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Stock market continues downward stride

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Price losses by 24 stocks extended the bearish trend at the Nigerian equities for the second day. Having opened 2019 on a negative note on Wednesday, the market recorded another decline yesterday following losses by bellwethers.

Specifically, the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE)All-Share Index (ASI) shed 0.96 per cent to close lower at 30,771.32, while market capitalisation went down to N11.47 trillion.

Although the market recorded 24 price losers, depreciation by banking stocks such as Ecobank Transnational Incorporated, Zenith Bank Plc, FBN Holdings Plc and GTBank Access Bank Plc led to the negative close for the day.

However, GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Nigeria Plc led the price losers with 10 per cent, trailed by University Press Plc with 9.6 per cent. McNichols shed 8.5 per cent, just as First Aluminium and FCMB Group Plc dipped by 8.3 per cent apiece. Diamond Bank Plc closed 6.9 per cent lower as profit-taking set after a major price rally.

Transcorp Plc, Access Bank Plc and Cement Company of Northern Nigeria Plc shed 6.2 per cent, 5.3 per cent and 4.9 per cent in that order.

Sovereign Trust Insurance Plc, GTBank Plc and Lafarge Africa Plc were also among the price losers, going down by 4.7 per cent, 4.4 per cent and 4.1 per cent respectively.

Market analysts said the loss by Lafarge Africa Plc has depressed its price to N11.50, which is below its Rights Issue price of N12.00 per share. Lafarge Africa Plc had last month applied to raise N89.21 billion from existing shareholders through a rights issue

“Following the resolution of our shareholders passed at the extraordinary general meeting(EGM) held on the 25th September 2018, the board of directors has approved the terms of the Rights Issue. Lafarge Africa Plc will raise N89.21billion by way of a rights issue at N12.00 per share, by issuing six new shares for every seven shares held by shareholders at the qualification date, which will be announced,” the company said.

Meanwhile, Forte Oil Plc led the 13 stocks that appreciated in price yesterday, chalking up 9.6 per cent. Union Bank of Nigeria Plc trailed with 8.0 per cent, just as Transnationwide Express Plc chalked up 7.6 per cent. Julius Berger Nigeria Plc garnered 5.2 per cent, while Jaiz Bank Plc, Vitafoam Nigeria Plc and Sterling Bank Plc went up by 3.8 per cent, 3.5 per cent and 3.1 per cent respectively.

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National News

NLC reacts to N27,000 minimum wage approval

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The Nigeria Labour Congress has rejected the N27,000 new national minimum wage adopted by the National Council of States on Tuesday.

The NLC Secretary-General, Dr. Peter Ozo-Eson, made this known to the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja.

According to him, the council has no jurisdiction determining another amount after a Tripartite Committee had submitted its report.

“It is abysmal of government to be delaying the submission of an Executive Bill to the National Assembly and by wrongfully adopting N27,000 through the council of states,” he said.

However, Ozo-Eson said the NLC has scheduled an emergency National Executive Council meeting for Friday to weigh on the deadline given to government within which to submit an executive bill to the National Assembly.

The NLC scribe added that the Federal Government was only projecting a shutdown of the economy with its latest action.

“This is because workers should not be held responsible for any development after its NEC meeting on Friday,’’ he said.

(NAN)

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Money

Ambode fails to present 2019 budget again

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The Lagos State House of Assembly yesterday rejected the request of the state governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode, to formally present the 2019 appropriation bill valued at N852.317 billion.

Lagos State Governor Akinwunmi-Ambode

Contrary to the position of the office of the Chief Press Secretary to the governor that the 2019 budget would be presented yesterday, the request was not listed as part of the agenda of the state House of Assembly for the day.

It was revealed that Ambode had since last week contacted the state assembly that he was ready to present the 2019 budget, though it was not clear if the assembly agreed to the governor’s request to present the budget yesterday.

Based on the invitation to journalists for the budget presentation, the state house correspondents trooped to the state assembly for the exercise.

However, the correspondents were denied access to the legislative chambers, the venue of the budget presentation.

Despite the high expectation that the budget would be presented yesterday, security operatives at the assembly denied the state house correspondents access to the legislative chamber after waiting for about 30 minutes or more for the presentation of the 2019 budget.

After about 30 minutes, a police officer, who introduced himself as officer-in-charge, asked the state house correspondents to leave the assembly complex, perhaps acting on the directive of the speaker, Hon. Mudashiru Obasa.

The police officer claimed that he received information from the speaker that the lawmakers would not take the governor’s budget presentation as earlier expected.

He said the speaker was having a private meeting with other lawmakers and would not want to be disturbed.

He said, “I know you are journalists and here for your job but the budget will not be presented today. The speaker and the lawmakers are having a private session and would not like to see people at the lobby”.

Ambode had been having a frosty relationship with the lawmakers after he fell out with the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state.

There were reports of an attempt to impeach Ambode, though the speaker denied it.

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Money

IMF lowers Nigeria’s growth progression

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The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has cut Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) projection for 2019 to two per cent, from the 2.3 per cent it had predicted for the country previously.

The fund stated this in its World Economic Outlook (WEO) update titled, “A Weakening Global Expansion,” released Monday.

It noted that emerging market and developing economies had been tested by difficult external conditions over the past few months amid trade tensions, rising US interest rates, dollar appreciation, capital outflows, and volatile oil prices

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Politics

Read: Why I visited America – Atiku

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Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, has stated why he visited the United States of America.

The former vice-president arrived Washington on Thursday despite controversy over the belief that he was facing corruption charges in the US.

Atiku stated that he travelled to the US, because he has a mission to “create the right economic atmosphere for American investments to return to Nigeria”.

Full text below:

It has become pertinent for me to speak about my ongoing visit to the United States of America, where I have met and I am still meeting with the U.S. administration officials and business leaders.

I travelled to the United States of America because I have a mission, which is to create the right economic atmosphere for American investments to return to Nigeria at a rate and quantum that we had before the current Nigerian administration’s policies almost halted the flow of foreign direct investments to Nigeria.

I am in America because Atiku means jobs.

My reason for running for the office of president of Nigeria and even for going into public service in the first place, is because I believe that Nigeria has what it takes to be the beacon of hope for the black race and a leading nation of reckoning in the international community.

This has not materialised over the course of the last four years because, as Chinua Achebe prophetically said in his 1983 book, “the trouble with Nigeria is the failure of leadership.”

The current Nigerian administration has allowed our relationship with our long-standing friends and partners to deteriorate and this has had unfortunate consequences for our economy.

Foreign relations that had been meticulously and delicately built for decades were allowed to deteriorate because members of the incumbent administration mistook their personal interests as the interests of Nigeria and allowed short term goals to dominate their foreign policies.

New friendships should not be made at the cost of old friendships. It is not an either-or situation. Right from Independence, Nigeria has nurtured a policy of non-alignment. We borrowed from the Lincoln policy of malice toward none and charity for all. Sadly, that policy has suffered major setbacks in the last four years.

As a leader in business, I am cognisant of the fact that both Western and Oriental nations will be making the transition from fossil fuels to electric powered vehicles and other green energies over the course of the next two decades. This means that Nigeria’s oil has a limited shelf life.

To be forewarned is to be forearmed and we must, as a nation, begin to make the transition from an oil economy to a modern one based on manufacturing and value-added agricultural chain.

…my vision is for trade to go both ways. Nigeria has a lot to offer America via her creative industry (Nollywood is the world’s third largest movie industry) and rich mining sectors (Nigeria’s Kaduna State is rich in gold ore). I am also eager to find a market in the U.S. for some of the half a million shoes manufactured in Nigeria’s cities of Kano and Aba everyday.

The message I took to the United States business community is not a new message. In my opinion editorial in the British media (“Beyond Brexit – Nigeria wants a new trade deal with Britain”), I submitted that Brexit is an opportunity for Nigeria and the United Kingdom to have a Big Ambitious Free Trade Agreement.
It is only common sense.

In 2014, the African continent as a whole earned $2.4 billion from coffee grown in Africa and shipped mainly to Europe. That sounds impressive. However, one nation alone, Germany, made $3.8 billion from re-exporting Africa’s coffee in 2014.

As a businessman, I see this and I cannot allow it to continue. It is unconscionable, but situations like these will not stop unless Nigeria and Africa have leadership that thinks business, instead of aid, and capital instead of loans.

Nigeria has, perhaps, the highest populations of youth as a segment of the total population, in the world. Already, we have the unfortunate distinction of being the world headquarters of extreme poverty. We cannot afford business as usual. My single-minded focus is to change this dubious record by transforming Nigeria from a consumer nation to a prosumer nation (a nation that consumes what it produces).

For this to happen, we need U.S. firms who have divested from Nigeria, to return. We need Procter and Gamble to reopen its $300 million Nigerian plant, which it shut down last year. We need General Electric to reverse its $2.7 billion pull out of Nigeria.

And my vision is for trade to go both ways. Nigeria has a lot to offer America via her creative industry (Nollywood is the world’s third largest movie industry) and rich mining sectors (Nigeria’s Kaduna State is rich in gold ore). I am also eager to find a market in the U.S. for some of the half a million shoes manufactured in Nigeria’s cities of Kano and Aba everyday.

Someone somewhere said Nigeria’s youth are lazy. I am one of the single largest employers of Nigeria’s youth and I know that assertion is false. My travels in Europe and America is to sell the Nigeria that I know to the world that does not yet know her. A Nigeria with not just a hardworking youthful population, but a nation with some of the smartest working people on earth. A nation that is open for business and a Nigeria that is much more than oil.

And I am certain that if I am successful in selling this Nigeria to the world, the world will come to Nigeria for business. That is why I am in America. Because I believe in JOBS – Jobs, Opportunity, Being United and Security and it is time Nigeria and all Nigerians finally have the opportunity to realise their true potentials.

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