Price of mobile data has been cut by 60% by Zimbabwe’s Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (POTRAZ).
The new price cut will take effect from July, with the regulator saying in Harare that it would review charges annually.
The agency said that mobile data would cost five cents per megabytes instead of 12.5 cents, exclusive of taxes.
“The authority took into account the prevailing economic environment as well as the competing needs of ensuring operator viability and service affordability for the consumers,” it said.
POTRAZ said that charges by Internet service providers would be determined by the market, but imposed a 50 per cent cut in the cost of calls between local telecoms companies.
Lower prices will likely increase the country’s Internet penetration rate, which the country’s regulator says stood at 50.8 per cent last December, as more subscribers find it cheaper to access the Internet.
Data showed that Internet traffic doubled between January and December last year, but the price reduction could eat into data revenue for Econet Wireless, the country’s largest operator.
Econet, which accounted for 65 per cent of the data market share as at December 2017, did not respond when reached for comments.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that residents who returned to communities in Gujba Local Government Area of Yobe have embarked on massive farming with the favourable rainy season years after they were sent away from their homes by Boko Haram isurgents and their farm lands getting destroyed.
Correspondents who visited the area on Wednesday reports that many farmlands abandoned for several years were being cultivated by the returnees. Mallum Bukar, a displaced person who recently returned to Buni Yadi, said he was cultivating his farm after six years since he fled the area.
He said “though some returnees cultivated their farms last season, the number of people returning to the farms this year is higher.
“Some returnees have even expanded their farms: some of the farmlands abandoned several years ago even before the insurgency have been reclaimed and planted this year.”
Umar Ali, a resident of Gujba village told NAN that the increased engagement of returnees in farming activities this year was encouraging.
He said “if the yields are good, the people will no longer look for food support from humanitarian organisations.
“Farming is our major occupation: we are now back fully prepared to reclaim our economic lives destroyed by the insurgency.”
Muhammadu Bakoro of Sabon Gari village also in Yobe said what the returnees needed now were improved seedlings, herbicides and pesticides “with just a little quantity of fertiliser.
“We are optimistic we can cultivate our food needs this year and sell the excess in view of the massive agricultural activities going on in communities.”
Improved security in Yobe facilitated the return of Internally Displaced Persons to almost all the communities destroyed by insurgency in the state.
The Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) has commended the Federal Government for its plans to stop the importation of rice by shutting its border with a neighbouring country to reduce rice smuggling into the country.
Alhaji Aminu Goronyo, the President of RIFAN, expressed gratitude on Wednesday in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja while reacting to the statement of Chief Audu Ogbeh, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, concerning plans to close the border because of large-scale rice smuggling into Nigeria through the unnamed country.
Goronyo said that the move had become imperative in view of the current rice revolution in many states across the country and the strategic interventions which some Federal Government agencies had initiated.
He said that if adequate measures were not taken to stop the activities of the smugglers, they would have adverse effects on the expected bumper rice harvests in the country, while creating a glut.
“It is a step in the right direction to ensure self-sufficiency, enable the country to make progress, crash the market prices of locally produced rice and make the huge investment on rice production to be more meaningful,’’ he said.
Goronyo said that although rice importation through the land borders was banned since April 2016, rice smugglers still engaged in the unwholesome act.
He said that even before now, RIFAN and the Nigeria Customs Service had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to curb rice smuggling into the country through land borders.
The RIFAN president said that the joint efforts had reduced the activities of the smugglers, adding that the smuggled rice in the country, which largely came in through the informal sector, was just five per cent of what the citizens consumed.
“Any smuggler bringing rice into the Nigerian market would have to think twice because it is no longer a profitable venture, as the landing cost of a 50kg. bag of imported rice is now N20, 000.
“So calculate how much the rice had to be sold for the venture to be a profitable one; honestly, rice smuggling is no longer a lucrative venture,’’ he said.
Goronyo said that as part of efforts to achieve the goals of the anti-rice importation policy, the Comptroller-General of Customs ordered the deployment of capable officers and men to the country’s borders to enforce the order.
He said that the Customs also re-organised its anti-smuggling patrol operations to strengthen efforts to enforce the ban on rice imports via the land borders.
He commended the efforts of the customs service to restore the confidence of RIFAN in its capacity, while assuring the country’s rice farmers of getting adequate markets for their produce.
Goronyo said that rice production in Nigeria had increased from 5.5 million tonnes in 2015 to 5.8 million tonnes in 2017.
He said that in 2015, Nigerians spent not less than N1 billion daily on rice consumption, adding that while spending had drastically reduced, rice consumption had, nonetheless, increased because of increased local production.
Goronyo said that available statistics showed that the rice consumption rate had increased appreciably, while the production rate had climaxed to 5.9 tonnes per annum.
He commended President Muhammadu Buhari for investing massively in rice production, adding that his policies had stimulated the nation’s development.
He assured Nigerians that with the sustained implementation of the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme, RIFAN would assiduously work towards Nigeria’s attainment of self-sufficiency in rice production by 2020
The Federal Government has been urged to encourage cassava starch producers in the country by stopping the importation of corn starch by Harvest Feed and Agro Processing Limited (HFAP).
The company made this plea through the chairman who spoke in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Abuja.
Adeyemi said that government needed to protect local industries that produced cassava starch, and stop those importing corn starch into Nigeria to the detriment of local production adding that the move would encourage local production and boost industralisation.
“The corn starch is going to affect the sell of our product which is not what we desire.
“Nigeria is the leading cassava producer in the world, producing a third more than Brazil and almost double the production capacity of Thailand and Indonesia which is opportunity for us to stop corn starch importation.
“We have enough raw materials to produce edible cassava starch for local use and exportation to earn foreign exchange but government need to help local producers.
“Cassava has the potential to industrialise Nigeria more than any other product if its potentials are properly harnessed; it is a key instrument for job creation and catalyst for development,’’ he said.
The chairman commended Fadama III AF for its intervention in the agricultural sector and described its partnership with off-takers as wonderful.
“We are into cassava processing into edible starch, we have wonderful relationship with Osun State Fadama, which they cultivated 300 hectares of cassava.
“The Fadama in Osun state are well organised and on top of their games; they supervise their farmers properly and facilitated interface between the off-takers and farmers very well, we have seamless relationship,’’ he said.
Adeyemi, however, urged the Fadama National office to increase the farm sizes allocated to farmers because it was too small to meet off-takers demand.
“Fadama should develop commercial farmers, like those that can go for 10-50 hectares.
“It will help industrious users like us in HFAP rather than just smallholders farmers that are doing less than five hectares.
“Though the farmers that are doing less than five hectares are also good for food market, but Fadama needs more to help both farmers and off-takers,’’ he said.
Adeyemi added that Fadama should work on getting the farmers more working tools like tractors, harvesters, planters, plough among others rather than depends on hoes and cutlass.
“This is the only way the youth can be interested in the agriculture and get involved fully in farming.
“We can go into partnership with Fadama in this area of agricultural equipment, but not in a short term relationship, it must be a long time relationship like five years, such that we can recap our equipment in a very short time.
“We started with Fadama sometimes last year by off-taking cassava from their farmers and we are able to solve transportation issue by off-taking directly from their farms instead of waiting for them to bring their produce to us.
Adeyemi added that “the challenges we encounter sometime is that of price issue; cassava price has started dropping from what we signed with them.
“Even though we agreed on a certain amount but the price we agreed to pay was too high compared to present market price, we had to do some negotiation again.”
He added that the company was also involved with cassava farmers in Ogun.
“We provided inputs to the farmers and they do the farming and after a year, we buy from them and deduct whatever we had spent on them.
“My challenge is that our farmers still need enough education because there is a lot of side selling.
Adeyemi said that the company is planning to go into farm ownership which they would allow farmers to cultivate under an agreement.
According to him, the new approach would give the company more control on output.
US President Donald Trump has ignited his trade war with China, slapping tariffs on tens of billions in Chinese imports and sparking immediate retaliation from Beijing.
The moves on Friday brought the world’s two largest economies to the verge of an all-out confrontation long feared by markets and industry.
And the China trade offensive is only one side of Trump’s multi-front battle with all major US economic partners.
The announcement caps months of sometimes fraught shuttle diplomacy in which Chinese offers to purchase more American goods failed to assuage Trump’s grievances over the soaring trade imbalance and Beijing’s aggressive industrial development policies.
And as Trump warned of “additional tariffs” should Beijing hit back with tit-for-tat duties on American goods, China unveiled 25 percent duties on $50 billion in US imports.
“The United States can no longer tolerate losing our technology and intellectual property through unfair economic practices,” Trump said.
“These tariffs are essential to preventing further unfair transfers of American technology and intellectual property to China, which will protect American jobs.”
But at least initially, Trump’s new China tariffs will not cover the full $50 billion that Trump announced Friday.
US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said the punitive duties will apply on 818 Chinese products valued at $34 billion starting July 6, with a second list of $16 billion to be considered under a new review process — bringing the total possible affected import volume to $50 billion.
But it is likely companies will seek more exemptions so the final total could fall short of that amount.
Beijing’s countermeasures closely mirrored Washington’s, with 545 American exports, also valued at $34 billion, facing punitive duties as of July 6, including agricultural products and vehicles, according to the official Xinhua news agency.
The State Council said another 114 items will be subject to tariffs at a later date, according to Xinhua.
US farmers are especially concerned about the impact of a trade war, since they are sure to feel the hit.
China’s Ministry of Commerce said the decision to impose tariffs meant “all previously agreed trade negotiation results are no longer valid.”
American farmers are especially worried about a trade war, as they are sure to feel the hit
“It is deeply regrettable that in disregard of the consensus between the two sides, the US has demonstrated flip-flops and ignited a trade war,” the ministry said.
It also called on other countries to “take collective action” against this “outdated and backwards behaviour.”
The African Development Bank (AfDB) has lauded the Governor Rauf Aregbesola led administration in Osun for economically developing the state through the implementation of its people-oriented policies and programmes.
The AfDB scored Osun high on its social investment programmes, describing them as most laudable, impactful and commendable in the democratic history of the country.
The leadership of the AfDB led by its Country Director, Mr. Ebrima Faal, gave the commendation during a courtesy visit to the governor at Government House in Osogbo.
Faal commended the state’s Six-Point Integral Action Plan which he said is in line with the organisation’s objectives.
The AfDB Director commended the state government for being committed to human and capital development as manifested in the positive results the state has recorded in all its policies and programmes.
Faal noted that the organisation was aware of the tremendous achievements the state has recorded particularly in the areas of education, technical and vocational training as well as infrastructure development.
“We are here to commend the state government for being committed to human and capital development as we have seen the positive impacts made in the lives of the citizens.
“We have seen the wonderful works going on across the state, particularly the massive infrastructural development and the efforts the state is making to turn around the economic fortunes of the state.
“We are enthused to be here to express our commitment to support the state in some critical areas of interest in line with our primary objective to stimulate the economy of our people on the continent.
“As a way of contributing to the Nigeria’s economy particularly on the need to diversify her economy from crude-oil to sustainable industrialised and commercialised economy through the advancement of non-oil sectors for the benefit of all, we have deemed it fit to partner Osun government.
“We are working tirelessly to ensure that the Nigeria and Africa’ economy objectives are actualised through the required socio-economic support and collaboration.
“We have seen the tremendous physical and social infrastructural development that spreads around every nook and cranny of the state.
“We want to shift the direction a bit to ensure a holistic performance at supporting governments at various levels to improve on their economy”
He added, “Since assumption of duty in Nigeria, I have never been to any state; Osun is the first and this is because I have heard so much about this state and I needed to come and see things for myself.
“And sincerely speaking, with what I have seen on ground since I arrived at Osun, the present administration has really raised the bar of governance through its various investments in infrastructure and the people of the state.
“There are very few states in this part of the world that has invested heavily in the people and I am so happy about this because it means that there is so much hope for the people of the state and this explains why the state is so peaceful.
“Another significant fact is that after a careful study of various government policies of Osun for its people, we have discovered that the Six-Point Integral Action Plans which the state is using as guide to move the state forward is completely in line with our own policies.”
In his response, Governor Aregbesola stated that his administration is passionate about the welfare and well- being of the people, hence the huge investment of the government in physical and social sectors of the economy.
He said the present administration in the state is a focused one which is people friendly and always willing to put smiles on the faces of the people which it serves.
Aregbesola said for Africa to maximise its potential which Nigeria must champion, the initiative must start from somewhere, no matter how small, stressing that Osun is ready to take the initiative to show what governance should be.
While expressing the hope that the AfDB will fully support the state, the governor explained that the present administration in the state is not frivolous and is ready to make life better for the people of the state.
He said, “We are ready to take the initiative to make Nigeria great and put Africa on the world map of development.
“Even before we came into office we already set out on what we want to achieve for our people and that’s why we came up with the six-point integral action plans for our government.
“We are a focused government and we want the best in terms of everything for our people, if you support us you will be doing the right thing for our people who will be better for it.
At least 15,000 farmers in Kebbi State have been empowered by PROACT, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) in rice and sorghum production in the state.
According to Mr Olumide Ojo, the PROACT Project Coordinator, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), in Daura on Wednesday, the farmers were assisted to enhance food security and encourage self reliance among the beneficiaries.
15,000 households had been registered in the programme in Kebbi state and 15,700 metric tonnes of paddy rice and 6,115 tonnes of sorghum had been produced in Jega and Danko/Wasagu Local Government Areas.
The coordinator said that the harvest was during the 2017 and 2018 wet and dry season farming.
He said the NGO was in Daura on an assessment visit of an EU-Oxfam sponsored programme – Improving the Fuel Wood Balance (FUWOBA), with a view to identify possible areas of improvement of their activities.
Ojo said that the organisation was committed to increasing its coverage by expanding the scope of its activities.
PROACT programme is an EU and Oxfam project in Nigeria, which is aimed at boosting food security.
The World Trade Organisation (WTO) has warned that there will be a global downturn if the trade conflict between the U.S. and other countries worsens.
The WTO Director-General Roberto Azevedo made this warning on Wednesday saying that this was already happening. When asked if there was a risk for the global economy, Azevedo told Business Daily Media: “Absolutely.
“If the trade dispute escalates, there is the risk of a global downturn, and we are already seeing signs that this downward process has already started.” He said that it was crucial to maintain dialogue to avoid escalation.
Following the nomination of Mr Folashodun Adebisi Shonubi as Deputy Governor at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), President Muhammadu Buhari has given an approval.
Malam Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, made this known in statement in Abuja on Friday.
Shonubi replaces Adebayo Adelabu, who resigned last week to take part in politics in Oyo state.
Shonubi is at present the Managing Director of the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System Plc (NIBSS) – the financial payments, facilitation and settlement platform.
NIBSS has been instrumental to the growth in electronic payments in the Nigerian financial industry.
Before assuming the headship of NIBBS in 2012, Shonubi had garnered decades of executive-level experience in financial service operations, notably as Executive Director at Union Bank of Nigeria Plc, Renaissance Securities Nigeria Ltd and Ecobank Nigeria Plc.
On the website of NIBBS, he is described as an Information Technology-driven banker with over 22 years professional experience.
Prior to his appointment as the Managing Director of NIBSS Plc., Mr. Shonubi was Executive Director, Information Technology and Operations at Union Bank of Nigeria Plc; a member of the Board of Union Homes and Director Information Technology and Corporate Services in Renaissance Securities Nigeria limited, with responsibility for the Group’s IT infrastructure in Africa.
Mr. Shonubi also had a stint with Citibank Nigeria Limited as its Head, Treasury Operations (1990-1993).
Between 1999 and 2007, he worked in MBC International as Deputy General Manager and supervised their IT operational platforms. He served in First City Monument Bank Limited as Vice – President and in Ecobank Nigeria Limited as Executive Director.
He has served on a number of sub-committees of the Bankers’ Committee, including the Ethics and Professionalism sub-committee.
Shonubi holds double Masters Degree respectively in Business Administration and Mechanical Engineering, from University of Lagos.
The Supreme Court yesterday, admitted that Guarantee Trust Bank (GTB) should pay about N14bn illegal charges allegedly deducted from the account of Innoson Nigeria Limited, to a trustee account, pending the determination of the substantive matter.
The apex court struck out a motion for stay of execution filled by the bank, thereby favouring the December 2014 ruling of the Court of Appeal, Enugu Division, which ordered Guarantee Trust Bank to pay N5.9 billion into an interest yielding account of the court.
Counsel to Innoson, Prof McCarthy Mbadugha, however argued that the money which amounts to excess and unlawful charges deducted from Innoson’s account now stood at over N14billion.
The Court of Appeal had on December 9, 2014 ordered GTB to pay the sum of N5, 936,126,219.01k to the Deputy Chief Register of the Court within 14 days from the date of ruling and that the Deputy Chief Register shall pay same into an interest yielding account in a reputable bank other than Diamond Bank or Mainstreet Bank Plc. pending the determination of the appeal.
According to the ruling, the said fund together with whatever accrues thereon shall be paid to the party who wins the appeal.
Unsatisfied with the court’s decision, GTB filed a motion for stay of execution at the Supreme Court. But the Supreme Court struck out the motion as it maintained that it would not entertain any motion until the 2014 decision of the Court of Appeal is complied with.
Following the decision of the apex court, GTB is expected to within 14 days, pay the sum of over N14billion judgment debt to the Deputy Chief Registrar of the Court of Appeal Enugu Division and which will now be paid into an interest yielding account in a reputable bank.
The money together with whatever interest accrues thereon shall be paid to the party who wins the appeal.