beyond Oil’ – a paradigm that encompasses measures aimed at repositioning our economy by taking advantage of global trends in the energy sector.

“As part of our drive to encourage investments in gas production and optimize our nation’s enormous gas potential, the Federal Government declared the period of 2020-2030 as the decade of gas.

“To this end, last November, the Federal Government launched its National Gas Expansion Programme, a component of the Economic Sustainability Plan, which focuses on the distribution of Compressed Natural Gas, CNG, and Liquefied Petroleum Gas, LPG, across gas stations operated by Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC.

“By the end of this year, this administration will commence distribution of CNG as part of our strategy to gradually replace the high sulfur petrol. Our objective is two-fold.

“Concurrently, we have also invested significantly in Niger Delta as the region that holds the energy resources that have powered our progress for six decades as well as the keys to an emergent gas economy.”

“In 2017, following my tour of Niger Delta, which involved extensive consultations with key stakeholders in the region, the New Vision for Niger Delta was birthed in response to the various challenges, which had been plaguing our people.

“The objective of this New Vision is to ensure that the people of the region benefit maximally from their wealth, through promoting infrastructural developments, environmental remediation and local content development.

“So far, three modular refineries have now been completed, these are the Niger Delta Petroleum Resources, NDPR, Modular Refinery in Rivers State; OPAC Modular Refinery in Delta State and Walter Smith Modular Refinery in Imo State, whilst there are several others at different stages of completion across the region.

“The remediation exercise happening in Ogoni land, under the recommendations of UNEP is another milestone we are proud to announce as an administration. The clean-up commenced in January 2019, with the handover of the first batch of sites to the selected remediation firms.

“A total of about 57 sites have so far been handed over to contractors by Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project, HYPREP, under the Federal Ministry of Environment. It is important to note that the Ogoni clean-up is the first of its kind in the history of Niger Delta. Indeed, this is the first time the Federal Government is directly involved in remediation activities within the region.

“The Itakpe-Ajaokuta-Warri Rail Line project, which was commissioned by Mr President in September 2020, and has the capacity to handle both passengers and freight services, is connecting several communities and promoting commerce within the region

“In 2018, the National Universities Commission, NUC, approved the commencement of undergraduate degree programmes at the Nigerian Maritime University in Okerenkoko, Delta State. President Buhari approved a N5 billion take-off grant to support this university, which happens to be situated in the great Gbaramatu Kingdom. The university currently has students spread across 13 undergraduate programmes in three Faculties, namely: Transport, Engineering and Environmental Management.

“In terms of addressing concerns around public safety and social security in the region, while ensuring peace and stability in the region, the administration has, among other things, sustained its commitment to the Presidential Amnesty Programme under which youths and ex-agitators are engaged in formal education, vocational skills acquisition and empowerment programmes that offer a pathway towards productive and dignified livelihoods.

“The cumulative effect of all these measures are certain to have a positive transformational impact on Niger Delta and on the future of our nation as a whole. This path of progress and prosperity is one that we will pave by maintaining the partnerships between the administration, the leaders of the region and the communities.”

The vice president commended the Gbaramatu Voice for organising the forum and for being one of the agents of change working for sustainable peace and progress in the Niger Delta.

Friday, August 14, 2020

August 14, 2020

FG Signs Agreement For Concessioning Of Calabar And Kano Economic Zones

The federal government yesterday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with multinational professional services company, Ernest & Young, the preferred transaction partner for the planned concessioning of the Calabar and Kano Special Economic Zones (SEZs).
The agreement was signed in Abuja by the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Niyi Adebayo and the Director General of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) Mr. Alex Okoh on behalf of the federal government while Mr. Damilola Aloba signed for Ernest & Young.
The National Council on Privatisation (NCP) at its meeting on June 12, 2018 approved the reform of the two Special Economic Zones (SEZs).
Ernest & Young, the transaction adviser was selected through a competitive tendering process.
A total of nine firms were shortlisted from the national database to compete for the provision of transaction advisory services for the reform of the two SEZs.
At the event, the BPE DG said getting the transaction advisers was borne out of a determination to help concession the two federal government-owned outfits, which have been sub-optimally managed.
He said: “What we are looking at is to have a three-tier structure for the concessioning of the two outfits. One is the selection of a property ownership company that will have the legal ownership of the two outfits (economic zones) .We will then approve a concessionaire through a competitive bidding process which Ernest and Young will guide us through, and then the concessionaire will sign a management company that will be in the process of managing the tenants and all the people who are going to be operating there.”

Sunday, June 28, 2020

June 28, 2020

After Backlash, Access Bank To Refund Stamp Duty Deductions To Customers

After social media outcry, Access Bank on Sunday said it will refund its stamp duty deductions made from the account of its customers.

Stamp duty deductions apply to all credit received into current and savings accounts in respect to electronic transfer and teller deposits of N10, 000 and above. 

The money is remitted to the Central Bank of Nigeria.

The  bank has also promised to revert deductions made between Saturday and Sunday back to customers.

In a statement on Sunday, the bank said it recognized that it is a tough period for customers.

“We have considered your feedback and have decided to pay the stamp duty on our customers’ behalf for the affected period only,”.
“This means that individuals and SMEs who were debited for the accumulated stamp duty charge for February to April 2020 will be refunded.”

In an earlier statement, the bank had notified customers that it did not deduct stamp duty charges on transactions that occurred between February 1, 2020, and April 30, 2020.


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